Claude Monet The house at Yerres 1876
As the Media Gaslights The Public, Obama/Biden's Massive Economic Plunder Continues.
— Planet Ponzi (@PlanetPonzi) January 18, 2024
Yanis Day X
Day X is here: the last chance in the British courts to stop Julian Assange’s extradition
Protest to defend a free press.
Tuesday 20 February and Wednesday 21 February
Place: Royal Courts of Justice, the Strand, London WC2A 2LL (nearest tubes Holborn and Temple)… pic.twitter.com/MDYl9k4NCH
— Free Assange – #FreeAssange (@FreeAssangeNews) January 18, 2024
Israel can’t even beat Hamas. Fighting Iran would mean US involvement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is making every possible effort to “prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons” and that Israel is already carrying out direct attacks on the Islamic Republic. Answering a reporter’s question in Tel Aviv on Saturday about why Israel is conducting attacks on Iran’s proxies rather than attacking Iran directly, Netanyahu replied: “Who says we are not attacking Iran, we are attacking.” Israel claims Iran was involved in plotting the October 7 attacks, when around 1,200 Israelis were killed and scores taken hostage in the Hamas surprise raid near Gaza. Israel retaliated by shelling the Palestinian enclave with artillery and airstrikes, so far leaving about 24,000 dead, according to local health officials. The operation is aimed at wiping out the militant group, Israel says.Israel has previously openly accused Iran of aiding Hamas “with money, training and weapons and technological know-how” and intelligence.
“Iran is standing behind it. We are in conflict with Iran. Imagine not what Iran can do to us, to destroy us,” Netanyahu said. Israel will only agree to a deal that sees it gain security control over all of Gaza, Netanyahu added. Iran has denied any role in the Hamas assault on Israel, with Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani saying such accusations were “based on political reasons.” Netanyahu added that “Iran is the head of the octopus and you see its tentacles all around from the Houthis to Hezbollah to Hamas.” Iran has widely been seen by Israel and the US and as the major destabilizing power in the Middle East, allegedly supplying weapons, military expertise, and training to Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The US has previously alleged that Iran is “deeply involved” in Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, claiming that it has provided the rebels with drones, missiles, and intelligence. Tehran has denied the allegation, insisting that “resistance groups” are acting independently and “not taking orders from Tehran to confront the war crimes and genocide committed by Israel.” Israel rarely publicly admits to attacking Iran directly, but the Islamic Republic has long been a target of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his several terms in power. In December former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett revealed that Israel had attacked an unmanned aerial vehicle base in Iran and assassinated a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander. Bennett, who was Israeli prime minister from June 2021 to June 2022, made the admission in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal.
“..The contradictory rhetoric “only reflects the wish of that individual and his associates… to keep power as much as they can..”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is becoming increasingly unhinged as he clings to power, and his Western backers are looking for ways to keep him in check, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed on Thursday. Calls for Ukraine to hold a presidential election this year are part of that effort, he believes. A number of Western politicians have suggested that Ukraine should hold general elections that are due in 2024. Normal democratic procedures in the country were suspended under martial law, but the country could amend its laws to allow the election to go ahead. Zelensky has been sending mixed signals on the matter, alternately saying that he is willing to run for another term under certain circumstances and claiming that the Ukrainian people would not want an election while the country is fighting.
The contradictory rhetoric “only reflects the wish of that individual and his associates… to keep power as much as they can,” Lavrov remarked. Meanwhile, the West “would have liked to have more flexibility,” considering Kiev’s failure to score successes on the battlefield, he added. Having Zelensky run a re-election campaign “would put him more in line with Western interests, because he has been increasingly getting out of control,” the Russian foreign minister suggested. The Russian government does not care about Zelensky’s personal fate, Lavrov said. US Senator Lindsey Graham publicly called on Zelensky to hold a presidential election when he visited Kiev last September. He said this would show that Ukraine embraces “democracy and freedom.” Similar calls have come from other officials on both sides of the Atlantic.
Ukraine is due to vote this year not only for a new president, but also for a new parliament. The current composition of the national legislature gives Zelensky’s Servant of the People party a unilateral majority, but it is far from guaranteed to keep it in the event of an election. A survey released last month by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KMIS) indicated a drop in public faith in the parliament. In the year since December 2022, the number of people distrusting the institution has grown from 34% to 61%. Zelensky’s own trust rating dropped from 84% to 62% in 12 months, according to the same poll.
