Vincent van Gogh Boulevard de Clichy, Paris 1887
"You live in a society where the people in charge just want to sell you out to get rich"
"That's bad, but that's not what we're watching"
"We're watching something much darker than that"
"The objective of the entire administration is to destroy the United States"
"It's like… pic.twitter.com/uOkmk7Vhvm
— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) December 28, 2023
The delegitimization of Palestinians by #Israel
No one explains it better that Daniel levy pic.twitter.com/t0fe5TLBGw
— Abier (@abierkhatib) December 28, 2023
“..those eleven US aircraft carrier task forces, for all practical purposes, are essentially worthless.”
“..using the “nuclear” option or cutting off potentially at least 25 percent, and up, of the world oil supply. As one Persian Gulf analyst succinctly describes it, “that would irretrievably implode the international financial system.”
Yemen’s resistance movement, Ansarallah, has made it very clear that any Israel-affiliated or Israel-destined vessel will be intercepted. While the west bristles at this, and imagines itself a target, the rest of the world fully understands that all other shipping is free to pass. Russian tankers – as well as Chinese, Iranian, and Global South ships – continue to move undisturbed across the Bab al-Mandeb (narrowest point: 33 km) and the Red Sea. Only the Hegemon is disturbed by this challenge to its ‘rules-based order.’ It is outraged that western vessels delivering energy or goods to law-breaking Israel can be impeded, and that the supply chain has been severed and plunged into deep crisis. The pinpointed target is the Israeli economy, which is already bleeding heavily. A single Yemeni move proves to be more efficient than a torrent of imperial sanctions.
It is the tantalizing possibility of this single move turning into a paradigm shift – with no return – that is adding to the Hegemon’s apoplexy. Especially because imperial humiliation is deeply embedded in the paradigm shift. Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the record, is now sending an unmistakeable message: Forget the Suez Canal. The way to go is the Northern Sea Route – which the Chinese, in the framework of the Russia-China strategic partnership, call the Arctic Silk Road. For the dumbfounded Europeans, the Russians have detailed three options: First, sail 15,000 miles around the Cap of Good Hope. Second, use Russia’s cheaper and faster Northern Sea Route. Third, send the cargo via Russian Railways. Rosatom, which oversees the Northern Sea Route, has emphasized that non-ice-class ships are now able to sail throughout summer and autumn, and year-round navigation will soon be possible with the help of a fleet of nuclear icebreakers.
All that as direct consequences of the single Yemeni move. What next? Yemen entering BRICS+ at the summit in Kazan in late 2024, under the Russian presidency? The new architecture will be framed in West Asia The US-led Armada put together for Operation Genocide Protection, which collapsed even before birth, may have been set up to “warn Iran,” apart from giving Ansarallah a scare. Just as the Houthis, Tehran is hardly intimidated because, as West Asia analyst ace Alastair Crooke succinctly put it: “Sykes-Picot is dead.” This is a quantum shift on the chessboard. It means West Asian powers will frame the new regional architecture from now on, not US Navy “projection.” That carries an ineffable corollary: those eleven US aircraft carrier task forces, for all practical purposes, are essentially worthless.
Everyone across West Asia is well aware that Ansarallah’s missiles are capable of hitting Saudi and Emirati oil fields, and knocking them out of commission. So it is little wonder that Riyadh and Abu Dhabi would never accept becoming part of a US-led maritime force to challenge the Yemeni resistance. Add to it the role of underwater drones now in the possession of Russia and Iran. Think of fifty of these aimed at a US aircraft carrier: it has no defense. While the Americans still have very advanced submarines, they cannot keep the Bab al-Mandeb and Red Sea open to western operators. On the energy front, Moscow and Tehran don’t even need to think – at least not yet – about using the “nuclear” option or cutting off potentially at least 25 percent, and up, of the world oil supply. As one Persian Gulf analyst succinctly describes it, “that would irretrievably implode the international financial system.”
For those still determined to support the genocide in Gaza there have been warnings. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani has mentioned it explicitly. Tehran has already called for a total oil and gas embargo against nations that support Israel. A total naval blockade of Israel, meticulously engineered, remains a distinct possibility. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander Hossein Salami said Israel may “soon face the closure of the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar, and other waterways.” Keep in mind we’re not yet even talking about a possible blockade of the Strait of Hormuz; we’re still on Red Sea/Bab al-Mandeb.
“..whose prosperity is Operation Prosperity Guardian truly guarding?”
Since the start of Israel’s genocide of Gaza, it has been the claim of the Israelis, their lawyers, and allies that there are no innocent civilians in Gaza, so they say that killing them all is neither a genocide nor a war crime. Israel’s President Isaac Herzog said it in India in October. US Congressman Brian Mast said it, following the Israeli lead. The US Navy analyst who spied for Israel and served half a life in US prison for his treason has declared it in print. A French-Israeli lawyer has argued the legality on French television. The reply the Arab militaries fighting against Israel have made is that there is no innocent oil tanker or container ship moving within missile or drone range of Israel, the Red Sea or the Indian Ocean unless it can prove it.
