Gustave Dore Dante and the Angel of the Church before the Door of Purgatory 1868
Victor Davis Hanson: "We are in the middle of a cultural revolution."
If I said 10 years ago that in the future… nobody would believe it:
• Biological men compete in women's sports.
• Saying there are only two genders can get you fired.
• 2.3 million people illegally enter… pic.twitter.com/CzJg4mxe9y
— KanekoaTheGreat (@KanekoaTheGreat) August 26, 2023
The last people who are consulted, the last people who are benefitting from anything that goes on in Washington are Americans..
— Douglas Macgregor (@DougAMacgregor) August 27, 2023
“Such domestic conflicts often end with a civil war.”
“Biden’s resolve to aid Kiev against Russia has made him “a hostage of Ukraine, which is very sad for both Ukraine and the US..”
The highly toxic political climate in the US feels like the confrontation between Democrats and Republicans can spiral into a full-blown civil war, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has said. Speaking to RT and news agency TASS on Saturday, Medvedev said that there was “a colossal rift between the elites” in the US. “It’s a clash between the conservative Republican establishment and the liberal segment, represented by the Democratic Party, which has actually torn America apart.” “America is currently in a state of internal strife. America is conflicting with itself,” Medvedev, who is currently the deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council, argued. “Moreover, in my view, this strife is irreconcilable in some aspects. Such domestic conflicts often end with a civil war.”
“I don’t know what will happen in the US, but the level of the conflict right now is [high],” the Russian politician noted. To illustrate his point, Medvedev brought up the ongoing criminal prosecution of ex-president Donald Trump, who is seeking the Republican Party nomination to run against incumbent Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election. Medvedev claimed that the charges against Trump were brought “not for the sake of justice, but to prevent Trump from participating in the new election.” Asked whether there were similarities between the administration of Barack Obama and the Biden White House in terms of dealing with conflicts, Medvedev said that there was more “pragmatism” during the Obama years.
He went on to argue that Biden has been more “involved mentally, politically and economically” in Ukraine, which had “tied up his hands.” Biden’s resolve to aid Kiev against Russia has made him “a hostage of Ukraine, which is very sad for both Ukraine and the US,”Medvedev said. Trump is facing a litany of criminal charges, including for allegedly mishandling classified documents and attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. On Saturday, he was booked at a Georgia jail and released on bail, becoming the first US leader to have a mugshot taken.
“..the war in Ukraine is following exactly the same pattern as every other U.S. war fought over the last 50 years.”
There is no question that the war in Ukraine has radically changed. Even Western media outlets that have been steadfastly cheerleading for this war – and, indeed, even Ukrainians themselves – are now admitting what battlefield realities dispositively prove. The much-vaunted Ukrainian counter-offensive – the imminent dramatic event we were assured for months would be transformative in finally giving Ukraine the upper hand and dislodging entrenched Russian positions inside Ukraine: a claim that doubled as a propaganda tool to assuage a growingly restless Western population about their endless support for this war – is now, no matter how you slice it, a failure.
After months of multi-pronged attacks, Ukraine’s gains are so minimal and trivial as to be barely worth noting. Russia continues to occupy a very significant chunk of both Eastern and southern Ukraine, along with Crimea which they have held since 2014. Even Western intelligence reports acknowledge that the Russians’ defensive positions are more fortified and entrenched than any seen in decades. The U.S. has already depleted its own stockpiles of artillery and other vital weapons and simply does not have to give Ukraine what they need to have any hope of changing this situation in anything resembling the near- or the short-term future.
What makes all of this vastly worse is that the cost to Ukrainians in their lives is staggeringly high. Consider just this one harrowing data point: more Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the first 18 months of this war than the number of American soldiers killed during the decade-plus war in Vietnam. The Ukrainian men who were eager to fight and who volunteered to do so have long ago been used up – killed, maimed, or exhausted. Zelensky’s only option for continuing combat is to increase domestic repression, impose greater and greater punishment for desertion, and use harsher and harsher means to force those unwilling to fight to do so against their will. In so many ways, this conflict resembles some of the worst horrors of World War I, including the need to put unwilling men who do not want to fight the deeply grim choice of either offering themselves up as cannon fodder or facing unimaginably harsh punishments by a government completely unconstrained by basic considerations of human rights or legal process, operating under full-scale martial law.