“And on there is Zelensky’s demand for a little pink pony with a little pretty ribbon on top..”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky unveiled a diplomatic proposal to end the long-running conflict in the Donbass region this week, but observers say the controversial leader’s “peace formula” is little more than wishful thinking. “It is the opposite of a peace formula,” said security analyst Mark Sleboda on Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program Thursday. “It is a childish demand for Russian unconditional surrender that Russia should withdraw all of its troops from Ukrainian territory – including Crimea – [and] surrender the people of Crimea and Donbass to the tender mercies of Azov* Neo-Nazis.” Among the elements of Zelensky’s proposition is a call for Russia to put political and military leaders on trial and pay reparations to the Kiev regime.
“And on there is Zelensky’s demand for a little pink pony with a little pretty ribbon on top,” Sleboda added sarcastically. “This is a fantastical, maximalist demand. It is not a peace formula, which is why the Global South is just like, ‘Do we have to sit through another one of these things?’ And spoiler, China didn’t even bother to show up.” Zelensky unveiled the proposal at the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland earlier this week. Sleboda noted the venue was likely chosen to improve attendance as Zelensky has struggled to find an audience for such speeches in recent months. Zelensky has released similar proposals in the past although none have gained traction given Ukraine’s struggles on the battlefield. Sleboda noted that even The New York Times admitted Ukraine was losing, although indirectly.
“Even this article in the New York Times – if you scroll down into it long enough – they go through the list of demands and then they say ‘all of these demands are considered by analysts and even politicians backing the proposal to be unreachable, given the current balance of forces on the battlefield.’” Sleboda pointed out. “Which is a nice way of saying the Kiev regime is losing.” Discussion then shifted towards Russia’s recent targeting of mercenary fighters in Kharkov earlier this week. “Unfortunately for the mercenaries, things aren’t working out real well for them on the battlefield,” said host Garland Nixon. “Well, come to think of it, they’re not getting to the battlefield.”
Sleboda pointed out the alleged French mercenaries were reported to be working with the Russian Volunteers Corps, a neo-Nazi group that has been banned in Europe. “This isn’t like a safari tour in Afghanistan or Iraq or somewhere where they go out and kill some largely helpless villagers with AK-47s,” said Sleboda. “You’re fighting a world power that has ballistic cruise and hypersonic missiles dropping 1,500-pound, guided bombs on you and everything else.” “So yeah, newsflash: you don’t belong here. And if you insist on coming here then you’ll be priority target number one.”
“..Let’s focus on what would be the 12 Greatest Hits of his remarkable exercise..”
Emmanuel Todd, historian, demographer, anthropologist, sociologist and political analyst, is part of a dying breed: one of the very few remaining exponents of old school French intelligentzia – a heir to those like Braudel, Sartre, Deleuze and Foucault who dazzled successive young Cold War generations from the West down to the East. The first nugget concerning his latest book, La Défaite de L’Occident (“The Defeat of the West”) is the minor miracle of actually being published last week in France, right within the NATO sphere: a hand grenade of a book, by an independent thinker, based on facts and verified data, blowing up the whole Russophobia edifice erected around the “aggression” by “Tsar” Putin. At least some sectors of strictly oligarch-controlled corporate media in France simply could not ignore Todd this time around for several reasons.
Most of all because he was the first Western intellectual, already in 1976, to have predicted the fall of the USSR in his book La Chute Finale, with his research based on Soviet infant mortality rates. Another key reason was his 2002 book Apres L’Empire, a sort of preview of the Empire’s Decline and Fall published a few months before Shock & Awe in Iraq. Now Todd, in what he has defined as his last book (“I closed the circle”) allows himself to go for broke and meticulously depict the defeat not only of the US but of the West as a whole – with his research focusing in and around the war in Ukraine. Considering the toxic NATOstan environment where Russophobia and cancel culture reign supreme, and every deviation is punishable, Todd has been very careful not to frame the current process as a Russian victory in Ukraine (although that’s implied in everything he describes, ranging from several indicators of social peace to the overall stability of the “Putin system”, which is “a product of the history of Russia, and not the work of one man”).
Rather, he focuses on the key reasons that have led to the West’s downfall. Among them: the end of the nation-state; de-industrialization (which explains NATO’s deficit in producing weapons for Ukraine); the “degree zero” of the West’s religious matrix, Protestantism; the sharp increase of mortality rates in the US (much higher than in Russia), along with suicides and homicides; and the supremacy of an imperial nihilism expressed by the obsession with Forever Wars. Todd methodically analyses, in sequence, Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Germany, Britain, Scandinavia and finally The Empire. Let’s focus on what would be the 12 Greatest Hits of his remarkable exercise.
