Dec 062023
 


William Merritt Chase Back Of A Nude 1888

 

US Border Control Bill Collapses – NBC (RT)
Bernie Sanders Opposes $10 Billion Israel Aid (RT)
Zelensky Bails On Briefing With US Senate (RT)
Israel Has Crossed Its Rubicon (Rall)
Israel Can’t Defeat Hamas In Battle, So What’s Next? (Inlakesh)
Biden Works To Create Plausible Deniability On Gaza (Plitnick)
Israel Mulls Flooding Hamas Tunnels – WSJ (RT)
Israel Uses AI Genocide Programme To Obliterate Gaza (Cook)
Did The West Deliberately Prolong The Ukraine War? (Marketic)
Will the Real Hunter Biden Now Step Forward? (Turley)
DOJ Gave Hunter Biden ‘Preferential Treatment’ – US House Panels (Sp.)
Special Counsel Slams Hunter Biden’s Subpoena Demand (Turley)
House GOP: Evidence Of Coordination Between Democrat J6 panel, Georgia DA (JTN)
Why Do You Trust Those Who Lie To You? (Paul Craig Roberts)
Boris Johnson Considered Military Raid On Holland – Daily Mail (RT)

 

 


@azaizamotaz9: “A man is holding a little girl after he extracted her from under the rubble of her destroyed house by the Israeli war planes. This photo have been taken by me from my street today.”

 

 

Hamas
https://twitter.com/i/status/1731993030691807347

 

 

 

 

International Committee of the Red Cross

 

 

Milei

 

 

Byron York

 

 

Scott Adams: “It’s time to call batshit crazy what it is. This is a medical problem, not a political issue.”

 

 

 

 

Biden’s “national security bill” includes Ukraine and Israel aid. Keeping the border wide open is more important for the Dems than supporting Ukraine. Suggestions for tighter immigration controls are labeled “extreme policies” and “dictated by Donald Trump.”

US Border Control Bill Collapses – NBC (RT)

Democrats and Republicans in the US Senate have reportedly failed to reach a deal on a border security package, NBC reported on Tuesday, citing congressional aides with knowledge of the talks. The collapse of negotiations now threatens to derail President Joe Biden’s national security bill, which includes aid to Israel and Ukraine. The Republican Party has for weeks been threatening to block Biden’s $106 billion ‘national security supplemental request,’ originally introduced in October, unless it included a spending boost for the US-Mexico border and tighter immigration controls, particularly with regards to asylum and parole laws in immigration proceedings. GOP lawmakers have proposed detaining all migrants seeking asylum in the US upon entry instead of releasing them into the country while their claims are processed, as is currently the case.

Republican lawmakers have argued that the existing system is constantly being abused as it allows migrants to slip through the cracks. Democrats, however, have called these demands “extremist,”prompting negotiations to effectively break down, with both parties accusing each other of intractable positions. One Democratic aide told NBC that, despite Democrats offering several proposals to streamline the processing of asylum claims, Republican senators have insisted on “extreme policies” that would“end asylum as we know it” and effectively “shut down the border.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has also blasted Republican senators for holding up negotiations, saying on Monday that the GOP’s border demands were being “dictated by Donald Trump.” The politician stressed that the Democratic Party “will not keep going in circles if Republicans aren’t interested in meeting us halfway.”

In response to Schumer’s complaint, Republican Senator John Cornyn said there was a “misunderstanding” among Democrats. “This is not a traditional negotiation, where we expect to come up with a bipartisan compromise on the border. This is a price that has to be paid in order to get the supplemental,” he said. Minority Leader Mitch McConnel has also countered Schumer’s statement by suggesting that the Democrats were “wasting time with bizarre public scoldings.” He claimed that restoring a “functional” asylum and parole system and ensuring “meaningful”enforcement of US immigration laws was “a bridge too far for Senate Democrats.” The collapse of the negotiations comes as Biden’s office has urged Congress to “immediately” resolve the military aid deadlock, emphasizing that “there’s money for Ukraine” in Biden’s spending request that is “desperately needed.”

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More “national security bill”.

Bernie Sanders Opposes $10 Billion Israel Aid (RT)

US Senator Bernie Sanders has urged his Democratic colleagues to pull more than $10 billion in military aid to Israel from an upcoming spending bill, arguing that the money would make Washington complicit in Israel’s “immoral” war in Gaza. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Monday that he would put a $106 billion spending bill to a vote on Wednesday. Requested by President Joe Biden, the bill includes $10.1 billion in direct military aid to Israel, more than $61 billion for Ukraine, and $13.6 for border protection at home. “I do not believe we should be appropriating over $10 billion for the right-wing extremist Netanyahu government to continue its current military approach,” Sanders said in a speech on the Senate floor on Monday, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“What the Netanyahu government is doing is immoral, it is in violation of international law, and the United States should not be complicit in those actions,” Sanders continued. Israeli forces began bombarding Gaza in early October, in response to a surprise attack on the Jewish state by Hamas, a Palestinian militant group. Israeli tanks and troops were sent into Gaza three weeks later, and with fighting raging once again after a weeklong ceasefire at the end of November, more than 16,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the latest figures from the Gaza Health Ministry. More than 7,000 of those killed were children, the ministry said on Tuesday. Hamas’ attack on Israel left around 1,200 dead and around 240 captured as hostages.

Sanders, who is Jewish, refused to join some of his progressive colleagues in demanding a ceasefire last month. He has also endorsed the provision of some military aid to Israel, saying on Monday that “it is appropriate for us to support defense systems that will protect Israeli citizens from incoming missile and rocket attacks.” However, Israel’s “indiscriminate approach” to the war is, “in my view, offensive to most Americans,” he added. Sanders did not say for sure whether he would vote against the entire $106 billion package. If Sanders and every single Senate Republican were to vote against the bill, Democrats could still pass it by making use of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.

However, the bill will face much stiffer opposition in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. With a growing number of conservatives categorically opposed to further aid to Ukraine and demanding an end to Biden’s lax border policies, House Speaker Mike Johnson told Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young on Monday that “supplemental Ukraine funding is dependent upon enactment of transformative change to our nation’s border security laws,” and on the White House providing “clearly defined and obtainable objectives” for the conflict in Ukraine.

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He knew what was coming.

Zelensky Bails On Briefing With US Senate (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky abruptly canceled a briefing with US senators and White House officials on Tuesday due to a “last-minute” snag, according to a high-ranking Democrat. The sit-down then became heated, as lawmakers shifted their focus to the debate over US border policy and continued aid to Kiev. Zelensky’s team called off the virtual appearance just moments before it was set to go ahead, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, noting that something had come up for the leader without elaborating. Administration officials were expected to offer updates on a massive military aid package for Israel and Ukraine currently under negotiations in Congress, which the White House has repeatedly urged lawmakers to pass. Some GOP lawmakers have sought to link new Ukraine aid to funding for US border agencies, with multiple senators threatening to hold up the spending bill unless it includes desired provisions for controls on immigration.

After Zelensky’s sudden cancellation, the briefing grew contentious, with some Republicans, including Senators Deb Fischer and Mitt Romney, even walking out early. “The point is there’s no answer to any questions down there,” Fischer told Defense News, adding “We’ve had it.” She stressed that she has previously supported all legislation supporting Ukraine, adding that the White House “better be worried. Because I have backed everything.” President Joe Biden’s top budget official, Shalanda Young, warned that Washington was “out of money” for Kiev earlier this week, stating that “without congressional action, by the end of the year, we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from US military stocks.” She went on to note that, as of mid-November, the Pentagon had spent 97% of the $62.3 billion it received for Ukraine this year, while the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) had used up 100% of the funds allocated.

Biden has requested a massive spending package worth $106 billion to fund several priorities of his administration, namely military aid to Ukraine and Israel, but faces opposition from an increasingly skeptical Republican Party. Although Zelensky ultimately backed out of the Senate briefing without explanation, his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, made in-person appearances on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to lobby for additional aid to Ukraine. During a speech at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, DC, the official said Kiev faced a “big risk” of defeat should Washington halt its military support. “We’re at the end of our rope in terms of the existing funding,” an unnamed Zelensky advisor told Politico, adding that the money would not “go beyond December.”

Tucker Massie

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“..jihadi culture requires those about to stage a raid to warn their enemy in advance..”

Israel Has Crossed Its Rubicon (Rall)

A few weeks ago, from an international and domestic-U.S. PR standpoint, Israel might have been able to bring its war in Gaza in for a hard landing. Now, it has painted itself into a corner. Gaza has been destroyed. By this time next year, so will Israel—not its physical plant, but its current status as a privileged, funded, protected nation-state. The damage inflicted thus far is so severe and thorough that the Gaza Strip will be uninhabitable for the foreseeable future, at least several years. All or most of its 2.3 million residents, transformed into refugees, will be permanently displaced. Nothing can change that. If a left-wing Israeli government were to come to power, unilaterally end the war and offer the Palestinians their own sovereign independent republic side-by-side with Israel, Gaza would need to be rebuilt at a cost of tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars.

In the meantime, the Jewish state would have to provide long-term housing and public assistance for more than 2 million Palestinians throughout years of reconstruction. “You’ll end up having displaced people living in tents for a long time,” Raphael Cohen, senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, told US media. But where? Assuming that a new regime could muster the necessary political consensus and address the ensuing security concerns surrounding a massive population of internally displaced people, Israel is a small nation of fewer than 10 million people with high unemployment and an aging population; it can’t afford such a massive undertaking or the demographics to quickly absorb 2 million traumatized Palestinians.

This was the thinking behind the Israeli intelligence officials who wrote a “thinking” memo that suggested the situation be exploited as a rare opportunity to drive out all the locals so they could seize and annex the entire territory of Gaza. The revelations that Netanyahu’s government obtained Hamas’ plans for the incursion a year ago, viewed video showing Hamas fighters training (jihadi culture requires those about to stage a raid to warn their enemy in advance), received a warning from Egypt that Hamas was about to attack days prior, and that the IDF failed to respond for at least eight hours after Israel’s high-tech “smart fence” around Gaza was breached (despite receiving an instant alert) prompts the cynic in me to wonder whether the Israeli government let October 7th happen on purpose.

What – Netanyahu and his colleagues may have asked themselves – are a few hundred or even a few thousand Israeli lives compared to the chance to get rid of half the Palestinians in Palestine, and join Gaza to Israel in the bargain? If so, they miscalculated. US officials have conveyed to their Israeli counterparts that Israel only has a few weeks left before losing international support and suffering a “strategic defeat.” Israel plans to continue for months. The US assessment is too optimistic. The die is cast. Defeat is inevitable.

Scott Horton

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“According to Israeli polling data, Benjamin Netanyahu is only trusted by 4% of Israelis..”

Israel Can’t Defeat Hamas In Battle, So What’s Next? (Inlakesh)

After a seven-day lull in the war between Israel and the Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, the resumption of hostilities has been given another green light from Washington. Having failed to lead its Israeli allies towards military victory, the US is permitting a dangerous escalation and rejects a peaceful solution that will prevent further civilian suffering. Just minutes after the departure of US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, from Palestine/Israel, the war in Gaza resumed, with a large aerial onslaught on Palestinian civilian infrastructure resulting in the deaths of nearly 200 civilians. The White House spokesperson John Kirby announced continued support for Israel’s “right and responsibility to go after Hamas,” but to what end is unclear. As the likes of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak admits that Hamas is far from falling apart, it begs the question: what really is the point of this war?

Following six weeks of war that resulted in likely over 20,000 Palestinian deaths, the Israeli military has failed to produce any evidence that it has made a significant dent on the military capabilities of Hamas and the other Palestinian armed groups in the besieged coastal enclave. While Israel forced its way into the major hospitals in northern Gaza, claiming that Hamas was using the sites as bases and command-and-control centers, the evidence produced by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) does not support these allegations. The US government backed the idea that a command node had existed at the Shifa Hospital, and when the Israeli forces entered the hospital compound they presented weapons they claimed to have found there, as well as an empty tunnel. Any such images released to the public are curated and edited by the Israeli army, but if independently verified, they could serve as evidence of militant presence – still, not proof of a control center or node.

Little of note was discovered in other hospitals, and American claims of having solid intel that confirms Israeli claims is dubious, considering previous public statements such as US President Joe Biden’s words about having seen “confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children” which the White House later had to walk back. At the start of this war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his government was going to “crush Hamas,” a goal that the US government backed publicly. Yet, Hamas has managed to not only inflict the largest blow against Israel in its history, but has also defended Gaza on the ground with countless documented cases of success against Israeli forces. The whole world is now talking about the formation of a Palestinian State, an idea that had been all but abandoned in favor of unconditional normalization agreements between Arab States and Israel, prior to the war.

In addition to this, one of the predictable outcomes of the Israeli war on Gaza, has been a tremendous uptick in support for Hamas throughout the occupied territories. In the Middle East and throughout the Muslim World, Hamas militants have become heroes and are widely viewed as a valiant national resistance. The Saudi-Israeli normalization deal, which the Biden administration’s Middle East policy revolved around, is dead in the water at this time as Riyadh moves closer to Tehran. According to Israeli polling data, Benjamin Netanyahu is only trusted by 4% of Israelis, while the most trusted national figure was recorded to be Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari. Hagari, despite being trusted by Israelis, was turned into the “there is a list guy” and an online meme, after presenting a video in which he claimed a regular Arabic calendar named “terrorists”. That video, in which he referred to the list, was supposed to show evidence of Hamas keeping hostages at the Rantisi Children’s Hospital.

At least 10 countries have either withdrawn ambassadors from, or suspended ties with, Israel. All this as the largest pro-Palestinian protests to have ever taken place in the West continue to occur in capital cities like London and Washington DC. This, combined with a considerable drop in Joe Biden’s approval rating, all spell disaster for the US-supported war in Gaza. The White House claims that it is putting certain restrictions on the Israeli army as it plans to invade the south of Gaza, but in the same breath offers unconditional support for Israel’s actions. At no point has the US government taken any responsibility for what has happened since October 7, there has been no apology for their lies, no change in strategy and no acknowledgement in the role that Washington has played in creating the situation on the ground in Gaza that facilitated the Hamas attack. The real question now is: Where do we go from here? Israel aimlessly fights in Gaza and continues to kill thousands of Palestinian civilians, there is no sign of a Hamas defeat on the horizon and the humanitarian situation, which is described as “the worst ever” by UN Relief Chief Martin Griffiths, is further deteriorating.

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“..every bullet that misses its intended target, every loose piece of flying shrapnel or debris, has a good chance of hitting a civilian..”

Biden Works To Create Plausible Deniability On Gaza (Plitnick)

Biden’s Special Envoy for Middle Eastern Humanitarian Affairs David Satterfield introduced what he called a new “deconfliction mechanism” for Gaza last week. This, he says, is a new system to make sure that Israel knows where humanitarian aid workers are so they will not continue to be killed at the highest rate of any conflict in the United Nations’ history. This is addressing a problem that doesn’t exist. UN and other relief organizations have been coordinating with Israel for decades about their activities in Gaza and where they are working. Israel has not been attacking UN sites, hospitals, schools, mosques, and humanitarian aid facilities and vehicles by mistake. Instead, they have argued that Hamas and other militant groups are using them as cover and they are therefore fair game.

International law, of course, does not give Israel the right to launch such attacks if the sites are full of civilians, even if it believes militants are using them for combat purposes outside of extreme cases of self-defense. Moreover, Israel has generally been unable to provide anything but the flimsiest and most suspect of evidence to support their often outrageous claims. But this “deconfliction mechanism” allows the Biden administration to claim it is working to protect innocent lives in Gaza while it continues its support of Israeli actions. The duplicity of this move is evidenced by the fact that Biden continues to refrain from criticizing Israel’s deliberate targeting of Gaza’s medical and humanitarian infrastructure. If that’s not a red line, then the “deconfliction mechanism,” an already redundant idea, is utterly meaningless.

It can’t be stressed enough that what we have in the south of Gaza now is an intense concentration of people so densely packed in that it would be impossible to launch even the most careful military operation without enormous civilian casualties. There simply is no room to create the sort of “safe zone” the U.S. is claiming Israel will magically conjure. But the theater continues. One U.S. official, speaking anonymously, said, “ You cannot have the scale of displacement that took place in the north replicated in the south.” That’s true, of course. There’s nowhere for them to go. Egypt is not going to allow masses of Gazans through the Rafah crossing — which couldn’t accommodate this kind of flight in any case.

There’s little left in the north to flee to, and Israeli forces would be in the way. So, every bullet that misses its intended target, every loose piece of flying shrapnel or debris, has a good chance of hitting a civilian. It is not credible that Biden administration officials, from the President on down, don’t know this. So when Sullivan talks about giving Palestinians in the south of Gaza the opportunity to “get out of the way” of an Israeli military operation, he knows he is speaking gibberish. It wasn’t possible for Palestinians to do that when the 2.2 million people in Gaza were packed into the full area of the Strip. They’re now jammed into half that space.

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Crazy.

Israel Mulls Flooding Hamas Tunnels – WSJ (RT)

Israel is considering using seawater to flood the extensive network of tunnels under Gaza, used by Hamas militants to smuggle goods in and out of the Palestinian enclave, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing sources. According to US officials interviewed by the paper, the Israeli military assembled an extensive flooding system not far from Al-Shati refugee camp in northwest Gaza in mid-November. The unit reportedly consists of five pumps capable of drawing thousands of cubic meters of water per hour from the Mediterranean Sea, potentially allowing Israel to flood the underground maze within a few weeks. The Israeli government informed the US, its key ally, of the initiative last month, sparking debate about whether the plan was feasible, as well as its pros and cons, WSJ sources said.

They noted that no final decision on its execution has yet been made and that it is unclear how ready Israel is to implement it. The plan, the report says, could drive Hamas fighters out of the sprawling system of tunnels, which span hundreds of kilometers, with some passages reaching into Egypt. The network also provides Hamas and other local Islamist groups with formidable cover from missile strikes and allows them to evade Israel’s blockade. Some tunnels are tall enough for an average man to stand up in, are built from reinforced concrete, and boast a network of communication lines. However, some US officials are said to have serious doubts about the plan. “We are not sure how successful pumping will be, since nobody knows the details of the tunnels and the ground around them,” one source said.

Meanwhile, Jon Alterman, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, warned in a WSJ interview that it was hard to estimate how much seawater would seep into the ground or what impact the pumping would have on water and sewage infrastructure. This sentiment was echoed by Wim Zwijnenburg, an environmental expert, who noted that the flooding could wash hazardous materials out of the tunnels, further contaminating the soil. He also recalled that Gaza’s aquifer has been getting saltier recently due to rising sea levels. The current hostilities between Israel and Hamas were sparked in early October and have resulted in thousands of dead on both sides, while Hamas took more than two hundred hostages, many of whom have since been released. The fighting has also exacerbated the ever-present water crisis in Gaza. According to the UN, Palestinians receive no more than three liters per day, compared to the healthy minimum of 15 liters.

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“..the artificial intelligence system, called “Gospel”, is generating lists of targets so rapidly the military cannot keep up..”

Israel Uses AI Genocide Programme To Obliterate Gaza (Cook)

It should already have been evident from the scale of death and destruction inflicted on Gaza over the past eight weeks that Israel was implementing a policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Palestinians in the besieged enclave. Now Israeli whistleblowers have provided details of how these crimes against humanity are being carried out – and how they are being rationalised internally within Israel’s military and political echelons. An extraordinary series of testimonies jointly published by the Israel-based publications 972 and Local Call last week established that the huge death toll of Palestinian civilians is, in fact, integral to Israel’s war aims, not an unfortunate side effect. The known dead so far are estimated at almost 16,000, with a further 6,000 missing, presumably crushed under rubble. Two-thirds of those killed by Israel are women and children.

Two years ago, during an earlier attack on Gaza, Israeli military officials admitted for the first time that a computer was supplying them with potential targets. The intention appears to have been to bypass the restraints imposed by human assessments of likely casualties by outsourcing the killings to a machine. The whistleblowers confirm that, given new, generous parameters of who and what can be attacked, the artificial intelligence system, called “Gospel”, is generating lists of targets so rapidly the military cannot keep up. Israel’s inputs are now so broad that they allow the bombing without warning of high-rise apartment blocks, so long as it can be claimed that one person residing there is believed to have a connection to Hamas. As Hamas not only has a military wing but runs the enclave’s government, the new policy potentially widens the circle of targets to include civil servants, police, health workers, educators, journalists and aid workers.

That helps explain how, according to United Nations figures, some 100,000 homes in Gaza have been levelled or made uninhabitable and 1.7 million Palestinians displaced, or some three-quarters of the enclave’s population. The revelations definitively give the lie to claims by western politicians, such as US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer, that Israel is simply defending itself and trying to avoid civilian casualties. In a report last Friday, the Guardian corroborated Israel’s reliance on the Gospel computing system. The paper quoted a former White House official familiar with the Pentagon’s development of autonomous offensive systems as stating that Israel’s no-holds-barred AI war on Gaza was an “important moment”. The official added: “Other states are going to be watching and learning.”

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“Amputations among Ukrainians have already reached a comparable scale to that suffered by Germans and Britons over World War One, in a fraction of the time..”

Did The West Deliberately Prolong The Ukraine War? (Marketic)

IFormer U.S. national security official Fiona Hill reported the two sides had reached a tentative peace deal the same month of Johnson’s surprise visit to Kyiv, while former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and several Turkish officials — all of whom were involved at various times in the talks — have said that NATO officials stopped or undermined negotiations. Multiple U.S. reports documented a divide in NATO, with the United States and U.K. reportedly heading a faction of states who preferred a longer war than a sooner peace. Historian Niall Ferguson reported overhearing an unnamed U.S. official say in March 2022 that “the only end game now is the end of Putin regime [sic].” What’s particularly notable is how dramatically these disclosures contrast with the overwhelming thrust of two years’ worth of mainstream discourse on, and analysis of, this war.

Until recently, both NATO officials and commentators across the political spectrum insisted that negotiations with Moscow were impossible and that the war could only be ended by pursuing victory on the battlefield, usually by pursuing Kyiv’s maximalist aims of reconquering all of the territory it had lost since 2014. (According to reports, the tentative agreement reached last April would have seen Ukraine exchange neutrality for a Russian withdrawal to its pre-February 2022 borders). Voices who called for a diplomatic resolution were ignored or viciously smeared, as was anyone who said that Ukraine’s possible entry into NATO was at the heart of the conflict, and that adopting neutrality could help end the war. There is now a mountain of evidence backing both of these claims. In fact, Arakhamia’s interview further drove home the point about NATO membership.

“They actually hoped until nearly the last moment that they could press us into signing this agreement, adopting neutrality,” he said in the interview. “That was essentially the main point. Everything else was cosmetic and political embellishments about ‘denazification,’ the Russian-speaking population, blah blah blah.” There are several key takeaways here. One is that Americans, and indeed all Western publics, should be far more skeptical in future of claims from officials and commentators that diplomatic solutions to conflicts and negotiations with adversarial governments are impossible or ineffective, and that military solutions are the only answer. Indeed, we’ve seen virtually the same arguments deployed against peace talks between Israel and Hamas — a conflict that recently saw a successful temporary ceasefire and hostage exchange — just as we saw them deployed in previous conflicts that likewise ended with successful negotiations.

Another is the carnage that could have been prevented. It was only a few months after negotiations were scuttled that Zelensky admitted Ukraine was losing between 60 and 100 soldiers every day. By August this year, U.S. estimates of Ukrainian casualties, which are an official state secret, stood at nearly 200,000, including 70,000 killed. Amputations among Ukrainians have already reached a comparable scale to that suffered by Germans and Britons over World War One, in a fraction of the time. Besides this death toll, the prolonging of the war has meant profound economic, demographic, and even territorial losses for Ukraine.

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“The risks of a moment of clarity and honesty may be too great for Hunter. If he recalls these events and messages, he will not only contradict prior denials but face potential criminal charges..”

Will the Real Hunter Biden Now Step Forward? (Turley)

Hunter Biden now has a date with Congress. The President’s son is scheduled to appear on December 13th to answer questions on his role in the alleged Biden corruption scandal. It is a long-awaited moment for the House Oversight Committee, which has assembled a damning array of evidence from shake-down messages to millions in transfers from shady foreign sources. The only question now is which Hunter will appear. He has been reinvented by his lawyers and public relations team so many times he now seems like a Sybil witness with carefully constructed alternative personalities. Played by Sally Field in the 1976 movie, Sybil was believed to have had dissociative identity disorder with over a 100 separate personalities. In reality, the real Sybil (Shirley Mason) admitted that the different personalities were fake. We will have to wait for the public hearing to see which Hunter will appear. Here are some of the options from the Hunter Biden repertoire:

Hunter the Genius. First, there is the gifted attorney and expert on issues ranging from trains to energy. For years, Joe Biden arranged for high-ranking positions like his appointment to the Amtrak Board of Directors — an appointment that even his nominating senator seemed to mock. Hunter the International Businessman. Second there is Hunter Biden the sophisticated international businessman whose fame for financial acumen was sought globally by Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese, and other companies. While admitting that his father’s name helped him, Biden insisted that his resume justified the foreign companies clamoring for his expertise, even instructing a reporter to “say it nicer” when pressed on such questions.

Hunter the The Drug Addict. As the corruption scandal mounted, the Biden team and the media sought to portray Hunter was lacking responsibility for his action due to his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Of course, the “seven percent solution” contradicts the earlier images and only begged the question of why these foreign figures would be clamoring for the services of man who claimed that he was blacked out between trysts with high-priced prostitutes . . . for years. Hunter the Hunted. Most recently, the “Dark Biden” emerged as his legal team pledged to attack witnesses and critics against him. Now Hunter was to be the insulted and angry son of a President who had had enough of investigations. That image resonates in the letter from his counsel attacking all of these investigations as utterly baseless.

In reality, the hearing is likely to be a Sybil performance with each personality emerging when useful. Hunter will likely claim a lack of memory on many of the most embarrassing discoveries as the hopeless addict. He will then fall back on his resume to claim that his appeal to foreign companies was his insights and experience. Angry Hunter will then appear at critical moments to express disgust with the committee and portray questions as attacking recovered addicts everywhere. The one personality that is unlikely to manifest itself during the hearing is the one that has yet to appear in public: the honest Biden. Even the mainstream media has largely abandoned its denial of the corruption in these contracts. Reporters now admit that this was raw influence peddling but insist that there is no evidence that President Biden personally benefited from the schemes, as view that I have previously contested.

Yet, it will be difficult for Hunter to go before the Committee and admit that he was selling access to the highest bidders . . . but he was really scamming them. It is easier to claim that he was a hopeless blacked out junkie who was somehow able to maintain a global system of dozens of accounts and shell companies to transfer millions of dollars. The risks of a moment of clarity and honesty may be too great for Hunter. If he recalls these events and messages, he will not only contradict prior denials but face potential criminal charges for any factual misrepresentations. The Justice Department has allowed felonies to lapse against Hunter, but these would be new potential charges with new dates under the statute of limitation.

In the case of Sybil, her psychiatrist, Dr. Connie Wilbur, allegedly was told by his patient that she was making up these personalities but already had a book contract based on her original diagnosis. She went ahead with the book, which became a celebrated movie. It turned out that the existence of the personalities was simply a better story than the reality. The media is in the same position with Hunter. After spending years suppressing the corruption scandal, they are left with an array of carefully constructed personalities that will all likely be on display in December. They and the public will then be able to see a performance that could put Sally Fields to shame as the various Hunters are called before Congress at the same time. Like the movie, it might be hard to keep track and, like one of Sybil’s personalities, you are left asking “Who dat?” The answer is that they are all Hunter and none of them have much to say about corruption.

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“The Justice Department delayed its investigation into Biden, worked to remove Biden’s name from search warrants and subpoenas, restricted investigators from asking witnesses about US President Joe Biden during interviews and tipped off defense attorneys about their investigation..”

DOJ Gave Hunter Biden ‘Preferential Treatment’ – US House Panels (Sp.)

The House Judiciary, Ways and Means, and Oversight Committees released an interim staff report detailing the Justice Department’s treatment of Biden, who was under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and FBI. “The Committees’ investigative work to date has revealed that the Justice Department afforded Hunter Biden — the President’s son — preferential treatment throughout its investigation of his numerous alleged crimes, and then sought to cover up its actions after two courageous IRS agents stepped forward to blow the whistle on the Department’s deviations from its investigative standards,” the report said.

The Justice Department delayed its investigation into Biden, worked to remove Biden’s name from search warrants and subpoenas, restricted investigators from asking witnesses about US President Joe Biden during interviews and tipped off defense attorneys about their investigation, the report said. There is further information that the Justice Department is withholding from the committees, the report said. The Justice Department has not fully complied with requests for relevant documents and impeded the panels’ probe, the report said. The panels will continue to gather evidence to determine whether articles of impeachment against Joe Biden are warranted, the report said.

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“Weiss felt it necessary to remind Hunter that his “father, Joseph R. Biden, is the President of the United States” and his administration brought these charges..”

Special Counsel Slams Hunter Biden’s Subpoena Demand (Turley)

Special Counsel David Weiss filed a blistering opposition to Hunter Biden’s request to subpoena former President Trump and other former officials in his ongoing federal trial. On Tuesday, Weiss felt it necessary to remind Hunter that his “father, Joseph R. Biden, is the President of the United States” and his administration brought these charges. This “Father Knows Best” argument suggests that Hunter needs to focus a bit closer to home. We previously discussed how the Biden team had decided to get aggressive with witnesses and enemies. However, counsel Abbe Lowell and his team have run into a wall given the fact that his father’s administration brought these charges.

What is interesting is that critics have been defending the lack of charges for things like FARA and taxes by noting that the investigation began in the Trump Administration. The lack of charges is cited as showing that even that administration could not find evidence. Yet, now that charges were brought by the Biden Administration, the same fact is being cited as showing bias. Hunter was seeking subpoenas for Trump, former Attorney General Bill Barr and two other former Trump administration officials. Weiss called Biden’s request “meritless and should be denied.” He added:

“Not only does defendant’s motion fail to identify any actual evidence of bias, vindictiveness, or discriminatory intent on the Special Counsel’s part, his arguments ignore an inconvenient truth: No charges were brought against defendant during the prior administration when the subpoena recipients actually held office in the Executive Branch. Instead, every charge in this matter was or will be brought during the current administration—one in which defendant’s father, Joseph R. Biden, is the President of the United States and Merrick B. Garland is the Attorney General that was appointed by President Biden and who personally appointed the Special Counsel. Defendant has not shown, nor can he, how external statements by political opponents of President Biden improperly pressured him, his Attorney General, or the Special Counsel to pursue charges against the President’s son.” In other words, as Margaret Anderson observed: “Well, I suppose Father knows best.”

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They shared it with Fani Willis and only then erased the tapes?!

House GOP: Evidence Of Coordination Between Democrat J6 panel, Georgia DA (JTN)

Two key House GOP lawmakers on Tuesday launched an investigation into possible collusion between Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and the Democrats’ Jan. 6 committee after uncovering evidence the prosecutor pursuing criminal charges against Donald Trump asked for evidence from Congress. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., the chairman of the House Administration’s Subcommittee on Oversight, said they had unearthed a Dec. 17, 2021, letter from Willis asking Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the January 6 Select Committee, to provide her office evidence that could assist in her prosecution of Trump and other defendants. In a letter to Willis, Jordan and Loudermilk said they found evidence to be troubling.

“Specifically, you asked Rep. Thompson for access to ‘record [sic] includ[ing] but . . . not limited to recordings and transcripts of witness interviews and depositions, electronic and print records of communications, and records of travel.’ You even offered that you and your staff were eager to travel to Washington, D.C, to ‘meet with investigators in person’ and to receive these records ‘any time’ between January 31, 2022, and February 25, 2022,” the lawmakers wrote. Some of the video transcripts of Jan. 6 witnesses are now missing, according to Loudermilk. Willis would eventually charge Trump and several other defendants with felonies related to the Jan. 6 riot, charges the former president and his defenders have called politically motivated. The charges are primarily on alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.

“The coordination between Fulton County, GA District Attorney Fani Willis, and Pelosi’s January 6 Select Committee, should be concerning to everyone. This new information raises questions about Willis’ and Thompson’s commitment to due process, and whether House Rules were violated when the Select Committee failed to properly disclose this material. We have serious concerns about this behavior and we are seeking the truth,” Loudermilk said after he and Jordan released the letter. The letter asks Willis to provide to Jordan and Loudermilk “all documents and communications between or among the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol for the period July 1, 2021, to January 3, 2023.”

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“..if the official data showed that the Covid “vaccine” was not dangerous, the authorities would release it, and it would not have to be leaked..”

Why Do You Trust Those Who Lie To You? (Paul Craig Roberts)

Think about this for a moment. The facts are in. Big Pharma’s Covid “vaccines” have a high death rate and a high health injury rate. We know this from a number of official sources, such as Pfizer’s internal documents the release of which was ordered by US federal courts and from the release of the New Zealand data by the official data administrator. We also know it from countless scientific peer reviewed studies that every effort is made to suppress. It is obvious that if the official data showed that the Covid “vaccine” was not dangerous, the authorities would release it, and it would not have to be leaked by data administrators or ordered released by courts. Now ask yourselves and your friends what it means that the official health authorities of allegedly accountable democratic governments not only suppress the information but demonize and arrest those, such as New Zealand’s data administrator, who make it public.

Ask yourselves why the media discredits and supports the arrest of those who tell the truth in an attempt to save lives. Ask yourselves why public health agencies and HMOs continue recommending the deadly “vaccine” when the “vaccine” has a proven record of being deadly. Ask yourselves why the public trusts authorities who are out to murder them. Do you understand that the Covid “vaccine” still in use are doses approved under the emergency use authorization? The subsequently approved doses have not been released. Why? The reason is that the emergency use authorization in the US prevents lawsuits for damages, but the approved use batches do not. Obviously, the “vaccine” makers and the authorities understand that the vaccine is dangerous and requires use under emergency use authorization to avoid liability.

The people who died from Covid, instead of from the “vaccine,” died from the withholding of the known proven cures–Ivermectin and HCQ. The cures had to be withheld, because under the law if a cure existed, emergency use could not be activated. So in order for Big Pharma to make billions of dollars by killing and injuring the health of unsuspecting citizens, the cures were suppressed, and people died needlessly. Political and health authorities blamed the deaths on the unvaccinated. The corrupt media lampooned Ivermectin as “horse medicine.” And Americans fell for the outrageous lie and died. This is America. Are you proud of your government, media, and health establishment owned lock, stock, and barrel by Big Pharma? Are you a Proud American or one shamed to Hell by “your” government, “your” health authority, and “your” media? What are you going to do about it?

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“..Johnson is expected to reference the EU row when he gives evidence to a UK Covid inquiry on Wednesday..”

Boris Johnson Considered Military Raid On Holland – Daily Mail (RT)

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked military advisers to prepare plans to raid a Dutch Covid-19 vaccine plant to retrieve 5 million AstraZeneca doses, the Daily Mail has claimed. Johnson was “enraged” by a diplomatic spat with the EU after Brussels threatened to prevent doses of the vaccine from being sent to the UK from the plant in March 2021, the outlet reported on Sunday, citing anonymous sources. At the time, the EU was embroiled in a dispute with the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company over the rollout of the vaccine. AstraZeneca had said production issues meant it could only deliver about one-quarter of the planned stock to the EU, and had refused to divert supplies from its factories in the UK.

This prompted Brussels to threaten to ban exports of the vaccine from its own territory, which European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claimed was necessary to ensure “Europe gets its fair share.” Johnson, who had pledged that priority groups in the UK would be fully vaccinated by mid-April 2021, subsequently asked military advisers to prepare plans to forcefully retrieve the vaccine doses from the plant in Leiden, the Daily Mail reported. “The PM was enraged,” the diplomatic source told the newspaper. “He ordered officials to look at all options for responding, and that did include asking the security services to look at whether there were any options for physically going and taking the vaccines from the Netherlands and bringing them here.”

A second source said that the EU, whose actions they described as “Trumpian,” could not “accept the fact that we had negotiated a better deal with AstraZeneca… They (the vaccines) were effectively stolen.” However, the idea was abandoned after Johnson was advised that conducting a military-style operation to seize the vaccines would seriously undermine relations with the EU. It would also threaten the supply of future vaccine doses from elsewhere in the bloc, the Daily Mail said. Johnson is expected to reference the EU row when he gives evidence to a UK Covid inquiry on Wednesday. It was previously reported by The Times that the former premier will admit he “unquestionably made mistakes” in his leadership throughout the pandemic. However, he is also set to claim that his actions saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patrick Moore Net Zero

 

 

 

 

David Martin Covid 1966

 

 

Yeadon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1731978883069878374

 

 

Questions

 

 

this ‘impossible portal’ created by coded loop artist @jn3008 challanges your mind leaning toward you or away from you

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in wartime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 252023
 
 November 25, 2023  Posted by at 9:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  31 Responses »


Giorgio de Chirico The Enigma of the Hour 1910

 

No Ceasefire in the Propaganda War (Craig Murray)
As Israel Pounds Gaza, BBC Journalists Accuse Broadcaster Of Bias (AlJ)
Was October 7th a Hamas or Israeli Massacre? (Cradle)
The Eviction Notice Is Being Written, and Will Come in Four Languages (Escobar)
Ukraine Conflict Could Have Ended In Spring 2022 – Kiev’s Top MP (RT)
US, Germany Trying To Nudge Ukraine To Negotiating Table (TASS)
Zelensky Flags New Military Conscription Drive (RT)
Maidan 10 Years On… (SCF Op-ed)
Control of AI Can Be Similar To Nuclear Non-Proliferation Rules – Putin (TASS)
Eliminating Central Bank ‘Non-Negotiable’ – Argentina’s Milei (RT)
Netizens Slam Biden’s ‘Thanksgiving Guide for Responding to MAGA Nonsense’ (Sp.)
The Biden Administration’s EV Goals Are an Expensive Fantasy (RCW)
How Electric Vehicles Harm The Environment They’re Supposed To Save (RT)

 

 

 

 

Haaretz

 

 

 

 

Finkelstein

 

 

 

 

Scott Ritter reveals why he gave up his career to fight against Netanyahu & the Israeli Right-Wing

 

 

Nap Macgregor

 

 

 

 

VDH

 

 

Garland

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This “justice” system is an essential part of the imposition of apartheid and the slow genocide, which did not just start this autumn. The BBC won’t tell you that either..”

No Ceasefire in the Propaganda War (Craig Murray)

I have had BBC News on in the background for the last two hours. In that time there have been three lengthy interviews with different relatives of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. There has not been a single interview with a Palestinian relative of a Palestinian prisoner held by Israel. Today 13 Israeli prisoners and 39 Palestinian prisoners are due to be released. 90% of the BBC mentions of prisoner releases do not include the Palestinians at all. Just finished is a ten minute interview of a Professor in Kent on the psychological effects on Israeli hostages. Earlier there was an expert from Tel Aviv on the psychological impact on Israeli hostages’ families. There has been no mreport whatosever of the impact on Palestinian prisoners and their families. The BBC simply does not treat the Palestinians as human, whereas the emphasis on Israeli personal victimhood is incessant and unrelenting.

