More to ignore, Book 96....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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As allies of then-President Donald Trump made a final push to overturn the election in late-December 2020, one of the key operatives behind the effort briefed then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about his attempts to gain access to voting systems in key battleground states, starting with Arizona and Georgia, according to text messages obtained by CNN.

Phil Waldron, an early proponent of various election-related conspiracy theories, texted Meadows on December 23 that an Arizona judge had dismissed a lawsuit filed by friendly GOP lawmakers there. The suit demanded state election officials hand over voting machines and other election equipment, as part of the hunt for evidence to support Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud.

In relaying the news to Meadows, Waldron said the decision would allow opponents to engage in “delay tactics” preventing Waldron and his associates from immediately accessing machines. Waldron also characterized Arizona as “our lead domino we were counting on to start the cascade,” referring to similar efforts in other states like Georgia......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — When Texas’ new abortion law made no exceptions in cases of rape, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott defended it with an assurance: Texas would get to work eliminating rapes.

One year later, Lindsey LeBlanc is busy as ever helping rape victims in a college town outside Houston.

“The numbers have stayed consistently high,” said LeBlanc, executive director of the Sexual Assault Resource Center in Bryan, near Texas A&M University. Despite hiring two additional counselors in the past six months, she still has a waitlist for victims.

“We are struggling to keep up with demand,” she said......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: As Russia mobilizes, here's what a well-trained army looks like

kos

Mark Sumner was awesome this past week, covering Ukraine through the weekend, on his days off, giving me space to spend precious time with my son Ari at Fort Benning, Georgia between his graduation from infantry advanced training, and entering the Ranger school pipeline—one of the hardest schools in the entire U.S. military, the black and gold Ranger tab one of its most prestigious honors.

Seeing Ari spend months on his training already, it was something seeing what Russia is doing to its countrymen during its partial general mobilization this past week:

In the U.S. Army, every soldier gets 10 weeks of basic combat training, then moves to advanced individual training. For infantry, my son was in school 22 weeks, almost six months, to get him to a modicum of proficiency as an infantryman. To hear him say it, even that is rudimentary knowledge at best. While his platoon worked on basic infantry skills like ambushes, reacting to ambush, assaults, and other squad- and platoon-level tasks, he joked about what a mess they still were, despite several weeks of working on it.

For the army, that's fine, because soldiers are expected to continue that education at their assigned unit under the guidance of experienced non-commissioned officers (NCOs, otherwise known as sergeants). So whether it’s an extra 12 weeks for advanced infantry training (post-basic training), or an extra 24 weeks for an Abrams tank mechanic, or an extra 53 weeks as Patriot air defense system repairer, that is just basic-level knowledge. Think of college laying foundation, but learning your actual career at your job.


Let’s take a look at the most basic Infantry unit, the rifle squad, to get an idea of how much support a brand new infantryman gets:
  • Squad Leader (E-6, Staff Sergeant)
  • Alpha Team Leader (E-5, Sergeant)
    • Grenadier (M4 rifle with attached grenade launcher)
    • Automatic rifleman (machine gun)
    • Rifleman
  • Bravo Team Leader (E-5, Sergeant)
    • Grenadier (M4 rifle with attached grenade launcher)
    • Automatic rifleman (machine gun)
    • Rifleman
That Rifle Squad has nine soldiers. Three of them are NCOs. An E-5 sergeant has around 4-5 years of experience. In some cases, a really high speed soldier might make it in 3. But that requires things like, well, Ranger school. Regardless, we’re looking at 3-5 years of experience to lead just three soldiers. That E-6 commanding eight soldiers? Seven is the minimum time in service, but will usually take a year or two longer.

So in this nine-soldier squad, you’re looking at NCOs with at least 13 years combined years of experience, and more likely 15-20 (since they’ll stay in those slots and ranks for years). A brand new infantryman walks into a system that will take that basic knowledge learned in his or her initial training, and refine it over years of repetitive drilling and practicing.

Amazingly, Russia never had NCOs. Well, they have something they call “NCOs,” but they are a shell of the system seen in NATO armies. Russian officers have died at astronomical rates. That’s why we’re seeing 60-year-old retired officers being mobilized. They’re severely lacking in soldiers with leadership capabilities. And even those, like the ones already dying in Ukraine, lack the NATO-standard ability to adjust and adapt orders to best carry out a given mission. Those NCOs in that Rifle Squad have wide latitude in carrying out the orders from their officers. It’s called “battlefield initiative,” and Ukraine has been training it for the past eight years.