1. At the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) in February 2022, the combined GDP of Russia and Belarus was only 3.3% of the combined West (in this case the NATO sphere plus Japan and South Korea). Todd is amazed how these 3.3% capable of producing more weapons than the whole Western colossus not only are winning the war but reducing dominant notions of the “neoliberal political economy” (GDP rates) to shambles.
2. The “ideological solitude” and “ideological narcissism” of the West – incapable of understanding, for instance, how “the whole Muslim world seems to consider Russia as a partner rather than an adversary”.
3. Todd eschews the notion of “Weberian states” – evoking a delicious compatibility of vision between Putin and US realpolitik practitioner John Mearsheimer. Because they are forced to survive in an environment where only power relations matters, states are now acting as “Hobbesian agents.” And that brings us to the Russian notion of a nation-state, focused on “sovereignty”: the capacity of a state to independently define its internal and external policies, with no foreign interference whatsoever.
“The West cannot be trusted. Even now, it wants only one thing – to live at the expense of others and to be more clever than others.”
The Ukraine conflict has helped Russia overcome the misconception that it can trust the West, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday on Moscow’s diplomacy in 2023, Lavrov argued that Russia’s military operation against Kiev has had positive consequences domestically, including a reinvigorating effect on society which has helped to bring people together. He added that the conflict, which also ushered in unprecedented Western sanctions, allowed the country’s economy to make great strides in both civilian and military production. The West’s “hybrid aggression,” which encompassed many areas, played a role in “making us understand how to go on living,” Lavrov said. “If there had been any illusions left over from the 1990s, that the West would open its arms to embrace us and that democracy would unite us all, they have been completely dispelled.”
“The West cannot be trusted. Even now, it wants only one thing – to live at the expense of others and to be more clever than others.” Lavrov’s comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted last month that he was “naive” early on in his political career, despite having served in the Soviet KGB. He said he believed that there was no fundamental reason for the West and Moscow to be at odds after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, in reality, the former was seeking to break Russia into several entities with less ability to protect their national interests, the president stated. Putin had previously warned that a breakup of the country could lead to the Russian people ceasing to exist altogether, adding that unity is the key condition for the country’s success.
“..That falsehood, repeated by President Joe Biden, is that when Vladimir Putin decided to invade, he intended to conquer all of Ukraine and “annihilate” it..”
The essential argument used to avoid negotiation and continue support for the war in Ukraine is based on a falsehood. That falsehood, repeated by President Joe Biden, is that when Vladimir Putin decided to invade, he intended to conquer all of Ukraine and “annihilate” it. Its falsity has been exposed multiple times by military experts, who have pointed out, both before and after the invasion, that Russia could not have intended to conquer all of Ukraine because it did not invade with sufficient forces to do so. Indeed, this was a key reason why senior Ukrainian officials, and even President Volodymyr Zelensky himself, argued just days before the invasion that it would not occur. The mistake that most analysts at the time made (these authors included), was to assume that since the troops mobilized by Russia did not suffice for a full scale occupation of Ukraine, no military operation, not even a limited one, was in the offing.
It was only later that Western political leaders turned this mistake to their propaganda advantage by insisting that Russia had always intended to first take Kiev, then all of Ukraine, and ultimately even attack NATO. But if basic military logic is taken into account, the fact that Putin committed only 120,000–190,000 men to his campaign and did not mobilize more resources until months later, after Kiev rejected the Istanbul peace deal, indicates that his objectives in Ukraine were limited and revolved around guaranteeing the security of the populations of Donbass and Crimea from Ukrainian assaults and Russia from NATO expansion. Given that Ukraine had cut off Crimea’s water and electricity years before, this required a land bridge to the region; hence, the illegal annexations of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.
We also have indirect confirmation that territory was not his objective from an unimpeachable source: NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, who stated that Putin invaded Ukraine to prevent NATO’s expansion. This would explain why, as soon as these goals were within reach when Ukrainian officials initialed the draft of the Istanbul Agreement in March 2022, Putin halted his assault and withdrew Russian forces from Kiev, rather than move further into Ukraine. This background is important, because the argument for increasing Western military support for Ukraine relies so heavily on the claim that Russia always intended to expand further, attack NATO, and reestablish the Russian empire. But, as noted scholar John Mearsheimer has pointed out, “there is no evidence in the public record that Putin was contemplating, much less intending to put an end to Ukraine as an independent state and make it part of greater Russia when he sent his troops into Ukraine on February 24th.”