At this point, debates over who is to blame for this war barely matter. All that does matter is the question of how this will end, and who will end it. It is simply becoming unsustainable – politically, economically, and morally – to justify having Western nations pour their resources into fueling and continuing this war that Ukraine has less and less chance of winning. At the start of the war, many who claim that the real goal of the US was not to save Ukraine and Ukrainians but rather to destroy them – at the altar of their geostrategic goal of weakening Russia – were accused of being callous and conspiratorial. Now, there is little reasonable space to contest that they were right all along.
Joe Biden just asked for another $25 billion to keep this war going – as he offered $700 checks per household to the victims of the Maui fire and as profits for the European arms industry reach such record heights that they do not even bother to conceal their glee. Even if you were someone who supported the US role in Ukraine back in February of 2022 with the best of intentions – namely, you wanted to help a country seeing to avoid Russian domination – the failed nature of this mission has to compel a re-evaluation of perspective and policy. The last thing this war is doing is protecting Ukraine and Ukrainians. It is destroying both of those while imposing suffering among everyone in the U.S. and Western countries other than a tiny sliver of arms dealers and intelligence agencies. In other words, the war in Ukraine is following exactly the same pattern as every other U.S. war fought over the last 50 years.
“..they have trashed every ethical rule that exists and they have created a state police. It is a Biden state prosecutor and a Biden state police..”
The White House counsel’s office met with a top aide to Special Counsel Jack Smith just weeks before he brought charges against former President Trump for allegedly mishandling classified documents — raising serious concerns about coordinated legal efforts aimed at President Biden’s likely opponent in 2024. Jay Bratt, who joined the special counsel team in November 2022, shortly after it was formed, took a meeting in the White House on March 31, 2023, with Caroline Saba, deputy chief of staff for the White House counsel’s office, White House visitor logs show. They were joined in the 10 a.m. meeting by Danielle Ray, an FBI agent in the Washington field office. Nine weeks later, Trump was indicted by Smith’s office on June 8, 2023.
Bratt, 63, also met with Saba at the White House in November 2021, when Trump was mired in negotiations with the National Archives, who were demanding the return of presidential records from his Mar-a-Lago estate before a formal investigation had not yet been opened. Saba, who is not an attorney, left the White House in May to attend law school. Bratt had a third meeting in the White House in September 2021, this time with Katherine Reily, an advisor to the White House chief of staff’s office. The logs offer no information about what was discussed at the meetings. Critics and legal experts questioned why Bratt was taking meetings at all with the White House counsel’s office while part of an active investigation into President Biden’s likely 2024 Republican opponent.
“There is no legitimate purpose for a line [DOJ] guy to be meeting with the White House except if it’s coordinated by the highest levels,” said former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a one-time top federal prosecutor in the Southern District. Caroline Saba, a deputy chief of staff for the White House counsel’s office, met with Jay Bratt at the White House, records show. When asked if he believed the White House and special counsel were coordinating the prosecution of Trump, Giuliani said: “You’re damn right I do.” “What’s happening is they have trashed every ethical rule that exists and they have created a state police. It is a Biden state prosecutor and a Biden state police,” he continued.
“While Garland seems incapable of imagining any crime involving the president, he has made a conclusive — if unintended — case for an impeachment inquiry.“
House Republicans had previously demanded that Weiss and his team answer questions about the investigation and the plea bargain. And an appearance before a House committee was planned when Garland suddenly preempted that by doing what many of us have demanded for years: He appointed a special counsel. To the amazement of many, though, he appointed the one prosecutor who should have been categorically excluded — David Weiss. Section 600.3 of the DOJ’s code on special counsels requires an appointment from outside the Justice Department, for obvious reasons. While another prior special counsel, John Durham, also came from within the Justice Department, Durham was retiring from the department at the time of his appointment.
Not only did Garland have to ignore his own regulations to appoint Weiss but he also had to ignore the main qualification: The appointed outside counsel should be someone with “a reputation for integrity and impartial decision-making.” Weiss could well have a legitimate defense to Republican complaints that he ran a fixed investigation into Hunter or accusations that he made false statements to his own team. However, he clearly remains under suspicion by many people. That is reflected in an ABC News/Ipsos poll in which almost half of Americans lack trust that the DOJ will conduct the Hunter Biden investigation in a “fair and nonpartisan manner.” In addition to this controversial appointment, Garland again refused to expressly extend the special counsel’s mandate to include influence-peddling allegations involving President Biden.
