Apr 192024
 


Francesco Hayez The Death of the Doge Marin Faliero 1867

 

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

 

 

 

 

O’Leary

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Ritter

 

 

Samson

 

 

 

 

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

Why the Fix Is in for Trump (Victoria Taft)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israeli Retaliatory Strike On Iran (Scott Ritter)

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

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

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

Which Side God Is On Now (Helmer)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On The Mayorkas Impeachment (Denninger)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Massie

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Petulant child.

Zelensky Blames EU For Russian Advance (RT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Desperation Behind European Politicians’ Latest Russiagate Hoax (Public)

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

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

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

US Issues Assurances on Assange (Lauria)

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

Emperors

 

 

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

 

 

Parrots

 

 

Hedgehogs

 

 

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

 

 

Bald Eagle Walking

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 162024
 


Charles Sprague Pearce The Arab jeweler c1882

 

“I Can’t Go To My Son’s Graduation”: NY Judge Threatens Trump With Arrest (ZH)
Trump Trial in Manhattan is an Indictment of the New York Legal System (Turley)
Jury Selection Begins In Trump Hush-money Trial (RT)
Johnson, Trump Announce Election Integrity Bill (ET)
US House Speaker To Put Ukraine Aid Bill To A Vote (RT)
How Iran’s ‘Strategic Patience’ Switched To Serious Deterrence (Pepe Escobar)
Iranian Strikes On Israel Represent ‘Spillover’ Of Gaza Conflict – China (RT)
Biden Tells Netanyahu US Won’t Support Attack on Iran (Antiwar)
US Mulling New Sanctions Against Iran Over Attack on Israel – Scalise (Sp.)
Netanyahu a Threat for Israel, Opposition Leader Says (TASS)
Ukraine ‘Owned’ by US, US ‘Owned’ by Israel – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
De-electrification And Unconditional Surrender Of The Kiev Regime (Helmer)
Germans Can Now Change Gender Every Year (RT)
The Palestine Congress (CJ Hopkins)
Two Senior Tesla Executives Leave Amid 14,000 Global Layoffs (ZH)
Airbus Beats Boeing For Deliveries In 2024 (ZH)
Trump Biopic To Compete At Cannes Film Festival (RT)

 

 

 

 

Habba
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779925234868470134

 

 

 

 

Look up Mary McCord
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779853383525933207

 

 

Jury
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779876987697295817

 

 

Pastor

Dalton

 

 

 

 

“..that I can’t go to my son’s graduation, or that I can’t go to the United States Supreme Court, that I’m not in Georgia or Florida or North Carolina campaigning like I should be..”

Engoron tried to take away his money. So Merchan takes his freedom instead. Count on this judge to lock him up at some point. He’ll find a reason.

“I Can’t Go To My Son’s Graduation”: NY Judge Threatens Trump With Arrest (ZH)

Update (1750ET): The first day of Donald Trump’s ‘hush money’ trial was fairly uneventful – aside from the judge, a complete dick, barring the former President from attending his son’s graduation and threatening arrest if he does. Speaking after a long day of jury selection and ground rules (with more than 50 jurors dismissed), Trump walked out of the courtroom and expressed his obvious displeasure. “As you know my son is graduating from High School, and looks like the judge will not let me go to the graduation for a son who’s worked very, very hard,” Trump said, adding that he was “looking forward for years to having graduation with his mother and father there,” adding that the trial is a “scam” and a “political witch hunt.”

Judge Juan Merchan also won’t allow Trump to attend a Supreme Court hearing in DC regarding immunity. “We got a real problem with this Judge,” Trump continued, adding “that I can’t go to my son’s graduation, or that I can’t go to the United States Supreme Court, that I’m not in Georgia or Florida or North Carolina campaigning like I should be… it’s perfect for the radical left Democrats – that’s exactly what they want,” he continued, adding that it’s “election interference.”

Vivek

[..] The case stems from a $130,000 payment made by Trump’s former lawyer, convicted felon and admitted liar Michael Cohen, to adult film actress Stormy Daniels at the end of the 2016 election in an alleged scheme to buy her silence. Trump is required to be present for the trial, which will take place four days a week and could last up to two months. Judge Juan Merchan kicked off the day by refusing a request by Trump’s legal team to recuse himself from the case over an interview he gave to the press in which he mentioned the case, which Merchan said was within the law – while Merchan’s wife and daughter have worked for prominent Democrats and/or made anti-Trump statements.

Prosecutors sought to include evidence from the Access Hollywood ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ tape, as well as various sexual assault allegations from Trump accusers. Merchan allowed a transcript of the tape, and denied a request to present the other allegations in court. Next, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked Trump’s attorneys to explain how the former president shouldn’t be held in contempt for allegedly violating Merchan’s gag order – arguing that Trump’s efforts have continued to this day, and that witnesses in the case “have incurred the wrath of Trump supporters.” And now, jury selection begins… with Merchan telling the court that 500 prospective jurors are waiting.

Merchan

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Good write-up from Turley. But it’s an indictment of the entire US legal system, not just New York.. Bragg and Merchan keep Trump from campaigning in 49 other states as well.

Trump Trial in Manhattan is an Indictment of the New York Legal System (Turley)

After an absurd $450 million decision courtesy of Attorney General Letitia James, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will bring his equally controversial criminal prosecution over hush money paid to former porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. Lawyers have been scouring the civil and criminal codes for any basis to sue or prosecute Trump before the upcoming 2024 election. This week will highlight the damage done to New York’s legal system because of this unhinged crusade. They’ve charged him with everything short of ripping a label off a mattress. Just a few weeks ago, another judge imposed a roughly half billion dollar penalty in a case without a single victim who lost a single cent on loans with Trump. (Indeed, bank officials testified they wanted more business with the Trump organization). Now Bragg is bringing a case that has taken years to develop and millions of dollars in litigation costs for all parties. That is all over a crime from before the 2016 election that is a misdemeanor under state law that had already expired under the statute of limitations.

Like his predecessor, Bragg previously scoffed at the case. However, two prosecutors, Carey R. Dunne and Mark F. Pomerantz, then resigned and started a public pressure campaign to get New Yorkers to demand prosecution. Pomerantz shocked many of us by publishing a book on the case against Trump — who was still under investigation and not charged, let alone convicted, of any crime. He did so despite objections from his former colleague that such a book was grossly improper. Nevertheless, it worked. Bragg brought a Rube Goldberg case that is so convoluted and counterintuitive that even liberal legal analysts criticized it. Trump paid Daniels to avoid any publicity over their brief alleged affair. As a celebrity, there was ample reason to want to keep the affair quiet, and that does not even include the fact that he is a married man. It also occurred before the 2016 election and there was clearly a benefit to quash the scandal as a candidate. That political motivation is at the heart of this long-delayed case.

It is a repeat of the case involving former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. In 2012, the Justice Department used the same theory to charge the former Democratic presidential candidate after a disclosure that he not only had an affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter but also hid the fact that he had a child by her. Edwards denied the affair, and money from donors was passed to Hunter to keep the matter quiet. The Justice Department spent a huge amount on the case to show that the third-party payments were a circumvention of campaign finance laws. However, Edwards was ultimately found not guilty on one count while the jury deadlocked on the other five. With Trump, the Justice Department declined a repeat of the Edwards debacle and did not bring any federal charge.

But Bragg then used the alleged federal crime to bootstrap a defunct misdemeanor charge into a felony in the current case. He is arguing that Trump intentionally lied when his former lawyer Michael Cohen listed the payments as retainer costs rather than a payment — to avoid reporting it as a campaign contribution to himself. Thus, if he had simply had Cohen report the payment as “hush money,” there would be no crime. Once again, the contrast to other controversies is telling. Before the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton’s campaign denied that it had funded the infamous Steele dossier behind the debunked Russian collusion claims. The funding was hidden as legal expenses by then-Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias. (The FEC later sanctioned the campaign over its hiding of the funding.). When a reporter tried to report the story, he said Elias “pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’” Times reporter Maggie Haberman declared, “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.”

Likewise, John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, was called before congressional investigators and denied categorically any contractual agreement with Fusion GPS. Sitting beside him was Elias, who reportedly said nothing to correct the misleading information given to Congress. Yet, there were no charges stemming from the hiding of the funding, though it was all part of the campaign budget. Making this assorted business even more repellent will be the appearance of Cohen himself on the stand. Cohen recently was denounced by a judge as a serial perjurer who is continuing to game the system. Cohen has a long record as a legal thug who has repeatedly lied when it served his interests. He has a knack for selling his curious skill set to powerful figures like Trump and now Bragg.

For those of us who have been critics of Cohen from when he was still working for Trump, it is mystifying that anyone would call him to the stand to attest to anything short of the time of day . . . and even then most of us would check our watches. Fortunately witnesses are no longer required to put their hand on the bible in swearing to testify truthfully in court. Otherwise, the court would need the New York Fire Department standing by in case the book burst into flames. So this is the case: A serial perjurer used to convert a dead state misdemeanor into a felony based on an alleged federal election crime that was rejected by the Justice Department. They could well succeed in a city where nine out of ten potential jurors despise Trump. Trying Trump in Manhattan is about as difficult as the New York Yankees going to bat using beach balls rather than baseballs. It is hard to miss.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1779874197918863646

Turley

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“The trial will keep Trump at the Manhattan courtroom every day of the proceedings for the next six weeks or more, effectively taking him off the campaign..”

Jury Selection Begins In Trump Hush-money Trial (RT)

Jury selection has begun for a trial at which former US President Donald Trump stands accused of falsifying records related to hush-money payments to a porn star during the 2016 election. Trump becomes the first former president to stand trial on criminal charges. Twelve jurors, along with six alternates, will be chosen from among hundreds of New Yorkers. The judge in the case has released the extensive questionnaire that potential jurors will have to fill out. “Nothing like this has ever happened before,” Trump told reporters outside the courtroom, calling the trial “political persecution” and “an assault on America.” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, charged Trump last year with 34 counts of “falsifying business records,” alleging that the Republican politician sought “to conceal damaging information and unlawful activity from American voters before and after the 2016 election.”

The case is based on claims by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, that he paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, so she would keep quiet about an alleged affair with him. Trump has denied any relationship with Daniels. In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to charges of campaign-finance violations, tax and bank fraud, and spent two and a half years in a federal prison. He also lost his New York bar license. Judge Juan Merchan has granted Bragg’s request for a gag order, meaning that Trump can’t criticize the prosecutor or his staff. The trial will keep Trump at the Manhattan courtroom every day of the proceedings for the next six weeks or more, effectively taking him off the campaign. Trump was the 45th president of the US (2017-2021) and is currently the presumptive Republican nominee to challenge President Joe Biden in November.

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Trump gives Johnson some loving.

Johnson, Trump Announce Election Integrity Bill (ET)

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and former President Donald Trump are urging support for a bill aimed at preventing non-citizens from voting in federal elections. At a Friday, April 12, press conference at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence, the Republican leaders announced the bill as part of larger efforts to bolster election integrity. “What we’re going to do is introduce legislation to require that every single person who registers to vote in a federal election must prove that they are an American citizen first,” Mr. Johnson said. Though some jurisdictions allow noncitizens to participate in local elections, it is illegal for them to vote in all state and federal elections. However, the United States’ federal voter registration form does not require documentary proof of citizenship, and states’ efforts to impose such a requirement have been challenged by the Biden administration.

The new legislation, the speaker said, would establish new safeguards to ensure only citizens can vote. The provisions would require states to remove noncitizens from their voter rolls and would provide them with access to Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration databases to help them do so. “Congress has this responsibility. We cannot wait for widespread fraud to occur … especially when the threat of fraud is growing with every single illegal immigrant that crosses that border,” the speaker said. He added that he expected the bill to receive widespread Republican support while also forcing Democrats to go on record with where they stand. The push to secure elections from illegal votes comes amid the flood of illegal immigrants pouring across the southern border.

Illegal immigration, though a persistent problem for decades, has exploded to unprecedented levels under the Biden administration. The deluge has included individuals on the United States’ terror watch list and others with prior convictions for violent crimes. Republicans have repeatedly said that President Joe Biden has the power to end the crisis but simply chooses not to. President Trump repeated that claim Friday, asserting that the president could and should “close the border immediately.”

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Will the loving remain?

US House Speaker To Put Ukraine Aid Bill To A Vote (RT)

US House Speaker Mike Johnson has promised to finally advance the long-stalled Ukraine aid bill sought by President Joe Biden, multiple news outlets reported on Monday. The proposed legislation has been stuck in Congress for months due to the bitter in-fighting between Democrats and Republicans. According to reports, Johnson told Republican colleagues at a closed-door meeting that he intends to allow the House to vote on a standalone bill this week that would ensure additional military aid to Kiev. The House will also be expected to vote on separate bills providing more aid to Israel and Taiwan. “We know that the world is watching us to see how we react,” Johnson told reporters after a meeting with GOP legislators, as quoted by the New York Times. He added that the leaders of Russia, China and Iran are “watching to see if America will stand up for its allies and our interests around the globe – and we will.”

House Republicans have previously refused to back the omnibus foreign aid bill unveiled by Biden in October, which includes $61 billion worth of assistance to Ukraine. The legislation stalled for months because the GOP was trying to force the White House to crack down on the influx of illegal migrants across the border with Mexico. The Republicans were encouraged by Biden’s reelection rival, former president Donald Trump, who argued against unchecked aid to Ukraine. The delay in approving more weapons for Ukraine rattled President Vladimir Zelensky and other officials in Kiev, who are blaming mounting battlefield losses on the increasing shortages of foreign-supplied ammunition and air defenses. “If Congress does not help Ukraine, Ukraine will lose the war,” Zelensky warned last week. Russia, meanwhile, has repeatedly stated that no amount of foreign help will change the course of the conflict, and accused the West of escalation.

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“This was a highly choreographed show. Multiple early warning signs gifted Tel Aviv with plenty of time to profit from US intel and evacuate fighter jets and personnel..”

How Iran’s ‘Strategic Patience’ Switched To Serious Deterrence (Pepe Escobar)

A little over 48 hours before Iran’s aerial message to Israel across the skies of West Asia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov confirmed, on the record, what so far had been, at best, hush-hush diplomatic talk: The Russian side keeps in contact with Iranian partners on the situation in the Middle East after the Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Syria. Ryabkov added, “We stay in constant touch [with Iran]. New in-depth discussions on the whole range of issues related to the Middle East are also expected in the near future in BRICS.” He then sketched The Big Picture: “Connivance with Israeli actions in the Middle East, which are at the core of Washington’s policy, is in many ways becoming the root cause of new tragedies.” Here, concisely, we had Russia’s top diplomatic coordinator with BRICS – in the year of the multipolar organization’s Russian presidency – indirectly messaging that Russia has Iran’s back.

Iran, it should be noted, just became a full-fledged BRICS+ member in January. Iran’s aerial message this weekend confirmed this in practice: their missile guidance systems used the Chinese Beidou satellite navigation system as well as the Russian GLONASS system. This is Russia–China intel leading from behind and a graphic example of BRICS+ on the move. Ryabkov’s “we stay in constant touch” plus the satellite navigation intel confirms the deeply interlocked cooperation between the Russia–China strategic partnership and their mutual strategic partner Iran. Based on vast experience in Ukraine, Moscow knew that the biblical psychopathic genocidal entity would keep escalating if Iran only continued to exercise “strategic patience.”

The morphing of “strategic patience” into a new strategic balance had to take some time – including high-level exchanges with the Russian side. After all, the risk remained that the Israeli attack against the Iranian consulate/ambassador’s residence in Damascus could well prove to be the 2024 remix of the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Tehran did manage to upend the massive Western psychological operations aimed at pushing it into a strategic misstep. Iran started with a misdirecting masterstroke. As US–Israeli fear porn went off the charts, fueled by dodgy western “intel,” the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) made a quick sideways move, seizing an Israeli-owned container ship near the Strait of Hormuz.

That was an eminently elegant manoeuvre – reminding the collective west of Tehran’s hold on the Strait of Hormuz, a fact immeasurably more dangerous to the whole western economic house of cards than any limited strike on their “aircraft carrier” in West Asia. That did happen anyway. And once again, with a degree of elegance. Unlike that ‘moral’ army specialized in killing women, children, and the elderly and bombing hospitals, mosques, schools, universities, and humanitarian convoys, the Iranian attack targeted key Israeli military sites such as the Nevatim and Ramon airbases in the Negev and an intel center in the occupied Golan Heights – the three centers used by Tel Aviv in its strike on Iran’s Damascus consulate. This was a highly choreographed show. Multiple early warning signs gifted Tel Aviv with plenty of time to profit from US intel and evacuate fighter jets and personnel, which was duly followed by a plethora of US military radars coordinating the defense strategy.