It was never one of Putin’s stated goals, nor was it ever taken seriously by the Ukrainian leadership. David Arakhamia, the head of Ukraine’s negotiating team in Belarus and Istanbul, recently revealed that the “key point” for Russia was Ukraine not joining NATO, and “everything else was simply rhetoric and political ‘seasoning.’” Putin himself has consistently said that “this conflict is not about territory…[it] is about the principles underlying the new international order.” We should not take him at his word, but it is still worth asking: had Putin’s ambitions been territorial, would he have waited until 2014 to annex Crimea? Would the upper house of Russia’s parliament have rescinded Putin’s temporary authority to use troops in Ukraine in June 2015? Would he have opposed the 2014 independence referendums in Donetsk and Lugansk?
“..The document practically states that all the activities of the Ukrainian state will revolve around the interests of the UK..”
So, six months down the line, the current UK prime minister arrived in Kiev and, in between the usual selfies with female train conductors, he signed the first UK-Ukraine agreement. The event didn’t receive widespread attention, but among the experts who have commented on it, opinions have differed markedly. Rishi Sunak’s opponents in the UK insist that it’s merely a PR move – an attempt to raise his faltering ratings, which have plunged to a record low. In Russia, some experts have called it a meaningless piece of paper, without thoroughly reading the document. For their part, Ukrainian analysts have declared the agreement to be an important milestone, an epochal moment, and tried to sell it as even more significant than actual accession to NATO.
The agreement is indeed important and is worth reading carefully. Firstly, the main slogan of the past two years (usually declared on behalf of the entire Western coalition) has been literally incorporated into the text: “The UK will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it needs, so that Ukraine can effectively defend itself.” In other words, it’s just like Boris Johnson said – we will not fight for you, but we’ll do what we can to help you. Secondly, for the next ten years – the entire duration of the agreement – the document notes that no territorial changes will be recognized. “The participants will work together, and with other partners of Ukraine, to ensure Ukrainian Armed Forces and security forces are able to fully restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.” As for the actual obligations on the part of the UK, the text includes only one point:
“In the event of a future Russian armed attack against Ukraine, at the request of either of the participants, the participants will consult within 24 hours to determine measures needed to counter or deter the aggression.” It further states: “The UK undertakes that, in those circumstances, and acting in accordance with its legal and constitutional requirements, it would: provide Ukraine with swift and sustained security assistance, modern military equipment across all domains as necessary, and economic assistance.” The amount of future economic assistance corresponds to the current military aid provided by the UK to Ukraine, which is believed to be between £2.3 billion ($2.9 billion) and £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) in 2023 and 2024.
In the rest of the document, we find non-binding general statements – for example, that the sides will “work together on deepening cooperation and partnership… strengthen [their] long-term relationship… provide advice and support… make significant contributions… create joint working groups…” and blah, blah, blah. All the usual technocratic claptrap of polite, mostly meaningless, words. Despite the general non-binding nature of the agreement, however, it clearly shows that Ukraine is getting tangled up in the web of Western influence and control. The document practically states that all the activities of the Ukrainian state will revolve around the interests of the UK: from the defense industry to civil and military construction, information security, the fight against corruption and organized crime, the distribution of humanitarian aid, and general economic issues. It gives global financial institutions virtually unlimited access to Ukraine.
Moreover, among the numerous Western-style reforms that Ukraine is obliged to carry out, the agreement stipulates “democratic civilian control of the Armed Forces, [as] an important indicator of the non-politicization of the Armed Forces.” This looks a lot like an attempt by Zelensky to enlist the support of the West in his conflict with Zaluzhny. Ukraine has been quick to declare that the Sunak-Zelensky deal will serve as an example for similar agreements with other G7 countries (France will probably sign a similar document next month). Such agreements will provide a legal backbone for the West’s Ukraine policy, which can be explained as follows: Kiev is the West’s tool. It sends the Ukrainians a clear signal: You are our outpost, our weapon, our battering ram, or whatever else, but you are not one of us. We will not put ourselves at risk for your sake, and there’s no place for you under the NATO umbrella.
