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Exclusive: Ukraine Update: More U.S. aid headed Ukraine's way; Ukraine strikes Russian airfield deep in Crimea – TalkOfNews.com

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#Ukraine #Update #aid #headed #Ukraine039s #Ukraine #strikes #Russian #airfield #deep #Crimea

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A “drawdown” refers the method of procurement here; these are weapons and ammunition to be sent from existing U.S. military stockpiles. We’ll replace those supplies over time; in the meantime, Ukraine gets the things they most need, and a lot of it, and Congress doesn’t need to bicker about any of it because the commander of U.S. military forces, President Joe Biden, can authorize it on his own say-so.

There was a lot of gnashing of teeth, early in the war, on whether NATO countries could assist in Ukraine’s defense at all. The first Russian soldier killed by a NATO-manufactured munition would, went the theory, provide all the pretext needed for Russian strongman Vladimir Putin to declare that NATO was fighting against him, upon which Russia would attack NATO’s eastern flank and things could quickly escalate into a nuclear conflict.

Now? Now the Biden administration can throw a billion dollars worth of new weapons and ammo Ukraine’s way and nobody’s saying a peep about possible Russian retaliation. The Russian army is being shredded daily by HIMARS-launched rockets with U.S. markings; video of NATO-provided anti-tank and anti-aircraft rockets permanently decommissioning their targets is omnipresent. There’s been no wider war, and there’s no hint of one.

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Without taking sides in that debate, it’s worth taking a small step back to recognize just how dramatically the situation has changed and where we stand now. There’s zero fear that a billion dollars worth of U.S. offensive weaponry will provoke a military response from Russia elsewhere in Europe, and that’s largely because the prevailing wisdom now has flipped on its head. It’s not that Russia might not want to retaliate militarily. It doesn’t appear they can. Russia’s campaign in Ukraine has revealed its army and air force to be held together with possibly-stolen duct tape, and NATO countries appear to now be quite confident in their defenses.

As the United States announced a $1 billion resupply of Ukrainian forces, with an increasing focus on HIMARS as key tools in the Ukrainian arsenal:

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… Russian airlines are now stripping their aircraft for parts in a bid to keep their operations running.

Now for the news on the ground, and there’s two big developments today. The Pentagon is now confirming that the United States has indeed been supplying AGM-88 HARM missiles to Ukraine, ending speculation as to whether Russia had faked a picture of a destroyed HARM that recently surfaced.

A HARM is a quarter-million-dollar missile designed for homing in and destroying radar systems, and would be of exceptional value to Ukraine in destroying Russian anti-aircraft batteries—something that we’ve indeed been seeing more of. Now that we know AGM-88s have been making it into Ukraine unannounced, that mystery becomes less mysterious. We still don’t know how Ukraine is launching the things, but Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl was a bit cheeky in telling CNN that the missiles were sent as part of previously authorized drawdowns:

“He pointed to the spare parts for Mig-29s that the US helped send into Ukraine to keep the Soviet-era fighter jets flying,” reports CNN.

Ah. So there were some spare parts for Mig-29s involved here. Got it.

That brings us to the last and most significant big development for the day: Crimea. Explosions rocked Novofedorivka Airbase in Crimea, over 200km from the nearest Ukrainian-held territory. Big explosions. And the usual Russian defense, a claim that their own incompetent soldiers just keep exploding their own ammunition depots on a now-regular basis, isn’t going to be operative on this one:

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This either means that Ukraine now has missiles capable of precision strikes at ranges of 200km or longer or that Russia’s defenses in Crimea are so porous that Ukraine was able to smuggle drones within striking distance of the base. It probably ain’t the second.

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And continuing the theme of both American and Ukrainian commanders being pretty damn smug about these things:

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So we’ve got another missile mystery on our hands, but probably not for long.

Striking Russian airfields in Crimea, far from the frontlines, is a very big deal that could considerably shake those southern battlefields. Russian commanders are probably flipping their lids on this one, and for good reason. If Biden’s shipments are, for example, devoted to expanding Ukraine’s ability to do that, things are indeed “just warming up.”


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Exclusive: Today in Supreme Court History: January 26, 1832 – TalkOfNews.com

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Today in Supreme Court History: January 26, 1832

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1/26/1832: Justice George Shiras Jr.’s birthday.

Justice George Shiras Jr.

The post Today in Supreme Court History: January 26, 1832 appeared first on Reason.com.

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Exclusive: Liberals Are Mad That McCarthy Named MAGA Republicans to Subcommittees on COVID and Government Weaponization – Good – TalkOfNews.com

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Liberals Are Mad That McCarthy Named MAGA Republicans to Subcommittees on COVID and Government Weaponization – Good

#Liberals #Mad #McCarthy #Named #MAGA #Republicans #Subcommittees #COVID #Government #Weaponization #Good

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced members named to two select subcommittees – one investigating the origins of COVID and another looking into the weaponization of the federal government – and Democrats are livid over the addition of certain MAGA lawmakers.

“The government has a responsibility to serve the American people, not go after them,” McCarthy said in a statement.

“The Members selected to serve on these subcommittees will work to stop the weaponization of the federal government and will also finally get answers to the Covid origins and the federal government’s gain of function research that contributed to the pandemic,” he added.

McCarthy notes that the weaponization subcommittee is necessary because congressional Democrats and the Biden administration engaged in a “dangerous pattern of the government being used to target political opponents while they neglected their most basic responsibilities.”

