Vincent van Gogh The harvest 1888
Play by play
Macgregor: Russia is going on the offensive
Bunch of boring old fools
Cool animation showing $TSLA stock’s performance vs the S&P 500 since Tesla’s IPO in 2010.
2020 was wild lol pic.twitter.com/PmBh4hbmzB
— Sawyer Merritt (@SawyerMerritt) June 3, 2023
@GeromanAT tweets: MOD Reports: 280 new units have been formed from the 300,000 mobilized last Autumn. It is described as the largest such callup in Russia’s history since WW2.
Some thoughts on this, as an often asked question in chat has been, “where are the mobilized men?” At this point I think the answer is clear: they have been training and working behind the line of contact. That is, Russia did not simply scoop up 300,000 men and throw them to the front as Ukraine has been doing some 7+ times now, but actually formed an entirely new, professional Army with them It’s worth noting that the size of the entire U.S. Marine Corps is around 180,000 in total (including admin, clerical, maintenance, etc). This is yet another sign that Russia is in no hurry and is quite comfortable taking the time to properly re-train and equip these men and form new units proper.
It should also be noted that this new army is cohesive. Same uniform, same training, same language, same communication, same doctrine – and a training regimen born from experience in the SVO. Meanwhile Ukrainian units are being trained in multiple countries by different instructors with multiple incongruent programs, doctrines, and kit. Ukraine itself is aware of this problem, which is why they have allocated Leopard tanks to one unit and Bradley IFVs to another and so forth, instead of mixing them up across the board.
The problem for Ukraine nonetheless remains: a lack of consistency in doctrine and kit across units. There is no “universality” in such, and as such, Schroedinger’s Offensive remains in the box because these units cannot effectively coordinate together. Meanwhile, Russia now has a second modernized and cohesive Army formed in addition to the small portion of it’s existing Army already dedicated to the SVO. Where and how this new Army will be employed (defense in depth, counter offensive operations??) I can not say. But that MOD now makes this statement inclines me to believe the mobilized Army is increasingly ready for work.
They’ve “only” gotten $37 billion so far.
Ukraine needs dozens of US-made Patriot air defense system batteries if it hopes to protect its infrastructure and troops on the battlefield against Russian air superiority, President Vladimir Zelensky told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in an interview published on Saturday. The total cost of his demand exceeds the amount of money Washington has already spent on military assistance for Kiev. Patriot is the “only system in the world” capable of intercepting certain advanced types of Russian missiles, Zelensky claimed, adding that “there is a weapon” supposedly capable of drastically reducing Russian capabilities when it comes to airstrikes and missile attacks.
In May, Kiev claimed its troops had managed to intercept a Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missile using a Patriot air defense system. Moscow denied those claims, adding that Ukraine routinely exaggerates the effectiveness of its air defenses. In the interview, Zelensky maintained that as many as 50 Patriot batteries would be needed to sufficiently protect Ukraine’s cities and its troops on the battlefield ahead of the much-touted counteroffensive. Launching the operation without such air defenses means “a large number of soldiers will die,” he said. “Everyone knows perfectly well that any counteroffensive without air superiority is very dangerous,” the president added. Each Patriot battery costs around $1.1 billion, according to estimates by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank, cited by Forbes.
The total cost of Zelensky’s demand thus translates to a military aid package worth $55 billion, which is more than the total amount of US military aid allocated to Kiev thus far. Washington has provided Ukraine with $37 billion worth of military assistance since its conflict with Russia escalated in February last year. This has included only two Patriot batteries so far. The Ukrainian Air Force confirmed that both went on combat duty in April. Kiev has repeatedly asked its Western backers for more air defense systems, as well as Western-made aircraft – something the US and its allies were reluctant to provide until recently. Ukraine’s problems with air defenses were exposed in purportedly classified Pentagon assessments leaked online. Analysis in late February predicted that most types of Soviet missiles would be gone by May, according to a WSJ report.
In late April, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov admitted that Ukraine’s missile stockpiles for the Soviet air defense systems were depleting. “We need to replenish them with something else,” Reznikov said at that time. Apart from Patriots, the US and its allies have also provided Ukraine with other air defense systems, including the US-made NASAMS, Germany’s IRIS-T air defense missile systems, and Gepard anti-aircraft tanks. In February 2023, the head of the German Armed Forces Association (DBwV), Colonel Andre Wustner, warned that the $2 billion worth of military aid Berlin provided to Kiev had left Germany’s military with a shortage of essential hardware.
Launch it when? 2025?
Ukraine is ready to launch its long-awaited offensive, President Vladimir Zelensky told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in an interview published on Saturday. He did not reveal the exact date, but said Kiev can no longer “wait for months.” The operation is likely to inflict heavy losses on the Ukrainian troops, and might not go exactly as planned, Zelensky admitted, adding that Russia retaining air superiority would inevitably mean Kiev’s forces will be exposed to enemy fire. “I don’t know how long it will take,” Zelensky said, commenting on the operation’s potential timeframe. He added that “it can go a variety of ways, completely different.” The president admitted that the military equipment and weapons supplied to Ukraine by its Western backers are still not enough. “We would like to have certain things, but we can’t wait for months,” he said.
