Mar 242024

Edvard Munch Spring 1889


It’s War: The Real Meat Grinder Starts Now (Pepe Escobar)
This Is Not ISIS – RT Editor-in-Chief (Sp.)
Scott Ritter: Moscow Terrorist Attack Doesn’t Look Like ISIS’ Handiwork (Sp.)
Ukraine Becomes Den of Terrorism in Europe With Help of West – Zakharova (Sp.)
It’s Time For Russia To Give The West A Nuclear Reminder (Dmitry Trenin)
“Crocus City Hall” Attack In Moscow Suburb And More (Doctorow)
Why Russia Won’t Cede Baltic Sea Positions (Sp.)
US Whips Up Fear of Russian Bugaboo to ‘Subjugate Europe’ (Sp.)
Israel Announces Major Land Grab In West Bank (RT)
China Behind Pan American Highway (ET)
Sir Thomas More and the Biden Corruption Scandal (Turley)
How The Police State Muzzles Our Right To Speak Truth To Power (Whitehead)
The Hertz Meltdown Reveals the Scale of the EV Debacle (Jeffrey Tucker)



Something doesn’t seem to add up here.



Bill Maher Trump



Black vote






Kevin O’Leary: This is not America











“..the most feasible mastermind is Kyrylo Budanov [..] The “spy chief” who happens to be the top CIA asset in Kiev.

It’s War: The Real Meat Grinder Starts Now (Pepe Escobar)

Exhibit 1: Friday, March 22, 2024. It’s War. The Kremlin, via Peskov, finally admits it, on the record. The money quote: “Russia cannot allow the existence on its borders of a state that has a documented intention to use any methods to take Crimea away from it, not to mention the territory of new regions.” Translation: the Hegemon-constructed Kiev mongrel is doomed, one way or another. The Kremlin signal: “We haven’t even started” starts now. Exhibit 2: Friday afternoon, a few hours after Peskov. Confirmed by a serious European – not Russian – source. The first counter-signal. Regular troops from France, Germany and Poland have arrived, by rail and air, to Cherkassy, south of Kiev. A substantial force. No numbers leaked. They are being housed in schools. For all practical purposes, this is a NATO force. That signals, “Let the games begin”. From a Russian point of view, Mr. Khinzal’s business cards are set to be in great demand.

Exhibit 3: Friday evening. Terror attack on Crocus City, a music venue northwest of Moscow. A heavily trained commando shoots people on sight, point blank, in cold blood, then sets a concert hall on fire. The definitive counter-signal: with the battlefield collapsing, all that’s left is terrorism in Moscow. And just as terror was striking Moscow, the US and the UK, in southwest Asia, was bombing Sana’a, the Yemeni capital, with at least five strikes. Some nifty coordination. Yemen has just clinched a strategic deal in Oman with Russia-China for no-hassle navigation in the Red Sea, and is among the top candidates for BRICS+ expansion at the summit in Kazan next October. Not only the Houthis are spectacularly defeating thalassocracy, they have the Russia-China strategic partnership on their side. Assuring China and Russia that their ships can sail through the Bab-al-Mandeb, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden with no problems is exchanged with total political support from Beijing and Moscow.

Deep in the night in Moscow, before dawn on Saturday 23. Virtually no one is sleeping. Rumors dance like dervishes on countless screens. Of course nothing has been confirmed – yet. Only the FSB will have answers. A massive investigation is in progress. The timing of the Crocus massacre is quite intriguing. On a Friday during Ramadan. Real Muslims would not even think about perpetrating a mass murder of unarmed civilians under such a holy occasion. Compare it with the ISIS card being frantically branded by the usual suspects. Let’s go pop. To quote Talking Heads: “This ain’t no party/ this ain’t no disco/ this ain’t no fooling around”. Oh no; it’s more like an all-American psy op. ISIS are cartoonish mercenaries/goons. Not real Muslims. And everyone knows who finances and weaponizes them. That leads to the most possible scenario, before the FSB weighs in: ISIS goons imported from the Syria battleground – as it stands, probably Tajiks – trained by CIA and MI6, working on behalf of the Ukrainian SBU.

Several witnesses at Crocus referred to “Wahhabis” – as in the commando killers did not look like Slavs. It was up to Serbia’s Aleksandar Vucic to cut to the chase. He directly connected the “warnings” in early March from American and British embassies directed at their citizens not to visit public places in Moscow with CIA/MI6 intel having inside info about possible terrorism, and not disclosing it to Moscow. The plot thickens when it is established that Crocus is owned by the Agalarovs: an Azeri-Russian billionaire family, very close friends of… Donald Trump. Talk about a Deep State-pinpointed target. ISIS spin-off or banderistas – the sponsors remain the same. The clownish secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, was dumb enough to virtually, indirectly confirm they did it, saying on Ukrainian TV, “we will give them [Russians] this kind of fun more often.”

But it was up to Sergei Goncharov, a veteran of the elite Russia Alpha anti-terrorism unit, to get closer to unwrapping the enigma: he told Sputnik the most feasible mastermind is Kyrylo Budanov – the chief of the Main Directorate of Intelligence at the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. The “spy chief” who happens to be the top CIA asset in Kiev.

Poso “You will see terror attacks on Russian civilians, this is what Victoria Nuland wants”

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“Basic sleight of hand. The level of a railway thimble-rigger,” she added. “It has nothing to do with ISIS. It’s Ukrainians.”

This Is Not ISIS – RT Editor-in-Chief (Sp.)