Even some liberal pundits are mystified by these moves and why Garland would not simply appoint someone in compliance with the regulations who could guarantee a new and full investigation. So Weiss is now investigating crimes that continue to dwindle in number due to the long delays in prosecution. It is like waiting for winter to go goose hunting in Canada, long after the geese have flown South. Everyone just gets dressed up and fires aimlessly into an empty sky. While Hunter still can be charged on the same meager grounds (and possibly the addition of a Foreign Agents Registration Act charge), the alleged fix remains in the Biden investigation. Now, however, Congress will have a more difficult time getting answers out of Weiss because he can claim he is engaged in an ongoing special counsel investigation, and he can use the eventual special counsel report as much to defend his own actions as to detail any potential crimes.
At the same time, the Biden administration still is resisting the sharing of information with the House, including records held by the National Archives. For months, I have discussed a potential impeachment of the president with Republican House members and have encouraged them not to repeat the abuses of House Democrats in the use of “snap impeachments” and the discarding of fact hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. Garland, however, has effectively forced their hands. While Garland seems incapable of imagining any crime involving the president, he has made a conclusive — if unintended — case for an impeachment inquiry.
With the investigative impediments created by the Weiss appointment and by Garland’s refusal to expressly extend the special counsel’s mandate to the allegations of Biden family influence-peddling, there is little choice but to commence an impeachment inquiry. The authority of the House is at its apex when carrying out its duties under the impeachment clause. Whatever interest — or ability — remains to prosecute Hunter Biden, Congress has a separate duty to confirm any high crimes and misdemeanors committed by President Biden. Indeed, the Democrats themselves established precedent for carrying out retroactive impeachments for prior offices, including any which may have occurred when Biden was vice president. With the current state of the Hunter Biden investigation and the baffling conduct of Attorney General Garland, there is no alternative for the House but to launch the impeachment inquiry.
“The fact that Joe Biden gave away $1 billion in U.S. money in exchange for my dismissal – my firing – isn’t that alone a case of corruption?”
Victor Shokin, the fired Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Biden family corruption (that Donald Trump was impeached for asking about) has spoken out for the first time since 2019 – and says the Bidens did it. To review – Shokin had an active and ongoing investigation into Ukrainian energy company Burisma and its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, according to a 2020 US Senate Committee report. Zlochevsky, who hired Hunter Biden to sit on his board, granted his own company (Burisma) permits to drill for oil and gas in Ukraine while he was Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources. Shokin stated in a 2019 deposition that there were five criminal cases against Zlochevesky, including money laundering, corruption, illegal funds transfers, and profiteering through shell corporations while he was a sitting minister.
Now, Shokin tells Fox News that be believes the Bidens were taking bribes. “I do not want to deal in unproven facts. But my firm personal conviction is that yes, this was the case. They were being bribed,” Shokin told the outlet. “The fact that Joe Biden gave away $1 billion in U.S. money in exchange for my dismissal – my firing – isn’t that alone a case of corruption?” he asks in another clip. The full interview with Shokin will air Saturday evening at 8pm ET with Brian Kilmeade. According to the White House, Fox News is giving a “platform to lies” by airing the interview. Republicans, meanwhile, aren’t letting this one go. Earlier this week we noted that memos obtained by Just the News via FOIA request reveal that the Obama Administration was still actively communicating with Shokin after Biden’s December 2015 threat to withhold $1 billion in US aid unless then-President Petro Poroshenko fired him.
The memos reveal: • Senior State Department officials sent a conflicting message to Shokin before he was fired, inviting his staff to Washington for a January 2016 strategy session and sent him a personal note saying they were “impressed” with his office’s work. • U.S. officials faced pressure from Burisma emissaries in the United States to make the corruption allegations go away and feared the energy firm had made two bribery payments in Ukraine as part of an effort to get cases settled. • A top U.S. official in Kyiv blamed Hunter Biden for undercutting U.S. anticorruption policy in Ukraine through his dealings with Burisma. Meanwhile, nobody else seems interested in what Shokin has to say.