Zelensky also highlighted the need for stronger air defences, and claimed that the US-made Patriot systems are virtually the only ones in the world capable of countering certain Russian missile types. He said Ukraine would need as many as 50 Patriot batteries to ensure sufficient air defenses. The lack of such protection means “a large number of soldiers will die,” during the offensive, he added. In May, Kiev claimed that its forces had managed to intercept a Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missile, using a Patriot air defense system. Moscow denied the claim, and accused Ukraine of routinely exaggerating the effectiveness of its air defenses. Ukraine has long been discussing a counteroffensive against Russia to reclaim territories that Kiev considers as its own. It has postponed the operation several times, citing a lack of ammunition, weapons, and even adverse weather conditions.
Back in mid-May Zelensky claimed Kiev was ready to launch the offensive, while maintaining it needed more Western weapons. Ukrainian troops have suffered massive casualties since the start of the conflict, according to various estimates. A Pentagon document leaked earlier this year and cited by The Washington Post said that between 124,000 and 131,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed or wounded since the start of the hostilities. Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov has rejected this assessment, saying the number of his troops killed in the conflict was less than the death toll from the earthquakes that hit Türkiye and Syria in February. The combined estimated fatalities in the two countries amounted to more than 55,000. Reznikov later apologized for the comparison, deemed insensitive by some people in the affected areas.
In May, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said the Ukrainian armed forces had sustained over 15,000 battlefield casualties in April alone. And in April, Ukrainian Brigadier General Sergey Melnik, deputy commander of the Ukrainian force grouping stationed in the northeastern Kharkov Region, admitted to Spanish newspaper El Pais that Ukraine had already lost most of its experienced troops to deaths and injuries. “The problem is that we have a lack of people and equipment,” he said at the time, adding that Kiev had to rely on “people without military experience.”
“It can see through clouds, it can see through rain. It can see through everything. High resolution radar, and they are seeing everything right now,” he said.
Russia’s new radar surveillance satellites will allow Moscow to change the course of the conflict in Ukraine, former US intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector to Iraq Scott Ritter said. Ritter pointed out that the Russian Federation recently launched “the first of several radar surveillance satellites that have a resolution of up to one meter, which means it can see everything.” “It can see through clouds, it can see through rain. It can see through everything. High resolution radar, and they are seeing everything right now,” he said.
“You can’t hide anything from the Russians anymore,” Ritter stressed. “And it’s going to have a fundamental shift in how this [Ukrainian] conflict goes because all that stuff that’s been brought – can’t hide it,” he continued, referring to Western weapons coming into Ukraine. “They [the weapons] are all detected now and they’re all getting programmed into the Russian target database. And the Russians are gonna start hitting this stuff, more and more and more and we see evidence of this already,” Ritter pointed out, adding that in his opinion this conflict would become “unsustainable for the Ukrainian sometime by the end of summer, early fall.”.
“..these appointments have led to tens of thousands of dead Ukrainians. The MP demanded that the traitors be held accountable for serious crimes against the Ukrainian people.”
The Pechersk District Court of Kyiv issued a ruling to oblige the Ukrainian State Bureau of Investigation to start a pre-trial investigation in connection with the possible treason of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, former Verkhovna Rada deputy Geo Leros said on May 30 in his Telegram channel. “Let me remind you that the pocket SBI refused to investigate Zelenskyy’s high treason when he appointed FSB agents to key positions in the SBU, but we were obliged by the court to enter information into the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations and begin a pre-trial investigation,” the former deputy said. He cited a photograph of a copy of the ruling of the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv, by which the court obliges the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a pre-trial investigation at the request of Leros.
In his message on the Telegram channel, the deputy clarified that the court ordered to initiate a criminal case “against Zelensky and co” under Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (high treason). According to Mr Leros, Zelenskyy himself, the head of the presidential office Andriy Yermak, his deputy Roman Mashovets, as well as the ex-chairman of the SBU Ivan Bakanov and the former deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Ruslan Demchenko are the main defendants, thanks to whom FSB agents were allegedly appointed to the special services. According to Mr Leros, these appointments have led to tens of thousands of dead Ukrainians. The MP demanded that the traitors be held accountable for serious crimes against the Ukrainian people.
