Mar 172024
 


Vincent van Gogh Sprig of Flowering Almond in a Glass 1888

 

Out of Africa… Macron’s Belligerence Towards Russia (SCF)
Europe Panics as Trump Rises from the Political Grave (Luongo)
The Ever Widening War (Paul Craig Roberts)
Will BRICS Launch A New World In 2024? (Pepe Escobar)
Zelensky’s Draft Leaving Ukrainian Villages Without Men – WaPo (RT)
Ukraine Outcome Will Weaken US – Envoy (RT)
Russia Created ‘New Global Majority’ – Presidential Hopeful (RT)
Issue of Crimea’s Affiliation Resolved Forever – Lavrov (TASS)
Israel Is Starving Gaza (Sahiounie)
EU ‘Media Freedom’ Law Not What You Think It Is (Marsden)
Boeing Tells Pilots To Check Seats After Latam Plane Incident (BBC)
Peter Navarro Asks Supreme Court to Avoid Reporting to Prison (ET)
Don Lemon Made Crazy Demands Before Elon Musk Canned Him (NYP)
Musk Building Huge Spy Satellite Network – Reuters (RT)
Where Donald Trump’s Four Criminal Trials Stand After More Delays (BBC)

 

 

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
—and sings the tunes without the words
—and never stops at all.

– Emily Dickinson

 

 

Voting machines

Ware County
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768795715034329444

 

 

 

 

Tucker Pence

 

 

Putin ID

 

 

 

 

Sciutto

 

 

 

 

“Paris has had to recall unwanted ambassadors, shut down military bases, and withdraw thousands of troops. Where to put these French troops? In Ukraine, pitted against Russia?”

“..He has an inordinate ego that has been bruised, his delusions have been shattered, he is an impotent vassal of American imperialism, and he is desperate for his sordid political survival.”

“Kicked out of Africa… and now trying to start World War Three in Europe. How pathetic and criminal.”

Out of Africa… Macron’s Belligerence Towards Russia (SCF)

Russian President Vladimir Putin was spot-on this week in his observation about why France’s Emmanuel Macron is strutting around and mouthing off about war in Ukraine. Putin remarked in an interview that Macron’s wanton warmongering over Ukraine was borne out of resentment due to the spectacular loss of France’s standing in Africa. One after another, France’s former colonial countries have told Paris in no uncertain terms to get out of their internal affairs. Since 2020 and the coup in Mali, there has been immense political upheaval on the continent, particularly in West and Central Africa, stretching from the vast Sahel region down to the equator. At least seven nations have undergone coups or government changes against Francophone rulers. They include Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Gabon, and Guinea. The continent-wide changes have come as a political earthquake to France. The new African governments have adamantly rejected old-style French patronage and have asserted a newfound national independence.

Paris has had to recall unwanted ambassadors, shut down military bases, and withdraw thousands of troops. Where to put these French troops? In Ukraine, pitted against Russia? Popular sentiment across Africa is exasperated with and repudiating “Francafrique” corruption. Meanwhile, with an unmistakable end-of-era sense, French media have lamented “France’s shrinking footprint in Africa.” A former diplomat summed up the momentous geopolitical shift thus: “The deep trend confirms itself. Our military presence is no longer accepted. We need to totally rethink our relationship with Africa. We have been kicked out of Africa. We need to depart from other countries before we are told to.” Africa analysts are now watching two key countries closely. They are Senegal and Ivory Coast. Both are currently governed by pro-France presidents but the rising anti-French political tide is putting those incumbents at risk of either a coup or electoral ouster.

The blow to the French political elite cannot be overstated. The loss of status in its former colonies is conflating multiple crises tantamount to the traumatic loss of Algeria back in the early 1960s. Financially, for decades after handing over nominal independence to African nations, Paris continued to exploit these countries through control of currencies and their prodigious natural resources. Most of France’s electricity, for example, is generated from uranium ore mined in Africa – and obtained like most other African resources for a pittance. The system of neocolonial suzerainty was typically sustained by France bribing local corrupt regimes to do its bidding and offering security guarantees from the continuance of French military bases. Not for nothing did Paris think of itself as the African Gendarme.

One of the extraordinary curiosities of this neocolonial arrangement was that African nations were compelled to deposit their gold treasuries in France’s central bank. Any African nation trying to resist the neocolonial vassalage was liable to be attacked militarily through counter-coups, or its nationalist leaders were assassinated like Thomas Sankara in 1987, who was known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”. Nevertheless, the halcyon days of France’s dominance over its former colonies are over. African nations are discovering a new sense of independence and purpose, as well as solidarity to help each other fend off pressure from France to reinstate the status quo ante. The collapse of France’s status in Africa is perceived by the French establishment as a grievous loss in presumed global power.

No French politician can feel more aggrieved than President Emmanuel Macron. Macron imagines himself to be on a mission to restore “France’s greatness”. He seems to harbor fantasies of also leading the rest of Europe under the tutelage of Paris. It was Macron who proclaimed one of his grand objectives as achieving a reset in Franco-African relations, one which would renew continental respect for Paris and promote French strategic interests. How embarrassing for Macron that a whole spate of African nations are asserting that they no longer want to have anything to do with the old colonial power. Chagrin indeed.

[..] The French president declared with hysteria that: “If Russia wins this war [in Ukraine], Europe’s credibility will be reduced to zero.” Macron’s recklessness is criminal. He is talking up war with Russia based on sheer lies and vanity. When he says Europe’s credibility will be reduced to zero what he really means is that his credibility and that of NATO will be reduced to zero when Russia defeats the NATO-backed NeoNazi regime in Kiev. Macron is a most dangerous kind of politician. He has an inordinate ego that has been bruised, his delusions have been shattered, he is an impotent vassal of American imperialism, and he is desperate for his sordid political survival. The French people are all too well aware of the charlatan that poses like a Louis XIV Sun King in Elysée Palace basking in his presumed vainglory. How ironic. Kicked out of Africa… and now trying to start World War Three in Europe. How pathetic and criminal.

Brigitte
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768916052061405573

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“..the way for Russia to beat the west in Ukraine was to continue letting them think they had a chance to win..”

Europe Panics as Trump Rises from the Political Grave (Luongo)

Remember, that in 2022-23 when it looked like the US was hellbent on going forward in Ukraine, European leaders like Macron and others were more circumspect. They wanted to virtue signal about the dangers of Ukraine escalating. They got to look like the moderates in the war room, while still sending billions in aid and weapons, arm-twisting everyone into compliance. The real mask-off event for Europe’s real position on this war was their threatening Hungary’s Viktor Orban with complete economic devastation if he didn’t allow their $50 billion aid package to go through the European Council. Now that all of Nuland’s military plans have failed, Ukraine’s army has been destroyed for the third time, and all of their attempts to undermine the US legally and economically (Powell must Pivot!) have fizzled, Europe finds itself in the blind panic.

Because as poll after poll suggests, Trump will return to the White House in January and has plans to end the killing and the other shenanigans in Ukraine quickly. Orban is acting as Trump’s voice of reason to both Eastern Europe as well as Russia itself.: Orban, who spoke with Trump at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Friday, did not explain how exactly the American would do that, but said that cutting the flow of US aid was a crucial part of the plan. ”If the US will not provide the money, Europeans on their own will not be able to finance this war, and then the war will end,” Orban said in an interview with M1 broadcaster on Sunday. During his presidency, Trump had shown himself to be “a man of peace,” the Hungarian leader claimed.

That stance puts him in alignment with Hungary, unlike the administration of US President Joe Biden and many members of the EU, he added. ”The American Democratic government and the leadership of the EU, as well as the leadership of the largest EU member states are pro-war governments. Donald Trump is pro-peace, Hungary is pro-peace. At the bottom of everything lies this difference,” Orban declared. Trump’s many things, but he is no dummy when it comes to money. Cut the flow of funds and you end the war. The wildcard is the seizure of Russia’s foreign exchange assets which would be the dumbest thing all these people could do. This is why they won’t shut up about it.

For his part, Putin is as done with the current regime in the EU as he is with the Biden junta in the US. He’s tried to reason with them, and all we hear is the most over-the-top vitriol from the usual suspects, like Macron. Putin understands now that the only diplomacy will occur is at the point of his gun or not at all. And if Ukraine is going to escalate on behalf of Europe to attack critical infrastructure inside Russia he will take the gloves completely off, rather than just carpet bomb the line of contact. I told you last year that no matter what the West thinks there will be “No Truce With the Heartland.” And the way for Russia to beat the west in Ukraine was to continue letting them think they had a chance to win by leaving just enough hope to have the West keep funneling billions into a slaughterhouse.

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“In any case, in the next year I will have to send some of my people to Odessa..”

The Ever Widening War (Paul Craig Roberts)

I have no idea why French President Macron is talking so aggressively about war with Russia, saying he will send French soldiers to Odessa and telling Russia’s President Putin “We are a nuclear power and We are ready,” or who might have put him up to taking such an aggressive position. I have been writing for two years that Putin needs to end the conflict as the war continues to widen and will spin out of control. The way Putin has fought this conflict is a strategic blunder of the worst kind. Russia should have seized, Kharkiv, Odessa, and Kiev immediately and left the Ukrainian army trapped in the east cut off from supplies. If President Macron does put French soldiers in Odessa, Putin cannot complete the obvious military task in Ukraine without going to war with NATO. Russia has gained absolutely nothing by the pointless, endless prolongation of the conflict.

The war has widened, and now European leaders are talking about preparing for war with Russia. Two more countries, Sweden and Finland, have joined NATO, so Ukraine was kept out at the cost of two other additions. “The French authorities are considering sending their troops to Ukraine from 2023, Le Monde newspaper reported, citing sources. “According to them, the issue of sending the French military to Ukraine was discussed in “the strictest secrecy” at the Security Council at the Elysee Palace on June 12, 2023. Shortly before that, the French president spoke in favor of Ukraine’s early entry into NATO.

“Le Monde writes that on the eve of the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion, on February 21, 2024, Macron, after the ceremony of transferring the ashes of the French Resistance movement member Misak Manushyan to the Pantheon, raised the topic of Ukraine in a conversation with those who congratulated him on his “beautiful speech”. “In any case, in the next year I will have to send some of my people to Odessa,” Macron said, according to the publication. “French Army Chief of Staff General Pierre Schill told the publication that Macron’s words are “primarily a political and strategic message” to Russia about its readiness for such steps. The task of the military in this situation is “to prepare as many options as possible to help the president make political and military decisions.”

“Emmanuel Macron said on February 26, speaking after a conference of leaders of 20 European countries, that he does not rule out sending NATO troops to Ukraine. Many Western countries, including Germany and the United States, opposed it. The Kremlin responded that the appearance of NATO troops in Ukraine would lead to a direct conflict with Russia. “The French president clarified on March 4 that the authorities are not considering sending French troops to Ukraine, but are “starting discussions and thinking about everything that can be done to support Ukraine” on its territory. Macron later added that ” not ruling something out does not mean doing it.” “At a meeting with leaders of French political parties on March 7, Macron said that there should be no restrictions on supporting Ukraine. Deputy Head of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said in response that ” then Russia no longer has any red lines in relation to France.”

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“..creating a consensus-based list out of the dozens of nations that are literally itching to join the club..”

Will BRICS Launch A New World In 2024? (Pepe Escobar)

Across the Global South, countries are lining up to join the multipolar BRICS and the Hegemon-free future it promises. The onslaught of interest has become an unavoidable theme of discussion during this crucial year of the Russian presidency of what, for the moment, is BRICS-10. Indonesia and Nigeria are among the top tiers of candidates likely to join. The same applies to Pakistan and Vietnam. Mexico is in a very complex bind: how to join without summoning the ire of the Hegemon. And then there’s the new candidacy on a roll: Yemen, which enjoys plenty of support from Russia, China, and Iran. It’s been up to Russia’s top BRICS sherpa, the immensely capable Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, to clarify what’s ahead. He tells TASS: “We must provide a platform for the countries interested in rapprochement with the BRICS, where they will be able to work practically without feeling left behind and joining this cooperation rhythm. And as to how the further expansion will be decided upon – this should be postponed at least until the leaders convene in Kazan to decide.”

The key decision on BRICS+ expansion will only come out of the Kazan summit next October. Ryabkov stresses that the order of the day is first “to integrate those who have just joined.” This means that “as a ‘ten,’ we work at least as efficiently, or, rather, more efficiently than we did within the initial ‘five.'” Only then will the BRICS-10 “develop the category of partner states,” which, in fact, means creating a consensus-based list out of the dozens of nations that are literally itching to join the club. Ryabkov always makes a point to note, in public and in private, that the twofold increase of BRICS members starting on 1 January 2024 is “an unprecedented event for any international structure.” It isn’t an easy task, Ryabkov says: “Last year, it took an entire year to develop the admission, expansion criteria at the level of top officials. Many reasonable things were developed. And many of the things that were formulated back then got reflected in the list of countries that joined. But it would probably be improper to formalize the requirements. At the end of the day, an admission to the association is a subject of political decision.”

In a private meeting with a few select individuals on the sidelines of the recent multipolar conference in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke effusively of BRICS, with particular emphasis on his counterparts Wang Yi of China and S. Jaishankar of India. Lavrov holds great expectations for BRICS-10 this year – at the same time, reminding everyone that this is still a club; it must eventually go deeper in institutional terms, for instance, by appointing a secretariat-general, just like its cousin-style organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The Russian presidency will have its hands full for the next few months, not only navigating the geopolitical spectrum of current crises but, most of all, geoeconomics. A crucial ministerial meeting in June – only three months away – will have to define a detailed road map all the way to the Kazan summit four months later.

What happens after this week’s Russian presidential elections will also condition BRICS policy. A new Russian government will be sworn in only by early May. It is widely expected that there will be no substantial changes within the Russian Finance Ministry, Central Bank, Foreign Ministry, and among top Kremlin advisers. Continuity will be the norm. And that brings us to the key geoeconomics dossier: the BRICS at the forefront of bypassing the US dollar in international finance. Last week, top Kremlin adviser Yury Ushakov announced that BRICS will work towards setting up an independent payment system based on digital currencies and blockchain. Ushakov specifically emphasized “state-of-the-art tools such as digital technologies and blockchain. The main thing is to make sure it is convenient for governments, common people, and businesses, as well as cost-effective and free of politics.” Ushakov did not mention it explicitly, but a new alternative system already exists. For the moment, it is a closely, carefully guarded project in the form of a detailed white paper that has already been validated academically and also incorporates answers to possible frequently asked questions.

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“..virtually every man of fighting age had been killed, wounded, or gone missing with the remaining few being hunted down by the draft officers..”

Zelensky’s Draft Leaving Ukrainian Villages Without Men – WaPo (RT)

Some Ukrainian villages and small towns are left with hardly any adult men amid aggressive and indiscriminate mobilization tactics by the army recruiters, who are desperate to refill the ranks of the depleted forces, according to a report by the Washington Post. In an article published on Saturday, the outlet detailed the plight of the village of Makov, in the Khmelnitsky region in Western Ukraine, where virtually every man of fighting age had been killed, wounded, or gone missing with the remaining few being hunted down by the draft officers. “It’s just a fact, most of them are gone,” Larisa Bodna, deputy director of the local school, which keeps a database of students whose parents are deployed, told the outlet.

