May 262024
 


Edward Hopper People in the sun 1963

 

US Should Erect a Monument To Assange – RFK Jr. (RT)
Of Men and Myths (Jim Kunstler)
Treason of the Intellectuals and Danger From Within (Brooks)
Zelensky’s Unconstitutional Power Grab Amidst Ukraine’s Military Failures (Sp.)
Top Ukrainian Officials Don’t Believe Zelensky’s Rhetoric – Guardian (RT)
Hungary Blocking EU Plan To Give Russian Money To Ukraine – FT (RT)
Ukraine Peace Summit Another US-invented Scam – Zakharova (RT)
China and Brazil Offer Own Peace Plan as Western Ukraine Summit Fumbles (Sp.)
Ukraine and US Attacked Key Element Of Russia’s Nuclear Umbrella – Senator (RT)
We Must Stay A Step Ahead Of The Enemy – Putin (RT)
Special Counsel Jack Smith Demands a New Gag on Trump (Turley)
Dems Demand SCOTUS Justice Alito Recusal (ZH)
Europe Is Fading Away And Becoming A ‘Lost Continent’ (Sushentsov)
EU Marks a Sharp Decline in Population (Sp.)
Musk: AI Will ‘Do Everything Better Than You,’ Make Employment Obsolete (CT)

 

 

 

 

Merchan

 

 

Trump hot

 

 

Thatcher

 

 

Nigel Ursula

 

 

 

 

“On my first day in office, I’m going to pardon Edward Snowden and I’m going to drop the charges, all of the charges against Julian Assange..”

US Should Erect a Monument To Assange – RFK Jr. (RT)

The US authorities should stop prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and instead erect a monument in Washington DC to celebrate his “heroic” deeds, independent US presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has said. He insisted that the case against Assange runs counter to the freedom of the press. The US indicted the WikiLeaks founder under the Espionage Act for helping whistleblower Chelsea Manning in her 2010 disclosure of hundreds of thousands of classified and sensitive documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which WikiLeaks later made public. Assange is now battling US attempts to extradite him from Britain. Speaking at the 2024 Libertarian Party Convention in Washington, DC on Friday, Kennedy criticized ex-President Donald Trump’s track record during his first term in office. He claimed that the Republican, who is also running, “assaulted” the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and the press.

Trump “continued President [Barack] Obama’s persecution and prosecution of Julian Assange,” Kennedy argued, eliciting an ovation from the audience. According to the independent presidential candidate, “Assange should be celebrated as a hero for doing exactly what journalists are supposed to do, which is to expose government corruption.” “We shouldn’t be putting him in prison, we should have a monument to him here in Washington DC,” he added. Kennedy went on to say that the “same is true for Edward Snowden, who exposed illegal spying by the NSA,” calling the US whistleblower a “hero, not a criminal.”

The former computer expert and contractor for the National Security Agency revealed in 2013 that the agency was systematically engaged in mass illegal spying on American citizens. Fearing for his safety, he fled the US and ended up in Russia, where he was granted asylum and later citizenship. At home, he faces charges under the Espionage Act. “On my first day in office, I’m going to pardon Edward Snowden and I’m going to drop the charges, all of the charges against Julian Assange,” Kennedy said.

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“Donald Trump doesn’t trust women. I do. ” — “Joe Biden” on “X”

“..in the name of. . . women. . . who just can’t get a fair shake in this land, despite running all the elite universities, the foundations, many corporations (especially MSNBC), and the new misinformation-squelching commissions..”

Of Men and Myths (Jim Kunstler)

There comes a time when the rigors and exertions of being insane just aren’t worth it anymore. You end up in a deadly Pareto distribution in which 80 percent of your energy gets wasted on hallucinating and the rest is barely enough to get yourself dressed, comb your purple hair, and choke down a granola bar. Verging on a long, hot summer, the party behind “Joe Biden” looks like a 1950s horror movie, complete with lurching ghouls, evil scientists in white lab coats, and the sore beset denizens of Anytown USA screaming down the streets. Only it’s the actual life of our nation now, and it looks like an awful lot of the people who live here lawfully have had enough of it. The mysterious cabal in power knows that they must ditch the old stumblebum pretending to run for president, and time is running out to get the dastardly deed done.

They are staring down a month of dread days that lead to the proposed great debate between the major party candidates, which is doomed to play like a combo of the classic horror movie endings — the unmasking of the phantom with a wooden stake driven through his heart, with Donald Trump cast as Prof Van Helsing. Can our resourceful intel blob instead maybe find a way before that to make it look like the “president” passed away peacefully in his slumber? Or perhaps it would suffice to just leak the voice recording of his interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur and allow people to compare what’s in it with the already-released printed transcript. Here’s just how crazy the party is: rumor has it that they might just rudely shove oId “JB” aside and try the Hail Mary pass of inviting RFKJr back on-board from exile to head the ticket. The Kennedy name alone used to be synonymous with the party’s brand, is their thinking, you see.

Trouble is, the Democratic Party is, in reality, synonymous with the intel blob that infests it, and protects it in the service of protecting its own sorry ass. You might recall that RFKJr has publicly stated that his father and uncle were murdered by that selfsame intel blob, which he has promised to treat very harshly were he actually elected. So, scratch that gambit. Beyond that, you’re back to the maddening rotation of Gavin Newsom, Michelle, and Rodan the Flying reptile, a.k.a. She-Whose-Turn-It-Is — all of them appallingly impossible. Gavin might have been Mr. Dreamboat incarnate — that hair! that height! those teeth! — prompting a pandemic of The Vapors among ladies who lately predominate in the Democrat rank-and-file. But, alas, under his charge California degenerated into a Woke bedlam of diseased homeless junkies shitting all over his cities, with non-stop flash-mob looting, carjacking, and drag queen promenading in the background, and there’s no way of hiding it. Gavin Newsom has a big “L” carved on his forehead the way that Charlie Manson used to sport a swastika.

The Michelle ploy might tempt them, but let’s face it: it’s really just Barack getting a fourth term in the White House — really his fourth-and-a-half, since the Obama intel blob cabal was behind all the RussiaGate roguery that beset, preoccupied, thwarted, and overthrew Mr. Trump’s turn in office. Behind the still-charming Obama façade lurks a penumbra of menace. It begins to look like maybe he really did want to destroy our country, to complete the Cloward-Piven downfall that dedicated Marxians deem the necessary step to creating their nirvana of equity and inclusion. And there are still those dark tales of his coke-fueled cruising nights in Chicago. . . and the mysterious death of his paddle-boarding chef-pal on Martha’s Vineyard. . . and those persistent rumors that what you see in Michelle is not what you get. Can you really see Barack hosting kaffeeklatsches in the East Room while Michelle plans drone strikes in the Oval?

So, finally there is. . . Hillary. After all, she still stalks this earth. She still pops up on TV regularly pronouncing this and that, mostly in the name of. . . women. . . who just can’t get a fair shake in this land, despite running all the elite universities, the foundations, many corporations (especially MSNBC), and the new misinformation-squelching commissions. She’s still reminding all and sundry that the country owes her the Big Prize in this era of historic firsts. She also happens to own the DNC, the apparatus that actually runs the party’s affairs. Her last time around (2016) she simply shoved primary election leader Bernie Sanders off-the-plank when convention time rolled around and there was nothing else left to do. Personally, I’d love to see the rematch. It would be the end of the party, which apparently doesn’t grok just how much America loathes her. Much more, I daresay, than even the Golden Golem of Greatness who is metamorphosing day by day into an archetypal hero that the ancient Greek myth-makers would be proud of as he survives one tribulation after another thrown at him by Nemesis.

Now, as he awaits conviction in the shuck-and-jive court case under mad dog Judge Juan Merchan, he ventured onto Democratic Party sacred ground up in the South Bronx to a surprisingly warm welcome by exactly the hard-up people the Democrats pretend to care about (as long as they stay down on the plantation and don’t get too uppity). Will Judge Merchan actually try to send the candidate to jail? Or maybe confine him to Trump Tower under some sort of house arrest? With maybe a big clunky ankle-bracelet for additional humiliation? That will be ripe. Let me proffer some advice to the Judge: the last thing you want to do with an archetypal hero is give him a prison to break out of so he can come roaring out for vengeance. In the end, Mr. Trump could accomplish something truly remarkable: bringing our country back together as a people united against being fucked-around by their own government.

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“Today’s woke left is destroying America’s legacy. While they claim to worry about “democracy,” they are really worried about losing their own power. They saw how actual democracy worked in 2016 and they don’t want any more of it.”

Treason of the Intellectuals and Danger From Within (Brooks)

“The enemies from within are more dangerous to me than the enemies from the outside,” said Republican Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump, at a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, on May 11, 2024. At a Springfield, Illinois, event, some 20 years before the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln delivered a prophetic message to his fellow citizens: “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” The speech is said to be the origin of the popular quote wrongly attributed to Lincoln: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” While these were not Lincoln’s exact words, most Americans understand that the 16th and 45th presidents of the United States were troubled by the same thing—the potential self-destruction of their nation.

History has demonstrated that internal discord can be as dangerous to a sovereign country as a foreign aggressor. In 2013, American author Diana West published “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character.” Her book initiated an important debate about the modern history of the American Republic. Ms. West contended that Nov. 16, 1933, was the beginning of a long assault on the security of U.S. democracy. This was the date when Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided to normalize relations with the murderous communist regime known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. FDR’s fateful decision opened America’s doors to an unprecedented invasion of Marxist militants, communist spies, and domestic fellow-travelers. In the decades that followed, progressive academics, journalists, novelists, artists, and entertainers all celebrated the socialist ideals of the Bolshevik Revolution. According to Ms. West, even American businessmen were “eager to buy their rope from Lenin.”

Ms. West’s views about the influence of communist ideologues in American politics were ridiculed by some of the most notable literary figures in the United States and Canada. Other courageous scholars came to her defense. One was the late Vladimir Bukovsky, a Russian-born writer and human rights activist who spent 12 years in Soviet psychiatric hospitals, prisons, and labor camps during the Brezhnev era. Another was Pavel Stroilov, a Russian Christian exile who fled to the UK after his academic research put his life and liberty in jeopardy. Writing for Breitbart News in November 2013, Mr. Bukovsky and Mr. Stroilov insisted that Diana West’s book would make history. Both agreed that, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and the unraveling of the Warsaw Pact in 1989, the United States never really won the Cold War. Like Ms. West, they asserted that the conflict between the United States and the USSR was more than a military stand-off.

“It was an ideological war waged by the totalitarian utopia of Socialism against our civilization; and on that level, the most optimistic view of it is that it still goes on. The Soviet Union is gone, but Russia is still governed by a junta of Gestapo officers; China is still governed by the Communist Party; and the Western world is governed by closet Marxists and Mensheviks, imposing on us yet another version of the same socialist utopia,” they wrote. Drawing on copious research and experience, Ms. West, Mr. Bukovsky, and Mr. Stroilov demonstrated that it was an elite American intelligentsia who surrendered the United States to the adversarial socialist culture. The U.S. establishment’s capitulation to the global left led to a complete occupation of U.S. institutions and the ultimate corruption of the free world. Few scholars have produced better explanations for the precipitous decline of Western democracy in the 21st century.

For more than 150 years after the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Americans regarded their nation as a beacon of liberty and a model for representative democracy. In the early decades of the 19th century, French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville expressed high praise for the United States, its citizens, and their civic institutions. After abolishing slavery, Abraham Lincoln identified the U.S. Republic as “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Americans developed civil institutions that were second to none. In 1964, the American Civil Rights Act extended the foundational promises of the United States to all of its citizens. Today’s woke left is destroying America’s legacy. While they claim to worry about “democracy,” they are really worried about losing their own power. They saw how actual democracy worked in 2016 and they don’t want any more of it.

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“These issues will not be resolved by presidents. You know who will decide them. A lot has already been decided overseas, and what hasn’t, will be decided later..”

Zelensky’s Unconstitutional Power Grab Amidst Ukraine’s Military Failures (Sp.)

Despite his term legally expiring on May 20, Zelensky has decided to extend his tenure as de-facto president, claiming legal authority under the Law of Martial Law and the Electoral Code of Ukraine, which prohibit elections during a period of martial law. Russian Senator Andrey Klishas explained why it is still unconstitutional. The Constitution of Ukraine does not contain provisions for the extension of the president’s term during martial law, but it does provide for such an extension for the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian parliament), Klishas noted. The principle of subsidiarity in constitutional law implies that matters of highest importance, including the extension of terms, should be regulated at the constitutional level.

The absence of a constitutional norm regarding the extension of the president’s term under martial law indicates that such legal regulation is impossible, contradicting the foundations of constitutional law. The Office of the President of Ukraine avoids appealing to the Constitutional Court regarding the extension of terms, indicating an acknowledgment of the constitutional risks associated with such a decision. The extension of martial law, and consequently, Zelensky’s tenure, is perceived as an illegal extension of the power of the “Kiev junta”, Russian Senator Andrey Klishas emphasized. Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that Zelensky’s legitimacy has expired, and Russia will proceed from this fact.

“Of course, we are aware that the legitimacy of the current head of state [of Ukraine] has ended,” Putin said at a press conference in Minsk on Friday after talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko agreed with Putin’s assessment, saying that “there is no legal integrity, and cannot be any legal integrity” on this question. “All the same, I believe that neither the current president nor the future one can resolve the big issues facing the state of Ukraine and the people of Ukraine. These issues will not be resolved by presidents. You know who will decide them. A lot has already been decided overseas, and what hasn’t, will be decided later,” Lukashenko said.

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“Publicly, I support what the president says,” the report cited one of the officials as saying. “Unpublicly, I think we should survive as an independent western state that has the possibility of development.”

Top Ukrainian Officials Don’t Believe Zelensky’s Rhetoric – Guardian (RT)

High-ranking Ukrainian officials privately consider Vladimir Zelensky’s statements about returning to the country’s 1991 borders to be unrealistic, and only hope for the country’s survival, The Guardian reported on Friday. According to the outlet, there is growing criticism towards Zelensky in Ukraine for maintaining “unrealistic hopes of total victory,” including the return of all former Ukrainian territories. Zelensky’s roadmap to resolve the crisis, which he has been promoting since 2022, calls for a complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces from all territories within Ukraine’s 1991 borders, for Moscow to pay reparations, and for a war crimes tribunal to be held. Moscow has described Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’ as an “absolutely hollow” ultimatum that is “divorced from reality.” Even senior officials in Ukraine privately give a more cautious definition of victory, the article noted.

“Publicly, I support what the president says,” the report cited one of the officials as saying. “Unpublicly, I think we should survive as an independent western state that has the possibility of development.” The outlet also pointed to growing anger in the country towards the West “for not doing enough, fast enough” for Ukraine. A government minister told the outlet that the US Congress “will never be forgiven by the Ukrainian people” for the “endless” delays in voting on the latest round of military aid. There is also growing discontent with Zelensky’s performance; his presidential term expired on May 20, raising questions over his legitimacy as head of state, according to the report. Several separate sources told the outlet that Zelensky “obsessively” studies his ratings, which continue to drop. Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that Moscow is ready to engage in peace negotiations with Ukraine. However, any future agreement “will have to take into account the realities on the ground,” he said.

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“..while Hungary is not opposed to sending the Russian money to Ukraine per se, it has concerns about making the payments automatic.”

Hungary Blocking EU Plan To Give Russian Money To Ukraine – FT (RT)

Hungary has blocked legislation that would allow the EU hand over profits earned on frozen Russian assets to Ukraine, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, citing sources. The West froze around $300 billion in Russian sovereign assets when the Ukraine conflict escalated, trapping around $280 billion in the EU. While the bloc stopped short of confiscating the assets outright due to legal concerns, earlier this week it approved the use of interest generated from the assets to provide military aid to Kiev. The annual revenue is estimated to be around $3 billion. However, according to five FT sources familiar with internal discussions among EU ambassadors, Hungary’s envoy has opposed expedited payments to Ukraine using Russian interest income.

“For the time being they are blocking everything connected to the military support to Ukraine,” one source said, adding the situation would not change until next month’s elections for the European Parliament, at the earliest. To placate Hungary, the EU reportedly proposed a deal under which its share of the bloc’s funds would not be used to purchase weapons for Ukraine. According to FT, this had limited success, as Budapest agreed not to veto the transfer of revenue to Ukraine. However, it is holding up the implementation of the decision by failing to support the necessary legislation, the article says. The outlet also said that while Hungary is not opposed to sending the Russian money to Ukraine per se, it has concerns about making the payments automatic.

Meanwhile, Moscow has denounced the decision to transfer profits from its assets to Ukraine as blatant and illegal “expropriation.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the move “potentially dangerous,” and warned of possible repercussions, including lawsuits. Hungary has been a consistent critic of the West’s approach to the Ukraine conflict, particularly its arms shipments to Kiev. Officials in Budapest have repeatedly called for a ceasefire, insisting that EU sanctions against Russia have failed to undermine its economy and have boomeranged against the bloc. At the end of last year, Hungary delayed the EU’s €50 billion ($54 billion) aid package to Ukraine for several weeks, but eventually backed down under Western pressure.

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No Biden, no Kamala, no China, no Brazil… etc etc.

Ukraine Peace Summit Another US-invented Scam – Zakharova (RT)

Kiev’s claims that Moscow is trying to derail the Swiss-hosted Ukraine peace summit scheduled for next month are ridiculous, be(RT) cause the much-hyped event is a hoax in the first place, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said. On Friday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba weighed in on a recent Reuters report which claimed, citing senior Russian sources, that President Vladimir Putin was ready to end the conflict by freezing the current frontline, but is prepared to fight on if the proposal is rejected. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that while Moscow remains open to talks, any settlement should meet the goals of its Ukraine campaign.

According to Kuleba, the Reuters report is Russia’s attempt to undermine the June 15-16 summit on Lake Lucerne, which is expected to focus on several points of Vladimir Zelensky’s peace formula, which Moscow has rejected as unacceptable. Russia was not invited, but has said it would not attend even if it were. The top Ukrainian diplomat suggested that Putin is “scared of [the summit’s] success,” and that is why “his entourage sends these phony signals of alleged readiness for a cease-fire despite the fact that Russian troops continue to brutally attack Ukraine.”

Zakharova vehemently disagreed, accusing Kuleba of “shamelessly lying.” She remarked that Russian officials have said hundreds, if not thousands of times, that Moscow is ready for talks on Ukraine, while Kiev walked away from engagement in the spring of 2022 on the advice of the UK. ”As for the ‘peace summit…’ this is another scam invented by the US State Department. And everyone understands this,” the spokeswoman said, adding that such events cannot be held by those sending weapons to the conflict zone. At least 50 delegations are expected to attend the Swiss-hosted summit. However, Bloomberg reported on Thursday that neither US President Joe Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris will be present, as the Biden campaign is focused on fundraising ahead of November’s presidential election.

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“[..] the upcoming talks in Switzerland [..] Putin suggested that they constitute an effort by the Kiev regime’s patrons to confer legitimacy on Zelensky..”

China and Brazil Offer Own Peace Plan as Western Ukraine Summit Fumbles (Sp.)

Moscow was not invited to participate in the “peace conference” that Switzerland will host on June 15-16. Russian officials have noted that it was conceived as another effort to “push through the unworkable ‘peace formula’ that ignores Russian interests.” Furthermore, any negotiating process on Ukraine without Russia’s involvement is “meaningless.” The upcoming gathering dubbed a Ukraine “peace summit” in Switzerland is being undercut on all sides. Brazil and China announced a rival initiative on Friday, further demoting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s conference aimed at pushing through his unworkable “peace formula.” The two countries support an international peace conference “held at a proper time that is recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, with equal participation of all parties as well as fair discussion of all peace plans,” they said in a statement.

The joint document was signed by Celso Amorim, special adviser to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and stated:
• Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis.
• Conditions should be created for resumption of direct dialogue, with de-escalation until a comprehensive ceasefire is in effect.
• An international peace conference should be held with participation of both Russia and Ukraine.
• Attacks on civilians and civilian facilities must be avoided.
• Targeting nuclear power plants and other peaceful nuclear facilities must be opposed.
• Use of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons and chemical and biological weapons, must be opposed.
• All possible efforts must be made to prevent nuclear proliferation and avoid nuclear crisis.
• The world should not be divided “into isolated political or economic groups,” the two countries stated.

The initiative from Brazil and China came after their presidents refused to attend the Ukraine “peace summit” set for June 15 to 16. The event in Lucerne is plagued by major no-shows. Joe Biden’s attention has been diverted to more pressing issues such as rubbing elbows with Hollywood celebs at his fundraiser. Besides the leaders of Brazil and China, South Africa has also refused to attend the event. Moscow has dismissed the conference, to which it was not invited, as “meaningless.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the conference is clearly not result-oriented, as it is impossible to have effective talks on Ukraine without Russia’s participation. As far as the upcoming talks in Switzerland are concerned, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin suggested that they constitute an effort by the Kiev regime’s patrons to confer legitimacy on Zelensky now that his legal term as president has expired.

Volodymyr Zelenesky’s constitutionally-mandated term as Ukraine’s president expired on May 21. He canceled elections planned for March or April last November. Putin emphasized at Friday’s press conference that Russia remains ready to resume peace negotiations with Ukraine, including based on the draft agreements inked during talks in Belarus and Turkiye in the spring of 2022, but accounting for the current realities on the ground. Regarding Zelensky’s 10-point peace plan, it is nothing but an ultimatum to Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted on Wednesday as he chaired a meeting of BRICS sherpas and sous-sherpas in Moscow. He added that the US was imposing Zelensky’s formula on everyone, inviting countries of the Global South to its platforms, such as the upcoming Lucerne meeting.

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“..we stand not on the precipice, but on the very edge… If such enemy actions are not stopped, an irreversible collapse of the strategic security of nuclear powers will begin..”

Ukraine and US Attacked Key Element Of Russia’s Nuclear Umbrella – Senator (RT)

The US is directly responsible for a Ukrainian strike on a key element of Russia’s nuclear umbrella, Senator Dmitry Rogozin has said, warning that such attacks could lead to the collapse of the entire global nuclear security architecture. In a statement on Telegram on Saturday, Rogozin, a senator who previously headed up the Russian space agency Roscosmos and is now in charge of a military technical center called Tsar’s Wolves, said that the attack targeted a nuclear early warning system in the southern Krasnodar Region. The Russian Defense Ministry has yet to comment on the matter, while the extent of the damage remains unclear.

Rogozin suggested that it was extremely unlikely that the strike, which Ukrainian media reported involved several drones, was carried out at Kiev’s sole initiative and without US involvement. According to the senator, Washington has always sought to achieve military superiority over Moscow since the very dawn of the nuclear age, but this rivalry was mostly limited to a battle of minds between scientists, strategists, and policymakers. This seems to have changed, however, as “the US has commissioned a crime by hiring an irresponsible bandit” to attack Russia’s early warning system, the official said, apparently referring to Vladimir Zelensky. Rogozin claimed that Washington’s “deep involvement in the armed conflict and total control over Kiev’s military planning means that the version that the US does not know about Ukrainian plans to strike Russia’s missile defense system can be discarded.”

Thus, we stand not on the precipice, but on the very edge… If such enemy actions are not stopped, an irreversible collapse of the strategic security of nuclear powers will begin. The attack apparently targeted an advanced Voronezh radar station in the city of Armavir, which went into operation in 2013. The system can detect incoming cruise and ballistic missiles at a range of 6,000km and can track up to 500 targets. During the inauguration of the system, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it would significantly increase the country’s defense capabilities in the southern and southwestern directions.

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“The president also touched upon the civilian crowd-funded military manufacturers that have emerged amid the hostilities..”

We Must Stay A Step Ahead Of The Enemy – Putin (RT)

Russia “must always be one step ahead” of its adversaries and should maintain its technological advantage in order to “guarantee” victory, President Vladimir Putin has said. The president made the remarks on Saturday as he visited the headquarters of the Tactical Missiles Corporation, a major state-owned defense company located outside Moscow. While at the facility, Putin held a meeting with the CEOs of Russia’s leading defense corporations. Gaining even a slim technological advantage has a drastic impact on the battlefield, the president stated, referring to what has been learned from the Ukraine conflict. “I would like to emphasize that we must always be one step ahead. We have to always be one step ahead of the adversary, and then victory will be guaranteed. You know this,” he said.

“Your specialists and you personally always remain in touch with our men fighting on the line of contact without sparing themselves to defend Russia’s interests. Whenever we manage to get an edge, no matter how slim it is, this increases our effectiveness manyfold,” Putin added. The country’s defense industry, which has been booming amid the hostilities, must not only become more efficient in meeting the needs of the military, but also diversify and become more involved in civilian manufacturing, according to Putin. “Delivering on this systemic objective is instrumental for streamlining the defense sector’s manufacturing potential and helping talented professionals advance their careers. Overall, this would create a more sustainable footing for defense manufacturers by offering them a solid economic and financial foundation in the long run,” he explained.

The president also touched upon the civilian crowd-funded military manufacturers that have emerged amid the hostilities. The solutions they offer – such as radio-electronic warfare devices or sophisticated drones – must be fast-tracked for adoption by the military, the president said. “We must also be effective when using assets supplied by the so-called grassroots defense manufacturing sector. We must enable it to develop and expand its manufacturing operations, and introduce a fast-track procedure for supplying its most effective solutions to the army,” Putin stated.

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“..Smith is not seeking to protect specific witnesses but the entire government from criticism. He objects that the statements create “a grossly misleading impression about the intentions and conduct of federal law enforcement.”

Special Counsel Jack Smith Demands a New Gag on Trump (Turley)

The government often waits until Friday night when it wants to file something controversial in seeking to reduce media coverage and public attention. Special Counsel Jack Smith followed this practice this week in quietly filing a motion to gag former president Donald Trump in his Florida case. Smith took the action after Trump suggested that the warrant used on his Palm Beach home included a provision allowing the use of lethal force. While the provision is standard in such warrants, Trump has portrayed the inclusion of the boilerplate language as a threat to his life and the lives of his family. Nevertheless, I believe that the gag order, like Smith’s past demands, is over-broad and a violation of the free speech rights of the former president. I have been a long critic of gag orders as inimical to free speech. I have specifically opposed past demands by Smith (and prior orders) as overbroad and unconstitutional.

There has been much discussion of the gag order imposed on Trump by Justice Juan Merchan who is controlling not only the travel but the speech of the leading presidential candidate from his small Manhattan courtroom. He has gagged Trump from speaking about witnesses like Michael Cohen who has attacked him as both a candidate and as a defendant in public. The New York courts have upheld the order. What is most troubling is the bar on Trump discussing such figures as Matthew Colangelo. Colangelo was third in command of the Justice Department and gave up that plum position to lead the case against Trump. Colangelo was also paid by the Democratic National Committee for “political consulting.” So a former high-ranking official in the Biden Justice Department and a past consultant to the DNC is leading the prosecution. With the weaponization of the criminal justice system by the Democrats as a central issue in this campaign, the gag order is curtailing the ability of Trump to address one of the most controversial figures in the effort.

Now Smith would like to radically expand the gag with a new order out of Florida. Notably, Smith has thus far failed in his unrelenting efforts to get one of his two cases to a jury before the election. Thus, this order would gag Trump through the election even though the cases could be effectively scuttled if he were elected. Trump has used the language to galvanize his supporters, claiming that FBI “WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHOOT ME” and that the government was “just itching to do the unthinkable.” He added that the FBI was “locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger.” Figures like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) have piled on with claims that the DOJ and FBI were “planning to assassinate Pres. Trump and gave the green light.” My strong disagreement with Trump on this lethal force provision does not alter my opposition to the gag effort. Many of us have publicly disagreed with these claims and expressed concern that they are fueling rage.

Trump’s opponents and the media have made the statements a focus of coverage for days. That is how free speech works. Citizens can reach their own conclusions on the merits in an free and open debate. Once again, the solution to bad speech is good speech, not censorship or gagging of those with opposing views. In his Friday filing, Smith is not seeking to protect specific witnesses but the entire government from criticism. He objects that the statements create “a grossly misleading impression about the intentions and conduct of federal law enforcement.” That could very well be true, but Smith is seeking to control what a presidential candidate can say about the government, a chilling measure for any political system. It is particularly concerning when directed at an anti-establishment candidate. The concerns over the premise of such an order are only exceeded by concerns over its scope. Smith does not seek to define that scope, but rather says that we will know a violation when we see it:

“Whether a particular statement meets that test “must be determined by reference to the statement’s full context. But that condition would clearly prohibit further statements deceptively claiming that the agents involved in the execution of the search warrant were engaged in an effort to kill him, his family, or Secret Service agents.” The vagueness of the order would create a chilling effect on a political candidate who would have to self-censor to avoid possible contempt sanctions, including jail. For the United States government to seek such a limit on political speech should be widely condemned in the media and politics. Under this order, the Justice Department would effectively limit what criticism could be voiced of its actions and intentions by the leading candidate for the presidency. For a candidate who has been subject to false allegations, including in the federal Russian collusion investigation, the gag would impose an unprecedented and unconstitutional limit on political speech.

It is another example of Smith’s lack of any sense of restraint in his pursuit of Trump. He has repeatedly shown a pronounced disregard for both due process and free speech in his prosecution of these cases. Indeed, while the inclusion of the boilerplate language has been exaggerated and distorted, the real threat from the government is evident in the motion filed in response to that criticism. Smith has again fulfilled the narrative with another motion that speaks to his animosity and sense of impunity in the prosecution of Donald Trump. The Smith motion should be denied and Attorney General Merrick Garland should exercise a modicum of responsibility in his supervision of the case. While Smith is being given broad discretion, that independence should not extend to contradicting core departmental policies on interfering with elections or curtailing free speech.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president..”

“..comments she later apologized over, calling them “ill-advised.”

But that was okay.

Dems Demand SCOTUS Justice Alito Recusal (ZH)

Senate Democrats have found their latest tantrum to attack the Supreme Court since its conservative majority – the fact that Justice Samuel Alito reportedly flew two flags outside his homes they say makes him unfit to weigh in on matters concerning Donald Trump. In mid-January 2021, Alito flew an upside down American flag – historically used by the military as a distress signal, while in July and September of 2023, he displayed an “Appeal to Heaven” flag – commissioned by George Washington in 1775 for maritime use – outside his New Jersey vacation home. The flags have caused uproar among Democrats, who have been scheming for years to dilute the conservative power of the Supreme Court (see: court packing). In a Friday letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Democrat Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and subcommittee head Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse urged Roberts to take steps to ensure Alito recuses himself from cases related to the 2020 presidential election and Jan. 6 attack.

The Court currently has two such cases pending before it – one concerning federal prosecutors’ use of an obstruction charge against Jan. 6 defendants, and another which addresses whether Donald Trump is entitled to immunity from criminal charges stemming from his actions following the 2020 election. Now, the New York Times and Obama’s law professor Lawrence Tribe are engaging in what people are referring to as “High-brow QAnon” conspiracy theories (aka ‘BlueAnon); In 2016, Democrats were absolutely silent over Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s notorious and public hatred of Donald Trump – comments she later apologized over, calling them “ill-advised.” “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she told the NY Times during the election, adding “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.” She also called Trump a “faker” and criticized him for not releasing his tax returns. “‘Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand,’” she joked.

Who cares, right? But Democrats playing in the sandbox want to throw sand over Alito. When Sheldon Whitehouse, the guy currently demanding Alito’s recusal, was asked by The Dispatch about Ginsburg’s public comments opposing Trump during the 2016 campaign, he said “I don’t know what cases she was ruling on at that point. They [Republicans] weren’t asking for [recusal.]. Ginsburg notoriously weighed in on several cases involving Trump’s policies, including the travel ban (Trump v. Hawaii), Trump’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census (which was denied), and DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), though the major Court decision involving the case came after her 2020 death.

Meanwhile (and there’s always a meanwhile), WikiPedia’s entry on the Appeal to Heaven (aka ‘Pine Tree’) flag has radically changed over the past several days. On Wednesday, it was referred to as ‘a religious and political symbol by some conservative, nationalist, and Christian national activists’ in the US. Now, the entry reads: “The flag fell into obscurity until the 2020s, where it became seen as a symbol of Christian nationalism and support for President Donald Trump and his “Stop the Steal” campaign among far-right groups.Oh… The flag draws its meaning from a John Locke quote: “And where the Body of the People, or any single Man, is deprived of their Right, or is under the Exercise of a power without right, and have no Appeal on Earth, then they have a liberty to appeal to Heaven, whenever they judge the Cause of sufficient moment,” -The Second Treatise on Civil Government (1689).

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“..I accept that this, like many things in history, is a spiral. And in time there will be a process of return. But it is obvious that today Western Europe is for Russia not a region that is very important or offers many opportunities.”

Europe Is Fading Away And Becoming A ‘Lost Continent’ (Sushentsov)

The growing presence of NATO on Russia’s western borders worries our country. There are signs of the US-led bloc’s transition from hibernation to preparations for a major military confrontation in Europe. The path of increasing escalation and pressure on Russia is a dead end: Moscow takes the NATO threat seriously and has the means to deal with it. The militarization of the Baltic states, the strengthening of the bloc’s influence in the Black Sea and near the Russian border will increase the number of episodes in which our interests collide and keep us in constant tension. Russia has no aggressive plans against the Baltics – this is a threat invented by Washington and Brussels. However, if NATO chooses the path of escalating tensions, Moscow will not shy away from this challenge. I believe that this path is a fool’s errand for Western Europe – it becomes a hostage to the American desire to isolate the EU’s main economies from Russia.

Escalation creates a series of phobias, removes any impetus for economic cooperation and ultimately ties Western European states to the US economy, making them much less competitive. As a result, the Americans are “cannibalizing” the Western Europeans under the noble guise of protecting the European continent from an imaginary Russian threat. I believe that those in Western Europe should not be blind to this artificial inflation of tensions by the US – they must act in their own interests. Russia has now turned its attention to other regions of the world and is developing its historic relations with the countries of Asia and Africa with great vigor. To some extent, Western Europe is turning away from Russia and Russia is turning away from Western Europe. I accept that this, like many things in history, is a spiral. And in time there will be a process of return. But it is obvious that today Western Europe is for Russia not a region that is very important or offers many opportunities.

On the contrary, what we hear from there nowadays are the most bellicose statements, but not backed up by much political resolve. While Russia continues to perceive Western European actions against our country as a threat, the focus of Moscow’s attention is shifting to other parts of the world. At the same time, the US remains the most active – in a destructive sense – force in international relations, constantly working to create ad hoc coalitions to use against its opponents. Now it’s acting more and more feverishly, realizing that time is not on its side. Instead of this nonsense, it would be wise for Washington to accept that objective demographic, economic and social processes are making Asia the world’s main center of gravity in the new century, and to work to ensure that the conditions for stability and development are maintained. The actions of the Americans, unfortunately, show the opposite: they are exacerbating the perception of their own decline, which would be less acute if they behaved more constructively.

The shift of the center of gravity from the Atlantic region to East and South Asia is an objective process. Moscow and Washington are only indirectly involved in it, but the growing influence of the countries of this region cannot be denied or stopped. In this context, relations between Russia and China are remarkable – although there have been crises between our countries in the past, Russian-Chinese relations are now at their peak and are one of the fundamental pillars of a new balanced international order. As early as the mid-1990s, Russia and China formulated a common vision of the world of the future. It was enshrined in the 1997 ‘Declaration on a Multipolar World and the Formation of a New International Order’. And since then, the Russian-Chinese understanding of how the world should be has evolved: on the basis of non-interference, respect for sovereignty, mutual interests, and the recognition that cooperation between countries is possible regardless of the nature of their government. This basis for cooperation has stood the test of time and many international crises in recent decades, and is taking our relations to an even higher level.

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[..] just 6% of Europeans 65 years of age and older still working. Japan: 25%..

EU Marks a Sharp Decline in Population (Sp.)

This week, the Financial Times published an article highlighting the European Union’s (EU) shrinking population which has put a strain on the bloc’s finances. The article notes that a dip in the bloc’s population rose in the year that ended in January 2023, thanks to the influx of displaced Ukrainians. The London-based paper wrote earlier this month that the “trade-off between ethnic homogeneity and prosperity is set to become more acute over the next decade”. The newspaper has also noted that the participation of immigrants and women working in the labor force is no longer enough to keep afloat the EU’s falling percentages of those who are considered “working-age”, or people who are aged 20 to 64. According to United Nations (UN) data, those in the working-age bracket shrunk from 270 million in 2011 to roughly 261 million this year; dropping to 58% from a peak of nearly 62% in 2008.

And one European country in particular stands out regarding this drop: Germany has lost about 2 million people in the working age bracket since that group’s number peaked in 1998, according to the article’s analysis of UN data, and is set to lose another 10% in the next decade. The Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft has estimated that a lack of workers could cost Germany €49 billion of lost output for this year alone. The EU’s population numbers for the year 2023 were below expectations as birth levels fell to a number that the European Commission’s Eurostat had not predicted would occur for at least another two decades. This suggests that the forecast for the EU’s peak population – 453 million – may occur sometime before 2026. The article notes that in addition to the failure of EU governments’ pro-natal policies, anti-immigration parties are predicted to make strides in the European parliament elections this June.

Dubravka Suica,the European Commission’s vice-president for democracy and demography, explains that if these dropping population numbers are not addressed, the bloc will suffer threats to its competitiveness, budgets, public services, pensions and unemployment. According to the article, experts are now urging European governments to invest in skills and education to increase the value of what is produced per hour worked. Suica adds that affordable and efficient family policies, which worked in the past to help support fertility rates, no longer work as well as they once did. In 2022, the number of babies born in the EU fell below 4 million for the first time since data was first kept in 1960.

Europe also has the highest life expectancy of any continent as well as the highest median age, yet they fall far past Japan (25%), the US, OECD countries, and the UK in the percentages of those 65 years of age and older who still participate in the labor force, with just 6% of older Europeans still working. The number of those living over the age of 85 is also growing, which adds a pressure on the wallets of younger generations and strains public finances.

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“..I do think there’s perhaps still a role for humans in this, in that we may give AI meaning.”

Musk: AI Will ‘Do Everything Better Than You,’ Make Employment Obsolete (CT)

Elon Musk recently doubled down on his predictions that humans would need a “universal high income” in the wake of artificial intelligence (AI)-driven job displacement. — this time claiming that without our jobs, our purpose in life may eventually be to “give AI meaning.” The bleak prognostication from the world’s richest person came during the VivaTech 2024 event in Paris as part of a winding speech wherein Musk made fervent claims that AI would provide all of our goods and services in the future. “My biggest fear is AI,” the mogul said. He also claimed that AI will be better than humans at everything, thus relegating our species to doing our best to support the machines:

“The question will really be one of meaning — if the computer and robots can do everything better than you, does your life have meaning? I do think there’s perhaps still a role for humans in this, in that we may give AI meaning.” Musk, the father of at least 10 children, said humans might be able to work “as a hobby,” if they chose, but ultimately painted a bleak picture of the future where, according to his previous predictions, AI will supplant us in all endeavors. In related news, Musk’s AI company, dubbed simply xAI, has reportedly secured $6 billion in funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and Tribe Capital at a total valuation of $18 billion. As Cointelegraph recently reported, Musk says that xAI lags behind industry leaders OpenAI and DeepMind but could catch up by the end of 2024:

“xAI is a new company so it still has a lot of catching up to do before it has an AI that is competitive with Google Deepmind and OpenAI. Maybe towards the end of the year, we will have that.” This sentiment, combined with his prediction that AI will surpass humans by 2025, indicates that he believes his company will be among those that could potentially create AI capable of human-level cognition. It bears mentioning that Musk’s AI-related predictions haven’t always fared so well. In 2019, he famously promised that Tesla would field 1 million fully autonomous robotaxis on the road by 2020. More recently, he claimed that Tesla would unveil its first robotaxi in August 2024.

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Matthau

 

 

Lennon

 

 

Cheese baby
https://twitter.com/i/status/1794337512820977875

 

 

Tap
https://twitter.com/i/status/1794232297136288078

 

 

Groper
https://twitter.com/i/status/1794371390692302897

 

 

Octopus

 

 

Girl horse dog

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 232024
 


Vincent van Gogh The sower 1888

 

Trump In The Bronx: Thousands Expected To Show Up For Massive Rally (ZH)
Trump Claims Biden Authorized FBI To Use Deadly Force In Mar-a-Lago (RT)
Election 2024: A Political Renaissance for America or the Path to Totalitarianism (AmG)
Judge Aileen Cannon to Hear Motions to Dismiss in Trump Documents Case (ET)
Alan Dershowitz Might Get Away With His Motto for Trump Case (Taft)
Raisi Led The Charge For Russia–Iran–China’s ‘New World Order’ (Pepe Escobar)
CIA Prevented Hunter’s Tax Sugar Daddy From Becoming Federal Witness (ZH)
Tucker Carlson Sets Record Straight on Claims of Hosting Russian TV Show (Sp.)
Germany Would ‘Abide’ By ICC Netanyahu Arrest Warrant (RT)
‘We’re Next!’ Lindsey Graham Warns About ICC (RT)
Ukraine Is Losing, Direct Intervention By The West Risks Nuclear Conflict (RT)
Musk Questions Ukrainian Democracy (RT)
Scientists Reveal Hidden Branch of the Nile, May Solve Pyramid Mystery (Sp.)
The Slow-Motion Execution of Julian Assange Continues (Chris Hedges)

 

 

 

 

Alina/Mechan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1793149492419588317

 

 

Tucker Prince

 

 

Not looking good, Bill..

 

 

“Biden presents as old and ancient. That [Trump] does not look old.”

 

 

Unified Reich

 

 

Volga

 

 

 

 

In Trump terms, “a crowd of up to 3,500 people” is not a massive rally. But it’s ‘lovely ironic’ that it is Alvin Bragg who brings Trump to Manhattan.

Trump In The Bronx: Thousands Expected To Show Up For Massive Rally (ZH)

With Donald Trump stuck in New York for his ‘hush money’ trial, which now rests in the hands of the jury (while having imploded in the court of public opinion), the former president is holding what’s expected to be a massive rally on Thursday in the Bronx amid huge gains in polling among black and latino voters. The Trump campaign expects a crowd of up to 3,500 people, according to the NY Post. It will mark the first time he’s campaigned in his home state since a 2016 event in Buffalo. Several polls suggest as many as 23% of black voters and 46% of latino voters could cast their ballot for Trump – a huge boost from the 6% of black and 28% of latino voters who supported him in 2016, which grew to 8% and 32% respectively in 2020. As the Epoch Times noted last month, support for the Democratic Party among black and Hispanic voters has been eroding for years.

The percentage of black voters who “lean Democrat” topped out at near 90 percent in 2008 but fell to 66 percent by 2023, the lowest level yet recorded according to data from Gallup’s annual polling on the subject. Meanwhile, the percentage of black voters who “lean Republican” rose from single digits to 19 percent over the same period. Of note, the Bronx hasn’t backed a Republican candidate for White House in 100 years when Calvin Coolidge won every single NY county in 1920 and 1924. Meanwhile, Trump’s Thursday rally comes weeks after a massive rally in the Jersey Shore town of Wildwood -drawing an estimated 100,000 supporters – and days after Trump supporters were seen marching in the South Bronx over the weekend. [..] Indeed, the Trump campaign has been making the best of the former president’s situation. “While he is in court, we are using New York City as a backdrop,” said Trump campaign spokesperson Danielle Alvarez in a statement to the Post. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” another source close to the campaign told the outlet.

“President Trump is taking advantage of being stuck in New York by holding a rally that will surely highlight how Joe Biden has failed Bronx residents with inflation and the open border. The nation’s biggest outlets are headquartered in NYC. [Manhattan DA Alvin] Bragg has inadvertently given Trump a massive stage.” Staten Island Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, the only Republican member of Congress representing a New York City district, told The Post she thinks Trump’s Bronx rally is “a great start.” “It’s exciting for New York City to have President Trump rallying, and it’s important for him to reach out to, particularly minority communities. I think New York is in play,” she said.

“New York is desperate for a balance, and they’ve shown that … We flipped that City Council seat in the Bronx, right in the heart of AOC’s district. In my congressional district, we were able to flip multiple [state] Assembly seats Republican. “My district would love for President Donald Trump to make a stop, particularly Staten Island,” added Malliotakis, shouting out the only borough to back Trump in both 2016 and 2020. In future, the lawmaker added, she would “love to see him do something at Yankee Stadium, or take over the beach on Staten Island like he did in Wildwood.” -NY Post. This is a complete optics nightmare for Democrats.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1793255284711788854

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Garland/DOJ were desperate to see what was in the folder they thought Trump held… they overruled FBI agents who resisted the plan…

“..the FBI said in a statement that its agents had followed “standard procedure” during the raid. “The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force..”

Look, there is no “standard procedure” for raiding a former President’s home. It never happened before.

Trump Claims Biden Authorized FBI To Use Deadly Force In Mar-a-Lago (RT)

Donald Trump has accused US President Joe Biden of authorizing the use of deadly force during the FBI’s raid on his estate in 2022, citing a law enforcement document released on Tuesday in the classified documents case against the former president. The document in question describes the FBI’s plans for a court-authorized search on August 8, 2022 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. “Wow! I just came out of the Biden Witch Hunt Trial in Manhattan, the ‘Icebox,’ and was shown Reports that Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ, in their Illegal and UnConstitutional Raid of Mar-a-Lago, authorized the FBI to use deadly (lethal) force,” Trump wrote in a post on his Truth Social account on Tuesday.

Garland
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792981056158634423

The FBI’s operations order was revealed as part of the investigation into Trump’s alleged falsification of business records. During the search of Trump’s residence in connection with this probe it was supposedly discovered that the ex-president had retained classified documents. According to a court filing, the order contained a policy statement regarding the use of deadly force, which stated, for example, that “Law Enforcement officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force when necessary,” Fox News reported on Tuesday, citing the document. The US Department of Justice and FBI agents “planned to bring ‘Standard Issue Weapons’, ‘Ammo’, ‘Handcuffs’, and ‘medium and large sized bolt cutters’, but they were instructed to wear ‘unmarked polo or collared shirts’ and to keep ‘law enforcement equipment concealed,” the filing revealed.