Here is a Translation of the text: This is the letter translated: PECHERSKY DISTRICT COURT OF THE CITY OF KYIV Case No. 757/21124/23-k RESOLVED IMEHEM OF UKRAINE On May 30, 2023, the Investigating Judge of the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv – T.V. Ostapchuk, under the secretary – K.S. Lymar, with: complainant – Leros H.B. representative of the complainant – lawyer Sayenka V.V. having considered in an open court session in the courtroom in Kyiv the proceedings on the complaint of Leros Geo Bagratovych about the inaction of the investigator, regarding the failure to submit information to the EDPR according to the application dated April 26, 2023 Mo23d9/7-2023/88804, – Guided by Part 2 of Art. 376 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, investigating judge, – RESOLVED: Complaint of Leros Geo Bagratovych against the inaction of the investigator, regarding the failure to provide information To ERDR by request from 04/26/2023 N2379/7-2023/88804 on the commission of a criminal offense and to start a pre-trial investigation, about which to inform the applicant. Praise is not subject to appeal. The full text of the resolution will be announced on June 2, 2023 at 1:50 p.m. T. B. Soup *2606*82433888*1*
Everybody knows. But now it’s out in the open.
Military equipment and small arms provided by several NATO nations, including the US, ended up in the hands of militants who launched a cross-border raid into Russia’s Belgorod region in May, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, citing sources linked to US intelligence. At least four tactical vehicles initially supplied to the Ukrainian military by the US and Poland were employed in the May raid, raising concerns about Kiev’s commitment to fulfilling the demands of its Western supporters, the sources told WaPo. The US and its Western allies have consistently expressed opposition to the use of Western arms by Ukraine in attacks on Russian territory. They also urged Kiev to “carefully track the billions of dollars’ worth of weapons that have flowed into the country,” WaPo reported.
The attack in question occurred in late May, and in response, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that “over 70 Ukrainian terrorists, four armored combat vehicles, and five pickup trucks” had been destroyed in the clash in Belgorod. The remaining militants were subsequently forced back into Ukraine and targeted by Russian artillery. The incursion resulted in one civilian death and 12 injuries, according to Russian authorities. The Russian military shared a series of photographs showing what appeared to be destroyed Western equipment abandoned by the militants. Some of the images depicted two M1151A1 Humvee armored cars stuck in bomb craters, while others displayed two M1224 MaxxPro armored vehicles. An AMZ Dzik-2 armored car, manufactured in Poland, was also visible in the images.
Kiev attempted to distance itself from the raid by claiming it was carried out by the “Freedom of Russia Legion” and the “Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK),” the neo-Nazi units responsible for a similar attack in the Bryansk Region in March. The Pentagon and the US State Department expressed doubts regarding the authenticity of the images. The State Department also said that the US “does not encourage or enable attacks inside of Russia.” Washington also does not “support the use of US-made equipment … for attacks inside of Russia,” it added. According to the Washington Post, videos published by the “Freedom of Russia Legion” and the RDK militants themselves showed fighters using the Czech-made CZ Bren and Belgium’s FN SCAR assault rifles.
Both types of weapons were provided to Ukraine by the respective nations, the paper said, adding that “Bren and SCAR rifles are commonly distributed to Ukraine’s soldiers” and foreign fighters who travel to Ukraine to combat Russian forces. A spokesperson from the Belgian Defense Ministry informed the Washington Post that they only provided weapons to “official authorities and the regular army” in Ukraine, placing responsibility on Kiev for their usage. [..] The use of Western military supplies in an attack on Russian territory raises the issue of Kiev’s accountability, Mark Cancian, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think-tank, told WaPo. The Ukrainians “are clearly complicit here,” Cancian, a retired US Marine Corps officer, added.
“I’ve been suffering like Jesus to get people to stop using ZDS,” Milanovic said, but at this point, “if you don’t understand why, I can’t educate you.”
“That’s the chant of the most radical chauvinists of Western Ukraine, who worked with the Nazis and killed thousands of Jews and Poles..”
Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said Wednesday that there’s “no difference” between the phrase “Slava Ukraini” (‘Glory to Ukraine’) and the chant used by the World War II-era Nazi collaborationist regime in Croatia. Using shorthand for the Ustasha slogan “Za dom spremni” (“For the homeland, ready”), Milanovic told reporters: “There’s no difference between ZDS and Glory to Ukraine.” “That’s the chant of the most radical chauvinists of Western Ukraine, who worked with the Nazis and killed thousands of Jews and Poles,” Milanovic explained, adding, “I don’t want to hear it in Croatia.” “I don’t care that some leaders seem to like it,” he continued. “They should come up with a different slogan.” “I’ve been suffering like Jesus to get people to stop using ZDS,” Milanovic said, but at this point, “if you don’t understand why, I can’t educate you.”
Like their counterparts in Ukraine, nationalists in Croatia have long embraced the chant in spite of — or in many cases, because of — its strong associations with the terrors of the Third Reich.And like “Slava Ukraini,” the Croatian chant came into frequent use after the Ustasha declared an independent state in April 1941 following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia. Mass murders of Serbs and Jews quickly ensued — well before Nazi Germany officially enacted its Holocaust policies. Milanovic has argued on multiple occasions that the usage of the notorious Ustasha chant does more harm than good for the country’s image. But it’s possible there are political considerations at play as well.