Ukraine and the West have resorted to false flag operations to persuade everyone that ISIS* was behind the terror attack in the Crocus City Hall concert venue near Moscow, said Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Sputnik’s parent media group Rossiya Segodnya. The head of the media group stressed that the names and faces of the perpetrators are already known to authorities and that the terrorists gave everything away during interrogation. “It immediately became obvious why US media were claiming in unison that it was ISIS,” she said. Simonyan explained that the perpetrators were chosen to carry out the attack in a manner that would allow the West to persuade the international community that ISIS was behind the attack. “Basic sleight of hand. The level of a railway thimble-rigger,” she added. “It has nothing to do with ISIS. It’s Ukrainians.” She added that the enthusiasm displayed by Western media when they tried to persuade everyone that ISIS was responsible even before arrests were made gave them away completely.

“This is not ISIS. This is a well-coordinated team of several other, also widely known, abbreviations,” Simonyan concluded. In the hours following the attack, Western media insisted that radical jihadist organization ISIS was behind it, while Ukrainian officials also said that they had nothing to do with the tragedy. However, suspects were detained in Russia’s Bryansk region near Ukrainian border. According to the data provided by law enforcing agencies, they had a support base on the other side of the border. Moreover, while Kiev rushed to deny its involvement into the shooting, Ukrainian secret services have a long track record of terror attacks on Russian territory, from shelling in the Belgorod region to assassinations of political scientist Daria Dugina and journalist Vladlen Tatarsky.

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“Who was behind this attack? Who are the masterminds? The Russian security services will find out. But whoever they are, they reside in Ukraine.”

Scott Ritter: Moscow Terrorist Attack Doesn’t Look Like ISIS’ Handiwork (Sp.)

Over 100 civilians were killed after a group of armed terrorists stormed a concert and started indiscriminately shooting at the audience. The perpetrators have since been apprehended by Russian authorities and an investigation has been launched to uncover the truth behind this tragedy. Washington’s attempts to pin the blame for the March 22 terrorist attack in Moscow on ISIS* appears suspect due to the perpetrators’ behavior, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter told Sputnik. Pointing out the fact that the terrorists were apprehended while fleeing towards Ukraine, Ritter remarked how “people of violence” have a tendency to “navigate towards their ‘true north’” at the end of the day.

“What I mean by that is, let’s take a special forces team operating behind enemy lines: if they’re compromised, they try to go home, they try to escape and evade towards the friendly lines,” he explained. “ISIS has loyalty to their perverted version of religion, God. Their ‘true north’ is to become martyrs, to navigate home to heaven.” “But that’s not what these terrorists did,” he continued. “Their true north was Ukraine, and they were navigating toward Ukraine. And that’s all we need to know about this. This was an attack that was linked to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Who was behind this attack? Who are the masterminds? The Russian security services will find out. But whoever they are, they reside in Ukraine.”

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Ukraine: corruption, money laundering and terrorism. No coincidence, a set-up.

Ukraine Becomes Den of Terrorism in Europe With Help of West – Zakharova (Sp.)

Ukraine has been turning into a center for the spread of terrorism in Europe for the past 10 years with the help of the West, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday. A shooting occurred on Friday evening in the Crocus City Hall concert venue just outside Moscow, followed by a massive fire. A Sputnik correspondent who witnessed the attack reported that at least three men in camouflage had broken into the music hall, shooting people point-blank and throwing incendiary bombs. According to the latest data from the Russian Investigative Committee, at least 115 people died in the terrorist attack and many others were injured, with the number of those killed expected to increase.

“The main thing is that the US authorities do not forget how their information and political environment linked the terrorists who shot people at Crocus City Hall with the banned terrorist organization ISIS [banned in Russia]. Now we know in which country these bloody criminals planned to hide from persecution — Ukraine. The very country that, with the help of Western liberal regimes, has been turning into a center for the spread of terrorism in Europe for the past ten years,” Zakharova said on Telegram.


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“–most importantly– to bring the enemy to a halt and encourage it to engage in serious dialogue.”

It’s Time For Russia To Give The West A Nuclear Reminder (Dmitry Trenin)

Strategic stability is usually understood as the absence of incentives for a nuclear-armed power to launch a massive first strike. Typically, it’s viewed primarily in military-technical terms. The reasons why an attack may be contemplated are usually not taken into account. This idea emerged in the middle of the last century, when the USSR had achieved military-strategic parity with the US and the Cold War between them had entered a “mature” phase of limited confrontation and some predictability. The solution to the problem of strategic stability was then seen in the constant maintenance of contacts between the political leadership of the two superpowers. Which led to arms control and transparency in arranging their respective arsenals. However, the first quarter of the 21st century is ending in conditions very different from the relative international political stability of the 1970s. The US-centric world order established after the end of the Cold War is being seriously challenged and its foundations are visibly shaken.

The global hegemony of Washington and the position of the collective West as a whole is weakening, while the economic, military, scientific and technological might and political importance of non-Western countries –first and foremost China, but also India– are growing. This is leading to a deterioration in relations between the US and other power centers. The two largest nuclear powers, Russia and the US, are in a state of semi-direct armed conflict. This confrontation is officially regarded in Russia as an existential threat. This situation has become possible as a result of the failure of strategic deterrence (in its geopolitical dimension) in an area where Russia’s vital interests are present. It should be noted that the main cause of the conflict is Washington’s conscious disregard –for three decades now– of Moscow’s clearly and explicitly expressed security interests. Moreover, in the Ukrainian conflict, the US military and political leadership has not only articulated, but has publicly expressed, the mission of using its proxy to inflict a strategic military defeat on Russia, despite its nuclear status.

