Piet Mondriaan Composition No. 10 1939-42
— I͢t͢s͢A͢i͢r͢p͢l͢a͢n͢e͢J͢a͢n͢e͢✈ (@ItsAirplaneJane) April 24, 2023
Tucker was the cable host who most:
* Opposed US proxy war in Ukraine;
* Denounced CIA, FBI and DHS for its systemic lies and corruption;
* Devoted himself to a pardon for Julian Assange;
* Objected to regime change efforts in Cuba;
* Criticized Trump Admin's militarism. pic.twitter.com/PEduNzOyW6
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 24, 2023
This was Tucker Carlson Tonight’s last moment.
Eating pizza with the hero delivery man who stopped a car jacker.
I can’t think of a better way for the greatest cable news show in history to end.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) April 24, 2023
Did Big Pharma play a role in Fox cutting ties with Tucker Carlson? Here’s a clip from his last show: pic.twitter.com/cq17Msa7xP
— TexasLindsay™ (@TexasLindsay_) April 24, 2023
I've watched Tucker Carlson pretty much every night for the last few years.
My favorite monologue he ever delivered was from the night before the 2020 election.
There has never been a more profound summation of the state of American politics. pic.twitter.com/ax75ebgLPa
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) April 24, 2023
“Washington and its allies have abandoned diplomacy and demanded a battlefield showdown within the halls of the UN, created to prevent the horrors of war..”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov chaired Monday’s session of the UN Security Council, dedicated to “effective multilateralism.” In his opening remarks, he outlined the nature of the current conflict, which he said was really between the UN Charter and the “rules-based order” of the collective West. Lavrov also noted that the US had effectively denied visas to his accredited media pool, a move to which Moscow has vowed to respond in such a way “to make Americans remember that things should not be done in such a fashion.” The UN-centric system is going through a deep crisis caused by some members’ desire to replace international law with their “rules-based order,” Lavrov said. Such “rules” are invented ad hoc and applied to stop independent development. They are enforced through means ranging from military force to embargoes, financial sanctions, confiscation of property, “destruction of critical infrastructure” – likely a reference to Nord Stream sabotage – and “manipulation of universally agreed norms and procedures.” The WTO has been paralyzed, market mechanisms have collapsed, and the IMF has been turned into “an instrument for achieving the objectives of the US and its allies.”
“In a desperate attempt to assert its dominance by punishing the disobedient, the US has moved to destroy globalization, which for many years it extolled as the greatest good of all mankind,” said the Russian foreign minister. Now the US and its allies blacklist anyone who dissents from their “golden billion” and tell the rest of the world, “those who are not with us are against us.” Yet the “Western minority” has no right to speak for the entire world, Lavrov said. Its “rules-based order” amounts to rejection of sovereign equality, the key principle of the UN Charter, as evidenced by EU commissioner Josep Borrell’s infamous statement about the European “garden” and the “jungle” outside it. In addition to the string of US military “adventures” from Yugoslavia and Iraq to Libya, the worst violation of the UN Charter was its meddling in the affairs of post-Soviet states, Lavrov said. As examples, he brought up the “color revolutions” in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan and the 2014 coup in Kiev. When the UN sought to stop the ensuing war by endorsing the Minsk Agreements, they were “trampled by Kiev and its Western masters, who recently cynically and even proudly admitted that they never intended to fulfill them, but only wanted to buy time to pump Ukraine with weapons against Russia,” the Russian foreign minister added.
Today “it is clear to everyone” that the Ukraine conflict isn’t about Ukraine at all, but “about how international relations will be built: through crafting a stable consensus based on a balance of interests, or through aggressive and explosive promotion of hegemony,” Lavrov said. Russia has “honestly said what we are fighting for” in Ukraine, he added. The goals of its military operation are to eliminate the threat to its security posed by NATO, and protect the people whose rights recognized by international conventions have been systematically violated, by a regime that seeks to “expel and exterminate” them. The West has made a “brazen attempt to subjugate” the UN by taking over its secretariats and other international institutions, Lavrov told the Security Council. Washington and its allies have abandoned diplomacy and demanded a battlefield showdown within the halls of the UN, created to prevent the horrors of war. Genuine multilateralism “requires the UN to adapt to objective trends” of emerging multipolarity in international relations, the Russian foreign minister argued. The Security Council should be reformed to increase the representation of Africa, Asia and Latin America, as the current “exorbitant overrepresentation” of the West “undermines the principle of multilateralism.”