In those same remarks to reporters, Milanovic urged Croatian politicians to “stay away from both Russia and Ukraine” because “Kiev is far away, and Moscow even farther. Milanovic has long criticized EU and NATO policy towards Russia and has condemned Western governments for intentionally pushing Moscow to intervene in the hostilities in Ukraine. He was placed on Kiev’s semi-official Myrotvorets ‘hit list’ in January for allegedly spreading “Kremlin propaganda” months after publicly ruling out the possibility of Ukrainian troops training in Croatia. As a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) that succeeded the Croatian Communist Party, Milanovic has faced serious pushback from the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which has spawned numerous political crises with its use of the ZDS slogan but currently holds a majority in parliament.
From August 2022. But valuable background.
Russia now controls at least $12.4 trillion worth of Ukraine’s key natural resources, including energy and mineral deposits, according to an analysis for The Washington Post by SecDev. If the Kremlin succeeds in annexing Ukrainian land seized during Russia’s invasion, Kyiv would lose almost two-thirds of its deposits, the report said, denying the country of its essential economic pillars. Based on SecDev’s review of 2,209 deposits, Moscow controls 63% of Ukraine’s coal, 11% of its oil, 20% of its natural gas, 42% of its metals, and 33% of its rare earths, including key minerals like lithium. Some of that was seized during Russia’s takeover of Crimea in 2014 or the war with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. But since its invasion began in February, Russia has steadily increased its advance into Ukraine while overtaking the country’s economic strongholds.
Using a tally from SecDev and Ukrainian industry, the Washington Post reported that Russia has seized 41 coal fields, 27 natural gas sites, 14 propane sites, nine oil fields, six iron ore deposits, as well as several sites for titanium, zirconium, strontium, lithium, uranium, and gold. While Ukraine is known as a top exporter of grains, the report said it also possesses 117 of the 120 most widely used minerals and metals, while also serving as a top source of fossil fuels. Ukraine still has control over most of its oil ans gas reserves. But the vast majority of its natural resource wealth that’s under the Kremlin’s control is comprised of coal deposits. SecDev estimated that about 30 billion tons of hard coal deposits worth $11.9 trillion are in Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine.
“My guess is that Global American Empire nukes stopped working a long time ago, but some Russian nukes still work.”
In World War I, the incapacity to mount further attempts at war of movement was followed by 100 days of increasingly rapid and costly German defeats and retreats in attritive warfare, and it became apparent that if the Germans did not make peace on any terms they could get, then eventually there would be attritive warfare all the way to Berlin, most German men would die, and Berlin would be flattened. So they cut a deal where they handed over their heavy weapons, but the army and the nation remained an army and a nation. Without that deal, the war would likely have gone on for years, with enormous costs for everyone, but by far the greatest costs for Germans. And a sane and capable Global American Empire would accept, in a hundred days or so, the deal that Putin has been offering – assuming it will still be on offer after major retreats and losses in attritive warfare.
But a sane and capable Global American Empire would probably have been capable of winning. So a possible and likely outcome is that the war goes on till Kiev starts being flattened and most Ukrainian men are dead. Which may well take quite a while. At which point there is a significant likelihood that Nato will be thrown in to relieve Kiev. In a full war between Russia and Nato, neither side has any incentive to refrain escalating all the way to nukes. If Nato intervenes the rationale will be that quick decisive victory is attainable, which is unlikely to be the case. So, nukes. Do anyone’s nukes still work? My guess is that Global American Empire nukes stopped working a long time ago, but some Russian nukes still work. Nukes were and are made out of components that deteriorate over time, and have to regularly refurbished, reconditioned and sometimes rebuilt.
And if you are not testing, your maintenance process is likely to go off the rails when the men that built those bombs retire. The test ban treaty was a stealth slow motion nuclear disarmament treaty. If someone’s nukes still work, this is likely to bring the war to a quick and decisive end, with relatively small destruction and casualties. I estimate that only about twenty percent of Americans would die in the course of losing a nuclear war, deaths insignificant compared to abortion and all that, and destruction insignificant compared to the Rust Belt and all the Detroits. No big deal in the broad historical sweep that this blog looks at. If, on the other hand, technological decay means we fight World War I all over again, but this time political decay means that it is fought all the way to the end, the death and destruction could be considerably greater. But perhaps, in a hundred days or so, while the Global American Empire still holds most of the Ukraine, as the Germans still held most of Europe, the Global American Empire will figure out that it is 1918-11-11 all over again.
“So all-consuming, so all-powerful is the American sacred narrative that, in over 250 years, there has been no significant historical break in the unyielding American drive for Jihad.”
America is a Religion. On July 4, 1776, the United States was baptized with these words: “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor”. By this oath, a nation was born and launched on its mythic passage of becoming. The Founders—our “creators”—had imagined more than a nation, however. They had also drafted the story arc of a divinely heroic journey, centering the United States as the culmination (to be) of History. This is America’s sacred narrative. Since its founding, the United States has pursued, with burning religious fervor, a higher calling to redeem humanity, punish the wicked, and christen a golden millennium on earth. While France, Britain, Germany, and Russia stalked the world in search of new colonies and conquests, America has steadfastly hewed to its unique vision of divine mission as “God’s New Israel”.