This is a complex undertaking in which the collective economic, political, military, military-technical, intelligence and informational capacity of the West is integrated with the actions of the Ukrainian armed forces in direct combat against the Russian army. In other words, the US is trying to defeat Russia not only without using nuclear weapons, but even without formally engaging in hostilities. In this context, the declaration by the five nuclear powers on January 3, 2022, that “nuclear war should not be waged” and that “there can be no winners,” seems like a relic of the past. A proxy war between the nuclear powers is already underway; moreover, in the course of this conflict, more and more restrictions are being removed, both in terms of the weapon systems used and the participation of Western troops, as well as the geographical limits of the theater of war. It is possible to pretend that a certain ‘strategic stability’ is being maintained, but only if, like the US, a player sets the task of inflicting a strategic defeat on the enemy at the hands of its client state and expects that the enemy will not dare to use nuclear weapons.

Thus, the concept of strategic stability in its original form – the creation and maintenance of military-technical conditions to prevent a sudden massive nuclear strike – only partially retains its meaning under current conditions. Strengthening nuclear deterrence could be the solution to the real problem of restoring strategic stability, which has been seriously disrupted by the ongoing and escalating conflict. To begin with, it is worth rethinking the concept of deterrence and, in the process, changing its name. For example, instead of a passive, we should talk about an active form. The adversary should not remain in a state of comfort, believing that the war he is waging with the help of another country will not affect him in any way. In other words, it is necessary to put fear back into the minds and hearts of the enemy’s leaders. The beneficial sort of fear, it’s worth stressing.

It must also be recognized that the limits of purely verbal intervention have been exhausted at this stage of the Ukrainian conflict. Channels of communication all the way to the top must remain open around the clock, but the most important messages at this stage must be sent through concrete steps: doctrinal changes; military exercises to test them; underwater and aerial patrols along the coasts of the likely enemy; warnings about preparations for nuclear tests and the tests themselves; the imposition of no-fly zones over part of the Black Sea, and so on. The point of these actions is not only to demonstrate determination and readiness to use available capabilities to protect Russia’s vital interests, but –most importantly– to bring the enemy to a halt and encourage it to engage in serious dialogue.

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“ prevent what has been until recently a conventional war contained within certain rules of conduct degenerating into a partisan war without rules..”

“Crocus City Hall” Attack In Moscow Suburb And More (Doctorow)

The question of a shift from conventional warfare in which Ukrainian forces are being decimated, with or without Western military and financial help, to terrorist operations was already discussed in Western as well as Russian media a month ago when General Zaluzhny was about to be replaced as head of the Ukrainian military forces. There was speculation that his successor might well become Kirill Budanov, head of the Ukrainian military intelligence services and director of the campaign of sabotage and terror against Russia, which was even then yielding very impressive results while the regular army was floundering. Instead, Zelensky selected General Oleksandr Syrsky to replace Zaluzhny. Syrsky, as we know, was the general who threw away the lives of his soldiers in hopeless efforts to retain strategically unimportant towns and he has continued this military folly in the latest Ukrainian counter-attacks around Avdeevka.

Meanwhile, Budanov’s star has continued to rise. Yesterday’s carnage at the Crocus City Hall is only the latest and most publicized proof. ***** The Putin administration is clearly wary of pointing a finger at Kiev for this outrage. But the Russian public is surely going to put enormous pressure on the Kremlin to face up to the facts and to do something more than just another ‘revenge attack’ on Ukrainian military infrastructure such as was carried out several days ago in response to the latest Ukrainian incursions and missile attacks in the Russian border province of Belgorod, near Ukraine’s second city of Kharkov. There surely will be those Russian patriots who will call for a decapitating strike on Kiev to get rid of Zelensky and the neo-Nazis who de facto control his government at one blow. This has been achievable at any moment over the course of the past two years but was not done by the Kremlin for reasons that have nothing to do with its Christian faith guided humanitarian values.

No, the reason was to prevent what has been until recently a conventional war contained within certain rules of conduct degenerating into a partisan war without rules such as you commonly see in fratricidal military conflict. The fact today is that with the upsurge of spectacular terrorist attacks on and inside Russia Ukraine is de facto already engaged in all-out ‘partisan’ style warfare. The fact is that with the threat of a French directed invasion force entering Ukraine set out in the past week, with the delivery of F-16s to Kiev approaching, and with the delivery of nuclear enabled German Taurus cruise missiles still under discussion, the time for end-game division of what remains of Ukraine among the interested parties is here and now. The logic of the U.S. encouragement to Kiev to perpetrate exactly this kind of atrocity is obvious to anyone with eyes to see. It was precisely attacks like this, as for example during the Chechen wars and the Beslan school siege-massacre that Putin was enraged and responded violently. The decapitation of Kiev now will be very convenient also for Washington.

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“This must result in a clear Russian strengthening of military forces along the border with Finland.”

Why Russia Won’t Cede Baltic Sea Positions (Sp.)