“Now we know, for sure, that Joe Biden is a serious threat to democracy. He is mentally unfit to hold office – 25th amendment,” said Trump, who is the current Republican frontrunner to challenge Biden in November’s presidential election. In a rare and apparently direct response to the former president’s post, the FBI said in a statement that its agents had followed “standard procedure” during the raid. “The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force,” the statement read. “No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter.” The FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago found that dozens of classified documents remained in the residence. Trump, however, has claimed that he was within his rights as a former president to possess the documents.

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“..Assuming the election’s fidelity—that this assumption must be made is an indication of how close the country is flirting with totalitarianism..”

Election 2024: A Political Renaissance for America or the Path to Totalitarianism (AmG)

It has been decades in the making, but the country is now on the precipice between its traditional ideology of political liberalism and a path that will lead, far sooner than Americans might think, to totalitarianism. The historical bulwarks of Americanism and the American political system—government of the people, freedom, and liberty—have been deliberately eroded. A citizenry steeped in republican virtue, cognizant of the political ideas and principles that made America a lasting and strong constitutional republic, and knowledgeable about the duties and obligations of American citizenship have been under daily assault for years from the foreign ideology of communism. That odious ideology has operated under synonyms such as “progressivism,” “multiculturalism,” or DEI to make its poison more palatable to American audiences.

The media—the so-called “Fourth Estate”—has been another layer of protection that has been peeled away. Today, they are activists advancing the left’s agenda in all but name. Great newspapers that were lively to read and informative are no longer. One reads them now the same way Soviet citizens used to read Pravda—only by knowing the lies that are printed and surmising what is left out of the story can one come close to knowing the truth. Compare the front page of the New York Times from fifty, forty, or thirty years ago to one today, and the change is telling and sad to see. Rather than a robust culture of free speech, censorship is pervasive by the legacy and social media, Big Tech, and by a ubiquitous and devilish culture of self-censorship.

American universities were once the envy of the world, as lively academies of intellectual debate and devoted to the pursuit of knowledge are now factories of indoctrination. Their law, medical, engineering, and business schools have also been transformed into political instruments that advance the “Party Line.” Unbelievably, thought control in K-12 is even worse. Popular culture fell a long time ago, and most of it is simply a contemporary version of Soviet entertainment where the heroic worker and peasant defeat the evil capitalist and priest. Worse still is the promotion of degeneracy and decadence with gender reassignment led by a teacher’s union that more resembles a Clockwork Orange ensemble than as the protectors of the most vulnerable in our society—our children.

As alarming as these developments are, what is worse is the permanent weaponization of government against political opponents. The raids, indictments, trials, and gag orders for a former president and leading 2024 candidate demonstrate that the Constitutional rights of the most prominent political figure in American politics in this century can have his rights violated, so too can all Americans. The lawfare employed against President Trump has been specifically designed by the left to consume his time and other resources away from his campaign for President in this critically important election year.

Of course, it is not only Trump. The imprisonment of former Trump official Peter Navarro and perhaps of Trump advisor Steve Bannon is an attempt to decapitate the Make America Great Again Movement through their imprisonment and to send a message to others about what will happen to anyone who opposes the state. The persecution of Trump’s legal advisor, John Eastman, is a similar tactic. The result is that law firms will be reluctant to accept the movement’s legal challenges. These actions are the first strike in the left’s campaign of “lawfare” to disarm Trump and to deter any Republican challenge to the parameters of the election and its aftermath. It is also political muscle flexing in an attempt to intimidate anyone who would assist Trump’s campaign and an effort to demoralize his base. After the British executed Admiral John Byng in 1757, Voltaire wrote it was “to encourage the others,” and so it is today.

The irony of the many steps taken by the left to advance a totalitarian agenda is that it is they who falsely proclaim that it is Trump and the MAGA movement that are the fascists. It is the left that is actually implementing such vile and anti-American practices against their political enemies and the American people. Recently, former 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was once again on the Sunday news shows talking about how Donald Trump would arrest his political enemies, while in reality it is only the Democratic Party and the Biden administration that have put Peter Navarro in prison, may imprison Bannon, and indicted the former President 92 times.

This cannot stand if America is to survive as a constitutional republic. If it does, then the country is on the path to totalitarianism. Totalitarianism does not just show up one day, springing forth fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. But it does come quickly, more so than most Americans realize, as the ideology, laws, norms, and culture are eroded by the new revolutionary regime. When they seized power in 1917, the Bolsheviks did not know how far they could push the Russian people, but that was not for lack of intent or for a lack trying. Their ambition was to remake everything—culture, politics, economics, the arts, science, diplomacy, education, values, and thought. Every year, they tightened their grip until they crushed the people in the horrors of Stalinism. It took only twenty years from the time the Bolsheviks came to power to the show trials of mature Stalinism.

Nothing is decided and there will be many ups and downs, twists and turns, and surprises between now and Election Day. The election of 2024 is critical and as important as any in its history. Assuming the election’s fidelity—that this assumption must be made is an indication of how close the country is flirting with totalitarianism—it will provide Americans with the clearest choice in our history since the Civil War. When that choice is understood to be one between the continuation of the American Republic or to enter the hell of totalitarianism, the election will spark a renaissance of America’s traditional political ideology, institutions, values and culture. This election provides the opportunity to drive a stake through the heart of totalitarianism “with an American face,” as Americans, having seen into the abyss, will reject the totalitarian path. A re-birth of the understanding of the value of American citizenship—that spirit of 1776—and of our inalienable and universal freedoms can come from the 2024 election.

To ensure that positive outcome will require not only support for President Trump but also extraordinary vigilance by the American people through the election and its aftermath.

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“Judge Cannon postponed the trial indefinitely to consider additional motions to dismiss, including “indictment based on unlawful appointment and funding of Special Counsel” on June 21..”

Judge Aileen Cannon to Hear Motions to Dismiss in Trump Documents Case (ET)

After the prosecution and defense rested their cases in former President Donald Trump’s trial in Manhattan, his attorneys and those of co-defendant Walt Nauta will appear in southeast Florida on May 22 to argue for the dismissal of his classified documents case. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will preside over back-to-back hearings that consider multiple motions to dismiss the case. Mr. Nauta’s attorneys will argue that the case should be dismissed based on selective and vindictive prosecution. Judge Cannon will then hear arguments from all defendants to dismiss the case on insufficient pleading. President Trump will be absent for both hearings in Fort Pierce, Florida, after Judge Cannon granted his “motion for leave to be excused” on May 14. The defendants have filed multiple motions to dismiss the case, including one citing the Presidential Records Act and another invoking “unconstitutional vagueness” that Judge Cannon heard during a March 14 hearing.

President Trump also filed a May 21 motion to dismiss, alleging prosecutorial misconduct when the FBI seized 15 boxes of documents during the Mar-a-Lago raid. Judge Cannon postponed the trial indefinitely to consider additional motions to dismiss, including “indictment based on unlawful appointment and funding of Special Counsel” on June 21. There are also partial evidentiary hearings scheduled for June 24–26 and a “defense reciprocal discovery” hearing on July 10. As a result of these pre-trial issues, Judge Cannon has indefinitely postponed the trial for this case, which experts say may not occur before the November election. The Justice Department charged Mr. Nauta with multiple counts, including: “participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice,” after President Trump tasked him with moving some of the boxes containing classified documents at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort and residence in Palm Beach, Florida.

Mr. Nauta’s attorney, Stanley Woodward, Jr., argues that the Justice Department’s Special Counsel’s Office decision to prosecute the valet was “both selective and vindictive.” Mr. Woodward wrote that the legal standard for “selective prosecution” is that a prosecution “has a discriminatory effect” and that it was motivated by a “discriminatory purpose.” He also describes vindictive prosecution as when a prosecutor’s charging decision was “motivated by a desire to punish [the defendant] for doing something that the law plainly allowed him to do” while treating the defendant with “genuine animus.” Since others at the resort had moved the boxes “in the same or similar time, manner, and place as Mr. Nauta,” it would be discriminatory to charge him and no one else with this crime, Mr. Woodward argued in the motion to dismiss.

The Special Counsel’s Office rejected this argument and said it rests Mr. Nauta’s comparison to two other employees of President Trump “but whose conduct was not remotely similar to his own.” Therefore, it fails to prove that Mr. Nauta was selected for prosecution over those individuals for “improper reasons,” prosecutors say. As for vindictive prosecution, Mr. Woodward argued that Mr. Nauta was only prosecuted after he declined the Special Counsel’s Office’s request that he give “full cooperation in the investigation.” Mr. Woodward believes the indictment was “vindictive” because it appears that prosecutors targeted Mr. Nauta after he chose to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and declined to testify in front of a grand jury. The Justice Department called this a “novel and unsupported claim” and wrote that if the court accepted it, that would imply that any defendant asked to provide “full cooperation” would be immune from charges by simply “declining the offer.”

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“..Alan Dershowitz Might Be the Only One..”

Alan Dershowitz Might Get Away With His Motto for Trump Case (Taft)

The Trump trial in New York has seen a meltdown by the judge, a “star” witness who predictably lied on the stand, a mattress actress who described in fanciful detail a likely apocryphal tryst with the TV star-turned-president, and now this goat rodeo has been branded. It’s not just any slogan, no sir. Legal scholar and Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz may be one of only four people in America with the standing to pull this motto out on national TV and not get laughed at. Dershowitz was in the Manhattan courtroom on Monday and was appalled at seeing in person the sloppy, one-sided, and outrageous conduct against former President Donald Trump. Furthermore, he wants the video of the trial, which he says the court has, to be preserved and seen “by every American… to see what this judge looked like when he shouted at [defense witness Bob] Costello… (see my story about this nearby) and strike this testimony… and not allow this defendant to put on a defense.”

Those are sharp words from Dershowitz who has been in some of America’s most august courtrooms, congressional halls, and venues and done some serious backroom brawling in defense of his clients. But this, he said, is “one of the most unfair trials I have ever seen in the 60 years of practicing, teaching, and writing about criminal law. It’s a scandal.” He told Sean Hannity of Fox News that in this trial Judge Juan Merchan expanded the use of irrelevant testimony by the prosecution and curtailed the use of exonerating evidence for Donald Trump. He claimed, as others do, that the judge has ignored Trump’s Sixth Amendment Rights. Dershowitz said that in the time he was in court on Monday, he personally witnessed multiple rulings and decisions by the judge that were reversible errors in Trump’s case. He was the only spectator allowed to remain in the courtroom when the judge cleared it when he yelled at Costello. Maybe Judge Merchan thought Dershowitz was on the case.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1793091599775445338

Back in the day, America got a look at another judge in a deadly serious case against a beloved and ubiquitous TV star and sports figure, OJ Simpson. Americans were riveted by the TV coverage of the double murder trial of the retired NFL great. Dershowitz was part of Simpson’s “dream team” of lawyers who won the sports star and actor an acquittal. He and Robert Shapiro and DNA specialists Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, who founded The Innocence Project, are the only members of the defense team still alive. Johnny Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, and the man who assembled them all, attorney Robert Kardashian have all died. But you know the motto that Cochran coined during the closing arguments of the trial. One of OJ’s bloody kid gloves was found at the scene of the murders. Police found the matching bloody glove behind OJ’s house. They were bagged by evidence teams and stayed locked up for months in a police evidence locker.

During the trial, a young prosecutor tried to pull off a dramatic courtroom moment when he asked OJ to put his gnarled and arthritic hands inside the dried-out leather gloves. Not surprisingly, they didn’t fit like a glove. Cochran seized on the moment and told the jury during closing arguments, “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” They did. Now one of the original dream team members has reworked the phrase to include his assessment of this Trump trial. Dershowitz told Hannity Tuesday night, “I have a motto for the defense: ‘If it’s not legit, you must acquit.’ And this is not a legitimate trial and there must be an acquittal… in the interest of all Americans.” Like the OJ case, DA Alvin Bragg may finally get down to the business of finding the real criminal in that Manhattan courtroom. All he’ll need to do is look in the mirror.

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“..none of the three Asian powers will allow the other partners to be destabilized by the usual suspects..”

Raisi Led The Charge For Russia–Iran–China’s ‘New World Order’ (Pepe Escobar)

Amidst all the sadness and grief over the loss of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, let’s take a moment to showcase the critical path he helped forge toward a new global order. In the nearly three years since Raisi ascended to the Iranian presidency, Eurasian integration and the drive toward multipolarity have become fundamentally conducted by three major actors: Russia, China, and Iran. Which, by no accident, are the three top “existential threats” to the hegemonic power. At 10 pm this past Sunday in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited Iran’s ambassador to Moscow, Kazem Jalali, to be at the table in an impromptu meeting with the cream of the crop of Russia’s Defense Team. That invitation reached far beyond the myopic media conjecture over whether the Iranian president’s untimely death was due to an “accidental crash” or an act of sabotage. It came from the fruits of Raisi’s tireless labor to position Iran as an east-facing nation, boldly forging strategic alliances with Asia’s major powers while sweetening Tehran’s relations with past regional foes.

Back to that Sunday night table in Moscow. Everyone was there – from Defense Minister Andrei Belousov and Secretary of the Security Council Sergei Shoigu to Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, Emergencies Minister Aleksandr Kurenkov and Special Assistant to the President, Igor Levitin. The key message portrayed was that Moscow has Tehran’s back. And Russia completely supports the stability and continuity of government in Iran, which is already fully guaranteed by Iran’s constitution and its detailed contingencies for a peaceful transition of power under even unusual circumstances. As we are now deep into total Hybrid War mode – bordering on Hot – across most of the planet, the three civilization states shaping a new system of international relations could not be more obvious. Russia–Iran–China (RIC) are already interlinked via bilateral, comprehensive strategic partnerships; they are members of both BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and their modus operandi was fully unveiled for the whole Global Majority to examine at Putin’s crucial summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last week.

In short, none of the three Asian powers will allow the other partners to be destabilized by the usual suspects. Late President Raisi and his top diplomat, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, leave a stellar legacy. Under their leadership, Iran became a member of BRICS, a full member of the SCO, and a major stakeholder in the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). These are the three key multilateral organizations shaping the road to multipolarity. Iran’s new diplomatic drive reached key Arab and African players, from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt to Libya, Sudan, and Djibouti. Tehran, for the first time, conducted a sophisticated, large-scale military operation against Israel, firing a barrage of drones and missiles from Iranian territory. Iran–Russia relations reached the next level in trade and military-political cooperation. Two years ago, Putin and Raisi agreed on a comprehensive bilateral treaty. The draft of the core document is now ready and will be signed by Iran’s next president, expanding the partnership even further.

As a member of an Iranian delegation told me last year in Moscow, when the Russians were asked what could be on the table, they replied, “You can ask us anything.” And vice versa. So all interlocked declinations of Raisi’s “Look East” strategic shift coupled with Russia’s earlier “pivot to Asia” are being addressed by Moscow and Tehran. The Council of Foreign Ministers of the SCO is meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday in Astana, preparing for the summit in July, when Belarus will become a full member. Crucially, Saudi Arabia’s cabinet has also approved the decision for Riyadh to join, possibly next year. Iran’s continuity of government will be fully represented in Astana via interim Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, who was Amir-Abdollahian’s number two. He’s bound to immediately enter the fray alongside Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to discuss the multi-layered multipolar path.

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Good question: “Why would the CIA protect Morris?”

CIA Prevented Hunter’s Tax Sugar Daddy From Becoming Federal Witness (ZH)

A trove of new whistleblower documents provided to House GOP investigators reveal, among other things, that the CIA prevented federal investigators from pursuing Hollywood lawyer Kevin Morris as a witness in their investigation of Hunter Biden. Morris, a Hollywood entertainment lawyer who has ‘long supported’ Hunter (and why?) has loaned the First Son more than $6.5 million, according to a January letter to the House oversight committee. We’ve known about the CIA connection since March, when the Chairmen of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, Jim Jordan (R-OH) and James Comer (R-KY) said that a whistleblower has brought them information that ‘seems to corroborate our concerns’ that the CIA directly interfered with DOJ and IRS investigations of Hunter Biden. According to a whistleblower, the CIA “intervened in the investigation of Hunter biden to prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) from interviewing a witness,” the letter, addressed to CIA Director William Burns, reads.

Specifically, the Committees were concerned at how “the DOJ deviated from its standard processes to afford preferential treatment to Hunter Biden,” which they learned “after two brave whistleblowers testified to Congress” that the Justice Department had done just that. “DOJ officials restricted what investigative steps the investigators could pursue, tipped off Hunter Biden’s attorneys about investigative steps, and even prevented investigators from conducting witness interviews. The whistleblowers’ testimony about the preferential treatment provided to Hunter Biden has been corroborated by testimony from other witnesses and documents the Committees have received.” And now we know who that witness is… “In a Wednesday statement, the House Ways and Means Committee wrote that whistleblower documents indicate “In 2021, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Leslie Wolf told investigators they could not pursue Hollywood lawyer Kevin Morris as a witness based on information she received from the CIA. Investigators were never provided the same information that AUSA Wolf received.”

“From whistleblower-provided evidence, we know Hunter Biden and his business associates made millions from selling access to Joe Biden and the quote ‘brand’ that is Joe Biden around the world. We know President Biden’s denials of any knowledge or involvement are not true,” reads the letter. “We know the Department of Justice tried to undermine, stonewall, and block the investigation into the Biden family, including President Biden.” The letter also details several lies Hunter told to Congress: “Hunter Biden’s deposition is key to understanding the attempts to conceal how the family made millions from selling access. Yet, new documents provided by the whistleblowers show that Hunter Biden repeatedly lied to Congress in his February deposition to distance his involvement in what should be considered a clear scheme to enrich the Biden family.”

First, Hunter Biden lied about the recipient of a WhatsApp message sent with the apparent intention to threaten a business associate and demand payment. Second, Hunter Biden lied when he claimed he was not the corporate secretary of Rosemont Seneca Bohai and that the shell company he established with Devon Archer and its associated bank accounts were not under his control nor affiliated with him. Third, Hunter Biden lied during his deposition when he said he never helped individuals obtain U.S. visas. Why would the CIA protect Morris?

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Newsweek knows the claim is nonsense, but the outlet works for Biden’s DOJ.

“By claiming I work for a foreign government, Newsweek is trying to justify a FISA warrant that would allow the Biden administration to continue to spy on me. It’s disgusting,”

Tucker Carlson Sets Record Straight on Claims of Hosting Russian TV Show (Sp.)

Previously, Newsweek and several other outlets reported that Tucker Carlson had launched his own show on Russian television. Tucker Carlson has refuted reports that he has become a host on Russian television. This claim was unequivocally false, the journalist told Sputnik. “By claiming I work for a foreign government, Newsweek is trying to justify a FISA warrant that would allow the Biden administration to continue to spy on me. It’s disgusting,” he said. Similarly, in a post on X, Neil Patel, the CEO of the Tucker Carlson Network, said the network “has not done any deals with state media in any country.” He added that “Whoever is currently pretending to be the old Newsweek brand would know that if they had checked with us before printing like news companies are supposed to do.” Tucker Carlson’s representative Arthur Schwartz also dismissed such reports as “pure nonsense” in an an email to Forbes.

Earlier, Newsweek reported that the US journalist – a former Fox News anchor – was launching his own show on Russian state TV. The unsubstantiated claim that was then widely picked up by users on social media. Carlson was fired by Fox News in April 2023 after the outspoken anchor spent over two years using his popular prime time “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show to pillory the Biden administration, the military-industrial complex, and US warmongering. He has since launched a new media company and interview show on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Earlier in the year, Carlson said that his lawyers warned him that the United States could arrest him on sanctions violations for conducting an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. However, the pundit said he was happy to face such a risk and rejected the premise of such charges.

On February 9, the American journalist released his interview with Putin, which garnered over 100 million views in 24 hours on X. The long-time TV news anchor said at the time that he organized the interview because he felt it was his journalistic duty to inform Americans about the realities of the conflict in Ukraine and its consequences. Needless to say, the hypocrisy of Western journalists and legacy media was laid bare in the attack they launched at Tucker Carlson, accusing him as a traitor after the sit-down with the Russian leader. Furthermore, in a series of clips posted to his internet channel about his experiences from his eight-day stay in Russia, Carlson attempted to debunk myths and stereotypes about Russia and life in the capital in the midst of the West’s sanctions ‘total war’.

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“..calling for “civilized nations” to boycott any arrest orders against its leaders..”

Germany Would ‘Abide’ By ICC Netanyahu Arrest Warrant (RT)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government has made clear that it would cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) if proposed arrest warrants are issued against Israeli leaders over alleged war crimes against the Palestinians. Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit was asked whether Berlin would execute an ICC arrest warrant against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Of course, yes, we abide by the law,” he responded, as cited by Die Welt. The statement came after Israel’s ambassador to Berlin, Ron Prosor, urged Scholz’s administration to defy the ICC. The court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, filed applications on Monday for arrest warrants against Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza conflict.

Israel’s government responded by branding the proposed warrants as anti-Semitic and calling for “civilized nations” to boycott any arrest orders against its leaders. Prosor appealed to the Berlin government directly on Tuesday, saying the German “Staatsrason” – its vow to ensure Israel’s security as part of its own national interest – was being put to the test. “The public statement that Israel has the right to self-defense loses credibility if our hands are tied as soon as we defend ourselves,” the envoy said. “The chief prosecutor equates a democratic government with Hamas, thereby demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and the Jewish people. He has completely lost his moral compass.” Prosor added that Germany has a responsibility to “readjust this compass.” He called the warrant applications a “disgraceful political campaign,” saying they could become a “nail in the coffin for the West” and its institutions.

Hebestreit declined to comment directly on the Israeli government’s demands. Germany is a signatory to the ICC and has staunchly supported such multilateral organizations. France, which is also among the 124 countries that recognize the ICC’s authority, is in the same boat. The French Foreign Ministry affirmed its support for the tribunal on Tuesday, saying it would be up to the court’s pre-trial chamber to decide whether to order the arrests of Israeli and Hamas leaders – based on evidence submitted by the prosecutor. Neither Israel nor the US is a party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC. US President Joe Biden denounced the proposed warrants as “outrageous,” and members of Congress have threatened to sanction the court.

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Would that be so crazy?

‘We’re Next!’ Lindsey Graham Warns About ICC (RT)

If the International Criminal Court is willing to go after the Israeli leadership, it won’t hesitate to go after US lawmakers, according to Senator Lindsey Graham. The South Carolina Republican has united with Democrats in calling for sanctions on the Hague court. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, arguing there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that they were guilty of “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in the Gaza conflict. Khan has also sought warrants for three senior members of Hamas. “We – hopefully, together – will find a way to register our displeasure with the ICC because if they’ll do this to Israel, we’re next,” Graham said on Tuesday, at a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing where US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was testifying.

“Yeah, you can clap all you want,” Graham replied, as a group of protesters in the chamber began to applaud at his “we’re next” comment. He argued that the US needs to impose sanctions against the ICC “to not only help our friends in Israel but protect ourselves over time,” noting that the court “tried to come after our soldiers in Afghanistan, but reason prevailed.” Washington had sanctioned the ICC prosecutor who tried to investigate allegations of atrocities and war crimes committed by the US and its allies in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, a dozen senators wrote to Khan to remind him that a US law allows “all means necessary and appropriate” to defend any Americans – or allies – sought by the court. The 2002 law was nicknamed the “Hague Invasion Act.”

Graham was not signatory to that letter. On Tuesday, however, he issued a joint statement with seven other senators – three Republicans and four Democrats – pledging to “work in a bipartisan manner to strenuously object to the ICC’s actions against our ally, Israel, and take appropriate steps to help Israel and protect American personnel from future ICC action.” Washington has insisted that the ICC lacks jurisdiction over West Jerusalem, since Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute which established the court. Last year, however, the US praised Khan for seeking to charge Russian President Vladimir Putin – even though Moscow is not a party to the Rome Statute, either.

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Sergei Poletaev.

Ukraine Is Losing, Direct Intervention By The West Risks Nuclear Conflict (RT)

Western officials have been talking about sending troops to Ukraine since the beginning of the year. French President Emmanuel Macron said that he is ready to consider “any scenario,” including a ground operation. Government officials in Estonia and Lithuania (including Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte) were quick to support him. And the Leader of the House Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries became the first US politician who didn’t exclude the possibility of sending troops. Formally, Ukraine hasn’t requested Western troops – Kiev has only demanded more weapons. But now, the New York Times reports that Kiev has officially asked the US and NATO to send military instructors to train 150,000 recruits on its territory, closer to the front line. Though the US has refused to comply with the request, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Charles Q. Brown Jr, has said that a NATO deployment of trainers appears inevitable, and that “we’ll get there eventually, over time.”

The subject of sending troops to Ukraine comes up quite often but, so far, Western countries have steered clear. Why? Is a full-fledged NATO intervention in Ukraine possible and what would happen if it took place? And how else might the West turn the course of the conflict in its favor? Western doctrine in regard to Russia was defined even before the start of the full-scale conflict: the idea was to fight Russia “with the hands of” Ukraine and on Ukrainian territory. The goal was to force Russia to play by Western rules (ideally, by defeating it on the battlefield) and reassert the US-led bloc’s shaky global hegemony. But, at the same time, officials wanted to minimize their own risks and avoid being drawn into a direct military confrontation that could result in a nuclear war. The second staple of this doctrine – a total trade war – has not yielded the desired results. In 2022, it became clear that the West overestimated the degree of its control not only over the international financial system, but even over its own financial flows.

Despite certain losses and additional costs, Russia has been able to replace old trade ties with new ones and to do so with a minimal loss of revenue. The severe sanctions imposed by the West on its own companies turned out to be quite useless, since for the most part Russia continues to receive the latest Western products and technologies. As for the idea of defeating Russia on the battlefield, the turning point occurred in the summer of 2023. After the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, it became clear that the AFU would not be able to impose peace on its own terms. The problem is that in the conflict with Russia, the West has gone ‘all in’ and any military outcome that could be regarded as beneficial for Moscow – even negotiations on an equal footing – would now be regarded as a defeat. The whole world would realize that they can stand up to the hegemon and not just avoid becoming an outcast, but even gain some benefits. The West cannot allow this, since it could cause a chain reaction on a global scale.

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“..the Ukrainian president’s status could call into question any future treaties he may sign with Russia..”

Musk Questions Ukrainian Democracy (RT)

Elon Musk has cast doubt on Western involvement in the Ukraine conflict being described as upholding democracy, if the country’s leader has a questionable legal claim to power. Tuesday marked the first day after the expiration of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s five-year presidential term. His government declined to hold a new election, citing martial law put in place due to hostilities with Russia. The American billionaire entrepreneur responded to an X (formerly Twitter) post highlighting the deadline published by conservative journalist Jack Posobiec. Musk said: “But I thought we were there to ‘uphold democracy’?” Zelensky’s democratic bona fides were called into question before the fighting with Russia started in February 2022. His government had cracked down on critical media and opposition politicians, claiming that it was fighting Russian influence and the power of oligarchs. His remaining in power is based on the absence of a duly elected successor, who Zelensky’s office has argued cannot be produced during war time.

Kiev cited a constitutional restriction on voting under martial law as the reason for not organizing a presidential vote. The Ukrainian Constitution does explicitly forbid parliamentary elections and some kinds of referendums during national emergencies, but says nothing about presidential elections. The Constitutional Court has not ruled on how the current impasse should be resolved. The US and its allies have portrayed the arming and training of Ukrainian troops to fight Russia as a contribution to a global fight of democracies against autocracies. Conversely, Moscow has argued that the conflict is a US-initiated proxy war on Russia, in which Ukrainian soldiers serve as cannon fodder. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that the issue of Zelensky’s legitimacy is something that the country itself has to sort out. However, the Ukrainian president’s status could call into question any future treaties he may sign with Russia, he added.

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“..was covered in sand when a major drought set in around 4,200 years ago..”

Scientists Reveal Hidden Branch of the Nile, May Solve Pyramid Mystery (Sp.)

Scientists have recently discovered a long-buried branch of the Nile river that once rushed with life alongside the country’s magnificent Giza pyramid complex. The river branch is about 40 miles long (64 km), but has been hiding under desert and farmland for millennia, according to a study that published the findings on Thursday in Communications Earth & Environment. Eman Ghoneim, a geomorphologist who was born and raised in Egypt, is a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She and her team analyzed batches of satellite images as well as sediment samples that were collected from beneath the desert’s surface. “We were looking at these meandering natural features closer to the [pyramid] field, like long depressions and troughs, now covered up entirely by farmlands and sand,” Ghoneim says. “It can be very hard to see if you don’t know what to look for.”

Radar gave the research team the “unique ability to penetrate the sand surface and produce images of hidden features including buried rivers and ancient structures,” said Ghoneim. And through this process, they found the long-lost ancient branch of the Nile that once ran through the foothills beside the Giza pyramid field – just a kilometer from the banks of the river. The team believes this hidden branch could be the answer to how builders transported heavy materials to the construction site of the now iconic pyramids – as heavy materials would have been easier to float down river than to carry across land. The ancient Egyptians built 31 pyramids along the now inhospitable desert strip between 4,700 and 3,700 years ago. Ghoneim adds that the branch could help researchers find potential sites of ancient human settlements that might be buried beneath the land’s surface.

While archaeologists have long suspected a waterway was responsible for helping to build the pyramids, Ghoneim says “nobody was certain of the location, the shape, the size or proximity of this mega waterway to the actual pyramids site.” The scientists believe the river, which they named Ahramat, was covered in sand when a major drought set in around 4,200 years ago. And the discovery of the river branch could also explain why the pyramids were built in different areas. Ghoneim explains that the water’s course and volume changed over time, so kings of later eras had to make different choices compared to those of earlier eras. She adds that she is hopeful of continuing to piece together a map of the Nile’s previous life.

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“The ruling by the High Court in London permitting Julian Assange to appeal his extradition order leaves him languishing in precarious health in a high-security prison. That is the point.”

The Slow-Motion Execution of Julian Assange Continues (Chris Hedges)

The extradition request is based on the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs — hundreds of thousands of classified documents, leaked to the site by Chelsea Manning, then an Army intelligence analyst, which exposed numerous U.S. war crimes including video images of the gunning down of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians in the Collateral Murder video, the routine torture of Iraqi prisoners, the covering up of thousands of civilian deaths and the killing of nearly 700 civilians that had approached too closely to U.S. checkpoints. In February, lawyers for Julian submitted nine separate grounds for a possible appeal. A two-day hearing in March, which I attended, was Julian’s last chance to request an appeal of the extradition decision made in 2022 by the then British home secretary, Priti Patel, and of many of the rulings of District Judge Baraitser in 2021.

The two High Court judges, Dame Victoria Sharp and Justice Jeremy Johnson, in March rejected most of Julian’s grounds of appeal. These included his lawyers’ contention that the UK-US extradition treaty bars extradition for political offenses; that the extradition request was made for the purpose of prosecuting him for his political opinions; that extradition would amount to retroactive application of the law — because it was not foreseeable that a century-old espionage law would be used against a foreign publisher; and that he would not receive a fair trial in the Eastern District of Virginia. The judges also refused to hear new evidence that the CIA plotted to kidnap and assassinate Julian, concluding — both perversely and incorrectly — that the CIA only considered these options because they believed Julian was planning to flee to Russia.

But the two judges determined Monday that it is “arguable” that a U.S. court might not grant Julian protection under the First Amendment, violating his rights to free speech as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. The judges in March asked the U.S. to provide written assurances that Julian would be protected under the First Amendment and that he would be exempt from a death penalty verdict. The U.S. assured the court that Julian would not be subjected to the death penalty, which Julian’s lawyers ultimately accepted. But the Department of Justice was unable to provide an assurance that Julian could mount a First Amendment defense in a U.S. court. Such a decision is made in a U.S. federal court, their lawyers explained.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg, who is prosecuting Julian, has argued that only U.S. citizens are guaranteed First Amendment rights in U.S. courts. Kromberg has stated that what Julian published was “not in the public interest” and that the U.S. was not seeking his extradition on political grounds. Free speech is a key issue. If Julian is granted First Amendment rights in a U.S. court it will be very difficult for the U.S. to build a criminal case against him, since other news organizations, including The New York Times and The Guardian, published the material he released.

The extradition request is based on the contention that Julian is not a journalist and not protected under the First Amendment. Julian’s attorneys and those representing the U.S. government have until May 24 to submit a draft order, which will determine when the appeal will be heard. Julian committed the empire’s greatest sin — he exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, routine violation of human rights, wanton killing of innocent civilians, rampant corruption and war crimes. Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Labour, Trump or Biden — it does not matter. Those who manage the empire use the same dirty playbook. The publication of classified documents is not a crime in the United States, but if Julian is extradited and convicted, it will become one.

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What do we think of Terrance Howard? Fine actor, sure, but…

https://twitter.com/i/status/1793018427453432189
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792991155434533029

 

 

Happer

 

 

3 vs 1
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792709386017841329

 

 

Tesla water

 

 

Humpback

 

 

Baby condor

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 222024
 


Roy Lichtenstein Crying girl 1964

 

Judge Merchan Becomes an Oddity in his Own Courtroom (Turley)
Lawrence O’Donnell Mocked Over Pathetic Defense of Michael Cohen (Turley)
Biden Drains Entire Northeast Gasoline Reserve In Bid To Lower Gas Prices (ZH)
Estonia PM Calls For Breakup Of Russia (RT)
Zelensky ‘Yelling At Generals’ – The Economist (RT)
West Sweating Over Zelensky’s Crashing Popularity – Russian Intel (RT)
Zelensky Wants NATO To Shoot Down Russian Missiles (RT)
Nuland Comments On Potential Official NATO Deployment To Ukraine (RT)
Let Ukraine Use US Weapons To Strike Inside Russia – Nuland (RT)
Lavrov Reveals Zelensky’s ‘Hysterical’ Demand for Support in Switzerland Talks (Sp.)
Ukraine ‘a Classic Failed State’ – Medvedev (RT)
FBI Agents Were Prepared for Secret Service Resistance at Mar-a-Lago (ET)
The Failure of Western Financial Sanctions (Metri)
Klaus Schwab Steps Down As World Economic Forum Executive Chairman (ZH)
Assange Granted ‘Last Chance Appeal’ For Freedom (Cradle)

 

 

Elon Musk: “In sharp contrast, X supports child safety bills”

 

 

Leavitt
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792631963355881787

 

 

Pam Bondi
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792942935861850122

 

 

 

 

Bobb

 

 

 

 

“The judge chastised Costello and even challenged him: “Are you staring me down?” In fact, it was hard not to stare. What is happening in the courtroom of Judge Juan Merchan is anything but ordinary.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won’t.”

Judge Merchan Becomes an Oddity in his Own Courtroom (Turley)

The completion of the testimony of Michael Cohen left the prosecution of Donald Trump, like its star witness, in tatters. In the final day of cross-examination, Cohen admitted to committing larceny in stealing tens of thousands of dollars from his client. Even more notably, he admitted to the larceny on the stand — after the statute of limitations had passed. There will be no dead felony zapped back into life against Cohen, as it was for Trump. Cohen clearly has found a home for his unique skill as a convicted, disbarred serial perjurer. It was not the first time that prosecutors looked the other way as Cohen admitted to major criminal conduct: In a prior hearing, Cohen admitted under oath that he lied in a previous case where he pleaded guilty to lying. If that is a bit confusing, it was just another day in the life of Michael Cohen, who appears only willing to tell the truth if he has no other alternative.

The result is truly otherworldly. You have a disbarred lawyer not only casually discussing lies and uncharged crimes, but prosecutors who proceeded to get him to remind the jury that he is not facing any further criminal charges. If any one of those jurors had stolen tens of thousands of dollars, they would be given a fast trip to the hoosegow. Yet Cohen then matter-of-factly said he plans to run for Congress due to his “name recognition” — the ultimate proof that it does not matter whether you are famous or infamous, so long as they spell your name right. As a legislator, Cohen would have the unique ability to say he will not be corrupted by Congress — because he came to Congress corrupted. While most members wait to take office to commit felonies, Rep. Cohen would show up with a self-affirming criminal record. He could then take one of the few oaths that he has not previously violated as the Honorable Rep. Michael Cohen.

At the end of the day, Cohen is the ultimate shining object for prosecutors to use as a distraction from the glaring omissions in their case. Prior witnesses testified that Trump’s payments to Cohen were designated as “legal expenses” not by Trump but by his accounting staff. Moreover, Cohen admitted that he worked for Trump for years in his murky capacity as a fixer. References to payments as a retainer were approved by Allen Weisselberg, a retired executive with the Trump Organization. The “legal expense” label was a natural characterization for a lawyer who was paid monthly and was on-call as Trump’s personal counsel. In any other district, this case would never have been allowed in trial. It certainly now should be facing a directed verdict by the court. Indeed, with any other defendant, a New York jury would be giving a Bronx cheer in derision. Even CNN hosts and experts have admitted that this case would never have been brought against another defendant or in another district. That is what Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is counting on.

Costello

The biggest problem facing the defense is not the evidence, but the judge: Judge Juan Merchan seems to be channeling George Patton’s warning, “May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won’t.” Merchan has not given any indication that he is seriously considering a directed verdict, which he should clearly grant before this goes to the jury. Merchan’s rulings have largely favored the prosecution, including some rulings that left some of us mystified. Judge Merchan continues to allow the jury to hear references to campaign-finance violations that do not exist. After gutting any use of a legal expert to testify on the absence of any such violations, the judge allowed the jury to hear Michael Cohen state that the payments to Stormy Daniels were clearly campaign violations. All that Merchan would offer is a weak instruction telling jurors not to take such statements as proof of a violation. The alleged campaign-finance violations allowed Cohen to try to implicate Trump. However, it is doubtful that Trump could have been convicted on such a charge in any other venue.

It is precisely what the Justice Department tried and failed to do with John Edwards, a Democratic candidate. After that unmitigated failure, the Justice Department dropped this theory of hush money as a campaign contribution. Indeed, after reviewing the Trump payments, not only did the Justice Department decline any charges but the Federal Election Commission did not even seek a civil fine. On Monday, Judge Merchan’s orders became even more inexplicable when Cohen’s former attorney Robert Costello took the stand. Merchan immediately started to sustain a flurry of prosecutors’ objections as Costello basically accused Cohen of multiple acts of perjury. At one point, Costello — one of the most experienced lawyers in New York and a former prosecutor — exclaimed that one of the judge’s rulings was “ridiculous.” The judge chastised Costello and even challenged him: “Are you staring me down?” In fact, it was hard not to stare. What is happening in the courtroom of Judge Juan Merchan is anything but ordinary.

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How much did Cohen take in total over the years? No way it’s just $30,000.

Lawrence O’Donnell Mocked Over Pathetic Defense of Michael Cohen (Turley)

After his disastrous testimony in Manhattan, Michael Cohen lost even hosts and legal analysts at MSNBC and CNN. MSNBC legal correspondent Lisa Rubin described Cohen as a “fabricator, liar or forgetful person.” CNN’s Anderson Cooper discussed how the testimony was “devastating for Michael Cohen’s credibility.” CNN’s legal analyst Elie Honig said that Cohen had his “knees chopped out” by the defense. All of that was before Cohen admitted that he committed grand larceny in stealing tens of thousands from the Trump company. Most analysts honestly expressed disgust at the admission and expressed shock that he was not prosecuted. The question is whether anyone could find a way to excuse grand larceny to spare viewers in the echo chamber. That is when host Lawrence O’Donnell stepped forward. So to recap. Here is what Cohen said under oath under questioning by Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche:

Blanche: “So you stole from the Trump Organization, right?” Cohen: “Yes, sir.” Not much ambiguity but Cohen went on to explain that he intentionally inflated costs to just pocket tens of thousands of dollars. He admitted it was theft, plain and simple. For O’Donnell, it is not that simple. He rushed outside to assure MSNBC viewers that everything is fine and that this is just a form of what Cohen laughingly called “self-help.” “Cohen [was trying] to rebalance the bonus he thought he deserved, & it still came out as less than the bonus he thought he deserved & the bonus he had gotten the year before.” It would have been more convincing if O’Donnell, a self-proclaimed socialist, had just called it a redistribution effort from the super-rich to the rich. However, there was a sense of desperation in O’Donnell’s interview in offering viewers an assuring alternative explanation. Larceny did not fit with the past coverage lionizing Cohen. For many viewers, O’Donnell’s account relieved them of the need to question the basis for the prosecution of Trump.

We will have to wait to see if O’Donnell’s defense is picked up in the nearby trial of Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.). It appears that taking those gold bars and other gifts may have been just an effort of Menendez to secure a bonus that he believed was warranted from his public service. It would also mean that anyone who was denied a bonus or received less from their employer can simply steal the difference. There is a serious aspect to the O’Donnell statement. It is not clear if O’Donnell actually believes that Cohen was justified in stealing this money. However, he does show the level of self-delusion or denial that is common with many citizens who cannot see beyond the identity of the defendant. These are the same citizens who elected candidates like Letitia James as state attorney on a pledge to bag Trump for something, for anything. These are the same citizens who voted roughly 90 percent against Trump in Manhattan. These are the same citizens that are likely represented by some on this jury.

That may explain why the Trump team decided to take the risk of a “killer shot” witness like Robert Costello. Some of us believe that this case is already fatally flawed and that no reasonable jury could convict Trump. Indeed, I cannot see how any reasonable judge could deny a directed verdict. However, the Trump team does not want to wait for a long appeal. Costello comes with a risk of opening up issues on cross examination, particularly the involvement of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The fact is that the jury has MSNBC viewers and some who likely hold the same bias as O’Donnell. For them, what most of us see unfolding in Manhattan may not be what they see. They may only see one person in the courtroom and it is not any witness.

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“Biden just drained the Northeast strategic gasoline reserve to push gas lower by a few cents on July 4..”

Biden Drains Entire Northeast Gasoline Reserve In Bid To Lower Gas Prices (ZH)

Back in March, when reading the mammoth, 1050-page bill that was meant to avert government shutdown, but was yet another pork filled free-for-all bonanza authorizing $1.7 trillion in in discretionary spending, we stumbled upon something that was truly shocking: after Biden singlehandedly drained half of the US strategic petroleum reserve to avoid obliteration for Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections, Congress has snuck in a provision that would sell off and shutter the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve, a move that while perhaps keeps gas prices lower for a day or two, would also leave the entire continental northeast defenseless to any true environmental catastrophe or shock. We were so dismayed by the inclusion of this particular text, we wondered if it hadn’t been put there solely for the benefit of America’s enemies…

… because surely nobody in their right mind, not even the illegitimate senile occupant of the White House, would ever pursue such short-term gains at the expense of potentially disastrous long-term consequences to the entire nation. We were wrong: earlier today, just two months after the bill was signed by Biden into law, the panicking administration announced that it would sell the nearly 1 million barrels of gasoline in the US managed stockpile in northeastern states, the Department of Energy said, effectively closing the reserve.The department created the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve (NGSR) in 2014 after Superstorm Sandy left motorists scrambling for fuel. But, according to some megabrains hoping to justify the dumping of gas so its price drops for a few weeks ahead of the summer and avoid even more anger aimed at the president, storing refined fuel is costlier than storing crude oil, so closing the reserve was included in U.S funding legislation signed by President Joe Biden in March.

Bids to buy the gasoline located at the two NGSR storage sites in Port Reading, NJ (900,000 bbl) and South Portland, ME (98,824 bbl), are due on May 28 and the Treasury Department’s general funds gets proceeds from the sale. Incidentally, the proceeds from the reserve liquidation – which will amount to roughly $125 million gross (and far less net) – is roughly how much the government spends every 15 minutes! So is it better to have a gasoline reserve for unexpected events, or to fund a quarter hour of US government’s spending? Don’t answer that. Of course, the answer is neither – the whole point of selling the gasoline is to depress prices at the pump if only for a few days to help Americans forget about the great inflationary nightmare they have been in for the past 3 years.

The volumes will be allocated in quantities of 100,000 barrels with each barrel containing 42 gallons, the department said and said it would require that fuel is transferred or delivered no later than June 30. That will ensure the gasoline can flow into local retailers ahead of the Fourth of July holiday and that it will be sold at competitive prices. Translation: Biden just drained the Northeast strategic gasoline reserve to push gas lower by a few cents on July 4. For context, gas prices at the pump this Memorial Day will be the second most expensive in a decade – dramatically above the ten-year average of $2.91…

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Start with the US.

Estonia PM Calls For Breakup Of Russia (RT)

The conflict between Moscow and Kiev should end with the defeat and breakup of the Russian Federation, Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has proposed. Kallas made the suggestion on Saturday during a debate in the country’s capital, Tallinn, at an annual event dedicated to her country’s first post-soviet president. “Russia’s defeat is not a bad thing because then you know there could really be a change in society,” the prime minister told the 17th Lennart Meri Conference. The Russian Federation is comprised of “many different nations” and suggested that they should become separate states after the end of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, she argued. “I think if you would have more like small nations… it is not a bad thing if the big power is actually [made] much smaller,” Kallas said.

The Constitution of the Russian Federation describes the polity as a multinational state. According to the 2020-2021 census, the country’s population speaks 155 different languages, with Russian being the most common. Estonia’s Prime Minister also urged Ukraine’s Western backers not to be afraid to do more to assist the government in Kiev in its fight with Moscow.”Fear keeps us from supporting Ukraine. Countries have different fears, be it nuclear fear, fear of escalation, fear of migration. We must not fall into the trap of fear because that is what [Russia’s President Vladimir] Putin wants,” she said. According to Kallas, the West must help Kiev “push Russia back to its borders” and continue to pressure Moscow via sanctions until Ukraine’s territorial integrity is restored. She also called for reparations to be paid and for the country’s leadership to be held accountable for the conflict. The prime minister insisted that in order for stable peace to be achieved in Europe, Ukraine has to be made a member of both the EU and NATO.