Of the 300 Palestinian women and children prisoners on the list possibly to be released during the ceasefire, 252 have never been charged with any crime. 23 were charged with stone throwing. Since October 8 over 200 Palestinian children have been taken prisoner, none of whom had anything to do with the October 7 attacks. That rather puts the possible release of 33 children and six women today into perspective. But it is not a perspective the BBC would ever give you. Over 2,000 Palestinians are held by Israel in “administrative detention”, without charge or trial. Some for over twenty years. Since 1967 Israel has made over 1 million arrests of Palestinians. This “justice” system is an essential part of the imposition of apartheid and the slow genocide, which did not just start this autumn. The BBC won’t tell you that either, and appears to have no problem with permanently showcasing its Israel based correspondents churning out the Israeli propaganda narrative, with no attempt at either perspective or balance.

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“The group does not plan to send the letter to BBC executives, believing such a move was unlikely to lead to meaningful discussions..”

As Israel Pounds Gaza, BBC Journalists Accuse Broadcaster Of Bias (AlJ)

The BBC has been accused by its journalists of failing to tell the story of the Israel-Palestine conflict accurately, investing greater effort in humanising Israeli victims compared with Palestinians, and omitting key historical context in coverage. In a 2,300-word letter written to Al Jazeera by eight UK-based journalists employed by the corporation, the BBC is also said to be guilty of a “double standard in how civilians are seen”, given that it is “unflinching” in its reporting of alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Fearing reprisal, the journalists requested anonymity. The group does not plan to send the letter to BBC executives, believing such a move was unlikely to lead to meaningful discussions. They sent Al Jazeera the letter as a humanitarian disaster in Gaza escalates, and as grim milestones are reached at pace.

At the time of writing, more than 14,500 Palestinians have been reported as killed by Israeli bombardment, including at least 6,000 children. “The BBC has failed to accurately tell this story – through omission and lack of critical engagement with Israel’s claims – and it has therefore failed to help the public engage with and understand the human rights abuses unfolding in Gaza,” the letter reads. “Thousands of Palestinians have been killed since October 7. When will the number be high enough for our editorial stance to change?” Israel declared war against Hamas after the Palestinian group, which governs the densely populated enclave, attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 Israelis and taking more than 200 hostage. Rights groups and hundreds of thousands of protesters worldwide, outraged by the soaring Palestinian death toll in Gaza, have called for a ceasefire.

The war has also divided newsrooms globally, with disagreements over how each side is being portrayed, the allegedly unequal level of empathy shown to Israeli and Palestinian victims, and the use of language. The BBC journalists said that across British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) platforms, terms like “massacre” and “atrocity”, have been reserved “only for Hamas, framing the group as the only instigator and perpetrator of violence in the region. This is inaccurate but aligns with the BBC’s overall coverage”. The Hamas assault, while “appalling and devastating … does not justify the indiscriminate killing of thousands of Palestinian civilians, and the BBC cannot be seen to support – or fail to interrogate – the logic that it does,” their letter reads.

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“..Nor has the Israeli government investigated her death or told her relatives how she died. This is because Leil was likely not killed by Hamas, but by the Israeli army.”

Was October 7th a Hamas or Israeli Massacre? (Cradle)

A farewell ceremony was recently held for 12-year-old Liel Hezroni, an Israeli girl from Kibbutz Be’eri who died during the Hamas-led Al-Aqsa Flood military operation on 7 October. There was no traditional burial, just a ceremony, because her body has never been found. Israeli officials initially claimed that the Palestinian resistance killed 1,400 Israelis that day, including 112 in Be’eri. Though Liel died on “Israel’s darkest day,” no government official attended the farewell ceremony to offer condolences to her family. Nor has the Israeli government investigated her death or told her relatives how she died. This is because Leil was likely not killed by Hamas, but by the Israeli army.

Liel died when Israeli military forces fired two tank shells into a home in Be’eri that held 15 Israeli hostages and the 40 Hamas fighters who had taken them captive. Yasmin Porat, 44, is one of two Israelis to have survived the incident. She remained with Liel and other hostages for several hours in the house, guarded, she says, by fighters who treated them “humanely,” and whose “objective was to kidnap us to Gaza. Not to murder us.” Porat’s bombshell revelation was that when Israeli forces arrived, “they eliminated everyone, including the hostages,” the mother of three told Kan. “There was very, very heavy crossfire.”

An official Israeli police investigation into the Nova music festival attack near the Gaza border adds to the growing claims that the army killed civilians. The initial narrative of a Hamas-led massacre of 260 Israelis is swiftly being debunked as Israeli citizens demand investigations and more information surfaces. According to Haaretz, a police source disclosed that an Israeli combat helicopter, upon arrival, not only targeted Hamas fighters but also fired at Israelis attending the festival. The police report has now adjusted the festival death toll to 364 casualties.

A report from Yedioth Ahronoth on 15 October suggested that Hamas intentionally made it difficult for pilots to distinguish between them and Israelis by dressing in civilian clothing. This, it is argued, made the pilots hesitate to attack targets on the ground at first, but they soon began to fire indiscriminately: “The rate of fire against the thousands of terrorists was tremendous at first, and only at a certain point did the pilots begin to slow down the attacks and carefully select the target.” The willingness of occupation forces to unleash overwhelming firepower in this way helps explain the large death toll on 7 October. It also sheds a light on the stark discrepancy between two narratives – one, of a trigger-happy, murderous Hamas that killed hundreds “indiscriminately,” versus the other picture, Palestinian fighters who treated captives ”humanely.”

Israeli government spokesperson Mark Regev admitted in an interview last week on MSNBC that the initial death count of 1,400 Israelis from the resistance operation was a mistake. The revised count lowered the number to 1,200. We “overestimated, we made a mistake,” Regev said. “There were actually bodies that were so badly burnt we thought they were ours, in the end, apparently, they were Hamas terrorists.” If some 200 Hamas fighters and Palestinians were burned so severely by tank and helicopter fire that they could not be identified, logic dictates that many Israelis met a similar fate. It may also explain why there was nothing left of Liel Herzoni’s body to bury at her farewell ceremony.

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“..President Putin defined sending humanitarian aid to Gaza as a “sacred duty”, which in Russian code includes, crucially, the military spectrum..”

The Eviction Notice Is Being Written, and Will Come in Four Languages (Escobar)

The Eviction Notice is being written. And it will come in four languages. Russian. Farsi. Mandarin. And last but not least, English. A much-cherished pleasure of professional writing is to always be enriched by informed readers. This “eviction” insight – worth a thousand geopolitical treatises – was offered by one of my sharpest readers commenting on a column. Concisely, what we have here expresses a deeply felt consensus across the spectrum not only in West Asia but also in most latitudes across the Global South/Global Majority. The Unthinkable, in the form of a genocide conducted live, in real time on every smartphone in the third decade of the millennium – which I called the Raging Twenties in a previous book – has acted like a particle accelerator, concentrating hearts and minds. Those that chose to set West Asia on fire are already confronting nasty blowback. And that goes way beyond diplomacy exercised by Global South leaders.

For the first time in ages, via President Xi Jinping, China has been more than explicit geopolitically (a true Sovereign cannot hedge when it comes to genocide). China’s unmistaken position on Palestine goes way beyond the geoeconomics routine of promoting BRI’s trade and transportation corridors. All that while President Putin defined sending humanitarian aid to Gaza as a “sacred duty”, which in Russian code includes, crucially, the military spectrum. For all the maneuvering and occasional posturing, for all practical purposes everyone knows the current UN arrangement is rotten beyond repair, totally impotent when it comes to imposing meaningful peace negotiations, sanctions or investigations of serial war crimes. The new UN in the making is BRICS 11 – actually BRICS 10, considering new Trojan Horse Argentina in practice may be relegated to a marginal role, assuming it joins on January 1st, 2024.

BRICS 10, led by Russia-China, both regulated by a strong moral compass, keep their ear on the ground and listen to the Arab street and the lands of Islam. Especially their people, much more than their elites. This will be an essential element in 2024 during the Russian presidency of BRICS. The current order of business in the New Great Game is to organize the expulsion of the Hegemon from West Asia – as much a technical challenge as a civilizational challenge. As it stands, the Washington-Tel Aviv continuum are already prisoners of their own device. This ain’t no Hotel California; you may not check out any time you like, but you will be forced to leave.

That may happen in a relatively gentle manner – think Kabul as a Saigon remix – or if push comes to shove may involve a naval Apocalypse Now, complete with expensive iron bathtubs turned into sub-ocean coral reefs and the demise of CENTCOM and its AFRICOM projection. The crucial vector all along is how Iran – and Russia – have played, year after year, with infinite patience, the master strategy devised by Gen. Soleimani, whose assassination actually started the Raging Twenties. A de-weaponized Hegemon cannot defeat the “new axis of evil”, Russia-Iran-China, not only in West Asia but also anywhere in Eurasia, Asia-Pacific, and pan-Africa. Direct participation/normalization of the genocide only worked to accelerate the progressive, inevitable exclusion of the Hegemon from most of the Global South.

All that while Russia meticulously crafts the integration of the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Baltic Sea (Finnish hysteria notwithstanding), the Arctic and the Northwestern Pacific Sea and China turbo-charges the integration of the South China Sea. Xi and Putin are gifted players of chess and go – and profit from stellar advisers of the caliber of Patrushev and Wang Yi. China playing geopolitical go is an exercise in non-confrontation: all you need to do is to block your opponent’s ability to move. Chess and go, in a diplomatic tandem, represent a game where you don’t interrupt your opponent when it is repeatedly shooting itself on the knees. As an extra bonus, you get your opponent antagonizing over 90% of the world’s population. All that will lead to the Hegemon’s economy eventually collapsing. And then it can be beaten by default.

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Not new, but first time from Ukraine sources.

“As soon as Russia pulled back its troops from the vicinity of Kiev, as a gesture of good will, Ukraine reneged on the deal, Putin said..”

Ukraine Conflict Could Have Ended In Spring 2022 – Kiev’s Top MP (RT)

Russia was ready to stop the fighting had Ukraine agreed to remain neutral, but the West advised Kiev to keep going, the head of President Vladimir Zelensky’s parliamentary faction – and the chief negotiator at the peace talks in Istanbul – David Arakhamia admitted on Friday. Arakhamia, who heads the ‘Servant of the People’ parliamentary group, told the TV channel 1+1 that Moscow had offered Kiev a peace deal in March 2022, but the Ukrainian side did not trust Russia. “Russia’s goal was to put pressure on us so that we would take neutrality. This was the main thing for them: They were ready to end the war if we accepted neutrality, like Finland once did. And we would make a commitment that we will not join NATO. This was the main thing,” said Arakhamia.

However, agreeing to neutrality and giving up NATO membership would have required changing the constitution of Ukraine, Arakhamia explained. “Secondly, there was no trust in the Russians that they would do this. This could only be done with security guarantees,” he told 1+1. During the talks, Arakhamia added, British then-PM Boris Johnson arrived in Kiev and told Ukrainian officials to keep fighting and not sign any agreements with Moscow. Johnson’s role in scuttling the peace talks in Istanbul was revealed in May 2022 by the outlet Ukrayinska Pravda. However, neither the British politician – who was ousted as PM in June that year and eventually landed a job at an American think tank – nor the US government ever officially acknowledged pressuring Kiev into reneging on the draft agreement, which Arakhamia himself had signed with the Russians. Kiev had likewise never officially commented on the matter – until now.

Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed to African leaders that Moscow and Kiev had signed a draft agreement “on permanent neutrality and security guarantees for Ukraine” at the talks hosted by Türkiye. As soon as Russia pulled back its troops from the vicinity of Kiev, as a gesture of good will, Ukraine reneged on the deal, Putin said. The Russian withdrawal was presented by Western governments and media as a Ukrainian military victory and they began sending heavy weapons and equipment to Zelensky’s government, fueling the conflict for the next 18 months.

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“The German-US plan is to supply Kiev with just the kind of weapons and just the right quantity of them to allow the Ukrainian military to hold the current frontline..”

US, Germany Trying To Nudge Ukraine To Negotiating Table (TASS)

The US and Germany want to push Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky toward talks with Russia by providing Ukraine with only just enough weapons to hold the current frontline, the Bild newspaper reported, citing sources in the German government. “The German-US plan is to supply Kiev with just the kind of weapons and just the right quantity of them to allow the Ukrainian military to hold the current frontline, but not retake the conquered territories,” the newspaper reported. “Zelensky must come to the realization that things cannot go on like this on his own, without demands from the outside,” one of the sources told the newspaper. “He must address the nation of his own volition and explain that it is necessary to hold talks.”

The US and Germany want Zelensky to realize that extending the conflict makes no sense for his country. However, neither Chancellor Olaf Scholz nor US President Joe Biden plan to make direct demands that he start negotiations. The US and Germany are the largest suppliers of weapons to Kiev. Bild said the situation at the battlefield is “grim” for Ukraine and that “Russian troops are advancing, albeit slowly.” According to the newspaper, the German government’s main goal now is to help officials in Kiev achieve a “strategically favorable negotiating position.” “The White House and the chancellor’s office are coordinating their actions in this matter,” the sources said.

Bild also reported that Washington and Berlin have a plan B. “What Berlin and Washington want as an alternative to negotiations is a frozen conflict without an agreement between its sides,” one of the sources said. Under that scenario, the current line of engagement will be “a kind of a new border” between Ukraine and Russia. “It would be like Minsk (the Minsk agreements – TASS), but without Minsk,” the source said. The newspaper reported that many German decisions on arms deliveries are now made by Scholz’s office, not by the Defense Ministry headed by Boris Pistorius. According to the report, Pistorius is ready to transfer Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine, but his “hands are tied.”.

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“The West has been pushing Zelensky to expand the conscription age to men aged 17-70 and mobilize more women..”

Zelensky Flags New Military Conscription Drive (RT)

Ukraine will announce a new “complex plan” of mobilization next week, President Vladimir Zelensky said on Friday after meeting with the General Staff. While he offered no details, other Kiev officials hinted at the possibility of demobilizing some soldiers that had been fighting since February 2022. Ukraine has been under pressure to make up the losses incurred in the four-month “counteroffensive” on the southern front, which Russia has estimated at over 90,000 men. “As for the issue of mobilization, you know how complex and very relevant it is,” the Ukrainian president said at a press conference on Friday. “Today there was a comprehensive report on what the challenges are, how to resolve the issue, what to do, what legislative changes, who must do this… A comprehensive plan on this issue will be available next week.”

Kiev first announced a mobilization and declared martial law in February 2022, when the conflict with Russia escalated. It has repeatedly widened the conscription net since, to the point where some German researchers warned this week it could jeopardize Ukraine’s economic recovery. Aleksey Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told Ukrainian radio on Friday that at least some of the men mobilized early on in the conflict with Russia might be released from service “in the near future.” “We all know that we now have a problem with mobilization, one might say, a failure of mobilization,” Roman Kostenko, secretary of the parliamentary committee on Defense, National Security and Intelligence, told Ukraine’s Radio NV on Friday. “After the military commissars were replaced, we experienced a failure in mobilization.”

Zelensky had purged all the regional conscription offices earlier this year, citing widespread corruption. By the end of August 2023, over 20,000 men eligible for the draft had fled Ukraine – and another 21,000 tried to flee but were caught, the BBC reported last week. According to Kostenko, Kiev needs to find a solution quickly or it will face “big problems,” describing mobilization as a bigger challenge than the shortage of artillery ammunition. The West has been pushing Zelensky to expand the conscription age to men aged 17-70 and mobilize more women, Russian intelligence said earlier this week. Kiev has neither confirmed nor denied these claims.

Former Deputy Defense Minister Anna Maliar – whom Zelensky sacked in September – told the outlet Liga on Thursday that Ukrainians “shouldn’t be afraid” of mobilization. Ukraine needs to realize some “unpleasant things,” she said, such as that the Russians “simply physically have more people” while Ukraine has a smaller army that “will not get larger” and fewer weapons. “The time for popular solutions has already passed,” Maliar said. “As an adult society, we just need to understand these things and not expect that there should be good news every day.”

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“Von Der Leyen, who now so absurdly eulogizes Ukraine, was the German minister of Defense during the Maidan coup. Her family’s Nazi past was quite fitting for the role she played in pumping NATO weapons and training to build up Ukrainian paramilitaries..”

Maidan 10 Years On… (SCF Op-ed)

Ten years on from the Maidan uprising in Kiev, the country of the Ukraine has descended into utter chaos, corruption, fascism, destruction and suffering. And yet the Kiev regime and its Western state supporters have the audacity to call the tragic, bloody morass “a decade of dignity”. European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen declared this week: “Ten years of dignity. Ten years of pride. Ten years of striving for freedom. The cold November nights of Euromaidan changed Europe forever. The whole country took to the streets and spoke with one voice… The future for which Maidan fought has finally begun. Glory to Ukraine! Long live Europe!” It is nauseating to hear such bare-faced lies and distortions. “The whole country took the streets”? It was a minority of Nazi ideologues bankrolled by Western powers.

“Speaking with one voice”? The Maidan coup leaders murdered and burned opponents to death as in the Odessa pogrom on May 2, 2014, or in the deadly air strike on unsuspecting Lugansk civilians on June 2, 2014. Bitterly amusing, though, Von Der Leyen inadvertently speaks the truth when she said the Maidan event “changed Europe forever”. It certainly did that, but in an opposite and awful way to her ridiculous, rosy view. As this excellent documentary film makes clear, when the Western transAtlantic powers couldn’t get their way in dragooning Ukraine into joining the EU-NATO axis, the next step was to orchestrate a violent coup d’état in Kiev. This week ten years ago, the elected president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych rejected a vigorously promoted “association agreement” with the EU, preferring instead to orient the country towards closer economic integration with Russia and the Eurasian markets.

That decision by the president triggered relatively minor protests in Kiev dubbed the EuroMaidan which began on November 21, 2013. The rapid escalation of violent protests was obviously fomented and mobilized by external forces: the United States, European Union, the CIA and NATO. It was a repeat of the U.S.-sponsored Orange Revolution in Kiev in 2004 which had failed back then to fully decouple Ukraine from historically close relations with Russia. A second time around, however, the color revolution process would be more deadly and determined. Three months after the initial street demonstrations and amid mounting organized deadly subversion, the coup was executed on February 20, 2014. President Yanukovych fled the country.

A NeoNazi regime seized power and immediately transformed Ukraine into a bastion of anti-Russia hate. World War Two Nazi collaborators were venerated and made public heroes. Russian-speaking people were attacked and lynched. This is all documented, albeit censored out of history by the Western media. American and European politicians midwifed the birth of a monster. The objective was always to create a fascist Frankenstein terrorist state that would do the Western imperialists’ dirty work of destabilizing Russia. American imperialist ideologues like Zbigniew Brzezinski had touted and written books about Ukraine as the bridgehead for destabilizing Russia. The roots of such intrigue can be traced back to the early CIA recruitment of Ukrainian Nazis in the aftermath of World War Two to harass the Soviet Union.

Joe Biden, who was then the vice president in the Obama administration (2008-16), was intimately responsible for the transmogrification of Ukraine. Along the way, Biden even got his drug-addict playboy son Hunter a lucrative job as an executive in the country’s largest gas company. Von Der Leyen, who now so absurdly eulogizes Ukraine, was the German minister of Defense during the Maidan coup. Her family’s Nazi past was quite fitting for the role she played in pumping NATO weapons and training to build up Ukrainian paramilitaries for launching terror attacks on the Russian-speaking regions in the weeks, months and years after 2014.

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“Putin speculated that the best option would be to reach agreements before any threat in the field of artificial intelligence might emerge. “Do you know when this will be possible? When everybody feels threatened.”

Control of AI Can Be Similar To Nuclear Non-Proliferation Rules – Putin (TASS)

Humanity can agree on common principles of controlling artificial intelligence similar to the nuclear non-proliferation rules, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a conference on artificial intelligence. “Humanity has worked out certain rules related to the use of nuclear technologies, including those in the military field: non-proliferation. It formulated the rules for non-proliferation of delivery vehicles and nuclear technologies as such. There are such rules. Humanity has managed to create this. In the field of artificial intelligence, we can achieve common solutions acceptable to all and necessary for all,” Putin said. His point of view was supported by the head of Sberbank German Gref.

“You are absolutely right. It seems to me that it is in the interests of all people, all of humanity, to approach this process with a sense of great responsibility,” Gref said. He is certain that this process should be fully controlled by people. During the discussion Putin speculated that the best option would be to reach agreements before any threat in the field of artificial intelligence might emerge. “Do you know when this will be possible? When everybody feels threatened. When everyone feels threatened by uncontrolled proliferation, by uncontrolled work in this area, then we will immediately see a wish to reach agreements. It would be the best if common awareness of looming threats led to the wish to negotiate,” Putin said.

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He’s an interesting man. I like the video.

Eliminating Central Bank ‘Non-Negotiable’ – Argentina’s Milei (RT)

Argentina’s incoming president Javier Milei confirmed on Friday that he will keep his promise to shut the nation’s central bank. The statement was posted by his office on X (formerly Twitter). The shutdown was Milei’s signature campaign pledge along with “shock therapy” to fix Argentina’s beleaguered finances that includes dollarizing the economy, privatizing state-owned media outlets and other public companies including energy firm YPF. The statement reportedly came in response to what Milei has called “false rumors” that he had eased off on his plans, with some people claiming he was picking a more moderate Cabinet than expected.

Milei, who will take office on December 10, predicted it would take him “between 18 and 24 months” to decrease inflation, which is nearing 150%. Some economists have raised concerns that Milei’s “shock therapy sets Argentina on a path of deep uncertainty.” Experts suggested that dollarizing the $622 billion economy at a time of depleted international reserves could plunge the South American nation into another spell of hyperinflation.

Milei

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“The guide urges Biden supporters to say that “inflation is the lowest” under POTUS, in response to the claim that “the economy was better under Trump!”

Netizens Slam Biden’s ‘Thanksgiving Guide for Responding to MAGA Nonsense’ (Sp.)

The Biden campaign has faced strong criticism from internet users for sharing a set of talking points designed to assist supporters of the President in engaging in political discussions during Thanksgiving, covering a wide range of topics including immigration and the economy. The list, titled “Your handy guide for responding to crazy MAGA nonsense this Thanksgiving,” was shared on X and rejected by many users as nothing but propaganda and gaslighting. “You’re literally gaslighting Americans about the economy. So many Americans are struggling to make ends meet due to inflation,” a netizen wrote.

Another user pointed out the irrelevance of releasing similar talking points before Thanksgiving Day on November 23, noting: “Why not just encourage families to focus on each other, the things that unites them, and their thankfulness for health, each other, etc? One of the guide’s talking points was related to inflation in the US. The guide urges Biden supporters to say that “inflation is the lowest” under POTUS, in response to the claim that “the economy was better under Trump!”. In reality, however, inflation has risen to a four-decade high of 9.1% in June 2022 under the 46th U.S. president. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that about 60% of Americans are still living paycheck to paycheck as inflation eats away at their wages.

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A society commiting suicide.

The Biden Administration’s EV Goals Are an Expensive Fantasy (RCW)

The Biden administration is pushing for widespread electrification in less than 20 years through government subsidies and coercive regulations as part of its aggressive climate agenda. The truth is that President Joe Biden’s goals are an illusion at the expense of the American people. While EV proponents try to claim that EVs will soon be cheaper than gasoline vehicles, our new research demonstrates that EVs benefitted from hidden subsidies that total nearly $50,000 per EV. Who is footing that bill? Gasoline vehicle owners, taxpayers, and utility ratepayers are. Electric vehicles primarily benefit from regulatory credits and generous fuel economy standards, which average $27,881 per vehicle. EVs have been given an unlawful 6.67 multiplier to their rated fuel economy, so that an EV with a rated fuel economy of 100 miles per gallon is credited as if it is getting 667 miles per gallon.

What’s more, the EPA’s proposed fuel economy standards are designed to require that 67% of new passenger cars sold be all-electric by 2032, demonstrating a clear government preference toward EVs without proper consideration of costs and benefits. For gasoline vehicles, the price you see at the gas pump covers the cost of extracting, refining, and transporting the gasoline, but the same cannot be said for the cost of charging an EV. EVs require new charging infrastructure, and their large power draw increases the strain on electricity infrastructure. As our research highlights, a typical EV charging overnight at home consumes as much power as several homes, and an EV charging at a fast-charging station in 30 minutes consumes as much power as a small to medium-sized grocery store. A few extra EVs in the neighborhoods are manageable, but widespread EV adoption will require significant and expensive grid upgrades.

Adding insult to injury, EV owners alone aren’t shouldering these increased electricity costs, which average $11,833 per vehicle over 10 years. Until a utility starts charging EV owners for the extra infrastructure costs to serve them, those costs are shared among all the utility’s customers. Residential electricity costs across the U.S. have risen 20% over the last three years, and a rapid forced adoption of EVs will only make this problem worse. Direct federal and state subsidies provide EVs with another $8,984 per vehicle over 10 years, including the widely publicized $7,500 federal tax credit in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act and smaller state subsidies for EVs. All these subsidies, of course, are borne by the American taxpayer.

President Biden’s expensive green pipe dream is not without irony. While Biden administration claims that these draconian EV mandates are necessary to combat climate change, the widespread adoption of EVs in the developed world would have negligible effects on global emissions and climate. For starters, if EVs are able to displace all the carbon emissions from U.S. passenger cars, that would only cut out 20% of U.S. carbon emissions. Our calculations show that even if the U.S. eliminated all of its carbon emissions by 2050, the effect on global temperatures in 2100 would only be 0.08 degrees Celsius.

[..] The lifetime emissions of the electric version of the Volvo SUV at the center of the study are only a third less than the emissions of the gasoline version, and that is when it is charged on the carbon-light European grid. Different assumptions could lead to an EV emitting more carbon than its gasoline counterpart. The obvious conclusion is that without rapid reductions in carbon emissions from the electric grid, an equally Herculean task to EV mass adoption, EVs will continue to produce significant carbon emissions. Emissions from gasoline vehicles are projected to decline 20% over the next decade, and hybrids, which nearly double the fuel efficiency of a gasoline vehicle with a battery that is 50-100 times smaller than an EV battery, would actually produce the least amount of lifetime emissions. But the net-zero advocates are needlessly demanding all EVs—or nothing.

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“India’s EVs depend on just the 8,738 Public Charging Stations (PCS) that are operational as of June 2023 [..] The number of PCS needs to increase to a minimum of 1.32 million..”:

How Electric Vehicles Harm The Environment They’re Supposed To Save (RT)

Five Indian cities, including the capital, New Delhi, consistently rank in the world’s top ten worst air-polluted cities. Vehicular emissions are significant contributors; Delhi alone has around four million cars – no wonder the government of India is promoting electric vehicles (EVs) on a large scale. While India’s target is a 30% market share of EVs by 2030, the share is currently only 1.1%. Moreover, concerns exist about whether EVs are a green option if pollution is transferred from the cities to the countryside. Around 27.4 million EVs were running on Indian roads as of July 2023, according to the ‘Vahan4’ portal of the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways. To achieve its goal of net zero by 2070 to cut down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, India is expanding its EV market.

The hope in New Delhi, for example, is that a rise in the number of green-number plate vehicles will herald a day when its air will become breathable again. However, India’s EVs depend on just the 8,738 Public Charging Stations (PCS) that are operational as of June 2023, as per the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Ministry of Power data. The number of PCS needs to increase to a minimum of 1.32 million, states the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on ‘Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles,’ to support the 30% market share target. But will EVs really be emission-free? For an EV to achieve maximum environmental benefit, the electricity used for charging must be generated from green or renewable sources. However, much of India’s electricity is still dependent on coal-based thermal power plants, and the government is on a spree to auction more mines and make non-operational mines functional again.

India’s total thermal installed capacity is 238.1 Gigawatts, and over 48.67% of thermal power (around 116 GW) is obtained from coal, and electricity demand is increasing by 4.7% annually. As per the National Electricity Plan (2022-32), the projected peak electricity demand for 2026-27 will be 277.2 GW, and for 2031-32, it will be 366.4 GW. Despite efforts to generate electricity from renewable sources, according to NEP 2022-23, much of India’s electricity will still be derived from thermal plants running on coal by the early 2030s. The share of coal-based capacity in the total installed capacity for the year 2026-27 is likely to be 38.57% and 28.83% for the year 2031-32, which will be around 107 GW and 106 GW respectively, by 2026-27 and 2031-32 – little difference from the present scenario.

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Dr. Gabor Maté and Dr. Tarek Loubani, a doctor who treats patients in Gaza and runs the Glia Project which seeks to provide medical supplies to impoverished locations, break down Israel’s systematic destruction of medical practice in Gaza. Loubani recounts his own experiences to portray a horrendous site in which children are forced to undergo surgery using “prehistoric” medicines without anesthesia, and innocent civilians are left for dead due to Israel’s blockading of crucial medial supplies. Maté describes these horrors through the lens of trauma, and gives insight as to how war psychologically destroys all its victims.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penguin

 

 

Raccoon

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in wartime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 242023
 
 November 24, 2023  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Jean-Michel Basquiat Self Portrait 1982

 

Hamas is Winning the Battle for Gaza (Scott Ritter)
Gaza: A Pause Before The Storm (Pepe Escobar)
IDF Knew Real Hamas HQ While Lying About al-Shifa (CN)
1,000 Boats To Leave Türkiye For Gaza In New ‘Freedom Flotilla’ (Palinfo)
How Zionists Rewrote the History of The Second World War (McCrae)
How the Democratic Party Faked an American Insurrection (Robert Bridge)
Zelensky Weighing Trump Peace Plan: ‘Time to Wrap This Conflict Up’ ? (Sp.)
2004, 2014, 2022: What Is Ukraine Celebrating? (Oncan)
Dems Fear Ukraine Might Not ‘Survive’ Until 2024 as House Halts Funding (Sp.)
Ukraine Has No One Left to Fight Because of Desertion (Sp.)
Pfizer Sues Poland Over Covid-19 Vaccine (RT)
Eurozone Economy ‘Stuck In The Mud’ – Economist (RT)
Germany to Choose Lifeline for Its Embattled Economy Over Ukraine Aid (Sp.)
Stark Warning Against UK Following Sweden By Going Cashless (Exp.)
European Lawmakers Vote For Abolition Of Member State Vetoes (RMX)
OpenAI Researchers Warned Board of AI Breakthrough Ahead of CEO Ouster (R.)

 

 

 

 

Nap/Macgregor

 

 


Dr. Areilla Oppenheim from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, did the first extensive DNA study in 2001 on Israelis and Palestinians, and concluded that emigrants on ships to Palestine before it became Israel were 40% Mongolian and 40% Turkish. There was no Semitic blood…

 

 

Ray McGovern: They Killed JFK, Will We Let Them Kill Peace?

 

 

Nap/Wilkerson

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

Nap Celente

 

 

Joe Lauria: “Is it any coincidence that a 4-day ceasefire allowing cameras to show food trucks delivering aid to Gazans coincides with the 4-day Thanksgiving holiday, when Americans often debate politics and won’t be confronted with images of genocide and deprivation as they overeat? The killing will resume when they go back to work on Monday.”

 

 

Actress Melissa Barrera is fired from the next Scream film sequel for daring to speak for the persecuted #Palestinians – “I’d rather be excluded for who I include, than be included for who I exclude.”

 

 

If you think the pope is pro-Palestinian, wait until you meet Jesus.

 

 

 

 

“..Hamas baited a trap for Israel which the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predictably rushed into.”

Hamas is Winning the Battle for Gaza (Scott Ritter)

When Hamas launched its October 7 attack on Israel, it initiated a plan years in the making. The meticulous attention to detail that was evident in the Hamas operation underscored the reality that Hamas had been studying the Israeli intelligence and military forces arrayed against it, uncovering weaknesses that were subsequently exploited. The Hamas action represented more than sound tactical and operational planning and execution—it was a masterpiece in strategic conceptualization as well. One of the main reasons behind the Israeli defeat on October 7 was the fact that the Israeli government was convinced that Hamas would never attack, regardless of what the intelligence analysts charged with watching Hamas activity in Gaza were saying. This failure of imagination came about by Hamas having identified the political goals and objectives of Israel (the nullification of Hamas as a resistance organization by undertaking a policy built on “buying” Hamas through an expanded program of work permits issued by Israel for Palestinians living in Gaza.)

By playing along with the work permit program, Hamas lulled the Israeli leadership into complacency, allowing Hamas’ preparations for their attack to be carried out in plain view. The October 7 attack by Hamas was not a stand-alone operation, but rather part of a strategic plan possessing three main objectives—to put the issue of a Palestinian state back on the front burner of international discourse, to free the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, and to compel Israel to cease and desist when it came to its desecration of the Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest place. The October 7 attack, on its own, could not achieve these outcomes. Rather, the October 7 attack was designed to trigger an Israeli response which would create the conditions necessary for Hamas’ objectives to reach fruition. The October 7 attack was designed to humiliate Israel to the point of irrationality, to ensure that any Israeli response would be governed by the emotional need for revenge, as opposed to a rational response designed to nullify the Hamas objectives.

Here, Hamas was guided by the established Israeli doctrine of collective punishment (known as the Dahiya Doctrine, named after the West Beirut suburb that was heavily bombed by Israel in 2006 as a way of punishing the Lebanese people for Israel’s failure to defeat Hezbollah in combat.) By inflicting a humiliating defeat on Israel which shattered both the myth of Israeli invincibility (regarding the Israel Defense Forces) and infallibility (regarding Israeli intelligence), and by taking hundreds of Israelis hostage before withdrawing to its underground lair beneath Gaza, Hamas baited a trap for Israel which the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predictably rushed into.

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“South Africans do know a thing or two about apartheid. They, like other critics of Israel, better be extra wary moving forward.”

Gaza: A Pause Before The Storm (Pepe Escobar)

While the world cries “Israeli genocide,” the Biden White House is gushing over the upcoming Gaza truce it helped broker, as though it’s actually “on the verge” of its “biggest diplomatic victory.” Behind the self-congratulatory narratives, the US administration is not remotely “wary about Netanyahu’s endgame,” it fully endorses it – genocide included – as agreed at the White House less than three weeks before Al-Aqsa Flood, in a 20 September meeting between Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe “The Mummy” Biden’s handlers. The US/Qatar-brokered “truce,” which is supposed to go into effect this week, is not a ceasefire. It is a PR move to soften Israel’s genocide and boost its morale by securing the release of a few dozen captives. Moreover, the record shows that Israel never respects ceasefires.

Predictably, what really worries the US administration is the “unintended consequence” of the truce, which will “allow journalists broader access to Gaza and the opportunity to further illuminate the devastation there and turn public opinion on Israel.” Real journalists have been working in Gaza 24/7 since October 7 – dozens of whom have been killed by the Israeli military machine in what Reporters Sans Frontieres calls “one of the deadliest tolls in a century.” These journalists have spared no effort to go all the way to “illuminate the devastation,” a euphemism for the ongoing genocide, shown in all its gruesome detail for the entire world to see. Even the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), itself relentlessly attacked by Israel, revealed – somewhat meekly – that this has been “the largest displacement since 1948,” an “exodus” of the Palestinian population, with the younger generation “forced to live through traumas of ancestors or parents.”

As for public opinion all across the Global South/Global Majority, it “turned” long ago on Zionist extremism. But now the Global Minority – populations of the collective west – are watching raptly, horrified, and bitter that in just six weeks, social media has exposed them to what mainstream media hid for decades. There will be no turning back now that this penny has dropped. The South African government has paved the path, globally, for the proper reaction to an unfolding genocide: parliament voted to shutter the Israeli embassy, expel the Israeli ambassador, and cut diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv. South Africans do know a thing or two about apartheid. They, like other critics of Israel, better be extra wary moving forward.

Anything can be expected: an outbreak of foreign intel-conducted “terra terra terra” false flags, artificially induced weather calamities, fake “human rights abuse” charges, the collapse of the national currency, the rand, instances of lawfare, assorted Atlanticist apoplexy, sabotage of energy infrastructure. And more. Several nations should have by now invoked the Genocide Convention – given that Israeli politicians and officials have been bragging, on the record, about razing Gaza and besieging, starving, killing, and mass-transferring its Palestinian population. No geopolitical actor has dared thus far. South Africa, for its part, had the courage to go where few Muslim and Arab states have ventured. As matters stand, when it comes to much of the Arab world – particularly the US client states – they are still in Rhetorical Swamp territory.

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They simply want all hospitals gone, make the strip unlivable.

IDF Knew Real Hamas HQ While Lying About al-Shifa (CN)

Although corporate news media have made it clear they don’t buy the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claim that al-Shifa Hospital has been a cover for a Hamas command and control center and weapons armory, Western media have failed to report a much bigger story. The IDF and the Israeli government already knew when they launched their propaganda campaign about al-Shifa that Hamas had no military command and control facility hidden there because it had already found the complex kilometers away. As Consortium News reported last week, for 15 years the Israelis claimed Hamas was operating its primary command and control base from a tunnel underneath al-Shifa. After the Israeli bombing campaign against Gaza began in October, the Israeli military amplified that message to press its contention that by hiding the Hamas high command, al-Shifa Hospital had lost its immunity from military operations under the law of war, and could now legitimately be taken over by force.

On Nov. 11, IDF spokesman Richard Hecht declared that al-Shifa was the “main hub of Hamas activity;” Newsweek reported the IDF regarded al-Shifa Hospital as “Hamas’s main command post” and the Times of Israel headlined “Hamas leaders again hiding under hospital”. The crescendo of Israeli propaganda about al-Shifa being a “human shield” for Hamas came with a long report published by The New York Times on Nov. 14. It was based on interviews with eight present and former intelligence and defense officials, describing a vast military command complex under al-Shifa with multiple levels. But something quite unexpected had happened during this new round of press stories on al-Shifa that completely demolished the entire IDF story line: the IDF had gained control of the real Hamas command and control center in an area where the Hamas leadership had previously had their above-ground offices in the Al Atatra neighborhood, in the extreme northwest of Beit Lahiya city, 8.5km away from al-Shifa.

After that office building was demolished, the IDF discovered a major tunnel facility that was quite certain had been the central headquarters for the Hamas high command — the command and control center for the entire war. As the IDF leaked to The Jerusalem Post in a story published Nov. 14, the discovery was made “several days ago” of a tunnel with an elevator that reached thirty meters underground, compared with only five meters underground in other tunnels. Furthermore it had been equipped with oxygen, air conditioning and more advanced communications than seen anywhere else. That major IDF discovery, made on or before the Nov. 11 false stories about al-Shifa, threatened to undermine the Israeli political campaign to justify the IDF’s takeover and destruction of Gaza’s hospitals on the grounds that they were “human shields” for Hamas.

Al-Shifa Hospital was the centerpiece of that campaign, based on the claim that it was hiding the high command of Hamas in a tunnel underneath it. Obviously the IDF and the extreme right-wing Israel government would want to stop all further publicity about the discovery of the actual Hamas high command’s underground base. No story about the discovery of the real Hamas high command bunker has been published inside Israel or elsewhere in the nearly two weeks since the detailed Jerusalem Post piece on Nov. 14. Somehow the Israeli government and media have been able to completely suppress the discovery of the Hamas headquarters, despite the fact that a number of foreign news media have offices in Tel Aviv and the story is still available on the internet.

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“..the boats will carry 4,500 people from 40 countries, “including anti-Zionist Jews.”

