Feb 122024
 


Vincent van Gogh Snowy landscape with Arles in the background 1888

 

How Ball Got Rolling With Tucker Carlson’s Putin Interview Proposal (Sp.)
Egypt Warns Israel: Rafah Invasion Could Negate ’79 Peace Treaty (ZH)
Ukraine Should Be A ‘Buffer Zone’ – Orban (RT)
EU Openly Threatened Orban For His Reluctance To Finance Kiev (TASS)
Ukraine ‘Must Accept New Reality’ – Kremlin (RT)
10 Million More Refugees Could Flee To Germany If Ukraine Falls – Welt (RT)
Zaluzhny’s Photo With Banderite a ‘Threat’ to Zelensky (Sp.)
Russia Must Permanently Abandon Europe And Turn Fully To Asia (Karaganov)
Farmers Bring Poland To Standstill (RT)
“That is Not the Judgment of the Press” (Turley)
“Oh What a Tangled Web Biden Weaves, When He First Practices to Deceive” (VDH)
Could Trump Win By Simple Attrition Rather than Vindication? (Turley)
Soaring Debt Pushing Wealthy Nations To ‘Fiscal Death’ – Economist (RT)
Peaceful Protests Are a Waste of Time and Energy (Paul Craig Roberts)
The Crime Of The Century: Midazolam Murders – Euthanizing The Elderly (Kelly)

 

 

 

 

Liberal tears
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756706512540499971

 

 

Ads
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756692976426701093

 

 


Maria Zakharova: “After watching Putin’s interview, Scholz and Sunak disobeyed the orders of the USA.

“Scholz disobeyed the order of the USA not to watch the interview. If he continues to violate the instructions of the White House, he may lead Germany out of the crisis. The recent Prime Ministers of Britain, weak-willed individuals, they carried out the will not of the British people or even their own personal will, but obediently waltzed, led by Washington towards the boudoir.”

 

 

Nikki Haley

Trump Haley
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756832137980838180

 

 

Biden Superbowl
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756726329695973841

 

 

Sure this is not a Trump ad?!

 

 

 

 

“..the Kremlin had concerns even before the interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin that there would be a “persecution” of Tucker Carlson. ”

How Ball Got Rolling With Tucker Carlson’s Putin Interview Proposal (Sp.)

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, released Thursday, lasted more than two hours and covered a range of topics, including the Ukraine conflict, sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline, and Russia-NATO relations. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told reporters that Tucker Carlson himself proposed the interview with Vladimir Putin and that the president quickly agreed. He also noted that the West is becoming more and more unpredictable, and that the Kremlin had concerns even before the interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin that there would be a “persecution” of Tucker Carlson.

Peskov believes that Tucker Carlson foresaw the heated sentiments around the interview with Vladimir Putin, but that it added to the popularity of the American journalist. “He’s still having a hard time, as far as I’m aware. But he is a clever enough man, I think he foresaw things would get heated. It’s fair to say that this interview has greatly raised his popularity,” Peskov said. On Thursday night, Carlson published his interview with the Russian president, which lasted for over two hours. Prior to that, the journalist faced criticism from his Western colleagues just for sitting down with the Russian leader. The interview sparked huge interest around the world, and has received more than 180 million views on X and 12 million on YouTube.

Oz dub
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756802067711115605

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“..if past is prologue, watch for the Israeli government to disregard the protests of its partners and benefactors — protests that may be offered primarily for domestic consumption..”

Egypt Warns Israel: Rafah Invasion Could Negate ’79 Peace Treaty (ZH)

With Israel on the verge of invading Gaza’s southernmost city, Egypt is warning that such a move could trigger a suspension of the treaty that has maintained peace between the two countries since 1979, the Wall Street Journal reports. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday directed the Israeli Defense Forces to plan the evacuation of the city of Rafah, which lies on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt and reportedly holds more than a million refugees already forced from their homes elsewhere in the 25-mile-long strip. One particularly sensitive slice of real estate is the so-called Philadelphi Route or Philadelphi Corridor, which stretches nine miles along the Gaza-Egypt border. Diplomatic accords establish limits on the number of troops that either Israel or Egypt can position in several delineated zones along and near the border, and certainly don’t authorize large numbers of Israeli troops and armored vehicles.

In late December, Netanyahu said the Philadelphi Route “has to be in our hands” if Gaza is to be effectively and permanently demilitarized. In January, an Egyptian official said, “It must be strictly emphasized that any Israeli move in this direction will lead to a serious threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations.” While an Egyptian diplomatic delegation visited Tel Aviv on Friday to discuss the situation in Gaza, Mexican Egyptian President Sisi has rejected several phone calls from Netanyahu over recent weeks, sources tell the Journal. The threat that large numbers of Palestinian refugees could soon be pouring across the border raises many deep concerns for Egypt. Perhaps more than the challenge of managing a humanitarian crisis, if displaced Palestinians launch attacks on the IDF from Egypt, that could trigger Israeli retaliatory strikes across the border. If Israel doesn’t allow the Palestinians to return, tensions between Israel and Egypt would be sharply increased for years to come.

Since the war began, Egypt has been reinforcing its border with Gaza, building a concrete, barbed-wire-topped wall that extends six meters into the ground below it, while also boosting surveillance capabilities, and moving tanks and armored vehicles into the vicinity. The Israel-Hamas war is proving costly for Egypt in other ways, as Suez Canal traffic has plummeted some 30%. Egypt’s warning comes alongside expressions of concern by a variety of countries both inside and outside of the region: “Military operations right now would be a disaster for those people, and it’s not something that we would support,” said US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

“Invading Rafah… which is the last refuge for hundreds of thousands of civilians whom the brutal Israeli aggression displaced will have [grave] consequences,” said the Saudi foreign ministry. “Deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah – over half of Gaza’s population are sheltering in the area,” tweeted UK foreign secretary David Cameron. “The people of Gaza cannot disappear into thin air…[it is a] “humanitarian catastrophe in the making,” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. A Rafah invasion would create an “unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe,” said EU Foreign Minister Joseph Borrell. Israel’s plan “threatens to cause the loss of more innocent life and exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip,” said the United Arab Emirates foreign ministry. However, if past is prologue, watch for the Israeli government to disregard the protests of its partners and benefactors — protests that may be offered primarily for domestic consumption.

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“Ukraine offers Europeans no additional security because most of us are already members of NATO, which is much stronger than Russia..”

Ukraine Should Be A ‘Buffer Zone’ – Orban (RT)

Ukraine’s best geopolitical bet would be to become a “buffer zone” between Russia and the West, under arrangements made to guarantee the country’s future security, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said. The Hungarian premier made the remarks while debating former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel, with excerpts from the exchange published by the Vienna daily Die Presse. Orban disagreed with Schussel’s contention that the Ukraine crisis could be solved only if the immediate start of negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU and NATO coincided with the start of ceasefire talks. [BQ] Whether we like it or not, whether Ukrainians like it or not, Ukraine is on the map where it is. The best prospect for it would be to form a buffer zone between Russia and the West – with security guarantees, of course.

In any other case, according to the prime minister, “Ukraine will lose its land,” and “the Russians will destroy Ukraine again and again.” He stressed that Moscow would “never accept an EU and NATO member like Ukraine on its doorstep.” Orban also rejected claims by officials in Brussels and Kiev that Ukraine is “defending” Europe. “Ukraine offers Europeans no additional security because most of us are already members of NATO, which is much stronger than Russia,” he stated, adding that there is “no risk” that Russia could attack a bloc member. He also pushed back against Schussel’s argument that a ceasefire would mean a de facto defeat for Ukraine, saying that this depends on how a person sees the future as Kiev could potentially lose more territory.

According to Orban, the EU is also in no position to provide Ukraine with an adequate amount of weapons and money, adding that the bloc’s citizens are “dissatisfied because their governments are giving Ukraine more and more financial support”. Russia has repeatedly voiced concerns about NATO’s unchecked expansion towards its borders after the collapse of the Soviet Union, with President Vladimir Putin citing Ukraine’s push to join the alliance as one of the key reasons for the current conflict. In December 2021, weeks before the start of the hostilities, Moscow submitted a draft of security guarantees to the US and NATO, demanding that the West ban Kiev’s accession to the military bloc and retreat to its borders as of 1997. The overture, however, was rebuffed.

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Nice club to be a member of…

EU Openly Threatened Orban For His Reluctance To Finance Kiev (TASS)

Leaders of the European Union openly threatened to undermine the Hungarian economy if its government refuses to approve financial aid to Ukraine, said Balazs Orban, the political director of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Financial Times reported on January 29, citing an internal EU document, that Brussels was drawing up a confidential plan to undermine Hungary’s economy if it continued to refuse to approve funding for Ukraine. According to the article, the EU threatened to completely freeze Hungary’s outstanding funds and collapse the exchange rate for the national currency, the Hungarian forint, in order to harm the Central European country’s economy and impair its investment attractiveness. “When the heads of EU states and governments talked to the prime minister by phone, they openly threatened him with these particular consequences,” the official told Austria’s Exxpress news portal.

At the EU summit in Brussels on December 14-15, 2023, the Hungarian prime minister blocked amendments to the community’s budget for 2024-2027 that called for allocating 50 bln euros to Ukraine. Instead, Viktor Orban proposed providing financial aid to Kiev on an annual basis with strict controls over expenditures. On February 1, the European Union summit approved the allocation of 50 billion euro from the EU budget to Ukraine spread out over the next four years. At the same time, they accepted Hungary’s proposal and established a mechanism to control the spending of funds. In a year from now, the EU will discuss this issue again, and in two years, it will revise the amount of financial aid to Ukraine in light of its own new budget drafting.

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“Should we begin the same negotiations, there’s a completely different reality now. And this new reality, no matter how painful it may be for the Kiev regime, must be recognized..”

Ukraine ‘Must Accept New Reality’ – Kremlin (RT)

Ukrainian authorities must accept the “new reality” no matter how “painful” it might be for them, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. He was responding to a question on the prospects of new talks between the two warring countries. Peskov made the remarks in an interview released by Russian journalist Pavel Zarubin on Sunday. Should Russia and Ukraine ever actually get back to the negotiating table, the potential talks will not be the same as those held early in the ongoing conflict, Peskov suggested. “Should we begin the same negotiations, there’s a completely different reality now. And this new reality, no matter how painful it may be for the Kiev regime, must be recognized,” he stressed.

While Peskov did not elaborate, he presumably referred to the territorial changes, namely incorporation of the four formerly Ukrainian regions, Zaporozhye and Kherson, as well as Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics into Russia following referendums in late 2022. Kiev, however, has repeatedly vowed to seize all its former territories from Moscow, including Crimea which broke away from Ukraine in the aftermath of the 2014 Maidan coup and subsequently joined Russia. The March 2022 negotiations between Moscow and Kiev culminated in the signature of a preliminary agreement between the two nations, signed in Istanbul. The deal obliged Russia to withdraw its troops from around the Ukrainian capital, but Kiev violated the agreement almost immediately after it had been signed.

According to recent revelations by David Arakhamia, the leader of president Vladimir Zelensky’s party in the Ukrainian parliament, and a key negotiator at the botched talks, then-UK PM Boris Johnson played a pivotal role in orchestrating the failure of the talks. As Arakhamia put it, Johnson at the time simply told the Ukrainians “let’s just continue fighting” and urged them not to sign anything with Russia. Moscow has repeatedly insisted it was ready to settle the hostilities through negotiations, blaming the lack of any diplomatic effort on the matter on Kiev. The stance was reiterated by the Russian President Vladimir Putin during the conversation with the American journalist Tucker Carlson last week. “The President of Ukraine [Vladimir Zelensky] has legislated a ban on negotiating with Russia. He signed a decree forbidding everyone to negotiate with Russia. But how are we going to negotiate if he forbade himself and everyone to do this? We know that he is putting forward some ideas about this settlement. But in order to agree on something, we need to have a dialogue,” Putin stated.

RFK Ukraine

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EU governments would be overthrown.

10 Million More Refugees Could Flee To Germany If Ukraine Falls – Welt (RT)

As many as 10 million more refugees could flood into Germany if Ukraine disintegrates, Welt am Sonntag has said, citing estimates from officials. Despite the worsening situation regarding the conflict with Russia, the German government still believes this worst-case scenario is not likely to materialize this year, the media outlet added. Since the conflict between Kiev and Moscow flared up almost two years ago, 1.1 million Ukrainians have fled to the country, according to the German Interior Ministry. Meanwhile, the flow of newcomers from other countries, including Syria, Afghanistan, and African nations, shows no sign of abating. In 2023, more than 350,000 people applied for asylum in Germany, the highest number since 2016, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) reported last month.

The German government estimates that approximately 10 million people would flee Ukraine if the country falls apart, Die Welt, citing anonymous security officials and a lawmaker, said in an article on Saturday. The vast majority of these people would head westward in hopes of reaching Germany, the media outlet claims. Roderich Kiesewetter, an MP from the opposition Christian Democratic Party, told reporters that European nations should pick up the slack as US President Joe Biden’s aid package remains deadlocked in Congress. “If we don’t change our strategy on support for Ukraine, the worst-case scenario of a massive exodus from Ukraine and a spread of the war to NATO states will be much more likely,” the lawmaker predicted. Kiesewetter went on to warn that in this case, “ten million refugees are a rather lowball assumption.” Last week, the governor of the German state of Hesse, Boris Rhein, announced that the federal government and all 16 states of the country had agreed to issue special debit cards to refugees, which are supposed to supersede cash payments during the course of the year.

According to the official, the cards will “prevent the possibility of transferring money from state subsidies to countries of origin, and thus combat… human-trafficking.” Pre-paid cards will apparently have limited functionality, with features such as free cash withdrawal and transfers to recipients inside and outside of Germany disabled. They will also not work outside of the country, or even a designated municipality within it. Last month, the German parliament passed legislation that facilitates the deportation of failed asylum seekers and grants additional powers to the police. The new rules considerably extend the custody period pending deportation, in order to prevent situations in which failed applicants simply abscond around the time they are supposed to be sent home.

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“..while Zaluzhny was respected by his troops and liked by the civilian population, Syrsky evokes the opposite reaction..”

Zaluzhny’s Photo With Banderite a ‘Threat’ to Zelensky (Sp.)

Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired the top General for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhny, after weeks of speculation and conflicting reports. The weekend before, after media outlets reported on his imminent firing but before it became official, the Ukrainian commander of the 67th Mechanized Brigade Andriy Stempitsky posted an image of himself smiling next to Zaluzhny with a portrait of former Nazi Stepan Bandera and a red and black Banderaite flag. Mark Sleboda, an international relations and security analyst told Sputnik’s Fault Lines on Friday that the image was an “explicit threat against Zelensky.” “We saw Zaluzhny pose over [the] last weekend for a photo with a commander of the Right Sector*, the Banderite fascist, neo-Nazi battalion that is now an official part of the military,” Sleboda recounted. “In front of his giant portrait of Stepan Bandera, the West Ukrainian genocidal Nazi collaborator […] and next to a red and black Banderite flag with the inscription ‘victory without negotiations.’ So, I saw that as a pretty explicit threat against Zelensky.”

Sleboda noted unconfirmed reports that the Ukrainian intelligence agencies were given orders to watch for soldiers leaving the front but also noted that any potential unrest depends largely on Zaluzhny’s next move. “Does he do anything to incite this? Does he maneuver behind the scenes with other political figures against Zelensky? Does he stay quiet and actually put the interest of the regime above his personal ego for the time being?” Sleboda asked. “I don’t know about that because he refused to resign and decided to make, obviously, a political issue out of this,” he concluded, referring to Zaluzhny’s reported refusal to resign. March 15, will be a date to watch, Sleboda said. March 15 is when Zelensky’s current presidential term should end but likely won’t because of a martial law declaration that has been in place in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s special military operation, but Sleboda thinks forces in Ukraine may use that date to make a move against the president.


Zaluzhny with Ukrainian 67th Mechanized Brigade commander Andriy Stempitsky post with a metal in front of a portrait of Stepan Bandera.

“There may be political forces unhappy with Zelensky within the regime that will use that as the point to say that he is not a legitimate leader after that and seek to seize control,” Sleboda speculated. Sleboda also explained that he does not believe Zaluzhny’s dismissal was based on bad strategy but for personal reasons. “This was all personal,” Sleboda explained. “He made mistakes, there’s no question there but most […] on both sides, seem to regard Zaluzhny as more intelligent, more competent and more, shall we say, [an] out of the box thinker than [Zaluzhny’s replacement General Oleksandr] Syrsky.” Earlier in the interview, Sleboda explained that while Zaluzhny was respected by his troops and liked by the civilian population, Syrsky evokes the opposite reaction.

“He was the commander of the ground forces, he was responsible for the unsuccessful defenses of [Artemovsk] and […] Soledar,” Sleboda explained. “They call him General Butcher and General 200 (ed. note: ‘Cargo 200’ – military slang used in the Soviet and post-Soviet states referring to the transportation of the deceased soldiers) and neither one of those are favorable,” Sleboda continued. “It is in reference to his seemingly casual way of throwing away the lives of his own men.” Despite his Russian background, Syrsky was picked because of his loyalty to Zelensky, Sleboda explained. He also speculated that Syrsky would be more willing to commit reinforcements to Avdeyevka than Zaluzhny was, just like Syrsky did in the failed defense of Artemovsk. “This is evidently where we’re going, and General Butcher […] is going to be throwing more Kiev regime lives away,” he predicted.

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Professor Sergey Karaganov, honorary chairman of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and academic supervisor at the School of International Economics and Foreign Affairs Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow.

Russia Must Permanently Abandon Europe And Turn Fully To Asia (Karaganov)

At the end of the 2000s, with a group of young colleagues, we began to argue the merits and necessity of Russia’s “eastern pivot” (at the same time, current Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu – and his colleagues – were working in the same direction). The concepts and development focus of this challenge included the whole of Siberia and the Urals – a single historical, economic and human region. However, it turned out differently – pivot to Asia and its markets went administratively mainly through the Pacific Far East, and then the Arctic was added to it. The turn that began in the 2010s was successful, but only partially, largely because the Far East was artificially disconnected from the much more populous, industrialized and resource-rich eastern and western Siberia. It also continued to suffer from the “continental curse” – remoteness from markets.

Now, the new geostrategic situation urgently requires a return to the original idea – the eastward turn of all of Russia through the primary development of all of Siberia, including, of course, the Urals. In other words, we are talking about the “Siberization” of the whole country. Western Europe will be closed for many years and should never again become a first-class partner, while Asia is developing rapidly. The war provoked and unleashed by the West in Ukraine should not distract us from the movement towards the south and the east – where the center of human development is shifting. This new, but long foreseen, situation calls us to return to our “home.” A European journey of more than 300 years has given much, but long ago – a century ago, in reality – and has exhausted its usefulness.

Without this journey, initiated by Peter the Great, Russia would not have had many achievements. Foremost among them is the world’s greatest literature – the result of combining Russian culture, religion and morals with Western European culture. Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Pushkin, Gogol, then Blok, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn – and other giants of the mind who have shaped our modern identity – would hardly have emerged without the “European injection.” During these three centuries, we have half-forgotten the eastern roots of our state and our people. The Mongols plundered, but they also promoted development. Finally, in opposition and cooperation with them, we learned from many elements of their statehood, which allowed us to build a powerful centralized state and continental thinking. From Genghis Khan’s empire we also seem to have inherited our cultural, national and religious openness. The Mongols did not impose their culture or their beliefs. Indeed, they were religiously open. That is why, in an effort to preserve Russia, Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky made an alliance with them.

Great Russia would not have come into being, and probably would not have survived on the Russian plain, besieged by rivals and enemies from the west and south, if our people had not moved en masse “behind the stone” (the Urals) “to meet the sun” from the 16th century onwards. Inexplicable, apart from the intervention of God’s will, is the speed of their impulse. The Cossacks reached the Great Ocean in six decades. The development of Siberia made the ancient Rus’, the Russian kingdom, into Great Russia. Even before it was proclaimed an empire, the resources of Siberia – first “soft gold,” then silver, gold, and other minerals – allowed us to create and equip a powerful army and navy. The caravans of the Northern Silk Road, carrying Chinese goods in exchange for furs to Russia and beyond, played an important role in this. There in Siberia, the Russians, competing and trading, began to work closely with the Central Asians, the ‘Bukharans’ as our people called them at the time.

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More protests to come.

Farmers Bring Poland To Standstill (RT)

Traffic in cities and town across Poland was severely obstructed on Friday as farmers staged protests over what they consider to be unfair competition from cheap Ukrainian produce, as well as the EU’s green policies. Over the past few months, Polish agricultural workers have also repeatedly blocked the border with Ukraine. The month of January saw similar demonstrations in other EU nations, including Germany, France, and the Netherlands, over Brussels’ climate policies which have led to fuel price hikes. German farmers have been demanding that Chancellor Olaf Scholz reverse the proposed scrapping of a diesel fuel subsidy worth as much as €3,000 ($3,260) annually. The authorities in neighboring France withdrew plans to cut similar subsidies after farmers blocked a major highway near Paris last month.

Organized by the Solidarity trade union, Friday’s protest affected around 260 localities across Poland, with thousands of farmers blocking or slowing down traffic with tractors and other heavy machinery. They also blocked several border crossings with Ukraine. Several highways leading to the capital, Warsaw, were congested as a result of the demonstration, local police reported. In a statement released ahead of the protest last week, Solidarity said it was planning to set up road blockades until March 10. The trade union called out the Polish government for readily accepting the EU’s guidelines on the “import of agricultural produce and food products from Ukraine.” The protesters also called the position adopted by Brussels at the latest EU summit “unacceptable.”

Similar rallies were held across Poland in January. A separate protest by another group of farmers and truckers blocking a key border crossing with Ukraine saw Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s government capitulate to the protesters’ demands, which included reinstating a permit system for Ukrainian truckers, adopting government subsidies for Polish corn, and a moratorium on tax hikes. Last Thursday, the European Commission proposed extending the suspension of customs duties on agricultural goods from Ukraine and Moldova through 2025. The measure was originally scheduled to expire this year. Thousands of farmers from across the bloc descended on Brussels ahead of that summit, throwing eggs, rocks, and fireworks at the EU Parliament building and setting huge piles of manure on fire.

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“The problem is Hur, not a President who not only appeared confused in the press conference but openly lied about various established facts…”

“That is Not the Judgment of the Press” (Turley)

“That is not the judgment of the press.” Those words from President Joe Biden were a telling moment after a reporter noted that there is widespread concern that he is mentally diminished. Biden’s cranky response was overshadowed by his confusion on other points during the press conference, including mixing up the presidents of Egypt and Mexico. However, it captured the sense of license and expectation of the Biden White House that the press is supposed to toe the line, as it has for three years. In the disastrous press conference, CNN correspondent MJ Lee reminded Biden that he had urged Americans to “watch me” when he was confronted over his age: “Many [of the] American people have been watching, and they have expressed concerns about your age.” The President angrily responded: “That is your judgment!. That is your judgment! That is not the judgment of the press.”

The next day, many in the media came to Biden’s defense and attacked the Special Counsel report which detailed his “diminished faculties.” Others cleaned up the remark about the press. Biden clearly stated “That is your judgment! That is your judgment. That is not the judgment of the press.” NBC did not include the line in articles on the press conference despite showing it on the live coverage. Roll Call actually edited the President’s remarks to insert “for” in the key line: “That is not the judgment [for] the press.” That changed the line from questioning the right of the press to make such judgments to telling a reporter what the press view should be. Even if it was a Freudian slip, it was a telling slip. Other media inserted or suggested “public” rather than the press in the line. The obvious exasperation of the President reflects years of a passive, enabling media that shielded Biden from difficult questions on various scandals, including the corruption scandal.

What was striking, however, was the degree to which President Biden and his staff spent this week putting out clearly false statements. In an administration that has pushed for the censorship of citizens accused of disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation, the President openly lied about his conduct and the report. President Biden, for example, stated that the Special Counsel report found that he did not willfully retain material. It found the opposite . . . repeatedly. He stated that he did not disclose classified material to his ghostwriter. Special Counsel Hur found precisely the opposite. Biden stated that the material was not highly classified with “that red stuff…around the corners.” In fact, Hur found that the material was “highly sensitive,” including an Afghanistan-related memo from the National Security Adviser to President Barack Obama in 2009 marked “TOP SECRET/SCI” (Sensitive Compartmented Information).

Biden stated that all of the material was kept in locked or lockable filing cabinets. That was a lie. As the pictures vividly demonstrated, Hur found material in unlocked areas and virtually spilling out of torn boxes in his garage. What is notable is that Biden works almost entirely off teleprompters, reading statements clearly crafted by his staff. That would indicate that some of these comments were promulgated by staff. Even in the press conference on Friday, Ian Sams, spokesman for the White House Counsel’s Office ran into a skeptical reporter in the form of Jon Decker, the White House correspondent for Gray Television. Decker is the former head of the White House Correspondents Association and one of my former students. Decker is the gold standard for reporters and has always been objective, tough, and fair. His approach has not changed from the Trump to the Biden Administration.

Decker challenged Sam on coming to the podium to address the President’s statements and proceeding to make a false claim that this is the first Special Counsel to end his investigation without charges. So why would the White House risk looking like it is going full “Baghdad Bob” in denying readily observable facts? Because this is no real risk. The reason was evident the day after the report. While usually supportive outlets had to acknowledge the President’s false claims, media figures from MSNBC and CNN quickly fell into line and launched a full attack on Hur, often repeating identical words used by the White House about his observations being “gratuitous.” The problem is Hur, not a President who not only appeared confused in the press conference but openly lied about various established facts.

5 minutes

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“..who exactly had serially lied about Beau Biden’s demise, by claiming that he had died while on duty in Iraq, serving in the Delaware National Guard as a Judge Advocate? Joe Biden.”

“Oh What a Tangled Web Biden Weaves, When He First Practices to Deceive” (VDH)

Joe Biden and his White House handlers continue to peddle misinformation if not lies about his removal of classified files. The worst is that Biden—supposedly so unlike Trump—came forward willingly as soon as he realized that he had unlawfully, but inadvertently, removed and possessed classified files. And thus he cooperated fully and promptly with federal authorities. The truth is far, far different. Biden removed files improperly both as a Senator and Vice President. He held some of them in his unlawful possession for perhaps at least 14 years without a word to authorities, dating back at least to his departure from the Senate on January 15, 2009 when he resigned to become Vice President—or if not longer over his some 36-year Senate career. In fact, in 2017 Biden was fully aware that he had wrongly removed these classified files. As Hur noted, there is a taped conversation on record between Biden and his ghostwriter to just that effect.

Biden, at home in Virginia, was recorded as remarking, “I just found all the classified stuff downstairs”. And yet Biden apparently did nothing. He never came forward to any federal authorities for nearly the next five years. So given that knowledge, why did the attorneys belatedly disclose Biden’s possession of the files on November 2, 2022? Civic virtue? Altruism? Respect for the law? Hardly. Otherwise, Biden would have disclosed his unlawful possession at any time during either the intervening prior years when he was a private citizen or during the first 18 months of his presidency, when he knowingly still possessed classified files and still did nothing about it. In truth, Biden would likely never have come forward, save for one insurmountable problem: Merrick Garland had likely decided to appoint Jack Smith as a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump files that the FBI had swooped into Mar-a-Lago looking for 3 months earlier on August 8, 2022.

In other words, knowing that Smith or a generic special counsel would very quickly be appointed (Smith was sworn in a little over two weeks later, on November 18, 2022), suddenly Biden and Co. preempted that announcement, in fear that Biden had done virtually the same thing as Trump—albeit without presidential declassification power and for at least 14 years in possession of classified files. Had the attorneys and Biden not come forward, Trump and others would have asked whether Biden had not also removed files. So to get out in front of the formal announcement of the Smith appointment, they preempted, misleadingly and disingenuously, preening that civic virtue had prompted Biden’s “voluntary” disclosures and “cooperation”.

A final note: one of the more disturbing moments in Biden’s catastrophic press conference was his flare up at Hur’s revelation (“How dare he bring up that!”) that in formal interviews an enfeebled Biden had not remembered the general date of his son’s tragic death from a glioblastoma brain tumor on May 30th, 2015 at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC. Biden went on to vent at Hur. But Hur was simply documenting his analysis that Biden was severely cognitively impaired, and not as VP Kamala Harris claimed, gratuitously smearing Biden. But who exactly had serially lied about Beau Biden’s demise, by claiming that he had died while on duty in Iraq, serving in the Delaware National Guard as a Judge Advocate? Joe Biden.

Mayorkas

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“Trump has a curious fortune in critics who seem over time to combust in rather spectacular fashion..”

Could Trump Win By Simple Attrition Rather than Vindication? (Turley)

While Woody Allen once said that “80 percent of success is showing up,” former president Donald Trump proved this week that the same could be said about “just sticking around.” Trump had one of the best weeks as cases and critics seemed to implode from the disqualification effort in Washington to the scandal in Georgia. Yet, Trump is not out of the woods and is facing significant threats in what is becoming a war of attrition. In Washington, the Supreme Court gave a chilly reception to the disqualification effort that bordered on the glacial. While law professors like Harvard’s Laurence Tribe insisted that the basis for barring Trump from office under the 14th Amendment was “unassailable,” the justices seemed utterly unconvinced and there is the possibility that the entire effort could now be defeated unanimously. Even liberal justice Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson called the effort anti-democratic.

In Georgia, the case against Trump is floundering as allegations mount against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis over her intimate relationship with her subordinate special prosecutor Nathan J. Wade. This week, a court filing alleged that Willis and Wade filed false claims in court on when their relationship began. The two prosecutors have insisted that they only became intimate after Willis hired Wade. Wade’s former lawyer has reportedly come forward to contest that claim. That allegation, if true, could make the continuation of Willis and Wade in the case untenable. Various defendants being prosecuted in Georgia are accused of false statements and filings in court. Of course, the removal of Willis and Wade will not necessarily end the case, but it will present logistical and optical problems for the office. There are also calls for the removal of Alvin Bragg in New York, who is accused of being lax on crime overall despite his determined effort to convict Trump.

Trump has a curious fortune in critics who seem over time to combust in rather spectacular fashion. Michael Cohen, his former lawyer, went to jail and lost his law license. At the Justice Department, various FBI officials from the Russian investigation were accused of wrongdoing and forced out of the Justice Department. That included James Comey who was found to have removed FBI material after Trump fired him and gave it to a friend who leaked it to the press. Another official pleaded guilty to criminal conduct associated with the Russian investigation. In politics, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who attacked Trump for his treatment of women, was forced out of office for sexual harassment. Michael Avenatti was sentenced to a long prison term for fraud and other crimes. Senator Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) who voted for Trump to be convicted in the Senate is now under indictment for corruption.

Even in the arts, Trump critics have fallen from great heights. Comedian Kathy Griffin has not only become persona non grata after her gory depiction of a beheaded Trump but she is now beseeching people to buy tickets for a languishing come-back tour. Alec Baldwin, who scathingly played Trump, has been criminally charged after shooting a movie crew member. Of course, it is fair to note that some of Trump’s allies have fared equally badly, including those convicted or facing trial such as Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and others. Yet, there is no question that time has worked in Trump’s favor in fulfilling certain narratives. He has accused the Democrats of trying to rig elections. While debunking claims in 2020, Democrats like Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold bulldozed any high ground by trying to prevent citizens from voting for Trump as he leads in the polls.

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“Global debt has surged by $100 trillion from a decade ago and hit a record of $307.4 trillion last September..”

Soaring Debt Pushing Wealthy Nations To ‘Fiscal Death’ – Economist (RT)

Major economies that fail to address their mounting debt issues will die a “fiscal death,” the head of investment and wealth advisory Laffer Tengler Investments, Arthur Laffer, has warned. In an interview with CNBC this week, he predicted a “decade of debt,” adding that the borrowing crisis has embraced both developed and emerging countries, and it is not going to “end well.” Global debt has surged by $100 trillion from a decade ago and hit a record of $307.4 trillion last September, amid the biggest surge in global interest rates in 40 years, according to the economist. Wealthy countries such as the US, UK, France, and Japan account for more than 80% of that increase due to their uncontrolled accumulation of debt.

China, India, and Brazil saw the most pronounced growth of borrowings among emerging markets. “I would expect that some of the bigger countries that don’t address their debt issues will die a slow fiscal death,” Laffer said, adding that some emerging economies “could quite conceivably go bankrupt.” While low-income countries are at high risk of debt distress, repaying debt would be particularly problematic for high-income countries due to an aging population and a lack of workforce, the economist warned. The most recent report by the Institute of International Finance shows that the share of debt has hit a staggering 336% of global GDP compared to an average debt-to-GDP ratio of 110% in 2012 for advanced economies, and 35% for emerging markets.

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“If Putin and Xi and the Iranians think that they can sit out the conflict, they are mistaken. You cannot sit out a conflict that is directed at you.”

Peaceful Protests Are a Waste of Time and Energy (Paul Craig Roberts)

Will protesters ever learn that peaceful protests do not work when governments care not what people think and represent private agendas and not the people? The protests that work are the violent ones by Black Lives Matter and Antifa. It appears that one-tenth of a million Gazans have already been killed or maimed by the American-financed and militarily-supplied Israeli intended genocide of the remnants of the Palestinian population, a people who have been evicted from their lands and villages bit by bit since 1947. This time the violence is massive, and only the Houthis, a poor population in Yemen that survived years of Washington-inspired attacks from Saudi Arabia, has lifted a hand to help the Palestinians. The “civilized West” responded to the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians by cancelling their contributions to the UN agency that provides Palestinians with humanitarian aid.

Consequently, now 1,000,000 Palestinians are facing starvation as Israel has blocked food deliveries and medicines, knocked out the water supply, hospitals, sanitation, and intends to drive any surviving Palestinians into Egypt. So what do we hear from the governments of the “great moral West”? We hear about Israel’s right of “self-defense.” The Western governments, immoral to the hilt and all enthralled to Israel, have redefined genocide as self-defense. The West’s citizens are so successfully propagandized by Israeli disinformation over decades and generations that the subservience of Western “democracies” to Israel goes unremarked among the small part of the world that is considered to be the West. But not in the rest of the world. The United States and Israel have achieved the status of pariah states, the agents of Satan.

Why, despite this realization, does the rest of the world sit watching the destruction of a people, as Romans watched for entertainment lions devouring Christians in the Colosseum? Russia, China, Iran, and the rest with the exception of South Africa, which took Israel to the International Court of Justice, have not lifted a finger to help the Palestinians. Washington claims to protest but keeps sending Israel the weapons. This despite the fact that the governments of Russia, China, and Iran know that the real target is them. Israel and the neoconservatives intend the destruction of Iran, which will release “jihadists” into the Russian Federation and deprive China of oil. It is Japan in the 1930s all over again, and yet the targeted countries do nothing. If Putin and Xi and the Iranians think that they can sit out the conflict, they are mistaken. You cannot sit out a conflict that is directed at you.

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“The widespread and persistent use of Midazolam in UK suggests a possible policy of systemic euthanasia.”

The Crime Of The Century: Midazolam Murders – Euthanizing The Elderly (Kelly)

If the data is correct, the only conclusion is that tens of thousands of elderly English were murdered with an injection of the end of life drug Midazolam. These deaths were then falsely blamed on Covid, which was the basis of the public fear campaigns used to justify the lockdowns and mass mandated injections of the public (including children) with an experimental medical intervention that had zero long term safety data. And along the way, a small group pushing the need for mass mandated injections made billions.

https://researchgate.net/publication/377266988_Excess_Deaths_in_the_United_Kingdom_Midazolam_and_Euthanasia_in_the_COVID-19_Pandemic

This paper shows that the UK spike in deaths, wrongly attributed to COVID-19 in April 2020, was not due to SARS-CoV-2 virus, which was largely absent, but was due to the widespread use of Midazolam injections which were statistically very highly correlated (coefficient over 90 percent) with excess deaths in all regions of England during 2020. The widespread and persistent use of Midazolam in UK suggests a possible policy of systemic euthanasia.

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RFK vaccines

 

 

Biolabs
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Model X

 

 

CO2

 

 

Fish
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Feb 112024
 


Vincent van Gogh Landscape with snow 1888

 

War With Russia Could Be Decades Long – NATO Chief (RT)
Tucker Carlson Committed Treason to Talk To Putin… and the World Loved It (SCF)
Tucker-Putin ‘History Lesson’ Shows Russian-US Friendship Possible (Sp.)
The Real Propagandists Are Those Who Dismiss Tucker-Putin Interview (Marsden)
Tucker Carlson Is A ‘Traitor’ – Boris Johnson (RT)
Boris Johnson Nears £5m In Earnings Since Leaving Office (BBC)
Tapping Frozen Russian Assets Is ‘Economic Racketeering’ – Moscow (RT)
Ukraine At Risk Of ‘Cascading Frontline Collapse’ – NYT (RT)
White House Frustration With Garland Grows (Pol.)
Germany on Edge of Ruin Thanks to Energy War Against Russia (Sp.)
Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Make Insane (Paul Craig Roberts)
Mail-In Ballot Fraud Study Finds Trump ‘Almost Certainly’ Won In 2020 (ET)
Jailed Imran Khan Claims Electoral Win (Cradle)
Chernobyl Wolves Have Anti-Cancer Genome (RT)
The Artist Holding Valuable Art Hostage to Protect Julian Assange (Beard)

 

 

 

 

KJP

 

 

Trump ad
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Trump
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Begala

 

 

 

 

Pentagon files
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756411956813082770

 

 

NATO

 

 

 

 

Watters

 

 

Tucker

 

 

 

 

He sleeps better knowing that when he dies of old age, at least there will still be a war happening.

War With Russia Could Be Decades Long – NATO Chief (RT)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on the bloc’s members to increase defense production in anticipation of “a confrontation” with Russia “that could last decades.” Stoltenberg has repeatedly warned that Western economies are ill-prepared for such a conflict.With Ukraine’s counteroffensive fizzled out and Russian forces poised to capture the key Donbass stronghold of Avdeevka, media reports have for weeks highlighted the worsening shortage of men and ammunition facing Kiev. Amid warnings of “a cascading collapse along the front,” Stoltenberg told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper that NATO members must increase arms production to meet Ukraine’s demand. “We need to restore and expand our industrial base more quickly so that we can increase supplies to Ukraine and replenish our own stocks. That means switching from slow production in times of peace to fast production, as is necessary in conflicts,” he said.

NATO recently signed contracts worth $1.2 billion to produce around 220,000 155-millimeter artillery shells, bringing to more than $10 billion the amount spent by the bloc on ammo deals in the past six months. However, the latest contracts will not be fulfilled until the end of 2025, and earlier ammo pledges to Ukraine – like the million artillery shells promised by the EU – have not been met. Meanwhile, American stockpiles have been depleted by Washington’s effort to arm both Ukraine and Israel, and a $61 billion military aid package promised by the White House remains stalled in Congress.“NATO is not looking for war with Russia. But we have to prepare ourselves for a confrontation that could last decades,” Stoltenberg told Die Welt. “If [Russian President Vladimir] Putin wins in Ukraine, there is no guarantee that Russian aggression will not spread to other countries.”

Stoltenberg is one of multiple Western political and military leaders to predict a looming Russian attack on the bloc. Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen, Swedish General Micael Biden, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, and British Defense Minister Grant Shapps have all stated in recent weeks that such a conflict could break out in as little as three years. Aside from the fact that attacking NATO territory would enter Russia into a war with the entire alliance, Russian officials have repeatedly stressed that Moscow has no geopolitical, economic, or military interests in Poland or the Baltic states.

“It is absolutely out of the question,” Putin told American journalist Tucker Carlson earlier this week. “You just don’t have to be any kind of analyst, it goes against common sense to get involved in some kind of global war. And a global war will bring all of humanity to the brink of destruction. It’s obvious.” Putin argued that Western leaders are “trying to intimidate their own population with an imaginary Russian threat.” These predictions, he said, “are just horror stories for people in the street in order to extort additional money from US taxpayers and European taxpayers” to keep weapons and ammo flowing to Ukraine.

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“..the relentless allocation of public money to prop up a corrupt regime in Kiev..”

Tucker Carlson Committed Treason to Talk To Putin… and the World Loved It (SCF)

The Western states and their media can deprecate Russia’s perspective as much as they like but there is such a thing as historical truth. Most people around the world, including informed American scholars like John Mearsheimer, diplomats like Jack Matlock, and commentators like Jeffrey Sachs, know that the conflict in Ukraine has a much greater dimension than the Western propagandistic media would try to purvey. There is such a thing as the ring of truth. Most people, even those who have been formerly benighted by misinformation, generally appreciate a version of history that accords with the facts and rational analysis. Western politicians and media cannot deliver such an edifying account because they have systematically lied about and distorted the causes of conflict in Ukraine and more generally on the relations between the West and Russia. Putin went a long way towards setting the record straight in his interview with Tucker Carlson this week. It was by no means the first time that the Russian leader had done so.

For those who follow the Ukraine conflict outside of the confines of Western media propaganda, what Putin said would have been quite familiar. The powerful effect of Carlson’s interview is that he succeeded in bringing an important perspective to a wider American and Western audience who regrettably have been up to now badly misinformed by Western media. Already, growing numbers of American and European citizens have become wary and critical of the futile war in Ukraine and the relentless allocation of public money to prop up a corrupt regime in Kiev. Carlson deserves immense credit for having the courage and integrity to seek out a perspective that sheds light not just on why there is a bloody conflict in Ukraine but also on the corruption that is endemic in the Western states: the illusions of independent journalism, free speech, and promoting democracy.

Sooner or later, people will realize that the United States and its European vassals are nothing but rogue states whose imperialist crimes know no bounds. The Western media corporate machine plays a vital part in the cover-up of imperial crimes, not just in Ukraine, but also currently in Syria, Gaza, Yemen, Iraq, and beyond. Any lifting of the veil on this naked Western despotism must be shut down immediately. Hence the furious reaction to Carlson’s interview. But it’s too late. The truth is out. The escaping truth will have inevitable political and historical consequences. In regard just to Ukraine, the U.S.-led NATO proxy war is no longer tenable. Elitist Western regimes must be – and will be – held to account for the fueling of this war and the vast squandering and theft of public money to pursue their secretive imperialist interests.

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“..Why do we want to be in a state of internal friction and even war with this country? The only answer I come to is money.”

Tucker-Putin ‘History Lesson’ Shows Russian-US Friendship Possible (Sp.)

On Thursday, US Journalist and former Fox News Contributor Tucker Carlson interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first such interview by a Western journalist since Russia launched its special operation in Ukraine. One controversial aspect of the interview was Putin’s insistence on starting with an extensive summary of the histories of Russia and Ukraine that lasted for nearly half an hour at the start of the interview. Many observers criticized the decision, fearing that it would cause those with shorter attention spans to tune out the interview before Putin addressed his decision to launch the special operation. Rick Sanchez, an American journalist, former anchor for CNN and current host of two shows on RT, told Sputnik’s Fault Lines that the history lesson was a necessary aspect of the interview to show Americans that the conflict in Ukraine did not start in February 2022 and that the US and Russia could have struck up a partnership in the wake of the Cold War.

“The word that comes to mind is necessary,” Sanchez said of the interview. “For some damn reason in this country, we have decided that we will allow our government officials, our State Department, oftentimes, people who aren’t even elected, to determine whom we are allowed to hear and whom we are allowed to listen to.” Sanchez argued that the segment of the interview that focused on the fall of the Soviet Union and Putin’s rise to the Presidency roughly a decade later illustrated how the United States rebuffed his overtures of friendship, despite verbal support from Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. “It almost seems as you listen to the man, that we have done everything possible to make sure Russia is not our friend. Even when they came to us offering to embrace and make friendship,” Sanchez explained. ”One can’t help but wonder why… Why do we want to be in a state of internal friction and even war with this country? The only answer I come to is money.”

On the subject of whether the history lesson segment went on too long, Sanchez agreed it might have been off-putting to Americans used to cable news and two-and-a-half minute interviews but noted that is not part of Russian culture and Putin likely wanted to provide the context Americans have been lacking in the conflict. “I think Putin went in saying, ‘I’ve got a long and important story to tell, and it begins with A [and] ends with Z.’ He was hell-bent on taking him through that,” Sanchez explained, noting that Putin’s knowledge of history and geopolitics and his ability to recall them was impressive to watch. “Say what you will about [Putin], you’re allowed to hate him, you’re still allowed to be mad at him about Ukraine or about anything else, but you can’t walk away from that interview and say ‘oh, that guy’s an idiot.’”

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“..might initiate a, quote, ‘surprise attack’” on Russia. “I didn’t say that,” Putin interjected. “Are we having a talk show or a serious conversation?”

The Real Propagandists Are Those Who Dismiss Tucker-Putin Interview (Marsden)

American establishment media spent the days in the run-up to Tucker Carlson’s interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin pre-judging it as propaganda, and soliciting the opinions of establishment figures, like former US secretary of state, first lady, and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, who dismissed Carlson a “useful idiot.” All this before they even had the slightest notion of the interview’s content. All they knew was that Putin would have an opportunity to speak, and that ever since Carlson left Fox News and turned independent, there wasn’t any obvious establishment figure to babysit him or control what went out. Worse, it would air on the X platform (formerly Twitter) owned by Elon Musk, who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist.” So it did not bode well for the kind of propagandistic framing that the Western establishment enjoys when it comes to locking down narratives under the guise of fighting a war on fake news.

