Velázquez The Immaculate Conception 1619
If you really think “they” are going to let either Trump or Biden get anywhere near the finish line, wake up folks. There’s something ugly brewing & it’s staring us in the face. pic.twitter.com/p9G5QcSN6U
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) December 23, 2023
This story of John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln is one of my favorite American history moments. This nation needs a revival of Americanism – @VivekGRamaswamy is the guy to do it pic.twitter.com/L3KrRsN04L
— Gavin Elwes (@GavinElwes) December 25, 2023
I interviewed @VivekGRamaswamy in Iowa. We covered a lot:
* the Canadian truckers and Trudeau
* WEF/Klaus Schwab
* the deep state vs. Trump
* Nikki Haley’s donors
* on campaigning with a young family.
What do you think of him? (I was impressed.)pic.twitter.com/FjYoC98D2q
— Ezra Levant 🍁🚛 (@ezralevant) December 24, 2023
The difference between a Constitutional Republic and a democracy. Remember this every time you hear the democrats crying about losing our "democracy". pic.twitter.com/wGrOM5OQ8g
— Freyja™ (@FreyjaTarte) December 23, 2023
He proudly stated…
US President Joe Biden told reporters on 23 December that he did not ask for a ceasefire during his latest call with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I had a long talk with Netanyahu today, and it was a private conversation,” the president said, adding that he “did not ask for a ceasefire.” The White House said Biden and Netanyahu discussed the Israeli war on Gaza and its “objectives and phasing.”The US president “emphasized the critical need to protect the civilian population, including those supporting the humanitarian aid operation, and the importance of allowing civilians to move safely away from areas of ongoing fighting,” according to the White House statement.
Biden’s phone call came one day after the UN Security Council passed a barebones resolution that called for increased humanitarian aid but failed to demand an immediate ceasefire. The Security Council had been trying to draft a resolution for several days but was forced to tone down the language at the insistence of US officials who opposed a call for an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities.” The US and Russia abstained from the UNSC vote. Washington has vetoed two previous resolutions calling for a ceasefire. “This resolution has been watered down to the point that its impact on the lives of civilians in Gaza will be nearly meaningless,” said Avril Benoit of Doctors Without Borders.
On Saturday, Israel’s Broadcasting Authority revealed Tel Aviv is planning to switch to a new phase of the war in the coming weeks, bringing to an end to ground operations and shifting the focus to continued heavy airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. While Washington has been calling for a switch to lower-intensity operations to “protect civilians,” maintaining air raids of Gaza is expected to keep the staggering death toll on the rise. Young voters in the US have increasingly shown support for the Palestinian cause, plunging Biden’s approval ratings. A poll earlier this month showed that 53 percent of US citizens “disapprove of the president.”
“..the Houthis have yet to make a mistake in spotting and hitting Israeli ships..”
From the minute after the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and the UK Maritime Trade Organisation (UKMT) learned that the oil tanker MV Chem Pluto had been hit by an exploding drone in the Indian Ocean 1,600 kilometres east of the Red Sea and Yemen coast, they also knew why. Through a joint venture between a Japanese and a Singapore holding company operating through a Dutch management cutout, the vessel is owned by Idan Ofer, an Israeli shipping magnate. The Chem Pluto strike is the second by a drone against one of Ofer’s vessels in the Indian Ocean. The first strike was on November 24, when the container carrier CMA CGM Symi was targeted in the northeastern sector of the Indian Ocean. The Symi is owned by Ofer’s Eastern Pacific Shipping in Singapore.