1,000 Boats To Leave Türkiye For Gaza In New ‘Freedom Flotilla’ (Palinfo)

Approximately 1,000 boats have gathered in Türkiye on Wednesday before heading toward Gaza in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade in a similar attempt from over a decade ago. In an interview with Turkish news website Haber7, Volkan Okçu, one of the organizers of the protest, indicated the boats will carry 4,500 people from 40 countries, “including anti-Zionist Jews.” Among the 1,000 vessels would be 313 boats filled with Russian activists, and 104 filled with Spanish activists, he said. Only 12 Turkish vessels will join the flotilla, he told Haber7. However, Okçu said in a later tweet that he expected the number of Turkish vessels to be much higher.

The activist indicated to Haber7 that the flotilla is scheduled to leave Turkish coasts on Thursday. The maritime convoy is set to make a first stop in Cyprus before continuing toward the Israeli port of Ashdod. Some participants in the flotilla will also reportedly take their spouses and children on board.

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“Hitler sought to radicalise Muslims for jihad against the British and French colonial powers, as had the Kaiser in the First World War.”

How Zionists Rewrote the History of The Second World War (McCrae)

The truth about the relationship between the Third Reich and the Jews is more complicated than the induced horror of a trip to Auschwitz. Robert Oulds, in his masterpiece, World War II: the First Culture War (2023), describes what happened in Palestine, a less-known yet dramatic theatre of the Second World War. In the 1930s Hitler had supported a Jewish homeland, as was already emerging since the Balfour Declaration of 1917. But the Holy Land around Jerusalem was keenly contested. The British had suppressed the Arab Revolt of 1936 to 1939, but Palestine and the wider Middle East were volatile.. Hitler sought to radicalise Muslims for jihad against the British and French colonial powers, as had the Kaiser in the First World War. As Oulds explains: ‘Hitler planned to use Crete as a steppingstone to reach Cyprus and from there take Palestine from the British and Zionists who were in the process of colonising the Mandate.’

The Zionist paramilitary organisation, the Stern Gang, sought cooperation with the Nazis, to liberate Palestine from British control, but their overtures were coolly received. Hitler favoured the Arab nationalists. Meanwhile, twelve thousand Palestinians, mostly but not exclusively Christian, had volunteered to serve in the British army. According to Oulds, ‘the Nazis admired Islam because its adherents were prepared to sacrifice their lives for their cause. Furthermore, as the Nazis were opponents of Judeo-Christian heritage, they thought that Islam could be a useful tool in undermining the traditions which the National Socialists despised.’ Ironically, this was similar to the aim of the Frankfurt School, whose Cultural Marxist professors were predominantly of the Jewish intelligentsia targeted by Hitler.

Muslims, particularly from the Caucasus, Bosnia and the Crimean Tatars, were recruited to the Waffen SS. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem helped the Germans in this regard. However, Hitler’s Middle-Eastern endeavour was unsuccessful. Zionists showed little gratitude to the British for the initiation of the Jewish state. The Stern Gang killed about two hundred servicemen, many of whom had fought bravely in the North African desert against Rommel’s army. In 1946, ninety-one people died in the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, site of the British administrative headquarters. Twenty-eight lives were lost, including five British soldiers, in an attack on the El Kantara to Haifa express train in 1947. Other violent campaigns of terror and ethnic cleansing were waged by other Jewish terrorist organisations, including the Haganah, Irgun, and Lehi.

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“And just like that the J6 Committee’s violent insurrection narrative has crumbled..”

How the Democratic Party Faked an American Insurrection (Robert Bridge)

“Truth and transparency are critical,” Johnson said in a prepared statement. “This decision will provide millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media an ability to see for themselves what happened that day, rather than having to rely upon the interpretation of a small group of government officials.” Democrats, however, who have milked the ‘insurrectionist’ narrative for everything it is worth, predictably chafed at the release, calling it a ‘risk to national security.’ “It is unconscionable that one of Speaker Johnson’s first official acts as steward of the institution is to endanger his colleagues, staff, visitors, and our country by allowing virtually unfettered access to sensitive Capitol security footage,” said New York Democrat Rep. Joseph Morelle, who sits on the Committee on House Administration. “That he is doing so over the strenuous objections of the security professionals within the Capitol Police is outrageous. This is not transparency; this is dangerous and irresponsible.”

For almost two years, Democrats, who managed to cherry-pick the most suggestive scenes of the footage, portrayed January 6th as everything from another September 11 to a second Pear Harbor. Last year, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), the photogenic member of the Democrat’s radical progressive wing, was shown visibly upset after having to “relive” the events of the Capitol riot. “I am so angry. Having to relive that footage,” she sobbed, rubbing her forehead. “I know it’s not just me. This is everyone.” “These attacks killed people, traumatized people and for any of you right-winger Trump loyalists, he sent his own people to jail, and promised his own people that he would pardon them.” The inconvenient truth, however, is that only one person was killed on the day of the Capitol riot – unarmed Air Force veteran and avid Trump supporter, Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a police officer.

Now, Republicans are demanding justice be served and that the incarcerated protesters be immediately set free. “And just like that the J6 Committee’s violent insurrection narrative has crumbled,” said conservative commentator Charlie Kirk over X (formerly Twitter). “The Capitol Police facilitated the protesters passage through the building…the vast majority of J6ers should be immediately released.” However, with the Democrats still in control of Washington, D.C., together with the FBI, the Justice Department and other administrative offices, the Republicans will have to wait until November 4th – and possibly longer if they lose their White House bid – before any real justice is meted out. Meanwhile, federal officials have said there is no evidence that law enforcement officials helped coordinate the attacks.

“If you are asking whether the violence at the Capitol on January 6 was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources or agents the answer is emphatically no,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) during a House Committee hearing. Higgins was questioning Wray about two Greyhound buses he said dropped off FBI agents dressed as Trump supporters at the Capitol on January 6, referring to the vehicles as “ghost buses.” Whatever the case may be, the fresh revelations were a silver lining in a shitstorm that has been following Donald Trump, who hopes to win back the White House next November despite multiple legal woes. “Congratulations to Speaker of the House Mike Johnson for having the Courage and Fortitude to release all of the J6 Tapes, which will explicitly reveal what really happened on January 6th!” Trump wrote on Truth Social Friday.

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“Buying a ticket to the Trump Circus could really backfire for Zelensky..”

Zelensky Weighing Trump Peace Plan: ‘Time to Wrap This Conflict Up’ ? (Sp.)

In a recent interview with US media, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signaled a belated interest in a peace proposal pitched earlier this year by former US President Donald Trump. In June, before a failed Ukrainian counteroffensive and a renewed Russian offensive, Zelensky had appeared incredulous at the suggestion of a negotiated settlement. In May, Trump claimed he “would have that war settled in one day, 24 hours” if he were president, saying he would sit down with both Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, both of whom “have their weaknesses.” The following month, as Ukraine was preparing to launch a highly anticipated counter-offensive, Zelensky told a US newspaper he “couldn’t understand” Trump’s statement, noting that in the four years Trump was in the White House, he didn’t secure the return of Crimea – by then part of the Russian Federation following its secession from Ukraine – or the Donbass – then governed by the autonomous People’s Republics that had not yet been recognized by Moscow – to Ukrainian control.

However, the Ukrainian counteroffensive fell flat on its face, failing to secure all but the most meager of territorial gains for Ukraine at an appalling human and materiel cost, and now Russian forces have launched their own operations aimed at pushing Ukrainian forces out of claimed Russian territories. Speaking with a US television news outlet on Tuesday, Zelensky said he was “ready” to hear Trump’s proposal. “Let’s speak with him and give him this possibility to show what steps [are] of his peace formula,” Zelensky said. “He can share it with me,” the Ukrainian leader said. “Yes, we can stop this war if we will give Russia Donbass and Crimea, to my mind that our country will not be ready for that such [a] peace plan. That is not [a] peace plan.” However, earlier this month, Zelensky told another US news outlet that he would only need “24 minutes” to explain to Trump “that he can’t manage this war … he can’t bring peace because of Putin.”

The US has already funneled more than $113 billion in aid to Kiev since Russia’s special operation began in February 2022, according to US government statistics, and Biden has called on Congress to approve a massive $61.4 billion aid bill. On Monday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin traveled to Kiev and declared the US would “continue to stand with Ukraine” and “will continue to support Ukraine’s urgent battlefield needs and long-term defense requirements.” Michael Shannon, a political commentator and Newsmax columnist, told Sputnik on Wednesday that Zelensky’s shift toward Trump was a risky intervention into US domestic politics that could seriously backfire. “It’s beginning to look like Zelensky’s blank check for US financial and military support has been returned for insufficient funds. The attitude on the part of the Biden administration and the left has been changing from ‘fighting to the last Ukrainian’ to ‘maybe it’s time to wrap this conflict up,’” Shannon told Sputnik.

“You can see evidence of this change in the coverage of the diplomatic portion of the conflict,” he noted. “The Regime Media is discussing negotiations without the previous preconditions. Zelensky can read the room and may be thinking that listening to Trump will signal an openness to alternative outcomes for the war.” However, Shannon also floated the opposite possibility: that Zelensky sees this maneuver as a ploy to provoke the White House into doubling down on support for Ukraine. “Or, it could be that Zelensky knows Trump is absolutely toxic to the Biden administration and he hopes that by meeting with Trump it will make a negotiated peace at this time anathema to the administration,” he explained. “Call it a ‘diplomatic bank shot’ if you will. A very risky bank shot. Zelensky would have been smarter to continue to ignore Trump.”

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Not much left to celebrate..

2004, 2014, 2022: What Is Ukraine Celebrating? (Oncan)

The catalyst for the Maidan coup, as it is now known, was the suspension of the association process with the EU by the Ukrainian government on November 21, 2013. Allegations of corruption further fueled pro-Western actions. A symbolic moment occurred on December 8 of the same year when the Lenin statue in Kiev was demolished, signaling a transformative shift for Ukraine. The activists leading the Maidan protests were primarily figures associated with Ukraine’s Western-backed ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi movements. The Social-Nationalist Party, founded in 1991 and later renamed Svoboda (ironically meaning “Freedom”), played a significant role in the 2014 protests through its youth organization, Ukrainian Patriot.

Notably, neo-Nazi figure Andrey Biletskiy, founder of Trizub (established in 2002 and later transformed into the Azov Battalion), symbolizes the character of the Maidan regime, having been imprisoned for demolishing the Lenin statue in 2011 but subsequently released to enter parliament after the coup. Dmitry Yarosh, the founder of Praviy Sektor and a manager of Trizub, emerged as a leading figure in neo-Nazi organizations during and after the Maidan protests. Yarosh further gained influence as the chief advisor to the Chief of General Staff of Ukraine. The United States, a major international supporter of the Maidan protests, was notably represented by Victoria Nuland, who, as the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, distributed cookies to Ukrainian activists during the ongoing protests. Nuland’s involvement in shaping the post-coup administration, coupled with the claim that the USA spent $5 billion on Ukraine over two decades, highlighted the significant U.S. role.

The strong U.S. support for the Maidan coup also found expression in the appointment of Hunter Biden, the son of then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, to the board of directors of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest energy company. Following the coup, the ultra-nationalist government’s initial actions aimed to erase the Soviet past, suppress Russian cultural presence, and undertake moves against Russians in the country. The Ukrainian administration implemented measures such as banning the Russian language in public spaces, erecting statues of Nazi collaborators (particularly Bandera), designating their birthdays as public holidays, equalizing the status of Red Army veterans and members of Nazi collaborator organizations, official affiliation of neo-Nazi groups with the Ukrainian army, and the banning, persecution, and killing of members of the Communist Party and socialist organizations.

Russians, predominantly located in the east of the country, formed anti-fascist unions and engaged in Anti-Maidan actions to protect against attacks. This resistance led to the establishment of the Federal State of Novorossiya, comprising the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Despite the Minsk protocol signed by Ukraine, Russia, Donetsk, Lugansk, and OSCE representatives for a ceasefire, Ukrainian forces persisted in their attacks. A protracted war ensued, exacerbated by the special military operation launched by Russia.

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Make peace you fools.

Dems Fear Ukraine Might Not ‘Survive’ Until 2024 as House Halts Funding (Sp.)

The crisis in the Middle East, the possibility of a government shutdown, and the election of a new House speaker have shifted Washington’s attention away from Ukraine, with officials in the Pentagon and civilian agencies sending increasingly desperate warning signals that they’re running out of cash to sink into NATO’s proxy war against Russia. White House officials and Democratic lawmakers lobbying for the extension of US economic and military assistance to Ukraine have sounded the alarm over GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson’s perceived foot-dragging in setting up a vote on the issue. Citing recent attempts to include Ukraine funding into omnibus, must-pass funding measures, Democratic lawmakers pointed out that the next stopgap funding bill won’t be coming until late January or early February of 2024, and expressed fears about whether Kiev can hold out for that long.

“I don’t know that Ukraine can survive until February of 2024,” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy told Beltway media this week. “My sense is they start to run short of ammunition in the next several weeks.” “We have to bear down, get this done and get this supplemental passed soon because the brave Ukrainians who are fighting as winter is coming are looking at losing the supplies they’ve needed for ammunition, for missiles, for drones, for defense, for armor, and we cannot possibly afford to abandon Ukraine,” his colleague, Democratic Senator Chris Coons concurred. Johnson and his conservative Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives torpedoed President Joe Biden’s proposed $105 billion all-in-one funding bill this month containing money for Ukraine, Israel, cash for US brinksmanship with China in the Pacific, and the border crisis, instead pushing through a stopgap measure preventing a government shutdown and assuring funding for government services, but not a cent more.

The bill passed the Senate, and President Biden reluctantly signed it, despite earlier threats by the White House to veto the measure. For the Pentagon and US civilian agencies tasked with doling out cash to Kiev, Johnson’s reluctance to tee up a vote on Ukraine poses a real danger, with US military officials warning earlier this month that there was only about $1 billion remaining in the Ukraine war chest, and a USAID administrator revealing that its funds for direct budgetary support were all gone. “Without further appropriations, the government of Ukraine would need to use emergency measures such as printing money or not paying critical salaries, which could lead to hyperinflation, and severely damage the war effort,” USIAD assistant administrator Erin McKee said in congressional testimony earlier this month.

Senior White House aides informed media that part of the administration’s problem with Johnson is that it “does not yet have a clear read” on the politician’s negotiating style, and expressed concerns that the speaker may not be as malleable as his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy to backroom side deals (which helped culminate in McCarthy’s ouster).

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“Ukrainian prisons are currently holding at least a few brigades of deserters. Their motive is clear: fear of death..”

Ukraine Has No One Left to Fight Because of Desertion (Sp.)

The botched counteroffensive has caused the Kiev regime a serious shortage of human resources for mobilization, not to mention growing questions from Kiev’s Western allies and donors as to what they are actually providing money and weapons for. In 2021, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine initiated 117 criminal cases for desertion. Another 2,028 cases were classified as “unauthorized leaving of a military unit or place of service,” meaning that individuals left their units with the intention of returning. In addition, there were 33 cases of self-inflicted injuries.In the first nine months of this year, 4,638 soldiers deserted from the Ukrainian Armed Forces, 10,940 temporarily left service, and there were 161 cases of self-harm. Deserters face sentences of five to eight years in prison. In some instances, these cases often end with a pretrial agreement and a suspended sentence.

Ukrainian prisons are currently holding at least a few brigades of deserters. Their motive is clear: fear of death. Local media reported that a Russian missile destroyed several dozen soldiers in their barracks. One survivor fled, taking his rifle with him. His friends say he surrendered as a PoW. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to eight years in prison. Another soldier left his position after it was shelled, but returned later. He was sent to a military psychiatrist. He did not fully recover, disappeared again, then was arrested and sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. Another deserter admitted in court that he feared for his life during the attack on Liman. According to him, the operation was poorly planned and lacked fire support. Sentence: five years. Some try to flee abroad. In July, a deserter was caught on the border with Romania. He was also sentenced to five years.

They are also sent to penal battalions. This is not widely publicized, but it happens. At the front, however, they only trust those who surrendered at the first opportunity, and now they are only assigned to construction work. Officers are punished for the desertion of subordinates. Therefore, if a soldier declares that he would rather go to jail than face bullets, he will be kept in the rear. However, fatigue from the fighting is mounting for everyone. Losses are enormous and finding replacements are problematic. Many combat units are 30-40 percent short of personnel. Almost everywhere, there are hidden desertions. Soldiers, sergeants, and officers feign illness and try to stay at headquarters and in rear units – anything to avoid the front lines. And then “psychologists” rush to help, complaining that many people live by the principle “see no evil, hear no evil,” so the state should intensify propaganda.

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Reminder: Von der Leyen “negotiated” with Bourla on WhatsApp (or a similar app) , because she was not required to save such talks.

Pfizer Sues Poland Over Covid-19 Vaccine (RT)

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has escalated its feud with Poland over excess Covid-19 vaccine doses that were ordered under a massive contract with the European Union, filing a lawsuit to demand payment for 60 million jabs that Warsaw didn’t need. The case was filed this week in Brussels, demanding 6 billion zloty ($1.5 billion) for the vaccines that Poland’s government declined after it stopped taking delivery of the jabs in April 2019. Warsaw was locked into buying its share of Covid-19 inoculations under a controversial contract that the European Commission signed with Pfizer in 2021 on behalf of EU nations. The bloc wound up ordering 1.1 billion doses under the contract, saddling EU states with a vaccine glut as the Covid-19 pandemic waned.

The EU prosecutor’s office announced an investigation of the procurement process amid allegations of corruption and secret backroom dealings. Polish officials questioned the role of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in making the deal. Von der Leyen admitted to privately communicating with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla for weeks during the contract negotiations, but the European Commission said last year that her text exchanges with the executive could not be found. The first hearing in Pfizer’s lawsuit is scheduled to take place on December 6. The company offered earlier this year to give the EU more time to complete its minimum vaccine purchases under the binding contract, but it insisted that it eventually be paid for the full number of doses to which the bloc committed. Poland refused to sign on to a revised EU agreement with the drugmaker.

Polish Health Minister Katarzyna Sojka told broadcaster TVN24 on Wednesday that there is some hope of resolving the Pfizer lawsuit “in a positive way.” She noted that Warsaw is not alone in the issue, as other EU states will face similar lawsuits. Pfizer decided to go forward with the lawsuit “following a prolonged contract breach and a period of discussions in good faith between the parties,” a company spokesman told Politico. Millions of Poles refused to receive Covid-19 vaccines, and Warsaw halted deliveries of the jabs as an influx of Ukrainian refugees in early 2022 strained the government’s finances.

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“The situation is especially dire in the Eurozone’s two largest economies, Germany and France..”

Eurozone Economy ‘Stuck In The Mud’ – Economist (RT)

The lingering economic downturn in the Eurozone signals that the region may plunge into a recession by the end of the year, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing economists and private-sector activity surveys. According to S&P Global, the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) in the region continued to shrink in November, plunging to 47.1 points, the sixth consecutive monthly reading below 50 – the threshold separating contraction from growth. The same trend was seen in both manufacturing and services. “The Eurozone economy is stuck in the mud,” Hamburg Commercial Bank chief economist Cyrus de la Rubia told the news outlet. According to the expert, everything points to “a second consecutive quarter of shrinking GDP” after a 0.1% drop in gross domestic product in the previous quarter, which would constitute a technical recession.

The situation is especially dire in the Eurozone’s two largest economies, Germany and France, de la Rubia said, noting that both are “in the grip of considerable weakness.” While Germany’s contraction somewhat eased in November and private-sector activity shrank at a slower pace than in the previous month, the country remains “in recession territory” and its economy may return to growth no sooner than next year, the analyst predicted. The state of affairs in France, meanwhile, was even worse, with the country’s PMI little changed at 44.5. Both manufacturing and services are suffering from weak demand, while the surge in unused business capacity triggered the first decline in private-sector employment in three years. This put the country’s economy “in a kind of a dead-end,” according to another economist at Hamburg Commercial Bank, Norman Liebke. Inflation in both France and Germany remained far above target levels and is unlikely to decrease sufficiently enough to stop weighing on their economies in the short term, de la Rubia said.

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They didn’t choose, the Federal Constitutional Court made the choice for them.

Germany to Choose Lifeline for Its Embattled Economy Over Ukraine Aid (Sp.)

The German Finance Ministry has announced a freeze on almost all new spending approvals for 2023, permitting only current liabilities and exceptional new obligations, after a Federal Constitutional Court ruling questioned the legality of several hundred billion euros in special funds. Berlin is facing a tough choice between financial support for German businesses and continuing to waste money on the “failed project” that is NATO’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. As “Ukraine fatigue” percolating throughout the West increasingly pulls the rug from under Kiev’s hopes for continued financial and military assistance being funneled to it, another blow might have been dealt to Europe’s efforts to sustain aid for the regime, the WSJ noted.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner announced a freeze on public spending for the rest of the year on Monday. Applicable to almost the entire budget for 2023, the decision was made due to “the need to review the overall budgetary situation for the federal budget,” as per a statement from the ministry. The move came in the wake of a bombshell ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court last week. The judicial ruling stated that the €60 billion (over $65 billion) earmarked for the pandemic response cannot be repurposed for other initiatives, like advancing green manufacturing practices or boosting solar energy production. The court said Berlin was bound by the country’s constitutionally enshrined fiscal rules that limit budget deficits to 0.35% of gross domestic product in normal times.

The implications of the move are such that Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government is now facing a dilemma. The increasingly unpopular Scholz Cabinet had been counting on a flood of spending on “green-energy projects and technology,” along with multibillion-euro-worth subsidies to construct chip-making plants, the WSJ underscored. Now, Berlin will either have to go ahead with painful budget cuts or raise taxes, or even both. But most importantly, in the short term, Berlin will need to decide whether priority shall be given to boosting Europe’s collective defense, and directing more aid to the Kiev regime, or “cushioning the impact of surging energy prices and inflation on businesses and households,” the outlet said. Nevertheless, Berlin will continue supporting a €50 billion four-year Brussels budget package for Ukraine for next year, according to cited German sources conferring with the bloc’s officials on November 17.

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There are reasons why it’s been used for centuries. Don’t throw it away, because you will get a lot of disadvantages.”

Stark Warning Against UK Following Sweden By Going Cashless (Exp.)

Britain should not follow Sweden towards becoming a cashless society, the leader of a Scandinavian grassroots movement has warned. Björn Eriksson, a former president of international police organisation Interpol, set up his campaign group to fight against the ditching of notes and coins in Sweden. And in a warning to the UK against going cashless, he said: “My message would be keep the two systems side by side. “It’s true that it costs more to have a system of cash running parallel with a digital system, but look upon it as an insurance. “There are reasons why it’s been used for centuries. Don’t throw it away, because you will get a lot of disadvantages.” Mr Eriksson launched Kontantupproret – Cash Rebellion – in 2015 due to concerns that some people were being cut adrift by the decline of cash in Sweden.

He said: “It just happens that I tried to be more modern and suddenly I could see there is something curious with this. “Everybody seems to be happy, nobody’s talking about those left aside. And that was more or less the starting point.” He said those affected include pensioners, women fleeing abusive relationships, the disabled, refugees, voluntary organisations, small businesses and people living in the north of the country where internet coverage can be a problem. Just eight percent of people in Sweden used cash for their most recent payment, according to a 2022 survey by the country’s central bank, down from 39 percent in 2010. But Britain is not that far behind with figures from UK Finance showing 14 percent of transactions last year used notes and coins.

Banks are vanishing from high streets up and down the country with 5,753 branches shutting their doors since January 2015, figures from consumer group Which? show. And some shops, cafes, restaurants and other venues across the UK will now only accept plastic. In Sweden, many banks have stopped handling cash altogether and Mr Eriksson said it is increasingly difficult to pay with notes and coins in shops. He said: “If you take foods you still have the possibility but notice it’s very easy to pay with digital means, maybe you have five places where you can do it in a shop, while if you have cash it’s a long line and you have to wait and then you can use your cash. “If you want to have a cup of coffee in Stockholm and you walk from the Parliament to the Central Station, for example, there is nowhere you could get your cup of coffee because they have a little sign saying we are cashless.”

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Are they trying to blow up the union?!

European Lawmakers Vote For Abolition Of Member State Vetoes (RMX)

European lawmakers approved plans on Wednesday to remove the national veto for EU member states in the latest attempted power grab by Brussels to wrestle control away from national governments. A total of 291 MEPs supported the proposal put forward by the “Verhofstadt Group,” a group of MEPs led by the arch-federalist Guy Verhofstadt to amend the European Union treaties in favor of greater centralization and limiting the sovereignty of member states. The vote was only narrowly passed with a majority of just 17 after a faction of conservative parliamentary groups expressed considerable opposition to the move.

In the plenary debate on the matter on Tuesday, Verhofstadt claimed that veto rights had been used by member states disillusioned with the European Union’s trajectory to “blackmail” the bloc, a thinly veiled jibe at Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has refused to sanction the European Union’s proposed amendments to the bloc’s collective budget to further finance the Ukrainian war effort. In response, a former co-rapporteur to the Verhofstadt Group, Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, accused federalists in the European Parliament of attempting “to transform the EU into a superstate,” continuing his opposition to the plans outlined in a recent interview with Remix News.

The public is not supposed to notice that a putsch is about to take place, that the European Union as a community of sovereign states is being abolished and a superstate is being created without any consent of the people, says Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski Saryusz-Wolski resigned from the working committee led by Verhofstadt in protest at the development of the plan that would further politicize the European Commission, give Eurocrats sole competency over several issues including the environment, education, and public health, and remove the need for unanimity among member states in key policy areas. The Polish MEP called the move “a silent putsch with communist roots.”

Vice Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group Rob Roos, contrasted the vote on Wednesday with the Dutch election being held on the same day, posting on X: “Today the festival of democracy takes place in the Netherlands, but in Strasbourg our democracy is being buried. “A European Parliament majority just voted for the abolition of the Netherlands’ veto in many areas. Vote for a party that defends our veto!” he added. The resolution in reality changes little. It gives an insight into the consensus of the parliament but treaty change ultimately remains a matter upon which unanimity among member state governments is required.

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“OpenAI defines AGI as autonomous systems that surpass humans in most economically valuable tasks..”

Better listen to Elon, and not let Bill Gates run away with it.

OpenAI Researchers Warned Board of AI Breakthrough Ahead of CEO Ouster (R.)

Ahead of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s four days in exile, several staff researchers wrote a letter to the board of directors warning of a powerful artificial intelligence discovery that they said could threaten humanity, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The previously unreported letter and AI algorithm were key developments before the board’s ouster of Altman, the poster child of generative AI, the two sources said. Prior to his triumphant return late Tuesday, more than 700 employees had threatened to quit and join backer Microsoft in solidarity with their fired leader. The sources cited the letter as one factor among a longer list of grievances by the board leading to Altman’s firing, among which were concerns over commercializing advances before understanding the consequences. [..]

After being contacted by Reuters, OpenAI, which declined to comment, acknowledged in an internal message to staffers a project called Q* and a letter to the board before the weekend’s events, one of the people said. An OpenAI spokesperson said that the message, sent by long-time executive Mira Murati, alerted staff to certain media stories without commenting on their accuracy. Some at OpenAI believe Q* (pronounced Q-Star) could be a breakthrough in the startup’s search for what’s known as artificial general intelligence (AGI), one of the people told Reuters. OpenAI defines AGI as autonomous systems that surpass humans in most economically valuable tasks. Given vast computing resources, the new model was able to solve certain mathematical problems, the person said on condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak on behalf of the company.

Though only performing math on the level of grade-school students, acing such tests made researchers very optimistic about Q*’s future success, the source said. Reuters could not independently verify the capabilities of Q* claimed by the researchers. Researchers consider math to be a frontier of generative AI development. Currently, generative AI is good at writing and language translation by statistically predicting the next word, and answers to the same question can vary widely. But conquering the ability to do math — where there is only one right answer — implies AI would have greater reasoning capabilities resembling human intelligence. This could be applied to novel scientific research, for instance, AI researchers believe.

Unlike a calculator that can solve a limited number of operations, AGI can generalize, learn and comprehend. In their letter to the board, researchers flagged AI’s prowess and potential danger, the sources said without specifying the exact safety concerns noted in the letter. There has long been discussion among computer scientists about the danger posed by highly intelligent machines, for instance if they might decide that the destruction of humanity was in their interest. Researchers have also flagged work by an “AI scientist” team, the existence of which multiple sources confirmed. The group, formed by combining earlier “Code Gen” and “Math Gen” teams, was exploring how to optimize existing AI models to improve their reasoning and eventually perform scientific work, one of the people said.

Altman led efforts to make ChatGPT one of the fastest growing software applications in history and drew investment – and computing resources – necessary from Microsoft to get closer to AGI. In addition to announcing a slew of new tools in a demonstration this month, Altman last week teased at a summit of world leaders in San Francisco that he believed major advances were in sight. “Four times now in the history of OpenAI, the most recent time was just in the last couple weeks, I’ve gotten to be in the room, when we sort of push the veil of ignorance back and the frontier of discovery forward, and getting to do that is the professional honor of a lifetime,” he said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. A day later, the board fired Altman.

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Sea angel
https://twitter.com/i/status/1727792704078168321

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in wartime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 092023
 
 October 9, 2023  Posted by at 8:55 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  66 Responses »


Edgar Degas A la mer 1863

 

Israel’s Massive Intelligence Failure (Scott Ritter)
The West’s Hypocrisy Towards Gaza’s Breakout Is Stomach-Turning (Cook)
Palestinians Speak the Language of Violence Israel Taught Them (Chris Hedges)
Republicans Point Fingers in Wake of Crisis in Israel (Sp.)
Iran Denies Helping Hamas Plot Attack On Israel (RT)
The Insane Foreign Policy of America’s Satanic Neocons (Paul Craig Roberts)
Will There Be a 2024 Presidential Election? (Paul Craig Roberts)
Ukrainians Desert En Masse Due to Rising Casualties, Mental Fatigue (Sp.)
Military Solution To Ukraine Conflict Unlikely – Italian Defense Minister (RT)
Ukraine Admits Repeated Failures To Capture Europe’s Largest Nuclear Plant (RT)
Americans Get Poorer As Washington Throws Cash At Ukraine And Migrants (Bridge)
Blue States Turn On Biden Over Border Crisis (ET)
Judge Hands Trump a Win in DC Election Case (ET)
The Father of Facebook Doesn’t Understand Social Media Anymore (RM)

 

 

 

 

Reagan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pepe Escobar: 1. Bibi showing his ‘New Middle East’ map at the UN completely erasing Palestine. 2. Serial provocations at Al-Aqsa, including a storming by hundreds of Israeli settlers. Al-Aqsa is a definitive red line – for Palestinians, for the Arab world, and for the lands of Islam. Yet there’s WAY more. The dead giveaway is the Israeli rhetoric of a ‘Pearl Harbor’. Everyone knows what it means. Project Ukraine is dead. So the Masters of the Universe need a new war (“on terror”) to set West Asia on fire.

Peaceful West Asia means reconstruction for Syria, redevelopment for Iraq and Lebanon, Iran and Saudi Arabia as part of BRICS 11, the Russia-China strategic partnership respected and engaged all across West Asia. The Northern Sea Route is already in effect, directly undermining the Suez Canal. One of the key themes discussed at Valdai at the highest level was de-dollarization. All of the above is anathema for the usual suspects. Mossad and IDF caught by surprise is childish fantasy. They knew it was coming. The question now is whether Hezbollah will be coming to town.

 

 

 

 

Israel intel has so much info, they developed an AI model to interpret it. Hamas found out about it.

“Hamas was able to generate a veritable Ghost in the Machine..”

Israel’s Massive Intelligence Failure (Scott Ritter)

[..] perhaps the largest source of the Israeli intelligence failure regarding Hamas was the over reliance Israel put on intelligence collection and analysis itself. Gaza and Hamas have been a thorn in the side of Israel for years, and as such have attracted the overwhelming attention of the Israeli intelligence and security services. Israel has perfected the art of human intelligence against the Hamas target, with a proven track record of placing agents deep inside the Hamas decision-making hierarchy. Unit 8200 likewise has spent billions of dollars creating intelligence collection capabilities which vacuum up every piece of digital data coming out of Gaza — cell phone calls, e-mails, and SMS texting. Gaza is the most photographed place on the planet, and between satellite imagery, drones, and CCTV, every square meter of Gaza is estimated to be imaged every 10 minutes.

This amount of data is overwhelming for standard analysis techniques relying on the human mind. To compensate for this, Israel developed a huge artificial intelligence (AI) capability which it then weaponized against Hamas in the short but deadly 11-day conflict with Hamas in 2021, named Guardian of the Walls. Unit 8200 developed several unique algorithms which used immense databases derived from years of raw intelligence data collected from every possible source of information. Building upon concepts of machine learning and algorithm-driven warfare that have been at the forefront of Israeli military research and development for decades, Israeli intelligence was able to use AI to not only select targets, but also to anticipate Hamas actions. This ability to predict the future, so to speak, helped shape Israeli assessments about Hamas’s intent in the lead up to the 2023 Yom Kippur attacks.

Israel’s fatal mistake was to openly brag about the role AI played in Operation Guardian of the Walls. Hamas was apparently able to take control of the flow of information being collected by Israel. There has been much speculation about Hamas “going dark” regarding cell phone and computer usage to deny Israel the data that is contained in those means of communication. But “going dark” would have, by itself, been an intelligence indicator, one that AI would have certainly picked up. Instead, it’s highly probable that Hamas maintained an elaborate communications deception plan, maintaining a level of communications sufficient in quantity and quality to avoid being singled out by AI — and by Israeli analysts deviating from the norm.

In the same way, Hamas would likely have maintained its physical profile of movement and activity to keep the Israeli AI algorithms satisfied that nothing strange was afoot. This also meant any activity — such as training related to paragliding or amphibious operations — that might be detected and flagged by Israeli AI was done to avoid detection. The Israelis had become prisoners of their own successes in intelligence collection. [..] Denied the benefit of the contrarian approach to analysis put in place in the aftermath of the Agranat Commission, Israel set itself up for failure by not imagining a scenario where Hamas would capitalize upon the Israeli over-reliance on AI, corrupting the algorithms in a way that blinded the computers, and their human programmers, to Hamas’ true intention and capability. Hamas was able to generate a veritable Ghost in the Machine, corrupting Israeli AI and setting up the Israeli people and military for one of the most tragic chapters in the history of the Israeli nation.

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Very much a black and white issue, as I read the views.

The West’s Hypocrisy Towards Gaza’s Breakout Is Stomach-Turning (Cook)

The current outpouring of sympathy for Israel should make anyone with half a heart wretch. Not because it is not awful that Israeli civilians are dying and suffering in such large numbers. But because Palestinian civilians in Gaza have faced repeated rampages from Israel decade after decade, producing far more suffering, but have never elicited a fraction of the concern currently being expressed by western politicians or publics. The West’s hypocrisy over Palestinian fighters killing and wounding hundreds of Israelis and holding dozens more hostage in communities surrounding and inside besieged Gaza is stark indeed. This is the first time Palestinians, caged in the coastal enclave, have managed to inflict a significant strike against Israel vaguely comparable to the savagery Palestinians in Gaza have faced repeatedly since they were entombed in a cage more than 15 years ago, when Israel began its blockade by land, sea and air in 2007.

Western media are calling the jailbreak and attack by Palestinians from Gaza “unprecedented” – and the most dismal intelligence failing by Israel since it was caught off-guard during the Yom Kippur War exactly 50 years ago. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Hamas, which nominally runs the open-air prison of Gaza, of starting “a cruel and evil war”. But the truth is that the Palestinians have “started” nothing. They have managed, after so much struggle, to find a way to hurt their tormentor. Inevitably for the Palestinians, as Netanyahu also observed, “the price will be heavy” – especially for civilians. Israel will inflict on the prisoners the severest punishment for their impudence. Watch how little sympathy and concern there will be from the West for the many Palestinian men, women and children who are killed once again by Israel. Their immense suffering will be obscured, and justified, by the term “Israeli retaliation”.

All the current analysis focusing on Israel’s intelligence “blunders” distracts from the real lesson of these rapidly evolving events. No one really cared while Gaza’s Palestinans were subjected to a blockade imposed by Israel that denied them the essentials of life. The few dozen Israelis being held hostage by Hamas fighters pale in comparison with the two million Palestinians held hostage by Israel in an open-air prison for nearly two decades. No one really cared when it emerged that Gaza’s Palestinians had been put on a “starvation diet” by Israel – only limited food was allowed in, calculated to keep the population barely fed. No one really cared when Israel bombed the coastal enclave every few years, killing many hundreds of Palestinian civilians each time. Israel simply called it “mowing the lawn”. The destruction of vast areas of Gaza, what Israeli generals boasted of as returning the enclave to the Stone Age, was formalised as a military strategy known as the “Dahiya doctrine”.

No one really cared when Israeli snipers targeted nurses, youngsters and people in wheelchairs who came out to protest against their imprisonment by Israel. Many thousands were left as amputees after those snipers received orders to shoot the protesters indiscriminately in the legs or ankles. Western concern at the deaths of Israeli civilians at the hands of Palestinian fighters is hard to stomach. Have not many hundreds of Palestinian children died over the past 15 years in Israel’s repeated bombing campaigns on Gaza? Did their lives not count as much as Israeli lives – and if not, why not? After so much indifference for so long, it is difficult to hear the sudden horror from western governments and media because Palestinians have finally found a way – mirroring Israel’s inhumane, decades-long policy – to fight back effectively. This moment rips off the mask and lays bare the undisguised racism that masquerades as moral concern in western capitals.

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“..Regimes implanted and maintained by violence engender violence..”

Palestinians Speak the Language of Violence Israel Taught Them (Chris Hedges)

The indiscriminate shootings of Israelis by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance organizations, the kidnapping of civilians, the barrage of rockets into Israel, drone attacks on a variety of targets from tanks to automated machine gun nests, are the familiar language of the Israeli occupier. Israel has spoken this blood-soaked language of violence to the Palestinians since Zionist militias seized more than 78 percent of historic Palestine, destroyed some 530 Palestinian villages and cities and killed about 15,000 Palestinians in more than 70 massacres. Some 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed between 1947 and 1949 to create the state of Israel in 1948. Israel’s response to these armed incursions will be a genocidal assault on Gaza. Israel will kill dozens of Palestinians for every Israeli killed.

Hundreds of Palestinians have already died in Israel air assaults since the launch of “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood” on Saturday morning, which left 700 Israelis dead. Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Palestinians in Gaza on Sunday to “leave now,” because Israel is going to “turn all Hamas hiding places into rubble.” But where are Palestinians in Gaza supposed to go? Israel and Egypt blockade the land borders. There is no exit by air or sea, which are controlled by Israel. The collective retribution against innocents is a familiar tactic employed by colonial rulers. We used it against Native Americans and later in the Philippines and Vietnam. The Germans used it against the Herero and Namaqua in Namibia. The British in Kenya and Malaya. The Nazis used it in the areas they occupied in the Soviet Union, Eastern and Central Europe. Israel follows the same playbook. Death for death. Atrocity for atrocity. But it is always the occupier who initiates this macabre dance and trades piles of corpses for higher piles of corpses.