The fact that journalists balked at the very notion of Carlson interviewing Putin reeked of professional jealousy. There isn’t a credible journalist out there who wouldn’t leap at the same opportunity if given the chance. Which is why, as journalists from CNN and the BBC confirmed, they’d long sought their own interviews with Putin — unsuccessfully. Presumably, Carlson’s format, audience reach, and freedom from establishment media constraints were appealing enough to land him the opportunity. Good for him. And for the journalistic record that can only benefit from any and all contributions. It’s not like other media outlets don’t also benefit from their Western colleagues questioning Putin. I experienced this myself when invited to ask a question during one of Putin’s marathon press conferences. For the record, no one had any clue what I’d be asking.

Neither did I, actually, as about five or six different themes suddenly went on spin cycle in my mind as I stood to speak. My question ultimately ended up being what Putin thinks about then President Donald Trump’s assertion that Islamic State had been defeated in Syria — Trump’s rationale for announcing the withdrawal of American troops just the day before. Putin’s response, in agreeing with Trump’s assessment, was newsworthy, and was quickly picked up by CNN and other Western media. The difference between me and Carlson? No competitors had to credit me as the source of the question. So the information Putin provided could safely be used without having to credit a “competitor” and denting any egos, as is often the case in press conferences. Not so with exclusive interviews.

Focusing on Carlson as some kind of flawed messenger serves as a convenient pretext for ignoring critical information and analysis. The fact that some journalists may think that Carlson’s questioning or approach was misguided — or that he didn’t push back enough for their tastes — doesn’t mean that they can’t subsequently take what Putin said and analyze it themselves. Every bit of information, analysis, or interview of any world leader is a valuable contribution. Litmus tests have no place in objective, impartial journalism. Many of those who criticize Carlson are the same ones who routinely search the Wikileaks database for leaked and dumped classified information to flesh out their own stories about various political issues and events that have since materialized — all while refusing to acknowledge that the publisher, Julian Assange, is as much of a journalist as they are.

Carlson’s flaws arguably even served the American and global public. Much like Carlson erroneously claimed prior to the interview that other journalists couldn’t be bothered to interview Putin before he came along, he also played fast and loose with his very first question to the Russian president, stating that Putin said in his February 22, 2022, national address, at the onset of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, that he “had come to the conclusion that the United States, through NATO, might initiate a, quote, ‘surprise attack’” on Russia. “I didn’t say that,” Putin interjected. “Are we having a talk show or a serious conversation?” Carlson’s lack of precision, sounding like a guy who thought he was having a chit-chat with another dude over beers in a bar, created an opportunity for Putin to launch a history lesson going back 2,000 years on how the Ukraine conflict came about.

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“..Nothing and no one could have stopped those lion-hearted Ukrainians from fighting for their country – and nothing will..”

Tucker Carlson Is A ‘Traitor’ – Boris Johnson (RT)

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has denounced journalist Tucker Carlson as a “traitor” for failing to antagonize President Vladimir Putin during his interview with the Russian leader in a video posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday. “We must not fall for this tissue of lies, above all the notion that Putin is somehow fated to succeed in Ukraine,” Johnson said. “On the contrary, he is doomed to fail.” The British politician, who resigned in disgrace in 2022 amid mounting scandals regarding his government’s flouting of its own Covid-19 rules, implored his followers to read the lengthy condemnation of Carlson’s sit-down with the Russian leader he penned for the Daily Mail. Johnson’s op-ed repeatedly invoked Adolf Hitler, insisting that Carlson was being “a traitor to journalism” by playing “Dictaphone to the dictator.”

The Russian president’s extended explanation of the history of Ukraine was merely a “mixture of semi-masticated Wikipedia and outright falsehood” – insisting Putin “demolished his own thesis” by “reckless and criminal violence” against Ukraine. Carlson had fallen down on the job by not asking “tough questions” or taking him to task “for the torture, the rapes, the blowing up of kindergartens” supposedly committed by the Russian military – atrocities often invoked by Ukraine’s supporters in the West in the absence of evidence. Johnson especially took issue with what he called the “ludicrous suggestion that the UK government persuaded the Ukrainians to fight on, rather than surrender to Putin’s tender mercies, in the spring of 2022,” claiming that “every member of the Ukrainian government will confirm” that it was Kiev that made the decision to tear up the peace treaty.“ Nothing and no one could have stopped those lion-hearted Ukrainians from fighting for their country – and nothing will,” he wrote.

He likened Carlson’s interview to the American newspapers that published sympathetic interviews with Hitler, insisting Putin was “exactly like” the Nazi bogeyman because he discoursed at length about “the alleged injustices suffered by speakers of his native tongue.” Johnson infamously pressured Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky not to accept what he called a “bad peace deal” in May of 2022, insisting that negotiating with Putin was the equivalent of reasoning with “a crocodile when it’s got your leg in its jaws,” given the Russians’ advances through Ukrainian territory. After successfully scuttling the negotiations, the British leader declared through a spokesperson that “the world must avoid any outcome where Putin’s unwarranted aggression appears to have paid off.” The 15-point peace deal negotiated between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul would have involved Kiev renouncing its efforts to join NATO and committing to neutrality in exchange for a withdrawal of Russian troops from parts of the country.

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“The £4.8m in earnings that Mr Johnson has declared since leaving No 10 just over five months ago is more than 50 times his yearly £84,144 MP salary..”

Boris Johnson Nears £5m In Earnings Since Leaving Office (BBC)

Boris Johnson has registered an advance payment of nearly £2.5m for speaking events, in his latest declaration of outside earnings. It brings the former prime minister’s declared income since leaving office last September to almost £4.8m. He has previously recorded nearly £1.8m in speaking fees since his departure. Mr Johnson has also registered a further £13,500 in accommodation from JCB boss Lord Bamford and his wife Carole for January and February. It brings the total value of accommodation he has registered from the couple for him and his family since leaving Downing Street to £74,000.The nearly £2.5m advance in his latest declaration is from the New York-based Harry Walker speaking agency, for an unspecified number of speeches.

It comes on top of almost £1.8m he has registered since leaving office for nine speeches delivered in the US, India, Portugal, the UK and Singapore. As well as a £510,000 advance for his political memoirs from publisher HarperCollins, he has also declared £1,943 since leaving No 10 in royalty payments for previously written books. Under ministerial rules, former ministers are not allowed to take jobs that involve influencing government for two years after leaving their post. But Mr Johnson’s latest declarations are the latest demonstration of how much former leaders can earn shortly after leaving office through book deals and on the lucrative speaking circuit. The £4.8m in earnings that Mr Johnson has declared since leaving No 10 just over five months ago is more than 50 times his yearly £84,144 MP salary.

A company set up to support his activities as a former PM has also received £1m from crypto currency investor Christopher Harborne. Mr Harborne has previously donated more than £15m to the Conservatives, the Brexit Party, and Reform UK. Mr Johnson was forced to resign by his ministers last July after a series of controversies prompted a mass walk-out among his ministers. He attempted a comeback after his successor, Liz Truss, quit within weeks of taking office last September. But despite obtaining enough support from Tory MPs to run in the contest to replace her, he ultimately stood aside, clearing the way for Rishi Sunak to become prime minister in October.

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“..EU members “clearly do not want to continue paying for the doomed ‘Ukrainian project’ from their own wallets..”

Tapping Frozen Russian Assets Is ‘Economic Racketeering’ – Moscow (RT)

The EU’s plan to seize the profits from frozen Russian assets and hand them over to Ukraine would be a gross violation of international law, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow has told RIA Novosti. Belgium-based clearing house Euroclear, which holds an estimated €196.6 billion ($211 billion) in Russian assets, accumulated nearly €4.4 billion in interest from funds in sanctioned Russian accounts last year. EU ambassadors recently agreed to use the profits to support Ukraine. The proposal has yet to be approved by the European Council and would reportedly stop short of touching the assets themselves. Russia, however, regards any actions against its sovereign assets and those belonging to its citizens and companies “as economic racketeering on the part of the collective West,” the Foreign Ministry stated on Saturday.

“[The EU’s] invention of openly fraudulent schemes for the seizure of income from Russian assets is dictated by the need to create the illusion of legitimacy over attacks on our property and thereby camouflage what is in fact an outright theft,” the ministry added. It claimed that EU members “clearly do not want to continue paying for the doomed ‘Ukrainian project’ from their own wallets,” which is “why they are so tempted by the idea of spending funds stolen from our country to support the Zelensky regime.”

Last week, the EU agreed on a €50 billion aid package for Kiev over the next four years, although the decision was reached only after Hungary withdrew its veto amid pressure from Brussels. Meanwhile, a $60 billion US aid package for Ukraine has stalled in Congress, as Washington pushes for the confiscation of Russian assets to secure alternative funding. In total, the US and its allies have frozen an estimated $300 billion in Russian assets and reserves since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022. Moscow has condemned the measures, warning of tit-for-tat responses and lawsuits.

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“..Kiev only has enough air defense assets to last until March..”

Ukraine At Risk Of ‘Cascading Frontline Collapse’ – NYT (RT)

Ukraine’s worsening lack of ammunition and battle fatigue will most likely force Kiev to abandon its current frontline positions unless it receives new aid from the West, the New York Times reported on Friday. The paper said that Ukrainian defenses near the key stronghold of Avdeevka in Russia’s Donetsk Region are reeling under relentless attacks, and Kiev’s problems extend beyond one single battle. Ukrainian troops, the NYT added, are exhausted and suffer from a lack of weapons and ammunition, especially with regard to air defense systems. According to unnamed US officials interviewed by the outlet, Kiev only has enough air defense assets to last until March, unless it receives new shipments. This is far from certain, as the US – Ukraine’s main backer – is locked in congressional gridlock over President Joe Biden’s request to approve a $118 billion security bill, $60 billion of which is earmarked for Kiev.

Many Republicans have been reluctant to support the measure, claiming it does too little to improve security on the border with Mexico. Western officials believe that without US aid, “a cascading collapse along the front is a real possibility” in 2024, the article says. Nevertheless, they reportedly estimate that it will take at least a couple of months for the shortages to take a toll. According to analysts, by March, Ukraine could be struggling to carry out local counterattacks, and by summer, Kiev could find it difficult to repel Russian assaults. Without continued US support, NYT sources say “it’s hard to see how Ukraine will be able to maintain its current positions on the battlefield.”

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly complained of a shortage of ammunition, calling it “a very real and pressing problem.” Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing a senior EU official, that “It will not be easy for the Europeans to substitute for the US” in terms of military assistance. Last year, the EU announced an ambitious plan to provide Ukraine with 1 million shells by the spring of 2024. However, the bloc has struggled to deliver on this pledge, with top EU diplomat Josep Borrell saying Kiev will receive only half of that amount by March. Russia has repeatedly condemned Western arms shipments to Ukraine, warning that they will only prolong the conflict without changing the ultimate outcome.

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“..had Garland moved sooner in his investigation into former President Donald Trump’s election interference, a trial may already be underway or even have concluded..”

White House Frustration With Garland Grows (Pol.)

Joe Biden has told aides and outside advisers that Attorney General Merrick Garland did not do enough to rein in a special counsel report stating that the president had diminished mental faculties, according to two people close to the president, as White House frustration with the head of the Justice Department grows. The report from special counsel Robert Hur ultimately cleared Biden of any charges stemming from his handling of classified documents that were found at Biden’s think tank and his home. But Hur’s explanation for not bringing charges — that Biden would have persuaded the jury that he was a forgetful old man — upended the presidential campaign and infuriated the White House.

Biden and his closest advisers believe Hur went well beyond his purview and was gratuitous and misleading in his descriptions, according to those two people, who were granted anonymity to speak freely. And they put part of the blame on Garland, who they say should have demanded edits to Hur’s report, including around the descriptions of Biden’s faltering memory. In White House meetings, aides have questioned why Garland felt the need to appoint a special counsel in the first place, though Biden has publicly said he supported the decision. While Biden himself has not weighed in on Garland’s future, most of the president’s senior advisers do not believe that the attorney general would remain in his post for a possible second term, according to the two people.

“This has been building for a while,” said one of those people. “No one is happy”. Frustration within the White House at Garland has been growing steadily. Last year, Biden privately denounced how long the probe into his son was taking, telling aides and outside allies that he believed the stress could send Hunter Biden spiraling back into addiction, according to the same two people. And the elder Biden, the people said, told those confidants that Garland should not have eventually empowered a special counsel to look into his son, believing that he again was caving to outside pressure. In recent weeks, President Biden has grumbled to aides and advisers that had Garland moved sooner in his investigation into former President Donald Trump’s election interference, a trial may already be underway or even have concluded, according to two people granted anonymity to discuss private matters.

That trial still could take place before the election and much of the delay is owed not to Garland but to deliberate resistance put up by the former president and his team. A spokesperson for the Department of Justice declined to comment. But one former senior Justice Department official noted that some of the frustrations being directed at Garland are better directed toward the White House. The president’s team had the option to exert executive privilege over elements of Hur’s report but declined to do so. And had Garland made edits to the report, he would have had to explain those redactions to Congress.

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“I am really uncertain that we can halt this trend. Many things would have to change very quickly.”

Germany on Edge of Ruin Thanks to Energy War Against Russia (Sp.)

In 2022, Berlin dutifully followed the Biden administration’s instructions to cut Germany off from Russian gas and ramp up arms deliveries to Ukraine for NATO’s proxy war against Russia. Two years on, alarming predictions of a major economic crisis and the wholesale deindustrialization of Europe’s biggest industrial economy are coming to pass. Germany’s industrial production has dropped for the seventh-straight month, reaching negative 1.6 percent in December, from negative 0.2 percent in November, according to data released Wednesday by Germany’s national statistics office. Among the sectors most heavily affected was the chemical industry, which faced losses of a whopping 7.6 percent – its worst showing since 1995. Construction suffered a 3.4 percent decline. Business media took the data as a sign of serious problems in the German economy, with Bloomberg running a piece entitled ‘Germany’s Days as an Industrial Superpower Are Coming to an End’, and citing the energy crisis stemming from the loss of Russian energy supplies as the straw that broke the back of the declining European economic powerhouse.

“There’s not a lot of hope, if I’m honest,” Stefan Klebert, CEO of GEA Group AG, a Dusseldorf-headquartered special purpose industrial machinery company, told the outlet. “I am really uncertain that we can halt this trend. Many things would have to change very quickly.” The company Klebert manages is nearly 150 years old, surviving 20th century crises from the two world wars to the 1929 depression. Now, it and its 18,000+ employees face an uncertain future. “Despite the motivation of our employees, we have arrived at a point where we can’t export truck tires from Germany at competitive prices,” Maria Rottger, head of Northern Europe operations at French-headquartered tire-making giant Michelin, said. “If Germany can’t export competitively in the international context, the country loses one of its biggest strengths,” he noted.

Some 5,000 of Michelin’s 66,000+ European employees are based in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In late 2023, the company announced cuts of over 1,500 jobs to its German operations. Goodyear, the American tire giant, announced the closure of two plants in the country, cutting 1,750 jobs. “You don’t have to be a pessimist to say that what we’re doing at the moment won’t be enough,” Volker Trier, the foreign trade chief at Germany’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said. “The speed of structural change is dizzying.” Dozens of other major German businesses have been affected by the energy crisis, with European chemical giant BASF SE recently slashing 2,600 jobs, and Cologne-headquartered specialty chemicals company Lanxess AG cutting 7 percent of its German workforce.

German businesses have spent years sounding the alarm about problems with infrastructure, an aging workforce, bureaucracy, economic costs associated with the pandemic and falling investment in education and other public services. The crisis in economic ties with Russia, combined with efforts by Berlin’s transatlantic “ally” to pluck high-tech industrial manufacturers out of Germany using generous subsidies, and growing competition from China, have combined to create a perfect storm of unprecedented industrial malaise. “We are no longer competitive,” German Finance Minister Christian Lindner admitted at a business event in Frankfurt on Monday. “We are getting poorer because we have no growth. We are falling behind.”

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“All that remains of America is an insane government with nuclear weapons.”

Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Make Insane (Paul Craig Roberts)

The prime minister of formerly “Great Britain,” an Indian named Sunak, Scholz and Macron, the non-entities who head Washington’s puppet states of Germany and France, and the non-entities in Norway, Finland, Poland and the rest of the militarily and economically impotent puppet governments that comprise the American Empire, declare their preparation for war with Russia. What a joke! None of these territories–they are so over-run by third world immigrant-invaders that they no longer rank as countries, just territories open for the taking–have confident nationalistic populations willing to lose their lives in defense of their subservience to Washington and their domestic oppression. Can anyone seriously imagine Sweden, whose military-aged ethnic males are afraid to prevent immigrant-invaders’ rapes of ethnic Swedish women because they would be arrested for hate crimes, forming an army capable of facing Russian troops?

Or Germans for that matter, a task beyond the Wehrmacht, possibly the finest army in modern history. Or the French–a task beyond Napoleon. Certainly not the Italians, again over-run, or the Dutch lost in sexual and drug lusts. Or for that matter Americans. Americans, whose main fighting element–Southern White Males–are racially discriminated against by Biden’s black Pentagon chief, who has prevented their promotions because “there are too many white officers,” have ceased to enlist. After all, what Southern “heterosexual white supremacist racist,” as the Biden regime describes its would be recruits, wants to be denied promotion because of his race and, because of his race and “sexual preference,” be lorded over by black female commanders and homosexuals, and soon by transgendered and illegal immigrant-invaders.

I am confident that it is impossible for any Western country to be capable of fielding an army that would not be wiped out instantly by a Russian force, a Chinese force, or even by an Iranian force. The last wars that the US won were against Spain in the 1890s and against Japan in 1945. After a 20-year effort, the US military was driven out of Afghanistan by a few thousand lightly-armed Taliban, just as it was driven out of Vietnam. I regret that this statement hurts the feelings of those who thought they were fighting for something important, but they were deceived for the profits of the military/security complex and for Washington’s hubris. In the entirety of the Western World the belief system has been destroyed. The destruction of essential beliefs has been going on since the 1960s when university students began their chant “Western Civilization has to go.” Well, it is gone. All that remains of America is an insane government with nuclear weapons.

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“Over 43 percent of 2020 votes were cast by mail..”

Mail-In Ballot Fraud Study Finds Trump ‘Almost Certainly’ Won In 2020 (ET)

The Heartland Institute study tried to gauge the probable impact that fraudulent mail-in ballots cast for both then-candidate Joe Biden and his opponent, President Donald Trump, would have had on the overall 2020 election results. The study was based on data obtained from a Heartland/Rasmussen survey in December that revealed that roughly one in five mail-in voters admitted to potentially fraudulent actions in the presidential election. After the researchers carried out additional analyses of the data, they concluded that mail-in ballot fraud “significantly” impacted the 2020 presidential election. They also found that, absent the huge expansion of mail-in ballots during the pandemic, which was often done without legislative approval, President Trump would most likely have won.

“Had the 2020 election been conducted like every national election has been over the past two centuries, wherein the vast majority of voters cast ballots in-person rather than by mail, Donald Trump would have almost certainly been re-elected,” the report’s authors wrote. Over 43 percent of 2020 votes were cast by mail, the highest percentage in U.S. history. The new study examined raw data from the December survey carried out jointly between Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports, which tried to assess the level of fraudulent voting that took place in 2020. The December survey, which President Trump called “the biggest story of the year,” suggested that roughly 20 percent of mail-in voters engaged in at least one potentially fraudulent action in the 2020 election, such as voting in a state where they’re no longer permanent residents.

In the new study, Heartland analysts say that, after reviewing the raw survey data, subjecting it to additional statistical treatment and more thorough analysis, they now believe they can conclude that 28.2 percent of respondents who voted by mail committed at least one type of behavior that is “under most circumstances, illegal” and so potentially amounts to voter fraud. “This means that more than one-in-four ballots cast by mail in 2020 were likely cast fraudulently, and thus should not have been counted,” the researchers wrote. A Heartland Institute research editor and research fellow who was involved in the study explained to The Epoch Times in a telephone interview that there are narrow exceptions where a surveyed behavior may be legal, like filling out a mail-in ballot on behalf of another voter if that person is blind, illiterate, or disabled, and requests assistance. However, the research fellow, Jack McPherrin, said such cases were within the margin of error and not statistically significant.

In addition to reassessing the likely overall degree of fraudulent mail-in ballots in the 2020 election, Heartland analysts calculated the potential impact that fraudulent mail-in ballots might have produced in the six key swing states that President Trump officially lost. This, then, was used to determine the impact of potentially fraudulent mail-in ballots on the overall 2020 election result. First, the researchers analyzed the electoral results for the six swing states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—under the 28.2 percent fraudulent mail-in ballot scenario that they estimated based on the raw survey data. Then they calculated the electoral results in the six states under the different scenarios, each with a lower assumed percentage of fraudulent ballots, ranging from 28.2 percent all the way down to 1 percent. For each of the 29 scenarios that they assessed, the researchers calculated the estimated number of fraudulent ballots, which were then subtracted from overall 2020 vote totals to generate a new estimate for vote totals.Overall, of the 29 different scenarios presented in the study, the researchers concluded that President Trump would have won the 2020 election in all but three.

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“You kept my trust, and your massive turnout has stunned everyone,” the AI voice said in the video..”

Jailed Imran Khan Claims Electoral Win (Cradle)

Independent candidates affiliated with imprisoned Pakistani political leader Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party have won the most seats in elections for the National Assembly. Vote counting is ongoing, but the Election Commission of Pakistan announced that independent candidates have won 98 seats so far, with the winners of 22 seats still undetermined. The majority of the independents are affiliated with Khan’s PTI party. Members of the PTI ran as independents after the party was effectively banned last month. The Pakistani Supreme Court ruled that the party could not use its traditional electoral symbol, a cricket bat. Because many PTI supporters in rural areas are illiterate, the symbol would be the only way to identify the party on the ballot for many. Khan was slapped with three jail sentences last week and barred from holding any public post for ten years. The former premier has been the target of lawfare since being ousted in a US-backed legislative coup in early 2022.

The PTI has been the target of harassment and even abductions of its candidates by pro-military elements that do not wish to see Khan or his party return to power. The party has also seen restrictions imposed on rallies and media coverage, as authorities ordered journalists and television stations not to mention Khan’s party as part of their election coverage. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Party (PMLN) has won 69 seats, while the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has the third-most with 51 seats. None of the country’s three major parties will win the necessary 169 seats to form a government on their own, meaning a coalition must be formed to determine the next prime minister. Khan used an AI-generated video of himself to claim victory in the election from prison, asking his supporters to “now show the strength of protecting your vote.”

“You kept my trust, and your massive turnout has stunned everyone,” the AI voice said in the video. Khan’s opponent, former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was previously deposed in a coup and spent years abroad to avoid prison on corruption charges. However, Sharif is currently viewed as the military establishment’s choice. However, some PTI candidates who ran as independents could be pressured to align with other parties when forming a coalition. According to Michael Kugelman, the director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center, “the military will likely pressure them to do so.” Sharif’s PMLN may also be able to form a coalition with other parties and exclude the PTI from the government, Kugelman added.

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“The density of the wolf population within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone [..] is estimated to be seven times greater than in surrounding reserves..”

Chernobyl Wolves Have Anti-Cancer Genome (RT)

Wolves in the irradiated Chernobyl Exclusion Zone have developed resistance to cancer, research which may help fight the disease in humans has shown.Biologists from Princeton University found that wolves are exposed to over 11 millirem of cancer-causing radiation daily for their entire lives. A standard chest X-ray, in comparison, exposes the whole body to around 1 to 2 millirem. In 1986, a nuclear reactor exploded at the power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, around 80 miles north of Kiev. The blast released 400 times more radiation than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan during World War II, and over 100,000 people were evacuated from the city. In the three decades since the accident, Chernobyl has remained abandoned. Local wildlife, however, reclaimed much of the area.

The density of the wolf population within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which is considered unsafe for human habitation, is estimated to be seven times greater than in surrounding reserves. Scientists put radio collars on wolves roaming the wastelands of the zone to monitor their movements and make real-time measurements of the radiation they are exposed to. Researchers also took blood samples to see how the wolves’ bodies respond to cancer-causing radiation. The study found that the reason why the animals are thriving in the radioactive zone is that part of their genetic information is resilient to the increased risk of the disease and their immune systems become similar to those of cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. Scientists say the bodies of dogs and wolves fight cancer in much the same way as the human body. The research may identify protective mutations that can increase the chances for humans to survive cancer, they added.

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“.. On the day the hearing begins, two video cameras in Cauterets, one fitted in a corner of the safe and one outside it, will begin live streaming on YouTube. In the event that Assange should die in prison, a remote-control button will be activated to set off the chemical reaction, and the contents of the safe will disintegrate..”

The Artist Holding Valuable Art Hostage to Protect Julian Assange (Beard)

One unusually warm January afternoon, I arrived in Cauterets, a small spa town in the Pyrenees, in southwest France, to meet the Russian artist Andrei Molodkin. There was a scattering of fromagerie stalls in the streets. Low-slung cable cars ferried skiers to the mountaintop, casting moving shadows over the families wandering through the town. Walking among them, I wondered what they’d think if they knew what Molodkin was doing up the hill. A few years ago, Molodkin bought a large nineteenth-century sanatorium, a stately, symmetrical, magnolia-yellow building with tiled floors and a gabled roof with a wrought-iron frame. On the day of my visit, Molodkin, who is fifty-seven, was wearing utilitarian black trousers, black work boots, and a black insulated jacket as he ushered me into the sanatorium’s spacious entrance hall. At one end of it was a freestanding, thirty-two-ton Swiss bank safe, about thirteen by nine feet, which Molodkin had imported from Amsterdam.

It had been brought into the building piecemeal, via forklift, last fall; the artist, along with several men who worked in a nearby factory, guided panels of the safe inside, then bolted them together with the help of two security advisers from Berlin. As Molodkin strained to open the heavy metal door of the safe, I counted five different locks. Inside were a handful of custom-built plywood crates, which will eventually hold a group of works donated by artists and collectors. There will be pieces by Picasso, Rembrandt, and Andy Warhol, as well as more contemporary works by artists such as Andres Serrano, Santiago Sierra, and Sarah Lucas, which Molodkin estimates at a collective value of around forty million dollars. “We have sixteen art works so far, but people keep offering to donate more,” he said, a note of satisfaction detectable in his voice.


A Swiss safe, part of Molodkin’s project “Dead Man’s Switch,” stands in the entrance hall of a former sanatorium in Cauterets, France.

In the middle of the crates was a small pneumatic pump connecting two white barrels, one containing acid powder and the other an accelerator that could cause a chemical reaction strong enough to turn the entire contents of the safe to debris within two hours. The project is called “Dead Man’s Switch,” and the “dead man” in question is the Australian WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who is currently jailed on remand in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison. In 2010, WikiLeaks published a spate of leaks from the Army private Chelsea Manning about U.S. military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. After Sweden issued a European arrest warrant for Assange in connection to sexual-assault allegations (a case that has since been dropped), Assange took refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012, where he remained for seven years. A hacking charge against Assange was unsealed in April, 2019; one month later, the U.S. government added new charges, indicting him for violating the Espionage Act for his part in WikiLeaks’ disclosure of secret military and diplomatic documents.

The indictment has raised concerns over its implications for First Amendment rights and journalists who report on national-security issues. On February 20 and 21, 2024, Assange will face a court hearing on what may be his final bid to appeal the United States’ order to extradite him. On the day the hearing begins, two video cameras in Cauterets, one fitted in a corner of the safe and one outside it, will begin live streaming on YouTube. In the event that Assange should die in prison, a remote-control button will be activated to set off the chemical reaction, and the contents of the safe will disintegrate. Only if Assange is released as a free man, Molodkin said, will the art be returned to its owners. Molodkin believes that Assange’s extradition to the United States and incarceration there would put his life “in great danger.” “Assange is a red line,” he said.

Molodkin met Stella Assange and members of WikiLeaks last March, in London, at an exhibition by a/political, an art organization. The organization was launched, in 2013, by the Kazakhstan-born entrepreneur and art collector Andrei Tretyakov (who helped Molodkin buy the sanatorium), and it supports the work of a number of artists who often engage with provocative political subjects. The members of WikiLeaks “are not involved,” Molodkin said.

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CO2

 

 

Hercules beetle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756303584499576860

 

 

Love is the answer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756245509306564893

 

 

Parrot
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756327412428570966

 

 

Epstein

 

 

 

 

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Feb 102024
 
 February 10, 2024  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  66 Responses »


Edward Hopper Christmas card 1928

 

Eventful Events (James Howard Kunstler)
Biden’s Angry Press Conference Made Hur’s Memory Report Infinitely Worse (Sp.)
Putin Interview May Help Stop West From Committing Suicide – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
Tucker-Putin Interview to Erode Funding Crusade for US in Ukraine (Sp.)
Putin Interview Helps Americans Understand Ukraine Conflict – Kwiatkowski (Sp.)
The Biden-Schumer Plan to Kill More Ukrainians (Jeffrey Sachs)
Ukraine’s Top General Fired For Disobeying US – Politico (RT)
Nuland Told Zelensky Not To Fire Top General – The Times (RT)
Ukraine’s New Commander-in-chief Is An Unpopular ‘Butcher’ – Politico (RT)
General Syrsky, Hero of Kiev or Butcher of Bakhmut? (Sp.)
Houthis Say All Warships Must Leave Red Sea (Sp.)
Any Gaza Deal Could Break Netanyahu’s Coalition (Harb)
German Foreign Minister’s Grandfather Was ‘Ardent Nazi’ – Bild (RT)
The “Unassailable” Theory Faces a Potential Unanimous Rejection (Turley)
Biden’s Eulogy Will Be ‘Journalism RIP’. How He Destroyed the 4th Estate (Jay)

 

 

 

 

Tenney
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756024349239246939

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1755830142910566427

https://twitter.com/i/status/1756011968115220878

 

 

Obama3rd

 

 

 

 

RFK Biden

 

 

Mamet
https://twitter.com/i/status/1755767014876926374

 

 

 

 

“Mr. Biden’s charade of running for reelection must come to an end. What will the Democratic party do about that?”

Eventful Events (James Howard Kunstler)

This Friday morning, the USA is fraught with events unspooling. As I write, with dawn just breaking, there is almost zero opinion yet formed about these troubling matters on the vast Internet — but it will probably come in hot-and-heavy as the day ticks on. If Mr. Biden is truly mentally incompetent, as established more-or-less legally by Special Counsel Hur, then there is the obvious remedy of the 25th amendment — removal of a president for reason of disability. A debate over this would seem unavoidable now. The question also implies that Mr. Biden’s charade of running for reelection must come to an end. What will the Democratic party do about that?

A not inconsiderable part of our Ukraine problem has been that our chief executive was for years engaged in bribery and money-laundering misadventures there, for which there is abundant and powerful evidence, meaning he may have had very personal interests in keeping that country disordered — and sending billions of dollars there, some of it surely embezzled among the Zelensky government. You’d have to also be aware that the bag-man in those operations, the President’s son, Hunter, might well have misbehaved with drugs and prostitutes on his many trips to Ukraine as a board member of Burisma. Hunter’s self-compiled archive of round-the-world drug-fueled porn recordings on the laptop that (the FBI confirmed recently) was unquestionably his own, suggests that the Ukraine authorities may have their own recordings of him behaving similarly, or worse, and are using them to blackmail “President Joe Biden.”

We will also learn the judgment, probably with remarkable dispatch, of the Supreme Court in the matter of Colorado kicking Donald Trump off the election ballot. Meanwhile, the case against Mr. Trump in Fulton County, Georgia, is falling apart in DA Fani Willis’s pathetically comical scandal, now with a new “love nest” twist (paid for with public money). And Judge Engoron and AG Letitia James might be weighing the fates of their reputations in the shabbily-conducted and bogus real estate valuation fraud case against Mr. Trump, which will eventually be vivisected at some level of appeal. The old saying remains powerful: There are decades when nothing happens, and weeks when decades happen.

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“If Obama came out and said, ‘I’ve had enough. I’ve seen enough. This has to stop,’ then maybe.”

Biden’s Angry Press Conference Made Hur’s Memory Report Infinitely Worse (Sp.)

Biden’s press conference was held in response to the report issued by special counsel Robert Hur concluding that the President should not be charged for his handling of classified documents during and after his time as Vice President. Among the reasons Hur decided against prosecution was that he felt Biden’s defense would present him as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” noting that during their interview the President’s memory was “significantly limited” and that “He did not remember when he was vice president.” The report quoted the President in a conversation that was recorded asking “If it was 2013 – when did I stop being Vice President?” and “In 2009, am I still Vice President?.It also notes that he couldn’t remember “even within several years” when his son Beau Biden died. During the press conference, Biden slammed the report for containing “extraneous commentary” that has “no place in this report.”

Hur

However, moments earlier he stopped midway through a sentence explaining where his deceased son got a rosary for him. “I wear, since the day he died, every single day, the rosary he got from our Lady of–” he said before abruptly pausing for a few seconds and then changing the subject to an annual Memorial Day service he and his family holds for Beau Biden. Biden also snapped at reporters, when one asked him how bad his memory was, Biden shot back “My memory is so bad, I let you speak.” The decision to hold a press conference was motivated by anger, Martin argued, “He couldn’t control it because he was so angry […] he made it infinitely worse.” While Martin disagreed with co-hosts Ted Rall and Angie Wong that Biden may step down or be removed from office due to the report and subsequent press conference, he agreed that it may cause him to drop his bid for reelection. “I don’t see how he runs for reelection. He may stay in office to the end, but now there’s a real specific case to try to say, ‘It’s over, Joe.’ But I don’t think he thinks it is. I don’t think his wife [thinks it is.]”

Wong asked if the 25th Amendment, which allows a President’s cabinet to remove the President from power if he or she is incapacitated, could be invoked in Biden’s case. Martin said he does not believe it will happen but that Democrats know how bad it looks “I do think Democrats believe that they’re in big trouble because of this, but I don’t know the path [to removal,]” he speculated. “Both parties[…] set up a system where the President is so darn powerful […] if he doesn’t step away, and I don’t think he will, I think he is going to stay there.” Martin later added that it is a “tragedy” that his family is allowing him to continue on in his current state. When pressed, Martin did come up with one scenario that Democrats could use to convince Biden to drop out of the race: his former boss.

“If Obama came out and said, ‘I’ve had enough. I’ve seen enough. This has to stop,’ then maybe. But I can’t imagine Obama doing that. [Or] maybe I can, I don’t know. That might be the Hail Mary.”Martin also speculated that the Democratic convention could be a place to make the change. “The Democrats [could] go in and say ‘You know what? We don’t have a path forward here.’ But they’re out of time.” Martin argued. “Any move they make will look desperate, and part of the problem will be, [Biden] didn’t get this way yesterday, he’s been this way for […] two years or three years. How could you do this to this country? And I think that’s how voters will feel.”

MSNBC

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“Tucker Carlson opened a door into modern day Russia, opened a door into the personality of Vladimir Putin, opened a door into the history of Russia, opened a door into the Russian soul..”

Putin Interview May Help Stop West From Committing Suicide – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin has gone viral almost immediately after being posted online on February 8, having been viewed over 50 million times on social media platform X alone mere hours after the upload. The interview in question turned out to be a “very much a tour de force” where Putin introduced American audience “to the nuances of Russian history” and “into the complexities of the Russian soul,” said former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter. “This really isn’t about the content, although there is some interesting information that came out. This is about the process. Tucker Carlson opened a door into modern day Russia, opened a door into the personality of Vladimir Putin, opened a door into the history of Russia, opened a door into the Russian soul,” he said. According to Ritter, during the course of the interview Putin, metaphorically speaking, “helped create a map” that can guide viewers “through the complexities of what makes Russia tick”

While it remains to be seen “how many millions of people” will watch Putin’s interview, Ritter argued that it is “one of the most important interviews of the modern era” because it “has the ability to stop the West and Russia from going to war, to stop the West from committing suicide. “All of the answers to all of the problems that face Russia and the West today were laid out by the Russian president. There’s no hidden agenda. There’s no, you know, secret code that has to be known,” he explained. “You just have to know Russia. You have to understand what makes Russia tick. You have to understand the thinking behind the Russian president’s decisions, the motives behind Russia. You have to understand Russia.” Though it appears unlikely that Carlson “understood Russia” when he set off to take this interview, he “knows that he was given a toolbox complete with tools, and now he has to go out and finish the job,” Ritter added.

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“..they really bring a different historical perspective to life that is very different from what Americans do. Americans don’t remember much.”

Tucker-Putin Interview to Erode Funding Crusade for US in Ukraine (Sp.)

American journalist Tucker Carlson has come under a barrage of verbal attacks and denunciation from the Washington elite for interviewing Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among those going into meltdown mode and vilifying the renowned ex-Fox News host, were the US mainstream media, Team Biden officials and disgruntled, two-time failed presidential contender Hillary Clinton who branded him as a “useful idiot”, claiming that everything that Putin would say would be a “pack of lies”. Meanwhile, millions took to Twitter and Carlson’s website to watch the history-making interview. “The media freak out,” Larry Johnson, a retired CIA intelligence officer, told Sputnik. “The media has been losing credibility with each passing week. They are seen as dishonest and propagandists. So, what they think is really of little importance, I don’t see a groundswell developing to try to attack Tucker. The irony is, if you take the Fox News Network and MSNBC and CNN combined, Tucker has more viewers, more people following him, than those networks do. They’re just jealous.”

“Tonight, Fox News Network and CNN and MSNBC combined may have had a total of 8 million viewers. Tucker is already three times the size of whatever they saw. Now he also has a global audience, but, you know, this thing is going to spread. I would anticipate that before this is done, well over 100 million people, maybe 200 million, will have watched it worldwide,” he predicted. The now-retired CIA official believes that Putin’s interview could end up eroding support for the Kiev regime among American conservatives and make it even more difficult for US lawmakers to funnel billions into Washington’s Ukraine proxy conflict. While speaking to Carlson, Putin briefly recounted Russia’s history to illustrate the strong cultural, religious, and ethnic bonds shared between Russians and Ukrainians.

The Russian president shed light on the post-Cold War period and US schemes to pull Ukraine away from Russia’s fold by promising to admit it into NATO and later fomenting a coup in 2014 with the active participation of neo-Nazi paramilitary groups which soon morphed into an eight-year war by the Kiev regime against Donbass. Putin underscored that Russia did not start the Ukraine conflict in 2022 but moved to end the Kiev regime’s war against its own people. “Putin believes, as I do, that history helps shape the present,” Johnson explained. “And if you don’t understand where you’ve been, you’ll have a tough time to understand where you’re going. And so understanding the history that’s inherent in all of this and particularly people in Russia, in the Caucasus, down into the Middle East, they really bring a different historical perspective to life that is very different from what Americans do. Americans don’t remember much.”

If Americans want to comprehend why Russia rushed to the rescue of Donbass in 2022 and declared the denazification of Ukraine to be one of its key goals, they must remember that the wounds of WW2 that are still fresh in Russia, the ex-CIA official stressed. “Whereas, as you see today, with respect to the Russian people remembering the Great Patriotic War [WW2], they remember,” Johnson noted. “They carry pictures. So it’s still fresh. And the damage inflicted upon the Russian people by the Germans, the Nazis, is something they have not forgotten and won’t easily forget. So I think that’s part of why Putin goes back to history, to drive home the point that Russians have a different timeline, different perspective from Americans. And it’s important for Americans to understand that.”

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“Because it is an election year, and Biden is standing for re-election, his backers in the administrative state are very afraid of any presentation of ‘a loss’ in Ukraine..”

Putin Interview Helps Americans Understand Ukraine Conflict – Kwiatkowski (Sp.)

Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin has shed light on the causes of the Ukrainian conflict which is “in many ways not normal” given Ukraine’s deep historic, cultural and ethnic ties to Russia, as per retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, a former analyst for the US Department of Defense. Putin’s historic remarks have clearly shown to what extent the West meddled in Ukrainian affairs after the collapse of the USSR, fanned nationalist sentiment in the Eastern European state and eventually fomented a coup d’etat in 2014 which was completely unnecessary given that the legitimate Ukrainian leadership at the time sat down with the opposition and was ready to hold snap elections.Per Kwiatkowski, this interview actually helps drive home the message that the US arming of the Kiev regime and prolonging of the Ukraine conflict must be stopped, because it is unpopular, unaffordable and destroys the Eastern European country.

“Most public opinion here opposes sending money to Kiev,” the former Pentagon analyst pointed out. “Because it is an election year, and Biden is standing for re-election, his backers in the administrative state are very afraid of any presentation of ‘a loss’ in Ukraine. Hearing directly from President Putin and via his many incisive soundbites that will be replayed and discussed later for wider audiences will help Americans, although not the Biden administration. It will help the discussion that goes on in the US, and also Europe.”She noted that “members of Congress, especially Republicans, will be watching this in order to see how it may inform them as to how this conflict is going, and what it is about.” Most recently, the Senate voted to begin debate on a $95 billion aid package to fund Ukraine, Israel and other US allies.

However, the US mainstream press admitted that the bill faces an “uphill battle” given that the debate will begin just days before the Senate’s two-week recess and just a few weeks before government shutdown deadlines in March. The legislation is a variant of the $118 billion bill earlier blocked by Republican senators and stripped of its border provisions. Previously, House Speaker Mike Johnson made it clear that the “compromise” bipartisan bill will be dead on arrival in the lower chamber. He and other conservative Republicans also signaled that the foreign aid package should not be rammed through the US Congress until measures to tackle the US border crisis are adopted.

Putin touched on US domestic issues during his interview with Carlson, explaining “what many people here also know, and that is the damage we are doing to our US dollar, and our own ability to be a strong, healthy, economically productive economy,” said Kwiatkowski. The US’ deeper engagement in its proxy war in Ukraine is fraught with a risk of a direct conflict with Russia. When asked about the prospect of NATO-Russia war, Putin said: “If someone has the desire to send in American troops that would certainly bring humanity to the brink of a very serious global conflict… This conflict is taking place thousands of kilometers away from your national territory! Don’t you have anything better to do?” Kwiatkowski believes this message will resonate in the United States.

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“The 2014 Ukraine team, including Biden, Nuland, Jake Sullivan (then and now Biden’s national security advisor), Geoffrey Pyatt, and Antony Blinken (then the deputy national security advisor), remains the Ukraine team today. It is a team of bunglers..”

The Biden-Schumer Plan to Kill More Ukrainians (Jeffrey Sachs)

President Joe Biden is refusing to fold a losing hand as he bets with Ukrainian lives and U.S. taxpayer money. Biden and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer propose to squander the lives of tens of thousands more Ukrainians and $61 billions of federal funds to keep Biden’s disastrous foreign policy failure hidden from view until after the November election. The $61 billion will make no difference on the battlefield except to prolong the war, the tens of thousands of deaths, and the physical destruction of Ukraine. It will not “save” Ukraine. Ukraine’s security can only be achieved at the negotiating table, not by some fantasized military triumph over Russia. $61 billion is not nothing. This worse-than-useless outlay would exceed the combined budgets of the U.S. Department of Labor, Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, and the Women, Infant, and Children nutrition program.

Almost exactly 10 years ago this month, Biden did much to put Ukraine on the path to disaster. This is well known to those who have looked carefully at the facts but is kept hidden from view by the White House, the Senate Democrats, and the mainstream media that back Biden. I have previously provided a detailed chronology, with hyperlinks, here. Ukraine’s security can only be achieved at the negotiating table, not by some fantasized military triumph over Russia.In 1990, President George H. W. Bush, Sr. and his German counterpart Chancellor Helmut Kohl promised Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastward if the Soviet Union accepted German reunification. When the Soviet Union disbanded in December 1991, with Russia as the successor state, American leaders decided to renege.

President Bill Clinton began NATO expansion over the vociferous opposition of top diplomats like George Kennan and the opposition of his own Secretary of Defense, William Perry. In 1997 Zbigniew Brzezinski upped the ante, with a plan for NATO to expand all the way to Ukraine. He famously wrote that without Ukraine, Russia would cease to be a great power. Russian leaders have repeatedly made clear that NATO expansion to Ukraine is understandably the reddest of Russian redlines. In 2007, President Vladmir Putin stated that NATO enlargement to that date was a cheat on the 1990 promise, and that it must go no further. Despite these clear warnings, including by his own diplomats, George W. Bush Jr. committed in 2008 to expand NATO to Ukraine and Georgia in order to surround Russia in the Black Sea.William Burns, now CIA director, and then the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, wrote a famous memo entitled “Nyet means Nyet,” explaining that Russia’s opposition to NATO enlargement was across Russia’s political spectrum.

Most Ukrainians themselves were also firmly against the plan, favoring neutrality over NATO membership. The Ukrainian Rada declared Ukraine’s state sovereignty in 1990 on the basis of becoming “a permanently neutral state.” In 2009, the people of Ukraine elected Viktor Yanukovych, who ran on a platform of neutrality.In early 2014, the U.S. decided to help bring down Yanukovych in a coup. This was standard U.S. deep-state operating procedure, one used on dozens of occasions around the world. The CIA, National Endowment for Democracy, USAID, and NGOs like the Open Society Foundation went to work in Ukraine. The point person was Victoria Nuland, who was first Richard Cheney’s principal deputy foreign policy advisor, then George Bush Jr.’s ambassador to NATO, then Hillary Clinton’s spokesperson, and by 2014 Assistant Secretary of State.