NATO is on a slippery slope towards further escalation after absorbing Finland and Sweden as Russia won’t stand by as the alliance tries to block its access to the Baltic Sea. That is according to Mikael Valtersson, former officer of Swedish Armed Forces, and former defense politician and chief of staff with Sweden Democrats. “NATO’s main goals in the Baltic Sea are to keep the sea and air lines open to Finland and the Baltic states in case of a conflict with Russia,” Valtersson told Sputnik. “Another important goal to do this is to deny Russian access to the Baltic Sea in case of conflict. This will make the situation for the Russian Kaliningrad enclave very difficult.” Tensions around the Baltic have escalated steadily, driven by NATO’s expansion since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Poland fell under the alliance’s aegis in 1999 followed by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania’s admission to NATO in 2004.

After previously-neutral Finland and Sweden joined the alliance, the Baltic Sea in principle became a ‘NATO sea’ with the exception of the two short Russian coastlines, the Swedish military veteran stressed Moscow has no other option but to respond to NATO getting closer to its borders by stepping up defenses of its north-western regions. Finland shares a 1,340 km (830-mile) border with Russia, making the matters particularly sensitive for both nations. In an interview with journalist Pavel Zarubin in December 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that Moscow had revived the Leningrad Military District and started concentrating military units there. “The enlargement of NATO with the admission of Sweden and Finland as members has clearly increased Russian security concerns,” Valtersson exlplained. “The main problem is the membership of Finland in NATO, since its closeness to the naval facilities at the Kola Peninsula, transportation routes to the Kola Peninsula and St. Petersburg. This must result in a clear Russian strengthening of military forces along the border with Finland.”

“In the long run a number of military systems ought to be deployed. First of all a large amount of air defense, especially long distance, must be deployed to both defend Russian territory but also to greatly reduce NATO capability to use Finnish air space and reduce the usage of air transports over the Baltic Sea to the Baltic states,” the military expert continued. Another important aim for Russia, according to Valtersson, is to develop methods to reduce NATO access to the sea lanes in the Baltic Sea. He suggested that new technologies such as sea drones could be used to that end. The Swedish military veteran added that a third pillar of Russian defense would be long-range weapons, which could keep important ground targets in Finland and the Baltic states, especially arms depots, in the crosshairs.

“A fourth important question to solve is the precarious situation of supplying Kaliningrad,” Valtersson observed. “This must probably be solved by large prestorage of resources so the enclave can withstand isolation for a couple of months.” “A fifth and final question to solve is to secure Russian territory from ground attacks. To succeed in this a large number of ground units must be deployed along the border with Finland and the Baltic states,” he concluded. “Fortifications such as those that were so successful in the Zaporozhye area last summer must also be established, at least at important choke points.”

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“Here in Europe, the war is now being used to whip up popular enthusiasm for war mobilization of the domestic economies and subjugation of the populace to authoritarian and unlimited powers of the ruling elite..”

US Whips Up Fear of Russian Bugaboo to ‘Subjugate Europe’ (Sp.)

European politicians are doing their best to continue ratcheting up tensions with Moscow, with French President Emmanuel Macron reiterating that he may send thousands of troops to Ukraine, Baltic politicians allying with Paris on the issue, and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski saying it’s an “open secret” that NATO soldiers are already in the country. British and German media have done their part to add fuel the hysteria, citing a recent briefing to Bundestag lawmakers on purported plans by Russia to kick off a “full-scale ‘land, sea and air’ war” with NATO. “We hear threats from the Kremlin almost every day…so we have to take into account that Vladimir Putin might even attack a NATO country one day,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius warned in an interview earlier this year. This week, Polish President Andrzej Duda claimed it was a matter “of common sense” that “Putin, by putting his economy on a war footing, will have such military might that he will be able to attack NATO.”

Meanwhile, his top general, Polish Armed Forces Chief of Staff Wieslaw Kukula, has alleged that Russia is actively “preparing for a conflict,” and urging Europe to do the same. Europe’s defenses are in an unenviable state. Facing a major economic downturn and a $61 billion spending shortfall after giving roughly the same amount away to Kiev for NATO’s proxy war against Russia, European military leaders have warned that they could be left “throwing stones” within hours of a major conflict breaking out as arms and ammo stocks round dry. But the question no Western officials or media have been able to answer is why Russia – which has over the past three decades expressed a preference for economic cooperation with Europe, rather than fighting its western neighbors, would be interested in invading NATO and almost certainly triggering World War III. “The whole of NATO cannot fail to understand that Russia has no reason, no interest – neither geopolitical, nor economic, nor political, nor military – to fight with NATO countries,” President Putin said in an interview in December, emphasizing that Moscow and the bloc “have no territorial claims against each other” and could live peacefully.

The problem may just be that Russia is taking the hysterical outbursts by NATO officials and Western media at face value, instead of searching for the ‘man behind the curtain’ seeking desperately to keep tensions in place. “For the United States, the war in Ukraine has failed as a means of weakening Russia so that they can proceed with preparations to fight China. But it has succeeded spectacularly as a means of subjugating Europe. Washington now firmly has its knees on the neck of Europe,” veteran international relations and Russian affairs expert Dr. Gilbert Doctorow told Sputnik. Economically and politically, the US has been able to extract major concessions from the Europeans over the past two years, plucking hundreds of manufacturers from the continent thanks to an energy crisis sparked by the bloc’s “suicidal” decision to cut off Russian energy supplies, forcing the EU to purchase American LNG at four times the cost, and even trying to saddle Brussels with economic and military aid to Ukraine as Congress remains deadlocked over a $61 billion aid package.