This answer by the Ansar Allah government of Yemen, aka the Houthi military, is that they will attack any vessel which they know to be owned or controlled by Israel through its shipping families, companies, and their cutouts. As a result, Houthi drone and missile attacks have exposed the elaborate scheme of corporate camouflage and false-flagging which Israel has been employing to conceal the vessel identities and movement of its international shipping operations. The Anglo-American maritime industry media, privy to these secrets, have not published them. The mainstream western press remains in the dark. In today’s Gorillla Radio podcast, this isn’t dark any longer. Not genocide in Gaza but money in shipowner pockets is blowing the gaff.
There is much more at stake. The effectiveness of the Houthi ship targeting campaign has so threatened the movement of vital cargoes into and out of Europe that shipping, port, and military officials in France, Italy, Spain, and Greece are now trying to avert a commercial disaster for themselves by arranging secret safe-passage deals with Yemen and Iran in exchange for which they are applying a blockade on Israel’s cargoes, vessels and ports. This is the secret which is torpedoing the Pentagon’s multinational Red Sea naval escort plan, called OPERATION PROSPERITY GUARDIAN. As the secrecy of Israeli shipping companies spills out, along with the secret dealmaking of the international shipowners with the Houthis, American shipowners are already complaining bitterly at being cut out of the profits. “If the main beneficiary of the operation,” editorializes gCaptain of California, a leading US maritime platform, “is one of the largest shipping corporations in the world [Denmark’s Maersk], then there is a question of whose prosperity is Operation Prosperity Guardian truly guarding?”
Just how accurate is Houthi targeting of concealed Israeli shipping connections? In the podcast I stumbled over the name of the MSC United VIII. According to its owner Mediterranean Shipping Company, “MSC confirms that on 26 December 2023 the container ship MSC UNITED VIII was attacked while transiting the Red Sea. The vessel informed a nearby coalition task force warship of the attack and as instructed engaged in evasive maneuvers. The incident occurred on 26 December 2023 at approximately 12:25 UTC while the MSC vessel was enroute from King Abdullah Port, Saudi Arabia to Karachi, Pakistan. Currently, all crew are safe with no reported injuries and a thorough assessment of the vessel is being conducted. Our first priority remains protecting the lives and safety of our seafarers, and until their safety can be ensured MSC will continue to reroute vessels booked for Suez transit via the Cape of Good Hope.”
In its concern for “the lives and safety of our seafarers”, MSC omitted to explain why the company management had decided to expose the vessel, the mariners, and the cargo by running the Red Sea gauntlet on behalf of the Israeli shipowners, Eyal and Idan Ofer; they are behind the vessel’s operation, and that was the reason for the Houthi attack. Here’s the full story. There’s more — MSC appears to be owned by an Italian family, the Apontes, who established the shipping line in Switzerland in 1970. In fact, Gianluigi Aponte, the MSC founder, is married to Rafaela Diamant, and she controls half the shares of the company. Diamant is Jewish and comes from Haifa. The Houthis know this; maritime reporters don’t.
“..Hamas continues to fight back, even in rubble..”
For now Israel seems to lose its war against the Palestinian resistance. The October 7 attempt to gain hostages by Hamas and Islamic Jihad was successful. Israeli outrage about it should have been directed against the Israeli government and its army for their chaotic response. They likely killed more Israelis than Hamas did. But outrage was instead instigated against the external enemy. In this case all Palestinians. A united Israel urged its government to wage revenge. The government’s announced aim is to remove Hamas. That however is impossible to do to a social movement with deep roots in its society. The real aim is to remove all Palestinians from Gaza, to either kill them or to dump them in some foreign land. This would be followed by an attempt to remove all Palestinians from the West Bank before capturing and annexing the south of Lebanon.
However no foreign country is likely to support such a genocide and to take up the burden of millions of unruly refugees. The Israeli government still wants to satisfy its people but has no way to achieve that. Meanwhile the resistance against Israel, which has been built by Iran over several decades, is increasing its response. It aims to press Israel into conceding defeat and to liberate the Palestinians from their Zionist occupiers. Changing a society’s mind requires a slow and long response. In the north Hezbullah is slowly escalating its tit-for tat war with the Israeli army. Some 100,000 Israeli civilians have fled from the border zone. The Ansar Islam movement in Yemen has blocked maritime traffic to Israel’s Eilat port. The U.S. attempt to counter that has failed:
“Despite the US calling the Red Sea tensions “an international challenge” requiring a united response, the initial coalition support was limited, with only 10 nations, including Bahrain as the sole Arab state. The Pentagon later announced that 20 countries had joined the coalition, with Greece and Australia among the new members. In a setback to the US, France, Spain, and Italy have declined their participation in the alliance ..”
