John William Godward Dolce Far Niente (It’s Sweet Doing Nothing) 1909
Planet Ponzi: #SummitForDemocracy. One of the Four Has No Mandate & Was Not Elected. The 2nd Is About To Be Sacked (He Will Resign), 3rd’s Country Is On Fire & Popularity is below 15%, & The Last Has Stage 4 Dementia.
Nap w Larry Johnson
— Judge Napolitano (@Judgenap) April 5, 2023
— The Absolute Truth with @EmeraldRobinson (@AbsoluteWithE) April 6, 2023
mRNA & Cows. Iowa State in the middle of a 5-year project for novel mRNA, funded by NIFA with certain goals: •Lower cost for wider use •More thermal-stable, for easy use on farms •mRNA delivered continuously by vaccine implant Repeat, DELIVERED CONTINUOUSLY BY VACCINE IMPLANT
Pepe Escobar: If you think this is not bad enough, the second phase of Paris strikes will start NEXT WEEK. Paris will be literally turned into a giant trash bin. Until the BlackRock pension “reform” is thrown out.
❗️French Protestors Storm Blackrock Building
The US money-management firm has become a target of the public who are protesting against President Macron's pension reforms.
— Costas Mandas (@c_mandas) April 6, 2023
The Bidens were basically laundering money: Comer
Source: Fox News (YouTube) pic.twitter.com/kgiFok2oz2
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2023) April 5, 2023
A journalist for a journalist.
If Moscow decides on a prisoner swap involving Evan Gershkovich, it should ask for Julian Assange’s release from a British dungeon, Russian State Duma Deputy Sergey Obuhkov said on Friday. Obuhkov, a Russian Communist Party MP, told reporters that some members of the Duma have already proposed offering political asylum to former US President Donald Trump and trading him for Gershkovich.“I say, let’s exchange him for Assange instead,” Obukhov told RIA Novosti. Russian authorities detained Gershkovich in Ekaterinburg on March 30, saying they caught him “red-handed” in an act of espionage. A Lefortovo court has ordered the Moscow bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal to remain in custody for two months. He is appealing the decision and will face the judges again on April 18.
Earlier this week, the district attorney in New York had the 45th US president arrested on charges of improper business bookkeeping, supposedly related to “hush money” paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels, which they allege somehow improperly influenced the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denounced the charges as a politically motivated “witch hunt.” Assange has been held in Belmarsh prison in south London since April 2019, after Ecuador canceled his asylum under pressure from the US. He had spent almost seven years in the embassy of the Latin American country, seeking refuge from trumped-up Swedish charges he called a front for US persecution.
After his arrest, Washington unsealed a years-old indictment charging the WikiLeaks publisher under the Espionage Act. He is wanted for the 2010 publication of the notorious ‘Collateral Murder’ video showing the US military killing civilians, as well as other US classified documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If extradited and convicted, Assange faces up to 175 years behind bars. Russia and the US last swapped prisoners in December, with Moscow releasing convicted drug smuggler and basketball star Brittney Griner in exchange for businessman Viktor Bout. Washington has faced criticism for not requesting the release of Paul Whelan, a retired US Marine serving a sentence in Russia for espionage.
“..one can state with certainty that security and NATO are incompatible..”
NATO is trying to make the world a more dangerous place and in doing so it is resisting the emergence of alternative centers of power and increasingly asserting its global role and the ambition to spread its influence beyond the Euro-Atlantic area, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, adding that “time is ripe for the alliance to retire.” In this way Zakharova commented on the meeting of the NATO foreign ministers held the day before to mark the alliance’s 74th anniversary. “We hear the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speculate ever more often about a global role of the alliance. Everything is being done to make the world even more dangerous, to prevent the existence of alternative centers of power capable of undermining the hegemony of the West.
“In general, one can state with certainty that security and NATO are incompatible. In this regard, there is only one conclusion that readily offers itself – at 74 years of age it is time for the North Atlantic bloc to retire,” Zakharova said in a commentary the Foreign Ministry released on Thursday. She believes that NATO is trying to “usurp the entire system of European security through Finland’s accession.” “Finland has become another victim of the North Atlantic Alliance. The Finnish government decided to give up its longstanding neutrality in exchange for turning the country into a frontline zone, a bridgehead for deterring Russia in the Northwest. As we can see, NATO does not intend to stop there,” she added.