“Here in Europe, the war is now being used to whip up popular enthusiasm for war mobilization of the domestic economies and subjugation of the populace to authoritarian and unlimited powers of the ruling elite,” Doctorow said. “What remains of free speech and other freedoms can be snuffed out in war hysteria. Moreover, the war fever is being used by [European Commission President Ursula] von der Leyen and the EU Commission in a bid to draw more power into Brussels at the expense of the national governments,” Doctorow warned. “Some countries are resisting, for example Prime Minister [Mark] Rutte of the Netherlands and even the mealy-mouthed German Chancellor [Olaf Scholz, ed.] are publicly opposed to the proposal of a European debt issuance to finance subsidies to the military production companies, all in spite of van der Leyen. Meanwhile, Macron is on the other side, pushing for greater European centralization for which is the proposed common investment in defense is a nice instrument,” the observer added.

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“..we promote the settlement movement with hard work and in a strategic manner across the country..”

Israel Announces Major Land Grab In West Bank (RT)

The Israeli government has designated nearly 2,000 acres in the West Bank as state-owned land in a move described by rights groups as the biggest land grab on occupied Palestinian territories in decades. The expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is illegal under international law. In 2016, the UN Security Council described them as “a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security.” Nevertheless, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich argued that the declaration of state-owned land in the Jordan Valley on Friday was “an important and strategic issue.”

“While there are those in Israel and the world who seek to undermine our right to Judea and Samaria and the country in general, we promote the settlement movement with hard work and in a strategic manner across the country,” Smotrich said in a statement, as quoted by the Times of Israel. According to local media, the designation of plots of land as Israeli paves a way for the construction of settler houses, as well as for commercial development. Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now described the declaration as the largest since the 1993 Oslo Accords, adding that “the year 2024 marks a peak in the extent of declarations of state land.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government gave a green light to the construction of more than 3,400 new settler homes this month, drawing more criticism from the UN and the Palestinian Authority.

“The West Bank is already in crisis. Yet, settler violence and settlement-related violations have reached shocking new levels, and risk eliminating any practical possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian State,” UN human rights chief Volker Turk said in his report to the Security Council on March 8. Smotrich said in February that the expansion of settlements was a legitimate response to Palestinian terrorist attacks. “Our enemies know that any harm to us will lead to more construction and more development and more of our hold all over the country,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

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“It’s like a boa constrictor that’s tightening and tightening around the United States..”

China Behind Pan American Highway (ET)

If it’s ever completed, the Pan American Highway will stretch about 18,000 miles from Alaska to Argentina, opening up a land corridor the length of the Americas. It has gone unfinished for decades due to American and Panamanian concerns over the environment, crime, and disease—and more recently mass migration. The dangerous, rugged terrain acts as a natural barrier to travel from South to Central America. The bridge and road expansion will end near the town of Bocas de Cupe, in the Darién Gap. However, bridging the rivers has been considered one of the major obstacles blocking completion of the highway. The new project has worried some who fear completing the road into the Darién Gap will be a win for China and a loss for America.

Michael Yon, a former war correspondent, has been covering mass migration through Panama for several years and has used social media to bring attention to the bridge’s construction and its implications. China would benefit through an alternate trade route around the Panama Canal, which is essential to global trade. But for the United States, it could open the floodgates to migrants from South America, he told the Epoch Times. Meanwhile, U.S. leaders have grown increasingly wary of the military implications tied to Chinese infrastructure projects being built in America’s backyard as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), particularly around the Panama Canal. In 2018, Panama signed on to China’s ambitious BRI project, dubbed a modern Silk Road, after publicly recognizing Taiwan as part of China, much to the surprise and concern of the United States.

The CCP aims to utilize the BRI “to amass power and influence at the expense of the world’s democracies,” U.S. Southern Command Commander Army Gen. Laura Richardson warned in March. She and other commanders in recent years have been sounding the alarm about China’s incursion into the Western Hemisphere. China “seeks to supplant the United States as the world’s leading economic and military power,” Gen. Richardson noted in a written statement to the House Armed Services Committee. Mike Howell, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project, believes China’s economic development in the region threatens America’s influence and security. “If China displaces the U.S. in the Western hemisphere as the dominant economic power, then we lose our leverage,” Mr. Howell, formerly an attorney with the Department of Homeland Security, told The Epoch Times. China is encircling the United States with infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Howell said. “It’s like a boa constrictor that’s tightening and tightening around the United States,” he said.

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“..when a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands like water, and if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again.”

“The Democrats have allowed their very identity to drip through their open fingers..”

Sir Thomas More and the Biden Corruption Scandal (Turley)

In the 1966 movie “A Man for All Seasons,” Sir Thomas More faces Richard Rich, an ambitious office seeker who would ultimately lie and betray him. In this British historical drama, More warns Rich that “when a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands like water, and if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again.” This week, Democrats appear to have finally drained away what remained of themselves and their party. For years, Democratic members and the media have demanded any evidence of the direct involvement or knowledge of President Joe Biden of the influence-peddling operation of his son, Hunter, and his brothers, James and Frank. In the hearing, witnesses testified under oath about specific meetings with Joe Biden discussing these foreign dealings and the family business interests. Bank records were introduced showing the transfers of millions going to Hunter and various Biden family members.