This time, the Russians caught the conspiracy on tape, in an intercepted call between Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (now Assistant Secretary of State). Nuland explains to Pyatt that Vice President Joe Biden will help choose and cement the post-coup government. The 2014 Ukraine team, including Biden, Nuland, Jake Sullivan (then and now Biden’s national security advisor), Geoffrey Pyatt, and Antony Blinken (then the deputy national security advisor), remains the Ukraine team today. It is a team of bunglers. They thought that Yanukovych’s overthrow would quickly usher in NATO expansion. Instead, ethnic Russians in Ukraine virulently rejected the Russophobic post-coup government that was installed by Nuland, and called for autonomy of the ethnically Russian regions. In a referendum, Crimea voted overwhelmingly to join Russia.

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“..Syrsky, who is widely unpopular in the military, is reportedly seen as politically safe as he is an ethnic Russian with no political ambitions..”

Ukraine’s Top General Fired For Disobeying US – Politico (RT)

General Valery Zaluzhny was dismissed as the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces partly because he had clashed with the Pentagon about how to conduct the counteroffensive against Russia last summer, Politico EU reported on Friday. President Vladimir Zelensky sacked Zaluzhny on Thursday, even as the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) warned this might trigger riots or a mutiny. General Aleksandr Syrsky has since been announced as Zaluzhny’s replacement. Officially, the US has neither supported nor opposed Zaluzhny’s firing, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan telling the media last weekend that “we’re just not going to get embroiled in that particular decision.” Unofficially, Zaluzhny was blamed for the Ukrainian disagreements with the Pentagon during the 2023 counteroffensive, a source who has “advised the White House on military matters” told Politico.

British and American generals helped plan and wargame Ukraine’s big offensive push to the Azov Sea, but Zaluzhny “tossed aside” the plan after just four days of brutal fighting and opted for tactics the Ukrainians were more familiar with, according to a Washington Post postmortem published in December. The anonymous adviser told Politico that the Ukrainians “just weren’t interested in US advice, and they generally concluded that we have nothing to offer them advice-wise,” noting that many of the Pentagon’s suggestions ended up “tone-deaf” as the Americans had no experience in this kind of warfare.

While Zaluzhny bore the brunt of the blame for this, the US “kept yelling at the wrong person,” Politico’s source claimed, because he was “hamstrung by Zelensky” and the president had the final say on military matters. The much-heralded offensive resulted in “staggering manpower losses,” according to Politico, while failing to achieve any of its objectives. Since then, disagreements between Zelensky and Zaluzhny have gone public. The leader also suspected the general of wanting to run for president, to the point where his sacking was seen as a political necessity, one Ukrainian analyst told the outlet. Syrsky, who is widely unpopular in the military, is reportedly seen as politically safe as he is an ethnic Russian with no political ambitions.

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“Nuland flew there for a good reason, apparently to sort things out and clear up this conflict between Zelensky and Zaluzhny and to find out what is really happening and how it might all end..”

Nuland Told Zelensky Not To Fire Top General – The Times (RT)

US Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was unhappy with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s plan to fire General Valery Zaluzhny and offered to “smooth over” the differences between the two, The Times reported on Friday. Zelensky fired Zaluzhny as commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces on Thursday. Nuland was in Kiev at the end of January, as rumors of Zaluzhny’s impending dismissal began to gain traction. In a meeting with the US ambassador to Kiev, Bridget Brink, and Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, she supposedly offered to help bridge the gap between the president and his top military leader. Citing a source privy to the meeting, The Times reported that Nuland was “unhappy to see Zaluzhny go” and offered to “smooth over misunderstandings.”

Umerov reportedly told Nuland that Zaluzhny had “reacted with skepticism” to Zelensky’s public statements and direct orders, going so far as to negotiate directly with Western countries about weapons deliveries behind the Defense Ministry’s back. Zelensky was unhappy that the general would not provide any plans for his 2024 military campaigns, Umerov is said to have told Nuland. Russia’s chief delegate to the military security and arms control talks in Vienna, Konstantin Gavrilov, had identified the Zaluzhny affair as the reason for Nuland’s visit long before the Times. “Nuland flew there for a good reason, apparently to sort things out and clear up this conflict between Zelensky and Zaluzhny and to find out what is really happening and how it might all end,” Gavrilov told the Rossiya-24 TV channel on February 1. He also predicted that a reconciliation is “unlikely” because things between the two have “gone too far.”

Officially, the US has neither supported nor opposed Zaluzhny’s replacement. Within days of Nuland’s visit, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told American media that “we’re just not going to get embroiled in that particular decision.” Currently the acting deputy to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Nuland was previously in charge of European and Eurasian affairs at the State Department. In December 2013, she visited Ukraine to hand out pastries to the armed protesters in Kiev’s central square. She was then taped discussing how to “midwife this thing” just days before the February 2014 coup that overthrew the elected Ukrainian government and triggered a conflict with Russia over Crimea and Donbass.

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“In a group chat of Bakhmut/Artyomovsk veterans, one soldier wrote “we’re all f**ked” upon learning of Syrsky’s appointment..”

Ukraine’s New Commander-in-chief Is An Unpopular ‘Butcher’ – Politico (RT)

Ukraine’s new armed forces chief, General Aleksandr Syrsky, is deeply unpopular among the rank and file of the Ukrainian military, who view him as a “butcher” willing to sacrifice waves of troops, Politico reported on Thursday. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky named Syrsky as the new head of the armed forces on Thursday, after firing General Valery Zaluzhny from the post. The switch had been the subject of media rumors for several weeks, and Zelensky hinted in an interview last week that it would form part of a wider “reset” of the country’s military and civilian leadership. Syrsky is a controversial choice, best known for “leading forces into a meat grinder in Bakhmut [called Artyomovsk in Russia], sending wave after wave of troops to face opposition fire,” Politico said.

The unsuccessful defense of Artyomovsk/Bakhmut last year cost Ukraine dearly, and earned Syrsky the nickname ‘butcher’, an anonymous source within the Ukrainian military told the news site. A captain told the outlet that Syrsky’s appointment is a “very bad decision,” adding that soldiers refer to him as ‘General200’, a nickname that Politico said refers to 200 of his men dying, but could also refer to ‘Cargo 200’, a Soviet and Russian military code used to describe corpses being removed from the battlefield. “General Syrsky’s leadership is bankrupt, his presence or orders coming from his name are demoralizing, and he undermines trust in the command in general,” an anonymous Ukrainian military officer and frontline intelligence analyst posted on X. “His relentless pursuit of tactical gains constantly depletes our valuable human resources, resulting in tactical advances such as capturing tree lines or small villages, with no operational goals in mind.”

“This approach creates a never-ending cycle of fruitless assaults that drain personnel,” the officer said. In a group chat of Bakhmut/Artyomovsk veterans, one soldier wrote “we’re all f**ked” upon learning of Syrsky’s appointment, Politico stated. Syrsky takes over command of a depleted military, with Kiev having lost more than 383,000 men since the hostilities started in February 2022, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. Prior to his dismissal, Zaluzhny warned Zelensky that a rapid improvement in Ukraine’s position on the battlefield was unlikely, regardless of who took his place, the Washington Post reported last week. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Russia’s campaign against Ukraine will not be affected by Syrsky’s appointment, and that Moscow will continue until its objectives are achieved.

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“After we withdrew the troops from Kiev, as we promised to do, the Kiev authorities, as their masters usually do, threw [the peace deal] in the dustbin of history..”

General Syrsky, Hero of Kiev or Butcher of Bakhmut? (Sp.)

The mainstream media have spent the better part of a day pumping up newly appointed Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrsky as a modern-day von Clausewitz, hailing him as the commander almost singlehandedly responsible for the defense of Kiev during the first weeks of the conflict with Russia. Here’s what such reports are hiding. The recent decision by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to oust his top general and to replace him with Ground Forces commander Oleksandr Syrsky sent shockwaves throughout the media establishments of Kiev’s NATO patrons. Legacy outlets’ reactions included fears that the political leadership in Kiev may have undermined confidence among the military by swapping General Valery Zaluzhny with Syrsky, and concerns that President Zelensky’s new pet general may not be able to “resist political interference in operational matters.”

Other outlets attempted a positive spin on things, pumping up Syrsky’s ego as a brilliant strategist, with Bloomberg pointing to his supposed key role in the defense of Kiev “against all odds” at the start of Russia’s military operation in 2022, and Business Insider hailing his command as a “shocking upset that surprised many who assumed the capital would fall quickly.” AFP went so far as to suggest that it was Syrsky who scuppered “the Kremlin’s” purported “plans to bring the country to its knees within days.” President Zelensky awarded Syrsky the “Hero of Ukraine” title for the operation. In reality, as many of these same outlets have previously admitted, Russia’s withdrawal of troops from areas around the Ukrainian capital at the start of the conflict was politically motivated.

Specifically, it was based on the expectation that the “gesture of goodwill,” as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called it, would help end the crisis before it escalated into a bloody, full-scale proxy war in the heart of Europe. Syrsky had nothing to do with it. Russia began withdrawing troops from Kiev region on March 29, 2022. The same day, peace talks resumed in Istanbul, Turkiye. Ahead of the negotiations, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkiye confirmed that Russian and Ukrainian negotiators were close to reaching a deal, with Kiev accepting neutrality and non-bloc status. But after Russian troops were gone and Syrsky’s forces came in to replace them without a shot being fired, Zelensky immediately went back on his word and scuppered talks.

“After we withdrew the troops from Kiev, as we promised to do, the Kiev authorities, as their masters usually do, threw [the peace deal] in the dustbin of history,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with African leaders last June, holding up the text of an agreement with Kiev which included “permanent neutrality” enshrined in Ukraine’s constitution, security guarantees, and even details on the size of its standing army in peacetime. In his bombshell interview with Tucker Carlson on Thursday, President Putin reiterated that Russia made the decision to bull back from the Ukrainian capital in the expectation that it would result in a peace deal. “My counterparts in France, in Germany, said ‘how can you imagine them signing a treaty with a gun to their heads? The troops should be pulled back from Kiev.’ I said, ‘alright.’ We withdrew the troops from Kiev.

As soon as we did so, our Ukrainian negotiators almost immediately threw all our agreements reached in Istanbul into the bin and prepared for a long-running armed confrontation with the help of the United States and its satellites in Europe,” Putin recalled. In other words, far from saving Kiev “against all odds” during the chaotic first week’s of Russia’s special military operation, Syrsky “won” his first major battle in NATO’s proxy conflict against Russia exclusively due to geopolitical considerations, and specifically to Moscow’s peacemaking efforts. Syrsky’s fortunes would continue along the same vein through the autumn of 2022, when, during an operational regrouping of Russian forces to concentrate troops along a smaller front as additional troops were called up during Russia’s partial mobilization, the commander was hailed, again without any particular skilled maneuvers on his part, for the so-called “Kharkov counteroffensive,” which saw Ukrainian forces reoccupying much of the region with almost no resistance as Russian forces pulled back.

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“..the goal being to force all foreigners out of the region ..”

A major change. So far they have only targeted ships linked to Israel.

Houthis Say All Warships Must Leave Red Sea (Sp.)

The Houthis will continue to fire on Western warships operating in the Red Sea, with the goal being to force all foreigners out of the region, Yemeni Supreme Political Council member Mohammed Ali al-Houthi has announced. “Our message is that just as the British warship has left the region for overhaul, the other warships will likewise leave the region…All [foreign] warships must leave the Red Sea, stop their attacks on Yemen, and end their blockade of the country,” al-Houthi said Thursday, in the wake of reports that the HMS Diamond guided missile destroyer would be “temporarily” pulled out of the Red Sea for refit following repeated attacks by the militia. Houthi-affiliated media released footage earlier in the week showing what appeared to be a cruise missile appearing to strike a warship, later said to be the HMS Diamond, and setting it ablaze.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense did not comment on the footage, but did confirm Tuesday that the Royal Navy’s HMS Richmond frigate would be taking the HMS Diamond’s place to continue “to ensure freedom of navigation in the Red Sea” as the latter is taken out of service for refit. “HMS Diamond joined Operation Prosperity Guardian…in December and has maintained a near constant presence in a ‘high threat area’ of the Red Sea,” the MoD said in a statement. “The destroyer came under fire in three separate attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, successfully destroying nine drones using her world-class Sea Viper missile system and guns,” the ministry added. The warship is now expected to “undergo a period of maintenance and resupply as HMS Richmond takes over her important mission,” the MoD said. “The situation in the region is fraught, and ships in the force are firing on a daily basis – we hand over the baton with our best wishes to the fantastic team in Richmond who we know will do a great job,” HMS Diamond Commander Peter Evans said of the rotation, offering no further details about its nature.

Coalition forces have been extremely sensitive in discussing Houthi attacks, possible casualties or injuries in the Red Sea mission. Last week, US authorities revised their story about the deaths of two Navy SEALs, who were lost at sea in the Red Sea, indicating that the troops perished while trying to board a ship suspected of trying to smuggle weapons to Yemen. Separately this week, the Houthis reported an attack on the Morning Tide, a Barbados-flagged, British-owned cargo ship, and the Star Nasia, a Marshall Islands-flagged American ship. The company operating the Morning Tide confirmed that its vessel had been struck in a drone attack on February 6, causing minor damage to the port side of the vessel. No injuries were reported.

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“..Joe Biden, the official sponsor of Israel’s four-month-long massacre..”

Any Gaza Deal Could Break Netanyahu’s Coalition (Harb)

There are two words that sum up all the noise around the Paris negotiations over a Gaza war settlement today: “temporary” and “sustainable.” The truce envisaged by the parties present in Paris – Qatar, Egypt, Israel, the US, and France – is a “framework agreement.” The Israeli occupation authorities want any deal to deliver only a “temporary cessation of military operations,” which augurs an eventual resumption of its massacre in Gaza. Hamas and other Palestinian resistance factions, meanwhile, are proposing, through various amendments, a complete cessation of military operations as a prelude to a “sustainable calm.” It is not yet clear why the US administration of Joe Biden, the official sponsor of Israel’s four-month-long massacre, insists on dealing with the “Gaza war” file as if its core issue is the release of Israeli prisoners held in Gaza – rather than the resolution of a decades-long occupation of Palestinian lands and people that led to the state of affairs today.

Any treatment or settlement of this war must start with the occupation and its vast repercussions – the very essence of the conflict. Instead, the White House’s stance reflects an American view that Washington does not bear sole responsibility for now, and raises questions about the nature and effectiveness of the role of the Qatari and Egyptian “mediators.” The latter two Arab states were part of the Paris discussions to draft the agreement over a week ago, with US–Israeli intelligence agencies represented by CIA Chief William Burns, Mossad Chief David Barnea, and the head of the Israeli Shin Bet Ronen Barr. Hours after Hamas announced the submission of its “framework agreement” response to the Qatari and Egyptian mediators, statements issued by the Israelis and Americans revealed their intent to sabotage a genuine peace or a halt to military conflict.

US President Biden commented prematurely by saying that Hamas’ remarks were “exaggerated,” while Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant – fresh out of talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken – said the response presented by Hamas was “negative,” and was intentionally drafted to be rejected by Israel. From his perspective, Gallant isn’t exactly wrong. What Israel seeks from the agreement is a US–Arab mandate to restart its war once Israeli prisoners have been released by Gaza’s resistance. The bottom line is fairly unambiguous: Israel wants a continuous war. Gallant concedes publicly that “the war is far from over.” Netanyahu, after meeting Blinken, said, “We have to end the war with a landslide victory, and it is a matter of time. Our army is advancing systematically, and we have ordered the army to work in Rafah,” where the occupation army has for days been threatening a major offensive along the border with Egypt. This will mean the re-displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians already displaced to the border area over the past weeks.

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Russia pays attention.

German Foreign Minister’s Grandfather Was ‘Ardent Nazi’ – Bild (RT)

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s grandfather was “an unconditional National Socialist” who had read ‘Mein Kampf’ and fully stood with the Nazi regime, according to documents seen by the tabloid Bild. Baerbock has spoken publicly about her grandfather’s wartime experiences, telling an audience in 2022 that Waldemar Baerbock returned to Germany from the east in early 1945 “as a defeated soldier.” What Baerbock did not mention was that her grandfather was an officer in the Wehrmacht, and had been awarded one of the Third Reich’s highest military honors, the War Merit Cross with Swords in 1944, Bild reported on Thursday. The cross was bestowed on soldiers for “special services when deployed under enemy weapons or for special services in military warfare.”

According to the newspaper, Waldemar Baerbock’s military records describe him as “an unconditional National Socialist,” who had read Adolf Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’ and whose character was “completely rooted in National Socialism.” Asked for comment, Baerbock’s office said that “the foreign minister was not aware of the documents.” Germany’s Federal Archives note that military records from the time “almost always” describe officers with phrases like “stands firmly on the basis of the National Socialist worldview,” and praise their “impeccable National Socialist attitude.” According to Bild, Waldemar Baerbock told his family in the late 1990s that he had served in the Wehrmacht. Before he died in 2016, he wrote down his war memoirs in a notebook, which he passed to his family. Baerbock mentioned her grandfather in her 2021 autobiography, but did not state whether his notebook contained any references to his supposed Nazi ideology.

During a 2022 speech marking the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, where Nazi officials formulated and planned the so-called ‘final solution’ for Europe’s jews, Baerbock declared that even low-level government functionaries of the Third Reich were responsible for “the crimes and genocide of the Nazi regime.” Annalena Baerbock was a co-leader of Alliance90/The Greens in Germany before becoming foreign minister in late 2021. An ardent interventionist, Baerbock has steered the party away from its long-standing policy of pacifism, and reportedly pushed Chancellor Olaf Scholz to approve shipments of heavy weapons to Ukraine. While her party’s 2021 manifesto explicitly stated that it wanted to “end European arms exports to war and crisis zones,” Germany has become the second-largest supplier of arms to Kiev after the US.

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SCOTUS to the rescue.

The “Unassailable” Theory Faces a Potential Unanimous Rejection (Turley)

This week, the argument before the Supreme Court in Trump v. Anderson captivated the nation as the justices considered the disqualification of former President Donald Trump from the 2024 presidential ballot. For some of us, the argument brought back vivid memories of covering Bush v. Gore almost 25 years ago. While one justice (Clarence Thomas) remains on the Court, the last major intervention of the Court into a close presidential election is a matter of distant history. As someone who covered both cases, much is regrettably familiar: the deep division in the country and rage of many advocates. However, unlike 2000, the Court itself appears virtually unanimous in this case. The biggest difference is not the Court but the coverage. The Trump case exposed the erosion of legal coverage in the media. For millions of Americans, the cold reception of all of the justices to the novel theory under the 14th Amendment came as a surprise.

Networks and newspapers have been featuring experts who assured the public that this theory was well-based and disqualification well-established. The only barrier, they insisted, was the blind partisanship of the six conservative justices on the Court. Twenty-four years ago, I was covering the Bush v. Gore case for CBS. I had just left NBC as an analyst when the election controversy exploded. While there were the usual partisans and some outlets slanted the merits, the coverage was overall balanced and informative. This is not a case of the Court changing. We have changed as legal analysts. The Court itself is deeply divided on some issues. However, the justices gave a fair hearing to both sides. That is not the case with the coverage. Looking back at the coverage, most legacy media called upon the same legal experts who have previously endorsed virtually every claim made against Trump. They predictably declared Trump as clearly disqualified despite the fact that this theory has never been embraced by the federal courts.

Figures like federal court Judge J. Michael Luttig who called these arguments against disqualification as “revealing, fatuous, and politically and constitutionally cynical.” Others insisted that the argument that the provision might not apply to presidents as “absurd.” That was the argument pushed by Justice Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson. Many of the media turned to Professor Laurence Tribe despite a long record of constitutional claims rejected by the Court, in some cases unanimously. Tribe assured the public that the theory was “unassailable” and also insisted that the theory (later voiced by Jackson) is “an absurd interpretation.” It is important that such views are heard in the coverage. The problem is that the media has, once again, pushed this novel (and in my view unfounded) theory to the point that many assumed that it was indeed unassailable.

What was most troubling is the repeated attacks on the Court by legal experts who suggested that the only thing keeping Trump on the ballot was the bias of conservative justices. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D. Md.) declared “This is their opportunity to behave like real Supreme Court justices.” It appears that both Justices Kagan and Jackson did not behave like “real Supreme Court justices” in oral argument by objecting to core aspects of this theory. We will have to wait for the final opinion but most of us are predicting a reversal of Colorado and the possibility of a unanimous or near unanimous decision. The question is whether such a result will change how media outlets frame these disputes in the future. After weeks of portraying the opposition as only resting with the right of the Court, the coverage had a weird disjointed feel as some of the same commentators reported that the justices appeared uniformly unconvinced by this “unassailable” theory.

Turley Kagan

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“The fourth estate has literally died and has been replaced by phalanx of corrupt young men and women who have redefined the profession entirely as an extension of the state and its craven objectives..”

Biden’s Eulogy Will Be ‘Journalism RIP’. How He Destroyed the 4th Estate (Jay)

The Biden administration is inventing a phoney war and journalists are supporting the narrative without even missing a heartbeat. The fourth estate has literally died and has been replaced by phalanx of corrupt young men and women who have redefined the profession entirely as an extension of the state and its craven objectives. In the UK, the odious Douglas Murray who has shown Britain from day one of the recent conflict in Gaza that he is more than happy to replicate every item of fake news that Israel’s IDF is happy to hand him – without even acknowledging the bigger picture of a brutal occupation. He is, essentially, a pro-Zionist fanatic and it beggars belief that he is even allowed to go on air and report, when he has shown his almost cult-like following of the Netanyahu government and its objectives to wipe out the civilian population of Gaza. He is a genocide denier and yet he is allowed to continue his work as a journalist. Should we be shocked though to learn that just recently his diatribe of on air lies about the Gaza genocide, which always paints the Israelis as the victims and the Palestinians as savages, has been taken to the next level?

Murray now is in London trying to help Israel with its fundraising. Thirty years ago, this would have been unthinkable. A wall of resistance from professionals which would have blocked him in the media industry would have prevailed. “Unethical” would be the key word which would have put this vile Israeli apologist back in his box. But in modern Britain, media has become so corrupt, that few, if any are shocked that a journalist can work openly as an activist as well. One could argue that one role is merely an extension of the other, both of them dripping with the blood of Palestinian children. Real journalism is being shut down at an alarming rate. Partisan journalism, which even allows hacks to be activists at the same time, is the new norm. To give you an idea just how far this has advanced, any kind of criticism of how the state handles or reports on the Gaza genocide is met with a steel hand in a steel glove in both the UK and U.S. Pity the young students at Northwestern University who have obscure anti Klu Klux Klan federal laws levelled against them by the FBI for producing a parody newspaper which mocked U.S. policy of Israel and Gaza. You couldn’t make it up.

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AI

 

 

 

 

Kiwi

 

 

Baby hippo

 

 

Dinosaur

 

 

Belly Rubs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1755600174536360156

 

 

Beetle Frogs

 

 

Illusion

 

 

Stick

 

 

 

 

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Feb 092024
 


Edward Hopper Gloucester Beach, Bass Rocks 1924

 

Tucker Carlson: The Putin Interview (ZH)
Tucker Carlson’s Moscow Tour Sparked Major Buzz in US, Russia – Peskov (Sp.)
Hillary Clinton Kicked Off Years of Anti-Russia Hysteria (Miles)
“My Memory Is Fine” Biden Fumes, Before Proving it’s Not (ZH)
‘Too Old And Feeble’: No Charges For Biden (ZH)
Zaluzhny Removed as Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief (Sp.)
Zelensky Was Warned Of Riots If He Sacked Top General (RT)
Ukrainian Suffering Severe Shortage of Infantry, as Morale Plummets (Sp.)
Capitol Hill Bipartisan Bill Falls Apart (Manley)
Threats Of Open Border Chaos Turn Into Rumors Of ‘Executive Action’ (ZH)
US Blocks Yemen-Saudi Peace Deal (Antiwar)
The EV Transition Is Coming Undone (JoNova)
Why Medvedev Is Free to Go Full ‘Born to Be Wild’ (Pepe Escobar)
EU Fears Trade War With Trump But Biden Wrecked Its Economy (Sp.)
Trump Pleased After SCOTUS Ballot-Ban Hearing Ends (ZH)
Every Child Is A Whole Universe (CD)

 

 

 

 

Vote

 

 

RFK

 

 

 

 

Ursula
https://twitter.com/i/status/1755270763056156863

 

 

Malema

 

 

 

 

Tucker was not prepared for Putin taking control of the interview. But he did.

Tucker Carlson: The Putin Interview (ZH)

The trigger for the Ukraine war: “Initially, it was the coup in Ukraine that provoked the conflict… They launched the war in Donbas in 2014 with the use of aircraft and artillery against civilians. This is when it all started.” Getting to the meat of the Ukraine war, Putin told Carlson that “The former Russian leadership assumed that the Soviet Union had ceased to exist and therefore there were no longer any ideological dividing lines. Russia even agreed voluntarily and proactively to the collapse of the Soviet Union, and believed that this would be understood by the so-called civilized West as an invitation for cooperation and association.” “We were promised no NATO to the east, not an inch to the east, as we were told. And then what? They said, well, it’s not enshrined on paper, so we’ll expand.”

“That is what Russia was expecting, both from the United States and this so-called collective West as a whole. There were smart people, including in Germany, Egon Bahr, a major politician of the Social Democratic Party, who insisted in his personal conversations with the Soviet leadership on the brink of the collapse of the Soviet Union, that they knew security systems should be established in Europe. Help should be given to unified Germany, but a new system should be also established to include the United States, Canada, Russia and other Central European countries. But NATO needs not to expand. That’s what he said. If NATO expands, everything would be just the same as during the Cold War, only closer to Russia’s borders. That’s all. He was a wise old man, but no one listened to him. In fact, he got angry once. If, he said, you don’t listen to me, I’m never setting my foot in Moscow once again. Everything happened just as he had said.”

Vladimir Putin: I already said that we did not refuse to talk. We’re willing to negotiate. It is the western side, and Ukraine is obviously a satellite state of the US. It is evident. I do not want you to take it as if I am looking for a strong word or an insult. But we both understand what is happening. The financial support. 72 billion U.S. dollars was provided. Germany ranks second, then other European countries come. Dozens of billions of U.S. dollars are going to Ukraine. There’s a huge influx of weapons. In this case, you should tell the current Ukrainian leadership to stop and come to a negotiating table, rescind this absurd decree. We did not refuse.

Tucker: Sure, but you already said it. I didn’t think you meant it is an insult because you already said correctly, it’s been reported that Ukraine was prevented from negotiating a peace settlement by the former British Prime Minister acting on behalf of the Biden administration. So, of course they’re a satellite. Big countries control small countries. That’s not new. And that’s why I asked about dealing directly with the Biden administration, which is making these decisions, not President Zelensky of Ukraine.

Surrender

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“Does Carlson need some sort of protection of ours? I do not think so. I think he is capable of standing up for himself..”

Tucker Carlson’s Moscow Tour Sparked Major Buzz in US, Russia – Peskov (Sp.)

The arrival of US journalist Tucker Carlson in Moscow, along with his subsequent interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has caused a major commotion in the US and Russia, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday, noting the anticipation and thorough analysis that is expected to surround this interview.[..] “Carlson’s persona, his arrival in Russia and the interview with Putin is an event that has stirred up much public attention not only in the United States, but also in our country, to be fair. This attention is sometimes, let us say, extraordinary. Obviously, this is an interview that is anticipated. [And] obviously, this is an interview that will be read and analyzed for more than [just] one day,” Peskov told reporters.

The spokesman emphasized that any interview with the head of state, particularly with a foreign representative, is a major event. Peskov further stated that Moscow does not have any specific expectations regarding the reaction to Putin’s interview with Carlson. However, he highlighted the importance of diverse international reactions, noting that they should have a presence in some form. “Does Carlson need some sort of protection of ours? I do not think so. I think he is capable of standing up for himself. Despite the not-so-sane voices in the United States, there are also some sane voices out there. Hence, we will stay tuned. We believe it is vital that as many individuals worldwide as possible become familiar with the perspective and outlook of the Russian leader,” Peskov remarked.

Tucker terror

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They were getting along fine. But Hillary needed someone to blame her loss on.

“..The only way to secure peace and prevent World War III may lie in electing, or reelecting, a president unbeholden to the US’ political and foreign policy establishment…”

Hillary Clinton Kicked Off Years of Anti-Russia Hysteria (Miles)

Hostility towards Russia has grown steadily in US media discourse since former President Donald Trump’s electoral victory in 2016. The businessman’s triumph was a seismic moment in politics which, along with Brexit in the United Kingdom, fundamentally reshaped the political conversation in the West.Now, with US-Russia relations at their lowest point since the Cold War, observers are taking a look back to understand how Russophobia grew to such epic proportions in the Western world. Security analyst Mark Sleboda joined Sputnik’s Fault Lines program Wednesday to examine the media response to Tucker Carlson’s interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and host Jamarl Thomas noted the influence of one person in particular in fueling anti-Russia hysteria.

“This all goes back to Hillary Clinton if I’m being honest,” said Thomas as Sleboda noted that Russophobia limited Trump’s options in diplomacy with Russia during his presidency. “The Democratic position [was that] it was Vladimir Putin who took Donald Trump under his wing and carried him, like the footprints thing, where Jesus carried the person when they only saw one set of footprints and that Putin is the reason that Trump got in office.” “And Hillary Clinton breathlessly told everybody this in fact, that’s what she ran on after the fact she lost,” Thomas added. “That was one of the things that she basically blamed. Democrats believe it to this day and they believe it because from their point of view, there was no way that this incompetent man beat our most qualified woman in the history of women in regards to politics,” the host pointed out. “That skew is there because Hillary Clinton seeded the population with that nonsense. It’s unfortunate, to be honest,” Thomas insisted.

Sleboda agreed with the assessment, adding, “there’s no question she [Clinton] was a big player. “I mean, and she didn’t stop at slurring Donald Trump, of course,” Sleboda noted. “She slurred members of her own party who were – Tulsi Gabbard – who were running for president, as a Russian agent simply because Tulsi Gabbard had positions on foreign policy that were critical of existing US foreign policy, including on events that led up to this conflict in Ukraine.” “So, Hillary Clinton is just so pro-hegemon, you know, US playing the role of world hegemon that she’s willing to slur even members of her own party,” the analyst concluded, “as being Putin’s puppets, much less, of course, Donald Trump.”

Democrats have increasingly favored accusing their political opponents of ties to Russia since 2016, when members of the Hillary Clinton campaign devised the tactic as a way to explain the candidate’s unanticipated loss to Donald Trump in that year’s presidential election. Within 24 hours of her [Clinton’s] concession speech, [Campaign manager Robby] Mook and [John] Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up, according to an account by journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. “For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.” Senator Bernie Sanders has also engaged in the McCarthy-esque argument. “Who’s paying you?” the Vermont politician who aligns with the Democratic Party angrily asked when confronted by a former campaign chief over his vote to arm Ukrainian neo-Nazis.

As relations between the US and Russia sink even lower amid the United States’ failed effort to defeat Russia in the US-backed proxy war in Ukraine, one increasingly senses that liberals have picked up the “neo-McCarthyist” mantle of demonizing Russia, as host Melik Abdul pointed out. The only way to secure peace and prevent World War III may lie in electing, or reelecting, a president unbeholden to the US’ political and foreign policy establishment.

Hillary
https://twitter.com/i/status/1755568411990470778

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“..Biden also bizarrely claimed that he had vowed to be a “president” for everybody “whether they were from a red state or a green state.”

“My Memory Is Fine” Biden Fumes, Before Proving it’s Not (ZH)

In less than 15 minutes, President Biden proved Special Counsel Robert Hur right and confirmed all concerns about his fitness for office. As we detailed earlier, Hur wrote in his report that he would not suggest bringing charges against the president for his mishandling of classified documents because, “Biden will likely present himself to the jury, as he did during his interview with our office, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” The president, having ‘seen dead people’ numerous times this week, was apparently displeased with the report, and decided the correct course of action was a (rare) press conference to set the world straight on his mental acuity. It did not go well. He welcomed the special counsel’s decision not to bring charges: “The bottom line is the matter is now closed,” Biden asserted, with respect to the report.But, then proceeded to throw his staff under the bus:

“I take responsibility for not having seen exactly what my staff was doing,” he said. “Things that appeared in my garage, things that came out of my home, things that were moved, were moved not by me, but my staff, but my staff,” he continued. Then he took issue with the special counsel report’s questioning his mental acuity around the timing of his son’s death, and angry-old-man mode was unleashed: “How in the hell dare he raise that? Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself, it was none of their damn business,” Biden thundered. Biden started to say he wore his son’s rosary every day since the day Beau died, but stopped, when he appeared to forget where the rosary came from. “Every Memorial Day we hold a service remembering him, attended by friends and family and the people who loved him,” Biden continued, after a pause. “I don’t need anyone. I don’t need anyone to remind me when he passed away.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1755784945371398528

The mumbling continued as opened up the press conference to questions – not a great idea in hindsight. Constantly defending himself against allegations of failing memory, Biden appeared to snap when Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked Biden, “How bad is your memory?” “My memory is so bad I let you speak,” Biden said. “My memory is fine. Take a look at what I’ve done since I’ve become president.” Doocy pressed, pointing to the Special Counsel’s description of Biden as an “elderly, well-meaning man.” “I am well-meaning. And I’m an elderly man. And I know what the hell I’m doing,” Biden reacted. “I’ve been president – I put this country back on its feet. I don’t need his recommendation.” Biden’s rage reached its zenith when a CNN reporter began to ask a question about the American people’s concerns about his mental state (a perspective that is widely held according to many polls). “

The American people have been watching and they have expressed concerns about your age,” the reporter said. “That is your judgement! That is your judgement! That is not the judgement of the press!” Biden shouted back at her. Biden also bizarrely claimed that he had vowed to be a “president” for everybody “whether they were from a red state or a green state.” And then, as his piéce de resistance, after initially walking out, the president called Israel’s response in Gaza “over the top” and then mistakenly referred to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the President of Mexico. “Initially, the president of Mexico — Sisi — did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in. I talked to him. I convinced him to open the gate.” He did not correct himself. Watch the full (15 minutes from start to finish) shitshow here:

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Meanwhile, where are the nuclear codes?

‘Too Old And Feeble’: No Charges For Biden (ZH)

The latest evidence of a two-tiered justice system and Democrats apparently above the law comes in a report released Thursday afternoon by the special counsel investigating President Biden’s mismanagement of classified documents, which decided against charging the president.”Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” according to a special counsel’s final report. In the report, special counsel Robert Hur wrote, “Biden will likely present himself to the jury, as he did during his interview with our office, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

Despite the president’s mishandling of classified documents about foreign policy and the military and pages and pages of entries about national security, the special counsel concluded: “We conclude that no criminal charges are warranted in this matter. “We reach the same conclusion even if Department of Justice policy did not foreclose criminal charges against a sitting president.” This report was released one year after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Hur as the special counsel to oversee the investigation into classified documents discovered at the president’s office and Deleware’s home in late 2022.

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Mere days ago, Syrsky said he didn’t want the job. The US are pushing. I saw things on both Zerohedge and Moon of Alabama about a 29 year old deputy battalion commander named Lt. Oleksandr Shyrshyn. They’re not the same person. Syrsky is 58. He’s Russian-born and has a brother who lives in Russia.

Zaluzhny Removed as Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief (Sp.)

The general’s ouster comes after months of intrigue between himself and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who slammed the commander for revealing that Kiev’s summer 2023 counteroffensive had ended in failure. Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny has left his post as the Ukraine’s top general, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov has announced. “General Valery Zaluzhny had one of the most difficult tasks – to lead the Armed Forces of Ukraine during the Great War with Russia,” Umerov wrote in a social media post Thursday evening. “But war does not remain the same. War changes and demands change. Battles of 2022, 2023 and 2024 are three different realities. 2024 will bring new changes for which we must be ready. New approaches, new strategies are needed,” he added.

“Today, a decision was made on the need to change the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I am sincerely grateful to Valery Fedorovych for all his achievements and victories,” Umerov wrote. Earlier in the day, Zaluzhny and Zelensky published photos to their respective social media confirming that they had met. “I have just met with the supreme commander. We had an important and serious conversation. A decision was made about the need to change approaches and strategy. I am grateful to all those close to me, to the team at the General Staff, the Defense Ministry, the president of Ukraine,” Zaluzhny wrote. In a video address Thursday evening, Zelensky confirmed that Zaluzhny had been dismissed, and announced that he would be replaced as commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces by Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrsky, a Russian-born officer who has served as commander of Ukraine’s Ground Forces since 2019.

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“.. if Zelensky wants a “reset,” then he should start with himself and other officials in his government, Poroshenko added…”

Zelensky Was Warned Of Riots If He Sacked Top General (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has yet to sack the country’s commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny because the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) warned him that such a move could lead to unrest, sources told Ukrainska Pravda newspaper. The paper reported on Wednesday that it had been planned to make Zaluzhny’s dismissal public on Friday, February 2, but the move was delayed because of the advice coming from the SBU. According to sources, the agency told its staff to be ready for riots in the Ukrainian capital Kiev if the general, who remains popular with both the public and soldiers, were removed. The SBU also contacted some of the military commanders, asking them to keep an eye on their troops and make sure none of them leave their positions, they added.

Reports of tensions between Zelensky and Zaluzhny have been circulating for months, with the failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive last year believed to have worsened relations. In mid-January, Bloomberg reported that the falling out between the pair happened after the president was angered by the general describing the situation on the battlefield with Russia as “a stalemate.” Zaluzhny later retracted his comments, but “stresses have remained despite official assertions that the leadership is unified,” the newspaper said. Rumors that the commander-in-chief was about to be removed emerged in late January, coming from both military and political sources. However, they were denied by both the president’s office and the defense ministry.

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that Zelensky’s administration had informed the White House that the decision had been made to dismiss Zaluzhny. The Biden administration officials accepted the move, neither supporting nor opposing it, the newspaper’s sources said. Zelensky publicly addressed the situation for the first time in an interview with Italy’s RAI TG1 news channel on Saturday, saying that he’s planning “a replacement of a series of state leaders, not just in a single sector like the military.” According to the president, a “reset” is needed because “if we want to win, we must all push in the same direction, convinced of victory.”Earlier this week, former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko suggested that Zaluzhny should be left in charge of the military. And if Zelensky wants a “reset,” then he should start with himself and other officials in his government, Poroshenko added.

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“You can feel that people are morally and physically exhausted..”

Ukrainian Suffering Severe Shortage of Infantry, as Morale Plummets (Sp.)

Ukrainian troops are experiencing an acute shortage of infantry, the military is physically exhausted, and its morale is falling, US newspaper The Washington Post reported, citing soldiers and commanders of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Ukrainian military believes the shortage of personnel could have a domino effect, especially in winter, when weather conditions are difficult. “You can feel that people are morally and physically exhausted,” the publication quoted a Ukrainian commander, who identified himself as Sergei, as saying. Battalion commander Alexander told the publication that no one is joining the army, because “the state has failed to explain to them that they should go there.”

A lack of ammunition and weapons is also a problem for Ukrainian troops. According to one commander, his unit had received only 10 shells for two howitzers. The reports of acute troop shortages come as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is reportedly preparing to replace his military chief, General Valery Zaluzhny. The question of how many new soldiers Ukraine needs to mobilize has been among the major stumbling blocks between the two. Zaluzhny previously told Zelensky that Ukraine needs nearly 500,000 new troops, but the latter privately and publicly pushed back on that figure. The draft law on mobilization was supported by Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, in the first reading on Wednesday. Unlike a previous version, it does not provide for the conscription of disabled people, but it significantly tightens the process itself.

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“..we’ve got to stop lumping all of this stuff together. I can tell you that the people do not want, in my district, to continue funding this Ukraine war with no accountability, no plan to victory..”

Capitol Hill Bipartisan Bill Falls Apart (Manley)

Lawmakers in DC released a large bipartisan bill on Sunday. That bill aimed to reform immigration policy in a decade with $20 billion (out of $118 billion in total for funding for Ukraine and Israel). On Wednesday the US Senate blocked the bill, but is open to hearing a revised version of the legislation which includes Ukraine and Israel aid but not immigration reform. On Wednesday, Gerry Wilkins, a political consultant and candidate for US House Alabama District 6, spoke with Sputnik’s Fault Lines. Wilkins said that US voters in Alabama aren’t interested in aiding Ukraine with “no accountability, no plan to victory”. “I think Speaker Johnson has a very difficult time ahead. When you look at the majority in the House. But he does need to bring a standalone Israel bill, a standalone border security bill. And we’ve got to stop lumping all of this stuff together. I can tell you that the people do not want, in my district, to continue funding this Ukraine war with no accountability, no plan to victory,” Wilkins explained.

“That’s just a nonstarter for people in Alabama, especially when we have an invasion going on at the southern border.” The political consultant sounded off the steps that he would like the US government to take in addressing security at the US-Mexico border, including an end to what is called “catch and release”—a system in which an illegal immigrant is released to the community while they await hearings in immigration court instead of detaining them. “We need to reimplement the stay in Mexico policy,” Wilkins urged. “We need to end catch and release. We need to activate the National Guard at all of our border states. And we need to put a stop to this. And we have the technology to do it. And then we need to go after these cartels that are perpetrating this human trafficking and this fentanyl that is just pouring into our country.”

Wilkins then reaffirmed that there is a strong allyship between the US and Israel which has been active since the Vietnam War. Despite a difference in politics between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the US has continued to funnel billions of dollars to aid Israel in their conflict at the Gaza Strip.But now, half of US adults believe Israel has “gone too far” in their military campaign in Gaza as the death toll has risen to 27,000 people, with two-thirds of those victims being women and children. “So clearly, you know, Israel is a separate issue from Ukraine. And I’m completely in support of helping Israel, they’re our greatest ally in the Middle East, their strategic importance to us. So, I do think that needs to be a priority for us,” he said.

“And I also understand those that are concerned about the fiscal component to it, because, I mean, goodness, we’re approaching $35 trillion national debt right now. And every dollar we’re spending, we’re borrowing. So it’s clearly an issue we have to address. And we have a very tight majority. And there’s different opinions on this, but I think there are ways to navigate it,” Wilkins added.“And the fact that they’re trying to say, this is a border bill when they want to send another $68 billion to Ukraine. It’s ridiculous,” the analyt emphasized.

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“Perhaps the administration realizes that passing legislation on border security attached to Ukraine and Israel aid is a no-go, while actively fighting Texas over keeping the border open is not a good look…”

Threats Of Open Border Chaos Turn Into Rumors Of ‘Executive Action’ (ZH)

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre warned that unless the $118B ‘bipartisan’ border security bill (which allocates more than $75 billion for Ukraine and Israel) isn’t passed, there will be chaos at the southern US border.”Because congressional Republicans are choosing partisan politics over our national security and refusing to pass the bipartisan national security agreement that includes significant border reforms and funding, over the coming weeks, ICE will be forced to reduce operations because of budget shortfalls,” she said on Air Force One, The Politics Brief reports. “We have asked Congress for additional funding and resources, and every time Congress has provided less than we asked for, or most recently, completely ignored our supplemental request.” Likely sensing that nobody is buying what they’re selling, NBC News reported Wednesday night – citing anonymous sources (of course) that the Biden administration is now considering taking executive action to deter illegal immigration across the southern border.

Perhaps the administration realizes that passing legislation on border security attached to Ukraine and Israel aid is a no-go, while actively fighting Texas over keeping the border open is not a good look. And of course, NBC wants us to know that “the plans have been under consideration for months.” So, why force Congress to cough up billions for foreign countries first before playing that card then? Why not keep the border closed three years ago, instead of nuking Trump-era policies and announcing that the US was open to any and all? “The unilateral measures under consideration might upset some progressives in Congress, the officials said, but they noted that Democratic mayors who have asked for more help from the federal government to handle the influx of migrants in their cities would be pleased. The measures are still being drafted and are not expected to take place any time soon.

Biden faces growing political backlash, some of it from members of his own party, over his handling of the border as he campaigns for re-election. He plans to cite the Republican turnabout on the bipartisan border legislation as proof that for political reasons the GOP does not really want to solve the problem. But he is still vulnerable on the issue, trailing his likely 2024 opponent, former President Donald Trump, by more than 30 points on securing the border and controlling immigration, according to a new NBC News poll released this week.” -NBC News. “It’s a plan B,” said an anonymous official.

Sheriff
https://twitter.com/i/status/1755621635665658220

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“..the council does not have much influence and is known in Yemen as the “government of hotels” since many of its members are in exile..”

US Blocks Yemen-Saudi Peace Deal (Antiwar)

The US is purposely blocking a Yemen peace deal that was negotiated between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. The US decision to re-designate the Houthis as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” will block the payment of public sector workers living in Houthi-controlled Yemen, who have gone without pay for years. The payment of civil workers has been a key demand of the Houthis and is part of the first phase of the peace deal. The Houthis had asked for the salaries to be paid for using oil revenue that goes to the Saudi-backed Yemeni government, whose leaders are mainly based in Saudi Arabia. It’s unclear if the Saudi side agreed to the Houthi demand or if they decided to pay the salaries using other means.