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“Ultimately, there is no alternative to the full implementation of the two-state solution, the only way to end the vicious circle of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict once and for all..”

Iranian Strikes On Israel Represent ‘Spillover’ Of Gaza Conflict – China (RT)

Iran’s retaliatory strikes on Israel constitute an “adverse spillover” of the Gaza conflict, China’s ambassador to the United Nations has said, warning that it could spread further and make the entire Middle East even more unstable. Dai Bing made the remarks after Tehran launched a series of airstrikes on Israel over the weekend in retaliation for the bombing of an Iranian consular compound in Syria, which killed seven military personnel, including two generals. Israel has not commented on the incident since Iran accused it of conducting an extraterritorial assassination. Speaking at a UN Security Council emergency meeting on Sunday, Dai condemned Israel’s “vicious attack,” which he described as a “grave violation of the UN Charter and international law, and a breach of the sovereignty of both Syria and Iran.”

The war in Gaza “bears on the peace, stability and long-term security in the [Middle East] region,” he added, and called for an immediate end to the hostilities. Dai warned that if “the flames of the Gaza conflict are allowed to continue raging, the adverse spillover is set to spread still further” across the entire region. The Chinese envoy also called for “maximum calm and restraint” from Israel and Iran to prevent further escalations. “Ultimately, there is no alternative to the full implementation of the two-state solution, the only way to end the vicious circle of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict once and for all,” Dai said.

China has called on the international community, particularly countries with influence, to play a “constructive role for the peace and stability of the region,” the ambassador added. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also warned at Sunday’s emergency meeting that the entire Middle East is on the brink of a full-scale war in the wake of Iran’s strike on Israel. Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador to the global body, Vassily Nebenzia, told members of the UN Security Council that the retaliatory strike “did not happen in a vacuum.” He claimed that the West had helped give rise to Iran’s attack by failing to take action over the illegal bombing of Tehran’s consulate in Damascus that provoked the latest violence in the region.

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On Saturday, I said: “And you bet they gave advance notice”. Here is more: “..announcing it fired the drones hours before they reached Israeli territory, and Tehran said it gave other regional countries a 72-hour notice..”

Biden Tells Netanyahu US Won’t Support Attack on Iran (Antiwar)

President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US wouldn’t join Israel in any offensive action against Iran, multiple media outlets have reported. US officials are touting Israel’s defense of Iran’s attack as a victory, and that’s the message Biden conveyed to Netanyahu, a sign the US doesn’t want the situation to escalate. Iran fired over 300 missiles and drones at Israel, which was a response to Israel’s bombing of Iran’s consulate in Damascus on April 1. “Israel really came out far ahead in this exchange. It took out the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp] leadership in the Levant, Iran tried to respond, and Israel clearly demonstrated its military superiority, defeating this attack, particularly in coordination with its partners,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters, according to The Times of Israel.

In a statement on the attack released by the White House, Biden said he would convene with other G7 leaders to “coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack.” Israeli officials claimed 99% of the Iranian missiles and drones were intercepted by Israeli air defense systems and with assistance from the US, Britain, and Jordan. Some missiles got through and damaged the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel. Only one person was injured in the attack, a seven-year-old Bedouin girl in the Negev, and nobody was killed. Iran gave Israel plenty of time to respond to the attack by announcing it fired the drones hours before they reached Israeli territory, and Tehran said it gave other regional countries a 72-hour notice. Iranian officials said the attack was “limited” and made clear they do not seek an escalation with Israel.

But Tehran is also warning it will launch an even bigger attack if Israel responds. “If the Zionist regime or its supporters demonstrate reckless behavior, they will receive a decisive and much stronger response,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said in a statement on Sunday. While the US is signaling it seeks de-escalation and won’t support a potential Israeli attack on Iran, it’s unclear what Israel will do next. The Israeli war cabinet convened to discuss the situation on Sunday, and Israeli media reports said they agreed a response would come but didn’t decide on where or when. Israeli War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz vowed Israel would respond but signaled it wouldn’t be imminent. Gantz said the “event is not over” and that Israel should “build a regional coalition and exact a price from Iran, in a way and at a time that suits us.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Biden also told Netanyahu “that the United States is going to continue to help Israel defend itself,” signaling the US would intervene again to help Israel if it does choose to escalate the situation and comes under another attack. Israel’s bombing of the Iranian consulate in Syria killed 13 people, including seven members of the IRGC. Israel has a history of conducting covert attacks inside Iran and killing Iranians in Syria, but the bombing of the diplomatic facility marked a huge escalation.

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Toothless.

US Mulling New Sanctions Against Iran Over Attack on Israel – Scalise (Sp.)

Members of the US Congress plan to consider a number of draft laws on new sanctions against Iran after the latter’s attack on Israel, US House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said, adding that the first bill could be submitted to the House of Representatives as early as Monday night. “It’s a growing sentiment in the Congress that we need to increase sanctions. So we’re going to be bringing a number of bills to ratchet those up and raise the stakes against Iran for their actions,” Scalise told The Jerusalem Post newspaper on Sunday. The US Congress will also consider a number of bills that are related to the country’s alleged use of oil sales income to fund Palestinian movement Hamas, the lawmaker was cited as saying by the newspaper. The first bill could be submitted to the House on Monday evening, Scalise said.

On Saturday night, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps launched over 300 drones and missiles at Israel in its first-ever direct attack on Israeli territory, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said. The attack came in response to Israel’s airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1. Iranian state media reported that Iran had fired at least seven hypersonic missiles at Israel, with none of them intercepted. Meanwhile, CNN reported, citing US officials, that the US military had intercepted more than 79 drones and at least three hypersonic missiles during the attack. IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said Israel had intercepted 99% of the aerial targets fired by Iran, including all drones.

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“I was in Washington last week in a meeting with top administration officials. They are appalled by this government: The irresponsibility, the lack of professionalism, the failed management, the ingratitude..”

Netanyahu a Threat for Israel, Opposition Leader Says (TASS)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet pose a threat to their own country, Yair Lapid, leader of the Israeli opposition, said, calling to hold new elections. Speaking before reporters after his trip to Washington, the politician said that the US Administration is “appalled” by the behavior of the Israeli government, led by Netanyahu, according to The Jerusalem Post. “This government, this prime minister, has become an existential threat against Israel,” Lapid said. “They destroyed Israeli deterrence. Our enemies look at this government, smell weakness, and raise their heads.” According to Lapid, Israeli allies “smell this weakness,” too.

“I was in Washington last week in a meeting with top administration officials. They are appalled by this government: The irresponsibility, the lack of professionalism, the failed management, the ingratitude,” he claimed. He pointed out that Netanyahu previously called himself “Mr. Security,” promising to guarantee order in Israel. Instead, the current authorities have brought the country to the opposite: a “wasteland from Kiryat Shmona [a city on the Lebanese border – TASS] to Beeri [a settlement on the Gaza Strip border], violence by Jewish settlers [in the West Bank – TASS] that is out of hand, and a complete loss of Israeli deterrence.” “Our problem is Iran, but our problem is also here. […] It is time for an election now,” Lapid believes.

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“You don’t matter to us. You’re not Israel. You don’t own us. We’re not going to fight and die for you. I hope I made that clear..”

Ukraine ‘Owned’ by US, US ‘Owned’ by Israel – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

President Zelensky took to X on Sunday to plead with US lawmakers not to forget about Ukraine, saying “it is critical that the United States Congress make the necessary decisions to strengthen America’s allies in this critical time” by delivering on the aid package promised by President Biden six months ago. Zelensky’s comments were echoed by Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who told reporters on Monday that Ukraine also needs help from its Western partners, even if it’s not in the form of direct military help – like Israel got. “All we ask our partners is, even if you cannot act the way you act in Israel, give us what is needed, and we will do the rest ourselves,” Kuleba urged. “Let me make this very clear to the Ukrainian crowd. You see, the difference between Israel and Ukraine is that, whether you like it or not, Israel has bought and paid for the United States’ support,” while Ukraine hasn’t, Scott Ritter told Sputnik.

“Israel, through its political action committee, AIPAC, in the United States, has pretty much bought the United States Congress. They’ve bought the United States presidency. They control American media. And as a result, America comes to the defense of Israel because we’ve been paid to do so,” Ritter said. With Ukraine, it’s the other way around, the observer said. “America, on the other hand, has bought and paid for Ukraine.You’re not a friend. You’re not an ally. You’re a tool being used by the United States for its larger foreign policy and national security objectives vis-à-vis Russia. We provide you weapons only so far as it facilitates our objective of creating a problem for Russia. We don’t want you to win. We don’t care about you. We give you just enough to keep you going. And then we stand by and watch you bury your dead. Because we don’t care,” Ritter said, channeling the sentiments of the American establishment.

“You’ve done your ‘duty’. You created a problem for the Russians. But now you’ve become inconvenient. And we’re going to stand by and let the Russians finish the job without spending any more money or providing you with much more assistance. You don’t matter to us. You’re not Israel. You don’t own us. We’re not going to fight and die for you. I hope I made that clear,” Ritter summed up.

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“This is an ultimatum without alternatives for either Moscow or Kiev. In electric war, are there any alternatives?”

De-electrification And Unconditional Surrender Of The Kiev Regime (Helmer)

It was a relatively bright day, November 21, 1920, when Vladimir Lenin, having won the civil war and driven off the American, British, French, Canadian, and Australian invasion forces, announced: “Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country, since industry cannot be developed without electrification.” Come November 2024 it will be a century and four years to count what Lenin meant, and how Russia is proving itself against everything which the military industries, special forces, weapons, intelligence so-called, operations, and plans of the old invasion coalition, plus Germany, can throw at it. So on November 21, 2024, it will be time to revise Lenin’s maxim to read: Russia is military power plus the de-electrification of the countries which attack it. This is electric war.

To make the war aim unambiguously clear, President Vladimir Putin ordered his ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Vasily Nebenzya, to read out a paper at his desk in the UN Security Council chamber on April 11: “very soon, the only topic for international meetings in Ukraine will be the unconditional surrender of the Kiev regime.” Note what the terms “unconditional surrender of the Kiev regime” mean: total military defeat of the Ukrainian, American, British, French, Polish, and other forces on the Ukrainian territory and in the air surrounding; surrender of the municipal administrations of the east-bank cities, including Kharkov, Dniepropetrovsk, and Odessa; disarmament and demilitarization of the territory between Kiev and the Polish border; exit of every member of the regime, starting with Vladimir Zelensky. This is an ultimatum without alternatives for either Moscow or Kiev. In electric war, are there any alternatives?

Nebenzya was making his announcement on the evening of Thursday, April 11, Kiev time. In the time it took for his text to be drafted, edited by the Foreign Ministry, authorized at the Kremlin, and Nebenzya given the go-ahead, it had been only a few hours after the lights of Kiev went out when the Tripolskaya power station was destroyed by a new Russian missile, the X-69.

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“..parents will be allowed to make a request to change the gender of a child as young as five, with the consent of the child present..”

Germans Can Now Change Gender Every Year (RT)

German citizens will be able to change their sex on legal documents without undergoing surgery or hormone therapy, under a new bill passed by the Bundestag last Friday. It stipulates that an oral request is sufficient, eliminating the need for expert assessment, which was previously mandatory. The law comes into effect in November. The legislation on ‘self-determination’ in gender was backed by 374 MPs, mostly from the ruling ‘traffic-light’ coalition, with another 251 lawmakers against and the remaining 11 abstaining. The current regulations date back to 1981, and state that individuals wishing to change their gender must first undergo two psychological evaluations. The final decision under that law rests with a district court. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ruling coalition argued that the existing procedures were degrading toward transgender individuals, as they had to share intimate details with officials.

Under the new law, parents will be allowed to make a request to change the gender of a child as young as five, with the consent of the child present. Minors over 14 will be able to change their first name and gender alone, as long as they have the consent of their parents or legal representatives. Individuals will be allowed to make a change once per year. Germans will also have the right to replace the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’ in the family register with the neutral term ‘parent.’ Non-binary individuals can register as ‘diverse’ instead of having to choose between ‘male’ and ‘female.’ Under the recently passed legislation, anyone who attempts to expose an individual’s past gender identity can be fined up to €10,000 ($10,630). The law leaves it up to saunas, swimming pools, gyms, and other sports facilities to decide whether to allow biological males into women’s changing rooms and toilets.

When it comes to competitive sports, individual associations may decide if biological males identifying as women can compete against females. The bill faced heated debate in the Bundestag on Friday, with the government’s commissioner for LGBTQ+ issues, Sven Lehmann, hailing it as historic and ending “human rights abuse.” However, opposition parties were largely unconvinced, with a lawmaker from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Mareike Wulf, describing the legislation as “irresponsible” and “socially explosive.” Wulf also argued that criminals could use the new regulations to obscure their identity. Sahra Wagenknecht, a former leader of the Left Party who now leads her own party, warned that with males now allowed to proclaim themselves female, “women’s protection rights and women’s protection shelters [are] a thing of the past.” A representative of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party said the bill poses a threat to young people, denouncing it as “trans-hype.”

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“..and call for solidarity with the Palestinians, and so on, right here in the middle of Berlin, the epicenter of European democracy, as if they thought they had a right to do that..”

The Palestine Congress (CJ Hopkins)

Thank God for the German Hate Police! Or heil … or whatever the appropriate salutation is for these unsung heroes. They just saved us all from “hate” again! Yes, that’s right, once again, democracy-loving people here in New Normal Berlin and all across the New Normal world were right on the brink of being exposed to “hate,” and would have been exposed to “hate,” had the Hate Police not sprang into action. You probably have no idea what I’m talking about. OK, what happened was, some pro-Palestinian activists organized a “Palestine Congress,” and attempted to discuss the situation in Gaza, and call for solidarity with the Palestinians, and so on, right here in the middle of Berlin, the epicenter of European democracy, as if they thought they had a right to do that. The German authorities were clearly intent on disabusing them of that notion.

Early Friday morning, hundreds of black-clad Hate Police descended on the congress location. Reinforcements were called in from throughout the nation. Metal barricades were erected on the sidewalks. Hate Police stood guard at the entrance. The German media warned the public that a potential “Hate-Speech” attack was now imminent. Berliners were advised to shelter in place, switch off their phones and any other audio-receptive communication devices, and wad up little pieces of toilet paper and ram them deep into their ear canals to prevent any possible exposure to the “hate.” Sure enough, minutes into the congress, the anticipated “Hate-Speech” attack was launched! A Palestinian activist — Salman Abu Sitta — who had written an article that allegedly “expressed understanding of Hamas,” and thus had already been placed on the official German “No-Speak” list, started speaking to the congress on Zoom or whatever.

Or … it isn’t quite clear whether he actually started speaking. According to a Hate Police spokesperson, they raided the congress because “there [was] a risk of a speaker being put on the screen who in the past made anti-Semitic and violence-glorifying remarks.” Anyway, the Hate Police stormed the venue, pulled the plug, dispersed the crowd, and banned the rest of the “Palestine Congress,” which was scheduled to continue on Saturday and Sunday. Then they arrested a Jewish guy who was wearing a Palestinian-flag-kippah, presumably out of an abundance of caution. But the “Hate-Speech” attack wasn’t over yet. It was one of those multi-pronged “Hate-Speech” attacks, or at least it involved one other prong. Earlier that morning, or perhaps while the Hate Police were still neutralizing the threat at the venue, Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, a prominent British surgeon, who had volunteered in Gaza and was due to speak at the congress, was intercepted by the Berlin Airport Hate Police, refused entry into Germany, and forced to return to the UK.

The Airport Hate Police informed the doctor that he was being denied entry in order to ensure “the safety of the people at the conference and public order,” Abu Sitta told the Associated Press. Kai Wegner, Berlin’s mayor, presumably feeling a bit nostalgic for the fanatical days of 2020 to 2023 when one could persecute “the Unvaccinated” with total impunity, took to X to celebrate the Hate Police’s thwarting of this “Hate event.” The pro-Palestinian activist community also took to X and expressed their displeasure. Yanis “Vaccinate Humanity” Varoufakis, who was one of the organizers and was scheduled to speak, was particularly incensed over the new German “fascism,” which apparently he has just now noticed, despite the fact that it has been goose-stepping around in a medical-looking mask for the last four years.

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Not as bad as it looks.