Whereas the mythical narratives of other great powers were cruelly self-centered, American scripture was—and remains today—“To Serve Man”. Thus, among all the revolutions unleashed by Modernity, the United States declares itself—in its own scripture—to be the trailblazer and pathfinder of humanity. America is the exceptional nation—the singular, the pure-of-heart, the baptizer, and redeemer of all peoples despised and downtrodden: The “last, best hope of earth”. This is the catechism of the American Civil Religion. In the world’s eyes, all this may seem like a ritual of self-serving vanity, yet the Civil Religion is the national article of faith for Americans. It is Holy Writ, which takes rhetorical form through what Americans take to be History. Yet this vision of history is better understood as a body of sacred literature, in many ways comparable to Islam.
[..] Our sacred literature defines American identity as a grand narrative arc endowed by God—to be realized through a recurring series of ever-ascending epiphanic stories: a historical cycle of ecstatic struggles shaping America’s mythic passage of becoming and culminating in an apocalypse—“revelation” or “unveiling” (Ancient Greek apokálupsis). Within these apocalyptic cycles, the hidden meaning of the American sacred story arc is revealed only through the realization of universal democracy. As with Islam, the American religion too culminates in an apocalypse. As such, the American story arc can only be fulfilled through battle. Every “peak life” moment in the American sacred narrative has been realized through mutual sacrifice and the transcendental power of victory in battle.
From its founding moment to today, war has been the anvil of America, and blood its divine annealing. Not only is each major American war regarded as a benchmark of progress toward a millenarian Grail, but each American generation has been encouraged to move the yardstick forward. While not every struggle succeeded, each drive built a launchpad for the next big push. So all-consuming, so all-powerful is the American sacred narrative that, in over 250 years, there has been no significant historical break in the unyielding American drive for Jihad.
A true Hollywood production.
The Democrat-led House Select Committee to Investigate Jan. 6 doctored a key piece of its evidence, adding audio to silent U.S. Capitol Police security footage used to create a dramatic video montage for the opening of its primetime hearings last summer, according to a Just the News review of the original raw footage and interviews. In at least two instances identified by Just the News, the panel’s sizzle reel that aired live and on C-SPAN last June failed to identify that it had overdubbed audio from another, unidentified source onto the silent footage. Multiple current and former Capitol Police officials as well as key lawmakers and congressional aides confirmed that the closed-circuit cameras that captured the video do not record sound and that it was added afterwards.
A former spokesman for the Jan. 6 committee told Just the News that the panel was supposed to clearly mark any video that was dubbed with another audio source, and it did so on some occasions in the sizzle reel. But Just the News identified two key pieces of Capitol Police closed circuit television (“CCTV”) footage — one from an inside angle showing the dramatic breach of a key entrance to the Capitol by rioters and the other an aerial view of the agitated crowd outside – from a camera system that Capitol Police officials confirmed did not have sound recording capabilities. Yet, the footage shown by the committee inexplicably included sound on the video montage they produced. That video is without any disclaimer showing the audio had been dubbed.
The chairman of the current GOP-led House Administration subcommittee that continues to investigate the security failures of the Jan. 6 tragedy blasted the decision to dub audio without informing the public, saying it was further proof Democrats wanted to sway opinion rather than gather facts. “What the American people want to know is the truth, and this was nothing but a Hollywood production,” Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., told the Just the News, No Noise television show Friday night. “The committee spent $18.5 million, at least that’s what we know of, to write a dossier against Donald Trump and to create this Hollywood production. And when I looked at the videos, it’s clear, it’s apparent to me that it is a Capitol police security video film, and there is no audio whatsoever.” “And so yes, it was dubbed on there for dramatic effect” Loudermilk continued, “And that shows that what they were trying to do is sway public opinion, not just get the truth out.”
[..] Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said if the video evidence was altered and the public wasn’t told, it warranted an investigation and forensic exam by Congress and would likely have resulted in serious repercussions had it occurred in a court of law. “Well, if this is true, if they really did dub the tapes without telling the public, if a lawyer did that, that lawyer would be disbarred,” Dershowitz said. “It would be fraud if a person introduced that as testimony and didn’t disclose that it had material added. That would be a form of perjury. “We ought to be able to prove that forensically, without any doubt, and we ought to be able to get the evidence of who added the words, where the words came. … We have to get all the facts. But once the facts are known if it confirms what you’ve said, this is a very, very serious ethical and perhaps even legal breach.”
“Nothing Rhodes did, in the aggregate, comes close to taking a life—yet he will go behind bars for the same period of time as a stone-cold killer.”