On December 18, drone strikes were reported by CENTCOM against the Swan Atlantic oil tanker and the bulker MV Clara. The first vessel is owned by a Norwegian company but management, with hidden equity, belongs to the Israeli Zodiac group, owned by Idan Ofer’s brother, Eyal Ofer. The second vessel, the Clara, is owned and managed by a German company, Johann MK Blumenthal; no Israeli trace has been found to date, but the Houthis have yet to make a mistake in spotting and hitting Israeli ships. On November 19 they did more than that. On that day an Israeli-owned car carrier, Galaxy Leader, was captured by Houthi commandos in the Red Sea. Follow their operation as they filmed it; here is the vessel now receiving tourists at anchor off Al-Salif port, Yemen. Ownership by the Israeli Abraham Ungar was concealed behind by a Japanese ship management entity and a company registered under the Isle of Man-headquartered Ray Car Carriers, which in turn is owned by a Tel Aviv company called Ray Shipping.
Houthi political and military spokesmen have repeatedly made clear they are attacking Israeli shipping, as well as vessels of any nationality trading in and out of Israel’s ports. “Israeli ships are legitimate targets for us anywhere… and we will not hesitate to take action,” Major General Ali Al-Moshki, a Houthi military official, said on the group’s television station on November 20, following the capture of the Galaxy Leader. “If Gaza does not receive the food and medicine it needs, all ships in the Red Sea bound for Israeli ports, regardless of their nationality, will become a target for our armed forces,” a Houthi press statement declared on December 9. CENTCOM and Pentagon releases to the press have also claimed to have intercepted Houthi drone and missile attacks on US warships in the Red Sea attempting to protect the Israeli-owned or Israel-bound shipping.
Less successful in hitting Israel’s Red Sea port of Eilat, the Houthi campaign has been effective in cutting off the port by striking at vessels in the Red Sea, and then extending the range of strikes to the eastern Indian Ocean. Eilat accounts for 45% of car imports to Israel and 5% of all the goods imported to Israel by sea. The Houthi campaign has cut Eilat’s port revenue by 80% since October 7. The impact has expanded to all shipping in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean if their management and ownership are based in the US and the European states allied with Israel in the Gaza war, and also with the US in the war against Russia in the Ukraine. It is this coalition of states which US Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin attempted to rally for naval convoy and counter-threat operations on December 18, calling the plan OPERATION PROSPERITY GUARDIAN.
This operation is now coming apart in recriminations because commercial vessel owners in France, Spain, and Italy have accepted that if they negotiate Israel-boycott deals directly with the Houthis, they can continue to operate through the Red Sea. They resent the commercial competition from Russia and China which are operating oil tankers and dry-cargo carriers without hindrance or threat. The obviousness of the targeting by the Houthis, and of Houthi deal-making by the Russians and Chinese, are being concealed, however, in the US and UK maritime industry media and the mainstream press. They are advocating maximum use of force by the Israel and US-led operation in the region to attack both Houthi and Iranian targets.
That coalition fell apart in record time. Or did Austin just make it up to begin with?
The Houthis have dismissed the US-led military coalition being assembled against them, warning that they have “multiple options” to continue targeting Israel if the IDF’s operations in Gaza aren’t halted. “If the Zionist regime does not stop its assaults on Gaza or anywhere else across the Palestinian lands and doesn’t lift its siege, our forces will exercise more options,” Maj. Gen. Mohammad Nasser al-Atifi, the Houthi-led government of national salvation’s defense minister, warned in a speech before other militia leaders late Friday. “Our eyes are monitoring and closely following the movements of the [Israeli] entity worldwide,” al-Atifi added. “The recent decisions by foreign military forces and their regional mercenaries have put many tasks before us, the most daunting of which is the exercise of vigilance and watchfulness,” the senior Houthi official said, referring to the US-led coalition.
Brig. Gen. Youssef al-Madani, commander of the 5th Military Region – situated to the east of the Red Sea along the coastal Al Hudaydah governorate, said his forces are fully cognizant of the “sensitivity” of the current phase of Houthi operations, emphasizing that the militias are “prepared, vigilant and eager to confront the Zionists and those who are fighting with them.” Al-Atifi stressed that the Houthis are fighting for the sake of the national security of the Arab and Islamic World, and that their actions “serve the interests of countries working to liberate themselves from the domination of the Zionist entity and the United States on a global scale.” “There are countries that cannot even consider using force because the situation requires brave and strategic decisions. The leader of the nation, Sayyed Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, possesses courage, audacity and independent decision-making,” Al-Atifi said. He went on to slam the international community for failing to adopt an “appropriate” stance on Israel amid the ongoing Gaza crisis.