Local resistances in Iraq and Syria are attacking U.S. troops deployed in those countries. As long as its troops are there the U.S. can to nothing to prevent that. There are also threats to Israel’s Mediterranean coast line. Hezbollah has the ability to close down Haifa and and other Israeli ports. Missiles, cruise missiles and drones from Gaza, from Lebanon, Yemen and from resistance fighters in Iraq and Syria continue to target Israel day by day. With more than 350,000 Israeli troops mobilized and Palestinian workers from the West Bank banned, Israel’s economy is, for lack of workers, in deep trouble. Its military forays into Palestinian cities in Gaza have so far achieved little results but incurred significant losses. All the army can do is to destroy those cities block by block. But Hamas continues to fight back, even in rubble.
The current plan is to make Palestinian life in Gaza so miserable that leaving it will be for them the only alternative to certain death. But leaving whereto when no one wants to take them? That is a question Israel and its U.S. backers fail to answer. With the war going into a prolonged, unsustainable phase the Israeli government needs to do something else, or fail.
“Without German exports and earnings, there is a “pressure on the euro to go down against the [US] dollar, and the euro is becoming a sort of failed currency..”
The United States’ efforts to cripple the Russian economy through sanctions have backfired spectacularly not only against the US but also allies who joined the failed economic warfare tactics. Polls in the US show that 70-80% of Americans think their country’s economy “is getting worse and is being mismanaged,” says US economist and former Wall Street analyst Michael Hudson. During an interview with Sputnik, Hudson argued that the US’ gross domestic product growth occurs only for the 10% of the population, with the remaining 90% of Americans being left empty-handed. “So what you are having in the West is a bifurcated economy: it is very good to be a billionaire, it is very good to have stocks and even bonds; it is not good at all if you are a wage earner and have to pay for your housing and your food and your consumption out of what you’re earning,” he explained.
However, Hudson also indicated that across the pond, Europe is not faring any better as the “destruction of German heavy industry as a result of the Nord Stream blow-up and the sanctions against Russia have pushed Germany into a decline. The German economy’s woes, in turn, put the “entire euro’s exchange rate” at risk because of the significant role Germany’s export surplus played in the Eurozone balance and foreign exchange. Without German exports and earnings, there is a “pressure on the euro to go down against the [US] dollar, and the euro is becoming a sort of failed currency,” Hudson said. “So there is talk now in both Europe and America, ‘Is America a failed economy? Is Europe a failed economy?’ That’s really what we should be talking about, not simply whether the economy is growing or not,” he pointed out.
Hudson dismissed US President Joe Biden’s boasting about the American economy growing, with the American economist noting the growth is essentially a product of the US Federal Reserve “pumping money into the stock market and that is pushing up stocks.” “For Mr. Biden, the contributors to the Democratic Party are the financial sector, and for the financial sector, it is doing just fine. So Mr. Biden’s economy is thriving,” Hudson continued. “Unfortunately, the economy for the 90% is not thriving, that is not Mr. Biden’s economy and that is why Mr. Biden’s approval ratings have fallen to the lowest approval of any sitting president since World War II, since statistics began to be covered.” At this time, the United States faces a health crisis, housing crisis and a “general economic malaise,” he added. Hudson also weighed in on matters such as the ramifications of Western powers’ seizure of Russia’s foreign assets and the role of US dollar as an instrument of control wielded by Washington.
“..the majority non-white population in the U.S. will become a reality. The Bureau says the change will occur in 2042..”
The most decisive latest turning point that was to affect the U.S. ethnic make-up then, now and in the future was introduced by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. In fact, it was signed by President Lyndon Johnson on October 3, 1965 and is known as The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 also known as the Hart–Celler Act. The most essential changes introduced by the act amounted to abolishing quotas based on national origin. That meant the end of preferences for northern and western Europeans and selecting immigrants on individual merit and not race or ethnic origin. Apart from President Johnson, the proponents of the bill were Ted Kennedy, along with Attorney General and Senator Robert Kennedy, in part to honor their brother, the late president Kennedy. They did a lot to confuse the public. The lead supporter of the act Ted Kennedy for instance, while debating it in the Senate stated the following:
‘The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.’ After signing the act an electoral backlash against Republicans ensued. Yet in 1960, one-third of “non-white” voters (the vast majority of them, black) supported Richard Nixon, the Republican Party candidate. It wasn’t so four years later. The Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater, an arch-conservative who also voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and whose law-and-order message may have struck many observers as a thinly veiled appeal to white backlash scored about 6% of non-white vote. With the relentless inflow of Third World migrants exceeding one million a year in recent years it would be right to ask whether the 1965 Act had a decisive impact on the presidential election of 2016. Yes, it did have.
Donald Trump won 52% of the white vote on a platform that writer and professor Josh Zeitz rightly classified as uniquely unappealing to minority voters. Hillary Clinton grabbed only 40% of the white vote. But as minorities grow in numbers and proportion of the U.S. population, the impact of the Hart-Celler Act will gain much more in significance. Any Democrat that will be a presidential candidate in 2024 is likely to have even more minorities to vote for him, and Trump (if he will be allowed to run for presidency) will face the depleted white vote if his program remains unchanged. To gain more votes his electoral platform will have to become minority inclusive. In view of the above, what is held in store for the future elections and the USA in general?