“Does no one worry that this continued provocation of Russia might have negative effects in the future? Is it necessary?”
On March 30, 2004 — just over 19 years ago, then-Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) concluded a United Sates House of Representatives statement with a strong admonition regarding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and US involvement in it. Paul stated: “In conclusion, we should not be wasting US tax money and taking on more military obligations expanding NATO. The alliance is a relic of the Cold War, a hold-over from another time, an anachronism. It should be disbanded, the sooner the better.” Paul’s statement was made in opposition to a resolution (H.Res. 558) being considered on the House floor that day that welcomed “with enthusiasm” the addition of seven new members to NATO and encouraged consideration of adding more nations to NATO. The addition of these new nations all near the Russian border — Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia — made 2004 a big year in NATO expansion.
Regarding the addition of the seven new members to NATO in 2004, Paul made this particular warning: “The expansion of NATO to these seven countries, we have heard, will open them up to the further expansion of US military bases, right up to the border of the former Soviet Union. Does no one worry that this continued provocation of Russia might have negative effects in the future? Is it necessary?” This comment is prescient considering that such expansion of NATO and US military bases is a contributor to Russia’s decision last year to send its military into Ukraine, a development to which the US and several NATO nations have responded with a fervor of warlike declarations and actions.
The addition of more nations near Russia to NATO continued since 2004. Albania and Croatia were added in 2009, Montenegro was added in 2017, and North Macedonia in 2020. With the addition of Finland this week, 12 nations since 2004 have joined NATO — the same number of nations as founded NATO in 1949. NATO membership now comes in at 31 nations. And there is momentum to add more, including Sweden potentially quite soon.
“According to Politico, Xi “looked impatient and annoyed” as Macron spoke, and “heaved several deep sighs” when Ukraine came up..”
Chinese President Xi Jinping was unmoved by the rhetoric of his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on the conflict in Ukraine, Politico reported on Thursday. Paris has tried both appeals and threats in order to pressure Beijing into denouncing Moscow, apparently to little effect. “I know I can count on you to bring Russia to its senses and everyone to the negotiating table,” Macron told Xi. Earlier, he told French reporters that “anyone helping the aggressor would be an accomplice in breach of international law.” Xi responded by saying China was “willing to jointly appeal with France to the international community to remain rational and calm,” and repeated Beijing’s position on the conflict. “Peace talks should be resumed as soon as possible, taking into account the reasonable security concerns of all sides with reference to the UN Charter… seeking political resolution and constructing a balanced, effective and sustainable European security framework,” he told reporters at the Great Hall of the People.
Macron broke protocol by speaking almost twice as long as Xi, and veered into demands that China condemn “the war waged by Russia against Ukraine.” According to Politico, Xi “looked impatient and annoyed” as Macron spoke, and “heaved several deep sighs” when Ukraine came up. The French president announced a trip to China just after Xi spent three days in Moscow, signing a series of agreements with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At one point, the smiling Chinese leader was overheard telling Putin that their two countries were driving change the world hadn’t seen in over a century. Meanwhile, problems piled up at home for Macron. A sanitation workers’ strike left Paris buried in uncollected garbage, while mass protests against retirement reform – which Macron imposed by decree, bypassing the parliament – continued across France. New polls showed his rival Marine Le Pen becoming more popular.
Macron is scheduled to travel with Xi to Guangzhou on Friday for more talks and a private dinner. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, whom Macron brought along to “showcase European unity,” met with Xi on Thursday but was not included in many of the bilateral meetings. Appearing at a press conference by herself on Thursday evening, Von der Leyen repeated the Brussels talking points without much regard for her hosts. She brought up Taiwan, saying that any threat of force to change its status was “unacceptable.” The EU official also argued that providing weapons to Russia would “significantly harm the relationship between the EU and China,” and that Brussels expects Beijing to “play its role and promote a just peace, one that respects Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.”
Lukashenko,on Macron's statement that no country can deploy nuclear weapons on foreign territory: "I agree with him. That's why they have to withdraw all nuclear weapons from the 5 or 6 countries where they are deployed and return them to the Americans. And that's it." pic.twitter.com/q7R7EtDiiT
— Donbass Devushka (@PeImeniPusha) April 6, 2023
Strictly business. Macron brought with him 50 CEOs of France’s leading corporations..