Lavrov: Today it is clear to everyone, although not everyone is talking about it out loud, this is not about Ukraine at all, but about how international relations will continue to build… https://t.co/X2sWpsMINA pic.twitter.com/PKjmcMqqcl
— Victor vicktop55 (@vicktop55) April 24, 2023
“The Western minority should respect other members of the world community..”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Kyiv could not represent residents of the Donbass after the 2014 coup. “Obviously, the Nazi Kiev regime cannot in any way be considered as a regime to represent residents of the territories who refused to accept the results of the bloody coup in February 2014 and against whom the putschists unleashed a war for that,” the minister said. Lavrov drew a comparison between Donbass residents and Kosovo Serbs, whom current Kosovo authorities can not represent. According to Lavrov, the European Union promised autonomy to the Serbs similarly to how Berlin and Paris promised a special status to the Donbass. The Western minority should respect other members of the world community, Sergei Lavrov also said speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.
“I want to address all the journalists who are now covering the meeting. Your colleagues from the Russian media were not allowed here, as the US Embassy in Moscow mockingly announced its readiness to issue them passports with visas at the time when our plane took off,” Lavrov said. The US Embassy in Moscow announced that visas for Russian journalists were ready after the plane of the Russian delegation took off. No one authorised the West to speak on behalf of all mankind, Lavrov said. Lavrov also said that the activities of the OSCE and the UN were a threat to USA’s global ambitions. “As then US Secretary of State Jim Baker told [President] George W. Bush: “The main threat to NATO is the OSCE,” Lavrov said. The Russian Foreign Minister arrived in New York on Monday, April 24. For the next two days, he will chair the meetings of the UN Security Council. Most of the Russian delegation received US visas to participate in the events, while some members were denied permits.
Lavrov: No one allowed the Western minority to speak for all mankind. pic.twitter.com/mEi3gZCsIs
— Chebureki Man (@CheburekiMan) April 24, 2023
US President Joe Biden’s administration is “quietly preparing for the possibility” that Ukraine’s much-heralded offensive doesn’t deliver the “total victory” Kiev wanted, Politico reported on Monday, citing several anonymous officials. While the US government’s public support for Ukraine is “unwavering,” officials have expressed fears in private that the White House could be caught in a crossfire of criticism should the attack fall short of expectations, the outlet said. The ‘hawks’ would claim the US and its allies had not given Ukraine enough weapons and ammunition, while the ‘doves’ would see it as proof that Kiev can’t win. “If Ukraine can’t gain dramatically on the battlefield, the question inevitably arises as to whether it is time for a negotiated stop to the fighting,” Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, told Politico.
“It’s expensive, we’re running low on munitions, we’ve got other contingencies around the world to prepare for.” One official, who requested anonymity, said the US had “surged” weapons and equipment to Ukraine and “nearly completed” all that Kiev had asked for. But behind closed doors, the US is “worried about what Ukraine can accomplish.” The US military believes the conflict has bogged down in a trench war, with neither side able to advance very far or very fast. Politico originally reported that Ukraine had suffered 100,000 troops killed, but later changed that to refer to total casualties, including the wounded. The outlet also noted that Kiev’s forces have gone through “historic amounts of ammunition and weaponry,” and that “even the West’s prodigious output” has been unable to meet their needs.
The Pentagon now doubts that Ukraine can achieve its objective of reaching Crimea, though the US military still hopes it could “hamper” the Russian supply lines. A negotiated truce would be sold to both the Western and Ukrainian public as a temporary ceasefire, “leaving the door open for Ukraine to regain more of its territory at a future date,” some US officials told Politico. This has been done before, with the 2015 Minsk Agreement – according to recent admissions by the German and French leaders at the time – though the outlet did not bring that up. US officials also proposed to sweeten the deal with “NATO-like security guarantees” to Kiev, more money from the EU, and even more weapons for the Ukrainian military, while “re-engaging China” to push Russia into negotiating.
Scott Ritter: Ukrainian spring offensive – will it happen? The answer is rather negative. It seems that the long-awaited and widely publicized Ukrainian spring offensive will not take place after all. At least that's what Ukrainian officials say, saying they haven't received… pic.twitter.com/BrtWL5JTwh
— Zlatti71 (@djuric_zlatko) April 24, 2023
“Professional soldiers… are already exhausted, injured or recovering. Or… dead..”
Kiev needs more troops, ammunition and equipment to continue its military conflict with Moscow, Ukrainian Brigadier General Sergey Melnik told Spain’s El Pais in an interview published on Monday. Ukraine has already lost most of its professional soldiers as the conflict drags on, he admitted. “The problem is that we have a lack of people and equipment,” said the general, who commands troops near the Russian border in Kharkov Region. “Professional soldiers… are already exhausted, injured or recovering. Or… dead,” he added. Melnik said Kiev is now relying on “people without military experience,” who first need to be trained and have an “adequate [level of] preparation to face the enemy.”