It was for the first time in 2011 that non-Hispanic whites accounted for a minority of births in the U.S. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that minorities – defined as anyone who is not a single-race non-Hispanic white – made up 50.4% of the nation’s population younger than age 1 on 1 July, 2011. The growth, it was claimed, was fueled by immigration and births. One doesn’t have to strain his imagination to realize that once the old generations pass away the majority non-white population in the U.S. will become a reality. The Bureau says the change will occur in 2042. According to The Pew Research Center, whites in the U.S. will account for 47% of the population by 2050. Are the above forecast to satisfy power hungry democrats and liberals? Apparently not.
“He betrayed his people. And not just one, he betrayed two of his nations,” Lavrov concluded.”
Russia has become significantly stronger over the past year, with the people opposing the West in the hybrid war it has unleashed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Sputnik and the Rossiya 24 broadcaster. “As a result of this hybrid war of the entire collective West against Russia, which was unleashed by the hands, bodies and all other components of Ukrainian society against us … Russia has become significantly stronger this year, and the unity of our people has increased significantly,” Lavrov said. The top diplomat added that the West’s plan to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia had failed miserably. “The West is indeed changing its tactics, probably even thinking about restructuring its strategy. Even if we claim that the ‘strategic defeat of Russia’ was the strategy, forgive me for repeating, then the strategy has failed miserably,” Lavrov stated.
He stressed that since US has labelled Russia as its “enemy”, Moscow is ready for any course of events. These days, the advance of a fairer economic order cannot be stopped, said Sergey Lavrov. “The movement towards a fairer world order, economic world order, is, of course, unstoppable”. He recalled that developing countries and BRICS members have been demanding IMF and World Bank quotas that would reflect their real economic standing, but the West has been reluctant. Russia’s top diplomat stressed that this case is yet another example of how the US violates the principles of honest free market competition. Lavrov added that the world majority grew very tired of the US dollar as the main reserve currency, because it has turned into a tool of political pressure.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Sputnik and the Rossiya 24 broadcaster that he does not see any bright future for the European Union. “I do not see such a rosy future, or rather, I do not see a rosy future in a good sense for the European Union. In other senses, they have already defined this future for themselves,” Lavrov said. The top diplomat stressed that Russia plans to achieve all the goals of the special military operation in the wake of changes in Ukraine. “We are preparing to implement all the goals that were set. Demilitarization, denazification. You can’t escape it,” he said. Sergey Lavrov said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is a traitor. He recalled that recently the Ukrainian leader said that he had forgotten the Russian language and his words looked as if they were parts of a play.
The top diplomat added that years earlier Zelensky had urged to “leave Russians alone” and pretended that Russian was his language and at the same time he was a citizen of Ukraine. Russia’s foreign policy chief lamented that Zelensky was unable to stick to this position. “He betrayed his people. And not just one, he betrayed two of his nations,” Lavrov concluded.
“..The removal of the Western-backed government of Vladimir Zelensky is an undeclared but a “most important and inevitable goal” of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine..”
The removal of the Western-backed government of Vladimir Zelensky is an undeclared but a “most important and inevitable goal” of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, former President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev has said. On Thursday, Medvedev, who now holds the position of deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, was asked by RIA-Novosti about the prospects of peace talks between Moscow and Kiev in 2024. The Russian military operation in Ukraine will continue next year with its goals remaining unchanged, he replied. According to the former president, those goals include “the disarmament of Ukrainian troops and the rejection of the ideology of neo-Nazism by the current Ukrainian state.” “The removal of the ruling Banderovite regime isn’t being openly declared, but it’s the most important and inevitable goal that must and will be achieved,” he said, referring to the Zelensky government.
‘Banderovite’ relates to Stepan Bandera (1909-1959), a Ukrainian nationalist leader who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II and is now revered as a hero by authorities in Kiev. “Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Nikolaev, Kiev, they are Russian cities, like many others under temporary occupation [by Ukraine]. All of them are marked in yellow and blue on paper maps and electronic tablets, for now,” Medvedev said. About talks, they are “of course, possible,” he acknowledged, adding that “Russia never rejected them, unlike the insane Ukrainian authorities.” The former president stressed, however, that Moscow has no deadline for any negotiations and that these may proceed all the way until “the complete defeat and capitulation” of the NATO-backed Ukrainian forces.
On Wednesday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the authorities in Moscow “identify a lack of drive for peace on the part of the Zelensky regime. His representatives think in terms of war and use very aggressive rhetoric.” The US and the EU remain committed to “containing Russia with the hands and bodies of Ukrainians” and realize that without aid from these sources the Kiev government “is doomed,” the minister said. He also recalled that, more than a year ago, Zelensky officially banned himself from negotiating with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Instead, the Ukrainian leader has been promoting his so-called ten-point peace plan, which calls for Russia to withdraw from all territories claimed by Kiev, for Moscow to pay reparations, and for the formation of a war-crimes tribunal. Russian authorities instantly rejected the proposal as “unrealistic” and out-of-touch with the situation on the ground.