If you picked up yesterday’s leading French newspapers Le Monde or Figaro, you might be excused for thinking that the sole purpose of President Emmanuel Macron’s three day visit to Beijing in the company of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is to lecture the Chinese leadership on its obligations as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to denounce the Russian military operation in Ukraine and to end all support for the Kremlin. There was no hint that Macron brought with him 50 CEOs of France’s leading corporations who were looking forward to signing business contracts that were prepared ahead of the visit. Last night’s digest of news sent to subscribers by The Financial Times summed this up nicely: “French president Emmanuel Macron has gone to Beijing in the latest attempt by a European leader to urge China’s Xi Jinping to withdraw support for Russian president Vladimir Putin.”
Of course, this interpretation of the meaning of the trip comes from those who fail to comprehend the stature of today’s Chinese leadership and its ability to enforce the millennial traditions of the country when dealing with the barbarians beyond its borders. China would never have agreed to receive Macron or von der Leyen if it perceived that their purpose was to deliver demeaning lectures about what Beijing should or should not do with respect to Russia. No, Xi, like Macron, had expectations of major new contracts with Airbus, to spite America’s Boeing, and with other French concerns which are desperate not to lose their privileged access to the Chinese market and to Chinese manufacturing capacities.
In my interview with Press TV of Iran’s evening program of news analysis yesterday, I was given the opportunity to explain why the trip has been misrepresented to Western audiences, and how any business deals that result from it will not be featured in our newspapers or state television channels, as would normally be the case in good times. At the conclusion of my time on air, I brought up another major event of the past month which also was blacked out by our broadcasters, namely the destruction of an underground bunker near the Western Ukraine city of Liviv by a Russian hypersonic missile Kinzhal, which cost the lives of more than 200 NATO generals and other high military officers, including about 20 Americans. That event, which first was announced very discreetly on Russian news tickers immediately following its execution, was again quietly and briefly mentioned on the Yandex ticker yesterday with respect to the “shipment in crates” of the recovered remains of those officers killed to their home countries in the West.
They don’t pick up the phone.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is looking to reschedule his trip to China that he canceled over the Chinese balloon that wound up floating over the US, but Beijing is rebuffing the effort, POLITICO reported Wednesday. The POLITICO report said China has effectively frozen high-level contacts with US officials. An unnamed US official said that the Biden administration is also trying to schedule a call between President Biden and President Xi Jinping and send other high-level officials to China but isn’t having any luck. Before the balloon incident, the US and China were making a point to engage at a high level despite soaring tensions. But since Blinken canceled his trip, and the US shot down the balloon, which ended up over US territory due to unexpected weather, the progress on engagement with Beijing has been reversed.
After the US shot down the balloon in February, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tried to contact his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, who has since been replaced. But China declined to take Austin’s call, and he hasn’t had any luck since then.Wei was replaced by Li Shangfu, a Chinese general who is under US sanctions for being involved in China’s purchase of Russian weapons. The sanctions make US-China military communication even more difficult, and the Biden administration has not signaled it will lift them. Tensions between the US and China soared even higher on Wednesday as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hosted Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in California. China repeatedly warned McCarthy and Tsai not to hold the meeting and is expected to respond with more military drills around Taiwan.
” The North Atlantic Alliance does not have the necessary status to reproach China or put pressure on it..”
The US and military alliances such as NATO should bear responsibility for the crisis in Ukraine, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a news conference on Thursday in the wake of statements by the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg about the consequences for China in case of arms supplies to Russia. “As far as the responsibility for the Ukrainian problem is concerned, I believe it should be borne by the United States and military blocs like NATO. The North Atlantic Alliance does not have the necessary status to reproach China or put pressure on it,” she pointed out. Mao stressed that China was in favor of facilitating peace talks from the outset.
“History will eventually pronounce its verdict who really took a fair and correct position,” Mao Ning said. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference following a meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers in Brussels on April 5 that serious consequences were in store for China, if it supplied weapons to Russia. He also said that China was working more and more closely with Russia. Stoltenberg mentioned the alliance’s close attention to joint sea and air patrolling and exercises in South Africa. He argued that all this required NATO should intensify partnership with Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia.