Faced with the evidence that the president lied about his lack of any knowledge or involvement in the influence peddling, the Democrats opened their fingers wider. Rep. Dan Goldman, D., N.Y., captured the problem for Democrats in even addressing any of the mounting evidence contradicting the president. Yet, Goldman has long shown a willingness to rush in where angels fear to tread. In previous attacks, Goldman repeatedly hit the Bidens with friendly fire when eliciting damaging answers from witnesses. Goldman has a habit of raising the worst evidence that his colleagues have avoided. In one hearing, he stumbled badly in raising the WhatsApp message where Hunter told a Chinese businessman that his father was sitting next to him and would not be pleased unless he sent him money. On another occasion, he prompted an IRS whistleblower to note that an email Goldman read into the record was actually a direct contradiction of the denials of the president.

In the latest misstep, Goldman pressed former Biden partner Tony Bobulinski on a proposal shared with Hunter and others to reserve 10% for “the Big Guy.” In other emails, Bobulinski was told to use such codes to avoid mentioning Joe Biden’s name. He was expressly identified as “the Big Guy.” Goldman snapped at Bobulinski, “Did anyone ever respond to that email?” Bobulinski responded “Yes, they did numerous times. Hunter himself did.” Goldman blurted out “you’re right” before angrily reclaiming his time to cut him off. Things did not prove any easier for other members. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D., N.Y., imploded by mocking Bobulinski and challenging him “It is simple, you name the crime. Did you watch him steal something?”

Bobulinski proceeded to rattle off a series of possible criminal acts and Ocasio-Cortez cut him off. She then bizarrely pretended that he did not just list the crimes and barked “What is the crime, sir? Specifically?” Bobulinski was not the only one confused and noted “you ask and answer the question, I answered the question, RICO, you’re obviously not familiar with…” That is when Ocasio-Cortez again cut him off with “Excuse me, sir. Excuse me, sir. Excuse me, sir. RICO is not a crime, it is a category. What is the crime?” With that, it appears that Trump has now been cleared of charges in Atlanta by no one other than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Racketeering is a crime and some of the crimes referenced by Bobulinski are commonly part of such conspiracies. The exchange captured the lunacy of the hearing as Democrats demanded evidence and then ignored it when it was repeatedly offered by witnesses and members.

Yet, Ocasio-Cortez was illuminating on one point. Neither she nor her colleagues were willing to admit the obvious. Few people now disagree that Hunter was openly engaging in influence peddling, which is a form of corruption that the government has long fought around the world. It is also clear that Joe Biden knew of that influence peddling not just from his son but newspaper accounts. He had knowledge of the corruption and facilitated it.However, Ocasio-Cortez wanted to ignore the millions of dollars acquired in influence peddling to press a witness on whether he saw the president steal something like a purse or a hubcap. The Democrats have allowed their very identity to drip through their open fingers. They have become a party that calls for censorship, ballot cleansing, and court packing. Now they are dismissing allegations of raw influence peddling after opposing every effort to investigate it.

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“..hese legislative attempts to redefine and criminalize speech are a backdoor attempt to rewrite the Constitution and render the First Amendment’s robust safeguards null.”

How The Police State Muzzles Our Right To Speak Truth To Power (Whitehead)

Tyrants don’t like people who speak truth to power. Cue the rise of protest laws, which take the government’s intolerance for free speech to a whole new level and send the resounding message that resistance is futile. In fact, ever since the Capitol protests on Jan. 6, 2021, state legislatures have introduced a broad array of these laws aimed at criminalizing protest activities. There have been at least 205 proposed laws in 45 states aimed at curtailing the right to peacefully assemble and protest by expanding the definition of rioting, heightening penalties for existing offenses, or creating new crimes associated with assembly. Weaponized by police, prosecutors, courts and legislatures, these protest laws, along with free speech zones, bubble zones, trespass zones, anti-bullying legislation, zero tolerance policies, hate crime laws, and a host of other legalistic maladies have become a convenient means by which to punish individuals who refuse to be muzzled.

In Florida, for instance, legislators passed a “no-go” zone law making it punishable by up to 60 days in jail to remain within 25 feet of working police and other first responders after a warning. Yet while the growing numbers of protest laws cropping up across the country are sold to the public as necessary to protect private property, public roads or national security, they are a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a thinly disguised plot to discourage anyone from challenging government authority at the expense of our First Amendment rights. It doesn’t matter what the source of that discontent might be (police brutality, election outcomes, COVID-19 mandates, the environment, etc.): protest laws, free speech zones, no-go zones, bubble zones, trespass zones, anti-bullying legislation, zero tolerance policies, hate crime laws, etc., aim to muzzle every last one of us.

To be very clear, these legislative attempts to redefine and criminalize speech are a backdoor attempt to rewrite the Constitution and render the First Amendment’s robust safeguards null and void. No matter how you package these laws, no matter how well-meaning they may sound, no matter how much you may disagree with the protesters or sympathize with the objects of the protest, these proposed laws are aimed at one thing only: discouraging dissent. This is the painful lesson being imparted with every incident in which someone gets arrested and charged with any of the growing number of contempt charges (ranging from resisting arrest and interference to disorderly conduct, obstruction, and failure to obey a police order) that get trotted out anytime a citizen voices discontent with the government or challenges or even questions the authority of the powers-that-be.

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“Why in the world would anyone want to rent one of these things rather than a gas-powered car? You might be better off with a horse and carriage.”