• They grew (too?) fast: “Tesla has around 140,000 employees, nearly double the 2020 level.”

• China’s BYD Co. delivered just 300,114 battery-electric vehicles in the first quarter, down 43% from the final three months of last year.

• Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. have delayed, dialed back or altogether scrapped EV projects.

Two Senior Tesla Executives Leave Amid 14,000 Global Layoffs (ZH)

The Wall Street Journal reports Tesla plans to reduce 10% of its global workforce, approximately 14,000 employees, confirming an earlier report by the EV blog Electrek. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk sent a letter to employees detailing how the company needed to reduce costs and increase productivity. WSJ obtained a copy of the email. “As part of the effort, we have done a thorough review of the organization and made the difficult decision to reduce our headcount by more than 10% globally,” Musk wrote in the letter, adding, “There is nothing I hate more, but it must be done. This will enable us to be lean, innovative, and hungry for the next growth phase cycle.” Separately, Bloomberg journalists on X reported that Tesla Senior Vice President Drew Baglino and Tesla Vice President of Public Policy and Business Development Rohan Patel are leaving the company. And… Bloomberg noted, “The departure of Baglino is likely to reinforce concerns among some investors about succession planning at Tesla, where Musk has been CEO since 2008.” We suspect Musk will be commenting on these reports sometime today.

* * *

Shares of Tesla Motors are muted in the early premarket trading hours in New York after a report from the EV blog Electrek cited an “internal company-wide email” detailing layoffs at the EV company amounting to more than 10% of its global workforce. Electrek alleges that Elon Musk sent an email to staff explaining a “duplication of roles and job functions in certain areas” as the main reason for the layoffs, which could affect as many as 14,000 employees. Here’s the full text of the email (courtesy of Electrek):

“Over the years, we have grown rapidly with multiple factories scaling around the globe. With this rapid growth there has been duplication of roles and job functions in certain areas. As we prepare the company for our next phase of growth, it is extremely important to look at every aspect of the company for cost reductions and increasing productivity. As part of this effort, we have done a thorough review of the organization and made the difficult decision to reduce our headcount by more than 10% globally. There is nothing I hate more, but it must be done. This will enable us to be lean, innovative and hungry for the next growth phase cycle. I would like to thank everyone who is departing Tesla for their hard work over the years. I’m deeply grateful for your many contributions to our mission and we wish you well in your future opportunities. It is very difficult to say goodbye. For those remaining, I would like to thank you in advance for the difficult job that remains ahead. We are developing some of the most revolutionary technologies in auto, energy and artificial intelligence. As we prepare the company for the next phase of growth, your resolve will make a huge difference in getting us there. Thanks, Elon”

The latest data from Bloomberg shows that Tesla has around 140,000 employees, nearly double the 2020 level. Electrek noted, “We don’t know which specific teams will be most or least affected by Tesla’s layoffs.” The alleged layoffs come after the company recorded its first quarterly decline in four years and delivered 386,810 vehicles in the first quarter, far below the Bloomberg consensus of 449,000. Slowing EV demand has weighed on Tesla shares this year, down 31%, and one of the worst performers in the S&P 500 Index. As Bloomberg notes, the EV slowdown has hit other automakers: The EV slowdown Tesla has felt of late has been widespread. China’s BYD Co. delivered just 300,114 battery-electric vehicles in the first quarter, down 43% from the final three months of last year, when it briefly pulled ahead as the world’s top EV seller. Manufacturers including Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. have delayed, dialed back or altogether scrapped EV projects as consumers balk at still-high prices and a dearth of charging stations.

On Tesla’s most recent earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Vaibhav Taneja said, “We just have to chase down every penny possible.” Tesla will report next Tuesday, April 23. Wall Street analysts expect the company to turn a profit of about 50 cents a share, down from around 85 cents a share in the first quarter of 2023. If Electrek’s report is correct, Elon appears to be tightening Tesla’s belt, suggesting broader troubles are ahead for the US economy.

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“Airbus and Boeing continue to have a long backlog of orders (8,598 at the end of 2023 for Airbus; 5,591 at the end of March for Boeing)..”

Airbus Beats Boeing For Deliveries In 2024 (ZH)

Boeing’s deliveries of commercial aircraft have faltered in the first three months of the year, according to the company’s reports, published this week. The U.S. aircraft manufacturer delivered just 83 planes in Q3, down from 130 in the same three-month period of last year. In the meantime, its sole major competitor, Europe’s Airbus, saw an uptick in Q1, having delivered 142 of their planes, marking an increase from their Q1 2023 figure of 127. Boeing has been mired in a series of safety issues since the start of the year, following a mid-air panel blowout on an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 jet in January. This has led to a slowdown in production for the U.S. company, which is now limited to producing 38 of the 737 planes per month until it is clear that quality and safety procedures are being properly adhered to, as per the advisory of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Boeing has slowed production even below this limit, with the company’s Chief Financial Officer Brian West stating that once the company has it “right” it will ramp up production, expecting to see figures improve in the latter half of the year. Prior to 2019, Boeing had been in the lead for deliveries out of the two companies, but this changed following the two deadly 737 MAX 8 crashes of 2018 and 2019, and the ensuing temporary production halt of the model. While the same family, these were different planes than those involved in the more recent incidents and they were caused by different issues. As Statista’s Anna Fleck shows in the following chart, both companies saw dips in deliveries in 2020 with the Covid pandemic.

Boeing and Airbus are the world’s two major competitors when it comes to commercial plane manufacturing. While other manufacturers exist, they produce far lower numbers of aircraft than either of these two giants. In a report by CNN, writer Allison Morrow explains that since pilots are trained in either Boeing or Airbus operating systems, it is difficult for airlines to switch planes. With few companies having the capacity to produce large jets, both Airbus and Boeing continue to have a long backlog of orders (8,598 at the end of 2023 for Airbus; 5,591 at the end of March for Boeing).

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Wonder what Trump thinks of this.

Trump Biopic To Compete At Cannes Film Festival (RT)

A biopic about the formative years of former US President Donald Trump will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next month. Directed by acclaimed Iranian-Danish filmmaker Ali Abbasi, ‘The Apprentice’ tells the story of how young Trump got started in the real estate business in New York in the 1970s and 1980s and met his mentor Roy Cohn. The film is among the 18 entries competing for Palme d’Or, the festival’s main award. “The Apprentice is a dive into the underbelly of the American empire. It charts a young Donald Trump’s ascent to power through a Faustian deal with the influential right-wing lawyer and political fixer Roy Cohn,” according to the film’s official description.

Sebastian Stan – the star of Marvel superhero movies and the 2022 mini-series ‘Pam & Tommy’ – plays Trump, while Emmy-winning ‘Succession’ actor Jeremy Strong portrays Roy Cohn, a high-profile lawyer. “His playbook has a tentacular reach that is staggering – the most fascinating person I’ve ever tried to inhabit,” Strong told the New York Times. “So while I personally might have a lot of judgment about Roy Cohn, that is not the part of me that engages in creative work.” Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova plays Ivana Zelnickova, Trump’s first wife and the mother of his daughter Ivanka and sons Donald Jr. and Eric.

The film is set to depict Trump’s early business ventures and rise after he joined and subsequently took over his father’s real-estate empire. Under his leadership, the company branched out from residential housing to casinos and hotels, including the famous Trump Tower in Manhattan and other Trump-branded properties. Trump shocked the world by beating Hillary Clinton in 2016 and becoming the 45th president of the United States. He left office after losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden. He is currently the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for the 2024 election.

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Kid judge

 

 


From Elon

 

 

Russell

 

 

UFO

 

 

Shop dog

 

 

Koala
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779619528743211352

 

 

Sun fish

 

 

Wooden post

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 072023
 
 April 7, 2023  Posted by at 8:42 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  54 Responses »


John William Godward Dolce Far Niente (It’s Sweet Doing Nothing) 1909

 

Russian MP Suggests Swapping WSJ Reporter For Assange (RT)
Time Is Ripe For NATO To Retire – Zakharova (TASS)
‘The Sooner The Better’ – Ron Paul on Disbanding NATO (Dick)
Macron Failed To Change Xi’s Mind – Politico (RT)
Macron In China: Lecturing Xi Or Promoting French Business Deals? (Doctorow)
Blinken Can’t Reschedule His Trip to China After Canceling (Antiwar)
US, NATO Must Bear Responsibility For Crisis In Ukraine – China (TASS)
CIA Head Says US ‘Blindsided’ By Saudi-Iran Deal – WSJ (RT)
US Opposes NATO ‘Roadmap’ For Ukraine – FT (RT)
‘Secret’ NATO War Plan Leak Triggers Pentagon Probe – NYT (RT)
US, NATO Plans On Preparing Ukrainian Offensive Leak On Social Media (Az.)
EU Plan For Ukraine Ammunition Stuck On Details – Politico (RT)
‘Everything Russian’ Must Be Eradicated In Crimea – Zelensky Aide (RT)
Finnish Government Led By Sanna Marin Submits Resignation (TASS)
Bragg’s Case Against Trump: An Ed Wood Movie Come To Life (Turley)
The Shambolic Criminal Case Against Donald Trump (NC)
US Commercial Real-Estate Prices Could Tumble 40% (Az.)

 

 


Planet Ponzi: #SummitForDemocracy. One of the Four Has No Mandate & Was Not Elected. The 2nd Is About To Be Sacked (He Will Resign), 3rd’s Country Is On Fire & Popularity is below 15%, & The Last Has Stage 4 Dementia.

 

 

Nap w Larry Johnson

Long version:

 

 

Food mRNA

 

 


mRNA & Cows. Iowa State in the middle of a 5-year project for novel mRNA, funded by NIFA with certain goals: •Lower cost for wider use •More thermal-stable, for easy use on farms •mRNA delivered continuously by vaccine implant Repeat, DELIVERED CONTINUOUSLY BY VACCINE IMPLANT

 

 


Pepe Escobar: If you think this is not bad enough, the second phase of Paris strikes will start NEXT WEEK. Paris will be literally turned into a giant trash bin. Until the BlackRock pension “reform” is thrown out.

 

 

BlackRock

 

 

Comer

 

 

 

 

A journalist for a journalist.

Russian MP Suggests Swapping WSJ Reporter For Assange (RT)

If Moscow decides on a prisoner swap involving Evan Gershkovich, it should ask for Julian Assange’s release from a British dungeon, Russian State Duma Deputy Sergey Obuhkov said on Friday. Obuhkov, a Russian Communist Party MP, told reporters that some members of the Duma have already proposed offering political asylum to former US President Donald Trump and trading him for Gershkovich.“I say, let’s exchange him for Assange instead,” Obukhov told RIA Novosti. Russian authorities detained Gershkovich in Ekaterinburg on March 30, saying they caught him “red-handed” in an act of espionage. A Lefortovo court has ordered the Moscow bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal to remain in custody for two months. He is appealing the decision and will face the judges again on April 18.

Earlier this week, the district attorney in New York had the 45th US president arrested on charges of improper business bookkeeping, supposedly related to “hush money” paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels, which they allege somehow improperly influenced the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denounced the charges as a politically motivated “witch hunt.” Assange has been held in Belmarsh prison in south London since April 2019, after Ecuador canceled his asylum under pressure from the US. He had spent almost seven years in the embassy of the Latin American country, seeking refuge from trumped-up Swedish charges he called a front for US persecution.

After his arrest, Washington unsealed a years-old indictment charging the WikiLeaks publisher under the Espionage Act. He is wanted for the 2010 publication of the notorious ‘Collateral Murder’ video showing the US military killing civilians, as well as other US classified documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If extradited and convicted, Assange faces up to 175 years behind bars. Russia and the US last swapped prisoners in December, with Moscow releasing convicted drug smuggler and basketball star Brittney Griner in exchange for businessman Viktor Bout. Washington has faced criticism for not requesting the release of Paul Whelan, a retired US Marine serving a sentence in Russia for espionage.

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“..one can state with certainty that security and NATO are incompatible..”

Time Is Ripe For NATO To Retire – Zakharova (TASS)

NATO is trying to make the world a more dangerous place and in doing so it is resisting the emergence of alternative centers of power and increasingly asserting its global role and the ambition to spread its influence beyond the Euro-Atlantic area, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, adding that “time is ripe for the alliance to retire.” In this way Zakharova commented on the meeting of the NATO foreign ministers held the day before to mark the alliance’s 74th anniversary. “We hear the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speculate ever more often about a global role of the alliance. Everything is being done to make the world even more dangerous, to prevent the existence of alternative centers of power capable of undermining the hegemony of the West.


“In general, one can state with certainty that security and NATO are incompatible. In this regard, there is only one conclusion that readily offers itself – at 74 years of age it is time for the North Atlantic bloc to retire,” Zakharova said in a commentary the Foreign Ministry released on Thursday. She believes that NATO is trying to “usurp the entire system of European security through Finland’s accession.” “Finland has become another victim of the North Atlantic Alliance. The Finnish government decided to give up its longstanding neutrality in exchange for turning the country into a frontline zone, a bridgehead for deterring Russia in the Northwest. As we can see, NATO does not intend to stop there,” she added.

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“Does no one worry that this continued provocation of Russia might have negative effects in the future? Is it necessary?”

‘The Sooner The Better’ – Ron Paul on Disbanding NATO (Dick)

On March 30, 2004 — just over 19 years ago, then-Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) concluded a United Sates House of Representatives statement with a strong admonition regarding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and US involvement in it. Paul stated: “In conclusion, we should not be wasting US tax money and taking on more military obligations expanding NATO. The alliance is a relic of the Cold War, a hold-over from another time, an anachronism. It should be disbanded, the sooner the better.” Paul’s statement was made in opposition to a resolution (H.Res. 558) being considered on the House floor that day that welcomed “with enthusiasm” the addition of seven new members to NATO and encouraged consideration of adding more nations to NATO. The addition of these new nations all near the Russian border — Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia — made 2004 a big year in NATO expansion.

Regarding the addition of the seven new members to NATO in 2004, Paul made this particular warning: “The expansion of NATO to these seven countries, we have heard, will open them up to the further expansion of US military bases, right up to the border of the former Soviet Union. Does no one worry that this continued provocation of Russia might have negative effects in the future? Is it necessary?” This comment is prescient considering that such expansion of NATO and US military bases is a contributor to Russia’s decision last year to send its military into Ukraine, a development to which the US and several NATO nations have responded with a fervor of warlike declarations and actions.

The addition of more nations near Russia to NATO continued since 2004. Albania and Croatia were added in 2009, Montenegro was added in 2017, and North Macedonia in 2020. With the addition of Finland this week, 12 nations since 2004 have joined NATO — the same number of nations as founded NATO in 1949. NATO membership now comes in at 31 nations. And there is momentum to add more, including Sweden potentially quite soon.

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“According to Politico, Xi “looked impatient and annoyed” as Macron spoke, and “heaved several deep sighs” when Ukraine came up..”

Macron Failed To Change Xi’s Mind – Politico (RT)

Chinese President Xi Jinping was unmoved by the rhetoric of his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on the conflict in Ukraine, Politico reported on Thursday. Paris has tried both appeals and threats in order to pressure Beijing into denouncing Moscow, apparently to little effect. “I know I can count on you to bring Russia to its senses and everyone to the negotiating table,” Macron told Xi. Earlier, he told French reporters that “anyone helping the aggressor would be an accomplice in breach of international law.” Xi responded by saying China was “willing to jointly appeal with France to the international community to remain rational and calm,” and repeated Beijing’s position on the conflict. “Peace talks should be resumed as soon as possible, taking into account the reasonable security concerns of all sides with reference to the UN Charter… seeking political resolution and constructing a balanced, effective and sustainable European security framework,” he told reporters at the Great Hall of the People.

Macron broke protocol by speaking almost twice as long as Xi, and veered into demands that China condemn “the war waged by Russia against Ukraine.” According to Politico, Xi “looked impatient and annoyed” as Macron spoke, and “heaved several deep sighs” when Ukraine came up. The French president announced a trip to China just after Xi spent three days in Moscow, signing a series of agreements with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At one point, the smiling Chinese leader was overheard telling Putin that their two countries were driving change the world hadn’t seen in over a century. Meanwhile, problems piled up at home for Macron. A sanitation workers’ strike left Paris buried in uncollected garbage, while mass protests against retirement reform – which Macron imposed by decree, bypassing the parliament – continued across France. New polls showed his rival Marine Le Pen becoming more popular.