In February, Russia issued an arrest warrant for Kallas over her campaign to destroy Soviet WWII memorials across Estonia. The authorities in Moscow have said repeatedly that due to the unwillingness of both Kiev and the West to look for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, Russia will continue its military operation until all of its goals are achieved, including assuring the security of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine, the demilitarization and “denazification” of the country, and making sure that it never becomes a NATO member. Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Ukrainian conflict will be decided militarily in Moscow’s favor if that is the wish of the US and its allies. “If they want it to be on the battlefield, they will have it on the battlefield,” Lavrov stressed.

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“..A military official described how at one point the president’s office issued a direct order to a unit on the ground to “retake” a certain city, and received the reply: “With what?”

Zelensky ‘Yelling At Generals’ – The Economist (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky believes his generals are hiding the truth from him and has taken to shouting at them, The Economist has claimed, citing a government source. Purported fits of presidential rage were mentioned in a Monday report on the situation in Kharkov Region, where Russian forces have gained significant ground over the last month. According to the British newsweekly, Ukrainian troops deployed there are angry at the development and have competing theories about the causes. Some blame the US and its allies for insufficient and untimely aid, not unlike Zelensky himself, while others “suspect that incompetence, or even treachery, played a more significant role.” There are also “conspiracy theories” about politicians in Kiev and Washington conspiring to sell the territory “down the river ahead of an ugly peace deal.”

Denis Yaroslavsky, a local commander who made national headlines for complaining that fortifications that were supposed to prevent Russian advances did not really exist, told The Economist that Zelensky “is being kept in a warm bath” – that is, being told comforting lies by his aides. The Economist’s anonymous government source said the president has been clashing with Ukrainian generals after allegedly sensing that he was not getting the whole truth about the frontline situation. Zelensky’s strained relations with the military leadership, which reportedly stems from him putting his political goals ahead of military objectives, has previously been covered by Ukrainian and international media. In December, the newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda claimed that the president was actively undermining Valery Zaluzhny, who at the time was Ukraine’s most senior general, in favor of Aleksandr Syrsky.

“It seems Zelensky has two kinds of troops: ‘good’ ones commanded by Syrsky and other favorites and ‘bad’ ones under Zaluzhny,” a source told the outlet. “This demoralizes [Zaluzhny] and prevents him from commanding the army as a whole.” In February, the Ukrainian leader fired Zaluzhny and appointed Syrsky as his replacement. A profile of Zelensky published by Time magazine last November said the president’s uncompromising drive for a battlefield victory over Russia was “verging on the messianic” and had put him at odds with some officers. A military official described how at one point the president’s office issued a direct order to a unit on the ground to “retake” a certain city, and received the reply: “With what?” The unit had neither weapons nor soldiers, the source explained.

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“The Ukrainian Constitution forbids certain democratic processes under martial law, such as parliamentary elections or referendums on constitutional amendments, but does not spell out the same restriction for presidential elections.”

West Sweating Over Zelensky’s Crashing Popularity – Russian Intel (RT)

Kiev’s Western backers are seriously concerned by the rapidly decreasing public support for President Vladimir Zelensky, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has claimed. Zelensky’s five-year term in office technically expires on Monday, though he is expected to keep his position. Kiev has refused to hold a new presidential election due to martial law. The SVR claimed on Monday that opinion polls conducted in Ukraine by the US and its allies for their own internal use show a lack of trust in the incumbent leader and in some of the country’s key institutions. “The level of support for Vladimir Zelensky has dropped to 17% and keeps decreasing. Over 70% of the public distrusts all Ukrainian media, while some 90% would like to leave the country,” the statement said. “Even among the troops, who are being subjected to constant ideological conditioning, Zelensky’s popularity stands below 20%.”

Western nations have urged the Zelensky government to ramp up propaganda efforts to create fear among Ukrainians that a Russian victory would result in a disaster for them, SVR said. The president, who is allegedly concerned for his life, also launched a purge in the military and security service to eliminate possible threats, the statement continued. Kiev’s recent claim, that a ‘plot’ by senior officials to assassinate Zelensky had been outed, was “obviously fictitious” and stemmed from the crackdown on dissent, it assessed. Zelensky’s legal claim to his office is in dispute as of Tuesday. The Ukrainian Constitution forbids certain democratic processes under martial law, such as parliamentary elections or referendums on constitutional amendments, but does not spell out the same restriction for presidential elections.

Senior government officials have reasoned that organizing a national ballot under the circumstances would be unsafe for voters and prohibitively costly. Some international media have reported that in a hypothetical election, Zelensky’s popularity would make him the default choice of Ukrainians. “Many people in Ukraine see no sense in holding elections, if the obvious victor already holds the presidency. Not a single Ukrainian politician today can compare with Zelensky in terms of the level of trust and support,” the Russian-language branch of British state broadcaster BBC declared on Sunday, in a thread on X (formerly Twitter). Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Zelensky’s shaky status would put into question any treaties with Moscow that he may sign in the future.

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“Do you think it is too much?” he asked. “For a country that is fighting for freedom and democracy around the world today?”

Zelensky Wants NATO To Shoot Down Russian Missiles (RT)

The US and its allies should shoot down Russian missiles, give Ukraine more weapons, and allow Kiev to strike Russia directly, Vladimir Zelensky has told the New York Times. Zelensky spoke to the US outlet in Kiev, on the last day of his presidential term, which he has sought to extend for the duration of martial law he declared due to the conflict with Russia. He demanded that NATO countries shoot down Russian missiles over Ukraine, wondering if they are too afraid to provoke Moscow. “So my question is, what’s the problem? Why can’t we shoot them down? Is it defense? Yes. Is it an attack on Russia? No. Are you shooting down Russian planes and killing Russian pilots? No. So what’s the issue with involving NATO countries in the war? There is no such issue,” Zelensky told the Times.

“Shoot down what’s in the sky over Ukraine,” he added. “And give us the weapons to use against Russian forces on the borders.” Zelensky pointed to what the US and the UK did in mid-April, when Iran targeted Israel with a drone and missile barrage. Both the US and the EU have pushed back, saying the two situations were not comparable. The Ukrainian leader also begged for Patriot air defense systems, asking if he could get seven of them by the NATO summit in Washington. “Do you think it is too much?” he asked. “For a country that is fighting for freedom and democracy around the world today?” Zelensky also dismissed any criticism of Ukrainian democracy, given the indefinite postponement of both parliamentary and presidential elections, by announcing that Kiev “doesn’t need to prove anything about democracy to anyone, because Ukraine and its people are proving it through their war, without words, without unnecessary rhetoric.”

With Russian troops advancing all along the frontline, Zelensky and his aides have ramped up calls for more of everything – Patriot air defense systems and F-16 fighters in particular – but also demanded the lifting of restrictions on use of Western-provided weapons to strike deep inside Russia. The US and its allies have struggled to maintain the legal fiction that their missiles can only target Russian territory that Ukraine claims as its own – i.e. Crimea, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Donetsk and Lugansk – though Western-supplied weapons have been used against Belgorod Region on multiple occasions, including the Christmas market massacre.

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Wasn’t she demoted recently? Oh, wait: “..The retired US diplomat..”

Nuland Comments On Potential Official NATO Deployment To Ukraine (RT)

Former US diplomat Victoria Nuland has argued that officially sending Western instructors into Ukraine would create unnecessary risks – as NATO already provides a “huge amount” of training for Kiev’s forces on member states’ territory. Facing a severe troop shortage, Kiev has allegedly asked the US and NATO to help train some 150,000 new recruits inside Ukraine, so they can be sent to the front faster, the New York Times reported last week. In an interview with ABC on Sunday, Nuland – who was responsible for Ukraine in her State Department role and served as US ambassador to NATO – acknowledged Russia’s renewed offensive is making it hard for Ukrainian troops to “come off the front” and train abroad. However, she warned against sending Western instructors in. “I worry that NATO training bases inside Ukraine will become a target for Vladimir Putin. And it does directly implicate NATO on the ground, which could… escalate the war in a different direction and cause Putin to think that NATO territory might be fair game for him,” Nuland said.

The White House has repeatedly insisted that it will not deploy American troops – even instructors – in Ukraine. The retired US diplomat argued that “it still makes most sense to do most of the training outside of Ukraine but to give advice inside Ukraine.” The US-led military bloc has been training Ukrainian soldiers on the territory of member states including the UK, Germany and Poland, teaching them how to use Western-provided weapons. European officials have previously acknowledged the presence of some military personnel in Ukraine since the outbreak of the conflict in 2022, without clarifying whether they were training local forces. However, on Monday Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas claimed that military personnel from some NATO member states are already training Ukrainian soldiers inside the country. She insisted this will not lead to a direct confrontation with Russia because the personnel are doing it “at their own risk.”

French President Emmanuel Macron first raised the issue of sending NATO troops to Ukraine back in February, calling it an idea that should not be ruled out. Estonia and Lithuania have since expressed support for either sending instructors or support troops, to free up Ukrainian soldiers for combat duty. In early May, the Russian Defense Ministry estimated that Ukrainian military losses had surpassed 111,000 this year alone. Kiev now intends to mobilize hundreds of thousands of additional troops under a new law cracking down on draft avoidance. Over the past six weeks, Russian forces have taken more territory than Ukraine managed to capture in the six months of its failed counter-offensive last year, the Washington Post admitted last week, citing numbers from the Institute for the Study of War, a DC-based think tank run by Kimberly Kagan – Victoria Nuland’s sister-in-law.

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WWIII.

Let Ukraine Use US Weapons To Strike Inside Russia – Nuland (RT)

The US must allow Kiev to use its weapons to strike “Russian bases” deep inside the country, former senior Department of State official Victoria Nuland believes. American military aid has been provided to Ukraine on the condition that it would not use the weapons to attack targets on what the US considers Russian soil, as opposed to territories contested by Kiev. Nuland, who for decades directed Washington’s foreign policy in Europe, has called for the limitation to be lifted. ”They need to be able to stop these Russian attacks that are coming from bases inside Russia,” she told ABC News on Sunday. “The United States and our allies ought to give them more help in hitting Russian bases, which heretofore we have not been willing to do.” “Those bases ought to be fair game, whether they are where missiles are being launched from or where they are where troops are being supplied from,” Nuland added.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron similarly suggested this month that Ukraine “has the right” to strike targets inside Russia with UK-provided weapons. Moscow in response warned that if such an attack was to happen, it would consider any British military assets, be they on Ukrainian soil or elsewhere, fair game for retaliation. Ukrainian officials have reportedly launched a massive lobbying effort on Capitol Hill this month in an attempt to pressure the White House on its arm policy. Its legislators have claimed that Russia’s recent advances in Kharkov Region were a result of Kiev’s inability to deliver preemptive cross-border strikes.

Nuland accused Moscow of escalating the conflict with the operation and claimed that its goal was to “decimate [the city] without ever having to put a boot on the ground.” She claimed without evidence that Russian forces “have flattened a third of Kharkov” already. The avowed neocon reasoned that US permission to attack “Russian bases” under these circumstances would not be escalatory. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the operation in Kharkov Region was meant to dismantle Kiev’s ability to attack Russia’s Belgorod Region. Ukrainian forces have been hitting villages close to the border and the city of Belgorod itself with rocket artillery and drones for months. According to Putin, Moscow has no intention to fight for Kharkov, Ukraine’s second-largest city, at this point or time.

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“..almost hysterically demanded support for his peace formula as a means to force Russia to its knees..”

Lavrov Reveals Zelensky’s ‘Hysterical’ Demand for Support in Switzerland Talks (Sp.)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the Ukrainian president strongly demanded support for his “peace formula” while discussing the upcoming Switzerland “peace conference” with foreign diplomats in Kiev. Russia’s top diplomat has exposed that the Ukrainian president “hysterically” demanded that other nations back his proposed “peace formula” ahead of a ‘Peace Conference’ that is to be held in Switzerland next month. “We have information – we have the ability to receive information that is not usually intended for publication. At the end of April, while discussing this idea [Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’] with foreign diplomats in Kiev, Zelensky, according to some participants, mostly improvised in a chaotic manner, almost hysterically demanded support for his peace formula as a means to force Russia to its knees,” Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Kazakhstan.

Switzerland will host a peace conference on Ukraine on June 15-16 near Lucerne with up to 120 heads of state expected to participate. Vladimir Khokhlov, the press secretary of the Russian Embassy in Bern, previously told Sputnik that Switzerland did not invite Russia to participate in the summit and that Moscow would not participate in any case. He added that the heavily promoted idea of a peace conference is unacceptable for Russia as it “involves another attempt to push through the unworkable ‘peace formula’ that ignores Russian interests.”

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in turn, stated that the negotiating process on Ukraine without Russia’s involvement is meaningless, but it is necessary to understand what peace formula will be discussed at the summit in Switzerland. Moscow has repeatedly stated its readiness for negotiations, but Kiev has legislatively prohibited them. The West calls on Russia to negotiate but at the same time ignores Kiev’s constant refusal to engage in dialogue. Earlier, the Kremlin stated that there are currently no preconditions for the situation in Ukraine to move towards a peaceful resolution and Russia’s absolute priority is to achieve the goals of the special operation, which is currently possible only by military means. Kremlin officials have said that the situation in Ukraine could move towards peace only if the de facto situation and new realities are taken into account, and that all of Moscow’s demands are well known.

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“Kiev is run by a lawless and criminal regime, the former Russian president has said..”

Ukraine ‘a Classic Failed State’ – Medvedev (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s decision not to hold elections means his government has no legitimacy, according to Dmitry Medvedev, the head of Russia’s Security Council. Zelensky’s five-year mandate expired on Tuesday but he has argued that the Ukrainian constitution does not allow him to call new presidential or parliamentary elections during martial law, which he declared in February 2022. “All these manipulations with laws mean only one thing – the death of the failed state of Ukraine, its transformation into a classic failed state, to use American vocabulary,” Medvedev told TASS news agency on Monday. The US and its allies have supported Zelensky’s efforts to stay in power because they feared “the shameful fall of his criminal regime,” Medvedev added.

“That’s why there is such a high probability that Zelensky would have lost this election miserably, and the citizens of his non-existent country would have wanted a new president in the hope that he would start peace negotiations with Russia,” said the former Russian president and prime minister. Medvedev reminded reporters that Zelensky, “a political upstart,” won in 2019 precisely because he campaigned “on the rhetoric of peace.” However, Western sponsors of the regime in Kiev could not allow peace because “they make good money from the bloody bacchanalia,” he added.

The US and its allies have sought to portray the sending of weapons and ammunition to Kiev as an “investment” in their military-industrial complex worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and openly said most of that money would never reach Ukraine. Medvedev dismissed the notion that anything substantial will change in Ukraine after May 21, however. Ukrainians “didn’t live in a rule-of-law state anyway,” he said, arguing that “law and justice were forgotten ten years ago,” with the US-backed coup in Kiev and the start of the Donbass conflict. As for Zelensky, Medvedev said, he can either be captured and put on trial, or meet the same fate as his “spiritual teacher” Stepan Bandera. The leader of Ukrainian nationalists, who sought to collaborate with Nazi Germany during WWII, was assassinated by Soviet operatives in Munich in 1959.

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FBI killing Secret Service details? Really?

FBI Agents Were Prepared for Secret Service Resistance at Mar-a-Lago (ET)

FBI agents executing a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s home in 2022 prepared for the possibility U.S. Secret Service agents resisted the agents, according to newly unsealed court documents. An operations plan for the raid of Mar-a-Lago in southern Florida stated that should President Trump arrive at Mar-a-Lago during the period when agents were there, FBI agents would be prepared to “engage with” him and U.S. Secret Service (USSS) agents who protect him.If the Secret Service agents “provide resistance or interfere with FBI timeline or accesses,” then FBI officials would contact certain individuals—their names and positions were redacted—the documents stated. The documents also stated that if Mar-a-Lago employees refused to provide a list of occupied guest rooms, FBI agents would “knock on each guest room door to determine occupation status.” Agents would request a map, list of rooms, and a skeleton key for all rooms, and were preparing to bring lock-picking equipment with them.

The documents, produced to President Trump through discovery in the criminal case against him, were placed on the docket on May 21. President Trump’s lawyers attached the documents as exhibits to a motion asking to suppress evidence seized by agents, arguing the raid was unconstitutional. The warrant was cleared by a U.S. magistrate judge after agents said there was probable cause to believe sensitive materials were being kept at unauthorized places at the resort. Officials said the raid would likely uncover evidence of obstruction of justice. Agents arrived at Mar-a-Lago at 8:59 a.m. on Aug. 8, 2022, and initiated the search at 10:33 a.m.. A summary of what transpired stated that FBI leaders coordinated with local Secret Service leaders and that Secret Service agents “facilitated entry onto the premises, provided escort and access to various locations within, and posted USSS personnel in locations where the FBI team conducted searches.”

In addition to 25 FBI employees from the bureau’s Miami office, the group of DOJ personnel included five officials from Washington and two DOJ lawyers. The group took numerous photographs, including pictures in the bedroom of former First Lady Melania Trump and a “child’s bedroom suite,” according to picture logs that were released on Tuesday. President Trump’s lawyers said in the motion that the search was “roving and highly inappropriate,” citing how it covered a gym, a kitchen, and the bedrooms where the pictures were taken. They said the warrant was too broad and authorized agents to seize virtually any document from Mar-a-Lago. Government officials have acknowledged they improperly seized passports and some other materials. Agents remained on the scene until 6:39 p.m. They flew the seized evidence to Washington the following day.

President Trump, after the execution of the warrant, was charged with mishandling national defense information, concealing documents, and making false statements. The documents included a statement on the use of deadly force, which quoted government policy in stating that “law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice (DOJ) may use deadly force only when necessary, that is, when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.” The FBI also brought a medic and paramedic along on the raid, according to the documents, and listed the nearest trauma center in case anyone was injured during the execution of the warrant. Agents were equipped with standard-issue weapons, ammunition, handcuffs, and badges and brought medium and large bolt cutters.

There was no basis for the FBI to bring guns into Mar-a-Lago, according to President Trump’s lawyers.“There were no threats and no risk to agents’ safety arising from their allegations relating to possession of documents at a premises already guarded by the Secret Service,” the lawyers said. The lawyers also argued that an FBI agent omitted relevant information from the affidavit submitted to the judge as part of the request to authorize the warrant. The agent, for instance, “failed to disclose that presidents are not required to obtain clearances and that sensitive briefings including classified information had been provided to President Trump at Mar-a-Lago and other residences before and during his presidency,” the lawyers said.

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“..China’s share of world GDP based on purchasing power parity reached 18.73%, while that of the USA was 15.56%..”

The Failure of Western Financial Sanctions (Metri)

On March 24, 2024, some newspapers reported the 25th anniversary of the plane’s U-Turn over the Atlantic, with the then-Russian foreign minister, Yevgeny Primakov, due to the kick-off NATO bombings over Serbia, without approval from the UN Security Council. Amid the onslaught against Belgrade, NATO forces deliberately struck the Chinese embassy. Beijing hasn’t forgotten the date, and on May 7, 2024, President Xi Jinping was in the capital of Serbia to pay his respects to the dead and pass a message to the West. These events determined the beginning of Russia’s reconstruction, the acceleration of the Chinese rise process, and the deepening of Sino-Russian partnerships. During this period, starting from economic fragility and a military delay position concerning the USA, Russia established a strategic advantage in weapons in 2018 by developing hypersonic weapons. It also rebuilt its national economy, circumventing unprecedented economic sanctions against it.

Despite the sanctions, Russia’s economy expanded significantly in 2023 compared to other North Atlantic countries. This year, the IMF corrected its forecasts for Russia, doubling its estimates upward. The financial sanctions policy is one of the expressions of the monetary power of the dollar in the international system, especially after the Bush Doctrine of 2002 (2). However, the effectiveness of Washington’s economic sanctions regarding its foreign policy objectives has been very low, not to say null. For example, despite the severe sanctions introduced in 2007, Iran has acquired the ability to resist and develop an adequate offensive military capacity, allowing it to change the balance of forces in Southwest Asia. A month ago, on April 12, 2024, Tehran abandoned its “policy of strategic patience” and revealed to the world, through the missile attack, its ability to pierce the Israeli anti-aircraft defense system.

The main targets of U.S. sanctions (Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba) have generally succeeded in withstanding this kind of violence, and one of the most relevant reasons for this is China’s rise to the status of the largest economy, surpassing the U.S. one. In 2023, China’s share of world GDP based on purchasing power parity reached 18.73%, while that of the USA was 15.56%. Due to its dynamism, size, and sophistication, the Chinese economy made bypassing the payment systems controlled by Washington possible. For instance, after the start of Russian military intervention in Ukraine, when one imposed unprecedented sanctions, Sino-Russian trade grew 64%, reaching a record U.S. $240 billion in 2023. Not for any other reason, on April 8, 2024, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, visiting Beijing, threatened Chinese companies, stating, “There will be significant consequences for companies that provide material support to Russia. Those who do not comply will face the consequences”.

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“..Will Schwab and Soros retire on a deserted island together to watch the end of the chaotic world they enabled from a distance?”

Klaus Schwab Steps Down As World Economic Forum Executive Chairman (ZH)

Wit the organization he founded 50 years ago bringing in nearly $500 million in revenue in the year ending March 2023 (and sitting on a neat pile of 200 million Swiss francs cash), Klaus Schwab will own some things as he reportedly steps back from his role running the World Economic Forum has has headed since 1971. Semafor reports that Schwab announced his intentions to step down as executive chairman in an email to staff on Tuesday that was shared with Semafor by a person connected to the organization. The change in his role is pending approval by the Swiss government but should be finalized ahead of the WEF’s annual meeting in 2025.

Schwab, now 86, will be transitioning to a role as non-executive chairman. But Globalists should not worry about their agenda as Semafor reports that Schwab has seeded his organization with various family members to take up the tyrannical new world order torch – Schwab’s children appointed to high-ranking positions and his wife Hilde heading the organization’s foundation and awards ceremonies in Davos. Will Schwab and Soros retire on a deserted island together to watch the end of the chaotic world they enabled from a distance?

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Q again: is this a full appeal?

Assange Granted ‘Last Chance Appeal’ For Freedom (Cradle)

The UK High Court ruled on 20 May that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will have the right to appeal against extradition to the US, marking his final push for freedom. Assange’s legal team argued that judges should not accept Washington’s previous assurances that the embattled WikiLeaks founder would be able to rely on protection under the US First Amendment. He has been given a chance to make a full appeal for his legal team’s argument that he could be discriminated against, given that he is a foreign national. Assange’s legal team had previously been demanding assurances from the US that he would not face the death penalty if extradited. At Monday’s hearing, Assange’s lawyers argued that Washington had provided “blatantly inadequate” assurances that he would be protected. Problems with the US assurances were “multifold,” they said. It was only guaranteed “merely that he can seek to raise” assurances of First Amendment protection and not “rely” on them.

One of the lawyers pointed to a “deafening silence” from US prosecutors, including Gordon Kromberg – assistant US attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, where the WikiLeaks founder would face trial. “Specific promises from prosecutors are pretty common. We will not object to bail. We will not seek the death penalty as in this case. No such specific assurance has been given here,” Edward Fitzgerald, one of Assange’s representatives, said. Fitzgerald accepted US assurances that Assange would not face the death penalty, calling it an “unambiguous promise not to charge any capital offense.” Previously, Assange’s legal team contested claims by US prosecutors that WikiLeaks’ publication of diplomatic cables created a risk that sources named in the documents would be put in harm’s way, arguing that no evidence for this exists.

“The position of the US prosecutor is that no one, neither US citizens nor foreign citizens, are entitled to rely on the first amendment in relation to publication of illegally obtained national defense information giving the names of innocent sources to their grave and imminent risk of harm,” US prosecutor James Lewis KC said during the court session. Assange could not make it to court – as in previous sessions – due to deteriorating health conditions. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of the UK High Court in support of Assange’s cause. His legal team was reportedly jubilant following the court session. Last month, US President Joe Biden said he was “considering” an Australian request to drop the case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told the local broadcasting corporation that Biden’s words were encouraging and that the case against Assange, an Australian citizen, “needs to be brought to a conclusion.”

A report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in March said that the US is considering a plea deal offer for the WikiLeaks founder, which would allow the imprisoned journalist to plead guilty to a misdemeanor offense and avoid extradition to the US. However, his legal team said at the time that it is unlikely that Washington will change its approach.

Assange is charged with violating the 1917 Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for releasing classified US military documents that implicate Washington in war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other charges. He founded WikiLeaks in 2006. The non-profit publisher came to prominence in 2010 when it released a leaked video from inside a US helicopter as it attacked civilians and journalists in Iraq. That same year, WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of US documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as thousands of US diplomatic cables. Assange is currently being held at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison. According to Fitzgerald, it could be months before the appeal is heard. If it is unsuccessful, he will have exhausted his appeals in the UK, which would lead to the start of his extradition to the US. In that event, he could potentially appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to block the extradition.

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Aether

 

 

Rhino

 

 

Huge fish

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 212024
 


Roy Lichtenstein Crying girl 1963

 

Assange Secures Big Win In US Extradition Hearing: How It Happened (RT)
Vladimir Zelensky: No Mandate, No Election. So What Now? (Drize)
End of Zelensky’s Term To Have No Effect On Russia’s Operation – Kremlin (TASS)
Zelensky Emerges as ‘First Obstacle’ to Peaceful Resolution of Ukrainian Conflict (SP.)
Zelensky A ‘Legitimate Military Target’ – Medvedev (RT)
Ukraine has lost 90% Of Energy Capacity – Ex-Minister (RT)
ICC Chief Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrants For Netanyahu And Hamas Leaders (RT)
There Is No Genocide In Gaza – Biden (RT)
Why Are Israel And The West Unravelling In Tandem? (Alastair Crooke)
Judge in Trump Case Says She’s Concerned With Special Counsel Jack Smith (ET)
Michael Cohen Admits Stealing Tens of Thousands From Trump Organization (ET)
The President Whose Voice Must Not Be Heard (Turley)
China Offloads Record Amount Of Dollar Assets – Data (RT)
Fugazy Land (Jim Kunstler)

 

 

Tapper

 

 

Biden SCOTUS

 

 

Fani
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792738591161901068

 

 

Totalitarianism

 

 

 

 

“Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Sputnik that the decision of the UK’s High Court of Justice in London doesn’t appear to be in support of the Wikileaks founder. “It is difficult to call the ongoing execution a ‘decision in favor of Assange,'” Zakharova said.”

“The UK High Court ruled that Washington’s assurances of a fair trial for the WikiLeaks founder were insufficient, allowing a full appeal.”

My first reaction: Until now, the appeals were always limited to a few small points, excluding most others. This appears different. RT claims it is a full appeal. Which would involve 1000s upon 1000s of pages of documents that may have to be revisited. I don’t see a positive confirmation of this. We’ll have to see. Knock on wood.

Assange Secures Big Win In US Extradition Hearing: How It Happened (RT)

The High Court in London has ruled that WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has the right to appeal an extradition request by the US. Washington is seeking to put the Australian publisher on trial for espionage for disclosing alleged war crimes committed by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UK High Court considered Washington’s assurances that Assange would be given a fair trial if extradited to the US. The court had previously requested two sets of written guarantees from the US stating that the WikiLeaks founder would not be discriminated against due to his Australian citizenship, and would not be held in a maximum security prison or be given the death penalty. If the court had ruled that these guarantees were adequate, Assange would likely have been extradited to the US in a matter of days. While the US had provided the assurances, it did so with a number of conditions.

The American side promised not to immediately place Assange in a maximum security prison, but reserved the right to do so based on his conduct. US prosecutors also stated that the WikiLeaks founder would be able to rely on the First Amendment right to free speech during the trial, but noted that its applicability would be “exclusively within the purview of the US courts.” Assange’s supporters slammed Washington’s diplomatic assurances, with Amnesty International’s criminal justice expert Juli Hall calling them “inherently unreliable because the US government gives itself an out.” The publisher’s wife, Stella Assange, had also described the US guarantees as “blatant weasel words.” Ahead of Monday’s ruling, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the High Court in London calling for Assange’s immediate release.

During the hearing, Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told the judges that the assurances of a fair trial given by US prosecutors could not be relied upon as American courts would not be bound by them. “We say this is a blatantly inadequate assurance,” Fitzgerald told the court. In a short ruling, the two senior judges of London’s High Court stated that the assurances provided by the US were not sufficient, and gave Assange’s legal team the right to a full appeal hearing. While the legal battle continues, Assange himself will remain in London’s top-security Belmarsh Prison, where he has been held for the past five years since his arrest in 2019 when his asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London was revoked.

The legal victory was immediately celebrated by Assange’s supporters, with Amnesty International’s Simon Crowther calling it a “rare piece of positive news for Julian Assange and all defenders of press freedom.” Stella Assange applauded the court’s verdict, calling it the “right decision.” She criticized the US for the ongoing persecution of her husband, and demanded that Washington “read the situation” and drop the case against him. Former Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn also celebrated Monday’s verdict, but stressed that there was still a lot to be done to secure Assange’s freedom.

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“On May 20, Vladimir Zelensky’s presidential powers officially expired..”

Vladimir Zelensky: No Mandate, No Election. So What Now? (Drize)

On May 20, Vladimir Zelensky’s presidential powers officially expired. He retains power, however, because no elections can be held in Ukraine due to the current state of martial law. Responding to a question last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said peace agreements can only be signed with legitimate leaders. He added that the Ukrainian legal system should draw the necessary conclusions. Firstly, because there is the temptation, if not to cancel them altogether, then to postpone elections in Ukraine for as long as possible. Of course, even if peace is achieved, Ukraine’s infrastructure will have to be rebuilt in order to conduct a proper ballot. Political life also needs to be restarted. All this takes time. But the main point is that Zelensky may well lose the election. He no longer looks like a winner. Moreover, it’s relevant to ask if Ukraine will survive not just as a state but with some form of democracy. It is also unlikely to join NATO any time soon.

There is a growing sense that Zelensky’s backers are tiring of him. A true politician has to be able to run a long race, which is why US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has hinted at the desirability of holding elections. So what’s the bigger picture here? A high-level peace conference on Ukraine is scheduled for mid-June in Burgenstock, Switzerland. It’s highly likely that this will fall short of expectations, to put it mildly. If it takes place at all. At the very least, the participation of the Global South appears to be unlikely. And US President Joe Biden is apparently not coming either. What was the point of all this? Well, for Zelensky this is an important project – to get as many influential states on his side as possible. Instead, China is promoting its own peace plan, supported by Russia. And the West is subtly making it clear that, in theory, it would be open to discussions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent trip to Europe saw all this discussed. We also have to recognize that it’s very difficult for Zelensky to continue fighting without enough weapons and without clear guarantees that supplies won’t stop at some point. And with mobilization not going well, Russia advancing, and the West getting tired of him, if the conference in Switzerland also fails, it will be a big blow for the Ukrainian leader. On the other hand, a compromise might be even worse. This is where you need political experience – rather than making unreasonable demands or issuing statements about saving the West. But we aren’t going to give advice. It’s clear that there is no ideal way out for Moscow either, so everything is very complicated. The chances for peace are slim, but at least some do exist.

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“The powers of the current Ukrainian president under the current Constitution expire on May 21. There is no legitimate way of extending them..”

End of Zelensky’s Term To Have No Effect On Russia’s Operation – Kremlin (TASS)

The expiration of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s term of office does not affect the special military operation, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told reporters. “No, the special operation continues,” Peskov said when asked whether the expiration of Zelensky’s term of office might influence the special operation. The powers of the current Ukrainian president under the current Constitution expire on May 21. There is no legitimate way of extending them. Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that the issue of the Zelensky presidency’s legitimacy after May 20 should be resolved in Ukraine by its political and legal systems.

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“He is the first obstacle to any peace negotiation. If he comes to Switzerland, it would be for receiving the support of his Western supporters and to get more aid for the war. Not for peace..”

Zelensky Emerges as ‘First Obstacle’ to Peaceful Resolution of Ukrainian Conflict (Sp.)

Nextpmonth, Switzerland is expected to host a conference ostensibly meant to help achieve a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian conflict, even though Russia was not invited while BRICS members and Global South countries seem reluctant to attend the event. The upcoming conference at the Burgenstock resort in Switzerland, touted by its organizers as an event to further the peace process in Ukraine, will most definitely be anything but a peace summit, says Swiss MP and former executive director of the Geneva Press Club Guy Mettan. “The deliberate rejection of Russia is now jeopardizing the success of the meeting and returning against its organizers,” Mettan tells Sputnik, pointing out that Russia was not invited to participate in the conference. “Aware of this problem, the Swiss official narrative is now trying to put forward that Russia didn’t wish to participate and that its absence came from its own decision, which is false and will not mislead anybody outside the collective West.”

According to Mettan, the countries of the Global South may end up sending their representatives to this gathering, though they will likely dispatch “medium-level participants with no-decision power, in order to avoid being accused of being ‘against the peace’ or of ‘boycotting the West’.” “For the Global South, the present questions are: why should it participate in a summit which is no longer a summit, which is not focused on peace due to the non-invitation of Russia, and which will certainly be a failure?” he adds. Mettan also argues that Zelensky is in fact opposed to the “real negotiation process” as he signed a decree banning any peace talks with Russia and with his so-called peace formula essentially calling for Russia’s capitulation. “He is the first obstacle to any peace negotiation. If he comes to Switzerland, it would be for receiving the support of his Western supporters and to get more aid for the war. Not for peace,” Mettan remarks.

The lawmaker suggests that Western support for Zelensky’s regime, aimed at weakening Russia, may persist until the US presidential election in November, but afterwards, the strategy’s failures might become more apparent across the military, economic, financial, and political domains. Meanwhile, it appears that the summit in question has been snubbed by many of the prospective participants due to the “unrealistic approach” adopted by the event’s organizers, says Paolo Raffone, a strategic analyst and director of the CIPI Foundation in Brussels. During an interview with Sputnik, Raffone points out that not only Russia was not invited to the summit, but the conference itself is aimed at promoting the so-called Zelensky ‘peace formula,’ a scheme that includes the demand for Russia to cede a part of its territory to Ukraine as a precondition for ending the Ukrainian conflict. “Such an unrealistic approach is the reason for many invitees not attending. The countries that have chosen not to attend are aware that a dialogue in the absence of Russia does not represent ‘the legitimate interests of the parties’,” he explains. “Moreover, no peace talks are well funded if not based on reality. Any meaningful peace talks imply that the Ukrainian government must recognize the ‘new territorial realities’.”

“World leaders are aware that any resolution to the war in Ukraine can only find a settlement between the real world powers underpinning the events, notably Russia and US,” he adds. “While behind the scenes contacts and talks are continuing, the majority of world leaders believe that the time is not yet ripe for ‘peace talks’ and that in any case the starting point cannot be other than the document drafted and mostly agreed in Turkiye in March 2022.” The analyst also observed that the implementation of Zelensky’s plan would be impossible without the “direct military intervention of Western countries,” and that it has already become clear that “none of the Western countries will officially send troops to fight in Ukraine against Russia.”

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“He spat on the Constitution of his ‘country,’ ignored the Constitutional Court, and did not even extend, but usurped the supreme power..”

Zelensky A ‘Legitimate Military Target’ – Medvedev (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, as the leader of a “hostile political regime,” is a legitimate military target, Dmitry Medvedev, the head of Russia’s Security Council, has said. Speaking to TASS on Monday, Medvedev said that the question of Zelensky’s legitimacy as president is of no particular importance to Moscow. “For Russia, the final loss of legitimacy by the pseudo-president of the former Ukraine will not change anything,” the former Russian president said, noting that the leaders of countries waging war are “always considered” a legitimate military target. Medvedev called Zelensky a “war criminal,” who should be caught and brought to justice or “liquidated as a terrorist” for his crimes against Russians and Ukrainians.

Zelensky appeared on the Russian Interior Ministry’s wanted list earlier this month though no data has been released about criminal proceedings against him. The constitutional powers of the current Ukrainian president expired on May 20. A presidential election was originally scheduled for March, but was postponed under the pretext of martial law, which was imposed after the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022, and has repeatedly been extended by the nation’s legislature. Zelensky announced in December 2023 that no presidential or parliamentary elections would be held as long as martial law remains in force. In early May, lawmakers prolonged martial law by another three months. According to Medvedev, Zelensky “effectively seized power” in the country after elections were annulled.

“He spat on the constitution of his ‘country,’ ignored the Constitutional Court, and did not even extend, but usurped the supreme power,” Medvedev argued, adding that Zelensky “covered himself with an inarticulate declaration of the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian parliament) on the abolition of presidential elections in times of war.” In March, Ukrainskaya Pravda claimed, citing members of parliament, that Zelensky had virtually stripped the legislature of its powers and established de facto personal rule. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said recently that a “moment will come soon when many people, including those inside Ukraine, will question [President Zelensky’s] legitimacy.”

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“..Galushchenko urged Ukrainians to prepare for outages during spring and summer, and advised the population to stock up on electricity generators and power banks..”

Ukraine has lost 90% Of Energy Capacity – Ex-Minister (RT)

About 90% of Ukraine’s power generation capacity has been taken out by Russian missile attacks, according to former minister of infrastructure Aleksey Kucherenko. The situation is not expected to improve dramatically, as the damaged infrastructure cannot be restored quickly, the member of parliament warned during an interview with the YouTube channel Vishka. “We have lost around eight thousand megawatts of electricity, that’s a lot, out of eight thousand, 800 are currently working,” he said, citing power engineers, and warning of extensive power outages through the summer and winter. Moscow began targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure in the autumn of 2022, after Russia’s Crimean Bridge was bombed that October.

In recent months Russia has intensified its strikes on Ukrainian military and energy facilities. In April, the Russian Defense Ministry said the bombardment was in response to Kiev’s attempts to target Russian oil infrastructure. Since January, Ukraine has launched multiple long-range attacks on energy facilities deep inside Russia, including oil depots and refineries, using kamikaze drones. In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia’s strikes on energy facilities “directly affect the defense industry of Ukraine,” calling them part of “demilitarization” efforts. Moscow reiterated the attacks are only aimed at Ukrainian military targets and facilities that support their operations, and never at the civilian population.

To alleviate the pressure on the power grid, Ukraine has introduced temporary blackouts for industrial and household consumers in all regions. The nation has also ramped up imports of electricity from neighboring EU countries – Romania, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary – and also from Moldova. Earlier this month, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko claimed that the combined financial losses from Russian attacks amounted to more than $1 billion, and warned that the figure is likely to rise. He noted that the main damage was to thermal and hydro generation, as well as power transmission systems. In April, Galushchenko urged Ukrainians to prepare for outages during spring and summer, and advised the population to stock up on electricity generators and power banks.

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Not everyone will be pleased…

ICC Chief Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrants For Netanyahu And Hamas Leaders (RT)

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has said he’s seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There are “reasonable grounds to believe” that the wanted persons are responsible for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in Gaza and in Israel, Karim Khan outlined in a statement on Monday. Along with Netanyahu, the prosecutor is looking to arrest Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The wanted Hamas officials include the Palestinian armed group’s leader Yahya Sinwar, the commander of its military wing –al-Qassam Brigades – Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and the chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh, the prosecutor’s statement reads. According to Khan, Netanyahu and Gallant are suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza such as intentional attacks on a civilian population, willful killing and causing of suffering, using starvation as a method of warfare, “extermination and/or murder” as well as other “inhumane acts.”

The wanted Hamas leaders allegedly “bear criminal responsibility” for murder, rape and other acts of sexual violence, and for taking hostages, torture and other “inhumane acts,” the prosecutor said. On October 7, Hamas fighters carried out an incursion into Israel, which resulted in about 1,200 people being killed and 250 taken hostage. The Israeli government responded to the attack by launching a large-scale military operation in Gaza that is still ongoing. According to data from the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry, 35,456 have been killed and 79,476 others wounded as a result of Israel’s airstrikes and ground offensive. Israel is not a member of the ICC and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the UN court, but the State of Palestine joined the organization in 2015. Once warrants against Netanyahu and Hamas leaders are issued, any of the court’s 124 member-states will be obliged to arrest them if they set foot on their territory.

Benny Gantz, the centrist member of Israel’s three-person war cabinet, labeled the decision by Khan to seek arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant as “a crime of historic proportions.” Israel is waging “one of the just wars fought in modern history” and drawing parallels between its top officials and Hamas leaders is “a deep distortion of justice and blatant moral bankruptcy,” he claimed in a statement. The country’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich said that “we have not seen such a show of hypocrisy and hatred of Jews like that displayed by the court in the Hague since Nazi propaganda.” Another rightist cabinet member, national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, has urged the Israeli PM and defense minister to “ignore the anti-Semitic prosecutor and order a stepped-up assault against Hamas until they are completely destroyed.”

Back in April, when reports of a possible arrest warrant against Netanyahu emerged, the PM blamed the ICC for seeking to “paralyze Israel’s very ability to defend itself,” while fanning the “fires of anti-Semitism.” Axios reported earlier this month that a group of Republican lawmakers in the US House of Representatives had been devising sanctions against the ICC in a bid to deter it from prosecuting the Israeli leaders. The US, Israel’s major ally, is not a state party to the Rome Statute, which founded the ICC in 2002.

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We’re beyond semantics, Joe…

There Is No Genocide In Gaza – Biden (RT)

US President Joe Biden has dismissed arguments that Israel’s military operation in Gaza can be described as genocide, reiterating Washington’s support for West Jerusalem as he hosted an event for Jewish American Heritage month at the White House. On Monday, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, announced that he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and Ismail Haniyeh, accusing them of “war crimes and crimes against humanity.” Speaking at the White House later in the day, Biden condemned the ICC move as well as separate allegations by the UN’s International Court of Justice that Israel’s actions in Gaza could be genocidal.

“Let me be clear, contrary to allegations against Israel made by the International Court of Justice, what’s happening is not genocide. We reject that,” Biden said. Palestinian militant group Hamas carried out an incursion into Israel on October 7 which resulted in about 1,200 people being killed and 250 taken hostage. The Israeli government responded by launching a large-scale military operation in Gaza, which according to the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry has killed over 35,000 people and left almost 80,000 others wounded. Israel has vowed to continue the offensive until Hamas is completely eliminated. “We stand with Israel to take out Sinwar and the rest of the butchers of Hamas,” Biden said on Monday. “We want Hamas defeated. We’ve worked with Israel to make that happen.”

In January, an interim ruling by the ICJ, the UN’s top court in The Hague, ordered Israel to take steps to prevent genocide and improve humanitarian conditions for Gaza’s population. The lawsuit, filed by South Africa late last year, accuses West Jerusalem of committing systematic war crimes in the Palestinian region. Ireland announced in March that it would support Pretoria’s case, calling Israel’s actions in Gaza a “blatant violation of international humanitarian law on a mass scale.” Last week, Egypt also called on Israel to “comply with its obligations as the occupying power.”

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“..more and more Israelis on both sides of the divide see their country as essentially split into two distinct (non-reconcilable) entities”. Does this sound familiar, albeit in another context?..”

Why Are Israel And The West Unravelling In Tandem? (Alastair Crooke)

Alon Pinkas, a former senior Israeli diplomat (well plugged in at the White House), says aloud the ‘reality’ about Israel which he underlines cannot be hidden further: “[There are now] two [Jewish] states – with contrasting visions of what the nation should be. There is an elephant in the Israeli room – and ‘no’: it’s not occupation, though that is its main cause”. “The elephant in the room is Israel gradually but inexorably being divided [into a high-tech, secular, liberal state] … and a Jewish-supremacist, ultranationalist theocracy with messianic, antidemocratic tendencies that encourage isolation”. “Zionism … has morphed and mutated through the settler movement and extreme right-wing zealots into a Masada-like political culture, based on the concept of the redemption of the ancient kingdom in the ancestral land. (Masada was a Sicarii cult in CE 73)”. Pinkas continues:

“[I]n essence, there is a civil war raging in Israel. It has not reached Gettysburg levels, but the deep and wide schism is becoming glaringly evident. The two political value systems are just not reconcilable. “We are fighting the Arabs (or Iran) for our existence” remains the only common thread, but it is weakening. That is a negative definition of national identity: a common enemy and threat, but very little of what unites us in terms of the type of society and country we want to be”. “Even the most fundamental common narrative, the Declaration of Independence, is now being questioned with some of its basic tenets and guiding principles a source of political contention”. Of course, one can see from which side of the divide Pinkas views his world – yet “above and beyond pondering 7 October, there is a growing realization that ‘unity’, ‘one destiny’ and ‘we have no choice and no other country’ have become meaningless and hollow clichés. Instead, more and more Israelis on both sides of the divide see their country as essentially split into two distinct (non-reconcilable) entities”. Does this sound familiar, albeit in another context?

It should. For it is a metaphor for the inexorable divide in the West, too. The war in Gaza has precipitated and sharpened the latent schisms within in the West. It too can be hidden no longer. On the one hand, there is an (illiberal) social engineering project posing as liberalism. And on the other, a project to recover the ‘eternal’ values (however imperfect) that once lay behind European civilisation. The conflict in the Middle East has thrown the parallels between the two spheres in the West into clarity. Again, the parallels and similarities are discomforting: As Pinkas says: “the divide is real, widening and becoming unbridgeable. The political, cultural and economic gaps and rifts are growing, accompanied by toxic vitriol that masquerades as political discourse. Even the most fundamental common narrative, the Declaration of Independence, is now being questioned with some of its basic tenets and guiding principles a source of political contention”.