The Houthis managed to effectively shut down the Red Sea to Israeli-owned and Israeli-bound maritime traffic via a spate of hijackings, missile and drone attacks on commercial carriers over the past month, starting with the seizure of the Israeli-owned ro-ro car carrier Galaxy Leader on November 19. The unrelenting attacks prompted international shipping giants including Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC, and CMA CGM to suspend operations through the Red Sea, adding billions of dollars to shipping costs as vessels are forced to find alternate routes. Israeli ports have faced particularly heavy losses from the Houthis’ actions, with the nation’s Eilat Port facing an 85 percent drop in activity, and Israeli cargoes facing skyrocketing insurance costs. The US began amassing warships in the region last week, and on Monday Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin announced Operation Prosperity Guardian, “an important new multinational security initiative under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces and the leadership of its Task Force 153, which focuses on security in the Red Sea.”
Austin listed ten nations he said were participating in the coalition, including the US, the UK, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Bahrain and the Seychelles. The Pentagon upped the number to “over 20 nations” on Friday, but did not elaborate on which countries specifically are involved. But part from the ships of US Task Force 153, which includes between three and five US destroyers, the British HMS Diamond missile destroyer and a Greek Navy frigate, the coalition is shaping up to include only a handful of troops from US-allied countries, including the Netherlands (which is sending two officers), Norway (10 officers), Australia (11 troops), Canada (three officers), and Denmark (one officer). France and Italy have each indicated that any naval forces they have in the region will remain under national command, while Spain said it will not take part in any military operation unless it is under the direction of NATO or the EU.
“..The idea that a sitting US president would deliberately destroy a vital source of energy and of a close ally has been, as Freud would say, taboo..”
The attack on the Nord Stream pipelines commissioned by US President Joe Biden was primarily aimed at Germany rather than Russia, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has claimed. The decision to destroy the key pipelines was prompted by US fears that Berlin might not follow Washington’s lead amid the Ukraine conflict, Hersh wrote in a new article on the affair on his Substack blog on Friday. The sabotage of the pipelines was ordered weeks before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began in February 2022, Hersh wrote, adding that the American operatives assigned to it believed it was meant to deter Moscow. The attack on the pipelines was ready by late May, but “the plan was called off on short notice by Biden,” the journalist claimed. Instead, the team was tasked with planting explosives on the pipelines, which could be detonated remotely at a later date, he said.
The timing of the attack, which ultimately occurred in late September 2022, appeared to be aimed at Berlin rather than Moscow. “Biden’s timing seemed aimed at Chancellor [Olaf] Scholz. Some in the CIA believed that the president’s fear was that Scholz, whose constituents were lukewarm in their support for Ukraine, might waffle with winter coming on and conclude that keeping his people warm and his industries prosperous was more important than backing Ukraine against Russia,” Hersh wrote. The destruction of the pipelines played a major role in Germany’s economic hardships – the country, which once “dominated the world’s markets with its luxury cars and industrial machinery… is now in a process of what some have called rapid deindustrialization,” Hersh said.
Apart from this, Germany has experienced a surge in popularity of right-wing parties, including Alternative for Germany (AfD), and its economic woes have contributed to this. However, Washington’s “most controversial factor in Germany’s recent hard times” – the Nord Stream sabotage – remains largely ignored in the West, according to the journalist. “In the ten months since I published my first account of the Nord Stream sabotage the German government and media, as in the United States, have either ignored or provided alternate accounts of the how and why the pipelines were destroyed. The idea that a sitting US president would deliberately destroy a vital source of energy and of a close ally has been, as Freud would say, taboo,” Hersh wrote.