Macron is scheduled to travel with Xi to Guangzhou on Friday for more talks and a private dinner. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, whom Macron brought along to “showcase European unity,” met with Xi on Thursday but was not included in many of the bilateral meetings. Appearing at a press conference by herself on Thursday evening, Von der Leyen repeated the Brussels talking points without much regard for her hosts. She brought up Taiwan, saying that any threat of force to change its status was “unacceptable.” The EU official also argued that providing weapons to Russia would “significantly harm the relationship between the EU and China,” and that Brussels expects Beijing to “play its role and promote a just peace, one that respects Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.”

Lukashenko

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Strictly business. Macron brought with him 50 CEOs of France’s leading corporations..

Macron In China: Lecturing Xi Or Promoting French Business Deals? (Doctorow)

If you picked up yesterday’s leading French newspapers Le Monde or Figaro, you might be excused for thinking that the sole purpose of President Emmanuel Macron’s three day visit to Beijing in the company of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is to lecture the Chinese leadership on its obligations as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to denounce the Russian military operation in Ukraine and to end all support for the Kremlin. There was no hint that Macron brought with him 50 CEOs of France’s leading corporations who were looking forward to signing business contracts that were prepared ahead of the visit. Last night’s digest of news sent to subscribers by The Financial Times summed this up nicely: “French president Emmanuel Macron has gone to Beijing in the latest attempt by a European leader to urge China’s Xi Jinping to withdraw support for Russian president Vladimir Putin.”

Of course, this interpretation of the meaning of the trip comes from those who fail to comprehend the stature of today’s Chinese leadership and its ability to enforce the millennial traditions of the country when dealing with the barbarians beyond its borders. China would never have agreed to receive Macron or von der Leyen if it perceived that their purpose was to deliver demeaning lectures about what Beijing should or should not do with respect to Russia. No, Xi, like Macron, had expectations of major new contracts with Airbus, to spite America’s Boeing, and with other French concerns which are desperate not to lose their privileged access to the Chinese market and to Chinese manufacturing capacities.

In my interview with Press TV of Iran’s evening program of news analysis yesterday, I was given the opportunity to explain why the trip has been misrepresented to Western audiences, and how any business deals that result from it will not be featured in our newspapers or state television channels, as would normally be the case in good times. At the conclusion of my time on air, I brought up another major event of the past month which also was blacked out by our broadcasters, namely the destruction of an underground bunker near the Western Ukraine city of Liviv by a Russian hypersonic missile Kinzhal, which cost the lives of more than 200 NATO generals and other high military officers, including about 20 Americans. That event, which first was announced very discreetly on Russian news tickers immediately following its execution, was again quietly and briefly mentioned on the Yandex ticker yesterday with respect to the “shipment in crates” of the recovered remains of those officers killed to their home countries in the West.

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They don’t pick up the phone.

Blinken Can’t Reschedule His Trip to China After Canceling (Antiwar)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is looking to reschedule his trip to China that he canceled over the Chinese balloon that wound up floating over the US, but Beijing is rebuffing the effort, POLITICO reported Wednesday. The POLITICO report said China has effectively frozen high-level contacts with US officials. An unnamed US official said that the Biden administration is also trying to schedule a call between President Biden and President Xi Jinping and send other high-level officials to China but isn’t having any luck. Before the balloon incident, the US and China were making a point to engage at a high level despite soaring tensions. But since Blinken canceled his trip, and the US shot down the balloon, which ended up over US territory due to unexpected weather, the progress on engagement with Beijing has been reversed.


After the US shot down the balloon in February, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tried to contact his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, who has since been replaced. But China declined to take Austin’s call, and he hasn’t had any luck since then.Wei was replaced by Li Shangfu, a Chinese general who is under US sanctions for being involved in China’s purchase of Russian weapons. The sanctions make US-China military communication even more difficult, and the Biden administration has not signaled it will lift them. Tensions between the US and China soared even higher on Wednesday as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hosted Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in California. China repeatedly warned McCarthy and Tsai not to hold the meeting and is expected to respond with more military drills around Taiwan.

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” The North Atlantic Alliance does not have the necessary status to reproach China or put pressure on it..”

US, NATO Must Bear Responsibility For Crisis In Ukraine – China (TASS)

The US and military alliances such as NATO should bear responsibility for the crisis in Ukraine, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a news conference on Thursday in the wake of statements by the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg about the consequences for China in case of arms supplies to Russia. “As far as the responsibility for the Ukrainian problem is concerned, I believe it should be borne by the United States and military blocs like NATO. The North Atlantic Alliance does not have the necessary status to reproach China or put pressure on it,” she pointed out. Mao stressed that China was in favor of facilitating peace talks from the outset.


“History will eventually pronounce its verdict who really took a fair and correct position,” Mao Ning said. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference following a meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers in Brussels on April 5 that serious consequences were in store for China, if it supplied weapons to Russia. He also said that China was working more and more closely with Russia. Stoltenberg mentioned the alliance’s close attention to joint sea and air patrolling and exercises in South Africa. He argued that all this required NATO should intensify partnership with Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia.

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Coming together fast, now that the US is gone.

CIA Head Says US ‘Blindsided’ By Saudi-Iran Deal – WSJ (RT)

CIA Director William Burns told Saudi officials that the United States was caught off guard after the kingdom agreed to a normalization deal with Iran brokered by China, according to the Wall Street Journal. During an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia this week, Burns “expressed frustration” with Riyadh and said Washington “felt blindsided” by its renewed diplomacy with both Iran and Syria, multiple unnamed sources told the Journal on Thursday. The foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia held talks in the Chinese capital on Thursday, where they discussed a number of issues related to the new initiative, including reopening embassies in both countries, designating ambassadors, and even a visit to Riyadh by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

After years of strife as regional adversaries, Tehran and Riyadh struck the normalization pact on March 10 following secret talks mediated by Beijing, agreeing to resume formal diplomatic relations after they cut ties in 2016. The deal marked a major diplomatic achievement for China and a significant shakeup for the geopolitics of the Middle East. Since the agreement was announced, top diplomats from Saudi Arabia and Iran have spoken on the phone at least three times, and hope to reach compromises on several outstanding issues – namely the war in Yemen, which has raged on for more than eight years and left hundreds of thousands dead. Tehran is also working to reestablish contacts with the United Arab Emirates, another Gulf monarchy long at odds with the Islamic Republic.

Earlier this week, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri said his country had appointed an ambassador to Abu Dhabi for the first time in nearly a decade. Riyadh is also reportedly seeking to reach a similar understanding with Syria, and hopes to invite President Bashar al-Assad for a visit later this year, according to Reuters. While the White House has welcomed the new diplomacy in public, Burns’ reported complaints to Saudi officials this week could highlight concerns over Beijing’s growing influence in the region. Tensions between Riyadh and Washington have also been on the rise since last year, when OPEC+ – a group of major oil exporters led by Saudi Arabia – opted to slash production. The move reportedly “angered” President Joe Biden, who claimed the cut would benefit Russia, another large energy exporter.

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It’s the Europeans who do not care (or understand?!)

US Opposes NATO ‘Roadmap’ For Ukraine – FT (RT)

US President Joe Biden’s administration has reportedly opposed efforts by some European allies to give Ukraine a clear “roadmap” for joining NATO, urging partners to focus on providing short-term aid to Kiev. The US is siding with Germany and Hungary in resisting efforts from such allies as Poland and the Baltic states to offer Ukraine deeper ties with NATO and clear support for its future membership in the Western military bloc, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing four unidentified officials involved in the negotiations. The issue has been under debate this week at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, where alliance members are trying to lay the groundwork for the bloc’s leaders’ summit, which is scheduled for July in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Although NATO’s 31 members agree that membership can’t be offered to Ukraine in the short term – nor can it be seriously discussed amid the former Soviet republic’s current conflict with Russia – this week’s talks have exposed a clear divide over the group’s vision for Kiev’s postwar status, the FT said. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has warned that he will only attend the summit in Vilnius if he’s offered clear steps for Kiev’s ascension to NATO, such as security guarantees and deeper collaboration with the alliance. Bloc members agreed in 2008 that Ukraine would be allowed to join NATO at some point. Back then, the US was pushing for giving Kiev a clear timetable and an action plan for membership, the FT said, but France and Germany resisted on concerns that such a step would provoke Russia.

Diplomats attending this week’s talks haven’t been able to reach agreement on what Ukraine should be offered in a freshened statement on its NATO prospects. “We’ve got several weeks of hard negotiations ahead to close those gaps and craft a political outcome,” one official said. However, another noted, “The road [to Vilnius] is rocky.” Washington is concerned that deepening the alliance’s ties with Ukraine at this juncture would feed into Russian claims that the current crisis is a conflict between Moscow and NATO, the FT said. It also might spur Russia to escalate the conflict, possibly by deploying nuclear weapons. Russian officials have claimed that the US and its NATO allies promised after the Soviet Union’s collapse not to expand the bloc into Eastern Europe. Since then, the alliance has added 15 new members, all of which were former Soviet republics or part of Warsaw Pact nations.

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Two very different write-ups.

‘Secret’ NATO War Plan Leak Triggers Pentagon Probe – NYT (RT)

A leaked trove of classified documents outlining American and NATO war planning in Ukraine has sparked a US military investigation, the New York Times has reported. The briefing presentation slides, some marked “top secret,” show assessed troop strengths, timelines for arms shipments and ammunition expenditures, among other data. The files appeared on social media earlier this week, and while the source remains unclear, the leaks have set off alarms in the Pentagon, which has launched a probe to determine how the documents were obtained, the NYT reported on Thursday. “We are aware of the reports of social media posts and the department is reviewing the matter,” Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh told the outlet.

Officials said they are working to have the material removed from the internet, but had not succeeded as of Thursday night. One of the documents marked “top secret” provides the “Status of the Conflict as of 1 Mar.,”suggesting the slides are several weeks old. Though they do not describe any specific battle plans, the files offer a glimpse into US intelligence assessments for Russian and Ukrainian troop levels, timetables for training and equipment deliveries, weather data, as well as ammunition expenditures – including for the US-supplied HIMARS platform. The Pentagon has not previously disclosed the rate at which Ukrainian forces are using munitions for the weapon. Some of the documents appear to have been altered, with multiple different versions circulating online showing wildly varying estimates for losses on both sides of the conflict.

Another file lists 12 new Ukrainian combat brigades – which are usually made up of 4,000 to 5,000 troops – noting that the US and NATO bloc are training and supplying nine of them. Of those, the document states that six would be ready by the end of March, and the remaining three by April 30. If genuine the documents represent one of the most significant intelligence breaches since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and come as Kiev is reportedly preparing a major counter-offensive against Russian forces. One of the documents shows two possible routes into the Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. It is unclear when the counter-attacks are set to begin, but Ukrainian Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov recently claimed that the two sides would fight a “final” and “decisive battle”sometime in the spring.

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Pentagon war plan documents for Ukraine leaked. Most interestingly casualty numbers on the Russian side are significantly lower and on the Ukrainian side much higher than official US numbers reported by the propaganda media. The US Govt clearly knows Ukraine is losing the war.

US, NATO Plans On Preparing Ukrainian Offensive Leak On Social Media (Az.)

Classified war documents detailing secret American and NATO plans for building up the Ukrainian military ahead of a planned offensive were posted this week on social media channels, senior Biden administration officials said, Report informs referring to New York Times. The Pentagon is investigating who may have been behind the leak of the documents, which appeared on Twitter and on Telegram, a platform with more than half a billion users that is widely available in Russia. Military analysts said the documents appear to have been modified in certain parts from their original format, overstating American estimates of Ukrainian war dead and understating estimates of Russian troops killed.

The modifications could point to an effort of disinformation by Moscow, the analysts said. But the disclosures in the original documents, which appear as photographs of charts of anticipated weapons deliveries, troop and battalion strengths, and other plans, represents a significant breach of American intelligence in the effort to aid Ukraine. Biden officials were working to get them deleted but had not succeeded so far. “We are aware of the reports of social media posts and the department is reviewing the matter,” said Sabrina Singh, the deputy press secretary at the Pentagon.

The documents do not provide specific battle plans, like how, when, and where Ukraine intends to launch its offensive, which American officials say is likely coming in the next month or so. And because the documents are five weeks old, they offer a snapshot of time – the American and Ukrainian view, as of March 1, of what Ukrainian troops might need for the campaign. For example, one of the slides said 16,000 to 17,500 Russian soldiers had been killed while Ukraine had suffered as many as 71,500 troop deaths. The Pentagon and other analysts have estimated that Russia has suffered far more casualties, with closer to 200,000 killed and injured, while Ukraine has had more than 100,000 killed and injured.

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“..expanding production may be easier said than done..”

EU Plan For Ukraine Ammunition Stuck On Details – Politico (RT)

The “historic” agreement to deliver two billion euros ($2.14 billion) worth of artillery ammunition to the Ukrainian military is still being worked out, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing diplomats involved in the negotiations. Concerns over who will get the money are reportedly the main bone of contention. The plan, unveiled on March 20, envisioned the delivery of one million 155mm shells to Ukraine over the next 12 months. A package of one billion euros was earmarked for compensating EU members who would dip into their own stockpiles, and another billion for getting new shells made by military contractors, with orders organized and fast-tracked by the EU Defence Agency. The problem now is figuring out which contractors, according to the pro-NATO outlet.

France is reportedly insisting that only EU companies should be considered, but there is legal uncertainty as to who actually qualifies as an EU company. Greece and Cyprus are in alignment with the French position, which diplomats have attributed to a desire to avoid giving orders to Türkiye. Meanwhile, the European Commission also needs to “map out the capacity” of the bloc’s defense industry before finalizing the deal, as expanding production may be easier said than done. EU ambassadors who met on Wednesday weren’t able to make significant progress, several diplomats with knowledge of the negotiations told Politico. They did manage to finalize the text of the agreement to collect ammunition donations, however, which should be published next week.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell had proposed the ammunition plan, arguing in February that it was the most important issue. “If we fail on that, the result of the war is in danger,” he said at the time. The US, EU and NATO have all insisted they were not participants in the conflict, while also arguing that Ukraine must win and Russia “must lose.” Moscow has repeatedly warned the West to stop “stuffing” Kiev with arms and ammunition, arguing that they are only delaying the inevitable while risking open confrontation. Russia has already increased its own ammunition production, tripling the number of shells the US and EU plan to supply Kiev over a year-long period, President Vladimir Putin said last week.

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Look who we support…

‘Everything Russian’ Must Be Eradicated In Crimea – Zelensky Aide (RT)

Russian culture will be off-limits in Crimea if Ukraine regains control of the peninsula, Mikhail Podoliak, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, has claimed. Podoliak said Kiev is planning on meting out legal punishments to Russian passport holders and other “traitors” living in the region. “As soon as we enter, we must eradicate everything Russian in Crimea,” Podoliak stated in an interview with Radio Liberty published on Wednesday. He argued that the predominantly Russian-speaking region should instead become part of the “Ukrainian cultural space.” Acknowledging that his views are among the most radical within the leadership in Kiev, Podoliak insisted that Crimean residents would not be able to read Russian literature or watch Russian movies, let alone speak Russian in public. Instead, the language would only be permitted in private, the official added.

According to Podoliak, those who refused to comply would have to leave. Locals would also face mass investigations and “legal punishments” for anyone who has switched from Ukrainian to Russian citizenship, as well as those deemed to be “collaborators and traitors” by the Ukrainian authorities.Podoliak argued that the process, which he described as “very powerful stabilization measures,” would be difficult. “We’re going to have to break it all down,” he said with respect to Crimea’s Russian identity. The presidential aide expressed confidence that Ukrainian forces would retake the peninsula within seven months, claiming that his outlook is “mathematically verified” and that Russia lacked the necessary resources to retain the region.

However, Podoliak did not rule out negotiations between Kiev and Moscow on Crimea, provided that the Kremlin first withdrew its troops from territory that Ukraine claims as its own. Crimea has been part of Russia since 2014, when residents voted overwhelmingly to reunify with Moscow soon after the Maidan coup in Kiev. There were fears among the ethnically Russian majority of the peninsula that Ukrainian nationalists who had come to power in Kiev would try to forcefully impose their language and culture on them. The peninsula was historically part of Russia since 1783, and was only transferred to Kiev’s administrative control by the Soviet authorities in 1954.

Orthodox

Mykolaiv

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She left the same day that Finland entered NATO… No coincidence.