“Government,” observed the 14th century Arab political theorist Ibn Khaldoun, “is an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself.” Draconian prison sentences handed down to those involved in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot highlight this truism. Though he didn’t enter the Capitol that day, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, 57, received 18 years in federal prison for seditious conspiracy under a law whose retrograde origins and vague definition ought to worry those who care about due process. Florida chapter leader Kelly Megg will serve 12 years for the same offense. Peter Schwartz, 49, who attacked police officers at the Capitol with a chair and then chemical spray, got 14 years. Richard Barnett, who was photographed with his feet resting on then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk, received 4.5 years.
The US Department of Justice has obtained prison sentences in at least 250 of the thousand-plus January 6th-related cases it is prosecuting. The DOJ is also undermining defendants’ ability to hire attorneys by asking judges to issue fines big enough to offset donations to legal-defense funds. Like most Americans, I am disgusted by the events of January 6th. The rioters rioted without cause even to protest; there was insufficient evidence of irregularities in the 2020 election to believe US President Joe Biden hadn’t won. Many of them succumbed to idiotic nonsense; they believed in QAnon and Pizzagate. Too many were xenophobic, racist, homophobic partisans of the far-right, the embodiment of what the historian Richard Hofstadter described as the paranoid style in American politics.
Rhodes, who also participated in the 2014 standoff by far-right anti-government extremists at the Bundy Ranch, would probably despise me and my left-wing politics. (Though, you never know. Rhodes’ Oath Keepers supported Edward Snowden.) I abhor the defendants and their politics, as well as their actions on January 6th. Yet I can see that the events of that day, shocking as they were, have been exaggerated by Democrats and their media allies in order to gain partisan advantage. Now, they are being punished beyond reason. A reasonable person cannot conclude that these punishments fit the crime. The average prison term for a person convicted of murder in the United States is 17.5 years. The average term for rape is seven years.
Nothing Rhodes did, in the aggregate, comes close to taking a life—yet he will go behind bars for the same period of time as a stone-cold killer. Appropriate January 6th charges would include burglary, trespassing and vandalism and, in cases like those who called for violence against government officials, menacing. Rhodes, however, was sentenced as a terrorist. His real offense was challenging the authority of the government at its seat of power. The riot caused $1.5 million worth of damage to the Capitol building, the same amount New York City paid to renovate a nondescript children’s playground in Harlem. One Capitol Hill police officer died, the following day. The coroner attributed his passing to natural causes; prosecutors did not file charges against anyone in that incident.
Businessmen take the place of politicians.
Twitter owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk went on a tour of China this week. It was his first visit to the country since 2019, after a hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic. Musk met with China’s foreign minister Qin Gang, before later meeting Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang. During these meetings, he discussed his Tesla factory in Shanghai for electric cars, as well as the Lithium battery supply chain. Although in practice it was all about business, the political symbolism of the trip on both sides is unmistakeable. Beijing did not keep Musk’s visit low-key nor leave it by the wayside, but placed it on a megaphone and amplified it aggressively through its media channels. It wanted the world to know very clearly that not only was a major American tech figure and entrepreneur in town, but was engaging with its leaders.
When was the last time an American politician or official visited Beijing and got such a reception? While not discounting the fact that few will do so for political reasons, even those who do, be it Anthony Blinken or Wendy Sherman, are given a frosty and hostile reception. In fact, since the “spy balloon” incident at the beginning of the year, China has even gone as far as putting high-level communications with the US on ice completely. The refusal to meet with US Secretary of Defence Llyod Austin at the Shang-ri-la dialogue in Singapore, is one such example. But that does not mean China is not interested in engaging with the US at all. Rather, China sees engaging with American politicians as a waste of time, and instead sees greater political gain in using high profile individuals such as Elon Musk to drive practical and results-based engagement.
Apple CEO Tim Cook also conducted a similar trip to China earlier this year. What is the purpose and message? Despite surging tensions and uncertainties, Beijing continues to see the American business community, who are not Anti-China by nature of what they do, as its best bet. Right now, US politics is in a race to the bottom concerning China. The atmosphere of US foreign policy debate is lethally toxic, lost in a maelstrom of paranoia, irrationality and mass hysteria over Beijing. Politicians compete to shout the loudest on who can vilify China, seek to regularly provoke tensions over matters such as Taiwan, and of course lock the debate by accusing anyone who questions their narrative as being soft on Beijing. This has created an echo chamber which has made it impossible to improve relations on a political level.
But the business community is different, because American companies see financial opportunity in China and its market, something they have engaged with for over 40 years. Behind the scenes, businessmen attempt to lobby politicians to ensure their interests are preserved, even if they aren’t having much luck when it comes to China, and this has made them perhaps the only consistent voice in opposing the anti-China rhetoric pushed by Washington DC over the past few years. While of course they are forced to contemplate the political risks of engagement, a factor they cannot control and that politicians can use to coerce them, they are a moderating voice of reason. And on that premise, someone like Elon Musk is very important. Although his political viewpoint is very right wing, and he is of course South African, rather than American, it is undeniable that he has established himself as one of the most influential businessmen in the US right now, and fortunately for Beijing he has an open mind and amicable attitude towards China. In taking control of Twitter, one of the world’s most influential social media platforms, Musk has pursued a policy of free speech which has rolled back anti-China measures implemented by its predecessor CEO Jack Dorsey.