According to El Pais, the general also “stressed several times during the interview” that Ukraine needs more air-defense systems, citing the threat posed by Russian aircraft. He also admitted that Kiev’s forces would need to gain massive superiority in manpower and firepower if they are to have any hope of succeeding with a planned counteroffensive. Ukraine will need “four to six times” as many troops as Moscow has fielded in its ongoing military campaign if it is to break through the defenses built by the Russian forces in their current positions, he told El Pais. He claimed that Ukraine has “enough weapons” to launch the expected offensive but said the more weapons Kiev’s troops get from the West, the better.
Earlier in April, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal told The Hill that the much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive may not get underway until summer. He also called on Kiev’s Western backers to provide it with more weapons, including fighter jets. He also said Ukraine needed “more artillery, ammunition” and missiles. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported that the US and other Western nations are struggling to meet Ukraine’s demands and are “falling short” of supplying Kiev with enough military equipment and ammunition. A retired US Army colonel and former Pentagon adviser, Douglas Macgregor, also said this month that Russia was “winning” the fight in Ukraine as Kiev does not have enough resources for a successful offensive.
“The warning came in the context of US fears that the “ever-imminent counteroffensive” by Kiev’s forces might fall far short of expectations..”
The White House has given Ukraine the same warning delivered to the US-backed regime in Afghanistan in 2021, Politico reported on Monday citing anonymous sources in President Joe Biden’s administration. According to the outlet, Washington has urged Kiev not to spread its troops too thin or overextend its ambitions. This is what Biden reportedly told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at some point, before the US pulled out of Afghanistan and the Taliban took over the country. The warning came in the context of US fears that the “ever-imminent counteroffensive” by Kiev’s forces might fall far short of expectations, leaving Biden open to criticism from both hawks and doves, at home and in Europe. Politico originally reported that Ukraine had suffered 100,000 troops killed over the past 14 months, later editing that to refer to total casualties, including the wounded and missing.
Many of Kiev’s top soldiers were “either sidelined or exhausted,” the outlet said, having gone through “historic amounts” of weapons and ammunition even the West’s “prodigious output” could not keep pace with. Some US officials have reportedly pitched the idea of a negotiated ceasefire, leaving the door open for Kiev to resume hostilities after rearming and recovering. The US was supposed to leave Afghanistan by May 2021, according to a peace deal Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had reached with the Taliban. Biden unilaterally delayed the departure by several months. As US troops began to withdraw, both Biden and his aides repeatedly told reporters that the Afghan government’s forces were capable of holding off the Taliban for at least several months.
Earlier this month, the White House released a report tacitly admitting a lot of things had gone wrong with the withdrawal, but blaming it all on Trump and the Afghans themselves. “No agency predicted a Taliban takeover in nine days,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters. “No agency predicted the rapid fleeing of President [Ashraf] Ghani … And no agency predicted that the more than 300,000 trained and equipped Afghan national security and defense forces would fail to fight for their country, especially after 20 years of American support.” The US-armed and -funded Afghan army had surrendered to the Taliban without much of a fight, and Kabul fell on August 15, before the US managed to finish the evacuation.
US loses last chance to destroy Russia – ex-British intelligence officer Alistair Crook
Thus, the former MI6 agent commented on the words of Victoria Nuland about the “support” of NATO during Kyiv’s attacks on Crimea.
“They are desperate because this is a fleeting window, they… pic.twitter.com/IfLD260m3r
— Spriter (@Spriter99880) April 24, 2023
US officials considered killing military leaders of the Russian private military company Wagner in an attempt to curb its allegedly growing influence in Africa, The Washington Post reported on Sunday. A document allegedly leaked by a US guardsman on a Discord server mentions dozens of options for “coordinated US and allied disruption efforts” against Wagner, including “kinetic” ones, the newspaper reported. The US also thought about providing information to help Ukraine kill commanders of the group in Africa, the document claims. The trove of documents showed little evidence that the CIA, the Pentagon and other US agencies have caused any major setbacks for Wagner in the past six years, according to the Post. They did mention a single “successful unattributed attack in Libya” that “destroyed a Wagner logistics aircraft,” but the newspaper didn’t provide details about the operation.
Western nations have long accused the Wagner group of spreading malign influence in Africa. Its head, businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, has described the services provided by his employees as furthering the anti-colonialist aspirations of African nations. Anas El Gomati, a Libya-based commentator interviewed by the Post for its story, claimed that Wagner was “probably the most destabilizing actor” currently operating in the country. Libya was one of the most prosperous nations on the continent, before a NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi resulted in his brutal death in 2011. The country has since been fractured among warring factions. Another leaks-based story published by the Post on Monday pointed the finger at Ukraine’s military intelligence service GUR and its head, Kirill Budanov, as the would-be attackers against Wagner in Africa. The Ukrainian agency planned such an operation in Mali, an NSA document reportedly said.