🇷🇺🇺🇦🚨‼️ BOMBSHELL: Arestovich essentially calls Ukrainians to remove Zelensky and make peace with Russia!
He says, pro Russian structures are formed in Europe and it’s stupid to fight.
Also he says, the Russian president was super pro western but was betrayed by the west! pic.twitter.com/64p3O3Q1O1
— Lord Bebo (@MyLordBebo) December 27, 2023
Zelensky wants 500,000 new conscripts. He’ll be short: people, armory, uniforms, etc etc.
Ukraine should mobilize its entire population to fight against Russia instead of the 500,000 recently proposed by President Vladimir Zelensky, the governor of the Nikolaev region, Vitaliy Kim, has said. Kim’s comments in a TV interview came after Zelensky stated last week that Ukraine’s military command had asked to conscript half a million men over the coming year. The secretary of Ukraine’s parliamentary national security committee, Roman Kostenko, explained that the mobilization drive is needed to cover casualties and form new units. Kim, however, argued that conscripting 500,000 people is “not enough” and that Ukraine needs to attract at least two million volunteers. Or better still, the governor suggested, Kiev should look to mobilize the country’s entire population of 40 million, claiming that the fight against Russia is similar to WWII.
In addition, Kim suggested that all enterprises in Ukraine should be mobilized and put on a war footing, regardless of the impact on profits. “The more we mobilize, the faster Putin will surrender,” the governor said. Zelensky’s proposal to mobilize 500 thousand people has raised eyebrows even in Kiev, with Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzny stating that he had never requested any specific numbers from Zelensky and has only demanded, as always, ammunition, weapons and human resources. Ukraine’s Finance Minister Sergey Marchenko has also seemingly been baffled by Zelensky’s proposal, stating that no concrete plans have yet been submitted to his ministry, and that it is unclear where Kiev would can get the money to fund the mobilization of half a million people, which would cost an estimate of 500 billion hryvnia ($13.2 billion).
However, some have suggested that Zelensky’s mobilization announcement may be an attempt to encourage the West to provide additional weapons and funds. According to former Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov, the Ukrainian leader could use the situation to tell Kiev’s partners: “see, we’re gathering an army of half a million. It must be equipped, it must be armed. These are huge costs and expenses.” While it is unclear when and how Kiev will conscript 500 thousand men, it has already started working on revising its mobilization laws, with lawmakers looking to reduce the conscription age from 27 to 25 and introduce electronic military summons. According to Russia’s estimates, an estimated 400,000 Ukrainian troops have been either killed or wounded since the start of the conflict in February 2022, including 125,000 during Kiev’s failed counteroffensive between early June and late November.
“..part of the concerted effort being undertaken by the Russian military to create a situation for the civilians of Donetsk, where they can live in peace without the fear of daily bombardment..”
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the Russian Armed Forces had liberated the town of Maryinka on Monday. Maryinka is a heavily fortified settlement situated on the outskirts of the city of Donetsk. “In the course of offensive operations, assault detachments from the Southern Group of Forces completely liberated Maryinka southwest of Donetsk,” Shoigu told Russian President Vladimir Putin during Monday’s briefing. Speaking to Sputnik, Scott Ritter, a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector recalled that from Maryinka, a town of around 9,000 people, Ukrainian forces carried out “merciless shelling of the civilian population of Donetsk and the surrounding area. “Capturing Maryinka and eliminating the source of this artillery and mortar fire represents a major moral victory for the Russian forces,” Ritter pointed out.
He dubbed Maryinka’s liberation “part of the concerted effort being undertaken by the Russian military to create a situation for the civilians of Donetsk, where they can live in peace without the fear of daily bombardment that has killed so many innocent civilians, including children.” According to Ritter, Maryinka is just “one of the battles for the Russian forces” who are pushing the Ukrainians out of previously heavily defended cities, towns, and villages, which he said means that strategic initiative is in Russia’s hands. He recounted that the Russian defense industry “is in full gear” producing new military equipment in significant quantities for the Russian forces that are deployed in the Donbass and the new Russian territories of Kherson and Zaporozhye. “Right now, it looks like Russia will sustain and maintain the strategic advantage,” per Ritter.
The ex-US Marine Corps intelligence officer underlined that it remains to be seen whether Maryinka represents “the beginning of a new phase of aggressive offensive operations or whether Russia will continue to pick away at these heavily fortified Ukrainian defenses before going on the full-blown offensive.” In any case, he reiterated, “one thing is for certain: the fall of Maryinka is a major victory for Russia.” “Morally, it stops the source of the daily shelling of the innocent civilians of Donetsk. And two, it represents yet another victory of the Russian Armed Forces over not just the forces of Ukraine, but the collective West and NATO,” Ritter concluded.
