Oct 132023
 
 October 13, 2023  Posted by at 8:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Self portrait 1906

 

Israel Not Prepared for Hezbollah’s Second Front – Alastair Crooke (Sp.)
Sy Hersh: Bibi’s Opposition to 2-State Solution Cost Lives of Jews, Arabs (Sp.)
The Geopolitics of Al-Aqsa Flood (Pepe Escobar)
Russian Views of the Hamas-Israeli Conflict (Paul Craig Roberts)
Netanyahu Wants US Involved In War – Ex-Pentagon Official (RT)
US Won’t Fight For Israel – White House (RT)
US Must Prepare For War With China And Russia – Congress (RT)
Struggle For Future Of World Order ‘Intensifying’ – Moscow (RT)
Zelensky Final Stage of Conflict Statement Shows Hopelessness – Lavrov (Sp.)
Beijing Can’t Be Neutral On ‘Fox Entering Henhouse’ – Borrell (RT)
Europe Made A ‘Grave Mistake’ On Immigration – Kissinger (Az.)
‘Star Witness’ Ellison Unveils Chaos Behind FTX’s Fake Balance Sheets (ZH)
CEO of X -aka Twitter- Responds To EU ‘Disinfo’ Threats (RT)
RFK Jr. Sees Surge in Fundraising After Declaring Independent Run (ET)

 

 

 

 

Jon Stewart

 

 

FOX

 

 

 

 

Gabor Maté
https://twitter.com/i/status/1712402483115614498

 

 

“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation.” George Orwell, 1984

 

 

 

 

“..there comes a point when you have so much information and data bits and everything like this that you don’t have a clear picture..”

Israel Not Prepared for Hezbollah’s Second Front – Alastair Crooke (Sp.)

The Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah may raise the stakes in the Israel-Hamas war by getting directly involved in the conflict. Over the past few days, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hezbollah fighters have been exchanging strikes across Lebanon’s southern border. The clashes came after Hamas’ surprise attack on Israeli cities from the Gaza Strip on October 7 and Tel Aviv’s retaliation. The question is whether the Shiite militants will resort to a direct military intervention in Israel in a show of solidarity with Hamas. “There has been some direct military intervention,” former British diplomat and MI6 agent Alastair Crooke told Sputnik. “Hezbollah, a few days ago, two or three days ago, destroyed three Israeli radar base posts. These were in the Shebaa Farms area, which is recognized as Lebanese territory, but is occupied by Israel.”

“There was an Israeli response, and now we’ve moved to a response by Hezbollah that ended up with firing on military bases inside Israel. And with the reaction of Israel to killing three of the Hezbollah cadres. And Hezbollah says they will react to that and they will respond by killing three Israelis. I mean, it’s very reminiscent for me of what started the 2006 war. If you recall, it was Hezbollah taking two soldiers, they slipped across the border and took two Israelis hostage in reaction for what Israel was doing in Lebanon at that point. So, it’s quite sort of similar. Hezbollah said it very clearly. Hassan Nasrallah has said ‘If Israel goes into Gaza militarily, then we will open a front, the next front.’ Most people, including I interpret that as quite a clear red line.”

Hezbollah is both a political party and militant group that was formed in 1982, during the 15-year Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), and earned the name “state-within-a-state” due to its sophisticated security apparatus, well-trained fighters, and political organization. Since its inception, Hezbollah has been involved in a continuous fight against Israel over what it called the “occupation” of Palestine. In 2006, the month-long Israel-Hezbollah war erupted, precipitated by the Lebanese militant group’s cross-border raid on an Israeli military patrol on July 12, 2006. A UN-brokered ceasefire was agreed by the warring parties on August 14, 2006, while on September 8, 2006, Israel lifted its naval blockade of Lebanon. Per Crooke, the IDF was outperformed by Hezbollah at the time.

“In 2006, [the IDF] lost the war and Hezbollah had the technological advantage over them,” the ex-MI6 agent said. “They were intercepting the Israeli military communications. They were intercepting deciphered messages coming to from Tel Aviv to Beirut. They had the security, Hezbollah’s operational practices. It was a defeat [for Israel] and the army was not very impressive. There were times when they didn’t even manage to provide for the reserves that arrived – there was no food, and there was no transport for them. It was a bit like this last weekend. It was pretty chaotic. And look what we saw [this past weekend]. Again, a former senior military officer in Israel said, ‘Look, this time, the command and control structure of the army just collapsed, when Hamas broke through the Erez crossing, it just collapsed and there were no troops, and there was no ability to respond at all.’ They just saw an implosion. So, it’s not really that great.”

Furthermore, the Israeli intelligence failure to proactively thwart the Hamas attack suggests the erosion of intelligence capabilities and understanding of the situation on the ground, according to Crooke. It appears that despite Tel Aviv and Washington’s top notch technology, the nations’ spies failed to correctly interpret the massive volumes of intelligence data. Crooke explained that the shift over to artificial intelligence (AI) as a means of intelligence gathering “has not been very successful, neither in Ukraine for the Americans and for NATO and computer modeling efforts.” “Nor has it for the Israelis, because there comes a point when you have so much information and data bits and everything like this that you don’t have a clear picture,” the former British intelligence operative emphasized.

To understand how people are thinking one needs “emotional intelligence” and some sort of empathy, and not just the AI-collected data, according to him. “I saw this in the past,” Crooke said. “The West is finding it harder and harder to understand, to empathize with other, if you like, civilizations, whether it’s Russian or Iranian. They reduce it to a sort of instrumentalism that they can do it, and think if they collect enough data points, they will understand how Russia thinks and how Iran thinks. And of course, they don’t get into the mindset. They don’t get into the way of thinking, which is quite different. Even the language is quite different. And the capabilities of AI to understand symbolic meaning, and let alone some of the sort of esoteric elements of Islamic meaning – it just depends on who’s writing the AI. But for sure, it will be someone who’s lived all their life in the Western sphere and finds this all a mystery.”

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“[He] is finished. He is a walking dead man. He will stay in office only until the shooting stops . . . maybe another month or two.”

Sy Hersh: Bibi’s Opposition to 2-State Solution Cost Lives of Jews, Arabs (Sp.)

Benjamin Netanyahu “is finished,” as his decision to allow a group of Orthodox settlers to celebrate Sukkot in the West Bank last week was ill-timed, given the growing tensions between Jews and Palestinians in the region, an Israeli source told Seymour Hersh. On October 6 a group of Jewish settlers were reported to have clashed with local Palestinians in Huwara, a village in the northern part of the West Bank, which resulted in the death of a 19-year-old Arab man. Israeli settlers in the West Bank required “extraordinary protection” over the upsurge in violence. So, Netanyahu gave a nod to local Israeli military authorities to order two of the three Army battalions that controlled the border with Gaza to shift their focus to the Sukkot festival. Given that each battalion comprised about 800 soldiers, 1,600 were sent to shield the Orthodox Jews.

“That left only eight hundred soldiers to be responsible for guarding the 51-kilometer border between the Gaza Strip and southern Israel,” Hersh’s interlocutor said. “That meant the Israeli citizens in the south were left without an Israeli military presence for ten to twelve hours. They were left to fend for themselves.” Thus, unsurprisingly, the diminished IDF contingent was overrun by Hamas militants on October 7, while Israeli civilians were left unprotected. Hersh’s sources called the Saturday attack “the great military failure in Israeli history.” He noted that a previous surprise attack on Israel by Egypt and Syria in 1973 claimed the lives of soldiers, while this time peaceful civilians suffered. “Last Saturday twenty-two settlements in the south were under control of Hamas for hours, and they went house to house slaughtering women and children,” the insider said.

The source believes that this failure means the end of Netanyahu’s political career: “[He] is finished. He is a walking dead man. He will stay in office only until the shooting stops . . . maybe another month or two.” But not just for Saturday’s slaughter: the root of the problem named Hamas goes much deeper, per Hersh’s interlocutor. To begin with, Benjamin Netanyahu “was always opposed to the 1993 Oslo Accords,” the insider said. The agreement envisaged the gradual implementation of the so-called “two-state solution” for Israel and Palestine. It was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) negotiator Mahmoud Abbas in September 1993. Under the agreements, Tel Aviv accepted the PLO as the representative of the Palestinians, and the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace.

The document stipulated the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which would assume governing responsibilities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At the time, Netanyahu was out of office: he served as a prime minister between 1996 and 1999 and won the Israeli prime ministership for the second time in 2009. When Bibi returned to office in 2009, he “chose to support Hamas” as an alternative to the Palestinian Authority, “and gave them money and established them in Gaza,” according to the insider. Furthermore, an arrangement with Qatar was made under which hundreds of millions of dollars were directed to the Hamas leadership with Israeli approval, per the source.

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“In the drive towards a multipolar world, [..] there’s simply no place for an ethnocentric Apartheid state fond of collective punishment..”

The Geopolitics of Al-Aqsa Flood (Pepe Escobar)

=Only one year ago, the sweaty sweatshirt comedian in Kiev was talking about turning Ukraine into a “big Israel,” and was duly applauded by a bunch of Atlantic Council bots. Well, it turned out quite differently. As an old-school Deep State source just informed me: “Ukraine-earmarked weapons are ending up in the hands of the Palestinians. The question is which country is paying for it. Iran just made a deal with the US for six billion dollars and it is unlikely Iran would jeopardize that. I have a source who gave me the name of the country but I cannot reveal it. The fact is that Ukrainian weapons are going to the Gaza Strip and they are being paid for but not by Iran.” After its stunning raid last weekend, a savvy Hamas has already secured more negotiating leverage than Palestinians have wielded in decades.

Significantly, while peace talks are supported by China, Russia, Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt – Tel Aviv refuses. Netanyahu is obsessed with razing Gaza to the ground, but if that happens, a wider regional war is nearly inevitable. Lebanon’s Hezbollah – a staunch Resistance Axis ally of the Palestinian resistance – would rather not be dragged into a war that can be devastating on its side of the border, but that could change if Israel perpetrates a de facto Gaza genocide. Hezbollah holds at least 100,000 ballistic missiles and rockets, from Katyusha (range: 40 km) to Fajr-5 (75 km), Khaibar-1 (100 km), Zelzal 2 (210 km), Fateh-110 (300 km), and Scud B-C (500 km). Tel Aviv knows what that means, and shudders at the frequent warnings by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that its next war with Israel will be conducted inside that country.

Which brings us to Iran. The key immediate consequence of Al-Aqsa Flood is that the Washington neocon wet dream of “normalization” between Israel and the Arab world will simply vanish if this turns into a Long War. Large swathes of the Arab world in fact are already normalizing their ties with Tehran – and not only inside the newly expanded BRICS 11. In the drive towards a multipolar world, represented by BRICS 11, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), among other groundbreaking Eurasian and Global South institutions, there’s simply no place for an ethnocentric Apartheid state fond of collective punishment.

Just this year, Israel found itself disinvited from the African Union summit. An Israeli delegation showed up anyway, and was unceremoniously ejected from the big hall, a visual that went viral. At the UN plenary sessions last month, a lone Israeli diplomat sought to disrupt Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi’s speech. No western ally stood by his side, and he too, was ejected from the premises. As Chinese President Xi Jinping diplomatically put it in December 2022, Beijing “firmly supports the establishment of an independent state of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. China supports Palestine in becoming a full member of the United Nations.”

Tehran’s strategy is way more ambitious – offering strategic advice to West Asian resistance movements from the Levant to the Persian Gulf: Hezbollah, Ansarallah, Hashd al-Shaabi, Kataib Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and countless others. It’s as if they are all part of a new Grand Chessboard de facto supervised by Grandmaster Iran. The pieces in the chessboard were carefully positioned by none other than the late Quds Force Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps General Qassem Soleimani, a once-in-a-lifetime military genius. He was instrumental in creating the foundations for the cumulative successes of Iranian allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Palestine, as well as creating the conditions for a complex operation such as Al-Aqsa Flood.

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“..Hamas’ attack “destroyed the myths around Israel’s defense systems” and achieved for Hamas a more important moral victory than the military success of the attack..”

Russian Views of the Hamas-Israeli Conflict (Paul Craig Roberts)

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharova asked: “How did it happen that in a year; that’s how much time the operation was being prepared for, then carried out now in a few days, the United States as Israel’s closest ally did not warn about this? They have satellites everywhere, appropriate tracking devices, military bases, including in the region. There are all the possibilities to carry out, not just monitoring, but surveillance — the facts speak for themselves — of all information circulating on American-made equipment (hardware and software). For the whole year of preparing such a large-scale operation, the United States with all the power of its special services did not transmit anything to Israel as intelligence…How did it happen that during the whole year of preparation of the corresponding operation in the Middle East, the United States did not transmit any information to its partners in Israel?”

Moscow security affairs analyst Yevgeny Krutikov says the huge amount of weapons used in Hamas’ attack “could not fall from the sky. How did they get there (Gaza)?” The publication Vzglyad, a platform for Russian military thinking, published an article that concluded that Hamas’ attack “destroyed the myths around Israel’s defense systems” and achieved for Hamas a more important moral victory than the military success of the attack. Israel’s support for Ukraine against Russia has caused the Kremlin to rethink its relationship with Israel. Vzglyad reported that the Israeli government has become Russia’s adversary: “The time has come to take a new position on the Palestinian issue . . . to take a more pro-Palestinian position in the Middle East Conflict. To stand on the side of those who help Russia within the framework of their own interests (Iran, Saudi Arabia) against those who help our enemies. And thereby to send a very clear signal to the world – a signal that Russia will treat its partners exactly as they treat it. To help supporters – and not to act in the interests of opponents.”

It is possible that Israel’s military has been corrupted by too much American money, has been getting by on past successes, and has underestimated the Arabs. Washington is no longer the uni-power in the Middle East. The Russians, Turks, Syrians, Iranians, Saudis, and Hezbollah in Lebanon could all go to the aid of Palestine. Hezbollah alone has twice defeated Israeli invasions of Lebanon. Netanyahu’s invasion of Gaza could put Israel’s existence in jeopardy. In other words, Netanyahu’s plan to complete the conquest of Palestine could result in Israel’s destruction. On the other hand, the enmity among Muslims could again result in Muslim impotence and Israel’s success. My initial view was that Hamas’ attack would result in the disappearance of Palestine and no one would interfere. Now I am unsure. Netanyahu could be setting off a wider conflict from which Israel would not emerge a victor and Washington would have to choose between accepting defeat and using nuclear weapons.

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“..Netanyahu “wants to open up the war with Lebanon, by attacking Hezbollah” in pursuit of his ultimate objective, “to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities..”

Netanyahu Wants US Involved In War – Ex-Pentagon Official (RT)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would like Washington directly involved in the conflict with Hamas because he hopes to expand the war to Lebanon and Iran, a former senior security policy analyst at the US Department of Defense, Michael Maloof, told RT on Wednesday. On Monday, the US ordered the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford and five guided missile destroyers to the Eastern Mediterranean. According to Maloof, this “meets Netanyahu’s wildest dreams.” “He wanted the US involved in this conflict,” the former Pentagon official told RT. Netanyahu “wants to open up the war with Lebanon, by attacking Hezbollah” in pursuit of his ultimate objective, “to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities,” Maloof added. For that to happen, “he has to have a Gulf of Tonkin moment, if you will.”

Maloof recalled how US President Lyndon Johnson essentially started the Vietnam War by sending ships to the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. An alleged North Vietnamese attack on two US destroyers was then used as a pretext for direct involvement. The US has also pledged to help Israel with deliveries of weapons and ammunition, with the Pentagon insisting it has enough to do so and continue supplying Ukraine. Maloof is skeptical of that assertion, however. He also told RT it was “not surprising” that some of the weapons Washington had sent Kiev ended up in the hands of Hamas. That accusation was first made by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Ukraine’s military intelligence, the GUR, responded on Monday by accusing Russia of sending captured Western weapons to Hamas militants in a “false flag” operation designed to make Kiev look bad to its backers. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the weapons claim, but rejected the Ukrainian insinuations of Russian involvement in the Hamas attack as “complete nonsense.”

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“There are no intentions, no plans to put American troops on the ground in combat.”

US Won’t Fight For Israel – White House (RT)

No American troops will be deployed to Israel, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the White House on Thursday. The US will continue to supply the Israel Defense Forces in their fight against Hamas, however. “We have national security interests throughout the region,”Kirby said at the daily press briefing, referring to the deployment of a carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean, but quashed any rumors of airborne troops or Marines being sent to Israel. “The Israelis have made it very clear that they don’t want foreign troops on their soil, that they want to prosecute these operations on their own and they have every right to want to do that,” Kirby said. “There are no intentions, no plans to put American troops on the ground in combat.”

The US already has “some experts” providing West Jerusalem with “advice and counsel” on how to free hostages taken by Hamas, and maintains a “terrific information and intelligence-sharing relationship” with Israel, as well as “a strong defense relationship, when it comes to providing weapons and munitions,” Kirby added. The IDF is “small but very capable”and the US is “doing everything we can to improve those capabilities,” he added. Earlier in the day, IDF chief of staff General Herzi Halevi said that the military “failed” to protect Israel and its people on Saturday, and that there would be a reckoning once the war against Hamas was over.

The Palestinian group that controls much of Gaza struck on the anniversary of the 1973 war, launching thousands of rockets into Israel and sending more than 1,000 militants to breach the border fence in an operation dubbed ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’. Hamas fighters stormed 22 towns, villages, and settlements, as well as a music festival being held near Gaza. Israel responded by launching airstrikes against Gaza, while deploying tanks and artillery to the southern border. So far, around 1,200 people have been killed in Israel and at least 1,100 in Gaza, according to local officials.

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Message from the arms industry.

US Must Prepare For War With China And Russia – Congress (RT)

Washington needs to urgently update and expand both its nuclear arsenal and the conventional military in order to face the combined might of Moscow and Beijing, the congressional Strategic Posture Commission argued in its final report published on Thursday. “The United States and its allies must be ready to deter and defeat both adversaries simultaneously,” the commission said. “The US-led international order and the values it upholds are at risk from the Chinese and Russian authoritarian regimes.” While the commission has not identified any specific evidence of Russia and China working together, “we worry… there may be ultimate coordination between them in some way, which gets us to this two-war construct,” a senior official involved in the report told Reuters, on condition of anonymity.

The current US national security strategy calls for defeating one major adversary while deterring another. The commission argued that the combined threat from China and Russia will become acute as early as 2027 so “decisions need to be made now in order for the nation to be prepared.” The 131 findings and 81 recommendations in the report amount to the need for massive expansion of both the conventional armed forces and the Nuclear Triad. The report demands more of the B-21 stealth bombers and Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines. The B-21 is still in development and is expected to enter service by 2027 at the earliest. The first two Columbia-class subs are under construction and are expected in 2030. The US Navy has planned to order 12, to replace the 18 Ohio-class boats currently in service.

“Amid all of the Commission’s recommendations to increase the number of strategic and tactical nuclear systems, there is almost no mention of cost in the entire report,” which “does not seem to acknowledge any limits to defense spending,” the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has said in response. At a press event announcing the report, the commission’s vice-chair, retired Republican Senator Jon Kyl, argued that higher military spending is a small price to “hopefully preclude” a possible nuclear war and that President Joe Biden and Congress need to “take the case to the American people” to spend more money.

According to FAS, however, the commission’s recommendations are “likely to exacerbate the arms race, further constrict the window for engaging with Russia and China on arms control, and redirect funding away from more proximate priorities.” The only reason the commission did not argue for an immediate expansion of the US nuclear stockpile “is that the weapons production complex currently does not have the capacity to do so,” FAS noted, adding that there is no need for a nuclear arms race so long as the US has enough submarines to present a credible deterrent to a first strike by an adversary.

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“The rising centers of power do not want to put up with an aggressive Western dictate.”

Struggle For Future Of World Order ‘Intensifying’ – Moscow (RT)

The world is facing a “classic revolutionary situation” in the field of international relations, the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, said on Thursday. An ever-increasing number of the “rising powers” around the world want more independence in their foreign policy and dislike the crumbling hegemony of the West, which it is desperately trying to preserve, he added. “The West, led by the US, can no longer ensure its dominance on a global scale,” Naryshkin told a meeting of intelligence chiefs of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Baku. “The rising centers of power do not want to put up with an aggressive Western dictate.” In its efforts to maintain a unipolar world, the US deliberately tries to destabilize key world regions, he believes.

Washington and its allies in London and Paris do not hesitate when it comes to manipulating various destructive forces on the international arena to achieve these goals, he stated, adding that the list of such forces includes international terrorist groups, radical Islamists, and ultranationalist movements. According to Naryshkin, America’s efforts have disrupted the peace process in Syria and exacerbated the situation in Afghanistan. They have also recently turned their eyes towards Africa, where they have allegedly encouraged various militant factions to launch attacks against the infrastructure in Mali and the Central African Republic, the Russian spy chief said, citing what he called “reliable information” in his agency’s possession.

The West orchestrates “sabotage operations against African nations that are friendly to Russia,” Naryshkin claimed, adding that the group of the seven biggest developed economies known as the G7 also “actively work against Russia.” The West openly hosts and supports various “separatist terrorist structures calling for subversion of the Russian state order and violation of its territorial integrity,” the official said, naming the so-called ‘Free Nations of Post-Russia’ Forum among them. A loose association of various opposition activists, as well as ethnic and regional separatist movements, the forum openly advocates the disintegration of Russia under the slogans of “decolonization” and “de-occupation.” In March, it was designated an “undesirable organization” in Russia.

Three meetings of the forum have already been hosted, with two taking place in Poland and one in the Czech Republic. The fourth meeting is scheduled to be held in Sweden in December. “It is obvious to any sensible person that the manifestation of such … desires would have led to Eurasia plunging into a horrible ethnic and religious conflict,” Naryshkin said, calling it evidence of Washington’s intent to “set the Eurasian continent on fire.” The West is “playing with fire” and “the future of the world order is at stake,” he warned, calling on “more responsible global and regional actors” to join their forces and coordinate their efforts to prevent destabilization instigated by the West and lead the world towards a multipolar world order.

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“Zelensky admitted that Ukraine is afraid of a possible shortage of financial resources and weapons. He added that Kiev has “many more fears” in the current situation.”

Zelensky Final Stage of Conflict Statement Shows Hopelessness – Lavrov (Sp.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent statement on Kiev entering a final stage of conflict with Moscow shows his hopelessness, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday. “I think [of it] as an admission of hopelessness,” Lavrov told reporters, when asked about Zelenskyy’s statement. Earlier, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with a Romanian TV channel that the conflict in Ukraine is at its final stage. In addition, Zelensky admitted that Ukraine is afraid of a possible shortage of financial resources and weapons. He added that Kiev has “many more fears” in the current situation. In September, Lavrov said at a press conference after his speech at the UN General Assembly that Russia was ready for talks on Ukraine, but would not consider proposals for a ceasefire.

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Borrell is headed for China, and he doesn’t come empty handed. No, he comes with criticism and demands. Which is the one thing you don’t do on such an occasion.

He also said: “It is time China started taking Europe more seriously..” Well, you just assured they won’t. You are the anti-diplomat.

Beijing Can’t Be Neutral On ‘Fox Entering Henhouse’ – Borrell (RT)

China should do more to convince Kiev and its Western backers that it is not on Moscow’s side in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said ahead of a visit to the Asian superpower. He expressed doubt that neutrality on the issue is even possible. “Being neutral in such a case is just like watching on the sidelines as the fox enters the henhouse and waiting for the outcome,” he said in an interview with the South China Morning Post on Thursday. Beijing has criticized its ally, Moscow for using force, but agreed with Russian claims that NATO expansion in Europe was one of the main causes of the conflict. The EU has joined the US in describing Russia’s actions as “unprovoked aggression.” Moscow has said the conflict is part of a Western proxy war.

“China can certainly do more, including in its engagement on the peace formula put forward by Ukraine,” the commissioner added, stating that “a lot remains to be done to convince Ukraine that China is not on Russia’s side.” The ‘Zelensky formula’ that Borrell was referring to was put forward by Kiev and its backers as the only way to resolve the conflict. It demands that Russia concede defeat, pay reparations, and hand over alleged war criminals to an international tribunal. Beijing proposed its own roadmap to de-escalation last year, urging respect for the territorial integrity “of all countries” while addressing Russia’s national security concerns. Moscow has dismissed Kiev’s plan, saying it is “detached from reality,” while the Chinese proposal could serve as the basis for a long-term solution.

Borrell said his goal during the three-day visit is to affirm that “Europe takes China seriously and has no hidden agenda aiming at derailing its rise.” Brussels expects Beijing to take it seriously in return and to “stop looking at us through the lens of its relations with others.” He added that the “war in Ukraine has transformed us … from the position of an economic power to a geopolitical one, taking its strategic responsibilities very seriously.” The EU has decoupled its economy from Russia over the Ukraine conflict. The rejection of cheap Russian energy undercut the competitiveness of many businesses in member states, some of which relocated to other nations, including the US.

Senior EU officials have argued that the bloc needs to “de-risk” economic relations with China, specifically citing its non-alignment on Ukraine as a reason. “How China continues to interact with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war will be a determining factor for EU-China relations going forward,” European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen said in March. Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that Beijing is standing up “for its sovereignty, security and development interests,” when he hosted the EU official the following month.

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And the US is trying to do them one better.

Europe Made A ‘Grave Mistake’ On Immigration – Kissinger (Az.)

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said that nations in Europe were wrong to take in many people who are now supporting Hamas’ actions against Israel. Unless the militant group is punished for its hostage-taking, Europeans risk being targeted similarly, he warned. In an interview published on Wednesday, Mathias Dopfner, the CEO of German media group Axel Springer, asked the veteran statesman about “Arabs celebrating” in the streets of Berlin after Hamas’ incursion into southern Israel last week. Kissinger, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, said he found such gestures of support for criminal acts “painful.” “It was a grave mistake to let in so many people of totally different cultural and religious concepts because it creates a pressure group inside each country that does that,” he noted.

Asked what Germany and the EU should do in the current situation, Kissinger said he expected “unconditional” political support for Israel – as well as military suppor if needed. “There has to be some penalty; there has to be some serious limitation on their capability of taking this kind of action,” he said of Hamas tactics. “I would say that every European nation has the same interest because the same attitude might erupt in the direction of Europe,” he warned. Washington’s former top diplomat recalled peace talks that resolved the Yom Kippur War five decades ago, saying that Western nations and Israel were lucky to have an Arab leader “with a vision of the future” in Anwar Sadat, the former president of Egypt.

“I don’t think it is possible to find leaders among the Hamas group [with a similar vision],” he said, “I think Hamas should be excluded from a political role.” Pro-Palestinian rallies were held in multiple European cities amid the escalation in the Middle East. In Berlin, police broke down a spontaneous demonstration on Saturday, which was associated with the NGO Samidoun. The German law enforcement said the protesters posed an “immediate threat to public safety” due to “anti-Israel” chants “glorifying violence.” The German government was at the forefront of welcoming asylum-seekers during the 2015 influx, when some 1.3 million people arrived on the continent in just one year. Anti-migrant sentiments surged in many nations during the crisis, with some Eastern European members of the EU adopting policies to curb immigration.

Tucker

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“I didn’t want to be dishonest, but I didn’t want them to know the truth.”

‘Star Witness’ Ellison Unveils Chaos Behind FTX’s Fake Balance Sheets (ZH)

What would a second day of testimony in the FTX trial for Caroline Ellison have been without mentions of identity theft from Thai prostitutes and bribing Chinese officials? Taking the stand on Wednesday, Sam Bankman-Fried’s former love interest turned star government witness against him, Ellison, spoke about the balance sheet that led to the downfall of Bankman-Fried’s companies. Ellison stated that this balance sheet was a manipulated version of what Alameda had sent to its lenders, deliberately crafted to give the impression that the firm was in a more robust financial condition than was actually the case. She described the document as “deceptive.” Previously it had been reported that, at Bankman-Fried’s direction, Ellison had “prepared seven different versions of Alameda’s balance sheet to potentially show to lenders,” according to The Messenger.

However, even the manipulated figures were concerning—laden with FTX’s FTT token and other tokens closely affiliated with Bankman-Fried—casting doubt on the financial viability of both Alameda and FTX. Among potential lenders was Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Ellison testified Wednesday. She also lied to Genesis, one of FTX’s lenders, about Alameda’s balance sheet, @teddyschleifer reported on X Wednesday. “Caroline Ellison testified that Sam Bankman-Fried ordered her to lie in mid 2022 to Genesis, one of FTX’s lenders, about Alameda’s balance sheet,” he wrote. “Caroline prepared a bunch of bullshit balance-sheets that they could send, and Sam chose ‘Alternative 7’ as the best lie of the bunch.” Ellison reportedly said: “I didn’t want to be dishonest, but I didn’t want them to know the truth.”

Ellison testified on Wednesday: “I was in a constant state of dread. I knew we would have to take the money from our line of credit and that was money that could be called in at any time.” And where was the money going? Ellison testified that she and Alameda executives had “paid a large bribe to Chinese officials” to obtain funds that were locked on a Chinese exchange. After initial attempts to unfreeze funds by negotiating with the Chinese government through lawyers proved unsuccessful, Ellison stated that the FTX/Alameda team then endeavored—yet failed again—to access the funds by setting up fictitious exchange accounts using IDs that she believed belonged to “Thai prostitutes.”

Ultimately, Ellison was able to secure the funds after making a $100 million payment to a cryptocurrency account she believed was somehow connected to Chinese government officials. Ellison recounted an episode where an employee, whose father was a Chinese government official, voiced objections to the plan during a meeting. In response, Bankman-Fried became increasingly irritated and eventually told the employee to “shut the f*** up.” In a confidential “State of Alameda” memo authored by Ellison in November 2021, shortly after the payment was executed, she included an entry labeled “-150m from the thing?” under a section outlining “notable/idiosyncratic” financial events.

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It’s a power game.

CEO of X -aka Twitter- Responds To EU ‘Disinfo’ Threats (RT)

The CEO of X (formerly Twitter), Linda Yaccarino, has defended the platform’s response to a purported surge in disinformation and harmful content following Hamas’ attack on Israel in an open letter to EU internal markets commissioner Thierry Breton on Wednesday. The social media platform has “redistributed resources” and “refocused teams” to manage the flow of information regarding the conflict 24/7, Yaccarino explained, claiming that a dedicated “leadership group” had been assembled in the immediate aftermath of the Palestinian militants’ incursion to devise a platform-wide strategy. As a result, she said, tens of thousands of posts and other media related to the war had been removed since Saturday, while hundreds of accounts allegedly connected to terrorist groups, extremism, and violence had been deplatformed.

“There is no place on X for terrorist organization or violent extremist groups and we continue to remove such accounts in real time, including proactive efforts,” Yaccarino wrote. More than 700 Community Notes, the crowdsourced fact-checking platform owner Elon Musk has promoted as an alternative to establishment fact-checkers, are circulating regarding the conflict, she continued, revealing that the annotations are being published faster than ever before. Breton had warned Musk in an “urgent” open letter on Tuesday that X was facing a potential investigation and steep penalties under the EU’s new Digital Services Act if it did not immediately address the illegal content and disinformation purportedly running rampant on the platform regarding the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The billionaire was given 24 hours to respond to Breton’s demands, which included an order to reach out to law enforcement in order to “ensure [X] respond[s] promptly to their requests.” In her response, Yaccarino insisted that X was responding readily to requests from law enforcement, but that it had received none from Europol at the time of writing. While Breton had claimed that the EU had “indications” X was being used to spread both disinformation and illegal content, suggesting “qualified sources” had confirmed the platform was flouting EU regulations, he did not mention any specific violations in his letter. Musk repeatedly requested examples in a thread on X, but Breton demurred, claiming the Tesla CEO was “well aware” of complaints regarding “fake content and glorification of violence.”

X’s Safety division revealed earlier this week that the platform had seen an increase in daily active users in Israel and Palestine and was specifically targeting new Hamas-affiliated accounts for removal via a partnership with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. On Wednesday, Breton also reached out to threaten Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg with a similar “urgent” letter, warning the billionaire he had 24 hours to provide the bloc with a detailed description of how his platform was addressing the spread of disinformation and illegal content regarding the Israel-Hamas war.

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“..Just as Bobby Kennedy sees a path to victory as an independent, so do the donors that were reluctant to contribute with him running as a Democrat..”

RFK Jr. Sees Surge in Fundraising After Declaring Independent Run (ET)

Within hours of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s announcement that he will run for president as an independent and not a Democrat, the super PAC supporting his candidacy raised more than $11 million. American Values 2024 disclosed on Oct. 10 that it has generated $11.28 million since Mr. Kennedy told an audience in front of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, “I’m here to declare myself an independent candidate for president of the United States.” Individual events have spurred bountiful fundraising for Mr. Kennedy. In September, a private fundraiser performance by musician Eric Clapton generated more than $2 million that was split between the campaign and American Values 2024.

The organization tallied about $6.47 million in July from a mix of donors who are registered Democrats and Republicans, according to American Values 2024. That number included about $5 million collected during Mr. Kennedy’s testimony in a hearing about censorship before the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Individuals can give as much as $3,300 to a political candidate’s campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission. Super political action committees (PACs) are allowed to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations, and individuals and “spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates,” according to OpenSecrets, an organization that tracks money in U.S. politics and its impact on elections and public policy.

RFK

Unlike traditional PACs, super PACS may not contribute money directly to political candidates. Prominent Democratic Party donors like Abby Rockefeller have contributed to American Values 2024, but Republican donors have given a majority of the money the super PAC has received, including former President Donald Trump donor Tim Mellon, according to American Values 2024 reports. Tony Lyons, co-chair of American Values 2024, spoke to The Epoch Times about the influx of support. “People feel that the Democratic National Committee was disenfranchising them and that Bobby would not get the nomination based on the rules the DNC was putting into place and the inflammatory statements they have made about him time after time,” he said.

“They feel that their vote wouldn’t count, and that their donation wouldn’t be helpful because the primary would be rigged. Just as Bobby Kennedy sees a path to victory as an independent, so do the donors that were reluctant to contribute with him running as a Democrat,” Mr. Lyons explained. George Washington, America’s first president, is the only independent candidate to win election to the nation’s highest office. No independent candidate has won an electoral vote in the past 50 years. America, Mr. Kennedy believes, is ready for “a new page in American politics.”

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KATT
https://twitter.com/i/status/1712287531046260927

 

 


..the Appalachian Mountains, the Atlas Mountains, the Scottish Highlands, the Watkins Range and Scandinavian Mountains were all once part of the same mountain range, the Central Pangean Mountains

 

 

ParrotTV
https://twitter.com/i/status/1712353934323470658

 

 

Deer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1712427895950577884

 

 

Friday
https://twitter.com/i/status/1712704619132953084

 

 

ART

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 202023
 
 August 20, 2023  Posted by at 8:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  39 Responses »


VIncent van Gogh Railway carriages 1888

 

West’s Attempt To Create A Ukraine Scenario In Niger Is Faltering (Bordachev)
How The US And France Created A Niger Mess For Themselves (Bhadrakumar)
Ukraine Conflict ‘Could Last For Decades’ – Medvedev (RT)
Milley: This Is An Existential Fight For Ukraine (Az.)
Russia Is A ‘Gas Pump With an Atomic Bomb’ – Borrell (RT)
Western Calls For Ukraine Peace Talks A ‘Tactical Ploy’ – Lavrov (RT)
West Has Shown Its ‘True Russophobic Face’ – Lavrov (RT)
Zakharova Says Kiev Elite Preying On US Taxpayers (TASS)
West’s Overall Aid To Kiev Over Past Year Exceeds $160 Bln – Lavrov (TASS)
Total Ukraine War Troop Deaths, Injuries Approaching 500,000: US Officials (ZH)
A Bumpy Ride (Jim Kunstler)
Trump Can Prove It (Matt Kane)
Joe Biden Juggled Aliases as He Peddled Power Via Hunter (Sp.)
Inside the Collapse of Hunter Biden’s Plea Deal (NY Times)
Central Asia is the Prime Battlefield in the New Great Game (Pepe Escobar)

 

 

Tom Renz modRNA

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

Chef
https://twitter.com/i/status/1691902649484956065

 

 

 

 

“In the case of Ukraine, we are dealing with a regime that is pursuing a murderous policy towards the territory under its control. African leaders, on the other hand, are not at all willing to take risks for the interests of France and the United States.”

West’s Attempt To Create A Ukraine Scenario In Niger Is Faltering (Bordachev)

The development of the situation surrounding the possible invasion of Niger by the troops of certain countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is remarkably reminiscent of the discussions that took place on the eve of this summer’s Ukrainian “counter-offensive.” The West’s African states are in no hurry to embark on a risky adventure. Meanwhile, the US and its Western European allies are urging them to do so. Just as they have been pushing the Ukrainian military to attack fortified Russian positions throughout the spring of 2023. But there is a significant difference. In the case of Ukraine, we are dealing with a regime that is pursuing a murderous policy towards the territory under its control. African leaders, on the other hand, are not at all willing to take risks for the interests of France and the United States.

Therefore, what was a tragedy in Ukraine may turn out to be a farce in West Africa, with the end result being an amicable agreement between all parties concerned. In both cases, however, the main reason is the same: the West’s desire not to get directly involved in military adventures and to use others to achieve its goals. And if, in the case of Ukraine, the motive for such behavior is fear of retaliation from Russia, in Africa it is a lack of opportunity and desire. All the more so as France and the US are convinced that the ECOWAS political regimes close to them are themselves interested in overthrowing the military authorities in Niger. There are reasons for this. The coup in Niger on July 26 was the fourth in the region in less than two years (after Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea).

It clearly enjoys the support of a section of the population in one of the world’s poorest countries. In other ECOWAS countries, the situation is far from festive and the civilian authorities have every reason to fear a domino effect on themselves. There is reason to believe that the combined forces of Nigeria and several other countries in the community will be sufficient to bring the arrested President Bazoum back to power. The only thing lacking is adventurism: So far, African leaders have preferred to adopt a wait-and-see attitude, albeit with a show of determination. Paris and Washington, for their part, are acting in an easily recognizable manner: They are paying lip service to a peaceful solution, while in practice they are demanding that ECOWAS countries use force against the generals in Niger.

It cannot be ruled out that military support has also been promised, as there are still significant French and American contingents in the country. But direct Western intervention is unlikely. First, it would involve a certain amount of risk and the need to take responsibility for the consequences. And, secondly, a direct attack on a sitting government by Western forces would be extremely bad in terms of the battle for the hearts and minds of the developing world. In essence, the days when the US and its Western Europeans friends could attack any sovereign state on a whim are long gone. The last example was NATO’s aggression against Libya in 2011. Much has changed since then. The bloc is now trying to convince the world of its good intentions. This is especially true in the context of their struggle against Russia, which the West accuses of doing what it has been doing for two decades.

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Africa wants peace.