“People are being caught like dogs on the street,” noted another resident, whose husband was forcefully drafted last year, despite a medical condition that was meant to exempt him from the military service. “The whole village was taken this way,” her mother-in-law added. The newspaper noted that the sense of resentment is steadily growing among the civilian population, with the majority feeling that their men have been targeted disproportionately, compared to larger cities, where it is easier to go into hiding. The residents say that even those already serving in the army and youths below the draft age are being stopped and questioned on the streets. Multiple videos of troops forcing men into vehicles that have surfaced online in recent months, sparking rumors of kidnappings and contributing to panic among the locals.

Ukraine announced a general mobilization shortly after the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022, but thousands managed to flee to the bordering Romania and Moldova. Following the failed counteroffensive in the summer of last year, Kiev was desperate to replenish the ranks, seeking to mobilize up to 500,000 new recruits. In late January, the Ukrainian lawmakers passed the first reading of a revised mobilization bill aimed at increasing the military ranks by lowering the conscription age from 27 to 25 and tightening draft conditions. The Russian military estimated Kiev’s casualties at over 444,000 killed or badly injured, as of the end of February. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed last month that only 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in two years of hostilities with Russia, a figure that even journalists sympathetic to the Ukrainian cause have called implausibly low.

de Graaff
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769051139528364045

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“..Washington is “destroying the vestiges of [its own] former prestige.” “The further we advance on the frontline, the more America will weaken and the rules-based world order will crumble..”

Ukraine Outcome Will Weaken US – Envoy (RT)

Success for Russia in the Ukraine conflict would progressively weaken the US, Moscow’s ambassador in Washington DC has argued. Anatoly Antonov also accused the US and UK of preventing a peaceful resolution of the conflict during its early stages. In an interview with RIA Novosti news agency published on Saturday, Antonov accused the US of playing an “extremely negative” role in Ukraine, calling Washington a “sponsor of terrorism” and a “country that encourages murder and war.” According to the envoy, Washington is “destroying the vestiges of [its own] former prestige.” “The further we advance on the frontline, the more America will weaken and the rules-based world order will crumble,” the Russian diplomat added.

The term ‘rules-based world order ‘ has been widely used by the administration of US President Joe Biden to describe the arrangement in which leading Western powers have for decades had significant leverage over the rest of the world. Critics, including Russia, say the system contravenes international law and is being abused by the West. Antonov also dismissed Western claims that Moscow is unwilling to engage in dialogue on Ukraine. He argued that “everything could have been settled peacefully. However, this did not sit well with the leadership of NATO countries, first of all the US and the UK.” Moscow and Kiev held talks in the Turkish city of Istanbul in late March 2022, with the negotiations eventually collapsing. Several media outlets claimed that then- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson persuaded the Ukrainian leadership to withdraw and keep fighting.

One of Ukraine’s negotiators, David Arakhamia, confirmed the reports last November, but Johnson himself has staunchly denied derailing the peace process. Earlier this week, Antonov warned that further Western participation in the Ukraine conflict could lead to the “most unpredictable consequences.” The official also claimed that CIA Director William Burns had de facto acknowledged the “direct involvement of the United States” in the hostilities. Addressing the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Monday, Burns argued that additional funding for Ukraine would enable the country to conduct “deep penetration strikes in Crimea,” further target the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and eventually “regain the offensive initiative.”

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“The global politics of the new century can only be multipolar..”

Russia Created ‘New Global Majority’ – Presidential Hopeful (RT)

Russia is playing a crucial role in the emergence of the new multipolar world and has already become one of its centers of power, presidential hopeful Leonid Slutsky believes. Slutsky spoke to RT on Saturday, with the country going through the second day of its three-day presidential polls. The politician, who leads Russia’s right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), is seeking the top office alongside three other candidates – incumbent President Vladimir Putin, Nikolay Haritonov, and Vladislav Davankov. With an election reportage blackout period in place, the conversation revolved around more global issues the country is facing now and will face in the future than around the candidate himself.

Russia is playing a crucial role in making the world multiploar, having already become one of the important centers in it, Slutsky has said. “[Russia], today, has in fact already created a new global majority on the planet. This is not the Anglo-Saxon majority, the new global majority is the global South, Africa, Latin America. These are many, many nations of larger Eurasia that are against the unipolar world order, where all the decisions, on how life goes in one or another country are being made in Washington,” the candidate explained. The emerging multipolar world is bound to become a more fair and equal place, where any country regardless of its size, cultural background or anything else, will be able to decide its destiny, Slutsky believes. “The global politics of the new century can only be multipolar,” he stressed.

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“The issue of the affiliation of Crimea and Sevastopol is closed. The peninsula is an integral part of Russia..”

Issue of Crimea’s Affiliation Resolved Forever – Lavrov (TASS)

Crimea and Sevastopol are integral parts of Russia and the issue of their affiliation is closed forever, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a video address on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the peninsula’s reunification with Russia on Saturday. “The issue of the affiliation of Crimea and Sevastopol is closed. The peninsula is an integral part of Russia,” the top diplomat stressed. Crimea has clear-cut prospects of its further development and Russia has resolved many problems inherited from Ukraine, Lavrov pointed out. “Over the past years, many problems inherited from Ukraine have been resolved. With clear-cut prospects of their further development, Crimean residents can look into the future with confidence and optimism,” he added. “Ten years ago, on March 16, 2014, Crimean residents determined their future independently and consciously, having reunited with Russia. I congratulate the peninsula’s residents on the decade of the historic reunification with Russia. I wish them health, well-being, prosperity and all the best,” Russia’s top diplomat said.

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“..The UN has opened an investigation, while UNRWA defends itself against Israel’s accusations, and accuses Israel of torturing its employees to force false testimonies..”

Israel Is Starving Gaza (Sahiounie)

On March 12, a Spanish ship, ‘Open Arms’, left Cyprus for Gaza. It is expected to arrive on Friday, March 15 carrying 200 tons of aid. This desperate attempt to stave off famine in Gaza is the brain-child of Spanish-American celebrity chef, José Andrés, founder of the non-profit World Central Kitchen (WCK). WCK has Palestinians building a jetty in Gaza, utilizing rubble and materials from bombed buildings, which will play a role in offloading the food and supplies. This jetty is a temporary structure and in not related to the pier the U.S. is planning. “I had no doubt that we could open the maritime route. The most difficult thing was the diplomatic side of it, and the easiest thing was getting to Gaza,” said Andrés. Andrés is an advisor to the White House, and held countless meetings in Israel, Egypt and Jordan to obtain the necessary permits, while also obtaining support from Cyprus, King Abdullah II of Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, which has co-financed the mission together with WCK.

After arrival, the 130 pallets of aid will go into trucks to be delivered to the 60 kitchens that the WCK has set up in the Gaza Strip, and to other aid distribution points. Israel controls all land crossings into Gaza, which has seven border crossings, six with Israel and one with Egypt. However, only the crossing at Rafah, with Egypt, is partially open. The quickest and most efficient way to delivery aid to Gaza is by land and the gates that exist. But, Israel restricts aid and supplies from entering in Gaza. All of the aid agencies report that their donations sit in parked trucks, filled to overflowing, but unable to enter Gaza because the IDF has locked the gates and refuses to open them. Israel maintains that they will not allow any aid into Gaza which could be used by Hamas. The aid agencies have repeatedly asked for a list of restricted items so that they can make sure their cargoes meet the criteria. However, Israel refuses to publish or distribute a list of restricted items.

Instead, the IDF uses the aid as a weapon of war, intent on starving the civilians. The IDF claim that if they find one item in a cargo load which meets their undisclosed definition of prohibited items, they will not allow the entire cargo to enter. In one very famous case, the item was a single pair of small scissors to be used to cut the tape in conjunction with bandages. Doctors Without Borders, MSF, reported they have been repeatedly prohibited from importing electricity generators, water purifiers, solar panels and other medical equipment. On March 12, for the first time in three weeks, the UN’s World Food Program sent in six aid trucks to feed 25,000 people through a gate in the security fence. This is but a drop in an ocean of need, and is not sustainable. Some Arab nations, such as Morocco have sent supplies destined for Gaza to Israel’s Ben Gurion airport. All the experts agree, that land routes which already are established are the most efficient delivery method of aid to Gaza. But, it is Israel alone standing in the way, and this is their political objective.

Cargo trucks typically carry 20 tons, and the flow of trucks prior to the current conflict was about 500 a day. But, even that amount of daily arrivals would not meet the needs of the 2.3 million people in Gaza. Israel began a political campaign to discredit and destroy UNRWA, by accusing the agency of complicity with Hamas in the October 7 attack on Israel. With an accusation only, Israel was able to convince 16 donor countries to pull their funding, and have asked the UN General Assembly to disband the refugee agency, which would affect not only the people in Gaza, but also those in the Occupied West Bank. The agency is 75 years old, serves almost six million refugees, and now has had more than $437 million funds frozen. Spain announced a donation of $22 million on Thursday, and Canada and Sweden reported on Saturday that they would resume funding to the agency in light of unfounded claims, and the risk of famine.

The UN has opened an investigation, while UNRWA defends itself against Israel’s accusations, and accuses Israel of torturing its employees to force false testimonies that the IDF used as the basis of their accusations. Initially, the UN fired 12 UNRWA workers after the IDF claim. Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, says that he has received no evidence of agency workers in conspiracy with Hamas. However, 150 UNRWA employees have died while working in Gaza, and 3,000 have been left homeless.

Finkelstein

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Trojan horse.

EU ‘Media Freedom’ Law Not What You Think It Is (Marsden)

The EU’s new Media Freedom Act has now been voted into law, with 464 votes for, 92 against, and 65 abstentions. There are some news outlets whose coverage of the vote I’d like to see. Like RT’s, where you’re reading this right now. But anyone who’s viewing this from inside the European Union’s bastion of democracy and freedom is likely doing so via a VPN connection routed through somewhere outside the bloc, to circumvent its press censorship.Nothing in this new law suggests that this will change, or that there will be increased access to information and analysis for the average person. Such improved freedoms might lead to people making up their own minds rather than having various flavors of a similar narrative served up for mass consumption. As has become par for the course in so-called Western democracies, inconvenient facts and analysis will still be dismissed as “disinformation” and criticism of the establishment still qualified as an effort to sow division – as though dissent itself wasn’t supposed to be proof of a healthy and vibrant democracy.

So, now that we’ve gotten out of the way any hope of lifting the EU’s top-down censorship in the absence of due process, exactly what kind of lip service does this new law pay to the lofty notion of media freedom?No spying on journalists or pressing them to disclose their sources. Well, unless you’re one of the countries that lobbied to be able to keep doing this – like France, Italy, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Sweden, and Finland – so basically, a quarter of EU countries. Oh, but they have to invoke national-security concerns in order to do so. Which, as we know, they’re very discerning about. Like, they didn’t at all implement a virtual police state and extend its powers under the guise of fighting a virus with which French President Emmanuel Macron kept saying they were “at war.” Nor did Amnesty International point out the sweeping “Orwellian” trend across Europe, at least as far back as 2017, of exploiting domestic terrorist attacks to permanently embed what were supposed to be extraordinary powers into criminal law, via measures like “overly broad definitions of terrorism.”

So, no doubt they’ll be equally reasonable when slapping the “national security threat” label on a journalist whose work they want to peek at. At least now, under this new law, they do have to fully inform any targeted journalist of the steps being taken against them. Another thing that changes is that there’s to be a centralized database into which “all news and current affairs outlets regardless of their size will have to publish information about their owners,” according to an EU press release. May we propose a first candidate for that? The NGO Reporters Without Borders has praised this new law as a “major step forward for the right to information within the European Union.” The same NGO also just launched a “Svoboda” (Russian for “freedom”) satellite package eventually consisting “of up to 25 independent Russian language radio and television channels” aimed at Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltics.

The launch took place at the EU parliament, in the presence of EU “values and transparency” commissioner (yes, that’s a real title), Vera Jourova, who has said in support of the new media law that “it is a threat to those who want to use the power of the state, also the financial one, to make the media dependent on them.” But she has also said about this new Russia-targeting initiative that the EU state needs to “use all possible means to ensure that their work, that facts and information can reach Russian-speaking people.” This is the same person who advocated in favor of banning Russia-linked media outlets in the EU.

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A new one every day.

”..a flight attendant accidentally hit a switch on the pilot’s seat, which pushed the pilot into the controls..”

Boeing Tells Pilots To Check Seats After Latam Plane Incident (BBC)

Boeing has told airlines operating 787 Dreamliners that pilots need to check their seats as an investigation into an incident on a Latam flight continues. It comes after 50 people were hurt this week when a 787 dropped suddenly during a Latam Airlines flight. The Wall Street Journal reported that a flight attendant accidentally hit a switch on the pilot’s seat, which pushed the pilot into the controls, forcing down the plane’s nose. Latam is supporting investigations. During the incident people were thrown against the roof of the plane, which was travelling from Australia to New Zealand. Passenger Brian Jokat said at the time that a number of people suffered head injuries. Speaking to the BBC, Mr Jokat revealed that people had hit the ceiling with such force “some of the roof panels were broken”.

The person next to him, he added, appeared to be “glued to the ceiling”. “I did think for a split second: ‘This is it’,” he said. Emergency services later said one person was in a serious condition. Boeing said: “The investigation of Flight LA800 is ongoing and we defer to the investigation authorities on any potential findings.” “We have taken the precautionary measure of reminding 787 operators of a service bulletin issued in 2017 which included instructions for inspecting and maintaining switches on flight deck seats.” It recommended that operators perform an inspection of the switches “at the next maintenance opportunity”.

Chilean-Brazilian carrier Latam Airlines said it “continues to work in coordination with the authorities in order to support the ongoing investigation”. The aircraft was scheduled to fly on from Auckland to Santiago, the capital of Chile. The departure was cancelled and a new flight scheduled for Tuesday. The incident comes after a door panel came off a Boeing plane in January this year, with a report in February finding bolts meant to secure the panel were missing. And this week, a former Boeing employee known for raising concerns about the firm’s production standards was found dead in the US.

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“That’s worth fighting for on behalf of all Americans.”

Peter Navarro Asks Supreme Court to Avoid Reporting to Prison (ET)

Former Trump White House aide Peter Navarro on March 15 asked the Supreme Court to allow him to avoid reporting to prison for a contempt of Congress conviction as the matter is being appealed. His request came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit denied his request for release from prison pending appeal. Mr. Navarro revealed on March 10 that he was ordered to report to a Miami prison on March 19 for a four-month sentence. Mr. Navarro filed an emergency petition to Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday afternoon, arguing that his appeal “will raise a number of issues on appeal that he contends are likely to result in the reversal of his conviction, or a new trial.” “For the first time in our nation’s history, a senior presidential advisor has been convicted of contempt of Congress after asserting executive privilege over a congressional subpoena,” Mr. Navarro’s lawyers wrote.

“Navarro is indisputably neither a flight risk nor a danger to public safety should he be released pending appeal,” they added. Mr. Navarro was convicted in 2023 of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 select committee. His bid to stay out of prison while he appeals his conviction was turned down initially in February by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who found that the trade adviser to former President Donald Trump failed to pose any substantial questions of law in his motion. Mr. Navarro then asked an appeals court to overturn Judge Mehta’s ruling. In the decision on March 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected another bid.