He is referring to Israel, but the same is true in the U.S., where the basic tenets and guiding principles of the Constitution (i.e. free speech) are a source of political contention. He talks also of the Right’s claim that Tel Aviv ‘is a bubble’, but adds: “As for the bubble claim, they’re right – but New York is a bubble, Paris and London are bubbles” – geographical, as well as ideological bubbles. Yet Pinkas does not ‘get’ the paradox he creates: Is not that the core of the problem? The ‘Techie-obsessed’ Metro-Élites of America versus the Rest (i.e. ‘flyover America’)? The bubbles are the problem, not something to be brushed aside. Today, tens of thousands of students in the West are protesting the on-going massacre of Palestinians, whilst the institutional place-holders fully support the annihilation of Hamas and any ‘complicit’ civilians (which is extended by some to include all who live in Gaza). The two worldviews share no common perception. They represent contrasting visions for the future – and of the essence of their nations. October 7 exploded the simulacra of the ‘status quo’ in Israel – and at the same time, unravelled the political order in the West – as in Israel.

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“The sealing and redaction rules should be applied consistently and fairly upon a sufficient factual and legal showing..”

Judge in Trump Case Says She’s Concerned With Special Counsel Jack Smith (ET)

The federal judge overseeing one of the criminal cases against former President Donald Trump on May 19 expressed concern and disappointment with special counsel Jack Smith. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, an appointee of President Trump, said that Mr. Smith and his team have taken inconsistent positions during the case as it pertains to keeping some information sealed, or hidden from the public. “In two separate filings related to sealing, the special counsel stated, without qualification, that he had no objection to full unsealing of previously sealed docket entries related to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. In light of that repeated representation, and in the absence of any defense objection, the court unsealed those materials consistent with the general presumption in favor of public access,” Judge Cannon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida wrote in an order.

The materials that were unsealed, though, contain information such as grand jury details that the special counsel has and continues to say, in all other filings, should be kept sealed. Judge Cannon asked for an explanation of the inconsistency. “In response to those inquiries, counsel explained that the special counsel took the position on unsealing in order to publicly and transparently refute defense allegations of prosecutorial misconduct raised in pretrial motions,” Judge Cannon wrote. “Fair enough. But nowhere in that explanation is there any basis to conclude that the special counsel could not have defended the integrity of his Office while simultaneously preserving the witness-safety and Rule 6(e) concerns he has repeatedly told the court, and maintains to this day, are of serious consequence, and which the court has endeavored with diligence to accommodate in its multiple orders on sealing/redaction.”

Judge Cannon described herself as being “disappointed in these developments.” “The sealing and redaction rules should be applied consistently and fairly upon a sufficient factual and legal showing. And parties should not make requests that undermine any prior representations or positions except upon full disclosure to the court and appropriate briefing,” she added.

The case was brought against President Trump over his alleged mishandling of sensitive documents. The order came after Mr. Smith and President Trump filed competing proposals for redactions, in response to a May 9 order from the judge that directed the parties to submit the proposals. The order concerns several motions filed by President Trump, including a motion to dismiss the case based on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, which have not yet been placed on the docket. The proposals for redactions are also not yet public. Both parties and the judge agree that the names of potential witnesses or information that would clearly identify them should be kept hidden, along with “ancillary names” and personal identifying information such as addresses. Redactions agreed upon by both parties were accepted by the judge in the new order, with a few exceptions. President Trump’s proposed redactions to some witness statements were rejected.

“No basis is provided for these redactions, and the court has previously denied requests to redact the substance of potential witness statements are relied upon in pre-trial motions,” Judge Cannon said. The judge also turned down a request by the special counsel to redact some of the same information. Judge Cannon said that for redactions where the parties disagree, she would “accept for now” President Trump’s characterization of portions of the material falling under privilege, pending her review of privilege arguments. She would also accept the special counsel’s position on Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, despite the concerns outlined in the order. The filings with the authorized redactions are now expected to be docketed in the coming days. Rule 6 states, in part, that a number of people, including government attorneys, must not disclose any matters occurring before a grand jury, with limited exceptions.

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“The former president has denied her claims, describing her and Mr. Cohen in April as “sleaze bags” who are making false statements against him.”

Michael Cohen Admits Stealing Tens of Thousands From Trump Organization (ET)

Former Trump associate and lawyer Michael Cohen on Monday admitted to stealing thousands of dollars from the Trump Organization as he testified during the former presidents’ trial in New York City. Mr. Cohen made the admission while facing cross-examination from defense attorney Todd Blanche. “You did steal from the Trump Organization based upon the expected reimbursement from Red Finch,” Mr. Blanche asked him, making reference to a repayment plan that was intended to pay adult film performer Stormy Daniels $130,000 and tech firm Red Finch $50,000. “Yes sir,” Mr. Cohen said in response. The former attorney then said he went to the bank and took out cash over several days, totaling about $20,000 before keeping it in a small brown paper bag. Then he gave it to the tech firm, he testified, adding he never gave the full $50,000 amount.

The Trump Organization ultimately repaid Mr. Cohen $50,000 and then doubled that payment in a practice known as “grossing up” to cover taxes he’d incur by declaring the money as income rather than a tax-free reimbursement. Mr. Blanche noted that despite Mr. Cohen’s guilty pleas in 2018 to federal charges including a campaign finance violation for the hush money payment and unrelated tax evasion and bank fraud crimes, he’d never been charged with stealing from President Trump’s company. “Have you paid back the Trump Organization the money you stole from them?” Mr. Blanche asked. “No, sir,” Mr. Cohen responded. President Trump was seen by courtroom reporters looking directly at the witness stand as Mr. Cohen made the admission about stealing. Eric Trump, Trump’s son, who is in the courtroom, posted on social media around the same time: “This just got interesting: Michael Cohen is now admitting to stealing money from our company.”

The 34 charges of falsifying business records stem from internal Trump Organization records where payments to Mr. Cohen were marked as legal expenses, when prosecutors say they were really reimbursements for Ms. Daniels’ payment. President has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers say there was nothing criminal about the Daniels deal or the way Mr. Cohen was paid. Last week, Mr. Cohen told jurors that President Trump was allegedly involved in the scheme to pay Ms. Daniels to prevent her from going public in 2016 about an alleged 2006 affair between her and President Trump. The former president has denied her claims, describing her and Mr. Cohen in April as “sleaze bags” who are making false statements against him.

The 34 charges of falsifying business records stem from internal Trump Organization records where payments to Mr. Cohen were marked as legal expenses, when prosecutors say they were really reimbursements for Ms. Daniels’ payment. President has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers say there was nothing criminal about the Daniels deal or the way Mr. Cohen was paid. Last week, Mr. Cohen told jurors that President Trump was allegedly involved in the scheme to pay Ms. Daniels to prevent her from going public in 2016 about an alleged 2006 affair between her and President Trump. The former president has denied her claims, describing her and Mr. Cohen in April as “sleaze bags” who are making false statements against him.

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Curious: President Joe Biden invoked executive privilege over the audiotape of his interrogation by Special Counsel Robert Hur. The transcripts of which were released long ago… So what’s on those tapes?

The President Whose Voice Must Not Be Heard (Turley)

Below is my column in The Hill on the curious claim of executive privilege over the audiotape from President Joe Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur. It is the first time that I know of where the content of a presidential conversation was treated as unprivileged but the audio of the conversation claimed as privileged. It is also an invocation on answering questions about alleged criminal acts committed while a private citizen. It is, in my view, entirely without merit but Attorney General Merrick Garland appears more interested in running out the clock than prevailing on the claim.

[..] While all eyes were focused on a Manhattan courthouse for Donald Trump’s trial, a curious thing happened in Washington. President Joe Biden invoked executive privilege in defiance of Congress. It is not the invocation that is particularly unusual. What is curious is that Biden is withholding the audiotape of his own interrogation by Special Counsel Robert Hur, even though the transcript has been released as unprivileged. It appears that Joe Biden is “he who must not be heard.” The invocation of privilege over the audiotape is so transparently political and cynical that it would make Richard Nixon blush. Multiple committees are investigating Biden for possible impeachment and conducting oversight on the handling of the investigation into his retention and mishandling of classified material over decades. Classified documents were found in various locations where Biden lived or worked, including his garage. The mishandling of classified material is uncontestable. Broken boxes, unprotected areas and lack of tracking are all obvious from the photos.

The comparison to the Trump case in Florida is both obvious and disturbing. Where Trump was charged with a litany of charges, including mishandling and retention of documents (in addition to obstruction), Hur decided not to charge Biden at all. His reason was outright alarming: The president is an elderly man with failing memory. Biden made the situation even worse with a disastrous press conference in which he attacked Hur and misrepresented his findings. Biden told the public that the special counsel did not find willful retention of material. This was untrue — Hur not only found that Biden had done this, but repeatedly detailed such violations in the report. Biden also claimed that he had not shown classified material to third parties, even though Hur specifically found that he had and established that there is a witness to that violation.

Biden also attacked Hur for bringing up the death of Beau, his son who passed away in 2018. In showing why Biden could use his diminished faculties as a defense, Hur had noted that Biden got the date wrong of his own son’s death. In the press conference, Biden angrily asked “How in the hell dare he raise that?” Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself it wasn’t any of their damn business.” It was later shown that it was not Hur but Biden himself who raised his son’s death, which he often does in speeches. Hur’s view that Biden’s diminished cognitive abilities would undermine any prosecution left many dumbfounded. After all, the man who is too feeble to prosecute is not only running a superpower with a massive nuclear arsenal but running for reelection to add four more years in office.

From impeachment to oversight to the 25th Amendment (allowing the removal of a president for incapacities), there are ample reasons for Congress to demand information and evidence from the government on these questions. Congress is also interested in looking at repeated omissions for “inaudible” statements. Under this sweeping theory that Biden can legitimately withhold these recordings under executive privilege, any president could withhold any evidence of incapacity or criminality. The House is poised to find Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt for refusing to release the audiotapes. It is a cynical calculation. Garland knows that his own department will never prosecute him for contempt of Congress.

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Worst: China stops buying US treasuries…

China Offloads Record Amount Of Dollar Assets – Data (RT)

China sold a record number of US bonds in the first quarter of this year, highlighting the country’s shift away from dollar assets, the latest data from the US Treasury Department reveals. Beijing has divested a total of $53.3 billion in Treasuries and agency bonds combined in the first three months of the year, while at the same time increasing its purchases of gold and other commodities, data showed. Some analysts have suggested that this reduction in foreign exchange reserves could be part of China’s broader strategy to diversify away from US dollar-denominated assets amid rising geopolitical tensions with the US. Some experts have pointed to the economic impact of Western sanctions on Russia following the Ukraine conflict, saying that China seeks to mitigate similar risks.

“The handling of Russian reserves by the US and other G7 countries, including threats of expropriations and sanctions, likely prompted China to reduce its exposure to US Treasury assets to avoid being similarly targeted,” Craig Shapiro, a macroeconomic adviser at LaDuc Trading, told Newsweek on Saturday, referring to the seizure of Russian assets. The West has frozen roughly $300 billion in Russian sovereign funds since the start of the Ukraine conflict. The Brussels-based clearinghouse Euroclear, often seen as a custodian of China’s holdings, disposed of $22 billion in US Treasuries during the reporting period, according to Bloomberg.

As the second largest foreign holder of US Treasury securities after Japan, China’s sell-off could potentially unsettle the Treasury market and raise US borrowing costs, some economists argued. “As China is selling both despite the fact that we are closer to a Fed rate-cut cycle, there should be a clear intention of diversifying away from US dollar holdings,” said Stephen Chiu, chief Asia foreign-exchange and rates strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence. “China’s selling of US securities could speed up as the US-China trade war resumes” especially if Trump returns as president, he said. While China is selling dollar assets, its holdings of gold have surged in the country’s official reserves. The share of the precious metal in reserves climbed to 4.9% in April, the highest since records began in 2015, according to the People’s Bank of China.

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“It was a rather poor frontier province of Russia, and for a while was badly mistreated by Stalin, but it was not a problem outside of Ukraine and, frankly, it was none of our business..”

Fugazy Land (Jim Kunstler)

Really, you must agree: just about anything can happen now, and probably will, and possibly all at the same time — war, sickness, a disordered economy, chaos in money and finance, savages pouring across the open borders, assassination, mayhem in the streets, systems failure, mental illness everywhere you look. You have a sinister, blob-infested government acting like a desperate, cornered animal, fronted by a venal phantasm trailing a personal history of crime. What could go wrong? All of it. The doings in Judge Merchan’s Manhattan present the rectified essence of America’s authority problem. You will stipulate that judges are authorities in a pretty pure sense of the word. Their role is to determine what is right and what is wrong, or, at least guide the proceedings that would result in such a fair determination.

And, of course, the officers of this court, the District Attorney and his prosecutors, are also entrusted with bringing comprehensible cases that follow the facts fairly, and the laws pertaining to those facts. This maliciously misguided prosecution has only accomplished one thing so far: to demonstrate to the American public that the authority of our law has been contorted to become a sick joke. That is a ruinous lesson for the country. The free-for-all of our national life has required reliable adjudication of all the quarrels and inequities that arose out of it. For a long time, the rule of law was America’s great draw. If that goes out the window, all you’re left with is the free-for-all which pretty soon devolves into Thomas Hobbes’s nightmare existence in the state of nature where life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

The current Trump trial in Manhattan will likely resolve this week, one way or another, though there is no way that the candidate will land in jail, even if he is convicted and sentenced to go there. That will only be another quandary for the foundering rule of law, and a dreadful challenge. Altogether this trial has alerted even the deranged news channels that the nation is still capable of feeling grossly insulted by its own rulers, and insults will be answered. Tribulation may be the only answer that will avail to correct America’s tragic capture by blobs foreign and domestic. And you must understand that our nation’s bad choices have brought these tribulations upon ourselves. Fugazy finance is finally hitting the wall it has been seeking. Wealth based on pretense eventually runs out of hallucinatory mojo. Zooming gold and silver prices signal that the US dollar is in distress. The eagle is flying upside down.

A system based on credit is one thing, when credit can plausibly be paid back. But that system is gone. Finally, you must learn what truth or consequences really means, and the truth is that our debts are unpayable and everybody knows it. The consequences await. Any way you slice that — bond market blow-up, raging inflation, bank failures, stocks cratering, a “great taking” of collateral (your property) — the effect is the same: a crashing standard of living. That will get everybody’s attention in a way that Pride Month marches won’t. If “Joe Biden” thinks he will put over a central bank digital currency to cover for all this failure, he and the blob he rode in on will be in for a rude surprise. Fugazy war isn’t working either. When did Ukraine become a problem for Western Civ? When Victoria Nuland & Company in the US State Department decided to make it a problem in 2014. Before that, going back into the mists of history, Ukraine was not a problem.

It was a rather poor frontier province of Russia, and for a while was badly mistreated by Stalin, but it was not a problem outside of Ukraine and, frankly, it was none of our business. And in a matter of months, as Russia rolls up on the Zelensky regime, it will cease to be a problem for anyone. The notion that the USA and NATO can reverse this now is insane. The nations of Western Civ won’t draft troops to battle on the ground there. There’s no will to fight in Ukraine among the young people of Europe and America. And we have no more guns or ammo to give. The war will end in humiliation for all concerned in the West, especially the “Joe Biden” regime, which has been recklessly flirting with nuclear aggression — as if this would accomplish anything but turning Western Civ into an ashtray.

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Elon water

 

 

Lioness
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792578570889445445

 

 

Lions

 

 

Merlin

 

 

Table

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 192024
 


Francesco Hayez The Death of the Doge Marin Faliero 1867

 

Why the Fix Is in for Trump (Victoria Taft)
N.Y. Gives Trump The Anne Boleyn Treatment (Porter)
Ciaramella in the Loop of Biden-Ukraine Affairs Trump Wanted Probed (Sperry)
Israeli Retaliatory Strike On Iran (Scott Ritter)
Which Side God Is On Now (Helmer)
Blinken Shelves Special Request To Probe Israeli War Crimes (Cradle)
Texas Is Being Turned Into a Woke Democrat State (Paul Craig Roberts)
On The Mayorkas Impeachment (Denninger)
UK Insurers Won’t Pay Nord Stream Because Blasts Were ‘Government’ Backed (GZ)
Aid to Ukraine May Deep-Six Another House Speaker (Sp.)
Zelensky Blames EU For Russian Advance (RT)
ECB Fires Back At Plans To Seize Russian Assets (RT)
Top Military Official Lied About Jan. 6: Whistleblowers (ET)
Desperation Behind European Politicians’ Latest Russiagate Hoax (Public)
US Issues Assurances on Assange (Lauria)

 

 

 

 

O’Leary

 

 

Bragg
https://twitter.com/i/status/1780977235949711525

 

 

 

 

Ritter

 

 

Samson

 

 

 

 

America is undergoing a political show trial. For the whole world to see. There are three more waiting in the wings. The legal system should never allow for this. It is now on trial as much as Trump is.

Why the Fix Is in for Trump (Victoria Taft)

Judging by the way the entire array of Democrat operatives at the federal, state, and local levels of law enforcement have scraped the bottom of the local pond, liberated copious amounts of scum, loaded DNC slingshots, and heaved the slime at former President Donald Trump, I’m thinking you might have low expectations for New York City trial, too. We can’t imagine why you’d feel that way.The 34 charges against Trump were magicked into felonies by the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who contends there’s an overarching federal election crime at play. That’s how he reanimated these misdys that had already run their statute of limitations. The judge in the case, Juan Merchan, then re-jiggered the statute of limitations, blaming COVID to add another year to the statute of limitations so Bragg could bring these charges against Trump. The New York State legislature made a similar move for E. Jean Carroll so the founder of LinkedIn and ardent leftist Reid Hoffman could bankroll a new round of lawfare. The move revived her ability to bring a sexual assault case against Trump for assaulting her in a dressing room sometime in the ’90s in a dress she swore she wore but which hadn’t been designed yet.

In the fraud case that isn’t fraud and which defrauded no one, Gov. Kathy Hochul assured New York businesses afraid the Jacobins would come for their businesses and assets that “New Yorkers who are business people have nothing to worry about because they’re very different than Donald Trump…” Attorney General Letitia James had never used this law to do to anyone what they’re doing to Trump. She also used another one-off law to pile on the penalties for the victimless non-crime. The judge in that case, who probably wears no underwear under that robe, pronounced Trump guilty before the trial began. And we haven’t even touched on the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid over documents Trump is allowed to have under the Presidential Records Act. Or the attempt to get Trump off the ballot using the 14th Amendment. Even the U.S. Constitution is fungible to these leftists. And now we’re in jury selection in Trump’s latest case, which is literally a bookkeeping case in which Trump paid his attorney over time for services rendered that included making sure Stormy Daniels and another woman signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and were paid for them.

Daniels has never been charged with extortion for breaking her NDA and demanding more money or she’d tell the media that she had a tryst or something with Trump. But Bragg lets murderers run the streets, so why are we surprised? Bragg doesn’t include his boffo legal theory in the 34-count indictment, but in his accompanying statement contends that Trump stole the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton. Hillary won New York in the 2016 election by a nearly two-to-one margin, but why let a fact like that get in the way of a great election-year lawfare effort on behalf of Democrats? Indeed, each of these prosecutors and their offices should be required to file with the Federal Elections Commission for in-kind donations to Joe Biden. We also might wonder why Bragg and his fellow conspirators haven’t been swooped up by the FBI and charged with whatever is the opposite of a 1512 c2 offense for starting an official proceeding — this trial — to carry out his violence upon a former president and current presidential candidate.

Trump’s being publicly humiliated and kept off the campaign trail — a feature, not a bug of this lawfare — because he booked payments to his lawyer in 2017, which, let’s note for clarity, is after the 2016 election. Bragg contends these payments were in furtherance of stealing an election. Hillary’s 2016 Russia collusion efforts in conspiracy with the CIA, FBI, DOJ, and White House somehow were left out of Bragg’s election-stealing bill of particulars, but He’s With Her so it’s just fine, whatareyoulookingat? The Federal Elections Commission, Justice Department, and Bragg’s own office have previously declined to pursue this lunacy. However, when George Soros poured money into his campaign, Bragg, like AG Letitia James, promised if he were elected by the Manhattan jury pool, he’d use any tool at his disposal to Get Trump. And now jury selection is underway, and we’ve got a couple of clunkers in that box of rocks that may be professional Trump haters.

Not that Trump can say anything about his latest case since Judge Merchan has put what looks to be a constitutionally suspect gag order on the former president. He’s been admonished by the judge that he should say nothing about his “child,” a grown-ass woman who works for a Democrat political consulting firm and does work for Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer and used the trial as a fundraising tool. Nothing to see here, obviously, so Trump should shaddup already. You can see what’s going on. The left has put what is tantamount to a gag order on us, too. At PJ Media, we’ve been censored, excoriated, “fact-checked” by feedback-loop lefties, and all but killed from social media. The Google gods demonetize us for their latest government-bankrolled censorship program—going after “mal” information. That’s information that is true but which they don’t like because it makes them look bad.

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“..the whole point of the exercise was to lop off the head of someone who stood in the way of the regime’s continuity..”

N.Y. Gives Trump The Anne Boleyn Treatment (Porter)

Jury selection is now complete in the case of The People of the State of New York vs. Donald J. Trump, which alleges that the defendant lied to his own check register, and lied to the general ledger of his own company, when the invoice given to him by his lawyer was paid and recorded by someone else, and that the misstatement he made to himself in his own records was done “with the intent to defraud and intent to commit another crime and aid and conceal the commission thereof.” [..] The prosecutor elected in New York County of New York state indicted Trump, after Trump announced his 2024 run for president, for allegedly violating New York Penal Laws 175.05 and 175.10 seven years ago.

That local prosecutor, Alvin Bragg, is a member of the Democratic Party – and the voters who elected Bragg and from whom the jury will be chosen support the Democratic Party. In 2016, the people of New York County voted 87% for Hillary Clinton and 10% for Donald Trump, and in 2020, 87% for Joe Biden and 12% for Donald Trump. In other words, the jury pool is chosen from one of the most partisan jurisdictions in the country – a place where almost all the judges are Democrats as well. So the Democratic prosecutor elected in the second most Democratic county in the United States will try the former Republican president and current putative Republican Party presidential nominee before a Democrat-appointed judge and a jury drawn from a pool 87% of whom voted against him (and who are being asked if they watch Fox News or listen to talk radio in the screening process).One wonders if the law even matters. But let’s review the two statutes at issue to highlight what the law requires the prosecution to prove.

First, the prosecutor must prove that Trump violated the relevant statute, which requires a finding that he falsified business records with intent to defraud – that he “makes or causes a false entry in the business records of an enterprise.” By the way, falsifying business records in the second degree is a misdemeanor, not a felony. Moreover, New York’s statute of limitations requires that misdemeanor prosecutions be commenced within two years of the commission of the act, meaning that under the last provision, this case should never have been filed. Bragg elevated this misdemeanor into a felony by including New York Penal Law 175.10 in the indictment – falsifying business records in the first degree. That statute reads this way: “A person is guilty of falsifying business records in the first degree when he commits the crime of falsifying business records in the second degree, and when his intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.”

There are other obvious difficulties with this case beyond the credibility of the witnesses (a porn star who denied any affair numerous times and a disbarred lawyer convicted of perjury). For example, why does the entry in the check register or the general ledger matter at all? When would those entries, as opposed to the allegedly false invoices, be shown to anyone for any nefarious purpose? And were the entries even false? Was there any intent to fool someone to obtain something in making the entries – who was the target of the allegedly false entry in private books and records? If there’s no mark, no victim, then how could there be an “intent to defraud”? Defraud whom? And what is the other crime that the person making the book entry intended to commit or hide? If the other crime is not a New York crime but a federal crime, does every county prosecutor in the United States, including Alvin Bragg, have the jurisdiction to enforce an alleged federal crime indirectly through a state crime?

We shall see. The political nature of this trial is obvious, and unprecedented in the United States. Even with irrefutable DNA evidence that Bill Clinton committed perjury, the special prosecutor declined to press criminal charges against him. In America’s recent past, prosecutors tended to exhibit a modicum of restraint. Those days are apparently gone. I reviewed an interesting law review article of political show trials down through history, from the trial of Socrates in Athens to the famous show trials in the 1930s Stalinist Soviet Union, curious to see if I could find historical precedent for this trial. The closest precedent is probably Anne Boleyn’s trial for adultery in 1536. It was about sex, the trial was in a hostile jurisdiction controlled by her accuser, and the whole point of the exercise was to lop off the head of someone who stood in the way of the regime’s continuity. But that’s what Democrats have lusted for since Donald Trump first arrived on the scene, isn’t it? They made no secret of it.

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“..Ciaramella effectively helped cover up a scandal far worse than what Trump was impeached over..”

Ciaramella in the Loop of Biden-Ukraine Affairs Trump Wanted Probed (Sperry)

The ‘whistleblower’ who sparked Donald Trump’s first impeachment was deeply involved in the political maneuverings behind Biden-family business schemes in Ukraine that Trump wanted probed, newly obtained emails from former Vice President Joe Biden’s office reveal. In 2019, then-National Intelligence Council analyst Eric Ciaramella touched off a political firestorm when he anonymously accused Trump of linking military aid for Ukraine to a demand for an investigation into alleged Biden corruption in that country. But four years earlier, while working as a national security analyst attached to then-Vice President Joe Biden’s office, Ciaramella was a close adviser when Biden threatened to cut off U.S. aid to Ukraine unless it fired its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Ukraine-based Burisma Holdings. At the time, the corruption-riddled energy giant was paying Biden’s son Hunter millions of dollars.

Those payments – along with other evidence tying Joe Biden to his family’s business dealings – received little attention in 2019 as Ciaramella accused Trump of a corrupt quid pro quo. Neither did subsequent evidence indicating that Hunter Biden’s associates had identified Shokin as a “key target.” These matters are now part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Biden. “It now seems there was material evidence that would have been used at the impeachment trial [to exonerate Trump],” said George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who has testified as an expert witness in the ongoing Biden impeachment inquiry. “Trump was alleging there was a conflict of interest with the Bidens, and the evidence could have challenged Biden’s account and established his son’s interest in the Shokin firing.” Ciaramella’s role – including high-level discussions with top Biden aides and Ukrainian prosecutors – is only now coming to light thanks to the recent release of White House emails and photos from the National Archives.

The emails show Ciaramella expressed shock – “Yikes” is what he wrote – at Biden’s move to withhold the $1 billion in aid from Kyiv, which represented a sudden shift in U.S. policy. They also show he was drawn into White House communications over how to control adverse publicity from Hunter taking a lucrative seat on Burisma’s board. Yet there is no evidence Ciaramella raised alarms about the questionable Biden business activities he witnessed firsthand, which is in sharp contrast to 2019. In that instance, he was galvanized into action after being told by White House colleague Alexander Vindman of an “improper” phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During the call, Trump solicited Zelensky’s help in investigating Burisma and Hunter Biden’s role in the company.

Some former congressional investigators say Ciaramella effectively helped cover up a scandal far worse than what Trump was impeached over. What’s more, he failed to disclose that he had a potential conflict of interest stemming from his connection to the matter Trump asked Zelensky to probe when he lodged his complaint against Trump. RealClearInvestigations was the first to identify the then-33-year-old Ciaramella as the anonymous impeachment “whistleblower,” something major media continue to keep under tight wraps.

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X thread. News will keep coming in through the day.

Israeli Retaliatory Strike On Iran (Scott Ritter)

Reports of an Israeli retaliatory strike on Iran appear to be related to a very limited attack in the vicinity of the Iranian city of Isfahan on military targets not related to Iran’s nuclear program. The weapons used in this strike are unknown at this point, although Iran claims to have shot down at least three drones of an undetermined type. Israel has not taken public credit for the attack. Indeed, the only link to Israel comes from anonymous statements from sources claimed to be US officials.

While Iran has stated it would strike Israel with immediate and decisive force if Israel were to attack, the extremely limited and anonymous nature of this attack may provide Iran with the opportunity to dismiss this attack as nothing of consequence, thereby eliminating the necessity of an Iranian retaliation. The Iranian Foreign Minister had issued a statement about decisive retaliation at the UN which constitutes official declaratory policy on Iranian deterrence policy which may be deemed sufficient for the moment. If the action in Isfahan is the limit of the Israeli action, then this matter may be concluded.

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“..there should be no counting by the Israeli and US side on a divine miracle to keep Jerusalem’s lights burning..”

Which Side God Is On Now (Helmer)

Israel is rattled. It’s now up to Iran, leader of the Arab resistance and warfighting alliance – Hamas, Hezbollah, Ansar Allah (Houthis), and the Syrian and Iraqi groups – to demonstrate that they can stop the genocidal schemes of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), and the Jewish theocracy it enforces as a state; or failing that, to neutralize Israel’s capacities to fight a war of attrition over everything states must have – electricity, ports, money, firepower, defences. The Arab leadership understood this before the Iranians. In 1983 Saddam Hussein told a meeting of Iraqi Army generals: “Human nature represented by the heart of the families and sisters of the Iraqi martyrs in their own weeping and mourning will always be felt; but the Iraqis are better prepared than ever to deal with it. If it ever happens that the Iraqi people were in a conflict with their Israeli enemy, then the Iraqis would be able to withstand three years of fighting in a war. However, the Israelis cannot withstand one year of fighting in a war.”

Seven years later in 1990, Hussein was talking in Baghdad with Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization: “[Arafat]: [Israel] has 240 nuclear warheads, 12 out of them for each Arab capital…[Hussein]: I say this and I am very calm and wearing a civil suit [everyone laughs]. But I say this so that we can get ready at this level.” Readiness at this level was not achieved by the Iraqis, or by Hussein himself. Hamas has demonstrated since last October that the Israelis are unready. Iran demonstrated this again last weekend, despite what Israel claims to have been a near-perfect interception rate: enough missiles got through to strategic targets to prove that with hypersonic speed, higher yield warheads, and better accuracy, the next round of Iranian missiles will be unstoppable. This prospect is what is rattling the Israelis now. As of today’s broadcast on Gorilla Radio and writing this, it is 3:30 on Thursday morning in Tehran: the Israeli attack which has been telegraphed through the British foreign minister, Baron Cameron, has not yet materialized.

When it happens – if it happens — the evidence to gather, before the scope of the Iranian response can be calculated, includes what types of targets were struck, military or civil; where the attack was launched from; what role US intelligence and military support played in execution of Israel’s operation; and what role Russia is playing in early warning, missile tracking, electronic countermeasures, and defence on the Iranian side. When the Iranian counterattack happens, if it happens, there should be no counting by the Israeli and US side on a divine miracle to keep Jerusalem’s lights burning. The last one of those, according to the religion of the Israeli state (and also of presidential candidate Donald Trump), was the Chanukah one. That was in 164 BC, when the Judaean rebels recaptured the Temple in Jerusalem from the Seleucid Greek army. In trying to relight the menorah they found they had only one container of oil — enough fuel for one candle for one day.

God was asked for resupply, so Prime Minister Netanyahu and General Gallant believe. He then delivered by stretching the one-day fuel stock to last for eight days – enough divine miracle time for the Judaeans to refine a new supply for themselves.

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“..special mechanisms have been used over the last few years to shield Israel from US human rights laws.”

Blinken Shelves Special Request To Probe Israeli War Crimes (Cradle)

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has failed to act on a State Department proposal to bar certain Israeli police and army units from receiving US funds over human rights abuses of Palestinians. Blinken has disregarded this despite the growing concern over Israeli army conduct in Gaza, according to current and former State Department officials. A special panel at the State Department made the proposal months ago. Recommendations for action against Israeli units were sent to Blinken in December but have “been sitting in his briefcase since then,” one official told ProPublica on 17 April. The Israeli rights abuses in question mainly took place in the occupied West Bank before Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on 7 October. They include the execution of Palestinians by Israeli border police, as well as torture and rape during interrogation.

“This process is one that demands a careful and full review … and the department undergoes a fact-specific investigation applying the same standards and procedures regardless of the country in question,” ProPublica cites a State Department spokesman as saying. “Blinken’s inaction has undermined Biden’s public criticism [of Israel], sending a message to the Israelis that the administration was not willing to take serious steps,” according to several officials at the department who have worked on Israeli relations. US President Joe Biden has publicly expressed frustration with the unprecedented number of Palestinian civilians killed in the Gaza Strip. However, US funds and arms continue to fuel the Israeli war effort, and no formal effort has been made to investigate the growing number of documented war crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians in the strip. On Tuesday, the Washington Post published an in-depth investigation detailing Israel’s role in the killing of a six-year-old and her family who were trapped in a car in northern Gaza.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Washington will ask Tel Aviv “for further information” on the matter. The US has said it would look into several incidents, including late February’s Flour Massacre against dozens of starving and desperate aid seekers. Yet no US probe has been launched into the matter since an internal Israeli army investigation absolved Israel of blame, and Washington refused to condemn the killings. The Guardian reported in January, citing interviews and State Department documents, that “special mechanisms have been used over the last few years to shield Israel from US human rights laws.” The ProPublica report comes days after dozens of Palestinians detained by Israel in Gaza were released, with many giving testimonies of horrific treatment by Israeli forces, including humiliation and torture.

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“..many Americans still vote Democrat. When a people vote for their own-self destruction, it is clear that the country is finished..”

Texas Is Being Turned Into a Woke Democrat State (Paul Craig Roberts)

The Biden Regime is using federal money to bribe the Aggies, Texas A&M University, to come up with ways to advance “race-based hiring” in public schools. Possible you remember or have heard that Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement was about judging “people by their character and not the color of their skin.” Once perhaps, but it has been a long time since. For half a century skin color has had preference, if it is non-white, in university admissions, employment and promotion. Feminists latched onto the scheme and the female gender was also privileged. This is not to say that no blacks and no females are qualified for their position. Many of them are. It is to say that they are in their position despite their qualifications because they constitute a privileged category before the law, a total violation of the US Constitution and its 14th Amendment.

The emphasis on “diversity” has prevailed over the merit-based system into which I was born and grew up. Today merit is considered racist, a white supremacy tool. Many gifted student programs and high schools for the exceptional have been shut down because two few blacks are qualified, and small presence of blacks violates the sacredness of “diversity” and “equity.” A country whose education, employment and promotion is based on diversity and not on merit is a country that is failing, and most certainly America has long been a failing country. For example, we now have “diversity” appointments to prosecutorial offices such as prosecutors and attorney generals and as judges who have no understanding of law as a shield of the people, but who see it is a weapon to be used against disapproved parties. We see the total collapse of justice in America in the many examples of the Democrats’ Stalin show trials against President Trump and against the alleged “insurrectionists” who attended the Trump rally..

To the few remaining people of my generation it is astonishing that merit, which made America great and a ladder of upward mobility, has been officially cast aside for “diversity” in which advance is based on skin color, gender or self-proclaimed, non-biological gender. Have the people who have created this deplorable situation ever wondered how a non-merit based mediocre society can be a superpower, an unipolar, a hegemony whose exceptional and indispensable existence gives it right to hegemony over the world? China, the host of most of American manufacturing must wonder at the American Delusion. Russia, whose power and economy have been greatly elevated by the mindless American sanctions, must wonder if the USA even qualifies as an opponent. Even Iran no longer fears the US. If you are so unfortunate as to live in New York City or other blue cities, your home and your rental properties can be stolen from you by the Democrats’ massive and ongoing wave of immigrant-invaders who can occupy your property in your absence and occupy your rental property between leases and you cannot evict them.

Regardless of the reality in which they live, many Americans still vote Democrat. When a people vote for their own-self destruction, it is clear that the country is finished.

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“..it is first, last and only about a Cabinet official’s deliberate refusal to enforce laws as written..”

On The Mayorkas Impeachment (Denninger)

The Senate appears to have a rather odd view of the Executive — then again so does the House, and both are not only toxic they’re demonstrably false. Mayorkas is the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in almost 150 years. House Republicans voted to impeach Mayorkas in February over his handling of the southern border by a narrow margin after failing to do so on their first try. Democrats have slammed the impeachment as a political stunt, saying that Republicans had no valid basis for the move and that policy disagreements are not a justification for the rarely used constitutional impeachment of a Cabinet official. The impeachment of Mayorkas has nothing to do with “policy disagreements”; it is first, last and only about a Cabinet official’s deliberate refusal to enforce laws as written, including 8 USC §1324.

That statute mandates felony criminal penalties carrying prison sentences for anyone who assists, harbors or transports illegal immigrants. Other sections of US law forbid the Federal Government and its agencies from “paroling” into the United States an illegal immigrant unless that have a facially-reasonable claim to asylum. There is no capacity in the law to permit DHS to do so simply because there are a lot of people illegally crossing. Policy is defined by legislation and thus has to pass both House and Senate and either be signed by the President or a veto must be overridden. It is absolutely true that different Administrations will have different policies but the Constitution is clear and each person in all three branches of Government takes an oath to uphold and enforce all of the laws and thus the means to express policy isn’t to ignore laws you don’t like but rather to work to change them through the legislative process.

If you can’t find agreement via that process then until you can the existing policy stands whether you agree with it or not and if you take an oath to enforce the law as written and you refuse to do so on a deliberate basis impeachment is the peaceful and appropriate action to remove you from said office. Neither the House or Senate acting alone can change policy, no matter which party controls said chamber. Only both, acting in concert, can do so. This is intentional in the design of our Republic; policy changes of significant importance to society are described in our laws, and it is both wildly unreasonable and destructive to civil order to change them on a whim when one person wins or loses an office, no matter the office.

The Senate’s Schumer led his caucus to toss the entire thing as “unconstitutional” on a part-line vote. Big shock, right? When you boil it down essentially everything wrong with this nation comes down to this same issue: Various politicians and paid employees of the government simply ignore any law they disagree with either in its entirety or as applies to some favored group while using it as a cudgel against anyone they dislike. Our national foundation rests on that never being tolerated by anyone, anywhere and for any reason.

I fully understand that these policy matters have serious and vehemently-expressed opinions on all sides. That’s a good thing: Freedom of expression is in fact also a foundation of America. But no public official is empowered to take that disagreement and turn it into a malicious abuse of existing law whether by intentional omission or weaponization against disfavored persons or those who hold a different point of view. Down that road lies a line that cannot be foreseen in advance in that the people may, at some point, determine that the strictures of polite society no longer apply to them by that very example set by our officials. You do not want this; it is precisely through that road that essentially every civil conflict and social destruction has occurred and if you believe you’ll be immune to it if it happens, no matter how wealthy or poor you might be, you’re wrong.

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“..lawyers for Lloyd’s and Arch suggest that even if they were required to pay up, anti-Russian sanctions would leave their hands tied..”

UK Insurers Won’t Pay Nord Stream Because Blasts Were ‘Government’ Backed (GZ)

The legal team representing high-powered insurers Lloyd’s and Arch says that since the Nord Stream explosions were “more likely than not to have been inflicted by… a government,” they have no responsibility to pay for damages to the pipelines. To succeed with that defense, the companies will presumably be compelled to prove, in court, who carried out those attacks. ritish insurers are arguing that they have no obligation to honor their coverage of the Nord Stream pipelines, which were blown up in September 2022, because the unprecedented act of industrial sabotage was likely carried out by a national government. The insurers’ filing contradicts reports the Washington Post and other legacy media publications asserting that a private Ukrainian team was responsible for the massive act of industrial sabotage.

A legal brief filed on behalf of UK-based firms Lloyd’s Insurance Company and Arch Insurance states that the “defendants will rely on, inter alia, the fact that the explosion Damage could only have (or, at least, was more likely than not to have) been inflicted by or under the order of a government.” As a result, they argue, “the Explosion Damage was “directly or indirectly occasioned by, happening through, or in consequence of” the conflict between Russia and Ukraine” and falls under an exclusion relating to military conflicts. The brief comes a month after Switzerland-based Nord Stream AG filed a lawsuit against the insurers for their refusal to compensate the company. Nord Stream, which estimated the cost incurred by the attack at between €1.2 billion and €1.35 billion, is seeking to recoup over €400 million in damages. Swedish engineer Erik Andersson, who led the first private investigative expedition to the blast sites of the Nord Stream pipelines, describes the insurers’ legal strategy as a desperate attempt to find an excuse to avoid honoring their indemnity obligations.

“If it’s an act of war and ordered by a government, that’s the only way they can escape their responsibility to pay,” Andersson told The Grayzone. Following a report by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh which alleged that the US government was responsible for the Nord Stream explosion, Western governments quickly spun out a narrative placing blame on a team of rogue Ukrainian operatives. Given the lack of conclusive evidence, however, proving that the explosions were “inflicted by or under the order of a government” would be a major challenge for defense lawyers. Even if the plaintiffs in the case are able to wrest back the funds in court, they are likely to face other serious hurdles. Later in the brief, lawyers for Lloyd’s and Arch suggest that even if they were required to pay up, anti-Russian sanctions would leave their hands tied.

“In the event that the Defendants are found to be liable to pay an indemnity and/or damages to the Claimant,” the brief states, “the Defendants reserve their position as to whether any such payment would be prohibited by any applicable economic sanctions that may be in force at the time any such payment is required to be made.” After they were threatened with sanctions by the US government, in 2021 Lloyd’s and Arch both withdrew from their agreement to cover damages to the second of the pipelines, Nord Stream 2. But though they remain on the hook for damages to the first line, the language used by the insurers’ lawyers seems to be alluding to a possible future sanctions package that would release them from their financial obligations. “Nord Stream 1 was not affected by those sanctions, but apparently sanctions might work retroactively to the benefit of insurers,” observes Andersson.

The plaintiffs may face an uphill battle at the British High Court in London, the city where Lloyd’s has been headquartered since its creation in 1689. As former State Department cybersecurity official Mike Benz observed, “Lloyd’s of London is the prize of the London banking establishment,” and “London is the driving force behind the transatlantic side of the Blob’s “Seize Eurasia” designs on Russia.”

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“..hardline Republicans may force a vote on the motion to vacate shortly before the aid bills for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan hit the House floor..”

Aid to Ukraine May Deep-Six Another House Speaker (Sp.)

Despite his repeated pledges to bring foreign aid bills to the House floor only when a solution to the border crisis is found, Speaker Johnson unveiled three separate funding packages, namely $26 billion for Israel, $61 billion for Ukraine, and $8 billion for Taiwan and allies in Indo-Pacific, at the time when the US southern frontier still remains wide open. “Republican speaker Mike Johnson went into that secured room with a bunch of guys in gray suits from the deep state, and he came out of that room after the meeting as Uniparty speaker Mike Johnson and no longer a Republican,” Michael Shannon, a political commentator and Newsmax columnist, told Sputnik. “That’s the only explanation for it that makes sense, because he’s completely turned around, and now he’s on the Washington agenda of the Uniparty and no longer listens to or tries to do what the base wants,” the commentator continued. “That’s what’s happening here. Once they get into a position of leadership, they abandon the base,” he maintained.

Shannon explained that Ukraine is obviously not on the GOP’s base priority list right now, given that Republican voters are much more concerned about the influx of illegals into the US, inflation, and budget deficit spending. A recent YouGov survey indicated that 61% of Republicans don’t approve of sending more weapons and other military assistance to Ukraine. Among them, 69% of self-identified MAGA Republicans and 55% of non-MAGA Republicans said they don’t want to send more military aid to the Kiev regime. A group of House conservatives confronted Mike Johnson on Thursday, namely, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) advocating the motion to vacate in order to sack the incumbent speaker in the same way they ousted his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy. Massie told journalists that there would be more Republican votes to remove Speaker Johnson than there were to boot out McCarthy last October.

“If I had my wish, MTG’s motion to vacate the speakership, which I believe Representative Chip Roy from Texas also supports, would be successful, and the speaker’s chair would be vacated, and it would stay vacated until after the election,” said Shannon. “It’s obvious we can’t pass any conservative legislation with this House and this Senate. So not passing any bad legislation as far as I’m concerned, and as Daniel Horowitz of the Conservative Review mentioned, is probably the most viable alternative. That being said, I don’t know if MTG has the votes to vacate the speakership. I think we’ll just have to see how that develops.” According to Axios, hardline Republicans may force a vote on the motion to vacate shortly before the aid bills for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan hit the House floor.

Some Democrats, who hailed Johnson’s maneuver regarding the Ukraine aid bill, said they would help the speaker save his job. For his part, Johnson said he would not resign and branded the effort to oust him as “absurd”. However, the timing is crucial, a senior House Democrat said, as quoted by the media outlet: the Dems are much more likely to “save” Johnson after the aid bills are passed, not before that. Massie warned Johnson against relying on Democrats, stressing that the speaker would become “toxic to the conference.” “For every Democrat who comes to his aid, he’ll lose 2-3 more Republicans,” the congressman said, as quoted by NBC News’ Sahil Kapur.

Massie

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Petulant child.

Zelensky Blames EU For Russian Advance (RT)

A shortage of Western arms supplies and unkept promises by EU members have allowed Russia to advance on the battlefield, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told senior European officials on Wednesday. Zelensky made the claims during a video conference address to national leaders and senior members of the EU bureaucracy, who have convened for a two-day summit in Brussels. The Ukrainian leader reiterated that his country needs more Western material and financial assistance to continue its armed conflict with Russia. “Now the Russian army feels its strength in almost everything related to the armed component. And it is precisely because of this strength – in artillery, in equipment, in the ability to operate in the sky – that they are putting pressure on us at the front and are gradually moving,” he said.

Although he thanked Kiev’s donors for their aid, Zelensky also complained of unfulfilled promises. “Unfortunately, we have not yet seen a million artillery shells from the European Union that were discussed so much. Also, some other initiatives have not yet been fully implemented, and this is primarily reflected in what our soldiers can use at the front,” he stated. Russian President Vladimir Putin believes “he will succeed in his counteroffensive,” Zelensky claimed, adding that “the only root of this hope is the shortage of weapons among our soldiers.” In addition to offensive systems, Kiev wants more Western air defenses to protect its industrial base, as well as investment and technology to launch domestic arms production. It also requires electricity to compensate for the destruction of power facilities destroyed by Russian precision strikes, and according to Zelensky needs “energy of spirit” in the form of accelerated accession to the EU.