“The Russian military said that it targeted a “temporary assembly point of foreign fighters” in Kharkov..”
Russia’s elimination of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine hurts the West because it demonstrates how Moscow can inflict “huge losses” with single precision strikes, Finnish news editor Janus Putkonen has told RT. The Russian military said that it targeted a “temporary assembly point of foreign fighters” in Kharkov on Tuesday, killing 60 foreign fighters and injuring more than 20 others, the majority of whom were “French mercenaries.” The French foreign ministry on Thursday denied the presence of any French mercenaries in Ukraine, although a pro-Russian resistance group in Kharkov told RIA Novosti that French-speaking personnel were present at the targeted building, and that some foreigners there had been “supervising” the RDK, a Ukrainian paramilitary unit associated with the country’s military intelligence agency.
“These kinds of strikes are painful for Western countries for sure, for many reasons,” Putkonen told RT. “[Western countries] are losing the information battle, because these mercenaries are at the forefront in Western propaganda for the war, and losing lots of them at the same time – hundreds of them in just a matter of days – is a major blow.” Tuesday’s strike is a microcosm of “the whole situation that is going on in Ukraine,” Putkonen continued. There are “huge losses” on the Ukrainian side, he explained, adding that while foreign soldiers can fight, they “cannot defend against precision strikes.” “Russia is calling the shots,” Putkonen concluded. Hours before the strike, French President Emmanuel Macron declared that his country could not allow Russia to win the conflict in Ukraine, and pledged further arms shipments to Kiev, including 40 SCALP air-launched cruise missiles. According to French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu, the weapons are to be transferred in the first half of this year.
“..it will make no distinction between the Ukrainian soldiers, foreign mercenaries, or members of NATO militaries operating on Ukrainian soil..”
Russia’s targeting of French-speaking personnel suggests that advisers from NATO countries operating in Ukraine have been put on notice, former US Marine and UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter has said. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, more than 60 “foreign fighters” were killed and another 20 wounded in Tuesday’s high-precision strike on a building in Kharkov. Speaking with Sputnik on Thursday, Ritter pointed to the possibility that at least some of the French-speaking individuals may have been active-duty French military, “who were in Ukraine at the behest of their government, and now they’re dead.” “I think this shows a new mindset for the Russians,” he said. “In the past, Russia has not shown any hesitancy to eliminate foreign mercenaries fighting on behalf of the Ukrainian military. But there has seemed to be some sort of leniency towards military advisers or personnel who belong to NATO countries who are in Ukraine.”
If the fighters killed weren’t simply mercenaries but serving French military professionals, “this shows that Russia has made a decision that everybody in Ukraine now is fair game,” Ritter added. He suggested that this might mean Russia is moving to the “end of the game” in Ukraine, in which it will make no distinction between the Ukrainian soldiers, foreign mercenaries, or members of NATO militaries operating on Ukrainian soil. The Ukrainian side has given conflicting accounts of Tuesday’s strike, first saying the missiles hit an unused hospital and then that a residential building was struck causing civilian casualties. Donbass Insider Editor-in-chief Christelle Neant told RT on Thursday that “many wounded French-speaking individuals were admitted to hospitals” in Kharkov, according to Ukrainian intelligence sources.
Neant said that Kiev uses foreign mercenaries “primarily for media purposes” and that the Frenchmen in Kharkov may have been instructors teaching the Ukrainians how to handle weapons provided by the West. Earl Rasmussen of the Eurasia Center told RT that the Kharkov strike might be a message to Ukraine that Russia won’t treat Western fighters any differently than Ukrainian ones. He also allowed for the possibility the stricken foreigners may have been instructors. Thousands of fighters from the West flocked to Ukraine after the conflict with Russia escalated in February 2022, but their enthusiasm dropped off after up to 180 of them died in a missile strike on base in Yavorov in mid-March. Since then, almost 6,000 of the 13,500 foreigners who came to fight for Ukraine have been killed, and over 5,600 have returned home, the Russian Defense Ministry said earlier this month.
“..before we even talk about Ukraine, I’m going to tell the president what I’m telling all of you and we’ve told the American people: border, border, border..”