This is not to defend the war crimes by either side. It is not to rejoice in the attacks. I have seen enough violence in the Israeli occupied territories, where I covered the conflict for seven years, to loathe violence. But this is the familiar denouement to all settler-colonial projects. Regimes implanted and maintained by violence engender violence. The Haitian war of liberation. The Mau Mau in Kenya. The African National Congress in South Africa. These uprisings do not always succeed, but they follow familiar patterns. The Palestinians, like all colonized people, have a right to armed resistance under international law. Israel never had any interest in an equitable settlement with the Palestinians. It built an apartheid state and has steadily absorbed larger and larger tracts of Palestinian land in a slow motion campaign of ethnic cleansing. It turned Gaza in 2007 into the world’s largest open air prison.

What does Israel, or the world community, expect? How can you trap 2.3 million people in Gaza, half of whom are unemployed, in one of the most densely populated spots on the planet for 16 years, reduce the lives of its residents, half of whom are children, to a subsistence level, deprive them of basic medical supplies, food, water and electricity, use attack aircraft, artillery, mechanized units, missiles, naval guns and infantry units to randomly slaughter unarmed civilians and not expect a violent response?

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“What happened this weekend was an unprovoked invasion by Hamas into Israel.”

Republicans Point Fingers in Wake of Crisis in Israel (Sp.)

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley blamed the Biden administration for their dealmaking with Iran while other GOP contenders exchanged blows over America’s role on the world stage. Republicans’ intra-party feud over American foreign policy intensified Sunday with various candidates for the party’s presidential nomination exchanging views about the country’s role in international affairs. Former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley appeared on US television to denounce the Biden Administration’s diplomatic engagement with Iran, a common refrain among Republicans in the aftermath of Hamas’ attack on Israel Saturday. “I actually think it was irresponsible for Secretary Blinken to say that the $6 billion doesn’t weigh in here,” said Haley, referring to frozen Iranian funds the Biden administration released in exchange for five detained American citizens.

“Hamas knows and Iran knows they’re moving money around as we speak, because they know $6 billion is going to be released.” “You saw that when those planes full of cash sent by Obama to Iran… What happened was those funds were sent to Hezbollah in Lebanon. They were sent to Hamas in Gaza. They were sent to the Houthis in Yemen. They go and spread terrorism every time they get a dollar.” Republicans have criticized diplomatic efforts between the United States and Iran since the Obama administration, when Joe Biden served as vice president. The US has sanctioned the Middle Eastern country since the hostage crisis at the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979. More recently, the Biden administration released frozen Iranian funds in a prisoner swap deal with the country. The deal stipulated the $6 billion could only be used for humanitarian purposes.

But Republicans have pointed out the fungible nature of the assets, arguing the deal frees up resources for Iran to fund terrorist groups. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) echoed Haley’s remarks on the X social media platform Sunday, claiming “Biden’s negotiation funded the attack.” Meanwhile, former US Vice President Mike Pence joined Haley on the neoconservative wing of his party, finding fault with other Republicans’ calls for foreign policy restraint. “This is what happens when we have leading voices like Donald Trump and Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis signaling retreat from America’s role as leader of the free world,” said Pence on Sunday, referring to the growing opposition towards sending funds to Ukraine within his party. “What happened this weekend was an unprovoked invasion by Hamas into Israel.”

Foreign policy has emerged as a major debate for Republicans as some leaders within the US political party have called for a return to the muscular approach of the George W. Bush administration. Former US president and 2024 contender Donald Trump became known as a critic of US foreign policy, famously calling the country’s invasion of Iraq “a big, fat mistake.” But the former Republican president has also advocated for improved relations with Russia and has claimed he has a “good relationship” with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The United States devotes more money to defense spending than the next 10 countries combined while funding more than 700 military bases around the world.

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They deny and admit at the same time.

Iran Denies Helping Hamas Plot Attack On Israel (RT)

Tehran has denied accusations that it helped Palestinian militants to plan the surprise attack on Israel that was launched on Saturday morning. “The decisions made by the Palestinian resistance are fiercely autonomous and unwaveringly aligned with the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people,” Iran’s mission to the UN said in a statement to the media. “We are not involved in Palestine’s response, as it is taken solely by Palestine itself.” On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal cited several sources, including unnamed members of the Hamas and Hezbollah militant groups, as saying that officers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had helped to plan the attack on Israel since August. It also “gave the green light” for the operation at a meeting in Beirut, Lebanon last Monday. Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas spokesman, told the BBC that the militants had “direct backing” from Iran.

However, Ali Baraka, another Hamas official, insisted in an interview with NBC News that Tehran had not been notified about ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’beforehand. “It was a surprise to everyone, including Iran,” he said. Although US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the White House had not yet seen evidence of Tehran’s involvement, some Israeli and American officials accused the Islamic Republic of colluding with Hamas. The Palestinian militants and allied groups carried out a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza, simultaneously firing rockets and dispatching troops to infiltrate Israeli settlements. The Israeli government responded by declaring war on Hamas and carrying out airstrikes on Gaza. Iran has endorsed the assault and urged other Muslim countries to back the Palestinians against Israel. More than 700 Israelis and at least 436 Palestinians have been killed since Saturday.

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“..convinced the Kremlin that the West intends Russia’s destruction..”

The Insane Foreign Policy of America’s Satanic Neocons (Paul Craig Roberts)

We are on the verge of nuclear annihilation. Every agreement made during the 20th century to reduce the risk of nuclear war has been abandoned by Washington. Why worry, some ask, mutual assured destruction means neither the US nor Russia would initiate a nuclear attack. Perhaps not, but the greatest danger of nuclear armageddon comes from false alarms from warning systems. During the Cold War there were many such alarms. The false alarms did not result in mutual destruction because both governments were working to defuse, not exacerbate, the situation, and there was time for the validity of the alarm to be verified before a fatal pushing of the button. Today the situation is entirely different. Washington and the NATO puppets have a policy of provoking Russia, with the 2014 coup in Ukraine and its consequences being the worst to date.

Moreover, the hypersonic speeds of the Russian missiles and the closeness of US missiles to Russia’s border cuts time before impact to 5 or 10 minutes, which means no time to verify or confer. The extraordinary insulting hostility shown toward Russia by the US, NATO and the Western media has convinceds the Kremlin that the West intends Russia’s destruction. Russia’s President Putin has stated many times that the West has led him to this conclusion. A couple of days ago at the Valdai Discussion Club Putin expressed concern that the West’s belligerence toward Russia could end in nuclear war. If President Biden were a responsible leader, he would have said that the Russian president is right, and we must stop the escalation of threats. Instead, Biden sent B-2 stealth bombers, aircraft specifically designed for a nuclear first-strike, to European bases, thus escalating the threat, a mindless and irresponsible response to President Putin.

In the US the constant propaganda against Russia (and now China) has convinced many Americans that they face the danger of nuclear attack. This is not a situation in which a false alarm is likely to be recognized. The risk of not believing the alarm is much higher in the environment created by the American neoconservatives, who have controlled US foreign policy in the 21st century. In US foreign policy and military ranks there are some, especially among the military/security-funded think tanks, who believe, automatically it seems with no evidence required, that the US, being the greatest and most powerful country ever, would win a nuclear war. This belief exists despite the total absence of any US preparation for surviving a nuclear war, assuming such a war is survivable. The most likely outcome would be nuclear winter, a situation in which dust from the massive explosions block the sunlight and the entire world starves to death.

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Two months ago I wrote: No US Presidential Election in 2024.

“It is clear that the Biden regime and security agencies regard half or more of the US electorate as domestic terrorists. In other words, the FBI is now a political police, no longer a criminal police.”

Will There Be a 2024 Presidential Election? (Paul Craig Roberts)

This question arises from the FBI’s designation of Donald Trump and the half or more of the American electorate that supports him as “domestic terrorists” who constitute a “persistent, evolving, and deadly threat” to the United States. As a senior official put it, “Trump’s army constitutes the greatest threat of violence domestically, politically, that’s the reality.” Here we have the FBI causing disunity by splitting the US population into half. The good half are the Democrats. The bad half is comprised of traditional Americans who want their country back from the special interests and support Donald Trump. It is the FBI that has made this division, not the people who want their country back. The FBI has proved itself to be a dangerous domestic terrorist that has created disunity among the population and gone to war against the traditional American population.

How can the FBI permit such a deadly threat to America, as the FBI declares Trump and his supporters to be, to win the election? How can an army of domestic terrorists be allowed to vote Trump into office? The FBI has equated Trump’s election with an insurrection, that is, with the overthrow of the government. This would seem to commit the FBI to preventing Trump’s election, and the FBI is applying “counterterrorism methods developed over the past decade in response to Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups” to Trump supporters. In other words, the FBI doesn’t differentiate between Trump and his supporters and Muslin terrorists. It is reasonable to conclude that if the Democrats’ political prosecutions of Trump fail to prevent him from running for president, the Biden regime will declare a national emergency and suspend the election. Biden’s Homeland Security also equates Trump supporters with “the use of violence to pursue political ends” and “a threat to our national security.”

Attorney General Garland says “attacks by domestic terrorists are attacks on all of us collectively.” What attacks is Garland talking about? The ones the FBI is about to orchestrate? It is clear that the Biden regime and security agencies regard half or more of the US electorate as domestic terrorists. In other words, the FBI is now a political police, no longer a criminal police. The FBI and Homeland Security are geared to protecting Washington from the American electorate. Attorney General Garland has made it clear that the “Justice” Department will validate whatever unconstitutional methods are used. The position of the FBI and Homeland Security is that if you disagree with an official narrative, you are a domestic terrorist. I do not believe that Trump will be permitted to be President. If he wins, it will be said that he lost, or he will be assassinated, or a state of emergency will be declared. The Establishment will do whatever it takes to keep Trump out of the White House.

I think that the Democrats and their security agencies are demonstrating their Nazi inclinations for no real purpose. If Trump regains the White House, he still doesn’t have the government. Who can he appoint to help him? Who are they? Those who helped him in the past, such as his lawyers, are all indicted by a black woman in Fulton County, Georgia. If Trump is reelected, it will be a repeat of his first term–constant accusations against him repeated endlessly by the presstitutes, constant investigations, more impeachments. Any cabinet secretary who helps him will be a social outcast. His career will be over. When white Americans themselves are demonized as “aversive racists” and “white supremacists” in US universities and public schools and are investigated by the FBI for protesting the brainwashing of their children at school board meetings, what can anyone do?

Insouciant Americans have been asleep for too long, and they have lost their country. How are they going to get it back? Consider that those who vote Democrat actually believe that the other half of the electorate are dangerous white supremacist domestic terrorists. They believe this despite the absence of any buildings blown up by Trump supporters, by the absence of assassinations, by the absence of rioting and looting as practiced by the Democrats’ agents, Black Lives Matter and Antifa. Democrats are so indoctrinated that they believe the propaganda in the absence of evidence. The wedge that has been so successfully driven between Americans makes white people a minority in their own country. They are so divided that they cannot defend themselves or the Constitution that is the shield of their liberty.

Now that the FBI has declared the 85 million Americans who twice elected Trump president to be domestic terrorists, the FBI will have to organize some domestic terrorists events, like it had to organize Muslim terrorist events, in order to validate its proclamation of domestic terrorism from Trump supporters. Will federal agents blow up buildings, stage rioting and looting events, and assassinate Democrats in order to incriminate Trump supporters? Is this the playbook for the Democrats to win the next election? What do we make of Hillary Clinton’s statement that Trump supporters have to be officially deprogrammed? Are we being set up for reeducation camps? In America today, all of this is possible.

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A Chinese newspaper..

Ukrainians Desert En Masse Due to Rising Casualties, Mental Fatigue (Sp.)

According to a Chinese newspaper, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) are grappling with a surge in desertions caused by increasing casualties and mental exhaustion among soldiers. The news outlet cited “emerging reports of ever-increasing stress and mental health issues, with soldiers reluctant to take to the battlefield as they feel they do not have enough time to recover from their traumatic experiences.” The newspaper added that “numerous” UAF servicemen “have gone the entire year with only a handful of days spent at home, with many being thrust back onto the front line, leading to a spike in suicides.” The media outlet cited Romanian immigration authorities as saying that “6,200 Ukrainian men of military age have crossed their border illegally, while some 20,000 have fled with special permits, though these are often falsified documents such as medical certificates and exemptions.”

On top of that, the newspaper added that the UAF struggles with a shortage of ammunition due to “inconsistent donations and varying arms types.” “This leads to the inefficient use of supplies due to shells, and to rockets being unreliable in their accuracy, which can result in equipment being damaged and soldiers injured. This contributes to low morale in the Ukrainian troops,” per the newspaper. With the assistance of NATO instructors, the Ukrainian forces have been trying to make progress on various front lines since the beginning of June. Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized that the UAF has been unable to achieve any significant success on the fronts, already suffering the loss of over 90,000 soldiers and 557 tanks.

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“..Rome is considering ways to bring the two sides to the negotiating table, while continuing to arm Kiev..”

Military Solution To Ukraine Conflict Unlikely – Italian Defense Minister (RT)

It is unlikely that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict will be resolved on the battlefield, Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto has predicted. He also revealed that Rome is considering ways to bring the two sides to the negotiating table, while continuing to arm Kiev. In an interview with Corriere della Sera published on Sunday, Crosetto acknowledged that no matter how much Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government wants to support Ukraine indefinitely, the policy is simply not realistic. He pointed out that the hostilities there have dragged on for over a year and a half, adding that the “more time passes, the more the possibility of helping Ukraine with resources that are not unlimited decreases.” The official emphasized that this does not indicate a change in Italy’s policies but rather the finite nature of the country’s stocks.

According to the official, the “situation in Ukraine is getting worse,” with Kiev having “great difficulty in regaining lost ground,” and Moscow being unable to “conquer” the nation. “We are witnessing the impossibility of resolving the conflict on the field,” Crosetto argued, adding that Italy was busy looking for ways to “build dialogue tables, achieve peace.” He concluded by claiming that if Russia prevails in Ukraine, its tanks will be rolling toward European borders, making the prospect of World War III more likely. Late last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated that Moscow is ready for peace talks with Kiev in principle, adding, however, that it has yet to see any “serious proposal.” The diplomat dismissed Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s peace formula as a “pure ultimatum,” which Russia would never accept.

Russian officials have previously pointed out that President Zelensky effectively ruled out negotiations when he signed a decree last October prohibiting dialogue with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Earlier this month, POLITICO reported, citing a European official, that EU member states have reached their limit in terms of weaponry they can provide to Ukraine without compromising their own defenses. “We cannot keep on giving from our own stockpiles,” the anonymous official told reporters. In a separate story around the same time, the media outlet claimed that support for funding the Ukrainian government was “showing more cracks than ever,” citing the recent failure of the US Congress to allocate more aid money in its stopgap budget, as well as the election victory of former Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who vowed when he was campaigning that he’d stop assistance to Kiev.

Meanwhile, on Friday, POLITICO alleged that the Biden administration is looking for “creative” ways to secure further military aid for Ukraine, amid mounting opposition at home. The supposed workarounds under consideration include using the State Department’s foreign military financing program as well as a three-way swap of air-defense systems involving Poland, the media outlet claimed.

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“..The last effort was a major operation involving hundreds of troops, including foreign fighters…”

Ukraine Admits Repeated Failures To Capture Europe’s Largest Nuclear Plant (RT)

Ukrainian commandos have failed on three occasions to gain a foothold in Energodar, the city in Russia’s Zaporozhye Region where Europe’s largest nuclear plant is located, Kiev’s military intelligence chief has confirmed. Kirill Budanov and some of the people involved in the botched operations were interviewed by the Ukrainian news outlet NV, which published an article on Sunday about the activities of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR). The first attempt to seize control of land in Energodar, which took place in August 2022, involved commandos crossing the Kakhovka water reservoir on civilian speedboats, according to the interviews. The last effort was a major operation involving hundreds of troops, including foreign fighters.

Budanov and his subordinates explained that the GUR troops had been repelled by Russian forces on each occasion, but claimed that the failures had some value. Surviving troops and planners gained experience in amphibious operations, which has since been used to attack Crimea, they said. Meanwhile, Kiev’s overarching goal of preventing Russia from supplying electricity generated by the Zaporozhye plant to the region was achieved thanks to moles, according to Ukrainian sources. Russian officials reported several Ukrainian attempts to seize Energodar last year, the largest of which took place in mid-October. Kiev deployed 37 speedboats for the amphibious assault and lost some 90 troops to Russian retaliation, they said at the time. People in Zaporozhye Region, formerly a part of Ukraine, voted to join Russia in September 2022.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, has repeatedly warned about the risks that hostilities near the Zaporozhye plant may pose to its safety. It has failed to mediate an agreement between Russia and Ukraine for a no-fighting zone around Energodar. Last week, Ukrainian commandos were killed or captured during a landing in Crimea after their watercraft were attacked by Russian warplanes. The Russian security service, the FSB, claimed that survivors had said the goal of the operation was to film troops holding a Ukrainian flag on Russian soil.

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“..the annual cost of providing care for the millions of illegal migrants entering the US is $150.7 billion..”

“..it’s just another day in the discombobulated American empire, which, much like its ancient Roman precursor, could learn the lesson of overexpansion and overspending in the most brutal way imaginable – with its total and complete dissolution.”

Americans Get Poorer As Washington Throws Cash At Ukraine And Migrants (Bridge)

The poverty rate in the US exploded last year, the first increase in 13 years, according to the Census Bureau. In 2022, the rate was 12.4%, up 4.6 percentage points from 2021, according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), a method for tallying government welfare programs and tax credits designed to assist low-income families. Meanwhile, the Expectations Index, determined by consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions, sunk to 73.7 in September. That follows a drop to 83.3 in August. The worrisome part is that an Expectations Index below 80 generally indicates an impending recession. An economic tragedy is already quietly happening for millions of American consumers who are now living paycheck to paycheck precariously and who have been forced to use the payment method of last resort to make ends meet: the almighty credit card, with its exorbitant interest fees.

On this score, the US economy has broken yet another record, although not in a way that could be considered something to cheer about. “US credit card debt rose by $45 billion to $1.03 trillion in the second quarter from the first quarter, a 4.6% quarterly increase,” The Street reported. “It’s the first time in US history that household credit card balances topped the $1 trillion mark as the number of credit card accounts expanded by 5.48 million to 578.35 million in the quarter.” When consumer debt suddenly equals the amount the US spends on its military-industrial complex, you know there’s a problem. Clearly, the US has some serious domestic issues that need to be resolved, but instead, it would rather fund a totally senseless proxy war against a nuclear power halfway around the world. Washington has given Ukraine close to $100 billion in aid, with more in the pipeline, since Moscow launched its military operation in February 2022.

The cash, however, has not only been used to fund Ukraine’s military. Billions of dollars have subsidized participants of the Ukrainian economy, like farmers and small business owners, market players whose counterparts in the US desperately need help, too. A recent study conducted by the Council on Foreign Relations shows that more than $30 billion – around 40% of total US aid to Ukraine as of July 31 – has been financial or humanitarian assistance that is not directly connected to military support. Military funding comes out to around $50 billion. As if that were not enough, the Biden administration continues to welcome illegal migrants at a price that is more than what is being spent fighting a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. Yes, you read that right; the annual cost of providing care for the millions of illegal migrants entering the US is $150.7 billion, according to the Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers (FAIR).

In August, US Border Patrol recorded 232,972 migrant encounters along the southwestern border, a jump from 183,494 in July. The number of crossings for September is predicted to be higher than the previous month. So here we have two concurrent events – a disastrous military conflict in Ukraine and a leaky US border – that are sucking away precious funds from the American taxpayer. It’s important to note that the king’s ransom that is being handed over to support these deranged Democratic agendas will never be returned, not in our lifetime. Instead, it will just be added to the unsustainable US national debt load, which is currently at $33 trillion, according to the US Debt Clock. That is an astronomical sum of money that we or future generations will someday be forced to deal with, and probably sooner rather than later.

What American citizen could possibly believe that any of this government funding has been a good investment for the American people? Well, they’re representatives in Washington, DC, for one. In May, ‘conservative’ US Senator Lindsey Graham, during a meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in Kiev, pronounced joyfully that “the Russians are dying” and aid to Ukraine is “the best money we’ve ever spent.” Aside from discounting the chances that such an “investment” could have towards unleashing World War III, Graham never thought for a second that such funds could have gone far at rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, like that non-existent wall on the US-Mexico border. It would have been a wonderful work program for the US economy. In short, it’s just another day in the discombobulated American empire, which, much like its ancient Roman precursor, could learn the lesson of overexpansion and overspending in the most brutal way imaginable – with its total and complete dissolution.

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“There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration.”

Blue States Turn On Biden Over Border Crisis (ET)

President Joe Biden is facing significant backlash from Democratic elected leaders, particularly in northern U.S. cities that are struggling to deal with the surge in illegal immigration. They accuse the president of not doing enough to curb the influx of illegal immigrants, which is putting enormous strain on their resources. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is the latest Democratic politician to voice strong criticism of the federal response to the crisis. In a letter to President Biden on Oct. 2, Mr. Pritzker said that his state was in an “untenable situation” and urged the president to take “swift action.” In August, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and business leaders asked President Biden to address the “humanitarian crisis” that has overwhelmed New York City following an influx of more than 100,000 illegal immigrants from the southern border.

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey issued a state of emergency in August in response to the state’s illegal immigrant crisis. In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, she wrote that her state has taken action “to address what sadly has been a federal crisis of inaction.” Officials at the White House are scrambling to respond to this criticism with statements that appear to indicate the administration is making a U-turn on its border policies. Some claim that the recent measures by President Biden are increasingly looking like the policies of the Trump administration. Before taking office, President Biden declared, “There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attempted to defend the move, arguing that the government is following Trump-era laws but still doesn’t believe in the wall’s effectiveness. “We believe that we need border technology that is modernized and land ports of entry. And that’s what we want to see,” Ms. Jean-Pierre told reporters on Oct. 5, adding that the president’s stance on the border wall hasn’t changed. “He does not believe it is effective. He has been very clear about that.” She added that the funding for the wall is from a 2019 appropriations bill signed by President Donald Trump. “We asked Congress to reappropriate the funds,” she said. “But they’ve refused, and so now we’re moving forward.”

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“Several members of the Trump legal team don’t have the appropriate security clearances to review the evidence..”

Judge Hands Trump a Win in DC Election Case (ET)

A federal judge in Washington partially granted a request by former President Donald Trump’s attorneys to allow for extra time to file motions in the federal election obstruction case ahead of his March 2024 trial. U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan issued the order on Oct. 6, representing as a partial win for the Trump legal team. In court papers filed last week with the court, they had wanted additional time to craft arguments in the case, which was brought by special counsel Jack Smith. The judge granted President Trump some additional time to file motions, although she mostly rejected his lawyer’s requests to delay the trial deadlines. In her order, she rejected the former president’s request to order a declassified version of some of the government’s court filings regarding classified evidence.

“Lengthy deadline extensions for the defense’s anticipated dispositive motions—like motions to dismiss—are not warranted,” her order said. “If the court were to extend the briefing schedule for these motions by the requested sixty days, they would not be fully briefed until January 2024.” Although the former president requested a 60-day extension to file pre-trial court motions, Judge Chutkan only allowed a two-week extension. Motions to dismiss the case and several other types of motions have to be filed by Oct. 23. The judge also granted a request from the Trump legal team to file objections regarding classified evidence in the case. It came days after President Trump’s lawyers wrote in court papers that more time is needed to consider procedures for reviewing classified evidence in the case, adding his team is “seeking a fair opportunity for reasonable adversary proceedings” regarding the materials.

They said that lawyers were able to review classified evidence that was provided by Mr. Smith’s office for the first time on Tuesday, but it was too short. “Our review was brief and preliminary,” the motion stated. “But it it is clear that President Trump is entitled to additional materials possessed by the U.S. intelligence community” and other portions of the executive branch. Several members of the Trump legal team don’t have the appropriate security clearances to review the evidence, it also said. “Third, as noted above, in light of restrictions on one of the central documents in the classified discovery, we are presently foreclosed from making applications to the Special Counsel’s Office or the Court relating to the substance of the document,” his lawyers wrote. “Thus, although we anticipate transmitting discovery requests and motions to compel, we are not in a position to pursue those mechanisms as of this filing.”

Responding to the former president’s motion, federal prosecutors said it was an attempt to “delay the proceedings” and claimed the amount of classified materials in the case was relatively small. His team also failed “to provide a basis for any extension” regarding pre-trial motions in the case, prosecutors said. President Trump is charged with four federal felonies in the case alleging that he tried to obstruct the 2020 presidential election. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and said it’s part of a longstanding effort by Democrats and federal bureaucrats to imperil his 2024 presidential campaign. Last week, President Trump’s team filed a motion that sought the dismissal of the case, citing what they described as immunity. Judge Chutkan has not ruled on that dismissal motion, and the special counsel lawyers have not responded.

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Threads has been an utter failure..

The Father of Facebook Doesn’t Understand Social Media Anymore (RM)

In the world of social media business, where revenues are on the decline and the social media industry faces pressing commercial challenges, a fundamental principle comes to the fore: Adapt or risk fading into obscurity, reminiscent of MySpace’s fate. To everyone’s surprise, Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, chose to launch two new platforms amidst the shifting sands of the social media world. Was it a personal vendetta against Elon Musk, or did he simply bypass the innovation that typically fuels platform success, opting instead to replicate the ideas of others? The results, alas, were far from stellar. In this realm, where new social media players perpetually strive to challenge established giants, Meta, under the leadership of the somewhat uncharismatic Mark Zuckerberg, has consistently sought to redefine the game. However, recent endeavors, notably Threads and WhatsApp Channels, have cast doubt on Meta’s strategy and Zuckerberg’s approach.

Threads, initially positioned as a potential rival to Twitter (or X now), appeared promising at first glance. But upon closer inspection, a familiar pattern emerged – Meta’s tendency to replicate rather than innovate. Threads seemed to mimic Elon Musk’s Twitter presence, but struggled to retain its users. While Threads did rocket to 100 million users within five days of its early July launch, it hemorrhaged more than half of them within two weeks. Zuckerberg himself acknowledged this precipitous decline, expressing a desire for sustained user engagement. Despite being hailed as the “fastest-growing app in history,” the platform’s true source of users, possibly re-routed from Instagram, raises questions about its validity as the “fastest-borrowed” app. This fleeting hype left Threads unlikely to have a lasting impact beyond generating media headlines. Its fundamental issue lies in its unclear purpose, or perhaps its lack thereof.

Threads introduced no novel features or competitive advantages and debuted in a somewhat incomplete state, missing essential functions expected on a social media platform. It felt more like Zuckerberg’s personal jab at Musk, stemming from their longstanding feud, rather than a genuine effort to innovate. The absence of spontaneous, controversial subjects – censored to the point of resembling a Twitter feed from North Korea – further detracted from Threads’ appeal. However, the core challenge with Zuckerberg’s platforms lies in censorship. It extends beyond content moderation to the accessibility of the platforms themselves. Threads was initially unavailable in Europe and other parts of the world outside the United States for months following its launch – a significant misstep. Zuckerberg seems to be repeating this mistake with his latest endeavor, WhatsApp Channels. Here, too, Meta chose imitation over innovation, blatantly replicating Telegram’s Channels feature.

Both Threads and WhatsApp Channels are emblematic of a more substantial issue – Meta’s heavy-handed censorship. While their aim may have been to curate a “nice” and “woke” environment, they inadvertently created exclusive clubs where only the chosen few could thrive. Contacting the customer support or service teams at these social media projects often leads to automated bot interactions, which raises questions about the involvement of human personnel at Meta’s headquarters. As we examine the outcomes of these Meta ventures, a valuable lesson emerges: In the realm of social media, authenticity and originality should be paramount. Meta’s penchant for imitation, coupled with stringent censorship, has yielded lackluster results. Threads and WhatsApp Channels serve as stark reminders that replication without innovation leads to initial hype followed by inevitable disappointment. The essence of social media should be creativity, enthusiasm, and open dialogue, rather than mere imitation and exclusivity.

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Jul 132023
 
 July 13, 2023  Posted by at 8:41 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


John Atkinson Grimshaw A moonlit lane 1874

 

Ukraine To Pay High Price For Security Guarantees From G7 – Zakharova (TASS)
Moscow Reacts To NATO Summit (RT)
NATO Summit Exposes Fractures in Alliance Over Support for Ukraine (Sp.)
The US May Never Allow Ukraine To Join NATO (Bordachev)
NATO Spent Years Preparing For Proxy War With Russia in Ukraine (Sp.)
Peace Is Always Priority For Russia Over Combat – Lavrov (TASS)
Stoltenberg: Sending Advanced Weapons, Munitions To Kiev Priority For NATO (TASS)
NATO Offers Up Slim Pickings For Kiev At Vilnius Summit – Hungarian FM (TASS)
‘We’re not Amazon’ – UK Responds To Ukraine’s Weapons Requests (RT)
NATO Leaders Tell Zelensky ‘Cool It’ In Rare Dressing Down At Summit
Poland Wants Ukraine To Admit Guilt For Nazi-linked WWII Massacre (RT)
Elon Musk Sets Up New AI Company (RT)
Greek Coastguard ‘Pressured’ Migrant Boat Survivors (BBC)
Julian Assange, Who ‘Aims To Change The World’, Awarded Konrad Wolf Prize (AR)

 

 

 

 

Wray
https://twitter.com/i/status/1679234587459825664

 

 

DOJ

 

 

 

 

Roseanne

 

 

RFK Saddam

 

 

One of these things…

 

 

 

 

“The price is not a secret: a Ukraine cleared of Ukrainians by Western weapons but with enough population left to serve NATO troops.”

Ukraine To Pay High Price For Security Guarantees From G7 – Zakharova (TASS)

The price of security guarantees from the Group of Seven (G7) is a Ukraine cleared of Ukrainians by Western weapons, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday. Earlier, Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov expressed concern over the G7’s security guarantees, saying that “Kiev will not believe in them until it finds out what their price is.” “The price is not a secret: a Ukraine cleared of Ukrainians by Western weapons but with enough population left to serve NATO troops. There is no need to deport anyone to Western Europe any more because people have moved there themselves,” the diplomat wrote on Telegram.

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“NATO’s achievements are well known: the growing instability, destruction of countries, rampant terrorism, war crimes that are committed with impunity, the blood of civilians, including children, and the endless flow of refugees..”

Moscow Reacts To NATO Summit (RT)

The North Atlantic alliance intends to use Ukraine as a proxy for endless war while expanding into the Arctic and Asia in pursuit of neocolonial objectives, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, after a NATO meeting wrapped up in neighboring Lithuania. “The ‘collective West’ led by the US is not willing to accept the formation of a multipolar world and intends to defend its hegemony by all available means, including military ones,” the ministry said in a statement. What the West calls the “rules-based order” is nothing but a “license they granted themselves to violate international law,” and has nothing to do with the UN, which NATO frequently invokes, according to Moscow.

“NATO’s achievements are well known: the growing instability, destruction of countries, rampant terrorism, war crimes that are committed with impunity, the blood of civilians, including children, and the endless flow of refugees,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The bloc is now determined to “NATO-ize” Ukraine, treating the country as an expendable resource in a hybrid war against Russia, supplying Kiev with long-range weapons in order to prolong the conflict for as long as possible, the ministry added. Meanwhile, the US military-industrial complex is “happily rubbing its hands” at the prospect of selling its European allies replacements for weapons destroyed in Ukraine, at exorbitant prices. The ministry stated that the Western alliance was working to “ensnare” Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Moldova, as well as looking to turn the Arctic into “a zone of confrontation,” and to expand beyond the North Atlantic to the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia-Pacific, in pursuit of a “global NATO.”

“Washington and its allies are trying to impose their own rules and drain resources along their to proven neocolonial patterns,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The ministry said Russia will respond to threats “in a timely and appropriate manner, using all means and methods at our disposal,” the statement concluded. The Russian government sent a comprehensive security proposal to the US and NATO in December 2021, asking the bloc to withdraw its troops from Eastern Europe and guarantee Ukraine’s neutrality. Both Washington and NATO rejected Moscow’s request in January 2022. Russia views the bloc’s eastward expansion as a threat and has cited its ties with Kiev as one of the root causes of the armed conflict with Ukraine.

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“..I think there’s seven principles that they have to meet, and Ukraine maybe meets two of them..”

“..unless they break every rule and principle they have, Ukraine does not meet the requirements for NATO..”

“He was saying in effect that the Ukrainians have failed in their counter-offensive and consequently Western military and financial aid to them will be winding down..”

NATO Summit Exposes Fractures in Alliance Over Support for Ukraine (Sp.)

Amid the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Group of Seven (G7) nations issued a statement pledging long-term security guarantees for Ukraine, including ensuring it has an advanced military and stable economy, and supporting reforms that would help Kiev to join Western blocs such as the European Union or NATO. The G7 statement came after NATO doubled down on refusing Ukraine’s admission while it remains locked in a military conflict with Russia, and back-and-forth criticisms between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and NATO members. Gilbert Doctorow, an international relations and Russian affairs analyst, told Sputnik it was “irrelevant” which international institution the West chooses to provide Ukraine with security guarantees.

“The only force that can provide meaningful security guarantees is the United States, and the US will not give Ukraine such guarantees because Congress will not give its consent,” he said. “Period.” “The NATO summit has been a disaster for Zelensky,” Doctorow said. “He failed on the battlefield, losing 26,000 soldiers and officers in the past month of his counter-offensive as well as losing most of the tanks, personnel carriers and other advanced equipment which NATO countries had supplied in the preceding weeks. The decision by the USA to quietly pull the plug on the Ukrainians is only natural and certainly not ‘absurd.’ The game is up.” Doctorow noted that UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace criticized Kiev at the NATO summit, saying Zelensky’s government should be more grateful for the aid it’s received, observing that over the last year, the Ukrainians have simply pivoted from pushing for one type of weapon until they receive it, then immediately pressing for another.

“I told them that last year, when I drove 11 hours to be given a list, that I’m not like Amazon,” Wallace said. Doctorow said Wallace’s remarks “should not be taken too seriously.” “He was saying in effect that the Ukrainians have failed in their counter-offensive and consequently Western military and financial aid to them will be winding down,” the analyst noted. Earl Rasmussen, a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel and international consultant, told Sputnik, “I personally don’t think they’ll ever be part of NATO – they are intended to be a battering ram and a mechanism to meet and confront Russia.” “No matter what was said back in 2008 and more recently, unless they break every rule and principle they have, Ukraine does not meet the requirements for NATO. I don’t know if they ever will,” he said.

“If you look at it, I think there’s seven principles that they have to meet, and Ukraine maybe meets two of them. The rest definitely not – nothing as far as democracy goes, as far as corruption goes, as far as a stable government, sound government practices and stuff it does not meet in that area at all.” “Also, they’re not even self-sufficient now. If it wasn’t for the funding coming from the West, the whole economy and the government would completely collapse. So they don’t want to put up notices. There’s no discussion on the action plan, no timeline provided whatsoever. It’s just a continual carrot to keep Ukraine [fighting] basically to the last Ukrainian. So it could drag this conflict on as long as possible. That’s their intention. It always was, it was the intent to weaken Russia – although that’s not going too well. But they have no reverse gear. They seem to want to double down no matter what.

[..] “A lot of soul searching is going on [in NATO] in the background. I don’t think you’re going to get a NATO majority – definitely Hungary wouldn’t support it, I think a lot of other countries would not as well, and it’d just be catastrophic to Europe if they got fully involved in [Ukraine] because NATO will not win. They would have to escalate to nuclear [war], and then nobody wins. But from a conventional perspective, Russia will win any type of confrontation with it. Even if the US got involved, I think Russia would win, at least if you look at the logistical perspective and the planning, the methodical nature, the percentage of artillery firing, the technology of the weapons systems, and the terrain that’s being fought [on]. Russia’s got escalatory dominance in this nature, not just over Ukraine, but over NATO in general. Bad mistake to push for Ukraine’s entry into NATO and to provoke Russia. It was a very, very bad mistake on the West’s behalf.”

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It won’t exist long enough.

The US May Never Allow Ukraine To Join NATO (Bordachev)

The Ukrainian crisis marks the first time in history that the United States has exposed itself to serious risks in defining the limits of its military presence in Europe. Any genuine move by Washington to invite Kiev into NATO would imply a willingness to enter into a direct military confrontation with Russia. A less risky option, many believe, would be to promise the Vladimir Zelensky regime some special bilateral guarantees. The NATO military bloc was created on the basis of the real division of Europe into zones of influence between the US and the USSR after the Second World War. As a result of the greatest armed confrontation in the history of mankind, the bulk of European states lost forever the ability to determine fundamental issues of their national policy.

These included, first and foremost, defense and the ability to form alliances with other countries. Europe was divided between the real winners of the conflict – Moscow and Washington. Only Austria, Ireland, Sweden, Finland and a small part of Switzerland were outside their zone of dominance. Both of the great powers had an informal right to determine the internal order of the territories under its control. This was because the countries concerned had lost their sovereignty as such. Even France, which continued to demonstrate freethinking for several decades, had no doubt on whose side it would fight in the event of a new global conflict. NATO was created in 1949 to formally deprive American allies of the ability to make their own foreign policy decisions and military doctrines. In this respect, the alliance was no different from the Warsaw Pact that had emerged in the USSR’s sphere of influence.

The relationship between the United States and other NATO countries has never been an alliance in the traditional sense. In the last century, classic alliances ceased to exist altogether – the gap in military capabilities between the nuclear superpowers and every other country in the world became too great. A military alliance between relative equals is possible, as it was until the middle of the last century, but nuclear weapons have made this impossible. The former sovereign states of Europe became a territorial base from which the great powers could negotiate in peace and act in war. The creation of NATO and the subsequent accession of countries such as Greece, Turkey, Spain and West Germany to the alliance was a formalization of the boundaries of US dominance that the USSR had already agreed to in bilateral relations.

After the Soviet collapse, extending American rule to Moscow’s former allies in Eastern Europe and even the Baltic republics was also not a policy that posed serious risks for Washington. Incidentally, this is why NATO has an informal rule of not admitting countries with unresolved territorial disputes with third states – the US has never been willing to occupy land whose ownership is disputed. NATO’s post-Cold War expansion was based on deception, with the US promising Moscow that it would not expand NATO to Russia’s borders. But, initially, Russia did not have the physical strength to resist. This meant that the US could occupy “unclaimed” states without the threat of immediate military conflict. The US approach to NATO remained true to the philosophy of the 1945 victors: there are no sovereign states, only controlled territories.

Once the decision was taken in Washington, it was only a matter of strategy to ensure that local governments made the “right” decisions. This was all the more so as the accession of new countries to NATO in the 1990s and 2000s was ‘packaged’ with the enlargement of the European Union. This gave local elites every reason to aspire to join the bloc, from which they expected tangible material benefits. For some – the Baltic states and Poland – membership in the club also provided the possibility of solving internal problems through an aggressive anti-Russian policy by fostering fear of the big neighbor to the east. In the Baltic states, the status of an American outpost was also used by elites to combat any local opposition from radical nationalists. For the countries that joined the bloc, NATO became a guarantee of internal stability. Since the most important decisions for them were taken outside their national political systems, there was no reason for internal competition and no danger of serious destabilization.

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Orwell’s never far away: “..and included it in the Partnership for Peace program in 1994..”

NATO Spent Years Preparing For Proxy War With Russia in Ukraine (Sp.)