The veteran journalist provided his first detailed account on the pipeline attack on February 8, 2023, publishing a lengthy article relying on anonymous sources “with direct knowledge of the operational planning.” The allegations prompted strong denials from Washington, with US National Security spokesman John Kirby dismissing the report as a “completely false story” at the time. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in March that he “fully agrees” with Hersh’s findings, suggesting the attack only benefited Washington to reinforce its position as a competing gas supplier to Europe.
Dumb legacy media propaganda to climb back from earlier assertions. Not terribly impressed with how Tyler covers it.
Putin hasn’t changed his views or goals one bit. That is not true of the west. But then, they lost.
In a fresh weekend report The New York Times says that President Vladimir Putin is ready to negotiate an end to the nearly two year-long ‘special operation’ in Ukraine, at a moment most of the territory which forms the four ‘annexed’ oblasts remains firmly under Russian military control. However, to some degree, Putin has consistently held open the chance to negotiate… it’s just that “negotiate” in the Kremlin context would be on the basis of Crimea and the Donbass being fully recognized as Russian Federation territory. Until recently, the West considered this an impossibility, but US and European officials have more recently quietly admitted Moscow has more or less ‘won’. The NY Times quotes Putin in the following: Buoyed by Ukraine’s failed counteroffensive and flagging Western support, Mr. Putin says that Russia’s war goals have not changed. Addressing his generals on Tuesday, he boasted that Ukraine was so beleaguered that Russia’s invading troops were doing “what we want.”
“We won’t give up what’s ours,” he pledged, adding dismissively, “If they want to negotiate, let them negotiate.” But in a recent push of back-channel diplomacy, Mr. Putin has been sending a different message: He is ready to make a deal. The report cites Russian diplomatic sources who say Putin has for the first time been open to ceasefire which would include a freezing of all frontline fighting. American officials say the same, per the report: “In fact, Mr. Putin also sent out feelers for a cease-fire deal a year earlier, in the fall of 2022, according to American officials.” “That quiet overture, not previously reported, came after Ukraine routed Russia’s army in the country’s northeast. Mr. Putin indicated that he was satisfied with Russia’s captured territory and ready for an armistice, they said.” Very obviously, Ukraine’s leadership and society has been fracturing under the strain of the invasion and immense death toll, with Kiev officials recently admitting monumental problems with manpower and ammo supply.
But the reality is that Russian society is likely facing deep fractures and uncertainty too, though it’s far less evident. Countless mothers, fathers, and families are grieving and dealing with the loss of loved ones killed in action. Conservative estimates have said at least 50,000 Russian troops have died in the war (and that is based just on data as of mid-summer). US officials have claimed a figure in the hundreds of thousands, but there are reasons to be doubtful of this. Angry families of fallen soldiers have increasingly formed the locus of a small but increasingly visible Russian anti-war movement, suggesting broader quiet societal angst concerning the direction of the war in Ukraine. They don’t want Ukraine to be Russia’s “endless war”.
[..] According to more in the NYT report on Putin’s supposed new-found readiness for serious negotiations: Mr. Putin’s repeated interest in a cease-fire is an example of how opportunism and improvisation have defined his approach to the war behind closed doors. Dozens of interviews with Russians who have long known him and with international officials with insight into the Kremlin’s inner workings show a leader maneuvering to reduce risks and keep his options open in a war that has lasted longer than he expected. While deploying fiery public rhetoric, Mr. Putin privately telegraphs a desire to declare victory and move on. “They say, ‘We are ready to have negotiations on a cease-fire,’” said one senior international official who met with top Russian officials this fall. “They want to stay where they are on the battlefield.”
So pump more weapons into it?!