Finnish Government Led By Sanna Marin Submits Resignation (TASS)

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has submitted the resignation of her government to President Sauli Niinisto, according to the Yle broadcaster. Marin’s government is resigning following her party’s defeat in the recent parliamentary election. It will serve as an interim cabinet until the formation of a new government. The process will begin next week under the guidance of the conservative National Coalition Party that won the election. Finland held its parliamentary election on April 2. Marin’s Social Democratic Party came third, gaining 19.9% of the vote and taking 43 seats in parliament. The National Coalition Party won the election, gaining 20.8%, while the Finns Party was second with 20.1%. The new parliament will begin work on April 11. Marin announced at a press conference on April 5 that she would step down as leader of the Social Democratic Party by the fall, when the party’s new leadership was elected. She added that she would remain a member of parliament.

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“..Bragg simply stated that he was not required to state the crime in the indictment…”

Bragg’s Case Against Trump: An Ed Wood Movie Come To Life (Turley)

“Filmmaking is not about the tiny details. It’s about the big picture.” Thus did the title character of the movie, “Ed Wood,” explain why arguably the worst filmmaker of all time was unconcerned with obvious gaps in logic, or scenes where cardboard tombstones toppled in graveyard scenes. Wood said he relied on the “suspension of disbelief” of his horror-film fans. If there is an Ed Wood school of prosecution, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg could prove to be its most apt pupil. Indicting Donald Trump on 34 counts of falsifying business records, Bragg left out a small detail: The underlying felony Trump allegedly sought to conceal over and over. That, apparently, is left to the suspension of disbelief.

For many weeks, experts on both the left and the right expressed doubts that Bragg could charge Trump with falsifying business records, a misdemeanor with a now-expired two-year statute of limitation. To be able to file such a charge, Bragg would need to kick it up to a felony by alleging it was committed to conceal or further another crime — in this case, a federal campaign violation. The problem is that the Justice Department declined to bring such charges. The reason was likely due to a tiny problem: There is no campaign finance violation in Trump paying women to hush up alleged affairs. Moreover, even if there were a violation, Bragg is not a federal prosecutor. In other words, his case is as implausible as Wood’s cardboard tombstones.

When asked by reporters what crime was being referenced 34 times, Bragg simply stated that he was not required to state the crime in the indictment. Despite becoming the first prosecutor to charge a former president, Bragg felt no compulsion to explain the claim that kicked the misdemeanor up to a felony and allowed a longer statute of limitations. Bragg undoubtedly knew that New Yorkers would likely suspend disbelief when the name on the indictment was “Donald Trump.” After all, when Bragg ran for office, he was no more specific; he merely promised to bag Trump on some criminal charge. The actual crime would be named at a later date. Bragg also undoubtedly counted on Judge Juan Merchan suspending judicial disbelief by not asking for the full basis of the criminal charges.

Thus far, he appears to have been correct: Merchan set the next hearing for December, so Bragg has eight months to come up with an actual crime. Even if the judge ignores the glaring legal problems with this flawed indictment, he must decide where a trial should be held. The correct answer should be “Anywhere but Manhattan.” However, the judge is likely to deny that change of venue motion, and a denial would say a great deal about this case. Bragg’s cavalier attitude only magnifies the view that Manhattan is the wrong place for this trial. It is not simply that the district attorney ran on a pledge to indict this defendant. The problem is that he was elected on that pledge by the citizens of this district — the same citizens who would comprise the jury pool in Trump’s case.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1643999294532251649

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“..if New York courts nevertheless back this dodgy theory, it would show the rule of law is being tossed out the window to get Trump..”

The Shambolic Criminal Case Against Donald Trump (NC)

In simple terms, Cohen paid $180,000 to get what were sometimes called “bimbo eruptions” paid off. The Statement of Facts is not clear as to whose idea it was,2 but the Trump Organization doubled the amount to be paid to Cohen so Cohen could characterize it as income, not a reimbursement, then added a $60,000 bonus. That $420,000 amount was then paid in 12 monthly installments. That was billed monthly as a payment against a retainer agreement, even though there was no retainer agreement. Trump then allegedly confirmed this arrangement in person. The indictment gets to 34 counts by taking each of monthly payments Trump made to Cohen and each of the related entries in Trump Organization records as a separate count. Some experts have suggested Trump’s lawyers will get them consolidated into fewer counts.

To get to a first degree falsification, there has to be an intent to commit or aid in or conceal the commission of another crime. Oddly, the Statement of Facts discusses Team Trump pressuring Cohen not to cooperate in a Federal investigation but does not talk about obstruction of justice…..presumably because a New York prosecutor does not have standing to pursue obstruction of justice in a Federal investigation. And that begs the question of why the Department of Justice didn’t go that route. It’s exactly the one used with Clinton in l’affaire Lewinsky, and has the advantage of being simple to explain and prove. The Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg also mentions tax fraud in passing. That seems odd since the “fraud” here involved choosing have Cohen report income he never had and therefore pay unnecessary taxes.

Perhaps the supposed fraud instead is having the Trump Organization treat all of the payments to Cohen as tax deductible, when if they were all to effect payoffs to help the Trump campaign, they were Trump Organization/Trump personal contributions to the Trump campaign and hence not tax deductible. Since these deductions would ultimately reduce New York State and New York City income taxes, it would seem to offer a clear path to tying the alleged records abuses to another fraud. But you’d expect to see that presented more clearly in both the indictment and the Statement of Facts if so. The Statement of Facts instead bangs on about the payoffs to American Media Inc. (AMI), the parent of National Enquirer, to kill the stories for the benefit of Trump’s election efforts, and depicts that as trying to illegally influence the election. As many readers know, there are a lot of problems with trying to make that the actual or intended crime that turns a second degree records violation into a first degree one.

The first is that the election laws in question are Federal, and a New York state prosecutor lacks standing to enforce Federal law. This is even a more questionable approach since not only did the Department of Justice not pursue this case, the Federal Election Commission didn’t issue a civil fine either. Put it anther way, if New York courts nevertheless back this dodgy theory, it would show the rule of law is being tossed out the window to get Trump. The second is that Federal law requires that for a payment to be an election law violation, it must be made for the sole purpose of influencing the election. Recall the John Edwards case. Some election supporters paid his pregnant paramour $1 million during the election. The jury acquitted Edwards on one count and deadlocked on five others, apparently because the Edwards team argued the payments were not made exclusively to keep her quiet so as to help the election, but also to hide it from his wife, who was fighting a fatal case of cancer. They also argued Edwards had no idea these payments could be construed to be campaign-related (the donors didn’t send these monies to the election organization). Even the section of Bragg’s Statement of Facts contends that the payments were not made solely but “principal purpose of influencing the election.”

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Or more.

US Commercial Real-Estate Prices Could Tumble 40% (Az.)

Commercial real estate prices could plummet as much as 40% from their peak in a worse crash than the 2008 financial crisis, according to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s chief investment officer, Report informs via the Market Insider. The grave outlook is based on a raft of headwinds buffeting the commercial real estate sector, including the work-from-home trend and higher interest rates making it harder for investors to refinance a mountain of looming debt. “MS & Co. analysts forecast a peak-to-trough CRE price decline of as much as 40%, worse than in the Great Financial Crisis,” Lisa Shalett said in the weekly Global Investment Committee note.

“More than 50% of the $2.9 trillion in commercial mortgages will need to be renegotiated in the next 24 months when new lending rates are likely to be up by 350 to 450 basis points,” she added. Shalett flagged an outsized risk to regional banks, given small and medium-sized banks hold 80% of US commercial real estate debt outstanding. High borrowing costs and tighter credit conditions caused by the banking turmoil could raise hurdles for big real estate investors as they seek to refinance a pile of loans. Nearly $450 billion in commercial real-estate debt is due to mature in 2023, according to data cited from Trepp by JPMorgan.

The Federal Reserve has raised benchmark interest rates to upwards of 4.75% from almost zero 12 months ago — the steepest jump in US borrowing costs since the 1980s. On top of that, hybrid and remote working trends since the breakout of COVID-19 have dampened consumer appetite for office spaces – and that’s weighing on real estate valuations. That could not only hurt building owners and their lenders, given their large loan exposure, but also “interconnected business communities, private capital funders and owners of any underlying securitized debt,” Shallet notes.

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Elasmotherium (“Thin Plate Beast”) is an extinct genus of rhinoceros endemic to Eurasia during the Late Pliocene through the Pleistocene, documented from 2.6 Ma to as late as 29,000 years ago in the Late Pleistocene

 

 

Crows

 

 


The Hubble Ultra Deep Field led to an estimate that the observable universe contained at least 200 billion galaxies. But a research from 2016 suggests that number is at least 10 times too low leading to a total of 2 trillion (2,000,000,000,000) galaxies: https://go.nasa.gov/3s40UOR

 

 

Dog stream

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 032023
 
 April 3, 2023  Posted by at 7:55 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Bull – Plate 4 1945

 

Bakhmut “Technically Captured” – Prigozhin (ZH)
Zelensky’s Government Is An ‘Evil Force’ – Orthodox Priest (RT)
The Everything Collapse (Egon von Greyerz)
Oil Prices Surge After Surprise OPEC+ Production Cut (RT)
Lavrov Tells Blinken: Up To Court To Decide About US Journalist Future (TASS)
‘Lower the Rhetoric’ on China, Says Milley (D1)
Eastern Europe ‘Drowning’ In -Cheap- Ukrainian Grain – Le Figaro (RT)
Russian Official Ridicules Ukrainian Plan To Rename Crimean Port (RT)
Erdogan Tells US Ambassador To ‘Know His Place’ (RT)
US Allows Migrants To Pick Their Gender (RT)
Banana Time for the Rule of Law (Kimball)
Leaks From Bragg’s Grand Jury Are A Crime (Dershowitz)
Germany To Have Enough Covid mRNA Vaccine To Last Into The 24th Century (Eugyp)
El Pais Reveals How CIA Spied On Assange (RT)
Rep. Rashida Tlaib Demands DOJ Drop Charges Against Julian Assange (Fox)

 

 

Who and what will be the future of Ukraine?

 

 

Taibbi
https://twitter.com/i/status/1642384601418199040

 

 

Five alarm

 

 

ICC
https://twitter.com/i/status/1642416905897099264

 

 

Trump

 

 

Trump numbers
https://twitter.com/i/status/1642615856625594369

 

 

Why vaccinate the young?

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s over.

Bakhmut “Technically Captured” – Prigozhin (ZH)

Russia’s Wagner paramilitary group in the overnight hours on Monday has claimed victory (or at least a partial victory) over Bakhmut by raising the Russian flag as well as its own PMC Wanger Group flag over central government administration buildings of Bakhmut. Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin described that the key city in Donetsk is “ours” but only in a “legal sense”. He wrote on Telegram: “The commanders of the units that took city hall and the whole center will go and put up this flag,” he said in reference to a Russian flag being raised in the accompanying video. “This is the Wagner private military company, these are the guys who took Bakhmut. In a legal sense, it’s ours.”

About two weeks ago Prigozhin claimed that Wagner and Russian forces controlled 70% of the utterly destroyed town, and as the Ukrainians were mounting a stiff defense, pouring more resources into the months-long fight. Hours prior to Prigozhin video showing the flag-raising against a dark night sky, the Ukrainian general staff acknowledged that “the enemy has not stopped its assault of Bakhmut… Ukrainian defenders are courageously holding the city as they repel numerous enemy attacks.” The announcement was meant to convey that the Ukrainian Army still considers that it “holds” Bakhmut. Russian sources say Ukrainian fighters are still concentrated on the Western outskirts. However, going into the weekend it was already clear that Wagner fighters were on the cusp of taking the city center…

On Sunday President Zelensky was still sounding somewhat optimistic regarding the fate of Bakhmut: “I am grateful to our warriors who are fighting near Avdiivka, Maryinka, near Bakhmut… Especially Bakhmut! It’s especially hot there today!” Zelensky said in his own post to Telegram. Near Bakhmut, about 27 kilometres (17 miles) away in Kostyantynivka, a “massive attack” of Russian missiles left three men and three women dead and eleven wounded Sunday, Ukrainian authorities said. Zelensky said the affected zones are “just residential areas”, where “ordinary civilians of an ordinary city of Donbas” were targeted. Zelensky in an interview last week suggested that he may be forced to negotiate with Russia if his forces are definitively defeated at Bakhmut, while also hinting at huge losses.

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“..those who persecute them, “will not get any advantage earthly or heavenly, either physically or mentally… They will be hurt. They will be condemned..”

Zelensky’s Government Is An ‘Evil Force’ – Orthodox Priest (RT)

The “evildoers” who persecute Christians will derive no benefit from such action either on Earth or in the afterlife, Kesis Mezgebu, a prominent Ethiopian Orthodox priest, has told RT. Mezgebu, who serves at the Holy Trinity Theological University in Addis Ababa, was commenting on the attempts by the government of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to evict the monks of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) from the country’s Kiev-Pechersk Lavra monastery. On Saturday, Metropolitan Pavel, the abbot of the Lavra, was placed under house arrest on accusations of “inciting religious hatred” and “justifying” Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. The abbot has vigorously denied those allegations.

What’s happening in Ukraine is a “catastrophic event,” perpetrated by an “evil force,” Mezgebu said in an interview on Sunday. “This is atrocity…hatred… completely evil spirit,” he added, describing the actions of the Kiev authorities. Christians tend to help others and are always a stabilizing factor in a society, so those who persecute them, “will not get any advantage earthly or heavenly, either physically or mentally… They will be hurt. They will be condemned,”he said. According to Mezgebu, followers of the UOC in Ukraine “might be in danger soon” because they may be left with no other choice but to tell the “evildoers” to stop what they’re doing. He urged believers to stay “peaceful [and] remain within the Church” to avoid escalation.

Ukraine has experienced religious tensions for years, with two entities claiming to be the country’s true Orthodox Church. The Kiev government is supporting the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which was created only in 2014 and which the Russian Orthodox Church considers schismatic. Zelensky has explained the moves against the UOC by the need to protect Ukraine’s “spiritual independence”and deprive Russia of an opportunity to “to manipulate the spirituality of our people” amid the conflict between the two countries.

However, the Ethiopian priest suggested that “nationalist xenophobia” can only lead to suffering. “This will never take us anywhere. We have a lot of things to do together in harmony and collaboration, rather than destroying one another in the name of nationality or whatever kind of patriotic feeling. This is not how you reveal your patriotism,” he explained. Mezgebu also suggested that the West is aware of the religious persecution in Ukraine, but – despite having the ability to intervene – it remains silent on the issue because it shares a “similar agenda” with Kiev.

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“..we must remember that 2006-9 was just a rehearsal. The finale is starting now..”

The Everything Collapse (Egon von Greyerz)

Sadly, gold is now on its way to heights which are unthinkable for most people. To all the people who have asked me over the years why gold doesn’t go up, I have replied: “Don’t wish for gold to go up substantially for when it does, your quality of life will deteriorate remarkably.” And we are now at the point in the world when this is likely to happen. [..] I came to the conclusion early in this century that a sick financial system was not going to survive the infestation of vermin in the form of debt that started just over 50 years ago. Nixon’s closing of the gold window in 1971 was the signal that this currency system was going to end like all currency systems in history. And for the ones who haven’t studied the history of money, let me tell you that NO FIAT MONEY HAS EVER SURVIVED IN HISTORY IN ITS ORIGINAL FORM. So with all money going to ZERO, it has never been a question of if but only of when the dollar based currency system would die.

[..] At the beginning of the Ukraine conflict I and some others made the analogy with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 (which I remember well) when Kennedy gave an ultimatum to Khrushchev to withdraw the nuclear missiles pointing towards the US or face war. In the same way as with Cuba, Russia was never going to accept Ukraine becoming a Nato country. But sadly the US Neocons have seen this conflict as the last chance to save the US military, political and economic hegemony from total collapse. Defeating Russia was the last stand for the US. But it now looks like they will fail which seals the fate of the US empire. The US neocons forced a much too willing Europe to not only agree to the sanctions against Russia but also make direct contributions to the war both with money and equipment. This fatal mistake by Europe and especially Germany is totally crushing the European economy. But what the US neocons never understood is that the US sanctions would affect the whole world and in particular the debt infested US and the West.

[..] we must remember that 2006-9 was just a rehearsal. The finale is starting now. The debt which has built up has now reached levels which means the financial system is now too big to survive. Three US banks and one Swiss went under 2 weeks ago although two of the four were rescued temporarily at a high cost. The Swiss government could not afford to let Credit Suisse go under and is supporting the UBS takeover of the Credit Suisse at a potential extraordinary cost of CHF 209 billion. Central banks are on standby to stop the next bank run. Many expected Deutsche Bank to be next. Governments will stop major banks from going under for as long as they can, to stop global contagion. But they will of course fail.