“We need the European Union to deliver what it had promised, and our people need to see Ukraine moving closer to full membership,” Zelensky insisted, urging Brussels to progress to the next phase of talks in June. Analysis published by Politico on Wednesday cited the refusal of Ukrainians to enroll into the military as a major problem for Kiev. EU statistics body Eurostat estimates the number of fighting age Ukrainian men living in member states at some 650,000. Most of them arranged to be smuggled across the border, the outlet said. This week, Zelensky signed into law a bill that makes it easier for conscription officials to issue summonses and imposes harsh punishments for avoiding the draft.

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“..breaking the international order that you want to protect; that you would want Russia to respect..”

ECB Fires Back At Plans To Seize Russian Assets (RT)

US-backed proposals to seize frozen Russian assets could undermine the international order, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde has cautioned. Her comments came during a meeting in Washington on Wednesday, where the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors were discussing the issue of using the immobilized assets of the Russian central bank to support Ukraine. In a joint statement, the finance ministers and regulators said they would continue working on “all possible avenues” to make use of Russian sovereign assets, according to Reuters. The push to seize Moscow’s money has been led by the US and has caused a rift among the G7 and the EU political elite. Washington and its allies have blocked some $300 billion of Russian central bank assets due to sanctions adopted in response to the launch of Moscow’s special military operation against Kiev in February 2022.

Around $200 billion of that money is held in the EU. The US has been insisting for months that international law allows for the confiscation of the funds, but Germany and France have expressed concerns that such a move could set a dangerous precedent. ”I have seen four different schemes or proposals to circumvent what many other jurists or lawyers… regard as a very serious legal obstacle that can be construed as a violation of the legal international order,” Lagarde, a former lawyer, said, as quoted by the Financial Times. Moving from freezing the assets to confiscating them could entail “breaking the international order that you want to protect; that you would want Russia to respect,” she added. During the meeting in Washington, a senior US Treasury official outlined the options the finance ministers were “doing technical work” on.

”One of them is seizure, but another is collateralizing, or even using the windfall profits or the interest from these assets to fund a loan,” Deputy US Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said, as quoted by Reuters. The outlet reported earlier that the US and its allies were considering using the interest due on the frozen Russian assets as collateral for loans or bonds issued to help Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly said that the seizure of its funds would amount to theft and would further undermine global trust in the Western financial system. Russia has also warned that if necessary, it might respond in kind to such a move by the US and its allies.

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The mess gets bigger by the day. We need Liz Cheney under oath.

Top Military Official Lied About Jan. 6: Whistleblowers (ET)

The secretary of the Army on Jan. 6, 2021, lied about multiple details regarding what unfolded as the U.S. Capitol was breached, National Guard whistleblowers said during a congressional hearing on April 17. Then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy made multiple false claims, including that he spoke to the commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard on two separate occasions after officials requested that the Guard be deployed to the Capitol, the whistleblowers said. After Maj. Gen. William Walker conveyed a request from the U.S. Capitol Police for Guard personnel, Mr. McCarthy called Maj. Gen. Walker at 2:14 p.m. and instructed the Guard to stand by, according to a Guard timeline of Jan. 6, 2021. But that call and others that Mr. McCarthy or one of his top advisers were said to have made later authorizing the Guard for mobilization and deployment did not happen, according to the Guard officials.

“At no time did Gen. Walker take any calls, nor did we ever hear from the secretary on any of the ongoing conference calls or the secure video teleconferencing throughout the day,” Capt. Timothy Nick, who served as Maj. Gen. Walker’s personal assistant on Jan. 6, 2021, said during the hearing. “This I know because I was with the command general the entire time recording the events.” Capt. Nick has not previously discussed publicly what transpired on Jan. 6, 2021, and neither has Brig. Gen. Aaron Dean, who was the National Guard’s adjutant general on the day that the Capitol was breached. The Department of Defense (DOD) inspector general report on Jan. 6, 2021, which relied heavily on Mr. McCarthy and other military officials, was rife with “inaccuracies,” Brig. Gen. Dean said. “I believe it is my duty and moral obligation to stand before you today and illuminate the truth,” he told the hearing, which was held by the House Administration Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight.

Despite Mr. Walker conveying the request for assistance at about 1:50 p.m., the Guard was not deployed to the Capitol until about 5:10 p.m. “This was a dereliction of duty by the secretary of the Army,” Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.), one of the members of the committee, said. Mr. McCarthy refused to appear before the panel, Dr. Murphy said. Christopher Miller, the acting secretary of defense at the time, authorized Guard deployment at 3:11 p.m., but Mr. McCarthy took the order and decided to draw up a plan before ordering the deployment, according to military timelines and testimony from Mr. McCarthy and others. “You never would employ our personnel, whether it’s on an American street or a foreign street, without putting together a [plan],” Mr. McCarthy told the now-disbanded House Jan. 6 committee.

The whistleblowers also testified that Army officials Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt and Gen. Charles Flynn, during a 2:30 p.m. conference call on Jan. 6, 2021, expressed concern about the optics of having the Guard at the Capitol. “I did hear the word optics. And they did use it. Specifically, Gen. Piatt said ‘optics.’ And his concern was that he did not want soldiers or airmen on Capitol grounds, with the Capitol in the background,” Brig. Gen. Dean said. “They were giving every other reason why we should be around the Capitol, away from the Capitol, and not responding to the Capitol.”

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“..von der Leyen has conceded that there is no proof of a Russian bribery network. “They have carried [Putin’s] propaganda into our societies,” she said. “Whether they have taken bribes for it or not.”

Desperation Behind European Politicians’ Latest Russiagate Hoax (Public)

European politicians claimed late last month that Russia bribed European politicians to spread disinformation and interfere in the upcoming June elections. “Russian influence scandal rocks EU,” screamed a March 30 Politico headline. Russia “is using dodgy outlets pretending to be media [and] using money to buy covert influence,” claimed European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova. The BBC agreed: “Russian network that ‘paid European politicians’ busted, authorities claim.” Heads of state hyped the alleged scandal. “We uncovered a pro-Russian network,” claimed Petr Fiala, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, “that was developing an operation to spread Russian influence and undermine security across Europe.” Poland’s intelligence agency said it had conducted searches in the Warsaw and Tychy regions and seized €48,500 (£41,500) and $36,000 (£28,500).

However, following an investigation by Public, the head of the Czech Intelligence Agency (BIS), Michal Koudelka on Monday admitted that his agency has no information about any bribery scheme. “I cannot confirm anything,” he said. It’s true that Russia’s media influence in Europe intensified considerably during the Covid-19 pandemic. At that time, a number of marginalized voices found space on the German broadcasts of the Kremlin’s propaganda television, Russia Today, which the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, promptly shut down in 2022. But von der Leyen has conceded that there is no proof of a Russian bribery network. “They have carried [Putin’s] propaganda into our societies,” she said. “Whether they have taken bribes for it or not.” Public asked von der Leyen what evidence she has for her allegations. What was the misconduct or illegal activity if there were no bribes? Von der Leyen did not respond to Public’s requests for comment.

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“..one of the things that the British courts don’t understand is the U.S. doctrine of separation of powers..”

US Issues Assurances on Assange (Lauria)

The United States Embassy on Tuesday filed two assurances with the British Foreign Office saying it would not seek the death penalty against imprisoned WikiLeaks‘ publisher Julian Assange and would allow Assange “the ability to raise and seek to reply upon at trial … the rights and protections given under the First Amendment,” according to the U.S. diplomatic note. Assange’s wife Stella Assange said the note “makes no undertaking to withdraw the prosecution’s previous assertion that Julian has no First Amendment rights because he is not a U.S citizen. Instead,” she said, “the US has limited itself to blatant weasel words claiming that Julian can ‘seek to raise’ the First Amendment if extradited.” The note contains a hollow statement, namely, that Assange can try to raise the First Amendment at trial (and at sentencing), but the U.S. Department of Justice can’t guarantee he would get those rights, which is precisely what it must do under British extradition law based on the European Convention on Human Rights.

The U.S. Department of Justice is legally restricted to assure a free speech guarantee to Assange equivalent to Article 10 of the European Convention, which the British court is bound to follow. But without that assurance, Assange should be freed according to a British Crown Prosecution Service comment on extraditions. In USAID v. Alliance for Open Society, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that non-U.S. citizens outside the U.S. don’t possess constitutional rights. Both former C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo and Gordon Kromberg, Assange’s U.S. prosecutor, have said Assange does not have First Amendment protection. Because of the separation of powers in the United States, the executive branch’s Justice Department can’t guarantee to the British courts what the U.S. judicial branch decides about the rights of a non-U.S. citizen in court, said Marjorie Cohn, law professor and former president of the National Lawyers’ Guild.

“Let’s assume that … the Biden administration, does give assurances that he would be able to raise the First Amendment and that the [High] Court found that those were significant assurances,” Cohn told Consortium News‘ webcast CN Live! last month. “That really doesn’t mean anything, because one of the things that the British courts don’t understand is the U.S. doctrine of separation of powers,” she said. “The prosecutors can give all the assurances they want, but the judiciary, another [one] .. of these three branches of government in the U.S., doesn’t have to abide by the executive branch claim or assurance,” Cohn said. In other words, whether Assange can rely on the First Amendment in his defense in a U.S. court is up to that court not Kromberg or the Department of Justice, which issued the assurance on Tuesday. “The United States has issued a non-assurance in relation to the First Amendment,” said Stella Assange.

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Japan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781068681931293121

 

 

Huajiang
https://twitter.com/i/status/1780929621610955001

 

 

Emperors

 

 

Family
https://twitter.com/i/status/1780913695993852363

 

 

Parrots

 

 

Hedgehogs

 

 

Tiger
https://twitter.com/i/status/1780890045454471561

 

 

Bald Eagle Walking

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 142024
 


Edgar Degas At the Milliner’s 1905-10

 

Biden Tells Bibi: US Will Not Support A Counterattack Against Iran (ZH)
Washington Worried About Potential Israeli Attack – NBC (RT)
Iran Seizes Israeli-Linked Container Ship (RT)
Persian Gulf Powers Reportedly Refuse to Give US Access to Bases (Sp.)
Biden Prolongs Ukraine Crisis To Avoid Admitting Failure – Ron Johnson (RT)
Mobilization Law Is ‘Point Of No Return’ For Zelensky – Ukrainian MP (RT)
New Order Reveals Scale of Sabotage and Desertion in Ukrainian Army (Sp.)
Mobilizing for Defeat (Amar)
Ukrainian Troops Accuse Command of Treating Them ‘Like Livestock’ (Sp.)
Ukraine Asks France to Help Hold Positions in 2024 (Sp.)
Trump Thought Ukraine ‘Must Be Part Of Russia’ – Fiona Hill (RT)
‘Do The Right Thing’: Assange Supporters Urge As Biden Mulls Dropping Case (CD)
The Speech That Got Me Banned From Germany (Varoufakis)
DC National Guard Say They WERE Ready To Be Deployed On Jan 6 (DM)
Another Federal Judge Rejects All Hunter Biden Claims for Dismissal (Turley)

 

 

 

 

 

 

RFK Elon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778986189678055429

 

 

FISA

 

 

 

 

DOJ Biden

 

 

Assange

 

 

Maher Canada

 

 

 

 

Carano
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778941618491437198

 

 

Crenshaw

 

 

 

 

Things are not what they seem. Iran launched 100s of drones and missiles, almost no damage, and said: that’s one and done. Saved face. Everyone knows they had to respond to the Israeli attack in Damascus. And they wouldn’t even have done this if the UN had condemned that attack. And you bet they gave advance notice. An Israeli response now would threaten regionwide escalation. With surging oil prices in a US election year. No, the US does’t want a wider war. Neither does Iran.

Biden Tells Bibi: US Will Not Support A Counterattack Against Iran (ZH)

It is just after 7am Israel local time and Israel’s military is reporting the Iranian attack has stopped, several hours after Iran said its ‘limited’ operation has “concluded” – which involved an unprecedented hundreds of suicide drones as as well as ballistic missiles sent against Israel in retaliation for the April 1st Israeli attack on Iran’s embassy in Damascus. Below is the top story from English-language Times of Israel: Hebrew media reports claim that not a single drone or cruise missile managed to infiltrate Israeli airspace. According to the unsourced reports, most ballistic missiles were also knocked down outside of Israeli airspace. A report in Ynet says some 20 cruise missiles were downed short of Israel’s borders. The US, UK and Jordan helped take down many of the drones. Israel is reporting very little damage inside the country (though previously admitting “minor damage” against at least one key airbase in the south).

After the enormous Iranian drone and missile swarm a senior Israeli official has been quoted by Israel’s Channel 12 as saying “Iran’s attack was a strategic failure.” The official added in a threatening manner, “Now they can get ready and not sleep in peace.” Israel’s war cabinet appears to be readying a military response… Crucially, the Biden White House appears to be strongly signaling to the Netanyahu government that the attack is ‘done’ and that the United States will not back any follow-up counterattack operations against Iran: US President Joe Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US will not aid any Israeli counterattack on Iran, US media report, citing senior administration officials. Axios and CNN report that message was passed during a phone call between the pair. Axios reports that Biden told Netyanyahu the US will oppose any Israeli counterattack. CNN reports that Biden said the US will not take part in any such counteraction.

Israel has called on a United Nations Security Council meeting to condemn the Iranian aggression, which is expected to take place late Sunday. The US administration appears to be lobbying for a status quo and for Israel to not mount a strong response. Below is a portion of the Axios report on the Bibi-Biden late night phone call: Behind the scenes: Biden told Netanyahu the joint defensive efforts by Israel, the U.S. and other countries in the region led to the failure of the Iranian attack, according to the White House official. “You got a win. Take the win,” Biden told Netanyahu, according to the official. The official said that when Biden told Netanyahu that the U.S. will not participate in any offensive operations against Iran and will not support such operations, Netanyahu said he understood. U.S. Secretary of State Lloyd Austin spoke on Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant and asked that Israel notify the U.S. ahead of any response against Iran, a senior Israeli official said.

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“I don’t think they had a strategy… the Israelis don’t always make the best strategic decisions..”

Washington Worried About Potential Israeli Attack – NBC (RT)

Some officials in Washington are worried that West Jerusalem’s response to Iran’s recent airstrikes could be reckless and escalatory, NBC news wrote on Sunday, citing anonymous White House sources. Iran launched several waves of drone and missile attacks against Israel on Saturday and Sunday. This was in response to an airstrike that damaged Iran’s embassy in Damascus, Syria and killed seven military personnel – including two generals – earlier this month. While Israel has refrained from commenting on the bombing, Tehran has accused West Jerusalem of conducting an extraterritorial assassination and attacking their embassy. Some US officials privately indicated exasperation with Israel’s decision to strike the Iranian consular building in Syria, NBC claimed, citing senior Pentagon officials as calling the strike potentially “catastrophically escalatory.”

Others in the White House have expressed concerns about Israel’s future response to the Iranian attack, given both West Jerusalem’s hardline approach in its conflict with Hamas and the airstrike on the embassy in Damascus, NBC News reports. President Joe Biden has privately expressed concern that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to pull the US into a broader conflict in the Middle East, three people familiar with the comments told the news channel. Another senior administration official said that while the White House does not believe Israel is looking for a direct war with Iran, they cannot be certain of West Jerusalem’s motives. “I don’t think they had a strategy… the Israelis don’t always make the best strategic decisions,” an anonymous senior official told NBC.

Some media reports that followed the bombing of Tehran’s diplomatic compound in Damascus claimed that West Jerusalem was preparing to strike Iranian nuclear facilities in the event of a direct Iranian attack on Israel. According to a Western security official, the Israeli Air Force has been training for long range strikes into sensitive areas of Iran which may be linked to the country’s nuclear program, London-based Arabic outlet Elaph wrote on Tuesday. Israel is prepared for any scenario, “both in defense and offense,” Netanyahu stated on Saturday. “Whoever hurts us, we will hurt them,” he said.

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Asymmetric warfare.

Iran Seizes Israeli-Linked Container Ship (RT)

Iranian commandos have stormed an Israeli-operated container ship in the Persian Gulf and taken control of the vessel. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz condemned the “pirate operation” and called on the West to impose sanctions on Tehran. The MSC Aries was boarded by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy troops as it transited the Strait of Hormuz around noon on Saturday. Once under the IRGC’s control, it was taken to Iranian territorial waters, Iranian state media reported. Video footage shared online showed IRGC commandos rappelling onto the deck of the ship from a helicopter.

The Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries is operated by Zodiac Maritime, a shipping firm owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer. At the time of the seizure, it was sailing past the Emirati port of Fujairah with its transponder switched off, the Associated Press reported. With Iran controlling the Strait of Hormuz and Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacking Israeli shipping interests in the Red Sea, it is standard practice for Israeli-linked vessels to disable their tracking data when sailing in the region. Since 2019, Iran has periodically seized Israeli and Western vessels in the Strait of Hormuz during times of increased tension. Tehran typically offers legal justification for these seizures, but gave no such explanation on Saturday. However, Saturday’s seizure came two weeks after an alleged Israeli airstrike on an Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital of Damascus. The strike killed seven officers of the IRGC’s Quds Force, including two generals.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to deal Israel a “slap in the face” in response, and American officials warned on Friday that Tehran could be gearing up for a massive drone and missile strike on Israeli soil over the weekend. It is unclear whether Iran plans further attacks after seizing the MSC Aries. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz condemned the seizure, accusing Khamenei’s “criminal regime” of “conducting a pirate operation in violation of international law.” “I call on the European Union and the free world to immediately declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guards corps as a terrorist organization and to sanction Iran now,” he wrote on X.

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BRICS+.

Persian Gulf Powers Reportedly Refuse to Give US Access to Bases (Sp.)

Persian Gulf countries have reportedly told the United States not to launch any attacks against Iran from their territory or airspace amid seething regional tensions. Sources, including a senior US official told the Middle East Eye that Gulf monarchies have been “working overtime” on the diplomatic track “to shut down avenues that could link them to a US reprisal against Tehran or its proxies from bases inside their kingdoms.” The countries include regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Kuwait, with their leaderships reportedly “raising questions” on the details of US basing agreements, and taking steps to prevent the use of their Iran-adjacent bases against the Islamic Republic. NATO member Turkiye has also reportedly barred the US from using its airspace for strikes against Iran, but Sputnik has not been able to independently verify this information.

“It’s a mess,” a senior US official said, referring to the headache the Biden administration faces as it prepares for a potential Iranian retaliatory strike against its top regional ally Israel following Tel Aviv’s April 1 attack on the Iranian Embassy compound in Damascus, Syria. The Middle East Eye report follows a report by Axios on Friday citing US officials who said that Iran has privately warned the US that it will target American forces in the Middle East if Washington gets involved in a military confrontation between Iran and Israel. The US has an estimated 40,000+ military personnel at bases dotting the Middle East, including the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which hosts at least 10,000 troops, and serves as the forward headquarters of United States Central Command – the combatant command responsible for military operations across the Middle East. Nearby Bahrain hosts up to 7,000 troops and the US Fifth Fleet – which operates in the Persian Gulf, the Red and Arabian Seas, and part of the Indian Ocean.

The US also has a 15,000-troop garrison in Kuwait, at least 5,000 troops in the UAE, and about 2,700 troops and fighter jets at the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. Oman hosts a few hundred US troops, and allows the US Air Force to conduct overflights and landings, and warships to make 80 port calls annually. The Gulf powers’ increasingly independent foreign policy is potentially a major setback for Washington, which for many decades after World War II (and especially after the Cold War) was able to rely on the Persian Gulf monarchies for its military operations in the oil-rich region. Regional countries led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE have taken a series of steps recently to wean themselves off of dependence on the US economically, politically and militarily, with Riyadh moving to break the petrodollar monopoly in the oil trade with China, pausing its military campaign against Yemen’s Houthi militia, restoring diplomatic ties with Iran and, together with Abu Dhabi, joining the BRICS Plus bloc.

The Palestinian-Israeli crisis has driven Gulf state leaders and their populations further from the idea of the establishing relations with Israel, and chilled ties with the US thanks to the Biden administration’s full-fledged support for Tel Aviv in the course of the Gaza War.

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“It’s just a fantasy, it’s just denying reality, to think that pumping more money, fueling the fire of that bloody stalemate, is going to break this thing open and show that Ukraine can be victorious..”

Biden Prolongs Ukraine Crisis To Avoid Admitting Failure – Ron Johnson (RT)

US President Joe Biden is dragging out an “obviously” lost cause in Ukraine because his administration will not admit to its policy failures in trying to weaken Russia, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) has claimed. “At some point in time, you have to recognize reality and you have to base your decisions on reality,” Johnson said on Thursday in an interview with podcast host Glenn Greenwald. “But the Biden administration is not willing to do that, the generals aren’t willing to do that, because they’d have to admit they’ve been wrong all along.” Johnson was the only US lawmaker to attend the inauguration of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in May 2019. He said Zelensky wanted to make peace with Russia then, realizing that Kiev had no chance of retaking Crimea, and sought to resolve the conflict shortly after Moscow launched its military offensive in February 2022.

“I would like to have been a fly on the wall in Istanbul, when they apparently were negotiating a peace agreement and the Biden administration air-dropped [then-UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson in there to blow that thing up,” Johnson said. “This was a few weeks after the war started. It’s a tragic, tragic turn of history there.” The third-term lawmaker, who formerly chaired the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the US government has failed to reflect on its foreign policy failures. For example, he argued, fomenting the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government in 2014 helped lead to the country’s destruction. He said Americans have been “grossly misserved” by their government’s long history of foreign entanglements and regime-change operations. “The military-industrial complex drives so much of what we’re experiencing here today, the endless wars,” Johnson said. “I can’t tell you how many governments we have, through covert action, we’ve overturned. What’s been the net result of that?”

It’s nonsensical for the US government to stand by its stated goal of helping Ukraine to defeat Russian forces, Johnson said. He added, “Part of the problem is that one of the war aims now has shifted. It’s not necessarily to liberate Ukraine but to utilize the Ukrainian people to fight a proxy war with Russia and degrade their military capability.” Johnson said the proxy-war strategy had failed: “With oil prices higher, with the sanctions not working to cripple the Russian economy, I think they’re just probably building up their military-industrial base, and if anything, they’re getting stronger and smarter militarily.”

Republican lawmakers have held up approval of Biden’s request for over $60 billion in additional Ukraine funding since last fall, but party leaders are reportedly preparing to pass an aid bill in the coming days. Biden is seeking reelection later this year. “It’s just a fantasy, it’s just denying reality, to think that pumping more money, fueling the fire of that bloody stalemate, is going to break this thing open and show that Ukraine can be victorious,” Johnson said
“That’s just not going to happen, so it’s better to recognize reality and realize the only way the bloodshed ends is if we sit down and negotiate with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”

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“..help Zelensky hold on to power by “forcing everyone into the army.” “That is a very bad basis for a social consensus..”

Mobilization Law Is ‘Point Of No Return’ For Zelensky – Ukrainian MP (RT)

A new conscription law will drive a wedge between officials in Kiev and ordinary Ukrainians, lawmaker Aleksandr Dubinsky has said. He described the legislation as a point of no return for President Vladimir Zelensky and his government. On Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament passed a long-debated law which simplifies procedures for the draft and forces all men aged 18 to 60 – including those residing abroad – to register with the military authorities. Earlier this month, after several weeks of deliberation, Zelensky signed a law lowering the age of conscription for men from 27 to 25. The new draft rules were approved without a demobilization clause that would have allowed troops to return home after three years on the front lines. As things currently stand, everyone who is drafted will have to serve until the end of the conflict with Russia.

Ukrainian troops feel betrayed by the new rules, Western media outlets reported earlier this week, citing soldiers who say they feel “fooled and used” and are being used as “slaves.” The mobilization law “will be the watershed, after which there will be no turning back,” Dubinsky wrote on Telegram on Thursday. He compared Kiev’s policies to ‘Oprichnina’ – a massive repression campaign launched by Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century and implemented by special troops called ‘Oprichniki’ who enjoyed the monarch’s trust and were spared his wrath. “The presidential administration and its Oprichniki, including MPs, state officials, the police and [security services] are on one side,” while “everyone else is on the other,” Dubinsky said.

According to the MP, the goal of this policy is to help Zelensky hold on to power by “forcing everyone into the army.” “That is a very bad basis for a social consensus,” the lawmaker added. In another post, he noted that MPs, police officers, some state officials, and local authorities are exempted from mobilization under the new draft rules, and “are by no means preparing to go to war.” Dubinsky is currently in custody in Ukraine. He was expelled from Zelensky’s ‘Servant of the People’ party in 2021. He faced treason charges in November 2023 after the Ukrainian domestic security service (SBU) accused him of working for Russia. Dubinsky dismissed the accusations as politically motivated and claimed that he was persecuted for criticizing Zelensky.

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“..footage appearing to show Ukrainian troops being shot at and having grenades thrown at them by their own comrades..”

New Order Reveals Scale of Sabotage and Desertion in Ukrainian Army (Sp.)

The Kiev regime’s soldiers sabotage army orders, threaten their commanders, refuse to fire their weapons, leave the battlefield, and desert. This was revealed in a new order on strengthening discipline signed by Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Oleksandr Syrsky and seen by Sputnik.The document notes that army commanders, law enforcement, and other government agencies have faced new challenges that require an immediate response. Among the military criminal offenses, the commander-in-chief listed “insubordination,” “failure to comply with an order,” “threat or violence against a superior,” “unauthorized abandonment of a military unit or place of service,” “desertion,” “evasion of military service by inflicting self-harm or in any other way,” and “unauthorized abandonment of the battlefield or refusal to use weapons.”

Syrsky’s order outlines the urgent need for the Armed Forces and representatives of law enforcement agencies to identify and put a stop to these offenses. The document presupposes that Ukrainian soldiers could be offered a chance to return to combat duty even after the abovementioned offenses. The new order comes as the Ukrainian Armed Forces are struggling to replenish their ranks, with men increasingly unwilling to die for the Kiev regime and actively avoiding mobilization or deserting. Following last year’s botched summer counteroffensive, which resulted in huge manpower losses, cases of desertion have soared. The Kiev regime’s army units are rife with cases of insubordination and desertion. Sputnik earlier obtained footage appearing to show Ukrainian troops being shot at and having grenades thrown at them by their own comrades during a Russian advance.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky recently deplored that such a case of desertion by a whole unit had resulted in Ukrainian forces being surrounded, and many soldiers being killed. He also spoke out against declaring a general amnesty for deserters in a video posted on his office’s YouTube channel. On Wednesday, Verkhovna Rada lawmaker Irina Gerashchenko reported that the Ukrainian parliament had backed in the first reading a bill to tighten liability for military offenses, including desertion. The following day, the country’s parliament adopted a bill on mobilization aimed at replenishing Ukrainian forces depleted by two years of NATO’s proxy war against Russia. Zelensky also signed new mobilization measures into law on April 2, lowering the conscription age and authorizing the creation of an electronic database of military-age men as the issue of draft dodgers continues to persist.

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“All Ukrainian men between age 18 and 60 will have to register, including those abroad. Failure to do so will count as evading military service..”

Mobilizing for Defeat (Amar)

Ukraine’s situation is extremely precarious, if you want to put it optimistically. A more realistic term is “catastrophic.” The country faces steady, accelerating advances of Russian forces that are well-motivated and trained and superior in quantity and equipment. Even Ukraine’s commander-in-chief has admitted that “the situation on the eastern front has significantly worsened in recent days.” A massive understatement but still proof that things are even worse. We also know – from Ukrainian polls – that ever more Ukrainians are open to ending the war by making concessions. Yet the Zelensky regime is doubling down. Instead of entering serious negotiations – the kind where you adjust your aims to your losses so as to avoid even greater ones – it is seeking to throw more lives into a war that has become a meatgrinder for Ukrainian troops.

That is the main purpose of a new mobilization law that has just passed the Ukrainian parliament. (In addition, President Zelensky has already signed off on additional measures that will be integrated into the new law once he signs that as well. In essence, though, this is one integrated bundle, which many Ukrainians and outside observers refer to as one and the same law, as will be done here.) The new mobilization law is complex, consisting of a long list of measures, including, for instance, new rules on confiscating private cars for defense purposes. Its core, however, is simple: The minimum age for mobilization is lowered from 27 to 25 years of age. All Ukrainian men between age 18 and 60 will have to register, including those abroad. Failure to do so will count as evading military service. To make sure that compliance can be policed easily, all registered men must have their registration papers on them at all times.

The law, which has been under contentious consideration for months, is not being well-received in Ukrainian society. On a TV show run by Ukrainska Pravda, a very anti-Russian outlet, Maria Berlinska, a Ukrainian activist of equally sterling credentials, called it a fiasco. And she is by no means alone. It is true that some Ukrainian commentators have – once again – tried to dismiss all and any popular discontent as nothing but Russian interference. But this time, that tired old trick from the NATO-Zelensky playbook is not working well. Even Western mainstream media acknowledge the law is “unpopular.”

It is not hard to understand why many Ukrainians are angry. Perhaps the single worst disappointment is that the law does not include a hard rule for demobilization, which is what everyone expected. Think of it as a tacit deal: The government gets to hoover up more young men for cannon fodder, but, at least, it also promises to let go those exhausted soldiers who have already served (and survived) for years (36 months was under discussion). Even the New York Times has noticed that Ukraine’s current soldiers are “battered and exhausted.” Yet opening a way out for at least some of them is what did not happen. Instead, the Zelensky regime has dared come out with a law that only takes but gives nothing back.

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“..accused of sabotaging orders, threatening commanders, refusing to fire their weapons, leaving the battlefield and deserting en masse..”

Ukrainian Troops Accuse Command of Treating Them ‘Like Livestock’ (Sp.)

A leaked order regarding plans to strengthen discipline signed by Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Syrsky has detailed the increasingly difficult situation for Kiev at the front, with troops accused of sabotaging orders, threatening commanders, refusing to fire their weapons, leaving the battlefield and deserting en masse. Russia’s Defense Ministry has published footage of nine servicemen from Ukraine’s elite 25th Separate Airborne Brigade collectively surrendering to Russian forces near the village of Vodyanoye in the Donetsk People’s Republic. In interviews taken after their capture, the troopers pointed to the difficult situation at the front, complained about poor operational planning, poorly trained commanders, large losses in manpower and equipment and panic among the units, and accused command of using them as cannon fodder.

“The commanders leave us to die like waste material, while they are somewhere on the sidelines,” serviceman Valery told his Russian interviewers. “When we were being taken into captivity, our own forces started shelling us, showing that we aren’t needed anymore. I’ve been captured and thanks to that I’m alive and won’t be executed. It’s worse in the Ukrainian military than in the Russian captivity,” he said. “The 25th Brigade’s command is treating us like livestock,” another captured serviceman said. “It’s better to surrender than die in such a ***** manner for who knows for what and why,” a third added. “Our commanders don’t care about us. They didn’t want to come to the positions and evaluate the situation…So ‘thank you’ to our commanders. In your words, we should have gone to our deaths,” another soldier said. Footage shot by Russian forces showed the surrendering servicemen approaching Russian positions, stripping off their gear and being led out of the combat zone by Russian forces after being searched.

Ukraine Armed Forces C-in-C Syrsky confirmed the desperate situation at the front in an order that was issued on April 4 and leaked to Russian media on Saturday, listing issues he said require immediate attention from law enforcement including insubordination, failure to comply with orders, threats or violence against superiors, unauthorized abandonment of positions, desertion, evasion of military service by inflicting self-harm, and refusal to use weapons. In a Telegram post Saturday, Syrsky offered an unusually frank public assessment of the battlefield situation, which he said had “significantly worsened in recent days, primarily due to the significant intensification of the enemy’s offensive actions,” which he said was “facilitated by warm, dry weather, which has made most open areas accessible to tanks.” Syrsky assured that his “personal communication” with servicemen has made him well “aware of the real scale and degree of threat from the enemy.”

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“..and we will be able to resume the counteroffensive in 2025..”

Ukraine Asks France to Help Hold Positions in 2024 (Sp.)

Kiev has asked Paris to help the Ukrainian military hold the positions on the battlefield this year so that it can launch a new counteroffensive in 2025, a French official who took part in the talks with the Ukrainian authorities has told Le Figaro newspaper. “The Ukrainians are telling us: help us make it through 2024, and we will be able to resume the counteroffensive in 2025,” the official said. Ukraine is in need of the SAMP/T air defense system, the official added. However, MBDA, which manufactures the Aster 30 missiles for the platform, will not be able to provide Kiev with more missiles in the near future, as the French military also needs them, Le Figaro reported. On June 4, 2023, Ukraine attempted a counteroffensive against Russia. Kiev deployed brigades trained by NATO instructors and armed with Western equipment, including Leopard and Challenger tanks.

Three months later, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Kiev’s push had failed, with Ukraine suffering heavy casualties. Several Western officials also admitted that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had not been successful. Western countries have provided hundreds of billions of dollars worth of aid to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s special military operation in February 2022. Aid shipments began in 2022 with artillery munitions and training and have escalated to include tanks, advanced air-defense systems, missiles and cluster munitions. The Kremlin has consistently warned against the West’s continued arms deliveries to Ukraine, saying that they only prolong the conflict, adding that Western military equipment will be eventually destroyed. Moscow also cautioned that NATO countries “are playing with fire” by providing Kiev with arms.

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NYT and Fiona Hill team up to make Trump look ignorant. And yes, “Hill served on Trump’s National Security Council between 2017 and 2019”. How did that ever happen?

Trump Thought Ukraine ‘Must Be Part Of Russia’ – Fiona Hill (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump could not understand “the idea that Ukraine was an independent state” and assumed that it “must be part of Russia,” his former adviser, Fiona Hill, has claimed. “Trump made it very clear that he thought, you know, that Ukraine, and certainly Crimea, must be part of Russia,” Hill told New York Times writer David Sanger in an upcoming book previewed by The Guardian on Friday. “He really could not get his head around the idea that Ukraine was an independent state.” Crimea voted overwhelmingly to join the Russian Federation in 2014, six decades after the historically Russian peninsula was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in an administrative decision by Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev. In September 2022, four former Ukrainian regions – the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kherson, and Zaporozhye – were also admitted to the Russian Federation after similar referendums.

It is unclear from the excerpt printed by The Guardian whether Trump was referring to Russia’s centuries of sovereignty over Crimea and interests in Ukraine, or whether he simply assumed that post-Soviet Ukraine was a part of Russia. Trump has never publicly suggested that Ukraine is not an independent state. Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee to challenge President Joe Biden in this November’s election. If elected, he has promised to end the conflict in Ukraine “within 24 hours.” “I would get [Russian President Vladimir Putin] into a room. I’d get [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky into a room. Then I’d bring them together. And I’d have a deal worked out,” he told NBC News in September. Trump did not elaborate on how he would achieve this, explaining that “if I tell you exactly, I lose all my bargaining chips.”

Despite accusing Biden of dragging the US toward “World War III” with his policy of open-ended military aid to Ukraine, Trump has said that he could keep money flowing to Kiev under some circumstances, albeit as a loan rather than a gift. An intelligence analyst and specialist on Russian and Eurasian affairs, Hill served on Trump’s National Security Council between 2017 and 2019. She emerged as a key witness during the 2019 impeachment inquiry against her former boss, during which she accused Trump of using American aid to pressure Zelensky into investigating the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine.

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“..this would be the best decision Biden ever made..”

‘Do The Right Thing’: Assange Supporters Urge As Biden Mulls Dropping Case (CD)

President Joe Biden this week for the first time said his administration is weighing the Australian government’s requests to drop charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been deprived of his freedom since 2010 and is currently jailed in London’s notorious Belmarsh Prison while fighting extradition to the United States. Asked by reporters at the White House about requests from Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and members of the country’s Parliament for the U.S. and United Kingdom to drop the extradition effort and charges against Assange – an Australian citizen – Biden said that “we’re considering it.” Stella Assange, Julian’s wife, responded to Biden’s remarks on social media. “Do the right thing,” she wrote. “Drop the charges. #FreeAssangeNOW.”

Srecko Horvat, a Croatian philosopher and co-founder of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 pan-European progressive political party, said that “this would be the best decision Biden ever made.” British journalist Afshin Rattansi asked, “Why has Julian Assange been put through this ordeal in the first place?” Assange – who is 52 years old and suffers from various health problems – faces multiple U.S. charges under the Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for his role in publishing classified government documents, some of them revealing war crimes and other misdeeds. Among the files published by WikiLeaks are the “Collateral Murder” video – which shows a U.S. Army helicopter crew killing a group of Iraqi civilians – the Afghan and Iraq war logs.

Three U.S. administrations have pursued charges against Assange. During the administration of former President Donald Trump – who is the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee – officials including then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo allegedly plotted to assassinate Assange to avenge WikiLeaks’ publication of the “Vault 7” documents exposing CIA electronic warfare and surveillance activities. In 2010, Trump called for Assange’s execution. The U.K. High Court ruled last month that Assange could not be immediately extradited to the U.S., where he faces up to 175 years behind bars if convicted on all counts. The tribunal gave the Biden administration until April 16 to guarantee that Assange won’t face the death penalty. Absent such assurance, Assange will be allowed to continue appealing his extradition. Last month, Assange’s legal team denied reports that a plea deal with the U.S. government may have been in the works. Assange has been imprisoned in Belmarsh since 2019. Before that, he spent nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had been granted political asylum under the government of leftist former President Rafael Correa.

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“..not just a ban from visiting Germany but also from participation in Zoom events hosted in the country..”

The Speech That Got Me Banned From Germany (Varoufakis)

Today, Yanis Varoufakis was banned not just from visiting Germany but from participating in video conferences about politics hosted in Germany. Here’s the plea for humanity and justice in Palestine that got him banned. Today, Germany’s interior ministry issued a “betätigungsverbot” against me, a ban on any political activity — not just a ban from visiting Germany but also from participation in Zoom events hosted in the country. I can’t even have a recorded video of me played at German events.The trouble started in earnest yesterday, when German police burst into a Berlin venue to disband our Palestine congress, which was hosted by the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25). Judge for yourselves what kind of society Germany is becoming if its police ban the sentiments below.

“Congratulations and heartfelt thanks for being here — despite the threats, despite the ironclad police outside this venue, despite the panoply of the German press, despite the German state, despite the German political system that demonizes you for being here. “Why a Palestinian congress, Mr Varoufakis?” a German journalist asked me recently. Because, as Hanan Ashrawi once said, “we cannot rely on the silenced to tell us about their suffering.”Today, Ashrawi’s reason has grown depressingly stronger, because we cannot rely on the silenced who are also massacred and starved to tell us about the massacres and the starvation. But there is another reason, too: because a proud, decent people, the people of Germany, are led down a perilous road to a heartless society by being made to associate themselves with another genocide carried out in their name, with their complicity.

I am neither Jewish nor Palestinian. But I am incredibly proud to be here among Jews and Palestinians — to blend my voice for peace and universal human rights with Jewish voices for peace and universal human rights, with Palestinian voices for peace and universal human rights. Being together here today is proof that coexistence is not only possible — but that it is here already. “Why not a Jewish congress, Mr Varoufakis?” the same German journalist asked me, imagining that he was being smart. I welcomed his question. For if a single Jew is threatened, anywhere, just because she or he is Jewish, I shall wear the Star of David on my lapel and offer my solidarity — whatever the cost, whatever it takes.

So let’s be clear: if Jews were under attack, anywhere in the world, I would be the first to canvass for a Jewish congress in which to register our solidarity. Similarly, when Palestinians are massacred because they are Palestinians — under a dogma that to be dead and Palestinian, they must have been Hamas — I shall wear my keffiyeh and offer my solidarity whatever the cost, whatever it takes. Universal human rights are either universal or they mean nothing.

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Time to hear Pelosi and Liz Cheney under oath?

DC National Guard Say They WERE Ready To Be Deployed On Jan 6 (DM)

Whistleblowers from the Washington D.C. National Guard will tell Congress that Donald Trump did want them deployed during the Capitol riot and the Army delayed telling them to mobilize in a bombshell hearing next week. DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal that at least three officers will appear Wednesday before a House subcommittee to claim their stories were also ignored by the Democrat-led January 6 committee, because it didn’t fit their narrative. The hearing will aim to further prove that Acting Defense Secretary at the time Christopher Miller did give advance approval of D.C. National Guard deployment at the direction of then-President Donald Trump. A person familiar with the review by the House Administration Committee’s Oversight Subcommittee said the whistleblowers will provide testimony that then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy delayed by at least two hours providing official notice to D.C. National Guard Commander William Walker to deploy troops to the Capitol.

Instead of getting to the bottom of the breakdown in communication and focusing on improving Military preparedness for future incidents, the witnesses feel the January 6 panel was solely focused on pinning blame for the events that day on Trump. The officers, who were with Walker the day of the Capitol riot, will detail how they were on buses in full tactical gear for hours waiting for the go-ahead from the Army. McCarthy has stated under oath that he did give a timely order for deployment of the D.C. National Guard – but Walker’s troops said they found out about mobilization during a press conference, which led to a three-hour-and-19-minute delay of forces arriving at the Capitol. Some suggest that McCarthy was vying for a spot in President Joe Biden’s incoming administration and didn’t like the optics of it looking like the Army, under his command, was trying to interfere or inhibit certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

The hearing on Wednesday is titled ‘Three Years Later: D.C. National Guard Whistleblowers Speak Out on January 6 Delay’ and aims to examine whether Trump was at fault for the delay in National Guard deployment. Additionally, the whistleblowers will reveal how the January 6 Committee did not want to hear their testimony because it corroborated Trump and his allies’ claims that the former president did authorize the National Guard days in advance to respond to any violence or unrest on January 6, 2021. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) is chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee, which is tasked with reviewing the January 6 Committee’s investigation into the Capitol riot.

Last month, Loudermilk released a transcript of a never-before-seen interview with Tony Ornato, the man in charge of Trump’s security detail on January 6, 2021. In the interview with the panel, Ornato confirmed that Trump did authorize the National Guard for mobilization and deployment to D.C. that day. The bombshell release of that interview reveals flaws in the January 6 committee’s argument that Trump wanted to stoke chaos that day by not allowing National Guard troops to respond to the scene at the Capitol. Loudermilk’s panel is concerned with making sure that security of the U.S. Capitol complex is nonpartisan and that readiness is not affected by partisan politics.

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“..other defendants did not write “a memoir in which they made countless statements proving their crimes and drawing further attention to their criminal conduct.”

Another Federal Judge Rejects All Hunter Biden Claims for Dismissal (Turley)

While some legal analysts continue to boost Hunter Biden’s legal claims, the reviews in actual courts are far less glowing. Recently, we discussed a federal judge rejecting all eight motions of Hunter Biden to dismiss his tax charges in a stinging opinion citing a conspicuous lack of actual evidence to support their claims. Now, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika has also rejected those claims in the gun case in Delaware, calling Hunter’s arguments “nonsensical.” Legal experts like MSNBC’s Andew Weissmann have slammed the gun charges as “an abuse.” Hunter Biden’s counsel has argued selective prosecution and a bar on charges (based on the defunct notorious plea deal) in both cases. While these arguments were given great credence on some networks, they were stomped on by actual judges applying the law to the case. Abby Lowell and Hunter’s defense team have insisted that he is the victim of selective prosecution, but Special Counsel David Weiss has eviscerated those claims.

In a recent filing, Weiss dismissed many of Hunter’s claims as “patently false” and noted that he virtually flaunted his violations and engaged in obvious efforts to evade taxes and hide his crimes. Weiss further noted that other defendants did not write “a memoir in which they made countless statements proving their crimes and drawing further attention to their criminal conduct.” It was a devastating take-down of Hunter’s claims, but it did not address the conspicuous omission of charges brought against Menendez, including FARA charges. It also does not address the fact that the Justice Department not only allowed the statute of limitations to run on major crimes, but sought to finalize an obscene plea agreement with no jail time for Hunter. It only fell apart when a judge decided to ask a couple of cursory questions of the prosecutor, who admitted that he had never seen an agreement this generous for a defendant. Weiss noted in his filing that they filed new charges only after Hunter’s legal counsel refused to change the agreement and insisted that it remained fully enforceable.

Judge Noreika is equally unimpressed by the arguments of the Biden team. She almost mockingly noted that “Defendant’s articulated protected class is apparently family members of politically-important persons.” She later added: “Defendant’s claim is effectively that his own father targeted him for being his son, a claim that is nonsensical under the facts here. Regardless of whether Congressional Republicans attempted to influence the Executive Branch, there is no evidence that they were successful in doing so and, in any event, the Executive Branch prosecuting Defendant was at all relevant times (and still is) headed by Defendant’s father.” The court also rejected Hunter Biden’s effort to subpoena Trump, former attorney general Bill Barr, and two other senior officials who served in the Trump Justice Department. Again, she noted that it was the Biden administration that decided to prosecute Hunter Biden on the firearms offenses.

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Aristotle time

 

 

Moom!

 

 

Wolf size

 

 

Lynx

 

 


Just 10 streams carry 95% of all river-borne plastic into the ocean

 

 

Reindeer

 

 

Octopus

 

 

Skink
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779155873861927286

 

 

Baby swans
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779221790038098045

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 132024
 


Edgar Degas Two laundresses 1876

 

Here’s Russia’s Plan For Ukraine For This Summer (Poletaev)
US Has ‘No Viable Plan’ for Ukraine – J.D. Vance (RT)
No ‘Great Counteroffensive,’ Ukraine on Brink of Collapse – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
Zelensky Could End Ukraine’s Viability as Country With Mobilization Law (Sp.)
West Gets ‘Fantastic Value’ out of Ukraine – Boris Johnson (RT)
Trump Offers Conditions For Ukraine Aid Renewal (RT)
Taxpayers Heavily Subsidize Democrat Boots on the Ground This Election (RCW)
16 GOP Attorneys General Challenge Garland’s Comments on Voting Laws (ET)
Democrats Used Campaign Funds To Pay Biden’s Lawyers (RT)
The Beauty Parlor’s Full of Sailors and the Circus is in Town (Kunstler)
UN Climate Chief Says Humans Have 2 Years Left ‘To Save The World’ (AP)
The Great Dispossession Part 1 (Paul Craig Roberts)
Requiem for The New York Times (Chris Hedges)
Deep State versus Julian Assange (Hayes)

 

 

 

 

Trump Johnson

Bragg

 

 

Mike McCormick

 

 

Stefanik

 

 

Lukashenko
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778783407838732765

 

 

Biden 1988

 

 

FISA

 

 

Roseanne
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778792376758120895

 

 

Gina Carano
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778935173729362355

 

 

 

 

No hurry.