Coming together fast, now that the US is gone.
CIA Director William Burns told Saudi officials that the United States was caught off guard after the kingdom agreed to a normalization deal with Iran brokered by China, according to the Wall Street Journal. During an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia this week, Burns “expressed frustration” with Riyadh and said Washington “felt blindsided” by its renewed diplomacy with both Iran and Syria, multiple unnamed sources told the Journal on Thursday. The foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia held talks in the Chinese capital on Thursday, where they discussed a number of issues related to the new initiative, including reopening embassies in both countries, designating ambassadors, and even a visit to Riyadh by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
After years of strife as regional adversaries, Tehran and Riyadh struck the normalization pact on March 10 following secret talks mediated by Beijing, agreeing to resume formal diplomatic relations after they cut ties in 2016. The deal marked a major diplomatic achievement for China and a significant shakeup for the geopolitics of the Middle East. Since the agreement was announced, top diplomats from Saudi Arabia and Iran have spoken on the phone at least three times, and hope to reach compromises on several outstanding issues – namely the war in Yemen, which has raged on for more than eight years and left hundreds of thousands dead. Tehran is also working to reestablish contacts with the United Arab Emirates, another Gulf monarchy long at odds with the Islamic Republic.
Earlier this week, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri said his country had appointed an ambassador to Abu Dhabi for the first time in nearly a decade. Riyadh is also reportedly seeking to reach a similar understanding with Syria, and hopes to invite President Bashar al-Assad for a visit later this year, according to Reuters. While the White House has welcomed the new diplomacy in public, Burns’ reported complaints to Saudi officials this week could highlight concerns over Beijing’s growing influence in the region. Tensions between Riyadh and Washington have also been on the rise since last year, when OPEC+ – a group of major oil exporters led by Saudi Arabia – opted to slash production. The move reportedly “angered” President Joe Biden, who claimed the cut would benefit Russia, another large energy exporter.
It’s the Europeans who do not care (or understand?!)
US President Joe Biden’s administration has reportedly opposed efforts by some European allies to give Ukraine a clear “roadmap” for joining NATO, urging partners to focus on providing short-term aid to Kiev. The US is siding with Germany and Hungary in resisting efforts from such allies as Poland and the Baltic states to offer Ukraine deeper ties with NATO and clear support for its future membership in the Western military bloc, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing four unidentified officials involved in the negotiations. The issue has been under debate this week at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, where alliance members are trying to lay the groundwork for the bloc’s leaders’ summit, which is scheduled for July in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Although NATO’s 31 members agree that membership can’t be offered to Ukraine in the short term – nor can it be seriously discussed amid the former Soviet republic’s current conflict with Russia – this week’s talks have exposed a clear divide over the group’s vision for Kiev’s postwar status, the FT said. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has warned that he will only attend the summit in Vilnius if he’s offered clear steps for Kiev’s ascension to NATO, such as security guarantees and deeper collaboration with the alliance. Bloc members agreed in 2008 that Ukraine would be allowed to join NATO at some point. Back then, the US was pushing for giving Kiev a clear timetable and an action plan for membership, the FT said, but France and Germany resisted on concerns that such a step would provoke Russia.
Diplomats attending this week’s talks haven’t been able to reach agreement on what Ukraine should be offered in a freshened statement on its NATO prospects. “We’ve got several weeks of hard negotiations ahead to close those gaps and craft a political outcome,” one official said. However, another noted, “The road [to Vilnius] is rocky.” Washington is concerned that deepening the alliance’s ties with Ukraine at this juncture would feed into Russian claims that the current crisis is a conflict between Moscow and NATO, the FT said. It also might spur Russia to escalate the conflict, possibly by deploying nuclear weapons. Russian officials have claimed that the US and its NATO allies promised after the Soviet Union’s collapse not to expand the bloc into Eastern Europe. Since then, the alliance has added 15 new members, all of which were former Soviet republics or part of Warsaw Pact nations.
Two very different write-ups.