The US neocons and their likeminded NATO allies have long been apparently seeking to knock Russia out of the political arena before trying to crack down on China in a bid to preserve the US dominance, retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski believes. “I think that the US officials and advisors (along with those in NATO) believe that they must be able to exploit Russian resources prior to any direct confrontation with China,” Kwiatkowski, who is also a former analyst for the US Department of Defense, told Sputnik. “The neoconservative ideology that over half of Congress embraces, and that the US defense and security complex embraces, envisions and demands a unipolar globe, with the US and its debt-funded governmental system, at the top. For them, this is an existential issue, albeit most Americans don’t see it that way.” It seems that Ukraine appeared a convenient candidate for the role of a “hammer” against Russia.

Ukraine has been a leading recipient of Western military supplies since the early 1990s when the country gained independence, with the US spearheading the initiative. In the first ten years after independence, Ukraine received almost $2.6 billion in assistance from the US. Until 2014, Ukraine had been receiving an estimated $105 million per annum, including foreign military financing. NATO’s North Atlantic Cooperation Council embraced Ukraine as a “partner country” in 1991 and included it in the Partnership for Peace program in 1994. Washington’s NATO ally, the UK, played an important role in the effort, holding joint military exercises with the Ukrainians, as well as providing training and funding to the nation’s armed forces. Thus, the first joint Ukrainian-British military exercises “Cossack steppe” were held in the second half of the 1990s as part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.

The NATO-Ukraine Commission was established in 1997 with the aim of developing the relationship between the nation and the bloc and directing cooperative activities. As per UK government documents, the Ministry of Defense spent approximately £3.9 million supporting Ukraine through the Defense Assistance Fund and the Conflict Pool between 2009 and 2014. Many of the activities funded through these mechanisms supported “command, control and communications capabilities (C3).” In particular, the UK held joint exercises with the Ukrainian military, provided military education to the nation’s specialists, and “contributions to NATO coordinated activities.” Both UK civilian and military personnel had been deployed to Ukraine during that period of time while Ukrainian personnel were sent to the UK.

Following the illegitimate coup d’etat in Kiev in February 2014, the West stepped up military assistance to the new Ukrainian authorities. Between 2014 and 2021, the United States provided over $2.5 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, which included the provision of trainers, selected weaponry systems (such as counter-mortar radars), and Javelin anti-tank missiles. The boost in military assistance was justified by NATO member states by the alleged “Russian invasion” in Donbass. However, it is well documented that Donbass declared independence in response to the illegitimate coup d’etat in Kiev fomented with the assistance of nationalist and neo-Nazi paramilitary groups and subsequent Russophobic policies of the new government. The Donbass breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk Republics started largely forming militias after the interim Kiev government kicked off what it called “anti-terrorist” operations (ATO) against the region.

“Kiev had been on the offensive with the Donbass with Western support, for a number of years, even before 2014, and this is well documented,” explained Kwiatkowski. “Other Eastern and Southern European countries had been ‘encouraged’ by Western powers, as we saw with Yugoslavia, to break up into smaller national and ethno-cultural countries, and the peaceful divide between the Czech Republic and Slovakia was also allowed and supported. This is primarily because the newly smaller countries added potential members to NATO and the EU – all controlled and controllable by the US-EU elites.”

NATO

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Two articles about priorities. They differ.

Peace Is Always Priority For Russia Over Combat – Lavrov (TASS)

Peace has always been a priority for Russia over combat, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Lenta.ru online daily commenting on peace initiatives regarding Ukraine. Asked whether ceasefire peaceful initiatives proposed by China, Indonesia, Vatican and Africa were premature Lavrov replied in the negative. “I would like to express my gratitude to our partners for their efforts to search for ways to settle the Ukrainian crisis peacefully,” he said. “We do not find their initiatives premature: for the Russian side, peace always has priority over combat.”


“So, let me remind you that we already participated in a negotiation process with Kiev, in the spring of 2022, and came close to a positive outcome,” he continued. “However, all efforts were undermined by the Anglo-Saxons, whose plans clearly did not include the cessation of hostilities. They have remained obsessed with the manic idea of inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia,” Lavrov added.

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“..the most urgent, the most important task is a continued flow of military support..”

Stoltenberg: Sending Advanced Weapons, Munitions To Kiev Priority For NATO (TASS)

NATO believes its priority is to supply Kiev with advanced weapons systems and a huge amount of ammunition and spare parts for them, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday. “I think we realized many months ago that this is a war of attrition, meaning a battle of logistics. It’s important that we deliver different advanced weapons systems, but as important as delivering new systems is that we are able to maintain and sustain all the systems that are already there. An enormous amount of ammunition, spare parts maintenance and repair capacity,” he said at a news conference following a NATO summit.


Stoltenberg also said Ukraine’s future position at the negotiating table will hinge on the outcome of its counteroffensive. “I think it’s wrong to speculate exactly how this will be done in the future after the war ends. The most important thing now is to ensure that the war ends in a just and lasting way. That’s the reason why the most urgent, the most important task is a continued flow of military support,” he said. The NATO official earlier said the bloc had decided to spare Ukraine the requirement of executing a Membership Action Plan and pledged to invite the country to the alliance when all the conditions were met.

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“Only the Ukraine-NATO commission has been upgraded to the council level,” the top Hungarian diplomat pointed out, adding that in the current situation, “this was the only right decision.”

NATO Offers Up Slim Pickings For Kiev At Vilnius Summit – Hungarian FM (TASS)

Vilnius summit has produced only modest, small-bore results for Ukraine, with Kiev failing to obtain any timetable for accession to the bloc, while getting formal interaction upgraded to the council level as a consolation prize, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said. “The big question before the NATO summit was what Ukraine would obtain. Compared to the [pre-summit] expectations, held mostly by the Ukrainians themselves, the actual practical results were exceedingly modest,” Szijjarto, who is attending the summit together with Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said in an interview with Hungary’s M1 TV channel. He noted that Ukraine received neither an invitation nor a timetable for joining the alliance.

“Only the Ukraine-NATO commission has been upgraded to the council level,” the top Hungarian diplomat pointed out, adding that in the current situation, “this was the only right decision.” “It is quite clear that a country in a state of a war cannot be accepted into NATO because, according to the alliance’s own rules, this would entail the bloc as a whole being dragged into this war. So, I think that, right now, NATO made a responsible decision while managing to avoid an escalation in military action,” he explained. Szijjarto noted that Ukraine will now start drafting what is known as the annual national program for interacting with NATO, which should reflect reforms of both a military and political nature.

“NATO is not only a defensive alliance but also a values-based community. Thus, for example, Ukraine should take on the obligation to respect and protect the rights of minorities,” he said, emphasizing that Hungary will be paying special attention to this issue given Budapest’s concern over the treatment of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine. According to him, a decision on Ukraine’s compliance with the bloc’s membership criteria will be made later, taking into account the country’s actual performance. Earlier, Budapest had repeatedly stated that it would not support Ukraine’s aspiration to join NATO and the EU until the Ukrainian leadership stopped infringing on the rights of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region.

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Piss off your biggest supporter…

‘We’re not Amazon’ – UK Responds To Ukraine’s Weapons Requests (RT)

Ukraine should adopt a less demanding tone when speaking to nations that are arming it to fight against Russia, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has suggested. “We are not Amazon,”he said. The remarks, which were quoted by the British media, were made during an event on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Lithuania on Wednesday. Wallace, who is normally a vocal supporter of Kiev, said it would help Ukraine’s cause if they displayed some gratitude. “Sometimes you are asking countries to give up their own stocks,” Wallace said. “Sometimes you have to persuade lawmakers on [Capitol] Hill in America. You have to persuade doubting politicians in other countries that it is worth it.” The British official said he heard complaints from US counterparts that Ukraine was treating their nation like an Amazon store, even as it provides billions of dollars worth of military assistance.

Wallace confirmed that this was “true,” and said he had been personally subjected to this kind of treatment by Ukrainian officials. He recalled driving for 11 hours to meet with a delegation last June only “to be given a list” of requests. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan made a similar public remark in Lithuania, asserting that “the American people do deserve a degree of gratitude from the US government for their willingness to step up [and aid Ukraine] and from the rest of the world as well.” Ukrainian officials, including President Vladimir Zelensky, have been critical of the US and its allies for not providing enough support or for providing it too slowly. The Ukrainian leader cited the supposedly unhurried pace of weapons deliveries as a key reason for underwhelming results from Kiev’s counteroffensive last month.

One of the latest outbursts from Zelensky came during the current summit, as NATO leaders declined to provide a roadmap for Ukraine’s accession to the US-led military bloc and said the country would still have to meet some conditions to qualify. He called the position “unprecedented and absurd.” The US delegation in Vilnius was reportedly infuriated by the verbal attack. The Americans perceived it as an attempt by Zelenksy to pressure the alliance into reconsidering its decision, according to media reports. It’s not the first time that Western irritation with Kiev’s communication style has been reported. Last June, US President Joe Biden reportedly told Zelensky to show “a little more gratitude”after snapping during a phone call.

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“..While it’s not quite yet a full on ‘hero to zero’ story… things are certainly sliding in that direction..”

NATO Leaders Tell Zelensky ‘Cool It’ In Rare Dressing Down At Summit

Bloomberg is just out with a devastating behind-the-scenes account of a hot-headed Zelensky at the NATO summit in Vilnius, and the growing Western backlash in the face of his obvious frustration and what’s being seen as ingratitude for the steady flow of billions of dollars in arms to Kiev. Apparently even the mainstream media agrees with our own assessment of the Ukrainian leader having thrown a “tantrum” as he complained about the “weak” and “absurd” NATO stance on Ukraine’s membership. The blistering tweet he issued in English while en route to Lithuania exposed cracks in the alliance, as Bloomberg highlights in the opening of its very revealing Wednesday piece:


Volodymyr Zelenskiy was running hot ahead of his sit-down with NATO leaders on Tuesday evening. The Ukrainian president had been angered earlier in the day by what he said was an “absurd” reluctance to give his country a clear timeline on membership. That outburst in turn riled the partners who have funneled billions of dollars of weaponry and aid into Ukraine’s defense against the Russian invasion — the US had been given no warning before Zelenskiy unleashed his attack on social media.

All day Wednesday, the above (very real) photo of an isolated and defeated-looking Zelensky standing amid NATO heads of state (with backs turned) circulated widely on social media. And things were even more tense behind the scenes, as Bloomberg writes: “Over dinner in Vilnius, with US President Joe Biden back at his hotel, the other leaders delivered a clear message to Zelenskiy, according to one person who was present. You have to cool down and look at the full package, Zelenskiy was told.” While it’s not quite yet a full on ‘hero to zero’ story… things are certainly sliding in that direction, given it’s unprecedented that the Ukrainian president who previously enjoyed rockstar status in Western capitals since the start of the invasion could be told to basically ‘cool it’!.

Bloomberg continues in reference to Zelensky: “He had, after all, been given a renewed commitment to eventual membership and new security guarantees from the Group of Seven nations. By the next day, the message appeared to be sinking in.” The publication was privy to some key Western leaders’ exact words, presenting the rare dressing down as follows: “Whether we like it or not, people want to see gratitude,” UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told reporters the following morning. “You’re persuading countries to give up their stock” of weapons and ammunition, he added.

This account of the behind-the-scenes wrangling is based on interviews with more than a dozen diplomats and officials involved in the summit who asked not to be named discussing private conversations. NATO leaders were trying to thread a needle on Ukraine’s membership bid when they arrived in Vilnius: They were seeking language that looked like progress and that Ukraine could sell as progress but fundamentally didn’t leave them any closer to getting dragged into a war with nuclear-armed Russia.

Ultimately the hawks (mainly among the Baltic and Eastern Europe states) have lost at Vilnius. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has admitted “There was a lack of political will.” Thus it appears that Zelensky’s angry, desperate tweet lashing out at Western partners was a last ditch effort at shaming NATO into conceding to its demands of being immediately fast-tracked to membership. Bloomberg reveals further, that “Crucially, it was the US and Germany that insisted on dialing back the commitment to Ukraine joining the alliance. Earlier drafts of the communique offered a clearer pathway to Ukraine eventually joining, but Biden and Chancellor Olaf Scholz were wary of going too far.”

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“In the attacks by OUN and UPA units, supported by part of the local Ukrainian community, over 100,000 Poles were murdered..”

Poland Wants Ukraine To Admit Guilt For Nazi-linked WWII Massacre (RT)

Accountability for the mass killings of Poles by Ukrainian nationalists during World War II is essential for reconciliation between the two nations, a resolution passed by the lower house of parliament in Warsaw has said. The document was adopted by lawmakers in the Sejm on Tuesday, as Poland commemorated the victims of wartime atrocities in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia 80 years ago. Members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), the militant wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), were the main perpetrators of the crimes, which Poland considers an act of genocide.

“In the attacks by OUN and UPA units, supported by part of the local Ukrainian community, over 100,000 Poles were murdered, often in a very brutal way,” the Polish MPs said. “Several hundred thousand people fled… fearing the same fate.” The OUN allied with Nazi German invaders in the hope of creating a Ukrainian nation state, and slaughtered groups that they deemed to be obstructing their cause. Their victims also included Jews, Czechs and Russians, along with ethnic Ukrainians who opposed the purges, the Polish resolution noted. The ethnic cleansing campaign was accompanied by the destruction of property, including items of cultural and religious significance.

“Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation, which was built over years by representatives of both nations, must also include recognition of guilt and commemoration of the victims,” the lawmakers stressed. Many Polish officials have said they expected Kiev to make gestures of accountability during the 80th anniversary of the tragedy. The Ukrainian government considers the UPA and its leaders to be national heroes, as they were fighting for Ukrainian independence from the Soviet Union. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky joined his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda last week for a joint commemoration in Western Ukraine, but did not offer a formal apology. Kiev’s ambassador to Warsaw, Vasily Zvarych, previously advised Poland against attempts to “pressure” his nation into taking “unacceptable” steps regarding their shared past.

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“..to understand the true nature of the universe.”

Elon Musk Sets Up New AI Company (RT)

The owner of Twitter and the founder of Tesla and SpaceX said on Wednesday that he has set up an artificial intelligence venture, xAI, which aims to figure out the world itself. “Announcing formation of xAI to understand reality,” Musk tweeted, with a link to the company’s freshly created profile on his social network. xAI is technically a separate company from Musk’s X Corp, but will work closely with his other enterprises “to make progress towards our mission,” according to the company website, which defines that mission as “to understand the true nature of the universe.” The people involved with xAI have previously worked at OpenAI, Google, Microsoft and Tesla, as well as the University of Toronto in Canada, and say they have contributed to “some of the most widely used methods” in the field of artificial intelligence, as well as breakthroughs such as the GPT chatbot.

Tesla’s shares rose 1.5% following the xAI announcement. According to public records, xAI was incorporated in March in the US state of Nevada. Musk is listed as the sole director. More details will be made available in a Twitter Spaces chat scheduled for Friday, the company promised. There has been speculation ever since about Musk’s intention to establish an AI enterprise. According to a disclosure from Business Insider, Musk acquired a substantial number of graphic processing units (GPUs) to fuel an upcoming generative AI offering. The Financial Times has also mentioned Musk’s aspirations to establish an AI company in direct competition with OpenAI, which has the support of Microsoft. It has been reported that Musk approached investors of SpaceX and Tesla to secure funding for the venture.

Two weeks after incorporating xAI, Musk signed an open letter with more than 1,000 researchers and tech executives, warning that AI could pose “profound risks to society and humanity.” The letter called for a six-month global pause on AI development in order to “give society a chance to adapt” to the rapidly-advancing technology. Musk has also spoken out on the potential for “civilizational destruction” posed by AI, pointing to the race between products such as ChatGPT and Bard. While Musk helped to found ChatGPT’s maker OpenAI in 2015, he left its board of directors by 2018 and has since criticized the company as a “closed source maximum-profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft.” One of the people Musk has brought on board xAI as a senior adviser is Dan Hendrycks, director of the Center for AI Safety, a nonprofit that seeks to reduce the risks posed by the technology.

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The story gets uglier.

Greek Coastguard ‘Pressured’ Migrant Boat Survivors (BBC)

New evidence found by BBC News casts further doubt on the Greek coastguard’s version of events surrounding last month’s deadly migrant boat sinking, in which up to 600 people died. Two survivors have described how the coastguard pressed them to identify nine Egyptians on board as traffickers. A new video of the overcrowded boat foundering at sea also challenges the Greek coastguard’s account. It was taken when the boat was said to be on a “steady course”. BBC Verify has confirmed the footage was filmed when the coastguard claimed the boat was not in need of rescue. We have also confirmed that the larger vessel in the background is the oil tanker Faithful Warrior, which had been asked to give supplies to the migrant boat.

The official Greek coastguard account had already been challenged in a BBC Verify report – but now we have seen court documents which show serious discrepancies between survivors’ witness statements taken by the coastguards, and the in-person evidence later presented to a judge. A translator has also come forward with his account of a people-smuggling investigation last year, after a another group of migrants were rescued by the coastguard. He describes how witnesses from that incident were intimidated by the coastguard. The legal case collapsed before it could reach trial. The revelations raise fresh questions about how the Greek authorities handle such disasters. Both the Greek coastguard and Greek government did not comment and declined our requests for interview. Soon after the 14 June sinking, nine Egyptian men were detained and charged with manslaughter and people-smuggling.

But two survivors of the disaster say migrants were silenced and intimidated by Greek authorities, after suggesting the coastguards may have been to blame for the tragedy. For the past month, allegations have been made that the coastguard used a rope to tow the fishing vessel, causing it to sink. The two survivors we spoke to in Athens – who we are calling Ahmad and Musaab to protect their identities – say that is what happened. “They attached a rope from the left. Everyone moved to the right side of our boat to balance it,” says Musaab. “The Greek vessel moved off quickly causing our boat to flip. They kept dragging it for quite a distance.” The men described how they spent two hours in the water before being picked up by the coastguard.

When I ask how they knew it was that amount of time, Musaab says his watch was still working so he could tell. Once on land, in Kalamata, they claim the coastguard told survivors to “shut up” when they started to talk about how the Greek authorities had caused the disaster. “When people replied by saying the Greek coastguard was the cause, the official in charge of the questioning asked the interpreter to tell the interviewee to stop talking,” says Ahmad. Ahmad says those rescued were told to be grateful they hadn’t died. He says there were shouts of: “You have survived death! Stop talking about the incident! Don’t ask more questions about it!”

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“His work embodies journalistic awareness-building at its best, and aims to change the world by democratic means – something that is direly needed.’”

Julian Assange, Who ‘Aims To Change The World’, Awarded Konrad Wolf Prize (AR)

The Akademie der Künste in Berlin has said it will award its annual Konrad Wolf Prize to Julian Assange. Though the Australian activist and founder of WikiLeaks is unlilkely to be able to attend the October ceremony as he is currently held at Belmarsh top security prison in London. Since 2019 he has been fighting attempts to extradite him to the US, where he is charged with the hacking – abetting former army private and whistleblower Chelsea Manning – of one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of America.

The jury said: ‘Julian Assange’s work and positions have focused our attention on illegal state actions, injustices, murders and war crimes – things that were meant to remain concealed and obscured from the public view, from the citizens – from us. Assange’s work has resulted in the disclosure of financial flows, hidden accounts and official e-mail correspondence, has uncovered images of murdered unarmed civilians and journalists in Iraq by members of the U.S. Army, disclosed arbitrary killings of civilians in Afghanistan and secret service projects aimed at the manipulation of public opinion, has brought to light the humiliation and torture in photos taken by laughing perpetrators at Abu Ghraib Prison and exposed the inhumane conditions of the still operational detention centre at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, which reminded us of what waterboarding means.

The list goes on. Julian Assange’s Wikileaks publicizes information about this – our – reality, so that we as citizens can recognize this reality and take action. ‘We open governments’ so that we know. It is a democratic act. Assange is a worthy laureate, who with his Wikileaks project has exposed government activity, wartime lies, war crimes and cover-ups. His work embodies journalistic awareness-building at its best, and aims to change the world by democratic means – something that is direly needed.’

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Birth rates
https://twitter.com/i/status/1678873566861828097

 

 

 

 

Kamala
https://twitter.com/i/status/1678711066560282625

 

 

Hypno chicken

 

 

Otter
https://twitter.com/i/status/1678789677438980097

 

 

SNL

 

 

 

 

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Jun 212023
 


Johannes Vermeer Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window 1657-59

 

Kiev Resorts to ‘Human Wave Attacks’ (Sp.)
How the “Surovkin Line” Works (Zlatko Djuric)
Western Spies Fear Kiev’s Counteroffensive Will Backfire – Moscow (RT)
Possible Ukrainian Attack on Crimea ‘Could Rapidly Spin Out of Control’ (Sp.)
Pentagon Admits That Counteroffensive Will Be Tough For Ukraine (TASS)
Ukraine Plans to Strike at Crimea With Storm Shadow Missiles – Shoigu (Sp.)
Ukrainian Counteroffensive To End In Weeks – Russian MP (RT)
Putin’s Warning On The F-16 – NATO’s Article 5 Is Now For Burning (Helmer)
Beijing Welcomes Expansion of BRICS (Sp.)
Christopher Nolan Dismisses AI ‘Crisis’ (RT)
‘Child of Privilege’: Hunter Biden Dodges Stiffer Charges (Sp.)
Tucker Carlson Savages Bidens Over Hunter’s ‘Slap On The Wrist’ (ZH)
GOP Outraged Over ‘Sweetheart Deal’ Handed to Hunter Biden (Manley)
Hunter Biden, Baby Mama Settle Child Support Dispute (Devine)

 

 

 

 

RFK JFK

 

 

 

 

29 March 2022

 

 

 

 

Tulsi
https://twitter.com/i/status/1671111001541074944

 

 

 

 

‘Human Wave Attacks’ is exactly as scary and insane as it sounds.

“..most of the Kiev regime’s troops who perished in this counteroffensive “died without ever really seeing the enemy..”

Kiev Resorts to ‘Human Wave Attacks’ (Sp.)

While the long-anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive has been going on for more than two weeks already, one thing has become increasingly apparent: Kiev’s troops’ have stalled while they continue to suffer heavy casualties, a security analyst told Sputnik. Ukraine essentially continues to be sending all its troops at the Russian defenses, sacrificing hundreds, if not thousands, of Ukrainian soldiers and still failing to produce any result that Zelensky and his NATO sponsors could sell as at least a tactical victory. Speaking to Sputnik, international relations and security analyst Mark Sleboda noted that “there has been essentially no progress by the Kiev regime’s offensive.”

“It is effectively stalled and they continue to take heavy casualties, heavy attrition,” Sleboda said, adding that, in most cases, Ukrainian troops bleed and die “still ten, fifteen kilometers” away from “Russia’s first defensive line.” According to Sleboda, all this fighting is taking place in what he described as the “throwaway zone”: an area before the actual Russian defensive lines, which the Russian troops deemed unsuitable for “static, heavy defenses, defensive lines with trenches and fortifications.” Noting how Institute for the Study of War said in a statement that Ukrainian forces may be temporarily pausing counter offensive operations to reevaluate tactics, the analyst suggested it essentially means that the architects of the counteroffensive realized that their approach is not working.

While he did admit that this statement could be a deception, Sleboda argued that it “largely reflects what we’re seeing,” with Ukrainian forces managing to seize into a “string of farm hamlets” at a cost of “so much blood and steel,” only to find themselves the lowlands, with Russian forces raining rockets and shells upon them from fortified positions located on the high ground. He also stressed that, while resorting to “human wave attacks” allowed Ukrainian forces to drive back some of the Russian screening squads deployed ahead of the actual Russian defensive lines, most of the Kiev regime’s troops who perished in this counteroffensive “died without ever really seeing the enemy,” not to mention that they lost a lot more men than the Russian defenders. On Tuesday, June 20, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that Kiev regime forces lost over 400 militants dead during the past 24 hours alone while unsuccessfully attempting to simultaneously advance on several fronts.

Read more …

A Twitter thread.

How the “Surovkin Line” Works (Zlatko Djuric)

Since June 4th, the AFU have launched 263 attacks on Russian positions as part of the ongoing counteroffensive. All attacks were repelled, but few understand why the Ukrainian army’s offensive failed at its peak.

What is the “Surovkin Line”?

It is a defensive system, the first layer of which consists of dozens of fortified fire lanes, including extensive minefields and engineering barriers. This line took nearly eight months to construct, and extends several tens of kilometers in depth. It relies on a well-developed transport and logistics network with hubs and rear bases. Short logistics routes allow the Russian Armed Forces to swiftly transfer reserves from one sector to another without compromising combat readiness on the front line. In simpler terms, wherever the need arises to reinforce firepower, it can be done without withdrawing troops from other sectors.

What is unique about it?

The defensive line is supported by a powerful grouping of artillery and air forces, including Ka-52 attack helicopters and ground-attack aircraft equipped with FAB-250/500 guided glide bombs. In the event of a breakthrough by an AFU mechanized group at one of the fire lanes, aviation is capable of supporting ground forces operating in a “carousel” fashion: while helicopters engage ground targets, strike aircraft and bombers reach the launch point, and after hitting their targets, the helicopters reengage, and the cycle repeats. Meanwhile, strikes on the rear areas of the advancing AFU group in Orehovo and Velikaya Novoselka demonstrate that the AFU offensive has limited air defense. Medium- and short-range air defense systems are either deployed deep in the rear or used very sparingly on the frontline. As a result, a significant amount of senior command staff is being destroyed in the rear, which hampers command and control and, consequently, slows down the pace of the offensive.

What is “elastic defense” and how does it work?

Judging by the dynamics of the offensive, the AFU command undoubtedly relied on a swift breakthrough and the transition of the battle to maneuver warfare. For this purpose, a series of strikes across the Line of Contact was planned, including main attacks and several diversions. These strikes were countered by a combination of tactics known as elastic defense and an artillery grouping, enhanced by observation and fire correction means. It is evident that the Russian Armed Forces on the ground are still operating with comparatively small forces, and the maneuvering element, in terms of operational and tactical reserves, has not yet entered the battle.

In the cases of Pyatyhatky in Zaporozhia or Neskuchnoe in the South Donetsk direction, it is clear that Russian forces do not cling to every centimeter of the defensive line in the event of a breakthrough by individual AFU groups. If necessary, they withdraw to reserve positions. The enemy, located then at pre-known coordinates, is subjected to artillery strikes, followed by a counterattack, and the position is returned under the control of the defending forces. Judging by the fact that two weeks after the start of the AFU offensive, they continue to suffer losses from artillery fire, their reconnaissance and counter-battery capabilities are either ineffective or insufficient.

What is the result?

During more than two weeks of the Ukrainian offensive, AFU advances have been observed solely within the gray zone, meaning on territory forward of main Russian defense lines. The AFU has failed to fully seize control of these areas—every attempt to consolidate and expand the bridgehead leads to artillery strikes and air raids, forcing Ukrainian forces to retreat and regroup for a new strike.

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“..Ukrainian statehood itself may be under threat because of the counteroffensive..”

Western Spies Fear Kiev’s Counteroffensive Will Backfire – Moscow (RT)

Western intelligence agencies fear that Ukraine’s counteroffensive could lead to completely opposite results from those expected by Kiev, the head of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, told Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper on Monday. The Russian spy chief claimed that “authoritative members of the US and European intelligence services and military departments don’t rule out that the counteroffensive could lead to directly opposite results” of those expected by Ukraine. Despite supporting the counteroffensive in their public statements, “behind the scenes, many Western military analysts express serious doubts about the success of the Ukrainian adventure,” Naryshkin said during an interview with the outlet. “Without going into details, I’ll say that the tasks announced by the Kiev regime are assessed as unachievable” by foreign experts, he added.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and other officials had earlier stated that the operation should end with Kiev recapturing all territories it lost to Moscow, including Crimea. The concern in Washington and Brussels is that the “death of a significant number of NATO-trained military personnel and destruction of equipment will undermine the combat capability of the Ukrainian army. This, in turn, will negatively affect the stability of the Zelensky regime,” Naryshkin explained. He added that according to a number of Western assessments, Ukrainian statehood itself may be under threat because of the counteroffensive. The head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Aleksey Danilov, claimed during a television appearance on Monday that the counteroffensive has been progressing in line with Kiev’s schedule.

“Everything is going according to a plan, which had been approved and developed. There are no deviations from it,” Danilov said, adding that only “a limited circle of people know” what this plan actually is. Ukraine launched its long-anticipated offensive in early June, but has so far failed to achieve any significant advances, according to Moscow. Last week, Russia’s Defense Ministry estimated Kiev’s losses since the start of the operation at 7,500. Russian President Vladimir Putin also said that 30% of Ukraine’s Western-supplied military hardware, including a number of German Leopard 2 tanks and US-made Bradley fighting vehicles, had already been destroyed. Kiev has claimed the capture of several small villages as a result of its attacks. However, they appear to be located kilometers away from Russia’s main defensive lines.

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“..what they want to do is try to provoke Russia into taking actions that will then bring NATO into the conflict directly..”

Possible Ukrainian Attack on Crimea ‘Could Rapidly Spin Out of Control’ (Sp.)

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu warned that Ukraine may attempt to use Western-supplied Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles and longer-range HIMARS ground-based rockets to strike Russian facilities in Crimea. His warning came at a meeting of the collegium of the Russian Ministry of Defense on Tuesday. Shoigu said that the use of such weapons outside the zone of the special military operation would induce immediate Russian strikes on “decision-making centers in Ukraine” and would “mean the full involvement of the United States and the United Kingdom in the conflict. Sputnik spoke with two veterans of the US foreign policy apparatus about Shoigu’s report, why Kiev might resort to such actions, and what the Western response is likely to be.

They said Western approval was implied by having helped Kiev plan its counteroffensive and that NATO powers are likely to dismiss Moscow’s warnings as bluster, despite evidence to the contrary. In the end, such a strike will only make a full-blown Russia-NATO war more likely. Earl Rasmussen, an international consultant and retired US Army lieutenant colonel, compared such a potential attack to other “actions of desperation” by Ukraine outside the scope of the conventional military conflict in Donbass. “We had the Kerch Bridge blown up; we had the attempted drone attack on the Kremlin; we’ve got the assassinations; we have the destruction of the dam. These are terrorist actions. These are actions of desperation, I think.”

Rasmussen suggested a threat against Crimea would be aimed at “trying to instill fear of some type in the Russian population” and pressure Moscow to withdraw its forces. “But also obviously, it’s for a public relations perspective as well. I think they’re trying to demonstrate some type of success or positive – from their perspective positive – prior to the NATO meetings coming up in a couple of weeks,” he noted. Meanwhile, Larry Johnson, a retired CIA intelligence officer and former US State Department official, similarly described Ukraine’s position as “a situation of great desperation” and characterized such a potentially audacious strike as an attempt to bring NATO into the conflict directly. “Nothing that they have planned from a military standpoint has worked in terms of their counteroffensive. I think what they want to do is try to provoke Russia into taking actions that will then bring NATO into the conflict directly. So they’re looking for a pretext to create an avenue,” he said.

Read more …

The Pentagon should admit they’re losing.

Pentagon Admits That Counteroffensive Will Be Tough For Ukraine (TASS)

The Ukrainian counter-offensive will be tough for the Kiev government’s forces and will entail casualties among their ranks, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh has said. “Our assessments have been pretty clear from the beginning. I think you know, we know as you continue to see the fights that have continued to move to the east, it’s become more of a <…> battle,” she told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday. “We know this is going to be a hard fight. We know this is going to take time. And we are confident that the Ukrainians have what they need.”


“We have accounted for losses. We know there are going to be losses on the battlefield. That’s the unfortunate part of this war,” the spokesperson continued. In her words, the United States has provided Ukraine with the systems and the capabilities that its troops need. “We know this is going to be a tough fight. Of course the Russians are going to adapt as they would have from the beginning of the war,” Singh said. Earlier, Russia said that the armed forces of Ukraine were sustaining heavy losses during their counter-offensive.

Read more …

“..the Kiev regime is using a large number of Western weapons and elite military formations, whose members have been trained by NATO specialists..”

And achieving nothing at all…

Ukraine Plans to Strike at Crimea With Storm Shadow Missiles – Shoigu (Sp.)

The Ukrainian armed forces are planning to strike at the territory of Russia, including Crimea, with HIMARS and Storm Shadow cruise missiles, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday.”According to our information, the leadership of the armed forces of Ukraine plans to strike at the territory of Russia, including Crimea, with HIMARS and Storm Shadow missiles,” Shoigu said at a meeting of the collegium of the Ministry of Defense.
The use of Storm Shadow and HIMARS missiles outside the special operation zone will entail immediate strikes on decision-making centers in Ukraine, the minister said. “The use of these missiles outside the zone of the special military operation will mean the full involvement of the United States and the United Kingdom in the conflict,” he added. In early 2023, a British daily reported, citing Ukrainian defense sources, that the Ukrainian military is prepared to use the UK-supplied long-range missiles, such as Storm Shadow, to hit Crimea if these are provided in military aid.


Ukrainian troops have launched a total of 263 attacks on the positions of the Russian armed forces in the Donetsk, South Donetsk and Zaporozhye directions since June 4, but all of them have been successfully repelled, Russian Defense Minister said. “Ukrainian troops keep attempting offensive actions in the South Donetsk, Zaporozhye and Donetsk directions. When doing so, the Kiev regime is using a large number of Western weapons and elite military formations, whose members have been trained by NATO specialists. Since June 4, the Ukrainian armed forces have launched 263 attacks on the positions of Russian troops,” he stressed. The Russian defense chief added that Kiev had failed to achieve its goals “thanks to the competent and selfless actions” of Russian troops.

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“The lawmaker claimed that Ukraine had already lost around 20,000 soldiers out of the 40,000 to 50,000 it had reportedly trained for the offensive..”

Ukrainian Counteroffensive To End In Weeks – Russian MP (RT)

Kiev’s forces will exhaust their offensive capabilities in July if the current Ukrainian casualty rate persists, the head of Russia’s State Duma Defense Committee, Andrey Kartapolov, said on Tuesday. Ukrainian troops have lost some 900 soldiers to deaths and injuries over the past 24 hours alone, the colonel general explained. According to Kartapolov, they have also lost nine tanks and dozens of armored vehicles over the same period. “If it continues at this pace, I believe we will finish repelling [this offensive] in three weeks and move on to dynamic actions ourselves,” the MP predicted in an appearance on the ‘Solovyov Live’ show. The lawmaker claimed that Ukraine had already lost around 20,000 soldiers out of the 40,000 to 50,000 it had reportedly trained for the offensive. While he did not name his sources, he claimed the much-awaited Ukrainian operation had largely failed.


“Every tactic they have used has not worked as of now,” he said. Kiev’s troops did not advance further than the Russian forward defense area security zone and did not even reach the first defense line, the MP added. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, over 600 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed over the past 24 hours, as Kiev’s troops continued their attacks on Russian positions. The Ukrainian forces also lost dozens of armored vehicles, as well as a dozen artillery pieces, including at least three US-made M777 howitzers, the ministry revealed in its daily briefing on Tuesday.Kiev’s large-scale offensive began on June 4. Ukrainian troops have suffered heavy losses in the attacks, which have been repelled by Russian forces, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. Last week, it said that 7,500 of Kiev’s frontline troops had either been killed or wounded. Russian President Vladimir Putin also said last week that Kiev had lost up to 30% of the heavy equipment supplied to it by the West.

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“.. no matter what NATO member-state flag they are flying, and on what territory they are based..”

Putin’s Warning On The F-16 – NATO’s Article 5 Is Now For Burning (Helmer)

Until June 24 the combined air forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) are conducting their largest operation against Russia in the 74-year history of the alliance. The plan has been to disguise F-16 fighter jets as if they are piloted by Ukrainians, and pretend they are launched from Ukrainian territory. In response, Russian artillery, missile and fighter-bomber forces have been disabling and destroying Ukrainian airfields, and every Ukrainian aircraft being flown from them. Then on Friday, President Vladimir Putin dismissed the NATO pretence, warning that if an F-16 threatens to attack a Russian target, it would be “burned”, and so would the launch airbase and supporting aircraft – fuel tankers, electronic countermeasures, command-and-control, and decoys – no matter what NATO member-state flag they are flying, and on what territory they are based.

“The F-16 will also burn, there is no doubt,” Putin said in St. Petersburg on June 16. “But if they are located at air bases outside Ukraine, and used in combat operations, we will have to look at how to hit and where to hit those means that are used in combat operations against us. This is a serious danger of NATO’s further involvement in this armed conflict.” When the president and commander-in-chief announces “we will have to look at how to hit”, he means the General Staff have already assembled the operational intelligence and readied plans of attack with three minutes to launch; that is, against targets in Poland, Romania, Moldova, and possibly further west across the Czech and German borders. In the president’s phrase “those means that are used in combat operations against us”, Putin also intends to identify airborne targets, manned and unmanned, over the Black, Baltic, and Barents Seas.

Never before has NATO’s collective defence proviso Article Five been explicitly challenged by the Kremlin. In practice, by describing the agreement of the NATO members that “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all”, the NATO wording does no more than require each of the NATO members to take “forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary.” . What is happening is that by aiming their display of NATO airpower at the Kremlin, US and German commanders in their Ramstein bunkers have provoked Putin to call their bluff: he is now aiming directly at the Poles, Romanians and Germans, telling them to “deem” whether war with Russia is “necessary”. “Well, the Poles,” added Putin, “okay, they have their own goals, they sleep and see the return of Western Ukraine. And, apparently, they are gradually coming to this.”

In parallel, the US has escalated to nuclear weapons by flying two US Air Force (USAF) B-1B bombers from the UK Fairford airbase, refuelling in Germany, transiting Poland and Romania, to a point in the Black Sea off the Crimean coast and the Sevastopol naval base, where the aircraft transponders were turned off from public view. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Polish President Andrzej Duda have been also been trying to disguise Article Five by negotiating between themselves — they told the press last week — “what sort of security guarantees they would provide [the Ukraine] once the war ends… ‘Our support will last as long as it is needed’, Macron said. ‘We must ensure that Russia will not only not win this unfortunate campaign but also can never repeat it.’”

Read more …

The conference is next month.

Beijing Welcomes Expansion of BRICS (Sp.)

China welcomes more countries joining BRICS, because the bloc is committed to strengthening the representation and voice of emerging and developing countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Tuesday, a day after Bangladesh confirmed that it had applied for membership. “China is committed to advancing the expansion process. We welcome as many like-minded partners as possible to join the BRICS family as soon as possible,” Ning said at a briefing, commenting on Bangladesh’s application.


She said that the expansion of the bloc is a political consensus of the five BRICS countries.”The BRICS countries are an important platform for cooperation between emerging and developing countries. They have always been committed to defending multipolarity, actively promoting global governance reform, and strengthening the representation and voice of emerging and developing countries,” Ning added. On Monday, Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen confirmed that his country had officially applied to join the BRICS bloc made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Read more …

“The biggest danger of AI is that we attribute these godlike characteristics to it and therefore let ourselves off the hook..”

Christopher Nolan Dismisses AI ‘Crisis’ (RT)

Oscar-nominated director Christopher Nolan has said in an interview that the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) technology has only received such frenzied media attention because it represents a threat to journalists’ careers. In an interview with Wired magazine published on Tuesday, the British-American filmmaker said that the potential dangers of AI have been apparent for quite some time, particularly in militaristic contexts. But with the development of easy-to-use chatbots like ChatGPT or Google Bard, Nolan says that the media has leaned into alarmism because the technology poses an existential threat to their livelihoods. “The growth of AI in terms of weapons systems and the problems that it is going to create have been very apparent for a lot of years,” Nolan told the magazine.