The FDIC (Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation) currently has a capital of $128 billion dollars to support a total of $18 trillion deposits. So with 0.7% cover, it is guaranteed that the US government will soon need to step in as the next lot US of banks fail. Same in Europe where the most EU banks and the ECB are in a terrible shape. Total central bank assets are $25 trillion which is less than 10% of global debt before derivatives. Default rates in coming years are likely to exceed 50% which means much more money printing to come.

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The US has lost Saudi Arabia.

Oil Prices Surge After Surprise OPEC+ Production Cut (RT)

An unexpected announcement by the OPEC+ group of oil producing countries of a plan to slash their combined output by another 1,15 million barrels per day pushed the prices of crude up as much as 6% in early Monday trade. The oil producers who control roughly 50% of global oil supplies reached a decision to reduce their output starting from May until the end of 2023, in a move designed to “stabilize” the markets, according to a series of announcements on Sunday night. Riyadh said it would cut its output by 500,000 barrels per day, while Baghdad announced a cut of 211,000bpd. The UAE will reduce production by 144,000 bpd, Kuwait will cut 128,000bpd, Kazakhstan 78,000bpd, Algeria 48,000bpd and Oman 40,000bpd.

Crude prices jumped on the news, with the international benchmark Brent rising more than 5.5% to $84.30 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures soared 5.6% to $79.90 a barrel as of 3:30am GMT on Monday. Russia already voluntarily cut oil output by 500,000bpd back in March in retaliation for an oil-price cap introduced by the West, which it said would eventually result in scarce supply and trigger uncertainty on the global market. On Sunday, however, Moscow announced it will synchronize with OPEC in extending its cut until the end of the year. Moscow believes the move would contribute to a stabilization of crude oil prices, which fell sharply on concerns that the Western banking crisis could weaken global energy demand.

The Saudi Ministry of Energy called the move a “precautionary measure aimed at supporting the stability of the oil market.” Last month, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman warned Western states against capping the price of crude oil supplied by the kingdom, adding that any attempts to impose a ceiling would be met with a halt of sales and production cuts. The move left Washington disappointed as it comes in defiance of US pressure on oil producers to increase their production and lower the prices. President Joe Biden even traveled to Riyadh last July to petition Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly, to no avail. “We don’t think cuts are advisable at this moment given market uncertainty – and we’ve made that clear,” a spokesperson for the National Security Council told Reuters on Sunday.

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“..respect the Russian authorities’ decision made in conformity with law and Russia’s international commitments..”

Lavrov Tells Blinken: Up To Court To Decide About US Journalist Future (TASS)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that it is up to court to decide about the future of The Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich who was detained on espionage charges in Russia, the Russian foreign ministry said on Sunday after their telephone conversation. “In light of the established evidence of the US national’s illegal activities, his future will be determined by court. The American embassy in Moscow was duly notified about his detention,” the ministry said. “In the context of the discussion of the issue of the detention of US national Gershkovich in Russia on suspicion of espionage, which was raised by the Secretary of State, Blinken’s attention was drawn to the necessity to respect the Russian authorities’ decision made in conformity with law and Russia’s international commitments,” the ministry said.

“Lavrov stressed that Gershkovich had been detained red-handed when he was receiving secret data and was collecting data constituting a state secret acting under the guise of a journalist’s status.” The Russian top diplomat also told his US counterparts that it is inadmissible to fan hysteria around the journalist’s arrest. “It was stressed that it is inadmissible for Washington officials and Western mass media to stir up hysteria with an obvious aim of giving a political overtone to this case,” the ministry said. According to the ministry, Lavrov and Blinken also touched upon several other bilateral matters. The call was initiated by the US side. Lavrov and Blinken had a ten-minute meeting on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty meeting in New Delhi. According to the Russian minister, the meeting was quite constructive. The topics included the situation in the sphere of strategic stability in the context of the New START treaty and Ukraine.

The Public Relations Center of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said earlier that Evan Gershkovich, “acting at the behest of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of an enterprise within Russia’s military-industrial complex.” The reporter was detained in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg. The FSB investigators opened a criminal case against the US citizen under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (“Espionage”). On March 30, Moscow’s Lefortovo district court sanctioned Gershkovich’s arrest until May 29. In light of this, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a statement expressing deep concern for the safety of Gershkovich. According to the WSJ, Gershkovich covers Russia from his post at the newspaper’s Moscow bureau.

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You first.

‘Lower the Rhetoric’ on China, Says Milley (D1)

Everyone needs to calm down about war with China, Gen. Mark Milley said on Friday. The Joint Chiefs chairman warned against the rise of “overheated” rhetoric of a looming U.S. war with China, and he said he doubts China’s chances of “conquering” Taiwan. But, he added, the United States should continue to quicken arms shipments to the self-governing nation and its own military capabilities, just in case. Following this year’s Chinese balloon scare, the China heat is on. In the last two weeks, members of Congress in hearings aimed a list of concerns about China—everything from nuclear weapons to computer chips, invading Taiwan, and allying with Russia—at Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Milley has taken to telling lawmakers that war with China—and Russia—is “not imminent or inevitable.” It’s part of an effort to lower the heat, he said.

“I think there’s a lot of rhetoric in China, and a lot of rhetoric elsewhere, to include the United States, that could create the perception that war is right around the corner or we’re on the brink of war with China,” Milley said in an interview with Defense One. “And that could happen. I mean, it is possible that you could have an incident or some other trigger event that could lead to uncontrolled escalation. So, it’s not impossible. But I don’t think at this point I would put it in the likely category,” said Milley. “And I think that the rhetoric itself can overheat the environment.” Still, Milley said he agrees with calls for the United States to send arms into Taiwan as quickly as possible, to beat China’s Xi Jinping to any punch.

Xi has said he wants the People’s Liberation Army armed and ready to take Taiwan by force, if necessary, by 2027. “So if you think about it, that’s only four years away,” Milley said. “So, one of the elements of deterrence is to make sure that your opponent knows that the cost exceeds the benefit. So, for Taiwan, we’ve—my guess is we’ve got three or four years to get Taiwan in a position where they will create the perception in the minds of the Chinese decision makers that the cost exceeds that.” Milley said Taiwan needs air defense, anti-ship cruise missiles, and anti-ship mines. But he said the island itself, its population of 23 million—including 170,000 active duty military and 1-to-2 million reserves,—and China’s lack of experience make a takeover unlikely. “It favors the defense. It would be a very difficult island to capture,” he said.

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“Ukrainian operators did everything to monetize the situation. In European ports..“

Eastern Europe ‘Drowning’ In -Cheap- Ukrainian Grain – Le Figaro (RT)

Anger is mounting across Eastern Europe as farmers in the region protest a glut of cheap grain from Ukraine threatening their businesses, Le Figaro reported earlier this week. Struggling to sell their crops, producers in Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria have suffered substantial losses due to the surge in imports from Ukraine. Farmers in nations that had previously agreed to help get grain out of Ukraine and on to global markets now face unfair competition, they say. They also are not subject to the same regulatory requirements. Last May, the European Union suspended customs duties on all agricultural produce imported from Ukraine for one year to support the economy of the war-torn nation.

However, grains and other produce leaving Ukraine settled in the EU instead of being sent outside the bloc, putting competitive pressure on domestic production. “Instead of going to international markets, to Africa, as politicians promised us, Ukrainian cereals remained in Poland,” Polish farmer Marcin Misiak told the media, adding that his regular buyers opted to purchase cheaper maize from Ukraine. According to Misiak, he could sell wheat for €340 per ton in August 2022, but at the beginning of March 2023, it cost just €220.

“The EU was unable to anticipate the rapid effects of competition from Ukrainian grains,” said Sebastien Abis, a researcher at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS) and director of the Demeter Club think tank, as cited by Le Figaro. “Ukrainian operators did everything to monetize the situation. In European ports, competition was fierce and produce imported from Ukraine would have been favored.” Last month, the European Commission announced plans to provide financial support to farmers from member-states neighboring Ukraine to compensate for their losses and limit the impact of market imbalances. Brussels tapped a crisis reserve totaling €56.3 million, financed from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

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“.. lustration,” or a vetting process to determine who would lose their political rights over ties to the Russian state..”

Russian Official Ridicules Ukrainian Plan To Rename Crimean Port (RT)

The idea of renaming Sevastopol as part of Kiev’s plan to retake Crimea from Russia should not be taken seriously, the governor of the port city, Mikhail Razvozhaev told TASS news agency on Sunday. Earlier in the day, Aleksey Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, took to Facebook to post what he called “12 steps for the de-occupation of Crimea.” One of the proposed steps was to rename Sevastopol – first simply to “Installation No.6” and then to Akhtiar, after a small settlement that used to exist in the area. The re-branding would be necessary to “break the historic perception [of Sevastopol] as a city of Russian military glory,” the Kiev official stated.

Danilov also suggested that if the peninsula became Ukrainian again the Crimean Bridge connecting it to mainland Russia would be destroyed, while the local population would undergo so-called “lustration,” or a vetting process to determine who would lose their political rights over ties to the Russian state. Reacting to Danilov’s plan, Razvozhaev said that “the news from Ukrainian politicians is more like entries in the medical record from Ward No.6.” He was likely referring to the 1892 short story ‘Ward No. 6’ by iconic Russian author Anton Chekhov, which depicts events at a provincial mental asylum. “One can’t take statements and comments of sick people seriously. They need to be treated, which is what our military is doing right now,” the Sevastopol governor pointed out as cited by TASS news agency. Sevastopol, in the south of the Crimean peninsula, serves as the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. It is one of three federal cities under Russian law, together with Moscow and St Petersburg.

The name Sevastopol, which was given to the city when it was founded by the Russian Empire in 1783, is composed of Greek words “sebastos,” which means “venerable,” and “polis,” which means “city.” For months, Ukraine has been mulling a major counteroffensive aimed at restoring control over all territories lost to Russia, including Crimea. Former Russian president and current deputy head of the country’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said earlier this week that the claims by Ukrainian officials were just “propaganda” and shouldn’t be treated seriously. However, Medvedev warned that if the peninsula, which reunited with Russia as a result of a referendum in 2014, is actually attacked, it could become “the basis for the use of all means of protection, including those provided for by the fundamentals of the Doctrine of Nuclear Deterrence.”

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“We need to teach America a lesson in these elections,” Erdogan said..

Erdogan Tells US Ambassador To ‘Know His Place’ (RT)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that from now on his “doors are closed” to the US Ambassador to Ankara, Jeffry Flake, blasting the diplomat’s recent meeting with his rival at the upcoming presidential elections. Erdogan attended a ceremony in the Bagcilar district of Istanbul on Sunday, dedicated to the official opening of nearly 100 houses and other facilities constructed in the wake of a series of devastating earthquakes. In a follow-up meeting with a group of officials from the Grey Wolves far-right movement, he heavily focused on the May 14 elections and Washington envoy’s alleged abuse of his diplomatic authority. “We need to teach America a lesson in these elections,” Erdogan said, as cited by Anadolu.


Ambassador Flake met with the leader of Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, on March 29, “as part of continuing conversations with Turkish political parties on issues of mutual interest between our two countries,” according to a tweet from the US Embassy. “Our doors are closed for him, he can no longer come in. Why? He needs to know his place,” Erdogan said. “Shame on you, think with your head. You are an ambassador. Your interlocutor here is the president.” Erdogan’s remarks come less than six weeks before presidential and general elections take place in Türkiye on May 14, with Kilicdaroglu put forward by the alliance of six opposition parties as his main opponent after months of political infighting. The Turkish president and his ruling AK Party are expected to face a tough challenge following a devastating earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people in the country in early February.

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What could go wrong?

US Allows Migrants To Pick Their Gender (RT)

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services marked the Transgender Day of Visibility with an announcement that will begin accepting “self-identified gender markers” from foreign individuals who seek legal immigration services and benefits, without requesting any supporting documents. While the only two options on existing forms are still “male”and “female,” the Homeland Security’s legal immigration branch will now allow applicants to select and change their preferred gender at will, according to a policy update alert issued on March 31. The policy change, effective immediately, states that “benefit requestors may self-select their gender marker (in an initial filing or a subsequent change to a prior gender selection), without the need to provide supporting documentation or to match the gender listed on their identity documents.”


President Joe Biden officially proclaimed March 31 as a Transgender Day of Visibility back in 2021, as part of his wider push for equity and inclusivity. In his 2023 proclamation, Biden statedthat “Transgender Americans shape our Nation’s soul.” The immigration agency said it removed the documentation requirement in line with “priorities”set by Biden’s executive orders on advancing LGBTQI equality, combating discrimination, and “restoring faith” in American legal immigration systems. USCIS argued that the requirement to submit proof of gender identity had created extra barriers and delays to travel and employment, and abolishing it will help prevent “discrimination and harassment due to inconsistent identity documents.” Last year, the US State Department began offering an ‘X’ gender option on passports which stands for those with “unspecified or another gender identity,”without the need to provide any medical documentation to prove that they are neither male nor female.

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Very disturbing.

Banana Time for the Rule of Law (Kimball)

The Czech novelist Milan Kundera published The Joke, his first novel, in 1967. It traces the fortunes of Ludvik, a young student, after his politically correct girlfriend shows the Communist authorities a postcard he had written to her as a joke: “Optimism is the opium of the people! A healthy atmosphere stinks of stupidity! Long live Trotsky! Ludvik.” As a result of this whimsy, Ludvik finds himself expelled from the Communist Party, the university, and is eventually conscripted to work in the mines. That’s the way things are in totalitarian societies. No jokes allowed, especially not jokes told at the expense of the regime. Thus it is that North Korea banned sarcasm and irony. Poor Ludvik suffered for his joke. But he got off easy compared to Douglass Mackey, a social media “influencer” who wrote under the pen name “Ricky Vaughn.”

During the 2016 election cycle, Mackey/Vaughn posted a funny meme urging Hillary voters to “avoid the line and vote from home” by texting “Hillary” to a certain number. Who would be stupid enough to fall for such a joke? No one. But his satire was effective enough to get him banned from the pre-Elon Musk era Twitter. And the feds thought—or said they thought—that it was part of a “plot to disenfranchise black and women voters.” I guess that shows you what they think of black and women voters. It sounds stupid. It is stupid. But Mackey was charged with a felony and on Friday was convicted in the Eastern District of New York. He faces up to 10 years in jail for (as an official announcement crows) “his scheme to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote.”

Yes, that’s right. A Trump supporter posts a silly (but amusing) meme that mocks Hillary voters and he is tried and convicted of a felony. In the course of that official announcement, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District called Breon Peace continues with this stomach churning bit of agitprop: Mackey has been found guilty by a jury of his peers of attempting to deprive individuals from exercising their sacred right to vote for the candidate of their choice in the 2016 Presidential Election. . . . Today’s verdict proves that the defendant’s fraudulent actions crossed a line into criminality and flatly rejects his cynical attempt to use the constitutional right of free speech as a shield for his scheme to subvert the ballot box and suppress the vote. In fact, that verdict proved nothing of the sort. It merely confirmed the corruption and politicization of our judicial system. The real moral of this sorry episode is this: Make a joke, go to jail.

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“..even the misdemeanor allegation involving false entries is unprecedented and represents selective prosecution..”

Leaks From Bragg’s Grand Jury Are A Crime (Dershowitz)

It is likely that a serious felony has been committed right under District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s nose and he is not investigating it. Under New York law, it is a felony to leak confidential grand jury information, such as whether the jurors voted to indict. The protection of secrecy is as applicable to President Trump as it is to anyone else. We know that the information was disclosed while the indictment itself remains sealed and before any official announcement was made or charges brought. It is unlikely that the leak came from the Trump team, which seemed genuinely surprised. The most likely, though uncertain, scenario is that a person in Mr. Bragg’s office or a grand juror unlawfully leaked the sealed information. That would be a class E felony, subject to imprisonment.

It is possible of course that an investigation is underway, but it seems more likely that Mr. Bragg is too busy making up a crime against the man he promised in his campaign to get than investigating a real crime that took place on his watch. In my new book, “Get Trump,” I predicted that partisan prosecutors would try to get Trump regardless of the lack of evidence or law. That prediction has come true. Since the indictment itself has not been leaked — at least not yet — we don’t know its specifics. We do know, based on leaks, that it involves multiple counts, almost certainly involving the payment of hush money to a porn actress. Under Mr. Bragg’s likely theory, Mr. Trump should have disclosed in his public corporate records that he paid the hush money to avoid his adulterous affair from becoming public.