Viktor Shokin – The Ukrainian Prosecutor Joe Biden BRAGGED about getting FIRED speaks out
SHOKIN: "The fact that Joe Biden gave away one billion dollars – in exchange for my dismissal, my firing. – Is that alone a case of corruption?" pic.twitter.com/gy3VCc6JqE
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 25, 2023
“..we are literally destroying Europe.”
Europe is “destroying” itself in the name of supporting Ukraine, and the EU’s sanctions policy is a laughing stock on the global stage, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has declared. He repeated his government’s position that the conflict in Ukraine “must end this minute.” It would be a “baroque and poetic exaggeration” to say that sanctions against Russia have succeeded in crippling the Russian economy, Szijjarto told attendees at the Tranzit political festival on Saturday. “The policy of sanctions has failed,” he said, adding that “everywhere in the world, the European sanctions policy is being laughed at.” The EU has imposed 11 successive rounds of sanctions on Russia since Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine last February. While the EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, claimed on Saturday that the sanctions are “producing hard, tangible effects across Russia’s economy,” the IMF has forecast that the Russian economy will continue to grow by 0.7% this year and 1.3% in 2024.
By contrast, the Eurozone entered recession earlier this year after the bloc voluntarily cut itself off from Russia, its largest foreign energy supplier. With the energy crunch crippling German industrial output in particular, Russia overtook Germany as the world’s fifth-largest economy last year, according to the World Bank. European leaders have embraced these self-harming sanctions because they “are in a war psychosis,” Szijjarto said, adding that EU military aid to Kiev is also directly threatening security on the continent. “The USA has pushed Europe into the competition of who will help Ukraine and how much: a military aid competition,” he said, lamenting that European politicians “accepted this provocation” even though “we are literally destroying Europe.”
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has refused to allow Western weapons to enter Ukraine via Hungarian territory, and Szijjarto has repeatedly voted in Brussels against increasing the EU’s arms fund for Kiev. Although Hungary is a party to all of the EU’s sanctions packages, Orban has managed to carve out exemptions for Hungary to continue oil and nuclear fuel imports from Russia in exchange for supporting these measures. Orban and Szijjarto have both repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, arguing that Kiev cannot hope to defeat Russia on the battlefield, and that the longer the conflict persists, the greater the risk of escalation, and the worse the final terms will be for Ukraine. “The only morally tenable position is [that] the war must end this minute,” he said on Saturday.
“It’s a Christian country, and they hate that. That is enough to incite our policymakers in the United States. That’s exactly why they hate Russia, by the way.”
Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has called for the firing of US Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman, saying the diplomat has undermined the interests of Americans by trying to impose an LGBTQ agenda rather than building stronger relations with Budapest. Speaking at an event earlier this week in Budapest, Carlson said he was compelled to apologize for the treatment of Hungary by President Joe Biden’s administration. “The world is realigning at high speed and turning against the United States, but the Biden administration is spending its time harassing one of our last sincere allies in Europe, Hungary, for the crime of being too Christian,” he said. Carlson claimed that Biden administration officials hate Hungary, just as they hate Russia, for defending Christian values.
Pressman, a California-born lawyer who formerly worked as an aide to then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, has harangued Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government for policies restricting promotion of LGBTQ lifestyles. “For a creep like David Pressman . . . to show up in your country and lecture you about your culture – and threaten you because you do things differently from the way they do things where he lives – hurts the United States and is a grave embarrassment to me as an American and an outrage to me as someone who pays his salary,” Carlson said. “It’s disgusting.” He added, “I’m embarrassed that I share a country of birth with a man, with a villain like this. It’s horrifying.” Carlson argued that Pressman works on behalf of special interests, rather than the American people.
He added, “They hate Hungary, and they hate it not because of what it’s done but because of what it is. It’s a Christian country, and they hate that. That is enough to incite our policymakers in the United States. That’s exactly why they hate Russia, by the way.” He suggested that Hungarians “wait it out” because the US is on an unsustainable political path. “You can’t run a global empire on the imposition of boutique sexual politics on countries that don’t want them.” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto rebuked Pressman in February for allegedly meddling in Budapest’s internal affairs. The US ambassador had accused Hungarian leaders of pushing policies endorsed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Szijjarto declared that the era of foreign envoys telling Hungarians how to live was over.