A retired French general and former NATO commander has painted a chilling picture of Ukraine’s prospects over the next several months in its conflict with Russia, saying the best that Kiev and its Western sponsors can hope for is to avoid losing further ground this winter. “The Ukrainians are going to experience a terrible winter,” Jean-Paul Palomeros, ex-chief of staff for the French Air Force, said on Friday in an interview with online broadcaster Franceinfo. “We must not hide our eyes. At best, they will be able to defend the positions they currently have. We must not hope for better.” Palomeros, who served as one of NATO’s two strategic commanders after leaving the French Air Force in 2012, argued that European nations must boost their aid to Ukraine.
“Europeans must invest better and more if they want to be able to support the war effort in Ukraine,” he said. “For the moment, this is not the case.” The retired general made his comments as French President Emmanuel Macron visited France’s troops in Jordan, where he vowed to continue supporting Ukraine. “We cannot let Russia win,” the French leader said. However, Macron admitted in an interview on Wednesday with broadcaster France 5 that the US and its European allies had failed to cripple Russia’s economy through sanctions. He also acknowledged that an uncertain political situation in the US was clouding the outlook for Ukraine’s prospects. The latest round of European aid for Ukraine failed to pass earlier this month at the EU summit in Brussels, as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban voted down the bloc’s €50 billion ($54 billion) pledge.
Meanwhile, a $60 billion US aid proposal for Kiev has stalled in Washington, where Republican lawmakers have opposed giving more money until Kiev and its backers come up with a clear victory strategy. US President Joe Biden’s administration has warned that without congressional approval, funding for Washington’s aid to Ukraine will run out at the end of this month. Palomeros lamented the increasing struggles in the West to provide Ukraine the support that it needs. “The message is clear,” he said. “Now we must match words with actions.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg conceded in an interview earlier this month that Ukraine had failed to achieve any battlefield breakthroughs during its long-awaited counteroffensive. “We have to be prepared for bad news,” he said of the outlook for Kiev. “Wars move in phases, but we must stand by Ukraine in good and in bad times alike.”
“..while the West had succeeded in ensuring Ukraine’s “preservation,” its other goals remain unfulfilled..”
It is time for all countries involved in the Ukraine conflict to start looking for a political solution to the crisis, Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said on Saturday. The defense chief noted, as quoted by the ANSA news agency, that as the fighting between Moscow and Kiev is about to enter its third year, “it is important to take paths that lead to a political solution.” He stressed, however, that these efforts must coincide with continued military support for Ukraine. The minister pointed out that while the West had succeeded in ensuring Ukraine’s “preservation,” its other goals remain unfulfilled. “What cannot be achieved militarily… can be achieved by opening a diplomatic and political front to try to achieve the same result through peace talks,” he said.
Crosetto also highlighted that “what existed before the war must be restored, and what could not be done with weapons must be done in another way.” NATO member states, including the US, which has emerged as Kiev’s main backer, have insisted that they would continue their support for Ukraine “as long as it takes” while taking steps to bring the embattled country closer to the bloc’s military standards. Russia, which has historically seen NATO’s expansion toward its borders as a threat, has said the Ukraine’s push to join the bloc was one of the key reasons behind the conflict. The Italian defense minister already warned in early October that the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev were unlikely to be resolved on the battlefield.
At the time, he explained that the “more time passes, the more the possibility of helping Ukraine with resources that are not unlimited decreases,” while pointing to serious problems Kiev had encountered in its unsuccessful attempts to push back Russian troops. Kiev launched a much-hyped counteroffensive in early summer but has failed to gain any significant ground while suffering heavy losses both in manpower and Western-supplied equipment. Moscow has estimated Ukrainian casualties since the start of the offensive at around 160,000 troops. While President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree banning talks with the current leadership in Moscow last autumn after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia, Moscow has repeatedly said it is ready for peace talks with Kiev.