But no one in history has ever publicly disclosed the reason he paid money for a non-disclosure agreement. Why would Mr. Trump pay the money in the first place if he had to publicly disclose the embarrassing reason? Furthermore, no one in history has ever been indicted for listing “legal expenses” for setting a potentially embarrassing payment of hush money. Thus, even the misdemeanor allegation involving false entries is unprecedented and represents selective prosecution. It is also almost certainly barred by the two-year statute of limitations. In order to elevate this bookkeeping case into a felony, Mr. Bragg must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the reason Trump made the false entry — if he himself did it — was solely as a campaign contribution to help him win his election.

If Mr. Trump was motivated in part by his desire to protect his wife, children, and business interests from harmful disclosures, that would not constitute the crime of making an undisclosed campaign contribution. So this too is a stretch. It is a fundamental tenet of American law that criminal law should not be stretched to fit targeted defendants. Criminal statutes must be clear and unambiguous. If there is any doubt, the age-old concept of “lenity” requires that these doubts be resolved in favor of the defendant.

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“..having concluded some of the most insanely stupid pharmaceutical contracts in the world.”

Germany To Have Enough Covid mRNA Vaccine To Last Into The 24th Century (Eugyp)

You could not have invented a stupider pandemic: “According to the German Ministry of Health, the federal government at the end of February had amassed a reserve of 116 million doses of Corona vaccine. 111 million more doses, valued at around 2.5 billion Euros, are slated for delivery. According to an answer given by the Ministry on 28 March to a question by Thomas Dietz, a Bundestag member of Alternativ für Deutschland, EU treaties oblige the German government to take delivery of these doses. “In view of the current state of the pandemic, the federal government is working to make these EU treaties more flexible,” the answer continues.”

Tucker vaccine

Another paper does the maths, and notes that if vaccination continues at the current rate of 2,000 jabs per day, the 227 million doses which Germany has procured will last for 311 years. Of course, all of these doses will expire well before then, so Germany will merely receive all of this useless product, store it at substantial expense in freezers for around eighteen months, and then throw it away. This hurts Corona. In related news, Welt reports on the curious failure of Lauterbach’s Health Ministry to finish work on the so-called National Reserve for Health Protection, which Merkel’s government planned three years ago. The Reserve was supposed to be a massive depot for masks (but of course), other personal protective equipment and medicines, which would in theory free Germany from reliance on China the next time somebody is stupid enough to cry wolf about a respiratory virus.


So far, the only thing anybody has done to realise this Reserve, is put 245 million masks in it, a substantial portion of which will expire by the end of the year. A Ministry spokesperson explains that the project has devolved from a Health Reserve into a National Trashbin for Worthless Masks that Nobody Wants, because it has received no funding. It appears politicians have lost enthusiasm and now prefer that the manufacturers and the federal states maintain their own “decentralised” reserves. This obviously means that they have quietly written off the project but hope that nobody will realise. Despite all that you hear from WEF conference attendees and virus pests like Lauterbach about the importance of “pandemic preparedness”, the will to actually do anything about pandemics – even at the highest reaches of government – has never been lower. Perhaps we’re not the only ones who have concluded, after all that happened since March 2020, that it is indeed best to think less about viruses.

Malhotra
https://twitter.com/i/status/1642046182305177600

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Should be enough to throw out the case.

El Pais Reveals How CIA Spied On Assange (RT)

The CIA used private Spanish security company UC Global to secretly install microphones inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to monitor WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, El Pais reported on Wednesday, citing the company’s internal communications. UC Global was hired to provide security for the embassy. Assange, who was granted asylum by Ecuador at the time, resided in the diplomatic compound from 2012 to 2019. The Spanish company’s alleged links to US intelligence agencies were first reported by El Pais in 2019. According to the newspaper, UC Global founder and head David Morales first came into contact with the CIA in 2017. Around that time, Morales informed his employees that the company would have to provide a new American client named ‘X’ with remote access to the server that collected the data from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, which was referred to as the ‘Hotel’.

“Regarding the Hotel work, I would like to offer our information collection and analysis capability to the American client,” Morales wrote in a September 2017 email. “We must… try to make it attractive and easy to interpret.” The information shared reportedly included profiles of Assange’s visitors, including lawyers and diplomats, as well as cell phone data. Morales was quoted as saying in a chat message that “the people in control are our friends in the USA.” One of microphones that Morales’ team secretly planted inside the embassy was hidden in the base of a fire extinguisher in order to listen in despite Assange’s habit of using a white noise machine to prevent surveillance, El Pais said. Stickers were attached to window corners to avoid vibrations and allow sound to be recorded through laser microphones. “I know it is of the utmost interest and that the USA wants to do it,”Morales reportedly wrote to his employees.

According to El Pais, UC Global’s work helped Washington foil a plan to sneak Assange out of the embassy in December 2017. Lenin Moreno, Ecuador’s president at the time, allegedly wanted to grant the WikiLeaks co-founder Ecuadorian citizenship and get him out of Britain in a diplomatic car. Morales’ team reportedly recorded a conversation between Assange and Ecuadorian officials and then quickly sent it to the US. Washington responded by issuing an arrest warrant for Assange to Britain, which apparently prompted organizers to abort the plan. In 2019, the Spanish authorities launched an investigation into Morales’ company and briefly detained him. He has since been released on bail.

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Well, it’s something. Bit late perhaps?

Rep. Rashida Tlaib Demands DOJ Drop Charges Against Julian Assange (Fox)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is asking her fellow House members to sign a letter calling on the Justice Department to end its prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is accused of publishing classified documents. The letter, which was obtained by The Intercept, is currently circulating among members as they are urged to sign it and has not yet been sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland. Democratic Reps. Jamaal Bowman, N.Y., Ilhan Omar, Minn., and Cori Bush, Mo., have signed the letter. The office of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said she intends to sign the letter. “I know many of us have very strong feelings about Mr. Assange, but what we think of him and his actions is really besides the point here,” Tlaib’s letter to her colleagues reads.

“The fact of the matter is that the [way] in which Mr. Assange is being prosecuted under the notoriously undemocratic Espionage Act seriously undermines freedom of the press and the First Amendment.” The letter comes just ahead of the fourth anniversary of Assange’s April 11, 2019, detention. Assange is facing a legal battle over his potential extradition to the U.S. regarding the publication of classified materials detailing war crimes committed by the U.S. government in the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, detention camp, Iraq and Afghanistan. The materials also expose instances of the CIA engaging in torture and rendition. If he is extradited to the U.S., Assange would face 17 charges for receiving, possessing and communicating classified information to the public under the espionage act and one charge alleging a conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

He could be sentenced to as many as 175 years in an American maximum security prison. The Wikileaks founder has been held at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison since he was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2019 for breaching jail conditions. He had sought asylum at the embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations he raped two women. The investigations into the sexual assault allegations were eventually dropped. Tlaib’s cites last year’s open letter from the editors and publishers of U.S. and European news outlets that worked with Assange on the publication of excerpts from more than 250,000 documents he obtained in the Cablegate leak.

“The New York Times, The Guardian, El Pais, Le Monde, and Der Spiegel have taken the extraordinary step of publishing a joint statement in opposition to the indictment, warning that it ‘sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press,’” Tlaib wrote to House members. The congresswoman also warned that major news outlets could later be prosecuted for publishing accurate information using classified materials if the case against Assange is successful. “Mr. Assange’s prosecution marks the first time in US history that the Espionage Act has been used to indict a publisher of truthful information,” she wrote. “The prosecution of Mr. Assange, if successful, not only sets a legal precedent whereby journalists or publishers can be prosecuted, but a political one as well. In the future, the New York Times or Washington Post could be prosecuted when they publish important stories based on classified information. Or, just as dangerous, they may refrain from publishing such stories for fear of prosecution.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 


Hidden within a section of a Colombian newspaper lies a clever three dimensional layout of a kitchen

 

 

Stonefish

 

 


Photographer Pavan Tavrekere used multiple flashes to bring out the multicolors of the so called ‘world’s most colourful spider. The tiny peacock spider measures just 0.75cm in length (0.3 inches)

 

 

 

 

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Mar 312023
 
 March 31, 2023  Posted by at 9:12 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  54 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Dora Maar au chat 1941

 

NYT: Donald Trump Has Been Indicted (Techno Fog)
The Impact of Sanctions on the De-Dollarization of Int’l Trade (Gonzalo Lira)
Saudi Arabia Makes Move Towards Russia-China Bloc (RT)
Brazil and China Sign Pact To Abandon Dollar (RT)
Russia, China Have To Take Measures To Protect Relations – Zakharova (TASS)
Beijing Demands That US Stop Provoking China (TASS)
Senior Orthodox Bishop Invokes Woe On Zelensky (RT)
Kiev Demands Cut Of Western ‘War Profits’ – Politico (RT)
Kuleba: If US Stops Supporting Ukraine, World Order Will Collapse (Az.)
Ukraine’s Military Losing 500 Troops Daily Near Bakhmut – LPR (TASS)
Russian General Staff Says No Plans To Hold Second Wave Of Mobilization (TASS)
Russian Central Bank Reveals How It Braced For Western Dollar Grab (RT)
London Totally Ruined Architecture Of Relations With Moscow – Ambassador (TASS)
The Most Dangerous International Treaty Ever Proposed (Kingsley)
Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century (Siegel)

 

 

 

 

 

 

PCR

Hoeg

 

 

 

 

Jordan Peterson
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641206079844483073

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How much longer will the States remain United?

NYT: Donald Trump Has Been Indicted (Techno Fog)

Breaking news from the New York Times today: “A Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Donald J. Trump on Thursday for his role in paying hush money to a porn star, according to four people with knowledge of the matter, a historic development that will shake up the 2024 presidential race and forever mark him as the nation’s first former president to face criminal charges. The felony indictment, filed under seal by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, will likely be announced in the coming days. By then, prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, will have asked Mr. Trump to surrender and to face arraignment on charges that remain unknown for now.”


A felony indictment. We’ll have more information and more analysis after the indictment is unsealed. But as we stated yesterday regarding the reported “delays” and the potential charges: “In New York, the falsification of business records is a misdemeanor that is subject to a two-year statute of limitations. Bragg, however, is supposedly pursuing felony charges against Trump for falsifying business records to conceal federal campaign finance violations. The felony has a five-year statute of limitations, one which Bragg can manipulate to perhaps apply to Trump.” The indictment is an absolute scandal, the banana republic on parade, the prosecutor using the weapons of his office to attack his political opponent.

Whitlock

Bragg and his predecessor’s slow-walking of the investigation, with its inception by Manhattan DA goes back to 2019, evidences both the dubious nature of the case against Trump and the political motivations for prosecuting Trump. Theoretically, this should be a simple case. Yet the investigation went on for nearly five years, despite what they’ve possessed: overzealous prosecutors who wanted to charge Trump with racketeering, the cooperating witnesses, the likely millions of pages of materials from the Trump Organization. Now suddenly, the insanely pro-criminal Manhattan DA, who demanded his prosecutors reduce charges for violent criminals, is prioritizing law and order. It’s hard to believe there are legitimate reasons – for prosecutors, that means seeking justice – for that transformation. Why bring the case now? It’s the start of the 2024 presidential campaign season.


[..] Don’t be surprised if the trial date is set for the first half of 2024. And don’t understate the danger to Trump, who will face a jury of Biden voters. Biden won Manhattan 86.7% to 12.3% according to the New York Times. The jury of Trump’s peers will be friendly to the prosecution. That’s all the Manhattan DA might need to secure a conviction. Trump could very well win on appeal but the damage – which carries national repercussions – might already have been done. And that’s the whole point of this dirty scheme.

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Twitter thread. Russian sanctions drive countries away from the dollar.

The Impact of Sanctions on the De-Dollarization of Int’l Trade (Gonzalo Lira)

The Russian sanctions have caused a worldwide de-dollarization, as countries are unable to use dollars to buy essential commodities from Russia. This has led to countries signing treaties to trade in yuan, as it is a more reliable currency. This de-dollarization has caused a decrease in demand for dollars overseas, leading to American domestic inflation and an inability to continue piling on debt, which will ultimately lead to dollar hyperinflation. Why are so many countries all of a sudden turning to the yuan to buy their essential commodities? Why is the world de-dollarizing so quickly? Simple — the Russian sanctions.

Russia is the biggest single commodity producer in the world — they have oil AND gas AND agro AND minerals AND anything else. But because of the sanctions, Russia CANNOT take dollars (or euros) for sales of their commodities. First, the sanctions disconnected Russia from SWIFT, meaning Russians can’t pay for things they would want to buy with dollars. So why would Russia take dollars for their commodities — if they can’t buy stuff with those dollars. Plus their dollar assets get confiscated in the West. So why hold dollars, and dollar assets to park them in, if they will be stolen? So because of sanctions, Russia has been FORCED to de-dollarize. Russia didn’t want to de-dollarize — they were obliged. By the West. But Russia still has to trade, because it still has to acquire things it cannot produce at home, and still has a surplus of commodities with which to acquire these foreign goods.

Apart from the West, Russia’s major trading partners are China and India. So it makes sense for Russia to sell its commodities in yuan and rupees: Sell oil/agro/gas in yuan, and buy Chinese goods with those yuan. Same with India. But why are OTHER countries signing treaties to trade in yuan, like France and Brazil in the last few days? They’re getting ahead of the curve. As more commodities trading takes place in yuan and rupees, the more demand for those currencies. Hence it becomes smart to cut a deal with China NOW — to fix an exchange rate of yuan. In essence, these deals are longs on the yuan. The effect is, these trade deals eventually lead to more de-dollarization—which becomes a self-reinforcing cycle, as dollars become less valuable (because they can buy less commodities) so more countries want yuan, leading to more de-dollarization, leading to a weaker dollar.

All this leads to the collapse of the dollar into hyperinflation. The dollar was valuable BECAUSE it was the currency in international commodities trade, which created the demand for dollars and dollar assets outside the US — thereby financing the enormous American debts. With trade de-dollarization, there’s no longer as much demand for dollars overseas, leading to American domestic inflation and an inability to continue piling on debt. Ultimately, the Federal Reserve will be forced to simply print — which will lead to dollar hyperinflation. BTW, Russia didn’t cause this. The sanctions which triggered this worldwide de-dollarization was just the final straw. It didn’t help that American leadership seems capricious and hysterical, making other countries very nervous that they might be sanctioned too.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, Naledi Pandor: “Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Algeria, Argentina, Mexico and Nigeria want to join BRICS.”

Saudi Arabia Makes Move Towards Russia-China Bloc (RT)

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has signed the documents granting Saudi Arabia the status of “dialog partner” with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – the political, economic and security bloc currently chaired by China. The king signed off on the memorandum of understanding at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, held at the al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, the Saudi Press Agency reported. In addition to formalizing the partnership, King Salman also approved the technical and vocational training with China. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman thanked Beijing for mediating the talks with Iran, which culminated in the re-establishment of “good neighborly relations” earlier this month. The Saudi state agency also said that Iran was set to join the bloc “soon.” Tehran had applied for membership in 2021.


The SCO was created in 2001 by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. It has since expanded to India, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan as full members. The status of dialog partner was created in 2008, and includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Egypt, Nepal, Qatar, Sri Lanka and Türkiye. The bloc initially focused on security concerns, primarily terrorism, separatism and extremism. It has an agreement with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on jointly addressing security, crime and drug trafficking. Over the years, it began fostering cooperation in matters of trade, economics, and culture as well. In addition to taking a step closer to the SCO, Saudi Arabia is reportedly interested in joining the BRICS group – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – Russia’s ambassador to the kingdom, Sergey Kozlov, said in February.

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“25 countries are already making settlements with China in yuan.”

Brazil and China Sign Pact To Abandon Dollar (RT)

Beijing and Brasilia have signed an agreement on trade in mutual currencies, abandoning the US dollar as an intermediary, and are also planning to expand cooperation in the field of food and minerals. According to media reports, the deal will enable the two BRICS members to conduct their massive trade and financial transactions directly, exchanging renminbi for real and vice versa instead of using the greenback for settlements. “The expectation is that this will reduce costs… promote even greater bilateral trade and facilitate investment,” AFP quoted the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency as saying on Wednesday. The countries also reportedly announced the creation of a clearinghouse that will provide settlements without the use of the US dollar, as well as lending in national currencies.