“Appellant has not shown that his appeal presents substantial questions of law or fact likely to result in reversal, new trial, a sentence that does not include a term of imprisonment, or a reduced sentence of imprisonment that is less than the amount of time already served plus the expected duration of the appeal process,” the court said. The Justice Department’s appellate filing echoed Judge Mehta’s claim that Mr. Navarro hadn’t provided sufficient evidence to the court that President Trump invoked executive privilege. In denying Mr. Navarro’s request for release, Judge Mehta stated that Mr. Navarro failed at an evidentiary hearing to carry his burden of establishing a formal claim of privilege.

“United States v. Peter Navarro is a landmark constitutional case that will eventually determine whether the constitutional separation of powers is preserved, whether executive privilege will continue to exist as a bulwark against partisan attacks by the legislative branch, and whether executive privilege will remain, as President George Washington pioneered, a critical instrument of effective presidential decision-making,” Mr. Navarro said in a statement to The Epoch Times. “That’s worth fighting for on behalf of all Americans.”

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Lemon is not a very smart man.

Don Lemon Made Crazy Demands Before Elon Musk Canned Him (NYP)

Don Lemon demanded the sun, the moon and the stars from the SpaceX boss – before being unceremoniously dumped this week, The Post has learned. The ex-CNN anchor sent over an astronomical wish list to Elon Musk during contract talks to host a show on the billionaire’s social media platform X – including a free Tesla Cybertruck, a $5 million upfront payment on top of an $8 million salary, an equity stake in the multibillion-dollar company, and the right to approve any changes in X policy as it relates to news content, according to a document reviewed by The Post. Lemon — who was expected to air an interview with Musk for next week’s debut episode on X — had also demanded a private jet flight to Las Vegas, a suite for him and his fiance, and that the company pay for their day drinking and massages, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

Musk agreed to do the interview with Lemon despite the fact that he was aware of some of Lemon’s outlandish demands, sources told The Post. The proposal reviewed by The Post was sent from Lemon’s agents at United Talent Agency to X’s leadership in December. The partnership was announced in January, but an X spokesperson told The Post that the company “did not have a final or signed agreement with Don Lemon or ‘The Don Lemon Show’” before Musk sat down for the explosive interview last week. Jay Sures, vice chairman at UTA, told The Post: “This is absolute, complete utter nonsense without an iota of truth to it.” Lemon was fired hours after the one-on-one sit-down, with Musk calling the anchor “dull” and “underwhelming.” The one-and-half hour grilling included testy exchanges about Musk’s political leanings, his past drug use and the site’s content moderation policy. It is scheduled to run on YouTube next week.

Lemon claimed on Wednesday that he was jettisoned by X because Musk reneged on his “free speech” pledge. Lemon’s discussions with the company began shortly after he was fired by CNN last April after a series of high-profile incidents, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. In an interview with veteran tech journalist Kara Swisher on Friday, Lemon claimed they held discussions over the summer in which the company threatened to fire him if he did not attend the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. CES, which was held earlier this year between Jan. 7 and 10, is one of the most highly anticipated events on the tech calendar as companies including X flock to the show in order to schmooze advertisers. A spokesperson for X called Lemon’s claim “a disingenuous lie.”

Lemon wanted to be flown to the convention with his longtime fiance on a private jet and be put up in a private suite, as well as for X to foot the bill for alcoholic beverages and massages that he and his fiance ordered during their stay at the Vdara, the MGM-run resort on the Las Vegas Strip, according to people familiar with the matter. The negotiations progressed after Musk brought former NBCUniversal advertising executive Linda Yaccarino on board as chief executive officer of X, sources said. But the talks stalled over Lemon’s extensive demands, which included executive assistants as well as a marketing budget that ranged from $10 million to $15 million, people with knowledge of the situation told The Post. A spokesperson for Lemon told The Post: “There is nothing in your list of demands that you claim Don made of X that is true. Literally nothing.”

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“The vast constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites will be able to track targets on the ground in real time nearly anywhere across the world..”

Musk Building Huge Spy Satellite Network – Reuters (RT)

Elon Musk’s secretive Starshield project will allow the US military and spies to track their targets and support American and allied ground forces in real time almost anywhere across the globe, Reuters has reported, sharing new details about the billionaire’s dealings with the Pentagon. SpaceX has been launching prototype military satellites alongside “civilian” payloads on Falcon 9 rockets since at least 2020, before eventually securing a lucrative $1.8 billion contract with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in 2021, Reuters wrote on Saturday, citing five unnamed sources familiar with the project. The vast constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites will be able to track targets on the ground in real time nearly anywhere across the world, the sources claimed. One of them boasted that Starshield would ensure “no one can hide” from the US government. Starshield also reportedly aims to be “more resilient to attacks” by rival space powers.

It remains unclear how many Starshield satellites are currently operational and when the sytem is expected to fully come online, with SpaceX and the Pentagon ignoring Reuters’ requests for comment. The NRO admitted that it is developing “the most capable, diverse, and resilient space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system the world has ever seen,” but refused to comment on SpaceX’s role in the project. The SpaceX CEO previously acknowledged the development of the military alternative to the “civilian” Starlink system, saying in September that it would be “owned by the US government” and controlled by the Department of Defense. “Starlink needs to be a civilian network, not a participant to combat,” Musk said, referring to the use of the satellites in Ukraine throughout the conflict with Russia. Musk donated around 20,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine shortly after Russia launched its military operation in February 2022. Since then, Kiev’s troops heavily relied on the system to maintain communications and operate combat drones along the front line.

While pledging support for Ukraine, Musk has repeatedly said he favors a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The billionaire has come under fire from US officials after refusing Kiev’s demands to use the Starlink network to aid strikes on Russia’s Black Sea fleet. In turn, Musk argued that activating Starlink in Crimea would be in breach of US sanctions. In the absence of any direct orders from the US leadership, SpaceX opted not to contravene regulations despite Kiev’s request to do so, the entrepreneur explained. Earlier this month, US lawmakers reportedly launched another probe into SpaceX, after Ukrainian claims that Russian troops allegedly used Starlink satellite service on the conflict frontline. Musk has denied the allegations, insisting that “no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia.” The Kremlin has also insisted that the Russian military has never ordered Starlink terminals.

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An overview can be handy, even if it’s BBC.

Where Donald Trump’s Four Criminal Trials Stand After More Delays (BBC)

New York document dump Mr Trump’s New York City trial on charges that his hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels constituted business fraud and violated federal campaign finance laws was scheduled a week from Monday, on 25 March. That’s no longer the case. The US justice department just turned over more than 73,000 pages of documents related to its own hush-money investigations that the Trump legal team had subpoenaed back in January. Another 15,000 pages are still expected. “Prosecutors have been stumbling a bit,” says John Coffee, a professor at Columbia University. He adds that the confusion and delays in producing documents make it seem as though the justice department and the New York district attorney’s office are feuding.

The former president’s lawyers requested a 30-day trial delay, which the New York prosecutors agreed not to block. That’s just the start, though. Mr Trump’s lawyers want hearings into why the documents, which include witness interviews, took so long to produce. They also want an additional delay for time to review the new evidence and prevent the trial from starting on Passover and, for good measure, a dismissal of the case entirely. Trial date: Originally scheduled for 25 March, on Friday it was delayed until April, at the earliest.

Fani’s choice After days of tense legal hearings, the judge presiding over the sprawling 2020 election-interference case against Mr Trump and 18 of his co-defendants issued his decision on whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis can remain in charge of the prosecution. The answer is yes – but with a catch. Either she or Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor she hired – and had a romantic relationship with – will have to step aside. Mr Wade resigned on Friday. Judge Scott McAfee said that there were “reasonable questions” about whether the two attorneys had testified untruthfully and an “appearance of impropriety” that had to be remedied.

While he ultimately concluded that evidence did not support removing the district attorney entirely, such language will provide plenty of ammunition for Mr Trump and his team to use in the court of public opinion, where they might be able to shape the views of prospective jurors. “Everybody here is likely to be influenced by the news coverage of the judge’s decision,” says Adrienne Jones, an assistant political science professor at Atlanta’s Morehouse College. “It’s not likely people are ignorant of what’s happening.” The judge’s announcement comes just a few days after he dismissed three of the 13 charges against the former president for being too vague. Prosecutors will have an opportunity to clarify and re-indict Mr Trump, however. Trial date: The prosecution has proposed an 5 August start.

Classified files slow-walk Down in Fort Pierce, Florida, Judge Aileen Cannon has been reviewing a series of attempts by Trump’s legal team to get the federal case against the president for obstruction of justice and mishandling classified documents dismissed. On Thursday, she rejected one of the motions – but she must decide on six others and seems in no big hurry to do so. She is also expected to issue a decision at some point on a schedule for when the trial will begin. At the moment, the start date is 20 May, but both the prosecution and Mr Trump’s teams have suggested pushing that back. Ms Cannon, who was appointed to the federal bench by the former president, is considering how to handle disclosure of the troves of classified documents that are part of the case, and any decision – or appeal of that decision – could lead to even more extensive delays. Trial date: Special Counsel Jack Smith has offered 8 July as a rescheduled start. Mr Trump’s lawyers have said that if the case isn’t pushed after the election entirely, the earliest they would be ready to begin is August.

Supreme Court limbo The biggest case against the former president, the federal prosecution for his role in the 6 January, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, is also the one that is in the most doubt. The US Supreme Court has agreed to review whether Mr Trump is immune from criminal prosecution for actions he took as president. The high court stepped in after two lower-level courts ruled that the trial could proceed. Last week, the court set oral arguments for the case on 25 April, and at this rate the justices may not issue a decision until the end of June, near the end of their formal session. Once the Supreme Court hands down its ruling, assuming it does not say that Mr Trump is immune, the judge presiding over the trial has estimated that it will take an additional 88 days to get ready for a trial. This all plays into Mr Trump’s primary legal strategy, which has been to push back all the legal cases against him for as long as possible and, if preferable, until after the November election. If he wins there, and returns to the presidency in January 2025, there are multiple ways he could make the federal cases against him disappear. “They are the masters of delay,” says Prof Jones. Trial date: Not scheduled and not expected anytime soon.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Jim Carrey meets Jerry Lewis

 

 

Ibogaine
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769021393209856148

 

 

Elephant
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768809775360577950

 

 

Dromedary

 

 

 

 

Shave

 

 

Percentages
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768867288512643563

 

 

Salt water

 

 

Sunset

 

 

Innocents
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768728247796216212

 

 

Baduanjin

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 042024
 
 January 4, 2024  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  45 Responses »


Rembrandt Old man with a beard 1630

 

Nabuillina vs the West (RT)
Russia May Establish BRICS Secretariat – Iranian Foreign Ministry (Sp.)
Medvedev Labels French Diplomats ‘Scum, Bastards, Freaks’ (RT)
Washington Sees No Sign of Genocide in Gaza (RT)
The US Can’t Stop China’s Rise, But It Will Cripple The EU While Trying (RT)
Leopard 2 Tanks Supplied to Ukraine Are Non-Operational – German MP (Sp.)
Will Chancellor Scholz Step Down Amid Plummeting Rating? (Sp.)
“What Do We Do if He Doesn’t Recuse Himself?” (Turley)
Colorado Disqualification Case Brings Back Bad Memories for SCOTUS (Turley)
White House Blames Republicans For Illegal Immigration Crisis (RT)
House Speaker Johnson At Border: ‘Disaster Of The President’s Own Design’ (JTN)
The Epstein Files (Cernovich)
Was Barack Obama Guilty of Insurrection? (Cashill)

 

 

 

 

Vivek


https://twitter.com/i/status/1742613810370711790

 

 

 

 

 

 


Robin Williams offers Auguste Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ a roll of toilet paper.

 

 

Neutering the CIA

 

 

Nap/Ritter

 

 

 

 

Putin has surrounded himself with some excellent people that he places a lot of trust in. For instance Lavrov as FM, Patrushev for security, Medvedev as the crown prince who can express things Putin may think but can’t say. And then there’s Elvira Nabiullina, who as central banker has guided the economy, and the ruble, through a decade of problems, not least of all many layers of sanctions, and came out on top.

Nabuillina vs the West (RT)

Elvira Nabiullina’s ten-year stewardship at the forefront of the Bank of Russia, marked by fiscal mastery and trailblazing leadership, showcases a narrative of exceptional achievement against the backdrop of societal shifts and global economic challenges. Nabiullina’s journey from humble beginnings to becoming the first woman to steer the economic course of a then G8 country underscores her mettle and intellectual prowess, exemplifying the significance of equal opportunities in a landscape defined by traditional gender roles. Maintaining a low profile yet earning the accolade of Russia’s ‘leader of distinction,’ Nabiullina’s transparent and disciplined leadership style, complemented by an unparalleled work ethic, has solidified her position as a beacon of excellence, integrity, and resilience. Her impact on the financial landscape resonates not only as a testament to her adept economic stewardship but also as a pioneering force toward a more inclusive and equitable future.

Nabiullina’s tenure has been characterized by deft maneuvers, particularly during challenging times when her hawkish monetary policies stabilized the economy and garnered international acclaim, including the prestigious title of central bank governor of the year. As the West intensifies efforts to isolate Russia financially, Nabiullina stands as the linchpin, navigating the economy through unprecedented sanctions. However, despite commendable fiscal strategies, the recent IMF prediction of a 2.2 percent growth in Russia’s economy, a substantial increase from the initial 0.7 percent forecast, prompts scrutiny. Entering a new year, Nabiullina faces mounting challenges – tightening sanctions, potential brain drain, volatile commodities markets, a weakened ruble, and spiraling inflation. This critical juncture prompts the question: Will she persist as Moscow’s steadfast economic steward, ensuring the Kremlin’s financial resilience, or will internal dissent and external pressures necessitate a change in course?

In a recent interview with RBK, Nabiullina acknowledged the hurdles ahead, underscoring the need for preparedness amidst potential escalations in Western sanctions. The freeze and blockage of central bank reserves and Russian investors’ assets were deemed painful measures, with Nabiullina not ruling out the possibility of further sanctions against Moscow. Furthermore, Nabiullina revealed that the Russian central bank will require two to three months or more to ensure a steady decline in inflation before making decisions on interest rate cuts, emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive analysis of indicators characterizing sustainable inflation declines. Admitting that the central bank might have initiated monetary policy tightening earlier than July, Nabiullina stressed the uncertainty surrounding the timing of rate cuts, urging a cautious approach and considering a broad spectrum of indicators indicative of inflation stability.

In her role as a torchbearer for gender equality, Elvira Nabiullina aligns with her counterparts, Christine Lagarde and Janet Yellen. Her decade-long leadership has not only demonstrated fiscal mastery but has also championed inclusivity in the financial realm, actively addressing gender disparities in the global economic landscape. Nabiullina’s commitment to gender diversity extends beyond fairness, recognizing its indispensable role in fostering sustainable economic growth. Her leadership is a beacon of inspiration for women aspiring to excel in central banking and finance, contributing to the broader narrative of achieving gender equality in influential economic positions. As we reflect on Nabiullina’s decade-long stewardship, the upcoming year promises to be a pivotal chapter in her legacy. Will she continue to navigate economic challenges with the finesse that earned her international recognition? Only time will tell, but one thing remains certain – Elvira Nabiullina’s journey is far from over, and the world will be watching closely.