“..Washington feels compelled to trigger crises worldwide as it sees global power slipping from its hands..”
The US and its allies will continue sending arms to Kiev since its goal of hurting Russia while sacrificing Ukrainians remains unchanged, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with TASS published on Wednesday. The top diplomat was asked whether the Middle East crisis has affected the amount of Western military assistance provided to Ukraine, potentially nudging President Vladimir Zelensky into a negotiated resolution of the conflict with Russia. According to Lavrov, “inflicting ‘a strategic defeat of Russia on the battlefield’ remains a priority for most unfriendly governments.” Officials in Washington and Brussels, he said, remain committed to “containing Russia with the hands and bodies of Ukrainians” and realize that without aid, the Ukrainian government “is doomed.”
“We identify a lack of drive for peace on the part of the Zelensky regime. His representatives think in terms of war and use very aggressive rhetoric,” the diplomat noted. According to Lavrov, the fact that a legal ban remains in force in Ukraine on negotiating with Russia as long as President Vladimir Putin keeps his office is sufficient to make such conclusions. The minister believes that Washington feels compelled to trigger crises worldwide as it sees global power slipping from its hands. As long as this attitude persists, “no one is safe from its political machinations. And the world increasingly realizes this.” Western leaders have pledged to support Kiev for “as long as it takes” to defeat Russia. This year, Ukrainian forces attempted to use heavy weapons provided by foreign donors to breach through Russian defensive lines but failed to achieve significant territorial gains.
Moscow estimates Ukrainian losses in the so-called counteroffensive at over 159,000 troops and more than 383,000 in total since the hostilities began last year. As a result of these casualties, Kiev plans to ramp up forced conscription to replenish manpower. As a result of Kiev’s lackluster results on the battlefield, Republican opposition in the US Congress blocked a White House request to appropriate additional funds for Ukraine. The holdouts have demanded that Democrats approve a major immigration reform as a concession. Meanwhile, in the EU, Hungary vetoed Brussels’ plan for long-term Ukraine assistance. The proposed packages are measured in the tens of billions of dollars and euros, respectively.
“..The Americans “are pushing the puppet regime to the abyss, dooming thousands of ordinary Ukrainians to certain death..”
The Russian ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, has criticized Washington for its recent arms package to Ukraine, stating that it reflects an intention to fight Russia “to the last Ukrainian.” The diplomat’s remarks came in response to the $250 million worth of military assistance, including air defense munitions, rockets, artillery shells, and small-arms rounds, approved on Wednesday by the administration of US President Joe Biden. Antonov called the latest round of military aid a “bloody New Year’s gift to Kiev” in remarks published on social media. The Americans “are pushing the puppet regime to the abyss, dooming thousands of ordinary Ukrainians to certain death,” he warned.
On the other hand, the official emphasized Russia’s recent success in acquiring the town of Maryinka in the Donetsk People’s Republic, a strategic Ukrainian stronghold. According to Antonov, the US tends to ignore such developments and instead focuses on highlighting “Ukrainian fetish ‘victories.’” The diplomat predicted that any arms provided by NATO nations to Ukraine would be “burned and destroyed” without altering the situation on the ground. The White House could not appropriate more funding for Ukraine after Republican opposition in Congress blocked its request. The lawmakers have demanded major concessions on immigration reform and southern border security as a precondition for their approval of spending additional billions of taxpayers’ dollars on Ukraine support.
US officials have indicated that this latest package would be the last under the current spending allowance. US President Joe Biden has accused those lawmakers opposed to more Ukraine spending of jeopardizing national security by tying it to domestic policy issues. He suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin might attack a NATO member after dealing with Ukraine. Putin dismissed this remark as “absolute nonsense,” saying that Biden was using exacerbated rhetoric to cover up his administration’s foreign policy failures. Moscow maintains that preventing NATO expansion into Ukraine is a key objective in the conflict.
“..Ukraine has to achieve a sustained economic recovery so that those who fled the country after the start of the Russian military operation will return..”
The Ukrainian government could be forced to delay paying pensions and salaries to millions of citizens if the US and the EU do not provide more financial support, Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Sviridenko has warned. The country is facing a “huge risk of underfunding of certain social sectors” as it prioritizes defense and debt servicing amid the conflict with Russia, Sviridenko, who is also the economy minister, told the Financial Times on Wednesday. If Kiev does not receive more foreign aid, it may be forced to postpone salary payments to 500,000 civil servants and 1.4 million teachers, as well as delay benefits for 10 million pensioners, she added. The amount of Western assistance to Ukraine has reduced significantly in recent months.
US Republican lawmakers are resisting attempts by the administration of President Joe Biden to push through another $60 billion in aid for Kiev, while Hungary has vetoed the EU’s planned four-year, €50 billion ($55 billion) aid package for Ukraine. “The support of partners is extremely critical. We need it urgently,” Sviridenko said, estimating that Ukraine would require $37 billion in external assistance next year to function properly. The country’s economy, which according to the IMF saw 4.5% GDP growth this year, will be back in “survival” mode without more Western aid, she stated. Unnamed Western officials told the FT that Ukraine should be able to sustain itself for a few months by borrowing domestically or through monetary financing by its central bank. However, they warned that this could provoke a spike in inflation, undermine financial stability, and weaken the tax base, thus making the country even more dependent on foreign support.