“..not at all surprised by Reinsalu’s statement, which goes in line with the ‘caveman’ Russophobia characteristic of modern EU politicians and the ‘collective West’ in general.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry has called out what it called “caveman Russophobia” after ex-Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu suggested that EU member states should prevent Russian embassies from opening polling stations for next year’s presidential election. The vote is slated for a three-day period from March 15 to 17, with the winner to be inaugurated in May. Speaking to RIA Novosti on Sunday, a Foreign Ministry representative said that Moscow is “not at all surprised by Reinsalu’s statement, which goes in line with the ‘caveman’ Russophobia characteristic of modern EU politicians and the ‘collective West’ in general.” It was also noted that the former Estonian minister’s proposal runs counter to the West’s professed adherence to the principles of democracy, with the right to vote being among its cornerstones.
“We see in this nothing but an attempt to introduce one more discriminatory measure against compatriots living in Estonia,” the ministry added. Russian officials also pointed out that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations does not oblige embassies to apply for the host nation’s permission to open polling stations on their premises – contrary to what Reinsalu appeared to suggest. The latter argued that it would be “absurd if European countries allow polling stations to open in Russian embassies on their territory in March.” Reinsalu later clarified to the media outlet Postimees that Moscow would have to request permission from the Estonian Foreign Ministry, which could refuse.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially filed papers to register as an independent presidential candidate with Russia’s Central Election Commission. If victorious, he would serve a fifth term in office. Several major Russian parties, including the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), and New People have also signaled they will put forward candidates. Furthermore, a number of public figures and politicians have also announced their intent to run as independents.
Pro-Western demonstrators have attempted to break into government buildings in Belgrade in what Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has called an attempted “color revolution.” Vucic claims he was tipped off about the plot beforehand. Thousands of opposition protesters gathered outside the Belgrade City Assembly on Sunday to protest the victory of Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) over the pro-EU Serbia Against Violence (SPN) coalition in parliamentary elections last week. The protest turned violent with a group of demonstrators attempting to batter down the doors of the building, until they were dispersed by police. “There is no revolution underway,” Vucic said in a public address. “Nothing will go their way,” he continued, referring to the protesters. “Those who swear to fight against violence have shown that they are real thugs.”
The SPN coalition emerged out of anti-government protests following a pair of mass shootings in May. While the protest movement initially demanded the resignations of Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic and intelligence chief Aleksandar Vulin, it soon called for the fall of Vucic’s government. Vucic claimed that the protest was sponsored by Western powers who wanted him removed from office over his cordial relations with Russia and refusal to abandon Serbia’s claim to Kosovo, citing reports from foreign intelligence services. He reiterated these allegations in Sunday’s address, thanking unnamed “foreign services” for letting his security services “know exactly what the thugs were preparing.” The term ‘color revolution’ describes a protest movement funded and organized by a Western government – usually the US.
Aimed at toppling leaders opposed to US interests, these revolutions are typically backed by American intelligence agencies, and organized by a panoply of US-funded NGOs. While the term became widely known following the 2003 ‘Rose Revolution’ in Georgia, the first successful use of color revolution tactics took place in Yugoslavia in 2000, when a US-backed student movement forced the resignation of Slobodan Milosevic. The anti-Milosevic movement began with claims that the Yugoslavian leader had engaged in fraud in that year’s election, claims bolstered by Western-funded ‘election monitors’ who were brought in. “Serbia is fed up with your revolutions,” Vucic said during the initial ‘anti-violence’ protests earlier this year. “Serbia is fed up with the arrival of those under foreign influence and the destruction of everything that is Serbian.”
“When we shared that information with everyone else, they said: ‘Well, that’s Russian disinformation, that’s spreading fake news.’”