Carlson likened Pressman’s behavior to the dictates of the Soviet Union, saying the Biden administration was engaged in “exactly the same kind of tyranny.” He added that just as the Soviets imposed their ideology, Washington demands that you “worship transvestites. It’s not so different. It’s a foreign power pushing its weird boutique religion on you, and it’s wrong.” Formerly host of the most highly rated cable news show in US history, Carlson now attracts an even larger audience on his X (formerly known as Twitter) channel. Major US media outlets have lied about the Russia-Ukraine crisis to the extent that most Americans falsely believe that Kiev is winning the conflict, he added. “It’s embarrassing to be from a place that has been lied to at scale and believed the lies so thoroughly.”
“..the territorial gains of Ukraine’s much vaunted counteroffensive have been so miniscule, they are barely visible on a map.”
The US mainstream media has hinted at the possibility of a new Ukraine counteroffensive next year. Reportedly, Biden administration officials are privately bracing for a “war of attrition” that will last well into next year. According to The Wall Street Journal, “military strategists and policymakers across the West are already starting to think about next year’s spring offensive” while preparing for a protracted conflict. Having analyzed the publications, one DC-based think tank, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, has raised the question whether the White House is going to unleash a new “forever war” in Ukraine. “I do not believe the US and NATO have sufficient weapons and ammunitions to help Ukraine fight Russia until next spring and beyond,” David T. Pyne, an EMP Task Force scholar and former US Department of Defense officer, told Sputnik.
“Credible US media reports earlier this year stated that the Biden administration had informed the Ukrainian government that it lacked the ability to support Ukraine militarily at a high rate past summer 2023. There is nothing that has been done to increase US munitions or weapons production since those reports came out that would allow the US to arm the Ukrainian military to enable it to fight Russia at the same intensity level beyond that timeframe. The main problem is munitions, specifically heavy artillery shells. This increasing artillery shell shortage will only serve to increase Russian superiority over Ukraine in terms of missiles, rockets, and artillery systems if the war continues beyond September.” The provision of more NATO-grade conventional weapons won’t become a “magic bullet” for Ukraine, either, according to the military analyst.
Pyne takes the reports about planned deliveries of General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons to Kiev and training of Ukrainian pilots undertaken by the US and its NATO allies with a pinch of salt. He believes that the provision of 50-60 early-model F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine is unlikely to make much of a difference in the course of the conflict. “Russia has over fifteen times more fighter aircraft than Ukraine has right now so these additional fighters will not serve to meaningfully diminish Russian air superiority over Ukraine,” Pyne said. “Furthermore, it will take five to eight months to train Ukrainian pilots to fly these F-16 after they have completed English language training, meaning they will not likely see combat until early 2024 at the earliest.”
The military expert noted that US advocates of further weapons supplies to Kiev have been insisting since April 2022 that “if the West just provides with a limited number of additional major weapon systems, then somehow that will enable Ukraine to force Russian troops back to Russia’s pre-2014 borders.” However, all those predictions have proven wrong. “The reality is that there is no conventional weapon system that NATO could provide to Ukraine that would serve as a ‘game changer’ to enable it to defeat Russia which has over five times as many tanks, combat aircraft and artillery systems than Ukraine has. Russia also has 300,000 reserve troops bordering on Kharkov oblast which could be used for a major offensive to surround tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops in southeast Ukraine to force Ukraine to admit defeat and accept a ceasefire and armistice agreement on Russian terms,” Pyne stressed.
What’s more, the Biden administration is going to have a difficult time getting additional aid approved by Congress, according to the former Pentagon officer. “America First conservative Republicans wield substantial influence in the US House of Representatives, and they are very much averse to providing Ukraine with additional assistance of any kind, let alone another $13 billion in direct military assistance. Furthermore, even pro-war congressional Republicans are reportedly questioning the wisdom of providing additional military assistance to Ukraine since the territorial gains of Ukraine’s much vaunted counteroffensive have been so miniscule, they are barely visible on a map.”
”TikTok has over 150 million American users spending 90 minutes or more on the platform..”