Ukraine has to achieve a sustained economic recovery so that those who fled the country after the start of the Russian military operation will return, Sviridenko insisted. Unemployment is currently almost 19%, although at the same time numerous sectors are suffering labor shortages, the deputy prime minister said. Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov suggested on Wednesday that there is “discord” in the West regarding further support for Ukraine, considering that funds go “to a regime that uses it with unknown efficiency and for unclear purposes.” The US and the EU are “already well aware of the level of corruption [in Ukraine]. They understand that a large part of this money is simply being stolen,” he claimed. The shift in the public opinion in the US regarding the issue has been reflected by FT-Michigan Ross poll earlier this month, which revealed that 48% of Americans thought that Washington was spending “too much” on helping Kiev.
The Texas governor can’t protect Texas from Washington.
The Department of Justice is warning Gov. Greg Abbott that it will sue if Texas moves forward with legislation empowering state officials to remove people from the U.S. who they suspect of being in the country illegally. The new legislation, which Abbott signed into law earlier this month, is unconstitutional and will disrupt the federal government’s immigration enforcement operations, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton wrote in a letter to the governor obtained by Hearst Newspapers. The letter says that if Abbott does not confirm the state will forgo enforcement of the law by Wednesday, “the United States will pursue all appropriate legal remedies to ensure that Texas does not interfere with the functions of the federal government.”
The law, set to take effect in March, would allow any law enforcement officer in Texas to arrest migrants accused of unlawfully entering the state from Mexico and empower judges to order their removal. It is a major escalation of Abbott’s border security initiative, Operation Lone Star, and has been cast by the governor and other Texas Republicans as an invitation for the Supreme Court to revisit longstanding precedent leaving immigration enforcement solely to the federal government. El Paso County and two immigrant rights groups earlier this month sued to stop what they called the “patently illegal” legislation. The American Civil Liberties Union is representing them in the case. The Mexican government, which would have to accept immigrants ordered removed by state officials, has also said it will not go along with the law and has threatened to take action to stop it, as well.
Abbott, a former Texas attorney general, has said he believes the law was crafted in a way that “can and should be upheld in the courts on its own.” He has said the law is necessary to stem the record number of border crossings under the Biden administration and has accused President Joe Biden of failing to secure the border. The DOJ letter says the U.S. Constitution tasks the federal government with regulating immigration and controlling the international borders. The law “therefore intrudes into a field that is occupied by the federal government and is preempted,” the letter says. The Justice Department points to a landmark Supreme Court ruling from 2012 that held that only the federal government has the power to enforce immigration laws.
Abbott has cast the law as an opening for the high court to reconsider that ruling. In that case, the high court struck down portions of an Arizona law that authorized police to arrest anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Then-Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the federal government has “broad discretion” in setting immigration policy and that the state could not pursue policies that “undermine federal law.” “Indeed, the Supreme Court has confirmed that ‘the removal process’ must be ‘entrusted to the discretion of the Federal Government’ because a ‘decision on removability’ touches ‘on foreign relations and must be made with one voice,’” the letter says.
She’s unelected, with unusual powers.
“She immediately suspended her decision. Meaning Trump stays on the ballot in Maine. This is just for show.”
A day after former president Trump’s lawyers demanded the Maine secretary of state recuse herself from her upcoming decision on the former president’s ballot eligibility under the 14th Amendment – citing her past statements about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot; Shenna Bellows – a Democrat – has kicked Trump off the state’s primary ballot. The letter from Trump’s lawyers seeking Bellows’ recusal cites two social media posts Bellows issued the day Trump was acquitted in his second impeachment trial, which concerned the Capitol riot. “The Jan 6 insurrection was an unlawful attempt to overthrow the results of a free and fair election. Today 57 Senators including King & Collins found Trump guilty. That’s short of impeachment but nevertheless an indictment. The insurrectionists failed, and democracy prevailed,” Bellows wrote on Twitter, the platform now known as X.
The letter also takes aim at a post Bellows issued on the one-year anniversary of Jan. 6, in which she reposted a news report highlighting Bellows’s efforts to protect election workers. “One year after the violent insurrection, it’s important to do all we can to safeguard our elections,” Bellows wrote. Thus, the lawyers argued, Bellows “has already passed judgment” on Trump’s “core assumptions.” But, as The Hill reports, unlike other states, where plaintiffs have sued over Trump’s eligibility in court, Maine’s system first allows the secretary of state to weigh in – unilaterally, Judge Dredd-style. As she explains, ‘she is the law!’ Challengers can then appeal in state court. Bellows determined that the former president could not run for office due to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. She argued his actions violated the 14th Amendment.