Here’s Russia’s Plan For Ukraine For This Summer (Poletaev)

From time to time, people ask why Russia is not acting more decisively in Ukraine, and why it appears to be dragging its feet. Some say it’s out of weakness, others suspect some secret agreements with the West, and it seems there are theories to suit all tastes. In reality, the answer is clear and transparent. This year and the next, Russia has budgeted about 5-6% of GDP on the Ukraine conflict, and the Kremlin’s task is to use these comparatively small resources as efficiently as possible. They intention is to achieve the goals of the military operation without a new mobilization, and to preserve not only a calm and functioning economy but also stability inside the country. Although the front line has remained largely static since autumn 2022, the political situation and the circumstances in which the conflict will likely end are changing radically – in Russia’s favor.

With little risk and at relatively small financial expense, President Vladimir Putin is slowly but surely getting his way. There is increasing talk of an imminent Russian offensive. As with the Ukrainian ‘counteroffensive’ a year ago, commentators claim to know exactly where it will take place (towards Kharkov or Sumy), when it will happen (in May or June), and are sure in advance that it will be decisive for the whole conflict, and so on. But it seems to us that the Kremlin does not want a big march on Ukraine’s second city this summer, and here is why. Firstly, there is a lack of experience. We are talking about an operation on the scale of the Eastern Front in the Second World War, and such endeavors have never been carried out during the current campaign. (February 22, 2022 doesn’t count, because the enemy wasn’t fully mobilized, and the front line didn’t really exist so there was no need to break through anything.)

In any conflict, the scale required for offensive battles increases steadily, and the appropriate tools, strategic and tactical techniques, officer and staff corps need to be formed. The leap required to go from a five-month operation to take Avdeevka to a rapid and successful occupation of Kharkov or Sumy seems unfathomable. Also, the forces and means required are not yet in place. Yes, we have reserves of about 150,000-170,000 people. Yes, more people are signing up for military service every month than Ukraine is catching in taverns and on the streets, which means that the numbers are still growing. But a mass of soldiers is not an army. They need to be armed, equipped, trained, provided with experienced officers, staff capacity, equipment, shells, aircraft, and other things.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said that the formation of two new general armies will be completed by the end of 2024. So the Russian Armed Forces will only reach their peak form in eight to nine months, and then the conditions for opening a second front should be apparent. But what about this summer? Unless the Ukrainian front suddenly collapses, we are likely to see a slow and measured advance, with a fight for every field and village, combined with simultaneous air strikes deep inside the front and on the Ukrainian rear. Despite increasingly sophisticated Ukrainian counterattacks, such a scenario will exhaust the enemy much faster than it exhausts us, which means that by the end of the year, or into next summer, the balance of forces will have shifted even more in our favor. In any case, this is the calculation of our general staff.

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“Ukraine’s challenge is not the GOP; it’s math..”

US Has ‘No Viable Plan’ for Ukraine – J.D. Vance (RT)

Kiev cannot win against Moscow because it has run out of men and needs more weapons and ammunition than Washington could possibly provide, US Senator said on Friday. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer argued that “the biggest reason Ukraine is losing the war is because the hard-right in the Congress has paralyzed the US from acting.” The New York Democrat claimed that a small group of Republicans have been holding up a vital $60 billion aid package for Kiev. In an op-ed published by the New York Times, Vance addressed Schumer’s claim and accused President Joe Biden of having “failed to articulate even basic facts” about what Ukraine needs and the reality on the ground. “The Biden administration has no viable plan for the Ukrainians to win this war,” Vance argued.

“Ukraine’s challenge is not the GOP; it’s math,” the Ohio Republican wrote. “Ukraine needs more soldiers than it can field, even with draconian conscription policies. And it needs more matériel than the United States can provide.” Not only is $60 billion a fraction of what Ukraine would need to turn the tide, Americans “lack the capacity to manufacture the amount of weapons Ukraine needs us to supply to win the war,” Vance argued. He pointed to the fact that the US can make 360,000 shells for 155mm artillery per year, “less than a tenth of what Ukraine says it needs,” and that’s after doubling prewar production capacity. Vance also took aim at the White House’s messaging that funding Kiev is good for US military industry.

“The notion that we should prolong a bloody and gruesome war because it’s been good for American business is grotesque. We can and should rebuild our industrial base without shipping its products to a foreign conflict,” he wrote. The US insistence on not negotiating with Russia is “absurd” and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s goal of restoring Ukraine’s 1991 borders is “fantastical,” Vance added. He urged Kiev to dig in and hold until some kind of peace can be brokered by Washington. Earlier this week, however, Zelensky said Ukraine was planning yet another counteroffensive – after the costly failure of last summer’s operation – but needed even more weapons and ammunition from the West.

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“There will be no “great Ukrainian counteroffensive,” as Russia has entirely “changed the game” on the battlefield..”

No ‘Great Counteroffensive,’ Ukraine on Brink of Collapse – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

There will be no “great Ukrainian counteroffensive,” as Russia has entirely “changed the game” on the battlefield, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter told Sputnik. The promises that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky dangles before his Western patrons in an effort to wangle more aid from them are just empty promises, the retired US Marine Corps intelligence officer said. He likened the two opposing sides in NATO’s ongoing proxy war against Russia in Ukraine to two “Jenga blocks.” “What is going on between Russia and Ukraine today is that Russia is making Ukraine lose ‘Jenga blocks’ at a rate far greater than NATO can replace them. Ukraine’s Jenga block structure is becoming weak, and may collapse at any moment,” he said.

Accordingly, Zelensky is appealing to Europe and the United States, begging for more “Jenga blocks”: air defense, tanks, artillery, artillery shells, “because his structure is on the verge of collapsing,” Ritter noted. Russia, on the other hand, is building walls of protection around its “Jenga blocks,” the analyst underscored. “Russia is very strong, sturdy, and is in no danger of collapsing. Ukraine is teetering on the brink of collapse. Not just militarily, but also economically, politically. Russia has taken apart the Kiev regime’s energy infrastructure, which spells an imminent collapse of the defense industries,” the expert said. The Russian Armed Forces have been conducting massive precision strikes using long-range air and sea-based weapons, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles, on fuel and energy infrastructure in Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry reported on Thursday that the strikes were in response to attempts by the Kiev regime to damage Russian oil and gas industry and energy facilities.

“Politically speaking, the world is tired of the Ukrainian conflict, tired of a nation that begs for more and more, but cannot produce any positive outcomes on the battlefield,” Scott Ritter emphasized. He added that the Ukrainian “Jenga block” structure is “about to collapse, and that is going to happen sooner rather than later.” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky told the German tabloid Bild on Tuesday that Kiev had already come up with a plan for a new counteroffensive against Russian forces, but needs more advanced Western weapons. The much-heralded 2023 offensive started with a delay on June 4 and ended in November 2023 without achieving any of its stated goals, such as reaching the Azov Sea in order to cut “the land bridge” between Crimea and “mainland” Russia. Zelensky’s previous failed counteroffensive plan resulted in the deaths and serious injuries of over 166,000 Ukrainian soldiers, as well as the loss of 789 tanks, 2,400 other armored vehicles, and 132 aircraft.

Russia, on the other hand, proved decisively that its military equipment, tactics, and military-industrial base are no worse than NATO’s, destroying hundreds of modern Western military vehicles, tanks, and artillery systems. A high-ranking source in the Russian Ministry of Defense stated that any new Ukrainian counteroffensive would end in complete disaster for Kiev, with the ultimate defeat of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

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“It is a little Banderite, fascist dictatorship.”

Zelensky Could End Ukraine’s Viability as Country With Mobilization Law (Sp.)

On Thursday, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a new mobilization law, requiring all men aged 18 to 60 to register within 60 days and carry registration documents with them in public. The rules came just weeks after Ukraine lowered its conscription age from 27 to 25. Ukraine is at risk of losing its viability as a nation if it continues to mobilize its male population, as it was already dealing with a massive demographic deficit due to a massive drop in birth rates after the fall of the Soviet Union. “There are a lot more people in the 35-plus age bracket and a much smaller group of people in the younger bracket,” Mark Sleboda, a security and international relations expert told Sputnik’s Fault Lines on Thursday. “They’re seriously at such a demographic crisis,” that it has put at risk “the future [and] the viability of Ukraine as a country.”

According to Sleboda, large parts of the bill remain classified, including the number of Ukrainians set to be mobilized. However, 450,000 – 500,000 has been floated by military generals and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a possible goal in recent months. “Figures within the Kiev regime are once again talking about mobilizing women in a separate bill, so that’s come up again,” Sleboda explained, adding that the medical exceptions, including for injuries in combat, have been lowered. “For instance, if you already fought and lost a leg, you’re not exempt anymore. You can still pilot a drone, right? That’s the mentality of the new bill.”

Zelensky also said another $13 billion would be needed to carry out his plan, but money is in short supply for the Kiev regime, and further US aid to Ukraine has been stalled in Congress since last summer. The US ran out of congressionally approved aid late last year. Still, Zelensky has kept his grip on power, preventing any kind of resistance from the Ukrainian people. “You can’t really have protests in the country except for wives and mothers, because any men who show their face in public are instantly sent to the trenches in Kupyansk,” Sleboda explained.

In March 2022, Zelensky banned eleven political parties in Ukraine, which was on top of the parties banned by former President Petro Poroshenko during Ukraine’s so-called “decommunization.” This has left virtually no opposition to Zelensky’s plans, with even some members of the ruling elite complaining that Zelensky has become a dictator. “Even the mayor of Kiev, [former Boxer Vitali Klitschko], and numerous other public figures have said, even though they’re part of the Maidan ruling elite, [they say] ‘we’ve become a dictatorship under Zelensky,’” Sleboda explained. “[We’re] not talking about real opposition, but even other members of the Maidan elite don’t have any power anymore outside of Zelensky.” “We’re not talking about a democratic country as the West presents,” Sleboda said. “It is a little Banderite, fascist dictatorship.”

zel

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“The theme of the lecture was the superiority of democracy, a political system “by which we kick the bastards out..”

West Gets ‘Fantastic Value’ out of Ukraine – Boris Johnson (RT)

The Ukrainians are fighting the West’s fight with Russia and do not ask for much, so the money and resources put into the country generate “fantastic value,” according to former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The politician, who reportedly personally derailed a nascent peace agreement between Moscow and Kiev in 2022, discussed his policy choices on Thursday with students of Georgetown University, one of the leading breeding grounds of American political elites. The theme of the lecture was the superiority of democracy, a political system “by which we kick the bastards out,” as the Conservative politician phrased it. Johnson himself was forced out in 2022, after a string of scandals and accusations that his government had deceived the British public. Arming Ukraine against Russia is part of the global fight for democracy, he told the students. And the tens of billions of dollars it requires from the West are “a fraction of US annual defense spending.”

“There could be no more effective way of investing in Western security than investing in Ukraine, because those guys without a single pair of American boots on the ground are fighting for the West,” Johnson said. The Ukrainians “are effectively fighting our own fight, fighting for our own interests.” Early in the conflict, the US and its allies assumed a Russian victory would be swift, and such an outcome “would have been a nightmare,” Johnson suggested, painting Ukraine as a vibrant democracy. ”In Ukrainian elections you don’t know the outcome in advance,” he said. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky declined to hold elections this year, citing the state of martial law. The deadline for Ukrainians to vote in a new leader passed in March, and Zelensky’s term will expire in May.

Johnson went on to claim that “in Ukraine journalists don’t get shot.” However, there have been several high profile incidents of media workers being killed in the country. Journalists Oles Buzina and Pavel Shermet were assassinated in 2015 and 2016 respectively. No one has been brought to trial in either case. The former prime minister also said he was skeptical of claims that Donald Trump intends to pressure Kiev into ceding territory to Moscow, if re-elected as US president. ”Think about what it might mean to a new president to have a triumph for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the humiliation of the West,” he explained. Trump was the first US leader to send weapons to Ukraine, Johnson recalled, stressing that the Republican’s actions would not necessarily follow his rhetoric.

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Why aid renewal if you’re going to solve it in 24 hours?

Trump Offers Conditions For Ukraine Aid Renewal (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has said he would not be opposed to Congress approving more aid to Ukraine as long as the assistance is given in the form of loans, rather than gifts. He also insisted that European allies must match Washington’s level of assistance to Kiev. Speaking to reporters on Friday alongside US House Speaker Mike Johnson, Trump declared his support for the embattled Republican leader. Asked if he would give his blessing for Ukrainian aid legislation if Johnson brings the bill to a vote, he said, “We’re thinking about making it in the form of a loan, instead of just a gift. We keep handing out gifts of billions and billions of dollars, and we’ll take a look at it.” Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee in this year’s presidential election and is polling ahead of incumbent President Joe Biden.

He first floated the idea of converting Ukraine aid to loans in February, and he has repeatedly claimed that he will end Kiev’s conflict with Moscow within 24 hours by forcing both sides to the negotiating table. Republican lawmakers have been blocking new aid approvals for Ukraine since last fall, arguing that Biden is merely prolonging the bloodshed while offering no strategy for ending the bloodshed. However, Johnson is reportedly ready to let a $60 billion Ukraine funding bill advance to a House vote, despite opposition from a majority of Republicans. With Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Trump ally, threatening to push for a vote to oust Johnson, the speaker traveled to Florida on Friday to meet with the former president.

“It’s not an easy situation for any speaker,” Trump told reporters. “I think he’s doing a very good job. He’s doing about as good as you’re going to do.” He added that if new US assistance for Ukraine is approved, “Europe has to step up, and they have to equalize it. They don’t equalize. I’m very upset about it because they’re affected much more than we are.” Trump repeated his claim that the Russia-Ukraine conflict would have never happened if he were still president. Biden’s incompetence opened the door for both the Ukraine crisis and the Israel-Hamas war, Trump claimed. He added that under his successor’s leadership, “We’re a nation in decline, we’re a declining nation.” Trump also warned that the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel could escalate dramatically even before the US election in November. “A lot of bad things are happening in our country, but that’s the least of it. You’ve got Russia – you could end up in a world war between Russia, Ukraine, and all of the chaos.”

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“There is an overt assault on President Trump and those who wish to vote for him occurring at every level of government and with the support of all major institutions.”

Taxpayers Heavily Subsidize Democrat Boots on the Ground This Election (RCW)

Progressives are using legal loopholes and the power of the federal government to maximize Democrat votes in the 2024 election at taxpayers’ expense, RealClearInvestigations has found. The methods include voter registration and mobilization campaigns by ostensibly nonpartisan charities that target Democrats using demographic data as proxies, and the Biden administration’s unprecedented demand that every federal agency “consider ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process.” A dizzying array of overwhelmingly “democracy-focused” entities with ties to the Democratic Party operating as charities and funded with hundreds of millions of dollars from major liberal “dark money” vehicles are engaged in a sprawling campaign to register the voters, deliver them the ballots, and figuratively and sometimes literally harvest the votes necessary to defeat Donald Trump.

These efforts, now buttressed by the federal government, amplify and extend what Time magazine described as a “well-funded cabal of powerful people ranging across industries and ideologies,” who had worked behind the scenes in 2020 “to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information” to defeat Trump and other Republicans. The “shadow campaigners,” Time declared, “were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it.” Heading into 2024, “there is not a ‘shadow’ campaign,” said Mike Howell, executive director of the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project. “There is an overt assault on President Trump and those who wish to vote for him occurring at every level of government and with the support of all major institutions.” By contrast, Republican Party stalwarts lament that no comparable effort exists on their side.

The GOP’s turnout and messaging efforts seek to thread a difficult needle by encouraging early and absentee voting and ballot-harvesting – pandemic-era measures that Trump and supporters blame for his 2020 electoral defeat – while the party simultaneously fights the mainly blue-state laws that made the practices possible. The party’s position is further complicated by its standard-bearer’s warnings of a rigged election bigger than in 2020, which some speculate could turn off moderate swing voters. The IRS permits tax-exempt nonprofit groups to engage in voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives so long as they do not “refer to any candidate or political party” nor conduct their activities “in a biased manner that favors (or opposes) one or more candidates prohibited.” These entities have become magnets for funds not only from wealthy donors, who can contribute without traditional campaign finance limits – and get a tax break to boot – but also abundantly endowed private foundations that are prohibited from engaging in partisan activities.

In recent years, dozens of progressive-oriented 501(c)(3)s, now pulling in upwards of $500 million annually, have engaged in purportedly neutral efforts to impact elections, according to Hayden Ludwig, director of Policy Research at the election integrity-focused advocacy group, Restoration of America. In practice, critics like Ludwig argue, left-leaning charities flout the law by registering and mobilizing demographics that tend to vote disproportionately Democratic behind a veil of non-partisan democracy promotion. During the 2020 election, for example, the Voter Participation Center solicited millions of ballot applications in swing states – many of them prefilled for respondents. This nonprofit, like its peers, is clear that it isn’t targeting just any voters, but what it and progressive activists have dubbed a “New American Majority” of “young people, people of color and unmarried women.”

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“..none of these identification requirements are considered ‘discriminatory’ or ‘burdensome.’ Requiring an ID to vote in an election is no different.”

16 GOP Attorneys General Challenge Garland’s Comments on Voting Laws (ET)

A group of Republican state attorneys general are pushing back against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s comments made in March at a church in Selma, Alabama, where he discussed using the Department of Justice (DOJ) to interfere in state voting laws. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, in a letter supported by 15 other GOP prosecutors, including Ken Paxton in Texas and Liz Murrill in Louisiana, stated that Mr. Garland’s comments are “concerning.” “In your speech, you claimed that democracy is under attack by ‘discriminatory, burdensome, and unnecessary restrictions on access to the ballot,’” Mr. Rokita wrote. “In response to these allegations, you announced that you ‘double[d] the number of lawyers in the civil rights division’ and ‘launched the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force,’ signaling your intent to intrude on our states’ authority.”

Mr. Rokita called this a “weaponization of the DOJ” fueled by Mr. Garland’s personal views, which he called a “serious threat to the principles of federalism and separation of powers, but also to democracy and the rule of law.”
In the letter, Mr. Rokita said the U.S. Constitution is clear in its direction to leave state elections up to the elected representatives of those states.“Any subversion of these clear mandates would be undermining our Constitution and law and order,” he wrote. “And we think your remarks undermine these principles in a few ways.” Mr. Garland told the audience at the Tabernacle Baptist Church that his DOJ is challenging state laws that he said are placing unneeded restrictions on black voters. He said black voters are disenfranchised by these restrictions on mail-in voting, the use of drop boxes, and voter ID. “That is why we are working to block the adoption of discriminatory redistricting plans that dilute the vote of Black voters and other voters of color,” Mr. Garland said.

“We are holding accountable jurisdictions that fail to provide accessible vote centers for voters with disabilities. We are defending the ability of private individuals—not just the government—to bring lawsuits under the key provisions of the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” Mr. Rokita addressed Mr. Garland’s statement on voter ID laws, stating that contrary to Mr. Garland’s claiming they are discriminatory, they prohibit voter fraud, which he called “very real,” and referenced several occurrences. “With these repeated instances of voter fraud, the DOJ should be championing these laws and encouraging enforcement of them,” Mr. Rokita said. “Individuals are required to use an ID to prove identity when driving a car, boarding an airline, buying cigarettes, or purchasing alcohol, and none of these identification requirements are considered ‘discriminatory’ or ‘burdensome.’ Requiring an ID to vote in an election is no different.”

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Biden legal fees: $1.5 million.
Trump legal fees: $100 million and counting.

Democrats Used Campaign Funds To Pay Biden’s Lawyers (RT)

The Democratic Party has reportedly diverted political donations to help cover legal costs incurred by Joe Biden while he was being investigated for mishandling state secrets – even as the US president’s reelection campaign condemned rival Donald Trump for the same tactic. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) paid more than $1.5 million to lawyers or firms representing Biden, Axios reported on Friday, citing campaign finance records and unidentified people familiar with the matter. The payments were made between July 2023 and February 2024, as US Department of Justice (DOJ) special counsel Robert Hur was investigating Biden’s handling of classified documents that he illegally retained after completing his two terms as vice president. Even as those payments were made, the Biden campaign ramped up its criticism of former US President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee in this year’s election, for using political donations to pay his lawyers.

Trump has reportedly incurred more than $100 million in legal fees while defending himself against 91 charges in four separate criminal cases, including two indictments brought by Biden’s DOJ. Biden’s backers have mocked Trump for soliciting donations to pay his lawyers. Just last month, DNC executive director Sam Cornale warned that the Republican National Committee (RNC) might start covering Trump’s legal fees after installing new leadership. “Pledging to spend the RNC’s non-existent war chest on Trump’s legal bills is not a good pitch to donors, who are already refusing to donate,” Cornale said. Last weekend, Biden campaign finance chief Rufus Gifford told MSNBC that “every single dime” given by donors was being used to get the president’s message out to voters. “We are not spending money on legal bills,” he said. “We are not hawking gold sneakers or any of that stuff.”

Confronted by Axios over the use of donations to pay Biden’s lawyers, DNC spokesman Alex Floyd said, “There is no comparison. The DNC does not spend a single penny of grassroots donors’ money on legal bills, unlike Donald Trump, who actively solicits legal fees from his supporters and has drawn down every bank account he can get his hands on, like a personal piggy bank.” Hur issued a report on his investigation in February, saying Biden had “willfully retained and disclosed” state secrets after leaving office as vice president in 2017. However, the special counsel didn’t recommend indicting Biden. He said it would be difficult to prove Biden’s intent to a jury because the 81-year-old president came across in interviews as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

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“Joe Biden” keeps hinting about sending America’s tranny army there, and even gearing up the military draft for the nose-ring and blue hair generation..”

The Beauty Parlor’s Full of Sailors and the Circus is in Town (Kunstler)

This is that part of the movie where the hero — you — tumbles off the cliff on Kong Island in a lightning storm with a canyon full of tarantulas down below where you’ll soon be landing. I know, not a pretty picture. The cliff is our country’s financial quandary; the lightning is us getting sucked directly into war; and the tarantula pit below is the emerging peril of Covid vaccine injury and death coming on hard, like your landing. Gold and silver are vaulting up suddenly like nobody’s business (literally). This may be fun to see if you are sitting on a pile, even a small pile of the stuff. But to everybody else it’s a signal that something is messed up in the complex engine of the economy. You know, of course, that our money is debt. So, debt is the fuel that drives that engine. Debt is a promise to pay back money with interest to take advantage of the time-value of money. The time-value of money means it’s better to have the money now (to keep the engine running) than to wait until your work produces money (if it even can).

The trouble is, debt loses its credibility if there is no plausible way of paying it back, or even just to keep paying the interest. That’s exactly what is happening now. Everybody can see that the US government can’t pay the interest on its debt, which is Treasury bonds, notes, and bills (from long duration to short). That debt is running at well over $1-trillion a year. That’s a thousand billion, which is a thousand million, altogether a million million. See, it’s impossible to grok how more than a trillion dollars gets produced in an economy based on selling fried chicken nuggets and streamed movies to people with no jobs.

When the Treasury holds an auction on a new issue of bonds (needed to pay off the interest on old bonds) and nobody shows up to buy because they doubt its ability to pay interest on the new paper, our country’s debt becomes worthless. As a last resort, the Federal Reserve swoops in and buys that worthless paper by creating “money” on its computer. That “money” goes out into the economy. The Fed pretends to get paid interest. It’s all fakery, a swindle. It’s like putting water in the gas tank of your engine. You know that the engine is going to throw a rod. When it does, it’ll be such a shock that the vehicle it’s running in is liable to hit a bridge abutment or something else hard. That’s what tumbling off the cliff is like.

The dopes running US foreign policy are so foolishly obsessed with taunting Russia (“poking the bear”), that they can’t give up their sponsorship of the war in Ukraine, which Ukraine is losing because they never had the mojo for the fight. That should have been obvious, but for some reason our “best-and-brightest” overlooked that. No amount of free weaponry and ammo can make up for the fact that Ukraine has run out of young men to pointlessly get shredded by Russian artillery. Russia is unwilling to get rolled by NATO and the US in a part of the world Russia has controlled for centuries. Yet, “Joe Biden” keeps hinting about sending America’s tranny army there, and even gearing up the military draft for the nose-ring and blue hair generation. Good luck with that.

Read more …

Jim Rickards: “What a fraud. They’ve been saying that for 40 years and they’ve been wrong all along. He also asked for $2.4 Trillion from developed countries. No surprise there. Let’s just call a scam a scam.”

UN Climate Chief Says Humans Have 2 Years Left ‘To Save The World’ (AP)

Humanity has only two years left “to save the world” by making dramatic changes in the way it spews heat-trapping emissions and it has even less time to act to get the finances behind such a massive shift, the head of the United Nations climate agency said. With governments of the world facing a 2025 deadline for new and stronger plans to curb carbon pollution, nearly half of the world’s populations voting in elections this year, and crucial global finance meetings later this month in Washington, United Nations executive climate secretary Simon Stiell said Wednesday he knows his warning may sound melodramatic. But he said action over the next two years is “essential.” “We still have a chance to make greenhouse gas emissions tumble, with a new generation of national climate plans.

But we need these stronger plans, now,” Stiell said in a speech at the Chatham House think tank in London. He suggested that climate action is not just for powerful people to address — in a not-so-veiled reference to the electoral calendar this year. “Who exactly has two years to save the world? The answer is every person on this planet,” Stiell said. “More and more people want climate action right across societies and political spectrums, in large part because they are feeling the impacts of the climate crisis in their everyday lives and their household budgets.” [..] Stiell’s speech comes just ahead of meetings of The World Bank and other big multinational development institutions, where poorer nations, led by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Kenyan President William Ruto, are pushing for major reforms in the systems that loan money to poor nations, especially those hit by climate-related disasters.

In conjunction with that push, Stiell called for “a quantum leap this year in climate finance.” He called for debt relief for the countries that need it the most, saying they are spending $400 billion on debt financing instead of preparing for and preventing future climate change. He called for more financial aid, not just loans, and more money from different groups like banks, the International Maritime Organization, and the G20, the world’s 20 most powerful economies. Those countries are responsible for 80% of the world’s heat-trapping emissions, he said. “G20 leadership must be at the core of the solution, as it was during the great financial crisis,” Stiell said.

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“Our bank deposits and stocks and bonds, in the event the depository institution gets into trouble, belong to the depository institution’s creditors, not to us..”

The Great Dispossession Part 1 (Paul Craig Roberts)

Some definitions: an “account holder” is you, your IRA, your pension plan, your stock and bond investments held at an “account provider” or “intermediary” or “depository institution” such as Merrill Lynch, Schwab, Wells Fargo. An “entitlement holder” is the definition of you whose ownership claim to your financial assets has been subordinated to the claims of “secured creditors” of the institution where you have your accounts. Please do understand that the dispossession of which I write is your dispossession. Klaus Schwab tells us that in the Great Reset that the World Economic Forum is preparing for us “you will own nothing and you will be happy.” Well, we already own nothing. Our bank deposits and stocks and bonds, in the event the depository institution gets into trouble, belong to the depository institution’s creditors, not to us. All assets are pooled and serve as collateral whether or not labeled “segregated.” You might remember that during the last financial crisis we were told that there would be no more bail-outs, that in the future there would be bail-ins.

A bail-out is when central bank money creation rescues the favored troubled financial institutions. A bail-in is when the depositors’ assets are used for the rescues. David Rogers Webb, an experienced financial market participant, explains it in The Great Taking in 72 readable pages plus a 25 page prologue explaining who he is and a 20 page reply of the New York Fed to the European Commission Legal Certainty Group’s questions. The Great Taking is available from Lulu for $10 and is free online: https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/1ee786fb-3c78-4903-9701-d614892d09d6/taking-feb24-screen2.pdf. The loss of property rights in financial assets is the case throughout the Western world. The rewrite of financial property rights appears to be the work of regulatory bodies, not legislatures which seem to be unaware of it. No, it is not a conspiracy theory. Regulatory authorities have made legal changes of which financial market participants are unaware. Webb’s purpose is to bring awareness, which is why he has made his book freely available.

As a result of these changes, which appear to have been made by financial regulatory authorities rather than by elected legislatures, individuals no longer have property rights in “their” securities. “Owners” now have “entitlement rights,” which means that they have pro-rata rights to whatever securities remain in the depository institution after secured creditors’ claims are met. In actual fact, “your” securities and your bank deposits are no longer recognized in law as your personal property if the depository institution–the bank or, for example, Merrill Lynch–becomes financially troubled. Your “ownership” is encumbered as collateral for secured creditors who are the owners in fact. Apparently, this was done by regulatory authorities as underpinning for the derivatives complex, which is many magnitudes greater than world GNP, or perhaps derivative exposure served as an excuse for setting up the Great Reset in which “you will own nothing.” Indeed, individual banks among the world’s largest have derivative exposure the size of world GDP.

You might wonder why regulatory authorities permitted something so dangerous and irresponsible to occur. To state the bottom line in another way, “your” securities serve as collateral for the creditors of depository institutions. Your right to “your” property terminates the minute the depository institution gets in financial trouble. Communications between the New York Federal Reserve Bank and the European Commission Legal Certainty Group and the court case resulting from the failure of Lehman Brothers have established legal certainty that secured creditors are empowered to immediately take client assets in the event of a failure in the custodian. National central depositories of securities (all are now pooled, none held under the “owner’s” name or segregated) are now established and are linked to the international depository so that securities can instantly be delivered world wide to meet secured creditors’ claims. Essentially, the mega-banks are “privileged creditors.”

You might think that your money and your stocks and bonds would be safe if you use as your depository one of the “banks too big to fail.” You would be mistaken. The Federal Reserve permits the large banks to create subsidiaries that hold deposits, and the Federal Reserve permits the large banks to transfer their derivatives to these same subsidiaries. In this way, the bank itself remains afloat. Only its subsidiaries holding your money and securities are wiped out in the event of a crash. At the risk of over-promising, as even for a person of my education and experience getting one’s mind around the enormity of what has been put in place is a challenge, I hope for this article, which you have just read, to be part 1 in a 3-part series, with the second part being an outline of the regulatory changes that stole our financial property rights, and the third part being the implications of the Federal Reserve’s raising of interest rates after 15 years of near zero rates, thus shredding the value of financial assets held in portfolios. We face the prospect of the worst financial crisis in history “solved” with the introduction of digital money that places total control into the hands of political power and its masters.

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“On the front page of the program of the memorial, the year of his death is incorrect — emblematic of the sloppiness of a newspaper that is riddled with typos and errors..”

Requiem for The New York Times (Chris Hedges)

I am sitting in the auditorium at The New York Times. It is the first time I have been back in nearly two decades. It will be the last. The newspaper is a pale reflection of what it was when I worked there, beset by numerous journalistic fiascos, rudderless leadership and myopic cheerleading of the military debacles in the Middle East, Ukraine and the genocide in Gaza, where one of the Times contributions to the mass slaughter of Palestinians was an editorial refusing to back an unconditional ceasefire. Many seated in the auditorium are culpable. I am here, however, not for them but for the former executive editor they are honoring, Joe Lelyveld, who died earlier this year. He hired me. His departure from the Times marked the paper’s steep descent. On the front page of the program of the memorial, the year of his death is incorrect — emblematic of the sloppiness of a newspaper that is riddled with typos and errors. Reporters I admire, including Gretchen Morgenson and David Cay Johnston, who are in the auditorium, were pushed out once Lelyveld left, replaced by mediocrities.

Lelyveld’s successor Howell Raines – who had no business running a newspaper – singled out the serial fabulist and plagiarizer, Jayson Blair, for swift advancement and alienated the newsroom through a series of tone deaf editorial decisions. Reporters and editors rose up in revolt. He was forced out along with his equally incompetent managing editor. Lelyveld came back for a brief interim. But the senior editors who followed were of little improvement. They were full-throated propagandists – Tony Judt called them “Bush’s useful idiots” – for the war in Iraq. They were true believers in the weapons of mass destruction. They suppressed, at the government’s request, an expose by James Risen about warrantless wiretapping of Americans by the National Security Agency until the paper found out it would appear in Risen’s book.

They peddled for two years the fiction that Donald Trump was a Russian asset. They ignored the contents from Hunter Biden’s laptop that had evidence of multimillion dollar influence peddling and labeled it “Russian disinformation.” Bill Keller, who served as executive editor after Lelyveld, described Julian Assange, the most courageous journalist and publisher of our generation, as “a narcissistic dick, and nobody’s idea of a journalist.” The editors decided identity, rather than corporate pillage with its mass layoffs of 30 million workers, was the reason for Trump’s rise, leading them to deflect attention from the root cause of our economic, political and cultural morass. Of course, that deflection saved them from confronting corporations, such as Chevron, which are advertisers.

They produced a podcast series called Caliphate, based on invented stories of a con artist. They most recently ran a story by three journalists — including one who had never before worked as a reporter and had ties with Israeli intelligence, Anat Schwartz, who was subsequently fired after it was disclosed that she “liked” genocidal posts against Palestinians on Twitter — on what they called “systematic” sexual abuse and rape by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance factions on Oct. 7. It also turned out to be unsubstantiated. None of this would have happened under Lelyveld.

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“Cross their cross dressing Zelensky figurehead and the SBU will Gonzalo Lira or Julian Assange you.”

Deep State versus Julian Assange (Hayes)

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

Sources close to the Julian Assange campaign tell me they have so far spent upwards of $50 million fighting for his release, with probably a similar amount spent indirectly by supporters. Although that is a veritable king’s ransom, it is nothing compared to what the Swedish, British and American deep states have available to fight him or anyone else like Gonzalo Lira who really cheeses them off. I mention the late Gonzalo Lira as he not only clearly cheesed off Clown Prince Zelensky but paid the ultimate price for doing so. Though Zelensky is a contemptuous cross dwelling clown, Colonel Douglas Macgregor makes the valid point that all senior Ukrainian generals are terrified of the man or, to be more precise, of the SBU assassins and their NATO handlers he serves. Cross their cross dressing Zelensky figurehead and the SBU will Gonzalo Lira or Julian Assange you.

This is not, heaven forbid, to criticise the scum of the SBU but to make the important point that in every country there is a deep state, a cadre of folk who believe it is their duty to hold the country together, come hell or high water. Previous articles relating to Stakeknife have shown how murky the deep state is in both Ireland and Britain and this article on industrial levels of child rape by leading British politicians and their Royal family buddies or this one on sex, sleaze and gangsters in 1960s London show that Britain has its own murky Jeffrey Epsteins that the deep state must factor into national security calculations. Similarly, Russia has its siloviki, chaps like Nikolai Patrushev, Sergey Naryshkin, Alexander Bortnikov and Sergei Shoigu, who have an appreciation of the challenges Russia faces and how to forestall them. And Turkey and Egypt have their armed forces, whose generals traditionally saw themselves as the guardians of their countries’ secularism, which terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood remain hell bent on upending.

And Thailand, perhaps more importantly, also has its armed forces, which fortify the monarchy as a means of keeping other subversive forces at bay. Thailand is of particular note because of its stringent lèse-majesté legal provisions which were fortified by the reverence and affection with which almost all Thais held His Majesty, the late King Rama 1X who was, like Albion’s late Queen Elizabeth, marinated and cocooned his entire life in such pomp and circumstance. Not so Zelensky or thin skinned deep state actors like Hillary Clinton Assange has so grievously offended. And, although Assange has managed to garner some D lister support, Clinton, who imagines herself to be a modern day Pharaoh, has hardened her (non-existent) heart to the plight of Assange, just as she previously assigned tens of thousands of Libyans to the abattoir.

If it was up to her, Assange would be long ago dead in the water. Seriously tilt the scales in Assange’s favour and Clinton, the Lord High Executioner, will Jeffrey Epstein you because, though Clinton is as despicable a fraud as is Zelensky, she too has some very serious deep state friends, who are not only past masters of the darkest arts but who are prepared, as this excellent background article insinuates, to practice those arts on Assange by unaliving him. As things currently stand, Assange is back in search of justice (ha ha) before the British judiciary on 20 May when the King’s learned judges will announce how they intend to enact the next act in this farce. Although American deep state actor Mike Pompeo has confessed that he’d gladly put a bullet through Assange’s head, such an approach is devoid of the multiple layers of plausible deniability, which the deep state needs for its masquerade to continue. Thus, the British courts, which are playing the role of Pontius Pilate in all of this, must absolve themselves of any and all culpability, by pretending that, like Pontius Pilate himself, they are above the petty vanities of Clinton and her ilk.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

meme

 

 

Phone

 

 

Attack!

 

 

Bad day
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778637914454254061

 

 

Bear picture

 

 

Dance
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778765547204948082

 

 

Badger

 

 

1st sight
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778817554812985851

 

 

Owl

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 112024
 
 April 11, 2024  Posted by at 8:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  42 Responses »


Pieter Bruegel the Elder The Triumph of Death c1562

 

Biden Considering Australian Request To Drop Assange Charges (BBC)
Iran Strike On Israel ‘Imminent’ (RT)
Jews Who Vote Democrat ‘Should Have Their Head Examined’ – Trump (RT)
Star Wars Coming – Top US General (RT)
Zelensky Reveals New Counteroffensive Plans (RT)
Trump Plan For Ukraine ‘Primitive’ – Zelensky (RT)
US Drones Faring Poorly In Ukraine Conflict – WSJ (RT)
Bodies of American Mercs Slain in Ukraine Piling Up at US Cemeteries (Sp.)
Senator Pressures Austin on How Much More Money US Will Spend in Ukraine (Sp.)
Attack on ZNPP Training Center Signals New Attacks On Plant — IAEA chief (TASS)
EU’s Borrell Warns Of ‘Potential Nuclear Disaster’ In Russia (RT)
Pentagon’s Ukraine Contract for Musk’s Starlink Expires – Bloomberg (RT)
DOJ Uncovers ‘Inconsistencies’ in Fani Willis’s Use of Federal Grant Funds (FB)
I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust. (Berliner)
How Trump Could Beat Deep State (Jim Rickards)

 

 

 

 

MTG Bannon Mike Johnson
https://twitter.com/i/status/1777841725169336685

 

 

RFK

 

 

 

 

Donalds

 

 

Adrenochrome Caviezel

 

 

Alex Jones
https://twitter.com/i/status/1777830274480357507

 

 

PedoJoe

 

 

 

 

Biden doesn’t want the hot potato anymore..

Biden Considering Australian Request To Drop Assange Charges (BBC)

US President Joe Biden has said that he is considering a request from Australia to drop the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The country’s parliament recently passed a measure – backed by PM Anthony Albanese – calling for the return of Mr Assange to his native Australia. The US wants to extradite the 52-year-old from the UK on criminal charges over the leaking of military records. Mr Assange denies the charges, saying the leaks were an act of journalism. The president was asked about Australia’s request on Wednesday and said: “We’re considering it.” The measure passed the Australian parliament in February. Mr Albanese told MPs: “People will have a range of views about Mr Assange’s conduct… But regardless of where people stand, this thing cannot just go on and on and on indefinitely.”

Mr Assange, 52, is fighting extradition in the UK courts. The extradition was put on hold in March after London’s High Court said the United States must provide assurances he would not face the death penalty. The High Court is due to evaluate any responses from the US authorities at the end of May. In a post on Twitter/X, directed at Mr Biden, Mr Assange’s wife Stella said: “Do the right thing. Drop the charges.” Kristinn Hrafnsson, the current editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, said that it was “not too late” for the president to stop the extradition attempt, which he said was a “politically motivated act” by Mr Biden’s predecessor. US prosecutors want to try the Wikileaks founder on 18 counts, almost all under the Espionage Act, over the release of confidential US military records and diplomatic messages relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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How Bibi draws the west into the war…

Iran Strike On Israel ‘Imminent’ (RT)

The promised Iranian retaliation for the Israeli attack on Tehran’s consulate in Damascus is likely in the next 24-48 hours, anonymous US officials told Bloomberg on Wednesday. Two generals of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force were killed in the Israeli airstrike on April 1, which for the first time targeted an internationally protected diplomatic mission. There has been a widespread expectation that Iran would refrain from reprisal until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Speaking on Wednesday, as Muslims celebrated the feast of Eid-al-Fitr, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Israel “must and shall be punished” for what it did. “Major missile or drone strikes” are now imminent, Bloomberg reported citing “people familiar with” the Israeli, US and allied intelligence reports.

They will likely be carried out by either Iran directly, or its allies such as the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, the anonymous sources said. The US is helping Israel with planning and sharing intelligence assessments, the sources said. West Jerusalem is reportedly waiting for the Iranian attack before it launches a ground offensive against the city of Rafah, in Gaza. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Wednesday that West Jerusalem would respond in kind if the attack on Israel comes from Iranian territory. Several media outlets reported on Tuesday that Israel has been preparing to target Iran’s nuclear facilities. The US has publicly promised Israel support against an Iranian attack, including helping shoot down the incoming missiles. Washington has reportedly also floated the idea of taking part in any Israeli counter-strikes.

“We do not rule out launching joint retaliatory strikes with Israel if it is attacked by Iran or its agents,” an unnamed US official told Al Jazeera Arabic. Meanwhile, Lufthansa has announced that it was suspending service to and from Tehran “due to the current situation in the Middle East.” Flights might resume after April 11, the German national carrier said on Wednesday. Rumors that the airspace over Iran’s Khuzestan province – on the southwestern border with Iraq – has been closed could not be independently confirmed. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have canceled all leave and began spoofing GPS signals, in preparation for a possible Iranian reprisal. Rumors of the impending Iranian strike also drove up the price of oil on futures markets, with Brent crude trading above $90 a barrel.

Gideon Levy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1777819512680968496

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“Biden has totally lost control of the Israel situation,” Trump told reporters. “He has abandoned Israel.”

Jews Who Vote Democrat ‘Should Have Their Head Examined’ – Trump (RT)

Former US president and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested that Jewish-Americans would be insane to vote for his rival in November. Trump held an impromptu press conference on the tarmac of the international airport in Atlanta, Georgia, after flying into town for a campaign fundraiser. He used the occasion to criticize President Joe Biden’s handling of the Gaza conflict, among other things. “Biden has totally lost control of the Israel situation,” Trump told reporters. “He has abandoned Israel.” “Any Jewish person that votes for a Democrat or votes for Biden should have their head examined,” Trump added.

During his term in the White House, Trump openly supported Israel, recognizing West Jerusalem’s annexation of the Golan Heights and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. In the 2020 election, an estimated 70% of American Jews voted for Biden. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas after the Gaza-based militant group’s October 7 attack that claimed an estimated 1,200 lives. Since then, over 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military operations. Many Palestinian and Muslim Americans have voiced frustration with Biden over his support of West Jerusalem, accusing him of not doing enough to stop the Israeli onslaught.

Finding itself criticized from both sides, the White House has tried to please both. The US has continued supplying ammunition and weapons to Israel and offered Netanyahu “ironclad” support against Iran, but also called for a ceasefire in Gaza and opening of humanitarian aid corridors. Netanyahu has mostly shrugged off US criticism, saying that “no force in the world” will stop Israel from destroying Hamas. Last month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat who is himself Jewish, called for the ouster of Netanyahu as a way to resolve the current conflict.

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“..Operation Olympic Defender, a program intended to “optimize space operation..,”

Star Wars Coming – Top US General (RT)

The possibility of a conflict in space is no longer just theoretical, General Stephen Whiting, head of the US Space Command, said on Tuesday. Speaking at the 39th Space Symposium at the command’s headquarters in Colorado Springs, Whiting painted an alarming picture of Russian and Chinese orbital capabilities. China has built a “kill web over the Pacific Ocean to find, fix, track and, yes, target US and allied military capabilities,” Whiting said, describing Beijing’s efforts as moving at “breathtaking speed.” Since 2018, Russia has doubled and China has tripled the number of their intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) satellites in orbit, while also testing and fielding anti-satellite weapons. Meanwhile, the US has “the world’s best space architectures,” but its military constellations are “optimized for a benign environment,” he said.

Russian and Chinese space weapons “hold at risk our modern way of life and how we defend this nation, and we must be able to deter and counter these threats when called upon to achieve space superiority,” the general said. Whiting described a possible armed conflict in space as “economically and environmentally devastating, perhaps for decades,” and said the US wishes to keep things in the state of “enduring competition” instead. The US is already working with Canada, Australia and the UK on Operation Olympic Defender, a program intended to “optimize space operations,” according to the Space Command. Whiting announced that Germany, France and New Zealand have been invited to join as well.

He also revealed that the command’s new Capability Assessment and Validation Environment (CAVE) has achieved “minimum viable capability.” The modeling and simulation laboratory will enable the US military to “derive better ways of deterring and planning to conduct operations for a war that’s never happened, and a war we don’t want to happen,” he said. Washington recently accused Moscow of having undisclosed anti-satellite capabilities, possibly nuclear in nature. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US claims were “unfounded” and a ploy to manipulate arms control talks. The Russian embassy in Washington has also accused the US of using “Russophobic slogans” to mask its own plans to militarize space.

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Not exactly. But he does reveal his new mantra:

“..it’s not about the number of people. It’s about the quality of the weapons.”

Zelensky Reveals New Counteroffensive Plans (RT)

Western military technology can enable Kiev to launch a new counteroffensive against Russia, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky believes. While Ukrainian forces are presently being pushed back on the battlefield, Kiev hopes to turn the tide thanks to Western aid, the Ukrainian leader told the German tabloid Bild this week. “Russia has more men, more weapons. But the West has modern weapons systems,” Zelensky mused. “If we get [production] licenses from our partners, then it’s not about the number of people. It’s about the quality of the weapons.” Kiev already has a plan for a new counteroffensive against Russia, Zelensky said, indicating that it depends on the US resuming military assistance to his country and the West in general helping Ukraine ramp up domestic military production.