The Biden administration sought to gain control over nearly every aspect of the inner workings of social media behemoth TikTok as part of negotiations allowing its continued operation in the US, according to a draft agreement obtained by Forbes last week. The agreement, which runs to nearly 100 pages, would reportedly give the White House a level of control over the Chinese-owned platform even greater than that which it was found last year to be exercising over US-based competitors like Facebook and Twitter, allowing government officials to not only monitor and influence the conversation on the platform but also to interfere in the day-to-day operations of TikTok in the US.
The platform’s US staff could even have been required to exclude ByteDance’s executives from security-related decisions, instead deferring to an executive security committee whose actions would also be concealed from ByteDance. This committee’s primary responsibility would be maintaining US national security first and TikTok’s profitability second. The draft seen by Forbes, dated last summer, is the product of months of exchanges between ByteDance and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which oversees foreign involvement in business deals that could potentially impact national security and has been investigating ByteDance for four years. TikTok has repeatedly been threatened with a blanket ban or forced sale of its US assets to an American competitor as both President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump claimed the platform is used by Beijing for information warfare.
CFIUS renewed the call for a ban or sale in March after the DOJ launched an investigation into ByteDance employees using TikTok to spy on American journalists. A spokesperson for ByteDance confirmed the surveillance but attributed it to rogue employees who have since been fired. TikTok has over 150 million American users spending 90 minutes or more on the platform. While the company pledged in 2021 to isolate US user data on servers owned by tech giant Oracle to assuage spying concerns, Biden prohibited its use by federal employees in December and dozens of state and city governments have followed suit.
“He went so far as to declare that it was in fact Russia who militarized Ukraine by launching the invasion..”
A Russian friend texted me soon after learning that the head of Wagner private military company (PMC), Yevgeny Prigozhin, had been killed in a private plane crash, midway between Moscow and his native city of St. Petersburg. My friend had just seen the New York Post headline, “Russian dissident Prigozhin reported dead after a plane crash outside Moscow.” My friend, a longtime independent editor whose paper has published—and protected—dissidents, was apoplectic. “Dissident!?” Between May 2022 and May 2023, the Russian government paid $1 billion to Wagner for military and other services (including inflated catering prices for poorly paid soldiers). Indeed, Putin has said, “We fully funded this group.” (At the time this went to press, Prigozhin’s death had still not been officially confirmed.) If Prigozhin was not already a household name in Russia following the attempted rebellion that The New York Times says exposed him as Putin’s “biggest threat,” he certainly was after his Embraer private jet crashed.
Prigozhin’s Wagner Group operated in several African countries, including the Central African Republic and Sudan, as well as in Syria as of 2015 and in Ukraine since 2014. It captivated governments and media across the globe and made international headlines after having declared a “March on Moscow” to remove what they decried as the incompetent and corrupt Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. Following Wagner’s seizure of a regional military command, the downing of seven Russian aircraft on their way to Moscow, and Putin’s determined speech accusing the mutineers of treason and vowing punishment, the rebellion was halted in dramatic fashion. The charges leveled against Prigozhin and his supporters were dropped following a still unclear agreement ostensibly mediated by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko.
Nevertheless, Prigozhin’s ultimately aborted armed rebellion mesmerized Western audiences who had long believed that Putin’s downfall was just around the corner. The June events followed Wagner’s brutal, yet ultimately successful, tactics in Ukraine–most infamously in the battle of Bakhmut. Although Wagner had initially been seen as subordinate to the Ministry of Defense, Prigozhin increasingly became one of the loudest critics of the Russian invasion from the nationalist right. He demanded more ammunition for his fighters and the intensification of the war effort, and he directly criticized the military leadership–eventually questioning Putin’s justifications for the “special military operation” itself.