On Wednesday, US House Speaker Mike Johnson revealed his determination to continue with a stalemate between Democrats and Republicans regarding legislation that would pave the way for continued funding to Ukraine. The deal is currently being worked on in the Senate with the aim to pair border and immigration policy changes (what Republicans want) alongside funding for Ukraine (what Democrats are asking for). “I don’t think now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform because we know how complicated that is,” Johnson said early Wednesday. “You can’t do that quickly. I do think it’s past time to secure the border.” Biden called for the top four congressional leaders and other lawmakers, including Johnson to the White House in an effort to move forward with an agreement on legislation for border security and funding for Ukraine. The Senate has been working for weeks in an effort to craft some common ground legislation, but some senators last week said significant disagreements remain an issue.
“With regard to Ukraine, we have needed, we have requested publicly and privately in every form, answers to critical questions: What is the end game and the strategy in Ukraine? How will we have accountability for the funds?” said Johnson, seeming to suggest that a bipartisan deal may not be enough to encourage their support of continued funding for Ukraine. “We need to know that Ukraine would not be another Afghanistan.” “And you see a lot of the American people scratching their heads, having real questions about why that would continue without these appropriate answers. So I’m going to push for those. But before we even talk about Ukraine, I’m going to tell the president what I’m telling all of you and we’ve told the American people: border, border, border, we have to take care of our own house,” the house speaker said at a conference on Wednesday.
“We have to secure our own borders before we talk about doing anything else. And that’s the message I’ve had since day one. It’s the message we’ll continue to have.” Senator Mitch McConnell—who was reported to be one of the people invited to Wednesday’s meeting—said voting on the supplemental legislation could take place as soon as next week. “I am more optimistic than ever before that we come to an agreement,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, told reporters after Wednesday’s meeting. “There was a large amount of agreement around the table, that we must do Ukraine, and we must do border. There was tremendous focus on Ukraine, and an understanding that if we don’t come to Ukraine’s aid, that the consequences for America around the globe would be nothing short of devastating,” Schumer said.
Johnson said that the meeting was “productive” and that he had emphasized that US border security should be prioritized before Ukraine. “We understand the necessity about Ukraine funding and we want to say that the status quo is unacceptable,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “We need the Commander-in-Chief of this country, the President of the United States, to show strength on the world stage, and not weakness. We cannot continue with the current status quo.”
“..the “dream team” of women some EU diplomats would like to see leading the bloc..”
Estonian PM Kaja Kallas, an outspoken critic of Russia, is rumored to be on the “dream team” of women some EU diplomats would like to see leading the bloc after the European Parliament elections in June, Politico EU said on Thursday. The combination would see Kallas take over as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the post currently held by Spain’s Josep Borrell, while Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen would become the new chair of the European Council. Ursula von der Leyen of Germany would remain head of the European Commission and Roberta Metsola of Malta would keep chairing the European Parliament. “It’s my dream team,” a diplomat who asked for anonymity to speak freely told Politico. “It would send such a strong message.”
According to Politico, Kallas is a name “increasingly mentioned in corridor chats and over coffee,” given the Ukraine conflict. She has already put her name in the hat to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as the secretary-general of NATO. The Estonian leader has been an outspoken critic of Russia and a partisan of Kiev. Facing calls to resign last August, after Estonian media revealed that her husband Arvo Hallik held a stake in a shipping company operating in Russia despite the EU sanctions, Kallas refused and vowed to stay in power “for the freedom of Ukraine and for Estonia.” With Brussels former European Council President Donald Tusk now the prime minister of Poland, it is “simply impossible to avoid” giving Eastern Europe the foreign policy portfolio given the Ukraine conflict, one EU diplomat said.
The rumored “dream team” would give one leadership post each to the bloc’s east, west, north and south. The scheme would also “make sense” due to the political alignment within the EU, leaving the European People’s Party (EPP) in charge of the Commission and the Parliament, while the socialists run the Council and the “liberals” control the External Action Service. With Christine Lagarde of France as president of the European Central Bank until 2027 and Nadia Calviño of Spain in charge of the European Investment Bank, the EU’s most powerful positions would all be held by women, who are considered “underrepresented” in the bloc. No woman has ever chaired the European Council. Von der Leyen is the first at the head of the Commission. There have been three female chairs of the European Parliament since 1979 and two foreign policy heads – Catherine Ashton of the UK and Federica Mogherini of Italy – since the post was created in 1999.