The first phase of the peace deal would also fully open Yemen’s airports and sea ports that have been under blockade since 2015, another aspect of the deal that will be complicated by the new US sanctions, which will go into effect later this month. A US official told the Times that the US would only allow the payment of Yemeni civil salaries if the Houthis choose the path of “peace” and stop attacking shipping in the Red Sea. But the Houthis, who govern the most populated area of Yemen, have been clear the operations will only stop once the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza ends. Instead of pressuring Israel to stop its onslaught, President Biden launched a new war against the Houthis, which has dramatically escalated the situation.

The Houthis are now targeting American and British commercial shipping, and there’s no sign they will back down. Since January 12, the US has launched at least 18 rounds of missile strikes on Houthi-controlled Yemen. President Biden has acknowledged the strikes are not “working” since they haven’t stopped Houthi attacks. But he vowed to continue bombing Yemen anyway. The US supported a Saudi/UAE-led coalition in Yemen in a brutal war that killed at least 377,000 people between 2015 and 2022. More than half of those killed died of starvation and disease caused by the bombing campaign and blockade.

A truce between the Saudis and Houthis has been held since April 2022, but a formal peace deal hasn’t been signed. Despite the new US bombing campaign, the Saudis and Houthis appear determined not to restart the war. When President Biden launched his bombing campaign in Yemen, Saudi Arabia urged the US to “avoid escalation.” This week, a Houthi official said the Yemeni group was ready to formally make peace with the Saudis. “Sanaa is prepared for peace with Riyadh despite the challenges posed by the US and its associated Yemeni groups,” said Hussein al-Ezzi, the Houthi deputy foreign minister. Some members of the US and Saudi-backed Yemeni presidential council are calling for a ground campaign against the Houthis. But the council does not have much influence and is known in Yemen as the “government of hotels” since many of its members are in exile.

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“..the UK Lords are calling for the government to counter the misinformation campaign filled with “mistruths”. The industry must be at deaths door.”

The EV Transition Is Coming Undone (JoNova)

Last year the acceleration in EV sales stopped accelerating. The industry was still growing they said, just not quite as fast. Now, so soon, the sales are actually falling. In the UK, EV sales dropped off a cliff, falling 25% last month. Perhaps it was just a bad month? But in California, home of global green dreams, sales have also declined, and for the last two quarters. Ominously, this is happening despite government decrees insisting every new car sold in 2035 will be an EV. Sales are supposed to be launching into orbit. Something is very wrong. Meanwhile Hertz has taken yet another step away from their EV quest — after announcing they were selling off a third of their EV fleet at bargain basement prices, now they are cancelling plans to buy 65,000 Polestars. This was a $3 billion deal, and to let them out of it, Polestar has, by golly, demanded Hertz give them the right to buy back the old Polestars that Hertz wants to sell — that way Polestar can keep the older models off the secondhard market and stop the value from falling the same dire way the secondhand Teslas have.

Polestar is a Volvo spin off company, and now we understand why last week Volvo announced it would stop funding Polestar and reduce its shareholding. They knew what was coming. Not to put too fine a point on the state of the EV market, but Ford is losing $38,000 per EV. This means the more EVs they sell, the poorer the company gets. They made $10 billion dollars in profits last year, yet the balance sheet shows they lost about $5 billion just on EVs. This puts them in the bizarre position that they could theoretically give away the entire EV production line and boost company profits by 50%. It’s that bad… Indeed it’s so truly awful, that the UK Lords are calling for the government to counter the misinformation campaign filled with “mistruths”. The industry must be at deaths door.

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“..the inevitable conclusion is that the proxy war on country 404 will keep going on and on and on – in myriad levels..”

Why Medvedev Is Free to Go Full ‘Born to Be Wild’ (Pepe Escobar)

It’s now crystal clear how Washington is actively splitting the EU in favor of a rabidly Russophobic Vilnius-Warsaw-Kiev axis. Meanwhile, the “no compromise” in Ukraine is deeply determined by geoeconomics: the EU desperately needs access to Ukraine’s lithium for the “decarbonization” scam; the vast mineral wealth; the rich black-earth soil (now mostly property of BlackRock, Monsanto and co.); the sea routes (assuming Odessa does not revert to its status of “Russian city”); and most of all, the ultra-cheap workforce. Whatever happens next, Baab’s diagnosis for the EU and Germany is gloomy: “The European Union has lost its central function”, and “historically, it has failed as a peace project.” After all now it’s the Washington-Vilnius-Warsaw-Kiev axis that “sets the tone.”

And it gets worse: “We are becoming not only the backyard of the United States, but also the backyard of Russia. The energy flows and container traffic, the economic centers are moving eastwards, forming along the Budapest-Moscow-Astana-Beijing axis.” So as we crisscross Medvedev, Ishchenko and Baab, the inevitable conclusion is that the proxy war on country 404 will keep going on and on and on – in myriad levels. “Peace” negotiations are absolutely out of the question – certainly not before the November elections in the U.S..

Ishchenko understands how “this is a civilizational catastrophe” – perhaps not “the first since the fall of the Roman Empire”: after all, several civilizations collapsed across Eurasia since the 4th century. What is blatantly clear is that the collective West as we know it is fast flirting with a one-way ticket to the dustbin of History. And that brings us to the genius of Shelley encapsulated in one of the most devastating sonnets in the history of literature, Ozymandias, published in 1818:

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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“..Biden’s years of experience as a politician means he knows “what you have to do to prevent the world from going to war.”

EU Fears Trade War With Trump But Biden Wrecked Its Economy (Sp.)

EU officials are reportedly drawing up a contingency plan for Donald Trump’s return to power. An anonymous official familiar with the preparations told Bloomberg that the European Commission is working on an “impact assessment” of the consequences of a potential Trump win, based on the candidate’s threats to slap the bloc with a series of tough new trade-related restrictions designed to address the perceived unfair treatment of American businesses, and Brussels’ supposed softness on China. The Trump team’s proposed measures include a 10 percent tariff on European goods, designed to boost US manufacturing, plus a response to European digital services taxes targeting American tech giants, and other measures meant to balance the lopsided trade relationship with the EU, with whom the US has had a deficit topping $200 billion for over three years running.

In response, Brussels is reportedly considering steps to try to assuage Trump’s hostility, including a “charm offensive” by senior officials reaching out to his team and expressing readiness to “work with” the Republican. But others seemed resigned to worsening ties, with German financial giant Deutsche Boerse warning that only “strong checks and balances” would be able to prevent Trump from making a pig’s breakfast of the transatlantic economic relationship. This sentiment was echoed by European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde last week. Lagarde warned that Europe should prepare for “threats” to Europe’s economy if Trump returns to power. “Let us prepare for potential tariffs, for potential harsh decisions that would be unexpected. Let us be strong at home,” she urged, suggesting that Brussels could prepare for Trump’s comeback by more closely integrating its single market regime (which would further strip bloc members of any semblance of economic sovereignty).

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the leader of Europe’s largest industrial economy, came out publicly in support of Biden’s reelection last spring, saying “the current president is better, so I want him to be re-elected,” and that Biden’s years of experience as a politician means he knows “what you have to do to prevent the world from going to war.” Trump, by contrast, according to Scholz, “stands for a great division in the country,” and “if all people are only against each other, then there cannot be a good future.” Leaving aside the fact that the planet is now far closer to a global conflagration than it was in January 2021, due in no small part to the Biden administration’s efforts to set Eastern Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and the Korean Peninsula on fire, European officials’ hopes about Biden restoring the pre-Trump transatlantic economic relationship haven’t exactly panned out, either.

While European businesses were harmed by the Trump tariffs, which ranged from steel and aluminum to washing machines, cosmetics, clothing and food, the Biden administration’s push to kick off a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, and a subsequent spike in energy costs, have had a far greater impact on the bloc’s economic prospects, leaving it slipping in and out of recession for nearly two years now. Furthermore, while the Biden White House did resolve a longstanding dispute over subsidies to US and European civilian airliner manufacturing, and suspended Trump’s steel tariffs, European officials and businesses couldn’t help but notice the Biden administration’s $390 billion Build Back Better ‘green’ subsidies package, which has incentivized dozens of major European companies to relocate to the US.

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“Why should a single state get to decide who gets to be the President of the United States?” asked Justice Elena Kagan. “That means is quite extraordinary.”

Trump Pleased After SCOTUS Ballot-Ban Hearing Ends (ZH)

The justices were largely skeptical of Colorado’s arguments. Murray was repeatedly grilled by justices about why Section 3 of the amendment should apply to the presidency when that office isn’t explicitly listed in the provision Several of the justices also expressed concern that allowing Colorado to ban Trump from the ballot could result in retaliatory efforts by other states to keep a Democrat off the ballot under the same provision Justice Brett Kavanaugh made the point that Trump, who’s been criminally charged over his attempt to overturn the 2020 election, isn’t accused of insurrection in that case, even though the Justice Department could have done so. Notably, the so-called ‘liberal’ justices were just as sceptical as the ‘far-right’ ones.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson asked Mr. Murray about the lack of uniformity this decision could create. “Why should a single state get to decide who gets to be the President of the United States?” asked Justice Elena Kagan. “That means is quite extraordinary.” Trump was pleased with the arguments, calling it a “beautiful thing to watch in many respects.” The former president, who listened to the oral arguments on cable news from his Mar-a-Lago club, spoke to the press in Florida. “I thought it was a very beautiful process,” he said. “I hope that democracy in this country will continue because right now we have a very, very tough situation with all of the radical left ideas.”

Gorsuch

Thomas

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Amen.

Every Child Is A Whole Universe (CD)

This is a letter to all the mothers and caregivers. There’s that sensation you know, when you hold a warm, little baby, listening to their soft breaths and feel the tiny heartbeat like a butterfly in their chest. Or when you smooth down your child’s hair after they’ve first shuffled out of bed and look into their eyes, wondering what new connections will spark today in that little head. Like you, we have known joy and delight beyond words in those simple actions of mothering and care. Yet, underneath it all, there is an unspoken terror that comes from also knowing this: every single thing depends on that fragile butterfly beating in their chest and on the bright sparks lighting up in their head. You know this, too. Everything depends on keeping them safe. This basic truth has drawn us two together, over and again through the years.

When some would tell us that our identities—Palestinian and Israeli—should make us enemies, we have known that another identity binds us together. We are both mothers, dedicated to keeping our children and all children safe and assured of a future. Every child is a whole universe. The life-giving work we do, as mothers and caregivers, to nurture and protect our children is just as immense and powerful, and it binds us together. Beyond that, we have also understood mothering as a collective calling, open to all, regardless of their own individual identity. All it takes is a willingness to put care and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable at the heart of our actions. In our politics, it’s an approach that can guide us to champion policies that protect and nurture people—and to reject policies that kill and destroy.

That’s why we must not turn away from the horror that has gripped Gaza. Women and families there are suffering through an onslaught of violence launched by the Israeli government—an assault that has already taken more than 26,637 Palestinian lives, nearly 40% children. More Palestinian children were killed in just three weeks than all children who were killed annually in every global conflict since 2019. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called Gaza a “graveyard for children.” Many of the children who survive are now without a mother or father. You can look at the brutal, ever-climbing numbers. Or you can try to imagine the agony of even one Palestinian mother who can’t possibly know when death might come for her child from the sky.

Even before this war, a ten-year-old child in Gaza would have already lived through four Israeli military campaigns. Their childhood would already have been marked by years of blockade and military occupation, a childhood spent in an open-air prison deprived of adequate food, electricity, clean water and the freedom to move. Women and families of Israel are mourning for those killed on October 7th and calling out for the return of the hostages, including their kidnapped children, young and grown. The ongoing bombardment by the Israeli government also puts their loved ones in danger and is destroying the prospects for a sustainable peace that could keep all Israelis and Palestinians safe. You can look at the brutal, ever-climbing numbers. Or you can try to imagine the agony of even one Palestinian mother who can’t possibly know when death might come for her child from the sky.

Every child is a whole universe. The life-giving work we do, as mothers and caregivers, to nurture and protect our children is just as immense and powerful, and it binds us together. That is why we must stand in defense of all children. We must stand in solidarity with all mothers and caregivers who struggle amidst war and disaster to keep children safe and healthy, in body and spirit. We must stand with all mothers and caregivers whose children today are missing, in horrific peril, or worse, whose children’s lives have been cut viciously, unimaginably short by violence that labeled them as disposable. One of us—Yifat—leads the organization MADRE, which has partnered with Aisha for years to promote women’s health and safety in Palestine. Aisha, trained as a midwife, has been a lifeline for mothers and pregnant women in the West Bank, who struggle to access prenatal and maternal care through the maze of Israeli military checkpoints that block their movement. Today, as settler violence surges, people are afraid to leave their homes—making women even more vulnerable.

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Toucan

 

 

Cut glass
https://twitter.com/i/status/1755519573128798585

 

 

 

 

Mermaid’s purse
https://twitter.com/i/status/1755578110957830220

 

 

Hypnotizing

 

 

Elk

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 032024
 
 February 3, 2024  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  51 Responses »


Gustave Courbet The bathers 1853

 

The Three Strands to the ‘Swarming of Biden’ (Alastair Crooke)
EU Squanders Another €50 Billion on Kiev Regime… and Self-Destruction (SCF)
Von Der Leyen Celebrates A Great Day For Europe As Farmers Trash Brussels (RT)
Flailing Germany Is The Future Of Europe (Fazi)
Germany Destroying Its Car Industry – Putin (RT)
Israel Ignoring UN Court Order – South Africa (RT)
Ukraine Seeks $1 Trillion From Russia – Zelensky Aide (RT)
Russian Weapons Are Unrivaled – Putin (RT)
Ukrainian Military A Terrorist Organization – Putin (RT)
China Issues ‘War Sponsor’ List Demand To Ukraine (RT)
Polish Farmers: Full Blockade of Poland-Ukraine Border on February 9 (Sp.)
Orban Linked To Farmers’ Protests – FT (RT)
Hunter Biden Compares Himself to Dead Romanovs and Ancient Greek Heroes (Turley)
Justice Sotomayor Is the Left’s Latest Retirement-Target (Turley)
War Delirium (Jim Kunstler)
Joe Rogan Scores Massive New Podcast Contract (RT)

 

 


• South Korea has the world’s lowest birth rate and it has become a national emergency.
• China’s population drops for second year, with record low birth rate
• U.S. birth rate declined 30% in 15 years
• Canada’s fertility rate lowest on record
• France’s birth rates are the lowest since 1946
• Ukraine, Romania, Belarus and Moldova are among the top 10 countries in the world with the biggest population decline.
• Japan is also staring at a population crisis. Its birth rate declined for the seventh consecutive year.

 

 

Dr. Drew

 

 

Ron Paul

 

 

“MINUTE ORDER as to DONALD J. TRUMP:…the March 4, 2024 trial set by the court’s 39 Pretrial Order, as amended, is hereby VACATED. The court will set a new schedule if and when the mandate is returned. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 2/2/2024. (zjd) (Entered: 02/02/2024)”

 

 

SNL

 

 

 

 

NYFlorida

 

 

Sheriff

 

 

 

 

“..The U.S. seemingly aims to find a way to hurt Iranian and Resistance forces just enough to show that Biden is ‘very angry’..”

The Three Strands to the ‘Swarming of Biden’ (Alastair Crooke)

“The Iranians have a strategy, and we don’t”, a former senior U.S. Defence Department official told Al-Monitor: “We’re getting bogged down in tactical weeds – of whom to target and how – and nobody’s thinking strategically”. The former Indian diplomat MK Bhadrakumar has coined the term ‘swarming’ to describe this process of non-state actors miring the U.S. in the tactical attrition – from the Levant to the Persian Gulf. ‘Swarming’ has been associated more recently with a radical evolution in modern warfare (most evident in Ukraine), where the use of autonomous swarming drones, continuously communicating with each other via AI, select and direct the attack to targets identified by the swarm.In the Ukraine, Russia has pursued a patient, calibrated attrition to drive hard-Right ultranationalists from the field of battle (in central and eastern Ukraine), together with their western NATO facilitators.

NATO attempts at deterrence towards Russia (that recently have veered off into ‘terrorist’ attacks inside Russia – i.e. on Belgorod) notably have failed to produce results. Rather, Biden’s close embrace of Kiev has left him exposed politically, as U.S. and European zeal for the project implodes. The war has bogged down the U.S., without any electorally acceptable exit – and all can see it. Moscow drew-in Biden to an elaborate attritional web. He should ‘get out’ quick – but the 2024 campaign binds him.So, Iran has been setting a very similar strategy throughout the Gulf, maybe taking its cue from the Ukraine conflict.Less than a day after the attack on Tower 22, the military base ambiguously perched on the membrane between Jordan and the illegal U.S. al-Tanaf base in Syria, Biden promised that the U.S. would provide a quick and determined response to the attacks against it in Iraq and Syria (by what he calls ‘Iran-linked’ militia).

Simultaneously however, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby stated that the U.S. doesn’t want to expand military operations opposite Iran. Just as in Ukraine, where the White House has been loath to provoke Moscow into all-out war versus NATO, so too in the region, Biden is (rightly) wary of out-right war with Iran. Biden’s political considerations in this election-year will be uppermost. And that, at least partly, will depend on the fine calibration by the Pentagon of just how exposed to missile and drone attacks U.S. forces are in Iraq and Syria. The bases there are ‘sitting ducks’; a fact that would be an embarrassing admission. But a hurried evacuation (with overtones of the last flights from Kabul) would be worse; it could be electorally disastrous. The U.S. seemingly aims to find a way to hurt Iranian and Resistance forces just enough to show that Biden is ‘very angry’, yet without perhaps doing real damage – i.e. it is a form of ‘militarised psychotherapy’, rather than hard politics.

Risks remain: bomb too much, and the wider regional war will ignite to a new level. Bomb too little, and the swarm just rolls on, ‘swarming’ the U.S. on multiple fronts until it finally caves – and finally exits the Levant. Biden thus finds himself in an exhausting, ongoing secondary war with groups and militias rather than states (whom the Axis seeks to shield). In spite of its militia character, however the war has been causing major damage to the economies of states in the region. They have fathomed that American deterrence has not been showing results (i.e., with Ansarallah in the Red Sea). Some of those countries – including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – have initiated ‘private’ steps that were not coordinated with the U.S. They are not only speaking with these militia and movements, but also directly with Iran. The strategy to ‘swarm’ the U.S. on multiple fronts was plainly stated at the recent ‘Astana Format’ meeting between Russia, Iran, and Turkey on 24-25 January. The latter triumvirate are busy preparing the endgame in Syria (and ultimately, in the Region as a whole).

The joint statement after the Astana Format meeting in Kazakhstan, MK Bhadrakumar has noted: “is a remarkable document predicated almost entirely on an end to the U.S. occupation of Syria. It indirectly urges Washington to give up its support of terrorist groups and their affiliates “operating under different names in various parts of Syria” as part of attempts to create new realities on the ground, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives under the pretext of ‘combating terrorism.’ It demands an end to the U.S.’ illegal seizure and transfer of oil resources “that should belong to Syria””.

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“..polls indicate that the European public – like the American public – is opposed to their governments supporting Ukraine..”

EU Squanders Another €50 Billion on Kiev Regime… and Self-Destruction (SCF)

Finally, the European Union’s threats, blackmail, and arm-twisting have paid off to push through a giant €50 billion aid package to the hopelessly corrupt Kiev regime. This is while European farmers revolt against the EU leadership over higher energy costs and cheap imports from Ukraine that are putting them out of business and wiping out their livelihoods. The EU leaders are committing the entire bloc of 500 million people to political suicide. The reckless cavalier attitude is something to behold. Bring on the pitchforks, Merci! The 27 leaders of the European Union met in an emergency summit this week not to deal with the bloc’s mounting internal political, economic, and social problems but rather to lavish mountains of more aid on non-member Ukraine.

When the leaders held their last summit in December, it was a spectacle of back-biting and sordid wrangling. At that gathering, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban vetoed the allocation of more funds to the Ukrainian regime amid bitter recrimination and bickering. This time around, however, Hungary caved in to the intense pressure to agree on the package. Days before the summit in Brussels this week, it was reported by the Financial Times that the European Council had drawn up plans to sabotage the Hungarian economy if Budapest persisted in not signing up for the massive aid plan. That speaks volumes about the perverse mindset at the apex of the EU bureaucracy. It demonstrates the undemocratic character of the bloc despite pretentious claims to the contrary.

Brussels had already frozen up to €10 billion in central funding for Hungary and there were reported threats to remove Budapest’s voting rights in the bloc’s decision-making which would have been a blatant violation of the EU’s declared principle of unanimity. The allocation of €50 billion to a non-member state is astounding. Even more bewildering is that the latest largesse is only a fraction of the total aid that the EU leadership has pumped into Ukraine since the proxy war against Russia erupted in February 2022. Over the past two years, the European Union has given the Kiev regime an estimated €100 billion.The United States and other Western allies have also plied Ukraine with another €100 billion. About half of this goes on weapons, while the other half pays for state financing.

As we have noted here previously, the cumulative funding by the West to Ukraine has far exceeded the historic Marshall Fund that the U.S. allocated to all of Europe for reconstruction following World War Two (about €170 billion in today’s money).There is simply no precedent or justifiable rationale for this mobilization of financial support for Ukraine. This has all been done as a fait accompli by an elite class with no democratic mandate. No referenda have been conducted to consult the public about the inordinate expenditure. Indeed, polls indicate that the European public – like the American public – is opposed to their governments supporting Ukraine.

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“..EU farmers “high-fived” her by throwing eggs, lighting fires and dumping manure in Brussels..”

Von Der Leyen Celebrates A Great Day For Europe As Farmers Trash Brussels (RT)

“Agreement! The European Council delivered on our priorities. Supporting Ukraine…. A good day for Europe,” tweeted unelected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, as EU farmers “high-fived” her by throwing eggs, lighting fires and dumping manure in Brussels, where a reported 1,300 tractors gathered in protest. Surely it must have been in anticipation of this “great day for Europe” that Brussels rolled out the barbed wire to keep the bloc’s own struggling farmers at bay while its leaders cut yet another check for Ukraine — after threatening the one anticipated holdout with national economic “blackmail,” as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban qualified it. It’s hard to believe that this meeting actually took place in Brussels. These officials are so disconnected from reality that it may as well have been held on a whole other planet.

Unlike the Ukrainian products making their way onto Western European dinner plates to stick it to Russian President Vladimir Putin (because turtlenecks and short, cold showers apparently failed to do the job), this crisis is certifiably EU-made. No one knows this better than the farmers, who also realize that it makes more sense to blockade the streets of Brussels than the national highways of their home countries, which they’ve been doing with overwhelming public support – from nine out of every ten citizens in the case of France, according to a recent Odoxa poll. It was the EU with its climate change obsession that imposed a Common Agricultural Policy on farmers across the entire bloc, managed by bureaucrats divorced from the reality on the ground. Pencil pushers use EU Copernicus satellite images to spy and crack down on farmers whose paperwork doesn’t match – even if any discrepancies can be chalked up to uncontrollable but temporary conditions like the weather.

It was also the EU that piled on regulations under the pretext of ensuring the quality of farm products, while at the same time flooding the bloc with grain, poultry, and other imports from Ukraine. Does “Chernobyl chicken” mass-produced by workers who are paid a pittance represent a threat to the physical health of citizens and economic health of farmers? If not, then why can’t Brussels take its jackboot off the necks of its own farmers so they can compete on a level playing field? The EU has also suddenly decided to ease up on some pesticide bans, angering greens. Paris is promoting the idea that ideologically-driven bans need to end, which seems like a tacit admission of their uselessness. So what should we be more worried about now – ideologically-driven authoritarianism under the guise of health consciousness, or an actual health threat?

And what about that Ukrainian grain that EU officials demanded Russia unblock to feed the poor in developing countries? It turns out that Turkey and Russia were right when they raised the alarm about it just being dumped right next door in Europe, and it sounds like Russian President Vladimir Putin was effectively a bigger defender of EU farmers’ interests than Brussels was. But who’s even surprised anymore by Brussels’ misplaced priorities, given the image that has now emerged of another €50 billion ($54 billion) going out the door to Kiev, in support of a country that’s undercutting the EU’s own farmers without even being in the EU itself?

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“..over the past month the country has been beset by some of its largest strikes in decades: train drivers, local public transit workers, airport security personnel, doctors and retail workers, all demanding higher wages and better working conditions..”

Flailing Germany Is The Future Of Europe (Fazi)

For much of the Merkel era, Germany stood as an island of economic and political stability amid Europe’s perennially stormy waters. Those days, however, seem like a distant memory. Europe is still in crisis — but now Germany is the epicentre. It is, once again, the sick man of Europe. Anti-government demonstrations are rare in Germany. So when hundreds of angry farmers and their tractors descended on Berlin in mid-December, to protest a planned cut to diesel subsidies and tax breaks for agricultural vehicles as part of a new wave of austerity measures, it was clear that something was afoot. The government, evidently concerned, immediately backtracked, announcing that the discount would remain in place, and that the diesel subsidy would be phased out over several years instead of being abolished immediately. The farmers, however, said it wasn’t enough — and threatened to step up the protests unless the government completely reserved its plans.

They were true to their word: in the weeks that followed, thousands of farmers staged massive protests, not just in Berlin but in several cities, even blocking the arterial autobahns, and effectively bringing the country to a standstill. The government, in turn, resorted to one of the oldest and most effective tricks in the political playbook: claiming the far-Right were behind the protests in an attempt to delegitimise the farmers and scare people away. Except that, this time, it didn’t work. Not only did the protests continue, they grew, and even attracted workers from other industries — fishing, logistics, hospitality, road transport, supermarkets — as well as ordinary citizens. As a result, what started as a protest over diesel subsidies has evolved into a much wider revolt against the German government. One of the most common slogans at the demonstrations is: “The traffic light must go!”, a reference to the governing coalition of the Social Democrats, the Free Democrats and Greens. And, much like the Gilets Jaunes in 2018, whose own protests were triggered by fuel prices, the farmers have given voice to a much greater pool of political anger.

As one told the Washington Post: “Originally, we had hoped that the cuts to the agriculture subsidies would be overturned. But… I think it’s clear that this protest is about a lot more. Not only us farmers are unhappy, but other areas, too. Because what’s coming out of Berlin is damaging our county — especially the economy.” Even this approaches euphemism: soaring living costs, plummeting real wages, massive layoffs and a burgeoning housing crisis have sent approval ratings for Scholz’s government to record lows — and Germans are getting restless. Aside from the farmers’ protests, over the past month the country has been beset by some of its largest strikes in decades: train drivers, local public transit workers, airport security personnel, doctors and retail workers, all demanding higher wages and better working conditions. Further industrial action is expected in the coming weeks. This is particularly astonishing considering that Germany has long prided itself on its non-conflictual model of industrial relations, which has historically emphasised co-operation between trade unions and employers’ federations.

The problem is that Germany’s social peace was premised on an economic model — the once-hailed Modell Deutschland — that is all but bust. Its economic success in the 21st century was founded on two pillars: cheap imports of raw materials and energy (especially from Russia) and high demand in the rest of the world. Over the past few years, though, thanks to a global slowdown and the Ukraine war, both have been tumbled away. Germany was the worst-performing major economy in the world last year according to the IMF, and the country is now teetering on the brink of recession. Industrial production has fallen five months in a row: as Hans-Jürgen Völz (chief economist for the BVMV, which lobbies on behalf of small- and medium-sized businesses) said last July: “One sometimes hears about ‘creeping deindustrialisation’ — well, it’s not just creeping anymore.”

What’s striking is that the German leadership has largely brought this crisis on itself. First, it leapt on the anti-Russian bandwagon and decoupled from its main source of energy; and then it compounded the crisis via two of the German establishment’s favourite obsessions, green policies and austerity. The proposal to scrap fuel subsidies is a perfect case in point. It emerged from a court ruling that the government’s attempt to bypass its own fiscal rules by turning €60 billion originally earmarked for Covid aid towards measures aimed at combating climate change was unconstitutional. The decision to cut the subsidies was thus presented by the government as the only way to meet both its fiscal and climate targets. The message was one that we’ve become accustomed to: “es gibt keine Alternative [There is no alternative].” But of course, both of those targets are self-imposed. They are the result of political decisions, not laws of nature — something ordinary Germans are more than aware of.

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“..Germany’s automobile industry is in decline and the country needs assistance to salvage it..”

Germany Destroying Its Car Industry – Putin (RT)

Germany’s automobile industry is in decline and the country needs assistance to salvage it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a visit to the All-Russia Exhibition Center in Moscow on Thursday. “They are now destroying their auto industry. They need to be helped somehow,” Putin stated in response to reports about Russia’s contribution to the emergence of the automobile industry in Germany. When asked whether the current decline is related to Russian consumers increasingly opting for Chinese over German cars, Putin stated “not only that,” without elaborating further. German industry – and its automotive sector in particular – has been plagued by mounting problems over the past year and a half. The competitiveness of German manufacturers has been damaged by higher energy prices after the country lost cheap gas supplies from Russia.

Hildegard Muller, president of the German Automotive Industry Association (VDA), warned last year that soaring energy costs are contributing to a “dramatic loss in international competitiveness,” as many companies are considering relocating their businesses elsewhere. According to VDA data, while output from German automobile plants did manage to rise by 18% year-on-year to 4.1 million cars in 2023, this was still 12% below the pre-Covid year of 2019. Meanwhile, orders received by German manufacturers fell by 5%, with domestic orders plunging by 18%. In March 2022, amid Western sanctions on Moscow in light of the Ukraine conflict, many German car manufacturers, including Volkswagen and Daimler Truck, suspended trade with Russia and later exited the country, losing a lucrative market. The void left by German carmakers was quickly filled, however, by Chinese brands, which accounted for more than 90% of all Russian car imports in 2023.

In recent years, China has made a push to gain market share in the global automobile sector. It has now moved into second place behind Japan as the globe’s top car exporter and has been gradually either crowding out European carmakers or buying shares in their businesses. Geely, a major automotive brand based in China, acquired Swedish carmaker Volvo back in 2010, while in 2018 its founder, Li Shufu, became the largest shareholder of German automaker Daimler, the parent of Mercedes Benz. Maksim Oreshkin, Putin’s top economic adviser, earlier warned that “companies like Mercedes and BMW may fade into history in ten years” as they now have “neither the market nor the technological advantage that they had five to ten years ago.”

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“I asked him [ICC prosecutor] why he was able to issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Putin and is unable to do so for the prime minister of Israel. He did not answer that question..”

Israel Ignoring UN Court Order – South Africa (RT)

South Africa has accused Israel of disregarding a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering it to prevent civilian deaths in its war in Gaza against the Palestinian militant group Hamas. South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told reporters in Pretoria on Wednesday that the Israeli government has killed hundreds more people in Gaza, just days after the UN’s top court ruling last week. The ICJ ruled on January 26 that Israel must take all necessary precautions to prevent genocide and destruction in the Palestinian territories. While the court stopped short of demanding a ceasefire, it did order West Jerusalem to punish members of its military who commit genocide, as well as government officials who advocate for massacre. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the World Court’s decision as “outrageous” and declared that no Israeli soldiers would be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, Israeli forces continued to battle militants in the northern part of the enclave on Wednesday. The attacks killed over 150 people and injured 313 more. Nearly 27,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Gaza since the war began in October, Palestinian health officials have said.The conflict started when Hamas fighters launched attacks against Israeli villages, killing more than 1,100 people and taking hundreds of hostages. The UN says around 85% of Gaza residents have been displaced from their homes, and 570,000 people there are starving.“I can’t be dishonest. I believe the rulings of the court have been ignored. Hundreds of people have been killed in the last three or four days. And clearly, Israel believes it has license to do as it wishes,” South Africa’s Foreign Minister said.

Pandor warned of the dangers of the world doing nothing to stop the civilian casualties in Gaza. She said that similar inaction contributed to Rwanda’s horrific death toll in 1994 when more than 800,000 people were slaughtered in an ethnically motivated genocide. South Africa filed a separate case against Netanyahu at the ICC last November, accusing him of war crimes and demanding his arrest.On Wednesday, Pandor stated that she had met with the ICC prosecutor to discuss the case and that it appeared to be handled differently than the allegations against Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine crisis. Last year, The Hague court issued an arrest warrant for Putin for alleged war crimes, including the removal of children from Ukraine.

“I asked him [ICC prosecutor] why he was able to issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Putin and is unable to do so for the prime minister of Israel. He did not answer that question. But I read into some of what he said that the investigations are still underway,” the South African official said. She said Pretoria would “look at proposing other measures to the global community” to stop Israel from killing civilians amid its war in Gaza.

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Sure.

Ukraine Seeks $1 Trillion From Russia – Zelensky Aide (RT)

Russia’s assets frozen by the West won’t be enough to cover the damage Ukraine has sustained due to Russia’s military operation, the Ukrainian president’s top economic adviser, Oleg Ustenko, said on Friday during a national telethon, as cited by RBK news outlet. “We are not talking about the figure of $300–350 billion of their gold and foreign exchange reserves. According to estimates made in Kiev, we are talking about $750 billion in direct losses. If we add indirect losses, this could raise the figure to $1 trillion,” Ustenko was cited as saying. In mid-2022, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal already named the amount that would be required to restore Ukraine, estimating it at $750 billion and saying at the time that the key source for the funds should come from the “confiscated assets that belong to Russia and Russian oligarchs.”

President Vladimir Zelensky later noted that the necessary reparations were estimated at $600–$800 billion. In late 2023, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice ruled out the possibility of concluding a peace deal with Russia without receiving reparations for the damages sustained from the conflict. Kiev and its Western allies have long been mulling ways to use Russian assets blocked abroad to restore Ukraine. On January 30, EU member states reached an agreement allowing Brussels to transfer the income generated by Russia’s frozen central bank reserves to Kiev, but have so far stopped short of tapping the assets themselves. It’s estimated that Belgium’s Euroclear, the bloc’s central security depository, holds €196.6 billion (nearly $220 billion) worth of Russian assets, the vast majority of which belong to the country’s central bank.

In its financial results for 2023 published on Thursday, Euroclear revealed that it accrued almost $5 billion in profit from frozen Russian assets last year. It is assumed that Euroclear’s profits will not be paid to the owners of the assets but will later be transferred to a special EU fund to support Ukraine. In total, the EU has frozen €207 billion (just over $231 billion) of Russian assets and reserves since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict. Moscow has repeatedly warned that any actions related to its assets by the US and its allies would amount to “theft,” stressing that seizure of the funds or any similar move would violate international law and lead to a tit-for-tat response from Russia. Several Western officials, including European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, have also warned that tapping frozen Russian funds would undermine trust in Western currencies and the economic system.

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“..while some Russian military equipment designed and produced in the twilight of the Soviet era is often – but not always – inferior in some respects to NATO hardware, this is not true of modern Russian weaponry…”

Russian Weapons Are Unrivaled – Putin (RT)

Russia’s modern weapons are more effective than the arms used by NATO countries, which have provided extensive military assistance to Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has claimed. Speaking at the ‘Everything for Victory’ forum in the city of Tula not far from Moscow, Putin praised the country’s defense industry, saying it plays an important role in the conflict with Ukraine and in the country’s economy as it provides jobs for millions. The Russian leader acknowledged that while some Russian military equipment designed and produced in the twilight of the Soviet era is often – but not always – inferior in some respects to NATO hardware, this is not true of modern Russian weaponry.

It is clear that [these arms] are superior… I mean both missiles, armored vehicles, everything that is being used on the battlefield. He added that for the army to be successful, it should be able to swiftly react to the developments on the battlefield, suppressing the adversary’s artillery and reconnaissance assets. The military should also have its own such assets which should be more effective, Putin said. “Whoever does it faster will win,” he concluded. Last month, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that the country’s defense industry had significantly ramped up production of military hardware and materiel. This has also been true for the manufacturing of artillery shells which had been increased several times over, he said at the time.

Pilger Putin

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”What is called the Armed Forces of Ukraine has turned into a terrorist organization that attacks ambulances..”

Ukrainian Military A Terrorist Organization – Putin (RT)

The Armed Forces of Ukraine have turned into a terrorist organization that intentionally attacks ambulances, Russian President Vladimir Putin said while speaking at the ‘Everything for Victory’ forum in Tula on Friday. He was commenting on attacks carried out by the Ukrainian military on residential areas of Russian cities in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), which have led to a number of civilian casualties. In one such attack on January 20, a paramedic working in the city of Gorlovka was wounded while trying to provide assistance to victims following a previous round of shelling. On January 12, another paramedic was also killed during a Ukrainian attack on an ambulance brigade in the same city.

”What is called the Armed Forces of Ukraine has turned into a terrorist organization that attacks ambulances,” Putin said. The president recalled a story he heard last year about how Russian forces intercepted communications between two Ukrainian tank operators who were trying to enter Donetsk. One of the servicemen had just killed a man who had stepped out of his house, Putin said, when the other officer asked him “Why did you do that? He was just some guy wearing a tracksuit. He had a family, you can hear his children running around in the house.” The response, according to Putin, was “They’re all terrorists here.” “What is this if not neo-Nazism? That’s not to mention the rounds of applause for actual SS officers in the Canadian parliament and the blatant attacks on medical workers and ambulance vehicles,” added the president.

Russia knows of the tremendous strain put on medical personnel working in the territory of the DPR and other regions, he added, vowing to continue support for them. Work would be done to provide hazard pay to ambulance drivers, the president said. Earlier this week, Putin claimed there is a need to create a larger “demilitarized zone” in Ukraine that would ensure that peaceful Russian cities would no longer be targeted by Kiev’s foreign-made, long-range weapons.

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“..China’s support for Russia “on the Ukrainian issue” will continue “despite the fact that the US and the EU continue to put pressure on the Chinese side.”

China Issues ‘War Sponsor’ List Demand To Ukraine (RT)

Beijing has demanded that Ukraine immediately removes all 14 Chinese companies from a list of businesses that Kiev has branded “international sponsors of war,” Reuters has reported. The demand comes after Beijing’s ambassador to Kiev told senior Ukrainian government officials last month that the presence of Chinese firms on the list could hurt bilateral ties, according to the news agency. “China firmly opposes the inclusion of Chinese enterprises [on the list]… and demands that Ukraine immediately correct its mistakes and eliminate negative impacts,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday.Of the 48 international companies on the Ukrainian blacklist, 14 are from China, the most of any other country.

“The ambassador said that [the blacklist] could have a negative impact on our relations,” a senior Ukrainian source told the news agency, adding that Beijing has not yet outlined any specific consequences.Kiev’s ‘International Sponsors of War’ project lists companies that still do business with Russia. While the list does not have legal implications, it aims to damage the reputation of businesses and push them into cutting ties with Russia, thus reducing Moscow’s “financial and technological ability.” In November, Kiev added Swiss food giant Nestle and German building materials giant Knauf to the blacklist for continuing to operate in Russia and pay taxes into the federal budget.

Last month, Lithuanian seafood company Viciunai Group was also included on the list. Alibaba and Chinese energy giants China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group), and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) are some of the largest companies listed.China has not condemned Russia’s military operation against Ukraine, nor has it joined sanctions against Moscow. Beijing’s defense minister, Dong Jun, stated on Thursday that China’s support for Russia “on the Ukrainian issue” will continue “despite the fact that the US and the EU continue to put pressure on the Chinese side.” Russia and China consider themselves strategic partners, and two-way trade hit a record $240 billion in 2023 as economic ties continue to grow.

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“..they fight for their “common good” to forestall the impoverishment of Polish families..”

Polish Farmers: Full Blockade of Poland-Ukraine Border on February 9 (Sp.)

Polish farmers plan a complete blockade of the Poland-Ukraine border crossing, including highways, during an industrial action on February 9 to lambast the EU’s agricultural policy, according to the Solidarity trade union. “The position of Brussels from January 2024 cannot be accepted by our farming community. Moreover, the inaction of the Polish authorities and plans to cooperate with the European Commission and respect all its decisions regarding the import of agricultural products and food from Ukraine leave us no choice but to announce a general strike,” the protesters said in a statement.

The trade union has appealed to their fellow citizens to cooperate and show understanding regarding the ensuing situation as they fight for their “common good” to forestall the impoverishment of Polish families. The planned protests by farmers in Poland come on the heels of the escalating farmer protests in several European Union member countries. The agitating farmers list reasons like EU markets being flooded with cheap and tax-free agricultural products from Ukraine, agricultural subsidy cutbacks, etc. The EU’s deal with Kiev to extend the facilitated trade regime has triggered farmer fury within the bloc, especially in Brussels.

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“FT has claimed that the farmers’ protests have been organized by a think tank chaired by a close aide of the prime minister..”

Orban Linked To Farmers’ Protests – FT (RT)

Close associates of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban are reportedly responsible for organizing the farmers’ protests in Brussels over the past week, the Financial Times reported on Friday. The Hungarian leader personally met with protesters in the Belgian capital on Wednesday ahead of an EU summit on Ukraine aid, expressing support for what he described as “the voice of the people.” The farmers, thousands of whom have descended on Brussels, have been picketing the EU Parliament building, where they have burned pallets and piles of manure, and hurled eggs, stones and fireworks. They have also blockaded the Belgian capital using around 1,300 tractors. Similar demonstrations have also been seen in other EU states including France, Germany, Italy and Poland.

The farmers have been protesting against the EU’s agriculture policies, environmental standards, and rising fuel prices, and have highlighted the threat to their livelihoods posed by cheap Ukrainian imports. The Financial Times claims that Orban has been linked to a number of nationalist movements across the EU, as well as the recent farmers’ protests. The outlet claims that France’s National Rally party previously received a loan from a Hungarian bank run by Orban associates. Budapest also allegedly funded anti-immigration adverts on YouTube in Poland ahead of last year’s parliamentary elections in the country. FT has claimed that the farmers’ protests have been organized by a think tank chaired by a close aide of the prime minister, apparently referring to the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) – a Budapest-based college whose chairman is Balazs Orban (no relation) who has served as political director to the Hungarian prime minister.

The MCC has a Belgian-based offshoot, MCC Brussels, whose director Frank Furedi had previously claimed in an op-ed for Politico in 2022 that the purpose of the think tank was to “provide an alternative” for Europe’s “polarized cultural landscape.” Orban, who has repeatedly found himself at odds with other EU leaders, also stated in December that he did not wish for Hungary to leave the EU behind, but instead intends to “take Brussels” when Budapest assumes the rotating presidency of the EU Council from Belgium later this year. During the presidency, Orban said he hopes to convince as many member states as possible that Hungary’s insistence on standing by its ideals and values is the “right” way to do things. Nevertheless, on Thursday, the Hungarian leader lifted his veto on the EU’s €50 billion ($54 billion) package of economic aid to Ukraine, claiming that he had been “blackmailed” by Brussels into accepting the deal after months of resistance. Orban has described Ukraine as “one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” and opposed giving it any money out of the EU budget without oversight. Brussels, however, threatened to launch a financial blockade against Hungary if it did not back the deal, Orban explained.

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“..Hunter’s other towering burden: being the son of one of the most powerful people on Earth..”

Hunter Biden Compares Himself to Dead Romanovs and Ancient Greek Heroes (Turley)

Hunter Biden is comparable to children in Japanese internment camps, to undocumented immigrants, to the murdered descendants of the Tsar. At least that’s what he argues in a new court filing in his federal gun case, which presents Hunter as one of the most tragic figures since the fall of Troy. Literally. The brief starts by asking the court to ignore Hunter’s own admissions as to his use of drugs during the period of his gun ownership. As discussed in earlier columns, Hunter faces a serious problem in proving a prior defense by his counsel Abbe Lowell. Last October, Lowell argued that Hunter had not lied on ATF Form 4473 when he indicated he was not an unlawful user of, or addicted to, narcotics: “At the time that he purchased this gun, I don’t think there’s evidence that that’s when he was suffering.” The problem is that Hunter discussed his roaring addiction in his book, Beautiful Things: A Memoir, which he has used to excuse years of alleged influence peddling and an array of possible crimes from drug use to sex trafficking to tax offenses.

The narrative was pushed by his counsel and picked up by the media which showered him with praise for his courage. Now, however, counsel wants the Court to forget the admissions such as Hunter admitted that he was “drinking a quart of vodka a day by yourself in a room is absolutely, completely debilitating” as was “smoking crack around the clock.” He describes his addiction as running up to the announcement of his father for presidential election. The book is not his only problem. Recently, the government has revealed that, when it recovered the gun after its was discarded near a school, the gun pouch was coated in cocaine. Lowell expressed outrage that the government would cite his client’s own words or cite the fact that his gun pouch looked like it came from the desk of Tony Montana. Calling the use of his client’s words “despicable,” Lowell suggests that the prosecutors “should visit an Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meeting.”

If that was not bizarre enough, he then describes Hunter’s other towering burden: being the son of one of the most powerful people on Earth. While Hunter repeatedly used that connection for appointments and influence peddling, it is also apparently his curse. Indeed, he suggests that it is a protected “immutable characteristic,” a term used often in cases protecting minorities from racial discrimination. Somehow his prosecution for a gun violation would raise constitutional concerns since “the First Amendment … protects the freedom of association among family members—particularly as the parent-child relationship is an immutable characteristic.” He shares how he carries the same burden as other accursed children. In a brief that borders on delusional, Biden’s lawyers say the son of the president who burned through millions from influence peddling is comparable to all those unfortunate and destitute souls.