RELATED: Conservative Victory: Dan Crenshaw Loses Race To Chair Homeland Security Committee to Freedom Caucus Member Green

MAGA Members Named to House Select Subcommittees

A couple of names that showed up on the House select subcommittees raised the ire of Democrats, particularly those associated with the MAGA movement.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) continued reaping the fruits of a kinship with McCarthy that would make Frank Luntz blush, being named to the COVID-19 subcommittee.

Greene celebrated the appointment, stating her intention to investigate the role of gain-of-function research, the Democrat “authoritarian” lockdowns, the ineffective vaccines forced on the American people, and Dr. Anthony Fauci’s role.

Greene will also be sitting on the House Homeland Security and Oversight Committees.

Also named to the COVID subcommittee is former White House physician Ronny Jackson (R-TX), who has consistently challenged President Biden to undergo a mental fitness evaluation.

Jim Jordan (R-OH) will chair the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government after being rejected by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the January 6th panel.

RELATED: White House Terrified of MAGA Republicans Being Named to Committees Investigating Biden Administration

Liberals Aren’t Happy

Liberals on social media responded with outrage over MAGA Republicans representing their constituents on the select subcommittees.

Because see, it would be better to have completely partisan sham committees like the January 6th debacle.

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Democratic Congressman Don Beyer dismissed both panels as “devoted to conspiracy theories.”

This is fine by us, since these days “conspiracy theories” mostly just means “the media hasn’t admitted it yet.”

House Judiciary Democrats lambasted McCarthy for having “sold out our democracy to empower MAGA extremists.”

Richard Stengel, a former Obama administration official, also took the dismissive ‘conspiracy theory’ path.

The ‘Weaponization’ subcommittee, Stengel claims, is “a body that creates rather than investigates conspiracy theories and which will eventually undermine itself.”

We literally just watched the January 6th sham create highly directed and produced filmography rather than evidence, doctored actual evidence, created conspiracy theories, and admitted they wanted to tell people what they should believe.

If Democrats are mad about MAGA Republicans serving on committees to provide a counterpoint to Democrat and media lies, then McCarthy is most definitely doing the right thing.

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Exclusive: Why older mass shooters like the California gunmen are so rare – TalkOfNews.com

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Why older mass shooters like the California gunmen are so rare

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The gunmen in both of the recent shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, California, had an unusual profile compared to most perpetrators of violent crime: They were both senior citizens.

The Monterey Park gunman, who killed 11 and injured nine before fatally shooting himself, was 72. The Half Moon Bay gunman, who killed seven people before he was arrested in what police have characterized as an act of workplace violence, is 66.

Mass shooters of that age are rare, especially those with no prior criminal record, as was the case with the Half Moon Bay gunman. (The Monterey Park gunman had one arrest in 1990 for illegal possession of a firearm.) According to data from the National Institute of Justice, mass shooters between 1966 and 2021 were on average 34 years old, and those over the age of 60 accounted for a little over 3 percent of all mass shootings, which are defined as shootings in which four or more people are killed.

The notion that people “age out of crime” is one of the most well-documented phenomena in the field of criminology. The California shootings should be seen as exceptions to that principle, not as nullifying examples, according to Ashley Nellis, co-director of research for the Sentencing Project, which advocates for criminal justice reform.

“The predictability of age is probably the most reliable point of data that we have about people who commit violent crime. Young people are just substantially more likely, and by extension, older people are substantially unlikely, to commit crime,” Nellis said. “It’s certainly a cautionary note to anybody who would be jumping to make policy based on these two events.”

Research has repeatedly shown that criminal activity increases throughout teen years, reaches its highest point at age 17, the oldest that someone can be charged with a juvenile crime, and subsides thereafter throughout life. Property crime peaks at a slightly younger age than violent crime. But even chronic offenders would be statistically likely to stop committing crime by around the age of 40, Nellis said.

There are a lot of theories as to why that might be. Typical milestones associated with getting older, like graduating or getting married, may put people on a trajectory that veers away from criminality. Brain development isn’t complete until the mid-20s, hindering decision-making that might lead to crime and risky behavior. Young people have less financial security, and people in poverty are more likely to commit crimes. Some crimes might be physically demanding, and older people just might not have the strength to carry them out.

But both gunmen in the California shootings buck the archetype of a violent criminal, and their motives still aren’t entirely clear. Investigators have said that the Monterey Park shooter frequented the dance studio where he killed his victims and that the Half Moon Bay gunman, who lived and worked as a forklift driver at a mushroom farm, was angry at the coworkers he shot. Previously, there have been mass shooters as old as 70, including a gunman who opened fire at a church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, and killed three people last June.

Though age can sometimes factor into the decision to impose a less harsh sentence on young offenders, the Half Moon Bay shooter’s advanced age won’t have any bearing on the length of his sentence, as is standard practice in the US.

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He will be charged with seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, with a special circumstance allegation of multiple murder and sentencing enhancements for each count because of his use of a firearm, the San Mateo County district attorney announced Wednesday. If convicted on those charges, he could be facing up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. (He won’t face the death penalty, given that California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, placed a moratorium on executions in the state in 2019.)

Life sentences without parole have become increasingly common in the US over the last few decades. But Nellis argues the age of older offenders like the Half Moon Bay shooter should be considered a mitigating factor when making sentencing decisions — especially given that the use of executive clemency to release them early has become nonexistent, as she writes in a 2022 report.

“Regardless of age, somebody who does commit an act of violence like this is likely to be rehabilitated, be reformed, be ready to return to society within 10 years,” she said.

Recidivism is unlikely among older people, according to data from the US Sentencing Commission, and keeping them in prison comes at a high taxpayer cost, which includes health care bills that balloon at the end of life. It’s difficult to say how much those who’ll decide the fate of the Half Moon Bay suspect will take that data into account; his initial arraignment is Wednesday.

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