The move is aimed at facilitating and reducing the cost of transactions between the sides, and getting rid of dollar dependence in bilateral relations. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced earlier that such arrangements will boost the usage of the renminbi for cross-border transactions between enterprises and financial institutions in the two countries, and further facilitate bilateral trade and investment. China has been Brazil’s largest trading partner for more than a decade, with bilateral trade hitting a record $150 billion last year. According to the Secretary for International Affairs at the Ministry of Finance of Brazil, Tatiana Rosito, 25 countries are already making settlements with China in yuan.

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“..both sides view the strengthening of relations as a “natural process,..

Russia, China Have To Take Measures To Protect Relations – Zakharova (TASS)

Moscow and Beijing have to take adequate measures in current geopolitical circumstances in order to protect their multifaceted cooperation from the harmful effect of illegal unilateral sanctions, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a briefing Thursday. “In current geopolitical circumstances, Moscow and Beijing have to take adequate measures in order to protect the positive groundwork of multifaceted cooperation, which took many years to accumulate, from the harmful effect of illegal unilateral sanctions,” the diplomat noted.


Meanwhile, the spokeswoman underscored, both sides view the strengthening of relations as a “natural process,” defined by long-standing ties and geographical proximity. “Unlike the westerners, we seek to build cooperation with external partners exclusively based on principles of equality, mutual consideration of each other’s interests, instead of building some coalition or some exclusive clubs with an ‘anti-‘ prefix,” Zakharova noted.

Lavrov
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641539345101324288

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“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army will take all necessary measures to protect national sovereignty and security and will resolutely defend peace and stability in the South China Sea..”

Beijing Demands That US Stop Provoking China (TASS)

The US Armed Forces must stop provoking China in the South China Sea, otherwise they will bear responsibility for any potential incidents, Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman Tan Kefei warned on Thursday. The comment was Tan’s response to a US Navy vessel that allegedly sailed near the China-controlled Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. “We sternly demand that the United States immediately stop such provocations, otherwise it will bear full responsibility for all the serious consequences of their causing a potential incident,” the Chinese Defense Ministry quoted him as saying on WeChat. “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army will take all necessary measures to protect national sovereignty and security and will resolutely defend peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Tan assured.


The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius passed near the Paracel Islands last Friday. China’s top brass claimed that the US warship did this without the Chinese government’s permission and had violated China’s sovereignty. The US 7th Fleet replied by saying in a news release that the US destroyer had acted in line with international law, while conducting a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP). Beijing has disputed the territorial jurisdiction of some islands in the South China Sea where large hydrocarbon reserves were found with Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia. The most disputed territories are the Xisha Islands, also known as the Paracel Islands, the Nansha or Spratly Islands and Huangyan Island (Scarborough Reef).

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“You’ll disappear like dew in the sun, because all who take up the sword will perish by the sword..”

Senior Orthodox Bishop Invokes Woe On Zelensky (RT)

A senior bishop in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) has issued a strongly-worded rebuke to President Vladimir Zelensky over his role in a crackdown that the country’s largest religious denomination is currently facing. “I am telling you, Mr President, and your entire pack, that our tears will not fall to the ground, but on your head,” Metropolitan Pavel said in a video address on Wednesday. “You think today that after taking power on our backs, [based] on our wishes, you can treat us like that. Our Lord will not forgive this action, neither to you nor to your family,” the bishop warned. Pavel heads the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, the largest Orthodox monastery in the country. The Ukrainian ministry of culture denied the UOC a renewal of tenancy in the property, which means that some 220 monks living there would be “kicked out to the streets,” as Pavel described it.

The deadline for the expulsion comes this week. The bishop blasted the president for refusing to meet senior UOC clerics to discuss the situation. This was particularly hypocritical, he remarked, considering that, as a presidential candidate, Zelensky had sought and received the blessing to run for office from Metropolitan Onufry, the Church leader. “You have failed to stop the culture minister, who is possessed by hateful malice and devilish fury. This means he is acting with your permission; Woe to you, have fear,”the bishop said. The minister, Aleksandr Tkachenko, has said that UOC monks could stay at Lavra if they agreed to defect to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), a rival schismatic organization backed by Kiev.

The OCU received recognition as a legitimate church in 2019 from the Constantinople Patriarchate, causing a major schism among the Orthodox faithful of the world. Metropolitan Pavel has also accused Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople of having given impetus to the crackdown with this move. “Woe and shame on you, so-called patriarch [Bartholomew], because everything done today is done with your ill-fated and evil blessing,” he said. The bishop also likened the current detractors of the UOC to the Bolshevik and communist leaders, who’d cracked down on all religions when they were in power. He expressed faith that his church will survive the new period of suppression, just like it had the previous one. “You’ll disappear like dew in the sun, because all who take up the sword will perish by the sword,” he said, quoting in the same sentence from the Ukrainian national anthem and from the Gospels.

Pavel

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“..the record profits had been achieved purely because of the conflict in his country..”

Kiev Demands Cut Of Western ‘War Profits’ – Politico (RT)

Major oil companies have made record profits as a result of the conflict in Ukraine and should pay to rebuild the country’s war-torn infrastructure, Ukrainian Minister of Energy German Galushchenko said on Wednesday in an interview with Politico. According to Galushchenko, oil and gas majors have generated windfall profits of more than $200 billion due to wild swings in global energy prices, and should transfer some of those funds to Ukraine. Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the past year in response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine have sent energy prices soaring. In 2022, oil majors Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and TotalEnergies posted a combined profit of $196.3 billion, marking an all-time high for the industry.


“I think it would be fair to share this money with Ukraine. I mean, to help us to restore, to rebuild the energy sector,” Galushchenko said on a visit to Brussels, adding that the record profits had been achieved purely because of the conflict in his country. According to the latest assessment by the Ukrainian government, the World Bank, the European Commission, and the UN, the estimated cost of the country’s reconstruction and recovery will be over $400 billion. The Ukrainian energy minister also called on the West to take further steps to plug sanctions loopholes that allow Russian energy producers to continue exports.

IAEA
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641206842415108098

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And the sun will stop shining too. Insert biblical reference.

Kuleba: If US Stops Supporting Ukraine, World Order Will Collapse (Az.)

If support for Ukraine does not continue after the US presidential elections next year, world order and security will collapse, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, Report informs via RBC-Ukraine. He said the matter is not only about the fate of Ukraine: “We must also consider international security. If the support for Ukraine stops, the countries will know that they can invade the neighboring country. If so, world security will collapse.”

Austria

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“It continues replenishing the losses that the Ukrainian army is suffering..”

Ukraine’s Military Losing 500 Troops Daily Near Bakhmut – LPR (TASS)

The Ukrainian military is daily losing 500 fighters in the area of Artyomovsk (called Bakhmut in Ukraine), Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) people’s militia retired Lieutenant-Colonel Andrey Marochko said on Thursday. “In my estimates, about 500 personnel daily [as casualties] there [in the Artyomovsk area]. These are both sanitary and irretrievable losses,” the retired officer said in a live broadcast on Komsomolskaya Pravda radio. The Ukrainian military experiences a shortage of fighters due to huge casualties and continues replenishing its troops, Marochko said. “It continues replenishing the losses that the Ukrainian army is suffering,” the retired officer said. Marochko told TASS on March 27 that the Ukrainian military had lost as many as 1,500 soldiers in battles with Russian forces in the Artyomovsk area over the week.


Artyomovsk is located on the Kiev-controlled part of the Donetsk People’s Republic and is a major transportation hub for the Ukrainian army’s supplies in Donbass. Fierce fighting for the city is underway. Yan Gagin, military-political expert and adviser to the acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said on March 22 that the city had been practically sealed off by Russian forces and all approaches to Artyomovsk were under Russian artillery control. He earlier said that Russian forces controlled about 70% of the city. Acting DPR Head Denis Pushilin has repeatedly said that there is no evidence of the Ukrainian army’s plans to leave Artyomovsk. Meanwhile, Kiev claims that the city’s defense will be bolstered. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky earlier said that Ukrainian troops would not surrender Artyomovsk and would fight for it as long as they could.

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..”the number of citizens who decided to join the Russian armed forces under the enlistment contract has increased significantly as of lately.”

Russian General Staff Says No Plans To Hold Second Wave Of Mobilization (TASS)

The Russian General Staff is not planning to hold the second wave of mobilization, because the current number of volunteers and servicemen is sufficient for fulfilling the tasks of the special operation, said Rear Adm. Vladimir Tsimlyansky, the head of the Russian General Staff’s main organization and mobilization department. “I would like to assure you that the General Staff’s plans do not include the second wave of mobilization. The current number of conscripts and people who volunteered to participate in the [special] operation is sufficient for fulfilling the objectives,” he said during a briefing devoted to Russia’s spring draft. In his words “the number of citizens who decided to join the Russian armed forces under the enlistment contract has increased significantly as of lately.” This year’s spring draft in Russia will be held during its usual timeframe of April 1 – July 15 for a total of 147,000 Russians aged between 18 and 27.

Polish TV

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The need for dollars is already shrinking.

Russian Central Bank Reveals How It Braced For Western Dollar Grab (RT)

The Bank of Russia had been preparing for an escalation of Western sanctions since 2014 and was beefing up additional funds as a hedge against future restrictions on its foreign exchange reserves, the regulator revealed on Wednesday. Amid “increasing geopolitical risks” the central bank ramped up investments in assets “that cannot be blocked by unfriendly nations”and transferred part of its reserves to gold, Chinese yuan and foreign currency in cash, the regulator announced in its annual report. The central bank managed to stash billions of imported dollars “in volumes limited by logistics capabilities,” the report said without specifying the amount of accumulated funds. Alternative reserves in dollars and gold bars have been stockpiled in the vaults of the Bank of Russia.

“This safety cushion was created in the form of alternative reserves – less liquid and convenient in everyday life, but more reliable in the face of a tough geopolitical scenario,” the regulator explained. It was impossible to abandon reserves in dollars and euros, as these currencies were used for settlements in international trade as well as in the domestic financial sector, the central bank added. “Therefore the structure of foreign exchange reserves needed to take into account the needs of citizens and businesses,” the regulator concluded. The central bank could have “unloaded” part of this money to banks during the first wave of Western sanctions to stabilize Russia’s banking system and offset the withdrawal of dollars and euros by “panicking depositors,”the chief analyst from Ingosstrakh-Investment, Viktor Tunyov, believes.

According to some estimates, last year almost $20 billion was withdrawn by depositors from the country’s second largest bank, VTB, alone. In 2022, Russia was hit by sweeping Western economic sanctions, which included measures to cut the Russian central bank off from the international financial system, while around $300 billion of the bank’s foreign reserves were frozen. Moscow has criticized the seizure of its assets, saying it constitutes theft.

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“Because it leads to wrong decisions, to the wrong decision-making process. They need to hear what we say, our arguments, then they will have a broader perception of the real state of affairs..”

London Totally Ruined Architecture Of Relations With Moscow – Ambassador (TASS)

Russia and the UK have no political dialogue after London completely ruined the architecture of relations between the countries, Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrey Kelin said in an interview with RTVI television on Thursday. “We now in principle have no political communication, no political dialogue, unlike it was with the UK in the past, about key aspects of international affairs,” he said. The ambassador said “London ruined the entire architecture of bilateral relations.” “It broke it down in the economic area, the humanitarian area, the scientific one, the educational one and the political one first of all. It was purely its initiative – the destruction of that architecture,” Kelin went on to say.


“We are in contact with the Foreign Office. Russian diplomats, including the ambassador of the Russian Federation, are forbidden from going to parliament. This is so by a decision of the parliament’s speaker. This is very bad, because the British people, British officials, British lawmakers, they remain uninformed about the other side, uninformed about the situation as a whole,” the ambassador said. According to Kelin, this is a “categorical mistake.” “Because it leads to wrong decisions, to the wrong decision-making process. They need to hear what we say, our arguments, then they will have a broader perception of the real state of affairs,” Kelin said.

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“..there would be no requirement for an “actual” health emergency [..] it would be sufficient for the DG, acting on his or her discretion, to have identified the mere “potential” for such an event.::

The Most Dangerous International Treaty Ever Proposed (Kingsley)

Human history is a story of forgotten lessons. Despite the catastrophic collapse of European democracy in the 1930s, it appears that the tale of the twentieth century – in which citizens, cowed by existential threats, acquiesced in the rejection of liberty and truth in favour of obedience and propaganda, whilst allowing despotic leaders to seize ever more absolutist powers – is perilously close to being forgotten. Nowhere is this more evident than in relation to the apparent nonchalance which has greeted two international legal agreements currently working their way through the World Health Organisation: a new pandemic treaty, and amendments to the 2005 International Health Regulations, both due to be put before the governing body of the WHO, the World Health Assembly, in May next year.

As concerned scholars and jurists have detailed, these agreements threaten to fundamentally reshape the relationship between the WHO, national governments, and individuals. They would hardwire into international law a top-down supranational approach to public health in which the WHO, acting in some cases via the sole discretion of one individual, its Director General (DG), would be empowered to impose sweeping, legally binding directions on member states and their citizens, ranging from mandating financial contributions by individual states; to requiring the manufacture and international sharing of vaccines and other health products; to requiring the surrender of intellectual property rights; overriding national safety approval processes for vaccines, gene-based therapies, medical devices and diagnostics; and imposing national, regional and global quarantines preventing citizens from traveling and mandating medical examinations and treatments.

A global system for digital ‘health certificates’ for verification of vaccine status or test results would be routinised, and a bio-surveillance network whose purpose would be to identify viruses and variants of concern – and to monitor national compliance with WHO policy directives in the event of them – would be embedded and expanded. For any of these sweeping powers to be invoked, there would be no requirement for an “actual” health emergency in which people are suffering measurable harm; instead it would be sufficient for the DG, acting on his or her discretion, to have identified the mere “potential” for such an event.

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Fighting disinformation with ….disinformation. Long article.

Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century (Siegel)

No one thought Trump was a normal politician. Being an ogre, Trump horrified millions of Americans who felt a personal betrayal in the possibility that he would occupy the same office held by George Washington and Abe Lincoln. Trump also threatened the business interests of the most powerful sectors of society. It was the latter offense, rather than his putative racism or flagrant un-presidentialness, that sent the ruling class into a state of apoplexy. Given his focus in office on lowering the corporate tax rate, it’s easy to forget that Republican officials and the party’s donor class saw Trump as a dangerous radical who threatened their business ties with China, their access to cheap imported labor, and the lucrative business of constant war. But, indeed, that is how they saw him, as reflected in the unprecedented response to Trump’s candidacy recorded by The Wall Street Journal in September 2016:

“No chief executive at the nation’s 100 largest companies had donated to Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign through August, a sharp reversal from 2012, when nearly a third of the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies supported GOP nominee Mitt Romney.” The phenomenon was not unique to Trump. Bernie Sanders, the left-wing populist candidate in 2016, was also seen as a dangerous threat by the ruling class. But whereas the Democrats successfully sabotaged Sanders, Trump made it past his party’s gatekeepers, which meant that he had to be dealt with by other means. Two days after Trump took office, a smirking Senator Chuck Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that it was “really dumb” of the new president to get on the bad side of the security agencies that were supposed to work for him: “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you.”

Trump had used sites like Twitter to bypass his party’s elites and connect directly with his supporters. Therefore, to cripple the new president and ensure that no one like him could ever come to power again, the intel agencies had to break the independence of the social media platforms. Conveniently, it was the same lesson that many intelligence and defense officials had drawn from the ISIS and Russian campaigns of 2014—namely, that social media was too powerful to be left outside of state control—only applied to domestic politics, which meant the agencies would now have help from politicians who stood to benefit from the effort.

Immediately after the election, Hillary Clinton started blaming Facebook for her loss. Until this point, Facebook and Twitter had tried to remain above the political fray, fearful of jeopardizing potential profits by alienating either party. But now a profound change occurred, as the operation behind the Clinton campaign reoriented itself not simply to reform the social media platforms, but to conquer them. The lesson they took from Trump’s victory was that Facebook and Twitter—more than Michigan and Florida—were the critical battlegrounds where political contests were won or lost. “Many of us are beginning to talk about what a big problem this is,” Clinton’s chief digital strategist Teddy Goff told Politico the week after the election, referring to Facebook’s alleged role in boosting Russian disinformation that helped Trump. “Both from the campaign and from the administration, and just sort of broader Obama orbit…this is one of the things we would like to take on post-election,” Goff said.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Fact checkers
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641376196758847489

 

 

 

 

Candace

 

 

Fox
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641123059011817472

 

 


China High Speed Trains

 

 

Lions
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641192412356681731

 

 

Chromatophores

 

 

 

 

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