The Post described Budanov as “an ambitious 37-year-old general and rising star in the Ukrainian military,” for whom US and European officials privately express “admiration” and whose “audacity sometimes makes them nervous.” Russia accused GUR of masterminding the attack on the Crimean Bridge last October. The powerful explosion killed the seemingly unwitting driver of a truck – carrying a disguised bomb as well as a couple in a car – which happened to be nearby when the device went off. Moscow has also blamed Ukrainian special services for the bomb assassinations of journalist Darya Dugina in August 2022 and military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky earlier this month. Behind closed doors, Washington is holding Kiev responsible for the first crime, according to US media outlets.
“..the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate (HUR), Kirill Budanov, had instructed subordinates to “get ready for mass strikes on 24 February..”
Ukraine was planning a series of strikes on targets deep inside Russia, including Moscow, to mark the anniversary of the start of the conflict earlier this year but was talked out of the idea after late intervention by the US, the Washington Post has claimed. The outlet also cited unnamed Ukrainian officials as acknowledging that Washington has the final say in at least some of Kiev’s military operations. The Post alleged on Monday, citing leaked Pentagon documents, that the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate (HUR), Kirill Budanov, had instructed subordinates to “get ready for mass strikes on 24 February” on several Russian cities. However, US officials were“secretly monitoring” Kiev’s plans and were concerned that Russia could unleash a devastating response, potentially including the use of tactical nuclear weapons, the paper claimed.
According to the Post, the CIA issued a classified report on February 22 stating that the Ukrainian intelligence agency “had agreed, at Washington’s request, to postpone strikes.” “Ukrainian officials have long privately said that the United States has de facto control over some military operations,” the paper added. One example is said to be that Kiev’s forces will not use advanced US-provided rocket systems without first confirming their targets with “US military personnel from a base in Europe.” The newspaper stated it was unclear which US officials exactly had intervened to stop the planned anniversary attacks, but noted that Washington had ordered its citizens to leave Russia in mid-February, indicating that the US was taking Ukraine’s alleged plans seriously.
Earlier this month, the FBI arrested 21-year-old US Air National Guard Jack Teixeira, who is suspected of posting classified Pentagon materials on at least one closed group on the Discord social media platform. While the Pentagon has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the leaked documents, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has said that the materials had “no business” being “on the front pages of newspapers or on television.” On Sunday, an explosives-laden drone was found some 30km to the east of Moscow after apparently crashing. Several Russian media outlets claimed that the UAV was of Ukrainian design, and was carrying Canadian-made block demolition charges.
“Add to this the fact that Berlin is becoming the main center of the Russian anti-Kremlin diaspora, for both objective and subjective reasons, and you have a perfect picture of a 180-degree turn. Or, to use the Greens Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock’s own terminology, 360 degrees.”
For decades, Germany has been an example of pragmatism within a common system, where Berlin (and previously Bonn) didn’t set the rules, but was left with an undeniable niche, in which it could pursue its own interests. That meant that despite being an ally of the US, it could maintain friendly relations with Moscow. The country is now moving into a qualitatively different area – that of Russia’s main opponent. As a chronicler of such processes, it is interesting to observe how quickly a transition can take place from one type of “special relationship” to another, diametrically opposed, stance.= The general tone in the political atmosphere is now set by the Greens, and this party has, from the outset, been a collection of more or less lofty like-minded moralists.
Therefore, in the spectrum of positions on Russia in NATO Europe, which are almost entirely negative but vary in intensity, Germany has now moved as much towards a conventional Eastern European stance as it had previously been a pillar of the normal Western European positioning. The guarantee that relations with Russia will not return to any kind of normalcy after the Ukraine war means that there will not be even the minimum conditions for a return to the old economic model, i.e. there won’t be any reverse in the “energy transition.” The general Western system remains intact, but there is a fundamental difference from earlier times. In the past, in return for ceding all security rights and privileges to its senior partner, the US, Germany was allowed to operate its own commercial sphere of influence and it had permission to pursue economic expansion to the East.
Now, in exchange for Washington’s promise to maintain the security umbrella, Berlin is prepared to abandon its previous understanding of pragmatism, radically change its economic system in a direction that suits the US, and take on a greater share of the military burden. As a result, efforts to educate the German elite in the principles of unconditional Atlanticism, in which enormous effort has been invested for decades, are now paying off 200%. Add to this the fact that Berlin is becoming the main center of the Russian anti-Kremlin diaspora, for both objective and subjective reasons, and you have a perfect picture of a 180-degree turn. Or, to use the Greens Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock’s own terminology, 360 degrees.
“..it is impossible to supply the economy with gas or oil, or even to heat houses and apartments, with ideology or political statements instead of actual supply chains.”