S e r b i a n P r i m e M i n i s t e r A n a B r n a b i c h a s e x p r e s s e d g r a t i t u d e t o t h e R u s s i a n s e c u r i t y s e r v i c e s , w h i c h a l e r t e d B e l g r a d e t o p l a n s f o r r i o t s i n t h e c a p i t a l . P r o - W e s t e r n d e m o n s t r a t o r s a t t e m p t e d t o b r e a k i n t o g o v e r n m e n t b u i l d i n g s i n B e l g r a d e o n S u n d a y e v e n i n g , i n w h a t S e r b i a n P r e s i d e n t A l e k s a n d a r V u c i c c a l l e d a n a t t e m p t e d c o l o r r e v o l u t i o n . While Vucic initially thanked unnamed “foreign services” for letting his security services “know exactly what the thugs were preparing,” B r n a b ic l a t e r r e v e a l e d t h a t B e l g r a d e w a s t i p p e d o f f b y M o s c o w . “I feel that it is important, especially tonight, to stand up for Serbia and to thank the Russian security services who had that information and who shared it with us,” Brnabic told TV Pink on Sunday night. “I can only say thank you, and it probably won’t be popular with those from the West,” the prime minister said, adding, “When we shared that information with everyone else, they said: ‘Well, that’s Russian disinformation, that’s spreading fake news.’”
Anti-government protests erupted in Serbia on Monday, with the opposition accusing the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of “vote theft” during last week’s parliamentary elections, in which the party defeated the pro-EU Serbia Against Violence (SPN) coalition. Vucic dismissed the allegations as “lies,” claiming that the protests were sponsored by the West, which wants him removed due to his relations with Russia and refusal to abandon Serbia’s claim to Kosovo. Following the unrest in Belgrade, Vucic is expected to host Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko at his residence just across the square from the assembly where the protest took place, local media reported, citing the presidential press service. Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has also scheduled a meeting with the Russian envoy.
“Poland’s state media, which include the TV station TVP, Polish Radio, and the PAP news agency, are the sole source of news for the approximately one-third of Poles who lack access to private media..”
Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoed a 2024 budget bill on Saturday in protest at the newly elected government’s controversial overhaul of the country’s state media outlets. Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s new cabinet revealed on Wednesday that it had fired the top executives at government-run TV and radio stations and news agency and appointed new management boards in their place, citing a need to restore “impartiality.” In a post on X (formerly Twitter) Duda explained that he could not consent to the bill, which included 3 billion zlotys (€690 million) earmarked for public media, “given the blatant violation of the Constitution and the principles of a democratic state of law.” “An attempt to finance public media through a budget related law (by the parliamentary majority) is in the current situation unacceptable,” he continued, vowing to send his own version of the budget through parliament “immediately after Christmas.”
This version will include the spending commitments promised by the ruling coalition led by Tusk. Duda urged the leaders of both houses of parliament to call sessions and adopt his draft before the year’s end. The new government would have fulfilled several of its electoral promises with the budget, which included a 30% pay raise for teachers and a 20% increase for public sector workers. The controversial overhaul came just a day after parliament approved a resolution calling for “all state authorities to immediately take action aimed at restoring constitutional order in terms of citizens’ access to reliable information and the functioning of public media,” seemingly fulfilling Tusk’s campaign pledge that he would “change the system of public media” in the space of 24 hours if elected.
The former European Council president and his allies had accused the government-run media properties of acting as propaganda mouthpieces for the Law and Justice (PiS) party previously in power by attacking its political enemies and fomenting anti-EU sentiment. Tusk’s predecessor, Mateusz Morawiecki, denounced his replacement’s “illegal actions,” charging that the new coalition government intended to violate the law “at every step” and vowing to resist accordingly. “We will not allow for a dictatorship to be built in Poland,” the PiS politician wrote in a social media post on Wednesday. The party, which lost power to Tusk’s coalition in October’s elections, has pointed out that the management of public media properties can only be fired by the National Media Council. Poland’s state media, which include the TV station TVP, Polish Radio, and the PAP news agency, are the sole source of news for the approximately one-third of Poles who lack access to private media, according to the BBC.
“Biden confirmed on Wednesday that Trump “certainly supported an insurrection..”