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“..currently each country holding the presidency of BRICS collects and stores information about the bloc’s activities, but does not transfer this data to the succeeding nation..”

Russia May Establish BRICS Secretariat – Iranian Foreign Ministry (Sp.)

Russia may establish a BRICS secretariat, Mahdi Safari, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for economic diplomacy, told Sputnik, citing Moscow’s experience in managing international organizations. “Russia – a country with vast experience in international and regional organizations – in my opinion could establish a new body in BRICS which will eventually evolve into secretariat,” Mahdi Safari says. According to the Iranian diplomat, currently each country holding the presidency of BRICS collects and stores information about the bloc’s activities, but does not transfer this data to the succeeding nation. Safari stressed that Iran wants “this secretariat to be established as soon as possible.” The deputy foreign minister also congratulated Russia on assuming the BRICS presidency in 2024 and thanked it for helping Iran to join the bloc, expressing confidence that Russia will help Tehran and other new BRICS members to achieve unity.

Iran is not seeking to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) as soon as possible because its membership in other leading regional organizations is in sum equal to WTO membership, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy also told Sputnik. “We are a [WTO] observer country, but with membership in BRICS, the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization], EAEU [Eurasian Economic Union], ECO [Economic Cooperation Organization] — all of that combined equals the WTO itself! Now, we do not see the need for WTO membership … [Being a member of] these organizations, we have automatically almost become a member of the WTO at the regional level and are enjoying our benefits. This is a winning position for all parties,” Safari says.

Tehran’s membership in the aforementioned groups meets almost all the country’s needs at the regional and global levels, the diplomat noted, adding, however, that if Iran was offered membership in the WTO, it would welcome such a step and agree to join the organization. At the same time, the diplomat pointed out that free trade with the EAEU would have a great impact on Iran-Russia trade and create prospects for successful cooperation in finance, transit, energy, technologies and knowledge-intensive projects. BRICS is already effectively dealing with important energy issues and is able to play a key role in aerospace and the development of new technologies, expanding its presence to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Mahdi Safari told Sputnik.

“The most important problem is represented by three issues: the first is energy production, the second is energy transportation, and the third is energy consumption. I can say that these three issues are being resolved by BRICS,” Safari said, adding that thanks to the membership of India, Russia and Iran, the group could also play an important role in such areas as new technologies, aerospace, transit corridors and global trade. In addition, BRICS can contribute to the international presence in the waters of the Persian Gulf, Oman Gulf and Indian Ocean, he added. “Iran’s accession to BRICS will provide this organization with enormous opportunities. One of them is transit, the second is energy, be it oil or gas, the third is new technologies and the knowledge-intensive sector,” the diplomat said. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS are the world’s largest producers and consumers of oil and gas, Safari noted in his interview with Sputnik, adding that BRICS is an oil and gas market half the size of the world, while the SCO is a major regional market, which itself can have a great impact.

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“We never liked the French,” Medvedev said in a Telegram post. “The frogs fought a war against us..”

Medvedev Labels French Diplomats ‘Scum, Bastards, Freaks’ (RT)

The French Foreign Ministry has justified Russia’s historic dislike of France by declaring the Ukrainian massacre of civilians in Belgorod to be self-defense, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev claimed on Wednesday. Ukrainian artillery struck the central square of the Russian city with cluster bombs on Saturday, injuring over 100 civilians and killing 25, including children. Asked about it on Wednesday morning, a spokesman of the Foreign Ministry in Paris said that Ukraine was “acting in self-defense” while Russia was “an aggressor state” responsible for any “human tragedies that accompany” the conflict. “We never liked the French,” Medvedev said in a Telegram post. “The frogs fought a war against us,” he added, referring to Napoleon Bonaparte’s ill-fated 1812 invasion.

“Now we are convinced of this. The French Foreign Ministry said that the strike on Belgorod using cluster munitions was ‘self-defense’,” he added. “Scum. Bastards. Freaks.” The French response to the Belgorod massacre echoed the official position of the European Union, which has fully endorsed Kiev. “In general, Ukraine has the legal right to defend itself,” EU foreign policy spokesman Peter Stano said on Wednesday. “Regarding the specific incident in Belgorod, no information that comes from Russia can be considered trustworthy.” Although Kiev’s forces have struck Russia’s border regions for months, the December 30 attack on Belgorod was the worst of its kind over the course of the conflict. Moscow has accused the US and the UK of helping plan the attack, while a security source told RT that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky personally ordered the massacre.

Russia has responded with drone and missile strikes on Ukrainian military industry facilities, repair shops and ammunition warehouses, including depots loaded with weapons donated to Kiev by the West. Medvedev currently serves as President Vladimir Putin’s deputy on the national Security Council. Since the Ukraine conflict escalated in February 2022, the former president (2008-2012) and prime minister of Russia (2012-2020) has emerged as a hard-line critic of Kiev and the West, compared to the more moderate rhetoric coming from the Kremlin.

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“Calls for mass displacement of the Palestinians are contrary to official Israeli government policy and the US view..”

Washington Sees No Sign of Genocide in Gaza (RT)

US President Joe Biden’s administration has rejected genocide allegations against Israel by multiple nations, including a NATO ally, insisting that Washington sees no indication that West Jerusalem’s forces are committing such acts as they pound the Gaza Strip in a campaign to destroy Hamas. South Africa’s government filed a genocide case against Israel last week in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and NATO member Türkiye announced its official support for the charge on Wednesday. US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller denounced the allegations at a press briefing later on Wednesday, saying there was no indication that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were committing genocide against the Palestinians.

“Genocide is of course a heinous atrocity, one of the most heinous atrocities that any individual can commit,” Miller said. “Those are allegations that should not be made lightly, and as it pertains to the United States, we are not seeing any acts that constitute genocide.” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was more pointed in his response, saying the allegations against Israel were “meritless.” He added that the ICJ case filed by South Africa was “counterproductive and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.” More than 22,000 Palestinians have been killed since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, according to Gaza health authorities. The UN warned last month that more than 500,000 Gazans were starving amid the Israeli bombardment, and 85% of the population had been displaced.

The conflict began when Hamas militants launched surprise attacks against villages in southern Israel, killing more than 1,100 people, including nearly 700 Israeli citizens, and taking hundreds of hostages back to Gaza. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has likened Israel’s military campaign in the Palestinian enclave to Nazi Germany’s Holocaust against the Jewish people. He also has blasted Western nations for supporting Israel’s tactics, and he suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was just as genocidal as Germany’s Adolf Hitler. Türkiye’s foreign minister, Hakan Fidan, argued on Wednesday that by giving “unconditional support” to Israel, Western nations had lost all credibility to talk about “principles, virtue and morality.” He added, “I see that all of this is paving the way for a huge geostrategic rupture.”

Miller’s comments came one day after the US State Department rebuked “inflammatory and irresponsible” statements by two Israeli politicians calling for the removal of Palestinians from Gaza. Israeli Defense Minister Ben Gvir doubled down on his statement later on Tuesday, saying, “With all due respect, we are not another star on the American flag.” Calls for mass displacement of the Palestinians are contrary to official Israeli government policy and the US view, Miller told reporters on Wednesday. “They are in direct contradiction of his own government’s policy, and we believe those statements should stop,” he said of Gvir’s rhetoric. However, Miller added that it was appropriate for the IDF to ask Gazans to “temporarily” evacuate their homes when Israeli forces carry out “legitimate military operations” in their neighborhoods.

RT
https://twitter.com/i/status/1742706506619851124

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“You need to be in China to compete in the game, you don’t win by refusing to participate when the other side is still kicking the ball.”

The US Can’t Stop China’s Rise, But It Will Cripple The EU While Trying (RT)

For years now, the US has been strongarming the Netherlands into accepting technology restrictions on the export of advanced lithography machines to China. These machines, produced by the Dutch firm ASML, use lasers to help create circuits for microchips. Although ASML is a world-leading specialist company, its foundational patents are derived from the US, which allows Washington to coerce it into following unilateral export controls as the Americans see fit. American restrictions have come in several waves, building on the sweeping export controls introduced in 2022. One such update concerning a specific kind of lithography machine came into effect on Monday, January 1, 2024. ASML attempted to rush through the sale of several such machines to China before the deadline but canceled it at the last moment – reportedly due to pressure from the US.

The news caused ASML’s US shares to drop. The fundamental goal of US foreign policy here is to try and crush China’s semiconductor industry and hobble its high tech ambitions, which has become one of the critical strategies to try and curb China’s military and economic rise as a whole. In doing so, the US has blacklisted Chinese technology firms and has increasingly tried to stave off the exports of semiconductor equipment to China, describing it as a “small yard, high fence” approach. Despite this, there is overwhelming evidence at this stage that such sanctions are not working, not least because China is pursuing a coordinated state and industry effort to forcibly advance itself in semiconductor technology which has seen Huawei, the original US target of sanctions, effectively piece together its very own semiconductor supply chain.

While doing this, China has also found increasingly creative ways around restrictions, secured loopholes for US equipment, and has continued to make progress on new chip nodes while also making older designs more efficient and effectively shrugging off America’s coercive campaign. If it wasn’t obvious already, the US is doubling down on failure and is forcing China towards self-sufficiency, which, of course, most ironically, will hurt US companies and exports above all. How exactly can the US feasibly maintain strict export controls over the world’s second-largest economy and largest trading nation? However, moves targeted at companies such as ASML show that the US continues to represent an obvious threat and challenge to European economic competitiveness and prosperity. Why? Because EU firms are being forced, by command of a third party, to sever ties with their most lucrative market, in order to meet American goals.

The US likes to claim that it supports free and fair trade in a market governed by the rule of law, but what kind of “rule of law” is there in a system where a firm you operate has secured a large number of sales in anticipation of a restriction deadline imposed by a third party outside of your legal system and then has to cancel those sales anyway because the same third party doesn’t want to wait for the deadline? China is the world’s largest semiconductor market, whose high-tech development fuels a greater demand for microchips than anywhere else in the world. The US believes it can hamstring China’s long-term prospects by blocking this ascension as the country moves away from low-end manufacturing. Washington’s plan to stop China’s development and induce stagnation is based on faulty logic that China is incapable of innovating or moving forward without Western technology, which goes against all evidence to the contrary.

Instead, in the long-term, this approach will effectively cut off Western firms from the critical and lucrative Chinese market, as the US aims to create a new global supply chain in technology which it dominates, and therefore make the EU dependent upon it. This reminds us that the EU is the biggest loser of America’s war on China as it seeks to break a lucrative trading relationship but also, more critically, undermine European competitiveness, as it has done by depriving it of Russian energy over the war in Ukraine, and therefore absorb the market space for itself. To follow American wishes on China is to sacrifice sovereignty, geopolitical autonomy, and prosperity to serve the goals of the United States. It is a lose-lose situation. What happens to ASML when the time comes that China is capable of creating its own high-end chips and lithography equipment? And no longer has need of it for its domestic market, and offers the same solutions to other countries? You need to be in China to compete in the game, you don’t win by refusing to participate when the other side is still kicking the ball.

Read more …

What a surprise…

Leopard 2 Tanks Supplied to Ukraine Are Non-Operational – German MP (Sp.)

Very few of the Leopard 2A6 tanks delivered by Berlin to Ukraine are still in service, according to Green Party member Sebastian Schafer. The majority of the machines were damaged in battle and spare parts are scarce, he stressed. “Unfortunately, we must admit that Ukraine can now use only small number of tanks delivered,” Schafer wrote to Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann arms manufacturers, which was reported on by German media. The politician noted that some of the Leopard tanks were further damaged by Ukrainian servicemen who tried to repair them. He stresses that there is a shortage of spare parts in the Lithuanian repair center. According to the politician, who recently visited the repair center in Lithuania with Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, there are not enough spare parts for these tanks in the workshops to keep the vessels in working condition.

In his speech, Schaefer, a member of the parliamentary budget committee, called for measures to speed up the repair work. Western donors had earlier announced the delivery of Leopard tanks to Kiev, hailing them as a miracle weapon that would turn the tide for Ukraine. In total, the German government has transferred 18 Leopard 2 tanks from the Bundeswehr arsenal to Ukraine. Within weeks of the Leopards’ arrival on the battlefield, Russian forces began hunting them down with missiles and kamikaze drones. In November 2023, Forbes magazine reported that Ukraine was in danger of losing its entire Leopard fleet due to the incompetence of its soldiers.

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“..he does not currently see a way to force Scholz to step down, as it is not in the interests of his coalition partners, as they are even more unpopular..”

Will Chancellor Scholz Step Down Amid Plummeting Rating? (Sp.)

Support for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party has dropped from 20% to 15% according to a December survey by the country’s Institute for New Social Answers (INSA). The drop is reportedly causing deep concern among party officials. Furthermore, the gap between it and its main rivals, the opposition conservative block CDU/CSU, has nearly tripled, reaching 17 percentage points. Scholz’s approval rating as the head of the government has also plummeted, with only one in five Germans expressing approval of his performance, as reported by Bild. Likewise, a December article from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica hinted at “bad rumors” circulating in the Bundestag, without disclosing sources. The potential successor to Scholz, according to the Italian publication, is also under consideration, with Pistorius being a prominent candidate.

The Wirecard scandal of 2020, involving a fraudulent scheme amounting to $2 billion, may also influence Scholz’s fate. At that time, Scholz served as the Minister of Finance in Angela Merkel’s government. Wirecard, once considered a promising fintech company specializing in cryptocurrency cards, went bankrupt in June 2020, revealing the disappearance of €1.9 billion from its accounts. Markus Braun, the head of the company, was arrested, and Jan Marsalek, the company’s executive, went missing. Scholz was responsible for financial supervision, as Wirecard was a partner of the federal government. The chancellor has consistently denied any involvement in the scandal and personal responsibility for what transpired. Addressing the chancellor’s policies, Gunnar Beck, a member of the European Parliament from the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, stated in an interview with the Russian newspaper Izvestia on January 3 that Scholz should resign.

“I think it would be very good if he (Scholz) resigned because his government is a disaster, diplomatically, economically, and in all other respects. But I don’t think he will resign for this reason. If he resigns now, it will not lead to the restoration of his own political career or to the electoral success of his own party in the next elections. It would be good for the country if he resigned, but I don’t think he will do that,” he said. As the politician noted, he does not currently see a way to force Scholz to step down, as it is not in the interests of his coalition partners, as they are even more unpopular. The opposition party will also not push him to resign because it is in the interest of the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Friedrich Merz, for Scholz to cause a real catastrophe in the remaining 18 months.

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“There is nothing Congress can do to force Thomas off the appeal. The concern is that Raskin is encouraging new targeting of justices at their homes by protesters..”