A leaked trove of classified documents outlining American and NATO war planning in Ukraine has sparked a US military investigation, the New York Times has reported. The briefing presentation slides, some marked “top secret,” show assessed troop strengths, timelines for arms shipments and ammunition expenditures, among other data. The files appeared on social media earlier this week, and while the source remains unclear, the leaks have set off alarms in the Pentagon, which has launched a probe to determine how the documents were obtained, the NYT reported on Thursday. “We are aware of the reports of social media posts and the department is reviewing the matter,” Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh told the outlet.
Officials said they are working to have the material removed from the internet, but had not succeeded as of Thursday night. One of the documents marked “top secret” provides the “Status of the Conflict as of 1 Mar.,”suggesting the slides are several weeks old. Though they do not describe any specific battle plans, the files offer a glimpse into US intelligence assessments for Russian and Ukrainian troop levels, timetables for training and equipment deliveries, weather data, as well as ammunition expenditures – including for the US-supplied HIMARS platform. The Pentagon has not previously disclosed the rate at which Ukrainian forces are using munitions for the weapon. Some of the documents appear to have been altered, with multiple different versions circulating online showing wildly varying estimates for losses on both sides of the conflict.
Another file lists 12 new Ukrainian combat brigades – which are usually made up of 4,000 to 5,000 troops – noting that the US and NATO bloc are training and supplying nine of them. Of those, the document states that six would be ready by the end of March, and the remaining three by April 30. If genuine the documents represent one of the most significant intelligence breaches since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and come as Kiev is reportedly preparing a major counter-offensive against Russian forces. One of the documents shows two possible routes into the Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. It is unclear when the counter-attacks are set to begin, but Ukrainian Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov recently claimed that the two sides would fight a “final” and “decisive battle”sometime in the spring.
Pentagon war plan documents for Ukraine leaked. Most interestingly casualty numbers on the Russian side are significantly lower and on the Ukrainian side much higher than official US numbers reported by the propaganda media. The US Govt clearly knows Ukraine is losing the war.
Classified war documents detailing secret American and NATO plans for building up the Ukrainian military ahead of a planned offensive were posted this week on social media channels, senior Biden administration officials said, Report informs referring to New York Times. The Pentagon is investigating who may have been behind the leak of the documents, which appeared on Twitter and on Telegram, a platform with more than half a billion users that is widely available in Russia. Military analysts said the documents appear to have been modified in certain parts from their original format, overstating American estimates of Ukrainian war dead and understating estimates of Russian troops killed.
The modifications could point to an effort of disinformation by Moscow, the analysts said. But the disclosures in the original documents, which appear as photographs of charts of anticipated weapons deliveries, troop and battalion strengths, and other plans, represents a significant breach of American intelligence in the effort to aid Ukraine. Biden officials were working to get them deleted but had not succeeded so far. “We are aware of the reports of social media posts and the department is reviewing the matter,” said Sabrina Singh, the deputy press secretary at the Pentagon.
The documents do not provide specific battle plans, like how, when, and where Ukraine intends to launch its offensive, which American officials say is likely coming in the next month or so. And because the documents are five weeks old, they offer a snapshot of time – the American and Ukrainian view, as of March 1, of what Ukrainian troops might need for the campaign. For example, one of the slides said 16,000 to 17,500 Russian soldiers had been killed while Ukraine had suffered as many as 71,500 troop deaths. The Pentagon and other analysts have estimated that Russia has suffered far more casualties, with closer to 200,000 killed and injured, while Ukraine has had more than 100,000 killed and injured.
“..expanding production may be easier said than done..”
The “historic” agreement to deliver two billion euros ($2.14 billion) worth of artillery ammunition to the Ukrainian military is still being worked out, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing diplomats involved in the negotiations. Concerns over who will get the money are reportedly the main bone of contention. The plan, unveiled on March 20, envisioned the delivery of one million 155mm shells to Ukraine over the next 12 months. A package of one billion euros was earmarked for compensating EU members who would dip into their own stockpiles, and another billion for getting new shells made by military contractors, with orders organized and fast-tracked by the EU Defence Agency. The problem now is figuring out which contractors, according to the pro-NATO outlet.
