Saturday, June 11, 2022

Last Call For Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

In Idaho today, domestic terrorist group Patriot Front pretty much announced to anyone who was listening that they were going to "disrupt" the Pride event in Couer d'Alene.What could have been an ugly, if not lethal event was stopped when a local citizen called the police on a U-Haul van full of white guys looking like Tom Clancy's Division 2 video game NPCs.

Dozens of masked members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front were arrested late Saturday as they prepared to stage a riot near a Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, authorities say.

Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White told reporters that 31 individuals affiliated with the group were in police custody and charged with conspiracy to riot.

The group had traveled from all over the country to sow chaos during the LGBT+ event, White said. They came from states like Texas, Utah, South Dakota, Arkansas, Oregon, and Virginia. Law enforcement was quick to derail the group's plans, he said, thanks to “one concerned citizen.”

“We received a telephone call from a concerned citizen who reported that approximately 20 people jumped into a U-Haul wearing masks, they had shields, and ‘looked like a little army,’” he said.

“They had shields, shin guards, and other riot gear with them, including at least one smoke grenade,” White said, adding that paperwork including an apparent “operations plan” had also been found in the group’s U-Haul. It was not immediately clear if they had any firearms.

Video from the scene of their arrest showed several members of the group kneeling in the grass, their hands zip-tied behind their backs, as counter-protesters jeered and shouted “losers!”

Approximately 20 members of the group, all clad in their trademark balaclavas, blue shirts and khakis, could be seen kneeling as police officers stood around them. Local reports said members of the group were unmasked before being placed in police vans.

One video purportedly filmed at the scene showed a cop telling onlookers the group had been detained thanks to “informants in their chats,” but the police chief disputed that at an evening press conference, saying law enforcement was tipped off only by “one concerned citizen.”

“It appears they did not come here to engage in peaceful events,” Kootenai County Sheriff Bob Norris was quoted telling Coeur d'Alene Press.

Patriot Front didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Daily Beast on Saturday evening.

Patriot Front is a white supremacist, neo-fascist group that likes to travel inconspicuously: in U-Haul trucks. Police reportedly stopped the group's U-Haul on Saturday a short distance from the “Pride in the Park” event, which had already been the target of a counterprotest by a conservative motorcycle club called the Panhandle Patriots. That group had announced that they would go “head-to-head” with attendees of the Pride event and host their own event called “Gun d’Alene.”

White said law enforcement had received information ahead of the Pride event about “a number of groups planning to disrupt today’s activities


So yes, this was going to be a brutal attack on people at a public park, specifically targeting the LGBTQ+ community. No doubt this was a full on terrorist attack, by an avowed white supremacist domestic terrorist group.

They were stopped this time. The people we care about in the LGBTQ+ community need them to be stopped every time, because they are absolutely under attack by right-wing reactionary terrorists and their Republican allies in Congress and in statehouses all over America.

The assault isn't going to stop until the Republicans are ripped out of power.

Hearing Aides For America, Con't

As I said Friday, the purpose of the hearings is the make the case to America why Donald Trump must be arrested, tried, and convicted of sedition. 

The first prime-time hearing into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol this past week confronted the fundamental question that has haunted Mr. Trump, the 45th president, ever since he left office: Should he be prosecuted in a criminal court for his relentless efforts to defy the will of the voters and hang on to power?

For two hours on Thursday night, the House committee investigating the Capitol attack detailed what it called Mr. Trump’s “illegal” and “unconstitutional” seven-part plan to prevent the transfer of power. The panel invoked the Justice Department, citing charges of seditious conspiracy filed against some of the attackers, and seemed to be laying out a road map for Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to their central target.

Several former prosecutors and veteran lawyers said afterward that the hearing offered the makings of a credible criminal case for conspiracy to commit fraud or obstruction of the work of Congress.

In presenting her summary of the evidence, Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the committee’s vice chairwoman, demonstrated that Mr. Trump was told repeatedly by his own advisers that he had lost the election yet repeatedly lied to the country by claiming it had been stolen. He pressured state and federal officials, members of Congress and even his own vice president to disregard vote tallies in key states. And he encouraged the mob led by extremist groups like the Proud Boys while making no serious effort to stop the attack once it began.

“I think the committee, especially Liz Cheney, outlined a powerful criminal case against the former president,” said Neal K. Katyal, a former acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama.

A crime requires two things — a bad act and criminal intent,” Mr. Katyal said. By citing testimony by Mr. Trump’s own attorney general, a lawyer for his campaign and others who told him that he had lost and then documenting his failure to act once supporters stormed the Capitol, Mr. Katyal said, the panel addressed both of those requirements.
The whole point is to make to case to people why the Justice Department must charge Trump. Whether or not that happens, well. 