“What Do We Do if He Doesn’t Recuse Himself?” (Turley)

Rep. Jamie Raskin raised eyebrows on Sunday with a CNN interview where he said that there may have to be action taken if Justice Clarence Thomas does not recuse himself from pending appeals over the disqualification of Donald Trump from the Colorado and Maine ballots. Not only is there a weak basis for demanding such recusal, the suggestion of some type of response or retaliation raises ongoing concerns over efforts to influence or intimidate justices. CNN host Dana Bash asked Raskin, a former law professor, whether Thomas or any of the judges appointed by the former president should recuse themselves. Raskin responded that “anybody looking at this in any kind of dispassionate, reasonable way would say, if your wife was involved in the ‘Big Lie’ and claiming that Donald Trump had actually won the presidential election and been agitating for that and participating in the events leading up to January 6, that you shouldn’t be participating in (the rulings).”

I, for one, disagree. Under this theory, Thomas would have to recuse himself from any election or Trump related case because of his wife’s advocacy. Justices on both the left and right have long applied a far more narrow view of recusal. However, Raskin then stated: “He absolutely should recuse himself. The question is, what do we do if he doesn’t recuse himself?” The reference to some response from Congress or the public was left unexplained. In the past, Democrats have been criticized for fueling the attacks or targeting of conservative justices. In fairness to Raskin, I do not believe that he is an advocate for violence. He could be referring to the public voting against Trump. I wish, however, that his fealty to the constitution would extend to opposing this pernicious and dangerous theory. Other leading Democrats in Congress have done so.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer was widely criticized (including by Chief Justice John Roberts) when he went in front of the Supreme Court to publicly declare “I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price! You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” There is nothing Congress can do to force Thomas off the appeal. The concern is that Raskin is encouraging new targeting of justices at their homes by protesters. The interview had other curious elements. Raskin made a rather anemic effort to portray the removal of someone from the ballot as weirdly democratic under the theory that Trump picked himself for disqualification: “If you think about it, of all of the forms of disqualification that we have, the one that disqualifies people for engaging in insurrection is the most democratic because it’s the one where people choose themselves to be disqualified.”

That is akin to treating every criminal charge as an act of self-selection and consent by the accused. Raskin also stated that all of the justices on the left and right “call themselves textualist and originalists.” That is not true in the sense of originalism as a school of constitutional interpretation. Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Jackson do not follow an originalist approach but rather a more flexible living constitutional approach. Moreover, many of us do not believe that the text or original intent of the 14th Amendment support this anti-democratic theory.

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“.. the two states’ decisions — and the risk of others joining them — underscores the imperative need for the nation’s high court to decide the issue once and for all.”

Colorado Disqualification Case Brings Back Bad Memories for SCOTUS (Turley)

It is “a sad day for America and the Constitution when a court decides the outcome of an election.” Those words, condemning a4-3 decision by state supreme court justices regarding a presidential election, undoubtedly spoke for millions of Americans. However, it wasn’t a reference to the Colorado Supreme Court’s recent 4-3 decision to disqualify Donald Trump from running in the 2024 election. Instead, it was a statement by James Baker, then a spokesman for Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, criticizing the Florida Supreme Court’s decision during the 2000 election. Of course, the condemnations in 2000 would shift to the U.S. Supreme Court, when it stopped the recount ordered by the four Florida justices and effectively called the election for Bush.

Then, it was the left condemning the U.S. justices as being, in the words of law professor Cass Sunstein, “illegitimate, undemocratic, and unprincipled.” Even the justices appeared to lose some of their customary collegiality and civility in the moment. Then-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously omitted the customary word “respectfully” before the phrase “I dissent” at the end of her opinion. Now, the Supreme Court is being pulled into another election vortex by the Colorado decision and, potentially, by some of the cases in at least 15 other states. (Appeals of ballot decisions are pending in Arizona; ballot challenges are in process in Alaska, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. A Wisconsin challenge has been denied twice.)

Colorado and, now, Maine remain outliers after the Michigan Supreme Court rejected another disqualification effort in that state. Last Wednesday, the Colorado GOP appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to accept the case given the split among the states and the importance of the issue. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have criticized the decision by Maine’s secretary of state and urged that the courts overturn it. But the two states’ decisions — and the risk of others joining them — underscores the imperative need for the nation’s high court to decide the issue once and for all.

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Attack is the best defense?

White House Blames Republicans For Illegal Immigration Crisis (RT)

US President Joe Biden’s administration has responded to the political fallout over a record influx of illegal immigrants by trying to shift blame for the border crisis to Republican lawmakers. As House Speaker Mike Johnson led a delegation of Republicans visiting the US-Mexico border on Wednesday, the White House issued a statement accusing the opposition party of blocking Biden’s efforts to resolve the crisis. Biden spokesman Andrew Bates condemned Republicans for refusing to pass the president’s emergency-funding request and accused them of having an “anti-border-security record,” including an effort to cut funding for Border Patrol officers.

“House Republicans are once more compromising America’s national security and economic growth with shutdown threats,” Bates said in response to a report that lawmakers vowed to block funding for the whole government if Biden didn’t close the border. He added, “Today’s statements are just House Republicans’ latest admission that as President Biden and both parties in the Senate seek common ground to address the needs of the American people, their conference is instead choosing extreme politics that would subject American families to needless pain.” However, Biden bundled his request for $6.4 billion in border security funding into a $106 billion emergency spending package that also includes military aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Most House Republicans oppose continuing to send weapons to Kiev, arguing that Biden’s policies lack a strategy for ending the fighting. Lawmakers have also argued that the president’s plan doesn’t go far enough to stop the flow of illegal aliens into the US. Border Patrol officers reportedly encountered more than 300,000 illegal immigrants crossing into the US in December, an all-time high for a single month. Illegal border crossings have surged since Biden took office in January 2021 and began dismantling the immigration policies of his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump. Biden’s administration released nearly 1.4 million illegal aliens into the US in the last fiscal year, in many cases letting them stay in the country while awaiting court hearings for dubious asylum claims, according to the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington.

A Monmouth University poll released last month showed that Biden’s approval rating dropped to a record low of 34%. Just 26% of US adults approve of his immigration policies, a troubling statistic as he seeks reelection in 2024. Critics of Biden’s policies have argued that in addition to flooding the US with illegal aliens, the nation’s porous borders have jeopardized national security. More than 172 illegal immigrants encountered by Border Patrol agents in the last fiscal year had been flagged on the nation’s terrorist watch list. House Republicans plan to launch impeachment proceedings next week against Biden’s Homeland Security chief, Alejandro Mayorkas, citing his alleged failure to enforce immigration laws. “The border crisis is a direct result of President Biden’s policies,” Johnson said on Wednesday as he began his border trip.

Caravan

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“Treason, I don’t know. It comes to an end soon and we’re here to make sure it happens.”

House Speaker Johnson At Border: ‘Disaster Of The President’s Own Design’ (JTN)

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said on Wednesday that the crisis at the southern border is a “disaster of the president’s own design,” adding that Biden has the authority to fix the problems. A group of 64 lawmakers representing 26 states visited the southern border in Texas on Wednesday. Describing the situation there as “heartbreaking and infuriating,” Johnson called on President Biden to reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy that he ended as soon as he took office in 2021. He also said the Biden administration must end “catch and release,” which allows illegal immigrants apprehended at the borer to be released into U.S. communities. Johnson said those policy changes would “stem the flow” of illegal immigrants arriving at the border by 70% or more. He told reporters that a border sheriff explained to him that the policy changes made since 2021 have “dismantled” 100 years of progress on border security.

House Republicans on the border trip urged Biden to resume construction of border barriers along open areas of the border. Johnson said there have been 7 million border encounters with illegal immigrants under Biden and a record amount of 312 individuals on the terrorist watchlist caught at the border. He noted that the Biden administration has taken the state of Texas to court for taking steps to secure the border. “Madness is the only word that we can think of to describe this,” Johnson said, as another lawmaker suggested treason as another word. “Treason, I don’t know. It comes to an end soon and we’re here to make sure it happens.”

Johnson emphasized that the president has the authority to “stop this madness.” He said the Biden administration has opened the border to the “entire world.” Johnson declared that any foreign aid package for Ukraine and Israel that Congress passes “better begin by defending America’s national security.” Republican leaders are pushing to incorporate border security measures into a supplemental foreign aid package. “We want to get the border closed and secured, first, and we want to make sure that we reduce non-defense discretionary spending,” he said.

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X thread.

I’m hesitant to pay too much attention to this. FBI and CIA have had access to it for years. The info has been thoroughly cleaned.

The Epstein Files (Cernovich)

The Epstein Files. Today a tranche of documents were released in a case involving Jeffrey Epstein. There’s no revelations. Jeffrey Epstein’s case was covered up. I can explain why. In 2017, my lawyer Marc Randazza found a wonky freedom of the press case. There was a defamation case, and although Jeffrey Epstein wasn’t named as a defendant, the case was central to some “conspiracy theories.” Marc asked me if I wanted to file a motion to intervene. We expected it to be a simple matter. Media interest was almost zero. No one in the “free press” cared. Then Trump nominated Alexander Acosta to the Secretary of Labor. Acosta had handled the original Epstein criminal case, and said Epstein was given kid gloves treatments due to protection from the intelligence community. Epstein was an asset of the FBI. What his exact relation was remains sealed.

By 2019 the case I sought to intervene in had an ORANGE MAN BAD angle because Acosta was Trump’s Labor Secretary. Even if the motives were impure, at least we were on to the races. Hundreds-of-thousands of dollars later, a trip to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and a lot of fighting, we had a batch of documents ready to be unsealed. The weekend before the documents were made public, SDNY arrested Epstein quietly when he landed his private jet on an airport from a trip he took in France. No perp walk for Epstein. In 2019 I wrote the following after a press conference was held re: Epstein’s arrest: ” Why didn’t the SNDY charge Jeffrey Epstein under the Mann Act? Under the Mann Act, it’s unlawful to transport an underage girl through interstate travel, including on an airplane.” “In a widely-publicized press conference the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced sex trafficking charges against Jeff Epstein.”

“Epstein was charged for paying minors for massages from 2002 to 2005. Yet what was more newsworthy was the what the indictment left out.” “The indictment against Epstein does not charge anyone except Epstein, and there’s nothing to indicate that anyone who flew to Epstein’s private island has faced scrutiny.” “The SDNY’s actions have all of the telltale signs of containment. Because the Miami Herald and Cernovich won a civil lawsuit, leading to over 2,000 records being unsealed, it’s simply impossible for the same Feds who gave Epstein a pass years ago to continue to cover up.” “The SDNY could have charged Epstein in 2002, 2003, 2004, or at anytime until today. Yet they did not file charges until the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that previously sealed records involving Jeff Epstein would become public record.Thus they are charging him without implicating anyone else who assisted with his operation.”

You know what happened next. Epstein committed suicide. Because SDNY charged the lowest level offenses possible, they “lacked jurisdiction” to raid Epstein’s island in Little St James, as well as his New Mexico and Paris properties. Those houses were left unattended for a couple of weeks. During that time, a safe went missing. During the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, it was reported: Evidence from Jeffrey Epstein’s safe ‘went missing’ after FBI raid. What was in the safe? We’ll never know for certain. We do know that the FBI has Jeffrey Epstein’s blackmail files. The real Jeffrey Epstein files are the blackmail material. Very powerful forces have made sure we will never see it.

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“The flood came. It inundated America’s newsrooms for the next two and a half years and washed away the Republican House majority in 2018. And we’re charging Donald Trump with insurrection? Please! Pass the bananas.”

Was Barack Obama Guilty of Insurrection? (Cashill)

According to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, no person shall be eligible to hold federal office who “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion.” Although all parties know the “insurrection or rebellion” clause refers specifically to recently completed Civil War, the Department of Justice argues for a much more elastic definition, all the better to hang Donald Trump with. Yet if there were one president guilty of insurrection in recent years, that president would have to be Barack Obama. In late 2016 and early 2017, Obama knowingly conspired with others to subvert the presidency of Donald Trump. Thanks to the zealous note taking of his once and future factotum, Susan Rice, we have documentation of this flagrant act of sedition. The formal plot to unseat President Donald Trump was launched with a White House meeting on Jan. 5, 2017, 15 days before Trump’s inauguration.

In conference with Rice and Obama were his national security team, including all the usual suspects: the FBI’s James Comey, the CIA’s John Brennan, then Vice-President Joe Biden, DNI James Clapper and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Following the meeting, Obama asked Yates and Comey to stick around along with Rice, his trusted scribe. Obama had a reason for singling out Comey and Yates. Unlike the others, they were staying on in their jobs. On the very day at the very moment Trump was being inaugurated, Rice sent to “self” a peculiar email memorializing this meeting. “President Obama began the conversation,” wrote Rice, “by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book.'”

The “issue” in question was the framing of Donald Trump for collusion with Russia. Obama had to know by this time that the collusion accusation was spawned by the Clinton campaign. The law firm that served as cutout for Clinton, Perkins Coie, was the same law firm that magically produced Obama’s birth certificate in 2011. There is evidence that Obama knew in early August of the provenance of the infamous Steele dossier. In 1974, Nixon campaign aide Donald Segretti made “dirty tricks” a household phrase. The nation was scandalized that Segretti would send fake letters using the letterhead of presidential candidate Edmund Muskie. For his dirty tricks, Segretti served four months in prison. For hers, the mother of all dirty tricks, Hillary Clinton walked away without even a scolding. The Steele dossier proved to be the most consequential dirty trick in American political history.

There is no “book” that justifies what Comey and pals did in the weeks immediately following this meeting while Obama was still president. The next day, Jan. 6, 2017, the conspirators released the declassified version of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA). Commissioned a month earlier by Obama, the ICA was John Brennan’s way of welcoming the president-elect to Washington. Titled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections,” the report concluded that Putin “ordered” an influence campaign, the goal of which was “to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”The corollary of this, of course, was that “Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

The “Obama dossier,” as Rep. Devin Nunes called the ICA, reads like one of my college term papers, filled with sundry bits of information gathered from here and there just hours before the due date. Although Comey lobbied to have the Steele dossier included in the body of the text, wiser heads prevailed, and it was relegated to the appendices. On the same day the ICA was released, Jan. 6, Comey, Clapper, Brennan and the NSA’s Mike Rogers briefed the incoming president at Trump Tower, sort of. “[W]e were not investigating him and the stuff [in the dossier] might be totally made up but it was being said out of Russia and our job was to protect the president from efforts to coerce him,” Comey wrote in his notes to self following the meeting. At least three of the four men were investigating Trump, and it was not the Russians who were doing the coercing.

Only Comey stayed behind to brief Trump about the Steele dossier. It had not yet been published. CNN had the story, Comey knew. He also knew that by telling the president about the dossier, he would give CNN the necessary news hook to report the dossier’s allegations, at least the more plausible ones. One of the conspirators promptly leaked the news of the more intimate briefing to CNN. On Jan. 8, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe emailed his senior FBI colleagues. “CNN is close to going forward with the sensitive story,” wrote McCabe, emphasis his. “The trigger for [CNN] is they know the material was discussed in the brief and presented in an attachment.” McCabe sent this email under the heading, “The flood is coming.” The flood came. It inundated America’s newsrooms for the next two and a half years and washed away the Republican House majority in 2018. And we’re charging Donald Trump with insurrection? Please! Pass the bananas.