For a long time, nuclear energy has been one of the most divisive areas of energy policy in the EU’s supply. The technology offers stable energy supplies and has positive environmental and economic indicators, but the radical Green parties of Europe have worked hard to convince many that these plants should be closed. This has been achieved mainly in Germany and Austria. Downsizing has begun and further investment has become impossible. Reality, however, has shown that this ideology-driven energy policy comes at a heavy price. It was not by chance that energy policy expert Oliver Hortay recently recalled an estimate by a Berkeley University researcher that the social cost of German nuclear plant closures had already reached $12 billion a year. The threat of energy shortages in Europe has led to a change in the perception of nuclear power among EU citizens. In Germany, for example, the percentage of people who oppose nuclear power has fallen from 65 to 20 percent. But it seems that the will of the electorate does not matter.
“It’s a black day for climate protection in Germany,” Jens Spahn, a conservative member of the CDU, told RTL television the other day. It is hard to talk about a green transition when carbon emissions are rising. The huge expansion of solar and wind capacity in Germany is no guarantee of security of supply. The country is increasingly using coal instead of Russian gas. In fact, mines that had previously been closed down have had to be reopened, and a German energy company has even started to dismantle a wind farm to allow for the expansion of a neighboring coal mine. On average, 30,000 tons of coal are transported daily by trains from North Sea ports to large power stations across Germany. Last year, the war caused the country to increase its coal imports by 8 percent to 44.4 million tons. These are the hard facts.
The Greens went after gas boilers, too. They will now be banned in German homes from 2024. Greens say they cannot meet their climate commitments otherwise. However, it is coal-fired power stations, not residential gas boilers, that threaten climate targets. Péter Szijjártó, the Hungarian minister of foreign affairs and trade, often warns that it is impossible to supply the economy with gas or oil, or even to heat houses and apartments, with ideology or political statements instead of actual supply chains. In other words, the Hungarian government continues to treat energy security as a physical and not an ideological issue. That means it is not willing to give up working, proven and reliable sources. An ideology-driven energy policy is very expensive, has harmful consequences, and in the future, could even end with us freezing in our homes if an especially cold winter hits Europe.
“..The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine could have been avoided altogether if Germany hadn’t tried to delay Kiev’s membership of NATO..”
The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine could have been avoided altogether if Germany hadn’t tried to delay Kiev’s membership of NATO, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk has claimed. “It’s known that France, Germany, and countries in Western Europe, in general, have always been against Ukraine joining either the EU or NATO,” Wawrzyk told Polskie Radio on Sunday. Recent comments by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius were a sign that Berlin’s opinion is unlikely to change, the diplomat insisted. Pistorius suggested on Thursday that “this is not the time to decide”about Ukraine’s place in NATO. The bloc’s members should consider this issue “with a cool head and a hot heart. Not the other way around,” he said.
“The question is when will the time for those ‘cool heads’ arrive? Five, ten or 30 years after the war [in Ukraine]?” Wawrzyk asked. “If Germany… had not tried to delay Ukraine’s accession into NATO, if Ukraine had received an invitation to join the alliance many years ago in Munich, there wouldn’t have been a war in Ukraine today,” he claimed. Warsaw, which has been among Kiev’s main backers in the EU during the conflict, is “constantly trying to convince the Western partners to change their minds and for Ukraine to join the alliance as soon as possible,” the deputy foreign minister said. “In our opinion, the sooner this happens, the better, because it’ll be a guarantee of security not only for Ukraine and Poland, but also for the entire region,” he said.
Russia, which considers NATO’s eastward expansion a major security threat, had singled out the need to prevent Ukraine from joining the US-led bloc among the main reasons for its military operation in its neighboring country more than a year ago. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claimed during his visit to Kiev last week that “all NATO allies have agreed that Ukraine will become a member,” but didn’t specify when exactly it would happen. Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov reacted to Stoltenberg’s statement by saying “NATO’s continued line of absorbing and drawing Ukraine” into the bloc was further proof that Moscow’s decision to launch its military operation was the right one.
“I don’t know [whether] I should be giggling about it because it’s really quite a crazy situation..”
Russia and Ukraine, despite being locked in an armed conflict, continue to trade products and services with each other, a situation that journalist Seymour Hersh described as “quite crazy” in an interview with the TV show ‘Going Underground.’ “Oil and money transcends any sort of rationality, I guess,” Hersh said in the interview aired by RT on Monday. He added that it wasn’t too hard to find tell-tale signs of Ukrainian corruption. Hersh elaborated on his recent allegations of rampant graft in the Ukrainian government. The reporter has claimed that the CIA estimated that President Vladimir Zelensky and his entourage embezzled at least $400 million last year from the money provided by the US to buy diesel for the Ukrainian army. Overpriced fuel bought by Kiev allegedly came via the black market from Russia.