During the months-long battle for Bakhmut, commentators had rationalized Prigozhin’s freedom to directly criticize the war’s conduct as due to his being in Russia’s so-called “party of war” camp, which fervently supports the extension of the conflict into a full-scale war. Nevertheless, Prigozhin’s confidence (or desperation) had been visibly increasing in the months prior to the attempted rebellion. He had directly questioned, via his 1,000,000 followers on Telegram, the objectives of the “special military operation,” one of which was to demilitarize Ukraine. Prigozhin remarked how before the full-scale invasion of 2022, Ukraine had “maybe 500 tanks” and “twenty thousand skillful fighters,” but now it had thousands of tanks and hundreds of thousands of skilled fighters. He went so far as to declare that it was in fact Russia who militarized Ukraine by launching the invasion that caused unprecedented military aid to be delivered by the coalition supporting Kyiv. As Anatol Lieven, of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, points out, Putin initially encouraged Wagner as a “rival force” to the professional army, but this ultimately had “damaging results” for his regime.
Sex workers – who frequently face financial discrimination, losing access to payment apps and banking apps such as PayPal, Venmo and CashApp due to their profession – began using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as an alternative for payments, which bypass traditional banking systems and avoid service fees from platforms such as OnlyFans. According to data by the Free Speech Coalition, 2/3 of sex workers have lost access to a bank account or financial service, with 40% having an account closed within the last year, Wired reports. “I just want to sell titty pictures,” said Allie Eve Knox, a professional dominatrix and fetish performer. “I never wanted to be an expert in financial discrimination.” After starting out in sex work in 2014, Knox, like others in the field, has become something of a financial pariah.
The first to ban her were the payment apps—PayPal, Venmo, and CashApp—which prohibit the sale of adult content as policy. But then Knox lost her bank account too. It took a week to recover her money. Nine years on and 30-plus bans later, Knox is jaded: “I don’t want to have to know how to run money to different places. I don’t want to deal with any of this bullshit.” -Wired. Another sex worker, Allie Rae, an ICU worker by training, began posting on OnlyFans when her husband was placed on work furlough. After a short period of time, she was making nearly $500,000 per month more than her day job – but she says she quickly ran into trouble. After her OnlyFans account was discovered by her employer, she was fired. She also found that realtors shunned her, lenders refused to extend a mortgage and accountants ghosted her.
Rae eventually established a corporation to run her business through, however no major bank would open a business account. “Left and right, it’s been a struggle,” she told the outlet. “I was very naive—I didn’t understand the magnitude of the discrimination.” In short, in a world that embraces the gig economy, where YouTubers and Instagram influencers can become millionaires, sex workers have found themselves in a peculiar form of exile. Given the systemic discrimination throughout the banking sector, many sex workers have turned to cryptocurrencies as a means of both storing wealth and accepting payment. For a while, things were great. Digital currencies allowed customers to pay discreetly without supplying personal information, while sex workers now had a way to bypass the banking system entirely.
Knox, for example, began accepting crypto in 2014 – holding up a QR code through which viewers could tip her in crypto. Another sex worker, former escort-turned-porn star Lira Roux, told the outlet that she began to accept crypto in 2015 at the request of clients. Initially, she would exchange the crypto for dollars, however when new laws came into effect – after which many adult-friendly advertising sites were barred from accepting regular money – she began to pay for ads with crypto too. “By and large, crypto is useful for people that aren’t being taken care of properly by the government,” Roux said. “For sex workers, who aren’t well-served by banks, it becomes a useful option.”
Now, thanks to regulatory scrutiny which has gone into overdrive since the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, sex workers are ‘bumping up’ against limitations – and are finding that ‘decentralized’ crypto is no more detached from the banking system than traditional currency – as sex workers are finding it increasingly difficult to convert crypto into dollars. Typically, this is done via an exchange, which then allows one to withdraw to a traditional bank account. Sex workers are now being banned from crypto exchanges. “You get on an exchange for as long as you can, until they shut your ass down,” said Knox. “You quickly [run out of exchanges], so you sit on a lot of useless money. The whole ‘crypto is permissionless and censorship-resistant’ thing is a bunch of bullshit.”
Frederik the Great is a Friesian stallion that lives in Arkansas's Ozark Mountains. He was imported to this farm from the Netherlands when he was six years old. In May 2016, he became known for unofficially being the "world's most handsome horse"pic.twitter.com/dvAp1NfGao
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) August 26, 2023
todays beautiful message pic.twitter.com/HLN4uVxIAk
— Nature is Amazing ☘️ (@AMAZlNGNATURE) August 25, 2023
Puppies- so cute….
The saiga antelope is a critically endangered antelope that originally inhabited a vast area of the Eurasian steppe zone
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