Prawnworks Archives 2023A

Okay, the "crisis" is over. The Chinese spy balloon has been shot down. Once it was over the Atlantic, the Pentagon was assured that no one would be hit by falling debris.

Biden wanted to shoot it down as soon as it was discovred, but  the Pentagon thought that would be unwise. 

The U-2 spy plane flew at 80k feet in the air, the balloon was about that high up. Commercial aircraft usually fly at 40k feet.

Of course Don Jr. was trying to incite people from Montana to shoot down the balloon.

China’s now insisting that their spy balloon was just a weather balloon that was off-course.

Yeah, hysterical reactions from Republicans over the Chinese spy balloon just got ridiculous. I saw a news host saying that the two big issues that the GOP tries to claim ownership of are the economy and national defense. The economy is doing quite well, thank you very much and with Ukraine and Biden's vigorous defense of it, Republicans are left with bits and scraps to showcase themselves as the better party.

An absolutely bonkers decision that, in retrospect, was entirely predictable and one that should have been foreseen. A wife-beater who also abused his children was ruled on as being permitted to own a gun because there were no such restraining laws back in 1791. "Originalism" was always a truly terrible philosophy and now has shown that it is morally bankrupt as well.

Despite Bakhmut being under an intensive siege, the city that used to have 75k people in it still has 7k hanging in there despite shelling and drones every day.
Zelenskyy is determined to hold on to Bakhmut at all costs.
European Union support’s Zelenskyy’s conditions for peace.
$2.2 billion aid package for Ukraine.
Biden is following an “escalate to de-escalate” strategy.

Ukraine sees time as its enemy. It must exploit Russia’s weakened, poorly equipped forces now.”
Putin is betting on Western exhaustion.
A look at a shop that puts Russian vehicles back into service for Ukraine.
Russian killed and wounded is approaching 200k.
About 40k to 50k Russian troops are former inmates.

Hmm. Fascinating! Our commenter uses the Hebrew language to help him to interpret Genesis 1 & 2 to conclude that the Serpent in the Garden of Eden was not Satan!

Well, that's good! Speaker McCarthy agrees that Ashli Babbitt was not “murdered.”
"I think the police officer did his job," McCarthy said. Trump didn't like that answer very much! 

Speaker McCarthy thinks it’s just awful that 100 Democrats voted not to condemn socialism. What a $#%&ing idiotic, waste of time bill to even recommend!

Kevin McCarthy claims that Democrats are telling him that he ran the House better than Nancy Pelosi. However, McCarthy doesn't name any of these Democrats, so they could be imaginary.

Yeah, this sounds to me like a “sir story.” Whenever Trump has people calling him “sir” in a story he’s telling, that’s a tip-off that he’s making the whole thing up.

Questions on whether or not to try and hang on to Bakhmut.
Russians double down on trying to take Vuhledar.
Russian missiles strike residential buildings in Kramatorsk.
Biden wanted to shoot down the Chinese spy balloon seen above the US. Pentagon opposed doing so, fearing that shooting it down could cause civilian casualties.

Detailed breakdown on Russian assaults on Bakhmut.
Details on the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB). No as good as the ATACMS would be, but big improvement over HIMARS.

The Columbia Journalism Review published a 24k word piece on the Trump-Russia collusion story. The author Jeff Gerth writes that “Clinton and her campaign would secretly sponsor and promote an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that there was a secret alliance between Trump and Russia.” But actually, there was a very substantive connection between the two parties and the author of the Mother Jones piece goes into quite a bit of detail about those connections. CJR should be condemned for putting out a very irresponsible piece.

Good heavens. Is there no end to how wonderful Dolly Parton is? Parton secretly produced Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Speaker McCarthy says; “We have waste in our government.” Sure, but does the “waste” make up a significant portion of our $1.45 trillion annual budget? How much waste is there to cut? How much waste is “in the eye of the beholder” and not generally agreed upon?

The Supreme Court members pride themselves on not being influence by “special interests,” unless of course, they’re in ideological agreement with such interests.

Good Heavens! An Iranian couple is sentenced to over 10 years for dancing!!! They were “convicted of promoting indecency, colluding against national security, and producing propaganda against Iran's government”

“Full Width Mine Ploughs” on the way to Ukraine, a way to quickly clear landmines out of the way of an advance.
Animated film on battle over the Kyiv airport.
“Russia has not surrendered its ambitions to capture and occupy all of Ukraine—it’s just lost the fight on the battlefield.” Putin’s “in a win-or-die situation.” To win Ukraine just needs a force upgrade.

They said in 1973 that the now-113 year old Hudson Tunnel couldn’t be replaced. Thanks to Biden, work on replacing it will begin soon.

Austria and Hungary are neutral, but Czech Republic is with Ukraine & NATO.
Corrupt Ukrainian oligarch’s home searched. US is investigating same person.
“A missile just levels a residential block in Kramatorsk in Donbas.”
Minor changes to fronts at Bakhmut and Kreminna. Vuhledar holds firm
Moscow has over 320k troops in Ukraine and 150k to 250k in reserve. Russia is “acquiring more weapons from other authoritarian states like Iran and North Korea.”
New HIMARS rockets on the way. All of mainland, occupied Ukraine will be within range.
Turkey’s Erdogan threatening to be an annoyance.

I disagree with a phrase that Representative Greene used. She said Ashli Babbitt was "murdered." No, when a Ukrainian soldier kills a Russian soldier, it isn't murder because there is no personal animosity between the two. It's simply a killing. Babbitt was "killed" because she presented a mortal danger to the hiding Senators and Representatives. Had she been allowed to live, she would have opened the way for the mob that was following her.

Yeah, that “ready-to-go” GOP agenda sure stalled out quickly!

Hmm, I wonder just which promises Vance thinks Trump "delivered on." A MAGA guy claimed Trump's "kids in cages" policy reduced immigration. I looked up the figures and, uh, no it didn't.