How The US And France Created A Niger Mess For Themselves (Bhadrakumar)

France has ceded the leadership in the emergent situation to Washington. As a political scientist and professor at the French Institute of Political Studies, Bertrand Badi, puts it, this “is a very significant humiliation in the African context and shows that he [Macron] made a mistake in his calculations.” Badi went on to make an interesting point that fundamentally, France has failed to “get rid of all its colonial history.”“The great drama of France is that it doesn’t know how to turn the page, in France’s inability to redefine itself… France, since independence by the African states, has pursued a schoolteacher diplomacy based on the temptation to give lessons and distribute punishments.” Badi concluded that France probably did not understand that African societies have changed since then.

Not only France, but Western powers on the whole do not understand that the African people have a highly politicized mindset, thanks to the violent, bitterly fought national liberation movements. Unsurprisingly, Africa has been quick to adapt to the space opening up for them in the multipolar setting to negotiate with the ex-colonial masters. The savviness with which the coup leaders in Niamey are acting takes the breath away. General Abdourahmane Tchiani, the titular head of the coup, refused to meet Nuland. She and other US officials asked to see Bazoum in person when they visited Niger on Monday, but the answer was no. Even with a hefty $200 million of annual US aid at stake, the Nigerien generals weren’t interested in Nuland’s offer.

Instead, she had to sit across the table and negotiate with the commander of Niger’s Special Operations Forces and one of the leaders of the coup, Brig. Gen. Moussa Salaou Barmou, who serves as chief of defense. Barmou attended the US National Defense University and was trained at Fort Benning in Georgia. Yet, he was handpicked to threaten Nuland that the deposed president would be executed if neighboring countries attempted a military intervention to restore his rule. US Senator Chris Murphy later wryly remarked: “It’s a disturbing trend, and a sign of how badly misallocated our national security spending is on the [African] continent.” The Intercept has since revealed that Barmou was not the only US-trained Nigerien general involved in the coup. “Two weeks after Niger’s coup, the State Department has still not provided a list of the US-connected mutineers, but a different US official confirmed that there are ‘five people we’ve identified as having received [US military] training,’” the investigative news outlet said.

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“We have no choice: either we will destroy their hostile political regime, or the collective West will eventually tear Russia to pieces”

Ukraine Conflict ‘Could Last For Decades’ – Medvedev (RT)

The hostilities between Russia and Ukraine may end up dragging on for years or even decades, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday. For Russia, it is an “existential” conflict and a fight for its very existence, Medvedev, who is currently deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, wrote in a Telegram post. Russia must destroy and fully dismantle the Ukrainian state that is “terrorist in its essence,” making sure “this filth” never re-emerges again, he stressed. “Should it take years or even decades, then so be it. We have no choice: either we will destroy their hostile political regime, or the collective West will eventually tear Russia to pieces. And in this case, it will perish with us. Nobody needs this,” Medvedev wrote, presumably hinting at all-out nuclear destruction.

“Therefore, the only way is a complete dismantling of the state machine of the hostile country and absolute guarantees of loyalty for the future. They can only be provided by Russia’s control over everything that is happening and will happen in the territories of the former Banderite state. And we will achieve that.” For the collective West, on the contrary, the ongoing hostilities are a “strange war” and their support for it cannot last forever, Medvedev suggested. With such an approach to the conflict, the West is bound to end up defeated, he added.

“For them, this is a strange war in which people who are strangers to them are dying. And while they do not feel sorry for them, the West will never go beyond the point when its own interests get hurt too much,” the ex-president said, adding that the Western support for Ukraine will eventually dry up, as “someone else’s war sooner or later becomes boring, costly and irrelevant.” Over the course of the conflict, the West has poured lavish military and economic aid into Ukraine, with numerous top officials repeatedly stating their desire to see Russia defeated on the battlefield. Moscow has consistently urged the West to stop “pumping” Ukraine with assorted weaponry, warning that doing so only prolongs the hostilities and inflicts more damage on common Ukrainians without changing the ultimate outcome.

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Parroting Putin.

Milley: This Is An Existential Fight For Ukraine (Az.)

It’s probably too early to comment on any future things or ongoing negotiations or any of that kind of stuff. I would just say that there are various ways to accomplish those objectives. And I would say right now. This counteroffensive hasn’t run its course yet. So, we have to see where this thing ends up and then move from there,” the United States Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, said, Report informs, citing the Washington Post.

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No matter how much Russians refer to their rich and ancient history, this pompous bag of gas can only look at insulting them – ever more. While he is presented as the EU’s top diplomat. Which would put him on the level of Lavrov, Patruchev, Zakharova. Or, you know, Blinken, Vicky Nuland ..Imagine that! Borrell is not a diplomat, he is merely a “gas bag masquerading as a diplomat.” And he speaks for us Europeans… Can you name any US diplomats on the level of Lavrov et al?

Russia Is A ‘Gas Pump With an Atomic Bomb’ – Borrell (RT)

The Russian economy is small compared to the other major geopolitical players, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in an interview with El Pais news outlet published on Saturday. Speaking about relations between the EU and China, Borrell said that Beijing, unlike Moscow, is a “real geopolitical player” which should not be underestimated or isolated. Russia, on the other hand, is too weak in economic terms due to its dependency on energy exports. “Russia is an economic dwarf, it is like a gas pump whose owner has an atomic bomb,” Borrell stated. Nevertheless, the diplomat claimed that Russia poses a threat to EU security, pointing to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which he said is practically “on the EU’s border.” This is not the first time Russia has been compared to a gas pump. In 2014, the late US Senator John McCain said Russia is “a gas station masquerading as a country,” saying the government is little more than an energy exporter.


The Russian government has acknowledged its dependency on oil and gas, but has worked to diversify its income sources and reduce the share of exports of natural resources in its budget. This summer, speaking at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country has been able to greatly reduce its dependency on energy revenue this year, noting that this is due to the robust development of the trade and service sectors. According to data from Russia’s Finance Ministry published in July, oil and gas income in the first half of 2023 amounted to 3.4 trillion rubles ($36.1 billion), half the amount that the budget gained from energy sales last year and a mere 27% of the total budget revenues. Meanwhile, non-oil and gas revenues surged by around 18% year-on-year, and amounted to roughly 9 trillion ($95.6 billion), or 73%, of the total budget income.

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“..their officially declared objective is to inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ on Russia.”

Western Calls For Ukraine Peace Talks A ‘Tactical Ploy’ – Lavrov (RT)

The US and its allies do not want the Ukraine conflict to end and their purported peace initiatives are merely attempts to buy Kiev time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview published on Saturday. Geopolitical issues need to be discussed “not with [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky, who is a puppet in the hands of the West, but directly with his masters,” Lavrov said earlier this year. Negotiating directly with the Americans would make sense, he told the magazine International Affairs when asked about the idea. “The problem, however, is that the United States has no intention of ending the conflict,” Lavrov explained, noting that “their officially declared objective is to inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ on Russia.”

Prospects for negotiations between Russia and the West “are non-existent at this stage,” Lavrov said, while Kiev “Western sponsors are constantly pushing them to up the ante.” Insisting on Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s so-called ‘peace formula’ at meetings in Copenhagen and Jeddah – to which Russia was not invited – “hardly demonstrates an intention by the West to negotiate with Russia,” Lavrov said. Moscow has dismissed Zelensky’s ten-point list of demands as an unacceptable ultimatum unrelated to reality. Russia has repeatedly tried to negotiate, from the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements to the “drastic attempt to convey our concerns to Western capitals” in December 2021, Lavrov noted.

The West “arrogantly rejected” Moscow’s initiative and ramped up deliveries of weapons and ammunition to Kiev instead. “We regard the Westerners’ hypocritical calls for talks as a tactical ploy to buy time once again giving the exhausted Ukrainian troops a respite and the opportunity to regroup, and to send in more weapons and ammunition,” Lavrov said, adding that “this is the path of war, not a peaceful settlement process.” Angela Merkel, the former chancellor of Germany, admittedlast December that the 2015 Franco-German proposal in Minsk was “an attempt to give Ukraine time” to build up its military. This was then confirmed by former French President Francois Hollande.

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“..the West wants to do away with our country as a serious geopolitical rival..”

West Has Shown Its ‘True Russophobic Face’ – Lavrov (RT)

Washington and Brussels have openly unleashed a hybrid war against everything Russian, dropping their masks after decades of pretending to be civilized international partners, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with International Affairs, published on Saturday. “Many of our former partners have been concealing their Russophobic nature under the veil of hypocrisy, but have now shown their true face in all its glory,” he said. “However, there is also the flip side of the coin here, since the Global Majority saw the true face of those who went as far as [to] aspire to a monopoly in defining the so-called universal values.” “Today’s West is steered by people like Josep Borrell who divide the world into a blooming ‘garden’ and ‘the jungle,’ where the latter clearly applies to most of humanity,”Lavrov added.

The West has spent decades cynically transforming neighboring Ukraine into a “hostile military bulwark against Russia by nurturing an entire generation of politicians ready to declare war on our shared past, culture and everything Russian,” according to Lavrov. Western capitals even openly admitted that reaching a peaceful settlement in Ukraine was never part of their plan, and that the Minsk agreements were originally designed to “buy some time to prepare a military scenario and deliver weapons to Kiev.” “I think that the essential thing we must understand in this regard is that the West wants to do away with our country as a serious geopolitical rival,” the top Russian diplomat said.

They have not hesitated to use subversive methods and perform acts of sabotage, as was the case with the explosion of the Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea. Lavrov also accused Washington and its allies of using all possible coercive means to prevent Russia’s partners from engaging in economic and other kinds of cooperation, while also “making outrageous efforts to disconnect Russia from international cooperation mechanisms in culture, education, research, and sports.” One thing that the West fails to understand, according to Lavrov, is that “Russia will use all means to defend its people and its vital interests,” and thus would be better for the opponents to realize that “confrontation with Russia is futile and switch to more civilized” means for achieving a balance of interests.

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“..spending on Ukraine aid stood at $130 billion, while 15 million Americans did not have medical insurance and 30 million people in the US lacked food stamps..”

Zakharova Says Kiev Elite Preying On US Taxpayers (TASS)

The Ukrainian authorities are preying not only on their own people but also on US taxpayers, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement. “The Kiev elite is preying not only on its fellow citizens but also on American taxpayers. Not so long ago, US presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pointed out in an interview that Washington’s spending on Ukraine aid stood at $130 billion, while 15 million Americans did not have medical insurance and 30 million people in the US lacked food stamps,” she noted. Still, in the Russian diplomat’s words, on August 14, the Pentagon announced another aid package to Kiev worth $200 mln. “It will particularly include ammunition for Patriot missile systems and HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, as well as anti-tank missile systems. Washington’s military aid to Ukraine has exceeded $43.7 billion since Joe Biden took office as US president,” Zakharova emphasized. “Besides, on August 10, the White House asked the US Congress to approve another $24 billion in aid for Ukraine, including $13.1 billion worth of military assistance,” she added.

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To achieve what?

West’s Overall Aid To Kiev Over Past Year Exceeds $160 Bln – Lavrov (TASS)

The West’s overall assistance to the Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky regime over the year of the special military operation exceeded 160 billion US dollars, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the International Affairs magazine. “In terms of money, the West’s aggregate assistance to the Zelensky regime over the year of the special military operation exceeded 160 billion US dollar, including military aid of 75 billion US dollars,” he said. “By the way, according to the estimates of the Washington-based The Heritage Foundation NGO, the United States has already allocated around 113 billion US dollars to Ukraine, or some 900 dollars from each household, plus 300 dollars as interests for servicing corresponding debt obligations. Huge sums, especially amid the difficult situation in the global economy.”

According to the top Russian diplomat, round 50 countries of the so-called “Ramstein coalition” for military support for Ukraine “are actually involved in the armed conflict on the part of the Kiev regime, which does not hesitate to use terrorist fighting methods.” “Large-scale weapons supplies, including cluster and long-range munitions, are being sent to Ukraine,” he said. “NATO instructors take part in planning operations of the Ukrainian army, NATO intelligence data are being used.” Meanwhile, Western leaders keep on repeating like aa mantra that they will continue to help Kiev as long as it takes, Lavrov noted. “Of course, this is their choice and the Zelensky junta’s decision to go on fighting until the last Ukrainian,” he went on.

“But, historically, the United States cannot boast a good reputation in terms of supporting its allies.” In this context, he recalled that the termination of the US military assistance to South Vietnam in 1973 and to the Ashraf Ghani regime in Afghanistan in 2021 ended up in the immediate fall of the authorities loyal to Washington. “And present-day Ukraine practically totally depends on Western money and weapons supplies,” he stressed. Lavrov noted that the west “is seeking to eliminate Russia as a serious geopolitical rival.” “This is why Washington and Brussels have unleashed a hybrid war against us,” he said. “And it is supplemented by the unprecedented sanction pressure.

The Americans are using the carrot-and-stick policy in a bid to make our partners to refuse from economic and other cooperation with Russia.” They don’t’ hesitate to resort to blatant sabotage, like in the case with the explosions at the Nord Stream gas pipelines running across the Baltic Sea, or taking efforts to remove Russia from the mechanisms of international cooperation in the areas of culture, education, science, and sports. “Evidently, these and other aggressive measures are geared to weaken, exhaust Russia,” Lavrov noted. “They are seeking to maximally drain out our economic, technological, and defense capacities, to limit our sovereignty and make us drop our independent foreign and domestic policy.”.

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Pretty sure we’re better off following Macgregor’s numbers.

Total Ukraine War Troop Deaths, Injuries Approaching 500,000: US Officials (ZH)

A surprisingly blunt and revealing Friday report in The New York Times cites US officials who estimate that total war casualties in Ukraine among both sides are at nearly 500,000 dead and wounded. “The number includes as many as 120,000 deaths and 170,000 to 180,000 injured troops,” the Times wrote based on the unnamed officials. “The Russian numbers dwarf the Ukrainian figures, which the officials put at close to 70,000 killed and 100,000 to 120,000 wounded.” To put these grim and tragic figures in perspective, the United States military involvement in Vietnam over the course of a nearly two-decade period resulted in about 58,000 Americans killed. Given Kiev doesn’t release official casualty numbers, the US officials cited in the Times report are estimating, but it generally lines up with the immense numbers of Ukrainian losses the Kremlin has presented in evaluating the counteroffensive.

But Western sources have consistently said that Russian losses are more staggering. The NY Times has characterized the now largely stalemated conflict as a war of attrition, with Russia having the manpower and supply lines keep the upper-hand and to far outlast: “Ukraine has around 500,000 troops, including active-duty, reserve and paramilitary troops, according to analysts. By contrast, Russia has almost triple that number, with 1,330,000 active-duty, reserve and paramilitary troops — most of the latter from the Wagner Group”. As for Russia, the West has accused it of habitually undercounting its own casualty rates. Last January, US Chief of the Joint Staff Mark Milley asserted that Russian forces had suffered losses at “significantly well over 100,000”.

Likely many of the recent casualties on each side were from the months-long battle for the city of Bakhmut. President Zelensky has come under recent criticism for pouring so many resources and manpower into what was a losing battle. That’s when many reports emerged of large amounts of completely untrained and underequipped Ukrainians being shipped to the frontlines. The military analysis source 19fortyfive.com has assessed that the defense of Bakhmut was an incredible risk and gamble which didn’t pay off, and led to a very poor start to the now faltering counteroffensive: “However, Zelensky chose to press the fight anyway. For months, senior U.S. leaders warned the Ukrainian president the battle was unwinnable and to move to other defensive positions.

Not only did he refuse to withdraw to a superior fighting position, he ordered his men not to give up so much as a single building, forcing them to fight to the death. Month after month, Zelensky sent brigade after brigade to reinforce Bakhmut in an effort to reverse the tide. Not only was it painfully obvious that military fundamentals made clear there was little rational hope of stopping Wagner’s drive to capture Bakhmut, but many of those brigades Zelensky sent in futile aid to help Bakhmut were also urgently needed in the upcoming spring and summer offensive. Two days after Bakhmut’s fall, Zelensky was still defiant, claiming the city had not fallen. In 2022, Zelensky’s tenacity and unwillingness to compromise resulted in blunting Russia’s invasion and then inflicting two major operational defeats.”

While Ukrainian forces held out for longer than most predicted, it was a very costly loss, and at the same time it’s anything but clear that it put a significant dent in Russian force strength. 19FortyFive concludes that it’s certainly not Washington’s fault (despite the persistent complaint to this end of Zelensky officials)… “No one can claim the United States didn’t give Ukraine every chance to find out if it could succeed on the battlefield, as we provided literally thousands of armored vehicles, millions of shells, missiles, and bombs, and training and intelligence support – along with scores of billions in other aid.” And the publication emphasizes, “But that help did not produce a Ukrainian victory.”

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“All that cackling must conceal an inner vacancy so vast that Judge Crater, DB Cooper, and the brigantine Mary Celeste might be roaming around in there, along with Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa, and the Lost Colony of Roanoke.”

A Bumpy Ride (Jim Kunstler)

The reams of Biden family bank records that Mr. Comer of Kentucky has unearthed hither and yon, plus deal memoranda, video and audio recordings of dark confabs, and hundreds of tell-tale emails are of a different evidentiary nature than the roster of hypothetical thought crimes confabulated by Jack Smith, Alvin Bragg, and Fani T. Willis. Personally, I would like, at least, to see impeachment hearings where all that hard evidence of Biden family bribery is methodically laid out for The New York Times and CNN to ignore. It will look like a game of chicken for a few days, but then the party honchos will “sadly” order Ol’ Joe to step aside before that grim spectacle goes too far. The Ukraine War will then be Kamala Harris’s to lose — depend on it — though nobody will care.

I have a feeling that Barack Obama will not be able to… how shall we say… work with her. All that cackling must conceal an inner vacancy so vast that Judge Crater, DB Cooper, and the brigantine Mary Celeste might be roaming around in there, along with Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa, and the Lost Colony of Roanoke. And I cringe to imagine the meetings with Kamala where Susan Rice, Lisa Monaco, and Torie Nuland try to tell the poor simp what to do. It will look like one of those girlie beat-downs on an Oakland street-corner. Anyway, by that time the stock markets will be all a’crumble, all those Vanguard retirement funds will wash-up like so many writhing grunions on Cabrillo Beach, and your local bank will cap withdrawals at $500 a few weeks before executing the long-rumored bail-ins.

At that magic moment, the Democratic Party will have everything it has wished for. Of course, I can’t say the melodrama will play out exactly like that, in that sequence. But expect trouble in September. Expect disorder like you’ve never imagined. Think about retrieving whatever cash you have in the bank. Consider arming yourself for safety’s sake, if you live in a part of the country that allows it. Or maybe even if you live in the other parts. Lay in some beans and rice and some batteries. Buckle your mental seat belt. When August is over, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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“The 2020 election reportedly saw 155 million votes. There were roughly 168 million registered voters in 2020, which means that voter turnout in 2020 was an astonishing 92%.”

Trump Can Prove It (Matt Kane)

There were concerns regarding Pennsylvania’s voting procedure long before any votes were even cast. The Keystone State’s Senate Republican Caucus and the Republican Party strongly argued that the state Supreme Court extending the deadline to count ballots violated the U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause by taking away the Legislature’s authority to “set the times, places and manner of federal elections.” This was ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court just prior to Justice Barrett’s confirmation. This led to a 4-4 decision, which results in a “stay.” Had this been heard after her confirmation, it is likely Barrett would have ruled against the extensions that led to Biden’s constitutionally questionable “comeback.”

But of all the suspected fraud in 2020, Arizona was the first state that raised suspicions in real time. Despite not voting Democrat in a two-candidate presidential election since 1948, Fox News shockingly called the state for Biden after just 27% of the vote was reported. This sparked a forensic audit that concluded that the number of illegal votes exceeded Biden’s alleged 11-thousand-vote victory fivefold. When vote-counting was inexplicably halted on Election Night, Trump led all these states by six figures. A combination of any three of these states holding would have secured him a second term, which is why Democrats fought so hard to steal them. But even putting state-specific statistics aside, a basic analysis of election history signals the improbability of Biden receiving the number of votes he allegedly did.

Every general election since 2004 has seen between 120–130 million total votes. The 2020 election reportedly saw 155 million votes. There were roughly 168 million registered voters in 2020, which means that voter turnout in 2020 was an astonishing 92%. This is statistically improbable when you consider that countries such as Australia institute compulsory voting, which mandates that citizens vote or pay a fine. Yet its most recent turnout rate was in the high 80s. America voluntarily outpacing a nation that financially penalizes non-voters does not pass the smell test.

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“The pseudonyms were supposedly used to dodge discovery of the communications under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).”

Joe Biden Juggled Aliases as He Peddled Power Via Hunter (Sp.)

President Joe Biden armed himself with several fake identities during his time as Barack Obama’s vice president when communicating with son Hunter, as well as the latter’s foreign business partners, emails from the notorious “laptop from hell” reveal, reported US media. Hunter Biden had abandoned this device in a Delaware repair shop in 2019. At least three pseudonyms: ‘Robert L. Peters’, ‘Robin Ware’ and ‘JRB Ware’, along with alternate email addresses were used by Joe Biden between 2014 and 2016, when sending messages to his son. Some concerned family issues, other communications pertained to official government business, such as upcoming talks with then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, or Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. The pseudonyms were supposedly used to dodge discovery of the communications under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Thus, the private email address using the name Robert.L.Peters was where Joe Biden’s aide, John Flynn, was ostensibly instructed to send his daily schedule at least on 10 occasions in the period between May 18 and June 15. Regarding the above-cited call with the then-Ukrainian President, Hunter Biden’s name was copied onto a message dated May 26. It contained a note keeping the younger Biden in the loop about an “8.45am prep for 9am phonecall [sic] with Pres Poroshenko.” Hunter Biden had also been alerted to a meeting on his father’s schedule with Prime Minister Groysman on June 15, 2016. Subsequently the face-to-face led to an announcement of “$220 million in new assistance to Ukraine,” per records.

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., has sent a letter to the National Archives requesting any “document or communication in which a pseudonym for Vice President Joe Biden was included either as a sender, recipient, copied or was included in the contents of the document or communication, including but not limited to Robert Peters, Robin Ware, and JRB Ware.” Specifically, Comer hoped to get a look at emails released by the National Archives that are marked as “Email Messages To and/or From Vice President Biden and Hunter Biden related to Burisma and Ukraine.”

“Joe Biden has stated there was ‘an absolute wall’ between his family’s foreign business schemes and his duties as vice president, but evidence reveals that access was wide open for his family’s influence peddling. We already have evidence of then-Vice President Biden speaking, dining and having coffee with his son’s foreign business associates. We also know that Hunter Biden and his associates were informed of then-Vice President Biden’s official government duties in countries where they had a financial interest. The National Archives must provide these unredacted records to further our investigation into the Biden family’s corruption,” stated James Comer.

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I normally never use paywalled articles like the NYT’s. But this is free for me. Hoping it is for you, too. It’s interesting. Q: Why does the NYT run a lengthy aricle on this, at this time?

Inside the Collapse of Hunter Biden’s Plea Deal (NY Times)

There were signs, subtle but unmistakable, that Hunter Biden’s high-stakes plea agreement with federal prosecutors might be on shaky ground hours before it went public in June, according to emails sent by his legal team to the U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware. When one of Mr. Biden’s lawyers sent over the draft of the statement they intended to share with the news media, a top deputy to David C. Weiss, who had overseen the inquiry since 2018, asked to remove two words describing the status of the investigation, according to interviews and internal correspondence on the deal obtained by The New York Times. “Concluded” and “conclusion” should be replaced with the weaker “resolved,” the deputy said.

Six weeks later, the federal judge presiding over a hearing on the agreement would expose even deeper divisions and the deal imploded, prompting Mr. Weiss to seek appointment as special counsel with the freedom to expand the inquiry and bring new charges. The deal’s collapse — chronicled in over 200 pages of confidential correspondence between Mr. Weiss’s office and Mr. Biden’s legal team, and interviews with those close to Mr. Biden, lawyers involved in the case and Justice Department officials — came after intense negotiations that started with the prospect that Mr. Biden would not be charged at all and now could end in his possible indictment and trial. Earlier this year, The Times found, Mr. Weiss appeared willing to forgo any prosecution of Mr. Biden at all, and his office came close to agreeing to end the investigation without requiring a guilty plea on any charges.

But the correspondence reveals that his position, relayed through his staff, changed in the spring, around the time a pair of I.R.S. officials on the case accused the Justice Department of hamstringing the investigation. Mr. Weiss suddenly demanded that Mr. Biden plead guilty to committing tax offenses. Now, the I.R.S. agents and their Republican allies say they believe the evidence they brought forward, at the precise time they did, played a role in influencing the outcome, a claim senior law enforcement officials dispute. While Mr. Biden’s legal team agrees that the I.R.S. agents affected the deal, his lawyers have contended to the Justice Department that by disclosing details about the investigation to Congress, they broke the law and should be prosecuted. “It appears that if it weren’t for the courageous actions of these whistle-blowers, who had nothing to gain and everything to lose, Hunter Biden would never have been charged at all,” a team of lawyers for one of the I.R.S. agents said in a statement, adding that the initial agreement reflected preferential treatment.

[..] Precisely what happens next is unclear. Mr. Biden’s top lawyer has quit, and accused prosecutors of reneging on their commitments. And Republicans, who waged an all-out war to discredit the deal, are seeking to maximize the political damage to President Biden, seeing it as a counter to the four criminal prosecutions of Mr. Trump, their party’s presidential front-runner. Mr. Weiss had a few reasons to ask Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to appoint him special counsel. The status could grant him greater authority to pursue leads around the country, and could provide him with added leverage in a revamped deal with Mr. Biden. But he was also motivated by a requirement to produce a report that would allow him to answer critics, according to people with knowledge of the situation — an accounting that could become public before the 2024 election.

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New Silk Roads.

Central Asia is the Prime Battlefield in the New Great Game (Pepe Escobar)

There’s hardly a more relevant place across the Heartland to observe the current power play than Samarkand, the fabled “Rome of the East.” Here we are in the heart of ancient Sogdiana – the historical trade crossroads between China, India, Parthia, and Persia, an immensely important node of East-West cultural trends, Zoroastrianism, and pre/post-Islamic vectors. From the 4th century to the 8th century, it was the Sogdians who monopolized the caravan trade between East Asia, Central Asia, and West Asia, transporting silk, cotton, gold, silver, copper, weaponry, aromas, furs, carpets, clothes, ceramics, glass, porcelain, ornaments, semi-precious stones, mirrors. Wily Sogdian merchants used protection from nomadic dynasties to solidify trade between China and Byzantium.

The meritocratic Chinese elite, which reasons in terms of very long historical cycles, is very much aware of all of the above: that’s a key driver behind the New Silk Roads concept, officially known as BRI (Belt and Road Initiative), as announced nearly 10 years ago by President Xi Jinping in Astana, Kazakhstan. Beijing plans to reconnect with its Western neighbors as the necessary pathway towards increased pan-Eurasian trade and connectivity. Beijing and Moscow have complementary focuses when it comes to relations with the Heartland – always under the principle of strategic cooperation. Both have been engaged in regional security and economic cooperation with Central Asia since 1998.

Established in 2001, the SCO is an actual product of the Russia-China common strategy as well as a platform for non-stop dialogue with the Heartland. How different Central Asian “stans” react to it is a multi-level issue. Tajikistan, for instance, economically fragile and heavily dependent on the Russian market as a provider of cheap labor, officially keeps an “open door” policy to every sort of cooperation, including with the west. Kazakhstan and the US have established a Strategic Partnership Council (their last meeting was late last year). Uzbekistan and the US have a “strategic partnership dialogue,” set up in late 2021. American business presence is very much visible in Tashkent, via an imposing trade center, not to mention Coke and Pepsi in every Uzbek village corner shop.

The EU tries to keep up, especially in Kazakhstan, where over 30 percent of foreign trade ($39 billion) and investments ($12.5 billion) come from Europe. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev – extremely popular for opening up the country five years ago – nabbed $9 billion in trade deals when he visited Germany three months ago. Since the inception of the Chinese BRI a decade ago, the EU, by comparison, invested around $120 billion across the Heartland: not too shabby (40 percent of total foreign investment), but still below Chinese commitments.

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Butterfly
https://twitter.com/i/status/1692843202816905677

 

 

Apeel

 

 

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May 302023
 


Vincent van Gogh A Lane near Arles (Side of a Country Lane) 1888

 

Russia Hasn’t Started To ‘Act Seriously’ In Ukraine – Envoy (RT)
Moscow Attacked By Drones – Mayor (RT)
Russia Will Not Negotiate Until It Wins In Ukraine Conflict – Borrell (TASS)
Memorial Service (Jim Kunstler)
Russian Arrest Warrant For Lindsey Graham Over ‘Killing Russians’ Remarks (ZH)
Clumsy Excuses: Russian FM On Claim Graham’s Words Taken Out Of Context (TASS)
Ukraine Posts Longer Video Of Lindsay Graham’s Visit (R.)
Biden, McCarthy Agree on $886 Billion Military Budget (Antiwar)
Believing Impossible Things (Alastair Crooke)
US Obsession With Crushing Russia Has Dismantled Middle East Agenda (Inlakesh)
EU Threatens To Ban Twitter (RT)
Sanctions On Russian Diamonds Put A Million Jobs At Risk (RT)
50 Injured As NATO Troops Clash With Serb Demonstrators (RT)
Trump Campaign Fundraises For Ballot Harvesting Operations (PM)
Zero Young Healthy Individuals Died of COVID-19, Israeli Data Show
John Cleese Holds Line Against Calls to Cancel Scene in Life of Brian (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Bosi

 

 

 

 

Graham/McCain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..sooner or later, of course, this escalation may get a new dimension which we do not need and we do not want..”

Russia Hasn’t Started To ‘Act Seriously’ In Ukraine – Envoy (RT)

The outcome of the Ukraine conflict hinges on whether NATO continues to prop up Kiev with arms shipments, Andrey Kelin, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, said in an interview released on Saturday. Speaking to the BBC, when asked how long he thought it would take for the fighting to cease, Kelin replied that it “depends on the efforts in escalation of war that [are] being undertaken by NATO countries, especially by the UK.” The envoy went on to say that “it is a big idealistic mistake to think that Ukraine may prevail,” adding that Russia is 16 times bigger than Ukraine and possesses enormous resources. He stated further that Moscow “hasn’t… started yet to act very seriously.”

At the same time, Kelin warned that “sooner or later, of course, this escalation may get a new dimension which we do not need and we do not want,” pointing to the UK’s recent decision to send Ukraine long-range missiles and tanks, as well as ongoing deliberations about potential shipments of modern aircraft. However, he did not rule out that the conflict could be settled diplomatically, saying that the two sides “can make peace tomorrow.” On Saturday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin said that the Ukraine conflict could be resolved if Kiev were to ditch its ambitions to join NATO and the EU, recognize “new territorial realities” and designate Russian as a state language. However, Mikhail Podoliak, an aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, dismissed the demands, insisting instead that to make peace, Russia must withdraw all its troops from the territory Kiev claims as its own, pay reparations and extradite “war criminals.”

Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, Western countries have provided Kiev with billions of dollars in security assistance, a policy which Moscow claims makes the military bloc a direct participant in the hostilities. The UK has emerged as one of Ukraine’s most active supporters, having committed £4.6 billion ($5.7 billion) in military aid. Earlier this month, London provided Kiev with long-range Storm Shadow missiles, which were subsequently used by Ukrainian troops to target the civilian population in the Russian city of Lugansk, according to Moscow. In March, the UK announced that it would send Ukraine armor-piercing tank rounds containing depleted uranium, with the Russian Defense Ministry warning that the munitions would cause “irreparable harm” to soldiers and civilians alike.

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Someone wants Kiev flattened.

Moscow Attacked By Drones – Mayor (RT)

Drones attacked the Russian capital on Tuesday morning, damaging several buildings, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has said. Sobyanin ordered the evacuation of residents from the two apartment blocks that were targeted, according to several messages posted on Telegram. Emergency officials told RIA Novosti that two drones struck residential buildings. No information regarding casualties has been provided yet. Sobyanin, citing data from the city medical services, said that no residents of the buildings hit by the aircraft were seriously hurt. He added that two people requested medical assistance at the scene, but no one had to be taken to the hospital.


Moscow Region Governor Andrey Vorobyov wrote on Telegram that “several drones” were shot down by air defenses as they were flying towards the city. Telegram channel SHOT posted an unverified video of what it said was the destruction of a drone mid-air. The attack comes after two Ukrainian drones unsuccessfully attempted to strike the Kremlin earlier this month. Moscow accused Kiev of attempting to assassinate Putin and vowed retaliation. Kiev denied responsibility, with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky saying “we don’t attack Putin or Moscow.”

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Borrell handed himself a new job: “the defense minister of the European Union.” Did anyone ask for that?

Russia Will Not Negotiate Until It Wins In Ukraine Conflict – Borrell (TASS)

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrel said he is “not optimistic” about the situation in Ukraine and believes that Russia will not negotiate until it wins in the Ukraine conflict. “I see the clear will of Russia to win in the war,” the European Union foreign policy chief said speaking at an expert forum in Spain’s Barcelona. “Russia will not negotiate until it wins.” “I am not optimistic in my expectations about how this conflict may develop in the summer,” he stated adding that the European Union should “continue building up its military assistance for Ukraine.” Borrell stated earlier in Brussels that while he kept coordinating military assistance to Ukraine from the European Union, he did not feel himself as the EU’s top diplomat, but “the defense minister of the European Union.”.

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“..as our leadership turned more pathological and pathocratic, so did our military endeavors..”

Memorial Service (Jim Kunstler)

An anxious silence falls over the land this Memorial Day as we discern increasingly that those we put in charge of this shape-shifting thing called the public interest are running out of trips to lay on the people. Something grotesque is revealing itself: a bankruptcy not just of money but of national purpose, meaning, and legitimacy. You realize this day, with a breaking heart, that your country has been stolen by psychopaths.Brace for impact. We’re already off the road and now it’s only a matter of how this vehicle comes to a stop in the ditch. Then, it’s a question of how each of us emerges from the smoldering wreckage. The main thing, though, is clear to everyone: What we were riding in is no more. We’re out there stumbling around in the dark, in shock, trying desperately to assess our whereabouts and what has happened to us.

Now, the trouble with being ruled by psychopaths is that they don’t care about other people. They are actually incapable of imagining the lives of others, especially the fact that these others care about each other, and what happens to them. You may have noticed, for instance, that the psychopath Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) went to Ukraine last week and declared, “Russians are dying. We have never spent money so well.” Only a couple of months ago, he called for the assassination of Vladimir Putin. He stopped short of dissing Mr. Putin’s mother. Ukraine, of course, is a lost cause, and it was never a good cause in the first place. Contrary to Lindsay Graham’s untoward utterance, American money has killed far more Ukrainians than Russians. He overlooked [this] unappetizing tidbit because he doesn’t care about the Ukrainians, for whose sake our “folks” in charge supposedly undertook this clusterfuck.

Lindsay Graham also may not have noticed that our country is collapsing and Russia is not. That must be because Lindsay Graham does not care about Americans, either. As for our money, it looks like most of the rest of the world – the nations that still produce things of value – are so turned-off by American pathocracy that they are seeking every way possible to stop using our money in international trade settlements. That money, our dollar, became the world’s reserve currency because our country ended up on top in the previous world war and for the better part of a century afterward dominated the planet militarily. Naturally, as our leadership turned more pathological and pathocratic, so did our military endeavors – until lately they amount to little more than just smashing up other countries to show we can do it.

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“..it was the Ukrainian presidency’s office itself that was responsible for the editing and circulating of the remarks in the first place.”

Russian Arrest Warrant For Lindsey Graham Over ‘Killing Russians’ Remarks (ZH)

Russia’s Interior Ministry has issued an arrest warrant for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham after video surfaced of the Republican hawk telling Ukrainian officials that “Russians are dying” due to US military aid and that “it’s the best money we ever spent.” There are claims that the video released of the Friday meeting in Kiev wherein Graham spoke the words to Ukraine’s President Zelensky were edited, however. And yet, it was Zelensky himself that posted the edited clip to his official social media channels. Russia’s Investigative Committee announced the criminal case against Graham as he “declared the financial involvement of the United States is causing the death of Russian citizens.”

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reacted to Graham’s provocative statements by saying, “It’s difficult to imagine a greater shame for a country than having such senators” while Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said the Republican Senator is an “old fool. “The arrest warrant and him being placed on a ‘wanted list’ will of course remain largely symbolic, given Graham certainly won’t be traveling to Russian territory or through its airspace anytime in the foreseeable future. On Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry responded to reporting from Reuters which said Graham’s remarks were taken out of context: “Reports by Reuters that remarks by US Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican, South Carolina) made during a meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky may have been taken out of context represent clumsy, shameless excuses, a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry made public on Monday said.

“‘It turns out,’ that’s not what Senator Graham said or how he said it. Just like with similar cannibalistic musings by former US President George W. Bush, clumsy, shameful excuses are being bandied about: so, allegedly, the senator’s words were taken out of context, there was some ‘editing’ and so on. Who would have doubted that the politician himself and his spin doctors, such as the top Anglo-Saxon media outlets and news agencies, would, as they say, ‘play dumb.’ What’s next? They will tell us that Lindsey Graham is a product of [artificial intelligence] and doesn’t actually exist?” the Foreign Ministry asked rhetorically. It stressed that this “attempt is doomed to fail.” “It is already impossible to clean oneself [and one’s reputation] from the stain of such remarks, even if they were uttered separately,” the ministry added.” But again, it was the Ukrainian presidency’s office itself that was responsible for the editing and circulating of the remarks in the first place.

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“This entire story with cowardly excuses and ludicrous attempts to absolve Lindsey Graham is yet another blow to the already faded reputation of Reuters and the BBC..”

Clumsy Excuses: Russian FM On Claim Graham’s Words Taken Out Of Context (TASS)

Reports by Reuters that remarks by US Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican, South Carolina) made during a meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky may have been taken out of context represent clumsy, shameless excuses, a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry made public on Monday said. “‘It turns out,’ that’s not what Senator Graham said or how he said it. Just like with similar cannibalistic musings by former US President George W. Bush, clumsy, shameful excuses are being bandied about: so, allegedly, the senator’s words were taken out of context, there was some ‘editing’ and so on. Who would have doubted that the politician himself and his spin doctors, such as the top Anglo-Saxon media outlets and news agencies, would, as they say, ‘play dumb.’

What’s next? They will tell us that Lindsey Graham is a product of [artificial intelligence] and doesn’t actually exist?” the Foreign Ministry asked rhetorically. It stressed that this “attempt is doomed to fail.” “It is already impossible to clean oneself [and one’s reputation] from the stain of such remarks, even if they were uttered separately,” the ministry added. Earlier, at a meeting in Kiev with Zelensky, Graham seemingly linked the fact that “Russians are dying” in the Ukrainian conflict with US aid for Ukraine, saying it is “the best money we’ve ever spent.” The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that this was hardly the first instance of such hateful remarks and that “the senator is not alone.” “The Nazi philosophy of hatred toward Russians is actually what unites the Kiev regime and its American handlers,” the ministry emphasized.