While the media has endlessly covered how Donald Trump’s arguments are over-the-top in issues such as immunity, there appears to be comparably little interest in the president’s son’s self-aggrandizing demand for dismissal of his criminal charges. One of the filing’s main arguments is that Hunter Biden is being selectively prosecuted because of his father. Hunter profited massively from the Biden name, but now, his lawyer Abbe Lowell argues, he’s suffering from the “burden” of parentage.To back up this argument, Lowell cites Plyler v. Doe, a case involving the providing of free education to the children of illegal immigrants, to say that the Constitution, “prevents the government from inflicting harm on children for the conduct of their parents.” That’s right, Joe Biden is like an undocumented migrant father who carried his kid over the border for a better life. One can only imagine the press response to any comparison of the Trump children to migrant children.

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“There is no concern for deterioration or death on the bench in Sotomayor’s case. It is simply a matter of swapping out justices like light bulbs before they burn out.”

Justice Sotomayor Is the Left’s Latest Retirement-Target (Turley)

“I live in frustration … To be almost 70 years old, this isn’t what I expected.” Those words from Justice Sonia Sotomayor appear to resonate with some liberals, but not in the way intended by the jurist. Some activists and journalists are beginning to nudge Sotomayor to leave the Court in order to be replaced by a younger jurist, much as was done to Justice Stephen Breyer in 2021 and 2022. On CNN, journalist Josh Barro bluntly wondered why Sotomayor remains on the bench when younger jurists could be brought on to guarantee a liberal vote for years to come. He indicated that many liberals are frustrated with her for not stepping down: “I find it a little bit surprising, given what Justice Sotomayor describes there about the stakes of what is happening before the Supreme Court, that she’s not retired. She’s 69 years old, she’s been on the court for 15 years.”

Sotomayor gave her frank assessment of being “tired” and “frustrated” during an appearance at University of California’s, Berkeley. She suggested that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority contributes to her daily burden. It was a notable interview not only for its content but for its moderator, UC Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky. Chemerinsky previously shocked many in the legal community by denouncing Sotomayor’s six conservative colleagues as “partisan hacks.” In response to Chemerinsky’s probing, Sotomayor took an implied swipe at her colleagues and declared: “I live in frustration. Every loss truly traumatizes me in my stomach and in my heart. But I have to get up the next morning and keep on fighting.”She added that the workload is overwhelming: “There used to be a time when we had a good chunk of the summer break. Not anymore. The emergency calendar is busy almost on a weekly basis.”

Many clearly would like to see her lessen that load by following the pattern of former liberal colleague, Justice Breyer, who retired in 2022. Demand Justice, a liberal group that has pushed court–packing as a solution to the Court’s conservative majority, drove a billboard truck through the streets of Washington with slogans like “Breyer, retire. Don’t risk your legacy.” At 69, Sotomayor shows no signs of mental decline. She has been a highly effective justice, stepping into the vacuum created by the death in 2020 of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Of course, few ever questioned the “Notorious RBG” in her decision to stay on the Court, despite her much older age and longer tenure. While some of us noted that Ginsburg was taking a huge risk in not allowing then-President Barack Obama to pick a successor, she remained on the Court in spite of medical problems and ultimately was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Ginsburg, however, was almost 20 years older than Sotomayor. There is no concern for deterioration or death on the bench in Sotomayor’s case. It is simply a matter of swapping out justices like light bulbs before they burn out.

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“This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.” — Jeffrey (“the Dude”) Lebowski.

War Delirium (Jim Kunstler)

The world may be a disaster these days, but the White House is a bigger disaster. Can you name the White House chief of staff? Betcha can’t. Know why? He never, ever comes out and speaks to that mob in the press room. He might have to answer some difficult questions, such as: if the president’s brain is switched off more than half the time, who decides what to do with that ‘nuclear football’ they carry around with him. Is it. . . you? By the way, the chief of staff’s name is Jeff Zients. Ever heard of him? Of course not. [..] The question then: should “Joe Biden” just go ahead and nuke Texas? “JB” is thinking: What good is the place with that Putin wannabe running it? Buncha cattle and those ridiculous hats! The official head-gear of white supremacy! Probably millions of them down there, clutching their beloved guns! I’ve got news for you. Wanna play hardball? We’ve got F-16s.

Try shooting one of those Vipers down with your 30-ought-6 when it’s coming in low over Plano on after-burners at eleven hundred miles an hour, bristling with Sidewinder missiles. Anyway, for a nice strip steak, go to Kansas City. Fuggedabowt Texas. Kaboom! Not a joke! As for Iran. . . another $6-billion could keep them quiet for a while. Turns out that mullahs really like money. Do you know how many virgins you can buy for $6-billion here on Planet Earth? Why blow yourself up for them? Especially since you don’t know for a hundred percent sure that there is a place called heaven, or that it’s mainly a seraglio? By the way, why does our country (that’d be the USA) have all these little military outposts scattered around the desert wastelands of Jordan, Syria, and other lands of the Middle East? Did the one called Tower Two that got blown up a few days ago have a target painted on it?

Might as well have. You think the “other side” doesn’t have satellite imagery of the terrain? Kind of looks like we’re asking for trouble. And, also by the way, how come two of the three US soldiers killed there were girls? Is that how we do war these days? With a girlie army? Who actually thinks that’s going to work? Apparently, “Joe Biden.” Be advised: there is chatter coming out of this mysterious White House about bringing back the military draft. Remember what that is, Boomers? Remember Country Joe and the Fish singing: “Be the first one on your block to have your boy come home in a box.” That was back in the Vietnam days. Fifty-thousand-plus KIA. Only now we’ll be drafting girls (and probably some boys who want to be girls). I guess we’ll figure out now how gung-ho Gen Z really is.

You didn’t ask, but things are not going so well in our remote-control war in Ukraine against Russia (Putinland). Our Zelensky team (we own it) got completely rope-a-doped, punched itself out, its knees are buckling. Victoria Nuland, the renowned State Department girlie war-hawk, says she’s confident that Congress will pass the new $61 billion aid package for the Z-team, according to Radio Free Europe, the blob’s official propaganda outlet. The blob wants you to think that Putin wants to turn all of Europe into Putinland. I’m sure. Tori Nuland probably thinks we can save Ukraine with the fabulous girlie army and some snazzy new drones from McDonnell Douglas. Hey, it’s war, war, war. Bomb them all — Iran, Russia, Texas — and let God sort them out.

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“Rather than counting on an exclusivity arrangement with Rogan’s podcast to help attract more subscribers, Spotify is betting on ad sales to generate more revenue..”

Joe Rogan Scores Massive New Podcast Contract (RT)

US podcast king Joe Rogan has signed a contract renewal with Spotify that essentially allows him to have his cake and eat it, too – reportedly earning as much as $250 million from the streaming service and gaining the freedom to distribute his show on other platforms. Spotify confirmed the new multiyear agreement on Friday, saying it will continue to stream ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ and will allow it to be carried by rival distributors. That means a show already rated as the most-watched podcast in the world while being streamed exclusively on Spotify will soon be opened up to listeners of such services as Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and YouTube.

Rogan’s controversial show has ruffled feathers at Spotify since he joined the platform in 2020 in a deal valued at around $200 million. Elderly rock musician Neil Young removed his songs from the streaming service in 2022 and urged Spotify employees to quit after CEO Daniel Ek refused to cancel Rogan’s show for spreading “deadly misinformation” on Covid-19 vaccines. Angry Spotify staffers also accused Rogan of being “transphobic,” but his show was reportedly making the platform too much money to be torpedoed. The podcast boasts an audience estimated at about 11 million people per episode, and Rogan has credited media pearl-clutching over his controversial content for attracting about 2 million of his subscribers.

Rather than counting on an exclusivity arrangement with Rogan’s podcast to help attract more subscribers, Spotify is betting on ad sales to generate more revenue. Rogan’s compensation will include a base fee and a share of advertising revenue. Spotify said it will work with Rogan to “continue to maximize the audience of the show across platforms.” There was media speculation that Rogan would move to another platform when his Spotify contract expired. He turned down a $100 million, censorship-free offer to join Rumble in early 2022.

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Tucker pharma
https://twitter.com/i/status/1753588903616069722

 

 

Elon net worth

 

 

Elon equity plan

 

 

Tesla

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1753342498054058143

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 102024
 
 January 10, 2024  Posted by at 8:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  32 Responses »


Jackson Pollock Male and female 1942

 

Why Democrats Need to Re-Think Hunter’s Contempt (Turley)
Trump Warns of ‘Big Trouble’ if Supreme Court Rules Against Ballot Access (ET)
Biden White House Coordinates Fani Willis Indictment of Donald Trump (Kanekoa)
Judge James Boasberg Gives Ray Epps Probation (CTH)
Biden on Borders (Kanekoa)
Trump is the Winter Coat – Charles Nenner (USAW)
Something Lost, Never to Be Found Again (Alastair Crooke)
Netanyahu ‘In Real Trouble,’ IDF Can’t Control Gaza – Analyst (Sp.)
West Ready To Back Ukraine ‘For Years’ – UK Foreign Secretary (RT)
Russian Tycoon Deripaska Predicts 20% Oil Price Crash (RT)
German Government Ready to Sacrifice Own Citizens in Order to Arm Ukraine (Sp.)
Germany Could Face Its Own ‘Maidan’ – Medvedev (RT)
Let the Games Begin (James Howard Kunstler)
Fauci Unable to Answer Key Questions in Pandemic Probe (CHD)

 

 

 

 

Greenwald

 

 


Elon Musk: “Arizona clearly states that no proof of citizenship is required for federal elections.”

 

 

Rogan 1965

 

 

Rickards

 

 

 

 

Scott Ritter

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..unanimously oppose holding Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress despite his flagrant violation of a subpoena to appear for a standard closed deposition…”

Why Democrats Need to Re-Think Hunter’s Contempt (Turley)

This week, the Republican-controlled House will begin contempt proceedings against Hunter Biden with a vote expected as early as this week. That alone will be an historic moment for Congress to declare that the son of a sitting president may have committed a federal felony. However, the costs may not be borne by Hunter alone. If the Democratic members, as expected, unanimously oppose the contempt sanction, the party could fundamentally undermine its position in future investigations. The Democratic leadership has made a series of similar decisions in the last decade that have cost the party dearly by opting for immediate political benefits over long-term interests. They are acting as the political version of short sellers who have given away institutional positions, only to find later that the costs were prohibitive.

That was the case when Democrats repeatedly undermined the Senate filibuster. Many of us warned Democratic senators that they would rue the day that they killed the rule. Nevertheless, in 2013, Democrats pushed through a rule change allowing most presidential nominees (but not Supreme Court nominees) to be confirmed by a simple majority vote. Then in 2017, when Republicans controlled the Senate, they extended the simple-majority rule change to justices, too — and when Democrats wanted the filibuster to block the High Court nominations of Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh or Amy Coney Barrett during the Trump administration, it was gone. Likewise, when Democrats first sought to impeach President Donald Trump, they held only one hearing in the House Judiciary Committee and discarded the development of the type of evidentiary record used in past impeachments.

I warned that the record guaranteed an easy acquittal in the Senate and undermined the process of impeachment. They ignored such warnings and quickly impeached, then lost the case in the Senate. In a second impeachment, they went even further, using what I called a “snap impeachment” with no hearing of any kind. Now, after using the first snap impeachment in history, Democrats are implausibly arguing that House Republicans have failed to support impeachment efforts against President Joe Biden and objected to the lack of hearings with particular witnesses. They also have encouraged President Biden to act unilaterally in a host of areas, including his attempt to give away a half-trillion dollars in student loan debts.

When House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was targeted for removal by a handful of GOP members, many people urged Democrats not to support such a dysfunctional movewhen the nation had serious problems to address. Yet Democrats voted with the rebellious Republicans to oust McCarthy, and the whole effort caused weeks of disruption. It shattered a certain detente in such motions to vacate— and Republicans are very likely to return the favor during any future revolt against a Democratic speaker. The political culture of short selling is nowhere more evident than in the “ballot-cleansing” efforts of Democratic officials and activists to remove Trump’s name from 2024 ballots as well as to remove primary opponents against Biden.

The immediate satisfaction of blocking potential voters ignores the long-term costs of this distinctly anti-democratic measure. When presented with those implications, anti-Trump pundits often express anger. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, for example, called such concerns “laughable” and told critics to “spare me the anti-democratic lectures.” Now, Democrats are about to do another short sell. They are expected to unanimously oppose holding Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress despite his flagrant violation of a subpoena to appear for a standard closed deposition. It is the very same demand made by Democrats in prior congresses, before witnesses subsequently appeared for public hearings on controversies like the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

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“.. the 14th Amendment provision has been used so sparingly in American history that the U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on it.”

Trump Warns of ‘Big Trouble’ if Supreme Court Rules Against Ballot Access (ET)

Former President Donald Trump warned there would be “big trouble” if the U.S. Supreme Court issued an unfavorable ruling in cases where he is denied access to states’ ballots. The nation’s high court on Jan. 5 agreed to hear a case that stemmed from the Colorado Supreme Court’s earlier ruling that barred President Trump from appearing on the ballot in the state. The judges wrote that he should be blocked due to their interpretation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment’s Section 3, which prohibits candidates who engaged in an “insurrection or rebellion” from running for office. During a rally on Jan. 5, the former president told a rally in Iowa that he hopes “we get fair treatment because if we don’t, our country’s in big, big trouble. Does everybody understand what I’m saying?”

In their appeal to the high court, his lawyers argued that Colorado’s voters have been disenfranchised under the state Supreme Court’s ruling in December. “The Colorado Supreme Court decision would unconstitutionally disenfranchise millions of voters in Colorado and likely be used as a template to disenfranchise tens of millions of voters nationwide,” the lawyers wrote in their appeal.Aside from Colorado, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows unilaterally ruled to block the former president from the ballot, prompting an appeal to the Supreme Court. And like in Colorado, Ms. Bellows argued that he should be barred from appearing on primary and general election ballots because of the 14th Amendment’s clause. The appeal to the Supreme Court came one day after the president’s legal team filed an appeal against the ruling from Ms. Bellows that Trump was ineligible to appear on that state’s ballot over his role in the Capitol breach.

Both the Colorado Supreme Court and the Maine secretary of state’s rulings are on hold until the appeals play out. Late last week, the former president’s attorney and spokeswoman, Alina Habba, said she believes the Supreme Court will “step up” to reject the ballot decisions because they are “pro-law” and “pro-fairness.” “I think it should be a slam dunk in the Supreme Court. I have faith in them,” Ms. Habba told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “You know, people like Kavanaugh, who the president fought for, who the president went through how to get into place, he’ll step up.” The Trump appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court also follows one from Colorado’s Republican Party. Other legal observers expect the high court will take the case because it concerns unsettled constitutional issues that go to the heart of how the country is governed. At the same time, the 14th Amendment provision has been used so sparingly in American history that the U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on it.

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X thread.

Nathan Wade billed the taxpayer for his “coordinating” talks with the White House.

Biden White House Coordinates Fani Willis Indictment of Donald Trump (Kanekoa)

Yesterday, in a shocking revelation, @MarcoPolo501c3 uncovered a significant connection between Nathan Wade, Fani Willis’ lead prosecutor, and the Biden White House. Fani Willis’ lead prosecutor held meetings with Biden’s White House Counsel on May 23 and Nov. 18, 2022, before indicting Donald Trump, Biden’s leading presidential opponent. Remember when Fani Willis prematurely leaked Trump’s indictment before announcing it at a late-night press conference at 11:37 pm? Newt Gingrich told @charliekirk11 that someone from DC called Fani Willis and demanded she indict Trump that Monday night, Aug. 14, 2023, to divert attention away from the Weiss “screw up.” That Weiss “screw up” originated on July 19, 2023, when IRS whistleblowers testified before Congress about DOJ and Weiss blocking investigators from filing felony charges against Hunter Biden, tipping off Hunter about search warrants, preventing witness interviews, and restricting any investigation into President Joe Biden.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1744847101362896973

Senator Chuck Grassley later released an FBI FD-1023 form detailing a $10 million bribery scheme involving VP Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. One week later, Judge Noreika dismantled Weiss’s unprecedented sweetheart immunity deal for Hunter, questioning why the DOJ granted full-scale immunity to Hunter Biden for unrelated crimes. In the following weeks, the House Oversight Committee released bank records showing payments to the Bidens from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. Rep. James Comer disclosed over 170 suspicious activity reports submitted by six banks to the Treasury Department, implicating the Biden family in money laundering, human trafficking, and tax fraud. Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s business partner, claimed President Joe Biden was involved in over twenty calls regarding his son’s foreign business dealings. Leading up to Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, when Garland appointed Weiss as Special Counsel despite prior false statements to Congress that Weiss already had the authority to file charges against Hunter, further exposing the DOJ’s corruption.

Garland appointed Weiss after he was the attorney who approved Hunter Biden’s unprecedented sweetheart deal, and IRS whistleblowers testified before Congress that Weiss had obstructed the investigation into the Bidens for the last five years. This would explain why Fani Willis leaked the indictment prematurely on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023, before holding a press conference at a quarter to midnight, shifting the media’s focus away from the DOJ protecting Biden to Fani Willis indicting Trump. As revealed in yesterday’s court filings, Nathan Wade, Fani Willis’ lead prosecutor, held meetings with Biden White House Counsel at the beginning and near the end of her grand jury, strategically coordinating Biden’s prosecution of Donald Trump.

 

 

Watters Fani

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“..We need a reckoning, a serious and massive foundational reset, the likes of which we have never seen in our nation’s history..”

Judge James Boasberg Gives Ray Epps Probation (CTH)

James Wolfe was the Senate Intelligence Committee Security Director who leaked the top-secret Title-1 search warrant FISA application to journalist Ali Watkins on March 17, 2017. When Wolfe was busted by the FBI his lawyers threatened to introduce evidence in court that he was instructed to do so by SSCI Vice-Chairman Senator Mark Warner. The DOJ dropped the classified document leak charge, and instead charged him only with lying to investigators. Wolfe received probation. In March, 2023, when I wrote the outline about Judge Boasberg being the corrupt DC judge who broke the constitutional restrictions on executive privilege, which technically forced Mike Pence to turn over his notes and testify to James Smith and the DC grand jury, I said at the time, “The entire judicial system is corrupt, soup to nuts, all of it.” I was not using hyperbole.

This is the same Judge Boasberg who sat as presiding judge on the FISA court. The same Judge Boasberg who gave FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith a slap on the wrist for manufacturing evidence used in the Carter Page FISA application that defrauded the court. The same Judge Boasberg who appointed former DOJ-NSD head Mary McCord as amicus curiae advisor to the court, after she knowingly and fraudulently submitted the FISA application to the court. Today, Judge Boasberg gave J6 FBI agent provocateur Ray Epps a sentence of probation.

Judge James Boasberg is not just openly and visibly aligned with the most corrupt activity within Washington DC, this is a federal judge who is laughing at the inability of anyone within the system to do a damned thing about it. We need a reckoning, a serious and massive foundational reset, the likes of which we have never seen in our nation’s history. Pray thankfulness. Pray for wisdom. Pray for resolve. Pray for strength. …. Then prepare!

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X thread.

Elon Musk: “Incentives matter. They are importing voters.”

Biden on Borders (Kanekoa)

In 2007, Senator Joe Biden declared that no great nation has uncontrolled borders, warning that America must build a border fence and increase border agents to secure the nation against drugs, terror, and illegal immigration. Biden accused wealthy Republicans of wanting to increase illegal immigration to replace American workers with cheaper labor. “The reason the employers want this extra influx is it drives cost down… Employers have to be held responsible for the unscrupulous practice of bringing people here in order to keep wages down.” “That’s not fair to Americans. You have to hold employers responsible for hiring Americans First.”

Criticizing President Bush, Biden lamented the lack of border agents, the absence of a border fence, and the free flow of drugs into the country. “I’ve been arguing for the need to put more protection at our borders, meaning you have more border guards.” “You have to have a significant increase of security at the border, including limited elements where you actually have a fence.” “People can go over and under a fence, but you can’t take 100 kilos of cocaine over and under a fence.” Fast forward to President Biden’s term, and a record-breaking 8 million people have illegally entered the country in 3 years, with a fentanyl crisis leading to over 106,000 Americans overdosing on drugs last year.

On Biden’s inaugural day, he introduced policies that incentivize illegal immigration: • Paused Deportations • Suspended “Remain in Mexico” • Stopped Border Wall Construction. The consequences are dire – a national security crisis draining American taxpayers of hundreds of billions annually, leading major cities to slash budgets for essential services such as fire, police, sanitation, and education. As Senator Biden once warned, “No great nation can be in a position where they can’t control their borders.” “It matters how you control your borders. Not just for immigration, but it matters for drugs, terror, and a whole range of other things.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1744482029641793883

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“Trump is going to be the winter coat. I think he can make it less bad. If this continues the way it is, then we are going downhill very fast. I think Trump is coming back.”

Trump is the Winter Coat – Charles Nenner (USAW)

Renowned geopolitical and financial cycle expert Charles Nenner has been warning of a huge war cycle that happens every 120 years or so. With Tiawan/China and Russia/Ukraine and Israel and the Middle East conflicts, we are clearly in this huge war cycle. Nenner also says we are simultaneously entering a huge financial down cycle that could easily turn into the Greatest Depression–ever. Neither of these cycles can be stopped. Nenner explains, “The problem is everywhere. You may remember we said 10 years ago that the biggest problem for the United States is going to be internal. There is a huge problem. Nobody knows what to do anymore, and people are afraid to speak up. . . . History says if you are not allowed to say certain things, then you stop thinking certain things. This is what is written in the book ‘1984.’ . . . .

So, this is the end of what is going on in the United States. I think America is lost, but it is not a surprise. The Dutch ruled for 250 years, and then the Spanish, Portuguese came, and then the English came. Every big society ends, more or less, after 250 years, and now it’s the United States. . . . People are talking about new systems. They think Marxism is good, but it did not work because the people who did it before made mistakes. If you don’t wake up, this is what you are going to get, and that is a communist Marxist situation.” So, is there nothing that can be done to save America? Nenner says, “The cycle is turning down, and people ask is there anything you can do? You cannot do anything about it. The question is what can you do? You have summer and then you have winter . . . if you know winter comes after summer, you can buy a coat. I have predicted all these war situations, and out of the blue they are here. There is nothing you can do about it.”

Where does Donald Trump fit in? Nenner says, “Trump is going to be the winter coat. I think he can make it less bad. If this continues the way it is, then we are going downhill very fast. I think Trump is coming back.” Nenner says interest rates are not going down until summer. He likes gold longer term, but it has not bottomed yet. The stock market is in for at least a 30% fall in the next few months, and the country will fall into a deep recession after the halfway point in 2024. Yes, it could turn into the greatest depression ever because there is astronomical debt. Nenner thinks the wild card is a multifront war that has already started. Be warned as Nenner thinks it can spin out of control at any time. War gets much worse before it gets better. Nenner also is warning about a huge wave of terrorism coming to America with the wide-open southern border.

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“..the purveyors of ‘winning’ hug themselves in sheer glee as their ‘flipped’ delusions are relayed through a compliant MSM..”

Something Lost, Never to Be Found Again (Alastair Crooke)

So the narrative ‘factory’ is put hard to work. The kinetic war in Ukraine is settled in an evident and overwhelming Russian victory – albeit without it yet being ‘over’. Of course not: Ukraine was but one single battlescape in the wider struggle to force the ‘Rimland’ (the Atlanticist world) to accept an agreed upon frontier between it and the ‘Heartland’ (Russia, China and their Asian depth), and gracefully to renounce its claim to exceptionality in determining our global future. The MSM media therefore is abuzz with analysis of how to define a ‘western win’: Is it possible to ‘flip’ the narrative of Ukraine, they ponder, to being ‘another’ western win? They want to continue to feed Ukraine into the grinder – to persist in the fantasy of ‘total win’: “There is no other way than a total win – and to get rid of Putin … We have to take all risks for that. No compromise is possible, no compromise”.

Call the Ukraine conflict a ‘stalemate’, and insist that it represents a ‘defeat’ for Putin and a ‘win’ for Biden, since Russia was unable to seize the whole of Ukraine (falsely imputing this to have been Moscow’s objective, from the start). This approach is thought rather ‘cool’ by western analysts: Frame the narrative of a ‘win’ and ensure that from top-to-bottom of society, all adhere to the correct narrative without demur. But this is little more than a simple projection from the YouTube ‘influencer’ culture, by which random individuals earn ‘street cred’, (and lots of cash), by curating slick narratives – whether about fashion, or political events. It may work insofar as the addled western public is concerned, but it has limited traction beyond western cultural tinselry.

The flaw when ‘flip-narratives’ are weaponised geo-politically, however, is that propaganda which is so divorced from a reality that is evident simply is not a winning narrative (except in the most fleeting of ways). Plainly said, it leads to the self-isolation of its authors. The glee with which evident western ‘reverses’ seemingly can be narratively ‘flipped’ by Intelligence ‘leaks’ propagating rank lies to support a narrative has become a contagion amongst western intelligence services. Yet rather, this ‘deceptive covenant’ is a poisoned chalice. If the West had any remaining sense, it would concentrate more on setting a ‘narrative of western defeat’ in Ukraine, rather than promulgating yet another rotting ‘narrative of victory’ Why so? Because a wise leadership would be preparing its people for defeat.

Unlikely and false stories of glory on the battlefield come back to bite the perpetrators, as (metaphorically) the wounded and dead return to contradict visibly the tale of victory. The West, by contrast, is still fed on stories of western leadership, election, innate qualities and exceptionalism. Put simply, this ‘influencer’ fad signally is failing to help westerners cope with the tectonic shifts occurring across the globe. Its peoples are wholly unprepared for the ‘Winter that is Coming’. Yet, the purveyors of ‘winning’ hug themselves in sheer glee as their ‘flipped’ delusions are relayed through a compliant MSM. Childish propaganda and lying however will only serve to make the new era all the more painful. A ‘narrative of defeat’, told with integrity, by contrast, is one that helps a people to understand how a particular crisis arose and came to afflict them. It should also signal a way forward.

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“..Netanyahu’s future may depend on Biden losing reelection later this year, with a second Donald Trump administration likely being more amenable to ethnic cleansing..”

Netanyahu ‘In Real Trouble,’ IDF Can’t Control Gaza – Analyst (Sp.)

Political analyst Elijah Magnier joined Sputnik’s Political Misfits program Monday to discuss Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declining political fortunes as the country pulls troops from northern Gaza. “Netanyahu is in real trouble today,” said the journalist in a discussion with host John Kiriakou. “First, he is attacked by his coalition in the government… the finance minister [Bezalel] Smotrich and the security minister [Itamar] Ben-Gvir warned him if he stopped the attack on Gaza, saying that they want the [Israeli] settlers to return to Gaza after they were asked to leave in 2005 by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.” “This objective contradicts with the American announcement that the Palestinians will go nowhere and will remain in Gaza, and any ethnic cleansing is not permitted,” added Magnier, “which means that the coalition and Netanyahu’s government is not going to hold.”

The Biden administration has largely defended Netanyahu’s military operation in Gaza, which has killed 1% of the enclave’s population over the previous months. Both Biden and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have a long history of strong support for Israel. But, hounded by elements of his party’s base and activists who have dubbed him “Genocide Joe,” Biden has been compelled to offer rhetorical opposition. His administration has criticized far-right members of Netanyahu’s government calling for a population transfer of Palestinians from Gaza. Magnier said Netanyahu’s future may depend on Biden losing reelection later this year, with a second Donald Trump administration likely being more amenable to ethnic cleansing.

“He [Netanyahu] needs to keep going in this war, first to avoid the fall of the coalition and have the war last for as long as possible, waiting in the hope that Donald Trump will come to power,” said the analyst. “Trump will be extremely happy to put pressure on Egypt to open the gate and force an exodus of all the Palestinians and give him the whole of Gaza.” “The only hope for Netanyahu is to disregard what the Biden administration wants,” he concluded. Discussion then shifted towards South Africa’s recent filing of genocide charges against Israel at the International Court of Justice. The South African government delivered an 80-page complaint against Israel last week, documenting various statements from members of the Israeli government expressing support for ethnic cleansing and mass civilian casualties. The charges are set to be heard this week. “Ministers in the Netanyahu government said, ‘We want to kill all the Palestinians, we don’t want anyone in Gaza to remain alive, and we want to force an exodus on them if they don’t leave Gaza,’” recalled Magnier.

“The heritage minister of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government said we need to use nuclear bombs on Gaza. And the other minister said we are going to cut both electricity and food and supply to Gaza and ‘don’t lecture us about human rights.’” “All these represent clear evidence [of genocidal intent],” he said. “Plus all the films and videos that are posted on TikTok and social media by the Israeli army itself inside Gaza showing how they’re blowing up those homes by spreading explosive everywhere. And then another officer saying, ‘Well, I killed two boys of 20 because I didn’t find any children to kill.’ And the snipers killing civilians who were raising white flags and raising their arms in the sky. So all these represent solid proof of crimes against humanity and war crimes that Israel is committing.” “I think many countries would like to see some of the international laws coming back to normality,” Magnier concluded.

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Foreign Secretary wouldn’t have been enough for ex-PM Cameron. Instead, he was brought in as War Secretary. And that he liked.

West Ready To Back Ukraine ‘For Years’ – UK Foreign Secretary (RT)

The US and its allies will not falter in their support for the Ukrainian cause, and Russia should not count on waiting them out, British Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron told Parliament on Tuesday. Cameron was prime minister between 2010 and 2016. Last November, he was made a baron and appointed Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs. Tuesday’s appearance before the Foreign Affairs Committee was his first since returning to government. The Ukraine conflict was among the topics that were raised during the questioning. “Our commitment is such that with our allies, we want to demonstrate to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin very clearly that he cannot wait us out, and we are prepared to support Ukraine through 2024, ’25, ’26,” Cameron told the MPs. “We are prepared to give that support because it is the challenge of our generation.”

The Israeli war on Hamas in Gaza is “certainly” taking international attention away from Ukraine, “which I think is a pity,” Cameron said. “I think it’s the job of the strongest supporters of Ukraine – of which I would say Britain is rightly one – to do everything we can to keep it as high up the agenda as possible, to keep the partnership and coalition of countries that back Ukraine as strong and united and as purposeful as possible.” Support for Ukraine is “not an issue of contention in British politics,” as it may be in the US and some other countries, he insisted. While London will continue to back Kiev even if Washington and others are slow to commit, “we really need the Americans to come forward with this package,” Cameron added. He was confident that the US Congress would do so eventually. The White House has asked for over $60 billion to fund Kiev in 2024.

Right now, the UK is working on mobilizing the military-industrial complex to manufacture ammunition and other weapons to meet Ukraine’s needs, Cameron said, noting there is “more to be done on that.” He argued it “should not be impossible” for the West to ramp up production, since its combined gross domestic product (GDP) is 25 times greater than Russia’s. The US and its allies have given Ukraine over $200 billion worth of military aid since 2022, according to recent Russian Defense Ministry estimates. Ukraine’s own military industry has been severely damaged by the conflict, making Kiev almost entirely dependent on Western handouts. London has played a key role in the conflict by encouraging Kiev not to make peace with Moscow. Then-PM Boris Johnson visited Ukraine in April 2022 and told President Vladimir Zelensky that the West was not interested in a deal with Russia. Ukraine then reneged on a preliminary ceasefire agreement it had signed in March in Istanbul.

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Too much oil?!

Russian Tycoon Deripaska Predicts 20% Oil Price Crash (RT)

Global oil markets are heading for a crash that will slash 20% off of the crude price this year, Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska predicted on Tuesday. The tycoon’s warning comes after oil prices fell by about 4% on Monday on sharp price cuts announced by top exporter Saudi Arabia for exports in February. Oil has since rebounded, with the WTI benchmark trading at $72 per barrel, and Brent at $77.4 as of 14:00 GMT on Tuesday. “Cheaper oil, which will fall by another 20% on the global market this year, will be a good help in fighting inflation,” Deripaska wrote on his Telegram channel on Tuesday.

The aluminum magnate also referred to a report in the Financial Times that said that steady growth in oil supply from countries outside the OPEC+ group, specifically the US, and an uncertain economic outlook are expected to keep a lid on the price of crude this year. EU countries along with the US and Russia have been grappling with high inflation over the past two years. The rising prices have compelled central banks to embark on a rate-hike campaign that helped contain price growth in 2023, although the Eurozone saw annual inflation rebound in December, according to preliminary estimates.

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“..Germany’s budgetary position has deteriorated very rapidly due to the economic crisis. The government now needs to save money..”

German Government Ready to Sacrifice Own Citizens in Order to Arm Ukraine (Sp.)

Farmers across Germany on January 8 started blocking roads and highways with tractors in response to Berlin’s agricultural policies which envisage the reduction of tax breaks for the agricultural sector and subsidy cuts for fuel usage. The protestors carried placards saying “no farmer, no food, no future” and “when farmers are ruined, food has to be imported”, as per the Western press. “The German government is short of money,” Gunnar Beck, a member of the European Parliament for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, told Sputnik. “And in order to offset rapidly and drastically rising energy prices, the government one and a half years ago decided to finance rebates to consumers in order to mitigate the effect of rising energy prices and rising inflation. And they also stepped up subsidies for farmers.”

“Since then, Germany’s budgetary position has deteriorated very rapidly due to the economic crisis. The government now needs to save money, and they’ve decided to scrap those rebates and scale back subsidies. That’s what’s happening now. It’s a reflection of the deteriorating economic circumstances in Germany. There’s also been a German Constitutional Court ruling which forbade the government from using €60 billion of unspent corona aid for climate policy purposes. That puts a further constraint on the government’s budgetary room for maneuver.” It’s not only German farmers who are facing the standard of living crisis, as the federal government also scrapped the rebate for consumers, Beck continued. That means that Germans will suffer the full impact of rising energy costs.

“I think it will be an enormous problem for a large part of the German public, who even now are struggling to pay their energy bills,” he stressed. “The German government is cutting back aid for those in need left, right and center because it’s pursuing ruinous policies, namely climate change, mass migration, subsidizing southern Europe, which it simply can no longer afford.” Germany has emerged as the only G7 economy that suffered contraction in 2023, as per the International Monetary Fund (IMF). For decades, the nation has relied on relatively cheap energy coming from Russia. However, after the US twisted Berlin’s arm into slapping an energy embargo on Moscow over the Russian special operation in Ukraine, Germany has found itself between a rock and a hard place, facing economic decline and de-industrialization. The sabotage attack on the Nord Stream pipeline infrastructure – which was designed to make Germany a major European energy hub – became the last straw.

Even though Germany appears to be incapable to provide its own citizens with much-needed subsidies, the nation’s government “generously” sent a Skynex air defense system, 10 Schützenpanzer Marder infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), ammunition for Leopard tanks, missiles for IRIS-T SLM air defence systems, 2 TRML-4D air surveillance radars, more than 9,000 155-mm calibre projectiles, and other aid to the Kiev regime. “These are very costly weapons,” Beck highlighted. “What does the decision to go ahead with the delivery mean? Well, it obviously means that to the German government, supporting Ukraine is more important than the needs of its own population. It’s as simple as that. The German foreign minister even said so.

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Scholz won’t last.

Germany Could Face Its Own ‘Maidan’ – Medvedev (RT)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz risks being forced out of office by mass protests, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has claimed. A week-long nationwide strike was launched in the EU’s leading economy on Monday. Farmers in Germany say the government’s decision to cut diesel subsidies and tax breaks for the agriculture sector will force many of them out of business. Berlin’s budgetary shortages are a direct result of spending “astronomical amounts” on Ukraine, Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council, argued in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “Subsidies have been ended, and astronomical amounts spent on Ukraine are still growing. And Germany is the main funder,” Medvedev wrote. “If this goes on, banderovtsy will export their proven weapon, the maidan, to Berlin.”

Officials in Moscow, meanwhile, are “following [the events] with malicious interest,” Medvedev added. Germany has emerged as one of Kiev’s key donors in its conflict with Russia, after the US and its allies pushed Ukraine into seeking victory on the battlefield instead of compromising on its ambition to become a NATO member. German funding currently accounts for half of all EU aid for Ukraine, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said at a conference last week. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) estimates German bilateral assistance to Ukraine at $23 billion, including the cost of hosting refugees. Kiev’s failure to achieve significant progress on the frontline last year has undermined its long-term aid security.

In the US, Republican lawmakers have refused to appropriate additional funds unless the administration of President Joe Biden agrees to concessions on domestic immigration policy and provides a realistic plan for a Ukrainian victory. In the EU, Hungary has vetoed a European Commission plan to prop up the Ukrainian government. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Scholz has seen his approval rating fall. Citing a survey by INSA, Bild reported on Monday that 64% of voters in the country believe Scholz should step down and be replaced by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius. The farmers’ protests were triggered by Scholz’s attempts to fill a €17 billion ($18.6 billion) hole in the 2024 budget, which the government has since partially backpeddled on. Nevertheless, the German Farmers’ Association pushed ahead with its plans for an ‘action week’. Demonstrators blocked highways with their tractors on Monday, also dumping hay, animal feed, and manure on roads in a gesture of disdain for government policies. Hundreds of farm vehicles gathered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

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“..Jack Smith’s J-6 case is a dog’s breakfast of erroneous supposition, misprision, and persecutorial misconduct, soon to be wrecked by the Supreme Court..”

Let the Games Begin (James Howard Kunstler)

Did you notice that “Joe Biden” ceremonially kicked off his “reelection campaign” with that speech at Valley Forge, blaring the “insurrection” klaxon? Is it not astounding that half the people in our country have no idea that the joke is on them? “Joe Biden” is marking time in the oval office until the moment he must use his unique legal prerogative to pardon himself and all the members of his family for their roles in the influence-peddling racket he fronted as veep. . . and then he’ll gallantly step aside. The optimum play would be to hold off on that until just before the Democratic Party’s convention, where a claque of super-delegates can pick somebody else in a back room filled with estrogen vapors. It kind of depends on whether a faction of corruption-resistant Republicans will ante up for that impeachment inquiry we keep hearing about.

Despite the obvious bullshit on CNN about “no evidence,” there is actually a garbage barge of evidence steaming up the Potomac to prove that “Joe Biden” sold out his country. It simply needs to be laid out with brutal decorum in the proper setting. The catch is that a House committee can report out a bill of impeachment — as we’ve seen before — but a trial in a Democrat-majority Senate would probably fail to bring a conviction. The additional catch is that even so, the whole country will have watched the sordid spectacle and seen enough proof of malfeasance to foul the waters for the Party of Chaos in the November election, no matter who heads the ticket. It must also be obvious that the party is running out of lawfare tricks for shackling Mr. Trump.

Jack Smith’s J-6 case is a dog’s breakfast of erroneous supposition, misprision, and persecutorial misconduct, soon to be wrecked by the Supreme Court; the Mar-a-Lago raid case is a patent fraud; the Fulton County, GA, RICO case is a Fani Willis masturbation fantasy, and the two New York raps under DA Alvin Bragg and AG Letitia James will be laughed out of appeals courts. Anyway, Mr. Trump seems to thrive on the noxious vapors thrown off by these rancid actions. If all these genius moves fail, how else can they stop the Golden Golem of Greatness. . . and his promise of keen retribution for the serial hoaxes run on him and all the fiendish trips laid on the nation since 2016?They can try to kill him. Can you put it past our “intel community”? It is exactly that nucleus of the DC blob that has the most to fear from a second Trump term. Dozens of them will be charged with sedition and even treason, a hanging crime. And if they succeed in whacking Mr. Trump, that would only leave a huge opening for Bobby Kennedy, who has an even bigger axe to grind against the agency that rubbed-out his father and his uncle.

We held a meet-up here this weekend in my little upstate New York town to make plans for the petition drive in April-May to get RFKJr on the New York ballot. I told the group that much as I would relish seeing Donald Trump mop up the floor with the people who perverted the rule of law and just about spatchcocked our country, I believe Bobby Kennedy would be a better choice to lead us through the dark defile of history that circumstance has jammed us in. He is just as determined to expunge the horrific blob corruption, but without Mr. Trump’s exasperating artifice and grandiosity.

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“..He lied — brazenly — to Congress about his policy violations in three Senate hearings in 2021-2022. He lied — brazenly — to Congress about his policy violations again yesterday.”

Fauci Unable to Answer Key Questions in Pandemic Probe (CHD)

On the first day of a two-day closed-door interview before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), frequently evaded questions about gain-of-function research and the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), in a statement following Monday’s interview, said, “Dr. Fauci’s testimony today uncovered drastic and systemic failures in America’s public health systems” and that Fauci “had no idea what was happening under his own jurisdiction at NIAID.” According to The Hill, Fauci offered “his expertise on preparing for potential outbreaks in the future.”

But according to The Washington Times, he “couldn’t remember many details about his advocacy of lockdowns, his flip-flopping on mask mandates and his decision to allow government funding of gain-of-function research in China that might have led to the pandemic.” Fauci “claimed he ‘did not recall’ pertinent COVID-19 information or conversations more than 100 times,” and “profusely defended his previous congressional testimony where he stated the National Institutes of Health (NIH) did not fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan,” according to the subcommittee statement. Fauci also “repeatedly played semantics with the definition of gain-of-function in an attempt to avoid conceding that NIH funded potentially dangerous research in China,” the subcommittee stated. Responding to Monday’s testimony, Rutgers University molecular biologist Richard Ebright, Ph.D., a frequent critic of gain-of-function research, told The Defender:

“Fauci repeatedly and flagrantly violated U.S. government policies implemented to protect the public from lab-generated pandemics. He lied — brazenly — to Congress about his policy violations in three Senate hearings in 2021-2022. He lied — brazenly — to Congress about his policy violations again yesterday.” Investigative journalist Paul D. Thacker, who has documented attempts by Fauci and other government officials, federal agencies and leading scientists to cover up the U.S. government’s role in funding gain-of-function research in China, told The Defender he was not surprised by Fauci’s stance. “As I documented over two years ago, Anthony Fauci has lied about funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan. That’s fine. People in Washington lie all the time,” Thacker said. “But when he lied during a congressional hearing, wagging his finger at Senator [Rand] Paul … I knew immediately he had broken the law. His lies about this pandemic have been documented in multiple media outlets and I hope he is eventually prosecuted,” he added.

Francis Boyle, J.D., Ph.D., professor of international law at the University of Illinois and a bioweapons expert who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, told The Defender Fauci should be prosecuted. “Fauci knew exactly what was going on at the Wuhan BSL4 [biosafety level 4] and the University of North Carolina BSL3 — he was paying for it,” Boyle said. “He has repeatedly perjured himself in testimony before Congress. This is just more of the same.” Boyle said Wenstrup should follow Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) example and refer Fauci to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution for perjury. “Maybe we will get some action there now that the Wuhan cover-up is unfolding, as detailed in Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s book, ‘The Wuhan Cover-Up,’” he added. The seven-hour meeting was Fauci’s first appearance in the House since retiring from public office in December 2022. He was accompanied by two of his attorneys and two government attorneys, according to The Hill.

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CO2 ain’t gonna cause nothing,” astrophysicist Dr. Willie Soon told Tucker Carlson.

 

 


..the astonishing “Treetop Tumblers,” a rare troupe of acrobatic lions whose gravity-defying tree-climbing stunts turn the Tropland wilderness into an everyday spectacle. Josh Gottsegen / troplanduniverse]

Best friends
https://twitter.com/i/status/1744433463787147741

 

 

 

 

Drunk test
https://twitter.com/i/status/1744442214363672606

 

 


Real annual wages in Greece are, on average, still more than 25% lower than in 2007. Meanwhile, some are continuing to frame the Greek experience over the past 10+years as a miracle success of adjustment. If this is what success looks like…

 

 

Dementia restaurant

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 062024
 
 January 6, 2024  Posted by at 9:12 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  30 Responses »


Marc Riboud Painting the Eiffel Tower 1953

 

Biden Vows To Protect US Democracy From ‘Nazi’ Trump (RT)
Supreme Court Takes Up Colorado Trump Ballot Disqualification Case (ET)
Trump Org Refutes House Democrat Report on Trump’s Finances (ET)
Genocide in Gaza (John Mearsheimer)
The “Transfer” of Palestinians Out of Gaza Is Not a “Voluntary Migration”(TO)
Gaza Destroys Western Divide-and-Rule Narratives (Narwani)
Ex-Pentagon Analyst: Mideast Crisis May Spiral Out of Control (Sp.)
Lindsey Graham Vows To Make Iran’s ‘Worst Nightmare’ Come True (RT)
After Military Collapse, Kiev Bets on Terrorism (Leiroz)
Brussels Eyeing ‘Plan B’ To Finance Ukraine (RT)
Musk Warns Against Invading Russia (RT)
Recruitment Problems Plague US Military (Paul Craig Roberts)
House GOP To Move Toward Holding Hunter Biden In Contempt Of Congress (CBS)
New York To Sue Bus Companies … For Busing People (Turley)
The Month That Labor Markets Fell Apart (Street)

 

 

 

 

Trump ad

 

 

Kanekoa

 

 

Harry Dunn – Pretty crazy

 

 

Scott Adams: “Illegal immigration is now ten-times as high as 2017 when the national conversation was already about it being too high. We can rule out “accidental.”