Governor DeSantis engages in outright, unequivocal fascism and the NY Times says “Aw, he’s just building has brand, nothing to worry about!”

Governors DeSantis, Abbott and others compared with Southern planting aristocracy in the 1850s and again during Jim Crow.

Representative Boebert attributes the cancellation of Newsmax by DirecTV to, what else?, conspiracy theories.

Sigh! Musk and Starlink again! Thought this issue was settled.
Still a few thousand citizens living in Bakhmut.
Vuldehar is holding very strongly. Casualties from trying to take it are enormous. Land is flat and artillery can lay new mines at will. 
Ukraine may not get the EU membership it desires. Blogger looks at EU and Ukraine.

Palestine is an issue that Arabs in general support. Their support crosses national boundaries and class differences. Their problem with Israel is mostly 

Israel’s colonial and expansionist policies, as well as its racism toward the Palestinians and its persistence in expropriating Palestinian land.

Governments and mainstream media both need to give up on the “Two-State Solution.” It isn’t working and will never work. That solution supports apartheid, which can never be the basis for peace.

A Russian couple talks about the war. They get reported to the police and are locked up. Their nine-year old daughter had to spend the night with strangers. The husband was designated a “hooligan” for talking so disrespectfully.


Bit of a problem. There's a group that's working with the Russian army that has been "wilding" around Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine. Now they've raped a Russian news presenter and beat up her cameraman.

As with rates of getting Covid, there is a big and easily detectable difference between the political parties when it comes to murder rates. The Red states that favor lax gun laws have much higher murder rates than Blue states, that try to control guns.

The “Fair Tax,” a 23% national sales tax and every other tax being tossed out, is a public relations gold mine for Democrats! Now members of the Freedom Caucus are beginning to understand why it’s such a bad idea! Too late to distance themselves from it!

Cool! Speaker McCarthy appears to say that Social Security and Medicare are off the table when it comes to cuts to meet the desired reduction of the national debt.

Representative Stefanik is asked what she would like to cut. She says “national security” money is off the table, but the best she can do for what’s on the table is “woke agenda”money!

Does anyone think that there is no waste in government and that we can’t make any reductions? Of course not, but the budget is $1.45 trillion. The odds of finding, say, $25 billion in savings, more than 40 years after Reagan began cutting the federal budget, is pretty darn close to zero.

The blogger emptywheel asks: “wHy WoNT mErRIcK GaRlaND dO anYThiNG?” And the answer is, well, Representative Scott Perry’s phone was seized in August. The DOJ is still trying to get access to it! Perry was very important to January 6th, but he’s a Congressman, so the courts have been going back and forth about whether he and his phone are protected.

Residential building in Kharkiv’s center hit. Major damage with lots of casualties.
A Ukrainian pilot was descending steeply. He maneuvered his plane away from a town, which left him too little time to eject.
Russia concentrating forces for offensive aimed at Lyman.
Bakhmut increasingly surrounded.
A Russian pundit justifies war crimes.
Our blogger sees the process of the Russian Federation dissolving already beginning. That could lead to LOTS of chaos and destruction.

FBI leaks fueled the NY Times story, the "October Surprise" of 2016. Those leaks have been traced to a single FBI agent, Charles McGonigal. When is the NY Times going to do a review of how the paper was snookered into printing this bogus story? Yes, social media means we can ask them questions, but only an ombudsman can demand answers.

I've always listed the three villains of the 2016 election as James Comey, the NY Times and Vladimir Putin. Now it appears that Putin had a bigger role than we thought. NY Times really needs to come clean!

One of the problems that Will Bunch brings up here reminds me that people were saying in the early aughts (from when blogs became popular) was that blogs were "self-correcting," that is, they utilized immediate, real-time public criticism to correct themselves. As Bunch points out though, self-correcting only happens when institutions heed and respond to the criticism. For the NY Times to fire its Public Editor was an inexcusably bad move that was either an intentional cover-up or just an error of hubris. Either way, the Public Editor needs to be reinstated.

The NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman has concluded that a two-state solution for Israel and Palestinians cannot work. Blogger examines Friedman’s views on Israel.

Israel’s trajectory since its founding has been moving away from everything liberals claim to value and respect. 

After the beating death of Tyre Nichols, Representative Jordan feels that the beating of Black people is just a mysterious, hopeless problem that has no solution.

Again, the Secret Service is not responsible for anything but the personal safety of Donald Trump and his family! They were not protecting documents as they were most likely not even aware that Trump had any secret documents!

If you have any spare change, the Kyiv Independent needs contributions.
Both Ukraine and Russia are racing to be the first to launch a Spring offensive. Lot of hard, slow fighting until then.
Spring is expected to be the most intense phase of the war.
“Norwegian intelligence suggests that Russian dead and wounded combined are 180,000, with total Ukrainian casualties at 100,000.”
Russians being extremely secretive about economic data, which really isn’t good for the economy.
The Quran burning in Stockholm. It “was funded by a far-right journalist with links to Kremlin-backed media…”
Winner of Czechia election promises to “keep the country firmly anchored in the West.”

So, as is usual for the tankies, the preferred solution that Don Jr. is recommending is to throw Ukraine to the Russian bear to be mauled. Because who cares that Ukraine is a struggling democracy while Russia is a centralized, authoritarian state?

Yeah, it’s pretty amazing to have people say that Biden is senile when Trump says crazy $%#@ like “I paid down the national debt during my term in office.” (The national debt rose by $7 trillion).

Sigh! Y’know WaPo, you might try talking a bit about what DeSantis actually, y’know stands for as opposed to just doing pure horse-race stuff.