The ministry also stated that widespread popular outrage has forced the Western propaganda machine “with its cogs, such as Reuters and the BBC, who led the campaign to whitewash the [words of the] lawmaker, to initiate a crisis management approach and attempt to reverse the situation.” “This entire story with cowardly excuses and ludicrous attempts to absolve Lindsey Graham is yet another blow to the already faded reputation of Reuters and the BBC, which were left to worm their way of out the mess on behalf of both Washington and Kiev. This is not journalism, but PR agencies carrying out an assignment for the ‘collective West,’” the Russian Foreign Ministry concluded. Earlier, Reuters, having examined a complete recording of Graham’s meeting with the Ukrainian leader, said that the remarks by the US senator may have been taken out of context.

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“There was a time in America that we were this way: fighting to the last person, we were going to be free or die.” WE, Lindsey?

Ukraine Posts Longer Video Of Lindsay Graham’s Visit (R.)

Russia’s interior ministry has put U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham on a wanted list, Russian news agency TASS said on Monday (May 29).In an edited video released by the Ukrainian president’s office of Graham’s meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday (May 26), Graham was shown saying “the Russians are dying” and then saying U.S. support was the “best money we’ve ever spent”.After Russia criticised the remarks, Ukraine released a full video of the meeting which showed the two remarks were not linked. The longer video clip showed the Ukrainian President praises the United States for military assistance valued at $38 billion, thanking Graham for bipartisan support. Graham responds with: “the best money we’ve ever spent.”


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denounced Graham, suggesting his comment on U.S. financial assistance was linked to a later remark that Russians “are dying” in the conflict. But the release by the Ukrainian president’s office of Graham’s complete remarks showed there was no such link.Graham said he was visiting on the 457th day of a war that Russia had assumed would be completed within three days and Graham said Ukrainians resisting the invasion reminded him of “our better selves in America. “There was a time in America that we were this way: fighting to the last person, we were going to be free or die.” “Now you are free,” Zelenskiy responded in the encounter. “And we will be.” Graham replied: “And the Russians are dying.”

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And there’s Graham again..

Biden, McCarthy Agree on $886 Billion Military Budget (Antiwar)

The debt ceiling agreement reached between the White House and House Republicans that was announced Sunday caps military spending at $886 billion for 2024, matching President Biden’s requested budget. Republicans negotiating the debt ceiling deal only sought non-military spending cuts. The $886 billion cap for military spending represents about a 3.3% increase from 2023. The White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) still need to get the debt ceiling agreement passed through Congress. Many hawkish Republicans will likely oppose the deal as they previously blasted Biden’s massive $886 billion request as “inadequate.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) slammed the debt limit deal in an appearance on Fox News on Sunday. “The Biden defense budget was a joke before, and if we adopt it as Republicans, we will be doing a big disservice to the party of Ronald Reagan,” Graham said.


“The biggest winner of the Biden defense budget is China because they’ll have a bigger navy,” Graham added. Hawks in Congress have gotten their way over the past two years as they approved significantly more military spending than what President Biden requested for 2022 and 2023. For 2023, President Biden asked for $813 billion in military spending, but Congress added $45 billion, bringing the finalized National Defense Authorization Act to $858 billion. A similar increase for 2024 could bring the NDAA close to $1 trillion. The US also authorizes other national security spending that is not included in the NDAA. According to analyst Winslow Wheeler, factoring in other types of expenditures on the national security state, including interest on debt and the Veteran Affairs budget, would bring the total defense budget for 2024 to around $1.5 trillion.

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“.. they understand that the true ‘threats’ to the US derive from its internal divisions, and not from external sources.”

Believing Impossible Things (Alastair Crooke)

The recent G7 summit should be understood as firstly, the shaping of a battlespace in the ‘War of Narratives’ whose principal ‘front’ today is the Team Biden insistence that only one ‘reality’ — the US-led ‘Rules’ ideology (and it alone) – can predominate. And, secondly to underline pointedly that the West is ‘not losing’ in this war against the other ‘reality’. This other reality is the multivalent ‘otherness’ that self-evidently is attracting more and more support around the world. Many in the West are simply unaware of how fast the geopolitical tectonic plates are shifting: The original plate bifurcation (the failed financial war declared on Russia), already has led to a building wave. Anger is growing. People now no longer feel alone in rejecting western hegemony – they “no longer care”.

In just the week that preceded the G7 summit, the Arab League literally ‘went multi-polar’; It quit its former pro-US automaticity. The embrace of President Assad and the Syrian government was both the logical consequence to the secondary tectonic-plate shift set in motion by China with its Saudi-Iranian diplomacy — a revolution which Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) then logically extended to the entire Arab sphere. MbS sealed this ‘break-free’ of US control through having President al-Assad invited to the Summit to symbolise the League’s act of generalised iconoclasm. For the West, it is ontologically impossible to tolerate their reality being disassembled: to see their society and the world split in two. The narrative reality is so embedded via the well-honed effectiveness of MSM messaging however, that politicians have become lazy. They do not have to argue their case, and have no incentive to hold back on untruths either.

The dynamics are exorable: an over-hyped ‘monolithic reality’ evolves into a Manichaean fight to the death. Any backsliding by ‘principals’ could result in the collapse of the Media narrative ‘house of cards’. (This notion of a monolithic reality is not one shared by most other societies who see reality as multi-faceted). Denial becomes endemic. So, we witness a hawkish G7, diverting from the narrative setback (of Bakhmut falling) by the casual embrace of a ploy to supply F-16s to Ukraine; chastising China for not making President Putin ‘back off’ in Ukraine; and using the meeting to set a narrative framework for the coming confrontation with China on trade issues and Taiwan.

One commentator (at the summit) wondered “Am I still in Europe, or in Japan?”, as she listened to rhetoric as though lifted from Von Der Leyen’s earlier speech to the EU. Von de Leyen had crafted the formulation of ‘de-risking’ with China to disguise the creeping EU-China bifurcation in production on the EU Commission factory floor. This remark does however serve to underline how Von der Leyen has become a de facto member of the Biden Team. China angrily responded to the G7 summit allegation that it had become a workshop for “smearing” and slandering China. This extensive narrative-shaping for China confrontation is seen to be necessary by the G7 as the rest of the world does not view China as a genuine ‘threat’ to the US: Rather, they understand that the true ‘threats’ to the US derive from its internal divisions, and not from external sources.

The G7 salience lies not so much with the anti-China narratives launched, but, plainly said, because the entire episode expresses a western hubristic denial, which portends extreme danger in respect to Ukraine. It speaks to the reality that the West — in it’s present mental mode — will be unable to put forward any credible political initiative to end the Ukraine conflict.(Recall that Moscow was badly mauled by the earlier Minsk episode). The G7 language abjures all serious diplomacy, and signals that the imperative remains to stick with the ‘not losing’ mantra:The fall of Bakhmut is no defeat for Kiev, but a Pyrrhic loss for Putin; Ukraine is winning, Putin is losing, was the G7 messaging.

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“After having illegally invaded Iraq [..] it comes off as laughable that the US is now claiming to oppose illegal invasions.”

US Obsession With Crushing Russia Has Dismantled Middle East Agenda (Inlakesh)

As the months pass, blow after blow has been inflicted on US power in the Middle East. In direct opposition to Washington’s agenda, the Syrian Arab Republic was readmitted to the Arab League following a 12-year hiatus, paving the way to end the crisis in Syria, which the US seeks to prolong. China has also entered Middle East politics in a dramatic way, brokering an Iranian-Saudi rapprochement back in March, and this then spurred a wider normalization wave. Although the US attempted to play off the Saudi Arabia-Iran agreement as an acceptable and welcomed move, this has now clearly worked to collapse Washington’s long-term effort towards regional supremacy, which was based on feeding a proxy conflict between the two powers.

Western leaders publicly predicted that Russia’s economy would collapse under sanctions, a result which clearly has not materialized, with the IMF predicting the Russian economy will grow. Similarly, the US “maximum pressure” sanctions that were first introduced against Iran under the Trump administration, were expected to severely hinder the Islamic Republic’s ability to continue its developments in the defense field, but have failed to achieve those goals. Russia is now exporting more oil than it did in 2021, as its relations with China, the primary global competitor to the US, have advanced. Gulf States have also repeatedly let the US down and refrained from yielding to pressure to cut oil production. There is also the example of Algeria, which has become Italy’s largest gas supplier and raked in over $50 billion dollars in oil and gas revenues during 2022 alone, even as it retains close relations with Moscow.

And when it comes to the West’s ban on Russian gold bullion, the UAE, Türkiye and China have reportedly stepped in to fill the gap. However, perhaps the worst blowback against Russia sanctions has been the nullification of previous limits to Moscow-Tehran economic relations. The two nations are already the most sanctioned on earth, so they need not worry about the potential consequences from their trade, which has encouraged further cooperation between them. Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi signed a deal to finance an Iranian railway line as part of a North-South Transport Corridor. The Biden administration has employed hardline propaganda tactics in order to demonize Russia and lionize Ukraine. Although for some Western audiences the arguments set forth may have proven effective, in the global community and especially the Middle East, such rhetoric is tiresome and clearly hypocritical.

After having illegally invaded Iraq, inflicting around a million deaths, over a concoction of factually-challenged conspiracy theories about weapons of mass destruction, it comes off as laughable that the US is now claiming to oppose illegal invasions.

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Musk may accept the challenge: ““This platform is hell bent on being the least untrue source of information..”

EU Threatens To Ban Twitter (RT)

Twitter will be banned across the EU if it fails to abide by the new regulations on fighting disinformation, French Digital Transition and Telecommunications Minister Jean-Noel Barrot said on Monday. The warning comes as the European bloc’s Digital Services Act (DSA) is due to fully take effect on August 25. “Disinformation is one of the gravest threats weighing on our democracies,” Barrot told France Info radio. “I hope that Twitter complies with the European rules by August 25. Otherwise, it will no longer be welcome in Europe. Twitter, if it repeatedly doesn’t follow our rules, will be banned from the EU.” The DSA mandates that search engines and large platforms, such as Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok, enact measures to mitigate “disinformation or election manipulation, cyber violence against women, or harms to minors online.”

The European Commission can fine offenders up to 6% of annual worldwide turnover. EU Internal Markets Commissioner Thierry Breton announced last week that Twitter had pulled out of the bloc’s voluntary Code of Practice on Disinformation. “But obligations remain. You can run but you can’t hide,” Breton said, adding that DSA’s terms will be “ready for enforcement” when the compliance deadline expires in August. Billionaire Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter last year, promised to rid the platform of disinformation and hateful content, but also uphold the freedom of speech and offer more transparency. “This platform is hell bent on being the least untrue source of information,” Musk wrote on Twitter in early May.

At the same time, earlier this month Twitter fulfilled the Turkish government’s request to restrict access to some accounts in the weeks leading up to the presidential and general election in the country. Musk defended this decision by saying that he wanted to avoid Twitter getting shut down entirely in Türkiye. “We can’t go beyond the laws of a country … If we have a choice of either our people [going] to prison or we comply with the laws, we will comply with the laws,” Musk told the BBC last month.

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“The Indian diamond industry cuts and polishes nine out of ten diamonds in the world at a processing hub in Surat..”

Sanctions On Russian Diamonds Put A Million Jobs At Risk (RT)

Restrictions on exports of Russian diamonds that the G7 countries have been considering for over a year pose a threat to India’s polishing industry, the Economic Times reports. The Indian diamond industry cuts and polishes nine out of ten diamonds in the world at a processing hub in Surat, the outlet said. A potential embargo is weighing heavily on Surat’s more than 4,000 diamond processing companies, which employ at least a million craftsmen, polishers, and traders, according to industry experts. The town of Surat imports at least 35% of its gems from Russia’s mining giant Alrosa, which accounts for 30% of global rough diamond output.

“If the sanctions continue, then there will be a lot of uncertainty in the employment of one million workers,” said the chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Vipul Shah. Russia’s diamond trade has so far avoided sanctions due to resistance from major importers such as Belgium, which is home to the world’s biggest diamond trading hub in Antwerp. The Belgian government has repeatedly blocked the EU’s embargo plans, warning that the move could cost thousands of jobs. At the recent G7 summit in Japan, leaders pledged to restrict trade in “diamonds mined, processed or produced in Russia” in an effort to further cut Moscow’s revenues.

In a joint statement, the group of wealthy nations said it would curb the $4.5 billion Russian diamond trade, including by using high-tech methods of tracing. “We are awaiting a proper understanding of how the sanctions will be executed, since there is no way to trace the origin of rough gems right now,” Shah said. Meanwhile, supplies of rough diamonds have been shrinking since Western sanctions disconnected Russia from the SWIFT international financial processing network last year. Indian exports of cut and polished diamonds have also slumped as US and EU firms shunned buying diamonds sourced from Russia.

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“The Serb population of these four towns boycotted elections in April in which four ethnic Albanian mayors won with a turnout of less than 4%..”

50 Injured As NATO Troops Clash With Serb Demonstrators (RT)

NATO forces attacked a group of demonstrators in the majority-Serb town of Zvecan in Kosovo, RT Balkan reported on Monday. Stun grenades and tear gas were deployed, and around 50 people were injured. Serb demonstrators staged a sit-down protest outside municipal buildings in Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic on Monday morning, preventing ethnic Albanian officials from taking office after elections boycotted by the Serb population as illegitimate. Kosovo police officers arrived on the scene in Zvecan, backed up by members of NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR). The heavily-armored NATO troops surrounded the demonstrators, who refused to disperse, RT Balkan’s journalist on the scene reported. KFOR then threw stun grenades and tear gas into the crowd, provoking a riot.

The Serb demonstrators pelted rocks at the NATO troops, and received baton strikes and rubber bullets in return. Fifty people went to a hospital in nearby Mitrovica, and two were admitted to the emergency room. 25 KFOR soldiers were injured in the melee, Italy’s ANSA news agency said. 11 of those reportedly hurt were Italians. The protesters broke up shortly after the clashes, vowing to return and continue their demonstration on Tuesday. The latest flareup in tensions began when local mayors in four majority Serb towns in northern Kosovo resigned last year after authorities in Pristina announced plans to force residents to switch their Serbian identity documents for Kosovo-issued ones. The Serb population of these four towns boycotted elections in April in which four ethnic Albanian mayors won with a turnout of less than 4%. Nevertheless, the government in Pristina treated the votes as legitimate and the mayors were installed on Friday amid fierce opposition from the Serbs, who view the debacle as a naked power grab aimed at driving them from the breakaway province.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008 with the support of the US and many of its NATO allies. Kosovo was historically a province of Serbia, and Belgrade – along with many world governments – does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state. While NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and a number of Kosovo’s Western backers have urged Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leader, Albin Kurti, to de-escalate the situation in the north of the province, he has apparently not heeded their warnings. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday that Kurti “longs and dreams of being a [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky.” Due to the clashes, Serbia placed its army on high alert, moving some units closer to the region’s border. Defense Minister Milos Vucevic said that “it is clear that terror against the Serb community in Kosovo is happening.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1663290819564953604

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“..where it’s legal..”

Trump Campaign Fundraises For Ballot Harvesting Operations (PM)

The Trump campaign has announced that it is looking to beat Democrat ballot harvesting in states across the country, specifically taking aim at operations funded by billionaire George Soros. “We recently alerted you that a Soros-linked Super PAC has begun targeting 6 battleground states with a $75 MILLION spending blitz to buy Crooked Joe the White House,” a Thursday campaign fundraising email read, according to the Washington Times. “But there’s something important we want to add…some of those states have legalized BALLOT HARVESTING,” the email added, highlighting Soros-linked efforts in the battleground of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

“At the beginning of the year, President Trump made a major announcement that our campaign would ballot harvest in the states where it’s legal to counter the Left’s schemes,” the email added, asking for financial contributions to the Trump campaign’s Ballot Harvesting Fund. Ballot harvesting refers to the act of a person other than the voter turning in a ballot, usually a mail-in ballot. While Republicans have previously disavowed the practice and pushed for it to be eliminated, Trump earlier this year stated that he would embrace it in states where it’s legal in order to fight back against the Democrats. Many pundits have also called for the GOP to get on board and fight fire with fire, instead of letting the Democrats undertake the practice with no pushback.

In February, a fundraising email stated, “The radical Democrats have used ballot harvesting to cancel out YOUR vote and walk away with elections that they NEVER should have won. But I’m doing something HUGE to fight back.” He continued: “Our path forward is to MASTER the Democrats’ own game of harvesting ballots in every state we can. But that also means we need to start laying the foundation for victory RIGHT NOW.” Trump echoed the sentiment in March, telling the crowd at CPAC, “We will become masters at ballot harvesting.” “We have to beat the Democrats at their own game, and we’ll do it legally. The agenda I’ve laid out today will end America’s destruction.”

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Now let’s see the excess deaths stats.

Zero Young Healthy Individuals Died of COVID-19, Israeli Data Show (ET)

Zero healthy individuals under the age of 50 have died of COVID-19 in Israel, according to newly released data. “Zero deceased of 18–49 years of age with no underlying morbidities,” the Israel Ministry of Health (MOH) said in response to a formal request from an attorney. Officials noted that the statement only applies to COVID-19 deaths where the MOH conducted an epidemiological investigation and had received information about the underlying diseases. “Zero is a very, very clear number, and cannot be subject to interpretation,” Yoav Yehezkelli, a specialist in internal medicine and medical management, and former lecturer in the Department of Emergency and Disaster Management at Tel Aviv University in Israel, told The Epoch Times.

“Why were all the extreme measures of school closures, vaccination of children, and lockdowns needed?” he added. The information was sparked by a freedom of information request filed by attorney Ori Xabi, who has been filing several such requests as he seeks to obtain information from the MOH regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 policies. Xabi asked to know the average age of people who died of COVID-19, segmented by vaccination status at the time of death; how many COVID-19 patients with no underlying morbidities under the age of 50 died; and the annual number of cardiac arrest cases between 2018 to 2022. According to the MOH response, the average age of vaccinated COVID-19 patients who died was 80.2 years. The average for the unvaccinated was 77.4 years.

The MOH emphasized that the data they have about the underlying diseases of patients is partial since it relies on information provided by the patients or their relatives, if they chose to do so. And then, only in cases in which the MOH conducted an epidemiological investigation. Therefore “the available information does not necessarily reflect the health status of the patient” the MOH wrote adding that they do not have access to the patients’ medical records. It is not clear why the MOH responded to Xabi’s request using only cases where the MOH had conducted an epidemiological investigation, and which was limited to deceased patients where the families had cooperated, since in 2020 the MOH told the Israeli Knesset—the Israeli parliament—that they use an intelligence system that provides the MOH with extensive information about deceased patients that included “underlying diseases.”

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“..These comedy giants are set upon by an Army of Lilliputians who have contributed little to culture beyond chilling artists and writers into obedient silence..”

John Cleese Holds Line Against Calls to Cancel Scene in Life of Brian (Turley)

We have previously discussed how comedians have been objecting that woke activists are killing comedy. The complaint is that a group of perpetually pissed off, humorless people are remaking the world in their own image. It began with college campuses where comedians are now saying are dead as venues since you cannot safely make any joke that insults any group other than white straight males or Christians or conservatives. Others have objected to hate speech laws limiting comedians, particularly after some comedians have been prosecuted for “malicious communications” or insulting groups or religious figures. Six out of ten students view offensive jokes as hate speech. This week, however, activists appear to have met their match in a legend of comedy who has opposed the cutting of a scene from the movie The Life of Brian. No, activists are not upset with the endless jokes about Italians, Christians, and Jews. It is the scene involving a man who wants to become a women and have a child. John Cleese is refusing to yield.

In The Life of Brian, the scene involves “Stan” who announces that he wants to be a woman named Loretta and have babies. Activists objected that it made fun of transgender people and demanded that it be cut from the film. The scene shows Stan declaring “I want to be a woman… It’s my right as a man. I want to have babies… It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.” After Cleese’s protest, the character snaps, “Don’t you oppress me!” Some reported that Cleese had agreed to cut the scene. However, Cleese tweeted out a correction of the “misreporting.” What is interesting is that Rob Reiner is reportedly working on the reboot. Reiner is known as someone who is a champion of the left in Hollywood. This may be an inauspicious start for the reboot effort. Cleese is not alone in raising this alarm. Comedians including Chris Rock blamed the range of “unfunny TV shows” on the fact that “everybody’s scared to make a move”. Ricky Gervais objected that the BBC is now paralyzed in fear of offending anyone. Jennifer Saunders that people now “talk themselves out of stuff now because everything is sensitive.”

The same complaint has been made in the age of woke advertising that funny commercials seem increasingly rare as opposed to corporate virtue signaling. The director of the classic comedy Airplane! observed that humor is being squeezed out of Hollywood and the movie today would have virtually every joke removed. David Zucker called it the “death of creativity.” They are now set upon by a legion of humorless people who seek to reduce the world to their own narrow range of acceptable levity or irony. These comedy giants are set upon by an Army of Lilliputians who have contributed little to culture beyond chilling artists and writers into obedient silence or compulsive comedy criteria. Of course, Cleese could always use the line from Bryan’s mother: “He’s a very naughty boy! Now, piss off!”

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Wynnum
https://twitter.com/i/status/1662997866917564417

 

 

CO2

 

 

Turtle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1663220517732597766

 

 

Pheasant

 

 

 

 

Woow

 

 

 

 

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May 132023
 


William Adolphe Bouguereau Girl with a pomegranate 1875

 

Zelensky ‘Will End Up Like Hitler’ – Medvedev (RT)
Ukraine Wants To End War By Winter, Says Oleksii Danilov (RT)
False Claims About Russia Continue To Cloud The ‘West’s’ Vision (MoA)
Beltway Mediocrities Bumble Toward Armageddon (Eve Ottenberg)
People In West Are Paying For Their Leaders’ Mistakes – Peskov (TASS)
‘Migrant Village’ For Conservative Americans To Be Built In Russia (RT)
Pentagon Acknowledges Uncertainty in Defending Against Hypersonic Missiles (ET)
EU Warns China To Use Influence With Russia To End War In Ukraine (SCMP)
Grain Deal Extension Possible Only If Russian Part Implemented – Peskov (TASS)
The Smell of Goose Cooking (Jim Kunstler)
James Woods Rips McCarthy Over Biden Border BS (AW)
Open Border Catastrophe is the Cloward-Piven Plan to Destroy America (Wayne Root)
Comer’s Presser And Biden’s Family (Denninger)
Who Is Linda Yaccarino, Elon Musk’s Pick For New Twitter CEO? (Ghaffary)
“Veganism is Bad for You – Now I Only Eat Red Meat” – Bear Grylls (DS)

 

 

 

 

RFK Russell

 

 

Fenton excess deaths

 

 

 

 

Very fine people

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The creature in green wished death on everyone in the Kremlin. And not by hand. Who will die how, we do not know, because the ways of the Lord are inscrutable. But the drug addict in Kyiv just has a chance to disappear from his own hands. Go nuts by committing cowardly suicide. Like Hitler swallowing dog poison.”

Zelensky ‘Will End Up Like Hitler’ – Medvedev (RT)

Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky could suffer the same fate as Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has claimed. The comments came in response to Zelensky’s suggestion that Kremlin officials would meet a “sad end.” “We do not know who will meet which end,” Medvedev wrote on Telegram, before comparing the Ukrainian president to Hitler, who committed suicide during the final stages of World War II as Soviet troops stormed Berlin. The former Russian leader also accused Zelensky of “wishing death to everyone in the Kremlin.” His remarks came in response to an interview published by the BBC on Friday, in which Zelensky stated: “Believe me, those in the Kremlin… it will end badly for them.” The Ukrainian president expressed his desire for the rapid demise of the current Russian leadership, claiming that they “will certainly not die a natural death.”


The interview with Zelensky comes less than two weeks after a drone attack on the Kremlin, which Moscow described as an assassination attempt against President Vladimir Putin and an act of terrorism. The Russian leader was not at the Kremlin at the time of the incident. Russia accused Kiev of orchestrating the attack and said it reserves the right to respond as it sees fit. Ukraine denied any involvement in the incident, although the attack prompted Medvedev to call for the “physical removal” of Zelensky. Kiev’s intelligence chief, Kirill Budanov, later vowed to “keep killing Russians anywhere” until Ukraine’s “complete victory.” The Kremlin branded the statement “truly heinous,” and said it was confirmation that Kiev was involved in orchestrating terrorist attacks.

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Talk is cheap.

Ukraine Wants To End War By Winter, Says Oleksii Danilov (RT)

By winter, we want to end the war completely, Oleksii Danilov, secretary of the Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, told Report. According to him, the Ukrainian military knows exactly what they have to do: “They are experts and have proven to the whole world that our army is ready for battle, moreover, it is fully creative, and we strike at the enemy from where they least expect it. I think it will be the same this time.” Danilov noted that the main thing is the result: “We must liberate our territories. Taking into account all the factors, the measures will start at the necessary time. We must start on time, not early or late. We have a common plan – to liberate all our territories from the terrorists who attacked us. The only thing left is time. Whether it will be one or more operations depends on many circumstances. We will not be limited by time. We will fight as long as it takes.”

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“Only a realistic assessment and more respect for Russia’s capabilities can correct the mistake of waging and losing a proxy war against it.”

False Claims About Russia Continue To Cloud The ‘West’s’ Vision (MoA)

The pro-Ukrainian Spectator states correctly that the sanctions on Russia have failed. But its reasoning is dubious: “The West embarked on its sanctions war with an exaggerated sense of its own influence around the world. As we have discovered, non-western countries lack the will to impose sanctions on either Russia or on Russian oligarchs. The results of the miscalculation are there for all to see. In April last year, the IMF forecast that the Russian economy would contract by 8.5 per cent in 2022 and by a further 2.3 per cent this year. As it turned out, GDP fell by just 2.1 per cent last year, and this year the IMF is forecasting a small rise of 0.7 per cent. And that is all in spite of the war in Ukraine going much more badly than many imagined it would in February of last year. The Russian economy has not been destroyed; it has merely been reconfigured, reorientated to look eastwards and southwards rather than westwards.”

Yes, the ‘West’ had an “exaggerated sense of its own influence around the world”. But that is only a part of the problem. The ‘West’ still thinks it is superior to other countries even as at least some other countries have caught up with it and are, in parts, superior in the use of science and technology. Moreover the ‘West’ thought that Russia was inferior to it. In 2015 the late Senator John McCain called it a “gas station masquerading as a country”: “Look, Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country,” McCain said. “It’s kleptocracy. It’s corruption. It’s a nation that’s really only dependent upon oil and gas for their economy, and so economic sanctions are important.” In the early 1990s Russia surely was down. But it wasn’t out. It had a heavy industry and everything it needed to feed it. It had well educated people and large scientific community.

When McCain spoke, 25 years after Russia’s downfall, the country was largely back in the upper league. Its per head production of steel, cement, energy and food was and is higher than in most ‘western’ countries. Those are the basics numbers one needs to judge an industrial country and its capabilities, not some dubious number like the Gross Domestic Product which includes ‘services’ of dubious value. (For example the share of health expenditure in the quite high U.S. GDP is 16.8% with a worse outcome for the general population than in less spending European countries.) As it has now become clear even to the Spectator that the sanctions on Russia have failed one would hope that the ‘West’ would come to a more realistic view of itself and of Russia economic capabilities. Unfortunately that is not yet the case.

Witness Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis who in March 2023 basically repeated McCain’s false claim: “… DeSantis said of Putin. “And so, he’s basically a gas station with a bunch of nuclear weapons and one of the things we could be doing better is utilizing our own energy resources in the US.” The ‘West’ will continue to underestimate Russia’s capability as long as such false claims are still believed. Only a realistic assessment and more respect for Russia’s capabilities can correct the mistake of waging and losing a proxy war against it.

Sachs

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“This very unfortunate and wildly provocative legislation mandates “the restoration of Ukraine’s 1991 borders and to bring Ukraine into NATO after the war is over..”

Beltway Mediocrities Bumble Toward Armageddon (Eve Ottenberg)

Our government is run by second-raters. Mediocrities in the state department and national security apparatus have seized the political steering wheel, because president Joe Biden, like senator Dianne “No Show” Feinstein and many others in our extensive gerontocracy do not inspire confidence. And the results are disastrous for Americans. De-dollarization across much of the planet and the possibility of a two-front, conceivably radioactive war against China and/or Russia. You think these two developments sound far-fetched? Well, the former is already underway, and as for the latter, rabid neo-cons and jingoistic four-star generals have stepped into the vacuum at the top and on your TV screen, and these dimwits can’t imagine losing, so now we move closer than ever before, even during the Cuban Missile Crisis, to igniting nuclear Armageddon.

Just picture the Ukrainian drone that struck the Kremlin May 3 and ask yourself what would have happened had a Russian drone collided with the roof of the white house? The U.S. might well have launched nuclear missiles – amirite? We denizens of planet earth are all very lucky, and especially those of us who reside in American cities, that Russian leaders were rational enough not to target western metropolises with nuclear warheads. They have made clear that they won’t be further provoked, even by preposterous U.S. media claims that the Kremlin droned itself, claims that reveal yet again two sorry facts: first, our press outlets think we are morons and second, they parrot CIA talking points.

That’s the hot war. Then there’s the economic one. Dollar boosters like Treasury secretary Janet Yellen like to note that it would be very difficult for any other country’s money to replace the greenback as the world’s reserve currency. True enough. But who says the world has to HAVE a reserve currency? What China, Russia and the Global South show, as they stop trading in dollars and dump U.S. Treasuries, is that they can conduct business in their own currencies and will do so, having witnessed Washington’s idiotic sanctions on numerous nations and thus having been terrorized by the imbecilic weaponization of the dollar. So most of the world, aside from the west, now takes steps to abandon the U.S. financially. The dollar’s reign is ending, and soon we Americans will face a radically altered and indisputably grimmer future. All thanks to the stupidity of the very pedestrian people at the top in Washington, starting back in the Clinton administration.

As for the China-Russia alliance, anyone with a brain could see that coming. But not our congressmembers. And those forewarned had not a care in the world. As long ago as 1997, senator Joe Biden proclaimed: “And then the Russians say to me ‘You keep expanding NATO, we’re going to make friends with China.’ I almost burst out laughing. I could barely contain myself, I said ‘Good luck to you guys. If China doesn’t work out, try Iran.’” Well, who’s laughing now? Not the U.S. president, who can’t even get China’s leader to answer his phone calls. Not the American people, who, according to some polls (58 percent, said a Reuters-Ipsos poll in October), worry that this administration of very unexceptional people will enrage the Russia-China colossus and thus stumble into a nuclear holocaust.

Meanwhile congress throws gasoline on this political dumpster fire with its Ukrainian Victory Resolution. In the House, Tennessee Dem Steve Cohen and South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson sponsored this bill. A companion resolution, introduced by senators – Connecticut Dem Richard Blumenthal, liberal darling and Rhode Island Dem Sheldon Whitehouse, and South Carolina Republican Lindsay “Bombs Away” Graham – now percolates through that chamber of the capitol. This very unfortunate and wildly provocative legislation mandates “the restoration of Ukraine’s 1991 borders and to bring Ukraine into NATO after the war is over,” according to Daniel Larison in Responsible Statecraft April 28.

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But their media won’t tell them..

People In West Are Paying For Their Leaders’ Mistakes – Peskov (TASS)

People in the West should understand that they are paying the erroneous and ineffective policy of their leaders, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Friday. “More and more analysts [in the West] begin to elaborate on the topic of the efficiency of the collective West’s policy, on the topic of the efficiency of the [anti-Russian] sanctions,” he said. “It is rather good than bad.” “We would like people in the collective West to know that they have to reap the consequences of the erroneous, wrong and ineffective policy of their leaders,” the Kremlin spokesman stressed.

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“Today they have 70 genders, tomorrow who knows what,” Beslangurov told the conference. “Many normal people do not understand this, and they want to emigrate..”

‘Migrant Village’ For Conservative Americans To Be Built In Russia (RT)

Construction of an “American village” for 200 families of conservative immigrants will start in Moscow Region in 2024, immigration attorney Timur Beslangurov has revealed. Beslangurov, a partner in the Vista law firm, brought up the new settlement at a session of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum on Thursday. “Basically, they are Orthodox Christians, Americans and Canadians who, for ideological reasons, want to move to Russia,” he said. The regional government approved the construction, but the prospective immigrants are funding the settlement themselves, according to Beslangurov. It will be built in the Serpukhov district, due south of the Russian capital. Tens of thousands of Westerners would like to move to Russia, the attorney claimed, including people with no Russian roots.


“The reasons are known, it’s the imposition of radical left-liberal values in the West, which basically have no limits. Today they have 70 genders, tomorrow who knows what,” Beslangurov told the conference. “Many normal people do not understand this, and they want to emigrate. Many choose Russia, but face a huge number of bureaucratic problems related to the imperfection of Russian immigration laws.” One potential group of immigrants are traditionalist Catholics who are “white Americans with many children,” said Beslangurov, adding that the US government considers them “domestic terrorists.” A FBI memo made public in February referred to “radical-traditionalist Catholic” believers as potential “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.” After 19 Republican state attorneys-general demanded of the federal government to stop its “anti-Catholic bigotry,” the FBI disavowed the document.

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In short: they have no idea. For one thing, they can’t test it.

Pentagon Acknowledges Uncertainty in Defending Against Hypersonic Missiles (ET)

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking nearly $30 billion in its $842 billion Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) budget request for missile defeat and defense programs across all branches of the military. Right now, the DOD is in a race to develop its own hypersonic missiles and engineer effective defenses against the high-velocity, maneuverable missiles being developed by Russia and, particularly, by the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). During questioning by Senate Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chair Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) in a May 9 budget hearing, four flag officers said some existing systems have “capabilities” against hypersonic weapons but did not know for sure until they are tested against the evolving missile systems.

King was not happy. “It seems to me that we are spending a lot more money to developing hypersonic missiles than we are developing capabilities to defend against them,” he said. King asked Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jon A. Hill if an aircraft carrier could be defended against a hypersonic missile attack. “We have the capability to stop it in two places, in the boost-glide phase” and when the missile re-enters the atmosphere, Hill said, noting the Navy’s SM-6 missiles are “cruise missile killers” designed to track and kill fast-moving, maneuverable targets that can fly high and skim the surface. “It would be defeated by a destroyer defending a carrier.”

Noting Ukrainians claim they shot down a Russian hypersonic weapon last week with a Patriot anti-air missile provided by the U.S., Hill said the Patriot systems, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missiles (THAAD), and Aegis ballistic defense system all have “capability” demonstrated in tests against hypersonics. “THAAD operates on the edge of the atmosphere,” he said. “We haven’t tested it against hypersonic, but I’m willing to bet there are capacities that we can leverage there.” [..] King said these ant-missile systems are based on technologies from the 1980-90s and asked why DOD is not experimenting with using direct energy weapons to knock down missiles. At $4 to $10 million each, using missiles in a “bullet on bullet approach is an expensive proposition” in defending against other missiles.

Developing a “directed energy” weapon for missile defense has been “a target for a period of time,” Hill said with prototypes being tested in the fleet. “It is scaling its way there. That work is being done today.” King said he’s been lobbying to aggressively ramp up direct energy weapons development for five years without “any sense of urgency” from the DOD. Direct energy is “clearly preferable to a $4 million bullet,” he said. “More investment is required,” Hill said. “It is all science and engineering right now.”

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“EU Warns China” equals: they have no idea what their place in the world is. What are they going to do? Stop imports from China?

First time I’ve seen Borrell claim that “what is happening in Ukraine is an existential threat for us..” He stole that line from Putin. But it obviously doesn’t work. The existence of Russia is not the same as the “existence” of a fleeting political and economic bloc.

EU Warns China To Use Influence With Russia To End War In Ukraine (SCMP)

The European Union has warned China again to use its influence to end Russia’s war in Ukraine, or their already strained relations will worsen. “Life is complicated,” said top diplomat Josep Borrell at a press conference in Sweden on Friday evening. “If I don’t like your behaviour, you cannot expect to be good friends. It is as simple as that.” He welcomed the news that China’s special envoy for Eurasia would embark on a trip to Ukraine, Russia and other European capitals next Monday in a bid to help resolve the 15-month armed conflict. “It is so important that China understands that what is happening in Ukraine is an existential threat for us, and we expect that China will use its role and its responsibilities. If this is not the case, our relationship will not be so good.”

“We had been asking China to get involved with Ukraine, and this phone call with President Xi [Jinping] was the first small step. And this special envoy is another step towards China using its influence to stop this war,” Borrell told the Post, in a separate conversation. But he added that “we know China is practising pro-Russian neutrality”. “So this [peace] initiative is important for us, because we cannot have a good relationship with China if China is clearly supporting Russia.” Borrell spoke to the Post on the eve of a debate focused on China involving the bloc’s 27 foreign ministers. Wary of leaks and security breaches after a morning discussing Ukraine, ministers were bused off to a 17th century castle on the outskirts of Stockholm. There they were locked in a room with no phones or other electronic devices for four hours to discuss how to recalibrate ties with China.

The conversation was guided by a position paper on China policy written by the bloc’s foreign service, which was sent to member states on Thursday after intense internal haggling about its content. The Spaniard claimed members stood united behind the nine-page document, which calls for continued engagement with Beijing, even as it warned of the growing threat from an increasingly “nationalist and ideological” rival. “The 27 are united behind the music of this text,” Borrell said. “I haven’t seen any concrete disagreement.” [..] However, behind the scenes some diplomats were already pushing back against the assertion that the 27 were on the same page. “It seems that somebody is tone-deaf,” said one, adding that the document conveyed an “apologetic tone” suggesting Brussels was not seriously committed to revamping ties with Beijing.

A second described it as “meandering”, but believed such as the price the EU would pay for trying to accommodate members with such competing interests. “It is a big tent. It has to suit everyone from Lithuania to Hungary,” the official said, referring to the most hawkish and dovish of the bloc’s members regarding China. Arriving at the Stockholm summit on Friday morning, ministers offered mixed reviews on the report. “I underline that unfortunately systemic rivalry has risen significantly in recent years. We have to make that clear together here, we as Europeans can only speak with one voice, which is then heard in foreign policy,” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, ostensibly approving of the text. “We as Europeans do not want decoupling. We do not want distraction. But we want to minimise our own risks that endanger our security,” she said, highlighting one of the document’s leading themes.