US President Joe Biden has said he sees no reason for presidents to enjoy absolute immunity from criminal prosecution, a position vehemently advocated by his predecessor Donald Trump. The statement came in response to a reporter’s question as President Biden left the White House for Camp David, where he plans to spend the Christmas holiday. The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday not to expedite a ruling on Trump’s immunity case was a setback for federal prosecutors seeking to begin a trial related to the former president’s alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Trump maintains that his actions leading up to the events of January 6, 2021 were within the scope of his official duties.
The riot saw his supporters violently storm the US Capitol in an attempt to disrupt lawmakers’ certification of Biden’s victory.The trial, scheduled to begin on March 4, was delayed after Independent Special Counsel Jack Smith sought an expedited resolution from the nation’s highest court to ensure the scheduled start date. With the Supreme Court granting the expedited request, a lower federal appeals court will now consider the immunity claim, raising the possibility that the trial could extend into the heart of the upcoming general election or beyond. Looking ahead to the 2024 race, Biden’s campaign plans to frame the upcoming contest, which will likely feature a rematch with Trump, as a replay of the 2020 showdown, but with even higher stakes.
Last week, Biden’s campaign circulated a memo characterizing Trump as a significant threat to US democracy, citing his behavior leading up to the January 6 events and his alleged threats against political opponents. While Biden confirmed on Wednesday that Trump “certainly supported an insurrection” on January 6, he stopped short of endorsing a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that could bar the former president from appearing on the state’s ballot. When asked, Biden said, “That’s up to the court.” The January 6, 2021 incident occurred when a mob of Trump supporters broke into the US Capitol in an attempt to stop the Electoral College vote count following Trump’s election loss, claiming it was rigged. Since the riot, more than 1,200 people have been charged with crimes related to the breach.
“We’re never going to have a situation in this country where one or some cluster of states decides that Donald Trump is not on the ballot and everyone else decides he is..”
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said on Saturday that the Supreme Court will likely decide if former US President Donald Trump is allowed on all or none of the ballots in the 2024 Presidential election. Simon’s comments come after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump will not be allowed on the ballot in that state because it determined that he is responsible for the riot on January 6, 2021, and therefore had engaged in an insurrection or rebellion and is not eligible to hold office under the 14th Amendment. Trump has not been charged with insurrection or rebellion. The Colorado court stayed its order, expecting Trump’s legal team to appeal to the Supreme Court. Simon told US media in an interview on Saturday that the highest court in the land will “have to” take up the appeal.
“We’re never going to have a situation in this country where one or some cluster of states decides that Donald Trump is not on the ballot and everyone else decides he is,” Simon explained. “He will either be on the ballot everywhere or nowhere, and the US Supreme Court is going to make sure of that.” However, just because Simon is confident that the Supreme Court will ensure Trump’s inclusion on ballots nationwide will be all or nothing, he is not as confident that they will decide on the issue of whether the 14th Amendment applies to Presidents or if Trump engaged in an insurrection. “There’s so many different ways that the Supreme Court could go, there are multiple off ramps for them, for example, to decide the case without deciding the ultimate issue, which is, did Donald Trump engage in or help an insurrection?” Simon said. “They don’t have to decide that. There are a number of ways they can dispose of the case and get an outcome without deciding that question.”
Lawsuits in several states had tried to remove Trump from the ballot, but most were thrown out of court and were seen as longshot cases. The Colorado ruling surprised many. Officials in several Democrat-controlled states have argued the same could be done there, including California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, who on Wednesday, asked California Secretary of State Shirley Weber to “explore every legal option” to remove Trump. Recent polling shows that Trump is leading his likely opponent in the 2024 election, President Joe Biden in seven swing states, which means he’d likely beat Biden if the election were held today. After the Colorado ruling, Trump took to his Truth Social, saying “I’m not an Insurrectionist.”
I want this please! pic.twitter.com/32FRMZnvqp
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