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Hair

 

 

Ice
https://twitter.com/i/status/1742536626541089246

 

 


Donnie Dunagan was the youngest U.S. Marine drill instructor. He served three tours in Vietnam and was wounded several times, retiring as a Major in 1977. Throughout his career he managed to keep secret that he had been the voice of Bambi in the 1942 Disney film.

 

 

Cassoway

 

 


Raimondi Cove Plant reaches maturity only after 100 years, flowers only once in a lifetime, and can live over 1000 years. Raimondi Cove Plant (Puya raimondi) is a unique and rare plant that can grow at a high altitude of about 3800 m. It is the largest species of bromeliad, reaching up to 15 m (50 ft) in height.

 

 


The Oriental dwarf kingfisher is a small, red and yellow kingfisher, averaging 13 cm (5.1 in) in length, yellow underparts with glowing bluish-black upperparts

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 032024
 


Joan Miro Dancer 1925

 

In Court Cases Facts Are Losing Their Relevancy (Paul Craig Roberts)
Maine Shows the Danger of Zealots in our Legal System (Turrley)
Trump Fights 2024 Maine Election Ban (RT)
New York City Council Members Reportedly Weighing Trump Ballot Ban (Sp.)
Karaganov: Russians Are The Real Europeans, The West Has Lost Its Way (RT)
What Will Be Left Out of the EU? (Barton)
Scholz Claims Putin to Blame for Germany’s Economic Woes (Sp.)
Ukraine and Palestine: A Double Threat To US Hegemony (Bhadrakumar)
US Rejects Gaza Ethnic Cleansing Proposal (RT)
2024: The Year Global Government Takes Shape (Kit Knightly)
2024 Is Going To Be ‘Even More Crazy’ – Elon Musk (RT)
Corruption, Chaos, Conflict – Fourth Turning Erupts In 2024 (Quinn)
Dollar’s Dip in 2023 Just the Start as BRICS Strives for Dedollarization (Sp.)
US Debt Hits A Record $34.001 Trillion (ZH)

 

 

 

 

The reveal has been postponed until the end of the month.

 

 

 

 

RFK

 

 

 

 

TCN

 

 

 

 

 

 

J6 Full

 

 

 

 

“..as They Have in News Reporting, Scholarship, and Science..”

In Court Cases Facts Are Losing Their Relevancy (Paul Craig Roberts)

Informed people understand that the indictments, civil charges, and judicial rulings against Trump all involve what is politely called “a stretch of the law.” But they do not seem to grasp that Trump’s defense against the charges is not based on the falseness of the charges but on whether he has presidential immunity. In other words, the phony charges stand, and the question is whether Trump has presidential immunity. Whether the charges are factual is not considered relevant. The advantage in Trump’s attorneys taking this approach is that if Trump has immunity, all the indictments are dismissed and trials over the disputed charges do not take place, a good thing as the biases of the Democrat prosecutors, judges, and jurors make fair trials for Trump impossible.

The disadvantage is that Trump’s enemies can claim that the charges are true but could not be brought to trial because of immunity. More seriously, it means that the lack of evidentiary basis for the charges will not be established. In other words, the Democrat prosecutors who weaponized law in order to intentionally concoct false indictments are protected from having their crimes revealed. Of course the Democrat juries and judges would validate the Democrat prosecutors cases despite the lack of evidence. In the US judicial system where truth is irrelevant, accusation alone serves as the basis for indictment and conviction. As no defendant or defendant’s lawyer trusts the American judicial system, 97% of all alleged felonies are resolved with plea bargains in which even innocent defendants agree to a lessor charge in order to avoid the risk of a longer sentence imposed by a trial.

Only the idealistically few expect a fair trial. By declining the Justice (sic) Department’s plea to fast-track an immunity decision, the Supreme Court has probably delayed any Trump trial until after the election. If the federal appeals court upholds Democrat district court judge Tanya Chutkan’s biased ruling against Trump, then the appeal goes to the Supreme Court. It lengthens the ordeal that Trump has to endure, but it likely frees him from campaigning with a false conviction hanging around his neck.

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“..pundits who warn that Democrats can no longer rely on the election process, given Trump’s soaring popularity.”

Maine Shows the Danger of Zealots in our Legal System (Turrley)

“You had me at hello.” That line from the movie “Jerry Maguire” came to mind this week after yet another Democratic secretary of state moved to prevent citizens from voting for former president Donald Trump. Maine’s Shenna Bellows issued a “decision” that declared Trump an “insurrectionist” and ineligible to be president. She joined an ignoble list of Democratic officials in states such as Colorado who claim to safeguard democracy by denying its exercise to millions of Americans. Yet the most striking aspect of this poorly crafted decision was not its litany of conclusory findings, but rather Bellow’s implausible suggestion that she struggled over the decision. Bellows was a natural choice for challengers, who have been searching for any officials or courts willing to embrace this dangerous theory under the Fourteenth Amendment that they can unilaterally bar candidates deemed rebellious or insurrectionalist.

Challengers knew that they had Bellows at hello. She was one of the first officials to declare the Jan. 6 riot to be an “insurrection” prompted by Trump’s speech. Bellows previously declared that “the Jan. 6 insurrection was an unlawful attempt to overthrow the results of a free and fair election…The insurrectionists failed, and democracy prevailed.” A year after the riot, Bellows was still denouncing the “violent insurrection.” Of course, in the 1996 movie, Jerry Maguire reminded Dorothy that ” we live in a cynical world — a cynical, cynical world — and we work in a business of tough competitors.” However, he added “you complete me.” In our cynical politics, Bellows and Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, among others, have become wildly popular for seeking to complete the effort to defeat Trump by removing him from the ballot. This cynicism is captured in statements from pundits who warn that Democrats can no longer rely on the election process, given Trump’s soaring popularity.

One columnist wrote that “Democrats may have to act radically to deny Donald Trump the 2024 Republican nomination. We cannot rely on Republicans to do it…Trump must be defeated. No matter what it takes.” Many Democratic jurists and officials have refused to participate in this cynical effort to win the election through the courts. Maine’s Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden denounced Bellows decision. California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) warned Democrats against embracing this legal theory. His state’s secretary of state Shirley Weber (D) had refused to do what Bellows just did. Yet Democrats know that they need only to remove Trump from the ballots of a couple of key states to make him constitutionally incapable of becoming president, due to the electoral college. Thus, Trump could be the overwhelming choice of the voters but still be effectively barred from assuming office.

To achieve this end, advocates are willing to adopt the type of ballot-cleansing powers long associated with authoritarian countries such as Iran. That is why this theory of disqualification remains one of the most dangerous to arise in our nation’s history. The U.S. stands as the most successful and stable democratic system in history. In the blind quest to block Trump “at any cost,” these officials have introduced a destabilizing element to our system that could be replicated in tit-for-tat politics for years to come. It has already begun, with Republicans calling to bar President Joe Biden from ballots. The ballot-cleansing effort is only the latest example of what Justice Louis Brandeis identified as the true threat to our democracy — not the threat from other countries, but from within. “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding,” he said.

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Time for the Supreme Court to step in. Or Trump will have 20 of these cases.

Trump Fights 2024 Maine Election Ban (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has begun a court fight to get himself back on this year’s election ballot in Maine, arguing in a legal filing that a state official had no authority to disqualify him from the race. Trump’s lawyers filed the appeal on Tuesday in Maine Superior Court, challenging last week’s decision by Secretary of State Shenna Bellows to bar the ex-president from the ballot because of his alleged role in the January 2021 US Capitol riot. The case is likely to ultimately be decided by the US Supreme Court, along with Trump’s disqualification from the ballot in Colorado, but Maine has required him to begin his challenge in the state court system.

The ruling making Trump ineligible in Maine “was the product of a process infected by bias and pervasive lack of due process,” Trump’s lawyers said in Tuesday’s filing. They added that Bellows has a documented history of being biased against Trump and gave him no opportunity to defend himself against her allegations. The Maine and Colorado disqualifications were based on interpretations of a constitutional amendment that banned people who engage in an “insurrection or rebellion” from holding public office in the US. The amendment was passed by lawmakers in 1866 to ensure citizenship and constitutional rights for former slaves and to block politicians who had taken part in the Confederate rebellion from returning to power.

Bellows and other Democrats have accused Trump of inciting the Capitol “insurrection,” where demonstrators sought to block the transfer of power after he lost to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. She has made public statements on social media calling Trump an “insurrectionist” and suggesting that he should have been removed from office after being impeached for his alleged role in the riot. Trump has repeatedly claimed that the election was rigged, but has denied any role in triggering the riot. Trump is polling as, far and away, the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. However, his candidacy has been jeopardized by state efforts to disqualify him, as well as felony indictments in four separate criminal cases. He has called the legal actions a politically motivated “witch hunt” to block voters from being able to elect him again.

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There we go…

New York City Council Members Reportedly Weighing Trump Ballot Ban (Sp.)

New York City council members are urging the state’s Board of Elections to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the 2024 primary and general election ballots due to his alleged involvement in the events following the 2020 election, the National Review reported on Tuesday. “The Board of Elections must give effect to the Fourteenth Amendment and its safeguards to protect the integrity of New York’s electoral process, maintain the public’s faith in our democratic system, and respect the rule of law,” councilman Shekar Krishnan is quoted in the report as having written in an email this week to other council members.

Though the report cites several council members as having endorsed Krishnan’s letter, Democratic councilor Robert Holden is quoted in the report as saying that he found the idea of removing a candidate from the ballot without legal cause “troubling.” “This trend across the nation, including here in New York, is dangerous. If you are against a candidate, you work hard to beat them at the polls, not prevent them from participating in an election,” Holden is quoted as saying. Other council members are quoted in the report as agreeing with Holden, with some calling the letter a “waste” of the council’s time.

“My colleagues should instead be devoting their energy and efforts towards resolving the ongoing migrant crisis and bringing the budget back under control. New York City is facing some very real problems right now, and Donald Trump being on the ballot here is not one of them,” Council member Jane Ariola is quoted as saying in the report. Last month, both Maine and Colorado disqualified Trump from the 2024 primary ballot, citing the insurrectionist clause in 14th Amendment. Both bans are expected to be swiftly appealed in both the state courts and the US Supreme Court.

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Sergei Karaganov is Russia’s HSE University Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs. Very much worth a read.

“..without European inoculation, without European culture, we would not have become such a great power. We would not have had Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Pushkin or Blok.”

Karaganov: Russians Are The Real Europeans, The West Has Lost Its Way (RT)

The elites of Western Europe – and especially in Germany – are in a state of historical failure. The main basis of their 500-year domination [of the world] was military superiority, on which the economic, political and cultural dominance of the West was built. But this has been knocked out from under them. With the help of this advantage, they manipulated the world’s resources in their favor. First they plundered their colonies, and later they did the same, but with more sophisticated methods. Today’s Western elites are failing to address a range of growing problems in their societies. These include a shrinking middle class and rising inequality. Almost all their initiatives are failing. The European Union, as everyone knows, is slowly but surely sprawling out. That is why its ruling class has been hostile to Russia for about 15 years now.

They need an external enemy; Josep Borrell [the EU’s top foreign affairs official] called the world around the bloc a jungle last year. Indeed, in the past, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the sanctions adopted by the EU [against Russia] were necessary first and foremost to unite the European Union and prevent it from collapsing. The German and Western European elites have an inferiority complex in, what is for them, a now-monstrous situation, where their part of the world is being overtaken by everyone. Not only by the Chinese and the Americans, but also by many other countries. Thanks to Russia’s liberation of the world from the ‘Western yoke’, Western Europe is no longer lording it over the states of the Global South, or as I call them, the countries of the world majority.

The threat Western Europe now presents is that the Old World has lost its fear of armed conflict. And that is very dangerous. At the same time, the West of Europe, let me remind you, has been the source of the worst disasters in human history. Now in Ukraine there is a struggle not only for Russia’s interests, for the interests of its security, but also to prevent a new global confrontation. The threat is growing. This is also due to the West’s desperate attempts at counter-attacks to maintain its dominance. Today’s Western European elites are failing and losing influence in the world to a much greater extent than their American counterparts. Russia is fighting its own battle and fighting it successfully. We are acting confidently enough to sober up these Western elites, lest they unleash another world conflict in despair at their failures. We must not forget that these same people’s predecessors unleashed two world wars within one generation in the last century. Now, the quality of these elites is even lower than it was then.

[..] The West is now closing the Iron Curtain, first of all because we in Russia are the real Europeans. We remain healthy. And they want to exclude these healthy forces. Secondly, the West is closing this curtain, even more tightly than during the Cold War, in order to mobilize its population for hostilities. But we do not need a military confrontation with the West, so we will rely on a policy of containment to prevent the worst. Of course, we will not cancel anything, including our European story. Yes, we have completed our European journey [in terms of integration]. I think it has dragged on a bit, maybe for a century. But without European inoculation, without European culture, we would not have become such a great power. We would not have had Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Pushkin or Blok.

So we will keep European culture, which the West of our continent seems to be trying to abandon. But I hope that it will not destroy itself completely, in this regard. Because Western Europe is not only abandoning Russian culture, it is abandoning its own culture. It is cancelling a culture that is largely based on love and Christian values. It is cancelling its history, destroying its monuments. However, we will not reject our European roots. I have always been against looking at the West with mere squeamishness. You should not do that. Then we would be like them. And they are now sliding towards an inevitable march towards fascism. We do not need all the contagions that have been and are growing out of the west of Europe. Including, once again, the growing contagion of fascism.

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“..Europe is currently being prepared to hand its territory over to a new mixed, Islamised Europe..”

What Will Be Left Out of the EU? (Barton)

The first decisive attempt to flood Europe with mostly Muslim migrants took place in 2012. In January that year, the unelected, cosmopolitan EU leadership pushed ahead with its scheduled integration within EUROMED. First a Barcelona seminar under the telling slogan: War and Peace in XXI century. The Arab Spring a year later took place. During the seminar the EU Special Envoy, Bernardino Leon urged the EU to offer a ‘a new relationship’ to Arab countries that underwent the Arab Spring. This new relationship was to be based on equal treatment between the European Union and the Arab partners. In the presence of the former, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy in Europe, Javier Solana, Leon assured Tunisia of being granted a relationship similar to other European countries outside the EU like Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.

This push was further reinforced in February 2012 by a Brussels Press Briefing. This took place to give information and significance to the meeting of the Prime Minister of Tunisia, Hamadi Jebali (the same one who announced to his countrymen that they possibly were in the Sixth Caliphate) and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso. The latter within his Press Briefing mentioned a number of priorities to be dealt with. Significantly, one of them involved the resumption of the dialogue on mobility and migration. Further developments related to influx of Muslim migrants to Europe are related to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Despite the fact that yet in 2010 she erupted in reference to multi-culti integration calling it an utter failure her decision to accept over a million refugees mainly from the Middle East marked a profound change in her policy.

Watching closely the 2015 migrant crisis billionaire financer George Soros welcomed her decision. The same cosmopolitan George Soros prepared his plan of bringing up to 1 million Muslims to Europe annually. The plan was among other things reported on 22 July 2017, in Tusnadfurdo, Romania, by the prime minister of Hungary, Victor Orban and vehemently opposed by him. A few words on the plan may give some insight into Soros’s thinking and the European Commission readiness to cooperate. The plan comprises of four points and the Soros Empire published it and began recruitment for implementation of it. The second point envisaged that upon arrival every Muslim migrant should be given an amount in euros equivalent to four and a half million forints which the author of the plan would be glad to finance.