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“..the grain deal will cease to be effective if Moscow does not receive guarantees that its demands will be met by May 18..“

Grain Deal Extension Possible Only If Russian Part Implemented – Peskov (TASS)

The only chance of the grain deal being extended is if the Russian part of the agreement is implemented, regardless of any phone conversations that take place between the Russian and Turkish presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday. “For a [grain] deal to take place, a conversation between the two presidents will not help. In order to seal the deal, the second part of the agreement, which concerns promises to us (the Russian Federation – TASS), must be implemented,” the Kremlin spokesman stressed. Speaking in general about the possibility of a conversation between Putin and Erdogan, Peskov said that it is not on the schedule now, “but it may be penciled in within a few hours if necessary.”

Agreements to enable the export of food and fertilizers to world markets were signed on July 22, 2022 in Istanbul. They were originally meant to last 120 days and were extended for another 120 days in November. Russia announced on March 18 that the deal had been extended for another 60 days, saying this would be enough time to assess the effectiveness of the memorandum signed with the UN. Moscow has said repeatedly that any further extension of the deal hinges on whether the Russian part of the deal is implemented. The lack of progress on this issue jeopardizes the future of the entire initiative.

On May 10-11 representatives of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UN met in Istanbul to discuss a potential extension of the grain deal and the implementation of the Russian part of the agreement for supplies of grain and fertilizers. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin told journalists after the negotiations that the grain deal will cease to be effective if Moscow does not receive guarantees that its demands will be met by May 18. They concern the export of agricultural products and fertilizers, the reconnection of the Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT system and some other issues.

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“Here’s an interesting take from a reader of this blog for your consideration: “I have had a theory that the FBI made Hunter Biden a Confidential Human Source..”

“Rep James Comer (R-KY) formally requested it from FBI Director Chris Wray, who has declined to furnish it on the grounds that the doc contains info from a “confidential human source”..”

The Smell of Goose Cooking (Jim Kunstler)

“Joe Biden could go to jail and The New York Times wouldn’t tell anybody he was no longer president.” — Peter A. Golden

Reality has become so elastic in America now that it stretches to a cosmic event horizon deep in the Twilight Zone where everything is magically transformed into its opposite. Note The New York Times report on Thursday saying that the House Oversight Committee showed “no proof” in its disclosures of the Biden Family’s international money laundering and racketeering operations. In fact, the committee outlined a shit-ton of documentation in the form of bank records detailing exactly how gobs of money from foreign lands were washed and rinsed through a dozen shell companies and disbursed to everyone in the immediate Biden family down to the president’s grandchildren. The committee’s preliminary report was precise as to the money’s exact origins, its journey through the laundering apparatus, and the owners of the bank accounts it landed in. Thus: “No evidence of wrongdoing.”

Meanwhile, another whistleblower from the FBI emerged claiming that an unclassified FBI document called an FD-1023 report exists detailing the Biden Family moneygrubbing scheme. Rep James Comer (R-KY) formally requested it from FBI Director Chris Wray, who has declined to furnish it on the grounds that the doc contains info from a “confidential human source” (CHS), and the bureau can’t compromise an investigation, blah blah…. Here’s an interesting take from a reader of this blog for your consideration: “I have had a theory that the FBI made Hunter Biden a Confidential Human Source. They can pretend that they were monitoring CCP figures in the US and that Hunter was in a position to provide them with counter intelligence. As with Whitey Bulger, the whole business was just a scam to keep him out of jail on legitimate charges.

This would explain why the FBI’s Wray is claiming national secrets now that Comer is closing in on Biden family corruption and influence peddling.” It would also help to explain why Hunter Biden has been untouchable despite clear evidence of firearms felonies, money laundering and influence peddling crimes. All in plain sight for years. This CHS bullshit has been used repeatedly by the FBI and DOJ to shield Democrats and their henchmen from legal jeopardy. Stephan ‘Hamburger’ Halper, Christopher Steele and various other foreign election meddlers have been shielded by the FBI under the pretense of protecting sensitive intelligence, methods and foreign sources. Would they dare pull this one with Hunter? Why not? The DOJ and the FBI spent years sitting on his laptop stuffed with incriminating docs and videos, obviously shielding him.

The people running these agencies must be liable now for a range of crimes running from obstruction of justice to interfering in a presidential election, to acting as accomplices in the Biden Family bribery crimes. Mr. Comer’s Oversight Committee has only just started. Soon, they will be hauling in witnesses, and even if the cable news networks and the big newspapers don’t report about them, there are too many alt-news outlets that can only be stifled by a Carrington Event.

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“Just stop talking, for the love of God, and DO SOMETHING.”

James Woods Rips McCarthy Over Biden Border BS (AW)

Now that Title 42 has officially ended, the humanitarian catastrophe at the nation’s southern border is set to dramatically intensify as hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants are expected to swarm into the country, overwhelming already stressed to the extreme Customs and Border Protection agents with the responsibility for the unprecedented mass invasion solely belonging to President Joe Biden, at least according to the union that represents the CBP. Harrowing videos of the sea of humanity descending upon and pouring over the border into El Paso, Texas have been posted to social media, images reminiscent of a third-world country which the nation is now becoming under the stewardship of the nation’s 46th president and CBP professionals are bracing for the situation to become far worse now that the Trump era policy put into place to mitigate the spread of COVID is no more.

On Thursday, the union that represents Border Patrol agents didn’t hold anything back as it laid the blame for the crisis solely at the feet of the Democrat career politician who has repeatedly lied about the consequences of his open borders policies. “This is by far the worst sustained disaster that any BP agent, active or retired, has ever seen at our border,” the NBPC tweeted along with a picture of smiling Joe on Thursday. “And one man is responsible for every single bit of it, with the worst still to come.” “The Biden Administration is absolutely corrupt to its core,” the NBPC stated in another Thursday tweet.

Also singling out Biden was conservative actor James Woods, a legendary Twitter warrior who turned up the heat on feckless Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) whose tough talk has yet to amount to the decisive action that many feel is necessary to right the ship. “Either impeach him or shut up,” the exasperated Woods said in response to a McCarthy tweet. “Just stop talking, for the love of God, and DO SOMETHING.”

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“..My classmate Barack Obama and I graduated on the same day in Spring of 1983..”

Open Border Catastrophe is the Cloward-Piven Plan to Destroy America (Wayne Root)

This open border disaster is not a “Johnny-come-lately” story. It is a plan that was created many decades ago by leftist radicals intent on destroying America. I should know. I was there. I am a witness. I am a blue collar S.O.B. (son of a butcher) from the wrong side of the tracks- a poor majority-black town on the Bronx borderline. I attended almost all black middle school and high school in Mt Vernon, New York. After I graduated Valedictorian, I was accepted at prestigious Ivy League Columbia University. What I found there shocked me to the core. Columbia University was filled with spoiled-brat, “Lucky Sperm Club,” privileged white kids who were obsessed with hatred for America. These radical nutjobs bragged about being communists and Marxists. They bragged about their hatred of white people (even though they were white themselves).

They bragged about hating rich people (even though they were from rich families themselves). This was one gigantic guilt trip. My classmates hated themselves, their country, their parents, their wealth, and most of all- their whiteness. They talked all day long about their plans to bring America down; destroy the economy; bankrupt white businessmen; and create “equality and fairness” by turning America into a socialist/Marxist/communist country. It’s important to note that one of my classmates at Columbia was Barack Obama. My classmate Barack Obama and I graduated on the same day in Spring of 1983. This very month is the 40th anniversary of our Columbia graduation. These Columbia University radicals (and traitors) had a plan named Cloward-Piven. It was named after two Columbia University professors- the husband-and-wife team of Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven.

The plan was actually simple- get everyone possible in America on welfare, food stamps and a hundred other government welfare programs. Get so many on the government dole that the economy is overwhelmed, destroyed and collapses under the weight of the exploding national debt. Basically, America goes bankrupt. At this point, Americans would be in so much pain and so frightened, they would beg government to save them. And that is how they would “fundamentally change America forever.” Remember those words? They came out of the mouth of Barack Obama. He learned those words and this plan at Columbia. Because of the collapse of the economy and society, Cloward and Piven believed America would be ready for socialism- bailouts, a permanent welfare state, and a monthly universal income check. The goal? Equality, equity, social justice. Recognize those words? Everyone would be in the same boat- dependent on Big Brother for survival.

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“..every member of the Biden family that received any of the funds is implicated AND MUST BE INDICTED..”

Comer’s Presser And Biden’s Family (Denninger)

Cormer claims that the House Oversight Committee has uncovered a network of of roughly a dozen shell companies that moved money around in various transactions and had no business purpose at all. In other words, other than taking in cash from someone — foreign entities — and distributing those funds through a series of smaller transactions the firms had no offices, no people, conducted no business and produced nothing, whether at a profit or loss. The beneficiaries, that is the final persons, all in Biden’s family, who received the funds did not produce anything in return for same and couldn’t have given the convoluted path the funds took.

The structuring of transactions for the purpose of concealing the source or destination of funds is money laundering — also known as “structuring.” It is a serious felony even if no other criminal charge is proved; the intent is to evade reporting requirements. In these cases the attempt to evade the reporting failed as SARs were filed anyway, but that doesn’t matter. The attempt is illegal. FCPA prohibits taking funds from a foreign entity for corrupt purpose; that is, an effective bribe in exchange for anything of value where the other end of the transaction is outside the United States is illegal. That is also a serious criminal felony and has applied to all US persons since 1977 and, since 1998, to foreign entities as well if the funds or acts touch the United States.

“Specifically, the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA prohibit the willful use of the mails or any means of instrumentality of interstate commerce corruptly in furtherance of any offer, payment, promise to pay, or authorization of the payment of money or anything of value to any person, while knowing that all or a portion of such money or thing of value will be offered, given or promised, directly or indirectly, to a foreign official to influence the foreign official in his or her official capacity, induce the foreign official to do or omit to do an act in violation of his or her lawful duty, or to secure any improper advantage in order to assist in obtaining or retaining business for or with, or directing business to, any person.”

This is black-letter law folks. Being VP at the time is no defense. There is zero exemption available to anyone irrespective of their position when it comes to this law; indeed, the entire point of it is to prevent US businesses from bribing foreign government entities and to prevent foreign entities from bribing US Government officials and instrumentalities. The structuring of transactions so as to “break them up” and conceal is otherwise a straight-forward payment from one person to another is evidence of knowledge that the act is in fact corrupt and illegal; nobody bothers to conceal a lawful transaction as there is simply no purpose to it. These findings demand a hearing in open court with all the evidence. The FBI apparently has hard evidence backing this they refuse to turn over, although House Oversight has obtained many SARs and bank records and those, standing alone, appear to make a prima-facia case that Biden family members received funds in size in exchange for……. nothing.

What sort of legitimate claim could someone make here that isn’t a criminal enterprise? Are you really going to tell me that unrelated foreign entities gave gifts to a whole list of Biden family members with no expectation of anything in return? Really? C’mon folks. This looks like wild-eyed bribery by foreign entities buying influence from the Vice President of the United States. Calling that “Treason” is factually wrong; Treason is defined in the Constitution and in fact is the only crime that is. However, it is evidence of a series of serious felonies and every member of the Biden family that received any of the funds is implicated AND MUST BE INDICTED. In addition the foreign entities forced to divulge what they were attempting to obtain from the United States Government in exchange for those funds.

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“He’s running product and technology for a 100% software company. What is the CEO in charge of: not paying the vendors?”

Who Is Linda Yaccarino, Elon Musk’s Pick For New Twitter CEO? (Ghaffary)

Elon Musk said he has picked NBCUniversal advertising executive Linda Yaccarino to be the new CEO of Twitter. Musk announced on Thursday that he had chosen his replacement as the chief executive of Twitter and its parent company, X, and that “she” (without naming who) will be starting in about six weeks. Musk confirmed his selection on Friday morning. Yaccarino is a seasoned media executive who could help repair Twitter’s relationship with its advertisers, many of whom have quit or cut back from the platform recently because of Musk’s perceived volatility. She has a reputation for being a tough negotiator and was key in the launch of NBCUniversal’s digital Peacock streaming service, according to the Wall Street Journal. She’s also a known Trump supporter, according to sources. In the past few months, Yaccarino has publicly praised Musk, and she interviewed him at a major advertising conference in April — paving her way, in the eyes of media insiders, to take on the role.

[..] But if you think that means the Elon-Twitter story is over, don’t hold your breath. Musk is still very much in control. He will still be the owner of Twitter. Unless he sells the company — or a controlling share of it — he’s the one calling the shots. How much power he gives Yaccarino is entirely at Musk’s discretion. “I can think of no finer way to restore trust in the advertising community than by recruiting Linda Yaccarino for the CEO role,” said Lou Paskalis, longtime ad executive and CEO and founder of AJL Advisory. “But the only way that would work is if she has autonomy from the erratic behaviors of Elon that have undermined his efforts thus far.” Although Yaccarino is not vocal about her political beliefs, it’s well known in the advertising community that she’s conservative, according to several sources. She served on former President Donald Trump’s Council on Sports and Nutrition, and many have noted that she likes and follows conservative accounts on Twitter.

But she’s also drawn flak from the right. Some of the more extreme right-wing Twitter influencer accounts have criticized her for praising diversity in the workforce and for being chair of the Taskforce on the Future of Work at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF), which they view as an elitist organization. Even if Musk follows through with this plan and actually gives up his job as CEO — and this is not at all guaranteed to happen until it happens — the billionaires’s ownership of Twitter means he can essentially hire or fire a new CEO as he pleases. Twitter is now a private company, so Musk has virtually no outside accountability from an independent board of directors to question his decisions.

In a tweet announcing the leadership change, Musk said he “will transition to being exec chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops.” These roles still represent a major part of the business’s operations. So while Musk could decide to give a new CEO control over some parts of Twitter’s day-to-day business, just how much control he gives up is entirely his choice. In other words, Musk’s critics may be celebrating at the prospect of a new person in charge at Twitter, but it’s not guaranteed how much — especially on the product side — will change, even with someone new at the top. “He’s running product and technology for a 100% software company. What is the CEO in charge of: not paying the vendors?” Jason Goldman, Twitter’s former board member and first head of product, told Vox in a text.

Twittter CEO

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“Veganism is Bad for You and I’m Embarrassed I Promoted it – Now I Only Eat Red Meat,” Says Bear Grylls..”

“Veganism is Bad for You – Now I Only Eat Red Meat” – Bear Grylls (DS)

Bear Grylls has said he is “embarrassed” by his past support of veganism, which he now says is bad for you and that his health has been transformed by only eating red meat, in the latest blow for the woke fad. The Telegraph has more. The adventurer, whose diet is now mostly composed of red meat and organs, has claimed he was wrong to think that eating a plant-based diet was good for the environment and his health. “I was vegan quite a few years ago – in fact, I wrote a vegan cookbook – and I feel a bit embarrassed because I really promoted that,” the 48-year-old said in an interview with PA. “I thought that was good for the environment and I thought it was good for my health. And through time and experience and knowledge and study, I realised I was wrong on both counts.”

The television star published a cookbook in 2015 called Fuel for Life, which promoted achieving “maximum health with amazing dairy, wheat and sugar-free recipes”. He wrote in the book: “To satisfy our insatiable appetite for meat we have developed very unnatural ways of breeding, keeping and killing animals. This far exceeds our nutritional needs for the health of myself and my family.” But the father-of-three has made quite the U-turn since then, and now completely avoids vegetables as part of his “ancestral way of living”. “For a long time, I’d been eating so many vegetables thinking it was doing me good, but just never felt like it had given me any good nutrients compared to the nutrient density I get from basically blood or bone marrow – red meat,” he said. “I’ve tried to listen to my body more, tried to listen to nature, and I don’t miss vegetables at all. I don’t go near them and I’ve never felt stronger, my skin’s never been better, and my gut’s never been better.”

And despite his once proud advocacy of veganism – he reportedly used to turn his nose up when his filming crew were eating sausages for lunch – Grylls says that embracing red meat and organs has been the “biggest game-changer” for his health. “I’ve found a counterculture way of living, of embracing red meat and organs – natural food just like our millennia of ancestors would have eaten for hundreds of thousands of years. “And out of all the different things I do for my health, I think that’s probably been the biggest game-changer, in the sense of improving my vitality, wellbeing, strength, skin and gut. “It’s just been getting away from the processed stuff and making the predominant thing in my diet red meat and liver and the natural stuff – fruit, honey, that sort of thing. It’s just about finding a more ancestral way of living,” he said.

Kolakusic

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Tucker Max Keiser

 

 

 

 


The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg

 

 

 

 

Rabbit cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 062023
 


Vincent van Gogh Memory of the Garden at Etten (Ladies of Arles) 1888

 

Iraq Was The Graveyard Of American Ambition (Lukyanov)
Gonzalo Lira Arrested In Ukraine (RT)
Russia and US On Verge Of ‘Open Armed Conflict’ – Moscow (RT)
China’s Peace Plan For Ukraine ‘Wishful Thinking’ – Borrell (RT)
Zakharova Accuses Borrell Of ‘Colonialist Mindset’ (RT)
Zelensky Is A ‘Puppet’ – Lavrov (RT)
Poland Has Designs On Remnants Of Ukraine – Zakharova (TASS)
Prigozhin Warns Wagner Forces To Exit Bakhmut By May 10 (ZH)
Ukraine Brings 400-600 Troops To Bakhmut Every Day – Prigozhin (TASS)
Pretend to the End (Kunstler)
Nearly A Third Of The World Economy Is Now Subject To Sanctions (MoA)
Russian Car Sales Triple (RT)
Russia Oil Floods Global Markets Via Major Asian Intermediaries (Shakil)
New Disinformation Office To Oversee All The Other Ones (IC)
A Kingly Proposal: Letter From Julian Assange To King Charles III

 

 

 

 

End Covid

 

 

 

 

Meatball

 

 

Tulsi Tucker

 

 

 

 

Sen. Kennedy

 

 

 

 

“The American invasion of Iraq was both the apotheosis of post-Cold War American expansionism and a testament to its downfall. It is certainly not only a lesson for Washington, but also an illustration of the changes in the world. The era of superpowers is over. The world will be organized differently.”

Iraq Was The Graveyard Of American Ambition (Lukyanov)

Twenty years ago, in May 2003, then-US President George W. Bush landed on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf and declared “mission accomplished.” The Texan announced the liberation of Iraq and the end of active combat, in effect a military victory. This was technically true. Baghdad was under American control, and although Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had escaped, he would be captured six months later. In fact, the invasion by Washington and its coalition had destroyed Iraqi statehood, led to a bloody civil war, the disintegration of the country, a dramatic shift in the balance of power in the region (not in the Americans’ favor, by the way), and was the root cause of the series of upheavals that engulfed the Middle East in the 2000s and 2010s.

Much has already been said about the war in Iraq, and we will not repeat it. We will simply note that only the most stubborn neo-conservatives now defend it, justifying the expediency of the action under what is now well known to have been a false pretext. Even their like-minded but less radical supporters admit that the intervention was unsuccessful and unnecessary. Nevertheless, most of the initiators of the campaign – former President Bush himself, his inner circle of Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle – are comfortably retired, and Donald Rumsfeld left this world, without facing any repercussions, two years ago. Looking back at the events of that time, it is important to assess the role of the invasion in modern history. Iraq was the culmination of US efforts to assert complete and unchallenged hegemony.

Whatever the motives for the decision to go to war (and they ranged from the utterly mercenary to the personal and dogmatically idealistic), the political expediencies could not be concealed. The events of September 11, 2001, when America was attacked by a strange and seemingly unknown enemy, caused a shock. It was necessary to show that Washington was still capable of doing whatever it deemed necessary – even if it did not have the support of much of the world and of its key allies. And so it did. Bush’s aircraft carrier appearance was intended to shore up the status quo. What happened next, however, was that Iraq actually experienced the opposite: the limits of American capabilities and an eventual withdrawal in the face of an almost uncontrollable sectarian-political conflict.

It was not immediate, but it was already irreversible. Bush’s second term, which he won despite widespread dissatisfaction with the situation in Iraq in particular, was a period in which Washington’s ambitions were slowly relaxed. It should be remembered that the first term, in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, included ‘color revolutions’ in countries bordering Russia (Georgia and Ukraine), which were also part of the general desire for domination. America’s continued presence in the Middle East has become increasingly reactive rather than proactive, with Washington increasingly having to deal with the consequences of its own policies. ‘The Arab Spring’ initially generated enthusiasm and even revived an instinct for interventionism, but quickly became bogged down in confusing realities. The emergence of Islamic State potentially threatened immediate American interests and forced Washington into firefighting. In the end, however, it was put out by everyone, not just those who started it.

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God speed.

Gonzalo Lira Arrested In Ukraine (RT)

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on Friday confirmed the arrest of Gonzalo Lira, a Chilean national living in Kharkov, suspecting him of pro-Russian sympathies. Lira had been previously detained in April 2022, but released after a week and ordered not to leave the city. According to a SBU statement quoted by Ukrainian media, Lira “publicly justified the armed aggression” of Russia, denied or glorified alleged Russian war crimes, and “engaged in discrediting the top military and political leadership and the Defense Forces of our state.” The SBU filmed Lira’s arrest by heavily armed agents, blurring out the faces of everyone involved. He is suspected of “producing and distributing materials justifying the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, committed repeatedly.”

A court ordered him jailed pending the outcome of the investigation. The SBU has reportedly seized Lira’s computer and multiple cell phones as evidence. Lira, 55, is a writer and filmmaker who used to work in the US. Several years ago, he moved to Kharkov, where he got married and began blogging as ‘Coach Red Pill’. This is the second time he has been detained by the SBU. He was first arrested in April 2022, but was released after a week. No charges were pressed at the time, and Lira would not discuss the details of what happened, saying only that he was not allowed to leave Kharkov.

He blamed the US outlet Daily Beast for directing Kiev’s attention to his work, accusing the outlet of trying to get him killed. The tabloid had reported on Lira’s activities in March 2022, calling him “sleazy”and a “pro-Putin shill,” and noting its reporters had reached out to Ukrainian authorities. While Lira kept a low profile for several weeks after his release, he eventually returned to social media and continued voicing criticism of Kiev’s policies. Since then, Ukraine has enacted laws criminalizing dissent and allowing President Vladimir Zelensky to ban opposition political parties, nationalize the media and even persecute the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for being in canonical communion with Moscow.

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“The anger and hatred towards Russia with which Washington acts in a situation in which it frankly should think of its own safety, is inexplicable..”

Russia and US On Verge Of ‘Open Armed Conflict’ – Moscow (RT)

After the recent drone incident at the Kremlin, which Moscow has called a US-backed attempt by Ukraine to assassinate President Vladimir Putin, the US and Russia are on the verge of a shooting war with each other, a senior Russian diplomat has said. “We are working on preventing a fall of our relations with the US into the abyss of an open armed conflict,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in a TV interview on Friday. “We are already on the verge of this abyss.” Ryabkov described officials in Washington as “opponents” and “enemies” of Russia due to what he called Russophobic policies which are being pursued in spite of the risks.

“The anger and hatred towards Russia with which Washington acts in a situation in which it frankly should think of its own safety, is inexplicable,” he said. At the moment, “no real diplomacy” regarding the Ukraine conflict is possible between the two nations, because the US “has bet on further escalation,”according to Ryabkov. The US has long been a direct participant in the conflict and has long been waging an open hybrid war against my nation. The deputy foreign minister said Washington tends to dismiss the statements of Russian officials, citing remarks made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken regarding Russia’s claim that Ukraine was behind the drone attack on the Kremlin. “I would take anything coming out of the Kremlin with a very large shaker of salt,” Blinken told the Washington Post.

“We leave it to Ukraine to decide how it is going to defend itself,” he added. Kiev denies having any involvement in the attack on the Kremlin. The US government is treating “any signals coming from Moscow as an element of a disinformation campaign,” Ryabkov said. Meanwhile, Russia is “literally ready to use any means at its disposal” to deter threats to its security and the safety of its leadership, he added. He also reiterated the Russian claims that Washington shares responsibility with Kiev for the incident, which the US denies. Their statements of non-involvement are “not convincing anyone,” and are reminiscent of “how they attempted to pretty much blame us for the bombing of the Nord Stream,” Ryabkov said.

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I’ve said it before: Borrell is not a diplomat. Diplomacy is alien to him. “If you want peace, push Russia to withdraw..” Not going to happen. So why bring it up? Because you don’t want peace.

China’s Peace Plan For Ukraine ‘Wishful Thinking’ – Borrell (RT)

China’s proposal to end the conflict in Ukraine is “not a peace plan,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has claimed. The diplomat insisted that demands made by Kiev are the only viable solution to the crisis, despite Russia making clear it will not accept them. Speaking at an event hosted by the European University Institute in Florence on Friday, Borrell explained why the EU should continue to arm Kiev and argued that certain peace plans for Ukraine were undesirable. “The only thing that can be called a peace plan is [Vladimir] Zelensky’s proposal,” he stated, referring to the Ukrainian president. “The Chinese peace plan, well, it’s not a peace plan. It’s a set of wishful considerations, wishful thinking, but it’s not a peace plan.” “If you want peace, push Russia to withdraw,” Borrell added. “Don’t tell me to stop supporting Ukraine.”

Zelensky’s peace plan demands that Russia withdrawal from all territories that Kiev claims as its own, including Crimea, as well as calling for war reparations and NATO-like security guarantees, among other measures. The government in Kiev has repeatedly said it would not compromise and would continue to fight for as long as it takes. Borrell acknowledged that the Russian government would not accept Ukrainian demands, and blamed Moscow for continued hostilities. “If you have someone who says: ‘I have military objectives, and I will continue bombing, I will continue fighting until I get them’ – well, what kind of peace talk do you want to do?” he said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. If Kiev surrenders, Borrel claimed that Russian troops would be “on the Polish border” and Ukraine would become a “second Belarus”. Without Western support, this would happen “in a matter of days,” he predicted.

Russia launched its military operation against Ukraine in February 2022, citing Kiev’s continued attacks in Donbass and growing involvement with NATO. Beijing’s peace proposal, released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry in February, urges the security concerns of each party to be addressed. The Chinese government has criticized NATO’s expansion in Europe, calling it the root of the conflict in Ukraine. Borrell suggested that China could have a role in resolving the crisis by pushing Russia towards accepting Kiev’s conditions, although he expressed concern about closer ties between Moscow and Beijing. The diplomat insisted that the EU was more united than ever in the face of an “enemy,” joking that he felt like the “defense minister” of the bloc.

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“If the EU were in a position to have its own opinion, it would not be in the situation it is in today..”

Zakharova Accuses Borrell Of ‘Colonialist Mindset’ (RT)

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell betrayed a colonial mindset and a lack of geopolitical understanding when he dismissed a Chinese peace plan for Ukraine as “wishful thinking,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed. The Russian diplomat criticized Borrell on Friday for remarks he made earlier in the day at an event in the Italian city of Florence. The EU official had claimed that conditions set out by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky were the only viable path to resolving the conflict with Russia, and rejected a Chinese proposal unveiled in February as “not a peace plan.” “Not taking seriously proposals formulated on behalf of one fifth of the planet’s population and the leading world economy – that can only come from either a person who knows nothing about geopolitics, or someone with a colonial mentality who doesn’t respect people they consider beneath themself,” Zakharova insisted, referring to Borrell.


The Russian diplomat described Zelensky’s conditions for peace as “an American guidebook for inciting conflict in Europe,” suggesting that Borrell was advocating Kiev’s position under pressure from Washington. “If the EU were in a position to have its own opinion, it would not be in the situation it is in today,” she remarked. Moscow considers the conflict with Ukraine to be part of a proxy war waged against it by Washington. The EU, which followed the US lead in imposing sanctions on Russia and sending weapons to Kiev, does not decide its own foreign policy and has consequently sacrificed the national interests of member states, Russian officials have argued. Borrell faced accusations of racism last year after describing Europe as a “garden” and most other parts of the world as a “jungle.” He denied that the metaphor was intended to have colonialist connotations, but nonetheless apologized.

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Lavrov IS a diplomat.

“All this has to be discussed, of course, not with Zelensky, who is a puppet in the hands of the West, but directly with his masters..”

Zelensky Is A ‘Puppet’ – Lavrov (RT)

The West and Russia will eventually sit down to discuss their differences, but this dialogue should be held not with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky but with those using him as a stooge, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday. Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Goa, India, Lavrov reiterated that Moscow had “never refused to settle issues arising from the actions of the US and their satellites to pump Ukraine with weapons” so that it could fight Russia. The minister noted that many countries around the world are growing increasingly aware that these tensions cannot be defused solely by freezing the Ukraine conflict. “Everyone understands that the ongoing events are geopolitical in nature,” he said.

“Without solving the main geopolitical problem – that of the West aspiring to hold onto its hegemony and impose its own will on all the others, – it is impossible to resolve crises in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world,” Lavrov added. The Russian diplomat pointed to China’s 12-point plan for a political settlement in Ukraine, which was released in late February. Lavrov said that while the plan does seek to settle the conflict itself, it also focuses on much more global and comprehensive issues. “All this has to be discussed, of course, not with Zelensky, who is a puppet in the hands of the West, but directly with his masters,” Lavrov said, noting that such talks would take place “sooner or later.”

In early April, amid speculation about an imminent Ukrainian spring counteroffensive, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken ruled out any peace negotiations between Kiev and Moscow, suggesting that such talks would only help Russia to “ratify” its territorial gains. Moscow has repeatedly said it is open to talks with Kiev if the latter recognizes “the reality on the ground,” including the new status of four former Ukrainian regions that overwhelmingly voted to join Russia last autumn. However, around the same time as the referendums, Zelensky signed a decree prohibiting negotiations with the current Russian leadership.

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“..this is the clearest signal Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky will ever receive on [his] country’s NATO bid..”

Poland Has Designs On Remnants Of Ukraine – Zakharova (TASS)

Polish authorities have designs on the remnants of Ukraine, and this is the clearest signal Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky will ever receive on country’s NATO bid, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday. The diplomat drew attention to Zelensky’s words, who said on Thursday that Ukraine understood that it could not join NATO during the conflict, but wanted a “clear signal” that it would be accepted later. “Poland has designs on the remnants of Ukraine. There are no clearer signals,” Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel.

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Prigozhin feels disrespected. But not by Putin. You can bet they are still close. At least part of this is an act.

Wagner is an attack force, not a defense one. And the attacking work is done.

Prigozhin Warns Wagner Forces To Exit Bakhmut By May 10 (ZH)

The infighting between Wagner Group mercenary firm and Russia’s defense ministry has come to a head, as on Friday Wagner chiefYevgeny Prigozhin declared he’s withdrawing his forces from Bakhmut on May 10 for lack of ammunition. He’s issued fierce complaints for weeks that ammunition is being withheld from the military chain of command as internal tensions have exploded into public view. “I declare on behalf of the Wagner fighters, on behalf of the Wagner command, that on May 10, 2023, we are obliged to transfer positions in the settlement of Bakhmut to units of the Defense Ministry and withdraw the remains of Wagner to logistics camps to lick our wounds,” Prigozhin said.

“I’m withdrawing Wagner PMC units because without ammunition, they are doomed to a senseless death,” Prigozhin continued, asserting that his firm had fallen “out of favor with envious near-military bureaucrats.” The day prior to this he issued a separate dramatic battlefield video on Telegram declaring “We are lacking 70% of the needed ammunition!” The clip is dramatic and disturbing as it shows Prigozhin standing over dozens of his fighters killed on the Ukrainian battlefield, while blaming their deaths on lack of adequate support. In the video, he expressly calls out the defense minister and chief of the armed forces: “Shoigu, Gerasimov, where … is the ammunition?” says Prigozhin. “The blood is still fresh,” he says of bodies around him. “They came here as volunteers and are dying so you can sit like fat cats in your luxury offices.”

It is by far the most scathing attack on the regular chain of command as well as unsupportive politicians at home launched by the Wagner chief, following weeks of public verbal denunciations and even warnings to take the matter directly to Putin, who is no doubt fully aware of the spat. The Thursday social media message included the following moment: “These are someone’s f**king fathers and someone’s sons. And you f**kers who aren’t giving [us] ammunition, you b*tches, will have your guts eaten out in hell!” yelled Prigozhin in Thursday’s video.

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“The enemy is well equipped, well trained, acts as one and resists with dignity, so we move on..”

Ukraine Brings 400-600 Troops To Bakhmut Every Day – Prigozhin (TASS)

Ukraine’s armed forces bring from 400 to 600 people to Artemovsk (the Ukrainian name is Bakhmut) every day and lose the same number every day. This was stated by the founder of PMC Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin. The corresponding video was posted on Saturday in the Telegram channel of his press service. “Behind us is Bakhmut, it remains approximately 2.5 km to take – and the city will be taken,” he said. “The enemy pulls up daily from 400 to 600 people, they lose approximately the same number daily. The units of PMC Wagner work in lockstep. The enemy does not spare artillery ammunition. A sufficient number of various foreign-made armored vehicles have appeared, a large number of drones. The enemy is well equipped, well trained, acts as one and resists with dignity, so we move on,” he said.

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“My guess is that the nominal leader of this underworld in the USA — more like a master-of-ceremonies than an actual director — is Barack Obama..”

Pretend to the End (Kunstler)

The creatures of the underworld running our country must think the public is awfully stupid. You are expected to take at face value the claim that “Joe Biden” is actually up for re-election. Could it be more obvious that he’s pretending? (Just as he’s been pretending to serve as CEO of our government.) Meanwhile, we are not supposed to notice that the entities behind him are scrambling to dismantle, demolish, and asset-strip what remains of the USA in body and spirit. But enough of us are noticing to make it a problem for them. First, who are these entities? They are exactly who you think they are. What you see around you is not just a complex system (Western Civ) unwinding and breaking apart — though that is part of the story. It is also the appearance of a controlled demolition by desperate, frightened, and crazy people who want to be the ones left standing when the demolition is complete. The catch is, they are pretending, too. They are control-freaks who cannot keep things under control.

This power underworld is a coalition of large public and private organizations, here and out there in the world, and the folks in charge of them, and they are all out of control, too, pretending that their operations are coherent and efficacious. For instance, the vast consortium of intelligence agencies in our country, the CIA, DIA, ad nauseam, their multitudinous spin-offs, and their international partners (e.g., MI6, Mossad, the World Health Organization). If you want to see how they actually work, watch the Coen Brothers’ movie Burn After Reading. You will see a bustle of perfectly hapless, frantic, and insanely self-destructive activity performed by clueless clowns in nice business suits. There is also the matrix of banking, including the international regulatory agencies such as the IMF, the World Bank, the Fed, the European Central Bank, and the banks themselves. And the bankers — Powell, LeGarde, Dimon, et. al — and the money managers, Fink, Soros, and their nefarious activities. They are all pretending to be in charge of a money system so burdened with fakery and legerdemain that it’s in the process of flying up the cosmic wazoo and vanishing, leaving Western Civ, functionally, broke.

My guess is that the nominal leader of this underworld in the USA — more like a master-of-ceremonies than an actual director — is Barack Obama. He has been running “Joe Biden” since the 2020 coup against Mr. Trump. The Clintons wanted to be in the mix somewhere, but it appears they’ve lost the fight for dominance — what with Bill in a perpetual doghouse and Hillary wearing that “loser” sign plastered on her back. For now, “Joe B” is a place-holder for the Party of Chaos. Who else have they got? Gavin Newsom? I’m sure. Hair and teeth only get you so far. Just wait until they roll the footage of San Francisco. Kamala Harris? Discussion unnecessary. Elizabeth Warren? (Grandma Oatmeal, we call her.) A bunch of governors no one has ever heard of? For now, they’ll just try ignoring RFK, Jr., since he wants to turn the Democratic Party upside-down and inside-out while rinsing it with Drano.

Who will they slot in when “Joe B” gets the hook? Michelle Obama, of course. Seems ridiculous, I know. (Actually, it’s completely ridiculous.) But our country has become so marinated in recycled products, celebrities, and narratives that Mr. Barack Obama (and cohorts) might just be bold enough to try it. Michelle is just another product at this point, like a can of Bud Lite, or a Hostess Ho-Ho, and that’s how they will try to sell her. The public’s collective mind has been successfully disordered to the degree that unreality no longer registers. If they pull this off, it will be Mr. Obama’s fourth term — and the coup-de-grace for the nation.

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Has anything ever failed this badly?

Nearly A Third Of The World Economy Is Now Subject To Sanctions (MoA)

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) just published a study about: The Human Consequences of Economic Sanctions. The results are as any observer of such acts would expect. Sanctions are used too broadly. They hardly ever serve their supposed original purpose and do not reach their aims. They hurt the poor more than the supposedly targeted leaders of this or that country. These numbers though are astonishing: “Over the past six decades, there has been significant growth in the use of economic sanctions by Western powers and international organizations. Less than 4 percent of countries were subject to sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union, or United Nations in the early 1960s; today, that share has risen to 27 percent. The magnitudes are similar when we consider their impact on the global economy: the share of world GDP produced in sanctioned countries rose from less than 4 percent to 29 percent in the same period. In other words, more than one fourth of countries and nearly a third of the world economy is now subject to sanctions by the UN or Western nations.”

Under international law only sanction imposed by the United Nations’ Security Council have legal standing. Sanctions by the U.S. or EU are under international law an illegal use of state instruments. The U.S. is using sanctions constantly to press under nations to do its bidding. Until the recent war in Ukraine the EU has used sanctions mostly to ‘do something’ because it had run out of ideas or diplomatic abilities. The recent sanctions on Russia proved to be hurting the Russians much less than they are hurting the people living in the European Union. It was a catastrophic mistake by EU leaders to preemptively agree to the sanctions the U.S. had been pushing for before Russia entered the civil war in Ukraine on the side of its Ukrainian brethren. The consequences had obviously not been gamed out and thought through.

When nearly one third of the world economy is under sanctions the other two-third are losing out too. It would therefore make sense for everyone to abolish all sanctions that have not been issued by the UNSC. Even UNSC sanctions should only be used sparsely and in a very narrowly targeted manner. Sanctions that hit the whole economy of a country are inhuman and should be prohibited.

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Sanctions at work. Devastating.

Russian Car Sales Triple (RT)

Sales of new passenger cars in Russia jumped 2.7 times in April compared to the same period in 2022, data from analytical agency Avtostat showed on Thursday. According to the report, more than 75,000 new vehicles were sold last month in total, which is 8% more than in March. Avtostat said that 44% of the cars sold were Chinese brands, while another 35% were Russian made. The combined share of South Korean, Japanese, European, and American automobiles fell to just over 20%. The top-selling brand in the country was Russian LADA (33.4%), and the most popular model was the Lada Granta (24.3%). Among foreign automakers, Chery was the best-selling Chinese brand, and the Geely Coolray crossover was the top selling model. The exit of Western and Japanese companies from the Russian auto market has provided an opportunity to rising industry players such as China and Iran.


Chinese automakers have embarked on a major expansion in the Russian market and are expected to reach a 60% share of total sales this year, according to car dealer chain Autodom. China exported over 160,000 cars to Russia last year, more than doubling its share of the country’s auto market. Iranian auto makers are also expected to launch sales in Russia this year. Experts say the situation could also boost the Russian auto industry. Car manufacturer AvtoVAZ revealed earlier that it plans to double production this year to more than 400,000 cars. According to the company’s press service, it has the capacity to produce up to 500,000 vehicles a year.