Now Russia is sending thousands of new conscripts straight to the front line with nothing but the most rudimentary training. They originally claimed these mobilized souls would get two weeks training, but even that was too optimistic. Why waste time “training” these new soldiers if they are merely meant as human speed bumps to advancing Ukrainian forces?


This is a good thread by retired Gen. Mark Hertling saying much the same as I did above, but with some added color:



This thread is also excellent:



The carnage will be massive. It’ll be like the Battle of Stalingrad scene in the movie Enemy at the Gates.



Ari is in the Ranger school pipeline. If you are curious to learn what that’s about, this is an excellent article. This is a quick primer:



And if you want a full-on documentary about the school, this one appears dated, but Ranger school hasn’t changed much since. Ranger students still have to survive 2-5 months of the school on severe sleep and food deprivation (most students “recycle” one of more of the three phases of the school, redoing parts until they meet the stringent requirements). Pushed to their physical limits, they learn to conduct the necessary squad- and platoon-level tasks by muscle memory, through instinct.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Rioter who received call from White House landline on Jan. 6 ID'ed

Brandi Buchman

Ahead of the Jan. 6 committee’s last expected public hearing this week, Denver Riggleman, a former Republican congressman and onetime adviser to the insurrection panel, stirred up a bit of controversy.

In an interview for 60 Minutes on Sunday, Riggleman said during his months working with the Jan. 6 committee, he had reviewed reams of phone records, text messages, and social media posts, including those belonging to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, an integral player in former President Donald Trump’s push to overturn the 2020 election.

Meadows had turned over more than 2,300 text messages to the panel before ending his cooperation, and Riggleman, among others supporting the probe, was tasked with sorting through those messages.

As Riggleman analyzed them, he told 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker on Sunday that it quickly became clear that Meadows’ messages represented a “roadmap to an attempted coup” on Jan. 6.

This is not the first time he has used this phrase to describe his findings.

Riggleman told CNN this June, “to look at [the messages] it's almost a roadmap to what happened” on Jan. 6.

But when on 60 Minutes this weekend, the former U.S. Air Force Intelligence officer and counterterrorism expert elaborated further, saying that during his time on the committee, he found a record of a call being made from the White House switchboard to a Capitol rioter on Jan. 6.



“You get a real ‘a-ha’ moment when you see that the White House switchboard had connected to a rioter’s phone while [the riot] is happening. That’s a big, pretty big ‘a-ha’ moment,” Riggleman told 60 Minutes correspondent Brian Whitaker.

The call was unlikely to be “accidental,” according to Riggleman.

But, he acknowledged, during his time as a technical adviser on the probe, he was only able to discern “one end” of that call.

“I don’t know the White House end, which I believe is more important. But the thing is, the American people need to know that there are link connections that need to be explored more,” Riggleman said.

Riggleman left the committee in April to take a job with a nonprofit supporting Ukraine. Notably, his pronouncements this weekend about the switchboard call come just ahead of the release of his new book, The Breach.

The book is about Riggleman’s time serving the Jan. 6 probe and is co-authored with reporter Hunter Walker.


It also comes out just before the committee’s public hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 1 PM ET. It is expected to be the committee’s last.

Members of the Jan. 6 committee responded to Riggleman’s remarks this weekend, stressing that they were already aware of this call.

A committee spokesperson also stressed that the former Republican congressman for Virginia only had “limited knowledge” of the committee’s work since his departure and that the panel did “much of our most important investigative work” after Riggleman had left.

In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this Sunday, committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin addressed the switchboard call but wouldn’t divulge much else. The Maryland Democrat said the committee had looked into it already and cautioned that there was “lots of contact between people in the White House and different people that were involved obviously in the coup attempt and insurrection.”

Historically, the committee has kept details of its investigation and its plans for hearings under guard, leaving its most explosive findings to come out during its public presentations.

The relationship between Riggleman and the committee hasn’t been without some tension. Sources told The Washington Post that Riggleman was not always clear about his book deal, reportedly telling committee colleagues that he was writing a book though he wouldn’t confirm what it was about. Riggleman’s press interviews and chattering on television about the content of the committee’s subpoenas or how it divided its investigation was “unnerving,” committee staff director David Buckley wrote in a staff-wide email, according to Politico.