More Russian missile attacks on civilians. Ukrainian girl tells us of the losses she’s suffered.
Zelenskyy makes a plea to Olympics to not permit Russians to compete.
To those who would romanticize Russia: “Russian culture must be seen in its totality — it’s not just Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy or ballet; it’s first and foremost the Gulag, prisons, firing squads, rape and torture.”
Ukraine is ready for fighter jets.
Recent anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.
Lots of explosions in Iran.

Good! Polls show that House Republicans really getting off on the wrong foot.

Examining the impact that Black Lives Matter made. It’s produced lots of outrage, but has also led to some good changes.

For many decades, nuclear weapons kept large-scale conflicts from breaking out. Those days are ending. It’s interesting to see arms dealers realizing that the days of tanks and artillery haven’t ended.

Summary of NY Times investigation of the Durham investigation. Amazingly corrupt!

Thoughtful summary of the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols.

Huh. Funny. In the case of the Tyre Nichols beating, the Blue Lives Matter folks are strangely silent! How very puzzling!

Senator Blackburn is usually very highly active on Twitter. Funny, but in her state of Tennessee, Tyre Nichols was brutally murdered by police. Don't seem to be able to find any statements from her on that.

Dinesh D'Souza calls this Dan Bongino's "considered take" on the killing of Tyre Nichols. Problem is that this take is completely unhelpful. Saying that the police officers were just "bad guys," does nothing to help us prevent the next killing. We couldn't have known the policemen were "bad guys" until they did something bad. We need to know why they were so bad.

Trump says that since Biden has forced Putin to threaten nuclear war, he will build an “impenetrable dome” to protect the US from missile attacks

Unlike Reagan's "Star Wars" defense against ICBMs, Israel's "Iron Dome" defense is used against short-range rockets and missiles, but it  has not been tested against a near-peer adversary. Ukraine is currently defending against Russian missile and drone attacks and they can shoot down about two-thirds of incoming attacks. No, if we avoid nuclear war, that will be done via diplomacy, not through technology.

The idea of cutting taxes and that will lead to growth has been repeatedly tried over several decades and has always failed.

Ukrainian citizens sheltering from missile attack.
Russians launch 55 missiles at ten Ukrainian regions, 47 were shot down
How the Abrams tanks to be supplied to Ukraine will differ from the regular American versions.
Norway will train Ukrainians on field medicine.
“The US Departments of State and Treasury have designated Wagner PMC a transnational criminal organization…”
Putin accuses Ukrainians of doing what the Soviet Union did during World War II, having units behind the front lines shooting anyone who tries to desert. Kremlin appears to be in an information bubble.

The complete and utter cluster&^$% that was the Durham “investigation of the [Mueller] investigation.”

More on Barr and Durham

Horrifying breaches of professional ethics, misuse of DOJ investigative resources, and deliberate lies to, and gaslighting of the public.

Absolutely hilarious example of reaching sweeping conclusions from a single example

...Ukraine and NATO should heed the history lesson that Petr Bystron presented to his fellow German parliamentarians — German tanks do not historically fare well against Russian tanks on Ukrainian soil.

The piece has a number of other real problems on the part of the "tankies."

Hmm, interesting argument. Let’s abandon Ukraine so that we can focus on China, who of course we’re not fighting at the moment. Also, wouldn’t abandoning Ukraine lead China to conclude that launching a war of aggression would be a cost-free exercise?

There’s absolutely no question that arms manufacturers benefit from the war in Ukraine. The recent decision by the US to provide Abrams tanks to Ukraine, not from our current stockpile, but special export versions, made a lot of eyes turn into dollar signs. But does that justify abandoning Ukraine to be mauled by the Russian bear? Hardly.

How the US handled the 9/11 defendants, now that we’ve had 13 years to look at it in a less emotional way.

Blogger explains the two stories Speaker McCarthy told about Representatives Schiff and Swalwell. Schiff paraphrased as opposed to lied and Swalwell’s relationship was in 2014. Basically, McCarthhy is establishing the precedent that you can toss Congress members off of the Intelligence Committee for any ol' reason. 

Zelenskyy’s wife writes a touching birthday greeting to her husband.
Woo hoo! Ukraine to receive 80 battle tanks from Europe! In the longer run, they’ll get 31 tanks from the US.
Switzerland sends Ukraine ammunition.
Morocco sends over 20 T-72s to Ukraine.
Israel refuses to send one of its outdated air defense systems to Ukraine.
Is the US ready for a conflict in the Pacific?

Looking at various peace proposals for Ukraine.

So the Chairman of the House Judiciary never gets around to explaining how he and his fellow Republicans plan to lower expenditures so that we can dispose of the national debt in just ten years. He takes Medicare and Social Security off the table. That's good. But "Congress is spending like crazy" is hardly an answer. The party as a whole has to deliver specific answers.

It would also help if papers like the WaPo weren't acting as apologists for Republican budget-cutters.

Heh! More of “Putin, the Master Strategist!” After spending three generations building an energy market in Europe, Putin basically loses it all in just one year. 

Tweet from Roger Stone:

Why hasn't John Kerry been prosecuted for violating the Logan Act for his secret efforts to renew a nuclear weapons deal with Iran in violation of US law?

Just as with having classified documents in your possession, intent is key to deciding whether or not your actions are criminal. It is entirely routine for former diplomats to contact old negotiating partners and to move the ball forward a bit. As far as Kerry was concerned, he was being helpful. Had Trump had a coherent position on Iran's nuclear weapons, it would have been reasonable to have insisted that Kerry follow Trump's lead.

Senate Republicans make it clear that in the debt ceiling fight, House Republicans are on their own!

Senator Cruz thinks there’s a double standard between Trump and Biden on the matter of having unauthorized documents in their possession.
Incorrect. The DOJ is looking at criminal intent. Trump very clearly did not just make an innocent error. His taking of documents that he had no right to take was not an accident. Trump acted knowingly, deliberately, with malice and forethought. None of that is true for Biden.