“Few journalists bothered to write about it. Now that there’s a chatbot that can write an article for a local newspaper, suddenly it’s a crisis.” The public release of ChatGPT last year incited a widespread public debate about the uses – and potential dangers – of ‘generative’ AI technology, which combs through vast quantities of online data and presents content to users in a ‘human-like’ fashion. Its supporters have pointed to AI’s efficacy in performing various tasks, such as academic research, while critics point to the type of Doomsday scenarios put forth by Skynet in the movie ‘Terminator 2’; something that Nolan will no doubt be familiar with. But while Nolan is keen to dismiss the media glare as being somewhat self-serving, he admits that the biggest threat isn’t posed by AI itself, but rather by how humanity adapts to it.

“The biggest danger of AI is that we attribute these godlike characteristics to it and therefore let ourselves off the hook,” he said. “We have to view it as a tool. The person who wields it still has to maintain responsibility for wielding that tool.” He continued: “If we accord AI the status of a human being, the way at some point legally we did with corporations, then yes, we’re going to have huge problems.” It is these potentially ‘huge problems’ which have been traversing the media for the past several months. In May, Geoffrey Hinton, widely-considered to be one of the ‘godfathers’ of AI technology, resigned from his post at Google and undertook a media campaign to warn of its dangers. Big Tech thought-leaders like Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak were among several industry figures who co-signed a letter which, in part, called for aggressive regulation of the AI sector.

But while Artificial Intelligence could present opportunities to filmmakers to achieve effects previously limited only by the boundaries of their own imaginations, Nolan says he is happy to watch from the sidelines. “I’m, you know, very much the old analog fusty filmmaker,” he said. “I shoot on film.”

Read more …

“..the DoJ under Attorney General Merrick Garland “has become a Praetorian guard, a protectorate for the Biden family..”

‘Child of Privilege’: Hunter Biden Dodges Stiffer Charges (Sp.)

The US Department of Justice announced on Tuesday it had filed charges against Hunter Biden, an international businessman and the son of US President Joe Biden, related to refusing to pay income tax and illegal possession of a firearm. Biden has entered a plea deal on the charges, which could put him in jail for up to 15 years. However, experts told Sputnik that the prodigal son admitted to far worse crimes that those he is being tried for, but that the DoJ is refusing to file them against him. Marc Little, a conservative political commentator and executive director of CURE America Action, suggested that “perhaps the DoJ is attempting to rehabilitate its ‘zero” credibility before their unprecedented political trial against former President Donald Trump begins.”

“Hunter’s now-alleged involvement in international bribery and corruption will be ignored while the DoJ wages war on the current president’s political opponent,” he said. “With what appears to be a plea deal and a slap on the wrist to the president’s son, and no indictment for the many crimes committed by Hillary Clinton and numerous FBI brass in the infamous Russia Hoax, it is clear [that] the DoJ has its sights set on anyone who they cannot control. After all, it is clear the Intelligence State in the US exerts more biased power than anyone ever truly realized – until now.” Tyler Nixon, a political analyst and attorney for Donald Trump’s former campaign adviser Roger Stone compared the situation to that of Al Capone, who was ultimately jailed on tax evasion charges despite his widely known history of ordering hits on rival gangsters.

“Frankly, this is [a] disgrace for the justice system,” Nixon told Sputnik. “It doesn’t surprise me at all.” “The tax charges are used to get someone who was involved in a massive corruption off lightly. I’ve known Hunter Biden for pretty much since I was a young man, when we were children. It is sad to see that he was then involved in such corruption and frankly, just selling [his] country out to some of the worst actors around the world. This is just kind of a negotiated slap on the wrist. And it leaves off the table all of the most serious crimes involving money laundering, involving influence peddling, involving the sale of his father’s office and capitalizing on what I consider borderline treason,” he said.

Nixon said Hunter Biden escaped much stiffer gun charges that have landed others in prison for many years because “he’s a child of privilege.” “I would be shocked if he saw the inside of a prison cell at any point. They’ve softballed this, they’ve got him in a diversion program, early diversion, which [is why] he doesn’t have a criminal record as far as we know.” “I don’t think he should be treated differently by the system, either more harshly or less harshly based on what he’s done. However, the whole thing is the epitome of hypocrisy. His father is the biggest, probably the most virulent drug warrior still alive, who escalated the penalties for drug possession and all sorts of drug offenses in the 1980s and 90s and even into the early 2000s, to a point that thousands, hundreds of thousands, if not even approaching millions of Americans had their lives destroyed for mere possession of different sorts of controlled substances, thanks to Joe Biden.”

[..] Nixon noted that, when it comes to his business activities, federal prosecutors have had more than half a decade to investigate a “mountain of evidence” brought forth, including by his former business partner, Tony Bobulinski. Instead, the DoJ under Attorney General Merrick Garland “has become a Praetorian guard, a protectorate for the Biden family,” he said. “And there’s no chance that any of these serious crimes” Hunter Biden has made a plea deal on “have [anything] to do with his father,” Nixon noted.

Blinken Xi

Read more …

“If you didn’t know what a virtuous person Hunter Biden was you might think it looked a lot like money laundering..”

Tucker Carlson Savages Bidens Over Hunter’s ‘Slap On The Wrist’ (ZH)

“Donald Trump had an idea, ‘they’ll hit Hunter with something small to make their strike on me look fair.’ Trump wrote that about two weeks ago,” said Carlson. “And it turned out, those were prescient words. This morning, Hunter Biden pleaded guilty to pretty much nothing. Biden pleaded to two misdemeanor tax evasion charges and then entered a diversion on a federal gun charge. That’s it. As far as Merrick Garland’s justice department is concerned, Hunter Biden is done. There was no pre-dawn raid carried live simultaneously on CNN, there was no perp walk, no handcuffs, no press conference.” “Above all, there was no felony. Hunter Biden who broke federal gun laws can still carry a gun. It’s like it all never happened,” Carlson continued.

According to the Washington Post, Hunter, 53, is expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges of failure to pay in 2017 and 2018, for a combined tax liability of roughly $1.2 million. He’ll also admit to illegally possessing a weapon after his 2018 purchase of a handgun – which will likely result in a ‘diversion program’ which would result in the removal of the gun charge if all of the program’s conditions are met. The former Fox News host also noted how the White House has dismissed the investigations as politically motivated and irrelevant to Joe Biden’s presidency. He also questioned Hunter’s source of income – highlighting his art sales and book deal, which Carlson implied could be tied to money laundering and influence peddling.

“If you didn’t know what a virtuous person Hunter Biden was you might think it looked a lot like money laundering,” said Carlson, referring to an interview he gave to ABC in 2019. “Two years after that interview, Hunter Biden was selling prints of his art — and to be clear, just the prints, not the art itself – but effectively photocopies of it for seventy five thousand dollars a pop!” “Apparently Hunter Biden moved five of these Repros in just days. That’s $375,000 in less than a week for signed copies of your fake art. “As for the paintings themselves, childish self-indulgent blots, those sold for half a million dollars a piece. So the question is; who bought them and why? It’d be interesting to know, there’s a story there for sure, but of course we have no right to know.”

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Outrage my a**. Comer and the House Oversight Committee have lots to work with.

GOP Outraged Over ‘Sweetheart Deal’ Handed to Hunter Biden (Manley)

Amongst Republican outrage, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) addressed the plea deal on tax charges Hunter Biden has agreed to. The US president’s son has also reached a diversion agreement with the Department of Justice related to unlawful possession of a weapon. House and Senate Republicans responded on Tuesday to Hunter Biden’s decision to plead guilty to three federal charges, with remarks on the settled plea deal ranging between outrage and vows for investigation to not go impeded. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the announced plea deal wouldn’t have any effect on the lower chamber’s investigation into an alleged bribery scheme between President Joe Biden, his son, and a Ukrainian energy executive.

“Now this does nothing to our investigation,” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday morning. “It actually should enhance our investigation because the DOJ should not be able to withhold any information now saying that there’s a pending investigation. They should be able to provide [House Oversight Committee] Chairman [James] Comer [R-KY.] with any information that he requires.” On Tuesday, Hunter pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor offenses related to federal income tax filings. He was also charged with a felony firearm offense which he will avoid prosecution for thanks to him agreeing to enter a pretrial diversion agreement. His plea deal agreement follows a nearly six-year investigation.

David Weiss, a US attorney in Delaware, said Hunter did not pay federal income taxes for either 2017 or 2018, even as he owed more than $100,000 in taxes for each year. His office reportedly adds that Hunter possessed a firearm in 2018 despite being an unlawful user of, and an addict of controlled substances, and knowing the fact. Republicans and other critics of the White House have hit out at what they see as a double standard for the president’s family, as compared to former President Donald Trump’s legal troubles. “It continues to show the two-tier system in America,” McCarthy said of Hunter’s plea deal with the DOJ. “If you are the president’s leading political opponent, the DOJ tries to literally put you in jail and give you prison time. But if you are the president’s son, you get a sweetheart deal.”

Watters

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Child support from $20,000 to $5,000 per month. Jonathan Turley says they also agreed the girl will not use the Biden name.

Hunter Biden, Baby Mama Settle Child Support Dispute (Devine)

Hunter Biden and his baby mama have privately settled their child support dispute in Arkansas, according to a source close to the first son. Lunden Roberts, 32, the mother of Hunter’s long-unacknowledged 4-year-old daughter, agreed to her $20,000 monthly child support payments being slashed after she showed up in person to his deposition in Little Rock last week. Roberts’ lawyer, Clint Lancaster, told The Post late Thursday that final terms were still to be determined and declined to confirm that his client had agreed to a reduced monthly payment of $5,000. “The case is sealed, and these are financial terms that should never be disclosed,” he said, warning that leaks about details of the settlement would derail talks and end up with Hunter back in an Arkansas court on July 11.

“It was significant that Lunden was there” at Hunter’s deposition last week, Lancaster added. “I believe that settlement is important to Hunter Biden [but] we have concerns that Hunter would use [the settlement] as a means to promote some agenda of his … There’s always more that goes on in settlement negotiations than people realize.” Hunter, 53, initially denied paternity of Navy Joan Roberts, but a DNA test in 2019 proved he was the child’s father. He applied last year to a Batesville, Ark., court to reduce his child support payments, citing reduced circumstances, but turned heads by flying into town in a friend’s private jet. “Lunden is a great mom and little Navy is going be fine,” said Lancaster. “The kid has lots of love on the maternal side of the family in Batesville. They are a very, very close family. They adore her and are always going to support her … But I think everybody is disappointed that there’s not more contact [with the Biden family].

“It’s not lost on anybody that Jill Biden wrote a children’s book and [dedicated it] to her grandchildren,” the lawyer went on. “She could have kept it at that, but she named every child except Navy. “They hung stockings for the dog at Christmas but not for Navy. That is one of the saddest things.” During contentious legal arguments, Lancaster asked the case judge to jail the president’s son for contempt after he failed to produce all the financial documents they demanded to prove his newfound poverty. Roberts met Hunter in 2017 at strip club Mpire in Washington, DC, where she danced under the stage name “Dallas” while studying at college. She was placed on the Biden scion’s company payroll for nine months during an affair conducted while Hunter was also in a relationship with his widowed sister-in-law, Hallie.

In his memoir, “Beautiful Things,” Hunter claimed he had “no recollection of our encounter.” President Biden and first lady Jill Biden never have acknowledged their seventh grandchild. News of the settlement came on the same day federal prosecutors in Delaware said Hunter had agreed to plead guilty to federal tax charges as part of a deal with the Justice Department that will likely keep him out of jail. As part of the deal, Biden’s son will plead guilty to misdemeanor counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax for 2017 and 2018, as well as enter a pre-trial diversion on a felony gun possession charge. The charges brought against Hunter – which were condemned by Republicans as a slap on the wrist — were the outcome of a five-year investigation that largely focused on money he received from overseas business interests.

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Pebbles

 

 

 

 


The Oriental dwarf kingfisher is a small, red and yellow kingfisher, averaging 13 cm (5.1 in) in length, yellow underparts with glowing bluish-black upperparts

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

May 082023
 


Paul Cézanne Village derrière des arbres, Île-de-France 1879

 

The Prighozin File: Twilight of the Gods or Maskirovka? (Pepe Escobar)
Wagner Promised ‘As Much Ammo As We Need’ – Prigozhin (RT)
China, The Peacemaker? – McCoy (IC)
Kiev Counteroffensive To ‘Pave The Way’ For Dialogue With Russia – WSJ (TASS)
Kissinger Makes Ukraine Peace Prediction (RT)
EU Defenseless Against China – Berlusconi (RT)
US Anti-Russia Actions Push Humanity Towards World War, Malaysia ex-PM (TASS)
Kamala Harris To Run AI Taskforce (RT)
Fauci’s Never-Ending Victory Tour (Pierre Kory)
Tucker Carlson Squaring Off Against Fox – Axios (RT)
Rep. Comer Urges DOJ To Hold Possible Hunter Biden Indictment (Fox)
Close to 190 US Banks Could Collapse, According To Study (USAT)
A Credit Crunch Is Inevitable (Lacalle)
China And Its Trading Allies Are Well Placed To Topple The Dollar (Münchau)
MSM Doesn’t Care That the CIA May Have Helped Cause 9/11 (Marcetic)
Ex-Russian Space Boss Questions US Moon Landing (RT)

 

 

 

 

VDB

 

 

 

 

Assange

 

 

 

 

JFK Vietnam

 

 

Bowie Lennon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pepe on Twitter: “written on Thursday, BEFORE Prighozin’s deal with Kadyrov to wrap up Artemyovsk. Confirmed to me by top Donbass politico: fierce competition Wagner-MoD.”

The Prighozin File: Twilight of the Gods or Maskirovka? (Pepe Escobar)

There’s no question: if Prighozin is essentially telling the truth, this is – literally – nuclear. Either Prighozin knows everything nearly everyone doesn’t, or this is a spectacular maskirovka. Yet facts on the ground since February 2002 seem to support his main accusation: the Russian army can’t properly fight because of a completely corrupt bureaucratic gang right at the very top of the MoD, all the way to Shoigu, all of them only interested in making a financial killing. And it gets worse: under a rigidly bureaucratized environment, commanders at the frontlines have no autonomy to take decisions and quickly adapt, and need to wait for orders from far away. That should be the main reason for the Kiev counter-offensive standing a chance of imposing dramatic upsets.

Prighozin is definitely not alone among Russian patriots in voicing his analysis. In fact there’s nothing new: he was just more forceful this time. Strelkov has been saying the exact same thing since the start of the war. That even coalesced into an “Angry Patriots Club” releasing an explosive video on April 19. So here we have a small but very vocal group bearing impeccable patriotic credentials sounding a serious alarm bell: Russia runs the risk of losing this proxy war entirely unless dramatic changes take place right away. Or, once again, this could be brilliant maskirovka – leaving the enemy totally misdirected. If that’s the case, it’s working like a charm. Kiev propaganda outlets triumphantly adopted Strelkov’s accusations with headlines such as “Russia is on the brink of defeat, Strelkov threatens the Kremlin with a coup.”

Strelkov keeps doubling down, insisting that the Russian state really does not take this war seriously and is planning to make a deal without really fighting, even ceding territory in Ukraine. His evidence: the “corrupt” (Prighozin) Russian army did not make any serious effort to prepare the economy, or public opinion, for an offensive – in terms of training and logistics. And that’s because the elites in the Kremlin and the army do not rally believe in this war, nor want it; they’d rather go back to the pre-war status quo. So here we go again. Maskirovka? Or a sort of Revenge of the MoD against Wagner? It’s a fact that at the start of the SMO the Russian army didn’t exactly get its act together, they really needed Wagner on the ground. But now it’s a different ball game, and the MoD may be engaged in gradually reducing Wagner’s role so Prighozin’s men do not capture all the blazes of glory when Russia starts going for the jugular.

And then right in the middle of this incandescent confrontation, we have the irruption in the dead of night of a couple of puny kamikaze drones over the Kremlin. This was no attempt to assassinate Putin: rather a cheap PR stunt. Russian intel must have pieced the whole story by now: the drones were probably launched from inside Moscow or its suburbs, by Ukrainian strike cells dressed in civilian clothing and sporting fake IDs. There will be more such PR stunts – anything from car bombs and booby traps to improvised landmines. Russia will have to step up internal security towards a real war footing. But what about the “response” to – in Kremlin terminology – a “terrorist attack”? Elena Panini from Russtrat.ru has offered a priceless, non-hysterical appraisal: “The purpose of the night strike, judging by the video footage, was not the Kremlin itself and not even the dome of the Senate Palace, but the flagpole on the dome with a duplicate of the standard of the President of the Russian Federation.

The game of symbolism is already purely British stuff. A kind of ‘reminder’ from London on the eve of the coronation of Charles III that the conflict in Ukraine is still developing according to the Anglo-Saxon scenario and within the framework set by them.” So yes: those neo-Nazi mutts in Kiev are just tools. The orders that matter always come from Washington and London – especially when it comes to breaching red lines. Panini argues it’s time for the Kremlin to seize the definitive strategic initiative. That should include upgrading the SMO to the status of a real war; declare Ukraine as a terrorist state; and implement what is already being discussed in the Duma: the transition to the use of “weapons that are capable of stopping and destroying the Kiev terrorist regime.” The puny double drone attack – a combined Anglo-Saxon neocon provocation – has offered Moscow the perfect gift: an unmistakable casus belli.

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Putin?! No more withdrawal.

Wagner Promised ‘As Much Ammo As We Need’ – Prigozhin (RT)

The Russian private military company Wagner Group, which is fighting Ukrainian troops in the Donbass city of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut), has been promised enough ammunition to continue the battle, the company’s head, Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Sunday.The statement comes after Prigozhin warned that his fighters would be forced to pull out of the city on May 10 unless ammunition shortages are addressed by Russia’s Defense Ministry. In a voice message posted on his Telegram channel, Prigozhin said that Wagner received “a military instruction … in which we were promised as much ammunition and weapons as we need to continue our activities.” “We were told that we can carry out activities in Artyomovsk as we deem necessary,” Prigozhin added.


He also said that Army General Sergey Surovikin, the deputy commander of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, was tasked with “making all decisions related to the military activities of Wagner PMC in coordination with the Defense Ministry.” On Friday, Prigozhin said that Wagner personnel were suffering heavy losses because of what he described as a 70% shortage of ammunition. He later announced that the positions held by Wagner would be handed over to Akhmat, an elite unit from Russia’s Chechnya. The fierce and bloody battle for the mining city of Artyomovsk, known to Ukrainians as Bakhmut, has been raging for several months. Prigozhin claims his forces have taken control of nearly all of the city, while the Ukrainians are holding out in a small area in the western part. Capturing Artyomovsk, an important logistical hub, would allow Russian forces to make further advances in Donbass.

Bakhmut

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“..China the dominant economic presence of the Eurasian landmass..”

China, The Peacemaker? – McCoy (IC)

China has, in the last ten years, according to latest figures, expended a little over a trillion dollars in massive development loans. And they’ve done two things: They’ve laid a steel grid across the Eurasian landmass, for the first time actually overcoming that distance, and unifying Europe and Asia. So that, really, we shouldn’t speak of them as separate continents anymore; they were only divided by that great distance in the center. China has filled that distance with a steel grid of pipelines and rail links. And then, they’ve also ringed the whole world-island — that tricontinental world island of Europe, Asia, and Africa — with 40 ports, stretching from Sri Lanka, around the coast of Africa, and then ringing Europe, all the way from Piraeus in Greece to Hamburg in Germany.

And then, here we have to get almost metaphysical, a little bit mystical, OK? Because everybody talks about geopolitics. You know, you can pick up The Washington Post and New York Times and, probably, in every issue find the word “geopolitics” popping up all over the place. What is geopolitics? What might geopolitics mean? How might geopolitics actually make a difference? What’s the relationship between geographical formations and political events? And here’s what I think is happening, OK? That geopolitics is kind of like a substrate beneath the visible, tangible surface of events. Now, China has changed the Eurasian politics by investing this trillion dollars and laying down this infrastructure, so that China has an infrastructure for dominance of Eurasia. And then what happens? It’s kind of like the grinding of the tectonic plates beneath the earth’s surface that periodically manifests themselves in earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. When the liquid rock breaks through the earth’s surface and you get an enormous eruption, and then, suddenly, you realize that the tectonic plates are shifting.

Well, that’s what’s happened. China has changed the substrate of Eurasia’s geopolitics. And now, just now, after — It’s only been ten years that China’s been doing this. They started this in 2013, we’re in 2023. It’s [been] ten years. That’s not a long time. But they’ve done it fast, and they’ve done it, actually, pretty well, despite what you might read in the U.S. press about white elephant investments and all the rest. And so, there are all these manifestations. One was the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. I mean, what China did was, they ran a geopolitical squeeze play around the U.S. position in Afghanistan. They signed very lucrative development deals with the six countries ringing Afghanistan, particularly Pakistan. And mind you, how does the U.S. military fight? We have troops on the ground and we have air support. And it’s that combination that’s absolutely central to all U.S. warfighting strategy. No planes, then no soldiers on the ground.

And where’d those planes come from? The nearest air base that they could fly from after this geopolitical squeeze play was the Persian Gulf. They had to fly 2,000 miles, which means their ability to loiter over the battlefield and provide close air support was very limited. They could refuel, of course, but it was impossibly inefficient, and it was dangerous for the troops on the ground. And that meant, bang, we had to get out of there as fast as we could. The next manifestation we saw which, you know, seemed to be absolutely unrelated — But, again, think of that substrate and the periodic eruption. The next eruption was this sectarian division, as deep as the history of Islam, over a thousand years between Sunni and Shia —Shia, Iran, Sunni, Saudi Arabia — locked in the confrontation. But China signed a $480 billion development deal with Iran, and China’s top source of oil — and it’s the world’s leading oil importer — was Saudi Arabia. And so, China suddenly was in a position, because of this change in the geopolitical substrate that makes China the dominant economic presence of the Eurasian landmass. They could mediate between them.

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“.. the US Department of State and the CIA are skeptical of the idea and would like to see the result of the potential Ukrainian counteroffensive before taking any diplomatic steps..”

Kiev Counteroffensive To ‘Pave The Way’ For Dialogue With Russia – WSJ (TASS)

The Kiev regime’s ostensibly possible counteroffensive may “pave the way” for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine by the end of the year with China being one of the mediators, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday citing European officials. According to the newspaper, key representatives from the US National Security Council support the idea of holding the negotiations between Kiev and Moscow. That said, the US Department of State and the CIA are skeptical of the idea and would like to see the result of the potential Ukrainian counteroffensive before taking any diplomatic steps. The Wall Street Journal also points out that this “shift in Western thinking” is occurring amid Western countries’ serious concern that they won’t be able to maintain the necessary level of military aid to the Kiev regime in the future.


That said, some Western states want to see whether China is capable of defusing the conflict which also indicates a change in the way the West sees Beijing’s role. Media conjecture about a potential counteroffensive by Ukrainian troops has been rife for several months running, with various potential trigger dates being publicly mooted. Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry highlighted that such open speculation within Western countries about expectations for an upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive only serves to confirm these countries’ direct involvement in the conflict. On April 23, Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Alexey Danilov rejected calls for dialogue on settling the conflict with Russia demanding more weapons from the West. Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow always supported holding negotiations but dialogue on the situation around Ukraine is possible only if Russia’s legitimate interests and concerns are taken into account.

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“Now that China has entered the negotiation, it will come to a head, I think by the end of the year..”

Kissinger Makes Ukraine Peace Prediction (RT)

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has told CBS News that the conflict in Ukraine may be approaching a turning point, and that Chinese-brokered peace talks could begin by the end of 2023. “Now that China has entered the negotiation, it will come to a head, I think by the end of the year,” the 99-year-old diplomat told CBS in an interview broadcast on Sunday. By that time, he continued, “we will be talking about negotiating processes and even actual negotiations. With the release of its ‘Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis’ in February, China put itself forward as a potential mediator between Moscow and Kiev. The Chinese plan was rejected outright by the US and EU, while Russian President Vladimir Putin described some of its 12 points as “in tune” with Moscow’s position, and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky welcomed only a handful of its points, but maintains that Kiev will not compromise with Russia in any way.

Zelensky’s refusal to negotiate with Putin’s government – the Ukrainian leader banned contact with the Kremlin in a decree last October – is just one stumbling block faced by China or any other potential middleman. Russia considers the conflict in Ukraine a proxy war between itself and NATO, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that any negotiations would not be held “with Zelensky, who is a puppet in the hands of the West, but directly with his masters.” In Washington, the administration of President Joe Biden publicly claims that it is up to Ukraine to decide when to seek peace. Zelensky has been offered no incentives by the US to do so, with Biden offering to continue supplying him with weapons “for as long as it takes” to achieve his war aims.


Among these aims is the capture of Crimea, a Russian territory since 2014. American military leaders have publicly admitted that the chances of this happening are slim to none. Kissinger drew the ire of Kiev last year when he suggested that Ukraine should accept a return to the “status quo ante,” or relinquish its territorial claims to Crimea and grant autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, in the name of peace. He has since suggested that these territories become the basis of negotiations after a ceasefire and Russian withdrawal. Moscow has repeatedly said that it is open to talks with Kiev but only if Ukraine “recognizes the reality on the ground,” including the new status of the regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye as parts of Russia. Otherwise, the Kremlin has stated, Russia will settle the conflict by military means.

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“The best thing we could do would be to go to school to study Chinese..”

EU Defenseless Against China – Berlusconi (RT)

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi warns that the EU would be unable to defend itself if China decided to attack one of its member states. The veteran politician urged Brussels to adopt a robust military strategy and invest heavily in defense. Berlusconi made the remarks in a video interview recorded on Friday by Sky TG24 news channel. He is currently in the San Raffaele hospital in Milan and is being treated for leukemia, which was diagnosed in early April. The former prime minister said the EU is hardly a force to be reckoned with in the international arena, and should China decide to “occupy Italy, and maybe some other European country, we would absolutely not be able to counter it.” “The best thing we could do would be to go to school to study Chinese,” he added.

To improve its standing, Berlusconi said, the EU needs to adopt a “single military policy, with strong cooperation between the armed forces of all European countries.” He also advocated an increase in defense spending and the establishment of a 300,000-strong “emergency corps.” Politically, Berlusconi said he would like to see a “truly united continent” – something which would be more achievable if the bloc dropped its ‘unanimity principle’ in voting in favor of an 80-85% majority, he argued. He went on to stress that the EU can and must play a greater role in the world, including standing up to what Berlusconi described as “Chinese imperialism. Last month, Bloomberg reported that the current prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, was considering withdrawing from China’s Belt and Road infrastructure project.


According to sources cited in the article, however, there is a lack of consensus on the matter within the ruling coalition. Speaking in late March ahead of her visit to China, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that while “decoupling” from Beijing is not in the EU’s interests, Brussels should become “bolder” in its relations with China – which is growing “more repressive at home and more assertive abroad,” she added. Commenting on Von der Leyen’s remarks, the Chinese ambassador to the EU, Fu Cong, said her message was incoherent and contradictory, while calling out the “misrepresentation and misinterpretation of Chinese policies and Chinese positions,” and advising the European Commission chief to find better speechwriters.

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”..if Ukraine doesn’t join NATO, I think Russia will feel less threatened, and there will be no confrontation. But once the process is started, Russia will take preemptive action,..

US Anti-Russia Actions Push Humanity Towards World War, Malaysia ex-PM (TASS)

The US authorities push humanity towards a world war by contributing to emergence of two hostile blocs, says Former Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad. “The US will try to get other countries to join in the action against Russia, and Russia will also have to find friendly countries which will support it,” Mahathir, 97, said in an interview for the Global Times. “There will be confrontation between the Eastern bloc and Western bloc. And this will escalate and become a world war.” The expert noted that the conflict in Ukraine, provoked by the West, has already affected the entire world. He noted that the complicated situation has led to increased spending for essential goods around the world, negatively affecting grain shipments.


“The invitation to Ukraine to join NATO is a provocation. In fact, if Ukraine doesn’t join NATO, I think Russia will feel less threatened, and there will be no confrontation. But once the process is started, Russia will take preemptive action,” Mahathir said. He pointed out that NATO states are not directly involved in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict et, because Ukraine is not a member of the alliance. However, according to the ex-Prime Minister, the standoff with Russia harms NATO member states greatly. “In the end, they [Russia and Ukraine] will have to find some settlement. It is better for them to talk to each other, to discuss, to negotiate,” Mahathir said.

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Feel safer?

Kamala Harris To Run AI Taskforce (RT)

US Vice President Kamala Harris has been appointed to head a new artificial intelligence initiative in partnership with leading companies in the field, the White House announced in a press release on Thursday. Harris and other senior officials in the administration of President Joe Biden will meet with the CEOs of Alphabet, Anthropic, Microsoft, and OpenAI to remind them of their “responsibility to make sure their products are safe before they are deployed or made public.” The meeting is intended to keep the companies on track toward “driving responsible, trustworthy and ethical innovation with safeguards that mitigate risks and potential harms to individuals and our society,” according to the White House, which referenced recent executive orders and official statements reminding tech companies that their products were subject to civil rights law and other protections against unlawful discrimination.

The four companies, along with Hugging Face, NVIDIA, and Stability AI, will also submit to a public evaluation of their capabilities by thousands of industry experts and other curious members of the public at DEFCON 31, the Las Vegas hacking convention that has repeatedly put the insecurity of the US’ voting machines on display by giving children a chance to hack them. The White House also announced the creation of seven new National AI Research Institutes focusing on climate, agriculture, energy, public health, education, and cybersecurity, explaining the new institutes would “support the development of a diverse AI workforce” with $140 million in funding from the National Science Foundation. The administration is also giving the public the chance to weigh in on government AI policy starting this summer, according to the press release.


Tasked with stemming the flow of migrants over the US’ southern border upon taking office in 2021, Harris instead presided over a record amount of illegal immigration, earning her the lowest approval rating of any modern US vice president. Last year, she was assigned with developing a blueprint for fighting “disinformation,” harassment and abuse online despite having no experience in the technology sector. While hundreds of experts in the AI field have called for a moratorium on, or at least a dramatic slowdown of, AI development until internationally agreed-upon safety measures can be put in place, the US has thus far shied away from issuing any strong statements about the technology. Last month, Biden met with his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to discuss the “risks and opportunities” in the field but declined to address the experts’ warnings while admitting AI “could be” dangerous.

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“For all his faults, Fauci is no fool. One does not spend 54 years ensconced in the federal government without learning how to play politics.”

Fauci’s Never-Ending Victory Tour (Pierre Kory)

What a dystopian nightmare watching “America’s Doctor” try to continue his Covid victory tour. It is both shocking and unsurprising that he would do this despite leaving a generation of children with lower IQ scores, a US life expectancy which dropped three years in the span of two, hundreds of thousands of deaths from the vaccines amongst working-age Americans (threatening the life insurance industry), millions of vaccine injured, skyrocketing disability rates, an explosion of cancers, and suddenly plummeting birth rates. So I went after him. Again. Maybe he will get the memo this time, particularly in light of the frosty receptions he has received of late from normally kid-gloved, obsequious interviewers. Enjoy. Dr. Anthony Fauci left government in December, but his media tour is going strong, albeit with a different tone and tenor.

The fawning adulation and questions about his exercise regimes and bobbleheads have been replaced by skepticism and outright doubt from outlets who never dared question the all-knowing man once dubbed “America’s doctor” by the New Yorker. Fauci recently appeared on CNN to complain about, “a personification of me as a person who essentially closed everything down.” He was responding to a lengthy sitdown with the New York Times where he declared, “Show me a school that I shut down and show me a factory that I shut down. Never. I never did. I gave a public-health recommendation that echoed the C.D.C.’s recommendation, and people made a decision based on that.” For all his faults, Fauci is no fool. One does not spend 54 years ensconced in the federal government without learning how to play politics.

Three years removed from the worst of the COVID pandemic, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases knows the policy decisions guided by his medical recommendations are looking worse by the day. Herein lies his problem. When his ideas were in vogue, Fauci had no problem claiming responsibility. Now that the ugly consequences are coming due, he is eager to wash his hands. In the face of plummeting math and reading scores between 2020 and 2022, Fauci is especially quick to deny his role in the school shutdowns. Last fall, Fauci raised eyebrows for denying that school lockdowns, “forever irreparably damaged anyone.” Yet as late as September 2020, Fauci recommended that schools only open back up once the virus is “under control.”

Earlier in the year, he had chastised Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, warning that premature reopening “likely” led to widespread student infection. Today, even left-leaning sources concede that, “kids are safe. They always have been.” Then came the vaccines. From the outset, Fauci’s entire COVID mitigation strategy was based on an experimental vaccine rushed to market under the branding “warp speed.” There had never been an mRNA-approved vaccine before, and now it was being pushed non-stop from the White House podium with the full support of the pharmaceutical industry. It was always highly illogical to deploy a static vaccine toward a mutagenic and constantly changing coronavirus. Then came the checks the vaccines couldn’t write. Fauci told us they would stop transmission. He implored us to “follow the science.”

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“..knows where a lot of bodies are buried, and is ready to start drawing a map..”

Tucker Carlson Squaring Off Against Fox – Axios (RT)

Conservative commentator Tucker Carlson is ready to go on the attack against Fox News if the network does not release him from his contract, Axios reported on Sunday, citing sources close to the pundit. Fox fired its number-one host last month just hours before he was scheduled to go on air, but has not released Carlson from his $20 million annual contract, which forbids him to work elsewhere in the industry until January 2025. While Carlson has made no public statement on his departure or his future plans, aside from a two-minute Twitter video promising his viewers that he would see them “soon,” he has retained entertainment lawyer Bryan Freedman to negotiate an exit to the contract. Sources claiming to be close to the newsman say he is losing patience with the network.

“His team is preparing for war. He wants his freedom,” a “close Carlson friend” told Axios, noting that Carlson had previously said he wanted to “get this done quiet and clean” but his team was now “going from peacetime to Defcon 1.” The conservative icon “knows where a lot of bodies are buried, and is ready to start drawing a map,” another insider source agreed. Carlson’s allies in the media are supposedly prepared to go on the offensive against Fox, and outlets including video platform Rumble and cable network Newsmax have reportedly offered to pay him even more than his previous employer. Even billionaire Twitter CEO Elon Musk is reportedly interested, though the two have not discussed the details of any arrangement. “The idea that anyone is going to silence Tucker and prevent him from speaking to his audience is beyond preposterous,” Freedman told Axios.


The network lost almost half of its audience in Carlson’s 8pm time slot in the week following his firing, and ratings for the network’s other shows have also declined precipitously – especially in the 25-54 age demographic desirable to advertisers. Carlson’s show drew over 3 million viewers per night, far more than the next most popular show. The exact reason for Carlson’s ouster has not been made public. Media critics including the New York Times point to leaked text messages from the anchor, specifically one in which Carlson admitted enjoying watching footage of an antifa protester being beaten by a group despite this not being “how white men fight,” then acknowledging the protester’s humanity. Other leaked texts revealed Carlson did not believe the claim that Dominion Voting Systems was flipping votes for Democrat Joe Biden. Fox settled Dominion’s defamation lawsuit for $787 million just days before firing the anchor.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1654966139074539520

https://twitter.com/i/status/1655321469541285889

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“We’re going to disclose many of the different LLCs, many of the different transactions that all these different Biden family members have gotten from our adversaries around the world..”

Rep. Comer Urges DOJ To Hold Possible Hunter Biden Indictment (Fox)

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., urged the Justice Department to hold on a potential Hunter Biden indictment until after Republicans hold a press conference unveiling additional details surrounding the Biden family’s business dealings. Comer warned officials to wait to charge the first son until they hear from congressional leaders, arguing that the possible indictment could be just a “slap on the wrist” compared to their upcoming revelations. “My message to the Department of Justice is very loud and clear. Do not indict Hunter Biden before Wednesday,” Comer said during “Sunday Morning Futures.” “When you have the opportunity to see the evidence that the House Oversight Committee will produce with respect to the web of LLCs, with respect to the number of adversarial countries that this family influence peddled in, and this is not just about the president’s son.

This is about the entire Biden family, including the President of the United States. So we believe there are a whole lot of tips that the IRS and the DOJ don’t know about because we don’t believe they’ve done a whole lot of digging in this, and we have.” “By all accounts from the media reports that we’re getting, what they’re looking at charging Hunter Biden on is a slap on the wrist. It’s a drop in the bucket,” he continued. “So Wednesday will be a very big day for the American people in getting the facts presented to them so that they can know the truth, and then the Department of Justice can finally do what they should have done years ago.” Federal prosecutors are reportedly nearing a decision on a potential Hunter Biden indictment stemming from a years-long probe into possible tax and gun-related violations.


But Republicans are set to hold a press conference on Wednesday presenting the American people with additional information on the Biden family’s bank records, a briefing that Comer argued will provide additional information into the investigation led by U.S. Attorney David Weiss. Comer warned the evidence they have further implicates the Biden family in a broader, criminal “pay-for-play” bribery scheme. “We’re going to present to the American people all the information that we’ve received thus far pertaining to bank records. We’re going to disclose many of the different LLCs, many of the different transactions that all these different Biden family members have gotten from our adversaries around the world,” he said. “We don’t believe this was just a coincidence that all these Biden family members were receiving money from these this Web of LLC into their personal bag.”

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“uninsured depositor runs”

Close to 190 US Banks Could Collapse, According To Study (USAT)

With the failure of three regional banks since March, and another one teetering on the brink, will America soon see a cascade of bank failures? Bloomberg reported Wednesday that San Francisco-based PacWest Bancorp is mulling a sale. Last week, First Republic Bank became the third bank to collapse, the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history after Washington Mutual, which collapsed in 2008 amid the financial crisis. After the demise of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in March, a study on the fragility of the U.S. banking system found that 186 more banks are at risk of failure even if only half of their uninsured depositors (uninsured depositors stand to lose a part of their deposits if the bank fails, potentially giving them incentives to run) decide to withdraw their funds.

Uninsured deposits are customer deposits greater than the $250,000 FDIC deposit insurance limit. Regional banks are failing because the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes to tamp down inflation have eroded the value of bank assets such as government bonds and mortgage-backed securities. Most bonds pay a fixed interest rate that becomes attractive when interest rates fall, driving up demand and the price of the bond. On the other hand, if interest rates rise, investors will no longer prefer the lower fixed interest rate paid by a bond, thus driving down its price. Many banks increased their holdings of bonds during the pandemic, when deposits were plentiful but loan demand and yields were weak. For many banks, these unrealized losses will stay on paper.


But others may face actual losses if they have to sell securities for liquidity or other reasons, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “The recent declines in bank asset values very significantly increased the fragility of the U.S. banking system to uninsured depositor runs,” economists wrote in a recent paper published on the Social Science Research Network Of course, this scenario would play out only if the government did nothing. “So, our calculations suggest these banks are certainly at a potential risk of a run, absent other government intervention or recapitalization,” the economists wrote.

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“What will generate a credit crunch is the destruction of capital in the asset base of most lenders.”