The Hertz Meltdown Reveals the Scale of the EV Debacle (Jeffrey Tucker)

The Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revealed its ambition: to phase out gas-powered cars in favor of electric vehicles (EVs). Incredibly, this announcement comes as we are flooded with overwhelming evidence that EVs are a market loser. Indeed, the artificial boom and then meltdown of the EV market is a modern industrial calamity. It was created by government, social media, wild disease frenzy, far-flung thinking, and the irrational chasing of utopia, followed by a rude awakening by facts and reality. CEO of Hertz Stephen Scherr has been booted out due to a vast purchase of an EV fleet that consumers didn’t even want to rent. The company has now been forced to sell them at a deep discount and in a market where consumers are not particularly interested. Looking back, however, Scherr’s decision to bet everything on an EV boom was a disaster that was highly praised at the time.

Only last year, the company bragged: “This morning, [Hertz] was recognized by The White House for our efforts to expand access to electric vehicles across the country. Demand for EV rentals is growing and we’re here to help our customers electrify their travels.” Pleasing the Biden administration is not the same as pleasing consumers. The demand turned south fast in a real-world test of drivers. But that’s not all. Hertz could not make their investment pay no matter what they did. The key issues with EVs are as follows. The cost upfront is much higher. Financing charges are higher. They depreciate at a higher rate than internal combustion cars. The insurance is more expensive, by at least 25 percent. Repairs are much more expensive, if you can get them done at all, and take longer. Tires are more expensive and don’t last as long because the car is so heavy. Refueling is not easy and missteps here can have nightmarish consequences. They are more likely to catch fire. Any motor vehicle accident that impacts the battery can lead to repairs higher than the value of the car, that is totaled with so much as a scratch.

To top it all over, there is no longer any financial advantage to the driver. It now costs slightly more to charge under many conditions than to refuel with gasoline. The novelty of driving one for a day wears off after the first day. At first they seem like the greatest thing that ever happened, like an iPhone with wheels. That’s great but then the problems crop up and people start to realize that they are fine for urban commutes with home chargers and not much else. They make truly terrible rentals. Obviously, under rental conditions, people have to use charging stations rather than a charger in the garage. That means spending part of your vacation figuring out where to find one. Not all are superchargers, and if it is a regular charger, you are looking at an overnight wait. If you do find a station with fast chargers, you might have to wait in line. They might not work. You waste hours doing this. And you likely have to reroute your trip even to find a station without any certainty that you will get a spot with a functioning charger.

No one wants to do this. When you rent a car, all you want is a car that goes the distance. And typically car rentals are for going some distance else you would just take a taxi or a Lyft from the airport. You might need to drive several hours. And god forbid that this takes place in cold weather because that can reduce your mileage by half. Your whole trip will be ruined. Why in the world would anyone want to rent one of these things rather than a gas-powered car? You might be better off with a horse and carriage. Did Hertz think of any of this before they spent $250M on a fleet? Nope. They were just doing the fashionable thing. Again, I’m not knocking some uses for EVs. If you think of them as enclosed and souped up golf carts, you get the idea. They can be wonderful for certain urban environments so long as you don’t overuse them and have to get them repaired. You also have to be in a financial position to afford the higher costs all around, from financing to insurance to repairs and tires. And you have to be prepared to take a big loss on resale, if you can even manage to find a buyer.

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Storm oil






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Sep 282022
 September 28, 2022  Posted by at 3:00 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  45 Responses »

M.C. Escher Fish and Boat 1948



For the past 24 hours, I’ve been reading, and jotting down quotes, like an idiot, about the Nordstream pipes’ sabotage. Just trying to figure out what the hell happened. I doubt we will ever know who “killed Kennedy”, but we can try. I find it remarkable how eager certain parties are to blame Russia for blowing up its own infrastructure, how equally eager to discard alternative options, and most of all perhaps how eager “EU functionaries” are to claim they want a full investigation. Really? Even if your own allies did it?

Thinking that Russia blew up its own pipeline, while they could just close the tap, much easier and cheaper, appears to be very far fetched. In any Whodunnit you want some logic. First, my notes, from the past day, much from Twitter, plus some other sources, more or less in random order:

Nord Stream 2 pipeline cost over 11 billion dollars and ten years to build. It’s going to take years to fix.

Note: it will take weeks, if not months, to just get started. Because all the gas will have to flow out first. The pipes were not active, but they were full of gas, over a very long distance. They were ready to go and supply Europe. Then when Germany suddenly reneged on the deal, where were they going to put the gas?

Laying (building) undersea pipelines is never an easy job, But the Baltic Sea adds a few extra problems, as per Lookout at the Saker :

Sitrep On Nord Stream 1 And 2 Gas Pipelines

The first step to building an offshore pipeline is to conduct extensive surveys of the seabed. In the case of NS2, this involved detailed seabed survey of areas potentially harmful to the building and operation of a pipeline. This was certainly the case for NS1 and NS2, especially in areas that were used to dump explosives and chemicals.

The Baltic Sea was the scene of maritime battles, laying of mines during WW2. Additionally, areas of it were used as a dumping ground for obsolete, damaged, or expired munitions & chemicals. This was widely carried out following the end of both world wars. “It is estimated that the Baltic Sea alone has around 50,000 tonnes of chemical munitions, 500,000 tonnes of conventional weapons, and 10,000 wrecks on its seabed.”

I loved this little bit:

German Economy Minister Habeck: “speculations about the reason for nord stream 1 leak are currently forbidden.”

That’s German politics on its last legs. Y’all, shut up!