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“..with the expansion of BRICS (to BRICS+), there will be a decline in the value of the dollar and the collapse of the IMF..”

Russia Oil Floods Global Markets Via Major Asian Intermediaries (Shakil)

Despite western sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine conflict, some Asian and specifically West Asian economies are importing significant amounts of Russian gasoline at discounted prices, and reselling it with windfall profits to the EU under their brand names. Western sanctions have forced Moscow to actively diversify its energy exports – oil and gas exports accounted for 45 percent of the Russian government’s 2022 budget – and it has rapidly filled the gap left by its diminished oil exports to Europe with new customers in China, India, and the Persian Gulf nations. Despite the EU’s prohibition on seaborne exports, during the initial quarter of the current year, Russian seaborne crude oil exports amounted to 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd), surpassing the 3.35 million bpd recorded at the onset of the Ukrainian conflict a year ago.

According to industry analysts and oil executives, this has transpired despite western sanctions that led to the severance of several active trading partnerships for Russian oil in the EU markets. Dubai-based oil tycoon Hakam Valliani tells The Cradle that, in general, sanctions did not significantly impact the Russian gasoline supply line as new buyers filled the gap left by the EU market. Washington, he says, had enforced these limitations to force the EU to buy expensive US gasoline rather than cheaper Russian oil. When compared to Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG), the price of US LNG is nearly $1,000 per ton more expensive, so “the European Union is paying a disproportionately huge amount for the US stuff,” Valliani explains. “Sanctions or no sanctions, individuals will find a way around by devising cunning strategies to bypass restrictions,” he says, adding:

“This is scary to see that the entire American-based price benchmark and the SWIFT system are collapsing, and a new benchmark will be needed within the next five years. Russia now accepts a variety of currencies when transacting fuel sales, including Indian rupees, Chinese renminbi, and other regional currencies.” Valliani predicts that with the expansion of BRICS (to BRICS+), there will be a decline in the value of the dollar and the collapse of the International Monetary Fund (IMF): “The world’s future source of gold and oil will come from BRICS+.” This has allowed countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, China, India, and Iran to import the majority of Russian oil, not for domestic consumption, but to transport it to third parties in energy-deficient markets in Europe and Asia.

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Theater of the absurd.

New Disinformation Office To Oversee All The Other Ones (IC)

Within the federal government, offices dedicated to fighting foreign disinformation are springing up like daisies, from the Pentagon’s new Influence and Perception Management Office to at least four organizations inside the Department of Homeland Security alone, as well as ones inside the FBI and State Department. To oversee the growing efforts — which arose in response to concerns about the impact of Russian meddling in the 2016 election but have now expanded — the director of national intelligence has created a new office. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines for the first time mentioned the creation of the Foreign Malign Influence Center, or FMIC.

“Congress put into law that we should establish a Foreign Malign Influence Center in the intelligence community; we have stood that up,” Haines said, referring to legislation passed last year. “It encompasses our election threat work, essentially looking at foreign influence and interference in elections, but it also deals with disinformation more generally.” The FMIC was established on September 23 of last year after Congress approved funding, but its creation was announced publicly only after The Intercept’s inquiry. Because it is situated within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI, it enjoys the unique authority to marshal support from all elements of the U.S. intelligence community to monitor and combat foreign influence efforts such as disinformation campaigns.

The FMIC is authorized to counter foreign disinformation targeting not just U.S. elections, but also “the public opinion within the United States” generally, according to the law. Haines also made clear that the effort to counter disinformation has expanded beyond not just elections and Russia, but also to other foreign adversaries: “What we have been doing is effectively trying to support the Global Engagement Center and others throughout the U.S. government in helping them to understand what are the plans and intentions of the key actors in this space: China, Russia, Iran, etc.” The GEC is a State Department entity tasked with countering foreign disinformation by amplifying America’s own propaganda.

Creation of the FMIC was debated in Congress for months, with senators questioning how its mission would differ from the bevy of entities that already exist. “We want to be sure that this center enhances those efforts rather than duplicating them or miring them in unnecessary bureaucracy,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in January 2022, adding that there were “legitimate questions about how large such an organization should be and even about where it would fit.” Reached for comment, Warner’s office said the senator’s position hasn’t changed.

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“The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath.”

A Kingly Proposal: Letter From Julian Assange To King Charles III

To His Majesty King Charles III,

On the coronation of my liege, I thought it only fitting to extend a heartfelt invitation to you to commemorate this momentous occasion by visiting your very own kingdom within a kingdom: His Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh. You will no doubt recall the wise words of a renowned playwright: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath.” Ah, but what would that bard know of mercy faced with the reckoning at the dawn of your historic reign? After all, one can truly know the measure of a society by how it treats its prisoners, and your kingdom has surely excelled in that regard. Your Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh is located at the prestigious address of One Western Way, London, just a short foxhunt from the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. How delightful it must be to have such an esteemed establishment bear your name.

“One can truly know the measure of a society by how it treats its prisoners”. It is here that 687 of your loyal subjects are held, supporting the United Kingdom’s record as the nation with the largest prison population in Western Europe. As your noble government has recently declared, your kingdom is currently undergoing “the biggest expansion of prison places in over a century”, with its ambitious projections showing an increase of the prison population from 82,000 to 106,000 within the next four years. Quite the legacy, indeed. As a political prisoner, held at Your Majesty’s pleasure on behalf of an embarrassed foreign sovereign, I am honoured to reside within the walls of this world class institution. Truly, your kingdom knows no bounds.

During your visit, you will have the opportunity to feast upon the culinary delights prepared for your loyal subjects on a generous budget of two pounds per day. Savour the blended tuna heads and the ubiquitous reconstituted forms that are purportedly made from chicken. And worry not, for unlike lesser institutions such as Alcatraz or San Quentin, there is no communal dining in a mess hall. At Belmarsh, prisoners dine alone in their cells, ensuring the utmost intimacy with their meal. Beyond the gustatory pleasures, I can assure you that Belmarsh provides ample educational opportunities for your subjects. As Proverbs 22:6 has it: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Observe the shuffling queues at the medicine hatch, where inmates gather their prescriptions, not for daily use, but for the horizon-expanding experience of a “big day out”—all at once.

You will also have the opportunity to pay your respects to my late friend Manoel Santos, a gay man facing deportation to Bolsonaro’s Brazil, who took his own life just eight yards from my cell using a crude rope fashioned from his bedsheets. His exquisite tenor voice now silenced forever. Venture further into the depths of Belmarsh and you will find the most isolated place within its walls: Healthcare, or “Hellcare” as its inhabitants lovingly call it. Here, you will marvel at sensible rules designed for everyone’s safety, such as the prohibition of chess, whilst permitting the far less dangerous game of checkers.

Deep within Hellcare lies the most gloriously uplifting place in all of Belmarsh, nay, the whole of the United Kingdom: the sublimely named Belmarsh End of Life Suite. Listen closely, and you may hear the prisoners’ cries of “Brother, I’m going to die in here”, a testament to the quality of both life and death within your prison. But fear not, for there is beauty to be found within these walls. Feast your eyes upon the picturesque crows nesting in the razor wire and the hundreds of hungry rats that call Belmarsh home. And if you come in the spring, you may even catch a glimpse of the ducklings laid by wayward mallards within the prison grounds. But don’t delay, for the ravenous rats ensure their lives are fleeting.

I implore you, King Charles, to visit His Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh, for it is an honour befitting a king. As you embark upon your reign, may you always remember the words of the King James Bible: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). And may mercy be the guiding light of your kingdom, both within and without the walls of Belmarsh.

Your most devoted subject,

Julian Assange

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Ice core

 

 


This ceiling is entirely flat. Made 3D by the extraordinary genius of Andrea Pozzo.

 

 

Sea of Milk

 

 

 

 

Maculatus

 

 


A pelican befriended a stray dog who was often spotted hanging out all alone along the boat docks. The man who photographed this has adopted him but brings him back every day to see his friend, Petey the Pelican.

 

 

Panama

 

 

Tortoise

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 242023
 


Piet Mondriaan Victory Boogie Woogie 1942-44

 

America’s Empire Is Bankrupt (John Michael Greer)
West Knows Ukraine Weapons Leaking To Black Market – Seymour Hersh (RT)
Ukraine Says Western Military Aid Is ‘Not Enough’, Demands 10x More (RT)
Revolts Erupt Among Ukrainian Troops In Donetsk Cities – Prigozhin (TASS)
Seymour Hersh Reacts To NYT Helping Track Down Pentagon Leaker (RT)
Russia Warns Of Repercussions From US Visa Refusal (RT)
Musk Claims He Donated $100 Million To Ukraine (RT)
The Greens Are Dragging Germany Down With Foreign And Energy Policies (Fomenko)
EU Legislators Urge France To Declare Chinese Envoy Persona Non Grata (TASS)
EU’s Top Diplomat Wants Naval Patrols Off Taiwan (RT)
China’s Big Refiners Snapping Up Russian Oil – Reuters (RT)
Russia Has Enough Coal For 300 Years – Energy Ministry (RT)
The UK Faces a Steep Climb Out of a Deep Hole (Spiegel)
Mother of 7 Denied Kidney Transplant for Refusing COVID Shot in Georgia (ET)

 

 

The last thing they want is Biden debating JFK jr.

 

 

 

Comer: “There’s not gonna be anybody left for a Christmas picture… it’s the entire family..”

 

 

Biden 2024

 

 

 

 

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1650272330546049024

 

 

 

 

Cyber truck
https://twitter.com/i/status/1649791215703867392

 

 

 

 

RFK jr Bill Gates
https://twitter.com/i/status/1649969733838446594

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The good news is that there’s a solution to all this. The bad news is that it’s going to take a couple of decades of serious turmoil to get there.”

America’s Empire Is Bankrupt (John Michael Greer)

We’ve still got some of the natural resources, but nothing like what we once had. The thrifty habits? Those went whistling down the wind a long time ago. In the late stages of an empire, exploiting flows of unearned wealth from abroad is far more profitable than trying to produce wealth at home, and most people direct their efforts accordingly. That’s how you end up with the typical late-imperial economy, with a governing class that flaunts fantastic levels of paper wealth, a parasite class of hangers-on that thrive by catering to the very rich or staffing the baroque bureaucratic systems that permeate public and private life, and the vast majority of the population impoverished, sullen, and unwilling to lift a finger to save their soi-disant betters from the consequences of their own actions.

The good news is that there’s a solution to all this. The bad news is that it’s going to take a couple of decades of serious turmoil to get there. The solution is that the US economy will retool itself to produce earned wealth in the form of real goods and non-financial services. That’ll happen inevitably as the flows of unearned wealth falter, foreign goods become unaffordable to most Americans, and it becomes profitable to produce things here in the US again. The difficulty, of course, is that most of a century of economic and political choices meant to support our former imperial project are going to have to be undone.

The most obvious example? The metastatic bloat of government, corporate and non-profit managerial jobs in American life. That’s a sensible move in an age of empire, as it funnels money into the consumer economy, which provides what jobs exist for the impoverished classes. Public and private offices alike teem with legions of office workers whose labour contributes nothing to national prosperity but whose pay cheques prop up the consumer sector. That bubble is already losing air. It’s indicative that Elon Musk, after his takeover of Twitter, fired some 80% of that company’s staff; other huge internet combines are pruning their workforce in the same way, though not yet to the same degree.

The recent hullaballoo about artificial intelligence is helping to amplify the same trend. Behind the chatbots are programs called large language models (LLMs), which are very good at imitating the more predictable uses of human language. A very large number of office jobs these days spend most of their time producing texts that fall into that category: contracts, legal briefs, press releases, media stories and so on. Those jobs are going away. Computer coding is even more amenable to LLM production, so you can kiss a great many software jobs goodbye as well. Any other form of economic activity that involves assembling predictable sequences of symbols is facing the same crunch. A recent paper by Goldman Sachs estimates that something like 300 million jobs across the industrial world will be wholly or partly replaced by LLMs in the years immediately ahead.

Another technology with similar results is CGI image creation. Levi’s announced not long ago that all its future catalogues and advertising will use CGI images instead of highly-paid models and photographers. Expect the same thing to spread generally. Oh, and Hollywood’s next. We’re not too far from the point at which a program can harvest all the footage of Marilyn Monroe from her films, and use that to generate new Marilyn Monroe movies for a tiny fraction of what it costs to hire living actors, camera crews and the rest. The result will be a drastic decrease in high-paying jobs across a broad swathe of the economy.

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“..only 30% of military aid actually reached the frontline..”

“..Maria Zakharova said in October [..] she estimated the black market turnover at $1 billion per month..”

West Knows Ukraine Weapons Leaking To Black Market – Seymour Hersh (RT)

Western-supplied arms are being sold by Ukrainian commanders to smugglers in Poland, Romania and other states, veteran American journalist Seymour Hersh has claimed. The Pulitzer Prize winner, speaking to Afshin Rattansi on his program ‘Going Underground,’ said the West is aware of this black market trade, as some reports about missing arms shipments have even appeared in the US media. Hersh claimed that, according to his data, almost immediately after the conflict broke out between Kiev and Moscow last February, “Poland, Romania, other countries on the border were being flooded with weapons we [the US and allies] were shipping for the war to Ukraine.” “Often, it wasn’t generals, it was colonels and others, who were given shipments of some weapons, [who] would personally resell them… to the dark market,” he explained.

The journalist noted that there was concern in the West last year that some of the arms sent to Ukraine, such as Stinger shoulder-launched missiles, could be used to “shoot down an airplane at considerable height.” As for Western-supplied weapons ending up on the black market, “CBS wrote a story about it that they were forced to retract,” Hersh said. When asked about why the piece was retracted, the journalist said the media is supporting the stance of the US government that “we’re on the side of Ukraine. We all hate Russia.” Hersh was likely referring to the documentary “Arming Ukraine,” which CBS aired last August. The promo for the film, which included a claim by the founder of pro-Ukraine NGO Blue-Yellow, Jonas Ohman, that only 30% of military aid actually reached the frontline, was removed, while the documentary itself and the story accompanying it were redacted.

Russian officials have on many occasions warned about Western-supplied arms being smuggled outside Ukraine, thus deteriorating the security situation elsewhere around the globe. “NATO military supplies intended for the Kiev regime end up in the hands of terrorists, extremists and criminal groups in the Middle East, Central Africa, Southeast Asia,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in October. At the time, she estimated the black market turnover at $1billion per month. An investigation by RT last summer also revealed how various weapons supplied to Kiev by the West were being sold on the dark net. The journalists were able to swiftly negotiate to the purchase of a US-made kamikaze drone with smugglers. However, it impossible to confirm whether the sellers actually had the weapons in stock, as the reporters did not complete the purchase.

Putin

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Melnik is a piece of work.

Ukraine Says Western Military Aid Is ‘Not Enough’, Demands 10x More (RT)

Western nations should allocate 1% of their GDP for weapons deliveries to Ukraine amid the country’s conflict with Russia, controversial Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Melnik has said. “We are thankful to our allies for their military help. But: it is not enough,” Melnik wrote on Twitter on Saturday. The US has already provided more that $35.4 billion worth of arms to Kiev since the start of the fighting last February, with the EU and its member states adding another $13.3 billion. But Melnik insisted that “Ukraine needs 10 times more to finish Russian aggression this year.” “We call upon our partners to cross all artificial ‘red lines’ and devote 1% of GDP for weapons deliveries,” the diplomat said.

NATO demands that its member states allocate 2% of their GDP to defense spending. However, the bloc’s annual report, which was published in March, revealed that only seven of its 30 members had been able to meet that target in 2022. Kiev, which secured a promise to supply main battle tanks from the US, UK, Germany and some other countries earlier this year, is now pressuring its foreign backers to provide warplanes too. In another tweet on Saturday, Melnik mocked German Foreign Minister Boris Pistorius for suggesting that Tornado and Eurofighter jets would be “unsuitable” for the Ukrainian military. “Oh, yes?.. Really?” the deputy foreign minister wrote. Berlin had originally ruled out delivering its Leopard 2 tanks, but is now “so proud” to be sending 18 of them to Kiev, he noted.

Melnik was Ukraine’s ambassador in Germany until last July, and often made headlines in this role with scandalous comments. He labeled German Chancellor Olaf Scholz an “offended liverwurst” for his unwillingness to visit Kiev, but later apologized. He also told Elon Musk to “f**k off” in relation to the billionaire’s peace proposals. In one interview as ambassador, Melnik defended controversial Ukrainian hero Stepan Bandera, who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII and is accused of the mass murder of Jews and Poles, comparing him to noble thief Robin Hood. Melnik wasn’t without a job for long following his dismissal, having been promoted to deputy foreign minister last November.

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Chasov Yar is about 10km west from Bakhmut, Konstantinovka 10km from there.

Revolts Erupt Among Ukrainian Troops In Donetsk Cities – Prigozhin (TASS)

Rebellions have begun among Ukrainian servicemen in Chasov Yar and Konstantinovka, as they are dropping their arms and walking out, Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the PMC Wagner, said on Saturday. “Revolts have begun among the servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces in Chasov Yar and Konstantinovka. They are dropping their arms, rising and leaving,” said Prigozhin, cited on his press service’s Telegram channel. This is how Prigozhin responded to a request to comment on reports that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had demanded from Ground Forces Commander Alexander Syrsky that his troops stand their ground in Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine) until May 9, so as “to prevent a big informational victory of Russia.” Artyomovsk, located in the Kiev-controlled area of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), is a major transport hub supplying the Ukrainian military grouping in Donbass. Yan Gagin, an advisor to DPR head, told TASS on April 18 that Russia’s forces had taken control of nearly 90% of Artyomovsk.

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“..you can’t be shocked that the Times would be – as a good citizen – turning to the FBI… of course, I am [shocked], but you can’t be.”

Seymour Hersh Reacts To NYT Helping Track Down Pentagon Leaker (RT)

Seymour Hersh has slammed the New York Times over its pro-government stance and treatment of sources, and the way it helped the FBI track down suspected Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira. The veteran investigative journalist gave an interview to Afshin Rattansi on ‘Going Underground.’ Teixeira, who posted classified US intelligence data on the conflict in Ukraine and other issues in an online gaming forum, was apprehended by the FBI last week. The arrest took place after the NYT and the Washington Post – in cooperation with Western-funded “open source investigations” outfit Bellingcat – tracked down the source of the documents and publicly exposed his identity. The NYT also located Teixeira’s home in Massachusetts and spoke with his mother.

“Don’t get me going on the press; the press is a no-win situation for me,” Hersh said when asked about the issue during the program. The veteran journalist mentioned that he worked at the NYT for many years and “won a lot of prizes,” at a time when the paper was much better at protecting its sources. “One of the most important stories I wrote [in 1974] about the CIA spying on American citizens had nobody named in it,” he said. The NYT has shown itself to be completely “pro-Biden” as it doesn’t criticize the US president at all, Hersh argued. The Pulitzer Prize winner said that along with other major outlets, the paper did not report on his recent bombshell article blaming the Biden administration for the explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea last September.

They only published “counter stories given by the intelligence community,” the 86-year-old added. Hersh went on to claim that Donald Trump “terrified” the media when he became US president in 2017 despite “all the mocking they did… And they’re terrified again. I’ll tell you there’s a lot of people very worried that we might end with Biden-Trump ticket in 2024.” In such a situation, “you can’t be shocked that the Times would be – as a good citizen – turning to the FBI… of course, I am [shocked], but you can’t be.”

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Weaponizing UN headquarters.

Russia Warns Of Repercussions From US Visa Refusal (RT)

The US has failed to grant visas to accredited journalists from the media pool traveling with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Moscow said on Sunday. Lavrov and his delegation are scheduled to take part in UN Security Council meetings in New York City next week, with Russia currently holding the rotating presidency of the UNSC. Russia’s top diplomat blasted the withholding of visas as “stupid,”exposing the true worth of Washington’s “oaths about protecting freedom of speech, about access to information, and so on.” “Of course, I understood how notorious our American colleagues are for such things but I was sure that, this time, given the attention that was drawn to their ugly behavior, everything would be different. But I was wrong,” Lavrov told reporters.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov revealed that the US had been “pretending” until the very last moment that it was trying to sort out the visa issue. Now, Moscow is compelled to respond to the fresh hostile move, he warned. “It’s yet another proof that not only should our colleagues in Washington not be trusted, but also not-listened-to altogether,”Ryabkov stated. “I stress, we will find ways to respond, to make Americans remember that things should not be done in such a fashion. And they will remember.” Lavrov is set to preside at two UNSC meetings this week, meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and to hold other bilateral meetings in New York. The diplomatic activities are set to become “major newsbreak events” and barring the pool reporters from participating is completely unacceptable, Ryabkov said.

Russia assumed the rotating presidency of the Security Council on April 1, amid the ongoing standoff with the collective West over Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine. The UNSC presidency has been riddled with assorted issues, with the American side also delaying granting permission for the arrival of Lavrov’s plane. The pool journalists traveling with the Russian delegation were supposed to have a visa appointment as early as March 31 yet these meetings were canceled, Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to Washington, revealed last week. The Russian Foreign Minister and multiple other senior officials were subjected to US sanctions last year over the Ukraine conflict. At the same time, as the host-nation of the UN headquarters, Washington has obligations not to hamper with the work of its diplomats and foreign dignitaries, or with that of accredited journalists, whatever the circumstances.

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Weaponizing Starlink.

Musk Claims He Donated $100 Million To Ukraine (RT)

Elon Musk claimed to have donated $100 million to support Kiev in its conflict with Moscow during an argument on social media with US author Stephen King on Sunday. Last year, the SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter CEO oversaw the introduction of the Starlink telecommunications system in Ukraine. “I’ve donated $100m to Ukraine, how much have you donated?” Musk asked King in a tweet on Sunday after the author suggested that the billionaire should donate a portion of the proceeds from the social media platform’s new paid-verification model to Kiev. Musk also retweeted an October message from Ukrainian Technologies Minister Mikhail Federov, in which he thanked the SpaceX CEO for the provision of the company’s Starlink satellite network to Ukraine, which he described as “critically important.”

The Twitter owner also noted that SpaceX had turned down funding from the US Department of Defense to help pay for the system’s operational costs – which he estimated last year would reach $100 million by the end of 2022. Soon after the beginning of the conflict last year, Musk made Starlink – a low Earth orbit constellation of satellites that provides internet access – available in Ukraine following a request from Federov. The communications network was deployed by Kiev to monitor troop movements and other military information-gathering methods, particularly as Ukraine’s pre-existing internet infrastructure was regularly inoperable.

However, in February, Kiev responded angrily after Musk and SpaceX imposed limits on the use of Starlink in Ukraine amid reports that the technology was being harnessed for the use of drones. Mikhail Podolyak, a senior adviser to Vladimir Zelensky, argued at the time that SpaceX must decide if it is “on the side of the right to freedom.” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s chief operating officer, said during a news conference in the United States last February that the system was not intended for use in Ukraine for “offensive purposes,” and that it was “never, never meant to be weaponized.”

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“The Greens are subserviating Germany to the US agenda and are actively dismantling everything that has made Germany successful, in exchange for practically nothing.”

The Greens Are Dragging Germany Down With Foreign And Energy Policies (Fomenko)

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock described her recent visit to China as “more than shocking,” arguing that while Germany should not “decouple” from Beijing, it should no longer be Berlin’s most important trading partner. Baerbock was in Beijing on an apparent damage-control visit, following Emmanuel Macron’s widely publicized trip to the country and subsequent criticism of the US. Her critical remarks on China came on Wednesday, as she spoke to the Bundestag. The Green Party of Germany, which is part of a governing coalition with the larger Social Democratic Party (SPD), has always been known for its hawkish and neoconservative foreign policies. This stems from the fact that ‘Green politics’, although based on a tradition of environmentalism, is simply a more radical offshoot of liberalism, emphasizing the preaching of universalist values.

Thus, many Western Green parties (the left-leaning, anti-war US Green Party being perhaps an ironic exception) have typically espoused human rights zealotry. Therefore, they have been hostile to China, which is why so many of the parties’ elected representatives are present in the international Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). Accordingly, the German Greens, having seized control of the country’s foreign ministry, are seeking to dismantle Berlin’s highly favorable geopolitical relationship with China while also going full-throttle in their confrontation with Moscow. Gone are the days of pragmatism, prudence and common sense, and here are the days of divisive liberal fundamentalism, which has allowed the US to readily dismantle the foundations of Germany’s prosperity and economic strength. Baerbock is a disaster, and she’s taking Germany down with her.

Despite being the largest and most powerful economy in Europe, which has shaped the direction and integration of a whole continent, Germany’s future now looks bleak. The escalation of the Ukraine conflict, combined with Washington’s likely but vehemently denied destruction of Nord Stream 2, has destroyed the foundations of the country’s energy security and its industrial competitiveness. The damage done is evidenced by the fact that it’s forecasted to scrape a 0.3% GDP growth rate in 2023, while year-on-year inflation stood at 8.7% in February. Baerbock now seems content to swing the demolition ball at her country’s relationship with China, its largest trading partner. She has sought to unveil new rules to discourage the expansion of German businesses in the country, using the talking point of “reducing dependence.”

Germany’s trade with China was worth €245 billion ($270.8 billion) in 2021. But the question is, if not China, then who? Because look at the consequences of this ‘reduced dependence’ on Russia. The Greens are subserviating Germany to the US agenda and are actively dismantling everything that has made Germany successful, in exchange for practically nothing.

The fanatical environmental policies of the Greens, mixed with their foreign policy, are making the situation even worse. Despite the fact that the country has suffered an energy crisis, having lost its partnership with Russia, the Greens have pursued their obsessive anti-nuclear stance. This has forced the country to stay on the self-destructive route of abandoning nuclear power, despite overwhelming consensus that it is cheap, safe, and of course strategically important in the environment they are creating. Germany shut down its last nuclear power plants last week in a move that baffled international commentators and energy experts.

Because of these policies, Germany is under threat of national decline. The legacy of the influence of the Green Party in Olaf Scholz’s government has been to dismantle the foundations of its economic growth, expand the influence of the US over Germany wholesale, and of course rip up geopolitical partnerships that were built on realism and self-interest. Under Merkel, Germany was a powerful and influential player because it acted as a maverick, without deviating from the values it deemed important. The price of ripping up these legacies, cheered on by US-sponsored think-tankers targeting Berlin relentlessly, has been to create a Germany which will be weaker, poorer and less relevant – an American vassal. Who needs multipolarity when you can put a Green Party in charge of your foreign ministry? Germany is thus experiencing a slow death at the hands of the Greens.

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He questioned the legal status of former Soviet countries. Crimea! Shut him up!

EU Legislators Urge France To Declare Chinese Envoy Persona Non Grata (TASS)

A group of 80 delegates from the European Parliament has sent a letter to French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna requesting to declare Chinese Ambassador to Paris Lu Shaye persona non grata over his remarks about the status of former Soviet republics. “Ambassador Lu Shaye has publicly stated that the former republics of the Soviet Union do not have effective status within the framework of international law,” their letter published in Le Monde on Sunday said. “We urge to declare China’s envoy persona non grata over his unacceptable behavior,” the lawmakers demanded.


According to them, the Chinese ambassador’s remarks “insulted the history, culture and integrity of the countries.” On Friday on its Twitter page, France’s LCI TV channel quoted an interview with the diplomat who, commenting on Crimea’s status, said that “even these ex-Soviet Union countries do not have effective status, as we say, under international law because there is no international accord to concretize their status as a sovereign country.”.

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And China will patrol the North Sea?!

EU’s Top Diplomat Wants Naval Patrols Off Taiwan (RT)

European navies should “patrol” the Taiwan Strait, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said, arguing that the move would help to maintain the “status quo” in the region. The diplomat floated the idea in an opinion piece published by the Journal Du Dimanche on Saturday. The EU continues to view China as “a partner, a competitor and a rival all at the same time,” in line with its strategy adopted back in 2019, Borrell wrote. The bloc should assert itself more firmly on the Taiwan issue, “which concerns us economically, commercially and technologically,” he argued. “This is why I call on European navies to patrol the Taiwan Strait to signify Europe’s commitment to freedom of navigation in this absolutely crucial area,” he continued.

“On Taiwan, our position is simple and consistent. In our view, there is only one China. But not under any conditions. And certainly not through the use of force,” Borrell wrote, claiming that “vast majority of Taiwanese people believe that [maintaining] the peaceful status quo is the most appropriate solution.” The EU official pledged to put the idea of conducting patrols to the bloc’s foreign ministers on Monday, when they are set to convene to discuss Brussels’ policies towards Beijing. At the same time, he admitted the patrols should be set up carefully, and EU nations should “be vigilant against provocations and overbidding.” The proposal is similar to the US practice of so-called “freedom of navigation” patrols involving military vessels routinely dispatched to the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea, and other regions.

The patrols have long been an issue in bilateral ties between Washington and Beijing, with the latter arguing that the practice only stirs up tensions rather than helping to bring ‘stability’ to the contentious waterways. In his piece, Borrell also touched on one of the most controversial international issues of recent months – the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. While Beijing has maintained a neutral stance, urging all parties to exercise restraint and seek a diplomatic solution to the hostilities, it has been repeatedly accused by Kiev’s Western backers of supporting Moscow. “We have said it over and over again to the Chinese: it is not in your interest to support Russia. Especially since by supporting it you will only increase the polarization of the international system that you claim to want to fight,” Borrell wrote, pledging to reiterate this stance at the upcoming ministerial meeting.

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There will always be buyers.

China’s Big Refiners Snapping Up Russian Oil – Reuters (RT)

China’s largest state-owned and private refineries are buying more Russian crude, driving up its price, and forcing smaller independent producers, known as ‘teapots’, to search for cheaper options, Reuters reported this week. Top Chinese buyers, which shunned Russian oil when the EU and G7 imposed an embargo and a price cap on the commodity in December, have restored confidence since then and joined the race for discounted oil. In February, state refiners PetroChina and Sinopec resumed imports, and in March, large private oil refiners Hengli Petrochemical and Jiangsu Eastern Shenghong Co followed suit, according to traders and shiptracking data from Refinitiv, Kpler and Vortexa.

In March, China’s overall Russian crude imports, including pipeline deliveries and seaborne supplies, surged to a record 9.61 million tons, which is the equivalent to 2.26 million barrels per day (bpd), customs data showed on Friday. “China’s imports of Russian Urals are on track to break March’s record [in April] as more refiners start to tap on the discounted crude from Russia’s Baltics,” said Vortexa analyst Emma Li, adding that around 700,000 bpd of Urals may reach China in April, up from 600,000 bpd in the previous month. Meanwhile, smaller refiners had to opt for alternatives such as Russian Arctic grades, Iranian and Venezuelan oil as the big buyers are back on the market.

In March alone, a record 4.2 million barrels of Varandey blend from the Russian Arctic were delivered to China’s Shandong province, home to most of the teapots, Kpler data showed. Loadings of crude from Russia’s western ports in April is expected to reach the highest level since 2019, above 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd), despite Moscow’s pledge to cut oil production, trading and shipping sources said. At the same time, discounts that Russia was offering as it sought to divert supplies away from the West are narrowing. Discounts for the country’s flagship Urals blend contracted in China for July have reduced to about $9-$10 a barrel to ICE Brent futures on a delivered ex-ship (DES) basis, from around $14 a barrel for March deliveries, according to Reuters.

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100 years of oil, 300 years of coal.

Russia Has Enough Coal For 300 Years – Energy Ministry (RT)

Russia has enough coal reserves to last for centuries, deputy head of the country’s Energy Ministry, Sergey Mochalnikov, said on Friday during a board meeting of the Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency. When taking into account both tapped and untapped subsoil resources, the country will be well supplied with the coal for 300 years, he said. “We have enough reserves. In terms of coal, we have more than 100 years of explored reserves, and if we use all the resources, we can add another 200 years or more to that. We are doing well with both resources and reserves, and this allows the country as a whole to be secure in terms of energy,” Mochalnikov stated.

The deputy minister added that all domestic needs in coal are currently fulfilled by Russian producers. Meanwhile, he also noted that exports have been the main driver of the coal industry, with new deposits and energy clusters opening in the country’s easternmost regions. Russia produced 443.6 million tons of coal in 2022, a 0.3% increase from 2021. Exports fell 7.5% to 210.9 million tons following the introduction of embargoes last August on Russian coal by the EU and UK, which had previously been the recipient of nearly a third of Russian coal exports.

Coal producers ramped up supplies to the domestic market by 12.2% to just over 172 million tons while also boosting exports to ‘friendly’ countries, particularly China. Russia increased shipments to the Asian nation by 11.2% to 59.5 million tons last year, as Moscow sought to reorient its trade and China was increasing coal consumption amid the post-pandemic rebound in industrial activity. China has continued to stock up on Russian coal this year, with the volume of imports hitting a record high last month at 8.8 million tons, up 29% over February and almost three times more than in March 2022 (3.1 million tons), according to Chinese customs data.

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“..nowhere is the feeling of having “lost the future” stronger than in Britain..”

The UK Faces a Steep Climb Out of a Deep Hole (Spiegel)

Things aren’t going well for the United Kingdom these days. For the past several months, the flow of bad news has been constant, the country’s coffers are empty, public administration is ineffective and the nation’s corporations are struggling. As this winter came to an end, more than 7 million people were waiting for a doctor’s appointment, including tens of thousands of people suffering from heart disease and cancer. According to government estimates, some 650,000 legal cases are still waiting to be addressed in a court of law. And those needing a passport or driver’s license must frequently wait for several months. Boarded up windows and signs reading “To Let” and “To Rent” have become a common sight on the country’s high streets, while numerous products have disappeared from supermarket shelves. Recently, a number of chains announced that they would be rationing cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers for the foreseeable future.

Last year, 560 pubs closed their doors forever, with thousands more soon to follow, according to the industry association. Without Oxfam, the Salvation Army and other charitable organizations that operate second-hand stores, numerous city centers would have almost no shops left at all. Last week, the International Monetary Fund forecast that in no other industrialized nation would the economy develop as poorly as in Britain this year. Even Russia is expected to end up ahead of the UK. Whereas the number of billionaires in the UK – at 177 – is higher than it has ever been, millions of Britons have slid into poverty. Newspapers and television channels are full of cheap recipes and shows like Jamie Oliver’s “£1 Wonders.” Since December, hardly a day has passed without a strike by bus drivers, medical workers, teachers, public servants, university employees or rail workers. Last week, assistant doctors across the country went on strike for four days, with the media calling on the populace to avoid all activities that could result in injury.

For many, the situation is reminiscent of the 1970s, when high debt, punishing inflation and widespread protests brought the country to its knees – leading Henry Kissinger, who was U.S. secretary of state at the time, to grumble from across the Atlantic: “Britain is a tragedy, reduced to begging, borrowing and stealing.” To be sure, after two years of pandemic and one year of war, the rest of Europe isn’t doing particularly well either. But nowhere is the feeling of having “lost the future” stronger than in Britain, according to the public opinion pollsters from Ipsos. In 2008, the year of the banking and financial crisis, 12 percent of people in the UK believed that their children would be worse off than them. Now, that number is 41 percent, Ipsos has found. One significant reason for that pessimism is the fact that many simply no longer trust their speechifying politicians in Westminster to get much done. The Tory party, which has been in power now for a dozen years, has gone through four prime ministers since 2016 alone.

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There’s a word for this: Murder.

“..Doe had already recovered from a bout with COVID and that her antibody numbers were actually stronger than those found in many people who were fully vaccinated for 90 days.”

Mother of 7 Denied Kidney Transplant for Refusing COVID Shot in Georgia (ET)

On dialysis and potentially facing death, a 41-year-old homeschooling mother of seven young children has been rejected as a candidate for a life-saving kidney transplant by Emory Healthcare Inc. of Atlanta. The reason? The woman, who has already had COVID-19, refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on religious and medical grounds. To protect her privacy, the patient will be referred to in this article as Jane Doe. Emory Healthcare did not respond to a request for comment. Affiliated with Emory University, Emory Healthcare is one of the leading organ transplant centers in the South. According to Liberty Counsel (LC), a national non-profit legal organization helping Doe, she was referred to Emory by her nephrologist after suddenly coming down with end-stage kidney disease.

The seriousness of Doe’s condition necessitates her undergoing dialysis three times a week to keep her alive. Following an evaluation by one of the transplant center’s nurse practitioners, Doe was initially found to be an acceptable candidate for a new kidney, even though Doe reported she had not been vaccinated against COVID-19. Doe’s hopes were soon dashed when, after another consultation with Emory staffers, a social worker informed her that she could not move forward to the transplant program’s “active waiting list” until she took the shot. Emory Healthcare is one of 35 percent of the nation’s transplant centers that are still requiring their patients to be vaccinated for COVID-19, according to a Liberty Counsel analysis. This is despite the fact that on April 11, President Joe Biden declared the national emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic officially over.

On April 17, LC sent a letter to Emory Healthcare requesting that no later than April 30, Doe be granted religious and medical exemptions from its COVID-19 vaccination mandate and asked that she be reactivated and placed on the kidney transplant active waiting list. The nine-page letter alleges that every available COVID-19 vaccine is associated with aborted “fetal cell lines.” It cites evidence from the public health departments of North Dakota and Louisiana as proof. Doe, a devout Roman Catholic, is opposed to ingesting or being injected with such vaccines based on her religious beliefs. The Liberty Counsel also informed Emory Healthcare that there were strong medical reasons for Doe’s refusal to get the jab. The demand letter stated that Doe had already recovered from a bout with COVID and that her antibody numbers were actually stronger than those found in many people who were fully vaccinated for 90 days.

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Ian Plimer

 

 

 

 

Silky Anteater


Panulirus ornatus is a large spiny lobster with 11 larval stages. It migrates annually from the Torres Strait to Yule Island in the Gulf of Papua in order to breed

Sand cats


The great eared nightjar (Lyncornis macrotis)

Friends


It looks like an ordinary tree, but look closer

 

 

 

 

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Feb 202023
 
 February 20, 2023  Posted by at 10:12 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  59 Responses »


Marvin Koner New York 1955

 

US Will Abandon ‘Unwinnable’ War In Ukraine Like They Left Vietnam (Siracusa)
Ukraine War ‘Over’ Unless EU Boosts Military Support – Borrell (G.)
EU Is In ‘Urgent War Mode’ – Borrell (RT)
Seizure of Bakhmut A Matter Of Time, No Hurry – DPR (TASS)
Kremlin Does Not Consider The West Being Open To Peace Initiatives (TASS)
SITREP: Update 2/18 – Major War Confirmed Imminent (STT)
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s “State of the Nation” Address (Saker)
If Brussels Wants To Go To War, It Should Fight Inflation – Orban (RT)
Nuland’s Words Show US Role As Primary Source Of Global Conflict – Peskov (TASS)
US Turns A Blind Eye To The Atrocities Of The Zelensky Regime – Envoy (TASS)
Kirby Says He Doesn’t Know When The US Will Stop Sending Money To Ukraine (TP)
US Must Change Stance On Ukraine – China’s Foreign Ministry (TASS)
Vaccinated Blood is Contaminated with COVID Vaccine mRNA (Chudov)
Hunter Biden’s Art Dealer Defies the House Over Business Records (Turley)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ontario Ohio

 

 

 

 

Cobalt

 

 

 

 

How accurate is the comparison?