The essence of the proposal is the so-called “pull factor” to maintain a continuous influx. After all, the received sum in euros by each migrant upon arrival would be higher than the Hungarian annual average wage. The third point of the plan stated that the migrants arriving in the EU would have to be distributed among the countries of Europe as part of a mandatory and permanent mechanism. And interestingly, the fourth point is about setting up a European immigration agency which would take all the decision-making powers related to migrant affairs away from the nation states and hand them over to Brussels. The opposition to massive migration and Soros-like proposals on part of Orban is loud and firm. His not very widely publicised statements clearly indicate what is at stake. I shall quote just three of them:

Over the next few decades the main question in Europe will be this: will Europe remain the continent of the Europeans? Will Hungary remain the country of the Hungarians? Will Germany remain the country of the Germans? Will France remain the country of the French? Or will Italy remain the country of the Italians? Who will live in Europe?’ Social democratic parties aren’t what they once used to be. They’ve married themselves to global business interests representing neoliberal economic policy, and now they have a single policy area, they’re concentrating on a single area: preservation of their influence over culture. This is the second important element in Europe today. And the third important thing is that Europe is currently being prepared to hand its territory over to a new mixed, Islamised Europe. If you are raped legally, forced to accept something you don’t like, how would you like to have a compromise and agreement? It’s impossible.

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“Spiraling energy costs in the EU have meant that the bloc has had to overpay more than $204 billion on energy over the past 20 months alone..”

Scholz Claims Putin to Blame for Germany’s Economic Woes (Sp.)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz took a page out of President Biden’s playbook in his New Year’s Eve address, blaming Putin, rather than his own government’s short-sighted policies, for unleashing a global security crisis and putting the German economy into a tailspin. “With COVID-19 barely receding, Russia began a merciless conflict in the center of Europe. Soon after that, the Russian president turned off the natural gas tap, and in the fall there was a brutal terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel,” Scholz said. “Our world has become a more unsettled and harsher place. It’s changing at an almost breathtaking speed,” the chancellor added. “The result is that we too are having to change. This is a worrying thing for many of us. For some, it is also causing discontent. I do take that to heart. But I also know this: We in Germany will get through it,” Scholz said.

Assuring that his government has done a good job in tackling inflation, raising wages, fighting unemployment and replenishing the country’s energy supplies since the cutoff of Russian gas, Scholz expressed confidence that Berlin has managed to hold back an “economic downturn” and to save energy collectively as a nation. Stressing that the key to German power lies in the “strength” of the European Union and its 400 million inhabitents, Scholz urged that “it is important for Europe to emerge unified and strengthened from the European elections in the coming year. After all, Russia’s war in the east of our continent is not over. Nor is the armed conflict in the Middle East. The year ahead will also bring presidential elections in the United States, which may have far-reaching consequences – including for us here in Europe.”

The chancellor’s comments blaming Russia for sky-high energy costs in Europe are nothing new, with Scholz, members of his cabinet and Germany’s allies both in Europe and across the Atlantic regularly repeating the mantra that it was Russia which “turned off the taps” of cheap and dependable gas supplies to the continent. Scholz and his colleagues traditionally leave out the fact that it was the United States which (allegedly) destroyed the Nord Stream Baltic Sea gas pipelines, and that Poland and Ukraine, not Russia, cut off gas flows to Europe via their overland pipelines, leaving TurkStream the only fully operational Russian infrastructure pumping gas to Europe. Spiraling energy costs in the EU have meant that the bloc has had to overpay more than $204 billion on energy over the past 20 months alone, with manufacturers flee the region for climes where energy costs are lower and tax breaks more plentiful (first and foremost the United States).

Meanwhile, ordinary Germans have been left facing higher fuel and utility costs and jacked up prices at supermarkets and big box stores. Curiously, Scholz didn’t mention the impact of the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Act on the German economy, even has hundreds of enterprises big and small packed up their bags and left for North America amid the energy crunch to take advantage of the US federal government’s generous subsidies for the production of so-called ‘green’ technologies. As for Vladimir Putin, the Russian president warned the Europeans over a year-and-a-half ago that if they made the short-sighted decision to stop the purchase of Russian energy, the EU’s economic competiveness would be shattered.

[..] Polling conducted last month found that some three quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with Chancellor Scholz’s ‘traffic light coalition’, with Scholz’s Social Democratic Party polling at just 17 percent support, the Greens at 13 percent, and the Free Democrats at 5 percent, for a total of 35 percent. The mainstream conservative Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union bloc and the populist right Alternative for Germany hit 24 and 17 percent support, respectively, while Linke and former Linke lawmaker Sahra Wagenknecht’s new populist left BSW party 2 and 14 percent support, respectively.

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“Russia has been rather explicit that during its 2024 chairmanship of BRICS, it will push for the creation of a currency to challenge the petrodollar..”

Ukraine and Palestine: A Double Threat To US Hegemony (Bhadrakumar)

Washington’s neck-deep involvement in the current phase of the West Asian crisis can turn into a quagmire, since it is also tangled up with domestic politics in a way that the Ukraine war never has been. But then, the outcome of the Ukraine war is already a foregone conclusion, and the US and its allies have realized that Russia cannot be defeated militarily; the endgame narrows down to an agreement to end the conflict on Russia’s terms. To be sure, the outcome of the Ukraine war and the denouement of the Israel-Palestine conflict, which is at the root of the West Asian crisis, will have a profound impact on the new world order, and the two processes reinforce each other. Russia realizes this fully. President Vladimir Putin’s stunning ‘year-enders’ in the run-up to the New Year speak for themselves: daylong visits to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh (watched by a shell-shocked US President Joe Biden), followed by talks with Iran’s president and rounded off with a telephone conversation with the Egyptian president.

In the space of 48 hours or so, Putin touched base with his Emirati, Saudi, Iranian, and Egyptian colleagues who officially entered the portals of the BRICS on 1 January. The evolving US intervention in the West Asian crisis can be understood from a geopolitical perspective only by factoring in Biden’s visceral hostility toward Russia. BRICS is in Washington’s crosshairs. The US understands perfectly well that the extra large presence of West Asian and Arab nations in BRICS — four out of ten member states — is central to Putin’s grand project to re-structure the world order and bury US exceptionalism and hegemony. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran are major oil producing countries. Russia has been rather explicit that during its 2024 chairmanship of BRICS, it will push for the creation of a currency to challenge the petrodollar. Without doubt, the BRICS currency will be at the center stage of the grouping’s summit due to be hosted by Putin in Kazan, Russia in October.

In a special address on 1 January, marking the start of Russia’s BRICS Chairmanship, Putin stated his commitment to “enhancing the role of BRICS in the international monetary system, expanding both interbank cooperation and the use of national currencies in mutual trade.” If a BRICS currency is used instead of the dollar, there could be significant impact on several financial sectors of the US economy, such as energy and commodity markets, international trade and investment, capital markets, technology and fintech, consumer goods and retail, travel and tourism, and so on. The banking sector could take the first hit that might eventually spill over to the markets. And if Washington fails to fund its mammoth deficit, prices of all commodities could skyrocket or even reach hyperinflation triggering a crash of the US economy.

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The moral high ground.

US Rejects Gaza Ethnic Cleansing Proposal (RT)

The US State Department condemned Israeli proposals to remove the Palestinian inhabitants of Gaza en masse in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller explicitly rejected recent comments from Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir supporting the mass deportation of Palestinians as “inflammatory and irresponsible.” Noting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other members of his cabinet have denied that it was official government policy to resettle Gaza’s Palestinian inhabitants, Miller demanded the ministers back away from such rhetoric “immediately.” “Gaza is Palestinian land and will remain Palestinian land, with Hamas no longer in control of its future and no terror groups able to threaten Israel,” he continued.

On Monday, Ben Gvir described “encouraging the residents of Gaza to emigrate” outside the enclave as “the right, just, moral, and humane solution,” explaining that it would allow Israelis living in border communities to return home. He doubled down on his comments following Miller’s statement, writing in a post on Telegram, “I greatly appreciate the USA, but with all due respect…we will do what is good for the state of Israel.” Smotrich made similar comments in an interview with Army Radio on Sunday. “What needs to be done in the Gaza Strip is to encourage emigration,” he said. “If there are 100,000 or 200,000 Arabs in Gaza and not 2 million Arabs, the entire discussion on the day after [the war] will be totally different.” While an official with Netanyahu’s office subsequently told the Associated Press that “contrary to false allegations, Israel does not seek to displace the population in Gaza,” instead merely looking to “enable those individuals who wish to leave to do so,” a government document leaked in November called for the mass relocation of all 2.3 million of the territory’s residents to Egypt’s Sinai peninsula – a plan that has alarmed Palestinians and Egyptians alike.

The US State Department has repeatedly called for Gaza to be run by the Palestinian Authority, which currently administers the West Bank and ran Gaza prior to Hamas’ 2007 election victory, as a prelude to full Palestinian statehood. Israel has openly opposed a two-state solution. At least 1.8 million of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants have been displaced since Israel began bombing the territory following Hamas’ October 7 cross-border attack, which left 1,200 Israelis dead. Many residential neighborhoods have been completely flattened, with vital civilian infrastructure such as the hospital system virtually destroyed. Over 21,800 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli bombs since the start of the war, according to the enclave’s health ministry, with upwards of 56,000 more seriously injured. Thousands more are reportedly missing beneath the rubble.

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“That’s a lesson they learned from Covid — putting a name and a face on globalism only foments collective resistance to it.”

2024: The Year Global Government Takes Shape (Kit Knightly)

Global government is the endgame. We know that. Total control of every aspect of life for every single person on the planet, that’s the goal. That’s been apparent to anyone paying attention for years, if not decades, and any tiny portion of remaining doubt was removed when Covid was rolled-out and members of the establishment started outright saying it. Covid marked an acceleration of the globalist agenda, a mad dash to the finish line that seems to have lost momentum short of victory, but the race is still going. The goal has not changed, even if the years since may have seen the agenda retreat slightly back into the shadows. We know what they want conceptually, but what does that mean practically? What does a potential “global government” actually look like?

First off, let’s talk about what we’re NOT going to see. 1 – They are not going to declare themselves. No, there will almost certainly never be an official “world government”, at least not for a long time yet. That’s a lesson they learned from Covid — putting a name and a face on globalism only foments collective resistance to it. 2 – They’re not going to abolish nationhood. You can be sure Klaus Schwab (or whoever) isn’t ever going to appear simulcast on every television in the world announcing that we’re all citizens of ze vurld now and that nation states no longer exist. In part because that is likely to focus resistance (see point 1), but mainly because tribalism and nationalism are just too useful to all would-be manipulators of public opinion. And, of course the continuing existence of nation states in no way precludes the existence of a supra-national control system, any more than the existence of Rhode Island, Florida or Texas precludes the existence of the Federal government.

3 – There will never be an overt declaration of a change of system. We will not be told we are united under a new model, instead the illusion of regionality & superficial variance will camouflage a lack of real choice across the political landscape. A thin polysystemic skin stretched tight over a monosystemic skeleton. Capitalism, communism, socialism, democracy, tyranny, monarchy…these words will steadily dilute in meaning, even more than they have already, but they will never be abandoned. What globalism will bring us – I suggest – is a collection of nation-states largely in name only, operating superficially different systems of government all built on the same underpinning assumptions and all answering to an unelected and undeclared higher authority. …and if that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s essentially what we have already.

The only major aspects missing are the mechanisms by which this rough model can be transformed into a flowing network, where all corners are eroded and all genuine sovereign powers become entirely vestigial. That’s where the three main pillars of global rule come in:
1/ Digital Money
2/ Digital ID
3/ “Climate Action”

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“..the pace of AI development, rising mortality among young people after mass vaccination against Covid-19, record-breaking illegal immigration to the US, and anti-white rhetoric from South African presidential hopeful Julius Malema.”

2024 Is Going To Be ‘Even More Crazy’ – Elon Musk (RT)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has predicted that 2024 will be “even more crazy” than the preceding four years. Musk was responding to a follower wishing for “a normal year.” “Can we just have a normal year in 2024?” an anonymous pundit known as ‘Wall Street Silver’ tweeted on New Year’s Eve. “Don’t we deserve that after four years of crazy?” “2024 is gonna be even more crazy is my prediction,” Musk responded on Monday. Musk did not predict any “crazy” events that may happen, but in a series of follow-up tweets, the billionaire drew attention to the pace of AI development, rising mortality among young people after mass vaccination against Covid-19, record-breaking illegal immigration to the US, and anti-white rhetoric from South African presidential hopeful Julius Malema.

During 2023, Musk repeatedly warned that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could spiral into a nuclear war between Russia and the US. The billionaire had been providing Ukraine with free access to SpaceX’ Starlink internet service, but has refused to enable the service in the vicinity of Crimea, for fear that Kiev would use Starlink to guide drones to Russian warships. This would have made his company “explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation,” he explained in September.

Hundreds of comments under Musk’s post suggested that much of this year’s “craziness” will be centered around the 2024 presidential election in the US. Musk has not backed a candidate in the race, but told an audience in November that he would “not vote for [President Joe] Biden.” Musk, who previously expressed support for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and described Vivek Ramaswamy as a “promising candidate,” added that his refusal to support Biden would not automatically translate into a vote for presumptive Republican contender Donald Trump.

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“..the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Corruption, Chaos, Conflict – Fourth Turning Erupts In 2024 (Quinn)

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” – Thomas Paine – The American Crisis

Thomas Paine wrote these words 247 years ago, in the most historic year in our history – 1776. That was during the first American Fourth Turning. It’s not a coincidence we are now in the midst of our fourth Crisis period in U.S. history, as they arrive like clockwork every 80 years or so, the length of a long human life. Paine’s American Crisis began in 1773, ignited by the Boston Tea Party and the British reaction to this revolutionary act of defiance. Our current Millennial Crisis was triggered by the Federal Reserve/Wall Street/Government created financial disaster in 2008 and subsequent outrageously desperate, totalitarian, un-Constitutional, extreme acts designed to keep the ruling class in power, while impoverishing and enslaving the masses in a surveillance state techno-gulag.

The polarization and fractures have become too deep to repair. The country, and the western world in general, are hurtling towards a darkening abyss of civil conflict, financial collapse, global war, societal chaos, and loss of life on a scale grander than WW2, the Civil War, and the American Revolution combined. Our technological advancements have outstripped our ability to intelligently, thoughtfully, and humanly, use this power for the benefit of future generations. The destructive deficiencies of human nature, such as: greed, desire for power, hatred, arrogance, resentment, and an unlimited supply of self-delusion, continue to plague our world, as only the most power-hungry psychopaths rise to the highest levels of government, business, religion, and finance.

The immense technological power in the hands of egocentric, megalomaniacal, sadistic, billionaires and their highly paid toadies, lackeys, and apparatchiks, inserted throughout the media, government, academia, banking, and corporations, has pushed the world to the brink of Armageddon. We are entering the sixteenth year of this Fourth Turning. Based on history, we can expect a climax of this Crisis in the 2030-to-2032-timeframe. The path to that climax is guaranteed to be violent and unforgiving.