D'oh! So much for that talking point against Biden! Former VP Pence just admitted to finding a few classified documents among his papers from when he was in office.

A drive through a really wrecked-up Bakhmut.
Charles McGonigal was the Supervisory Special Agent in Charge (SSAC) for Counterintelligence in the New York Field Office. With what he’s been charged with, he’ll spend decades behind bars.
Ukrainian Defense Ministry allegedly overpaid for food for troops. President Zelenskyy is not taking a “business as usual” approach to this and is vigorously prosecuting the Minister.

Russian anti-war resisters lay flowers at a statue. That’s about all they can safely do.
Poland advocates helping Ukraine.

Comment on Charles McGonigal by Representative Gaetz makes it sound as though entire government was working with Russia. As far as we know, McGonigal was acting alone.

Florida Governor DeSantis is younger and a bit smarter than Trump, but both men have a strong desire to rule as fascist dictators.

Representative Greene has absolutely no clue as to what constitutes fascism.

Good! Representative Ruben Gallegos is going to run for Arizona Senator to replace Senator Sinema!

Democratic Senator Sinema tries selling herself as someone who achieved great results for her constituents during the last Congress. Kind of a problem with that is that she did far more to obstruct and to frustrate than to move programs forward.

Daily Kos takes another look at the “tankies,” of which Code Pink is a prominent member.

This statement: "Weapons are the way to peace" NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stresses the importance of stepping up military support for Ukraine’s self-defence.

Caused the heads of tankies to explode as they can’t credit the idea that helping Ukraine to defend itself will lead to peace. Their idea appears to be to throw Ukraine to the Russian bear to be mauled.

Ah, that‘s what BRICS means!Brazil, Russia, India, and China” Are they in any way an alliance? No more than the 2002 “Axis of Evil” was.

Truly sad. Mike Pompeo has absolutely zero decency. Jamal Khashoggi’s widow denies everything that Pompeo says about her murdered husband.

Why do some victims of abuse not speak up? Unfortunately, abusers are often allied with enablers, people who defends the abusers against the accusations of the abused. The Duggars were the abusers who found friends and allies in the community.

See, the problem is not that we can't discuss Social Security & Medicare, it's that politicians don't want to publicly discuss cutting benefits as being part of their preferred "solution."

Medieval peasants, compared to regular people today. Mmm, yeah. Both good and very, very bad points! Peasants had a much more relaxed lifestyle, but no healthcare and no concept of sanitation.

What motivates people to do crazy things like kill 10 people? Ehh, that’s of mild interest. What’s of very deep interest to me is how society can prevent these things from happening and that involves keeping weapons that are more suited for the battlefield ou tof civilian hands.

The city of Soledar is lost. First notable Russian success since last July.
Russians are also planning on a Spring offensive.
Providing Leopard tanks to Ukraine might be a problem for Germany in an economically competitive sense.
Interesting discussion beween Russian pundits who agree that they like Tucker Carlson.
Russians favor the idea of killing tens of thousands of US service-people over that of nuclear war. My own view is that the purpose of the war matters. Simply killing lots of Americans may not have the same effect that it did in Vietnam.

Update (15 Feb): The Russian Spring Offensive appears to be underway, but it depends on the tactic of the "zerg rush," rushing the other side with sheer numbers of troops after an artillery barrage. It isn't working very well.

Woo hoo! Leopard tanks are headed to the Ukraine front! Seems Germany was made to feel a lot of heat.
No all-out offensives in winter, but Ukrainians hope to have enough good equipment to launch something in the Spring. Nibbling away at front.
Why both sides fight so hard for Novoselivs’ke,

Our blogger summarizes Andrew McCabe’s work on how secret documents are handled.

An extended piece on population declines and how that relates to standards of living. The dread predictions made by Peter Peterson anti-Social Security people (a 90s group of economists) just were never borne out.

Back in the old days (starting in the mid-40s, the change began in the mid-70s), average Americans could get a house and a car and raise a family on a single average paycheck. The cost of raising a child averages out to $17k a year, the average paycheck today is $54k. Average mortgage comes to $17k (rent is a bit less at $16k). If you finance a car for 36 months and pay the average $47k, that comes out to $16k a year. So having a single child on a single salary leaves you with $5k for everything else.

Aww! Poor Rudy Giuliani! He clearly agrees with his co-host:

"I don't want a senile president, and I don't want a corrupt president," co-host Dr. Maria Ryan said.
"Nobody knew about it; nobody talked about it until I uncovered it," Giuliani proclaimed.

But what exactly did Giuliani "uncover?" Biden's "corruption" is completely unproven. 

As to the "senility" charge, the former President Trump said he never met “Silk” (Rochelle Richardson), even though there are photos of them with each other.

Corruption: The Colorado Arts and Sciences Magazine wonders whether the Trump era reflects “Elite avarice and country-club cronyism” or whether the US has ever “had a president with so many ongoing businesses and conflicts of interests before.”

Israelis trying to erase Palestinian identity. The removal of all Palestinian flags is a first step.

Estonian Prime Minister says Russia is 100% responsible for the war.
“Every day of delay is the death of Ukrainians.“
Kreminna hotly contested.
Baltic states urge Germany to supply Leopards to Ukraine.
“But what we hear when you say ‘no Leopards’: - UKR offense postponed, RU has more time to kill our people”
By refusing to supply Leopards, Germany is convincing Europe not to buy German weapons in the future.

As Talking Points Memo put it, the NY Times is "Whitewatering very strongly" here. They clearly miss having a Democratic president defending against a scandal.

"Justice Department Politely Blows Off Jim Jordan's Request"
So it appears that the Republican House's overreach and the reaction to it (see comment) has now fully commenced!

"How freaked are Republicans about the House GOP maniacs? Oh, let us count the ways"
Yep! Looking forward to a Democratic House in 2025!