France is reportedly insisting that only EU companies should be considered, but there is legal uncertainty as to who actually qualifies as an EU company. Greece and Cyprus are in alignment with the French position, which diplomats have attributed to a desire to avoid giving orders to Türkiye. Meanwhile, the European Commission also needs to “map out the capacity” of the bloc’s defense industry before finalizing the deal, as expanding production may be easier said than done. EU ambassadors who met on Wednesday weren’t able to make significant progress, several diplomats with knowledge of the negotiations told Politico. They did manage to finalize the text of the agreement to collect ammunition donations, however, which should be published next week.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell had proposed the ammunition plan, arguing in February that it was the most important issue. “If we fail on that, the result of the war is in danger,” he said at the time. The US, EU and NATO have all insisted they were not participants in the conflict, while also arguing that Ukraine must win and Russia “must lose.” Moscow has repeatedly warned the West to stop “stuffing” Kiev with arms and ammunition, arguing that they are only delaying the inevitable while risking open confrontation. Russia has already increased its own ammunition production, tripling the number of shells the US and EU plan to supply Kiev over a year-long period, President Vladimir Putin said last week.
Look who we support…
Russian culture will be off-limits in Crimea if Ukraine regains control of the peninsula, Mikhail Podoliak, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, has claimed. Podoliak said Kiev is planning on meting out legal punishments to Russian passport holders and other “traitors” living in the region. “As soon as we enter, we must eradicate everything Russian in Crimea,” Podoliak stated in an interview with Radio Liberty published on Wednesday. He argued that the predominantly Russian-speaking region should instead become part of the “Ukrainian cultural space.” Acknowledging that his views are among the most radical within the leadership in Kiev, Podoliak insisted that Crimean residents would not be able to read Russian literature or watch Russian movies, let alone speak Russian in public. Instead, the language would only be permitted in private, the official added.
According to Podoliak, those who refused to comply would have to leave. Locals would also face mass investigations and “legal punishments” for anyone who has switched from Ukrainian to Russian citizenship, as well as those deemed to be “collaborators and traitors” by the Ukrainian authorities.Podoliak argued that the process, which he described as “very powerful stabilization measures,” would be difficult. “We’re going to have to break it all down,” he said with respect to Crimea’s Russian identity. The presidential aide expressed confidence that Ukrainian forces would retake the peninsula within seven months, claiming that his outlook is “mathematically verified” and that Russia lacked the necessary resources to retain the region.
However, Podoliak did not rule out negotiations between Kiev and Moscow on Crimea, provided that the Kremlin first withdrew its troops from territory that Ukraine claims as its own. Crimea has been part of Russia since 2014, when residents voted overwhelmingly to reunify with Moscow soon after the Maidan coup in Kiev. There were fears among the ethnically Russian majority of the peninsula that Ukrainian nationalists who had come to power in Kiev would try to forcefully impose their language and culture on them. The peninsula was historically part of Russia since 1783, and was only transferred to Kiev’s administrative control by the Soviet authorities in 1954.
Among NATO's "values" is enthusiastic support for Ukraine's persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. pic.twitter.com/Tu2nqOT2us
— George Szamuely (@GeorgeSzamuely) April 5, 2023
Today the Zelenskiy regime together with the fake church OCU burned down the church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Mykolaiv. Everday we see how the regime is destroying Orthodox Christianity in Ukraine. When will we hear the so called "west"?#SaveUkrainianOrthodoxChurch pic.twitter.com/AkeIGrNIcs
— Andrii Telizhenko (@TelizhenkoAndy) April 5, 2023
She left the same day that Finland entered NATO… No coincidence.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has submitted the resignation of her government to President Sauli Niinisto, according to the Yle broadcaster. Marin’s government is resigning following her party’s defeat in the recent parliamentary election. It will serve as an interim cabinet until the formation of a new government. The process will begin next week under the guidance of the conservative National Coalition Party that won the election. Finland held its parliamentary election on April 2. Marin’s Social Democratic Party came third, gaining 19.9% of the vote and taking 43 seats in parliament. The National Coalition Party won the election, gaining 20.8%, while the Finns Party was second with 20.1%. The new parliament will begin work on April 11. Marin announced at a press conference on April 5 that she would step down as leader of the Social Democratic Party by the fall, when the party’s new leadership was elected. She added that she would remain a member of parliament.