 

 

RFK

 

 

Vivek

 

 

 

 

After months of brainstorming this is their strategy: Trump is Hitler.

“We’ve become an embarrassment as a country,” Trump added.”

Biden Vows To Protect US Democracy From ‘Nazi’ Trump (RT)

US President Joe Biden has accused his Republican rival Donald Trump of seeking to take power through “political violence,” likening the former leader’s rhetoric to that used by “Nazi Germany” while deeming him a threat to American democracy itself. Biden launched a major broadside against Trump during a campaign speech in Pennsylvania on Friday night, citing the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol as a major part of the last president’s legacy. “Donald Trump’s campaign is about him, not America. Not you. Donald Trump’s campaign is obsessed with the past, not the future. He’s willing to sacrifice our democracy, put himself in power,” Biden said, going on to slam Trump as “sick” and a “loser.” Recalling the unrest in the wake of the last presidential election, Biden went on to say that Trump and his supporters still embrace “political violence,” adding “Trump’s assault on democracy isn’t just part of his past. It’s what he’s promising for the future.”

He also drew a comparison between the Republican candidate and the Third Reich. “He calls those who oppose him vermin. He talks about the blood of Americans being poisoned, echoing the same exact language used in Nazi Germany,” the president continued, positing himself as a defender of American institutions. Trump hit back during his own remarks on Friday night, calling Biden’s speech a “pathetic fearmongering campaign event” while slamming the leader for “an unbroken streak of weakness, incompetence, corruption and failure.” “Biden, if you take a look at what he’s doing on the border or inflation, or our military, that horrible day in Afghanistan, you look at what he’s done with energy – all throughout the world, we’re an embarrassment as a country. We’ve become an embarrassment as a country,” Trump added.

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They better be very clear and unanimous.

Supreme Court Takes Up Colorado Trump Ballot Disqualification Case (ET)

The U.S. Supreme Court accepted a petition for immediate review regarding a Colorado Supreme Court decision to strike former President Donald Trump from the 2024 presidential ballot. “The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted,” reads the procedural order. Oral arguments are scheduled for Feb. 8. Petitioners’ and amicus briefs are due by Jan. 18, and respondents’ and amicus briefs are due by Jan. 31, with any reply briefs due by Feb. 5. The Colorado Supreme Court had disqualified President Trump as a candidate on Dec. 19 in an order that left little chance for the actual removal of his name from the ballot. On Dec. 27, the Colorado GOP filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking three separate questions regarding the application of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and political parties’ First Amendment rights to primary their candidate of choice.

On Jan. 3, President Trump filed a separate petition with a simpler question: Did the Colorado Supreme Court err in its ruling? The U.S. Supreme Court has taken up President Trump’s petition, and has yet to accept to reject the Colorado GOP’s petition. Trump Campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said the campaign “welcomed” the Supreme Court review. “We welcome a fair hearing at the Supreme Court to argue against the bad-faith, election-interfering, voter-suppressing, Democrat-backed and Biden-led, 14th Amendment abusing decision to remove President Trump’s name from the 2024 ballot in the state of Colorado,” he stated. He added that several of these challenges, including the one in Colorado, had been represented and funded by large, left-wing, out-of-state activist groups and have the effect of “disenfranchising voters.”

“We are confident that the fair-minded Supreme Court will unanimously affirm the civil rights of President Trump, and the voting rights of all Americans in a ruling that will squash all of the remaining ballot challenge hoaxes once and for all,” he stated. Just before the Supreme Court order, the campaign had issued a statement highlight the “precedent” of similar cases being dismissed in state and federal courts the past week. Colorado was the first state to disqualify President Trump, and the first state to hold hearings regarding the merits of a Section 3 challenge at all. The legal theory that President Trump can be disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment rests on the premise that the events of Jan. 6, 2021, constituted an insurrection, and that President Trump actively participated in or instigated it.

It also assumes that individual state courts at various levels have the authority to adjudicate the eligibility of a presidential candidate under Section 3. There have been at least 60 of these challenges across the country in recent months, according to President Trump’s attorneys. However, the majority of these challenges have been dismissed for a wide range of reasons, with several courts citing lack of jurisdiction. Officials and some judges—including dissenting justices on the Colorado Supreme Court—have argued that if individual state courts were meant to be able to rule if a presidential candidate engaged in insurrection and whether that affected his eligibility, it could result in “chaos,” with upwards of 50 different rulings.

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“.. the company voluntarily implemented a program to track payments from foreign governments, which the company donated to the U.S. Treasury Department annually.”

Trump Org Refutes House Democrat Report on Trump’s Finances (ET)

The Trump Organization denied on Jan. 4 that former President Donald Trump improperly profited from his presidency, describing House Democrats’ claims to the contrary as “insane.” A new report published by the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee asserts that the 45th president’s businesses took in at least an estimated $7.8 million from 20 foreign governments—including those of China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and others—during his term, in violation of the Constitution. The outlined payments mostly included spending on rent at Trump Tower and Trump World Tower—both in New York—and on stays at the Trump International Hotels in Washington and Las Vegas. The report also alleges that President Trump allowed those payments to influence his foreign policy moves, citing his decision not to sanction the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)—which leases office space in Trump Tower—as an example.

But Kimberly Benza, a Trump Organization spokesperson, told The Epoch Times via email that such claims were ridiculous. “That narrative is insane, especially given there is no President in United States history who was tougher on China than Donald Trump… a President who introduced billions and billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs on their goods and services,” she said. Ms. Benza stressed that ICBC—which accounted for roughly $5.4 million of the payments detailed in the report—had been a preexisting, long-term tenant at Trump Tower since 2008—“almost a decade before President Trump entered office.” As for the remaining funds, Ms. Benza noted that the Trump Organization does not have the “ability or viability” to prevent individuals from making reservations through third-party booking websites. Nonetheless, she said the company voluntarily implemented a program to track payments from foreign governments, which the company donated to the U.S. Treasury Department annually.

[..] “We still don’t know the extent of the foreign payments that Donald Trump received—or even the total number of countries that paid him and his businesses while he was President—because Committee Chairman James Comer and House Republicans buried any further evidence of the Trump family’s staggering corruption,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Oversight Democrat, charged in a Jan. 4 statement. “Despite these efforts, today’s report makes clear that former President Trump put lining his pockets with cash from foreign governments seeking policy favors over the interests of the American people.” The former president’s staff and advisers see the report differently. For Ms. Benza, it’s confirmation that House Democrats are “desperate to save face” amid Republicans’ ongoing investigations of President Joe Biden and his family members.

“There is a large difference between someone who leases commercial office space to a foreign company a decade ago … versus the son and family members of the Vice President extracting money from China, Ukraine, and Romania and others while providing no apparent or tangible goods and services,” she said. “It would be dishonest to not clearly distinguish between the two.” That view was echoed by Jason Meister, a member of President Trump’s campaign advisory panel in New York, who told The Epoch Times that there is no valid comparison between President Biden’s family finances and the Trump family’s businesses. “Democrats desperately want you to believe that diplomats in D.C. reserving hotel rooms or buying candied bacon at the Trump Hotel over four years is the same thing as Joe Biden converting his son into a bag man, to collect and then split with him the millions in graft he took from all around the world,” Mr. Meister said.

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“One is reminded of how the Nazis talked about dealing with Jews when reading how Israelis in “positions of the highest responsibility” talk about dealing with the Palestinians.”

Genocide in Gaza (John Mearsheimer)

I am writing to flag a truly important document that should be widely circulated and read carefully by anyone interested in the ongoing Gaza War. Specifically, I am referring to the 84-page “application” that South Africa filed with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 29 December 2023, accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza.1 It maintains that Israel’s actions since the war began on 7 October 2023 “are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnic … group in the Gaza Strip.” (1) That charge fits clearly under the definition of genocide in the Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory. The application is a superb description of what Israel is doing in Gaza. It is comprehensive, well-written, well-argued, and thoroughly documented. The application has three main components.

First, it describes in detail the horrors that the IDF has inflicted on the Palestinians since 7 October 2023 and explains why much more death and destruction is in store for them. Second, the application provides a substantial body of evidence showing that Israeli leaders have genocidal intent toward the Palestinians. (59-69) Indeed, the comments of Israeli leaders – all scrupulously documented – are shocking. One is reminded of how the Nazis talked about dealing with Jews when reading how Israelis in “positions of the highest responsibility” talk about dealing with the Palestinians. (59) In essence, the document argues that Israel’s actions in Gaza, combined with its leaders’ statements of intent, make it clear that Israeli policy is “calculated to bring about the physical destruction of Palestinians in Gaza.” (39)

Third, the document goes to considerable lengths to put the Gaza war in a broader historical context, making it clear that Israel has treated the Palestinians in Gaza like caged animals for many years. It quotes from numerous UN reports detailing Israel’s cruel treatment of the Palestinians. In short, the application makes clear that what the Israelis have done in Gaza since 7 October is a more extreme version of what they were doing well before 7 October.

There is no question that many of the facts described in the South African document have previously been reported in the media. What makes the application so important, however, is that it brings all those facts together in one place and provides an overarching and thoroughly supported description of the Israeli genocide. In other words, it provides the big picture while not neglecting the details. Unsurprisingly, the Israeli government has labelled the charges a “blood libel” that “has no factual and judicial basis.” Moreover, Israel claims that “South Africa is collaborating with a terror group that calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.” A close reading of the document, however, makes it clear that there is no basis for these assertions. In fact, it is hard to see how Israel will be able to defend itself in a rational-legal way when the proceedings begin. After all, brute facts are hard to dispute.

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“Every time I go back (to Gaza), I always think it cannot get worse, but every time I see more misery, more grief, more sadness..”

The “Transfer” of Palestinians Out of Gaza Is Not a “Voluntary Migration”(TO)

Palestinians have known all along that the real objective of Israel’s horrendous assault on Gaza is emptying the Strip of all Palestinians and the return of Jewish settlements. After nearly 90 days of relentless bombardment and a lackluster effort on the part of the Israeli government to negotiate the release of the hostages taken by Hamas, it has become clear even to Israelis that Netanyahu’s declared goals of “dismantling Hamas, returning our hostages, and ensuring that in Gaza there will be no one that threatens Israel” are nothing more than a cover for the government’s “transfer” plan.

The first phase of the transfer plan commenced with the carpet bombing of northern Gaza and an evacuation order telling Palestinians to leave the area — one of the most densely populated in the world — and move to southern Gaza “where they will be safer.” But no sooner had they reached southern Gaza than bombs started to rain on them again — in Beit Lahia, Khan Younis, Maghazi, and other heavily populated residential neighborhoods. Nowhere is safe in Gaza; nowhere to hide from U.S.-supplied 2,000-pound bombs. The 2.3 million inhabitants of the Strip are now squeezed into an even smaller over-crowded, open-air prison that is a third of the size of the previous one they were forced to evacuate from.

The “transfer” — or “voluntary migration” as some Israeli officials are calling it — is now being promoted as the humane solution for the people of Gaza who now populate a parcel of land that has been rendered completely unlivable, a fulfillment of a promise made by several Israeli government officials after the October 7 Hamas attack. Recall Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant saying, “We are fighting human animals, and we are acting accordingly.… We will eliminate everything — they will regret it.” Or retired Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland telling Israeli media, “Creating a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a necessary means to achieve the goal. Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist.” After his return from a recent visit to the besieged Gaza Strip, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini told the Global Refugee Forum in mid-December that the people of Gaza “are running out of time and options, as they face bombardment, deprivation, and disease in an ever-ever-shrinking space.”

Also speaking at the forum, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi called for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the siege to allow for sufficient aid. Grandi said, “Every time I go back (to Gaza), I always think it cannot get worse, but every time I see more misery, more grief, more sadness, and have the feeling that Gaza is not really a habitable place anymore.” In a lead editorial in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Knesset member Danny Danon was reported as saying, “We have to make it easier for Gazans to leave for other countries.… I’m talking about voluntary migration by Palestinians.” He added that he thinks that “the Arab states have a duty to help the Palestinians. They should have the decency to help instead of making inflammatory speeches.”

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“..nothing has the power to inflame the region’s masses like this particular fight between right and wrong..”

Gaza Destroys Western Divide-and-Rule Narratives (Narwani)

It could be a clean sweep. Decades of western-led narratives crafted to exploit differences throughout West Asia, create strife amid the region’s myriad communities, and advance western foreign policy objectives over the heads of bickering natives are now in ruins. The war in Gaza, it transpires, has blown a mile-wide hole in the falsehoods and fairytales that have kept West Asia distracted with internecine conflicts since at least the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. Shia versus Sunni, Iran versus Arabs, secular versus Islamist: these are three of the west’s most nefarious narrative ploys that sought to control and redirect the region and its populations, and have even drawn Arab rulers into an ungodly alliance with Israel.

It took a rare conflict – uncooked and uncontrolled by Washington – to liberate West Asian masses from their narrative trance. Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza also brought instant clarity to the question of which Arabs and Muslims actually support Palestinian liberation – and which do not. Iran, Hezbollah, Iraqi resistance factions, and Yemen’s Ansarallah – maligned by these western narratives – are now visibly the only regional players prepared to buttress the Gaza frontline, whether through funds, weapons, or armed clashes that aim to dilute and disperse Israeli military resources. The so-called ‘moderate Arabs,’ a misnomer for the western-centric, authoritarian Arab dictatorships subservient to Washington’s interests, have offered little more than lip service to the carnage in Gaza.

The Saudis called for support by hosting Arab and Islamic summits that were allowed to do and say nothing. The Emiratis and Jordanians trucked supplies to Israel that Ansarallah blockaded by sea. The mighty Egypt hosted delegations when all it needed to have done was to open the Rafah Crossing so Palestinians can eat. Qatar – once a major Hamas donor – now negotiates for the freedom of Israeli captives, while hosting Hamas ‘moderates,’ who are at odds with Gaza’s freedom fighters. And Turkiye’s trade with the Israeli occupation state continues to skyrocket (exports increased 35 percent from November to December 2023). Palestine, for the pro-west ‘moderate Arabs,’ is a carefully handled flag they occasionally wave publicly, but sabotage privately. So, they watch, transfixed and horrified today, at what social media and tens of millions of protesters have made crystal clear: Palestine remains the essential Arab and Muslim cause; it may ebb and flow, but nothing has the power to inflame the region’s masses like this particular fight between right and wrong.

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“Whether the US will leave or not, I don’t know. I tend to doubt it because they have too much [interests there].”

Ex-Pentagon Analyst: Mideast Crisis May Spiral Out of Control (Sp.)

Two powerful blasts killed close to 100 people in the Iranian city of Kerman this week, with Daesh (ISIL/ISIS)* claiming responsibility for the terror attack. However, former Pentagon senior security policy analyst Michael Maloof does not rule out that the terrorist group “might be trying to take credit for something as a cover for somebody else.” “I’m not surprised because ISIS has been known to work with the Israelis,” he told Sputnik. “We have an interesting context, particularly since the Israelis are very anti-Shia and ISIS is basically radical Sunnis. So it’s not surprising. And ISIS has a history of also detonating explosives in Iran. In fact, just a few years ago, they had a few explosions, I think, on the parliament building in Tehran. So it’s not unique.”

In the wake of the attack, Iranian authorities had suggested that the bombing might be linked to Tehran’s opposition to Israel’s Gaza war, assuming that Tel Aviv or Washington could have been behind it. President Ebrahim Raisi’s deputy, Mohammad Jamshidi, tweeted that: “Make no mistake. The responsibility for this crime lies with the US and Zionist regimes (Israel) and terrorism is just a tool.” The US and Israel have strongly denied having a hand in the deadly bombing, claiming that Sunni radical groups, including Daesh, could have carried out the attack. Shortly after, a post on Daesh’s Telegram account popped up saying that the terrorist group was behind the blasts. In a statement, the terrorist organization named Omar al-Mowahid and Sayefulla al-Mujahid as the perpetrators.

Nonetheless, the bombing has raised a lot of questions, especially given that Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of the political bureau of Hamas, was killed in a drone strike in southern Beirut just a day before. Al-Arouri’s assassination is widely believed to be committed by Israel The Wall Street Journal claimed on December 1 that Israel’s intelligence services were preparing to kill Hamas leaders around the world. Extraterritorial targeted killings of individuals designated as terrorists by Tel Aviv is Israel’s decades-long practice touted as a way to prevent terrorist attacks and scale down “collateral damage.” Likewise, the use of proxy groups is nothing new for Israel or the US, as per Sputnik’s interlocutor. For its part, the US has recently launched a military operation against Houthi rebels in the Red Sea and stepped up attacks on Shiite groups, belonging to the so-called Axis of Resistance, in Iraq.

“There was what seemed to be a further retaliation this morning against one of the Shia leaders in Baghdad of one of the militant groups,” said Maloof. “That was a US strike with a missile. (…) So it was a direct hit and inside of Baghdad. And so I think that that’s probably going to cause the Iraqis to start putting increasing pressure for the US forces to get out altogether. That seems to be the trend. The parliament did it a few years ago and nothing ever happened. Nobody moved out. Now, the prime minister has made a statement to that effect recently and I think last week that he wants American troops out of Iraq. Whether the US will leave or not, I don’t know. I tend to doubt it because they have too much [interests there].”

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“His words came as Washington was reportedly preparing for the conflict between Israel and Hamas to spill over the borders of Gaza and expand further to the Middle East..”

Lindsey Graham Vows To Make Iran’s ‘Worst Nightmare’ Come True (RT)

Washington will continue to actively support Israel and seek to realize a “nightmare” scenario for the Iranian leadership, US Senator Lindsey Graham told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to Tel Aviv on Thursday. The US expressed its strong support for the Jewish State in October 2023 in the wake of a Hamas terrorist attack, which claimed some 1,200 lives and saw more than 240 people taken hostage. The Israeli retaliation campaign, which was also backed by the US, has already killed more than 22,000 people in the Palestinian enclave, according to local health officials. On Thursday, Graham told Netanyahu that both US lawmakers and the administration of President Joe Biden would “push forward to make Iran’s worst nightmare real,” adding that the US would “do everything we can” to support Israel.

He argued that West Jerusalem should strive for reconciliation with Arab nations, calling such an outcome “a nightmare for the ayatollah.” He also described establishing ties between Israel and the Arab world as an “absolutely essential ingredient to a better, more stable Mid-East and a safe and secure Israel and a prosperous Palestinian people.” The senator also stated that he was personally “more dedicated now to bringing stability to your country and this region.” Netanyahu responded by expressing his gratitude to Graham and vowed to continue Israel’s war campaign in Gaza. “We’re absolutely committed to achieving our war goals,” Netanyahu told Graham, adding that West Jerusalem would “apply maximum power with maximum precision everywhere that’s needed.”

Iran has repeatedly blamed Israel for the escalation in the region throughout the ongoing conflict as well as accused it of committing “genocide” in Gaza and setting “fire to the region.” Tehran also accused West Jerusalem’s Western backers, including the US, of employing double standards in their assessment of the situation in the Middle East. Last month, Graham, who is also known for his staunch anti-Iranian position, called for a bombing campaign against Iran, calling for the country’s oil fields and the Revolutionary Guard Corps headquarters to be “blown off the map.” Graham is a retired US Air Force colonel but spent his entire military career in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps as a lawyer and then a judge. He also has a long history of promoting the use of force abroad.

His words came as Washington was reportedly preparing for the conflict between Israel and Hamas to spill over the borders of Gaza and expand further to the Middle East, according to Politico. The administration of US President Joe Biden was allegedly reviewing scenarios that could see Washington drawn into a major conflict in the region. A US response could be triggered by Yemeni Houthi fighters, who have been targeting commercial ships off Yemen’s coast in response to the attacks on Gaza by Israel, according to the news media outlet.

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“..The attacks on Belgorod and other Russian demilitarized zones clearly show how close the Ukrainian regime is to definitive defeat..”

After Military Collapse, Kiev Bets on Terrorism (Leiroz)

A major military escalation is taking place in the special operation zone – and even outside of it. Moscow is launching massive attacks against Ukraine after the demilitarized region of Belgorod was hit in terrorist actions by Kiev. Faced with military fiasco and the impossibility of continuing to fight through appropriate means, the neo-Nazi regime relies on terrorism as a war tactic against Russia. On December 30, Ukrainian forces launched a deadly attack with cluster weapons on Belgorod, killing dozens and injuring hundreds of people, including several children. There was no military target in the region to justify the attack, making it a deliberate action against civilians, which is why the attitude can be considered a crime under international law.

Russian diplomats at the UN called for an emergency meeting on the topic and Secretary General Antonio Guterres himself condemned Kiev’s actions. However, as expected, no consensus was reached on punishing Ukraine for its crimes, as Western states absolutely support the actions of the neo-Nazi regime. In the following days, Ukraine continued to bomb Belgorod and generate more victims. In response, Russia tightened its actions, hitting several military, industrial and critical infrastructure targets in numerous Ukrainian cities, including Kharkov, Kiev and even Lvov. Among the targets, decision-making and logistics centers used in planning attacks against Belgorod were destroyed. So, undoubtedly, recent days have been marked by a military escalation that could be decisive regarding the future of the conflict.

The Ukrainian side is the one that suffers most from this type of escalatory situation. Unlike the Russians, who are only using a small percentage of their military potential, Ukraine does not have the capacity to continue fighting in the long term. Since 2022, Kiev has had great difficulty facing high-intensity frictions, constantly suffering heavy losses. Especially after the failed “counteroffensive” attempt last year, the situation has further deteriorated, with the neo-Nazi regime collapsing militarily.In military sciences, terrorism is seen as a type of tactic used by belligerent agents incapable of facing a regular war situation. This explains why Kiev is committed to increasing terrorist attacks and generating more and more civilian victims. The attacks on Belgorod and other Russian demilitarized zones clearly show how close the Ukrainian regime is to definitive defeat, having collapsed militarily and being unable to reach any target other than innocent and unarmed civilians.

It would be wrong to say that this phenomenon is something recent. Terrorism has always been a common practice for the Ukrainian military. Although the Western media says otherwise, in fact, Kiev has always been at a disadvantage in direct conflict, not being able to face hostilities in accordance with international standards of humanitarian law. This is why Ukrainian intelligence and armed forces carried out terrorist maneuvers against Russian public figures and targeted non-military infrastructure such as the Kakhovka dam and the Crimean Bridge.However, the use of these criminal practices tends to become more and more frequent from now on, as Kiev is facing a situation of absolute military ruin. The so-called “counteroffensive” was the neo-Nazi regime’s main bet in 2023 and created great expectations in Western public opinion about a possible “game change” in the military scenario of the conflict. Western propagandists even commented that Kiev would “retake” the regions liberated by Russian forces – including Crimea.

But none of these expectations came true. Russian forces were efficient in protecting their defense lines and preventing any Ukrainian territorial advance. As admitted by Russian authorities, Moscow’s main goal in 2023 was to neutralize the Ukrainian counteroffensive and this objective was evidently achieved successfully. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians died in the fighting, mainly due to the heavy use of artillery by the Russians. Kiev’s death numbers exceeded half a million soldiers, in addition to massive losses of military equipment, leading the regime to collapse and strategic paralysis.

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Just admit you lost and move on.

Brussels Eyeing ‘Plan B’ To Finance Ukraine (RT)

The EU is considering alternative ways to keep funding Ukraine, in case member states fail to bypass a veto by Hungary, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said. Budapest earlier blocked a €50 billion ($55 billion) assistance package for Kiev amid the conflict with Russia. Speaking at a press conference with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Friday, von der Leyen stressed that the EU must “urgently move forward on stabilizing our financial aid” to Ukraine. Reaching a consensus between all 27 member states is the “first priority… But of course we must prepare for other options. These are operational solutions that we are preparing right now,” she said, without giving details.

Von der Leyen recalled that just before Christmas, the EU adopted an €18 billion ($20 billion) support package for Kiev, to help “Ukraine finance their needs for the beginning of this year” and give Brussels some leeway when negotiating the main funding package. “But of course we have to work as hard and as fast as possible to deliver,” the top official added. Last month, Hungary – which has been consistently critical of the EU’s policy on Ukraine – blocked a €50 billion aid package for Kiev, to be disbursed between 2024 and 2027. Balazs Orban, an adviser to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has said Budapest could drop its opposition to the effort if Brussels unblocks all of the €30 billion earmarked for Hungary – which were withheld over a perceived crackdown on democracy. The EU has so far unfrozen only one third of the sum, citing Budapest’s progress on judicial reforms.

The Financial Times reported late last month that the EU was working on a mechanism to bypass the Hungarian veto, that would see member states provide guarantees to the EU budget, thereby allowing Brussels to borrow some €20 billion for Kiev. An EU special summit on funding Ukraine will take place on February 1. Since the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev in February 2022, the EU has provided Ukraine with more than $91 billion in various forms of aid. Russia has repeatedly denounced arms shipments to Kiev, while warning that continued support is becoming a serious burden for EU taxpayers.

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Nobody was going to.

Musk Warns Against Invading Russia (RT)

Never invade Russia, tech billionaire Elon Musk has insisted during a discussion of military strategies over the past few centuries on his platform, X (formerly Twitter). In a post on Thursday, Musk argued that 18th and early 19th-century British naval commander Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson was “incredible.” He also praised Arthur Wellesley, the First Duke of Wellington, who was among the military leaders who defeated French Emperor Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. “Wellington is usually underrated. Not on Napoleon’s level, but still one of the best generals in history imo,” SpaceX and Tesla CEO wrote. In response to his comment, one of the users suggested that Napoleon was actually “not so smart” when he launched his failed Russian campaign in 1812.

Musk seemingly agreed with the notion, replying: “Just don’t invade Russia. It’s never a good idea.” The French Army, considered unbeatable at the time, crossed into Russian territory in late June 1812 and advanced quickly, entering Moscow by mid-September. However, after that, Napoleon’s forces could only retreat, being kicked out of Russia by the end of the year and suffering estimated losses of between 400,000 and 500,000. Russian historians attribute the country’s success in what they call the Patriotic War of 1812 to the sophisticated bait-and-switch strategies of Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov, the heroism of Russian troops, the patriotism of the civilian population, many of whom joined the partisans, and the harsh winter conditions in the final months of the conflict.

Over the past two years, Musk has been calling for a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, warning that due to the West backing Ukraine, the conflict could well spiral into a nuclear war between Russia and the US. The billionaire has been providing the Kiev forces with access to Starlink satellite internet but refused to enable the service in the vicinity of Crimea over concerns that the Ukrainians would use SpaceX’s system to guide drones and missiles toward Russian targets on the peninsula.

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“..they have heard enough from those forced out because of refusal to take the death vaccine to know that the officers no longer stand up for the troops..”

Recruitment Problems Plague US Military (Paul Craig Roberts)

Traditionally a few Southern states have provided the backbone of America’s military. But times have changed. Today white Southern men don’t like black female sergeants in their face. They don’t like homosexual sergeants in their face either. They don’t like comments from non-military friends about their officers wearing high heels and skirts. And they have heard enough from those forced out because of refusal to take the death vaccine to know that the officers no longer stand up for the troops. A military headed by a black Secretary of Defense, a female Deputy Secretary of Defense, a black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a female Chief of Naval Operations, a female Secretary of the Army, a Hispanic Secretary of the Navy, and a black head of the US Air Force Academy comes across as a military hostile to “racist, misogynist heterosexual white males.” These officials might all be competent, but they don’t come across to those in the ranks as warriors loyal to the troops.

The black Secretary of Defense reinforced this impression when he announced that promotions for whites were on hold because there are too many white officers. In other words, the military is no longer merit-based. It is a racial and gender quota system. Men with a temperament to be warriors want to be led by warriors, not by quota hires. They want to feel that they are part of a fighting force led by officers proven in combat. Their image of a military leader is George Patton or Robert E. Lee. The demonization of white people that permeates American society has now infected the military. Traditional military families now discourage sons from joining the US military. If the pro-Israeli neoconservative warmongers remain in control of US foreign policy, the likely consequence will be that Washington will make a deal with immigrant-invaders of trading citizenship for military service. This appears to be the road that the woke US military has us on. Just as Romans ended up ruled by their German mercenaries, Americans will be ruled by immigrant-invaders.

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“Comer and Jordan requested the White House provide information about Mr. Biden’s alleged involvement in his son’s defiance of the congressional subpoena. They gave the White House until Wednesday to turn over documents regarding Hunter Biden’s scheduled deposition.”

House GOP To Move Toward Holding Hunter Biden In Contempt Of Congress (CBS)

House Republicans said Friday that they will move forward next week with an effort to hold Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, in contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a congressional subpoena for closed-door testimony. Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer announced that on Wednesday, his panel will consider a resolution and accompanying report to penalize Hunter Biden for his defiance of the subpoena. If the Oversight panel advances the contempt resolution, it would then require approval by the full House. The Oversight and Judiciary Committees demanded the president’s son appear for a private deposition on Dec. 13, which he declined to do. Instead, Hunter Biden delivered a brief statement to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol, in which he reiterated that he would only answer lawmakers’ questions in a public setting.

He accused Republicans of “distorting the facts” and selectively releasing information from prior closed-door interviews with others appearing before House committees. Comer and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan said in a statement Friday that Hunter Biden’s refusal to comply with their subpoenas for testimony constitutes contempt of Congress and warrants referral to federal prosecutors. “We will not provide him with special treatment because of his last name,” Comer, of Kentucky, and Jordan, of Ohio, said. Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, denounced Comer’s decision to hold a vote on the contempt resolution, saying there is no precedent for the House holding a private citizen who has offered to testify publicly in contempt of Congress.

“Chairman Comer does not want Hunter Biden to testify in public, just as he has refused to publicly release over a dozen interview transcripts, because he wants to keep up the carefully curated distortions, blatant lies, and laughable conspiracy theories that have marked this investigation,” he said in a statement. “However, the facts and the evidence all show no wrongdoing and no impeachable offense by President Biden.” Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s lawyer, criticized House GOP lawmakers in a statement to CBS News. “It’s clear the Republican Chairmen aren’t interested in getting the facts or they would allow Hunter to testify publicly. Instead, House Republicans continue to play politics by seeking an unprecedented contempt motion against someone who has from the first request offered to answer all their proper questions,” he said. “What are they afraid of?”

GOP lawmakers have been investigating Hunter Biden’s business dealings for nearly a year and have accused Mr. Biden of profiting from his son and brother’s overseas work. But the Republicans have not produced any evidence of wrongdoing by the president or that he benefited from his family’s foreign business ventures. Still, the GOP-led House voted along party lines last month to formalize an impeachment inquiry into the president. As part of their probe, led by the Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means panels, Comer and Jordan requested the White House provide information about Mr. Biden’s alleged involvement in his son’s defiance of the congressional subpoena. They gave the White House until Wednesday to turn over documents regarding Hunter Biden’s scheduled deposition.

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“It is doubtful that anyone in New York seriously believes that they can force bus or airline companies to pay for migrants coming to a self-proclaimed sanctuary city..”

New York To Sue Bus Companies … For Busing People (Turley)

New York City Major Eric Adams announced on Thursday that he is suing bus companies for over $700 million for busing undocumented persons to the state. This is truly a thing to behold. It is a frivolous lawsuit based on an absurd law motivated by raw hypocrisy. In the meantime, the Biden Administration has been flying migrants to outside the city but no lawsuit is expected. New York City politicians have long heralded their status as a sanctuary city. Yet, it is now taking various methods to prevent migrants from seeking sanctuary by threatening anyone who brings them to the city. The lawsuit will rely on New York Social Services Law § 149, which requires that “[a]ny person who knowingly brings, or causes to be brought, a needy person from out of state into this state for the purpose of making him a public charge…shall be obligated to convey such person out of state or support him at his own expense.”

Of course, these companies are not transporting people to make them a public charge. They are transporting these people because they or a third party paid the fare for transport. That statute expressly allows the commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) to sue to recover costs. In seeking to impose crippling fines and damages on transportation companies, the lawsuit will likely be challenged as unconstitutional due to its vagueness, curtailment of interstate travel, and a host of other glaring problems. This is clearly an effort to grind companies financially. It is doubtful that anyone in New York seriously believes that they can force bus or airline companies to pay for migrants coming to a self-proclaimed sanctuary city. It is a cynical effort to impose litigation costs on companies to get them to refuse to accept such contracts.

Yet, how is a company supposed to determine if someone purchasing a ticket is a potential “public charge.” Does that apply to anyone who is impoverished? What proof of support is needed from the passenger? Such inquiries could themselves violate legal and constitutional protections. Transportation companies sell seats for transport. They are not responsible for those who purchase the tickets for their ultimate support. They are not responsible for the costs that a traveler may impose on a given city. If that were the case, I would sue the airlines everytime they fly the Packers to Chicago to play football. (Now that I think about it ….hmmm)

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Can you spell Bidenomics?

“..the print for implied full-time job creation/destruction comes to -1.479M.”

“They will tell you that this was a strong report even though they are not stupid. They hope you are.”

The Month That Labor Markets Fell Apart (Street)

On the surface, the BLS report of December labor markets appears somewhat strong. The keyword reading algorithms that skim the headlines acted in a microsecond. Bonds were hit, as yields went “pop.” Equity index futures reacted accordingly and put a momentary bottom in. The tough part of this report will be to determine just how positive, or negative December was. I’ll give you a clue as to what I think. I think December was tragic and may have been the first hint of something awful to come. I hope for your sake and for mine that I am overreacting. Okay, understanding that the BLS ends up significantly revising everything because their methods are antiquated and have been insufficient for the purposes of data collection for years, we’ll go with the numbers. The fact shall likely forever remain clouded in mystery.

As anyone reading this piece already knows, the Bureau of Labor Markets, which is part of the Department of Labor, posted the results of its twin December Labor Market surveys on Friday morning. The Establishment Survey of “Table B”, which is the more superficial of the two and of course the one that the financial media focuses on, showed an increase of Non-Farm Payrolls of 216K. Wall Street was looking for about 160K, I was looking for 164K. The BLS also revised November’s NFP print from 199K down to 173K and October’s NFP print from 150K down to 105K, leaving the December NFP print not at 216K, but at net growth of 145K from where we thought we were. 145K obviously falls short of consensus view. It gets worse from there. The Household Survey of “Table A” showed a decrease of 683K persons and another 676K individuals that became “discouraged” and left the labor force.

Conveniently, these 676K individuals can be left out of the math, so that the unemployment rate can stay put. So, understand this. The BLS Establishment Survey shows net job creation of 145K, while the BLS Household Survey shows job destruction of 683K at a time of year when everyone and their brother is trying to hire temporary employees. It still gets worse from there. As the exodus of the discouraged left the labor force en masse, the participation rate dropped from 62.8% to 62.5% (that’s a huge drop) as the employment to population ratio dropped from 60.4% to 60.1%. Part-time work? Glad you asked, as this is part of the Household Survey. Part-Time jobs increased by a whopping 796K positions, even as 683K positions were eliminated. Hence, and this is a doozy, the print for implied full-time job creation/destruction comes to -1.479M.

That’s right. They will tell you that this was a strong report even though they are not stupid. They hope you are. “They” know darn well that the US economy lost 1.479M full-time jobs in December. That’s tragic. This large reduction in the ranks of those employed and the ranks of those downshifted from full-time to part-time left the unemployment rate at 3.7% and took the Underemployment Rate up from 7% to 7.1%. Do you realize how hard it is for these rates to not move lower and do so significantly when 0.4% of the entire labor force has “disappeared.”

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Tucker vaxx

 

 


93 candles today for one of Cinema’s finest Actors for over six decades – the Oscar winning ROBERT DUVALL.

 

 

 

 

Amos Miller

 

 


Mouse deer like chevrotains and Java mouse deer are considered living fossils because they are thought to be the most primitive ruminants. Whales may have evolved from water-loving creatures that looked like small deer

 

 

Puppy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1743326217057517794

 

 


Creme Puff (August 3, 1967 – August 6, 2005) was the oldest cat ever recorded, according to the 2010 edition of Guinness World Records, when she died aged 38 years and 3 days.

 

 

Ice potassium

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 272023
 
 December 27, 2023  Posted by at 9:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  46 Responses »


Edward Hopper New York restaurant 1922

 

‘Rot In Hell’ Biden – Trump Christmas Greeting (RT)
Obama Shaped CIA To Boost His Political Agenda – Former Agent (JTN)
The Supreme Court Holds to Regular Order for the New Year (Turley)
India’s Turnaround On Palestine Has More Than Meets The Eye (Bhadrakumar)
US ‘Cannibalizing Europe’ – Oreshkin (RT)
Russia Now Europe’s Largest Economy – Oreshkin (Sp.)
German Car Industry Could Be Sold To China – Oreshkin (RT)
Russia – China Are on a Roll (Pepe Escobar)
CIA Struggling to Tackle ‘Horrendous’ Losses in China Spy Network (Sp.)
Germany’s Bundeswehr Not Battleworthy Beyond Several Hours’ Fight (TASS)
Ukrainian MP Explains Why Kiev Needs 500,000 More Conscripts (RT)
Why Russian Liberation of Maryinka is So Significant (Sp.)
Nearly 250,000 People Flood Southern Border In 1 Month (CS)
Gaetz Demands Transparency From Delta CEO About Illegal Immigrants (ET)

 

 

 

 

 

 

1947

 

 

 

 

Chris Farley

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We are in the fight of our lives to save our country from madness and doom.”

‘Rot In Hell’ Biden – Trump Christmas Greeting (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has posted Christmas greetings wishing eternal damnation on his political enemies and ranting about their alleged efforts to interfere in the 2024 election by blocking voters from returning him to power. Trump’s series of holiday messages on Monday reached a crescendo with a post wishing a merry Christmas to US President Joe Biden, federal prosecutor Jack Smith and world leaders, “both good and bad.” He concluded, “May they rot in hell. Again, merry Christmas.” Trump referred to his successor as “Crooked Joe Biden” and said Smith was the current president’s “only hope” to win reelection in 2024. Smith is prosecuting Trump in two criminal cases – alleging mishandling of classified documents and trying to overturn Biden’s 2020 election victory – and is trying to win convictions before voters go to the polls next November.

Referring to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) special counsel as an “out-of-control lunatic,” Trump claimed that Smith’s recent hiring of outside lawyers was an “unprecedented” move that aimed to “help him with his poorly executed witch hunt.” He went on to say that “the thugs we have inside our country” are trying to destroy the US through such measures as open borders, high inflation, high taxes, “woke military,” and Biden’s handling of Israel-Iran tensions and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The ex-president lamented in another post that it was difficult for him to have a “truly great” Christmas as he faced “a crooked and incompetent president who wants to put his political opponent in jail.” He added, “We are in the fight of our lives to save our country from madness and doom.”

Trump also predicted that 2024 will “go down as the year of great and fully coordinated illegal election interference” by Biden, the DOJ, the FBI and politically motivated prosecutors around the country. In addition to the two federal cases, he faces criminal indictments on state charges in Georgia and New York. “But despite it all, in the end, there will be a big and glorious victory for those brave and valiant patriots who want to make America great again,” he said. “Merry Christmas to all!” Trump issued a more traditional holiday greeting on Sunday, wishing Americans a merry Christmas. He acknowledged the birth of Jesus Christ as the reason for the celebration and alluded to the 2024 election by referring to the “pivotal” year ahead. “May 2024 be the best year of our lives,” he concluded.

The former president has made a tradition of scathing holiday messages, such as a Thanksgiving greeting in which he blasted Biden and aired his legal grievances. His Christmas post last year called out “radical left Marxists,” the “lamestream media,” the DOJ and the FBI.

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“..the continued existence of a politicized [intelligence community] that will cause problems for years to come — long after Trump has left the political scene..”

Obama Shaped CIA To Boost His Political Agenda – Former Agent (JTN)

Former CIA agent John Gentry said that the CIA became politicized under the Obama administration with the hiring of Democratic activists who shifted the intelligence agency leftward. Gentry, a Georgetown University adjunct professor who served in the CIA from 1978 to 1990, details the agency’s political changes in his new book, “Neutering the CIA: Why U.S. Intelligence Versus Trump Has Long-Term Consequences.” The politicization of the non-partisan agency first became an issue in the 1990s under CIA analyst Robert Gates, who later went on to become defense secretary for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Gentry says. At the time, Gates ordered reports to be skewed to support elected officials’ political narratives, according to The Washington Times.

Obama and his appointees “made and institutionalized significant changes, largely by creating new structures, policies, and incentives designed to alter organizational cultures in ways congruent with Obama’s political agenda,” Gentry wrote. He said that Democratic activists hired by Obama “shifted leftward the collective, politically salient worldview of the intelligence bureaucracy.” Gentry also calls the CIA a “center of partisan political activity.” This shift was illustrated in the 2016 election, with the most prominent example occurring with the embrace of the since discredited Christopher Steele dossier. “While activists tried hard to keep observers’ focus on Trump and his exceptionalism, the preponderance of evidence points strongly to the continued existence of a politicized [intelligence community] that will cause problems for years to come — long after Trump has left the political scene,” Gentry said.

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“..would overturn the long-standing Justice Department policy to avoid even the appearance of trying to influence elections..”

The Supreme Court Holds to Regular Order for the New Year (Turley)

The decision on Friday by the U.S. Supreme Court to deny a motion for expedited appeal is not ordinarily a matter for exhaustive media coverage. However, if the Trump name appears in the caption of a case, many legal experts suddenly jettison all due process concerns or sense of restraint. That is particularly true when the denial could — as here — prove highly beneficial to Donald Trump. The denial very likely ends the effort by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith to put Trump on trial just before the March 5 Super Tuesday primary elections, and it could well result in a trial after next November’s general election. Smith was able to get D.C. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to shoehorn the trial into a small window in March 2024. At the time, some of us stated that we were skeptical whether Smith could hold to that date in light of the novel constitutional and evidentiary issues in the case.

Even with the expedited review of the D.C. Circuit appellate court with an oral argument scheduled for Jan. 9, it will take time to issue an opinion. Trump then has a right to seek review with the full court in an en banc petition. That could easily take weeks, even on an expedited basis. It would then have to be appealed to the Supreme Court for a full briefing and argument. That schedule would likely approach or pass the March date. Assuming Smith prevails in every review, the pretrial proceedings still would have to resume after the case is returned to Judge Chutkan. That could easily push any potential trial to within 60 days of the general election — a period in which the Justice Department has historically avoided prosecutions under a long-standing policy to prevent influencing elections.

Ironically, Judge Chutkan ruled against Trump on immunity and the scheduling by insisting that he should be treated no differently from ordinary citizens. That is precisely what the Supreme Court just did. It refused to take away an appeal that most ordinary defendants could expect from the courts. Once the Court’s rejection became known on Friday, the coverage was full of anger and accusations. Before the ruling, many legal experts praised Smith and supported the effort to cut short Trump’s right to appeal. Just a day before the Court’s decision to turn down Smith, legal expert Dave Aronberg declared on MSNBC that “the Supreme Court seems to be willing to hopscotch over the appellate court. Jack Smith is calling Trump’s bluff.” It did not exactly work out that way.

Although the justices’ actual vote on the motion is not known, commentators immediately declared that conservatives on the Court had rendered a politically calculated opinion to spare Trump. A typical take appeared on Vox, where senior correspondent Ian Millhiser referred to “the GOP-controlled Supreme Court” and that three justices are Trump appointees, in order to paint the decision as nothing more than a rigged process. The decision, however, stuck with the regular order of appeals used for defendants. The extraordinary act would have been for the Supreme Court to allow Smith to bypass the court of appeals for no other reason than his insistence that the case is hugely important.

It is clear, of course, that the case is important — but the question is why such weighty issues should be given less judicial scrutiny due to that importance. A full appeal can produce concessions or admissions by a party in the course of arguing the issues. It creates a full appellate record that is considered by the Supreme Court, along with the trial record. So far, just one judge has ruled on this matter. The D.C. Circuit adds at least three — and potentially more — appellate judges as part of the standard review process.

If anything, Smith has an advantage before the D.C. Circuit. Notably, while two of the three judges were appointed by President Joe Biden, much of the media does not refer to the panel as “Democratic-controlled.”Every defendant is entitled to due process, including a full opportunity of appellate review absent a set of narrow, expedient circumstances. This was not one of those. Smith never actually explained why the trial is so urgent that the defendant should be denied one of two courts for appellate review. The assumption is that Smith’s urgency is to convict Trump before the 2024 election for the benefit of voters. That, of course, would overturn the long-standing Justice Department policy to avoid even the appearance of trying to influence elections.

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“The way out of this impasse lies in Israel reinventing itself. But the near civil war conditions in the country won’t permit that to happen.”

India’s Turnaround On Palestine Has More Than Meets The Eye (Bhadrakumar)

Indian diplomacy is ending 2023 with a momentous turnaround. What began as a course correction necessitated by the torrential flow of events in West Asia is assuming strategic overtones. Truly, the aberration in India’s policies can be traced to the UPA rule (2004-2014) but it is under the period since then 2014 that they accentuated phenomenally and began creating contradictions undermining national interests. This aberration also led to a serious erosion of India’s strategic autonomy in a transformative international environment. India’s voting pattern in the United Nations with regard to the Israel-Palestine conflict is lately marked by a calibrated distancing from Israel. Only a few weeks ago, Israel’s ambassador in Delhi bullishly described the Indian stance as one of “100% support” to his country. But that is no more the case today.