Was Nixon the most popular president ever? Not really. Nixon was many terrible things, but he was an extremely good political strategist. He also had a strong economy in 1972 and his opponent, McGovern, was focused on the Vietnam War, which Nixon had promised to win “with honor.” Nixon had already deescalated the war significantly. So saying that Nixon was super-popular was true, but only when you compared him to his opponent.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s victory over Alf Landon in 1936 was 46 states to Landon’s two, and both Nixon and Roosevelt got a bit over 60% of the vote, so Nixon’s victory wasn’t all that unusual.

The House under Speaker McCarthy has proposed a national sales tax. Without some serious PR work, this is going to be a major political liability.

The Fair Tax proposal is an extremely regressive tax that indeed helps the poor and is something the rich love, but middle-income people would end up shouldering most of the cost of running the government.

Update (28 Jan): This was first proposed in 1999 and just keeps getting proposed every year, even though it's a self-evidently terrible idea.

Hoo wee! Judge slams Trump and his lawyers for “a pattern of abusing the court system for political purposes.” Charges them nearly $1 million!

One of the problems with the Republican House’s demand for massive spending cuts is that they haven’t quite decided what to cut.
Reminder: If the House has a specific idea on what to cut, they can pass a bill that cuts that item. No need for any threats.

German Defense Minister claims that Germany is not demanding that Abrams tanks be deployed before they deploy Leopards.
Estonia has contributed over 1% of its GDP to help defend Ukraine.
Estonian Prime Minister urges victory for Ukraine.
Russia is confident of prevailing, so the best route to peace is to convince Russia it can’t win.

On the investigation of the leak of the abortion decision several months ago. The investigators swear to us (with words to the effect of) “Honest! We looked everywhere! We interviewed everybody! What’s that? Did we interview Justice Alito or Justice Thomas or Thomas’ wife? Why, er, um, no. Justices are above suspicion, don’cha know?”

Were the obvious suspects, Alito and Thomas and Thomas’ wife, interviewed? Supreme Court has not responded to inquiry about whether any Justices were questioned.

That evening, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnnell Show at 10pm, asserted in no uncertain terms that the Justices were not interviewed.

All nine Supreme Court Justices questioned, none of them had to sign an affadavit, none were placed under oath.

Wow! Didn’t realize that the search of non-Justice employees of the Supreme Court was that invasive and total. Makes the failure to really search the Justices even less defensible.

New: Trump claims on Truth Social that he had so many empty folders marked classified because when Oval Office briefings were over, “they would collect the papers, but not the folders, & I saved hundreds of them…”

Reason I don’t find this the slightest bit credible is that if a thief came across a folder containing classified documents, the quickest and simplest thing to do is to take the documents (standard office paper) and leave the folder (card stock). With the lack of internal security at Mar-a-Lago, once you’ve got the documents in a pocket or bag and you’ve gotten back to a regular common area, you’re home free!

Europeans, Canadians and Americans sending still more arms to Ukraine.

...two big factors fueling international assistance to Ukraine. One is the incredible toughness and resilience demonstrated by the Ukrainian people. … The second factor fueling support for Ukraine is Russia’s willingness to engage in wanton cruelty, not as the necessary side effect of waging war, but as a tactic.

House Republicans have determined that the US needs to cut at least $130 billion from the budget. How did they arrive at that number? No one knows. The good news is that they can pass a bill to do that. They just need to come up with the details that will add up to a practical plan that the Democratic Senate and President can sign off on. 

Huh! There is apparently footage of Representative George Santos in drag! We liberals, of course, thiink that humanizes him and makes hhim a bit more sympathetic. 

A helicopter with the Minister of Internal Affairs on it crashed into a school with many casualties.
Ukrainian defense around Bakhmut continue to hold.
The US is hesitant to send the Abrams Main Battle Tank, not because of any concern about Russia’s reaction, but because of the logistics involved. The Leopard 2 is far easier to support, but Germany doesn’t want to send it unless the US sends Abrams tanks first.
The US has stocks of ammunition in Israel that it’s now sending to Ukraine.

Please keep in mind that when Florida Governor DeSantis talks about Covid, that FL is within the top ten states for deaths from Covid.

Representative Chip Roy seems to be a lead proponent of allowing the government to default in order to force legislative changes that he’d like to see.

Update (15 Feb): Whew! Senate Minority Leader McConnell has ruled "No default!"

The trillion-dollar coin was first suggested in 2011. The NY Times really doesn’t like the idea and says investors will lose faith if it’s minted. Funny, they aren’t able to quote a single investor who will take any significant action in response.

Iran is now resorting to just plain brutality to put down protests.

Finland’s Prime Minister outlines a sort of domino theory. If Russia wins against Ukraine, it will be the beginning of decades of conquests.
Russia gained a salient near Bakhmut. Ukrainians are clobbering it with artillery & aviation.
Close look at a Wagner mercenary.
Film of “The hellscape of Russian liberation.”
Putin suggest that Russia withdraw from the “European Conventions on the Protection of Human Rights.”

I read Z Magazine a lot during the 80s, so I was pleased to see that they take the same position that Daily Kos does, that Russia is an imperial power fully as bad as the US was in its invasion of Iraq. The two countries were imperialist in both cases and both should be condemned for their actions.

"Lady Sings the Blues"
Interesting stuff. At one point Billie Holiday (played by Diana Ross) gets really emotional about a Klan procession that's passing by and starts screaming at them. Why did she do something so indiscreet and unsafe? Earlier, she was traveling on a bus with a whole crew of white fellows. They all went into a restaurant for a meal. She couldn't join them because the restaurant had a sign outside saying "Whites Only." This kind of stuff wears on a person. Good portrait of a person caught in a historical moment.