The judge in the Trump-Georgia case has ordered Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) to answer to accusations that she hired her romantic partner as a top prosecutor on the case. Judge Scot McAfee on Thursday ordered Willis to respond to the allegations in writing by Feb. 2, and has scheduled a hearing on the matter for Feb. 15. The accusation, first found in a court filing by attorney and Trump co-defendant Mike Roman, accuses Willis of hiring her paramour Nathan Wade – whose involvement, Roman argues, makes the indictment “fatally defective.” Roman has asked McAfee to dismiss the charges, and to block the Fulton County DA’s office from further involvement in the case. Wade (who was hired without proper approval), is a private attorney in the midst of a divorce who “has little to no experience trying felony cases, much less complex RICO actions,” according to a 127-page filing in former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election trial in Georgia.
Wade ended up pocketing nearly $700,000 from Fulton county taxpayers – with which he allegedly took Willis on lavish vacations. He also billed taxpayers $2,000 to talk to the Biden White House about prosecuting Biden’s political opponent. Allegations surfaced last week from one of Trump’s co-defendants, Mike Roman, a political operative who served as Trump’s director of Election Day operations on his 2020 reelection campaign, who accused Willis and Wade of engaging in an “improper” romantic relationship. Citing “sources close” to both Willis and Wade, Roman’s lawyer, Ashleigh Merchant, claimed the pair have been involved in an “ongoing, personal and romantic relationship,” and went on vacations together. The filings argued the alleged relationship, which Merchant claims started before the election interference began, makes the indictment “fatally defective” and requests it be dismissed. -The Hill
During a church service last Sunday, Willis appeared to defend her actions. “I’m a little confused. I appointed three special counselors. It’s my right to do, paid them all the same hourly rate. They only attack one.” “I hired one white woman, a good personal friend and a great lawyer, a superstar, I tell you. I hired one white man — brilliant — my friend and a great lawyer. And I hired one Black man, another superstar, a great friend and a great lawyer,” she continued, without referencing Wade by name. “The Black man I chose has been a judge for more than 10 years, run[s] a private practice more than 20 [years],” said Willis. “Represented businesses in civil litigation … served a prosecutor, a criminal defense lawyer, special assistant attorney general.” Willis then pretended to talk to God, asking: “God, isn’t it them who’s playing the race card when they only question one?”
How many of the other attorneys was Fani (allegedly) banging? More recently we learned that Fani was coordinating with the Jan. 6 committee to shape her case against Trump. In mid-April of 2022, Committee staff quietly met with attorneys working on the case in Fulton County for DA Fani Willis, right around the time she was preparing to convene a special grand jury investigation – during which she employed her alleged paramour, Nathan Wade, who would also coordinate with the Biden White House on their case. So – Fani coordinated with both the J6 committee and the White House, who helped them assemble their case against the former president.
“..Milei’s speech has more views than all other speeches from 2024 combined, including those from the EU President Ursula von der Leyen, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and French President Emmanuel Macron.”
A number of high profile figures have lauded Argentinian President Javier Milei’s takedown of socialism and “international organizations” while speaking next to Klaus Schwab at his annual WEF Davos meeting. In what has easily become the most viral speech of the year, and most popular in WEF history, Milei lambasted Western governments for shrouding socialism in the guise of social justice, even taking a shot at the West’s “radical feminist agenda.” The WEF has understandably downplayed the significance of Milei’s speech. In their article summarizing Day 3 of the Davos meetings, Milei’s speech was pushed to the bottom and given an equally brief write-up as it was dry. Conversely, a number of high profile figures have offered praise of Milei’s speech. On X, a post of the speech has been seen over 27 million times.
X and Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted the speech and praised Milei for his “Good explanation of what makes countries more or less prosperous.” Musk also posted a meme on Thursday showing a man secretly watching Milei’s speech while having sex with a beautiful woman. Dr Jordan Peterson chimed in on Wednesday with a simple exclamation mark over another user’s post that read “Javier Milei just told a bunch of WEF socialists at Davos that they are THE PROBLEM, not the solution.”Former Republican candidate, and potential Donald Trump VP pick Vivek Ramiswamy, similarly posted three clapping emojis over the same post that Peterson commented on. Ramiswamy later posted: “The World Economic Forum is really just Old World Europe rearing its ugly head again. We fought a revolution in 1776 to say hell no to the Old World vision. It’s time we say so again: self-governance over aristocracy is what makes America great.”