Delhi has rejected the repeated Israeli entreaties to declare Hamas as a terrorist organisation, marking its independent opinion regarding the ecosystem of resistance movements. Indeed, this is a highly significant distinction that Delhi is making vis-a-vis the Israeli and Western narrative about Hamas. although India has not hesitated to condemn the violence directed against Israel on October 7, it refused to name Hamas. Considering that Hamas had a chequered past of receiving patronage from Israel, Tel Aviv has no right to expect Delhi to dance to its tunes. Equally, Hamas’ future is far from an open and shut case. The fact that Sinn Fein and Irish opinion has shown empathy towards Hamas, or that South Africa, which has itself been a victim of apartheid, has recalled its ambassador and diplomatic mission to Israel, calling the horrific Gaza killings as “genocide,” go to show that the embers of national liberation struggle are still burning.

Although India expressed “solidarity” with the Israeli people over the brutal violence on October 7, it cannot condone the vastly disproportionate Israeli retaliation since then, blithely calling it a matter of Israel’s ‘right to self-defence’. On December 13, India voted in favour of a resolution in the UN General Assembly that demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict. This was the first time India supported such a resolution since the war broke out more than two months ago. Such a stance puts India on the right side of history, as the 193-member UNGA overwhelmingly adopted the resolution at an emergency special session, with 153 nations voting in its favour. A third aspect is that from a geopolitical perspective, Delhi has marked its distance from the US-Israeli campaign branding Iran as the instigator of extremist groups acting against Israel.

Interestingly, on December 19, India was one of only thirty states — along with Russia and China — who voted against a UN resolution on “the human rights situation in Iran.” The running thread here is that India has reverted to its traditional stance on the Palestine problem and jettisoned the tilt supportive of Israeli interests. The unprecedented unity among the Arab countries, the close coordination between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the huge groundswell of opinion in the Arab world against Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian populations in Gaza and West Bank — all this has created a new momentum in Middle East politics that has pitchforked the Palestine problem to the centre stage, which is something India cannot afford to ignore. Nor can Delhi be oblivious of the new reality that something has fundamentally changed in the dynamics of the Palestine problem after the events since October 7.

The Israeli ploys of dissimulation and evasiveness and deliberate wrecking of dialogue process and negotiations may no longer work. Indeed, Israel’s overwhelming military superiority vis-a-vis its Arab neighbours has lost its relevance. Coupled with the US’ loss of influence and America’s waning global hegemony alongside the sharp polarisation of opinion within Israel itself internally add up to create grave uncertainties regarding the future of the state of Israel as it exists today. Suffice to say, India feels the need to adapt to the new conditions in West Asia where regional countries prefer to settle their issues by themselves, which in turn undermines the rationale behind the creation of Israel as a cockpit of western strategic interests. The way out of this impasse lies in Israel reinventing itself. But the near civil war conditions in the country won’t permit that to happen.

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Maksim Oreshkin is not a public figure. But when he appears, pay attention. He’s labeled a “Putin aide”, but he’s his no.1 economic adviser. A very influential man.

US ‘Cannibalizing Europe’ – Oreshkin (RT)

The US insistence on sanctioning Russia has caused a downturn in the EU economy, according to President Vladimir Putin’s top economic adviser, Maksim Oreshkin. In an interview with Expert magazine published on Tuesday, Oreshkin said the sanctions imposed since February last year have caused the EU to lose both its energy security and a key export market. Oreshkin pointed to the key factors underlying the EU’s economic prosperity, outlined by the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. They include easy availability of energy resources from Russia, the use of cheap production in China, and access to the Russian and Chinese markets. “The gradual loss of these factors is leading the EU economy towards long-term stagnation,” Oreshkin argued, “because European manufacturers now have neither the export market nor the advantages in technology that they had five to ten years ago.”

Oreshkin accused the US of “cannibalizing its European partners, killing European chemicals, automotive and other industries.” This comes amid a broader degradation of the West and its economic model, he said. “The economies of the Global North – the US, Japan, the EU – are slowly losing their status, their significance. This gradual decay of the countries of the Global North and the growth of countries in the East and South is what will further shape the landscape of the global economy,” he predicted. Oreshkin noted that China has already become the leading global economic power, while Russia is now the largest economy in Europe, “on course to replace Japan as the world’s fourth largest.”

According to the presidential aide, the world’s key economic players will be focusing their development strategies on growing markets in Asia and Africa in the coming years. Russia’s development will take the same direction, he predicted, especially in the energy sphere. “The stronger the economic growth [in Asia and Africa], the higher will their level of energy consumption be, and the better the energy markets will feel… For Russia, the key task is to remain the most efficient producers of what we make, which includes energy. We must have lower costs, more efficient production, and then the changes that will occur in the energy markets will affect us to a lesser extent.”

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“..the so-called economies of the Global North – the United States, Japan, the EU – are gradually losing their role and importance.”

Russia Now Europe’s Largest Economy – Oreshkin (Sp.)

Russia has become the largest economy in Europe, revealed Russian presidential aide Maxim Oreshkin in an interview with Expert magazine. Globally, he also stated that the Russian economy sits just behind Japan in the race for the fourth-largest economy. According to Oreshkin, “the so-called economies of the Global North – the United States, Japan, the EU – are gradually losing their role and importance.” “China has become the leading economy, Russia is now the largest economy in Europe and is closing in on Japan in the race for fourth rank. Asian economies have moved up significantly in the rankings, with India taking third place, Indonesia moving up to seventh place and poised to challenge Germany’s sixth place in the near future,” Oreshkin said. According to the World Bank, China emerged as the world’s largest economy in purchasing power parity terms in 2022. The United States secured second place, followed by India in third and Japan in fourth. Russia secured fifth place, while Germany remained in sixth.

Back in October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised its 2023 GDP growth forecast for Russia to 2.2% growth compared to the earlier prediction of 1.5% in July. However, the outlook for 2024 has been adjusted downward to 1.1% from 1.3%. The IMF noted “mixed effects” of Western sanctions on Russian crude oil exports in its latest World Economic Outlook. Despite sanctions, Russian export flows remained stable, and crude oil continues trading above the $60 price cap imposed by the G7 countries. Earlier, Russian Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov hinted at a 3.5% GDP growth in 2023, but the formal forecast of 2,9% remained unchanged. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin was more optimistic and asserted a minimum 3.5% growth by the year’s end, surpassing the ministry’s official 2.8% forecast for 2023.

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May sound crazy, but the reasoning is solid.

German Car Industry Could Be Sold To China – Oreshkin (RT)

China is rapidly gaining market capitalization in the global automobile sector, while European carmakers are losing competitiveness, Maksim Oreshkin, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top economic adviser, told Expert magazine in an interview published on Tuesday. Oreshkin noted that China has already become the number one exporter of cars in the world, which does not bode well for European car brands. “I wouldn’t be surprised if companies like Mercedes and BMW fade into history in ten years. As brands they will probably remain, but will follow the fate of Volvo, which was sold to China. In other words, they will actually cease to be European cars,” the presidential aide predicted.

“European manufacturers now have neither the market nor the technological advantage that they had five to ten years ago,” according to Oreshkin. The broader EU, and Germany, its industrial powerhouse, in particular, have been in the grip of an economic crisis for the past year and a half, ever since Brussels launched its sanctions war on Russia in response to the Ukraine conflict. As a result, the bloc lost access to cheap energy from Russia, which used to power much of its industry. Earlier this year, the head of Germany’s Association of the Automotive Industry, Hildegard Muller, warned that the country “is losing dramatically its international competitiveness” as the location for the automobile industry because of soaring energy costs.

China became the world’s largest automobile exporter for the first time in Q1 this year, having sold 1.07 million vehicles and pushing Japan to second place. The country has kept up its lead in the following quarters, with the export volume registering a year-on-year growth of 59.7% in January-October at 3.92 million units, according to data from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. Meanwhile, following the departure of European, American, South Korean, and Japanese carmakers due to sanctions, China became Russia’s biggest automobile supplier in 2023. According to the latest available data, Chinese brands accounted for 92% of all Russian car imports between January and August.

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The west goes down. The rest does not.

Russia – China Are on a Roll (Pepe Escobar)

One of the most impressive features of the expanded Russia-China partnership is what is being planned for the Chinese northeastern province of Heilongjiang. The idea is to turn it into an economic, scientific development and national defense mega-hub, centered on the provincial capital Harbin, complete with a new, sprawling Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The key vector is that this mega-hub would also coordinate the development of the immense Russian Far East. This was discussed in detail at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok last September. In a unique, startling arrangement, the Chinese may be allowed to manage selected latitudes of the Russian Far East for the next 100 years. As Hong Kong-based analyst Thomas Polin detailed, Beijing is budgeting no less than 10 trillion yuan ($1.4 trillion) for the whole thing. Half of it would be absorbed by Harbin.

The blueprint will reach the National People’s Congress next March, and is expected to be approved. It has already been approved by the lower house of the Duma in Moscow. The ramifications are mind-boggling. We would have Harbin elevated to the status of direct-administered city, just like Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing. And most of all a Sino-Russian Management Committee will be established in Harbin to oversee the whole project. Top flight Chinese universities – including Peking University – would transfer their main campuses to Harbin. The universities of National Defense and National Defense Technology would merge with Harbin Engineering University to form a new entity focused on defense industries. High-tech research institutes and companies in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen would also move to Harbin.

The People’s Bank of China would establish its HQ for northern China in Harbin, complete with markets trading stocks and commodities futures. Residents of Heilongjiang would be allowed to travel back and forth to designated Russian Far East regions without a visa. The new Heilongjiang SEZ would have its own customs area and no import taxes. That’s the same spirit driving BRI connectivity corridors and the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC). The underlying rationale is wider Eurasia integration. At the recent Astana Club meeting in Kazakhstan, researcher Damjan Krnjevic-Miskovic, Director of Policy Research at the ADA University in Baku, gave an excellent presentation on connectivity corridors.

He referred for instance to the C5+1 (five Central Asian “stans” plus China) meeting three months ago in Dushanbe joined by Azerbaijan’s president Aliyev: that translates as Central Asia-Caucasus integration. Miskovic is paying due attention to everything that is evolving in what he defines, correctly, as “the Silk Road region” – interlinking the Euro-Atlantic with Asia-Pacific and interconnecting West Asia, South Asia and wider Eurasia. Strategically, of course, that’s the “geopolitical hinge where NATO meets the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and where the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connects with Turkiye and the territory of the EU.” In practical terms, Russia-China know exactly what needs to be done to propel economic connectivity and “synergistic relationships” all across this vast spectrum.

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“We have no real insight into [Chinese] leadership plans and intentions in China at all..”

CIA Struggling to Tackle ‘Horrendous’ Losses in China Spy Network (Sp.)

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is struggling to rebuild its damaged spy network in China, unnamed American officials have told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). According to them, the goal is to restore the CIA’s “human espionage capabilities” in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), where the agency lost its network of agents a decade ago. The sources referred to what they described as Beijing’s spycatchers, who “all but blinded” CIA agents in China at the time, when the officials claimed at least “two dozen assets” providing information to the US had been executed or put behind bars. The officials argued that the US currently faces limited understanding of secret plans by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his associates on key security issues, including those pertaining to Taiwan.

“We have no real insight into [Chinese] leadership plans and intentions in China at all,” the sources claimed. The insiders added that details of what went wrong are not known to the public and it is unclear whether any of the CIA’s employees have been held accountable. One official argued that the agency’s losses in China were “horrendous.” Per the sources, the CIA and other US spy agencies cut spending on counterterrorism and other targets to focus on funding programs to penetrate the Chinese government after 2020. One official made it clear that strengthening the human spy network targeted on China will be a tricky task, saying, “The reality is that you don’t have collection resources that you can exploit all over the world.”

The claims come after CIA Director William Burns said in an interview with the WSJ that China remains at the top of the agency’s to-do list. “We are approaching the PRC as a global priority, more than doubling the budget resources devoted to the China mission over the past three years, and establishing the China Mission Center as CIA’s only single country mission center to coordinate the full agency’s efforts on this issue. Even as we are balancing multiple priorities including ongoing conflicts, we remain intensely engaged on the strategic long-term challenge posed by the PRC,” he said.

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“Before it would have endured three days. Now it’s a matter of hours..”

Germany’s Bundeswehr Not Battleworthy Beyond Several Hours’ Fight (TASS)

The current material and technical condition of Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, has deteriorated sharply over the past two years, Colonel (Ret.) Ralf Thiele, a retired Bundeswehr officer told the Focus Online publication. “At the beginning of the attack (the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine – TASS), the Bundeswehr was already understaffed. Now it is even worse,” he contends. According to the expert, the German armed forces can only blame themselves for this deplorable state of affairs, as they long delayed needed upgrades. Should Germany or any other NATO country be attacked, the Bundeswehr’s equipment would not last long, Thiele believes. “Before it would have endured three days. Now it’s a matter of hours,” Thiele remarked without elaborating. At the end of February 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the creation of a special 100 bln euro fund specifically for upgrading the Bundeswehr.

The earmarked funds were to be used for investment and armament projects, in particular, the purchase of new equipment, ammunition and machinery. According to German experts, however, no significant improvement in the material and technical base of the country’s armed forces has been achieved yet. In late March, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius sacked Gabriele Korb, the head of the Federal Office for Defense Technology and Procurement. She had come under criticism for overly long timeframes and overly complex procedures for weapons and equipment procurement. The total amount of German support for Ukraine – including humanitarian, financial and military assistance – has exceeded 25 bln euros since February 2022. In November, it was reported that the German government intended to increase support for Kiev from 4 bln euros to 8 bln euros in 2024. However, the authorities have not yet agreed on the budget for next year due to fiscal problems.

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They made people believe they were winning.

Ukrainian MP Explains Why Kiev Needs 500,000 More Conscripts (RT)

The Ukrainian military needs 500,000 new conscripts to cover casualties and man new units created during the next 12 months, the secretary of Ukraine’s parliamentary national security committee, Roman Kostenko, has said. The lawmaker also warned that eligible Ukrainians would not escape the ongoing mobilization. President Vladimir Zelensky claimed last week that the military leadership had requested the mobilization of “450,000-500,000 individuals” amid the conflict with Russia. Earlier this month, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated that Kiev had lost more than 383,000 troops, both killed and wounded, since the start of hostilities in February 2022. In an interview with the Ukrinform media outlet published on Monday, Kostenko lamented that his compatriots “thought that we would win soon,” which instilled the belief in Ukrainians that “they could live quietly [and] not prepare for mobilization.”

“And now the words about an additional 450,000-500,000 mobilized have become a cold shower for everyone,” the lawmaker said. He added that the figure roughly reflects the armed forces’ needs in terms of replenishing “sanitary losses during the year” as well as forming new units. The military, according to Kostenko, must plan years ahead as the conflict “can… drag on for a long time.” The national security committee chief added that the Ukrainian government should shift the focus of its information policy from the promise of a quick victory and a vacation in Crimea to a more solemn message that “everyone must protect the Motherland. No one will evade it.”

Several Ukrainian media outlets reported on Monday that the legislation currently being considered by the Verkhovna Rada calls for the conscription age to be lowered from 27 to 25. The draft law is also said to include the introduction of electronic military draft notices, which would be sent via email and other means. According to reports, draft dodgers will be banned from receiving certain benefits and services from the state, obtaining loans, traveling abroad, and carrying out property transactions. MP Vadim Ivchenko told the Strana.ua news outlet that men hiding from mobilization abroad could be denied consular services, including the issuance of new IDs.

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“There were firing positions for long-range artillery and MLRS that shelled Donetsk. Now Maryinka is taken and thus the threat was moved away from Donetsk.”

Why Russian Liberation of Maryinka is So Significant (Sp.)

Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu formally announced that the Russian Armed Forces liberated Maryinka, a heavily fortified city in the Donetsk People’s Republic, which for years served as an important stronghold for the Ukrainian troops, on December 25. Maryinka’s close proximity to the region’s capital of Donetsk allowed Ukrainian forces to shell the bigger city with relative impunity, noted military analyst Anatoliy Matviychuk, a retired colonel of the Russian Armed Forces. “Most importantly, they (Ukrainian forces) turned that city into a fortification,” Matviychuk said. “There were firing positions for long-range artillery and MLRS that shelled Donetsk. Now Maryinka is taken and thus the threat was moved away from Donetsk.”

He further noted that the liberation of Maryinka results in Russian forces taking control of “a hub of railways and highways,” not to mention cutting off the supply lines for the Ukrainian forces in the sector.The Russian victory in Maryinka also means that Ukrainian forces suffered a huge blow to their morale and lost confidence in their ability to hold their positions, suggested Colonel General Georgy Shpak, ex-commander of the Russian Airborne Forces. “Already, as I’ve learned, the number of Ukrainian soldiers who want to end up in Russian captivity has drastically increased,” Shpak said, adding that Kiev troops are becoming disaffected with their leaders and their ideals. Meanwhile, Ret. Col. Rustem Klupov, a military analyst and Russian military intelligence veteran, argued that the liberation of Maryinka was the beginning of a breakthrough in multilayered enemy defense in the sector, which may be followed by further breakthroughs in the Artemovsk and Avdeyevka sectors.

“These three directions – Artemovsk, Maryinka and Avdeyevka – they may lead to a strategic advance towards Pavlograd and Dnepropetrovsk, that’s about 200 kilometers, in order to encircle the enemy attack force that sought to punch through our frontlines in the south,” Klupov said. According to him, such a move by Russian forces would put the entire Ukrainian southern army group at risk as Kiev would be forced to either pull these troops back or risk them being cut off. “The success of this big operation is being determined there, near Avdeyevka and Maryinka,” Klupov claimed. While Kiev’s “counteroffensive” that started early in June and ended without much fanfare by the year’s end failed to produce any results apart from tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers killed, Russian forces scored a number of victories in 2023 which include the liberation of the cities of Artemovsk, Soledar and Maryinka.

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“Aliens cross the border illegally, test the system, are released into the interior, and then call home to share their experiences. That’s happened millions of times in the past three years.”

Nearly 250,000 People Flood Southern Border In 1 Month (CS)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered a new record number of illegal border crossers in November as the agency pleaded for help from Congress. Total illegal border crossers encountered along the southwest border in November were 242,418. The majority of apprehensions, 191,113, occurred between ports of entry. CBP agents also processed more than 43,000 people at ports of entry who made appointments through the CBP One App. As part of the administration’s expanded parole program to foreign nationals from specific countries, which Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced earlier this year, an unprecedented number of Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans were released into the U.S. who otherwise would not have been allowed in. Early this year, 20 states sued over the program, which they argue is illegal.

The plan initially allowed up to 30,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans to enter the U.S. a month. Since then, that total and the program were expanded. Through the end of November 2023, CBP reports that 297,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans “arrived lawfully under the parole processes.” More than 62,000 Cubans, more than 120,000 Haitians, more than 54,000 Nicaraguans, and more than 81,000 Venezuelans “were vetted and authorized for travel,” CBP states. They were released into the U.S. CBP also states that more than 60,000 Cubans, 112,000 Haitians, 47,000 Nicaraguans, and 76,000 Venezuelans arrived at the border and were granted parole. CBP processing facilities are currently at capacity along the southwest border in what is projected to be the largest number of illegal entries for the month of December in U.S. history.

In response to the surge at the border, CBP directed more personnel and transportation resources to areas being hard hit in order to transfer illegal foreign nationals “from high traffic areas to locations where they can be efficiently and humanely processed,” it said. “We are screening and vetting every individual we encounter at the border and those without a legal basis to stay are processed for removal,” the statement says. Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner Troy Miller also said the agency needed more resources from Congress, at a time when Republican Congressional leaders are planning on impeaching Mayorkas in January over the border crisis. “We are facing a serious challenge along the southwest border and CBP and our federal partners need more resources from Congress – as outlined in the supplemental budget request – to enhance border security and America’s national security,” Miller said in a statement.

“Despite ongoing challenges, in November, the men and women of CBP continued their tireless work and recorded increased seizures of illegal narcotics while facilitating lawful trade and increased holiday travel.” U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., who has vowed to impeach Mayorkas next month, said, “When there is no meaningful consequence applied to illegal activity, that activity will continue – and others will get the message that they can also engage in it with impunity. That’s exactly what has happened at our borders since Secretary Mayorkas took office. Aliens cross the border illegally, test the system, are released into the interior, and then call home to share their experiences. That’s happened millions of times in the past three years.” Green said this will not stop “so long as Secretary Mayorkas doubles down on his refusal to enforce the immigration laws passed by Congress. He must be held accountable.”

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“..legitimate major airline boarding passes for migrants that quite literally have the name printed as ‘NO NAME GIVEN.'”

Gaetz Demands Transparency From Delta CEO About Illegal Immigrants (ET)

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has raised national security concerns about Delta Air Lines’ role in transporting illegal immigrants from the U.S. southern border into the country’s interior without being “properly vetted.” In a letter to Delta CEO Ed Bastion on Friday, Mr. Gaetz urged transparency regarding arrangements between the airline, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) facilitating transportation. “It has recently come to my attention that Delta Air Lines is transporting non-resident aliens from the southern border of the United States into the interior of the country,” Mr. Gaetz wrote. “The United States Congress has an interest in understanding pursuant to which arrangements with federal agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) non-resident aliens are able to book and travel on Delta Air Lines flights.”

Sparked by claims in viral social media posts, Mr. Gaetz cited national security concerns around NGOs that receive taxpayer funds buying flights for illegal immigrants who have not been vetted and who seem to be boarding flights without proper identification. These concerns were also put to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday. Mr. Cruz sought information about the screening procedures for illegal immigrants crossing the border via the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “CBP One” app and being helped onto flights to the country’s interior from southern border locations. In his letter to the Delta Air Lines boss, Mr. Gaetz said, “As you are likely aware, certain NGOs receive federal grants, including through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program and Shelter and Services Program, making it possible that these NGOs are using federal money to purchase flights for non-resident aliens on Delta Air Lines.”

The Republican congressman echoed Mr. Cruz, saying it was “alarming” that American taxpayers are paying for illegal immigrants to fly around the country from the U.S. southern border who “may not be properly vetted.” “Therefore, I am concerned the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may be allowing nonresident aliens to board flights, including those operated by Delta Air Lines, with an alternate form of identification that meets a weaker standard than that used to verify the identities of American citizens when they fly,” he added.

Mr. Gaetz sought answers from Ms. Bastion to the following questions:
• How many nonresident aliens has Delta Ait Lines transported on behalf of governmental or nongovernmental organizations since January 20, 2021?
• How do NGOs purchase or reimburse your airlines for the tickets of non-resident aliens?
• Are you now receiving, or have you ever received, any incentive to reimbursement, including money, credit, or other benefits from the federal government, in exchange for the transport of nonresident aliens?
• Has the TSA notified you of what forms of identification are acceptable for nonresident aliens to clear airport security and board your flights? If so, what are they?

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Cobalt

 

 

 

 

Blue magpie

 

 

Okapi

 

 


Athens Christmas

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 252023
 


Velázquez The Immaculate Conception 1619

 

‘I Did Not Ask Netanyahu For Ceasefire’: Biden (Cradle)
How The Western Media Are Protecting The Israelis (Helmer)
Houthis Brush Off US Threats, Vow to Intensify Anti-Israeli Ops (Sp.)
Biden’s Attack On Nord Stream Was Aimed At Germany – Seymour Hersh (RT)
Putin Now Serious About Negotiating End To War: Diplomats (ZH)
Ukrainians Face A ‘Terrible Winter’ – Retired French General (RT)
Time To Find ‘Another Way’ To Resolve Ukraine Conflict – Italy (RT)
Moscow Hits Out At ‘Caveman Russophobia’ (RT)
‘Color Revolution’ Being Attempted In Serbia – Vucic (RT)
Serbia Thanks Russian Spies For Warning About Color Revolution Attempt (RT)
Polish President Blocks Budget Over State Media ‘Takeover’ (RT)
Biden Rains on Trump’s Immunity as Trial Faces Delay (Sp.)
Trump To Be on All Ballots or None: Minnesota Secretary of State (Sp.)

 

 

 

 


https://twitter.com/i/status/1738743983231074314

 

 

 

 

Pepe Escobar

 

 

Republic Democracy

 

 

 

 

He proudly stated…

‘I Did Not Ask Netanyahu For Ceasefire’: Biden (Cradle)

US President Joe Biden told reporters on 23 December that he did not ask for a ceasefire during his latest call with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I had a long talk with Netanyahu today, and it was a private conversation,” the president said, adding that he “did not ask for a ceasefire.” The White House said Biden and Netanyahu discussed the Israeli war on Gaza and its “objectives and phasing.”The US president “emphasized the critical need to protect the civilian population, including those supporting the humanitarian aid operation, and the importance of allowing civilians to move safely away from areas of ongoing fighting,” according to the White House statement.

Biden’s phone call came one day after the UN Security Council passed a barebones resolution that called for increased humanitarian aid but failed to demand an immediate ceasefire. The Security Council had been trying to draft a resolution for several days but was forced to tone down the language at the insistence of US officials who opposed a call for an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities.” The US and Russia abstained from the UNSC vote. Washington has vetoed two previous resolutions calling for a ceasefire. “This resolution has been watered down to the point that its impact on the lives of civilians in Gaza will be nearly meaningless,” said Avril Benoit of Doctors Without Borders.

On Saturday, Israel’s Broadcasting Authority revealed Tel Aviv is planning to switch to a new phase of the war in the coming weeks, bringing to an end to ground operations and shifting the focus to continued heavy airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. While Washington has been calling for a switch to lower-intensity operations to “protect civilians,” maintaining air raids of Gaza is expected to keep the staggering death toll on the rise. Young voters in the US have increasingly shown support for the Palestinian cause, plunging Biden’s approval ratings. A poll earlier this month showed that 53 percent of US citizens “disapprove of the president.”

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“..the Houthis have yet to make a mistake in spotting and hitting Israeli ships..”

How The Western Media Are Protecting The Israelis (Helmer)

From the minute after the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and the UK Maritime Trade Organisation (UKMT) learned that the oil tanker MV Chem Pluto had been hit by an exploding drone in the Indian Ocean 1,600 kilometres east of the Red Sea and Yemen coast, they also knew why. Through a joint venture between a Japanese and a Singapore holding company operating through a Dutch management cutout, the vessel is owned by Idan Ofer, an Israeli shipping magnate. The Chem Pluto strike is the second by a drone against one of Ofer’s vessels in the Indian Ocean. The first strike was on November 24, when the container carrier CMA CGM Symi was targeted in the northeastern sector of the Indian Ocean. The Symi is owned by Ofer’s Eastern Pacific Shipping in Singapore.

On December 18, drone strikes were reported by CENTCOM against the Swan Atlantic oil tanker and the bulker MV Clara. The first vessel is owned by a Norwegian company but management, with hidden equity, belongs to the Israeli Zodiac group, owned by Idan Ofer’s brother, Eyal Ofer. The second vessel, the Clara, is owned and managed by a German company, Johann MK Blumenthal; no Israeli trace has been found to date, but the Houthis have yet to make a mistake in spotting and hitting Israeli ships. On November 19 they did more than that. On that day an Israeli-owned car carrier, Galaxy Leader, was captured by Houthi commandos in the Red Sea. Follow their operation as they filmed it; here is the vessel now receiving tourists at anchor off Al-Salif port, Yemen. Ownership by the Israeli Abraham Ungar was concealed behind by a Japanese ship management entity and a company registered under the Isle of Man-headquartered Ray Car Carriers, which in turn is owned by a Tel Aviv company called Ray Shipping.

Houthi political and military spokesmen have repeatedly made clear they are attacking Israeli shipping, as well as vessels of any nationality trading in and out of Israel’s ports. “Israeli ships are legitimate targets for us anywhere… and we will not hesitate to take action,” Major General Ali Al-Moshki, a Houthi military official, said on the group’s television station on November 20, following the capture of the Galaxy Leader. “If Gaza does not receive the food and medicine it needs, all ships in the Red Sea bound for Israeli ports, regardless of their nationality, will become a target for our armed forces,” a Houthi press statement declared on December 9. CENTCOM and Pentagon releases to the press have also claimed to have intercepted Houthi drone and missile attacks on US warships in the Red Sea attempting to protect the Israeli-owned or Israel-bound shipping.

Less successful in hitting Israel’s Red Sea port of Eilat, the Houthi campaign has been effective in cutting off the port by striking at vessels in the Red Sea, and then extending the range of strikes to the eastern Indian Ocean. Eilat accounts for 45% of car imports to Israel and 5% of all the goods imported to Israel by sea. The Houthi campaign has cut Eilat’s port revenue by 80% since October 7. The impact has expanded to all shipping in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean if their management and ownership are based in the US and the European states allied with Israel in the Gaza war, and also with the US in the war against Russia in the Ukraine. It is this coalition of states which US Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin attempted to rally for naval convoy and counter-threat operations on December 18, calling the plan OPERATION PROSPERITY GUARDIAN.

This operation is now coming apart in recriminations because commercial vessel owners in France, Spain, and Italy have accepted that if they negotiate Israel-boycott deals directly with the Houthis, they can continue to operate through the Red Sea. They resent the commercial competition from Russia and China which are operating oil tankers and dry-cargo carriers without hindrance or threat. The obviousness of the targeting by the Houthis, and of Houthi deal-making by the Russians and Chinese, are being concealed, however, in the US and UK maritime industry media and the mainstream press. They are advocating maximum use of force by the Israel and US-led operation in the region to attack both Houthi and Iranian targets.

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That coalition fell apart in record time. Or did Austin just make it up to begin with?

Houthis Brush Off US Threats, Vow to Intensify Anti-Israeli Ops (Sp.)

The Houthis have dismissed the US-led military coalition being assembled against them, warning that they have “multiple options” to continue targeting Israel if the IDF’s operations in Gaza aren’t halted. “If the Zionist regime does not stop its assaults on Gaza or anywhere else across the Palestinian lands and doesn’t lift its siege, our forces will exercise more options,” Maj. Gen. Mohammad Nasser al-Atifi, the Houthi-led government of national salvation’s defense minister, warned in a speech before other militia leaders late Friday. “Our eyes are monitoring and closely following the movements of the [Israeli] entity worldwide,” al-Atifi added. “The recent decisions by foreign military forces and their regional mercenaries have put many tasks before us, the most daunting of which is the exercise of vigilance and watchfulness,” the senior Houthi official said, referring to the US-led coalition.

Brig. Gen. Youssef al-Madani, commander of the 5th Military Region – situated to the east of the Red Sea along the coastal Al Hudaydah governorate, said his forces are fully cognizant of the “sensitivity” of the current phase of Houthi operations, emphasizing that the militias are “prepared, vigilant and eager to confront the Zionists and those who are fighting with them.” Al-Atifi stressed that the Houthis are fighting for the sake of the national security of the Arab and Islamic World, and that their actions “serve the interests of countries working to liberate themselves from the domination of the Zionist entity and the United States on a global scale.” “There are countries that cannot even consider using force because the situation requires brave and strategic decisions. The leader of the nation, Sayyed Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, possesses courage, audacity and independent decision-making,” Al-Atifi said. He went on to slam the international community for failing to adopt an “appropriate” stance on Israel amid the ongoing Gaza crisis.

The Houthis managed to effectively shut down the Red Sea to Israeli-owned and Israeli-bound maritime traffic via a spate of hijackings, missile and drone attacks on commercial carriers over the past month, starting with the seizure of the Israeli-owned ro-ro car carrier Galaxy Leader on November 19. The unrelenting attacks prompted international shipping giants including Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC, and CMA CGM to suspend operations through the Red Sea, adding billions of dollars to shipping costs as vessels are forced to find alternate routes. Israeli ports have faced particularly heavy losses from the Houthis’ actions, with the nation’s Eilat Port facing an 85 percent drop in activity, and Israeli cargoes facing skyrocketing insurance costs. The US began amassing warships in the region last week, and on Monday Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin announced Operation Prosperity Guardian, “an important new multinational security initiative under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces and the leadership of its Task Force 153, which focuses on security in the Red Sea.”

Austin listed ten nations he said were participating in the coalition, including the US, the UK, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Bahrain and the Seychelles. The Pentagon upped the number to “over 20 nations” on Friday, but did not elaborate on which countries specifically are involved. But part from the ships of US Task Force 153, which includes between three and five US destroyers, the British HMS Diamond missile destroyer and a Greek Navy frigate, the coalition is shaping up to include only a handful of troops from US-allied countries, including the Netherlands (which is sending two officers), Norway (10 officers), Australia (11 troops), Canada (three officers), and Denmark (one officer). France and Italy have each indicated that any naval forces they have in the region will remain under national command, while Spain said it will not take part in any military operation unless it is under the direction of NATO or the EU.

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“..The idea that a sitting US president would deliberately destroy a vital source of energy and of a close ally has been, as Freud would say, taboo..”

Biden’s Attack On Nord Stream Was Aimed At Germany – Seymour Hersh (RT)

The attack on the Nord Stream pipelines commissioned by US President Joe Biden was primarily aimed at Germany rather than Russia, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has claimed. The decision to destroy the key pipelines was prompted by US fears that Berlin might not follow Washington’s lead amid the Ukraine conflict, Hersh wrote in a new article on the affair on his Substack blog on Friday. The sabotage of the pipelines was ordered weeks before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began in February 2022, Hersh wrote, adding that the American operatives assigned to it believed it was meant to deter Moscow. The attack on the pipelines was ready by late May, but “the plan was called off on short notice by Biden,” the journalist claimed. Instead, the team was tasked with planting explosives on the pipelines, which could be detonated remotely at a later date, he said.

The timing of the attack, which ultimately occurred in late September 2022, appeared to be aimed at Berlin rather than Moscow. “Biden’s timing seemed aimed at Chancellor [Olaf] Scholz. Some in the CIA believed that the president’s fear was that Scholz, whose constituents were lukewarm in their support for Ukraine, might waffle with winter coming on and conclude that keeping his people warm and his industries prosperous was more important than backing Ukraine against Russia,” Hersh wrote. The destruction of the pipelines played a major role in Germany’s economic hardships – the country, which once “dominated the world’s markets with its luxury cars and industrial machinery… is now in a process of what some have called rapid deindustrialization,” Hersh said.

Apart from this, Germany has experienced a surge in popularity of right-wing parties, including Alternative for Germany (AfD), and its economic woes have contributed to this. However, Washington’s “most controversial factor in Germany’s recent hard times” – the Nord Stream sabotage – remains largely ignored in the West, according to the journalist. “In the ten months since I published my first account of the Nord Stream sabotage the German government and media, as in the United States, have either ignored or provided alternate accounts of the how and why the pipelines were destroyed. The idea that a sitting US president would deliberately destroy a vital source of energy and of a close ally has been, as Freud would say, taboo,” Hersh wrote.

The veteran journalist provided his first detailed account on the pipeline attack on February 8, 2023, publishing a lengthy article relying on anonymous sources “with direct knowledge of the operational planning.” The allegations prompted strong denials from Washington, with US National Security spokesman John Kirby dismissing the report as a “completely false story” at the time. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in March that he “fully agrees” with Hersh’s findings, suggesting the attack only benefited Washington to reinforce its position as a competing gas supplier to Europe.

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Dumb legacy media propaganda to climb back from earlier assertions. Not terribly impressed with how Tyler covers it.

Putin hasn’t changed his views or goals one bit. That is not true of the west. But then, they lost.

Putin Now Serious About Negotiating End To War: Diplomats (ZH)

In a fresh weekend report The New York Times says that President Vladimir Putin is ready to negotiate an end to the nearly two year-long ‘special operation’ in Ukraine, at a moment most of the territory which forms the four ‘annexed’ oblasts remains firmly under Russian military control. However, to some degree, Putin has consistently held open the chance to negotiate… it’s just that “negotiate” in the Kremlin context would be on the basis of Crimea and the Donbass being fully recognized as Russian Federation territory. Until recently, the West considered this an impossibility, but US and European officials have more recently quietly admitted Moscow has more or less ‘won’. The NY Times quotes Putin in the following: Buoyed by Ukraine’s failed counteroffensive and flagging Western support, Mr. Putin says that Russia’s war goals have not changed. Addressing his generals on Tuesday, he boasted that Ukraine was so beleaguered that Russia’s invading troops were doing “what we want.”

“We won’t give up what’s ours,” he pledged, adding dismissively, “If they want to negotiate, let them negotiate.” But in a recent push of back-channel diplomacy, Mr. Putin has been sending a different message: He is ready to make a deal. The report cites Russian diplomatic sources who say Putin has for the first time been open to ceasefire which would include a freezing of all frontline fighting. American officials say the same, per the report: “In fact, Mr. Putin also sent out feelers for a cease-fire deal a year earlier, in the fall of 2022, according to American officials.” “That quiet overture, not previously reported, came after Ukraine routed Russia’s army in the country’s northeast. Mr. Putin indicated that he was satisfied with Russia’s captured territory and ready for an armistice, they said.” Very obviously, Ukraine’s leadership and society has been fracturing under the strain of the invasion and immense death toll, with Kiev officials recently admitting monumental problems with manpower and ammo supply.

But the reality is that Russian society is likely facing deep fractures and uncertainty too, though it’s far less evident. Countless mothers, fathers, and families are grieving and dealing with the loss of loved ones killed in action. Conservative estimates have said at least 50,000 Russian troops have died in the war (and that is based just on data as of mid-summer). US officials have claimed a figure in the hundreds of thousands, but there are reasons to be doubtful of this. Angry families of fallen soldiers have increasingly formed the locus of a small but increasingly visible Russian anti-war movement, suggesting broader quiet societal angst concerning the direction of the war in Ukraine. They don’t want Ukraine to be Russia’s “endless war”.

[..] According to more in the NYT report on Putin’s supposed new-found readiness for serious negotiations: Mr. Putin’s repeated interest in a cease-fire is an example of how opportunism and improvisation have defined his approach to the war behind closed doors. Dozens of interviews with Russians who have long known him and with international officials with insight into the Kremlin’s inner workings show a leader maneuvering to reduce risks and keep his options open in a war that has lasted longer than he expected. While deploying fiery public rhetoric, Mr. Putin privately telegraphs a desire to declare victory and move on. “They say, ‘We are ready to have negotiations on a cease-fire,’” said one senior international official who met with top Russian officials this fall. “They want to stay where they are on the battlefield.”

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So pump more weapons into it?!

Ukrainians Face A ‘Terrible Winter’ – Retired French General (RT)

A retired French general and former NATO commander has painted a chilling picture of Ukraine’s prospects over the next several months in its conflict with Russia, saying the best that Kiev and its Western sponsors can hope for is to avoid losing further ground this winter. “The Ukrainians are going to experience a terrible winter,” Jean-Paul Palomeros, ex-chief of staff for the French Air Force, said on Friday in an interview with online broadcaster Franceinfo. “We must not hide our eyes. At best, they will be able to defend the positions they currently have. We must not hope for better.” Palomeros, who served as one of NATO’s two strategic commanders after leaving the French Air Force in 2012, argued that European nations must boost their aid to Ukraine.

“Europeans must invest better and more if they want to be able to support the war effort in Ukraine,” he said. “For the moment, this is not the case.” The retired general made his comments as French President Emmanuel Macron visited France’s troops in Jordan, where he vowed to continue supporting Ukraine. “We cannot let Russia win,” the French leader said. However, Macron admitted in an interview on Wednesday with broadcaster France 5 that the US and its European allies had failed to cripple Russia’s economy through sanctions. He also acknowledged that an uncertain political situation in the US was clouding the outlook for Ukraine’s prospects. The latest round of European aid for Ukraine failed to pass earlier this month at the EU summit in Brussels, as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban voted down the bloc’s €50 billion ($54 billion) pledge.

Meanwhile, a $60 billion US aid proposal for Kiev has stalled in Washington, where Republican lawmakers have opposed giving more money until Kiev and its backers come up with a clear victory strategy. US President Joe Biden’s administration has warned that without congressional approval, funding for Washington’s aid to Ukraine will run out at the end of this month. Palomeros lamented the increasing struggles in the West to provide Ukraine the support that it needs. “The message is clear,” he said. “Now we must match words with actions.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg conceded in an interview earlier this month that Ukraine had failed to achieve any battlefield breakthroughs during its long-awaited counteroffensive. “We have to be prepared for bad news,” he said of the outlook for Kiev. “Wars move in phases, but we must stand by Ukraine in good and in bad times alike.”

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“..while the West had succeeded in ensuring Ukraine’s “preservation,” its other goals remain unfulfilled..”

Time To Find ‘Another Way’ To Resolve Ukraine Conflict – Italy (RT)

It is time for all countries involved in the Ukraine conflict to start looking for a political solution to the crisis, Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said on Saturday. The defense chief noted, as quoted by the ANSA news agency, that as the fighting between Moscow and Kiev is about to enter its third year, “it is important to take paths that lead to a political solution.” He stressed, however, that these efforts must coincide with continued military support for Ukraine. The minister pointed out that while the West had succeeded in ensuring Ukraine’s “preservation,” its other goals remain unfulfilled. “What cannot be achieved militarily… can be achieved by opening a diplomatic and political front to try to achieve the same result through peace talks,” he said.

Crosetto also highlighted that “what existed before the war must be restored, and what could not be done with weapons must be done in another way.” NATO member states, including the US, which has emerged as Kiev’s main backer, have insisted that they would continue their support for Ukraine “as long as it takes” while taking steps to bring the embattled country closer to the bloc’s military standards. Russia, which has historically seen NATO’s expansion toward its borders as a threat, has said the Ukraine’s push to join the bloc was one of the key reasons behind the conflict. The Italian defense minister already warned in early October that the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev were unlikely to be resolved on the battlefield.

At the time, he explained that the “more time passes, the more the possibility of helping Ukraine with resources that are not unlimited decreases,” while pointing to serious problems Kiev had encountered in its unsuccessful attempts to push back Russian troops. Kiev launched a much-hyped counteroffensive in early summer but has failed to gain any significant ground while suffering heavy losses both in manpower and Western-supplied equipment. Moscow has estimated Ukrainian casualties since the start of the offensive at around 160,000 troops. While President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree banning talks with the current leadership in Moscow last autumn after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia, Moscow has repeatedly said it is ready for peace talks with Kiev.

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“..not at all surprised by Reinsalu’s statement, which goes in line with the ‘caveman’ Russophobia characteristic of modern EU politicians and the ‘collective West’ in general.”

Moscow Hits Out At ‘Caveman Russophobia’ (RT)

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called out what it called “caveman Russophobia” after ex-Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu suggested that EU member states should prevent Russian embassies from opening polling stations for next year’s presidential election. The vote is slated for a three-day period from March 15 to 17, with the winner to be inaugurated in May. Speaking to RIA Novosti on Sunday, a Foreign Ministry representative said that Moscow is “not at all surprised by Reinsalu’s statement, which goes in line with the ‘caveman’ Russophobia characteristic of modern EU politicians and the ‘collective West’ in general.” It was also noted that the former Estonian minister’s proposal runs counter to the West’s professed adherence to the principles of democracy, with the right to vote being among its cornerstones.

“We see in this nothing but an attempt to introduce one more discriminatory measure against compatriots living in Estonia,” the ministry added. Russian officials also pointed out that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations does not oblige embassies to apply for the host nation’s permission to open polling stations on their premises – contrary to what Reinsalu appeared to suggest. The latter argued that it would be “absurd if European countries allow polling stations to open in Russian embassies on their territory in March.” Reinsalu later clarified to the media outlet Postimees that Moscow would have to request permission from the Estonian Foreign Ministry, which could refuse.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially filed papers to register as an independent presidential candidate with Russia’s Central Election Commission. If victorious, he would serve a fifth term in office. Several major Russian parties, including the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), and New People have also signaled they will put forward candidates. Furthermore, a number of public figures and politicians have also announced their intent to run as independents.

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Maidan 2.0.

‘Color Revolution’ Being Attempted In Serbia – Vucic (RT)

Pro-Western demonstrators have attempted to break into government buildings in Belgrade in what Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has called an attempted “color revolution.” Vucic claims he was tipped off about the plot beforehand. Thousands of opposition protesters gathered outside the Belgrade City Assembly on Sunday to protest the victory of Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) over the pro-EU Serbia Against Violence (SPN) coalition in parliamentary elections last week. The protest turned violent with a group of demonstrators attempting to batter down the doors of the building, until they were dispersed by police. “There is no revolution underway,” Vucic said in a public address. “Nothing will go their way,” he continued, referring to the protesters. “Those who swear to fight against violence have shown that they are real thugs.”

The SPN coalition emerged out of anti-government protests following a pair of mass shootings in May. While the protest movement initially demanded the resignations of Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic and intelligence chief Aleksandar Vulin, it soon called for the fall of Vucic’s government. Vucic claimed that the protest was sponsored by Western powers who wanted him removed from office over his cordial relations with Russia and refusal to abandon Serbia’s claim to Kosovo, citing reports from foreign intelligence services. He reiterated these allegations in Sunday’s address, thanking unnamed “foreign services” for letting his security services “know exactly what the thugs were preparing.” The term ‘color revolution’ describes a protest movement funded and organized by a Western government – usually the US.