US Will Abandon ‘Unwinnable’ War In Ukraine Like They Left Vietnam (Siracusa)

Louis J. HaIIe, a former career officer in the State Department and an historian, contended: “If we will only brush the dust of polemical rhetoric out of our eyes, we shall see that we are not fighting in Indo-China for imperialistic reasons, that we are not fighting there, because we want to increase our territorial possessions or build an empire. Why, then? “We are,” he asserted, “fighting there because in a moment of national aberration, we acted on a false conception of what the situation was.” Alongside the theses of the “great mistake” and “national aberration” was also added the equally significant theme of the unsuitability of exporting democratic institutions and practices to certain foreign soils. Chester L. Cooper, a well-known Asianist and Director of the International Division of the Institute for Defense Analysis, presented this argument in unequivocal language. “In the past,” wrote Cooper directly to the point, “we should have been more prudent and have insisted upon some minimum standards of stability, appeal, and effectiveness before committing major resources to South Vietnam’s aid – no matter how assiduous the Prime Minister, no matter how attractive the people.”

With the battle plainly lost, President Gerald Ford dramatically shifted his ground. At Tulane University in New Orleans, after the fall of Saigon, Ford told a largely friendly audience, “I ask tonight that we stop refighting the battles and recriminations of the past. To emphasise the point, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was elsewhere repeating the same message. Before the annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Kissinger asked the American people to put the Vietnam War behind them: “The Vietnam debate has now run its course. The time has come for restraint and compassion. The Administration has made its case. Let all now abide by the verdict of the Congress – without recriminations or vindictiveness.”

When pressed however at a news conference in late April as to what lessons could be drawn from the war, the Secretary attempted to reserve the question for a later occasion, except to say: “I do not think that we can resolve the problem of having entered the conflict too lightly by leaving it too lightly, either.” Moments later, when asked whether or not the war had so stunned the nation that it might never again come to the economic and military aid of a friend such as Israel, Kissinger conceded: “One lesson we must learn from this experience is that we must be very careful in the commitments we make, but that we should scrupulously honour those commitments that we make.” Further, he hoped “that no lessons should be drawn from the enemies of our friends from the experiences in Vietnam.” No lessons drawn, indeed. The US withdrawal from the unwinnable conflict in Ukraine will play out in much the same way.

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“In March, Borrell is going to have a meeting where he will attempt to get every European Union country to hand over all of the ammunition they have to Ukraine. New procurement will take too long.”

Ukraine War ‘Over’ Unless EU Boosts Military Support – Borrell (G.)

The war with Ukraine will be over unless the EU finds a way in weeks to speed up the provision of ammunition to Ukraine, Josep Borrell, the EU foreign affairs chief, warned on the final day of the Munich security conference. He said a special meeting of EU defence ministers slated for 8-9 March will provide a chance for countries to offer ammunition from their existing stocks, adding it is taking up to 10 months for European armies to order and receive a single bullet. “We are in urgent war mode,” he said. “This shortage of ammunition has to be solved quickly; it is a matter of weeks.” He said if it was not the war would be over.

Borrell will also table plans at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday to use the existing €3.6bn (£3.2bn) European peace facility for the EU to procure ammunition jointly on the model of the procurement of vaccines during the Covid crisis, an idea first proposed by the Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas. Borrell said the Estonian idea would work in the medium term, but he believes the urgency of the shortages is such that it requires EU countries to draw on existing stocks. “We have to use what member states have,” he said.

“Much more has to be done and much quicker. There is still a lot to be done. We have to increase and accelerate our military support. It currently takes almost 10 months for the European army to buy a bullet for the calibre of 155mm, almost one year, and almost three years to buy an air-to-air missile. This is not in accordance with the war situation in which we live.” Kallas, speaking at the same event, said Russia was in a wartime mode, producing ammunition across three shifts, adding there needed to be a similar war footing in Europe. She claimed defence industry executives had told her they had no orders from the EU. Borrell said the absence of ammunition was because “we forgot about classical wars – we were only engaged with expeditionary forces and technological Blitzkrieg.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1627245385033912320

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The masters of war. I love that they pay for the weapons with the European Peace Facility. Eat your heart out George Orwell.

EU Is In ‘Urgent War Mode’ – Borrell (RT)

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has called for more and faster weapons and ammunition shipments to Ukraine. His words come amid Western promises of new armament deliveries for Kiev and growing shortages in Europe’s own stock. “We are in urgent war mode,” Borrell said on Sunday, during the last day of the Munich Security Conference. He added that the conflict would be over if the shortage of ammunition was not resolved in “a matter of weeks.” The diplomat bemoaned the depletion of European stockpiles, claiming that the Union “forgot about classical wars… only engaged in expeditionary forces and technological Blitzkrieg.”

He announced that the EU defense ministers will hold a special meeting on March 8-9 to attempt to resolve this issue. Borrell said that he will also present the idea of using the 3.6 billion euros of the European Peace Facility to jointly buy ammunition for Kiev, using the EU’s experience in joint procurements of Covid-19 vaccines. Borrell himself was wary of the ammunition shortages back in September, saying supplies were “depleted.” This assessment was echoed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who warned that the Alliance’s countries were running out of rounds they could donate to Kiev’s war effort.

Multiple EU countries and the US have pledged to send modern, Western-made tanks to Ukraine; however, the process will take months with no clear timetable. The UK and France are also mulling sending fighter jets to Kiev, with London already training pilots. However, French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier this month that sending warplanes was not something that could be done “in the coming weeks.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier this month that the weapons shipments to Kiev would not stop Russia from achieving the goals of the military operation, but would instead just “prolong the suffering” for Ukraine.

Borrell

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“..understand why we are moving forward so slowly. We are now trying to spare personnel and strike the enemy manpower as accurately as possible..”

Seizure of Backmut A Matter Of Time, No Hurry – DPR (TASS)

The seizure of Artyomovsk (called Bakhmut by Ukraine) is a matter of time but Russian troops should not hurry to capture the town, Yan Gagin, military-political expert and adviser to the acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), told TASS on Monday. “As for the prospects of liberating Artyomovsk, I believe that we should not hurry. When I am asked about why it takes so long, I simply invite such people to the frontline: come and see what it looks like to be here to understand why we are moving forward so slowly. We are now trying to spare personnel and strike the enemy manpower as accurately as possible. By and large, the seizure of Artyomovsk is a matter of time but I would not hurry and would keep grinding down the enemy. This is practicable and this has already been tested,” he said.


Contrary to the Kiev’s regime’s hype about Artyomovsk as “a fortress city and a place where they will be able to show the courage and steadfastness of their soldiers,” it has become “a point of disposing of Ukrainian servicemen,” Gagin stressed. “They have lost thousands and thousands of fighters there. On some days, they lose a hundred of personnel a day, which is a heavy toll on this section of the frontline. The bodies [of those killed] are not collected and they just lie on the battlefield,” he added. Artyomovsk is located on the Kiev-controlled territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic and is a major supply hub for the Ukrainian military in Donbass. Russian troops have already seized some communities in Artyomovsk suburbs, including Kleshcheyevka, Podgorodnoye and Paraskoviyevka.

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Not while there are still Ukrainians alive.

Kremlin Does Not Consider The West Being Open To Peace Initiatives (TASS)

The West is not yet showing any readiness for peaceful initiatives on the situation in Ukraine, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Rossiya 1 TV channel. “So far there is no readiness or openness towards peaceful initiatives on the part of the collective West,” he said. The idea of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on talks between Russian and US leaders Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden is unlikely to gain support in the West, Peskov added. “It is hardly possible to expect any type of reciprocity or response to such an endeavor from any member of the collective West,” he said.


Earlier, Lukashenko invited Biden to Minsk, saying he was willing to arrange his meeting with Putin. Peskov stressed that Biden “will not have any stops during his upcoming European trip, except in Poland.” On February 20-22, Joe Biden is expected to visit Poland, where he will meet with his counterpart Andrzej Duda and the leaders of the “Bucharest Nine” countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Estonia).

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“..Ukraine is shooting down next to nothing anymore..”

SITREP: Update 2/18 – Major War Confirmed Imminent (STT)

[..] in the upcoming escalations, Russia will likely be employing their airforce (the totality of airpower, including new drones) in increasingly active ways to demolish a depleted Ukrainian army. One of the reasons it’s certain they’ll be doing this is because contrary to UA sources, the Ukrainian air defense network is close to nonexistent at this point. One thing one must learn is that the MORE ridiculous the claims from UA, usually the MORE they’re overcompensating for the exact opposite. So the recent claims of 80-150% shootdowns of Russian missiles are in fact the opposite. A deep analysis has shown that Ukraine is shooting down next to nothing anymore. They have almost no AD left whatsoever, other than manpads. Most aren’t aware of just how few western systems they received. Their legacy S-300’s are down to almost nothing, and they only got a couple units of NASAMs and Iris-T, which are mostly all stationed in Kiev to protect the capital city.

People don’t realize just how many missile units one needs to adequately protect even a single city. For instance, just around Moscow alone, Russia has 12 battalions of S-400’s. A single battalion has 8 launchers with 32 missiles. 12 x 8 = 96 launchers of 384 missiles. And this is JUST the S-400 alone. There are NUMEROUS other layered/integrated SHORAD systems like Pantsirs, etc., stationed there as well (here and here). So, total, there is likely hundreds of AD systems just for Moscow alone, representing thousands of total missile calculations (and same for St. Petersburg). Kiev on the other hand appears to have 2-4 NATO launchers total, with a few extra manpads sprinkled in, as well as short range mobile systems, like the recently spotted British Starstreak on the Alvis Stormer around Kiev.

In short, Ukraine’s AD network is in DIRE condition. And I believe this is the reason that Russian airforce is beginning to step up and operate with more impunity. And once even MORE fixed-wing/rotary pieces join the fray, it will create the compounding effects I spoke of last time, and should completely overpower the remaining AD and wreak havoc on the AFU. And this goes with the mentioned ‘rumors’ that the next phase will feature a much more offensively active RuAF. And by the way, there is far more evidence of why the Ukrainian AD is heavily degraded to the point of nonexistence, but I feel it’s beyond the scope of this simple Sitrep and don’t want to get into every single point—but just know that this part is not mere speculation, it’s based on heavy, accurate longstanding analysis with much corroborative facts which include the direct statements of several RuAF pilots in interviews posted to the Russian MoD channel, where they directly state this.

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“..we are maintaining our economic relations with Russia; and indeed we are advising the whole Western world to do the same, because without relations there will be neither a ceasefire nor peace negotiations.”

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s “State of the Nation” Address (Saker)

How do we overcome the danger of war? We want to simply put an end to it, but we do not have the power to do so – we are not in that league. Therefore, if we want to protect Hungary, if we want a peaceful life for ourselves, we have only one choice: we must stay out of the Russo-Ukrainian war. So far this has not been easy, and it will not be easy in the future, because we are part of the Western world, we are members of NATO and the European Union, and everyone there is on the side of war – or at least acts as if they are. Can Hungary afford to remain on the side of peace in such circumstances, in a way that is directly opposed to that of our allies? Of course we can, because Hungary is an independent, free and sovereign state, and we recognise no one but God above us.

But is it right – morally right – for us to stay out of the war? I am convinced that it is the right thing – and indeed the only right thing. Russia has attacked Ukraine, so we must let Ukrainian refugees into our country, and we have done well in supporting them with the largest humanitarian aid operation in our country’s history. This is the imperative of basic humanity, and we are complying with it. But we also see that the war in Ukraine is not a war between the armies of good and evil, but a war between the troops of two Slavic countries: a war limited in time and – for the time being – in space. It is their war, not ours. Hungary recognises Ukraine’s right to self defence, to fight against external aggression; but it would not be right from any point of view – including any moral point of view – to put the interests of Ukraine before those of Hungary.

The Left in Hungary is also on the side of war: it would supply arms, take on the financial burden of war and sever relations with Russia. We are not doing this. We are not supplying arms. We are also being careful with money, because in the end the money due to us will be given by Brussels to Ukraine. For us, humanitarian support for Ukraine does not mean severing our ties with Russia, because that would run counter to our national interests, which we have the right to define for ourselves. Therefore we shall not agree to gas, oil or nuclear sanctions that would ruin Hungary. From the national consultation we know that there is national unity on this. This is why we are maintaining our economic relations with Russia; and indeed we are advising the whole Western world to do the same, because without relations there will be neither a ceasefire nor peace negotiations.

This is why we do not agree with priests and church leaders being placed on sanctions lists; it is bad enough that this could happen to artists and athletes. And it is also important not to narrow our vision, and not to be provincial. Let us look beyond Brussels. Every country outside Europe is aware of the limited significance of the war in Ukraine and the primacy of its own national interest. Let us not isolate ourselves from the level-headed part of the world. The Hungarian viewpoint is an exception only in Europe – across the world it is the norm.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1627384709763289090

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“..A year has passed, and the end of the war is not getting closer, it is getting further away..”

If Brussels Wants To Go To War, It Should Fight Inflation – Orban (RT)

Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine have failed to end to the conflict, but have instead wreaked havoc on Europe’s economy and driven up inflation, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said. Posting on his Facebook page on Sunday, Orban offered a scathing criticism of EU sanctions, claiming Europe is struggling to tackle inflation due to the restrictions Brussels has introduced in the energy sector. “The name of the disease is… inflation, and the virus is called the Brussels sanctions,” he said. Orban branded the sanctions “the weapons of Brussels’ war policy,” adding that while the EU was using this tool to target Russia, it has harmed Europe instead. “It was not so long ago that Brussels promised that these sanctions would bring an end to the war. A year has passed, and the end of the war is not getting closer, it is getting further away,” the prime minister insisted.

Orban went on to say that while the EU authorities promised that the sanctions would not be extended to the energy sector, in the end they were, sending natural gas prices up to record levels.The premier also pointed out that gas partly dictates the cost of electricity. “The increase in gas prices is therefore immediately accompanied by an increase in the price of electricity, even if the electricity was not produced with gas turbines, but with solar energy, wind, hydropower, coal power plants or nuclear energy,” he noted. “If Brussels wants to go to war, it should fight inflation. It doesn’t,” Orban claimed, adding that the Hungarian authorities are doing their best to protect families and companies from the economic fallout.

Hungary, a country heavily dependent on Russian energy, has repeatedly spoken against the sanctions the EU has imposed on Moscow since it started its military operation against Ukraine in February 2022. Budapest has argued that the restrictions have failed to meaningfully weaken Russia, while damaging the European economy. In late January, Orban also signaled that Hungary would veto any EU sanctions targeting Russia’s nuclear energy sector. Budapest has also resisted the bloc’s plans to completely ban oil and gas imports from Russia, receiving several exemptions on procuring fossil fuels from the country.

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Nuland is part of a broad group of the most ardent ‘hawks’ in American politics. We are very familiar with this point of view..”

Nuland’s Words Show US Role As Primary Source Of Global Conflict – Peskov (TASS)

Statements by US Under Secretary of State for political affairs Victoria Nuland once again emphasize Washington’s role as the main source of international tensions, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Rossiya 1 TV channel. “Nuland is part of a broad group of the most ardent ‘hawks’ in American politics. We are very familiar with this point of view. It highlights the extent of our differences once more. It probably also stresses the role of the United States as the primary source of present international conflicts,” he said. Nuland previously stated that the US supported Ukraine’s strikes on military positions in Crimea, referring to them as “legitimate targets.”.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1627259308088913921

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“We consider such insinuations as an attempt, unprecedented in terms of its cynicism, to demonize Russia in the course of a hybrid war, unleashed against us..”

US Turns A Blind Eye To The Atrocities Of The Zelensky Regime – Envoy (TASS)

The United States administration is attempting to excuse its own activities in escalating the crisis in Ukraine with allegations of crimes against humanity attributed to Russia, according to Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov. “We consider such insinuations as an attempt, unprecedented in terms of its cynicism, to demonize Russia in the course of a hybrid war, unleashed against us. There is no doubt that the purpose of such attacks is to justify Washington’s own actions to fuel the Ukrainian crisis. First of all, it concerns the rampant militarization of the Kiev regime,” the ambassador said. He noted, “At one point the Americans said, that they would supply the republic with only defensive weapons, but now ship heavy armored vehicles, artillery, multiple launch rocket systems with long-range munitions.

The U.S. provides intelligence to Kiev Nazis, trains militants. By the will of the White House an egregious act is being committed – just like 80 years ago – tanks with crosses are attacking our country. How can we trust the West and try to come to any type of agreement after all these statements and actions? Basically, they told us one thing, but acted in the opposite direction.” At the same time, the diplomat stressed that the US “simply turns a blind eye to the atrocities of the Zelensky regime”. “Washington prefers not to notice the horrific scenes of the shootings of unarmed captured Russian soldiers.

It forgot about the bloodcurdling burning of people at the Trade Union Building in Odessa in 2014. The United States completely ignores the attacks that have been going on for many years on settlements in Donbass – kindergartens, schools, hospitals and residential buildings. Although it should be clear to any sober-minded person that no threats come from there,” he said. “Washington’s two-facedness is outrageous. Why is the State Department silent about the atrocities of Ukrainian cutthroats? What are the American human rights organizations thinking? Why is no one calling for the punishment of fascist thugs?” Antonov stressed.

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Kirby now gets lost in his own words at times.

Kirby Says He Doesn’t Know When The US Will Stop Sending Money To Ukraine (TP)

When will the US stop flooding Ukraine with arms and money? According to Biden National Security spokesman John Kirby, spokesman, he “doesn’t know”. That comment came during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” FNC host Shannon Bream brought up the matter by asking him when the aid packages would end, saying: “Despite the question that’s being asked increasingly on Capitol Hill, and there’s gonna be another fight over another round of aid, we’re about $200 billion into this so far. There are questions about where the US commitment ends to this. I mean, we had a couple of lawmakers just return and say they, Congressman Garamendi was one of them, who said, ‘I think this is a year from now, I’m going to be still going on this exact same war.’”

Kirby, in response, said “We don’t know. Again, we would like to see it in now. And certainly we want to see it on ends and on terms that are satisfactory to the Ukrainian people and to President Solinsky, so that they remain a whole free sovereign, independent state. And independence is an ideal that all Americans can get behind and understand. We’d like it to end soon as soon as possible. My goodness, nobody wants to be sitting here a year from now talking about the second anniversary of war. But as the President has said, Shannon, we’re going to support Ukraine for as long as it takes and he means that as long as it takes” Kirby’s non-committal response on aid and its sell-by date comes alongside his recent claim that the Russians would soon launch another offensive. Here’s what he said just a few weeks ago:

“We do expect that when the weather improves, the Russians will try to make additional offensive moves anywhere along that front,” he said, noting that the US is trying to help the Ukrainians prepare for that. We’re working in lock step with the Ukrainians almost every day. And we communicate constantly with Ukraine about their needs for the fight.” So the war is heating up and the United States and NATO are more deeply involved in the conflict than ever, with no end in sight. Unmentioned by Kirby was whether risking World War II with the continued provision of aid to an enemy on Russia’s borders was worth it.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1627399068027613186

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“Washington even puts pressure on us. We do not accept this..”

US Must Change Stance On Ukraine – China’s Foreign Ministry (TASS)

The Chinese authorities do not accept US criticism of Sino-Russian relations and demand that Washington make a responsible approach to the problem of Ukraine and reconsider its stance, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Monday. “We have never considered as appropriate the United States’ critical statements regarding Sino-Russian relations. Washington even puts pressure on us. We do not accept this,” Wang stressed at a news briefing, commenting on US statements about Beijing’s military assistance to Moscow. “We insist that the United States should give due thought to its actions and take real steps towards reconciliation and advancing peace talks [on the Ukraine issue].”

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What are the consequences for blood donations and transfusions? Better look at that ASAP.

Vaccinated Blood is Contaminated with COVID Vaccine mRNA (Chudov)

A new study was just published by Castruita et al. The scientists, while studying “something else” related to hepatitis, decided to test blood samples of their patients who got vaccinated for COVID-19 with mRNA vaccines for the presence of vaccine mRNA. Their approach was comprehensive: They looked at vaccinated and unvaccinated persons to have a control group. They distinguished between vaccine mRNA and viral RNA of Sars-Cov-2. They were careful to avoid contaminants showing up as positive reads for vaccine mRNA. They distinguished, in their analyses, between Moderna and Pfizer mRNA genetic codes. These two vaccines encode the same spike proteins but contain different nucleotides (this is called codon optimization). I am proud of Castruita et al. for being meticulous with their analyses. I wish all “COVID research” was done with such in-depth safeguards against mistakes.


This is what they found: “We surprisingly found fragments of COVID-19 vaccine mRNA up to 28 days postvaccination in blood from chronic HCV patients vaccinated with mRNA vaccines from both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. .. of the 108 patient samples, 10 samples (9.3%) had partial or up to full sequences of the vaccine mRNA sequence (Fig. 1), identified from one to 28 days postvaccination. There was ~100% identity between the detected mRNA nucleotide sequences found in plasma and the specific mRNA vaccine given. The 10 samples had a median of 5.5 million raw read pairs available (see Table S1). Breadth and depth of coverage of the vaccine mRNA sequences ranged from completeness and >20 000, respectively, to short fragments with a depth of coverage of 100 (Fig. 1). None of the negative or the HCV-positive controls had SARS-CoV-2 matching reads. They identified blood samples containing vaccine mRNA as late as 28 days after administering vaccine doses.

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“..As a new artist, Biden is fetching prices that exceed the prices of some Picassos..”

Hunter Biden’s Art Dealer Defies the House Over Business Records (Turley)

It appears that Hunter Biden’s art dealer believes that his art should be left entirely to the eye of the beholder — and not Congress. Georges Bergès reportedly refused last week to provide the House Oversight Committee with the identities of the buyers of Biden’s high-priced art work. While counsel William Pittard insists that the list of purchasers must remain secret, it is hard to see the viable legal basis to refuse the demand of the House Oversight Committee, if made subject to a congressional subpoena. The Biden sales have long been a subject of intense debate over whether it is another form of influence peddling or money laundering. Even President Barack Obama’s ethics head has raised objections.

Former Obama-era ethics official Walter Shaub called the art sale a “terrible idea” and noted that “it just is implausible that this art from an unknown artist would be selling at this price if it didn’t have the Biden name attached to it.” As a new artist, Biden is fetching prices that exceed the prices of some Picassos. The quality of the work will be left to others to debate, but the Oversight Committee has a legitimate interest in looking into whether the art is being used to funnel money to the family of President Joe Biden. In January, House Oversight Committee chair James Comer (R-KY) requested that Bergès testify before Congress. Comer has long alleged that Chinese buyers are behind the sales, though there is no public proof to support that allegation. He has stated that “arrangement with Hunter Biden raises serious ethical concerns and calls into question whether the Biden family is again selling access and influence.”

Pittard wrote that “[i]n light of these considerations, providing the documents and information requested in your letter seemingly would defeat the efforts of Mr. Biden and the White House to avoid the ‘serious ethical concerns’ that you raise.” He added that “Mr. Berges hopes that you and Mr. Biden can resolve that tension.” The question is what happens if they cannot “resolve that tension.” The Oversight Committee is investigating a host of avenues through which foreign interests were allegedly able to funnel millions into the Biden family coffers. It is hard to see how a court would find that these business records could not be subpoenaed by a congressional committee if they decide to move forward.

Berges could refuse to testify without a subpoena, but he must appear if so served. He could then invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination to refuse to testify. What is interesting is that this is only the latest lawyer to defy Congress on a Hunter Biden inquiry. We previously discussed how Hunter Biden’s personal counsel Abbe Lowell refused a demand for evidence sought by the House. These moves appear to be channeling the same strategy of Steve Bannon who was ultimately charged with contempt and convicted. At the time, I said that Bannon was asking for a contempt charge and Biden appears to be replicating this same ill-considered strategy.

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Calcata Vecchia
https://twitter.com/i/status/1627227082341203968

 

 

Elephants nap

 

 


“This famous shot by photographer Ken Wiele shows a brave blue jay trying to attack, or maybe only photobomb, an imperious bald eagle “

 

 

Feather stars
https://twitter.com/i/status/1627315399942447105

 

 


Plants that were grown from seeds buried in permafrost for nearly 32,000 years after being discovered on the banks of the Kolyma River in Siberia in 2015

 

 

Turtles rest for ~11 hours per day, using just half the amount of oxygen that they use during foraging
https://twitter.com/i/status/1627330964488683521

 

 

 

 

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Feb 082023
 
 February 8, 2023  Posted by at 10:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  85 Responses »


Johannes Vermeer The glass of wine c 1658-1660

 

China Wants its Balloon Back (Celente)
Let’s Talk About Nuclear War (Naveira)
Musk Assesses Public Awareness Of WWIII Risk (RT)
Kiev Inching Closer To Conceding Defeat – Medvedev (RT)
Kiev Still Conducts Terror Attacks Against New Russian Regions – Shoigu (TASS)
Anglo-Zionism and the Confederation of Europe (Batiushka)
China Sees Russia’s Concerns Over NATO Expansion As Premise For Conflict (TASS)
West Uses OPCW To Justify Its Aggression – Moscow (RT)
EU ‘Sold Its Soul’ To Russia – Poland (RT)
EU’s Borrell Can’t Hide His Racist Worldview – Lavrov (RT)
Ukraine: There’s No Substitute For Victory (Steve Forbes)
US Rep. Matt Gaetz Calls For End To Funding Of Kiev’s Army (RT)
Russia Has Lost Confidence In US Dollar – Finance Minister (RT)
US Lacks Unity Before Modern Challenges – Kissinger (TASS)
Where Do Things Stand? (Jim Kunstler)
The Failure of Scientific Journals: the Failure of Science (Ugo Bardi)

 

 

 

 

Trump SOTU

 

 

2014

 

 

Tucker SOTU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’ve “rescued” it, so let’s hear if it’s just a weather balloon.

China Wants its Balloon Back (Celente)

China’s Foreign Ministry called on the U.S. to immediately return the “airship” that was shot out of the skies last weekend by an F-22 after Washington identified it as a “spy balloon.” Mao Ning, a spokeswoman from the ministry, said during a press briefing Tuesday that the balloon does not belong to the U.S., it belongs to China, according to RT, the Russian outlet. She accused Washington of overreacting and acting in an unprofessional manner with the goal of smearing Beijing. China has insisted that the balloon was a civilian meteorological research airship. Tensions between China and the U.S. are hitting new lows. Wei Fenghe, the Chinese military head, refused a call with Lloyd Austin, the U.S. military chief, on Tuesday.

[..] American F-22 fighters successfully shot down a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon off the South Carolina coast last weekend that the U.S. said was being used by Beijing to “surveil strategic sites.” U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called the incursion an “unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.” The Defense Department said it began tracking the balloon, which was carrying a payload the size of three buses, over the Aleutian Islands on 28 January. The balloon floated over Alaska, Canada, and then re-entered U.S. airspace over Idaho, a statement read. The U.S. claimed it did not shoot down the balloon over land to prevent “undue risk” to civilians. President Joe Biden said Saturday that he ordered the Pentagon to shoot the balloon down “as soon as possible” on Wednesday. The balloon was eventually picked off by the Raptor which fired one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile that cost We the People of Slavelandia about $400,000.


The statement said, “F-15 Eagles flying from Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, supported the F-22.” “Long before the shoot down, U.S. officials took steps to protect against the balloon’s collection of sensitive information, mitigating its intelligence value to the Chinese,” the statement read. China said the U.S. overreacted over a weather balloon. “China strongly disapproves of and protests against the U.S. attack on a civilian unmanned airship by force,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday morning, according to the South China Morning Post. “The U.S.’s use of force is a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice,” the ministry said, before noting that Beijing reserves the right to make “further responses that are necessary.”

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“..there is no compromise, a country is either sovereign or a colony..”

Let’s Talk About Nuclear War (Naveira)

The United States and Russia – the two greatest nuclear powers on the planet – have embarked on a wide-ranging “indirect war”. All that now remains is for them to engage in direct warfare, which will end up happening sooner or later. If later, it will be exactly because both powers are aware that any direct war between them will inevitably escalate into nuclear war, with a good chance of devastating them both. How we reached this point will not be examined in depth here. Very briefly, both parties regard this as a struggle for existence – Russia, in order to continue to exist as a nation (in Putin’s words, “there is no compromise, a country is either sovereign or a colony”), and the United States, to continue to exist as the nation with hegemony over the rest (the US economy has become so reliant on that hegemony that its end would entail the country’s collapse).

Accordingly, both are willing to take the conflict to its ultimate consequences in order to prevail, and thus nuclear war becomes more inevitable with every passing day. Among those responsible for a nuclear war that will be the downfall of all Humankind, there can be no “good guy”. However, when one side is fighting to subsist with autonomy, while the other is fighting in order to dominate the rest, it is not difficult to discern which is most the “bad guy”. Also, if it is still possible, after the hecatomb, to bring the culprits to some kind of justice, it will make all the difference to distinguish who “pressed the button” first (that is, who deliberately chose for millions of people to die) from whoever operated their buttons in retaliation to the incoming attack.

What developments will take place until we finally arrive at nuclear war is also not the purpose of this piece. Once again, to summarise, both are trying to “gain time”, hoping for their adversary to fall over their own feet before direct war ensues: the Russians are counting on an economic and social collapse in the West, while the US counts on a military defeat of the Russians by the Ukrainians, resulting in the fall of the Putin government. It has to be said, however, that thus far the Russians are getting the better of this “war of attrition”.

The US also seeks to draw Russia into war against some other, NATO-member country, prodding Lithuania to blockade land access to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, Romania to provide Moldavia with the means to reincorporate the pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria, and Poland to occupy the westernmost portion of the Ukraine, so as to force Russia to respond militarily. Under the fifth article of the treaty that set up NATO, an attack on any member state is to be taken as an attack on them all; in that way, the United States would drag all of Europe into a war against Russia. The Russians (as well as these European cannon-fodder candidates) have thus far managed to sidestep this trap.

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“Most are oblivious to the danger.”

Musk Assesses Public Awareness Of WWIII Risk (RT)

The majority of people are not even aware that a new world war may erupt soon, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has stated. The risk of a global catastrophe was highlighted this week by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The UN head said in a speech to the General Assembly on Monday that he feared that humanity was marching toward a “wider war” with its “eyes wide open” and urged preserving peace. “Could we please not do WWIII,” pleaded conservative political commentator Luke Rudkowski, reacting to the speech. Musk responded: “Most are oblivious to the danger.” The Twitter and SpaceX CEO previously warned against “relentless escalation” of the conflict in Ukraine, stating that it was dangerous for the country itself and the world.


Musk won praise for supplying SpaceX Starlink satellite internet systems to the Ukrainian government, with some experts assessing that they were a game-changer in the fight against Russia. But he also suggested that Kiev would have to make concessions to Moscow in order to achieve peace, a notion that prompted some Ukrainian officials to harshly criticize and even insult the businessman. Mikhail Podoliak, an aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, claimed last week that Musk was using his control of Twitter to reduce the reach of Ukrainian official accounts and help “Russian propaganda.” “Maybe a regulator is needed to explain competition rules to the owner?” Podoliak mused. The Ukrainian official offered no evidence to support his claims or explanation of how his regulatory threat could be carried out.

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“..Aleksey Danilov, who claimed that Russia is lobbying EU nations to accept a Korean-style split of his nation..”

Kiev Inching Closer To Conceding Defeat – Medvedev (RT)

Discussions of a “Korean scenario” in Ukraine are a sign that Kiev is on the way to recognizing the reality on the ground and accepting its losses, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said. The idea of a Korean-style division of Ukraine has been discussed by current and former officials in Kiev, who claim that this is what Russia is pursuing. The idea that Ukraine could be divided up the way Korea was after the war in the 1950s is “for domestic consumption” and constitutes “wishful thinking,” Medvedev added, citing unnamed “propagandists” as peddling the notion. What is notable is that “they coyly tested the statement that there can be no victory” and that “being split is the best-case scenario,” the former president said. The ‘Korean scenario’ means that a smaller, US-backed Ukraine could eventually develop to the level of South Korea while maintaining its claims over lost territories, Medvedev explained.

“In essence, this is the first step towards accepting the realities on the ground,” he said. Korea was split into two parts after a three-year civil war, in which the opposing factions in the north and south were backed by the USSR and China, and the US respectively. Both Pyongyang and Seoul claim sovereignty over the entire Korean Peninsula, and each considers the other government to be unlawful. Unlike South Korea, Donbass voted in a referendum to become part of Russia rather than forming a sovereign state, Medvedev said, arguing that a ‘Korean scenario’ is not feasible for Ukraine. The former president currently serves as the deputy chairman of the Russian National Security Council.

The idea was floated to the Ukrainian public last month by Medvedev’s counterpart in Kiev, Aleksey Danilov, who claimed that Russia is lobbying EU nations to accept a Korean-style split of his nation, and stated that Kiev would reject it. The Kremlin dismissed the report as a “hoax. This week, the Korean scenario was also brought up by Aleksey Arestovich, the former aide to the office of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Speaking at an expert panel discussion on Monday, he stated that Ukraine does not have enough manpower to beat Russia on the battlefield anytime soon, and claimed that a Korean scenario may become an acceptable off-ramp for the parties involved. Like Danilov before him, Arestovich claimed that Russia is seeking this type of outcome, while noting that the Western nations which Kiev depends upon “think the same way.”

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“..Ukraine’s armed forces have been attacking residential areas, hospitals, and public gathering areas..”

Kiev Still Conducts Terror Attacks Against New Russian Regions – Shoigu (TASS)

Authorities in Ukraine continue intimidating civilians in Russia’s new regions, with Ukrainian troops attacking residential areas and hospitals there, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday. “While realizing that they won’t be able to inflict a military defeat on Russia, the Ukrainian leadership has been resorting to criminal activity in order to intimidate residents of new Russian regions,” Shoigu said, adding that Ukraine’s armed forces have been attacking residential areas, hospitals, and public gathering areas and committing terror attacks against government and social facilities. On January 28, Russia’s top brass said that the Ukrainian armed forces had launched an intentional attack at around 7:30 am, using rocket-propelled projectiles from the US-made HIMARS multiple launch rocket system, on a hospital in Novoaidar in the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR).


Fourteen patients and medical employees were killed, while 24 more suffered wounds. The Russian Defense Ministry pointed out that civilian and military health professionals had been providing medical treatment to local civilians and service members at the Novoaidar hospital for many months. Former LPR’s ambassador to Moscow Rodion Miroshnik said last week that Ukrainian forces had shelled four LPR hospitals since the start of the year. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has said it’s going to look into the circumstances behind the Novoaidar hospital shelling.

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Orthodox priest Batiushka sees the GOP as the Anglos, and the Dems as the zionists.

Anglo-Zionism and the Confederation of Europe (Batiushka)

[..] the main bastion of Anglo-Zionism is undoubtedly the USA, which the bankers from London seriously colonised during the First World War. specifically during the 1916 turning-point, when it became apparent to the Round Table organisation there would only be one winner, neither Germany, nor Great Britain, but the USA. As soon as Russia had been taken out of the equation through US bankers via their British agents and Russian traitors in Petrograd in early 1917, the first US troops appeared in France less than one month later. All had been pre-planned. Today in the US, the Republican Party represents the Anglos and the Democratic Party the Zionists. The billionaire Trump, like Bush, is a typical White Anglo nationalist WASP: America first.

On the other hand, Biden is a typical Zionist, just like Obama and Clinton before him, though quite unlike Kennedy. An electoral accident, he of course had to be eliminated. And he was.For 250 years the Anglos and the Zionists have worked together in the US, they have had the same self-interested interests – money and power. However, there are now discussions between them regarding the Ukraine. Already half of the Anglo Republicans want out of the Ukraine (1). It is too costly and they want to save the US (and their own fortunes) from its multiple self-inflicted wounds just in case it goes under. But the Zionists are thinking along the same lines. There is only one solution. The Anglos wanted the Ukraine in order to defeat their traditional rival, Russia.

However, for the Zionists the Ukraine had another purpose, it was to destroy White Europe, the same purpose they had in fomenting the First and Second World Wars, so ensuring Zionist domination of the world – ‘Globalism’. Not all neocons are Wolfowitzes, Kagans and Nulands. Many are Anglos. Today, we are already seeing that the Republicans are increasingly beginning to support Zaluzhny, the Kiev military commander, whereas the Democrats still stand behind the Jewish Zelensky, but are now wavering. The Republicans originally wanted to weaken Russia. The Republicans are nationalists, so are the Russians. It is now just dawning on them that Russia does not want to recreate the Soviet Empire or any other sort of Empire, all they want is to protect Russians, not to invade other countries. In any case, they are not going to weaken Russia any more through the Ukraine.

All that they have done so far is to strengthen Russia. The Ukraine has not served its purpose. As for the Zionists, they are happy to kill as many White Europeans, especially Russian and Ukrainians, as possible, but above all they want world power. The interests of Anglos and Zionists coincide. For if the Russians do not want world power after all, then the real rival is China, which has real mercantile power. Therefore, the pivot to China, where there is real money. Once the US has lost in the Ukraine, and Kadyrov confidently predicts that it will be over by the end of 2023, the US will turn its attention to China. But it is already happening. That is what the balloon show was all about. China is a much more interesting option for the money-grubbers, whether Anglos or Zionists. But where does that leave benighted Europe?

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“You believe that the NATO expansion does not carry a threat for Russia, but, when [Soviet leader Nikita] Khruschev decided to deploy nuclear weapons on Cuba, what was [US President John] Kennedy’s reaction?”

China Sees Russia’s Concerns Over NATO Expansion As Premise For Conflict (TASS)

China remains neutral in regards to the conflict in Ukraine, but it understands Russia’s concerns over NATO’s eastward expansion and the plans to include Ukraine in the alliance, which have become the premise for the current conflict, Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye said on the LCI TV channel Monday. “NATO has been posing a threat to Russia’s security for decades, […] the five rounds of NATO’s eastward expansion pose a significant threat for Russia’s security. This is what [Russian] President Vladimir Putin is talking about; he strongly opposes the inclusion of a number of neighboring states to NATO, including Ukraine,” Lu Shaye said, answering a question about the reasons behind the current conflict in Ukraine.