“All you have to do is look at the high life in Kiev today,” he said. “There is a really good high life: the fancy restaurants are going, you can find liquor stores with everything in it, there is a lot of money being pushed around.” Ukrainian officials have a long history of skimming from procurement contracts, and the conflict with Russia has not changed that, Hersh alleged. “Everybody is going to brokers. Everybody is now getting third parties involved, because it increases the chance for money on the side. And the corruption there is beyond belief,” he said. CIA Director William Burns raised the issue of corruption during his visit to Kiev in January, Hersh said, citing information he had been given by a source about the meeting. In addition to briefing Zelensky on complaints from Ukrainian generals about the president’s own alleged greed, the US spy chief listed 35 other alleged embezzlers.
The Ukrainian leader later fired 10 of the “most ostentatious” individuals, but others were “left untouched”, Hersh said, describing the crackdown on officials which the Ukrainian government conducted after Burns’ visit. Meanwhile, Russia continues to pay to Ukraine transit fees for oil and gas, pumped to Eastern Europe via pipelines through Ukrainian territory. The infrastructure was built during the Soviet era to supply consumers in the Warsaw Pact. Washington has described such trade as Moscow “weaponizing” its abundance of energy, Hersh noted. “I don’t know [whether] I should be giggling about it because it’s really quite a crazy situation,” he concluded.
“..President Biden cannot confirm any federal judges without all Democratic Party Senators present on the Judiciary Committee including Feinstein..” “She has missed 58 votes, as of writing this piece, in the Senate over the last month..”
In October of 1984, former US President Ronald Reagan, who was then an incumbent 73-year-old commander-in-chief, participated in the second presidential debate against his Democratic Party opponent Walter Mondale. The president was asked about his age and mental fitness for office by the moderator, given that he was then the oldest president in history, and responded famously: “I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” This witty line, according to the Reagan Foundation, boosted his polls and helped cement his second term in office. It also helped normalize the fact that an American president could indeed be an elderly person, though, of course, it was revealed later that President Reagan suffered from Alzheimer’s disease during his presidency.
Donald Trump, and current President Joe Biden were both respectively the oldest presidents in American history. In fact, Biden is the first president to be 80 years old – and he recently stated that he would seek reelection in 2024, which would make him 86 by the time he completes his second term, if he wins that bid. However, the issue of an aging and perhaps out-of-touch president has not been simply an issue with the executive branch of government. In fact, the last Congress convened, the 117th Congress, was the oldest in American history with an average age of 59 and close to a quarter over 70. It was led by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who was 82 years old by the time she left office in January 2023. The current 118th Congress is the third-oldest since 1789 with an average of 58 years old.
While the 117th Congress broke the trend of an increasingly greater share of members over the age of 70 years old, still, the 118th Congress is older than the average American – the median age of the country’s population is 38. This is even with the election of the first Gen Z member of congress, 26-year-old Florida Congressman Maxwell Frost, who won his seat last November. All this raises questions over whether or not Congress can actually understand and tackle issues that are relevant to the typical American, i.e. people in their early middle age, and younger generations. There are also questions of whether there should be some age limit for members to actually be in Congress. After all, many argue, if there is a limit on young people and children participating in politics – shouldn’t there be an upper-age ceiling too?
It has been reported by Congressional insiders, including pharmacists, that the public would be surprised if they knew just how many of their representatives are prescribed medicine for dementia, which implies they are obviously not able to perform their mandate. The example of 89-year-old California Senator Dianne Feinstein is salient. She has missed 58 votes, as of writing this piece, in the Senate over the last month because of illness and her advanced age. Because of the current composition of the Senate, President Biden cannot confirm any federal judges without all Democratic Party Senators present on the Judiciary Committee including Feinstein, which is jeopardizing the function of the judiciary branch. She has not given any indication of when she will return – but has stated she will not seek reelection.
“Those cast aside can participate in society, he writes, only through sadness.”..
Democracies are slain with false promises and hollow platitudes. Biden told us as a candidate he would raise the minimum wage to $15 and hand out $2,000 stimulus checks. He told us his American Jobs Plan would create “millions of good jobs.” He told us he would strengthen collective bargaining and ensure universal pre-kindergarten, universal paid family and medical leave, and free community college. He promised a publicly funded option for healthcare. He promised not to drill on federal lands and to promote a “green energy revolution and environmental justice.” None of that happened. But, by now, most people have figured out the game. Why not vote for Trump and his grandiose, fantasy-driven promises? Are they any less real than those peddled by Biden and the Democrats? Why pay homage to a political system that is about betrayal?
Why not sever yourself from the rational world that has only brought misery? Why pay fealty to old truths that have become hypocritical banalities? Why not blow the whole thing up? As research by professors Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page underscores, our political system has turned the consent of the governed into a cruel joke. “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence,” they write. The French sociologist Emile Durkheim in his book “On Suicide” called our state of hopelessness and despair, anomie, which he defined as “rulelessness.”