Last year, Ukraine attempted a counteroffensive; Western-trained and armed troops were expected to break through Russian defensive lines and score a major victory. However, they only managed negligible territorial gains at the cost of tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and depleted their arms stockpiles. Russia estimated Ukrainian military losses between early June and late October, 2023 at roughly 90,000 troops, 600 tanks and 1,900 other armored vehicles. The Zelensky government maintains that it cannot negotiate with Russia as long as President Vladimir Putin remains in power and would not accept any outcome of the conflict that doesn’t entail the full restoration of Ukraine’s pre-2014 borders. A profile of the Ukrainian leader published by Time magazine last November said that his faith in Ukraine prevailing was “immovable, verging on the messianic.” Some of his aides perceived it as delusional, they told the news outlet.

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“He expects Western weapons to be so superior to Russian ones that Ukraine’s inferior troop numbers will be irrelevant..”

Trump Plan For Ukraine ‘Primitive’ – Zelensky (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has rejected a plan for making peace with Russia involving territorial concessions, which has reportedly been devised by Donald Trump. The proposed deal was outlined by the Washington Post this week, and would involve Kiev acknowledging Russian sovereignty over some of the territories currently claimed by Ukraine. The newspaper cited anonymous sources but one of Trump’s advisers has dismissed its report as “fake news.” The former president has repeatedly boasted that he would end the hostilities within 24 hours if he’s returned to the White House in November’s election, but has declined to explain his plan in detail. The hypothetical plan described by the newspaper “is very primitive,” Zelensky told German tabloid Bild.

The Ukrainian leader has previously stated that Trump should make his plan public. He told CNN last September: “If he has this plan, why be afraid and wait?” In his interview with Bild, the Ukrainian leader said Trump should visit Kiev to “see the situation with his eyes and draw certain conclusions.” Ukraine would require “strong arguments” to show that his idea is a “real one” and not “fantastic,” he added. Negotiations with Russia remain impossible as long as Vladimir Putin remains as its president, Zelensky told the German newspaper. He said Kiev had a plan to beat Moscow on the battlefield, after it gets more aid from the US and its allies, including direct weapons supplies and military technology for domestic arms production. He expects Western weapons to be so superior to Russian ones that Ukraine’s inferior troop numbers will be irrelevant.

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About those superior weapons…

US Drones Faring Poorly In Ukraine Conflict – WSJ (RT)

Small drones sent to Ukraine by US manufacturers have largely proved ineffective on the battlefield due to Russian electronic countermeasures, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Ukraine conflict has seen the widespread use of small expandable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for reconnaissance, as well as for dropping small explosives and serving as loitering munitions. US products have proved unsatisfactory, however, forcing Kiev to rely on Chinese models instead, the WSJ reported on Tuesday. “The general reputation for every class of US drone in Ukraine is that they don’t work as well as other systems,” Adam Bry, CEO of drone maker Skydio, told the newspaper. He admitted his own company’s products are “not a very successful platform on the front lines.”

Even some of the drones that the Pentagon has deemed fit for American soldiers have not fared well in the conflict, according to the report. The list of problematic weapons mentioned by the WSJ included AeroVironment Switchblade 300 loitering munitions, Velos Rotors V3 helicopter drones, and UAVs made by Cyberlux. Ukrainian troops are burning through some 10,000 small drones a month, the report added. Many of them are off-the-shelf models produced by Chinese manufacturer SZ DJI Technology, or are assembled from Chinese components on Ukrainian soil. The Chinese firm, which has been banned from US military use for supposedly posing a national security risk, told the newspaper that it “absolutely deplores and condemns the use of its products to cause harm anywhere in the world.”

Many American commercial drones cost tens of thousands of dollars more per piece than their Chinese competitors, the WSJ noted. US producers aiming to sell their UAVs to the Pentagon must meet its regulations, including restrictions on using Chinese parts and software updates. Russia has significantly increased domestic production of military drones amid the hostilities with Ukraine. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported last November that the country was supplying 16 times more drones compared to January 2023. Forbes suggested in December that Ukrainian assessments that Russia makes as many as 40,000 smaller first-person-view kamikaze quadcopters per month may be too conservative.

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“Therefore, they have only one choice – to flee Ukraine or to die..”

This should be on US prime time TV. It’d be over soon…

Bodies of American Mercs Slain in Ukraine Piling Up at US Cemeteries (Sp.)

US cemeteries are full of graves of American mercenaries who died in Ukraine – hirelings described by Western press as the so-called “volunteer soldiers.” One of them is retired Marine veteran Grady Kurpasi, who died two months after the start of the Russian special military operation. According to a Sputnik correspondent, the 50-year-old is buried in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, the most famous in the United States, where politicians, astronauts and even presidents, including John F. Kennedy, are buried. A cemetery in California has become the final resting place for another US mercenary, Bryan Young, 51, who was killed by “Russian artillery fire” in the Donetsk region in July 2023, according to American media. In a bizarre sight, the epitaph on Young’s gravestone reads “On to the next adventure”.

Another American mercenary who was buried in California is “Marine Corps veteran” Ian Tortorici. The 32-year-old fought for the Foreign Legion of Ukraine and was eliminated in an attack by Russian forces on a Ukrainian unit stationed in the city of Kramatorsk. US citizen Dane Partridge, 34, who had served in Iraq, fought on the side of the Kiev regime immediately after the start of Russia’s special operation, but was then seriously wounded and died a few months later. Partridge, who is survived by his wife and five children, is buried in Idaho. American mercenary Paul Lee Kim was also 34, when he was killed in Ukraine last year and was buried in a Texas cemetery.

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that almost 6,000 foreign mercenaries, who came to Ukraine to fight on the side of the Kiev regime, have been killed since the beginning of the special operation. According to the MoD, at least 1,113 mercenaries came from the United States, 491 of whom have already been killed. The Defense Ministry earlier stressed in a statement that the Kiev regime uses foreign mercenaries as “cannon fodder” and that “their lives are not spared by anyone in the Ukrainian command.” “Therefore, they have only one choice – to flee Ukraine or to die. The Russian armed forces will continue to destroy foreign mercenaries in the course of the special military operation, regardless of their location on the territory of Ukraine,” the statement read.

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“I’m just trying to understand the totality of the request to the American people for this war..”

Senator Pressures Austin on How Much More Money US Will Spend in Ukraine (Sp.)

US Senator Eric Schmitt on Tuesday pressured Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on the totality of funds the Biden administration is planning to spend supporting Ukraine in a conflict for which it has not articulated any clear goals. “There’s no money [left for Ukraine], so I can only be left to assume one of three things. One is the war is over. Two or B is the United States won’t be allocating any more dollars or C that this is a dishonest [supplemental] request. I guess the question is, are we going … to get another supplemental because members of this committee had been told there could be another request for $100 billion? I’m just trying to understand the totality of the request to the American people for this war,” Schmitt said in his remarks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

In February, the Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid bill that includes some $60 billion for Ukraine, but it was held up in the House of Representatives by Speaker Mike Johnson, who prioritized working on budget legislation and exploring other routes for Ukraine funding. Austin confirmed to Schmitt, though, that the supplemental request, which has not yet been voted on in the House, will provide additional funding for Ukraine-related needs only through the end of this fiscal year or September 30, meaning that there will be a need for another supplemental package past this date.

In addition, Austin said that it was a goal of the Alliance to admit Ukraine to NATO some time in the future. The Pentagon chief also agreed with Schmitt that the conflict is unlikely to end by September 30, which essentially means that the pending aid package for Ukraine obviously will not be the last. Schmitt emphasized that US legislators are skeptical about the $60 billion supplemental package for Ukraine because there are no adequate controls on how the money is being spent by Ukraine. “We are continuing to head down this road and now we are getting a budget request that isn’t reflective of the administration’s ‘how long it takes’ statement,” Schmitt said.

Every second, American taxpayers send $80,000 to Ukraine
https://twitter.com/i/status/1777793753157083541

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“Attacking a nuclear power plant is extremely irresponsible and dangerous, and it must stop..”

Attack on ZNPP Training Center Signals New Attacks On Plant — IAEA chief (TASS)

Tuesday’s drone attack on the training center of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) points to readiness for new attacks on the plant, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi said. “Today’s reported incident – although outside the site perimeter – is an ominous development as it indicates an apparent readiness to continue these attacks, despite the grave dangers they pose to nuclear safety and security and our repeated calls for military restraint. Whoever is behind them, they are playing with fire. Attacking a nuclear power plant is extremely irresponsible and dangerous, and it must stop,” Grossi said in a statement posted on the agency’s website.

The IAEA chief promised to bring up the seriousness of the situation surrounding the attacks on the ZNPP in his address to the UN Security Council “next week.” “I remain determined to do everything in my power to prevent a major nuclear accident <…>. At this moment of great danger, I will underline the seriousness of the situation in my address to the Security Council, whose support is of paramount importance for the IAEA’s persistent efforts to help prevent a major nuclear accident, with potential consequences for people and the environment in Ukraine and beyond,” Grossi said.

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“Russia should withdraw from Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.”

It’s Russian territory now.

EU’s Borrell Warns Of ‘Potential Nuclear Disaster’ In Russia (RT)

Attacks on Russia’s Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) could result in a nuclear disaster, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy has warned. Josep Borrell was commenting on a series of strikes carried out by kamikaze drones on the nuclear power station in the city of Energodar, in Zaporozhye Region. On Sunday, several bomb-laden Ukrainian UAVs struck parts of the complex, including the canteen and the cargo area. One drone was shot down above the dome of Reactor Six, according to the plant’s press service. On Tuesday, another UAV attacked the plant’s training center, where the world’s only full-scale reactor hall simulator is located.

“Reckless drone attack against [Zaporozhye] nuclear power plant increases risk of dangerous nuclear accident. Such attacks must stop,” the EU’s top diplomat wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, adding that “Russia should withdraw from Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.” Europe’s largest nuclear power plant fell under Moscow’s control in 2022, early in the conflict with Ukraine. Russia’s nuclear energy agency Rosatom took over the running of the nuclear power station after Zaporozhye Region was incorporated into Russia following a referendum in the autumn of 2022. Kiev has repeatedly claimed that Moscow keeps heavy weaponry on the premises of the power plant. Russia has accused Ukraine of shelling the facility and risking a major nuclear incident.

Borrell’s remarks echoed comments by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi. Commenting on the strikes earlier this week, he described them as a “major escalation of the nuclear safety and security dangers facing the [Zaporozhye] Nuclear Power Plant,” adding that “such reckless attacks significantly increase the risk of a major nuclear accident.” The international nuclear watchdog, which has personnel at the site, said it was the first time the facility had been directly targeted since November 2022, and warned that such attacks endangered nuclear safety. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov warned on Monday that the Ukrainian drone strike on the Zaporozhye facility was a “dangerous provocation” which could lead to severe negative consequences.

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“miniscule” compared to the “hundreds of millions of dollars” Musk’s SpaceX received from the US..”

Pentagon’s Ukraine Contract for Musk’s Starlink Expires – Bloomberg (RT)

The Pentagon contract to deploy Elon Musk’s Starlink terminals in Ukraine will expire next month, Bloomberg has reported, citing an unnamed US official. The service plays a vital role in Washington’s security assistance to Kiev, the report adds. The source also revealed that the contract, which went into force in June of last year and lasts through May, is worth $23 million, Bloomberg wrote. The US Department of Defense has so far refused to officially disclose the size of the contract. The amount has been described by the publication as “miniscule” compared to the “hundreds of millions of dollars” Musk’s SpaceX received from the US for launching some of its national security satellites. Musk has repeatedly voiced unease about the use of Starlink in Ukraine. The satellite network has been providing communications to the country’s military and the government.

”Starlink needs to be a civilian network, not a participant to combat,” Musk said on X (formerly Twitter) in September, referring to the use of the satellites in Ukraine throughout the conflict with Russia. “This is the right order of things,” he added. Musk’s comment came shortly after the billionaire revealed that he had foiled a Ukrainian drone raid on Crimea by refusing to let Kiev forces use Starlink to guide naval drone strikes on Russian ships. Musk’s admission sparked outrage in Kiev, with Mikhail Podoliak, a top adviser to President Vladimir Zelensky, accusing him of “enabling evil.” Musk responded to the accusation by explaining that he had no obligation to fight for Ukraine, adding that he did not want Space X to be “explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”

His remark echoed a previous statement made in the winter of 2023, where he admitted that although Starlink was “the communication backbone of Ukraine, especially at the front lines”, SpaceX “will not enable escalation of conflict that may lead to WW3.” Last year, SpaceX signed a contract with the US Defense Department to provide satellite services as part of the Pentagon’s new ‘Starshield’ program. CEO Elon Musk described the effort as a military alternative to the “civilian” Starlink. However, according to Bloomberg, the new Space Force contract will see Starshield’ rely on the existing constellation of Starlink satellites.

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“..the group’s administrative director, Toni Barnett, told the Free Beacon that she had no idea why the county was reporting making those payments..” “..You need to go to that government resource and you need to let that validate whatever you want to say or print. Because I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

DOJ Uncovers ‘Inconsistencies’ in Fani Willis’s Use of Federal Grant Funds (FB)

President Joe Biden’s Justice Department has uncovered “inconsistencies” in Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis’s use of federal grant funds, the Washington Free Beacon has learned. The bombshell discovery comes two years after Willis fired a whistleblower who had warned the district attorney that her office was attempting to misuse a $488,000 federal grant to pay for “swag,” computers, and travel. It’s that same grant that the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs now says is plagued with reporting discrepancies from Willis’s office, errors that federal authorities only disclosed to the Free Beacon after providing contradictory statements regarding awards Willis’s office may have made under the grant. “During our review of the award to respond to this inquiry, we have noticed some inconsistencies in what Fulton County has reported to [the Federal Subaward Reporting System] and we are working with them to update their reporting accordingly,” a Justice Department spokeswoman told the Free Beacon on Friday.

The Justice Department did not provide any further details on the nature of Willis’s reporting “inconsistencies” on the $488,000 federal grant, which was earmarked for the creation of a Center for Youth Empowerment and Gang Prevention in Atlanta. The grant ended in September 2023, but the center never opened. The Justice Department is coordinating with Willis’s office to fix the grant reporting “inconsistencies” amid an ongoing House Judiciary Committee investigation into Willis’s use of federal grant funds. Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) subpoenaed Willis in early February for records related to the $488,000 federal grant and the whistleblower allegations made by former Willis staffer Amanda Timpson, who was listed as the grant director until the district attorney abruptly fired her in January 2022.

Jordan threatened to hold Willis in contempt of Congress on March 14 after the district attorney responded to his subpoena with a “narrow set of documents” that had nothing to do with Timpson’s whistleblower allegations. Willis wrote in response that Jordan’s demands were “unreasonable and uncustomary” and suggested his investigation was an effort to derail her election interference case against former president Donald Trump. The Free Beacon questions that prompted the Justice Department’s discovery of Willis’s reporting “inconsistencies” centered on subaward payments the district attorney may have made to the Offender Alumni Association, an Alabama-based charity staffed by former prison inmates. Whether or not the Offender Alumni Association received payments from the federal grant depends on who is asked. Fulton County records show that Willis’s office transferred $88,900 from the federal gang prevention grant to the Offender Alumni Association.

But the group’s administrative director, Toni Barnett, told the Free Beacon that she had no idea why the county was reporting making those payments to her group in 2022 and 2023. “I have no idea where that information is coming from,” Barnett told the Free Beacon on March 15. “I have no idea why you’re calling or where you’re getting that information from. You need to go to that government resource and you need to let that validate whatever you want to say or print. Because I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

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“..one story after another about instances of supposed racism, transphobia, signs of the climate apocalypse, Israel doing something bad, and the dire threat of Republican policies. It’s almost like an assembly line.“

I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust. (Berliner)

“During most of my tenure [at NPR], an open-minded, curious culture prevailed. We were nerdy, but not knee-jerk, activist, or scolding. In recent years, however, that has changed. Today, those who listen to NPR or read its coverage online find something different: the distilled worldview of a very small segment of the U.S. population… Like many unfortunate things, the rise of advocacy took off with Donald Trump. As in many newsrooms, his election in 2016 was greeted at NPR with a mixture of disbelief, anger, and despair… But what began as tough, straightforward coverage of a belligerent, truth-impaired president veered toward efforts to damage or topple Trump’s presidency [italics mine]. Persistent rumors that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia over the election became the catnip that drove reporting. At NPR, we hitched our wagon to Trump’s most visible antagonist, Representative Adam Schiff…

The Schiff talking points became the drumbeat of NPR news reports. But when the Mueller report found no credible evidence of collusion, NPR’s coverage was notably sparse. Russiagate quietly faded from our programming… It’s bad to blow a big story. What’s worse is to pretend it never happened, to move on with no mea culpas, no self-reflection… [Hunter Biden’s] laptop was newsworthy. But the timeless journalistic instinct of following a hot story lead was being squelched. During a meeting with colleagues, I listened as one of NPR’s best and most fair-minded journalists said it was good we weren’t following the laptop story because it could help Trump [italics mine]… Over the course of the pandemic, a number of investigative journalists made compelling, if not conclusive, cases for the lab leak. But at NPR, we weren’t about to swivel or even tiptoe away from the insistence with which we backed the natural origin story…

[Our new director] declared that diversity—on our staff and in our audience—was the overriding mission… Race and identity became paramount in nearly every aspect of the workplace. Journalists were required to ask everyone we interviewed their race, gender, and ethnicity (among other questions), and had to enter it in a centralized tracking system. We were given unconscious bias training sessions. A growing DEI staff offered regular meetings imploring us to ‘start talking about race.’ There’s an unspoken consensus about the stories we should pursue and how they should be framed. It’s frictionless—one story after another about instances of supposed racism, transphobia, signs of the climate apocalypse, Israel doing something bad, and the dire threat of Republican policies. It’s almost like an assembly line.

The mindset prevails in choices about language. In a document called NPR Transgender Coverage Guidance—disseminated by news management—we’re asked to avoid the term biological sex… The mindset animates bizarre stories—on how The Beatles and bird names are racially problematic, and others that are alarmingly divisive; justifying looting, with claims that fears about crime are racist; and suggesting that Asian Americans who oppose affirmative action have been manipulated by white conservatives. More recently, we have approached the Israel-Hamas war and its spillover onto streets and campuses through the intersectional lens that has jumped from the faculty lounge to newsrooms. Oppressor versus oppressed… I looked at voter registration for our newsroom. In D.C., where NPR is headquartered and many of us live, I found 87 registered Democrats working in editorial positions and zero Republicans. None.”

Vivek NPR

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His first team WAS the deep state.

How Trump Could Beat Deep State (Jim Rickards)

The difference for investors between another Biden administration and the return of Trump to the White House could not be more stark. The Biden administration has been characterized by excessive regulation, pointless mandates as part of the Green New Scam, open borders bringing crime, drugs and cartel influence into the United States, disastrous wars in Ukraine, Gaza and now the closing of the Red Sea-Suez Canal passage, increased segregation of Blacks in colleges, the destruction of 50 years of progress in women’s sports by allowing competition by men and a long list of other ruinous policies.

The first Trump administration was characterized by business and personal tax cuts, reduced regulation, no new wars, outreach to nuclear rivals such as Russia and North Korea, tariffs on unfair trade by China, a concerted effort to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, demands that NATO members pay their fair share for mutual defense and a secure southern border with Mexico. Trump also made an historic three appointments to the Supreme Court, which has emerged as practically the last bastion of constitutional order and the rule of law. There’s no reason to expect any improvement in another Biden administration. In fact, policies will almost certainly grow worse as Biden fails physically and mentally and opens the door to a possible acting president in the form of Kamala Harris, a known dunce.

There’s good reason to believe that a second Trump administration will offer the growth-oriented policies of the first administration with a much more effective decision-making apparatus resulting from attention to the Plum Book, the playbook and the transition process. A better transition process in a second term means the biggest threat to the deep state in decades. And a new team will put us on the road back to sanity. But powerful people won’t go quietly. A more experienced Trump will conduct a second war to destroy them. Unless they destroy him first.

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Elon 2008: money

 

 

Wild cat

 

 

Cats

 

 

Frens

 

 

 

 

Horse+baby
https://twitter.com/i/status/1777687533968650419

 

 

Cinereous vulture

 

 


The only journey is the one within. – Rainer Maria Rilke

 

 

Baby giraffe

 

 

Cartoons
https://twitter.com/i/status/1777787726307217891

 

 

Transport

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 012024
 
 April 1, 2024  Posted by at 8:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  31 Responses »


Caravaggio The Denial of Saint Peter 1610

 

Easter Becomes the Latest Flash Point in American Politics (Turley)
Jack Smith Handed a ‘Blank Check’ to Target Trump, Lawyers Argue (ET)
Jack Smith Seeks to Shield Names of Potential Witnesses in Trump Case (ET)
How America’s Top Spymaster Sees The World Is Rather Disappointing (Amar)
US Congressman Calls For ‘Hiroshima and Nagasaki’ in Gaza and Ukraine (RT)
A Genocide Foretold (Chris Hedges)
UK Govt Lawyers Conclude Israel In Breach Of Humanitarian Law (RT)
Biden Claims Arab States Are Ready to Recognize Israel (Sp.)
Moscow Demands That Kiev Surrender Terrorism Suspects (RT)
US House To Consider Ukraine Aid Bill In April (TASS)
Ukraine Turned Into Afghan Drug Lords Paradise Under Western Watch (Sp.)
Why Russia Didn’t Join NATO (Sp.)
The Assange Hearing Permission Appeal Judgment (Craig Murray)
61 Unexpected PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Food Packaging (SciAm)

 

 


Mr. Fish – Genocide

 

 

Sachs Russia
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774186219703869896

 

 

CCP bridge

 

 

 

 

Habba

 

 

Snowden: “Warren Buffett, the billionaire head of Berkshire Hathaway, will probably go down as the greatest investor in history… Berkshire shares have seen an average annual return of 20.0%…”

Meanwhile:


just some members of congress outperforming the greatest investor in history. we are surely fortunate to be represented by such extraordinary talents

 

 

 

 

Pot and kettle:

“Sadly, it’s unsurprising politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful, and dishonest rhetoric..”

Easter Becomes the Latest Flash Point in American Politics (Turley)

It often seems like there is nothing left today that is not a battleground over our political and social differences. We can now add Easter. The Biden White House triggered a firestorm by picking Good Friday to announce that Easter Sunday will now be the “Transgender Day of Visibility.” At the same time, families objected to regulations on Easter egg designs, barring children from including any religious imagery or references on this religious holiday. There are even objections to the use of eggs at the annual White House egg roll. Despite the criticism from various politicians, including Speaker Mike Johnson, Jean-Pierre went on X Saturday to reaffirm that Sunday is to be designated as the “Transgender Day of Visibility.” Transgender Visibility Day actually began 15 years ago and many have noted that the overlap with Easter Sunday this year is a coincidence.

President Joe Biden has made no comment on the controversy and issued his Easter proclamation[..] White House spokesperson Andrew Bates did respond on Saturday: “As a Christian who celebrates Easter with Family, President Biden stands for bringing people together and upholding the dignity and freedoms of every American. Sadly, it’s unsurprising politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful, and dishonest rhetoric. President Biden will never abuse his faith for political purposes or for profit.” In the meantime, the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll is being called a celebration of “National Guard Families.” The 2024 “Call for Youth Art” flyer states that “Children should depict on an egg template (see Art Submission form) a snapshot of their life – a favorite activity, scenery in your state, your military family, a day-in-your life, etc.” However, under its restrictions list, the flyer noted, “The Submission must not include any questionable content, religious symbols, overtly religious themes, or partisan political statements.”

One can understand the desire to bar “Let’s Go Brandon” eggs. Moreover, the Easter egg event has long been treated as open to people of all faiths and background. It has been treated more as a celebration of spring. However, some families have objected that the holiday does have a religious origin and that the bar on any religious references like a cross or other symbols is an affront. As a legal matter, there is no bar on religious displays in such White House events, which have included such symbols in celebrations of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim holidays. On the positive side, the egg roll will involve eggs. PETA has asked the First Lady to substitute potatoes for the eggs. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk objected that:

“Children love animals and would be sad to learn that the eggs used for fun and games at the White House come from tormented hens whose lives are spent in cages that afford them less space than a standard sheet of typing paper. Easter should be a time of renewal and joy for all sentient beings—and that means hens, too.” By having children decorate and roll spuds, Newkirk suggested, the First Lady could remove these little “cholesterol bombs” from the diet of children. Besides, she added, “potatoes are cheaper and healthier than eggs and leave birds in peace.” The head of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) added his own warning to people not to eat whole eggs and to cut back on the sweets to protect their health. However, the Easter Bunny appears to have been vindicated this week in a scientific study that found that eating 12 eggs a week did not increase one’s cholesterol. Indeed, it found possible heart benefits to egg consumption. That proposal was clearly rejected for now.

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“Mr. Smith’s actions as a notionally independent United States attorney are beyond the scope of what the Supreme Court has permitted, and therefore, his actions are unlawful..”

Jack Smith Handed a ‘Blank Check’ to Target Trump, Lawyers Argue (ET)

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump argued in his classified documents case that special prosecutor Jack Smith has been given too many resources while other parts of the Department of Justice haven’t. The former president faces dozens of charges that he allegedly illegally retained classified materials after he left office in 2021. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has sought to delay the trial, while U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has not set a firm date for when it will start. His attorneys earlier this week argued that Mr. Smith’s team was handed “a blank check” that has imperiled the former president’s rights. “To be clear, offering the Special Counsel a blank check has harmed President Trump’s substantial rights, and DOJ [Department of Justice] simply could not have funded the entirety of Jack Smith’s expansive politically motivated witch hunt from an alternative source,” Trump attorney Christopher Kise wrote in court to Judge Cannon earlier this week, adding:

“Since the founding, resource constraints on prosecutors have been regarded as an indispensable guarantee of substantive fairness.” Because there are no constraints, the lawyer wrote that the special counsel’s office can “engage in an unabashed political crusade with zero accountability” against President Trump. Mr. Smith was appointed by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in 2022 to pursue the classified documents case and the federal election case in Washington. “The Special Counsel’s Office is pursuing two different cases in two jurisdictions in order to maximize interference in the ongoing presidential election,” Mr. Kise wrote. “This tactic is the luxury of a prosecutor facing no resource constraints. And it is far from a forgone conclusion.” The special prosecutor’s team has yet to file a response to the court motion.

Later in the motion, Mr. Kise wrote that other parts of the DOJ have been denied funding, including targeting Big Tech antitrust cases. “In 2019, for example, DOJ was forced to prioritize its antitrust review of Google over Apple because it could not afford to pursue both,” he wrote. Earlier, his attorneys and third parties have argued that Mr. Smith’s appointment by the U.S. attorney general violated the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause, noting that Congress has to approve his team’s expenditures. Last week, a law professor submitted a “friend of the court,” or amicus, brief in the case, arguing that Mr. Smith is not an “officer of the United States” due to how he was appointed.

“Simply being appointed by a department head does not elevate that position to the status of an inferior ‘Officer of the United States.’ Indeed, the mere fact that a person is appointed by the Head of a Department does not make that position an office at all,” Professor Josh Blackman of the South Texas College of Law in Houston wrote, referring to a brief that Mr. Smith had filed in which he described himself as an “inferior officer.” “Instead, precedents … provide that an office must be continuous.” “Mr. Smith’s actions as a notionally independent United States attorney are beyond the scope of what the Supreme Court has permitted, and therefore, his actions are unlawful,” he also wrote.

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“Mr. Smith also wants redacted, in addition to the names of potential government witnesses, “any pronouns revealing their gender..”

Jack Smith Seeks to Shield Names of Potential Witnesses in Trump Case (ET)

Special counsel Jack Smith on March 29 asked a federal judge to approve redactions to filings made by a co-defendant of former President Donald Trump. The briefs submitted by Walt Nauta, the co-defendant, contain information that should not be made public, Mr. Smith told U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. That includes the names of people that government officials may call as witnesses in a trial, the special counsel, appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, said. “Witness safety and privacy are paramount pretrial. The limited redactions of the names satisfy the good cause standard established in Chicago Tribune Co. v. Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., as well as the higher standard requiring a compelling interest for the redactions and the redactions being narrowly tailored,” Mr. Smith said in his request.

The Chicago Tribune case, decided in 2001 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, hinged on a federal rule that enables keeping information secret if there is “good cause” to do so. “Federal courts have superimposed a balancing of interests approach for Rule 26’s good cause requirement,” that ruling stated. “This standard requires the district court to balance the party’s interest in obtaining access against the other party’s interest in keeping the information confidential.” Mr. Smith also wants redacted, in addition to the names of potential government witnesses, “any pronouns revealing their gender,” according to the new filing.

And the special counsel is asking that information about sealed grand jury proceedings be kept secret, including one proceeding that happened before he was appointed. The proposed redactions come after Judge Cannon, who was appointed by President Trump, outlined a schedule for the parties in the case with respect to redactions. The proposals are for two filings from Mr. Nauta—a reply to the government on his assertion that the prosecution of him has been selective and vindictive, and a motion to suppress evidence. Other recent documents from Mr. Nauta and President Trump that have not been placed on the public docket do not require redactions, Mr. Smith said. Those documents include President Trump’s briefs in support of a motion to dismiss the charges based on prosecutorial misconduct and selective and vindictive prosecution.

The actual motions to dismiss based on selective and vindictive prosecution have still not been made available to the public, although Mr. Smith’s team described some of its contents in another recent filing. Prosecutors said that Mr. Nauta in his motion focused on a conversation that his attorney had over coffee with one of the prosecutors. During that discussion, the prosecutor was quoted as saying the government would not “accept anything less than Mr. Nauta’s full cooperation” in exchange for not being charged. Prosecutors say the decision to charge Mr. Nauta after he declined to cooperate does not “amount to vindictiveness as a matter of law.” In a related filing, Mr. Nauta said the government was focused only on himself and another former aide of President Trump while ignoring a “universe of other comparators who, unlike Mr. Nauta, were likewise never prosecuted.”

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Burns is a puppet.

How America’s Top Spymaster Sees The World Is Rather Disappointing (Amar)

There is no doubt that this CIA director is a smart and experienced man principally capable of realism, unlike all too many others in the current American elite. Famously, he warned in 2008, when serving as ambassador to Moscow, that “Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for the Russian elite (not just Putin).” That makes the glaring flaws in this big-picture survey all the more remarkable. Burns is, obviously, correct when he observes that the US – and the world as a whole – is facing a historically rare moment of “profound” change in the global order. And – with one exception which we will return to – it would be unproductive, perhaps even a little churlish, to quibble over his ideologically biased terminology. His mislabeling of Russia as “revanchist,” for instance, has a petty ring to it. “Resurgent” would be a more civil as well as more truthful term, capturing the fact that the country is simply returning to its normal international minimum status (for at least the last three hundred years), namely that of a second-to-none great power.

Yet Burns’ agenda is more important than his terminology. While it may be complex, parts of it are as clear as can be: He is eager (perhaps desperate) to prevent Washington from ending its massive aid for Ukraine – a battle he is likely to lose. In the Middle East, he wants to focus Western aggression on Iran. He may get his will there, but that won’t be a winning strategy because, in part thanks to multipolar trend setters, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS, Iran’s escape from the isolation that the US has long imposed on it is already inevitable. Regarding China, Burns’ real target is a competing faction of American hawks, namely those who argue that, bluntly put, Washington should write off its losses in Ukraine and concentrate all its firepower on China. Burns wants to persuade his readers that the US can have both its big fight against China and its proxy war against Russia.

He is also engaged in a massive act of CIA boosterism, clearly aiming to increase the clout of the already inordinately powerful state-within-a-state he happens to run himself. And last but not least, the spy-in-chief has unearthed one of the oldest tricks in the subversion and destabilization playbook: Announcing loudly that his CIA is on a recruiting spree in Russia, he seeks to promote a little paranoia in Moscow. Good luck attempting to pull that one on the country that gave us the term “agentura.” Moreover, after the horrific terror attack on Crocus City Hall in Moscow, it is fair to assume that Burns regrets having boasted about the CIA expanding its “work” in Russia. Not a good look, not at all. What matters more, though, than his verbal sallies and his intriguingly straightforward, even blunt aims, are three astonishingly crude errors:

First, Burns insists on reading the emerging outcome of the war in Ukraine as a “failure on many levels,” for Russia, revealing its, as he believes, economic, political, and military weakness. Yet, as the acknowledged American economist James K. Galbraith has recently reiterated, the West’s economic war on Russia has backfired. The Russian economy is now stronger, more resilient, and independent of the West than never before. As to the military, Burns for instance, gleefully counts the tanks that Russia has lost and fails to note the ones it is building at a rapid rate not matched anywhere inside NATO. In general, he fails to mention just how worried scores of Western experts have come to be, realizing that Moscow is overseeing a massive and effective expansion of military production. A curious oversight for an intelligence professional. He also seems to miss just how desperate Ukraine’s situation has become on the ground.

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“We shouldn’t be spending a dime on humanitarian aid..”

US Congressman Calls For ‘Hiroshima and Nagasaki’ in Gaza and Ukraine (RT)

Michigan congressman Tim Walberg believes Washington should not waste money on humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza or Ukraine, and instead focus on supporting Israel and Kiev’s war efforts, to achieve “quick” victories. Walberg made his remarks during a meeting with members of the public in Dundee, Michigan last week. In a video posted on social media on March 25, the Republican congressman criticized President Joe Biden’s policies, telling a small audience that the US should better spend Gaza aid money on supporting Israel, which he labeled Washington’s “greatest ally, arguably, anywhere in the world.” “We shouldn’t be spending a dime on humanitarian aid. It should be like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Get it over quick,” Walberg could be heard saying.

“The same should be in Ukraine. Defeat Putin quick. Instead of 80% in Ukraine being used for humanitarian purposes, it should be 80-100% to wipe out Russian forces,” he added. After his statements went viral, Walberg claimed that his words were misreported and misinterpreted, arguing that he was merely speaking metaphorically and did not advocate for the actual use of nuclear weapons. “In a shortened clip, I used a metaphor to convey the need for both Israel and Ukraine to win their wars as swiftly as possible, without putting American troops in harm’s way,” Walberg said in a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday. “The use of this metaphor, along with the removal of context, distorted my message, but I fully stand by these beliefs and stand by our allies,” he added, arguing that the quicker these conflicts end, the “fewer innocent lives will be caught in the crossfire.”

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“Every horrifying act of Israel’s genocide has been telegraphed in advance. It has been for decades..”

A Genocide Foretold (Chris Hedges)

There are no surprises in Gaza. Every horrifying act of Israel’s genocide has been telegraphed in advance. It has been for decades. The dispossession of Palestinians of their land is the beating heart of Israel’s settler colonial project. This dispossession has had dramatic historical moments — 1948 and 1967 — when huge parts of historic Palestine were seized and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed. Dispossession has also occurred in increments — the slow-motion theft of land and steady ethnic cleansing in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The incursion on Oct. 7 into Israel by Hamas and other resistance groups, which left 1,154 Israelis, tourists and migrant workers dead and saw about 240 people taken hostage, gave Israel the pretext for what it has long craved — the total erasure of Palestinians.

Israel has razed 77 percent of healthcare facilities in Gaza, 68 percent of telecommunication infrastructure, nearly all municipal and governmental buildings, commercial, industrial and agricultural centers, almost half of all roads, over 60 percent of Gaza’s 439,000 homes, 68 percent of residential buildings — the bombing of the Al-Taj tower in Gaza City on Oct. 25, killed 101 people, including 44 children and 37 women, and injured hundreds — and obliterated refugee camps. The attack on the Jabalia refugee camp on Oct. 25 killed at least 126 civilians, including 69 children, and injured 280. Israel has damaged or destroyed Gaza’s universities, all of which are now closed, and 60 percent of other educational facilities, including 13 libraries. It has also destroyed at least 195 heritage sites, including 208 mosques, churches, and Gaza’s Central Archives that held 150 years of historical records and documents.

Israel’s warplanes, missiles, drones, tanks, artillery shells and naval guns daily pulverize Gaza — which is only 20 miles long and five miles wide — in a scorched earth campaign unlike anything seen since the war in Vietnam. It has dropped 25,000 tons of explosives — equivalent to two nuclear bombs — on Gaza, many targets selected by Artificial Intelligence. It drops unguided munitions (“dumb bombs”) and 2000-pound “bunker buster” bombs on refugee camps and densely packed urban centers as well as the so-called “safe zones” — 42 percent of Palestinians killed have been in these “safe zones” where they were instructed by Israel to flee. Over 1.7 million Palestinians have been displaced from their homes, forced to find refuge in overcrowded UNRWA shelters, hospital corridors and courtyards, schools, tents or the open air in south Gaza, often living next to fetid pools of raw sewage.

Israel has killed at least 32,705 Palestinians in Gaza, including 13,000 children and 9,000 women. This means Israel is slaughtering as many as 187 people a day including 75 children. It has killed 136 journalists, many, if not most of them deliberately targeted. It has killed 340 doctors, nurses and other health workers — four percent of Gaza’s healthcare personnel. These numbers do not begin to reflect the actual death toll since only those dead registered in morgues and hospitals, most of which no longer function, are counted. The death toll, when those who are missing are counted, is well over 40,000. Doctors are forced to amputate limbs without anesthetic. Those with severe medical conditions — cancer, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease — have died from lack of treatment or will die soon. Over a hundred women give birth every day, with little to no medical care. Miscarriages are up by 300 percent.

Over 90 percent of the Palestinians in Gaza suffer from severe food insecurity with people eating animal feed and grass. Children are dying of starvation. Palestinian writers, academics, scientists and their family members have been tracked and assassinated. Over 75,000 Palestinians have been wounded, many of whom will be crippled for life. “Seventy percent of recorded deaths have consistently been women and children,” writes Francesca Albanese, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, in her report issued on March 25. “Israel failed to prove that the remaining 30 percent, i.e. adult males, were active Hamas combatants — a necessary condition for them to be lawfully targeted. By early-December, Israel’s security advisors claimed the killing of ‘7,000 terrorists’ in a stage of the campaign when less than 5,000 adult males in total had been identified among the casualties, thus implying that all adult males killed were ‘terrorists.’

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“British authorities, however, have apparently opted to keep the findings out of the public domain..”

UK Govt Lawyers Conclude Israel In Breach Of Humanitarian Law (RT)

Lawyers for the UK government have established Israel has been breaking humanitarian law amid its ongoing conflict in Gaza with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, a senior Tory is claiming, according to leaked audio revealed by the Observer newspaper on Saturday. Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Alicia Kearns, made the remarks earlier this month during a Conservative Party fundraising event. “The Foreign Office has received official legal advice that Israel has broken international humanitarian law but the government has not announced it,” Kearns, a former official with the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence, who has been pressing the government on the matter, said during the event. The legal experts’ assessment effectively makes the UK complicit in the Israeli military’s violations, and defense cooperation should have been severed by London immediately after they produced their evaluation of the situation in Gaza.

“They have not said it, they haven’t stopped arms exports. They have done a few very small sanctions on Israeli settlers and everyone internationally agrees that settlers are illegal, that they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, and the ways in which they have continued and the money that’s been put in,” Kearns stated. During the event, Kearns insisted that she, like the UK Foreign Secretary James Cameron, strongly believes in Israel’s right to “self defense,” noting however that there were legal boundaries for exercising it. “The right to self defense has a limit in law. It is not limitless,” she explained, warning that Israel’s approach to handling the escalation may end up putting its own – and Britain’s – long-term security at risk. The authenticity of the recordings obtained by the Observer appears beyond question, given that Kearns has been rather vocal about her position on the matter.

On Saturday, she produced similar remarks as well, once again urging the government to make public its legal assessment of the Israeli actions. “I remain convinced the government has completed its updated assessment on whether Israel is demonstrating a commitment to international humanitarian law, and that it has concluded that Israel is not demonstrating this commitment, which is the legal determination it has to make,” she stated, arguing that “transparency” was absolutely needed to “uphold the international rules-based order.” Israel launched the operation in Gaza following an incursion by Hamas militants into the southern part of the country last October. During the attack, over 1,200 people were killed and scores of hostages were taken into Gaza. The Israeli campaign inflicted heavy damage on the Palestinian enclave, causing widespread destruction and leaving at least 32,000 people dead, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

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“..Riyadh has repeatedly made it clear that it would not agree to establish relations with Israel without the creation of a Palestinian state.”

Biden Claims Arab States Are Ready to Recognize Israel (Sp.)

Speaking at a recent campaign event in New York, US President Joe Biden announced the willingness of Arab nations to recognize the Jewish state, but remained mum on the status of a Palestinian state. “I’ve been working with the Saudis and with all the other Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan and Qatar. They’re prepared to fully recognize Israel. There has to be a post-Gaza plan, and there has to be a trade to a two-state solution. It doesn’t have to occur today. It has to be a progression and I think we can do that,” Biden said. As for Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom has repeatedly made it clear that it would not agree to establish relations with Israel without the creation of a Palestinian state. The US president’s statement came as the Biden administration “quietly” approved the transfer of billions of dollars in bombs and fighter jets to Israel, amid Tel Aviv’s plans to launch a military offensive in southern Gaza that could threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians.

Biden’s announcement reflects “a longstanding position rather than a novel development,” Dr. Imad Salamey, an associate professor of political science and international affairs at the Lebanese American University, said in an interview with Sputnik. He pointed to the 2002 Arab Summit in Beirut, which “highlighted the collective willingness of Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, to recognize Israel, contingent upon Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.” “The crux of the issue remains Israel’s reluctance to acknowledge a Palestinian state as per these terms. This impasse underscores the complexity of achieving peace and mutual recognition in the region,” the political scientist stressed. Salamey also underscored that while publicly calling for peace, the US “continues to affirm its strategic alliance with Israel, as demonstrated by the new supply of bombs and fighter jets.”

In 2002, regional states clinched the Arab Peace Initiative, which stipulates recognizing Israel in return for the creation of a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel rejected the proposal. 18 years later, in 2020, Israel signed the Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, normalizing ties. Morocco and Sudan later signed on to the accords. While Washington voiced hope that Saudi Arabia would be the next signatory to the document, Riyadh has repeatedly made it clear that it would not agree to establish relations with Israel without the creation of a Palestinian state.

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“..including Kiev’s domestic spy agency boss Vasily Malyuk..”

Moscow Demands That Kiev Surrender Terrorism Suspects (RT)

Moscow has demanded that Ukraine surrender everyone in the country it suspects of terrorism, including Kiev’s domestic spy agency boss Vasily Malyuk, and to immediately stop supporting any related activities such individuals and groups undertake, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday. The ministry said it had officially contacted Kiev with the demands under the UN-adopted International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. The demands include the “immediate arrest and extradition” of all the suspects which Moscow has identified and linked to the recent terrorist attacks against Russia. The deadly attack on the Crocus City Hall, which “shocked the whole world is, by far, not the first terrorist attack endured by our country recently,” the ministry noted.

”The investigations carried out by the competent Russian bodies indicate that the traces of all these crimes lead to Ukraine,” it stressed. Apart from the concert hall attack, which left at least 144 people dead and more than 500 injured, the ministry cited such incidents as the assassination of the military blogger Maksim Fomin (best known by his pen name Vladlen Tatarsky), the deadly bombing of the Crimean Bridge, as well as recent cross-border raids into Belgorod Region and elsewhere which have been attributed by Kiev to the so-called Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK). The paramilitary unit, advertised as composed of Russians collaborating with Ukraine, has been designated as a terrorist entity by Moscow.

The ministry did not reveal any of the names of those it has demanded due to their suspected involvement, aside from the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Vasily Malyuk. The spy boss “cynically admitted on March 25 that Ukraine organized the bombing of the Crimean Bridge in October 2022 and revealed details on the organization of other terrorist attacks in Russia,” it noted. Failing to meet Russia’s demands will constitute a breach of Ukraine’s international obligations with respect to fighting terrorism and “entail its international legal responsibility,” the ministry warned. “Fighting against international terrorism is the responsibility of every state. The Russian side demands that the Kiev regime immediately stop any support for terrorist activities, hand over the perpetrators and compensate for the damage done to the victims,” it stressed.

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Mike Johnson’s seat is at stake.

US House To Consider Ukraine Aid Bill In April (TASS)

Republican Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Turner, said on CBS television that House Speaker Mike Johnson plans to put the bill on aid to Ukraine to a vote in April. “The speaker has made it clear that he supports Ukraine both directly to [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky – publicly, he’s made these statements – and to the secretary general of NATO. The speaker has made very clear statements that when we get back [from a recess], it’s the next top agenda, after having just passed all the bills that fund the federal government. I believe this is going to have overwhelming support in Congress, and we’ll put a bill on the president’s desk,” he said in an interview.

Turner was asked whether the current legislation will need to be tweaked to either include loans that Ukraine would have to pay back or incorporate clauses about border security to gain approval. He said, “There already is a significant and very strong support among Republicans.” “As this package moves, certainly there are going to be some discussions, you know, in both the Senate and the House,” he went on to say. “I’ve had discussions about the border itself. And certainly there have been discussions about the manner in which the non-military, humanitarian aid is structured.”. Turner also said that Washington is close to greenlighting supplies of ATACMS ballistic missiles to Ukraine.

“We need to give them longer range weapon systems. The White House has been hesitant to do so. Congress has called for that. President [of Ukraine Vladimir] Zelensky has called for that,” he said. “It’s the ATACMS and I think it’s long range <…> ATACMS. Those I think the administration is on the verge of being willing to provide.” Earlier this week Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Charles Q. Brown held a meeting with the Washington-based Defense Writers Group, of which TASS is a member, where he commented on the prospect of supplying Kiev with ATACMS missiles. When asked whether a transfer of ATACMS missiles from the US to Ukraine would carry an unacceptable risk of escalating the conflict, he said the risk is now not as high as it used to be.