“You believe that the NATO expansion does not carry a threat for Russia, but, when [Soviet leader Nikita] Khruschev decided to deploy nuclear weapons on Cuba, what was [US President John] Kennedy’s reaction?” he continued. When the host noted that, prior to the special military operation, there allegedly were no plans to include Ukraine to the alliance and to deploy NATO missiles on its territory, the diplomat noted that this could happen in the future. “If NATO pushes its borders to Russia’s threshold, it will also deploy missiles,” he noted. The Chinese envoy opined that the actions of the West do not contribute to a prompt end of the Ukrainian conflict.

“China remains neutral in this crisis, but we believe that constant shipments of increasingly heavy weapons to one side of the conflict do not contribute to its prompt end. It is like pouring oil to the flame,” he said. Answering corresponding allegations from the host, the diplomat assured that Beijing does not ship weapons to Russia and “does nothing against peaceful settlement of the conflict.” “Several months ago, European countries refused to ship tanks to Ukraine, and now they do. Today, they refuse to ship warplanes, but, maybe, in several months, they will ship them,” he noted. “Maybe, one day, NATO member states will wonder if they are a side to the conflict.”.

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It’s insane that the OPCW still exists. On par with Bellingcat.

West Uses OPCW To Justify Its Aggression – Moscow (RT)

The latest report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which blames Damascus for carrying out a chemical attack in Douma in 2018, looks like a political hit piece meant to justify the West’s continued military aggression against the Syrian government, says Alexander Shulgin, Russia’s permanent representative to the organization. Speaking to RT, Shulgin vehemently dismissed the report, which was released in late January by the so-called Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). Calling the IIT “completely illegitimate,” he claimed the group’s creation was pushed through by the US and its allies in order to undermine the core principles of the OPCW and international law and replace them with their own “made-up rules.”

The IIT’s report, according to Shulgin, is riddled with inconsistencies and factual gaps, and barely holds together. Furthermore, none of Russia’s or any other country’s “uncomfortable” questions regarding the details of the IIT’s findings were even remotely addressed during an OPCW briefing on the report, the ambassador claimed. Shulgin also noted that the report highlighted the double standards currently present within the OPCW. When Russia presented evidence of a chemical attack in Aleppo back in 2016, every minute detail of Moscow’s findings was heavily scrutinized by the organization, he said. However, when it comes to the attack in Douma, OPCW officials seem to turn a blind eye to basic questions such as how and when the evidence was gathered and presented during the investigation.

“For instance, they referred to the fact that some new sample has appeared, provided by a third party. What is this third party? Nothing is said about it. They just say ‘trust us’,” said Shulgin, noting that the sample in question had never been reported on in previous investigations. “So before, there was no sample, but now, suddenly, it has somehow appeared. Without any explanations,” the ambassador stressed, suggesting its sudden appearance can only be explained by the need for the US, France, and UK to escape international accountability for their aggression against Syria.

The three NATO states launched a series of airstrikes against civilian and military targets in Syria in April 2018 after the so-called ‘White Helmets’ – an NGO operating in rebel-controlled areas of Syria – published a series of videos supposedly showing the aftermath of a chlorine attack on the residents of Douma. Syria has vehemently denied any responsibility for the incident, and both Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly pointed to evidence, including testimonies from alleged victims, that suggests the incident was staged in order to justify a Western attack.

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“..Peskov said in December that the EU was only replacing one “addiction” with another while filling Washington’s coffers with billions of dollars…”

EU ‘Sold Its Soul’ To Russia – Poland (RT)

Europe allowed itself to grow dependent on Russian energy like a drug addict, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Monday. Speaking at a conference in Warsaw on efforts to support Ukraine, Morawiecki suggested that the EU got hooked on Russian natural resources, with Moscow doing its best to enable the addiction. “The dealer always gives the first dose for free or very cheap so that the addict comes for more and agrees to any price,” he said. As a result, the prime minister stated, gas contracts with Russia “turned out to be a pact under which Europe sold its soul.” The continent was “so easily seduced by Russia” not through “demonic abilities,” but rather because of its own weakness, he claimed.

At the same time, Morawiecki said the Ukraine conflict had awakened many countries “from their geopolitical slumber.” As the fighting rages, the West stands at a crossroads: “either the victory of Russia and the defeat of the West, or the renaissance of Western civilization,” he asserted. “Today it is not enough for us to talk about rebuilding Europe, today we have to think about rebuilding Europe so that peace and security become permanent foundations for development for many decades,” Morawiecki stressed. Since the start of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, the EU has committed to completely weaning itself off Russian energy by 2030. It intends to double down on the use of green energy and secure oil and gas supplies of non-Russian origin. In particular, the bloc has resorted to importing liquified natural gas (LNG) from the US.

However, in October, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire accused the US of capitalizing on the EU’s economic woes, saying that it sells its LNG “at four times the price that it sets for its own industrialists.” Commenting on the bloc’s push to reduce dependence on Russian energy, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said in December that the EU was only replacing one “addiction” with another while filling Washington’s coffers with billions of dollars.

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“Not so long ago he openly spoke about Europe being a garden surrounded by a jungle that threatens it..”

EU’s Borrell Can’t Hide His Racist Worldview – Lavrov (RT)

Calling African countries easy to manipulate is on brand for Josep Borrell, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday, responding to the EU foreign policy chief’s remarks that accused Moscow of “spreading misinformation.” Borrell had addressed EU diplomats earlier in the day, accusing Russia of using “information manipulation and interference” as weapons of war. Noting that Lavrov was visiting Mali and Eritrea, Borrell called them “easy countries” for Moscow to “spread lies about who is guilty for what is happening” in Ukraine. “So speaks a man who can’t hide the racist essence of his worldview,” Lavrov said when asked about his EU counterpart’s accusations. “Not so long ago he openly spoke about Europe being a garden surrounded by a jungle that threatens it, so the garden needs to be careful with the jungle. That says it all about who actually relates to the needs and interests of African countries, and how.”

“We have nothing to hide or to be ashamed of,” the Russian foreign minister added. “We were at the source of Africa’s liberation from the colonial yoke. The Soviet Union was one of the main initiators of the declaration to grant independence to colonized countries and peoples in 1960. And it was not an imitation, as [former UK PM] Boris Johnson recently called the Minsk agreements, but a real historical act that sealed the end of colonial rule.” Speaking to EU diplomats, Borrell lamented that some African countries do not support the bloc’s position that Ukraine is fighting “for the values on which we are basing our understanding of the world.”

In his view, the current conflict is not only being fought on the battlefield with troops, but “in the information space, trying to win the hearts and minds of people.” For that purpose, the EU is “protecting the freedom of expression” by banning Russian media, while providing support to “independent” outlets that Moscow has designated as foreign agents, he added. While accusing Russia of spreading disinformation, Borrell apparently did so himself – by saying Eritrea was among the “easy” countries Lavrov was currently targeting. The Russian diplomat actually visited that country last month, along with Angola, Eswatini and South Africa. His current trip includes stops in Mali, Mauritania and Sudan.

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Well, well, Mr Forbes.

Ukraine: There’s No Substitute For Victory (Steve Forbes)

The disgraceful dithering—especially by Germany—over sending tanks to Ukraine highlights the hesitation and confusion over what’s at stake in this war with Russia. Since the conflict’s beginning, the U.S. and NATO have provided Ukraine with weaponry, but never in sufficient quantity and quality to win. This hesitation has only stiffened Vladimir Putin’s conviction that despite humiliating battlefield setbacks, he can ultimately triumph, and that as time goes by, the West will tire of the effort and pressure Kyiv into a bad deal.


In Putin’s mind, the best way to achieve the subjugation of Ukraine is to use the same approach that Russia used against Nazi Germany in World War II, when the Red Army relied heavily on massive artillery barrages, tank attacks and unrelenting human wave attacks to beat back the Nazi onslaught—which is why Russian casualties were more than ten times those of the U.S. and Britain combined. Putin is playing for keeps. Russia and our other adversaries still see the U.S. as a country in terminal decline and lacking the stamina it exhibited during the Cold War. Therefore, we should be supplying Ukraine with everything it needs to unmistakably defeat Putin. That means not only many more tanks—especially Germany’s Leopard 2s, which are better suited to the terrain than our Abrams tanks—but also fighter aircraft, including F-16s, antitank and advanced antiaircraft weaponry, drones and much else.

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“..foreigners” have come to Washington “to lecture us about spending our constituents’ money on a conflict thousands of miles away..”

US Rep. Matt Gaetz Calls For End To Funding Of Kiev’s Army (RT)

The US must stop sending billions of dollars to bolster Ukraine’s military, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz said during a speech in the House of Representatives on Monday. He slammed President Joe Biden and both parties, saying the conflict in Ukraine is only benefiting military contractors. “Tomorrow [at the State of the Union address] President Biden will tell us how much more we must do for Ukraine,” Gaetz said, adding that the ongoing hostilities are only lining the pockets of America’s military industry. “Defense contractors need there to be a war going on somewhere. Whether the arms end up in the hands of ISIS, the Taliban, the Azov Battalion, or on the black market,” according to Gaetz. Washington’s support of Ukraine with endless weapons will not end the war but just “prolong the killing,” he said.


“Bandits in the Sinaloa mountains hurt more Americans than the [Russian] men in Crimea,” Gaetz said, adding that the benefits of the conflict to normal Americans are “unclear.” He lamented that “foreigners” have come to Washington “to lecture us about spending our constituents’ money on a conflict thousands of miles away” – a reference to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s visit to the US Capitol in December. He accused Biden of doing “everything possible” to provoke a nuclear war with Russia and called on the White House to pursue a solution through diplomacy. Biden promised 31 US-made M1 Abrams tanks for Ukraine in late January, but said that Washington would not send F-16 fighter jets. Gaetz noted that Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the warplane, was ramping up production in anticipation that there could soon be “third party transfers” of the jets to Kiev.

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“..the US dollar, euro, and British pound – the main reserve currencies – had once been considered the top units of account. “The situation has shown that now this [dollar] is a completely unreliable instrument..”

Russia Has Lost Confidence In US Dollar – Finance Minister (RT)

Russia no longer has trust in the US currency because it has become an unreliable financial instrument, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov stated on Monday. He pointed out that the US dollar, euro, and British pound – the main reserve currencies – had once been considered the top units of account. “The situation has shown that now this [dollar] is a completely unreliable instrument … Therefore, we have no confidence in this kind of unit of account. It is lost,” Siluanov told Russia’s Channel One channel. He also pointed out that Russia has been switching to trade in other currencies, particularly “in rubles and, of course, currencies from other friendly countries, such as the yuan.”


Moscow has been steadily pursuing a policy of de-dollarization in foreign trade. In recent years, Russia and some of its trade partners, including India and China, have been ramping up the use of domestic currencies in mutual settlements in an effort to move away from the dollar and euro. Siluanov highlighted that in 2021 a significant part of financial transactions in Russia were carried out in dollars and euros. “About one third of settlements were then carried out in rubles, while now more than half, about 55%, are conducted in rubles and friendly currencies,” he said, adding that this figure will continue to grow. According to the minister, the economic wellbeing of citizens is more important than exchange rates. “We are most concerned about how the economy will develop, how the income of the population will grow, what kind of employment we will have,” he concluded.

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“..Reagan “understood better than anyone how to integrate the elements of power and the elements of conciliation.”

US Lacks Unity Before Modern Challenges – Kissinger (TASS)

The US lacks unity inside the country amid modern challenges, Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said during the event, dedicated to the 112th anniversary of former US President Ronald Reagan. “Today we again suffer from domestic division and international disorder about arguments about who we are and what we stand for. We find it difficult to muster the domestic cohesion necessary to face the challenges ahead of us,” Kissinger said. He named “China’s ambitions” and the situation in the Middle East, where, in his words, there is a risk of “developing the world’s most devastating weapons.” He also mentioned the Ukrainian crisis that “shows no signs of abating,” and touched upon the issue of development of artificial intelligence that “is transforming human consciousness itself.””Each of these present developments requires a combination of strength and conciliation,” Kissinger said, adding that Reagan “understood better than anyone how to integrate the elements of power and the elements of conciliation.”.

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“.. Russia’s war-aim is simple: the elimination of chaos on its border. This rational objective is something that America’s Party of Chaos can’t understand..”

Where Do Things Stand? (Jim Kunstler)

The Right perceives that its opponents have lost their minds, but there is no arguing with people who are literally insane. What must be done is to wrest political power away from them. In the madness of the Left, power is solely a destructive force, and coercion is a form of pleasure-seeking. Unable to control the dynamics in-play, they seek to wreck the dynamics, to induce as much chaos as possible, so as to punish the non-insane. That is exactly what the Green New Deal does. Unable to control the dynamic disruptive changes in the global oil-and-gas industry that our high-tech economies depend on, the Left pretends that there is work-around “Green” energy system that can replace fossil fuels with wind and solar devices that don’t scale up and which require fossil fuels to make and deploy.

It’s slick and grandiosely hypothetical (i.e., wishful thinking), and the net effect of this major crusade will be to hasten the collapse and impoverishment of our society (ergo: the punishment). Keep all this in mind as you watch the Congressional inquiries now just getting underway. Much as they are likely to reveal the insane and arguably criminal machinations of a panicked bureaucracy, and the figures who run it, the Left will remain impervious to any truthful revelations that emerge. Of course, many of these officials are culpable for actions extremely damaging to the people of this land, and the masses on the Left who supported those actions — such as mandatory vaccinations — will be among the most damaged. These True Believers will find it hard to admit that they did it to themselves. So, the hearings upcoming, such as the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of Government, will probably not change the minds of your friends and relatives stuck in the mass formation of Jacobin-Wokery.

But the hearings will be a step in wresting power away from these maniacs. Part of that step must be to demonstrate the dishonesty of recent elections, so as to remove the implanted mechanisms that enabled that dishonesty: mail-in, no-ID ballots, “motor-voter” laws, electronic vote-counting machines. If that can be fixed, the left can be voted out of power. The hearings will take place against the back-drop of our deteriorating charade over in Ukraine. The Zelensky regime that we employed to foment this conflict with Russia is losing its mojo for creating chaos in that corner of the world. The newly-announced tank caper will amount to nothing. Russia’s war-aim is simple: the elimination of chaos on its border. This rational objective is something that America’s Party of Chaos can’t understand. How will it react when chaos gets cancelled in Ukraine? Probably by attempting to foment chaos in another corner of the world, or on the home front — another reason that power must be wrested away from it.

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Covid coverage has hurt scientific journals like nothing ever has.

The Failure of Scientific Journals: the Failure of Science (Ugo Bardi)

“Biophysical Economics and Sustainability” is a scientific journal that I helped create back in 2016. I still think it was a good idea, but it didn’t work and it couldn’t have worked. So, I resigned from my position as editor of the journal this December. But let me tell the story from the beginning. The journal was the brainchild of Charles W. Hall and David Packer. About Charlie Hall, you may have heard of him, he was the developer of the fundamental concept of EROI (energy return on energy invested). Dave Packer was a senior editor at Springer (now retired). The idea was to create a high-quality journal that could offer a publishing outlet in the field called “biophysical economics,” or also “econophysics.” You may have heard about this field: it is an approach to economics based on the same models used in biology.

The idea was to examine the basic elements of what an economic system is: an entity that transforms resources into products, and then into waste. The main difference with traditional economics is that biophysical economics is focused on physical things that can be measured: energy, mass, materials, and the like. In contrast, economics is heavily focused on money and prices and, often, it loses contact with the physical world. For instance, it is often said in the field of the economics of natural resources that “prices create resources.” The idea is that when a non-renewable resource becomes scarce, prices become higher, making it possible to extract resources that were not profitable before. It is a magic trick supposed to create something out of nothing. No need to say that it doesn’t work in the real world. And it doesn’t work in the biophysical approach, either.

The concept of EROI (Energy Return for Energy Invested) is fundamental to understanding this point. It tells you what’s possible to do with energy technologies, and what’s not possible. But it just does not exist in traditional economics: it is ignored and, as a consequence, plenty of resources are wasted in non-viable energy technologies, biofuels for instance. You may think that it is time to replace the obsolete approach of traditional economics with the more rigorous one of biophysical economics. But it is just not happening. If you look at the number of publications in scientific journals on databases such as “Scopus”, you see that growth has stalled during the past 10 years or so, and now it is going down, as you can see below for a search of the term “Biophysical Economics.” Not only growth stopped about 10 years ago, but the number of published studies remains a minor fraction of the publications in economics.

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Democracy

 

 


Located in the province of Catania, in the Italian island of Sicily, is the town of Grammichele

 

 

No nails
https://twitter.com/i/status/1622959130368524288

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 192022
 
 December 19, 2022  Posted by at 9:47 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  89 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Portrait de femme (Dora Maar) 1943

 

One Year Ago, Russia Gave The West A Last Chance (Lukyanov)
A Lexicon for Disaster (Scott Ritter)
EU Sued Over Anti-Russia Sanctions (RT)
Lawyer Claims Eva Kaili Followed EU Parliament Chief’s Orders In Qatar (Eur.)
Will the Fallout from “Qatargate” Splatter the European Commission? (NC)
Biden’s Latest JFK Document Dump Is A JOKE (OffG)
Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Linked to Blood Clotting: FDA (ET)
FDA Uncovers Yet Another Dangerous Side Effect of the Covid-19 ‘Vaccines’ (KB)
TWITTER FILES Supplemental (Taibbi)
Musk Asks Twitter If He Should Step Down (ZH)
Twitter Censorship Contributed to Destructive Pandemic Policies (ET)
Democratic Members Warn Facebook Not to “Backslide” on Censorship (Turley)
Democrats Like Adam Schiff Are Scrambling To Save Censorship (Devine)
Former FBI Agent Calls Assertion Oath Keepers are Anti-Government ‘Absurd’ (ET)
US Doublespeak Will Not Stop Gold’s Imminent Surge (Von Greyerz)

 

 

 

 

BRICS

 

 

 

 

Child vaccine

 

 

Red Balloon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1604437989865971712

 

 

 

 

 

 

“NATO and the Americans categorically refused to discuss the main political issue: a formal rejection of NATO expansion.”

One Year Ago, Russia Gave The West A Last Chance (Lukyanov)

It’s been a year since a Russian document outlining proposals (or demands, if you prefer) for long-term guarantees on European security was delivered to NATO and the US. This was the starting point of the major politico-military crisis that defines the global situation today. Was the Russian ultimatum (and that is how it was formulated) designed to be rejected, or did it envisage a path to negotiations? President Vladimir Putin probably reasoned along the following lines: after so many years of ignoring our wishes and convictions, let’s give it one last chance. Let’s put forward the maximum set of demands, everything that has been said before, but outline them in one place and in a concentrated form, and see what happens.

If they realize that this time that it’s extremely serious, and with that in mind, decide on a real discussion, we are ready. However, if they start to waste time again, then that’s it. Let’s cut to the chase. If the response from the West was not satisfactory, the military operation in Ukraine would be the next step. There was apparently no chance of avoiding it by then. After all, the logic behind the need for the offensive was outlined in Putin’s big article in the summer of 2021. That is, the security demands were made when the internal readiness for action was already in place. The scale of the consequences leads many to return to the question: Was what happened inevitable? The argument that “we had no choice,” often heard at the highest level in Moscow, is problematic because it effectively means that Russia’s previous policies were wrong. A policy which leads to no alternative solution, i.e. forcing one to act in a certain way and no other way, cannot be considered successful.

So an analysis of the long period since the early 2000s will at some point be an important lesson for the future. Was there an urgent need to make demands and initiate the military operation at that point in time? Based on what we know now (which is probably not everything), there was room for maneuver and an opportunity to prepare better. Strategically, a conflict over Ukraine was probably inevitable, but the specific circumstances and timetable could have been different. Is anyone in the West kicking themselves right now? An ultimatum can only be accepted by great powers, and even more so by superpowers, as a result of a military defeat. So there was, I think, no chance of the demands being accepted. I have to say that the consultations that took place in January 2022 showed that the US was ready for some concessions on specific issues of military security.

To a greater extent than they had indicated before the demands were made. However, this amounted to very little relative to the overall picture. Most importantly, NATO and the Americans categorically refused to discuss the main political issue: a formal rejection of NATO expansion. For them, this is unacceptable because the military bloc’s enlargement is the basis of the entire international security philosophy as it has been understood in the West since the end of the Cold War. But even beyond this, in the West there is a complete absence (or perhaps a disappearance) of reflection on the history behind current events.

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Arms treaties and diplomacy have been abandoned. They’re bad for business.

A Lexicon for Disaster (Scott Ritter)

With no common language, there can be no common vision, no common purpose. Russia continues to seek arms control agreements which serve to restrict the arsenals of the involved parties to prevent dangerous escalatory actions while imposing a modicum of predictable stability on relations. The U.S. seeks only unilateral advantage. Until this is changed, there can be no meaningful arms control interaction between the U.S. and Russia. Not only will the New START treaty expire in February 2026, but it is also unlikely the major verification component of the treaty — on site inspections — will be revived between now and then. Moreover, it is impossible to see how a new arms control agreement to replace the expired New START treaty could be negotiated, ratified, and implemented in the short time remaining to do so.


There is no trust between Russia and the U.S. when it comes to arms control. With no treaties, there is no verification of reality. Both the U.S. and Russian arsenals will become untethered from treaty-based constraint, leading to a new arms race for which there can be only one finishing line — total nuclear war. There is a long list of things that must happen if meaningful arms control is ever to resume its place in the diplomatic arsenals of either the U.S. or Russia. Before either side can resume talking to one another, however, they must first re-learn the common language of disarmament. Because the current semantics of arms control is little more than a lexicon for disaster.

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62 lawsuits. So far.

EU Sued Over Anti-Russia Sanctions (RT)

Dozens of Russians and Belarusians have filed lawsuits at the EU Court of Justice, to challenge their inclusion on the sanctions list, the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported on Saturday. The Luxembourg-based court has reportedly received claims from one company and 61 individuals from Russia and Belarus, placed on the EU blacklist over their alleged support for Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. The business figures are seeking to challenge what they view as a violation of their rights, and the freeze of their assets by EU authorities. According to the media report, the plaintiffs in Luxembourg include Russian billionaire and former owner of the English football club Chelsea, Roman Abramovich, ESN Group owner Grigory Berezkin, and Gennady Timchenko, who owns Volga Group, a Russia-based company with interests in energy, transportation and construction.


Alfa Group co-founder Mikhail Fridman and Alisher Usmanov, the owner Russia’s largest iron ore producer, are also among those suing. The EU has adopted nine rounds of anti-Russia sanctions since February 24, when Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine. Aside from business people, the penalties include measures against Russian journalists and companies. On Friday, the EU blacklisted 141 Russian individuals and 49 legal entities, including ministers, governors, judges, parliament members, singers and presenters, as well as five political parties. The latest measures also deprived four more Russian media outlets of their broadcasting licenses in the EU, introduced a number of export bans, and extended restrictions on three more banks. Export restrictions were extended to 168 additional Russian entities closely linked to the Russian military-industrial complex, bringing the total number of sanctioned companies to 410.

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Could be an interesting court case. Note Borrell’s involvement.

Lawyer Claims Eva Kaili Followed EU Parliament Chief’s Orders In Qatar (Eur.)

Qatar had no need to bribe socialist MEP Eva Kaili as the latter was implementing a wider EU plan and was getting orders from EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola, Kaili’s lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos alleged on Tuesday. Metsola’s office told EURACTIV that the president gave instructions on how to represent the institution’s position and “nothing else”. Last Friday, Greek MEP Eva Kaili, her partner Francesco Giorgi, and ex-MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, president of the NGO Fight Against Impunity, were arrested by the Belgian police on suspicion of corruption. On a political level, with an overwhelming majority, the EU House sacked her yesterday from the vice presidency.

In an almost unanimous vote, EU lawmakers removed Eva Kaili as vice president of the European Parliament on Tuesday (13 December), following the so-called Qatargate, one of the biggest corruption scandals in the EU’s history. On Thursday, Belgian courts will decide whether she will remain in jail until the adjudication of the case. In an interview with Greek MEGA TV channel, Dimitrakopoulos said Kaili has nothing to do with bribery from Qatar. “What the public opinion needs to know is that Qatar did not need to bribe Ms Kaili because she went to Qatar as a representative of the European Parliament, the speeches, the interviews she gave were after the agreement and order of the President Roberta Metsola,” Dimitrakopoulos said.

He added that documents prove this and explained that Kaili did not take any initiative or have an agenda. “Ms Metsola sent her to Qatar, what she was going to say had Ms Metsola’s approval […] Ms Metsola had also sent EU official Mr Roberto Bendini with her to watch all of Ms Kaili’s meetings”, he explained. “I am telling you the words of Ms Kaili, she was carrying out a plan that had started in 2019, High Representative Josep Borrell and Ylva Johansson [Commissioner for Home Affairs] had decided at the Commission level, to cooperate with Qatar, Kuwait and Oman,” the lawyer added.

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“..he resisted those calls and in 2020 was bumped up to the European Commission, as so often happens with scandal-tarnished domestic politicians in the EU…”

Will the Fallout from “Qatargate” Splatter the European Commission? (NC)

For the moment, it is far from clear just how far this burgeoning scandal will reach. One thing that is clear is that the reputational damage will be large and lasting. The European Union’s ability to lecture the misbehaving governments of Member States and third-party countries on how to govern will be further diminished. As Hungary’s Victor Orban said in a video uploaded to his Facebook page, “It is time that we drain the swamp here in Brussels.” And he is right. EU institutions need to get their house in order once and for all, and fast. And that is unlikely to happen. The EU ombudsman Emily O’Reilly said this week that Von der Leyen’s proposed plan for a new ethics body is likely to end up as “something with no teeth, something that will possibly sit there passively, wait for complaints to come in.”

What the body really needs, O’Reilly said, is investigatory and sanctions powers. But that might actually threaten to derail the gravy train Brussels has become. And the problem is not just illegal cash payments stuffed away in paper bags and briefcases; it is the vast lobbying apparatus that has built up in Brussels, which is now the second largest lobbying capital in the world after Washington. As in Washington, lobbying reaches into just about every aspect of governance. In its 2015 report, CEO reported that lobbyists representing businesses and trade associations made up 75% of all high-level Commission lobby meetings and more than 80% in certain areas such as financial regulation or the internal market. The inevitable result, as in Washington, is that policies are made almost exclusively in the service of vested corporate interests.

Sometimes corporate lobbies even draft the EU’s legislation. This is the business model of modern governance. Lastly, if Borrell is indeed caught up in this burgeoning scandal and, by some miracle, loses his job, it would be no great loss to the EU’s 450 million citizens. He is the least diplomatic of diplomats. Just about every time he speaks, whether on the wonders of European colonialism or the vast untamed jungle that lies beyond Europe’s borders, damage is inflicted on the EU’s relations with some other part of the world. Since long before the Ukraine conflict he has played a leading role in escalating tensions with Russia, the EU’s biggest neighbor and energy supplier. He is also no stranger to scandal, having been convicted, in 2018, of insider trading in Spain. That resulted in him being placed on the Spanish market regulator’s blacklist. The ensuing scandal triggered calls for his resignation as Spain’s then-Foreign Minister. But he resisted those calls and in 2020 was bumped up to the European Commission, as so often happens with scandal-tarnished domestic politicians in the EU.

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“..two days later and on a complete whim, he decided to sneak back into the police station carrying a gun and shoot a man he had never met for no reason at all..”

Biden’s Latest JFK Document Dump Is A JOKE (OffG)

Waiting for a government – any government – to release their “secret” files is a waste of your time, and reading anything they eventually publish is doubly so. If you didn’t learn that from the nothing-burger that was the 28 pages on 9/11, or the pathetic exercise in revisionism that made up the Afghanistan Papers…you should definitely have learned it today. Yes, Joe Biden’s administration has just released their promised “secret” JFK papers. Turns out that Oswald acted alone. I know, I was shocked too. Further, the release dials back on the (very slight) anti-Russia messaging of last year’s release. In December 2021, the previous batch of “secret” files revealed Oswald met with a KGB agent in the days running up to the assassination.

The latest batch reassures us that Oswald never worked for the KGB, and that the Russians thought he was “too crazy” to recruit. One gets the impression that has as much to do with managing propaganda positioning over the war in Ukraine as anything else. Either way, its a ridiculously transparent attempt to reinforce the “lone wolf” lie. “He was too crazy and unstable even for the Russians!” Laughable. Further, one particular “secret” memo claims… the Central Intelligence Agency has no indication that Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald ever knew each other, were associated, or might have been connected in any manner”. Yes, before Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald they were apparently “not connected in any manner”. He had never met Oswald before the assassination, and barely had any idea who he was when he shot him on November 24th.

This means the current “official story” is that Ruby randomly chose to attend the press conference where Oswald spoke on the evening of November 22nd, despite not being a member of the press. During this press conference, Ruby correctly pointed out Oswald had joined the “fair play for Cuba committee” (presumably an inspired guess, seeing as they did not know one another). Then, two days later and on a complete whim, he decided to sneak back into the police station carrying a gun and shoot a man he had never met for no reason at all, in the parking lot of a police station, while surrounded by police officers. That’s what these “secret files” tell us…the same ridiculous story as the very unsecret Warren Commission.

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While we have been talking about bloodclots fior at least two years, the FDA only just discovered them. But: “..still under investigation and require more robust study.”

This costs lives.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Linked to Blood Clotting: FDA (ET)

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has been linked to blood clotting in older individuals, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA researchers, crunching data from a database of elderly persons in the United States, found that pulmonary embolism—blood clotting in the lungs—met the initial threshold for a statistical signal and continued meeting the criteria after a more in-depth evaluation. Three other outcomes of interest—a lack of oxygen to the heart, a blood platelet disorder called immune thrombocytopenia, and another type of clotting called intravascular coagulation—initially raised red flags, researchers said. More in-depth evaluations, such as comparisons with populations who received influenza vaccines, showed those three as no longer meeting the statistical threshold for a signal.


Researchers looked at data covering 17.4 million elderly Americans who received a total of 34.6 million vaccine doses between Dec. 10, 2020, and Jan. 16, 2022. The study was published by the journal Vaccine on Dec. 1. The FDA said it was not taking any action on the results because they do not prove the vaccines cause any of the four outcomes, and because the findings “are still under investigation and require more robust study.” Dr. Peter McCullough, chief medical adviser for the Truth for Health Foundation, told The Epoch Times via email that the new paper “corroborates the concerns of doctors that the large uptick in blood clots, progression of atherosclerotic heart disease, and blood disorders is independently associated with COVID-19 vaccination.”

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“The FDA said it was not taking any action based on the study because the findings do not prove the vaccines cause any of the four outcomes.”

FDA Uncovers Yet Another Dangerous Side Effect of the Covid-19 ‘Vaccines’ (KB)

A recent study drawing on over thirty million datapoints from the the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data system shows a heightened risk of pulmonary embolism, as well as the known elevated risk for myocarditis. “We evaluated 14 outcomes of interest following COVID-19 vaccination using the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data covering 30,712,101 elderly persons,” the international study in the journal Elsevier stated. “The CMS data from December 11, 2020 through Jan 15, 2022 included 17,411,342 COVID-19 vaccinees who received a total of 34,639,937 doses. We conducted weekly sequential testing and generated rate ratios (RR) of observed outcome rates compared to historical (or expected) rates prior to COVID-19 vaccination.”

The findings supply yet more evidence that the Covid mRNA shots should not be recommended without the standard risks of serious side effects. “Four outcomes met the threshold for a statistical signal following BNT162b2 vaccination including pulmonary embolism (PE; RR = 1.54), acute myocardial infarction (AMI; RR = 1.42), disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC; RR = 1.91), and immune thrombocytopenia (ITP; RR = 1.44),” the study found. The term RR [Risk Ratio] is an expression of the relative risk of the pharmaceutical product versus a placebo. An RR of 1.5 represents a 50% heightened risk for the given side effect.

The study couches the findings in the typical manner: Claiming that the benefits of the ‘vaccines’ outweigh the ‘risks.’ However, that would only be clearly the case if a patient did not have natural antibodies and was at increased due to risk factors such as age, obesity, or immunocompromisation. Seroprevalence data show that nearly every American in the United States has been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. The FDA said it was not taking any action based on the study because the findings do not prove the vaccines cause any of the four outcomes. The FDA claimed the findings “are still under investigation and require more robust study.”

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Musk has shaken the tree pretty hard. It’s now up to the rest of us.

TWITTER FILES Supplemental (Taibbi)

On Friday, I posted a series of exchanges between Twitter and the FBI. One that required a bit too much explaining was left out. But it’s an important document, because it clearly demonstrates that Twitter will not only take requests from the government, it will even act quickly to align its analyses with its “partners.” 2. In July of 2020, San Francisco FBI agent Elvis Chan tells Twitter executive Yoel Roth to expect written questions from the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), the inter-agency group that deals with cyber threats. 3.The questionnaire authors seem displeased with Twitter for implying, in a July 20th “DHS/ODNI/FBI/Industry briefing,” that “you indicated you had not observed much recent activity from official propaganda actors on your platform.”

4 .One would think that would be good news. The agencies seemed to feel otherwise. 5.Chan underscored this: “There was quite a bit of discussion within the USIC to get clarifications from your company,” he wrote, referring to the United States Intelligence Community. 6.The task force demanded to know how Twitter came to its unpopular conclusion. Oddly, it included a bibliography of public sources – including a Wall Street Journal article – attesting to the prevalence of foreign threats, as if to show Twitter they got it wrong. 7.Roth, receiving the questions, circulated them with other company executives, and complained that he was “frankly perplexed by the requests here, which seem more like something we’d get from a congressional committee than the Bureau.” 8.He added he was not “comfortable with the Bureau (and by extension the IC) demanding written answers.”

The idea of the FBI acting as conduit for the Intelligence Community is interesting, given that many agencies are barred from domestic operations. 9. He then sent another note internally, saying the premise of the questions was “flawed,” because “we’ve been clear that official state propaganda is definitely a thing on Twitter.” Note the italics for emphasis.10. Roth suggested they “get on the phone with Elvis ASAP and try to straighten this out,” to disabuse the agencies of any notion that state propaganda is not a “thing” on Twitter. 11. This exchange is odd among other things because some of the “bibliography” materials cited by the FITF are sourced to intelligence officials, who in turn cited the public sources. 12. The FBI responded to Friday’s report by saying it “regularly engages with private sector entities to provide information specific to identified foreign malign influence actors’ subversive, undeclared, covert, or criminal activities.”

https://twitter.com/NameRedacted247/status/1604641866342756352

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”..the question is finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive.”

Musk Asks Twitter If He Should Step Down (ZH)

Elon Musk, perhaps finally fed up with micromanaging twitter or just really drunk after partying with Qatari royals (and Jared) after today’s terrific World Cup Final… … has asked Twitter users and his 122 million followers whether he should step down as head of the social media site and pledged that he would abide by the result of the 12 hour unscientific poll. Four hours into the vote, with some 9 million votes cast, 56.7% of those polled said Musk should, in fact, stand down. It wasn’t clear what percentage of bots of mailed in ballots had been cast. Musk prefaced the vote by tweeting that “Going forward, there will be a vote for major policy changes. My apologies. Won’t happen again.”

Subsequently, in response to tweeted comments that Musk should “hire someone as Twitter CEO… that way when things go wrong you can blame that person, but you still ultimate control as the owner”, the billionaire responded that “The question is not finding a CEO, the question is finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive.” Musk also clarified to prospective replacements that any new CEO “must like pain a lot. One catch: you have to invest your life savings in Twitter and it has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy since May. Still want the job?” Musk then stated that the whole exercise is a Catch 22 as “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.” Which then begs the question how Musk will abide by a poll that seeks his replacement if there is “no successor” in mind.

He then doubled down by paraphrasing Jack Handey and, of course, Gladiator:

Whether Musk was drunk or not when he sent out the tweet (early am Qatari time), the outcome as some cynics have noted, is unlikely to have any material impact on what happens at twitter. Musk’s pledge to hold votes on policy changes came after Twitter on Sunday announced it will remove accounts “created solely” to promote other social media platforms. Accounts promoting rivals and containing links to sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Mastodon will be taken down, the company said. A few hours later the tweet revealing that policy change was deleted.

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“When decisions were being made in 2020 and imposed upon the public, that’s when censorship counted the most..”

Twitter Censorship Contributed to Destructive Pandemic Policies (ET)

The recently revealed censorship that has plagued Twitter in recent years is “criminal,” according to former White House COVID adviser Dr. Scott Atlas, as it allowed “lies to be imposed on the public” during a pandemic that wrought untold damage worldwide. “When correct science policy is blocked, people die, and people died from the censorship,” Atlas, a special coronavirus adviser during the Trump administration and contributor to The Epoch Times, said in an interview. Atlas was speaking days after Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, released troves of internal files showing how the previous Twitter team built a blacklist to limit disfavored tweets’ visibility without the knowledge of those using the platform.

Among those flagged was Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, whose tweet criticizing pandemic lockdowns shortly after joining the platform last August got him on the “trends blacklist” preventing the amplification of his tweets. But such revelations, Atlas said, are “only the tip of the iceberg.” “There’s a far larger story here that we need to hear,” he said, which he considers “far more nefarious and more systemic than isolated tweets being pulled down.” “This seems to be criminal behavior, and I think it needs to be investigated in the courts,” he said. Atlas wants to direct attention back to 2020, when health officials followed in the Chinese Communist Party’s footsteps to implement blanket COVID-19 lockdowns. In November of that year, while Atlas was still on the White House’s coronavirus task force, Twitter took down his post that argued mask-wearing was not effective in curbing the spread of the virus—a decision celebrated by some proponents of the measures, including fellow task force member Dr. Deborah Birx.

“One would think that the American public should hear what the adviser to the president is saying during the pandemic of 2020. Yet Twitter decided to simply block that discussion from the public,” he said. [..] Despite most states having a mask mandate until early this year, a number of studies found children and teenagers to be at a far lower risk of getting or dying from COVID-19, even with the emergence of new variants. But the “censorship of 2020,” be it deleting individual tweets, suspending accounts, or blocking the amplification of posts, had done its damage. “When decisions were being made in 2020 and imposed upon the public, that’s when censorship counted the most,” Atlas said.

“It created this illusion that there was a consensus among science and public health policy experts that lockdowns should be imposed; it created and perpetrated lies that if you were opposed to lockdowns, you were choosing the economy over lives, and that if you were opposed to lockdowns, you were somehow calling for letting the infection spread without any mitigation whatsoever,” he said. “They absolutely contributed to policies that killed massive numbers of people and destroyed children and low-income people, who are the most vulnerable. That’s why it’s criminal.”

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They will lose their powers when the new Congress is installed.

Democratic Members Warn Facebook Not to “Backslide” on Censorship (Turley)

With the restoration of free speech protections on Twitter, panic has grown on the left that its control over social media could come to an end. Now, some of the greatest advocates of censorship in Congress are specifically warning Facebook not to follow Twitter in restoring free speech to its platform. In a chilling letter from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), André Carson (D-Ind.), Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Facebook was given a not-so-subtle threat that reducing its infamous censorship system will invite congressional action. The letter to Meta’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, is written on congressional stationery “as part of our ongoing oversight efforts.”