Durham, to his credit, did follow the leads that came to his office, but he left them in secrecy—perhaps in the Classified Appendix or perhaps completely off the record. He was seen by some as being mandated only to investigate FBI management shortcomings and believed the public needed a full accounting of the FBI bungling. It was not clear whether Durham, had he decided to expand the parameters of his inquiry to include the implications of the intelligence about the Clinton campaign, would have been allowed to do so. As Durham himself writes, “any attempted prosecution premised on the Clinton Plan intelligence would face what in all likelihood would be insurmountable classification issues given the highly sensitive nature of the information itself.”
The issue with Durham may be that he was the wrong man in what could never be the right job. He had made his reputation with the help of others in the FBI and Justice Department. They had provided him with much of the evidence he used in his Mafia investigations—undercover agents, access to information, wiretaps and extra manpower for manpower for analysis and surveillance. He had made and kept friendships current over the years. But there are no shoulders to lean on when one is investigating colleagues in Washington. It was not clear to some who worked with him whether Durham understood the ease with which the FBI could game the FISA process and get their way with the special court; nor that he understood the extent to which the serious operators in the intelligence community thought themselves to be above the law. I will never forget a lunch I had in a Chinese restaurant down the highway from the CIA headquarters with a bunch of covert operators from the Middle East.
They were making fun of what they depicted as bumbling FBI gumshoes—this was just after 9/11—and I angrily asked one of them how he could mock the FBI when they all had to work together to solve the crime. His answer: “Sy, the FBI? The FBI? They catch bank robbers. And we rob banks. And the NSA? You expect me to work with guys who carry protractors in their shirt pockets and are always looking down at their brown shoes?” In the end, and to Durham’s credit, he stuck to his guns and said what he thought about those who wished him to expand his inquiry deeper into the actions of the Clinton campaign in this footnote: “To be clear, this Office did not and does not view the potential existence of a political plan by one campaign to spread negative claims about its opponent as illegal or criminal in any respect.” He added, however, that for a campaign to “knowingly provide false information to the government” would be another matter.
How to distinguish the two is the crux of the issue. In his failure—if that’s the right word for it—to get the whole story, Durham resembles one of the blind men in the ancient Hindu parable about a group of blind men inspecting an elephant. Each of the inspectors describes a small part. The elephant is the campaign to link Trump to Russia. The mainstream press, running with the later discredited Russiagate narrative, portrays Trump as a puppet of Putin or even as a double agent of Moscow dating back to the Soviet era. And Durham sees himself merely as the lawyer who was ordered to investigate FBI managerial shortcomings. The public only sees parts of the picture. There is more to know.
“..when you deal with true evil, and that is what we are dealing with, it’s really easy to get discouraged or give up hope..”
Catherine Austin Fitts (CAF), Publisher of The Solari Report, financial expert and former Assistant Secretary of Housing (Bush 41 Admin.), says, “You’ve got people actually trying to kill you. . . . You don’t need an investment strategy, you need a war strategy because this is a war. . . . You cannot do business with criminals, in particular, criminals who are above the law and have sovereign immunity or the DOJ treats them like they have sovereign immunity. We had the Durham Report, and it came out and they announced, oops, we had no evidence (on President Trump) and we are not going to prosecute anybody. That is sovereign immunity. . . . The middle class is getting creamed, and at the root, we are watching the centralization of wealth using central bank mechanisms and it is a policy and a strategy. I left Washington years ago, and I was saying there is money disappearing from the federal government.
I said if they keep doing this, they are going to have to depopulate or they are going to have to lower life expectancy or lower our standard of living. We have to deal with this, and I said I am not going to go along. You can kill people with a bioweapon (like the CV19 bioweapon injections), but you can also kill people with a pen. First, they killed people with a pen before we started with the pandemic.” Fitts contends to not expect any big interest rate cuts anytime soon. A pause, maybe, a rate cut– forget it. CAF explains, “They are going to do whatever they have to do to protect the dollar. It would not surprise me on the next meeting they pause (rate hikes) . . . but there is no doubt if they have to raise interest rates to protect the dollar, they are going to do it. They get a lot more benefit being the reserve currency than taking another recession and wiping out another round of the middle class.”
CAF contends the dark powers want to destroy wealth. CAF says, “I think we need our own reset. ‘The People’s Reset,’ and the key to our reset is it has to be a for-profit revolution. We have to get in the business of building wealth and not allowing them to destroy our culture of being wealth builders. . . . I am going to help other people be productive, and I am going to do it in a way that produces and creates family wealth, personal wealth and community wealth. You know what wealth does? That is the seed corn of democracy. Without wealth, there will be no democracy. There will be bolshevism and tyranny. They are shrinking our wealth, and we cannot permit that. We have to be wealth builders, and it starts with every individual protecting their wealth . . . and using their wealth to help others . . . . So, we have got to be wealth builders if we are ever going to dig our way out of this.”