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is now entering into its fifth month, and while Ukrainian forces have put up a good fight, the reality of Moscow's attrition strategy is coming into view as Kyiv is literally running out of ammo because the curent flow of weapons isn't working quickly enough. 

Unless something changes and very soon, Biden and the other NATO nations are going to have to decide whether they are going to put troops and materiel in-country and fight for Ukraine, or leave it to the tender mercies of Putin.
The euphoria that accompanied Ukraine’s unforeseen early victories against bumbling Russian troops is fading as Moscow adapts its tactics, recovers its stride and asserts its overwhelming firepower against heavily outgunned Ukrainian forces.

Newly promised Western weapons systems are arriving, but too slowly and in insufficient quantities to prevent incremental but inexorable Russian gains in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine, which is now the focus of the fight.

The Ukrainians are still fighting back, but they are running out of ammunition and suffering casualties at a far higher rate than in the initial stages of the war. Around 200 Ukrainian soldiers are now being killed every day, up from 100 late last month, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky told the BBC on Friday — meaning that as many as 1,000 Ukrainians are being taken out of the fight every day, including those who are injured.

The Russians are still making mistakes and are also losing men and equipment, albeit at a lesser rate than in the first months of the conflict. In one sign that they are suffering equipment shortages, they have been seen on videos posted on social media hauling hundreds of mothballed, Soviet-era T-62 tanks out of storage to be sent to Ukraine.

But the overall trajectory of the war has unmistakably shifted away from one of unexpectedly dismal Russian failures and tilted in favor of Russia as the demonstrably stronger force.

Ukrainian and U.S. hopes that the new supplies of Western weaponry would enable Ukraine to regain the initiative and eventually retake the estimated 20 percent of Ukrainian territory captured by Russia since its Feb. 24 invasion are starting to look premature, said Oleksandr V. Danylyuk, an adviser to the Ukrainian government on defense and intelligence issues.

“The strategies and tactics of the Russians are completely different right now. They are being much more successful,” he said. “They have more resources than us and they are not in a rush.”

“There’s much less space for optimism right now,” he added.

Ukrainian forces remain resolute. In a cafe in the front line town of Slovyansk, two Ukrainian soldiers on a break from the trenches nearby recounted how they were forced to retreat from the town of Dovhenke, northwest of Slovyansk, under withering Russian artillery fire. Thirty-five of their 100-strong unit were killed in the assault, typical of the tactics Russia is using. “They destroy everything and walk in,” said one of the soldiers, Vitaliy Martsyv, 41.

“There is nothing there,” Andriy Tihonenko, 52, said of Dovhenke. “It’s all burned down.”

As troop fatalities mounted, the surviving soldiers felt “more motivated to hold our position,” Tihonenko said. To retreat after their comrades were killed defending the town, he said, would have felt like treating their deaths as insignificant.

But eventually, the defensive line was no longer effective, the two men said. With more than one-third of their force killed, the remaining soldiers had no choice but to pull back.

“Sometimes you feel down,” Tihonenko said. “But then you realize war is war — and you have to finish it.”

But the odds against the Ukrainians are starting to look overwhelming, said Danylyuk, the government adviser.

“The Russians are using long-range artillery against us, often without any response, because we don’t have the means,” he said. “They can attack from dozens of kilometers away and we can’t fire back. We know all the coordinates for all their important targets, but we don’t have the means to attack.”

Ukraine has now almost completely run out of ammunition for the Soviet-era weapons systems that were the mainstay of its arsenal, and the Eastern European countries that maintained the same systems have run out of surplus supplies to donate, Danylyuk said. Ukraine urgently needs to shift to longer-range and more sophisticated Western systems, but those have only recently been committed, and in insufficient quantities to match Russia’s immense firepower, he said.

Russia is firing as many as 50,000 artillery rounds a day into Ukrainian positions, and the Ukrainians can only hit back with around 5,000 to 6,000 rounds a day, he said. The United States has committed to deliver 220,000 rounds of ammunition — enough to match Russian firepower for around four days.

The majority of the American M777 howitzer artillery guns that U.S. officials said would enable Ukraine to match Russian firepower are now in use on the battlefield, according to the Pentagon. Yet the Russians continue to advance.

We're at the most critical juncture here. The Ukrainians have put up an amazing fight, but the Russians just have the numbers.
Putin's plan from the beginning was to force NATO into a shooting war in order to save Ukraine.  If Putin wins here, he can take the rest of the old Soviet Bloc and more, and everyone will know that NATO won't risk fighting back.
That plan is working pretty well right now.  Something on the NATO side has to change this month, or Donbass is lost, and the rest of Ukraine may follow.
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