After the accession of Finland to NATO in the border Vyborg, mobile installations of nuclear weapons were noticed pic.twitter.com/TNCWtDHlV8
— Spriter (@Spriter99880) April 6, 2023
“..Bragg simply stated that he was not required to state the crime in the indictment…”
“Filmmaking is not about the tiny details. It’s about the big picture.” Thus did the title character of the movie, “Ed Wood,” explain why arguably the worst filmmaker of all time was unconcerned with obvious gaps in logic, or scenes where cardboard tombstones toppled in graveyard scenes. Wood said he relied on the “suspension of disbelief” of his horror-film fans. If there is an Ed Wood school of prosecution, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg could prove to be its most apt pupil. Indicting Donald Trump on 34 counts of falsifying business records, Bragg left out a small detail: The underlying felony Trump allegedly sought to conceal over and over. That, apparently, is left to the suspension of disbelief.
For many weeks, experts on both the left and the right expressed doubts that Bragg could charge Trump with falsifying business records, a misdemeanor with a now-expired two-year statute of limitation. To be able to file such a charge, Bragg would need to kick it up to a felony by alleging it was committed to conceal or further another crime — in this case, a federal campaign violation. The problem is that the Justice Department declined to bring such charges. The reason was likely due to a tiny problem: There is no campaign finance violation in Trump paying women to hush up alleged affairs. Moreover, even if there were a violation, Bragg is not a federal prosecutor. In other words, his case is as implausible as Wood’s cardboard tombstones.
When asked by reporters what crime was being referenced 34 times, Bragg simply stated that he was not required to state the crime in the indictment. Despite becoming the first prosecutor to charge a former president, Bragg felt no compulsion to explain the claim that kicked the misdemeanor up to a felony and allowed a longer statute of limitations. Bragg undoubtedly knew that New Yorkers would likely suspend disbelief when the name on the indictment was “Donald Trump.” After all, when Bragg ran for office, he was no more specific; he merely promised to bag Trump on some criminal charge. The actual crime would be named at a later date. Bragg also undoubtedly counted on Judge Juan Merchan suspending judicial disbelief by not asking for the full basis of the criminal charges.
Thus far, he appears to have been correct: Merchan set the next hearing for December, so Bragg has eight months to come up with an actual crime. Even if the judge ignores the glaring legal problems with this flawed indictment, he must decide where a trial should be held. The correct answer should be “Anywhere but Manhattan.” However, the judge is likely to deny that change of venue motion, and a denial would say a great deal about this case. Bragg’s cavalier attitude only magnifies the view that Manhattan is the wrong place for this trial. It is not simply that the district attorney ran on a pledge to indict this defendant. The problem is that he was elected on that pledge by the citizens of this district — the same citizens who would comprise the jury pool in Trump’s case.
“..if New York courts nevertheless back this dodgy theory, it would show the rule of law is being tossed out the window to get Trump..”
In simple terms, Cohen paid $180,000 to get what were sometimes called “bimbo eruptions” paid off. The Statement of Facts is not clear as to whose idea it was,2 but the Trump Organization doubled the amount to be paid to Cohen so Cohen could characterize it as income, not a reimbursement, then added a $60,000 bonus. That $420,000 amount was then paid in 12 monthly installments. That was billed monthly as a payment against a retainer agreement, even though there was no retainer agreement. Trump then allegedly confirmed this arrangement in person. The indictment gets to 34 counts by taking each of monthly payments Trump made to Cohen and each of the related entries in Trump Organization records as a separate count. Some experts have suggested Trump’s lawyers will get them consolidated into fewer counts.
To get to a first degree falsification, there has to be an intent to commit or aid in or conceal the commission of another crime. Oddly, the Statement of Facts discusses Team Trump pressuring Cohen not to cooperate in a Federal investigation but does not talk about obstruction of justice…..presumably because a New York prosecutor does not have standing to pursue obstruction of justice in a Federal investigation. And that begs the question of why the Department of Justice didn’t go that route. It’s exactly the one used with Clinton in l’affaire Lewinsky, and has the advantage of being simple to explain and prove. The Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg also mentions tax fraud in passing. That seems odd since the “fraud” here involved choosing have Cohen report income he never had and therefore pay unnecessary taxes.