A Credit Crunch Is Inevitable (Lacalle)

Federal Reserve data shows $98 billion of deposits left the banking system in the week after the Silicon Valley Bank collapse. Most of the money went to money-market funds, as the Bloomberg data shows that assets in this class rose by $121 billion in the same period. The data shows the challenges of the banking system in the middle of a confidence crisis. However, as many analysts point out, this is not necessarily the main factor that dictates the risk of a credit crunch. Deposit flight is certainly an important risk. Many regional banks will have to cut lending to families and businesses as deposits shrink, but in the United States bank loans are less than 19 percent of corporate credit according to the IMF, while in the euro area it is more than 80 percent. What will generate a credit crunch is the destruction of capital in the asset base of most lenders.

The slump in mark-to-market valuations of all asset classes from loans to investments is what will ultimately drive an inevitable credit contraction. Credit standards have tightened significantly already, and the credit impulse of the economy, both in the US and euro area, has deteriorated rapidly, according to the respective Bloomberg indices. Both are below the March 2021 low. We must remember that credit standards’ tightening was already a reality before the Silicon Valley Bank demise. But the reality check of capital destruction in the financial system’s asset base is far from done. Start-ups will most likely see the most severe crunch in financing as the tech bubble burst adds to the asset base capital destruction in private equity and venture capital firms, who have delayed all they could the required write-downs and face a sobering reality check.


Our internal estimate of capital destruction in the asset base of banks and private equity firms is between a 15 to 25 percent wipeout, which is consistent with the average decline in market value over the October 2021–March 2023 period. Real estate investments all over the US and Europe require a significant reevaluation now that real estate has underperformed the market for eighteen months, according to Morgan Stanley. The optimistic valuations of real estate and corporate investments in banks’ balance sheets will require a significant analysis and subsequent write-off that leads to much tighter credit standards and stringent investment conditions.

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“..shifting at least part of its $3.2trn worth of foreign reserves held in dollars into other currencies. All of this would take a long time – one or two decades, perhaps.”

China And Its Trading Allies Are Well Placed To Topple The Dollar (Münchau)

The dollar is the foundation of US global leadership, and the future of the dollar is therefore intricately linked to the debate about geopolitical fragmentation. Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, asked during his recent visit to China: “Why should every country have to be tied to the dollar for trade?… Who decided the dollar would be the [world’s] currency?” These are good questions. The perhaps surprising answer is that he himself made that decision, together with the former leaders of the other “Brics” group of nations: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Their economic-development models have succeeded but have also critically depended on the US dollar. During the period of hyperglobalisation – which I date from 1990 to 2020 – the US became the global importer of last resort, and let its trade deficit against the rest of the world increase.

China and many other fast-developing economies built up savings in the currency they were paid in – the US dollar. They invested those savings into US bonds and other assets. The willingness of the US to absorb the world’s savings surpluses was the engine of globalisation. It ensured that the dollar would maintain its status as the world’s leading currency. This mechanism explains what happened in the last 20 years, but it won’t tell us what will happen in the next 20. Yet the dollar fans assume that the geopolitical and geo-economic environment will stay broadly the same. f the five Brics countries wanted to end their dependence on the dollar, they would have to do more than just choose another currency to trade in. It is not a menu choice, as Lula suggested during the same speech. He and his fellow Brics leaders would have to change how they interact with the rest of the world, and with one another.

China is key. In 2021, the country derived 43 per cent of its GDP from investment. This is approximately twice the level of the US and other Western countries. If China managed to shift some of its GDP to consumption, it would reduce its external trade surplus, as consumers tend to buy more imported goods. If you wanted to be less reliant on the US dollar, this is where you would have to start. As a second step, China and the other Brics countries could start trading more with each other, become more self-reliant in their supply chains, and set up their own financial infrastructure. hanging economic models is hard. Three years after Brexit, the UK is still struggling to move away from a model that depended on close integration with the EU.

Germany is finding it hard to maintain competitiveness without cheap Russian gas and with impaired global supply. It takes decades to build industrial production lines and supply chains. In China, there are an awful lot of vested political interests at the regional level, which rely on the investment boom continuing. If President Xi Jinping was really keen to extricate China from the US dollar, he would need to impose policies that would meet with resistance from regional leaders. In parallel, China would also have to start a long process of shifting at least part of its $3.2trn worth of foreign reserves held in dollars into other currencies. All of this would take a long time – one or two decades, perhaps.

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“Several former agents recalled being blocked by the agency from sharing intelligence about the hijackers with the rest of the FBI.”

MSM Doesn’t Care That the CIA May Have Helped Cause 9/11 (Marcetic)

For all the ways the September 11 attacks continue to shape US culture and foreign policy, the event is still shrouded in a surprising amount of mystery. A recently unearthed bombshell court filing offers some possible clarity on the questions that continue to surround the attacks and their aftermath — and yet, like similar bombshells in recent years, it’s been studiously ignored by the media and political establishment. First reported by Rolling Stone contributing editor Seth Hettena on the Substack SpyTalk, the media project run by veteran former Newsweek national security reporter Jeff Stein, those potential answers come in the form of a signed affidavit from Guantanamo military commission investigator Don Canestraro. The affidavit outlines the findings of a 2016 investigation by Canestraro, a longtime veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), into Saudi and CIA complicity in the terrorist attacks, findings that are squarely at odds with the story given to the public in their wake.

Relaying the information gathered from dozens of interviews he conducted with former FBI and CIA personnel, members of the 9/11 Commission, and US government officials, Canestraro’s affidavit outlines a sequence of events that, if true, suggest a botched and illegal domestic CIA operation was at the heart of the intelligence failure that enabled the attacks. More than that, it suggests there was a concerted cover-up of the grave blunder after the fact by both the CIA and the George W. Bush administration. The affidavit outlines the overlapping claims of numerous agents that the CIA impeded law enforcement efforts that could have prevented the attacks. Several former agents recalled being blocked by the agency from sharing intelligence about the hijackers with the rest of the FBI.


The CIA knew from wiretaps that two of the hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Halid al-Mindhar, had multiple entry visas letting them travel to the United States, one former agent said, but didn’t pass it on to the bureau. Two other agents alleged that the CIA withheld information about the two men’s connection to the planner of the October 2000 al-Qaeda bombing of the USS Cole, which, if known, would have turned the case into a criminal investigation for the FBI to pursue. One of those agents recalled a meeting with the CIA in which they were shown photos of three suspected terrorists, two of which would turn out to be future hijackers al-Hazmi and al-Mindhar. When the agent, referred to in the affidavit as CS-12, asked who was placing border crossing alerts on the suspects, which would have notified law enforcement about their entry into the United States, they were told no one was.

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“..he still cannot believe that the US was able to pull off the feat, but is now unable to..”

Ex-Russian Space Boss Questions US Moon Landing (RT)

The former head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, has expressed doubt that the US Apollo 11 mission really landed on the Moon in 1969, saying he has yet to see conclusive proof. In a post on his Telegram channel on Sunday, Rogozin said he began his personal quest for the truth “about ten years ago” when he was still working in the Russian government, and that he grew skeptical about whether the Americans had actually set foot on the Moon when he compared how exhausted Soviet cosmonauts looked upon returning from their flights, and how seemingly unaffected the Apollo 11 crew was by contrast. Rogozin said he sent requests for evidence to Roscosmos at the time.

All he received in response was a book featuring Soviet Cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov’s account of how he talked to the American astronauts and how they told him they had been on the Moon. The former official wrote that he continued with his efforts when he was appointed head of Roscosmos in 2018. However, according to Rogozin, no evidence was presented to him. Instead, several unnamed academics angrily criticized him for undermining the “sacred cooperation with NASA,” he claimed. The former Roscosmos chief also said he had “received an angry phone call from a top-ranking official” who supposedly accused him of complicating international relations.


Rogozin concluded by saying he still cannot believe that the US was able to pull off the feat, but is now unable to, despite the incredible progress in technology since the late 1960s. What he claims to have found out, however, was that Washington has “its people in [the Russian] establishment.” Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to the Moon, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin going down in history as the first humans to walk on the lunar surface. The flight was preceded by the unmanned Soviet Luna 2 program, which blazed the trail for Moon exploration. Last April, President Vladimir Putin pledged to resume Russia’s lunar program.

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A husky next to a wolf. Although wolf-like in appearance, huskies are no more closely related to wolves than poodles and bulldogs are. And the size says it all.

 

 

Kiss whale
https://twitter.com/i/status/1655267089551183875

 

 

Aqua puppy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1655210878101340167

We love little guy

 

 


The rainbow starfrontlet (Coeligena iris) is a species of hummingbird in the “brilliants” tribe Heliantheini. Males have a glittering yellow-green forecrown that transitions through golden yellow to blue on the crown Jorge Luis Cruz Alcivar

 

 

Chick
https://twitter.com/i/status/1655043864279785473

A video of a giant Squid. This specimen, found in Toyama Bay, measured approximately 3.7 meters in length. However, estimates place their maximum size at about 12-13 meters.

 

 


Secretary bird

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 302023
 
 March 30, 2023  Posted by at 9:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  88 Responses »


Roy Lichtenstein Woman With Flowered Hat 1963

 

Lies, Nuttery & Craziness Everywhere in America – James Howard Kunstler (USAW)
Musk, Wozniak Call For Pause In Developing ‘More Powerful’ AI Than GPT-4 (ZH)
The Government Is Fomenting Mass Hysteria (Whitehead)
Moscow Outlines Ukraine Peace Demands (RT)
Kremlin Only Sees Military Solution To Ukraine Conflict (RT)
West’s War Against Russia Is Bound To Last – Peskov (TASS)
Ukrainian Army ‘Almost Destroyed’ – Wagner Chief (RT)
Zelensky Explains Why He Won’t Withdraw From Bakhmut (RT)
Zelensky: “If They Stop Helping Us, We Will Not Win” (ZH)
Only 20% Of US Financial Aid For Ukraine Goes To Kiev, Lawmaker Says (TASS)
Kiev Discloses Its Military Spending (RT)
China Is Winning The Diplomatic Struggle Against The US (Fomenko)
Rosneft Announces Major Oil Deal In India (RT)
ASEAN Looking To Dump Dollar And Euro, Use Local Currencies (RT)
Why You Should Destroy Your Smart Phone Now (OffG)

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/GonzaloLira1968/status/1641143573578907656

 

 

Reset

 

 

Nap/Macgregor

 

 


Norm McDonald, 2016

 

 

EdDowd

 

 

LNP

 

 

Ron Johnson

 

 

 

 

Jim lays it out very well. Maybe because he’s an avid reader of the Automatic Earth.

Lies, Nuttery & Craziness Everywhere in America – James Howard Kunstler (USAW)

Renowned author and journalist James Howard Kunstler (JHK) has been complaining and pointing out that the American public is told one lie after another by the Lying Legacy Media (LLM), the government and the medical community. This kind of lying, according to JHK, is pure treason by all parties, from the 600 million CV19 bioweapon/vax injections, to the crumbling banking system, to the war in Ukraine. Let’s start with the genocide of the CV19vax. JHK says, “They are pretending that they didn’t cause any damage, and they are ignoring their own assembled statistics, and they don’t want to paint a realistic picture for the American public to see what the consequences were for their vaccination program. . . . I don’t think they can suppress the reality of it that much longer. There are just too many people who know too many people who have been injured or killed by the vaccines.

The basic problem is dishonesty puts you in a place of weakness, and the truth puts you in a position of strength. Eventually, if you are not being honest with yourself and the other people around you, you are going to be found out. . . . They have to keep doubling and tripling down on narratives that are manifestly untrue, and pretty soon I think people are going to be super pissed off about how all this went down.” With the banking crisis, JHK says the lie that everything is under control is going to be exposed too. JHK says, “When you are compelled to liquidate like Silicon Valley Bank, they are liquidating their assets below their supposed value and they become insolvent. I would imagine there is a great deal of damage waiting to express itself out there, and we haven’t seen much action in the derivatives racket so far, and that’s going to be a big deal when that happens because of the completely reckless contracts that are made. . . .

It’s really a bad bet, and the people taking the bet can’t pay off the bet, and the whole thing is really a disaster waiting to happen.” JHK says the so-called reset is going to happen, but not the way Klause Schwab wants it to happen. All will go extremely local, and JHK says, “Social discourse will make it all much worse.” The lies about Ukraine and the losing war started by NATO are summed up by JHK, “In retrospect, we could see why Donald Trump would want to have a phone call with Zelensky over the Biden family activities in Ukraine. . . . The whole Ukraine portfolio is just a big bag of crap. . . . Because of those activities, there is a war against the people, and that includes a war against Donald Trump. They are trying every way possible to shove him off the playing field. . . . I think it is safe to say the U.S. government is not your friend.”

In closing, JHK says, “This is an extremely socially and politically perverse period of history. . . .I grew up in the hippie period. . . .It was quite based compared to the baseless nuttery and lunacy that this country is involved in now. The fact that there has to be any debate about drag queen story hour for children is amazing. . . . That’s okay? Deliberately, demonstrable male imitation of a female. That’s supposed to be good for kids and not scare them? . . . There is a uniform craziness across the culture, and people are being asked to swallow increasingly absurd propositions. That’s where we are now. We are being asked to swallow absurd ideas one after another.”

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“Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth?”

My take is: instead of doing the exact same ourselves?

Musk, Wozniak Call For Pause In Developing ‘More Powerful’ AI Than GPT-4 (ZH)

Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, AI pioneer Yoshua Bengio and others have signed an open letter calling for a six-month pause in developing new AI tools more powerful than GPT-4, the technology released earlier this month by Microsoft-backed startup OpenAI, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Contemporary AI systems are now becoming human-competitive at general tasks, and we must ask ourselves: Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth? Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones? Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us? Should we risk loss of control of our civilization? Such decisions must not be delegated to unelected tech leaders. Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable.” -futureoflife.org

“We’ve reached the point where these systems are smart enough that they can be used in ways that are dangerous for society,” said Bengio, director of the University of Montreal’s Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, adding “And we don’t yet understand.” Their concerns were laid out in a letter titled “Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter,” which was spearheaded by the Future of Life Institute – a nonprofit advised by Musk. “The letter doesn’t call for all AI development to halt, but urges companies to temporarily stop training systems more powerful than GPT-4, the technology released this month by Microsoft Corp.-backed startup OpenAI. That includes the next generation of OpenAI’s technology, GPT-5. OpenAI officials say they haven’t started training GPT-5. In an interview, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said the company has long given priority to safety in development and spent more than six months doing safety tests on GPT-4 before its launch.” -WSJ

“In some sense, this is preaching to the choir,” said Altman. “We have, I think, been talking about these issues the loudest, with the most intensity, for the longest.” Goldman, meanwhile, says that up to 300 million jobs could be replaced with AI, as “two thirds of occupations could be partially automated by AI.” So-called generative AI creates original content based on human prompts – a technology which has already been implemented in Microsoft’s Bing search engine and other tools. Soon after, Google deployed a rival called Bard. Other companies, including Adobe, Salesforce and Zoom have all introduced advanced AI tools.

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24/7. Who needs AI?

The Government Is Fomenting Mass Hysteria (Whitehead)

We have become guinea pigs in a ruthlessly calculated, carefully orchestrated, chillingly cold-blooded experiment in how to control a population and advance a political agenda without much opposition from the citizenry. This is mind-control in its most sinister form. With alarming regularity, the nation is being subjected to a spate of violence that terrorizes the public, destabilizes the country, and gives the government greater justifications to crack down, lock down, and institute even more authoritarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry. Take this latest shooting in Nashville, Tenn. The 28-year-old shooter (a clearly troubled transgender individual in possession of several military-style weapons) opened fire in a Christian elementary school, killing three children and three adults.

Already, fingers are being pointed and battle lines are being drawn. Those who want safety at all costs are clamoring for more gun control measures (if not at an outright ban on assault weapons for non-military, non-police personnel), widespread mental health screening of the general population, more threat assessments and behavioral sensing warnings, more CCTV cameras with facial recognition capabilities, more “See Something, Say Something” programs aimed at turning Americans into snitches and spies, more metal detectors and whole-body imaging devices at soft targets, more roaming squads of militarized police empowered to do random bag searches, more fusion centers to centralize and disseminate information to law enforcement agencies, and more surveillance of what Americans say and do, where they go, what they buy and how they spend their time.

This is all part of the Deep State’s master plan. Ask yourselves: why are we being bombarded with crises, distractions, fake news and reality TV politics? We’re being conditioned like lab mice to subsist on a steady diet of bread-and-circus politics and an endless spate of crises. Caught up in this “crisis of the now,” the average person has a hard time keeping up with and remembering all of the “events,” manufactured or otherwise, which occur like clockwork in order to keep us distracted, deluded, amused, and insulated from reality. As investigative journalist Mike Adams points out: “This psychological bombardment is waged primarily via the mainstream media which assaults the viewer by the hour with images of violence, war, emotions and conflict. Because the human nervous system is hard wired to focus on immediate threats accompanied by depictions of violence, mainstream media viewers have their attention and mental resources funneled into the never-ending ‘crisis of the NOW’ from which they can never have the mental breathing room to apply logic, reason or historical context.”

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“Moscow will simply not tolerate “an openly anti-Russian state, whatever its borders..”

Moscow Outlines Ukraine Peace Demands (RT)

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin has offered a ten-point list of things the government in Kiev needs to do in order for hostilities to cease. In an interview on Wednesday, Galuzin said the future of Ukraine itself will depend on how soon Kiev and its Western backers come to grips with reality. For Ukraine to bring about peace, its military forces must stand down and the West must halt all deliveries of weapons to Kiev, Galuzin told the outlet RTVI. Several other conditions he listed have been on the table since the hostilities escalated in February 2022, such as Ukraine’s demilitarization and “denazification,” a pledge to never join the EU or NATO, and the affirmation of Kiev’s non-nuclear status. Another was added in October 2022, and involves the recognition of “new territorial realities” – commonly understood to mean the decision of Kherson, Zaporozhye and the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk to join Russia.

Ensuring the protection of the Russian language and the rights of Russian-speaking citizens, as well as all other ethnic groups in Ukraine also made Galuzin’s list. Moreover, he said Ukraine needs to reopen the border with Russia and restore the legal framework of relations with Moscow and other ex-Soviet republics, which it renounced following the US-backed coup in 2014. For the first time, Moscow has demanded the lifting of all anti-Russian sanctions and the “withdrawal of claims and termination of prosecutions against Russia, its individuals and legal entities,” presumably including the recent International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants for President Vladimir Putin and the children’s rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova. The last demand on Galuzin’s list was for the West to pay for the reconstruction of civilian infrastructure destroyed by Ukraine’s military since 2014.

Ukraine’s peaceful future depends on respecting the rights of its Russian population, restoring friendly relations with all neighbors, and returning to its founding principle of neutral and non-bloc status, enshrined in the 1990 declaration of independence, Galuzin said. “The future of the territories of present-day Ukraine should be determined by the inhabitants of this country themselves,” Galuzin told RTVI, noting that this includes “Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, Hungarians, Moldovans, Bulgarians, Romanians, Poles, and Greeks.” Moscow will simply not tolerate “an openly anti-Russian state, whatever its borders,” as a neighbor, said Galuzin. “Neither Russia, nor any other state, would accept this from the standpoint of security.” The “peace platform” adopted by the government in Kiev includes Russia’s total withdrawal from all territories Ukraine claims as its own, payment of reparations, and war crimes tribunals for the military and political leadership in Moscow.

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“These are politico-diplomatic or – if politico-diplomatic are currently impossible, and in the case of Ukraine, they are impossible, to our regret – through military means..”

Kremlin Only Sees Military Solution To Ukraine Conflict (RT)

There’s no political or diplomatic solution for the ongoing conflict with Ukraine at the moment, with Moscow seeking to resolve it through military means, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. Speaking to Russian journalists on Wednesday, Peskov reiterated Moscow’s resolve to reach its goals, which were outlined by President Vladimir Putin at the start of the military operation over a year ago. “We have repeatedly said that Russia’s goals … can be achieved in various ways. These are politico-diplomatic or – if politico-diplomatic are currently impossible, and in the case of Ukraine, they are impossible, to our regret – through military means, that is, through the special military operation,” Peskov stated. The spokesman did not provide any estimates on when exactly the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev might end, re-addressing the question to the country’s Defense Ministry.

At the same time, he said the broader conflict – a “hybrid war” between Russia and its adversaries – is likely to drag on for a long time. “This confrontation with hostile states, with the unfriendly countries, this is a hybrid war that they unleashed onto our country, it’ll be there for a long time,” Peskov said. Separately, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin confirmed that the goals of Moscow in the Ukraine operation are unchanged, and reaching them is the only way to achieve a “comprehensive, just and sustainable peace in Ukraine and Europe.” They include a neutral, non-aligned status of Ukraine, Kiev dropping its plans to join NATO and the EU, confirmation of its non-nuclear status, as well as the demilitarization and denazification of the country, he explained in an interview on RTVI on Wednesday.

Apart from that, Kiev and the international community must recognize the new “territorial reality” on the ground, Galuzin stressed, apparently referring to the incorporation of the four former Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye, as well as of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics into Russia following referendums held last September. Moscow has repeatedly expressed its readiness for a diplomatic solution to the ongoing hostilities, blaming the lack of any diplomatic efforts on Kiev and its Western backers, who are seeking to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia. “Washington, European capitals, but first of all, Washington is filled with the desire not to let, under any pretext, [Kiev] enter into peace negotiations. They simply do not let Kiev even think about it,” Peskov said earlier this month.

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“..a hybrid war that they have unleashed against our country – it is bound to last..”

West’s War Against Russia Is Bound To Last – Peskov (TASS)

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that Russia’s struggle with the West is a war in the broad sense and warned that it is bound to last. “If you mean, let’s say, war in a broad context – a confrontation with hostile states, with unfriendly countries, a hybrid war that they have unleashed against our country – it is bound to last. We need to stay firm, confident, self-concentrated and united around the president,” he told a news briefing on Wednesday in response to a question about how long the special military operation might take and if there was any chance it might end this year. As for progress in combat operations, Peskov said, only the authorities concerned, such as the Defense Ministry, were in a position to comment.

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“The Russian army alone will be left on the chessboard, and all other pieces will be removed..”

Ukrainian Army ‘Almost Destroyed’ – Wagner Chief (RT)

The head of the Wagner Group private military company (PMC) Evgeny Prigozhin has described Ukraine’s losses in the battle for the city of Artryomovsk as almost fatal to Kiev’s entire military. The sacrifices made by his force for the sake of Russia were worth it, he added. “As of today, the battle for Bakhmut has almost destroyed the Ukrainian army,” Prigozhin said in a statement on Wednesday, using the name by which Kiev calls the city. The clash also “gave a serious beating to PMC Wagner,” he acknowledged. He called the battle the “general engagement” of the entire conflict and said that in it Wagner troops got pitted against Ukrainian armed forces and “foreign units installed into them.”

A victory by his troops would be “a turning point” and a historic event, securing a Russian victory, Prigozhin predicted. “The Russian army alone will be left on the chessboard, and all other pieces will be removed,” he forecast. “Even if PMC Wagner is destroyed in the Bakhmut meat grinder but takes the Ukrainian army with it … it would mean that we have accomplished our historic mission.” The fight for Artyomovsk has emerged as one of the most intensive and bloody engagements of the armed conflict in Ukraine, with both sides reportedly suffering significant casualties.

Western officials said that the city poses no strategic military value, but Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky pledged to defend it as long as possible after proclaiming the city a fortress. The Ukrainian leader explained his refusal to withdraw in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this week. He claimed that if Russia were to capture Artyomovsk, his government would come under international and domestic pressure to seek peace with Moscow. “Our society will feel tired,” he told the news agency of this scenario. “Our society will push me to have compromise with them.”

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“Our society will feel tired [if the Russians gain victory in Bakhmut]” “Our society will push me to have compromise with them.”

Zelensky Explains Why He Won’t Withdraw From Bakhmut (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said that if his troops were to surrender the city of Artyomovsk, known as Bakhmut in Ukraine, his government would come under domestic and international pressure to seek peace with Russia. “Our society will feel tired,” he told the Associated Press (AP) in an interview released on Wednesday. “Our society will push me to have compromise with them.” Western officials have described Artyomovsk, the scene of fierce fighting for several months, as lacking in military importance. Behind closed doors, they – along with Zelensky’s own military leadership – have reportedly urged the president to order a withdrawal, so that his forces can focus on preparing a counteroffensive with heavy weapons provided by the US and its allies.

Speaking to AP mostly in English, during what the agency described as a “morale-building journey” by train across Ukraine, Zelensky suggested that Russia would be emboldened if it were to capture Artyomovsk. Russian President Vladimir Putin would “sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran,” he predicted. “If he will feel some blood – smell that we are weak – he will push, push, push.” “We can’t lose the steps because the war is a pie – pieces of victories. Small victories, small steps,” Zelensky added. The battle for Artyomovsk, a key logistics hub, has been one of the fiercest and bloodiest in the Ukraine conflict so far. According to media reports, Kiev has lost some of its most experienced troops while holding the city. It has also allegedly been pouring in newly conscripted, untrained soldiers, to shore up the defensive line, leading to significant casualties.

In the interview, Zelensky also complained about his lack of contact with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who visited Moscow last week. The Ukrainian leader claimed that as president he chose to “unite” the country rather than divide it. Zelensky was elected in 2019 on a promise to end ongoing hostilities in Donbass and reintegrate the then-breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics into a federalized Ukrainian state. However, while in office, he maintained the policy of his predecessor Pyotr Poroshenko by stonewalling the so-called Minsk Agreements. Poroshenko later admitted the accords were used by Kiev to buy time to rebuild its military.

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“The loss of Bakhmut would mean a political defeat, could lead to a general defeat in conflict.”

Zelensky: “If They Stop Helping Us, We Will Not Win” (ZH)

President Volodymyr Zelensky is deeply concerned over ‘Ukraine fatigue’ taking over the West, and especially among the populace of his government’s biggest supporter, funder, and weapons supplier – the United States. “The United States really understands that if they stop helping us, we will not win,” he told the AP in a fresh interview published Wednesday. Waning support has been especially noticeable among Republican voters, according to recent polls, and as we recently reviewed in an article, “The Trump, DeSantis, Tucker Effect: New Polls Show Republicans Increasingly Done With Ukraine.” He issued the words specifically in reference to the still raging battle for the strategic city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. Russian forces have it nearly surrounded, even as Kiev has continued to throw additional manpower and weaponry into the city’s defense at a huge cost and amid mounting casualties.

Zelensky described that the capture of Bakhmut will mean that Putin will smell weakness. According to the Ukrainian leader’s words: Speaking with The Associated Press, Zelenskyy said that if Bakhmut were to fall, Putin could “sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran,” as leverage to push for a ceasefire deal that would see Ukraine agree to give up territory. “If he will feel some blood — smell that we are weak — he will push, push, push,” Zelensky continued.

“Our society will feel tired” if the Russians gain victory in Bakhmut, he said. “Our society will push me to have compromise with them.” Implicit in these words are perhaps a first-time admission that significant sectors of the Ukrainian population are ready for compromise and peaceful negotiations to end the war. And tellingly, CBS commentary on the AP interview included the following observation: “He appeared acutely aware of the risk that his country could see its vital support from the U.S. and Europe start to slip away as the 13-month war grinds on.” Zelensky: “The loss of Bakhmut would mean a political defeat, could lead to a general defeat in conflict.”

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“..with about 60% of this money being received by the US side itself..”

Only 20% Of US Financial Aid For Ukraine Goes To Kiev, Lawmaker Says (TASS)

Washington hands over only about 20% of financial aid allocated for Ukraine directly to Kiev, with about 60% of this money being received by the US side itself, head of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Michael McCaul said during Committee hearing Wednesday. “Of the $113 billion appropriated across four supplementals, approximately 60% is going to American troops, American workers and modernizing American stockpiles. In fact, only 20% of the funding is going directly to the Ukrainian government in the form of direct budgetary assistance,” the lawmaker said. He pointed out that, when the Republicans gained majority in the House after mid-term elections in November last year, they made it clear that accountability would have key importance for continued aid to Ukraine. The current House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) warned last fall that the Republicans would not allow allocation of unlimited and not thoroughly justified aid to Ukraine.

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“Only 20% Of US Financial Aid For Ukraine Goes To Kiev”, and they still spend $3.5 billion a month on their military?!

Kiev Discloses Its Military Spending (RT)

Ukraine spends 130 billion hryvnia ($3.5 billion) a month on its military, Finance Minister Sergey Marchenko has revealed. The minister, who was meeting with the country’s European Business Association (EBA) on Wednesday, also disclosed that Ukraine’s budget receives 80 billion hryvnias in revenue (almost $2.2 billion) monthly. “The key task is to create conditions for financing the military,” Marchenko reportedly said while disclosing the numbers, according to EBA’s press service. He stressed it’s important to collect the anticipated taxes this year, adding that no major tax changes have been planned. Last week, the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovnaya Rada, adopted a law on increasing budget spending on defense by more than $14.6 billion.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denis Shmygal had previously specified that the Cabinet of Ministers proposed to allocate additional funds for payments to the military, as well as the purchase of military and special equipment. According to him, the money will be allocated through the support of Western partners. While approving the 2023 draft budget last November, the parliament set aside more than a trillion hryvnias ($31 billion) to the armed forces and national security, which is 43% of all spending, or 18.2% of the country’s GDP. Ukraine’s budget deficit this year is expected to be a record $38 billion. The government plans to cover the deficit using Western foreign aid.

Last month, the US announced $12 billion in additional aid for Kiev, including a $2-billion arms package and $10 billion more to support energy costs and the Ukrainian government’s budget. According to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Washington has provided nearly $50 billion in support since last year, much of it devoted to weapons. Meanwhile, the European Union in February approved another €545 million ($590 million) in military aid to Ukraine, bringing its total support for Kiev’s forces to €3.6 billion ($3.8 billion). Since the beginning of war, the EU and its member states have reportedly provided €50 billion ($54 billion) in direct support to Ukraine.

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“..a potential consequence of China’s strategic partnership with Russia, down the line, could be the weakening of American influence over the EU, which Washington is trying to strengthen by fanning the flames of the Ukraine war..”

China Is Winning The Diplomatic Struggle Against The US (Fomenko)

The past few weeks have seen a comprehensive show of diplomatic force by China. Shortly after Xi Jinping completed a successful trip to Moscow, where he met with Vladimir Putin, Beijing announced it had brokered a deal to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The breakthrough was widely regarded as a blow to US influence in the Middle East. Then China persuaded Honduras to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to Beijing, and now high-ranking Western politicians and EU officials, including French president Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen and the Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez, are piling in to visit Beijing.

When viewed as a whole, the last several weeks have seen China enjoy massive diplomatic gains at the expense of the US, pouring freezing water on Washington’s attempts to isolate Beijing ‘Cold War-style’ on the global stage and on a relentless propaganda campaign steeped in negativity and fear-mongering. But in spite of it all, the reality continues to shine through that China is simply too big and too globally significant to isolate, illustrating that Biden’s strategy of creating overlapping multilateral alliances in a bid to contain Beijing, isn’t going to work. China has demonstrated that it is a superpower with the ability to steer global affairs in its own direction, a privilege which the US believed was its own exclusive entitlement. Beijing’s peace proposal for Ukraine and the Saudi-Iran normalisation deal caused a shock to the system in Washington.

Xi’s visit to Moscow in particular has brought a new balance to the dynamic around the Ukraine conflict and jeopardized hubris-led US miscalculations that it can escalate the conflict to the point of forcing a zero-sum outcome in favour of its own strategic objectives. As noted above, European leaders have responded to Xi’s visit, not by turning against China as was hoped, but by intensifying their diplomatic engagement with Beijing and scrambling to remain on board. But what is China’s response going to be? It is reasonable to expect an element of “Then stop siding with the United States against us”. Thus, a potential consequence of China’s strategic partnership with Russia, down the line, could be the weakening of American influence over the EU, which Washington is trying to strengthen by fanning the flames of the Ukraine war. Beijing is thus bringing some much-needed balance to the equation.

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“..oil purchases by New Delhi surged more than 20-fold last year..”

Rosneft Announces Major Oil Deal In India (RT)

Moscow and New Delhi have agreed to “substantially increase” the supply of crude oil to India and diversify its grades, Russian energy major Rosneft announced on Wednesday. A deal was reached with the Indian Oil Company during a trip by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin to the Asian country, the Russian firm said in a press release on its website. Sechin also met with the heads of some of India’s largest oil and gas companies and discussed wider cooperation in the energy sector, the press release states. Possible trade settlements in national currencies were also on the agenda. Russia has for the first time become one of India’s top five trading partners, with turnover reaching $38.4 billion in 2022, according to statistics from India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, as cited by Rosneft.


Energy accounts for a major portion of bilateral trade. According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak, oil purchases by New Delhi surged more than 20-fold last year. India, the world’s third-largest crude importer, began to boost purchases of Russian oil shortly after the start of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine and the ensuing Western sanctions. New Delhi, which has repeatedly stressed that energy security is its top priority, chose not to succumb to Western pressure and continued to stock up on Russian supplies even after the G7 price cap on Russian oil came into force late last year.

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Local currencies are the future. Backed by gold?!

ASEAN Looking To Dump Dollar And Euro, Use Local Currencies (RT)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is set to discuss dropping the US dollar, euro, yen and pound sterling from transactions and moving to settlements in local currencies, according to the news magazine Tempo. An official meeting of ASEAN finance ministers and central bank governors kicked off on Tuesday in Indonesia. A regional grouping that aims to promote economic and security cooperation among its members, ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. “Efforts to reduce dependence on major currencies through the Local Currency Transaction (LCT) scheme will be discussed. This is an extension of the previous Local Currency Settlement (LCS) scheme that has already begun to be implemented between ASEAN members,” said the report.


Tempo specified that a digital cross-border payments system, allowing ASEAN member states to use local currencies in trade, would be expanded further. An agreement on such cooperation was reached between Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand in November 2022. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has urged regional authorities to abandon Visa and Mastercard payment systems and start using credit cards issued by local banks. Moving away from Western payment systems is necessary to protect transactions from “possible geopolitical repercussions,” Widodo said. Board member of the Indonesian Credit Cards Association (AKKI), Dodit Proboyakti, told RIA Novosti that Indonesia would apply the experience of Russia and its Mir payment system in promoting its own domestic financial network.

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“..within the next few years, smartphones will become the digital wallet through which the Bank of England will have complete control over how much, on what and where we spend its Central Bank Digital Currency.”

Why You Should Destroy Your Smart Phone Now (OffG)

In the imminent future, smartphones are the instrument onto which, in the guise of the digital verification of our identity — the Government’s ‘consultation’ on which closed this month — the compliant will upload their biometric data (fingerprints, photograph and DNA swab) to a centralised database to which the 32 public authorities presiding over the UK biosecurity state will have access.=

Under the Digital Economy Act 2017, these public authorities include the Cabinet Office; the Home Office; the Department for Defence; HM Treasury; the Ministry of Justice; the Department for Education; the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; the Department for Work and Pensions; the Department for Communities and Local Government; the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; the Department for Transport; the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs; Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs; all county, district and London councils; the Greater London Authority; the Council of the City of London; all fire and rescue authorities; all police authorities; all education authorities; all gas and electricity authorities; HM Land Registry; and, under Section 35, any other public authority, or private agent providing a service for a public authority, designated for a specific purpose justifying access to that data.

Smartphones are the instrument that will monitor whether their owners are up-to-date with what the UK biosecurity state decides is fully ‘vaccinated’ with whatever our Government and its partners in the pharmaceutical industry decide we must inject into our bodies as a condition of access to the rights of citizenship. Smartphones are the instrument that will monitor and record how many times we leave or enter our 15-minute grazing range currently being implemented by our public authorities to restrict and limit our freedom of movement on the justification of ‘saving the planet’.

Smart phones are the instrument that will track our carbon footprint in order to monitor and control the quantity of meat, dairy products, energy, oil, petrol and other products to which the UK biosecurity state — under the terms of the agreements of Agenda 2030 signed by the UK Government in 2015 — will progressively cut off our access between now and 2030. Smartphones are the means by which our compliance with lockdowns, masking mandates and programmes of gene therapy dictated by the World Health Organization’s Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Treaty and enforced by the UK biosecurity state will be monitored, recorded and enforced by, among other recourses, cutting off our access to the electronic and digital grid. And, within the next few years, smartphones will become the digital wallet through which the Bank of England will have complete control over how much, on what and where we spend its Central Bank Digital Currency.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

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Levitation
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Giants

 

 

 

 

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May 202021
 
 May 20, 2021  Posted by at 8:34 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  37 Responses »


Amedeo Modigliani Nu allongé 1917

 

Government Scrubs Stats on Vaccine-Related Deaths (Mercola)
Ivermectin Crushes Delhi Cases (DR)
Amid Concerns Over Effectiveness, Govt Ramping Up Remdesivir Production (BS)
Rock Music? No. Road Hockey? Yes (LFP)
Biden Permits Nord Stream 2 (Greenwald)
Colonial Pipeline Confirms It Paid $4.4m Ransom To Hackers (AP)
Pentagon Reportedly Running Secret Army Of 60,000 Around The World (NYP)
Accused Russiagate ‘Spy’ Kilimnik Speaks (Maté)
Blinken, Lavrov Seek Cooperation Despite ‘Serious Differences’ (R.)
Germany’s Greens Are Neoliberals With Bicycles (Jac.)
European Parliament to Suspend Turkey’s EU Accession Talks

 

 

 

 

Plasma: vaccines wipe out antibodies

 

 

Shocking claims from French Nobel prize winner Luc Montagnier…

 

 

“Any other vaccine would have been pulled from the market by now.”

Government Scrubs Stats on Vaccine-Related Deaths (Mercola)

According to Dr. Peter McCullough, vice chief of internal medicine at Baylor University Medical Center and known for being one of the top five most-published medical researchers in the United States, COVID-19 vaccines are killing “huge numbers” of people and the government is simply ignoring it. In a video interview with investigative journalist and founder of Liberty Sentinel, Alex Newman, McCullough says the U.S. government, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and health agencies around the world have all committed to vaccinating the global population while sitting on data showing the COVID-19 “vaccines” are turning out to be the most lethal vaccines ever created. [..] During a recent Texas state Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing, McCullough noted that, according to available data, early treatment could have prevented up to 85% of COVID-19 deaths. Early at-home treatment also minimizes the spread, as the amount of time you’re infectious can be reduced from two weeks to about four days.

Yet, despite being inexpensive and readily available, early treatments have all been censored and suppressed, apparently in order to secure this global mass vaccination campaign. In fact, as McCullough notes, there’s been no clarified guidance on COVID treatment at all, not even hospital protocols. The entire focus of our health agencies has been on masking, lockdowns and waiting for a gene therapy “vaccine.” The results have been devastating. Five months into the mass vaccination campaign, more than 10,000 in the U.S. and European Union have already died after getting the shots. Any other vaccine would have been pulled from the market by now. For example, in 1976, the U.S. government vaccinated 45 million people against pandemic swine flu. The entire program was canceled after reports of just 53 deaths, according to Fox News. Note: The number of deaths reported after the 1976 inoculation program varies from three to 53, depending on the source.