What's the difference between a far-right "Freedom Caucus" Congressperson and a moderate? Unfortunately, they're six of one and a half-dozen of the other.

Democrats are refusing to open negotiations on the debt limit. The limit should be raised, period!

Republicans have detailed plans for how the Biden Administration should handle the “hostage” negotiations over increasing the debt limit.

British tanks are on the way!
Zelenskyy discusses the missile strike on Dnipro.
British Defence Secretary points out “But no matter how cruel or how much loss of life accompanies it, Russia has singularly failed to break the will of the Ukrainian people or change the policy of its leaders.“ Good, substantive, security package is on the way!
“Dmitry Golenkov, the chief of staff of an aviation squadron of the Shaikovka aviation group” makes it very clear what he thinks of Ukraine’s status as an independent state.
At least some Russians are getting fed up with the war.
Ukrainian music video.

Svatove & Starobilsk are the two cities that, if taken by Ukraine, can make the job of supplying Russian troops very difficult. By making progress at Kreminna, that threatens Svatove.
Russians post video showing multiple T-90s that was helpfully geo-located. I checked out the comments on the post on Twitter. People who see such good HIMARS targets are encouraged to tell the Ukrainian military before posting them online!

Matt Taibbi accuses Hillary Clinton of having “fantasies about Russian collusion.” Erm, no. They were and continue to be backed by solid evidence. Anyone who thinks we have the complete story on Donald Trump and Russia is clearly not fir to report on the story.

Bit of a problem with Speaker McCarthy’s proposal, the Twitter Files weren’t simply releases of data. Select reporters were given access to the internal files of the company and they then wrote about what they found. People have had a problem with the perspectives and conclusions of those reporters.

Update (13 Feb): Turns out the Twitter Files were also a very highly selective release. They were specifically designed to make liberals and Democrats look bad.

Heartbreaking tragedy!
Sanctions expanded against Russia.
Part of Kreminna in Ukrainian hands. It’s directly South and less than 50 miles from Svatove.
WaPo does story on crime against Dnipro.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and how his words have been weaponized by right-wingers to say what Rev. King never said.

NATO is pretty inclined to give Ukraine the heavy tanks it needs to push Russian troops out of Ukraine’s territory, but the recent missile attack on the city of Dnipro has really galvanized them to speed up those deliveries. Blogger recommends just send Ukraine everything we can, now! At the very least, promise it so everyone knows its on the way.
First picture is of Ukrainian apartment with its outer wall torn away. We’ve found a video of a birthday party that took place in that very apartment.

Donald Trump claims that Mar-a-Lago is a "walled fortress" and therefore that any documents he stored there were perfectly safe. Pictured: Trump posing for a picture on the golf course with a known Russian grifter.

News outlets like MSNBC have been very good about explaining the distinction between the Trump and Biden document problems. Unfortunately, WaPo here is clearly editorializing for Biden’s problems to be a deal-killer for prosecuting Trump.

Progress on the Agatha Harkness movie (played by Kathryn Hahn in the series WandaVision and again by her here). The series should be released later this year.

More acts of terrorism as Russia hits apartment buildings with missiles. Target were all 100% civilian.
Zelenskyy repeats his ask for more weapons. The ratio of missiles shot down to missiles launched was about 2/3rds.
Partisans and Special Operations Forces continue to carry out reconnaissance missions across the river from Kherson.
Ukraine pursuing deliberate strategy of forcing pyrrhic victories onto Russians.
“Russia is calculating that Ukraine will run out of resources first.”
Ukraine is looking forward to a Spring offensive.

Everything you could possibly want to know about tanks in Ukraine.

This is really, really grossly and seriously excessive! These cops need to be charged with murder.

Update (6 Feb):  Keenan Anderson's cousin and Black Lives Matter co-founder speaks out on his death.


Good stuff! All about teamwork and trust and getting by with what’s on hand.

Harvard University violates the principle of academic freedom in order to punish an advocate who served as executive director of Human Rights Watch.

...according to a recent article in The Nation, Dean Elmendorf barred Roth from taking up this position because some of the Harvard Kennedy School’s donors deemed Roth and HRW overly critical of Israel’s policies and actions toward the Palestinians subject to its control.

Make big cuts in the budget for the Department of Homeland Security? Hey, not a problem! The department simply includes the Coast Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Citizenship & Immigration Services, Customs & Border Protection, etc. Good way to punish those agencies for failing to seal off the border from migrants.

A poll shows a big gap between what the GOP considers to be important and what voters consider to be bigger priorities.

The debt ceiling hostage crisis may hit as early as next week. For the Treasury to take “extraordinary measures” might buy us a few months.

Wildly irresponsible framing of the coming fight over the debt limit. Issue is framed as though both sides were equally responsible.

Ukraine is pushing for full NATO membership, ASAP. They want to change their status from de facto to de jure members. For Russia to successfully take Bakhmut would be of enormous symbolic significance.
Russians apparently make progress South of Bakhmut.
NATO is speaking of getting tanks to Ukraine in time for a Spring offensive.
Cutting Russia’s cash flow even further.
Beaver dams are helping to make an attack from Belarus unlikely.

Kevin Sorbo thinks that for a woman to have an abortion because she's too financially poor to raise the child is a terrible reason. Easy for a multi-milliomaire Hollywood star to say
Being poor isn't just a problem for the child. It's problem for the whole family and having an unplanned child could really complicate her/their lives. You think that's just a minor technical problem? Could the rest of society pitch in to help? Well, it can, but that requires a close community and that just doesn’t exist in a lot of places.

Okay, so we’ve got a video of what we believe was Ashli Babbit punching a fellow named Zachary Alam. What was her motivation in doing so? Hard to say, but she was shot because she stepped out into the hallway. The Capitol Policeman who shot her said that he had to very forcefully tell the crowd to stop or else the people he was protecting would have been killed or captured by the mob.