When he left the probe officially, Riggleman finally acknowledged to reporters openly that he had received a book deal. But he also said his book wouldn’t come out until next year.

On Sunday, Riggleman told 60 Minutes that as he reviewed the correspondence that flew back and forth in Trump’s orbit before the insurrection, there were eerie similarities between the language used there and the language used by fundamentalists or religious extremists he had studied in the past.

“Honestly, the way they talked, the way they referred to this epic struggle almost sounded to me like [I was] looking at foreign terrorist groups in the past. The way they were talking about religion. You automatically sort of throttle back, sit back in your chair and think, ‘man, that’s a dangerous line of thinking,’” he said.

He continued: “I’m finding that everything they believe, the system they have sort of built up in their mind based on the support of Donald Trump is false.”

The push for a coup is ”a pretty simple thing to see” just by reading the texts that were publicly released already, Riggleman added.

“if you just read them, just please for the love of god, just think about what these people are saying to each other; to the chief of staff or president of the United States. You should come to the conclusion that, listen, even if it is not criminal, it is idiotic. And we don't want somebody like this making decisions for the United States. Either for domestic or foreign policy. That’s it,” he said.

Riggleman, who was brought aboard the committee with support from Republican vicechair Liz Cheney, also explained how his thinking around Jan. 6 had evolved over time.

“I went from [it was a] riot to [it was] coup-like movements,” he said of his early assessments. “At this point, I think it’s pretty evident that this was an attempted coup.”

This opinion is uniformly shared among all members of the committee. As the hearings got underway this summer, investigators used that descriptor regularly.

But the “big a-ha” moment Riggleman described was not exactly that, according to committee member Rep. Adam Schiff.

Schiff told CNN’s Jake Tapper during a Sunday appearance that the committee has been careful not to overstate or understate matters.

Riggleman’s recent remarks “pose a real risk,” Schiff said.

Rep. Lofgren also elaborated, telling CNN that every lead Riggleman generated was looked into.

“Everything that he was able to relay prior to his departure has been followed up on and in some cases didn't really peter out (sic), or there might have been a decision that suggested there was a connection between one number and one e-mail and a person that turned out not to pan out. So we follow up on everything, and, you know, I don't know what Mr. Riggleman is doing really,” she said.

As for the phone call to the Jan. 6 rioter from the White House, details have been limited in the public arena so far. After Riggleman’s interview on 60 Minutes, however, CNN did confirm the identity of the cell phone owner


The phone reportedly belongs to Brooklyn, New York resident and Trump supporter Anton Lunyk.

The call from the White House landline to Lunyk’s phone lasted just nine seconds, beginning at 4:34 PM on Jan. 6.

The timing is interesting: it came less than 30 minutes after Trump issued a video halfheartedly asking rioters to go home as he simultaneously praised them for being “very special.”

Lunyk pleaded guilty to parading inside of the Capitol illegally this April alongside two friends: Francis Connor and Antonio Ferrigno. The men were originally facing multiple charges, including entering and remaining in a restricted area, violent entry, disorderly conduct, and parading or demonstrating inside of the Capitol.

He reportedly has no memory of receiving the call and does not know anyone who worked in the Trump White House.

At present, there are no known connections between Lunyk and anyone who worked at the Trump White House. And as pointed out by CNN, Lunyk’s car was spotted in New York City at 8:28 p.m.. on Jan. 6. This could mean that by the time the call was made to Lunyk’s phone, he was likely already in transit to New York from the Capitol.

It does not appear that Lunyk, Connor, or Ferrigno have any direct ties to extremist groups like the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers or their members.


But court records show that in the Instagram group chats from November 2020, where Lunyk, Connor, and Ferrigno discussed how the election was “stolen” from Trump, Ferrigno named one of the group chats “The Proud Boys” and then renamed it “The Proud Boys and Friends” a month later. In January, the name was changed one more time to “The Oath Keepers,” CNN reported.

After the Capitol attack, the virulent messages continued.

Connor, for example, sent Lunyk a message on Instagram on Jan. 8, 2021.

“Our job yesterday wasn’t completed. our end goal was to brutally murder [then Vice President Mike] Pence and [Speaker of the House Nancy] Pelosi, and sadly today they’re still breathing, therefore we must come back stronger and fiercely next time around,” Connor wrote.