It's really wild that the Maine Secretary of State just seized the power to unilaterally block presidential candidates from the ballot, based on a brand new non-judicial administrative procedure she literally just made up herself, supposedly to enforce the federal 14th Amendment pic.twitter.com/ZakI28ewrk
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) December 29, 2023
“..it has done so based on a subjective claim of insurrection the state lacks any constitutional authority to make.”
Colorado’s secretary of state said Thursday that former President Donald Trump will remain on the 2024 primary ballot for certification next week, as the state Republican Party appeals a court ruling that had found him ineligible for office earlier this month. “With the appeal filed, Donald Trump will be included as a candidate on Colorado’s 2024 Presidential Primary Ballot when certification occurs on January 5, 2024, unless the US Supreme Court declines to take the case or otherwise affirms the Colorado Supreme Court ruling,” Jena Griswold’s office said in a press release. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on Dec. 19 that the former president could not receive the Republican nomination because he had unconstitutionally participated in an “insurrection” against the US government on Jan. 6, 2021.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment includes a clause that bars those who have taken an oath of office from being elected again to govern if they have violated the Constitution by having “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.” “Donald Trump engaged in insurrection and was disqualified under the Constitution from the Colorado Ballot. The Colorado Supreme Court got it right. This decision is now being appealed,” Griswold said in a separate statement. “I urge the US Supreme Court to act quickly given the upcoming presidential primary election.” On Wednesday, the Colorado Republican Party asked the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling from their state’s high court, saying the party “has been irreparably harmed by the decision” to disqualify the 77-year-old ex-president.
“The state has interfered in the primary election by unreasonably restricting the Party’s ability to select its candidates,” states the 45-page petition from the Colorado GOP and the nonprofit American Center for Law and Justice. “As a natural and inevitable result, the state has interfered with the Party’s ability to place on the general election ballot the candidate of its choice. And it has done so based on a subjective claim of insurrection the state lacks any constitutional authority to make.” The high court has yet to make a decision on the ruling, which would need to occur before a Jan. 5 deadline for candidate names to be certified by both parties for the Colorado ballot.
For 2 seconds?
“I was very busy, and didn’t want to do it. They were very nice, but above all, persistent.”
“..another Hollywood guy from the past looking for a quick fix of Trump publicity for himself.”
Donald Trump has rejected a claim by movie director Chris Columbus that he “bullied” his way into his brief appearance in the 1992 hit movie ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.’ He argued that the scene with him helped to make the iconic Christmas film a success. Writing on his Truth Social platform on Wednesday, Trump insisted that the sequel producers at the time were “begging me to make a cameo appearance.” In the film, a sequel to the 1990 classic ‘Home Alone,’ Trump is briefly seen speaking to central character Kevin McAllister in a scene, who was played by the then-eleven-year-old Macaulay Culkin. “They rented the Plaza hotel in New York, which I owned at the time,” Trump wrote. “I was very busy, and didn’t want to do it. They were very nice, but above all, persistent.”
But once an agreement was struck, “that little cameo took off like a rocket and the movie was a big success,” he stated. In his 2020 interview with Business Insider, Columbus said that Trump’s brief appearance came about as a condition demanded by him to permit the production team to use the Plaza’s lobby for a scene in the film. Trump owned the iconic New York hotel between 1987 and 1995. “He did bully his way into the movie,” Columbus recalled, paraphrasing Trump as having stipulated: “The only way you can use the Plaza is if I’m in the movie.” “Nothing could be further from the truth,” Trump insisted on Truth Social. “That cameo helped make the movie a success, but if they felt bullied, or didn’t want me, why did they put me in, and keep me there, for over 30 years?” Trump added that Columbus’ contradiction is an example of “another Hollywood guy from the past looking for a quick fix of Trump publicity for himself.”
Trump’s cameo has been a source of several headlines in recent years. In 2019, he claimed that an edited-for-TV version of the film for Canadian audiences removed Trump’s bit part at the behest of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. A spokesperson for the CBC television network said at the time that the scene, along with several others, were removed due to time constraints because it was “not integral to the plot.” Meanwhile, in 2021 the star of the Home Alone films Macaulay Culkin, who is now 43, said he was “sold” on the idea of Trump’s cameo being digitally removed from all future versions of the film. In the Home Alone films, Culkin plays a young boy who is accidentally separated from his family during the Christmas holidays, and who fights off a pair of thieves played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. The film made $359 million at the box office and was 1992’s third highest-grossing movie.
So cool pic.twitter.com/o4k3sb4IIU
— The Best (@ThebestFigen) December 27, 2023
Too cool. pic.twitter.com/zSqmn8F8qT
— Noble Ron (@perry_ron) December 27, 2023
Can’t stop watching.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/OfO9TP0wYI
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) December 28, 2023
Man Gives Up Everything and Leaves for South Africa to Save Wild Animalspic.twitter.com/7W7fY8YRo2
— Epoch Inspired (@EpochInspired) December 28, 2023
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