Nordstream has never been uncontested. This is from November 2015, at

Explosive-Laden Drone Found Near Nord Stream Pipeline

Ruling out sabotage, the Swedish military has successfully cleared a remote operated vehicle (drone) rigged with explosives found near Line 2 of the Nord Stream Natural Gas offshore pipeline system. The vehicle was discovered during a routine survey operation as part of the annual integrity assessment of the Nord Stream pipeline. Since it was within the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) approximately 120 km away from the island of Gotland, the Swedes called on their armed forces to remove and ultimately disarm the object. “We don’t consider it to be dangerous to merchant vessels or the pipeline at this point,” Jesper Stolpe, Swedish Armed Forces spokesman, told Radio Sweden. According to Stolpe, the cable used to control the drone and to set off the explosive was cut off, so at the moment the vehicle is relatively harmless.

And more recently, there was activity in the area as well. Guess who…

Apparently US 6th Fleet undersea explosives specialists were “scoping out” the situation back in June.

An expeditionary detachment of US Navy ships led by the universal amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge days ago was in the Baltic Sea. It was 30 km from the site of the alleged sabotage on the Nord Stream-1 gas pipeline and 50 km from the threads of Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline

Tin Foil Hats: Russia and Germany were negotiating behind the scenes for gas, but a “3rd party caught on and put an end to it”.

The Nordstream 2 pipeline allows Russia to send gas to Western Europe without paying transit fees to Ukraine and Poland. Russia just completed it in the teeth of massive opposition from Ukraine, Poland and USA. Now they are trying to convince you it was Russia who blew it up.

The mother of all coincidences:

Baltic Pipe. This is the new Norway-Poland Baltic Pipeline that just coincidentally opened today.

A former Polish defense minister has credited the United States with blowing up two Russian natural gas pipelines to Europe, Nord Stream 1 & 2, the day before Poland opened a major new pipeline from Norway. A new 900km pipeline “Baltic Pipe” will be opened today, a branch connecting from the Norway-Germany ‘“Europipe”. This branch bypasses Germany.

That former Polish defense minister, Radek Sikorski, [now] Chairman of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the US, and married to WaPo’s Anne Applebaum, writes “Thank you, USA”

[..] looks like the pipeline attack wasn’t totally successful, as it failed to breach one of the NS2 lines – taking down only three of the four pipes. it will be interesting to see if there is any attempt to finish the job.

Javier Blas, Bloomberg: The size of the Nord Stream pipeline gas leak is huge. According to the Danish armed forces, it measures about 1 kilometer in diameter. The smaller circle in the center is approximately 200 meters wide

Each line of the pipeline consists of about 100,000 24-tonne concrete-weight coated steel pipes laid on the seabed. The pipelines have a constant internal diameter of 1.153m, according to Nord Stream. Sections lie at a depth of around 80-110m.

The approximate locations of the leaks are in the Bornholm Basin area (mean depth of 43m), closest to the island. The depth is shallow enough for specialised diving operations as well as the use of Remotely Operated Vehicles, (as was the case for the construction of both pipelines). The shallow area of the Bornholm Strait separating the Arkona Basin from the Bornholm Basin has a maximum depth of 45 metres.

The steel pipe itself has a wall of 4.1 centimeters (1.6 inches), and it’s coated with another 6-11 cm of steel-reinforced concrete. Each section of the pipe weighs 11 tonnes, which goes to 24-25 tonnes after the concrete is applied.

Assessment is that the second, bigger explosion corresponded to more than 100 kilos of dynamite.


This gives us at least some idea. That Russia would kill its own $11 billion 10-year hard-fought investment makes little sense. Not impossible, but very unlikely. The US, however…


We have Biden in February this year:

And Victoria Nuland just before that:


Tucker Carlson summarized it pretty well last night:


But now we still don’t know Whodunnit.

Gonzalo Lira says it’s “The Americans Declared War On Europe”:



I’m sure the Americans had a role in it. But that’s not the same as saying they were the direct perpetrators. There are still other candidates. Let’s rule out Russia, unless someone comes with a good explanation for why they would have acted against their own interest -or the semblance of it.

Germany is another party to this. But they are suffering already, and may indeed have held secret talks with Russia about gas deliveries. Now, they can forget about that for a long time to come. There are voices saying today that the pipelines are damaged beyond repair. I’m not sure that’s true, maybe they can replace one damaged pipe segment with a non-damaged one, but it would certainly take a lot of time and money.

So we strike off Russia and Germany, and keep the US in the back of our heads. That leaves two very obvious parties. First, the Ukraine, which loves not having to compete with Nordstream. But as far as we know, Kiev doesn’t have the equipment and/or capability to blow up a pipeline 100 meters under water. They could have asked the US, though, true enough.

That leaves one country that no-one is talking about, but is in the thick of it all: Poland.

The Poles stand to profit in two different ways from the explosions (and unlike Ukraine, they have the equipment to make it happen). First, there is a pipeline from Russia to Germany that runs through Poland, and for which they can now demand a user fee if any gas would flow. Second, they just opened the Norway-Poland branch of the Norway-Germany “Europipe” yesterday, which is labeled the Baltic Pipe.

Poland can make a killing off of the situation. There’s no way they could pull it off without the US knowing about it, but that can be arranged.


This all still leaves me with a few questions. As I knew it would. For the same reason I don’t know who killed Kennedy. First, why did the CIA warn of an attack on Nordstream weeks in advance?

And second, why are people like Von der Leyen, Borrell etc. clamoring so loudly for a thorough investigation when the Whodunnit logic says it may well point to one of their allies? Do they know something they’re not telling, do they think they can suppress whatever comes out? To be continued.




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