On Thursday, Former US National Security Advisor General Mike Flynn posted: “The more I think about Argentine President Javier Milei’s speech at the WEF, the more I realize he gave the globalists a double barreled middle finger to them in their own board room. Well done!” Canadian Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich said Milei dropped “truth bombs.” On YouTube, The WEF’s account shows that Milei’s speech has more views than all other speeches from 2024 combined, including those from the EU President Ursula von der Leyen, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Milei's 2024 Davos talk, directly translated to English by AI (by heygen), in his own accent. Better than the dubbed version imo. pic.twitter.com/8OAGELuqxl
— Aaron Slodov (@aphysicist) January 18, 2024
“..the U.S. is the most unequal major economy in the world..”
Since 2020, the wealthiest five individuals in the world have seen their fortunes explode, while during the same period some five billion people around the world have become poorer. The net worth of these billionaires – Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault and his family of luxury company LVMH, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Oracle founder Larry Ellison and investor Warren Buffett – has exploded 114% to $869 billion, after taking inflation into account, according to Oxfam’s annual inequality report. Currently, Elon Musk, who runs several companies, including Tesla and SpaceX, is the richest man on the planet, with a personal fortune of just under $250 billion. “We have the top five billionaires, they have doubled their wealth. On the other hand, almost 5 billion people have become poorer,” Amitabh Behar, Oxfam’s interim executive director, told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, the site of this year’s World Economic Forum.
“Very soon, Oxfam predicts that we will have a trillionaire within a decade,” Behar said. “Whereas to fight poverty, we need more than 200 years.” To put the idea of a trillionaire (a thousand billions) into some perspective, the United States currently spends about that much annually on its entire military machine. In total, billionaires have seen their wealth explode by $3.3 trillion, or 34%, since 2020, with their fortunes expanding three times faster than the rate of inflation, according to Oxfam. American billionaires, many of whom accrue their wealth from the equity in the companies they lead, have become $1.6 trillion richer. The driving force behind this massive surge in personal profits is raw corporate power. Seventy percent of the world’s largest business interests have either a billionaire at the helm or a billionaire as its principal shareholder.
Moreover, the top 1% of income earners possesses 43% of the world’s financial assets, according to Oxfam, which pooled its data from Wealth X. In the United States, this group owns 32%; in Asia, it’s 50%. In the Middle East, the top 1% holds 48% of the financial wealth, while in Europe, it’s 47%. About 150 of the world’s largest corporations made nearly $1.8 trillion in profits in the one year leading up to June 2023, Oxfam reported. That’s 52.5% more than their average was between 2018 to 2021. While economic inequality is as old as Rome, in the United States the disparity has increased dramatically over the last four decades. Inequality can be measured in a variety of ways, frequently using income. The Gini coefficient, developed by Italian Statistician Corrado Gini in 1921, is one of the most accurate measures of how income is distributed across the population with 0 being perfectly equal (where everyone receives an equal share) and 1 being completely unequal (where 100 percent of income goes to only one person).
The United States has a Gini coefficient of 0.485, the highest it has been in half a century, according to the Census Bureau, far exceeding that of other advanced economies. This measurement proves that the U.S. is the most unequal major economy in the world. In 1980, the top 1 percent of earners in the United States earned a little over 10 percent of the country’s income. Currently, they bring home about 20 percent, more than the entire bottom half of earners. Despite its massive amount of inequality, Americans have shown tremendous patience with the status quo. The last time there was any sort of backlash against the 1% came in 2011 with the Occupy Wall Street protests, where thousands of protesters railed against economic inequality, corporate greed, and the influence of money in politics.
Americans showed that they had had enough following the 2008 bank bailouts under the George W. Bush administration that utilized taxpayer funds to purchase toxic assets from ‘too big to fail’ banks and financial institutions. Protesters were also enraged by the undue influence of corporate money in the US political process. Today, Wall Street quietly goes about its business of making obscene amounts of money, while much of the public’s attention is preoccupied with other matters unconnected to class, like race, gender, and identity politics, trifles which the corporate-owned mainstream media is only too happy to promote. Whether it will take the world’s first trillionaire to make the people ‘class conscious’ once again remains to be seen.
see babies swimming pic.twitter.com/CJpmGwADcX
— Enez Özen | Enezator (@Enezator) January 18, 2024
Squint your eyes, and the diamonds morph into squares.
MICHAEL CAINE on the forever iconic CARY GRANT.
Archibald Leach was born in the Bristol suburb of Horfield 120yrs ago today.
— Michael Warburton (@MichaelWarbur17) January 18, 2024
The beauty of petals dancing in the wind. pic.twitter.com/jXiKIyTBh7
— Nature is Amazing ☘️ (@AMAZlNGNATURE) January 17, 2024
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