Now, health authorities are shrugging off more than 3,800 deaths after COVID-19 vaccination as either coincidental or inconsequential. Think about that. Five months into the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, we’re looking at a death toll that is 7,000% greater than during the swine flu vaccination campaign, which was canceled after the vaccine was deemed too risky. The COVID-19 “vaccine” is also on a level of magnitude more dangerous than the seasonal flu vaccine. As reported by McCullough, on average, there are 20 to 30 deaths reported following the seasonal flu vaccine, which is given to about 195 million Americans each year. Compare that to these novel COVID-19 gene therapies. So far, an estimated 124 million Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the death count is already at 3,837, as of April 30, 2021.

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“Where is a developing country getting the 60 million dollars a day to purchase the Remdesivir?”

Ivermectin Crushes Delhi Cases (DR)

Just three weeks after adding Ivermectin, Delhi now leads India out of the deadly second surge of the COVID pandemic. Cases that had peaked at 28,395 on April 20 plummeted nearly 80% to just 6,430 on May 15. Deaths peaked May 4, and now they are also down 25%. On May 10, the Indian State of Goa adopted an even more ambitious policy of preemptive Ivermectin for all adults in the state. The Chief Minister of Goa is Dr. Pramod Sawant, a progressive 49-year-old physician persuaded by science. In particular, he read Dr. Pierre Kory’s Dr. Tess Lawrie’s and Dr. Andrew Hill’s robust meta-analyses. As a direct result, Goa has seen a drop in cases from 3,124 the day after the announcement to 1,314 five days later.

Meanwhile, three other Indian states have followed Goa’s lead in adding Ivermectin: Uttarkhand, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh. And, as expected, they have seen a drop in new daily cases as well, with Uttar Pradesh down nearly 75% from a peak of 37,944 just four days after they began following the April 20 AIIMS guidance to just 10,505 on May 16. The tragic story in all this is that the Indian state of Tamil Nadu installed a new leader on May 7, 2021. He suddenly reversed their state’s decision to adopt Ivermectin. Readers of my book all know about Peruvian President Sagasti’s fateful decision to outlaw Ivermectin. Before taking power, the COVID deaths had dropped 14 fold to almost nothing with Ivermectin use. However after Sagasti was elected, Ivermectin was stopped, and deaths roared back at 13 fold.

Peru paid the price in skyrocketing cases and 78,000 preventable deaths. Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, MK Stalin, also chose to forgo Ivermectin. Instead, he ordered tens of thousands of doses of Remdesivir, a drug that sells for 3,000 dollars per dose. So now Tamil Nadu’s cases are rocketing as well. In contrast to Goa’s young physician Chief Minister who had read the latest science on Ivermectin’s dramatic effect on reducing COVID death, MK Stalin is a 68-year-old non-physician socialist and atheist who is towing the party line by forbidding Ivermectin.

Stalin now requests allocations for some 20,000 daily doses of Remdesivir for the Tamil Nadu citizens despite the science that shows no reduction in COVID death with this drug. [..] Twenty thousand doses of Remdesivir cost 60 million dollars, while 20,000 doses of Ivermectin go for a few hundred. Where is a developing country getting the 60 million dollars a day to purchase the Remdesivir? Why is their leader throwing away a cheap drug, Ivermectin, that has saved lives in other countries? ”

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Remdesivir is the worst choice.

Amid Concerns Over Effectiveness, Govt Ramping Up Remdesivir Production (BS)

The Indian government, on Wednesday, claimed it has ramped up the production of Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug prescribed for treating moderate-to-critical Covid patients, by 10 times. From 1 million vials per month in April, the Centre claims it will produce 10 million vials this month, as it has increased the number of plants manufacturing Remdesivir from 20 to 60. Meanwhile, reports suggest that Remdesivir may soon be dropped from the Indian Council of Medical Research’s Covid treatment protocol, as experts have questioned its effectiveness in Covid treatment. The news comes just days after plasma therapy was dropped from ICMR’s Covid treatment protocol.

The last few weeks saw a severe shortage of Remdesivir injections across the country, along with an acute shortage of hospital beds and oxygen cylinders, leading to a record rise in Covid fatalities. The Centre said it is monitoring the supply of drugs such as Remdesivir, Ivermectin and Favipiravir, essential for treating moderate to critical Covid patients. The Centre said it had ramped up production of these drugs and imported them in large quantities to ensure uninterrupted supply. A couple of days ago, the Indian government said it had received 530,000 Remdesivir vials as foreign aid from various countries such as the US and France, to help combat the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The availability of these drugs is being monitored by implementing a three-pronged strategy of supply chain management, demand side management and affordability,” the Centre said in a statement. The drugs whose supply is being monitored include those in ICMR’s Covid treatment protocol, such as Remdesivir, Enoxaparin, Dexamethasone and Ivermectin, and non-protocol drugs such as Favipiravir, Amphotericin and Apixaban. The Centre added that it will increase the production of Ivermectin, a Covid protocol drug, by five times, from 15 million 12 Mg tabs last month to 77 million this month.

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London, Ontario. AI scans.

Rock Music? No. Road Hockey? Yes (LFP)

There won’t be any music festivals in London this summer, but there will be road hockey. Jones Entertainment Group says it is again postponing Start.ca Rocks the Park until 2022 but will go ahead with HockeyFest — Game On, a three-on-three street hockey tournament, June 25-27. London will be the first of nine cities to play host to the tournament, which will be held across Canada and in parts of the U.S. The London tournament will be at Westmount Shopping Centre and Saunders secondary school. New technology, similar to metal detectors common at airports, will be used to scan all participants for COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone showing symptoms will be tested for the coronavirus to determine whether they can play, coach, referee or watch the games.

“It’s cutting-edge, world-class technology, one more thing to lead the charge into somewhat normal activities,” said Brad Jones, president of Jones Entertainment Group and HockeyFest. “What a better place to start than our own hometown of London? This will be a game-changer in getting back to some sort of normalcy in the sports and entertainment industry.” The new artificial intelligence (AI) technology, called Safe Entry Stations, was developed by Toronto-based Predictmedix and built by another Toronto firm, Juiceworks. It can identify symptoms of infectious diseases and can also be used to detect alcohol or marijuana use.] Predictmedix co-founder and chief operating officer Rahul Kushwah said the new technology was used successfully at this year’s Super Bowl and may become as common as metal detectors at airports, including at work places.

They can be permanently installed or a mobile unit can be leased for events such as concerts. “It’s about creating safe environments, whether it’s a concert or a workplace,” Kushwah said, noting the new technology has a 95% success rate identifying symptoms. “It’s going to help open up our cities. Walking through one of these is analogous to a triage when you walk into a hospital.” Those hockey players who test negative are given a wristband. Those who test positive for symptoms will be given a Covid-19 test and, if positive, will not be allowed to play and will be instructed to leave along with anyone who travelled with them to the tournament.

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Putin for the win.

Biden Permits Nord Stream 2 (Greenwald)

It is true that Trump, like Obama before him, spoke of the potential to partner with Russia rather than viewing it as an enemy, just as it is true that both presidents imposed sanctions on Moscow. And it is also true, and understandable, that Moscow likely favored a Trump victory rather than having supreme war hawk Hillary Clinton in the White House (the same reason Ukraine worked in 2016 to help Hillary win). But over and over, Trump undermined, not advanced, core Russian objectives. As Obama himself said in 2016, it is hard to imagine doing anything more provocative and harmful to Russian vital interests than sending lethal arms to Ukraine — exactly what Obama refused to do, despite bipartisan pressure. Yet the Trump administration quickly did exactly that: bizarre behavior for a Kremlin asset, to put that mildly.

Trump found one thing even more threatening to the Kremlin’s vital interests than arming Ukrainians: namely, doing everything possible to destroy Russia’s ability to complete construction of its new underwater natural gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2. That new pipeline is designed to double Russian sales capacity to an EU addicted to cheap Russian natural gas, producing massive revenue for the Russian economy and giving Moscow greater leverage when dealing with its European neighbors. But it provides an even more important benefit: it allows Russia to bypass Ukraine and other Eastern European countries, thus avoiding costly transit fees and the risks of political instability or anti-Russian manipulation by outside forces, including the U.S. government.

For all those reasons, few priorities were more important to Putin and the Russian economy than this new pipeline. Yet for at least the last two years of his presidency, Trump — even as he was shrilly depicted as an agent of the Kremlin — was obsessed with stopping the Russian pipeline and thus sabotaging Putin’s key geopolitical project. The Trump administration caused a halt to the project in 2019 when it imposed sanctions on companies working on it. Trump did everything he could to pressure, cajole and even threaten the Germans to pull out of the deal, warning that it would leave a winter-plagued Europe captive to Russian pressure and insisting that Berlin had the obligation to buy gas from the U.S., not Russia, given NATO expenditures to protect Germans. Trump even tried to pull close to 10,000 U.S. troops out of Germany to pressure the Merkel government, but the pro-war alliance of hawkish Democrats and Liz-Cheney-led neocon Republicans voted to defund that effort.

Any minimally rational or honest media would have taken note of these events and instantly realized that their years-long conspiracy theory about Trump being controlled by Putin was sophomoric nonsense, the opposite of the truth. That a Putin-controlled Russian asset would send lethal arms to Ukraine and do everything possible to sabotage Nord Stream 2 is so blatantly absurd that it could be ratified only by a media aggressively committed to spreading disinformation and lies. All of this became even clearer on Tuesday when President Biden reversed Trump’s blockage of the Russian natural gas pipeline. Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported that “the Biden administration will waive sanctions on the corporate entity and CEO overseeing the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany,” which “indicates the Biden administration is not willing to compromise its relationship with Germany over this pipeline.” Swan wrote what is clearly true: “the completion of Nord Stream 2 would be a huge geopolitical win for Putin and give him substantial new leverage in Europe.”

Read more …

Bitcoin?

Colonial Pipeline Confirms It Paid $4.4m Ransom To Hackers (AP)

The operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline confirmed it paid $4.4m to a gang of hackers who broke into its computer systems. Colonial Pipeline said Wednesday that after it learned of the 7 May ransomware attack, the company took its pipeline system offline and needed to do everything in its power to restart it quickly and safely, and made the decision then to pay the ransom. “This decision was not made lightly,” but it was one that had to be made, a company spokesman said. “Tens of millions of Americans rely on Colonial: hospitals, emergency medical services, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, airports, truck drivers and the traveling public.”


Joseph Blount, Colonial Pipeline’s CEO, told the Wall Street Journal he authorized the payment because the company didn’t know the extent of the damage and wasn’t sure how long it would take to bring the pipeline’s systems back. The FBI discourages making ransom payments to ransomware attackers, because paying encourages criminal networks around the globe who have hit thousands of businesses and health care systems in the US in the past year alone. But many victims of ransomware attacks, where hackers demand large sums of money to decrypt stolen data or to prevent it from being leaked online, opt to pay. “I know that’s a highly controversial decision,” Blount said. “I didn’t make it lightly. I will admit that I wasn’t comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this.” “But it was the right thing to do for the country,” he said.

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Cyber-warriors.

Pentagon Reportedly Running Secret Army Of 60,000 Around The World (NYP)

The Pentagon is running a 60,000-strong secret army made up of soldiers, civilians and contractors, who travel the world under false identities embedded in consultancies and name-brand companies — without the knowledge of the American people or most of Congress — according to a report. The top-secret army was created by the Pentagon over the past 10 years as part of a program called “signature reduction,” and operates both domestically and internationally using a low-profile force of clandestine warriors who sometimes wear civilian clothes as they carry out their assignments, Newsweek reported. The force is 10 times the size of the covert elements of the CIA, comes with a cost of more than $900 million, and engages about 130 private companies in operations in locales like the Middle East and Africa, the report said.


Despite the undercover army’s size and budget, Congress has never held a hearing on it. About half of the “signature reduction” force is made up of special forces, the highly trained commandos who pursue terrorists around the world, including in Iran and North Korea. Military intelligence specialists comprise the second-largest element inside the force. But the newest and fastest-growing group in the unit is made up of cyber-warriors who use false personas and “nonattribution” or “misattribution” techniques online to disguise themselves so they can track high-value targets, collect “publicly accessible information” and engage in influence campaigns to manipulate social media.

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So much for Russiagate.

Accused Russiagate ‘Spy’ Kilimnik Speaks (Maté)

The man cast as a linchpin of debunked Trump-Russia collusion theories is breaking his silence to vigorously dispute the U.S. government’s effort to brand him a Russian spy and put him behind bars. In an exclusive interview with RealClearInvestigations, Konstantin Kilimnik stated, “I have no relationship whatsoever to any intelligence services, be they Russian or Ukrainian or American, or anyone else.” Kilimnik, a longtime employee of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, spoke out in response to an explosive Treasury Department statement declaring that he had “provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” during the 2016 election. That press release, which announced an array of sanctions on Russian nationals last month, also alleged that Kilimnik is a “known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf.”

Treasury’s claim came shortly after two other accusatory U.S. government statements about the dual Ukrainian-Russian national. In March, a U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment accused Kilimnik of being a “Russian influence agent” who meddled in the 2020 campaign to assist Trump’s reelection. A month earlier, an FBI alert offered $250,000 for information leading to his arrest over a 2018 witness tampering charge in Manafort’s shuttered Ukraine lobbying case, which was unrelated to Russia, collusion, or any elections. Treasury provided no evidence for its claims, which go beyond the findings of the two most extensive Russiagate investigations: the 448-page report issued in 2019 by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the 966-page report issued in August 2020 by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Treasury has declined all media requests for elaboration on how it reached conclusions that those probes did not. Two unidentified officials told NBC News that U.S. intelligence “has developed new information” about Kilimnik “that leads them to believe” that he passed on the polling data to Russia. But these sources “did not identify the source or type of intelligence that had been developed,” nor “when or how” it was received. “Nobody has seen any evidence to support these claims about Kilimnik,” a congressional source familiar with the House and Senate’s multiple Russia-related investigations told RCI. Despite the absence of evidence, the Treasury press release’s one-sentence claim about Kilimnik has been widely greeted as the Trump-Russia smoking gun. Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who heads the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC that Treasury’s assertion about Kilimnik proved that Russian intelligence was “involved in trying to help Trump win in that [2016] election. That’s what most people would call collusion.”

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Biden to meet killer Putin?!

Blinken, Lavrov Seek Cooperation Despite ‘Serious Differences’ (R.)

Top diplomats from the Biden administration and Russia in their first in-person meeting on Wednesday stressed that the former Cold War foes have serious differences in how they view world affairs but struck an optimistic tone for the talks, saying the two sides can still find ways to work together. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his first meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a veteran diplomat, said it was “no secret that we have our differences” and that Washington would respond to aggressive acts by Russia, but that the world would be safer if the two countries’ leaders worked together. Lavrov, speaking through a translator at the opening of the meeting in Reykjavik on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting, said Russia and the United States have “serious differences” but have to cooperate “in spheres where our interests collide.”

Senior U.S. State Department officials said there were no breakthroughs in the meeting, but described it as a “good start” to work on relations between the two countries in “weeks, months and years to come.” Blinken said Biden wanted “a predictable, stable relationship with Russia” and said the two countries could work together on tackling the coronavirus pandemic, combating climate change, dealing with Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs, and the conflict in Afghanistan. “We think that’s good for our people, good for the Russian people and indeed good for the world,” Blinken said. The pair also discussed cyber security and Russia’s troop movements on its border with Ukraine, issues that have tested the already fraught ties this year, senior State Department officials told reporters. They repeatedly insisted that the meeting was “table setting” for future talks.

Wednesday’s meeting, the first high-level, in-person discussion between the Biden administration and a Russian counterpart, lasted one hour and 45 minutes, longer than the expected one hour. Lavrov told Russian state media the talks were “constructive” and that Russia was ready to discuss all issues between the two countries “on the basis of mutual respect.” The two diplomats would prepare proposals for a possible meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Lavrov said. State Department officials referred questions about a presidential meeting to the White House, but said there was acknowledgment that “strategic stability” would be discussed.

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Nice headline. The Greens are set to become a force in German politics.

Germany’s Greens Are Neoliberals With Bicycles (Jac.)

The Greens’ recent victories notwithstanding, their attempt at balancing highly contradictory interests in the name of ecological pragmatism has already become a strain on the party. Only through the meteoric rise of the Fridays for Future movement have the Greens been able to establish themselves as the strongest party among under-thirty-year-olds. Yet, Habeck and Baerbock have spared no efforts to improve their standing with German industry and shake their old antibusiness image. In 2019, Baerbock gained recognition with the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI), Germany’s leading federation of industrialists and corporations, for putting forward an economic agenda that is especially aggressive against China. She insisted that Germany must be part of a European economic and digital infrastructure that is independent of Chinese corporations such as Huawei.

She added that new climate regulations could actually prove advantageous for German businesses, especially if Chinese competitors who supposedly undercut these regulations were subject to extra taxation. Baerbock’s foray into a sort of Green anti-Chinese economic policy has since been praised by German business representatives. It is not hard for them to accept this — especially given that questions of union rights and worker representation are noticeably absent from this vision. Accordingly, Baerbock has commended initiatives such as Elon Musk’s new Tesla factory in Brandenburg, regardless of the fact that Musk has repeatedly made clear that he will accept neither union representation nor collective bargaining agreements in his new factory.

The Greens have also proven to be very generous partners to German industry — or rather, industrialists — in the state of Baden-Württemberg, where Winfried Kretschmann has governed for ten years as the party’s first and so far only state-level prime minister. Baden-Württemberg used to be a stronghold of the CDU but has been won over by Kretschmann with an agenda which adds a green face to conservative, pro-business parties. Kretschmann has since established his party as the strongest in the state — but also continuously irritated its activist base with his stance protecting the interests of automobile manufacturers like Daimler-Benz and Porsche, and his cautious position on the transition to electric cars.

While Kretschmann’s administration has presided over a decline in public infrastructure and a rise in poverty — especially among children and pensioners — it has actively fended off social initiatives such as a popular petition for free childcare and remains committed to conservative fiscal policies. The Greens have also alienated parts of the climate justice movement, for instance when the CDU/Green government in the state of Hesse pledged its support for the controversial extension of the A49 highway and, connected to this, the clearing of the Dannenröder Forest. Protesters who tried to prevent the clearing in November 2020 were met with numerous incidents of police violence — provoking much negative publicity for Hesse’s government and its transport minister Tarek Al-Wazir, a member of the Greens.

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Hmm. Keep your enemies closer, we were told.

European Parliament to Suspend Turkey’s EU Accession Talks

Turkey’s accession talks for entry into the European Union were suspended on Wednesday as relations between Turkey and the bloc have become increasingly strained over the last several years. The European Parliament also called for Turkey to implement an immediate change of course regarding the rule of law and human rights as a prerequisite for the country’s accession to the EU. European lawmakers passed the proposal to suspend Turkey’s accession by 480 votes in favor, 64 against and 150 abstentions in a European parliamentary session. Today’s move came after Members of the European Parliament cited many violations of human rights and the rule of law in Turkey. Turkey is one of the countries having been through the longest negotiation process to enter the EU.


It became an official candidate for membership in 1999 at the Helsinki summit of the European Council. Official accession talks started in 2005 but have been stalled since 2016. According to Nacho Sánchez Amor, who drafted the report on the country, Turkey must change course and “put expressions of good will into concrete actions. “The report is probably the toughest ever in its criticism. It reflects all that has unfortunately happened in the country in the last two years, in particular in the fields of human rights and rule of law, which remain the main area of concern for the European Parliament,” he said. The latest report adopted by the Committee of Foreign Affairs states that the Turkish government has deliberately distanced itself from European values and has led its relations with the EU to a “historic low point.”

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UK Becomes First Country To Approve Pfizer-BioNTech COVID19 Vaccine (NBC)
With Tanden Choice, Democrats Stick it to Sanders Voters (Taibbi)
We Know Joe (Jacobs)
Putting a BlackRock Alum in Charge of Greening the Economy (TNR)
Trump Raises At Least $150 Million Since Election Day (JTN)
Whistleblowers Allege Ballots Crossed State Lines, Disappear, Backdating (JTN)
Why the Fed Needs Public Banks (Ellen Brown)
The Rich Cheer Wall Street’s Latest Records. The Rest Drain 401(k)s (CP)
Ray Dalio’s Chart Hints At What Beijing Is Really Up To (Xie)
Debenhams ‘Never Recovered From Private Equity Ownership’ (G.)
One Of Biology’s Biggest Mysteries ‘Largely Solved’ By AI (BBC)

 

 

 

 

The rest of us should be happy they will be the guinea pigs. I’ve seen one too many doctors and scientists say they’ll sit this one out.

UK Becomes First Country To Approve Pfizer-BioNTech COVID19 Vaccine (NBC)

The U.K. has become the first country to approve the use of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and will begin inoculations next week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said early Wednesday. “For so long we’ve been saying that if a vaccine is developed, then things will get better in 2021, and now we can say when this vaccine is rolled out things will get better,” Hancock told the BBC. The U.K. has ordered 40 million vaccine doses from Pfizer — enough for up to a third of the population. The vaccine was found to be 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19, the drugmaker said after clinical trials.


The pharmaceutical giant submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 20 for an emergency use authorization in the U.S. A vaccine committee will now decide which groups will first get the vaccine, such as care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and people who are clinically vulnerable. “This authorization is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science will win,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla in a news release. The Pfizer shots must be stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit — far colder than standard cooling systems. To help accommodate the extra refrigeration requirement, Pfizer has developed a supercool storage unit packed with dry ice.

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She looks like a no-go. But many of the other neocons will be in.

With Tanden Choice, Democrats Stick it to Sanders Voters (Taibbi)

The Democratic Party is not known for its sense of humor, but news that Joe Biden will appoint longtime Center for American Progress chief Neera Tanden to his government qualifies as a rare, well-earned laugh line. Tanden is famous for two things: having a puddle of DNC talking points in place of a cerebrum, and despising Bernie Sanders. She was #Resistance’s most visible anti-Sanders foil, spending awe-inspiring amounts of time on Twitter bludgeoning Sanders and his supporters as a deviant mob of Russian tools and covert “horseshoe theory” Trump-lovers. She has, to put it gently, an ardent social media following. Every prominent media figure with even a vague connection to Sanders learned in recent years to expect mud-drenched pushback from waves of “Neera trolls” after any public comment crossing DNC narratives.

No name in blue politics is more associated with seething opposition to Sanders than Tanden. Biden is making this person Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Sanders is the ranking member (and, perhaps, future chair) of the Senate Budget Committee. Every time Bernie even thinks about doing Committee business, he’ll be looking up at Neera Tanden. For a party whose normal idea of humor is ten thousand consecutive jokes about Trump being gay with Putin, that’s quite a creative “fuck you.” The Democrats still have to reckon with Trumpism in both the short and long term, but the Sanders movement on their other flank has at least temporarily been routed as a serious oppositional force. The Democrats know this, which is part of the joke of the Tanden appointment. While the party’s labors to oppose Trump have been incoherent at best, the campaign to kneecap Sanders has been, let’s admit it, brilliant.


The Blue Apparat has always despised Bernie and his various precursor movements far more than it hated Republicans, and for good reason. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Clintonite hacks in cushy Washington sinecures who would have retained their spots in the event of a loss to Trump. A Sanders win would have put them all out of the politics business for a while. It was unsurprising to see the party mainstream marshaling all of what passes for its brainpower to devise a long game to crate-train Sanders, who in less than a year went from oppositional favorite to seize the Democratic nomination to obedient afterthought.

Tucker Greenwald on Tanden

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And Joe knows everyone who counts. Except perhaps himself.

We Know Joe (Jacobs)

We know this man Joe Biden. We know the politics he champions. We know his corporate and financial backers. We know what we’re up against. Barack Obama and the Clintons operated in the same neoliberal and essentially reactionary sphere. The faces in power may be female, Black, Latino and gay, but the policies are designed to keep the power from the people, the money from the vast numbers of working people, and the war machine’s troops around the globe. We cannot afford to get fooled again. Inauguration Day is the opening of a new front in the battle for the planet and those creatures who live on it. The Trump years were, more than anything, a forced retreat. The fascist and other reactionary forces unleashed by his occupation of the White House made major gains and they are determined to hang on to those gains.

The eight years that preceded him were, in essence, not a forced retreat but part of a decades long retreat, nonetheless. It’s good that Biden is a conventional establishment politician. It is also bad. The history of the last four decades (with the exception of the Trump years) is the history of a nation ruled by conventional establishment politicians. It is good because we know their strategies and tricks. It is bad because those strategies and tricks can lull people into a political sleep. Without the personal outrage a Trump can cause, elected officials, their appointees, and the monetary forces they serve can do a lot of damage under the guise of doing good. Whether it is Reagan’s privatization of the government, Clinton’s destruction of the social welfare system, the Bush’s bloody wars on the people of the Mideast, or Obama’s continuation of all those policies, the reality is these actions took place with most US residents’ assent.

Liberals fell for Reagan’s folksy lies, letting themselves be led by their investments into a world where the poor were once again blamed for their circumstances. When their man Clinton was in office, they supported his intensification of the war on the poor, all the while pointing to their 401Ks as proof the American Dream still worked. And the wars just went on. There was opposition, but never to the point that the troops would not be sent to fight or completely withdrawn once they got there. Indeed, too much of the antiwar leadership abandoned its constituents and joined up with the Obama campaign in 2007, just as the war on Iraq was escalating. That war, and the war on the Afghans continues to this moment. In addition, there are tens of thousands of US forces—military and mercenary—wreaking death and destruction around the globe.

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Predictable.

Putting a BlackRock Alum in Charge of Greening the Economy (TNR)

This week, the Biden campaign is expected to announce officially that it’s tapped former Obama adviser and current BlackRock executive Brian Deese to head the National Economic Council. The appointment will make Deese the president’s top economic adviser. And in addition to worrying climate activists, the news has again raised concerns about BlackRock’s outsize influence in U.S. politics. Deese has long been on the no-go lists of progressives tracking Biden appointments, thanks to his BlackRock background. New York Communities for Change and the Sunrise Movement protested the rumors of Deese’s appointment outside the company’s Manhattan headquarters last week.

His advocates and defenders, including climate wonks and Obama alums, have praised his character, record on conservation, role in helping negotiate the Paris Agreement, as well as the fact that he joined BlackRock to head the investment management giant’s sustainable investment strategy after his brief stint working on climate issues for Obama. Many are excited by the prospect of having an NEC head who spends time thinking about climate change. By all accounts, Deese is indeed a nice guy. But to suggest his record makes him a good fit for a position steering and greening the U.S. economy rests on fundamental misunderstandings of Deese’s climate credentials, BlackRock’s ambitions, and the crisis at hand.

Deese has now spent more time advising BlackRock on climate than the White House. But his governmental record deserves scrutiny, too. Before taking over the climate portfolio from John Podesta, he worked for the NEC and as deputy and then acting director of the Office of Management. He described his role as “showing the American people how we can do more effectively with less” and preached “fiscal discipline”—a troubling inclination given how desperately the current economy and climate crisis need government spending. He also championed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have doubled U.S. exposure to pernicious investor-state dispute settlements, allowing companies to sue governments that infringe on their profits (for example, through robust climate policy). During his two years as Obama’s climate adviser, Deese defended Arctic drilling and boasted about increases in “both renewable and traditional” energy production, though he did also work to withdraw certain portions of the Arctic Ocean from mineral leasing.

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Dind’t Trump just yesterday say: See you in 2024?

Trump Raises At Least $150 Million Since Election Day (JTN)

President Trump has raised at least $150 million since Election Day nearly one month ago, according to multiple news reports. The donations have poured in, as the Trump campaign continues to solicit donations to fuel its legal efforts in several key states to uncover voter fraud and overturn the results of the election. The campaign has raised as much as $170 million, according to The New York Times, while other news outlets have reported an amount closer to $150 million. Either amount is approximately equivalent to the numbers coming in to the campaign coffers at the height of the president’s reelection bid.


The Times also reports that 75% of each donation will go to a new political action committee established by Trump and his staff called “Save America.” The other 25% will go to the Republican National Committee. The donations will allow the campaign to pay off outstanding, post-election debt. It will also allow the president to fund post-presidency political activities. Trump has not publicly stated his political intentions should his election challenges fail.

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Everyone deserves to be heard.

Whistleblowers Allege Ballots Crossed State Lines, Disappear, Backdating (JTN)

Sworn testimony of several whistleblowers on Tuesday alleged what one election integrity activist is calling “potential ballot fraud on a massive scale,” with multiple eyewitnesses testifying to alleged suspicious behavior in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In a press conference in Arlington, Va., the Amistad Project — a civil liberties initiative of the Thomas More Society — presented the testimony of three individuals who claim to have witnessed apparent voting malfeasance during the 2020 election. One, Jesse Morgan, a truck driver for a subcontractor with the United States Postal Service, claimed that a trailer he was driving, one full of potentially upwards of 288,000 ballots, disappeared from its parked location at a Lancaster, Pa. USPS depot after Morgan dropped it off there. Morgan had transported those ballots from Bethpage, N.Y.

The subcontractor also reportedly experienced “odd behaviors” from USPS personnel, behaviors which postal experts have said in sworn statements “grossly deviate[d] from normal procedure and behavior,” according to a press release from the Amistad Project. Another whistleblower, Nathan Pease of Madison, Wisc. — himself also a subcontractor for USPS — alleged that he was told the postal service was planning to backdate tens of thousands of ballots in the days after the Nov. 3 election in order to circumvent the ballot submission deadline. A third witness, Gregory Stenstrom — who testified at a Pennsylvania legislature hearing in Gettysburg last week — claimed to have witnessed a Dominion Voting Systems vendor inserting jump drives into voting aggregation machines in Delaware County, Pa.

Election officials also reportedly commingled various jump drives from aggregation machines, potentially frustrating the ability of auditors to properly certify the election results. In its press release, Amistad Project Director Phill Kline said the testimonies are “compelling” and that they provide “powerful eyewitness accounts of potential ballot fraud on a massive scale.” “This evidence joins with unlawful conduct by state and local election officials, including accepting millions of dollars of private funds, to undermine the integrity of this election,” Kline said. In the press release, the Amistad Project says it has collected sworn expert testimony alleging that “over 300,000 ballots are at issue in Arizona, 548,000 in Michigan, 204,000 in Georgia, and over 121,000 in Pennsylvania.”

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Bernie’s ideas.

Why the Fed Needs Public Banks (Ellen Brown)

The Fed’s policy tools – interest rate manipulation, quantitative easing, and “Special Purpose Vehicles” – have all failed to revive local economies suffering from government-mandated shutdowns. . The Fed must rely on private banks to inject credit into Main Street, and private banks are currently unable or unwilling to do it. The tools the Fed actually needs are public banks, which could and would do the job. [..] Private banks are not following through on the Fed’s attempted money injections, but publicly-owned banks would. In countries with strong government-owned banking systems, public banks have historically increased their lending when private banks pulled back. Public banks have a mandate to stimulate their local economies; and unlike private banks, they can do it and still turn a profit, because they have lower costs.

They have eliminated the parasitic profit-extracting middlemen, and they do not have to focus on short-term profits to please their shareholders. They can pour their resources into improving the long-term prospects of the economy and its infrastructure, stimulating local productivity and strengthening the tax base. Three promising new bills are before Congress that would facilitate the establishment of a public banking system in the US. HR 8721, ”The Public Banking Act”, was introduced on Oct. 30, 2020. As described on Vox, the Act would “foster the creation of public [state and local government-owned] banks across the country by providing them a pathway to getting started, establishing an infrastructure for liquidity and credit facilities for them via the Federal Reserve, and setting up federal guidelines for them to be regulated. Essentially, it would make it easier for public banks to exist, and it would give some of them grant money to get started.”

In September, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand also introduced The Postal Banking Act, which they said would • Create $9 billion in revenue for the postal service, saving it from privatization; • Protect low-income or rural families and communities from predatory lending; and • Reestablish postal banking to provide basic, low-cost financial services to those who cannot access banks. The third bill, HR 6422, “The National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2020,” is modeled on Franklin Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which funded the rebuilding of the US economy in the Great Depression of the 1930s. According to its advocates, HR 6422 will build or restore over $4 trillion in infrastructure and create up to 25 million union jobs, while being “revenue neutral” (not burdening the federal government’s budget).

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Trickling up.

The Rich Cheer Wall Street’s Latest Records. The Rest Drain 401(k)s (CP)

The all-time record highs that Wall Street has registered this week have given some Americans — the nation’s already rich — considerable cause for celebration. And the rest of the nation? Tens of millions of Americans are paying precious little attention to the chirpy tale of Wall Street’s ticker. The simple reason: They own no stocks at all. Millions of other Americans who do own stocks don’t see any reason to celebrate either. They’re finding themselves forced, amid pandemic economic collapse, to start selling the stocks that make up the bulk of their retirement savings. How best to start understanding this story? The best place to begin: The latest numbers on stock ownership from the Federal Reserve. Fed researchers have been tracking who exactly owns the stocks that trade every business day on Wall Street ever since 1989.

Back nearly 30 years ago, in 1992, the share of stock nationally that belongs to America’s poorest half of households hit an all-time high. That “high” amounted to all of a miniscule 1.6 percent. How much of America’s stock wealth does the bottom 50 percent hold these days? At the end of this past June, the most recent Federal Reserve data point available, the nation’s poorest half held less than 1 percent of the nation’s stock holdings, just 0.6 percent. The nation’s poorest 90 percent, all combined, now hold just 11.8 percent of the nation’s stocks. Numbers like these help explain why massive numbers of Americans didn’t rush out onto the streets to cheer earlier this week when two top Wall Street benchmarks, the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500, hit their own all-time record summits.

Shares of stock — either held directly or through mutual funds — make up just 2.3 percent of the total assets of households in the bottom 50 percent and a mere 7.6 percent of the assets the rest of the bottom 90 percent hold. America’s richest 1 percent, on the other hand, have plenty of reason to celebrate Wall Street records. Stock holdings make up over 40 percent of top 1 percent household wealth. These 1 percenters, overall, hold 52.4 percent of the nation’s stock, a share almost five times greater than all the stock that households in the bottom 90 percent hold. This top 1 percent share has been steadily increasing. Since 1989, the year the Fed started keeping track, the top 1 percent share of the nation’s stock holdings has jumped 22 percent. The bottom 90 percent share has dropped 33 percent.

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“..the buzz in Beijing is that the financial industry should serve the real economy and people..”

Ray Dalio’s Chart Hints At What Beijing Is Really Up To (Xie)

Another day, another stock record. The S&P 500 soared to a fresh all-time high on Tuesday, while the yield curve steepened on optimism about more fiscal stimulus and the imminent deployment of vaccines. The seeming disconnect between financial markets and the economy is kind of surreal, considering that 11 million people remain unemployed and the virus is spiraling out of control. The fact that U.S. policy makers are still pedal-to-the-metal with monetary stimulus stands in sharp contrast to China, where officials have set their sights on an exit from loose policy. Consider recent events: Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, described China’s property market as the biggest “gray rhino” – an obvious yet ignored financial risk.


Guo also pledged to impose “special and innovative regulatory measures” on financial technology behemoths such as Jack Ma’s Ant Group. The recent regulation changes have essentially put these fin-tech companies under the similar supervision umbrella as traditional banks to avoid excessive leverage. Beijing has allowed a number of SOEs to default, breaking the implicit government guarantee. PBOC Governor Yi Gang vowed to avoid monetizing government debt. In addition, officials have said low interest rates contributed to social inequality. Clearly, there’s a sense of urgency to address financial risks and close the gap between markets and the economy. In the meantime, the buzz in Beijing is that the financial industry should serve the real economy and people.

What China is doing makes perfect sense in the context of the big economic cycle described by Ray Dalio. In his latest essay published Tuesday, Bridgewater’s founder showed that China is in the midst of a debt bubble and the beginning of widening wealth gap. Apparently, China wants to tackle both before it’s too late. In contrast, the U.S. has passed the peak of its economic power, settling into the stage of money printing after the burst of the debt bubble, according to Dalio. “It is in this stage when there are bad financial conditions and intensifying conflict,” wrote Dalio. “Classically this stage comes after periods of great excesses in spending and debt and the widening of wealth and political gaps and before there are revolutions and civil wars. United States is at a tipping point in which it could go from manageable internal tension to revolution and/or civil war.”

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Vultures all around.

Debenhams ‘Never Recovered From Private Equity Ownership’ (G.)

Coronavirus store closures may have been the final nail in the coffin for Debenhams but retail experts argue the department store chain never recovered from a brutal period in the hands of priv ate equity. The retailer was taken over in 2003 by a private equity consortium. The trio of funds, TPG, CVC Capital and Merrill Lynch, made huge returns from their £600m investment, collecting £1.2bn in dividends despite owning the company for less than three years. Debenhams owed around £100m when it was taken private but, by the time it returned to the stock market in 2006, that debt had swollen to more than £1bn. After the retailer’s subsequent poor performance, the deal came to epitomise the worst excesses of the private equity model – the “quick flip” whereby investors buy a listed business cheaply, load it with debt and then refloat it at a big profit.


The private equity consortium installed Rob Templeman, fresh from lucrative private equity revamps of Homebase and Halfords, to overhaul Debenhams. His plan was to cut costs at the same time as increasing sales and profit margins. He also used price cuts to clear products that weren’t selling, but regular discounting was blamed for dragging the brand downmarket. The consortium had used £1.1bn of debt to acquire the business and Templeman cut borrowing costs by remortgaging some of the stores. In 2005, 23 shops were sold for £495m. Debenhams leased the stores back, on expensive rent deals up to 35 years in length. Blaming private equity for Debenhams’ demise is “100% justified”, said veteran retail analyst Richard Hyman. “At the very time when the sort of massive changes we’re seeing today were embryonic, Debenhams’ wherewithal to react, ie money, was removed. It was removed into the bank accounts of private equity investors. That is the truth of it.”

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AI and complexity.

One Of Biology’s Biggest Mysteries ‘Largely Solved’ By AI (BBC)

One of biology’s biggest mysteries has been solved using artificial intelligence, experts have announced. Predicting how a protein folds into a unique three-dimensional shape has puzzled scientists for half a century. London-based AI lab, DeepMind, has largely cracked the problem, said the organisers of a scientific challenge. A better understanding of protein shapes could play a pivotal role in the development of novel drugs to treat disease. The advance by Google-owned DeepMind is expected to accelerate research into a host of illnesses, including Covid-19. Their program determined the shape of proteins at a level of accuracy comparable to expensive and time-consuming lab methods, said independent scientists.

Dr Andriy Kryshtafovych, from University of California (UC), Davis in the US, one of the panel of scientific adjudicators, described the achievement as “truly remarkable”. “Being able to investigate the shape of proteins quickly and accurately has the potential to revolutionise life sciences,” he said. Proteins are present in all living things where they play a central role in the chemical processes essential for life. Made up of strings of amino acids, they fold up in an infinite number of ways into elaborate shapes that hold the key to how they carry out their vital functions.Many diseases are linked to the roles of proteins in catalysing chemical reactions (enzymes), fighting disease (antibodies) or acting as chemical messengers (hormones such as insulin).

“Even tiny rearrangements of these vital molecules can have catastrophic effects on our health, so one of the most efficient ways to understand disease and find new treatments is to study the proteins involved,” said Dr John Moult of the University of Maryland, US, the chair of the panel of scientific adjudicators. “There are tens of thousands of human proteins and many billions in other species, including bacteria and viruses, but working out the shape of just one requires expensive equipment and can take years.”


A DeepMind model of a protein from the Legionnaire’s disease bacteria (Casp-14)

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