Perhaps the supposed fraud instead is having the Trump Organization treat all of the payments to Cohen as tax deductible, when if they were all to effect payoffs to help the Trump campaign, they were Trump Organization/Trump personal contributions to the Trump campaign and hence not tax deductible. Since these deductions would ultimately reduce New York State and New York City income taxes, it would seem to offer a clear path to tying the alleged records abuses to another fraud. But you’d expect to see that presented more clearly in both the indictment and the Statement of Facts if so. The Statement of Facts instead bangs on about the payoffs to American Media Inc. (AMI), the parent of National Enquirer, to kill the stories for the benefit of Trump’s election efforts, and depicts that as trying to illegally influence the election. As many readers know, there are a lot of problems with trying to make that the actual or intended crime that turns a second degree records violation into a first degree one.
The first is that the election laws in question are Federal, and a New York state prosecutor lacks standing to enforce Federal law. This is even a more questionable approach since not only did the Department of Justice not pursue this case, the Federal Election Commission didn’t issue a civil fine either. Put it anther way, if New York courts nevertheless back this dodgy theory, it would show the rule of law is being tossed out the window to get Trump. The second is that Federal law requires that for a payment to be an election law violation, it must be made for the sole purpose of influencing the election. Recall the John Edwards case. Some election supporters paid his pregnant paramour $1 million during the election. The jury acquitted Edwards on one count and deadlocked on five others, apparently because the Edwards team argued the payments were not made exclusively to keep her quiet so as to help the election, but also to hide it from his wife, who was fighting a fatal case of cancer. They also argued Edwards had no idea these payments could be construed to be campaign-related (the donors didn’t send these monies to the election organization). Even the section of Bragg’s Statement of Facts contends that the payments were not made solely but “principal purpose of influencing the election.”
Commercial real estate prices could plummet as much as 40% from their peak in a worse crash than the 2008 financial crisis, according to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s chief investment officer, Report informs via the Market Insider. The grave outlook is based on a raft of headwinds buffeting the commercial real estate sector, including the work-from-home trend and higher interest rates making it harder for investors to refinance a mountain of looming debt. “MS & Co. analysts forecast a peak-to-trough CRE price decline of as much as 40%, worse than in the Great Financial Crisis,” Lisa Shalett said in the weekly Global Investment Committee note.
“More than 50% of the $2.9 trillion in commercial mortgages will need to be renegotiated in the next 24 months when new lending rates are likely to be up by 350 to 450 basis points,” she added. Shalett flagged an outsized risk to regional banks, given small and medium-sized banks hold 80% of US commercial real estate debt outstanding. High borrowing costs and tighter credit conditions caused by the banking turmoil could raise hurdles for big real estate investors as they seek to refinance a pile of loans. Nearly $450 billion in commercial real-estate debt is due to mature in 2023, according to data cited from Trepp by JPMorgan.
The Federal Reserve has raised benchmark interest rates to upwards of 4.75% from almost zero 12 months ago — the steepest jump in US borrowing costs since the 1980s. On top of that, hybrid and remote working trends since the breakout of COVID-19 have dampened consumer appetite for office spaces – and that’s weighing on real estate valuations. That could not only hurt building owners and their lenders, given their large loan exposure, but also “interconnected business communities, private capital funders and owners of any underlying securitized debt,” Shallet notes.
Elasmotherium (“Thin Plate Beast”) is an extinct genus of rhinoceros endemic to Eurasia during the Late Pliocene through the Pleistocene, documented from 2.6 Ma to as late as 29,000 years ago in the Late Pleistocene
Crows drop objects into tubes filled with water, raising the level to obtain a food reward. Researches found that this species of crows can solve a science puzzle about as well as the average 7-year-old kid.
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) April 6, 2023
The Hubble Ultra Deep Field led to an estimate that the observable universe contained at least 200 billion galaxies. But a research from 2016 suggests that number is at least 10 times too low leading to a total of 2 trillion (2,000,000,000,000) galaxies: https://go.nasa.gov/3s40UOR
Animals: Dog is routine the water.
I had no idea they know stuff like this. WOW. pic.twitter.com/1QSau2EnsQ
— Ben Proj (@ben_proj) April 5, 2023
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