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Smells like CIA. A lot.

Ukraine Turned Into Afghan Drug Lords Paradise Under Western Watch (Sp.)

Under the West’s watch, Ukraine has morphed into a gangsters’ paradise with all sorts of illicit drugs passing through its territory and the domestic production and consumption of synthetic narcotics booming. Back in June 2002, the US Justice Department emphasized Ukraine’s growing importance as a transit point for heroin trafficking largely originating from Afghanistan which went through the Balkan and Northern routes. The US-backed 2014 coup in Ukraine exacerbated the problem and was followed by a spike in corruption, gang crime, and weapons smuggling. The role of Ukraine as a transit point for extremists and illicit drugs to Europe has also increased. In July 2015, Italian MEP Matteo Salvini drew attention to ISIS* sympathizers fighting on the side of the Kiev regime in Donbass in an official letter to the EU leadership.

In 2019 and 2020, British, Polish and Ukrainian investigative journalists revealed that ISIS jihadists originating, in particular, from post-Soviet space used Ukraine as a transit point to and out of the Middle East in the course of the civil war in Syria which started in 2011. Having sustained defeat from the Russian Air Forces in Syria, ISIS started to use Ukraine as a safe haven. Ukraine’s role as a hub for ISIS terrorists could be closely connected with drug trafficking. Establishing a foothold in Afghanistan in 2015, ISIS militants used the Afghan opiate trade as a source of income since at least 2014, according to the Russian Federal Service for Drug Control. “The large-scale transit of Afghan heroin acts as a renewable financial base for the functioning of the Islamic State, which extracts fabulous profits by providing half of the total volume of heroin supplied to Europe through destabilized Iraq and some African countries,” the Russian agency stated on November 26, 2014.

“In 2015, the Afghan branch of ISIS officially declared its establishment,” Andrey Serenko, director of the Analytical Center of Afghanistan policy, told Sputnik. “[ISIS-Khorasan*] emerged from the ruins of some groups of dissatisfied Taliban** fighters whose leaders for some reason did not agree on interests with the Taliban leadership. From the first months of its existence, the Afghan branch of ISIS began to fight for jihad resources. The large Afghan ‘jihad industry’, then, and even now, relies heavily on the drug business. If in Syria and Iraq such sources of economic power of jihad were the illegal trade in petroleum products, then in Afghanistan it was drugs.” “In [Afghanistan’s] provinces of Kunar and Nangarhar [infamous for heroin production – Sputnik], ISIS reached an agreement with the local tribes who joined ISIS and still sympathize with the terror group. Accordingly, in several counties, for example, Achin County, ISIS was able to seize control of laboratories producing heroin,” the expert continued.

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“But in the evening, when we had dinner, he said, ‘you know, I’ve talked to my team, no-no, it’s not possible now.”

Why Russia Didn’t Join NATO (Sp.)

On March 31, 1954, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov shocked his US, French and British counterparts with a diplomatic note expressing Moscow’s readiness to join NATO. If the USSR joined, the note said, “the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would cease to be a closed military grouping of states” and, opening its doors to other European powers, facilitate the creation of “an effective system of collective security in Europe, which would be of utmost importance for strengthening universal peace.” Chewing over the shock Soviet proposal for over a month, Washington eventually responded, sending Moscow a note on May 7, 1954 citing the “unrealistic nature of such a proposal” and stressing that “it contradicts the very principles on which the defense system and security of Western states depend.”

Founded in April 1949, NATO’s official goals centered around “deterring Soviet expansionism” through collective defense for its members, which originally numbered 12 countries. Behind the scenes, the post-war security architecture created by the United States had other goals, including control over European countries’ domestic affairs. As Lord Hastings Ismay, the alliance’s first secretary-general, once famously put it, the purpose of NATO was to “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Before sending the March 1954 note, Soviet diplomats made several other attempts to convey to Washington the USSR’s interest in joining NATO as a mechanism for European collective security. As veteran Soviet diplomat Andrei Gromyko put it in 1951, “if this pact was aimed against the restoration of German aggression, the USSR would join NATO.”

In 1952, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin reportedly told French Ambassador Louis Joxe that if NATO was the peaceful, UN Charter-abiding organization President Charles De Gaulle described it as, the USSR might consider membership. The same year, Stalin sent Western powers a series of diplomatic cables proposing the reunification of Germany as a neutral power in the center of Europe separating the Eastern and Western blocs. Austria became such a country in 1955, with the USSR withdrawing troops in exchange for a commitment from Vienna for neutrality (which, incidentally, it continues to hold this day). In the post-Cold War period, both in the early 1990s and early 2000s, the Russia that emerged from the ashes of the USSR would again express its interest in membership in, or at least partnership with, the Western alliance, in the overarching interests of peace and security in Europe.

President Boris Yeltsin and his first Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who famously quipped that Russia “has not national interests” apart from abstract “universal human values,” held intense negotiations with the Clinton administration through the early to mid-1990s on the prospects of Russian membership in the Western alliance. Clinton successfully pulled the wool over Yeltsin’s eyes, with the Russian leader swallowing as “brilliant” US assurances that Russia would be treated as an “equal partner,” and begrudgingly accepting the first round of eastward expansion by the alliance to Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. After becoming president, Vladimir Putin too decided to probe US intentions vis-à-vis Russia at the dawn of the 21st century, recalling in his recent interview with Tucker Carlson that he had asked Clinton point blank what he thought about the idea of Russia in NATO.

“I became president in 2000. I thought: okay, the Yugoslav issue is over, but we should try to restore relations. Let’s reopen the door that Russia tried to go through…At a meeting here in the Kremlin with the outgoing President Bill Clinton, right here in the next room, I asked him, ‘Bill, do you think if Russia asked to join NATO, do you think it would happen?’ Suddenly, he said ‘you know, it’s interesting, I think so’,” Putin recalled. “But in the evening, when we had dinner, he said, ‘you know, I’ve talked to my team, no-no, it’s not possible now.” “If he had said yes, the process of rapprochement would have commenced, and eventually it might have happened if we had seen some sincere wish on the side of our partners. But it didn’t happen. Well, no means no, okay, fine,” Putin said.

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“..Those grounds would explicitly gag the defence from ever mentioning again in court inconvenient facts..”

The Assange Hearing Permission Appeal Judgment (Craig Murray)

The latest judgment by the High Court in the Assange case achieved completely the objectives of the UK and US states. Above all, Julian remains in the hell which is Belmarsh maximum security prison. He is now safely there alone and incommunicado, from the authorities’ point of view, for at least several more months. Importantly, the United States has managed to keep him detained without securing his actual appearance in Washington. It is crucial to grasp that the CIA, who are very much controlling the process, do not actually want him to appear there until after their attempt to secure the re-election of Genocide Joe. No matter what your opinion of Donald Trump, there is no doubt the CIA conspired against him during his entire Presidency, beginning with the fake Russiagate scandal and ending with their cover-up of the Hunter Biden laptop story. They do not want Trump back.

Biden is politically in deep trouble. Biden’s lifelong political support for Israel has been unwavering to the point of fanaticism. In the process he has collected millions of dollars from the Zionist lobby. That always seemed a source of political strength in the United States, not of weakness. The current genocide in Gaza has changed all those calculations. The sheer evil and viciousness of the Israeli state, the open and undisguised enthusiasm for racist massacre, has achieved the seemingly impossible task of turning much American public opinion against Israel. That is particularly true among key elements of the Democratic base. Young people and ethnic minorities have been shocked that the party they have supported is backing and supplying genocide. The mainstream media have lost control of the narrative, when the truth is so widely available on mobile phones, to the point that the MSM have actually been forced to change course and occasionally tell truths about Israel. That also was unthinkable a few months ago.

Precisely the same groups who are outraged by Biden’s support for genocide are going to be alienated by the attack on a journalist and publisher for revealing true facts about war crimes. Assange is not currently a major public issue in the United States, because he is not currently in the United States. Were he to arrive there in chains, the media coverage would be massive and the issue unavoidable in the presidential election campaign. The extradition proceeding has therefore had to be managed in such a way as to keep Assange locked in a living hell the whole time, without actually achieving the extradition until after the presidential election in November. As the years of hearings have rolled by this has become increasingly difficult for the British state to finesse on behalf of their American masters. In this respect, and only in this respect, Dame Victoria Sharp and Lord Justice Johnson have done brilliantly in their judgment.

Senior British judges do not have to be told what to do. They are closely integrated into a small political establishment that is socially interlinked, defined by membership of institutions, and highly subject to groupthink. Dame Victoria Sharp’s brother Richard arranged an £800,000 personal loan for then Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and subsequently became chairman of the BBC despite a complete lack of relevant experience. Lord Justice Johnson as a lawyer represented the intelligence services and the Ministry of Defence. They did not have to be told what to do in this case explicitly, although it was very plain that they entered the two-day hearing process knowing nothing except a briefing they had been given that the crux of the case was the revelation of names of US informants in the Wikileaks material.

The potential danger of an appeal, the granting of which would achieve the United States’ objective of putting the actual extradition back beyond the election date, was that it would allow the airing in public of a great catalogue of war crimes and other illegal activity which had been exposed by Wikileaks. Sharp and Johnson have obviated this danger by adjourning the decision with the possibility of granting an appeal, but only on extremely limited grounds. Those grounds would explicitly gag the defence from ever mentioning again in court inconvenient facts, such as United States war crimes including murder, torture and extraordinary rendition, as well as the plans by the United States to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange. All of those things are precluded by this judgment from ever being raised again in the extradition hearings. The politically damaging aspect of the case in terms of the Manning revelations and CIA behaviour has been cauterised in the UK.

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Yikes.

61 Unexpected PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Food Packaging (SciAm)

Food packaging from around the world contains at least 68 “forever chemicals” that can seep into what we eat, a new study finds. And 61 of them are not even supposed to be used in such products. This kind of packaging may include coated paper wrappers, plastic containers and aluminum foil. Scientists behind the paper say it’s not clear why the latter chemicals, which are not on lists of those authorized for use in food containers, are in such packaging. “It’s very hard to explain where they come from,” says the study’s senior author Birgit Geueke, senior scientific officer at the nonprofit Food Packaging Forum Foundation in Zurich. That’s especially concerning because her team was only able to find data on potential hazards for 57 percent of the chemicals the researchers found in food packaging.

The study, published on Tuesday in Environmental Science & Technology, focused on a class of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). For decades, these substances have been used in a wide range of consumer products, from cookware to pesticides to cosmetics, because of their ability to repel water and grease. PFASs are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down readily in the environment or in the body. That’s because their characteristic carbon-fluorine bond—part of what makes them so useful in the first place—is one of the strongest in nature. PFASs have been found in human blood and breast milk, drinking water, soil and other startling places around the world. In March 2023 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a drinking water standard for six PFAS compounds.

Exposure to some of the most studied PFASs has been associated with cancer, reproductive problems and lessened responses to vaccines. “There’s an incredible body of scientific evidence linking these chemicals to health harms,” says David Andrews, a chemist and toxicologist at the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization, who was not involved with the new study. The paper adds to recently growing concerns about the prevalence of PFASs—and about an overall dearth of knowledge as to what chemicals are found in many everyday products. “Food packaging may not be the only way we are exposed to PFAS, but food packaging could contribute” to these exposures, Geueke says.

She and her team found a mismatch between what they detected in actual products and a database of chemicals assembled by compiling information on PFAS that regulatory agencies (including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) have authorized for use in food packaging, and PFAS that industrial manufacturers have listed for use in food packaging. About 140 PFASs are known to be used in food packaging, but only seven of the 68 chemicals in the study were on this list. Geueke says it’s unclear how or why the other 61 chemicals turned up. Andrews suggests that it’s possible that unknown impurities emerged during the manufacturing of the authorized chemicals or that the authorized PFASs degrade over time. This class of chemicals includes many long-chain molecules, and they can break into shorter chains that are simply different types of PFASs.

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Skunk

 

 

Babies
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774336548865024294

 

 

Mom dog
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774156744651854012

 

 

Lion dachs

 

 

5 days

 

 

Snow angels

 

 

Polar bear walrus
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774406767977316815

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 292024
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Christ and St Mary Magdalene at the Tomb 1638

 

Washington Crossed a Fatal Red Line with the Crocus Attack (Paul Craig Roberts)
Statements By Alexander Bortnikov, Director of FSB (Doctorow)
FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison (ZH)
Avenatti: Michael Cohen Was Having Affair With Stormy Daniels Since 2006 (GP)
Putin Friendship Could Help End Ukraine Conflict – Ex-German Chancellor (RT)
Ukraine Needs Air Defense To Boost Birth Rate – Zelensky (RT)
‘Russia for Russians’ Slogans Alarming – Putin (RT)
China Opposes US Practice of Creating Enemies Out of Thin Air (Sp.)
Who’s Running the EU? Big Global Corporations Which Aren’t Even European! (Jay)
UN Court Orders Israel To Let Food Into Gaza (RT)
UK Won’t Extradite Assange While Risk of Death Penalty Remains – Tory (Sp.)
The Crucifixion of Julian Assange (Chris Hedges)
Biden To Host Star-studded NYC Fundraiser With Obama And Clinton (BBC)
Maori King Calls For Recognizing Whales As People (RT)

 

 

 

 

Trump stocks

 

 

Trump Bragg
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773034485077921940

 

 

Watters Diddy

 

 


Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. – John W. Gardner

 

 

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773336445173829641

 

 

Scott Ritter

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Television talk is suddenly very violent with talk of flattening Kharkiv and Kiev and bringing a quick end to the conflict..”

Washington Crossed a Fatal Red Line with the Crocus Attack (Paul Craig Roberts)

Gilbert Doctorow Now Confirms with his own analysis my prediction that Putin’s toleration of provocations is spinning the Ukraine conflict out of control. Doctorow is a careful analyst never overstating a situation. In this interview he says that the FSB statement implicating the US and UK governments in the Crocus attack had to have been approved by Putin and that implicating the US and UK in the Crocus attack has brought us to the level of danger of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Doctorow reports that Russian television has undergone a massive change following the Crocus attack. Commentators are unwilling to accept any longer Putin’s nonresponse to attacks on Russians. Television talk is suddenly very violent with talk of flattening Kharkiv and Kiev and bringing a quick end to the conflict that has been permitted to endure for far too long. It seems that a fatal red line has been crossed.

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“..Russian state security on 8 March was too tight for the terrorist mission to succeed and the United States decided to pull the plug on that operation..”

Statements By Alexander Bortnikov, Director of FSB (Doctorow)

To the uninitiated, I explain first that the FSB is the successor organization to the Soviet Union’s well-known and much feared KGB. However, the FSB today might be better compared with the FBI in the United States. It deals with domestic criminality of all kinds and with threats to Russian civilians such as terrorism. The agency and its head are rarely in the news. In this respect, the FSB is less visible both at home and abroad than the Foreign Intelligence Service headed by Sergei Naryshkin, a state figure who spent five years of this millennium as chairman of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of the legislature, and also three years as head of the Presidential Administration. In both positions Naryshkin was very often seen on television performing his duties.

By contrast, Bortnikov spent the past 15 years in his FSB offices out of sight. However, the spectacular attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue has propelled him to center stage and yesterday he met with the Russian state television journalist Pavel Zarubin for an interview and then allowed himself to be questioned further by a gaggle of other journalists on his way out along a corridor. This spontaneous Q&A was later broadcast on the television news. What Bortnikov had to say was extraordinary and bears directly on whether you and I should now be looking for bomb shelters. Regrettably you will not find any of it in the lead stories of today’s mainstream media. The Financial Times, for example, features an account of Xi’s meeting with CEOs of American businesses to mend ties: interesting, but not very relevant if we are at the cusp of WWIII.

*****
Bortnikov is by definition a member of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle of advisors. He, Putin and Naryshkin are all roughly the same age. At 72, Bortnikov is just several years older. I was struck in particular by his poise and prudent, carefully weighed choice of words while setting out where the investigation is heading with transparency and a ‘let the chips fall where they may’ unaffected demeanor. The journalists were all probing the question of who stood behind the terror attack. Bortnikov told them…and us: standing behind the terror act committed by Islamist extremists are the United States, Great Britain and Ukraine.

Bortnikov said that the preliminary findings indicate that the four perpetrators of the slaughter were headed by car to the border with Ukraine where they were awaited on the other side. He very calmly explained that the involvement of foreign powers is being clarified and that he will say nothing out of pure emotion now but will wait for the facts to be solidly collected before being presented. Nonetheless, it was entirely newsworthy that he named the United States, Great Britain and Ukraine as the likely puppet masters of the terror act. Let us remember that following the bombing of the Nord Stream pipelines, the most significant attack on critical civilian infrastructure globally in the last 50 years, Russian officials did not point the finger directly at any country. There was innuendo but no direct accusations such as we heard from Bortnikov yesterday.

*****
Meanwhile, quite apart from Mr. Bortnikov’s chat with journalists, a lot of new elements to the terror attack at Crocus City Hall were posted yesterday on the Russian state television news and analysis program Sixty Minutes. In particular, we learned that in the last days of February and first couple of days of March two of the four attackers were in Istanbul. The departure and arrival of one at a Moscow airport was recorded on video. We were told which hotels they stayed in, and the selfies and other photos taken by one in Istanbul were put up on the screen. It is still not clear with whom they met in Turkey. However, the timing itself is very important, because the point was made that they returned to Moscow to carry out a terror attack on 8 March, International Women’s Day, a sacred date on the Russian calendar. Had they done so on that day, the effect would have been catastrophic for the presidential elections in Russia one week later.

However, per Sixty Minutes, it was determined that Russian state security on 8 March was too tight for the terrorist mission to succeed and the United States decided to pull the plug on that operation. Note that this is approximately the time when Victoria Nuland tendered her resignation at the State Department (5 March). The possible causal link here surely deserves attention by my peers in the U.S. ‘dissident’ community. In any case, the scenario which was explored later in the day on the Evening with Vladimir Solovyov talk show is that the Ukrainians decided to proceed with the terror attack a week after the Russian presidential elections, when it lost most of its rationale. They did so over the objections of Washington.

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SBF donated many millions to the Democrats. His victims would like that money back, please.

FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison (ZH)

And there it is – Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison – more than Elizabeth Holmes, less than Bernie Madoff, same as Bernie Ebbers. SBF will also have to forfeit more than $11 billion. Judge Kaplan did not hold back during his sentencing: “When not lying, he was evasive, hair splitting, trying to get the prosecutors to rephrase questions for him. I’ve been doing this job for close for 30 years. I’ve never seen a performance like that.”

Update (1105ET): Just before the federal judge was about to sentence Bankman-Fried in his fraud case, the former FTX founder said that he was “sorry.” “I know a lot of people feel really let down,” he said at his sentencing hearing Thursday morning in lower Manhattan. “I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry about what happened at every stage.” “All of the company followed me across the earth, across continents, burning the midnight oil working until 2 a.m., 4 a.m., dedicated to FTX,” he said in a plea for leniency. “I remember so many of them.” He said the staff “all built something really beautiful. They threw themselves into it and then I threw that all away. It haunts me every day. I made a series of bad decisions. They weren’t selfish decisions, they were bad decisions.” Bad decisions indeed Sam.

[..] in November 2023, as Michael Washburn reports via The Epoch Times, jurors decided to convict Mr. Bankman-Fried on all seven of counts of conspiracy and fraud with which government lawyers charged him. Mr. Bankman-Fried and his attorneys have repeatedly argued that he didn’t intentionally do anything wrong and that he deserves no more than 6 1/2 years in jail. In his trial testimony in October 2023, Mr. Bankman-Fried insisted he used sophisticated analytics to try to keep track of the state of FTX’s finances and suggested that subordinates acting without his knowledge or imprimatur made costly mistakes. But prosecutors, citing testimony from Alameda Research head Caroline Ellison, who was at times romantically involved with Mr. Bankman-Fried, vehemently disagreed with the more charitable view and are pressing for a sentence of half a century or longer.

The government’s tough stance has found support from the current CEO of FTX, John Ray III, the former chair of the recovery corporation in another high-profile insolvency: that of Enron, which imploded in December 2001. In a letter to Judge Kaplan, Mr. Ray denounced the “categorically, callously, and demonstrably false” claims that Mr. Bankman-Fried and his lawyers have put forth in the hope of getting a lighter sentence. [..]

[..]The verdict in November 2023 came exactly one year after a Nov. 2, 2022, report in the cryptocurrency publication Coindesk began to stoke wide concern about the state of FTX’s finances. The report cited a leaked balance sheet of FTX’s hedge fund trading affiliate, Alameda Research. According to Coindesk’s analysis, a bulk of Alameda’s $14.6 billion of assets was in the form of FTX’s own crypto token, FTT, rather than a fiat currency. This not only suggested that Alameda’s wealth was potentially less fungible than many had assumed but also pointed to extensive commingling of FTX customer deposits with the hedge fund affiliate. Whether or not Coindesk was correct to impute instability and weakness to FTX on the basis of its position in FTT, the reaction in the market was swift. On Nov. 6, 2022, Changpeng Zhao, then-CEO of Binance, one of the other leading cryptocurrency exchanges, sent out a sharply worded post on Twitter.

Mr. Zhao alluded to the fact that Binance had been distancing itself from FTX over the past year and had received the equivalent of about $2.1 billion in U.S. dollars in the form of both cash and the FTT token. “Due to recent revelations that have come to light, we have decided to liquidate any remaining FTT on our books. We will try to do so in a way that minimizes market impact,” Mr. Zhao wrote.Despite that assurance, Binance’s move, and forthright public announcement, immediately helped fuel a run on the bank during which customers pulled $6 billion from FTX in three days. The exchange would never recover; some $9 billion of customer funds are still lost through the commingling of funds and Bankman-Fried’s lavish spending.

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Avenatti and Michael Cohen. What a pair.

Avenatti: Michael Cohen Was Having Affair With Stormy Daniels Since 2006 (GP)

Tony Seruga is a very popular commentator on Twitter. In his profile, the conservative commentator with over 77K followers, Mr. Seruga, states that he’s an Intel Ops CIA/NSA Contractor/Whistleblower. This afternoon, Mr. Seruga dropped a bombshell, and if true, it could blow up the whole Stormy Daniels affair with Trump lie that the mainstream media and Democrats have been clinging to since 2015. Tony Seruga claims he used to share office space with the convicted felon and former attorney, Michael Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her case alleging that then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump paid her hush money to keep their alleged “affair” out of the public. [..] Here’s where Seruga’s story gets to be very interesting as it relates to Stormy Daniels and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, “In any case, Avenatti shared details of his client Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, case and the fact that her and Michael Cohen were actually having an affair since 2006.”

And then, Seruga drops a bombshell: “The whole hush money scheme was cooked up by Michael Cohen to extort the Trump Organization before the 2016 election. Avenatti seemed pleased at how deviant Michael Cohen was.” Seruga followed up his first tweet by explaining how the shady lawyer Michael Avenatti bragged about the scheme more than once and even bragged about it to former NBA star Dennis Rodman on the patio in Corona Del Mar, CA. In addition to being one of the all-time best defensive players in the NBA, Dennis Rodman is known for his relationship with Madonna and his unusual friendship with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un. So, it’s pretty easy to believe Rodman could be friends with the flamboyant CA lawyer Michael Avenatti.

“Understand, Michael Avenatti is a serial liar, but he did speak about his client (that he would later steal from) and Michael Cohen’s affair touching on their scheme to bilk the Trump Organization out of money. He spoke about it on more than one occasion. He was very passionate that Trump had not signed the NDA making it null and void. One time, in fact, he was bragging about it to Dennis Rodman at the Port Restaurant out on the patio, in Corona Del Mar, CA. I was only half listening as I had heard it all before, but Dennis Rodman seemed engaged in the conversation.” Another popular Twitter personality from California, who goes by “SL,” had this to say about the Dennis Rodman and Michael Avenatti conversation that allegedly occurred at the Port Restaurant in California.

“Interesting. I know Dennis Rodman visits Port Restaurant on occasion since I had a conversion [conversation] [with] him there around 2015/2016. Likely to be a true story.” On Monday, when asked by reporters, President Trump said that he would testify in the alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels’ trial in NYC that was brought against him by the rabidly anti-Trump,] but soft-on-actual criminals DA Alvin Bragg. “I would have no problem testifying,” Trump said. “I didn’t do anything wrong.” Trump also suggested that he’s planning to appeal the trial date set for April 15 and said he’s unsure if there will even be a trial following his appeals.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1773436810229694731

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Schroeder persists.

Putin Friendship Could Help End Ukraine Conflict – Ex-German Chancellor (RT)

Talking to Moscow is the only way to end the hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told the press agency dpa in an interview published on Thursday. His personal friendship with President Vladimir Putin could play a role in stopping the bloodshed, Schroeder said. The former chancellor and Russian leader are known to have close ties that stretch back to when Schroeder headed the German government in the late 1990s. In 2014, Putin attended Schroeder’s birthday party in St. Petersburg. Later, Schroeder joined the boards of directors of the Russian operator of the Nord Stream gas pipeline and energy giant Rosneft. He faced a backlash over his ties to Moscow after the conflict between Russia and Ukraine erupted in February 2022 – and resigned from the Rosneft board in May of that year. Asked about maintaining his friendship with Putin amid the Ukraine conflict, the former chancellor insisted the two matters were entirely distinct.

“I think it would be completely wrong to forget all the positive things that have happened between us in politics in the past,” he told the German news agency, adding that breaking relationships with friends was “not his style.” Contacts with the Russian leadership could still prove crucial in the future peace talks, Schroeder believes. “We have worked together sensibly for many years. Perhaps that can still help to find a negotiated solution,” he said, telling dpa that he saw “no other way” to end the conflict. “It is obvious that the war cannot end with the total defeat of one side or the other,” Schroeder said. The former chancellor has repeatedly called for a negotiated solution to the conflict and accused the US of forcing Kiev to reject a peace deal with Moscow. In October 2023, he also said that Western Europe had “failed” to seize the opportunity to push for peace in March 2022.

Schroeder himself traveled to Istanbul and Moscow on a “peace mission” in the spring of 2022 and also met Putin in July of the same year. His efforts yielded no results at that time. In Germany, Schroeder was ostracized by his own party, which deprived him of his parliamentary privileges, but failed in an effort to expel him over his ties to Russia. In 2023, he relinquished his honorary citizenship of Hannover before the city could strip him of it. Moscow has repeatedly said it is ready for peace talks as long as the situation on the ground is taken into account. Ukraine has insisted on Russian troops withdrawing from all the territories it claims as its own, including Crimea and the four former Ukrainian territories that joined Russian following a series of referendums in autumn 2022. Russia has dismissed such demands as “absurd.”

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No. It needs peace.

Ukraine Needs Air Defense To Boost Birth Rate – Zelensky (RT)

Kiev needs more air defense systems to help Ukrainians have more children, President Vladimir Zelensky said on Thursday. Ukraine currently has the lowest fertility rate in the world. The issue of demographics came up during Zelensky’s meeting with students in Sumy, a city near the border with Russia, when someone asked him if there were plans to financially support new parents. “We need not only financial incentives, because in my opinion, finances help, but they do not stimulate birth itself during war,” Zelensky said. “Help, yes. But as for births, it seems to me that it’s mainly a matter of security.” The government should put air-raid shelters in schools and kindergartens, he added, as well as getting “the latest technologies when it comes to air defense” from foreign partners, manufacture them domestically, and “inform the society about this.”

Zelensky further argued that there would be a “baby boom” after the conflict is over and millions of Ukrainians who left the country return from abroad “confident in a better tomorrow and the future of Ukraine.” Ukraine’s total fertility rate – the average number of babies per woman of child-bearing age – is currently 0.7, the lowest in the world. The country’s demographics have been further affected by a mass exodus to the West and significant casualties on the battlefield, to the point where the very survival of the nation is in question, a government-funded think tank told The Times earlier this year.

“Male life expectancy has decreased from 66-67 before the war to 57-58,” said Ella Libanova, head of the Institute for Demography and Social Studies at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Only four African countries – Chad, Nigeria, Lesotho and the Central African Republic – have lower life expectancies. Last June, the Ukrainian Institute for the Future (UIF) estimated that only 29 million people remained in the country – down from 52 million in 1991, when Ukraine declared independence. These estimates also included residents of the regions that joined Russia. The number of Ukrainian refugees abroad has been estimated by the government at over six million. While Kiev has been hopeful that most of them would come back eventually, the UIF estimated that the majority had no interest in returning.

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“And they treat both their small Motherland and our common big Motherland in a way that, I think, no one in other parts of the world treats their homeland..”

‘Russia for Russians’ Slogans Alarming – Putin (RT)

Nationalist ideas are concerning for a multicultural country like Russia, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday during a visit to Tver Region. He was referring to the slogan, “Russia for Russians,” which promotes the idea that the ethnic majority deserves more rights than other nationalities in the country. Russia is a multinational and a multi-confessional state, and the violation of rights of any citizens will only lead to a collapse of the country, the president warned, adding that all religions are treated with respect in teh country. He noted that 190 ethnic groups currently live in Russia, with some nationalities comprising millions of people. “When I listen to hurrah-patriots – and there are such people everywhere, in any society, including those who say that ‘Russia is only for Russians,’ you know, I get a feeling of anxiety,” Putin said.

He emphasized the importance of persevering with the multinational Russian state and warned that “destructive thoughts such as everyone else is a foreigner here” would ruin the country. Representatives of all religious denominations, all peoples of Russia, are “showing their best side on the battlefield today,” Putin said. “And they treat both their small Motherland and our common big Motherland in a way that, I think, no one in other parts of the world treats their homeland,” he concluded. Putin made the comments during a visit to Torzhok air force base in Tver Region, home of the 344th Training Center for Russian combat pilots, where personnel are being trained to take part in the Ukraine military operation.

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“The US practice of artificially creating enemies out of thin air for the sake of boosting its military budget..”

China Opposes US Practice of Creating Enemies Out of Thin Air (Sp.)

The US practice of artificially creating enemies out of thin air for the sake of boosting its military budget is strategically extremely dangerous, and China firmly opposes it, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on Thursday. The United States had repeatedly used China as a pretext for increasing its military budget, inflating a non-existent “Chinese military threat,” Wu said at a briefing. “This practice of artificially creating enemies out of thin air is extremely dangerous from a strategic point of view, and China is firmly opposed to it,” the spokesman added. He also said that China did not wish to threaten anyone, but it was also not afraid of anyone’s threats, and no amount of force can stop the development of the Chinese army.

On Saturday, US President Joe Biden signed into law an appropriations package that includes the $825 billion defense spending bill for fiscal year 2024. The act doubles security cooperation funding for Taiwan. The United States would counter China by maximizing its production of critical munitions and by spending more than $66 billion for the US Indo-Pacific Command capabilities, including $42 million to bolster its military capabilities in the region, the House Appropriations Committee said in a summary of the package.

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“..the elitist payroll which you might be fooled into thinking was the EU itself. Oh you thought he was talking about the West in general and its population? Is it April 1st yet?”

Who’s Running the EU? Big Global Corporations Which Aren’t Even European! (Jay)

If you can get your head around the Moscow attacks or the British foreign minister’s recent video monologue where he explains how the UK is sanctioning a number of Chinese officials, have a thought about the European Union, a Rubik’s Cube which has all its faces painted one colour as its real identity is so opaque. With just weeks away from its own elections – yes, the most undemocratic organisation in the world even organises elections for its own fake parliament – the EU itself is about to redefine itself. Already there are signs that even EU leaders are growing tired of its foibles and delusional dreams about its identity on the international circuit as a geopolitical contender, but people, humble voters, will soon deliver a message to the elites which run the EU soon: reform or crumble. Just recently, EU nerds in Brussels noticed that when all of the EU’s leaders descend on the grey, depressing Belgian capital – a city many associate with industrial scale paedophilia, graft, chocolate and a pissing urchin – that they show anyone who’s paying attention who ultimately runs the EU: member states.

Or at least that’s the theory. In the last few days EU leaders attended a meeting at the European Council of Ministers building and voted to “condemn” illegal West Bank settlers in Israel. Most editors of UK newspapers didn’t even understand what was happening. It was reported as “EU slams Israel’s West bank settlers” or “EU mulls sanctions against violent settlers” in a number of exclusive, European high-brow journals but completely unreported in the UK or US. Perhaps the British press didn’t understand the significance of EU leaders – rather than the European Commission or the parliament – taking this initiative? EU leaders themselves, in theory, have the power. They hold the aces. And when they decide on a line or a certain policy, the European Commission has no choice but to go along with it – affirming the old hacks’ dinner party circuit rambling that “the EU Council of Ministers is the most powerful institution in Brussels”. Perhaps it is. Or was. But what were EU leaders really trying to say with the stunt?

Simply that they object to Ursula von der Leyen’s repulsive, uncompromising support for the genocide in Gaza and send a signal that Jewish settlers’ violence when they steal Palestinians’ land is unacceptable. Just keep on stealing and looting as much as you can, but please do it peacefully, seems to be the message. This in itself is a clear message who really runs the so-called EU “foreign policy” rather than the Spanish gimp in Brussels otherwise known as Josep Borrell. EU member states own this domain and every now and again need to remind the elite in Brussels that they, member states, humour the EU hierarchy with this fantasy of being a geopolitical dick swinger with its own hegemony. But even being the guardian of such a dossier, where does it get the EU or its “members” when both are so impotent, hesitant and ultimately cowardly on the international stage? Ultimately, all the EU can do is make statements. That’s it. It has proven over and over again that it is powerless against anything that Israel does, regardless of that old chestnut often known as “international law”.

And the call from EU leaders for violence in the West Bank to stop is also an indicator to who are the super elites around the world who really control David Cameron or pay for Boris Johnson to fly out to Kiev recently and bang on the “let’s never give peace a chance” drum: Jewish money and power. And that Jewish money – American Jewish money – which controls the UN banking system, the federal exchange, World Bank, IMF, Hollywood, both houses in U.S. politics and most of big business in America is worried about anti-Semitism growing in the West. And so they inform their servants to go to the garden and find the lost jewels of the lady in the house while the rest of the world burns. Priorities. EU leaders didn’t meet in Brussels to thrash out a peace plan as they don’t have the instructions to do so. Hatred towards Jews in the West is the most important issue as it could be the thin end of the wedge which removes power from the elites who own Sunak, Scholz, Macron et al not to mention the European Union project which serves their global interests most admirably.

And you can always tell when these powerful hidden elites are fretting over their power base being slightly shaken. Their surfs start whining. Just listen to Josep Borrell recently talk about the Ukraine war and Russia. “We cannot afford for Russia to win this war. Otherwise the U.S. and European interests will be very damaged” he gushed. “It is not a matter of generosity alone … of supporting Ukraine because we love Ukrainian people. It is in our own interest”. Of course, when he spoke of “our own interest” he literally meant his own interest and a few of his cronies on the elitist payroll which you might be fooled into thinking was the EU itself. Oh you thought he was talking about the West in general and its population? Is it April 1st yet?

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Binding.

UN Court Orders Israel To Let Food Into Gaza (RT)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to allow uninterrupted shipments of food into Gaza. Before issuing the legally-binding order, the Hague-based court warned that “famine is setting in” in the besieged enclave. Issued on Thursday, the order commands Israel to take “all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, in full cooperation with the United Nations, the unhindered provision…of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance,” including food, water, and medicine. The ruling comes two months after the court ruled that “the state of Israel shall take all measures to prevent the commission of genocide in Gaza,” including by blocking humanitarian aid shipments.

“The court observes that Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine … but that famine is setting in,” the judges wrote in Thursday’s ruling. Israel can help alleviate this looming famine “by increasing the capacity and number of land crossing points and maintaining them open for as long as necessary,” they noted. The Israeli military controls all entry and exit points to Gaza except the Rafah crossing between the enclave and Egypt. However, Cairo allows Israel to determine when the crossing can be opened, and Israeli troops inspect every truck that passes. Every other crossing has been shut since Israel imposed a siege on Gaza immediately after Hamas militants attacked the Jewish state on October 7, and aid groups say that the trickle of supplies passing the Rafah crossing is insufficient to feed Gaza’s starving population.

A UN-backed report warned last week that more than 70% of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are facing “catastrophic hunger,” and that famine conditions now exist in the northern part of the enclave. At least 27 children have already starved to death, the ICJ judges noted on Thursday. Thursday’s order was requested by South Africa, which filed a legal action last year accusing Israel of committing “systematic” war crimes and genocide in Gaza. Israel denies that it is committing genocide and insists that its military campaign against Hamas – which has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children – is legitimate self defense.

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“..their judgment is about the law as it stands not as some might like it to be..”

UK Won’t Extradite Assange While Risk of Death Penalty Remains – Tory (Sp.)

The government of the United Kingdom will not want to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States as long as he could still face the death penalty there, Lord Richard Balfe, a Conservative member of the UK Parliament’s House of Lords, told Sputnik. On Tuesday, the High Court of Justice in London ruled that Assange has a real prospect of success on three of the nine grounds of appeal. The court asked the US government to provide assurances that the WikiLeaks founder would be able to claim the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees freedoms related to religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. The court also asked to ensure that Assange would not be prejudiced at his trial due to his nationality, and that he would not face the death penalty. The next hearing is scheduled for May 20 if the parties submit the necessary documents.

“I am sure that the lawyers of Julian Assange will pursue appeals for as long as they can. It is my belief that the UK Government will be unwilling to extradite without a clear undertaking that the death penalty will not be imposed,” Balfe said. When asked about the High Court’s decision, Balfe stated that the UK-US extradition treaty signed by the Blair government has a reputation of being flawed and placing uneven responsibilities on the UK as opposed to the US. “The job of the High Court is to interpret the existing law, not to invent new laws. As such their judgment is about the law as it stands not as some might like it to be,” Balfe said.

The lawmaker stated that he in no way supports the past actions of Assange, stressing the importance of passage of confidential information between governments for conducting international diplomacy and that “sometimes difficult decisions need to be taken and examples need to be made.” Assange, an Australian citizen, was transferred to London’s high-security Belmarsh prison in April 2019 on bail breach charges. In the US, he faces prosecution under the Espionage Act for obtaining and disclosing classified information that shed light on war crimes and human rights violations committed by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. If convicted, the WikiLeaks founder could face up to 175 years in prison. One of the last means of preventing his transfer to the US may be an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Assange lost his previous appeal at the UK High Court last June.

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“..the British court could order Julian’s immediate extradition prior to a Rule 39 instruction, or decide to ignore a request from the ECtHR to allow Julian to have his case heard there.”

The Crucifixion of Julian Assange (Chris Hedges)

Prosecutors representing the United States, whether by design or incompetence, refused — in the two-day hearing I attended in London in February — to provide guarantees that Julian Assange would be afforded First Amendment rights and would be spared the death penalty if extradited to the U.S. The inability to give these assurances all but guaranteed that the High Court — as it did on Tuesday — would allow Julian’s lawyers to appeal. Was this done to stall for time so that Julian would not be extradited until after the U.S. presidential election? Was it a delaying tactic to work out a plea deal? Julian’s lawyers and U.S. prosecutors are discussing this possibility. Was it careless legal work? Or was it to keep Julian locked in a high security prison until he collapses mentally and physically? If Julian is extradited, he will stand trial for allegedly violating 17 counts of the 1917 Espionage Act, with a potential sentence of 170 years, along with another charge for “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” carrying an additional five years.

The court will permit Julian to appeal minor technical points — his basic free speech rights must be honored, he cannot be discriminated against on the basis of his nationality and he cannot be under threat of the death penalty. No new hearing will allow his lawyers to focus on the war crimes and corruption that WikiLeaks exposed. No new hearing will permit Julian to mount a public-interest defense. No new hearing will discuss the political persecution of a publisher who has not committed a crime. The court, by asking the U.S. for assurances that Julian would be granted First Amendment rights in the U.S. courts and not be subject to the death penalty, offered the U.S. an easy out — give the guarantees and the appeal is rejected.

It is hard to see how the U.S. can refuse the two-judge panel, composed of Dame Victoria Sharp and Justice Jeremy Johnson, which issued on Tuesday a 66-page judgment accompanied by a three-page court order and a four-page media briefing. The hearing in February was Julian’s last chance to request an appeal of the extradition decision made in 2022 by the then British home secretary, Priti Patel, and many of the rulings of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser in 2021. If Julian is denied an appeal, he can request an emergency stay of execution from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) under Rule 39, which is given in “exceptional circumstances” and “only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm.” But it is possible the British court could order Julian’s immediate extradition prior to a Rule 39 instruction, or decide to ignore a request from the ECtHR to allow Julian to have his case heard there.

[..] Julian did not, unlike Daniel Ellsberg, leak the documents. He published documents leaked by U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Three of the nine legal grounds were accepted by the judges as potential points for appeal. The other six were denied. The two-judge panel also rejected the request by Julian’s lawyers to present new evidence. Julian’s legal team asked the court to introduce into the case the Yahoo! News report that revealed, after the release of the documents known as Vault 7, that the then-director of the CIA Mike Pompeo, considered assassinating Julian. Julian’s lawyers also hoped to introduce a statement from Joshua Dratel, a U.S. attorney, who said that Pompeo’s use of the terms “non-state hostile intelligence service” and “enemy combatant” were phrases designed to give legal cover for an assassination.

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“Hundreds of deranged Hollywood liberals will be in attendance, and they will open their wallets to fund the destruction of country!”

“Mr Trump is also in the New York area on Thursday, attending the wake of a police officer, Jonathan Diller, who was shot and killed in the line of duty..”

While there, Trump offered to pay off the mortgage for his widow.

Biden To Host Star-studded NYC Fundraiser With Obama And Clinton (BBC)

US President Joe Biden is set to host a record-breaking fundraiser in New York City, alongside his predecessors Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. The event is projected to raise over $25m (£20m) for the Democrat’s re-election campaign – the most ever for a single political event, says his team. The event looks set to extend a growing cash gap between Mr Biden and his Republican challenger Donald Trump. The Biden campaign recently declared it had $155m cash to hand. Mr Trump is also in the New York area on Thursday, attending the wake of a police officer, Jonathan Diller, who was shot and killed in the line of duty. Despite the Republican’s lower cash pile and legal troubles, a number of national polls indicate he could still beat Mr Biden in their November rematch. Over 5,000 people are expected to attend the star-studded Democratic fundraiser on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall, with many more watching online.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1773401980355944563

Late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert will moderate a conversation with the three presidents. The event will be hosted by actress Mindy Kaling and feature musical performances from Lizzo, Queen Latifah and Lea Michele. First Lady Jill Biden will host an after-party for 500 guests. The president’s son, Hunter Biden, and his family are also attending. The tickets are priced between $225 and half-a-million dollars. For $100,000, guests can get a picture with all three presidents, with star photographer Annie Leibovitz taking the snaps. President Biden was joined on the Air Force One flight to New York by Mr Obama, whom he served as vice-president from 2009-2017. Mr Obama, wearing a casual dress shirt, briefly came back for an off-the-record chat with reporters on the presidential jet. New York ground to a halt for their arrival as the two men’s huge motorcade cut across Manhattan in the pouring rain. Hundreds of onlookers jostled to take pictures.

Mr Biden’s previous best single-day fundraising effort was the $10m he raised in 24 hours after his State of the Union address this month. His fundraising has also been boosted by the advantage of incumbency. “Biden raising a lot of money is probably a function of him not having any real primary challengers,” Joseph Campbell, a communications professor at American University, told the BBC. “There’s no competition for Democratic donor money.” The $155m million in cash his campaign has is the most of any Democratic candidate in history at this point in an election cycle, according to his campaign. Mr Trump and his political action committees reported having $74m.

The Republican candidate raised $20m in the whole of February, less than what President Biden expects to receive just from Thursday’s event.In addition to Mr Trump’s fundraising challenges, his campaign and committees have spent millions of dollars in legal fees fighting four criminal cases against him. Mr Trump, 77, blasted the Democratic fundraising event in a fundraising email of his own, sent out by his campaign on Thursday morning. “Hundreds of deranged Hollywood liberals will be in attendance, and they will open their wallets to fund the destruction of country!” the message said.

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“The sound of our ancestor’s song has grown weaker..”

Maori King Calls For Recognizing Whales As People (RT)

The king of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori people has signed a ‘Declaration for the Ocean’ that calls for whales to be granted legal personhood as part of a plan to protect them, AFP reported on Thursday. The declaration reportedly recognizes the mammals as legal persons with the inherent right to freedom of movement, natural behavior, and expression of their unique cultures. The declaration has been made with the intent of helping whales recover their depleted population. “The sound of our ancestor’s song has grown weaker, and her habitat is under threat, which is why we must act now,” King Tuheitia Potatau te Wherowhero VII was quoted as saying. He was echoed by high chief Travel Tou Ariki, who said: “We can no longer turn a blind eye. Whales play a vital role in the health of our entire ocean ecosystem … We must act with urgency to protect these magnificent creatures before it’s too late.”

Whales have traditionally had cultural significance for the Maori as supernatural beings and as harbingers of spiritual growth. Some tribes see the mammals as the descendants of Tangaroa, the god of the ocean. Whales are some of the largest mammals on earth, with blue whales reaching up to 30.5 meters (100 feet) in length and weighing up to 200 tons. Many of the species are endangered. The move to grant whales personhood would not be without precedent. In 2017, New Zealand passed a groundbreaking law granting personhood status to the Whanganui River and Mount Taranaki volcano, both of which are important to the Maori people. The Maori are the second-largest ethnic group in New Zealand and currently make up about 17% of the country’s total population, or about 900,000 people.

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Cancer: A Food-Borne Illness

 

 

Camelemon

 

 

Cats

 

 

Swan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773217153363181623

 

 

 

 

Shoal

 

 

Puppy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773473225487389036

 

 

Moose
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773228532237214034

 

 

Boji

 

 

 

 

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