Rulelessness means the rules that govern a society and create a sense of organic solidarity no longer function. It means that the rules we are taught — hard work and honesty will assure us a place in society; we live in a meritocracy; we are free; our opinions and votes matter; our government protects our interests — are a lie. Of course, if you are poor, or a person of color, these rules were always a myth, but a majority of the American public was once able to find a secure place in society, which is the bulwark of any democracy, as numerous political theorists going back to Aristotle point out. Tens of millions of Americans, cast adrift by deindustrialization, understand that their lives will not improve, nor will the lives of their children. Society, as Durkheim writes, is no longer “sufficiently present” for them. Those cast aside can participate in society, he writes, only through sadness.
I can totally see Napoleon do that.
Five years ago, I wrote a column criticizing Democratic and Republican members of Congress who joined the media in gushing over an address from French President Emmanuel Macron as he called for European style censorship. Free speech has been in a virtual free fall in France for decades and Macron is a major voice in that movement. This week, the French added another outrage to Macron’s legacy by promising to prosecute three citizens who protested the President by flipping him off at an event. The use of “Le Doigt” could now land them in “La Prison.” The three will be prosecuted under France’s abusive criminal code that allows for the arrest of those who engage in speech that “affect the personal dignity or the respect owed to a public official.” It is a breathtaking denial of political speech and invites selective prosecution.
If convicted, they could face a fine of 15,000 euros and potentially up to one year in prison, according to La Chaîne Info. Macron has hit a record low in polling, but his government will now enforce respect for him through threats of incarceration. France has been a leader in the rollback on free speech in the West with ever widening laws curtailing free speech. These laws criminalize speech under vague standards referring to “inciting” or “intimidating” others based on race or religion. For example, fashion designer John Galliano has been found guilty in a French court on charges of making anti-Semitic comments against at least three people in a Paris bar. At his sentencing, Judge Anne Marie Sauteraud read out a list of the bad words used by Galliano to Geraldine Bloch and Philippe Virgitti, including using ‘dirty whore” in criticism.
In another case, the father of French conservative presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was fined because he had called people from the Roma minority “smelly.” A French mother was prosecuted because her son went to school with a shirt reading “I am a bomb.” A French teenager was charged for criticizing Islam as a “religion of hate.” Yet, our leaders (and many in the media) were ecstatic when Macron came to the Congress and called for a joint war against “fake news,” declaring, “Democracy is about true choices and rational decisions. The corruption of information is an attempt to corrode the very spirit of our democracies.” Nothing says Democracy like jailing those who do not show you respect.
The anti-free speech wave has now reached our own shores and many like Hillary Clinton have even called on Europeans to censor Americans on social media if Twitter or other companies fail to do so. Many have argued (falsely) that hate speech is not protected under our Constitution, including members of Congress. In France, the middle finger is not free speech when directed at a public official. Likewise, speech considered harmful or disrespectful to particular groups is barred. It is all about instilling good virtue but punishing the wicked. After all, as Maximilien Robespierre taught the French, “Terror is only justice: prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue.”
“Joe Biden” will either be impeached for real high crimes and misdemeanors, or he will be bum-rushed out of the White House on some medical pretext before Independence Day..”
“If you’re going to lie,” Joseph Goebbels used to say (in German of course), “make it a whopper.” How did that work out for the Third Reich? Today, The New York Times says “Joe Biden” is revving up to run for president again in 2024. Is that so? One DNC strategist, Maria Cardona, was quoted saying, “Democrats complain that he might be too old. But then, when they’re asked, ‘Well, who?’ There is no one else.” There you have the sucking chest wound at the center of the Democratic Party, a malodorous vacuum where, as they like to say, democracy dies in darkness. You understand, this is exactly what you get when all you do is tell lies, always and everywhere, about everything. Now I will tell you the truth: “Joe Biden” will not be running for president ever again.
“Joe Biden” will either be impeached for real high crimes and misdemeanors, or he will be bum-rushed out of the White House on some medical pretext before Independence Day. “Joe Biden’s” crimes have finally caught up with him. He sold out his country. The facts have been out in plain sight since before a coalition of rogues and frauds stuffed him into the Oval Office, January, 2021. As vice-president under Mr. Obama, “JB” was allowed to run a global grifting operation that netted his family tens of millions. (Mr. Obama received plenty of his own sanitized grift in the form of absurdly large book deals and TV contracts, enough swag to lead the deluxe life of a senior panjandrum. His job, post-presidency, was to feed the Woke hustle with an occasional speech and otherwise shut up.)
The coalition of rogues and frauds, a.k.a. the permanent bureaucracy or the Deep State, had committed so many crimes since 2016 that its sole agenda turned to driving the one-man wrecking-crew called Donald Trump out of office and making sure he never got close to a lever of power again, by any means necessary. That is still all that animates this gang. They managed to roll enough of the American public in the process to maintain power and influence over them via control of the news, censorship, and use of their captive legal system to harass and punish their enemies. And now it’s all falling apart.
Karin Kneissl is an Austrian former Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“..every government from Riyadh to Beijing understood that such sanctions can happen to them as well..”