Sigh! Some days, there’s not a whole lot of difference between the NY Times and Fox News.

How human-caused climate change is affecting water cycles.

I’m presuming former Trump Press Secretary, Governor Sarah Sanders, just knows her audience and that they all want culture wars all the time.

Images of bomb craters from satellites in Bakhmut.
Very muddled situation around the town of Soledar (immediately North of Bakhmut).
“Witch” (Vedma) and her brother (Kiyanyn), narrate a short video.
A Sargeant with the 46th Brigade insists the situation in Soledar is under control and they will not be encircled. There’s been a real push there by the Russians since the New Years.
Thread on the Ukrainian painter Maria Prymachenko (1909-1997).
Podcast on Ukrainian culture.

Trump's team was negotiating with the DOJ over the documents… 

What? What was there to negotiate? Trump took items that weren’t his to take. He needed to return them. Period!

I dealt with other various points that Levin brings up at PRAWNBlog. No, the Secret Service is not assigned to do anything bu to protect the persons of Trump and his family members. They are not responsible for guarding documents as Trump wasn’t supposed to have any documents to guard!

Seriously, the NY Times has a real tin ear for politics. No, the Biden document case has no impact on the Trump document case. It's strictly a political problem that the cases have any similarities.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries tells us what the Republican agenda's all about from what he's observed of their first three days. Yeah, we're gonna have two years of preening and posturing with zero productive bills making it through the House.

The GOP gains a slight majority that's opposed to helping Ukraine

These trends aren’t complicated. Russia represents the global rightist authoritarian movement; Ukraine represents liberal civic democracy.

As MSNBC’s Alex Wagner Tonight documented, this Fox News report tells us of a nonexistent problem. No one’s ever heard of a baby born alive and then killed because it survived an abortion attempt. If such a thing were to happen, it wouldn’t require a special law, it would simply be murder.

Poland sending full company (typically means 14 tanks) of German Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Soledar is surrounded on three sides, Russians are throwing everything they can at it, but it’s still holding.
A look into the demotion of General Surovikin.

General Sergey Surovikin who was replaced with Valery Gerasimov (equivalent to the chair of our Joint Chiefs of Staff) did a great deal to turn Ukraine’s war of maneuver into a stalemate, but hitting Ukraine’s power grid with missiles severely backfired on Russia by opening the floodgates to supplying Ukraine with MBTs (Main Battle Tanks) from Europe.

Where I review some silly statements.

It appears that Kevin McCarthy made a three-page side agreement in order to become the Speaker. We have a pretty good idea of what was in that agreement, but it hasn’t been publicly acknowledged.

McCarthy also boasted via Twitter this morning that the new GOP majority was increasing 'transparency' and creating a 'more open' Congress.

Not if they’ve reached secret deals, they haven’t.

People in the US have expressed great concern over demographic changes where whites have become less numerous than other ethnicities. Israel is going through similar anxieties as the Arab portion of their population makes demographic gains.

A bit less than a year of war with Ukraine and Russians are fearing they’ll soon be starving.

Not only does China think Russia will lose its war with Ukraine, but China wants to be in a position to profit from what they see as a Ukrainian reconstruction boom.

Why is Trump’s retention of classified documents a bad thing whereas Biden’s retention of classified documents no big deal? Duh, Biden’s people discovered the documents and immediately reported/handed them over to the National Archives. Trump deliberately and consciously, with malice and forethought, removed them from where they were supposed to remain and moved them to insecure quarters. Many of those documents are missing due to sloppy storage.

Of course, CNN takes wildly irresponsible view of the matter.

Ooh! The newest Ant-Man & The Wasp will star Kang, who goes way back in the Marvel universe. Movie also appears to star MODOK.

Appreciating the new House Minority Leader.

Russia launched missiles to a market. Two killed, five injured. No military targets were hit.

The Russia Federation may not survive the war in Ukraine by very long or it may break up before the war is over. What happens next? No one knows.

The expansion of NATO over the past few decades has had nothing to do with what Russia is today.

Russia is preparing its population for a all-out total war of elimination in Ukraine, at any cost.

The six varieties of Russian war crimes.

I subscribed to Z Magazine back in the 80s. I notice here that they completely agree with Biden, that austerity policies are not only useless but actually harmful.

Brazil suffers an attack on their seat of government that’s very much like January 6th in our country.

The role that social media played in the attempted coup in Brazil. Musk gets hammered for Dereliction of Duty as he fired the very people who might have headed off the problem, but social media in general did a poor job.

Steve Bannon's fingerprints are all over the Bolsonaro rebellion in Brazil. Trump and people associated with him appear to be involved too.

Electric vehicles are very good provided you live in a suburb or in the country. If you can park the car next to your home and can run a cord out to recharge it every night, it’d make a marvelous commuting or weekend vehicle. At a distance from home, doing a charging for 30 to 60 minutes is fine if you can hook it up and then walk into a restaurant for a meal or something like that. Our blogger looks at how the Chevy Volt works out.

The new House wants to access the files of the Attorney General. Obviously, they want to know exactly what information they have on Trump et al. Good thing there are long-standing precedents against the House being able to look at those files.

No Labels has to be the most useless political group ever. They were completely invisible during the fight to seat the new Speaker.

And yeah, the “Problem Solvers” in the GOP were just as worthless.

Okay, so Code Pink is convinced that NATO is the aggressor here (See Daily Kos discussions of “tankies”). This sentence: 

Under Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump, however, NATO expanded from 12 countries at the fall of the Soviet Union to 30 countries

is woefully incomplete. Why did NATO expand? Initially, turns out there were votes in it for Clinton. Polish people in the US were very clear that defending Poland from Russian aggression would be a vote-winner. Obama discovered the same. Eastern Europe wanted NATO to expand because they were concerned about Russian aggression.