On Jan. 12, 2021, Lunyk boasted that he was “gonna shoot Pelosi.” Other chats featured threats to rape Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

An attorney for Lunyk did not immediately return a request for comment to Daily Kos.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Wisconsin Speaker sought by Jan. 6 probe sues to stop subpoena seeking info on talk with Trump

Brandi Buchman

The Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol has issued a subpoena to Robin Vos, the Wisconsin House Speaker, seeking information from him about a discussion he had with former President Donald Trump in July 2022.

The subpoena demanded that Vos show up to testify on Monday morning, just 48 hours before the Capitol attack probe is set to present its latest findings for what is widely expected to be its final public hearing.

Vos sued to stop the subpoena from going into effect after receiving it Saturday. On Monday, according to court records, U.S. District Chief Judge Pamela Pepper set a motion hearing for this Tuesday at 3 PM CST.

Vos Sues to Block Subpoena From Jan 6 Probe by Daily Kos on Scribd

The subpoena from the committee, according to Vos and his attorney Adam Mortara, was overbroad, a violation of his rights to immunity as a public servant, and simply arrived too close to the time of his requested appearance.

Further, Vos argues that the committee’s request is inappropriate because it goes beyond the scope of its stated investigation into matters occurring just before, during, or right after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

His conversation with Trump in July is irrelevant to their probe, he argues.

The speaker’s conversations with former President Donald Trump this July “pertained to a recently decided Wisconsin Supreme Court decision about Wisconsin election law and any actions that could be taken in response to this decision moving forward,” the lawsuit states.

Swiping at the committee, Vos contends the real reason for the tight deadline on his response was so panel investigators could use his deposition for its fast-approaching hearing this Wednesday.

“The committee’s actions in issuing the subpoena to Speaker Vos demonstrate the committee has lost all sense of its boundaries. The committee no longer believes the scope of its investigation is limited to the events of, or lead up to, Jan. 6. Instead, it believes it has a roving commission to inquire of any matter that piques its interest concerning former President Trump,” Vos argued.

The call in July between Vos and Trump came right after the Wisconsin Supreme Court nixed the use of unsupervised ballot drop boxes despite a long and safe history of their implementation in the state.

After speaking to Vos by phone, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Trump issued a statement targeting Vos, asking him what he was “doing on the Great Wisconsin Supreme Court Ruling declaring hundreds of thousands of Drop Box votes to illegal?”

“This is not a time for him to hide, but a time to act!” Trump blared on July 19.

For clarity, the Wisconsin high court’s ruling pertains to future elections and would not retroactively apply to the 2020 election as Trump suggested.

Vos has described Trump’s message as another attempt to convince him that now-President Joe Biden lost Wisconsin in the 2020 election.

“He makes his case, which I respect. He would like us to do something different in Wisconsin. I explained it's not allowed under the Constitution. He has a different opinion, and then he put out the tweet,” Vos told WISN-TV.

Trump was banned from Twitter on Jan. 8, 2021. In the months since, he has been able to resume posting hateful, inciteful, misinformation-laden posts on his own fledgling social media company, Truth Social.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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While many Russians have opted to flee the country to dodge Vladimir Putin’s desperate draft for the war in Ukraine, one man took his protest a little bit further and shot a recruitment commander.

Local authorities announced Monday’s attack, which unfolded in the city of Ust-Ilimsk in the Irkutsk region of Siberia. A video of the incident inside an enlistment office appears to show the gunman dressed in military fatigues firing on the official at point-blank range, causing other potential draftees to flee the room.

The shooter identified himself in a video published on social media as 25-year-old Ruslan Zinin, Reuters reports. Writing on encrypted messaging app Telegram, Irkutsk regional governor Igor Kobzev said the draft officer was left fighting for his life and remained in a critical condition after the shooting. Kobzev added that the shooter had been detained and “will absolutely be punished.”

“I am ashamed that this is happening at a time when, on the contrary, we should be united,” the governor added. “We must fight not against each other, but against real threats.”

A witness to the shooting said the gunman opened fire after the recruiting commander had delivered a “clumsy” pep talk for the men assembled in the office to go off to battle in Ukraine. “Nobody is going anywhere,” the shooter said before beginning the assault, the witness told the Baikal People outlet, according to The Guardian.

The shooter was said to have been upset about his friend being conscripted.