Aimed at toppling leaders opposed to US interests, these revolutions are typically backed by American intelligence agencies, and organized by a panoply of US-funded NGOs. While the term became widely known following the 2003 ‘Rose Revolution’ in Georgia, the first successful use of color revolution tactics took place in Yugoslavia in 2000, when a US-backed student movement forced the resignation of Slobodan Milosevic. The anti-Milosevic movement began with claims that the Yugoslavian leader had engaged in fraud in that year’s election, claims bolstered by Western-funded ‘election monitors’ who were brought in. “Serbia is fed up with your revolutions,” Vucic said during the initial ‘anti-violence’ protests earlier this year. “Serbia is fed up with the arrival of those under foreign influence and the destruction of everything that is Serbian.”

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“When we shared that information with everyone else, they said: ‘Well, that’s Russian disinformation, that’s spreading fake news.’”

Serbia Thanks Russian Spies For Warning About Color Revolution Attempt (RT)

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic has expressed gratitude to the Russian security services, which alerted Belgrade to plans for riots in the capital. Pro-Western demonstrators attempted to break into government buildings in Belgrade on Sunday evening, in what Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called an attempted color revolution. While Vucic initially thanked unnamed “foreign services” for letting his security services “know exactly what the thugs were preparing,” Brnabic later revealed that Belgrade was tipped off by Moscow. “I feel that it is important, especially tonight, to stand up for Serbia and to thank the Russian security services who had that information and who shared it with us,” Brnabic told TV Pink on Sunday night. “I can only say thank you, and it probably won’t be popular with those from the West,” the prime minister said, adding, “When we shared that information with everyone else, they said: ‘Well, that’s Russian disinformation, that’s spreading fake news.’”

Anti-government protests erupted in Serbia on Monday, with the opposition accusing the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of “vote theft” during last week’s parliamentary elections, in which the party defeated the pro-EU Serbia Against Violence (SPN) coalition. Vucic dismissed the allegations as “lies,” claiming that the protests were sponsored by the West, which wants him removed due to his relations with Russia and refusal to abandon Serbia’s claim to Kosovo. Following the unrest in Belgrade, Vucic is expected to host Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko at his residence just across the square from the assembly where the protest took place, local media reported, citing the presidential press service. Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has also scheduled a meeting with the Russian envoy.

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“Poland’s state media, which include the TV station TVP, Polish Radio, and the PAP news agency, are the sole source of news for the approximately one-third of Poles who lack access to private media..”

Polish President Blocks Budget Over State Media ‘Takeover’ (RT)

Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoed a 2024 budget bill on Saturday in protest at the newly elected government’s controversial overhaul of the country’s state media outlets. Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s new cabinet revealed on Wednesday that it had fired the top executives at government-run TV and radio stations and news agency and appointed new management boards in their place, citing a need to restore “impartiality.” In a post on X (formerly Twitter) Duda explained that he could not consent to the bill, which included 3 billion zlotys (€690 million) earmarked for public media, “given the blatant violation of the Constitution and the principles of a democratic state of law.” “An attempt to finance public media through a budget related law (by the parliamentary majority) is in the current situation unacceptable,” he continued, vowing to send his own version of the budget through parliament “immediately after Christmas.”

This version will include the spending commitments promised by the ruling coalition led by Tusk. Duda urged the leaders of both houses of parliament to call sessions and adopt his draft before the year’s end. The new government would have fulfilled several of its electoral promises with the budget, which included a 30% pay raise for teachers and a 20% increase for public sector workers. The controversial overhaul came just a day after parliament approved a resolution calling for “all state authorities to immediately take action aimed at restoring constitutional order in terms of citizens’ access to reliable information and the functioning of public media,” seemingly fulfilling Tusk’s campaign pledge that he would “change the system of public media” in the space of 24 hours if elected.

The former European Council president and his allies had accused the government-run media properties of acting as propaganda mouthpieces for the Law and Justice (PiS) party previously in power by attacking its political enemies and fomenting anti-EU sentiment. Tusk’s predecessor, Mateusz Morawiecki, denounced his replacement’s “illegal actions,” charging that the new coalition government intended to violate the law “at every step” and vowing to resist accordingly. “We will not allow for a dictatorship to be built in Poland,” the PiS politician wrote in a social media post on Wednesday. The party, which lost power to Tusk’s coalition in October’s elections, has pointed out that the management of public media properties can only be fired by the National Media Council. Poland’s state media, which include the TV station TVP, Polish Radio, and the PAP news agency, are the sole source of news for the approximately one-third of Poles who lack access to private media, according to the BBC.

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“Biden confirmed on Wednesday that Trump “certainly supported an insurrection..”

Biden Rains on Trump’s Immunity as Trial Faces Delay (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden has said he sees no reason for presidents to enjoy absolute immunity from criminal prosecution, a position vehemently advocated by his predecessor Donald Trump. The statement came in response to a reporter’s question as President Biden left the White House for Camp David, where he plans to spend the Christmas holiday. The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday not to expedite a ruling on Trump’s immunity case was a setback for federal prosecutors seeking to begin a trial related to the former president’s alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Trump maintains that his actions leading up to the events of January 6, 2021 were within the scope of his official duties.

The riot saw his supporters violently storm the US Capitol in an attempt to disrupt lawmakers’ certification of Biden’s victory.The trial, scheduled to begin on March 4, was delayed after Independent Special Counsel Jack Smith sought an expedited resolution from the nation’s highest court to ensure the scheduled start date. With the Supreme Court granting the expedited request, a lower federal appeals court will now consider the immunity claim, raising the possibility that the trial could extend into the heart of the upcoming general election or beyond. Looking ahead to the 2024 race, Biden’s campaign plans to frame the upcoming contest, which will likely feature a rematch with Trump, as a replay of the 2020 showdown, but with even higher stakes.

Last week, Biden’s campaign circulated a memo characterizing Trump as a significant threat to US democracy, citing his behavior leading up to the January 6 events and his alleged threats against political opponents. While Biden confirmed on Wednesday that Trump “certainly supported an insurrection” on January 6, he stopped short of endorsing a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that could bar the former president from appearing on the state’s ballot. When asked, Biden said, “That’s up to the court.” The January 6, 2021 incident occurred when a mob of Trump supporters broke into the US Capitol in an attempt to stop the Electoral College vote count following Trump’s election loss, claiming it was rigged. Since the riot, more than 1,200 people have been charged with crimes related to the breach.

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“We’re never going to have a situation in this country where one or some cluster of states decides that Donald Trump is not on the ballot and everyone else decides he is..”

Trump To Be on All Ballots or None: Minnesota Secretary of State (Sp.)

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said on Saturday that the Supreme Court will likely decide if former US President Donald Trump is allowed on all or none of the ballots in the 2024 Presidential election. Simon’s comments come after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump will not be allowed on the ballot in that state because it determined that he is responsible for the riot on January 6, 2021, and therefore had engaged in an insurrection or rebellion and is not eligible to hold office under the 14th Amendment. Trump has not been charged with insurrection or rebellion. The Colorado court stayed its order, expecting Trump’s legal team to appeal to the Supreme Court. Simon told US media in an interview on Saturday that the highest court in the land will “have to” take up the appeal.

“We’re never going to have a situation in this country where one or some cluster of states decides that Donald Trump is not on the ballot and everyone else decides he is,” Simon explained. “He will either be on the ballot everywhere or nowhere, and the US Supreme Court is going to make sure of that.” However, just because Simon is confident that the Supreme Court will ensure Trump’s inclusion on ballots nationwide will be all or nothing, he is not as confident that they will decide on the issue of whether the 14th Amendment applies to Presidents or if Trump engaged in an insurrection. “There’s so many different ways that the Supreme Court could go, there are multiple off ramps for them, for example, to decide the case without deciding the ultimate issue, which is, did Donald Trump engage in or help an insurrection?” Simon said. “They don’t have to decide that. There are a number of ways they can dispose of the case and get an outcome without deciding that question.”

Lawsuits in several states had tried to remove Trump from the ballot, but most were thrown out of court and were seen as longshot cases. The Colorado ruling surprised many. Officials in several Democrat-controlled states have argued the same could be done there, including California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, who on Wednesday, asked California Secretary of State Shirley Weber to “explore every legal option” to remove Trump. Recent polling shows that Trump is leading his likely opponent in the 2024 election, President Joe Biden in seven swing states, which means he’d likely beat Biden if the election were held today. After the Colorado ruling, Trump took to his Truth Social, saying “I’m not an Insurrectionist.”

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Chemistree

Santa Mobile

 

 

Dog toys
https://twitter.com/i/status/1735177799970021804

 

 

 

 

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Dec 222023
 
 December 22, 2023  Posted by at 9:12 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  64 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Weeping woman 1937

 

Russia Is Negotiating With The Houthis For Red Sea Passage (Helmer)
‘Stopping Bloodshed In Gaza Our Primary Task:’ Lavrov (Cradle)
WHO Denies Seeing Evidence Of Hamas Using Hospitals As Hideouts (Cradle)
Saudi-French Plan Proposes Exile For Hamas Leadership (Cradle)
What? Ukraine Is Not Winning the War? (Patrick Lawrence)
On Speaking Plain ‘Putin’ (Scott Ritter)
Ukraine Losing 800 Troops A Day – ex-NATO Officer (RT)
Western Leaders Should ‘Stop Playing The Fool’ – Putin (RT)
The Bidens Move To Embrace Influence Peddling With A Twist (Turley)
DOJ Blocked Ex-Hunter Biden Prosecutor From Discussing Case With Congress (WE)
Trump Facing Mounting Challenges To Presidential Eligibility – NYT (RT)
Trump Asks Supreme Court To Deny Special Counsel’s Request (JTN)
Ex-White House Lawyer: SCOTUS Could Rule ‘9-0’ In Trump Case (Hill)
Economist Claims 2024 Will Bring ‘Biggest Crash of Our Lifetime’ in US (ET)
The Greatest Gift For All (Paul Craig Roberts)

 

 

 

 

Plimer

 

 

Orlov

 

 

Milei

 

 

Shroyer

 

 

 

 

“No one needs this war — except, of course, the United States with its Western allies and Israel..”

Russia Is Negotiating With The Houthis For Red Sea Passage (Helmer)

Russia is negotiating with the Houthis of Yemen to protect Russian oil cargoes moving through the Red Sea for delivery to India and China, the principal destinations of Russian oil currently traversing the waterway, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. Notified in advance to the Yemeni authorities and the Houthi military command, the Russian oil movements by tankers flying a variety of ship registry and national flags, are running the gauntlet of US and European Union (EU) sanctions against Russian oil exports. China is also negotiating with the Houthis for safe passage and protection of Chinese-flagged container vessels. The Chinese military base in Djibouti, recently reinforced to support a large Chinese military group intended for a United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, is also covering the waterway.

Both Moscow and Beijing are acting in semi-secret against US and EU government threats to assemble a naval fleet to convoy shipping headed to and from Israel’s southern port of Eilat. This plan, which the Pentagon is calling Operation Prosperity Guardian, follows the failure of the two US aircraft carrier groups in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf to protect Israel, and deter the Houthi operations. The Pentagon is also threatening to attack Yemeni territory. The fleet, to be assembled over the next month from the Ukraine war coalition states against Russia, will also threaten military force against the movement of Russian oil. Responding to direct questions about the new Red Sea threats on Wednesday afternoon, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Maria Zakharova, skirted saying what the Russian Security Council and General Staff have decided by asking the rhetorical question: “What will the US presence there bring to the region? Greater stability, security, crisis resolution? Or will it all end, as always, with the opposite results?”

Asked to be more specific, Zakharova said: “I have already commented on this question today. I just want to add to what has been said that any presence must have its own purpose and its own result. We see how the United States has increased its presence in the whole region: in the form of attacks on countries, aggression against sovereign regional states, interference in internal affairs, in the form of color revolutions, arms supplies, and manipulation of conflicts in the region. We see what all this has led to…The terrible crisis that has been unfolding before our eyes since October 7 this year. There is no prospect of its immediate completion or even de-escalation. Now everything is balancing on the level of whether, God forbid, this crisis will expand further. Everything is being done on our part to ensure that this does not happen.” Vzglyad, the semi-official security analysis publication in Moscow, has been pro-Israel since the Gaza war began. But yesterday it published a warning from sources identified as Russian experts on the region.

“Yemen has already reacted to this statement. Representatives of the Houthis said that this coalition does not frighten them at all. That they have all the necessary capabilities to provide an adequate response to any actions directed against them and against Yemen. And this is not just a bluff, but words that have a real understanding of their resources and the capabilities behind them. In fact, the coalition ships which will be in the Red Sea will themselves be targets for Yemeni missiles (as the Houthis have already warned)…And the Americans are unlikely to risk conducting a ground operation against them. It is generally difficult to cope with any of the armed formations in Yemen, given the experience of the Yemeni militants and the terrain…

The composition of the coalition has turned out to be quite specific. It did not include Egyptians and Jordanians suffering from Yemeni actions, nor the leaders of the region, the Saudis. There is not a single country in the Middle East except Bahrain. It turns out that none of them has wanted to defend their region, their sea and their interests from the Houthis, together with the Americans. Partly because they understand the futility of such an undertaking. Partly because they are afraid of a backlash from the Houthis. Partly because speaking out against the Houthis would mean, in this particular case, opposing their demands to de-blockade the Gaza Strip.” “No one needs this war — except, of course, the United States with its Western allies and Israel,” Vzglyad concluded.

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Then do it.

‘Stopping Bloodshed In Gaza Our Primary Task:’ Lavrov (Cradle)

The sixth Arab-Russian Cooperation Forum kicked off on 20 December in Morocco’s capital, Marrakesh, for the first time since 2019. The meeting gathered regional foreign ministers of participating countries, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Secretary-General of the Arab League Houssam Zaki, and ministerial delegations from various Arab states. Algeria continued a long-standing boycott of events held in Morocco. Lavrov commented on the situation in Gaza, saying that external powers are using the war between Palestinian resistance factions and Israel for their benefit. “It has become clear that some external powers are not opposed to using the periodic escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for their interests, to ignite the fire of a regional war in the development of the many past adventures of the United States and its allies that have been launched in [West Asia] over the past 20 years, and the result is the undermining of the state, hundreds of thousands of victims and massive flows of refugees,” the Russian foreign minister said.

Lavrov also noted that Russia is in contact with its allies, especially in the Arab world, to stabilize the situation in Palestine for the long term and to transfer the work of conflict resolution to the political and diplomatic level rather than militaristically. He also continued his line of criticizing Israel, saying, “The suffering of the enclave’s population is aggravated by the consequences of the blockade imposed by Israel. We see our primary task in stopping the bloodshed and ensuring conditions for providing the necessary humanitarian assistance to all those in need.”

He continued by saying that Russia’s diplomatic mission with allies pushed the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution that demands a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, but it has been met with opposition by the US, “which takes a one-sided stance and, as usual, tries to usurp any processes and initiatives,” he stated. Lavrov ended by saying that the world is in a storm and that it’s essential to return to the international covenant that affirms the sovereign rights of all countries. He added that “Russian-Arab relations are based on the principles of equality and mutual respect, noting that Russia has many areas to develop with Arab countries.”

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It was always just a story.

WHO Denies Seeing Evidence Of Hamas Using Hospitals As Hideouts (Cradle)

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on 21 December that northern Gaza has been left without functional hospitals due to the lack of fuel, staff, and supplies. “There are actually no functional hospitals left in the north,” the WHO representative in Gaza, Richard Peeperkorn, said to reporters via video link from Jerusalem. “Al-Ahli [Hospital] was the last one, but it is now minimally functional: still treating patients but not admitting new ones.” Peeperkorn described Al-Ahli Hospital as one that resembled a hospice, providing very limited care with only about 10 staff members, all of whom are junior doctors and nurses who provide basic first aid, pain management, and wound care with scant resources, he said. “Until two days ago, it was the only hospital where injured people could get surgery in northern Gaza, and [the hospital] was overwhelmed with patients needing emergency care,” he said.

The WHO spokesman added that the bodies of Palestinians from Israel’s recent attacks were lined up in the hospital courtyard as they could not be given safe and dignified burials. Hospitals, which are protected under international humanitarian law, have been repeatedly attacked by Israel airstrikes in Gaza since the war erupted. The Israeli army has accused Hamas of having tunnels under hospitals and using the medical facilities as command centers, a claim that has been denied by the Palestinian resistance group. When asked about Israel’s claim, Peeperkorn said: “On our missions we have not seen anything of this sort on the ground”, adding that WHO was “not in a position to assert how any hospital is being used.”

“The role of WHO is to monitor, analyze, and report. We do not attribute attacks to healthcare facilities. We are not an organization investigating crimes. I think this should be very clear,” Peeperkorn went on to say. In the south of Gaza, Israel has continued its attacks on hospitals, with the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis being hit by multiple Israeli strikes, including an Israeli tank shell that hit the maternity building, killing a 13-year-old girl. Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said earlier this month that hospitals in the southern Gaza Strip were in “total collapse, unable to deal with the quantity and quality of injuries that arrive.”

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Why would they move want to move to Algeria?

Saudi-French Plan Proposes Exile For Hamas Leadership (Cradle)

The French newspaper Le Monde published details on 20 December of a Saudi document containing a plan to end the war in Gaza, which stipulates the transfer of Hamas’ military and security leaders to the Algerian capital. The newspaper stated that the document was prepared by the head of the Gulf Research Centre, Abdulaziz bin Saqr, after a meeting on 19 November in Riyadh with the head of the North Africa and Middle East Department at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anne Greux. The document was then transferred to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Le Monde pointed out that the evacuation of Hamas leaders to Algeria most likely refers to the leader of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Muhammad Deif, and the leader of the movement in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar.

Algeria was reportedly chosen as a potential place of exile for the movement’s leaders because of the north African nation’s good relationship with Qatar and Iran, the main supporters of the Hamas movement, and because of its security capabilities that would allow it to tightly control their activities. Le Monde contacted the Algerian ambassador in Paris, but he did not wish to comment on the matter. The plan also calls for the deployment of an Arab peacekeeping force in Gaza under UN auspices and the establishment of a “joint transitional council,” including the main factions in Gaza, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Fatah. The council would be responsible for managing the enclave for a period of four years, and for organizing presidential and parliamentary elections.

The newspaper noted it is unclear if the plan had been approved by the Saudi authorities, or whether it was a purely personal initiative of the Gulf Research Centre head. The document stated only: “It appears that the search for a Saudi-French consensus could contribute to the crystallization of a common vision acceptable to all parties, and have an impact on the decision to end the war.” Since 7 October, the Israeli army has carried out vicious campaign against Gaza that has killed almost 20,000 people, the majority women and children. Israel’s bombing campaign and ongoing siege threaten to make the enclave completely uninhabitable.

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“..Emperor Hirohito’s famous declaration on August 15, 1945, when he announced the surrender on Japanese radio. “The war,” he told his desperate subjects, “has not necessarily progressed to our advantage.”

What? Ukraine Is Not Winning the War? (Patrick Lawrence)

“Putin’s Russia is closing in on a devastating victory. Europe’s foundations are trembling.” This was the headline atop a Dec.9 commentary in The Telegraph, the farthest right of the major London dailies. The subhead elaborated the theme in yet graver terms: “Kyiv’s counteroffensive has ended in failure. This could be NATO’s Suez moment.” The piece that followed included all sorts of goodies in this line. It is not official, not yet, that Ukraine’s grand counteroffensive, the great Russophobic hope of the Zelensky and Biden regimes earlier this year, has proven a bust and that defeat is in the offing. The closest we have to such an admission came from Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this month, when the Ukrainian president declared that the counteroffensive “did not achieve the desired results.”

I loved that moment, to be honest. It reminded me of Emperor Hirohito’s famous declaration on August 15, 1945, when he announced the surrender on Japanese radio. “The war,” he told his desperate subjects, “has not necessarily progressed to our advantage.” O.K., let’s leave Zelensky to Zelensky, Joe Biden to Joe Biden, and Antony Blinken to Antony Blinken. We can count news of failure unofficially official when mainstream media start dropping such news on their readers and viewers. The Telegraph, so far as I know, was the first big daily on either side of the Atlantic to make such blunt admissions. Others have already followed, if in gentler, more oblique language—in Zelensky-speak, this is to say. A significant moment may be upon us. What will follow once it is acknowledged that the Nazi-infested crooks in Kyiv have failed?

President Biden, as is his consistently unwise wont, radically overinvested in the proxy war he chose to start with the Russian Federation as soon as he took office three years ago next month. Having defined the Ukraine conflict as a war in the name of democracy and freedom —“values” rather than interests, this is to say—he has left the U.S. and its European clients no room for compromise and nearly none even for negotiation. What is the next move when defeat is too obvious any longer to deny? If we are about to enter uncharted territory, will it prove dangerous ground? It may, but this is not yet clear. It will be uncertain and probably unstable: This we know. Of the many things I do not like about this circumstance, I will mention a few straightaway. Biden may be the stupidest president of the postwar era on the foreign policy side: He exhibits no capacity whatsoever for nimble or imaginative thought. He is a warmonger of long standing, an election year is upon us, and he is by now in obvious danger of being impeached. His mental incompetence, atop all this, is plain for all to see.

There are also the national security people around Biden to consider. With the exception of CIA Director William Burns, who seems to dedicate himself to his career advancement, these are lockstep ideologues who share a Manichean vision of the world and how it works. And we had better think long and hard about these people now. I urge this because of an item in Politico two weeks back. The piece reported on the policy cliques’ thinking after recent Houthi attacks on U.S. warships in the Red Sea. Some officials urge a vigorous response, but the reigning view favors restraint for fear of enlarging Israel’s barbarity in Gaza into a wider war. Then, well down in the story, this paragraph: “The military’s job is to present a variety of options to senior commanders, but the ultimate decision is up to the president and the administration’s political appointees. In multiple high-level meetings this week, the Pentagon has neither briefed President Joe Biden on options to strike Houthi targets nor recommended that he do so, two of the officials said. All were granted anonymity to detail sensitive internal deliberations.”

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“..Russia’s victory in the war against Ukraine will be a defeat of NATO,” adding ominously, “This cannot be allowed.”

On Speaking Plain ‘Putin’ (Scott Ritter)

Given the failure of the collective West to impose its will on Russia through what is widely considered a proxy conflict, one would think that some form of retrospective analysis would be in order. However, to engage in such an activity constructively, an agreed-upon lexicon would be needed to communicate effectively. Since Russia is prevailing in the conflict, one would also think that a modicum of interest should be given to how Russia defines the conflict. In short, anyone who is interested in learning the lessons of the collective West’s failure in Ukraine should learn “to speak Putin.” The problem is, those in the West who should be preparing a proper lexicon from which the Russian-Ukraine conflict could be more accurately assessed are instead operating from an outdated lexicon rooted in the language and mindset of a time that no longer exists, born of a Cold War mentality that prevents any deep-seated and relevant analysis of the true situation between Russia and the West.

Both the United States and NATO have described the Russia-Ukraine conflict as possessing existential consequences for Europe and the world, with the secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, going so far as to declare in October 2022 that “Russia’s victory in the war against Ukraine will be a defeat of NATO,” adding ominously, “This cannot be allowed.” Bad news, Mr. Stoltenberg — Russia has won. While the “Special Military Operation” has yet to be concluded, Russia has seized the strategic initiative across the board when it comes to conflict with Ukraine, forcing the Ukrainian military to terminate a counteroffensive, which the government of Ukraine and its NATO allies had invested tens of billions of dollars in military resources, and tens of thousands of Ukrainian lives in hopes of achieving a decisive victory over the Russian military on the battlefield.

Today, Ukraine finds its military decimated by the fighting and unable to sustain itself as a cohesive combat force on the field of battle. The U.S. and NATO likewise find themselves unable and/or unwilling to continue supplying Ukraine with the money and material needed to continue to maintain a viable military presence on the battlefield. Russia is in the process of transitioning away from a posture of flexible defense, and instead initiating offensive operations along the length of the line of contact designed to exploit opportunities presented by an increasingly depleted, and defeated, Ukrainian army. U.S. President Joe Biden has likewise argued that a Russian victory was unacceptable.

“We can’t let Putin win,” Biden said earlier this month to put pressure on a U.S. Congress that has allowed the Ukrainian conflict to become wrapped up in domestic American politics, with key Republicans in both the Senate and House refusing to support a funding bill that lumps some $60 billion in Ukraine assistance together with money for Israel and immigration reform. “Any disruption in our ability to supply Ukraine clearly strengthens Putin’s position,” Biden concluded.

Ritter

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“Kiev needs to recruit more than 20,000 soldiers every month..”

Ukraine Losing 800 Troops A Day – ex-NATO Officer (RT)

Around 800 Ukrainian troops are being killed and wounded daily amid the conflict with Russia, retired German Air Force Colonel and prominent military analyst Ralph D. Thiele has claimed. In an opinion piece for Focus magazine on Wednesday, Thiele, who used to serve in the personal staff of NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, claimed that Kiev needs to recruit more than 20,000 soldiers every month in order to replace its dead and injured. He did not reveal his sources or basis for his calculations, however. Ukraine also requires additional personnel to be able to rotate its troops on the frontline, so that “exhausted soldiers” may recover and units may replenish their material supplies, he wrote. According to Thiele, who now heads the Political-Military Society, EuroDefense (Germany) and StratByrd Consulting think tanks, “the highly motivated defense” and subsequent counteroffensive, which he described as “a thing of the past,” came at a “high price” for Ukraine.

Kiev’s manpower and hardware are “significantly worn out,” he said. “Western weapons systems are not miracle weapons and are wearing out,” the analyst added. The worsening battlefield situation and decreasing Western support for Kiev are “eating away at the morale” of the Ukrainian troops, who “will have to save ammunition in a war of attrition and endure slaughter at the front without rest and without a greater sense of achievement,” Thiele stressed. Russia has also lost “a large number of soldiers and huge amounts of material” during the conflict, but “it has much more of both than Ukraine,” he argued. “Step by step, Russia’s superiority in the conflict with Ukraine is becoming more visible,” the analyst acknowledged. Moscow’s “strategy of attrition” is “taking effect” in terms of personnel, material, ammunition and morale, he said.

Thiele’s number of 800 Ukrainian soldiers being lost per day appears to be higher than the one announced by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at the expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry’s Board on Tuesday. According to Shoigu, some 400,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed or wounded since the start of the fighting in late February 2022. This means that, according to Russian figures, Kiev’s daily losses stand at around 600 servicemen. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who chaired the meeting, stressed that “we can say with confidence that our troops have the initiative” on the frontline with Ukraine. “In essence, we are doing what we consider necessary, what we want. Wherever… commanders decide active defense is best, it takes place. And where it is needed, we improve our positions,” Putin explained.

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That’s hard if you are an actual fool.

Western Leaders Should ‘Stop Playing The Fool’ – Putin (RT)

Western nations that expect Russia to collapse are misguided and should instead let their economies benefit from cooperation, President Vladimir Putin said at a government meeting on Thursday. The US and its allies have targeted Russia with unprecedented sanctions in a bid to punish Moscow for the Ukraine conflict. The country has largely adapted to the pressure, according to the Russian government and Western analysis. Putin raised the issue during a meeting of the Council on Strategic Development and National Projects, as he described Russia’s booming commercial ties with non-Western nations. He noted, however, that Moscow is not closing the door on the West. “It’s time for them [Western leaders] to stop playing the fool and waiting for us to collapse. Everyone realizes by now that if they want to benefit from cooperation with Russia, they should do so,” the president said.

Western nations have a choice between following “ephemeral considerations” motivating them to seek Russia’s destruction and “the interests of their own nations and peoples,” which require cooperation based on a “new foundation of a multipolar world,” Putin stated. Moscow has weathered Western economic attacks by reorienting its economy toward trade with countries that declined to join the Washington-led sanctions campaign, including Asian powerhouses China and India. Russia has also taken measures to decrease reliance on Western-controlled financial institutions, switching to alternative payment methods and national currencies in commerce. During a visit to Beijing on Tuesday, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said the US dollar has almost fully been replaced in trade with China.

Meanwhile, EU nations have suffered a surge in energy prices after rejecting Russian supplies to supposedly reduce dependence and cut Moscow’s profits. In particular, Russian pipeline natural gas has been replaced with more expensive liquified natural gas (LNG), sourced from the US, Qatar, and other nations. Russia is also among Europe’s LNG suppliers and has made record deliveries, according to a report by Kommersant earlier this month. Some factory owners in Germany, the leading European economy, have been forced to shut down due to increased operational costs. The Credit reform credit agency reported this month that it expects 18,100 German companies to file for insolvency this year, marking a 23.5% increase on 2022.

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“It is a curious defense that we are not corrupt because we just ripped off dupes who were corrupt people..”

The Bidens Move To Embrace Influence Peddling With A Twist (Turley)

As the House of Representatives goes into high gear in its impeachment proceedings (and possible contempt resolution against Hunter Biden), the Biden family legal problems continue to mount. In one week, it was revealed that President Biden’s brother James was caught on an FBI audiotape in a corruption investigation, while Ashley Biden, the president’s daughter, is now also facing demands for unpaid taxes. James Biden is expected to appear before the House for questioning in the coming weeks. The appearance may solidify a new line of defense for the Bidens: that they are harmless grifters. After years of denying influence peddling with the help of an obligating media, even some Democrats are now admitting that Hunter and his uncles have been selling influence. Biden associates confirmed that Joe Biden was the brand that they were peddling to foreign clients, who paid millions to the family.

The FBI tape is the latest example of how the Bidens would market their name and access. The surveillance occurred in the bribery investigation into Mississippi trial attorney Richard Scruggs. Like many Biden associates, Scruggs would eventually go to prison while the Bidens remained untouched. Scruggs forked over $100,000 to James Biden when he was seeking to reinforce support for the massive tobacco legislation and Joe Biden was viewed as skeptical on what some viewed as a windfall for trial lawyers. Scruggs admitted to the Washington Post that “I probably wouldn’t have hired [James Biden] if he wasn’t the senator’s brother.”Scruggs was just another shady figure whose business association with the Bidens would ultimately end with a prison stint. As soon as the tape came out, so did the new defense.

James Biden took the money but allegedly did nothing to land his brother. If that sounds familiar, it should. After Hunter Biden’s former business associate Devon Archer admitted that they were selling the “Biden brand,” the Bidens’ defenders immediately insisted that it was merely “illusory.” In other words, these corrupt figures wanted to buy influence and access, but they were just chumps fleeced by the Bidens. The idea is to get the public to think less of coked up Henry Hill in “Goodfellas” and more of the lovable professor Harold Hill in “The Music Man,” the charming rascal ripping off hayseeds by selling marching bands. It is a curious defense that we are not corrupt because we just ripped off dupes who were corrupt people. The problem, of course, is that influence peddling is a form of corruption. Indeed, it is a form of corruption that is so damaging to good government that the United States has pushed global agreements to ban influence peddling in other countries.

The question is whether Joe Biden knew about the influence peddling of his brothers and his son. If so, he actively assisted his family in acquiring millions to influence him on public policy or legislation. His family was effectively marketing time shares in a senator, a vice president and now a president. Whether or not Biden delivered, the family business corrupted the functions of government by converting offices into types of commodities. That is the case regardless of whether or not they delivered. It is akin to an extortionist taking money without any intent to follow through on threats of disclosure or use of damaging material. Even in today’s willfully blind politics, every voter should be able to agree on two simple facts.First, influence peddling is corruption long opposed by the government and denounced by both parties. Second, if the president knew that his son and uncles were using him for influence peddling, Joe Biden is also corrupt.

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“I will not be permitted to answer most of the questions you have for me..”

DOJ Blocked Ex-Hunter Biden Prosecutor From Discussing Case With Congress (WE)

A key prosecutor who worked for years on the Department of Justice’s case against Hunter Biden refused to answer nearly every question lawmakers asked her during recent congressional testimony after the DOJ instructed her not to speak about the case, according to a transcript reviewed by the Washington Examiner. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, who appeared alongside her personal lawyers, told the House Judiciary Committee last week during a closed-door interview that she was “significantly constrained” by the DOJ in what she could discuss. “My voluntary appearance here today is not without an overwhelming feeling of frustration and disappointment because as much as I would invite the opportunity to explain the decisions made and accurately describe the actions taken, I will not be permitted to answer most of the questions you have for me,” Wolf said at the start of the interview.

Wolf’s testimony came after two IRS whistleblowers who spent years working on the Hunter Biden investigation accused her of blocking investigative steps that they say were necessary to advance the case. They blamed Wolf and others for allowing the first son to avoid certain tax charges and for allowing his father, President Joe Biden, to avoid scrutiny. Republicans grilled Wolf during the interview about specific actions the whistleblowers said she took, but she responded repeatedly that she was “not able to discuss any particular matters related to an ongoing investigation.” Days ahead of her testimony, the DOJ provided lengthy written instructions to Wolf, which the Washington Examiner verified, that said that even as a former employee, she is expected not to disclose nonpublic information about the investigation and prosecution of Hunter Biden.

The department cited its internal policies and a statute that governs the disclosure of grand jury-related material as reasons for restricting her testimony. The DOJ also sternly observed that Wolf was not the appropriate witness to answer questions related to the substance of the Hunter Biden case or DOJ personnel matters, repeatedly saying that senior officials, rather than line-level officials like Wolf, were better-suited witnesses to address those topics. The DOJ also said it wanted to be cognizant of the separation of powers in prosecutions, a point that comes after Hunter Biden’s defense attorneys argued this month that his gun charges in Delaware should be dismissed on those very grounds. The first son’s lawyers claimed the DOJ breached the separation of powers by, in their view, caving to Republican lawmakers’ pressure to press charges against their client.

Wolf still provided some general comments that shed light on what she was thinking when she made the controversial decisions cited by the whistleblowers. When Wolf was asked about an email she wrote to investigators instructing them to remove Joe Biden’s name from a search warrant, she said she could not discuss the matter. She did, however, speak to the process of drafting warrants. “I think that’s important for people to understand that search warrants…are limited. They’re intrusions on people’s rights. And the default is an intrusion on someone’s rights. So that there are protections built into the process by the Constitution that the magistrates are responsible for enforcing,” Wolf said.

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“..If the Supreme Court takes the case, it will effectively stay the proceedings in all the other states..”

Trump Facing Mounting Challenges To Presidential Eligibility – NYT (RT)

This week’s decision by Colorado’s Supreme Court to disqualify Donald Trump from holding office is the first of several legal challenges that could derail the former US president’s bid to return to the White House, the New York Times has reported. At least 17 states are currently processing legal challenges to Trump’s eligibility, the newspaper claimed on Wednesday. The Times, which cited Lawfare – a website which tracks US national security issues – added that four of these lawsuits have been filed in state courts in Michigan, Oregon, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. A further eleven lawsuits, in states including Arizona, Nevada, New York, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming, have been filed in federal district courts. Trump’s legal team has said they intend to appeal the Colorado decision to the US Supreme Court.

Colorado’s top court on Tuesday ruled that Trump is ineligible to appear on the state’s primary ballot ahead of next year’s presidential elections. In a 4-3 ruling, the Colorado justices found that Trump had violated the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding office. The former US president is accused of breaching the so-called “insurrectionist ban” over his alleged efforts to overturn the results of his 2020 election defeat to Joe Biden and inciting the riots at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. The ruling does not prevent Trump from running in other states across the US. In a statement on Tuesday, Colorado’s Supreme Court noted that its judgment placed the court in “uncharted territory” over its efforts to disqualify Trump from the state ballot. It also said that its decision could be reversed with “the receipt of any order or mandate from the Supreme Court.”

Should the US Supreme Court opt, as expected, Trump’s appeal to hear it would mean that he would be returned to the state ballot until America’s top court makes a formal decision. An appeal would also suspend the other active lawsuits across the US, according to retired appeals court Judge J. Michael Luttig. “If the Supreme Court takes the case, it will effectively stay the proceedings in all the other states,” Luttig said, according to the New York Times on Wednesday. The Supreme Court’s judgment on the issue also faces time constraints. Colorado’s Secretary of State confirmed to MSNBC this week that it must certify the candidates eligible to appear on ballots by a January 5 deadline to physically print the documents ahead of the state’s primary election in March. In addition to constitutional arguments over Trump’s capacity to potentially return to the White House, the former president also faces 91 felony counts in four ongoing criminal cases in Washington, New York, Florida, and Georgia.

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“What is ‘imperative’ … is that this case be decided correctly, not that it be decided quickly..”

Trump Asks Supreme Court To Deny Special Counsel’s Request (JTN)

Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put a hold on quickly ruling on special counsel Jack Smith’s request for the high court to review the former president’s appeal of charges related to the 2020 election on the grounds that he has presidential immunity. The Supreme Court should refrain from ruling on Smith’s request until after a lower federal appellate court makes a decision on the issue, Trump’s attorneys said Wednesday in a 44-page court filing. Smith had asked the court last week to quickly rule on whether Trump could be prosecuted for allegedly attempting to overturn the 2020 election in his favor and then playing a role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, ahead of the planned trial start date of March 4, 2024, in the middle of the 2024 presidential primary season.

The special counsel justified the date by calling it of “paramount public importance” to hold the trial “as expeditiously as possible,” but Trump’s legal team wrote that “in an omission that speaks volumes, the Special Counsel never explains why March 4, 2024, is supposedly the only ‘appropriate timetable’ for this historic prosecution. That date has no talismanic significance.” Trump’s attorneys also said that precedence favors allowing the lower appeals court to address the issue first before the Supreme Court. “What is ‘imperative’ … is that this case be decided correctly, not that it be decided quickly,” the lawyers wrote. The former president’s legal team also argued that Smith’s request to the Supreme Court “misstates the legal issue in this appeal by incorrectly framing it as whether absolute presidential immunity extends to ‘crimes committed while in office,'” the former president’s legal team said, arguing that Trump instead “asserted that a President is immune from prosecution for official acts.”

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“..the ruling “vindicates” Trump’s “insistence that this is a political conspiracy to interfere with the election and that … he’s the target and people shouldn’t tolerate that in America.”

Ex-White House Lawyer: SCOTUS Could Rule ‘9-0’ In Trump Case (Hill)

Former White House lawyer Ty Cobb predicted Tuesday that the U.S. Supreme Court could rule “9-0” in favor of former President Trump in a potential appeal of Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling that would kick Trump off the state’s ballot. “I think this case will be handled quickly. I think it could be 9-0 in the Supreme Court for Trump,” Cobb said in an interview on CNN, adding later, “I do believe it could be 9-0, because I think the law is clear.” The Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday that Trump should not appear on Colorado’s ballot due to his alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack. Citing the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection clause,” the 4-3 ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court argued Trump engaged in an insurrection by promoting false claims of election fraud and encouraging supporters to go the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled the office of the president falls under the insurrection clause, which states those who previously took oaths to support the Constitution as a “member of Congress,” “officer of the United States,” “member of any State legislature” or an “executive or judicial officer of any State” cannot engage in a rebellion against it.“The real key issue in this case is — is Trump an officer in the United States in the context in which that term is used in the Article 3 of the 14th Amendment,” Cobb said. “And in 2010, Chief Justice [John] Roberts explained in free enterprise that people don’t vote for officers of the United States.” Cobb went on to reference multiple Supreme Court decisions that do not conclude officers include the president or vice president in this context.

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump’s campaign, has already vowed the Trump campaign will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority and includes three justices nominated by Trump. “The Supreme Court though will not hesitate to move quickly on this; they know what the stakes are. They know what their responsibility is,” Cobb continued. “And they can delay some of these Colorado dates to the extent that they feel they’re obligated to or have to.” Colorado’s Supreme Court put its ruling on hold until Jan. 4 to allow Trump to first seek review from the U.S. Supreme Court. If he does, his name will automatically remain on the ballot until justices resolve the appeal. Cobb further argued the ruling “vindicates” Trump’s “insistence that this is a political conspiracy to interfere with the election and that … he’s the target and people shouldn’t tolerate that in America.”

Tucker VDH
https://twitter.com/i/status/1737633022919192892

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Haven’t seen Harry Dent for a while.

Economist Claims 2024 Will Bring ‘Biggest Crash of Our Lifetime’ in US (ET)

An economist who focuses on consumer spending has issued a dire warning about the U.S. economy in the coming year. “Since 2009, this has been 100 percent artificial, unprecedented money printing and deficits: $27 trillion over 15 years, to be exact,” economist Harry Dent told Fox Business on Dec. 19. “This is off the charts, 100 percent artificial, which means we’re in a dangerous state. “I think 2024 is going to be the biggest single crash year we’ll see in our lifetime. “We need to get back down to normal, and we need to send a message to central banks,” he said. “This should be a lesson I don’t think we’ll ever revisit. I don’t think we’ll ever see a bubble for any of our lifetimes again.” Mr. Dent, who owns the HS Dent Investment Management firm, told the outlet that U.S. markets are currently in a bubble that started in late 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Things are not going to come back to normal in a few years. We may never see these levels again. And this crash is not going to be a correction,” he said. “It’s going to be more in the ’29 to ’32 level. And anybody who sat through that would have shot their stockbroker,” Mr. Dent said, making references to the stock market crash in 1929 that led to the Great Depression throughout the 1930s. “If I’m right, it is going to be the biggest crash of our lifetime, most of it happening in 2024. You’re going to see it start and be more obvious by May. “So, if you just get out for six to 12 months and stuff stays at the highest valuation history, maybe you miss a little more gains if I’m wrong. If I’m right, you’re going to save massive losses and be able to reinvest a year or year-and-a-half from now at unbelievably low prices and magnify your gains beyond compare.”

Mr. Dent’s predictions of a market crash are nothing new. In 2009, he wrote “The Great Depression Ahead,” a book that forecasted a significant market crash. In the past few weeks, several analysts have been making similar predictions of a significant stock market crash in the near future. “Based on prevailing market valuations, we estimate that poor total returns are likely for the S&P 500 in the coming 10–12 years, that equity market returns, relative to bonds, are likely to be among the worst in history, and that a market loss on the order of [minus] 63% over the completion of this cycle would be consistent with prevailing valuations and a century of market history,” Hussman Investment Trust President John Hussman, who called the 2008 crash, wrote in a note in October.

However, in a recent note, investment banking firm Goldman Sachs raised its 2024 S&P 500 target by 8 percent, to 5,100, forecasting a tailwind for U.S. stocks from falling inflation and declining interest rates. “Looking forward, the new regime of both improving growth and falling rates should support stocks with weaker balance sheets, particularly those that are sensitive to economic growth,” the firm wrote late last week.

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“Power is the horse ridden by evil..”

The Greatest Gift For All (Paul Craig Roberts)

Christmas is a time of traditions. If you have found time in the rush before Christmas to decorate a tree, you are sharing in a relatively new tradition. Although the Christmas tree has ancient roots, at the beginning of the 20th century only 1 in 5 American families put up a tree. It was 1920 before the Christmas tree became the hallmark of the season. Calvin Coolidge was the first President to light a national Christmas tree on the White House lawn. Gifts are another shared custom. This tradition comes from the wise men or three kings who brought gifts to baby Jesus. When I was a kid, gifts were more modest than they are now, but even then people were complaining about the commercialization of Christmas. We have grown accustomed to the commercialization. Christmas sales are the backbone of many businesses. Gift giving causes us to remember others and to take time from our harried lives to give them thought.

The decorations and gifts of Christmas are one of our connections to a Christian culture that has held Western civilization together for 2,000 years. In our culture the individual counts. This permits an individual person to put his or her foot down, to take a stand on principle, to become a reformer and to take on injustice. This empowerment of the individual is unique to Western civilization. It has made the individual a citizen equal in rights to all other citizens, protected from tyrannical government by the rule of law and free speech. These achievements are the products of centuries of struggle, but they all flow from the teaching that God so values the individual’s soul that he sent his son to die so we might live. By so elevating the individual, Christianity gave him a voice. Formerly only those with power had a voice. But in Western civilization people with integrity have a voice.

So do people with a sense of justice, of honor, of duty, of fair play. Reformers can reform, investors can invest, and entrepreneurs can create commercial enterprises, new products and new occupations. The result was a land of opportunity. The United States attracted immigrants who shared our values and reflected them in their own lives. Our culture was absorbed by a diverse people who became one. In recent decades we have lost sight of the historic achievement that empowered the individual. The religious, legal and political roots of this great achievement are no longer reverently taught in high schools, colleges and universities or respected by our government. The voices that reach us through the millennia and connect us to our culture are being silenced by “Identity Politics,” “political correctness,” “critical race theory” and the war against “white culture.” Prayer has been driven from schools and Christian religious symbols from public life.

Christianity is being gradually marginalized. Each year it becomes more difficult to find a Christmas card that says “Merry Christmas” instead of “Seasons Greetings.” In place of Christmas carols we get Hollywood Christmas songs. In some churches Christianity is being transmuted into Christian Zionism and the worship of Israel. Others fly LGBTQ and BLM flags. We are approaching a time when a Christian Christmas cannot be celebrated as it is not inclusive in a diverse society and therefore is politically incorrect if not a hate crime. Constitutional protections have been diminished by hegemonic political ambitions. Indefinite detention, torture, and murder are now acknowledged practices of the United States government. The historic achievement of due process has been rolled back. Tyranny has re-emerged.

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Pi

 

 

 

 

Fox

 

 

Jealousy

 

 


Elephant mother and child, in a field of of hyacinth at Kaziranga national park

 

 

Crosby and Frank
https://twitter.com/i/status/1737877893609373992

 

 

 

 

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