Although sanctions rarely perform as intended, the west’s weaponization of currencies, financial services, and insurance coverage continues to grow unabated, with the EU now proposing its eleventh package of sanctions against Russia. With every sanctions ruling, loopholes and circumvention remain an issue, invariably leading to the constant upgrading of further sanctions. Despite Washington’s extreme belligerence on this front, many US companies have remained in Russia to hedge their bets and observe the local market, including analytical services such as Platts, which provides data on the energy market. British Petroleum remains a shareholder in Russian energy giant Rosneft – albeit without exercising its vote – and spare parts for German cars in Russia are still traded via third states.
As seen in the recent Moscow visit of China’s new Defense Minister Li Shangfu to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, sanctions often boomerang on those who create them. In this case, they have brought two major US adversary states into an effective alliance. Economists Patricia Adams and Lawrence Adams recently penned an article for the American Thinker in which they define the west’s sweeping sanctions on Russia as “the most monumental miscalculation in modern history.” The IMF has raised its forecast for Russia’s economy substantially for the third time in a row – despite sanctions and a slew of other western ‘punishments,’ Russia is expected to see positive growth in both 2023 and 2024. In addition, an unprecedented global trend toward de-dollarization is having a significant impact on energy trades that have long been conducted in the petrodollar, with geopolitical ramifications across West Asia and beyond.
Instead, the petro-yuan is gradually shifting into sight – witnessed this year with the French multinational TotalEnergies’ sale of an Emirati liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo to China National Offshore Oil Corp, with payment settled in yuan through the Shanghai Petroleum & Gas Exchange (SHPGX). When the US and its allies blocked access by most Russian banks to the Belgium-based global financial messaging system, SWIFT, and froze some $300 billion in Russian foreign exchange reserves, every government from Riyadh to Beijing understood that such sanctions can happen to them as well. This realization has prompted many countries to take action to decrease their vulnerability to sanctions, with China creating a new financial infrastructure outside US control and pushing for commodity suppliers to short-circuit the dollar. The establishment of a BRICS bank as a counterweight to the IMF is just one more step in that direction.
“..many people are less interested in what Blinken is doing as secretary of state than in what he did to become secretary of state..”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken would really, really prefer to talk about grain in Ukraine this week. But many people are less interested in what Blinken is doing as secretary of state than in what he did to become secretary of state. This week, Blinken was implicated in a political coverup that could well have made the difference in the 2020 election. According to the sworn testimony of former acting CIA Director Michael Morrell, Blinken – then a high-ranking Biden campaign official – was “the impetus” of the false claim that the Hunter Biden laptop story was really Russian disinformation. Morrell then organized dozens of ex-national security officials to sign the letter claiming that the Hunter laptop story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Morrell further admitted that the Biden campaign “helped to strategize about the public release of the statement.”
Finally, he admitted that one of his goals was not just to warn about Russian influence but “to help then-Vice President Biden in the debate and to assist him in winning the election.” Help it did. Biden claimed in a presidential debate that the laptop story was “garbage” and part of a “Russian plan.” Biden used the letter to say “nobody believes” that the laptop is real. In reality, the letter was part of a political plan with the direct involvement of his campaign, but Biden never revealed their involvement. Indeed, over years of controversy surrounding this debunked letter, no one in the Biden campaign or White House (including Blinken) revealed their involvement. Of course, the letter was all the media needed. Discussion of the laptop was blocked on social media, and virtually every major media outlet dismissed the story before the election.
That was also all Biden needed to win a close election. The allegations that the Biden family had cashed in millions through influence peddling could have made the difference. It never happened, in part because of Blinken’s work. Once in power, Blinken was given one of the top Cabinet positions. He was now one of the “made” men of the administration. He was not alone. The 2016 election was marred by false allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Unlike the influence peddling allegations made against Biden, the media ran with those stories for years. It later turned out that the funding and distribution of the infamous Steele dossier originated with the Clinton campaign. The campaign, however, reportedly lied in denying any such funding until after the election. It was later sanctioned for hiding the funding as legal expenses.
Those involved in spreading this false story were rewarded handsomely. For example, the second collusion story planted in the media by the campaign concerned the Russian Alfa Bank. The campaign used key Clinton aide Jake Sullivan, who went public with the entirely false claim of a secret back channel between Moscow and the Trump campaign. Sullivan was also a “made” man who was later made Biden’s national security adviser. Others who were implicated in either the Steele dossier or Alfa Bank hoaxes also later found jobs in the administration. The Brookings Institution proved a virtual turnstile for these political operatives.
'Relativity' is a lithograph print by artist M. C. Escher, first printed in December 1953. It depicts a world in which the normal laws of gravity do not apply. This is an animated version of the famous artwork
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) April 24, 2023
Escher’s Rubik’s cube
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