Separately, another man tried to burn himself alive at a bus station in Ryazan, about 115 miles southeast of Moscow. A witness to the self-immolation attempt told a local news channel that the man “laughed and shouted that he did not want to be part of the special operation” in Ukraine, referring to the legally-enforced euphemism that Putin is using to describe the war. Disturbing CCTV footage shows the man dousing himself in lighter fluid before erupting in flames, Meduza reports. The man’s condition is not known, though he reportedly suffered 90 percent burns across his body.

The shooting is just the latest attack on Russian enlistment offices since Putin announced the mobilization of around 300,000 new troops last Wednesday, which has plunged the country into chaos. At least 17 administrative offices have been torched in arson attacks since the call-up was announced, according to the independent Mediazona news site, with many fearing that the initially limited mobilization will eventually expand to encompass much greater numbers than those touted by the Russian president.

Hundreds of Russians have also been arrested after public protests opposing the draft as thousands more have attempted to get out of their homeland before it’s too late. An alarming report over the weekend suggested that the Kremlin is planning to take the extreme measure of closing the border to men of fighting age on Wednesday in order to stop the drain of potential reserves for Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Obama slams GOP's anti-immigrant attacks, says 'we’ve seen in history that is dangerous rhetoric'

Gabe Ortiz

Former President Barack Obama, during a speech to Latino business leaders this past weekend, called out the “dangerous,” anti-immigrant rhetoric of elected Republicans who have unflinchingly adopted the xenophobic vocabularies tied to multiple racist mass murderers. In just one example, the racist who in 2019 traveled hours to kill Mexicans at a Walmart in El Paso had complained about an “invasion.” Yet Ted Cruz has defiantly continued to use this word in the context of immigration, endangering his own constituents.

“Right now, the biggest fuel behind the Republican agenda is related to immigration and the fear that somehow America’s character is going to be changed if, people of darker shades, there are too many of them here,” Obama said at the annual L’Attitude conference in San Diego. “I wish I could be more euphemistic about it except (they’re) not that subtle about it—they’re just kind of saying it,” he said in remarks reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

“You hear it on hard-right media, you hear it from candidates and politicians, you hear things like ‘great replacement theory’—I mean, this is not subtle,” the former president continued, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

“A lot of toxic rhetoric in the atmosphere that characterizes ‘those people’ as ‘different’ and wanting to ‘tear down America’ as opposed to build it up,” he said. “When you have that kind of rhetoric floating around out there, we’ve seen in history that is dangerous rhetoric. It’s dangerous wherever it appears, and it’s dangerous here in the United States.”

We’ve tragically seen this play out just this past year, when a racist mass murderer who believed in invasion and “great replacement” conspiracies traveled to Buffalo, New York, this past spring to kill Black people. But just months beforehand, New York lawmaker and number three House Republican Elise Stefanik had been running ads promoting so-called replacement theory. Following the shooting, Stefanik’s team issued a lie that claimed she’d “never advocated for any racist position.” Of course she did, they were her own ads. But she was quickly back at it, anyway.

“Just 22 minutes later (and less than 48 hours after the shooting), Stefanik tweeted out a thinly veiled defense of … ideas tied to ‘great replacement’ theory,” MSNBC reported. “’Democrats desperately want wide open borders and mass amnesty for illegals allowing them to vote,’ her tweet read.”

Obama also touched on the prospects of immigration reform in Congress, saying that “u
nless we’re able to return to a more inclusive vision inside the Republican Party, it’s going to be hard to get a bill done.” I’d diverge from the former president on this one, because if we’re waiting on the GOP to change, we’ll be waiting on a tiger to change its stripes, and that’s time immigrants just don’t have. Certainly, small groups of Republicans have supported recent legislative efforts to put young immigrants and farmworkers on a pathway to citizenship. But the legislation passed because of the overwhelming support from Democratic lawmakers. But if Republicans want to join, great.

America’s Voice noted that other officials also recently condemned the GOP’s embrace of anti-immigrant ugliness. Notably, Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg called Ron DeSantis’ despicable campaign using human beings as props “the kinds of stunts you see from people when you don’t have a solution.”


“It’s one thing to call attention to the problem when you have a course of action … it’s another to just call attention to a problem because the problem is more useful to you than the solution and that helps call attention to yourself,” he said in remarks at the Texas Tribune festival. “Human beings are being impacted. You flee a communist regime in Venezuela, you come here, and then somebody tricks you … it’s not just ineffectual, it’s hurting people in order to get attention.”