CAF details the deflation with this depopulation coming from the CV19 bioweapon/vax. CAF also says your chances for survival go way up if you take action now and goes into detail on the steps you need to take to thwart evil people trying to kill us off and “harvest” our wealth. In closing, CAF says, “. . . It pays to have a hard shell and just never quit. Just keep learning . . . and begin anywhere. . . . “Turtle Forth” is about never quitting, and this is important because when you deal with true evil, and that is what we are dealing with, it’s really easy to get discouraged or give up hope. You can’t do that . . . . What you’ve got to protect at all cost is your faith, your hope and your love.”
How is this different from what happened to Trump?
The Pakistani military invited the owners of the country’s major media organizations to Islamabad this week for a secret meeting to discuss coverage of the ongoing political and constitutional crisis, Pakistani journalists familiar with the gathering told The Intercept. The invitation was not one that could be refused, and the message was equally direct: Cease all coverage of former Prime Minister Imran Khan amid his ongoing clash with the military. Following the meeting, which has not been previously reported, top editors at news organizations across Pakistan issued directives to their journalists to pause coverage of Khan, said the Pakistani journalists, who requested anonymity for fear of their safety. An inspection of Pakistani media sites reveals a stark change. Earlier this week and every day for years before, Khan was a leading subject of coverage. He has effectively vanished from the news. The ban was confirmed by more than a half-dozen Pakistani journalists. “They have lots of levers to hurt media companies.”
Khan is at the center of a political crisis that has paralyzed Pakistani cities, prompted clashes and riots targeting the all-powerful military, and seen tens of thousands of his political supporters sent to prison. You wouldn’t know that from reading the Pakistani press today, even as he continues a campaign against an attempt by the military to exclude him and his party from contesting upcoming elections. The recent crisis began when Khan was hit with corruption charges, which he and supporters of his political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or PTI, claim to be a political exercise aimed at excluding him from politics. Khan, a former cricket player and philanthropist, has become Pakistan’s most popular politician by galvanizing public anger against the country’s dynastic political parties.
He served as prime minister from 2018 to 2022, when he was removed from office by a coalition of opposition parties. While his original rise to power was widely believed to have been patronized from behind the scenes by the military itself, after falling out with military leadership, Khan has become a fierce opponent of their domineering role in politics. In Pakistan, there is no bigger story than the battle between Khan and the military, which has played out in spectacular fashion, including the extrajudicial arrest of Khan from inside a courtroom, sparking nationwide protests and, eventually, a Supreme Court order to free him. Khan is also the No. 1 driver of ratings and web traffic to news organizations — until Thursday, when he virtually disappeared from the national news media.
The explicit directive from the military was not delivered in writing, said sources. A more vaguely worded order was issued by Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, which oversees television stations, barring coverage of “hate mongers, rioters, their facilitators and perpetrators.” The directive does not name Khan, but its meaning is clear.
In 1954 EDWARD R. MURROW bravely and famously took apart one Senator McCarthy.
“The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars but in ourselves. Good night and good luck.”
— Michael Warburton (@MichaelWarbur17) June 3, 2023
Dr. Burkhardt died this week.
Prof. Dr. Arne Burkhardt, a German pathologist, presents an unsettling slide show revealing that in vaccinated males, the spike protein from the COVID vaccine has entirely replaced their sperm. pic.twitter.com/n10PpSayql
— Jung (@betterworld_24) June 3, 2023
“It is man’s intelligence that makes him so often behave more stupidly than the beasts. Man is impelled to invent theories to account for what happens in the world. Unfortunately, he is not quite intelligent enough, in most cases, to find correct explanations. So that when he acts on his theories, he behaves very often like a lunatic. Thus, no animal is clever enough, when there is a drought, to imagine that the rain is being withheld by evil spirits, or as punishment for its transgressions. Therefore you never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. No horse, for example would kill one of its foals to make the wind change direction. Dogs do not ritually urinate in the hope of persuading heaven to do the same and send down rain. Asses do not bray a liturgy to cloudless skies. Nor do cats attempt, by abstinence from cat’s meat, to wheedle the feline spirits into benevolence. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, intelligent enough.”
Birds and sheep
Birds and sheep dancing together pic.twitter.com/RNhWMYT416
— That's Actually Very Cool (@thatsavcool) June 2, 2023
— Nature is Amazing ☘️ (@AMAZlNGNATURE) June 3, 2023
Eulophophyllum kirki is a katydid (bush cricket) found in Danum Valley Conservation Area in the state of Sabah, Malaysia and first described only in 2016. It’s been named for the photographer of the only known specimen, Peter Kirk [read more: https://buff.ly/3qrx8Xu]
— Nature is Amazing ☘️ (@AMAZlNGNATURE) June 3, 2023
One of the most famous roads in China.pic.twitter.com/sNtTv0MPwO
— Figen (@TheFigen_) June 3, 2023
Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.