With House Republicans pledging to investigate social media censorship when they take control in January, these four Democratic members are trying to force Facebook to “recommit” to censoring opposing views and to make election censorship policies permanent. Otherwise, they suggest, they may be forced to exercise oversight into any move by Facebook to “alter or rollback certain misinformation policies.” In addition to demanding that Facebook preserve its bans on figures like former president Donald Trump, they want Facebook to expand its censorship overall because “unlike other major social media platforms, Meta’s policies do not prohibit posts that make unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud.”

Clegg is given Schiff’s telephone number to discuss Facebook’s compliance — an ironic contact point for a letter on censoring “disinformation.” After all, Schiff was one of the members of Congress who, before the 2020 presidential election, pushed the false claim that the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation, and he has been criticized for pushing false narratives on Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 election. (Schiff has previously pressured social media companies to expand the censorship of opposing views).

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“Dangerous and unfounded election denial content” must be kept off the platform…”

Democrats Like Adam Schiff Are Scrambling To Save Censorship (Devine)

Adam Schiff popped up on CNN’s “State of The Union” show Sunday morning to issue barely veiled threats to Elon Musk for trying to restore free speech on Twitter. Ostensibly, the lame duck chairman of the House Intelligence Committee joined Jake Tapper to crow about expected charges against Donald Trump Monday from his January 6 star chamber. But Schiff moved on to complain about the “big problem right now with social media companies and their failure to moderate content and the explosion of hate on Twitter, the banning of journalists on Twitter.” Then he suggested ominously that Twitter and social media companies may not continue to enjoy “immunity from responsibility and liability.” In other words, keep policing free speech as an arm of the federal government or watch your business go up in smoke.


Schiff is a calculated propagandist, who lies under oath as easily as breathing, and knowingly peddles misinformation to Congress and to media outlets like CNN and MSNBC, whose gullible hosts keep bringing him back on their shows to mislead their audiences. In the dying days of his powerful reign as overseer of the nation’s intelligence agencies, abusing his access to the nation’s secrets, Schiff’s final assignment is to preserve the censorship regime his side of politics entrenched across Big Tech. On Tuesday he, and three other Dems he roped in, wrote a menacing letter “as part of our ongoing oversight efforts” to Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta (Facebook’s new name), warning that, if the company went down Twitter’s path of free speech, the consequences would be dire. “Dangerous and unfounded election denial content” must be kept off the platform.

This is not 2 or 3 years ago, this is now

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“That is a far cry from overthrowing the U.S. government by force of violence.”

“‘Absurd’ To Call Oath Keepers Insurrectionists Or A National Security Threat, Former FBI Agent Testifies”

Former FBI Agent Calls Assertion Oath Keepers are Anti-Government ‘Absurd’ (ET)

The Oath Keepers did not try to overthrow the U.S. government on Jan. 6 and are not a threat to national security because the group is anti-tyranny, not anti-government, a former FBI agent and Department of Defense analyst testified Dec. 15-16 in Alaska Superior Court. John Guandolo, who handled counter-terrorism and criminal investigations during nearly 13 years as an FBI special agent, said he found “absurd” the idea that Oath Keepers tried to overthrow the federal government. Guandolo was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in a personal capacity. Some of the Oath Keepers might have broken federal laws on Jan. 6 for allegedly trying to delay the counting of Electoral College votes, Guandolo said, “but to conflate that to being the same as the entire organization wants to overthrow the U.S. government by violence … that’s absurd,” Guandolo said.

“And I think it’s an unprofessional assessment.” Guandolo’s testimony came on the third and fourth days of a state trial to determine if Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla) should be removed from office under the Alaska Constitution because he is a life member of the Oath Keepers. Eastman won reelection on Nov. 8 by a 24-point margin. Alaska Superior Court Judge Jack McKenna issued a temporary restraining order preventing the state of Alaska from certifying the House 27th District election results until the trial ends. Former GOP candidate Randall Kowalke—who left the Republican Party in 2019—sued Eastman personally in July, claiming a loyalty clause in the Alaska Constitution should bar him from office because the Oath Keepers allegedly advocate for the overthrow of the federal government.

Earlier in the bench trial before McKenna, two analysts from centers on domestic extremism testified that the Oath Keepers went into the Capitol on Jan. 6 and tried to overthrow the government. Testifying from his office in Dallas, Guandolo told the judge there is no evidence to support that accusation. He ripped the testimony of analysts Jonathan Lewis and Matthew Kriner as “grossly incomplete” and “wholly unprofessional.” Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III and Oath Keepers Florida leader Kelly Meggs were found guilty of seditious conspiracy on Nov. 29 for actions on Jan. 6, in a jury trial in U.S. District Court in Washington. Four other defendants were acquitted of seditious conspiracy, but convicted of other offenses.

“The phrase that I saw most often [in indictments] was that so-and-so intended to affect the government by stopping or delaying the congressional proceeding, which was to certify the election,” Guandolo said when questioned by defense attorney Joseph Miller. “That is a far cry from overthrowing the U.S. government by force of violence.”

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“$300 trillion of global debt and $2 quadrillion of quasi debt in the form of derivatives can only end in currencies going to zero..”

US Doublespeak Will Not Stop Gold’s Imminent Surge (Von Greyerz)

The clouds look extremely dark for 2023 and beyond. As I have pointed out above, there is no attempt to reach a peace settlement in Ukraine. Weapons and money are pouring in to keep the war going. And the sanctions forced upon Europe by the US are having a devastating effect for the citizens of most European countries. Energy costs are up 2-3X or more for many consumers and food inflation in Germany for example jumped 21% year on year in November. In the UK, many ordinary people cannot afford to keep their heating on or to eat properly. And this is before the cold winter sets in. The situation in Ukraine seems to deteriorate and with Russia and the US involved, as well as China in the periphery, it could easily escalate.

But as I have spelt out numerous times, $300 trillion of global debt and $2 quadrillion of quasi debt in the form of derivatives can only end in currencies going to zero and sovereign borrowers defaulting. A global sovereign default should be seen as an indisputable fact and it is only a question of how long it takes. These events are normally a process. As Hemingway said, you go bankrupt “Gradually and then suddenly”. The beginning can be a slow process and then at some point the shock comes so fast that no one will have time to react. So no-one must believe that there will be time to get out once the early “gradual” phase starts. Just to be clear, the gradual phase is here already although the world is in denial. The buy the dip mentality is still prevailing as evidenced by the partial recovery in stock markets.

Few realise that this is it and the next devastating fall in stocks is going to fool practically all investors. The majority will not get out but hope for a correction so they can exit at a higher level. And once the correction comes, they will be bullish again. Once everyone is back into the market it will fall again. Most of the investors will be fooled most of the time until their portfolio is virtually worthless. The Western world hasn’t experienced a real bear market since 1929-32. That time it took 25 years for the Dow to recover to the 1929 high. The generosity of Central banks has made stock investments a one way game since the early 1980s. But now the game is up and few will realise it until they have lost everything. So the “suddenly” will be like an earthquake seemingly coming out of nowhere. It can come in 2023 or it might take a few years.

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Oppenheimer

 

 

Boys keep swinging

 

 

 

 

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Dec 092022
 


Salvador Dali Back the girl 1926

 

Second Wave Of Twitter Docs Reveal ‘Blacklists’ And ‘Shadow Bans’ (JTN)
Saxo Bank Predictions Warn Of A Wild 2023 (Spears)
Merkel’s ‘Confession’ May Be Ground For Tribunal – Moscow (RT)
US Trying To Make Ukraine Conflict Last For Years – Russia (RT)
Kremlin Explains When Ukraine Conflict May End (RT)
Bandera’s ‘Insurgency-in-Waiting’ (Robeson)
ADL: Ukraine’s Azov Battalion No Longer ‘Far-right’ (GZ)
EU Lacks ‘Critical Defense Capabilities’ – Borrell (RT)
The Russian Oil Price Cap Isn’t As Simple As It Seems (OP)
“People Are Losing Faith In This Institution”: ECB Staff (ZH)
FBI Sees ‘Threat’ In Apple Encryption Move (RT)
The Coming Purge of the China-Hands (Pattberg)
The Fixed-pPice Shopping Basket: Greece’s Answer To Cost Of Living Crisis (G.)
Daniel Ellsberg: Indict Me Too (Lauria)
Disinformation Down 92% As NYT Writers Go On Strike (BBee)

 

 

In 2018, Twitter was doing fine with the same amount of people they now employ. What was the rest doing? Just censoring?

 

 

Shadow ban

 

 

Zelensky

 

 

@CelineDion reveals she has ultimately been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome. This is a known vaxx side effect that Pfizer kept quiet until the court forced them release the side effects in the first Pfizer dump.

 

 

Tucker board

 

 

 

 

Christine Anderson
https://twitter.com/i/status/1599487419530629120

 

 

 

 

Interesting discussions on Twitter about Twitter. Much more to come. It’ll be hard on Elon too. For instance, he tweeted that Twitter doesn’t employ the Perkins Coie law firm. And then someone sends a Dec. 8 paper that says it does. How now?

Second Wave Of Twitter Docs Reveal ‘Blacklists’ And ‘Shadow Bans’ (JTN)

Former New York Times editor Bari Weiss on Thursday released internal documents on Twitter’s censorship efforts and detailed the creation of blacklists and use of shadow ban technique to throttle “disfavored” tweets. Last week, Musk released information on the company’s censoring of the Hunter Biden laptop story via alternative journalist Matt Taibbi. Thursday’s dump came through a team of reporters Weiss led and to whom Musk granted broad access to the company’s files to investigate on condition they first publish their findings on Twitter. “[T]eams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavored tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics—all in secret, without informing users,” Weiss posted in the first of a series of tweets.

Weiss subsequently outlined how conservative personalities or individuals with “disfavored” positions would end up on internal blacklists to stunt the spread of their messaging. Talk-show host Dan Bongino was featured on a “search blacklist” while Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk’s account was set to “Do Not Amplify,” Weiss detailed. COVID-19 lockdown critic Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University wound up on a “trends blacklist” that prevented his tweets from featuring on the website’s trending section. Weiss then recalled prior comments from Twitter executives denying that the company used shadow bans to stifle traffic on accounts without their knowledge.

“We do not shadow ban. And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology,” said then Head of Legal Policy and Trust Vijaya Gadde and Head of Product Kayvon Beykpour in 2018. Weiss then outlined testimony from Twitter engineers detailing an identical process the company termed “Visibility Filtering” in which the platform would quietly limit the reach of specific posts. VF decisions would go through the Strategic Response Team — Global Escalation Team Weiss explained, which she said often handled up to 200 cases per day. She further asserted that a secret dubbed “Site Integrity Policy, Policy Escalation Support” included top-level officials who made the biggest decisions. Weiss asserted that former CEO Jack Dorsey participated in the group’s deliberations.

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‘If I was a strategic thinker in the non-western world I would be thinking about what to do with my US dollar reserves..’

Saxo Bank Predictions Warn Of A Wild 2023 (Spears)

From Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to a British prime minister being ousted after six weeks, it has been a year of shocking events. More volatility lies ahead if Saxo Bank — whose previous annual list of ‘outrageous predictions’ did not see those two coming — is accurate with its prophecies for 2023, which include the reversal of Brexit and the end of dollar dominance. Some of Saxo Bank’s predictions are more outrageous than others, admits Steen Jakobsen, chief investment officer, who has been overseeing the annual project for more than 20 years. He says the most likely prediction of Saxo’s 10 for 2023 could see the US dollar’s dominance assailed by concerted action among non-Western countries.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to the ‘US weaponising the US dollar,’ as part of the sanctions response, says Jakobsen. ‘If I was a strategic thinker in the non-western world I would be thinking about what to do with my US dollar reserves going forward.’ Oil-producing nations could agree with large consumers such as China and India to do deals in a new reserve asset, leaving the dollar behind. Saxo’s possible scenario sees non-US allied countries create an international clearing union (ICU) and a new reserve asset. Based on an idea by economist John Maynard Keynes after the Second World War, the idea would make the purchasing price for oil more stable in currency terms. ‘Why would Saudi Arabia and China do deals in dollars?’ adds Jakobsen. He believes it would be a natural move ‘at a time when the US has stepped back from being a world policeman.’

Saxo’s predictions suggest a splintering world in which national economies ‘shift into War Economy mode, where sovereign economic gains and self-reliance trump globalisation.’ But closer regional links are also foreseen, most notably in the UK, which votes to ‘un-Brexit’ and rejoin the EU in the wake of economic turmoil and political demonstrations. Jakobsen does not think Rishi Sunak’s more measured approach as prime minister will be any more effective than predecessor Liz Truss’s attempts to create a laissez-faire economy. ‘Neither is going to do anything for the debt or inflation (problems) in the UK,’ he says. ‘Maybe this leads to dissatisfaction, demonstrations and ultimately an election which will see Labour come in. Maybe the Liberal Democrats show up as a Europe-friendly party, (popular) with young people in particular.’

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Merkel made clear that the “collective west” spent years trying to create a war with Russia. It’s that simple.

A tribunal would have no effect. Because all tribunals these days listen to only one side. A “Russian war crimes tribunal” will exclude Ukraine war crimes. Useless. Or worse.

Merkel’s ‘Confession’ May Be Ground For Tribunal – Moscow (RT)

A confession by former German chancellor Angela Merkel regarding the true nature of the Minsk agreements – a roadmap for peace in Ukraine that was brokered by Berlin – could be used as evidence in a tribunal involving Western politicians responsible for provoking the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said. The former German leader admitted in an interview with Die Zeit on Wednesday that the actual purpose of the Minsk agreements was to give Ukraine time to prepare for a military confrontation with Russia. “They talk a lot about legal assessments of what is happening around Ukraine, certain tribunals and so on in all sorts of ways,” Zakharova said during a media briefing on Thursday. “But this is a specific reason for a tribunal.”

She claimed that Merkel’s comments were nothing short of the testimony of a person who had openly admitted that everything done between 2014 and 2015 was meant to “distract the international community from real issues, play for time, pump up the Kiev regime with weapons, and escalate the issue into a large-scale conflict,” Zakharova added. She said Merkel’s statements “horrifyingly” reveal that the West uses “forgery as a method of action,” and resorts to “machinations, manipulation and all kinds of distortions of truth, law and rights imaginable.” The spokeswoman claimed that the West had known well in 2015, when it spent hours negotiating the second part of the Minsk accords, that it would never even attempt to fulfill any part of the agreements and would instead pump weapons into Kiev.

“They did not feel sorry for anyone: women, children, the civilian population of Donbass or the whole of Ukraine. They needed a conflict and they were ready for it back then, in 2015,” Zakharova said. Earlier this month, a number of Western officials called for the creation of a special UN-backed court to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Russia during its ongoing military campaign in Ukraine. The Kremlin has said the West has no legal or moral right to set up any courts to investigate or prosecute Russia over the conflict, which Moscow claims was ultimately provoked by the US and its allies.

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“She also said that Zelensky should watch his back, considering last week’s visit to Ukraine by Victoria Nuland..”

US Trying To Make Ukraine Conflict Last For Years – Russia (RT)

US arms procurement documents show that Washington intends to fuel the conflict in Ukraine for at least three more years, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky should take notice of it when assessing the future of his country, she added. “Washington plans to fuel hostilities in Ukraine at least till the end of 2025. That’s what their plans are, judging by documents, which they don’t hide from anybody,” the Russian diplomat told journalists during a briefing on Thursday. Zakharova was referring to a contract for Raytheon’s National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), which the Pentagon announced last week.

The US Army will buy $1.2 billion worth of hardware for Ukraine, according to the announcement, with an estimated completion date in late November 2025. The US, which pledged to provide military assistance to Kiev for “as long as it takes” to defeat Russia, previously supplied this type of anti-aircraft system to Ukrainian troops. Advisors to President Vladimir Zelensky should tell him about the procurement timeline, Zakharova suggested, so that he didn’t promise his people that the conflict would end next year, as he did this week. “Washington has different plans. There is a lot of money to be embezzled” through Ukraine aid programs, she alleged. Zakharova claimed that Western assistance was “a corruption marathon” going from the White House to Kiev and back again and profiting grifters on a global scale.

She also said that Zelensky should watch his back, considering last week’s visit to Ukraine by Victoria Nuland, a veteran US diplomat, whom Zakharova called “a harbinger of tragic shocks, caused by the Washington-orchestrated bloody putsch” of 2014. “A new palace coup may be in the making or some other reshuffle. I believe the Zelensky regime, which has repeatedly tested Washington’s patience, has some things to consider,” she remarked, adding that the US didn’t care who was in power in Kiev. Nuland, who served as US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in 2014, was recorded discussing with then-US Ambassador to Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, the composition of the post-coup Ukrainian government. The private conversation was leaked online by unidentified parties. Her preferred candidate for prime minister subsequently got the job.

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“Zelensky knows when all this can end, it can end tomorrow if desired..”

Kremlin Explains When Ukraine Conflict May End (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky knows that if desired the fighting between Moscow and Kiev could end at any moment, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said during a press call on Thursday. “You can talk about when all of this will end until you are blue in the face,” Peskov said in response to the Ukrainian president’s recent prediction that the conflict could be over next year. “Zelensky knows when all this can end, it can end tomorrow if desired,” the spokesperson added. In a recent interview with Politico – which named him ‘the most powerful person in Europe’ – Zelensky stated that Ukrainians “will be the most influential next year, but already in peacetime.”


Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine could turn out to be a “lengthy process” because achieving all of Russia’s objectives could take quite some time. Earlier, the Russian leader also said that it was wrong to talk about the timing of the special operation or try to adjust it. He noted that it was impossible to set an exact date for when the conflict could end because the fighting is still intense. “We are working calmly, the troops are moving, reaching the lines that are set as tasks. Everything is going according to plan,” Putin said back in June.

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“[Zelensky] can’t go forward with full peace negotiations with Russia, with Putin, unless America has his back..”

Bandera’s ‘Insurgency-in-Waiting’ (Robeson)

In early February 2022, a couple weeks before Putin’s invasion, Ragozin observed, “While downplaying the risk of a Russian offensive and even reprimanding the West for sowing panic, the Ukrainian leadership appears preoccupied with a different threat – that of a coup.” In the same article (“What is Zelenskiy afraid of?”), he described the “Capitulation Resistance Movement” as “a radical street force dedicated to toppling Zelensky” and “a paramilitary force associated with the nationalist opposition that coalesced around former president Petro Poroshenko.” Nationalists officially launched the “Capitulation Resistance Movement” (Rukh Oporu Kapitulyatsiyi, ROK) in October 2019 to sabotage Zelensky’s peace mandate after the political newcomer crushed Poroshenko and his political party in elections held earlier that year.

“No Capitulation” became the slogan of a broader, far-right-led campaign against Zelensky and his government, with protests typically spearheaded by the neo-Nazi Azov movement and the ROK. “Zelensky ran as a peace candidate,” and the hardliners vigorously opposed him, the late Russia expert Stephen F. Cohen explained to journalist Aaron Maté that month. “He won an enormous mandate to make peace. So, that means he has to negotiate with Vladimir Putin.” But there was a major obstacle. Ukrainian fascists “have said that they will remove and kill Zelensky if he continues along this line of negotiating with Putin… His life is being threatened literally by a quasi-fascist movement in Ukraine.” Peace could only come, Cohen stressed, on one condition. “[Zelensky] can’t go forward with full peace negotiations with Russia, with Putin, unless America has his back,” he said.

“Maybe that won’t be enough, but unless the White House encourages this diplomacy, Zelensky has no chance of negotiating an end to the war. So the stakes are enormously high.” That was three years ago. After Russia invaded, the ROK became the FURM, or the Free Ukraine Resistance Movement, which has mostly flown under the radar. After interviewing a representative of the FURM in early March, a neoconservative US journalist referred to the “Resistance Movement” as an “insurgency-in-waiting, one of many, no doubt, that plans to resort to guerrilla warfare in the event that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempted conquest of Ukraine turns into a prolonged occupation of major population centers.”

After keeping tabs on this “quasi-fascist” movement for a few years (although it mostly went dark after Russia invaded), I feel comfortable speculating that the ROK was partially responsible for making Zelensky feel that negotiating peace with Russia would be too dangerous for him. I also suspect that once Putin declared war, Zelensky as an actor felt his only choice was to become an action hero, not just to rally international support for his country, but to become so popular in Ukraine and the West to rule out a coup d’etat.

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“The New York Times has even referred to the unit as the “celebrated Azov Battalion.”

ADL: Ukraine’s Azov Battalion No Longer ‘Far-right’ (GZ)

A November 9 email from the Anti-Defamation League to The Grayzone provided a twisted defense of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion. Despite its self-proclaimed “anti-hate” mission, the ADL insisted in the email it “does not” consider Azov as the “far right group it once was.” The Azov Battalion is a neo-Nazi unit formally integrated into the US government-backed Ukrainian military. Founded by Andriy Biletsky, who has infamously vowed to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade…against Semite-led untermenschen,” Azov was once widely condemned by Western corporate media and the human rights industry for its association with Nazism. Then came the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

In the months that immediately followed, Azov led the Ukrainian military’s defense of Mariupol, the group’s longtime stronghold. As the militia assumed a frontline role in the war against Russia, Western media led a campaign to rebrand Azov as misunderstood freedom fighters while accusing its critics of echoing Kremlin talking points. The New York Times has even referred to the unit as the “celebrated Azov Battalion.” Like the Washington Post and other mainstream outlets, the ADL ignored Azov’s atrocities this April in Mariupol, where locals accused the group of using civilians as human shields and executing those who attempted to flee. One video out of Mariupol showed Azov fighters proudly declaring the Nazi collaborator and mass murderer of Jews, Stepan Bandera, to be their “father.”

The Azov Battalion has long served as a magnet for the international white nationalist movement, attracting recruits from the terrorist Atomwaffen Division to a US Army Specialist arrested on charges of distributing bomb-making instructions. Back in March 2022, just a month before the battle of Mariupol, the ADL itself issued a report acknowledging that white nationalists see Azov “as a pathway to the creation of a National Socialist state in Ukraine.” Eight months later, however, the ADL has changed its tune, asserting to this outlet that Azov has rooted the fascists from its ranks. So did Azov change its Nazi ways, or did the ADL simply shift its messaging to conform to the imperatives of a Biden administration still intent on sending billions in military aid to Ukraine?

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Does Borrell work for Raytheon? His spending demands will make Europe a lot poorer…

EU Lacks ‘Critical Defense Capabilities’ – Borrell (RT)

Europe must begin to take more responsibility for its own security, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said, announcing that total expenditure by member states will grow by €70 billion over the next three years. Speaking at the ‘Investing in European Defence’ forum on Thursday, Borrell, who also heads the European Defence Agency (EDA), called on European nations to cooperate more on upping defense capacities in the common interest of bloc security. They should also look past the current conflict in Ukraine and anticipate “future threats.” Borrell said states’ spending on defense had surpassed the €200 billion-level in 2021 for the first time, though they’re still playing catch-up. “After the Cold War, we shrunk our forces to small-size armies without coordination … We lack critical defense capabilities,” he said.

“We have to compensate for years of underspending.” “Total defense expenditure that Member States have announced will grow by another €70 billion in the next three years,” Borrell said, adding that “people don’t fight with banknotes.” Borrell said Brussels faced a challenge to spend the money “in a coordinated manner” and that national decisions should not be focused solely on present needs, an apparent reference to the turmoil in Ukraine. If the focus remains only on current requirements, Europe will once again be faced with “a fragmented European capability landscape,” he warned. The top diplomat said a balance must be found between responding to current needs and preparing for future threats. Those threats are “close by and likely to get worse,” he said.

The EU has committed around $2.5 billion in weapons to Ukraine since Russia’s offensive began in February. Borrell’s pledge comes as European nations are running out of weapons to give Ukraine as they see their own stocks dwindling. The constant transfers of weapons to Ukraine has left most NATO nations’ stockpiles strained, according to a New York Times report last month, which said the bloc’s smaller nations had “exhausted their potential” and at least 20 of NATO’s 30 members were “pretty tapped out.” Politico reported last week that France unofficially admitted it has run out of weapons to send Kiev due to the state of its own supplies, while Germany also faces a €20-billion shortfall in ammunition.

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“..wondering how a fixed price would work in a market that trades oil on a forward floating basis against international benchmarks..”

The Russian Oil Price Cap Isn’t As Simple As It Seems (OP)

The $ 60-per-barrel price cap on Russian crude oil, which came into effect on Monday, looks pretty straightforward. Buyers paying $60 or less per barrel of Russia’s crude will have full access to all EU and G7 insurance and financing services associated with transporting Russian crude to non-EU countries. However, the physical oil market doesn’t usually see trades with fixed prices of crude – oil is being sold at a price premium or discount against the forward prices of the major international benchmarks such as Brent or the Oman/Dubai average. So, the price cap is much more complicated than a straightforward $60 per barrel ceiling. As a result, traders of physical oil cargoes are confused by the price cap on Russian crude, wondering how a fixed price would work in a market that trades oil on a forward floating basis against international benchmarks.

Physical oil traders, those who are willing to trade crude in compliance with the price cap, are also concerned that they could end up inadvertently violating the cap if, for example, the price of Russia’s flagship grade, Urals, with a discount to Brent, is higher than $60 per barrel weeks after the oil trade has been made. In such cases, traders would be stuck with above-$60 Russian crude that violates the price cap and would significantly limit access to EU/G7 tankers and maritime transportation services such as insurance and financing, oil traders tell Bloomberg. This could complicate the physical handling of Russian crude oil cargoes and hedging, they say. “Physical traders rarely trade on a fixed price,” John Driscoll, chief strategist at JTD Energy Services Pte Ltd, told Bloomberg.

“It’s a much more complex space where they trade on formulas and spot differentials to a benchmark crude for the trading of actual cargoes as well as for hedging that follows,” said Driscoll, who has more than 30 years of trading oil in Singapore. The price cap is not set in stone – it “is fixed for now but adjustable over time,” the EU said last week. A price revision would “take into account a variety of factors, which can include the effectiveness of the measure, its implementation, international adherence and alignment, the potential impact on coalition members and partners, and market developments,” the EU says. Even within the price cap, banks are generally wary of providing financing, industry officials told Global Trade Review this week.

Banks are concerned by the high compliance risk and fear they will have to increase scrutiny and due diligence to avoid being caught in a trade or deceptive shipping practices. Adding further confusion for physical oil traders is Russia’s position on the matter. Moscow says it will not trade its oil with countries that have joined the price cap. The EU says that “With the price cap, there are clear incentives for Russia, oil importing countries and market participants to maintain the flow of Russian oil. This will achieve both objectives at the same time.” But Russia says the price cap artificially limits prices—a mechanism Moscow will not accept.

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In times of plenty, incompetence tends to remain hidden. But today, almost everyone working in European institutions turns out to be incompetent. They’ve been selected not for their skills, but for loyalty to some ideology or another.

“People Are Losing Faith In This Institution”: ECB Staff (ZH)

This one is just too funny to pass by: having watched as their incompetent and clueless “leaders” sparked the biggest surge in European inflation since Weimar, crushing the purchasing power of ordinary people across the continent, it is only when their own purchases were suddenly threatened that the ECB’s rank and file decided to make some noises. According to the FT, workers at the world’s biggest hedge fund (or at least it was until the Euro hit parity), known as the European Central Bank, will discuss protest action and even potential strikes after rejecting a pay offer well below the rate of eurozone inflation, a union official has warned. The ECB’s proposal to increase pay by “only” 4.07% in January is – hilariously enough – consistent with the bank’s own opposition to deals that link wages to inflation that it believes risk fuelling a damaging wage-price spiral.

There is just one problem: its own employees think Christine Lagarde – herself a multimillionaire who barely avoided jail time despite being a convicted felon – is full of it and demand much higher pay… which if extended to all European workers will result without doubt in a wage-price spiral, as higher wages will mean higher prices, which mean even higher wages, and so on. The ECB’s latest pay offer, up from a 1.48% rise at the start of this year, is less than half what annual eurozone inflation is expected to be this year and will leave its staff with a significant pay cut in real terms (don’t tell them, but most Europeans won’t even get a 4.07% nominal wage increase: are they supposed to strike too). “People are losing faith in this institution,” said Carlos Bowles, vice-president of the Ipso union that represents ECB staff. “What the ECB leadership is telling us is ‘sorry we missed our own inflation target and now you, the staff, are going to pay the price’. “We really see an issue in the way the ECB stance is damaging the bargaining power of workers,” said Bowles.

“This is playing a role in increasing inequality.” Of course, that’s what we have been saying since 2009. But it was only when their own livelihood was on the line, did workers for Europe’s money printer figure it out too. A recent survey by the union found “the vast majority of colleagues are angry” about the ECB’s pay offer, he said. “The pay consultation is due to finish at the end of the year and we will decide in January if we protest.” The union reportedly met with the ECB’s ultra wealthy president Christine Lagarde – who doesn’t care what food costs, after all with the help of Bernard Tapie she embezzled enough to last her a lifetime – a few weeks ago and she made it clear there was no room for negotiation, he said. A strike, as happened at the ECB over pension reforms in 2009, was “not excluded” but it would only “come after an escalation curve”.

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“In this age of cybersecurity and demands for ‘security by design,’ the FBI and law enforcement partners need ‘lawful access by design.’”

FBI Sees ‘Threat’ In Apple Encryption Move (RT)

The FBI has issued a warning about upcoming security updates for Apple products, insisting the company’s plans to strengthen end-to-end encryption will interfere with efforts to track down criminals and terrorists. The agency sounded alarms soon after Apple announced several “advanced security features” set to be introduced in the coming months – including new protections for files stored in the cloud – telling the Washington Post it is “deeply concerned with the threat end-to-end and user-only-access encryption pose.” “This hinders our ability to protect the American people from criminal acts ranging from cyber-attacks and violence against children to drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism,” an unnamed FBI spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday.

“In this age of cybersecurity and demands for ‘security by design,’ the FBI and law enforcement partners need ‘lawful access by design.’” US and allied law enforcement officials have long demanded tech firms to provide open access to all devices, with the FBI frequently citing the aftermath of a 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernadino, California, when agents were unable to get into an Apple phone used by the shooter. Though the bureau pressed the company to help it break in, Apple refused, leading to a lengthy legal battle centered on encryption. Between 2015 and 2016 alone, Apple received at least 11 separate court orders to help police access various devices thought to be involved in criminal activity, but objected to all of them. A New York City court would later conclude that Apple could not be compelled to unlock its phones on the basis of the 1789 All Writs Act, which the FBI had repeatedly cited in prior cases.

Alongside agencies in the UK and Australia, the US Department of Justice has placed similar pressure on other tech giants in the past. In 2019, the three countries issued an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg which argued that “companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content.” Officials suggested encryption could interfere with investigations into “the most serious crimes,” effectively asking for the ability to crack any device at any time. Privacy advocates, including famed national security whistleblower Edward Snowden, have pushed back on the drive to undermine strong encryption, saying it is impossible to create a backdoor exclusively for law enforcement, and that any such security loophole will also be open to everyone, including bad actors.

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How our impression of China is shaped. Read!

The Coming Purge of the China-Hands (Pattberg)

There comes a time during or shortly after the academic training of every “Student of China” when he frequently runs into one of the many agents of Western anti-China state security. They are adverse hostile forces, they run a complete background-check on you, and then they‘ll make you a simple offer: You either produce anti-Chinese content for the West, or they‘ll mark you as anti-democratic and enemy of freedom, a traitor. In that case, you’ll never find work in the West again. And if you make a big fuss about it and cry coercion or blackmail, they are gonna start decomposing you. Like most young students back then, I, too, was completely ignorant about the inner workings of Western world hegemony. And, like the idiot I always was, I threw myself heedlessly into “China Studies” at a respective University in the United Kingdom, Edinburgh to be exact.

Immediately, the conceited profs and lecturers, they taught us the horrors of Han chauvinism, the horrors of Qing China and the horrors of the Maoists and the horrors against the poor people of Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan. When I looked it up, those were all former British colonies and/or places of interest to the British Crown. We were told LIES by the very British people whose soldiers raped, looted and colonized China, and were now angry that China somehow stood its ground and survived. I do not expect you to believe at first what I am about to tell you. I would not have believed it myself, back then I mean, before I joined some of the many “Studies” invented by the Western Empire of LIES. “China Studies” is not about China. It could be, but it is not. It is warfare against China. To keep China down. To sabotage her. To control her people and her history. In this war, it is the West or you perish.

Joining the enemy, China, is a capital crime. Have you ever wondered why there are no pro-China talking heads in the books, in the papers or on telly? It is because pro-China people in “China Studies” were the enemy. They didn’t make it through graduation, they weren’t hired, etc.. Our common sense is often betrayed by what sociologists call ‘the survivor bias’: We believe that since all we hear or read about China is negative, this must be sure proof that China is a very nasty place. What we fail to see, however, is that all the negative stuff we heard and read about China was the product of just 1 “China Studies” graduate for every 1,000,000 people or so of the general Western population. Nobody who was pro-China survived the selection process or came anywhere near central power.

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“For many it was not in the increased number of homeless on the streets, or beggars huddled around tourist sites, or eye-wateringly high energy bills – although all of those existed before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. ”

The Fixed-pPice Shopping Basket: Greece’s Answer To Cost Of Living Crisis (G.)

Even before the cost of living crisis was formally pronounced, it had arrived in Greece. For many it was not in the increased number of homeless on the streets, or beggars huddled around tourist sites, or eye-wateringly high energy bills – although all of those existed before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “It was there for everyone to see on the supermarket shelves,” says Panagiota Kalapotharakou, who heads the consumer rights association Ekpizo. “Eighteen months ago there were so many products with price labels that a great number of Greeks could not afford. Costs were going up long before the war in Ukraine.” It came as little surprise for consumer groups, then, that when talk turned to the need for relief measures to counter rising inflation the government chose to focus on staple goods.

What emerged was the novel concept of the “household basket”: supermarkets agreed with the government to sell about 51 staples – from flour to fish – at fixed prices. The measure, thrashed out around a long mahogany table in the ministry of commerce, went into effect in early November. Officials in the centre-right government intend the scheme, scheduled to run to the end of the winter, as a bulwark for the most vulnerable against the inflationary storm. No government subsidies are involved. “We spent weeks sitting around this table working on it with supermarket market representatives and our competition committee,” says Sotiris Anagnostopoulos, the ministry’s fresh-faced general secretary. “In politics you have to anticipate what is coming next. The cost of living crisis is a huge challenge, maybe the biggest we have faced since the adoption of the euro.”

Nationwide chains have signed up to the programme, selling products under blue household basket labels. With the country’s annual consumer inflation rate currently at 10% – down from a high of 12% in September – the government insists the initiative has succeeded in stabilising prices at a time of uncertainty and, in some cases, driving them lower. “What was never expected was the price war that we have seen among the big supermarket chains,” says Anagnostopoulos. “It’s been a surprise and a pleasant one because in general Greeks have much lower purchasing power.” Forced to survive on some of the lowest wages in the EU – at less than €1,200 a month, the average monthly salary is about a quarter of that in Germany – Greeks have felt the impact of soaring prices perhaps more than other EU nations.

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“Anyone who has downloaded a classified document from WikiLeaks, Cryptome or any other source, or posted it online is liable to prosecution under the Act..”

Daniel Ellsberg: Indict Me Too (Lauria)

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg has told the U.S. Justice Department and President Joe Biden that he is as indictable as WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange for having unauthorized possession of classified materials before they were published by WikiLeaks and that he would plead “not guilty” because the Espionage Act is unconstitutional. Ellsberg revealed this week to the BBC interview program Hard Talk that Assange had given him the files leaked by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to keep as a backup before they were published by WikiLeaks in 2010. Assange has been charged with violating the Espionage Act for possession and dissemination of classified information and faces 175 years in a U.S. prison if he is extradited from Belmarsh Prison in London.

Ellsberg is the second figure this month to come forward calling on the U.S. government to indict them for the same reasons Assange has been charged. “Cryptome published the decrypted unredacted State Department Cables on September 1, 2011 prior to publication of the cables by WikiLeaks,” John Young wrote in a Justice Department submission form, which Young posted on Twitter last week. “No US official has contacted me about publishing the unredacted cables since cryptome published them,” he wrote. “I respectfully request that the Department of Justice add me as a co-defendant in the prosecution of Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act.” The 1917 Espionage Act does not exempt journalists from receiving and publishing classified information, which Ellsberg says is a clear violation of the First Amendment and should be challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Anyone who has downloaded a classified document from WikiLeaks, Cryptome or any other source, or posted it online is liable to prosecution under the Act, which would include millions of people around the world. Receiving and publishing classified information is routine work for journalists at major publications. Five newspapers partnered with WikiLeaks to publish Manning’s material in 2010 but only Assange has been charged. Those five newspapers last week called on the Biden administration to drop the charges on Assange because of the threat to the First Amendment. The Obama administration declined to indict Assange in 2011 because it understood that it would also have to indict New York Times editors and reporters for having published the same materiel Assange did. That is the only material Assange was indicted for.

He was not charged for releases exposing Central Intelligence Agency hacking activities in 2016, though that so infuriated then C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo that Pompeo later asked for plans to be drawn up to either kidnap or kill Assange while he was living under asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy. The Trump administration then had Assange arrested and charged under the Espionage Act in 2019. Despite being part of the Obama administration, Biden has refused to drop the case. When those plans were first revealed at Assange’s extradition hearing in 2020, Ellsberg said that the government was treating Assange worse than he had been treated and that it should have set Assange free.

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“..all other news outlets around the country reported feeling “lost” as they were so used to just copying and pasting from the New York Times each morning.”

Disinformation Down 92% As NYT Writers Go On Strike (BBee)

Researchers are reporting that disinformation on Twitter, Facebook, and mainstream news sources is already down by 92% in the wake of a 24-hour writer’s strike at the New York Times. “We always wondered where all this harmful disinformation was coming from,” said Darryl Ball, a researcher with the Center for Combatting Bad Things Online. “Turns out, it was all coming from those knuckleheads at the Times. Who knew?” Several studies indicate the country has seen a sharp decrease in hate speech, foreign propaganda, and shockingly dumb hot takes since the entire writing staff walked out of the building in New York City, which experts believe could lead to an outbreak of peace and harmony across the nation.


“All this time, the threat to democracy was us all along!” said NYT Union Boss Fuggs Crullers to reporters from other news organizations not on strike. “We have begun negotiations with leadership to pay us more money to never come back to work in hopes of saving America.” At publishing time, all other news outlets around the country reported feeling “lost” as they were so used to just copying and pasting from the New York Times each morning.

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Paul Marik

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker dreamers

 

 

 

 

Referee
https://twitter.com/i/status/1600902123486470145

 

 

Polar bear cub

 

 

 

 

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