Also, really not sure this Code Pink statement is accurate history. NATO 

back(ed) a coup to overthrow a democratically elected President.

But as Open Society makes clear, then-president Viktor Yanukovych fell primarily because of popular pressure, not because of NATO plotting and planning.

It took 15 votes, but Kevin McCarthy is finally the Speaker!

Yep! Freedom Caucus will push for a debt default, endangering the world economy.

Summary, excerpts and a free link to economist Paul Krugman’s NY Times piece on how World War II was essentially a matter of tossing enough troops, tanks, ships and planes at the other side until victory was won. Ukraine is wining the war because the economies of the European Union and the US are bigger than that of Russia.

Russia produces oil at roughly $43 a barrel. That oil sells for about $50. 

Russia has to import at least between 200 and 300 billion dollars a year of goods to just keep going.

On top of that, they have to raise taxes to keep the war in Ukraine going.

President Zelenskyy announces new US aid package of over $3 billion, including Bradley fighting vehicles.
Moscow doesn’t feel the war happening about 500 miles away. Discusses Russian coping strategies.
Military music video.

“You’re doomed, I tell you! Doom...what...what’s that? Inflation is no longer a problem? Dang! Er, I mean, that’s wonderful!” (Damn! Got to scratch one more problem off the list.)

Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg asks, very sensibly, why the double standard between me taking my husband to an event when other secretaries take their wives?

Germany and the US both sending armored personnel carriers to Ukraine.
Zelenskyy feels the Russian-proposed truce will be used by them to replensh their supplies and to redeploy troops.
A description of battling near Bakhmut.
No, Ukraine will not respond to Russian-proposed truce. Russian mil-bloggrs don’t care for the idea either.

Several years ago, our blogger wrote a book about Republicans being a "Post-Policy Party." In the fight over the vote for a Speaker, they appear to be proving him right.

This is about what happened to the GOP beginning in 2008/9 when it ceased to be a center-right party of governance and became a party of breaking things.

Agree completely. I felt at the time that Newt Gingrich was the real breakaway radical who trashed political norms to make gains.

Chaya Raichik, representing LibsofTikTok, is causing very real harm to members of the L:GBTQ community.

Sigh! In these QAnon-influenced times, yes, we have Republicans accusing each other of witchcraft!

Ukrainian ballet resumed in May, even though performances are often interrupted by air raid sirens.
Ukraine launches air strikes across the river from Kherson.
The leader of the Wagner mercenaries feels obliged to explain why his troops aren’t getting anywhere.
A few thousand residents of the town of Sumy defended their town when their armed forces had abandoned it for lost.
A Russian influence operation in Germany.

This squad commander is called "Witch" 'cause she's got a bit of an appearance of one. She comments here on how the Wagner mercenaries keep their troops disciplined.

Yep! Voting for the Speaker is a leadership test, and McCarthy failing it very badly!

Russia started the war in Ukraine with 3,300 tanks. They’ve now lost in excess of 3,000. Personnel casualties are well over 100k.

It makes no sense to blame the Transportation Secretary for the Southwest cluster%$#@ over the holidays. The problems there are deep-rooted and not subject to quick fixes.

President Zelenskyy discusses the ice arena Altair that was destroyed by a Russian missile.
Yowza! Bomb from drone seen hitting a weapons stockpile!
Russians have suffered vast losses of tanks, but both sides still find them highly useful.
Shoulder-launched anti-tank rockets are useful, but main anti-tank weapon is artillery.

Daily Kos did a piece on the German Leopard 2 vs the US Abrams M1A1. Yeah, the Leopard is the more suitable tank for Ukraine right now.

Former Trump aide Hope Hicks was terribly disappointed by the January 6th attack on our Capitol as “We all look like domestic terrorists now” and that “this made us all unemployable Like untouchable”

Commentary on Hope Hicks and her planned future career after the Trump Administration closed down.

Why was the DC National Guard nowhere to be seen on January 6th? According to this letter by the acting Secretary of Defense two days beforehand, they were given strict and explicit orders not to do anything to interfere with the attack on the Capitol.

Russia’s mood after casualties in Ukraine have long passed the 100k mark (very cheerful and upbeat). 

Retired Lt. Gen. Flynn feels Russia has obtained all of its objectives. Really? The people in the video above are vowing to fight on for as long as it takes!

Around 600 Russian soldiers occupied a barracks, we think the Russians may have been storing ammunition below, which might explain why the building went “poof!”
Another barracks hit, this time with about 70 soldiers.
How Wagner mercenaries deal with mutineers.
POW! Thieves get their just reward!

The anti-”woke” posts are kind of ridiculous. Modern warfare has changed so that the service people in the selfie with VP Harris are quite as capable as the all-men Chinese military. Also, the all-men, all-straight Russian military has been gittin’ it’s arse kicked by the “woke” Ukrainians!
As another blogger points out, only 15% of an average NATO division makes front line, direct contact with the enemy. The rest of them serve as support staff and frankly, are just as likely to get hit by artillery shells or rockets as front-line troops.

A look at the anti-Ukraine right wing in the US, reprinted from a few weeks ago.

Mississippi’s governor battled bravely against Critical Race Theory (that isn’t taught in elementary or secondary schools anyway), “Biden’s COVID Vaccine Mandates” (that said that people should get “the jab” of vaccine) and “COVID Vaccine Passports” (that said people should have paperwork proving they had gotten “the jab”).
And by a strange and unusual coincidence that’s totally a coincidence, oddly enough, MS also has the highest Covid death rate.

MS earlier said that if you had a “sincerely held religious objections,” then you shouldn’t be forced to get vaxxed.

Ukrainian air force was busy last night shooting down Russian drones and missiles.

Aw! I don't think there's anything fake or even self-conscious here. I think Levin's genuinely upset that we can now see what a criminal Trump has been for these many years.