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“The decline of the dollar is a long-term trend and phenomenon and we are only at the early inception phases of this process..”

Dollar’s Dip in 2023 Just the Start as BRICS Strives for Dedollarization (Sp.)

The dollar suffered a 2.7 percent decline against other major global currencies in 2023, battered by anticipation among speculators of a shift in Fed policy to cut interest rates and weaken global interest in dollar-denominated investments and debt as the US economy slows. The drop in the dollar’s value, the biggest of its kind since 2020, when the greenback declined 5.5 percent as Washington pumped trillions of new dollars into the economy, now comes amid the ongoing tectonic transformations in the contours of the global economy as the US attempts to use its currency as a means of economic pressure against geopolitical rivals.

The West’s economic war against Russia, waged via sanctions and trade restrictions, sparked realization even among many of the US’s traditional allies that their economic relationships and financial well-being were inextricably linked to American goodwill which could disappear at any moment. This realization helped motivate half a dozen countries to join the BRICS bloc last year (Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Argentina), and prompted BRICS+ and other countries to accelerate a search for safe alternatives to the de facto global reserve currency. “The decline of the dollar is a long-term trend and phenomenon and we are only at the early inception phases of this process,” Ashraf Patel, a research associate with the Institute for Global Dialogue, a Pretoria, South Africa-based think tank, told Sputnik.

“The expansion of BRICS and the multi-currency order and move towards a ‘BRICS currency’ is certainly one core factor as the world trade [and] economic investment patterns are diversifying,” Patel said, referring to the currency concept discussed extensively ahead of the BRICS summit in South Africa, and floated again ahead of the upcoming summit in Kazan, Russia later this year. Whether through another nation’s currency or in the form of a new BRICS monetary unit, the prospective benefits of a stable alternative to the dollar as the hegemon of world trade for Global South countries cannot be overstated, the researcher says.

Still, “advocates for dedollarization would need to show value such as cheaper trade costs and less volatility,” Patel stressed. “Dedollarization would of course mean less space for the US to use and abuse currencies of nations for political objectives, as has been their standard policy practice for decades,” he added, characterizing the process, which he estimates been underway since the global financial crisis of 2009, as one of “economic common sense” for other countries. “Lessons from when the Gold Standard was ended in the 1970s is instructive and can provide insights on the pace and velocity of such a process, but the gates of dedollarization have now opened and generally a new global financial-economic and trade diversification is the new norm,” Patel said.

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Surreal.

US Debt Hits A Record $34.001 Trillion (ZH)

The US Treasury has a morbid habit of revealing big, round numbers of debt around major calendar milestones, and the new 2024 year was no different because according to the latest Treasury Daily Statement published after the close today and reflecting the US Treasury’s financial statements as of Dec 29, 2023, total US debt as of the end of the year was – drumroll – just over $34 trillion for the first time ever, or $34,001,493,655,565.48 to be precise. Since this is a topic we have covered more or less daily for our 15 year existence, we don’t need to say much suffice to show a chart of total US debt since zerohedge launched in Jan 2009, when total US debt was only $10.6 trillion. We sure have gone a long way since then.

Some context: US debt increased by…
$1 trillion in the past 3 months
$2 trillion in the past 6 months
$4 trillion in the past 2 years
$11 trillion in the past 4 years
… and so on. You get the exponential picture. At this point everyone knows how this ends – certainly the CBO does… but since there is no way to reverse the catastrophic outcome, there is no point in even talking about it. At best, one may only prepare for the inevitable hyperinflationary outcome, which would be good news to what is now over $1 trillion in interest expense: after all, someone has to devalue the currency all that interest is payable in.

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Dog bus

 

 

Jelly

 

 

Chirps
https://twitter.com/i/status/1742275062579806658

 

 

Eclipse
https://twitter.com/i/status/1742119762405032261

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 132023
 
 December 13, 2023  Posted by at 9:47 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  50 Responses »


Edward Hopper Chop Suey 1929

 

Netanyahu: Israel Received Full US Support for Gaza Ground Operation (Sp.)
Israel Losing Support Over ‘Indiscriminate Bombing’ – Biden (RT)
BRICS and the Resistance Axis (Pepe Escobar)
Germany’s Blind Support For Israel In Gaza (Cradle)
US Rapidly Coming To End Of Its Ability To Help Ukraine – Biden (TASS)
Ukraine, US ‘Digging’ for New Strategy as Time and Money Run Out (Sp.)
Ukraine on Brink of Coup as Zelensky Begs US for More Money (Sp.)
Biden Pledges $200 Million For Ukraine After Zelensky Meeting (RT)
Zelensky’s Visit ‘Disgraceful’ – Senator JD Vance (RT)
Ukrainian General Reveals Discord Among Frontline Troops (RT)
The Pentagon Is A Multitrillion-Dollar Fraud (Scott Ritter)
BRICS Candidate Ethiopia Likely To Default – Reuters (RT)
Tucker Carlson: 2024 Presidential Election Is Being Rigged (Kanekoa)
Tucker Carlson Says Does Not Think He Would Be Good Pick for Trump’s VP (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Optimus

 

 

 

 

80 years ago was WW2

80 years before that was the Civil War

80 years before that was the Revolution.

 

 

 

 

“..and containment of international pressure aimed at ending the war..”

Netanyahu: Israel Received Full US Support for Gaza Ground Operation (Sp.)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the country received full US support for a ground operation in the Gaza Strip. “I really appreciate the US support for the destruction of Hamas and the return of our hostages. After intensive discussions with President [of the United States Joe] Biden and his people, we received full support for a ground entry [into the Gaza Strip] and containment of international pressure aimed at ending the war. Yes, there are disputes about the ‘day after Hamas,’ and I hope that we will come to an agreement here,” Netanyahu said in a video address posted on X (formerly known as Twitter). “I want to make my position clear — I will not allow Israel to repeat the mistake of Oslo. I will not allow that, after the enormous sacrifices among our citizens and soldiers, we allow those in the Gaza Strip who support terrorism, finance terrorism. Gaza will be neither Hamastan nor Fatahastan,” the PM added.

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Hmmm. Where do they get the bombs?

Israel Losing Support Over ‘Indiscriminate Bombing’ – Biden (RT)

US President Joe Biden warned that Israel risks losing international support if it continues its “indiscriminate” bombing campaign in Gaza at a campaign fundraiser in Washington, DC on Tuesday, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “change his government.” Biden offered some of his harshest criticisms of Israel to date, suggesting that its war against Hamas risked a loss of support among Washington’s allies. All of the other UN Security Council members except the UK (which abstained) had attempted to issue a resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza last week, which was vetoed by Washington. “Israel’s security can rest on the United States, but right now it has more than the United States. It has the European Union, it has Europe, it has most of the world… But they’re starting to lose that support by indiscriminate bombing that takes place,” Biden said.

He went on to cite a private discussion with Netanyahu in which Israel’s prime minister likened the Gaza conflict to the Second World War and observed that “a lot of civilians died” in Allied bombing raids. However, Biden said he rejected that comparison and told Netanyahu that “all these institutions were set up after World War II to see to it that it didn’t happen again.” Calling Netanyahu’s administration “the most conservative government in Israel’s history,” Biden said the prime minister must “change his government,” without elaborating, only adding that it had made long-term solutions “very difficult.” “We have an opportunity to begin to unite the region… and they still want to do it. But we have to make sure that [Netanyahu] understands that he’s got to make some moves… You cannot say no Palestinian state,” the president continued.

Although Israel has accepted the creation of a Palestinian state in principle in past negotiations, Netanyahu has long opposed the move. In a statement earlier on Tuesday, he insisted that he would never “repeat the mistake of Oslo,” referring to a 1993 peace deal which created a roadmap for a Palestinian state. Despite Biden’s more critical comments to donors, elsewhere he has continued to voice staunch support for Israel’s military operation. During a White House event to mark the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah on Monday, he told attendees “I am a Zionist” while reiterating Washington’s “unshakable” commitment to Israel’s security.

The president continues to urge lawmakers to approve a spending package which includes $14.3 billion in military aid for Israel, and recently bypassed a congressional review to fast-track the sale of $106.5 million in tank shells to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Israel began its assault on Gaza following a surprise attack by Hamas on October 7, which claimed the lives of some 1,200 Israelis and saw more than 240 people taken hostage. In retaliation, the IDF has pounded the Palestinian enclave with heavy airstrikes and launched a major ground invasion, killing more than 18,400 people so far, according to local officials.

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“..rumors that it needs Israel to finish Plan Gaza between Christmas and the start of January..”

BRICS and the Resistance Axis (Pepe Escobar)

At first, there were reasons to suspect that the bland condemnation of the genocide in Gaza by the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was a sign of cowardice. Yet a renewed appraisal may reveal everything is evolving organically when it comes to the intersection of the Big Picture designed by the late Iranian Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani with the meticulous micro-planning by Gaza’s Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who knows the Israeli mentality inside out and considered in detail its devastating military response. Arguably, the most incandescent focus of detailed discussions in Moscow these past few days is that we may be approaching the point where “a signal” will unleash a concerted Axis of Resistance response.

For the moment, what we have are sporadic attacks: Hezbollah destroying Israel’s communication towers facing the southern Lebanon border, Iraq’s resistance forces attacking US bases in Iraq and Syria, and Yemen’s Ansarallah concretely blocking the Red Sea for Israeli ships. All that does not form a concerted, coordinated offensive – yet. And that would explain the desperation within the Biden administration in Washington, complete with rumors that it needs Israel to finish Plan Gaza between Christmas and the start of January. Not only have the global optics of the Gaza assault become horrifyingly unsustainable, but most of all, a lengthier military campaign dramatically raises the likelihood of a “signal” to the Axis of Resistance.

And that will result in the end of all the Hegemon’s elaborate plans for West Asia. The geopolitical goals of Zionism are quite clear: re-establish its self-constructed aura of dominance in West Asia and maintain steady control over US foreign policy and the military alliance. Depravity is a key component for accomplishing these goals. It’s so easy to bomb, shell, and burn ultra-soft civilian targets, including thousands of women and children, turning Gaza into a vast cemetery, while the White Man’s Burden Club urges Israeli occupation forces to kill them, of course, but more silently.

Cue to toxic Atlanticist and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen offering bribes, in person, to Egypt’s and Jordan’s leaders – $10 billion to Cairo and $5 billion to Amman – as confirmed with Brussels diplomats. That’s the mind-numbing EU solution to stopping the Gaza genocide. All Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah bin al-Hussein would need to do is to “facilitate” the forced exodus and Final Ethnic Cleansing of Gaza to their respective territories. Because the eschatological goal of Zionism remains an undiluted Final Solution, whatever happens in the battleground. And, of course, as the 7 October Hamas-led Al-Aqsa Flood operation suggests, to destroy Jerusalem’s Islamic Al-Aqsa Mosque and build a Jewish Third Temple on top of its ashes.

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“Nazi Germany [..] is documented to have killed 10,547,000 ethnic Slavics compared to 5,291,000 Jews..”

Germany’s Blind Support For Israel In Gaza (Cradle)

Since the 7 October Al-Aqsa Flood operation tore to shreds Israel’s security delusion, the west has rallied staunchly behind Tel Aviv, offering unwavering support across political, military, media, intelligence, and other domains. Amid this display of western unity, Germany has distinguished itself, standing prominently at the forefront of the EU as a fervent advocate for Israel and a solid opponent of any form of assistance to Palestinians, even the children among them. This, despite that the Israeli army has killed over 10,000 infants and children in Gaza since the start of its air and ground assault two months ago. Less than a week after Al-Aqsa Flood, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz offered up military aid toward Israel’s Gaza campaign, saying: “At this moment, there is only one place for Germany — the place at Israel’s side … Our own history, our responsibility arising from the Holocaust, makes it a perpetual task for us to stand up for the security of the State of Israel.”

According to Scholz and his ilk, Germany must constantly redeem itself by shielding the Jewish generations that followed World War II. But then why does Berlin not feel a similar obligation to protect the non-Jewish Slavic civilians, whose numbers killed by Nazi Germany equal those of the Jewish victims? The German “guilt complex” has manifested itself through annual payments exceeding $1 billion since the end of WWII in 1945. These reparations, totaling approximately $86.8 billion to Israel between 1945 and 2018, were recently extended until 2027. While these funds are ostensibly meant to compensate Jews for the horrors inflicted by Nazi Germany, a closer examination of the historical figures raises doubts about the coherence of the German narrative.

The enormous death toll of 17 million people at the hands of Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945 includes 6 million Jews and 5.7 million Soviet civilians. Yet other sources claim that the number of ethnic Slavic deaths far surpasses that of Jews. Shockingly, Nazi Germany, driven by radical ideological policies, is documented to have killed 10,547,000 ethnic Slavics compared to 5,291,000 Jews. If we look closer, we find that the majority of the Slav civilians killed were from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, predominantly from Orthodox Christian backgrounds. Why, then, are they not receiving reparation payments out of a similar sense of German guilt, which weighs on the conscience of Germany’s leaders? This, in turn, raises questions about the true motivations behind supporting and financially aiding Israel – whether it is a principled stance as Berlin outwardly promotes, or merely a political maneuver.

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“Putin is banking on the United States failing to deliver for Ukraine,” he said. “We must prove him wrong.”

US Rapidly Coming To End Of Its Ability To Help Ukraine – Biden (TASS)

The US administration is about to exhaust its ability to help Ukraine unless the US Congress approves additional funding, US President Joe Biden said.”But without supplemental funding we are rapidly coming to an end of our ability to help Ukraine respond urgent operational demands that it has,” he said at a joint news conference after talks with his visiting Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky. The United States “will continue to supply Ukraine with critical weapons and equipment as long as we can,” he pledged, adding that earlier on Tuesday he approved $200 million-worth military assistance to Kiev, which included “critically needed equipment” such as air defense interceptors, artillery, and ammunition.

“Putin is banking on the United States failing to deliver for Ukraine,” he said. “We must prove him wrong.” The White House submitted to Congress in October a supplemental finding request for the 2024 fiscal year, which began in the US on October 1, primarily to help Israel and Ukraine, but also to contain China and Russia in the Asia Pacific regiion. In total, the executive branch, led by Democrat Biden, would like to have about $106 billion for these purposes.

The future of the request and alternative bills remains unclear. Several Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate have recently spoken out against continued financial aid to Kiev. House Speaker Mike Johnson repeatedly said that he intends to condition the provision of further aid to Ukraine to the tightening of the control over the US’ southern border. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell spoke in a similar way. On December 6, the bill on another large batch of aid to Ukraine and Israel, as well as on countering Russia and China in the Asia Pacific, failed a procedural vote in the Senate, despite Biden’s special address to the Congress, in which he called on the lawmakers to approve the spending before they break for the holiday recess.

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“..military officials are devising a new strategy to “create enough of a credible threat” forcing Moscow into “meaningful negotiations” at the end of 2024 or in 2025..”

Ukraine, US ‘Digging’ for New Strategy as Time and Money Run Out (Sp.)

With Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s arrival in Washington to plead for more aid, the US media is seemingly trying to assure their readers that not all is lost for the Kiev regime on the battlefield. The New York Times has hinted that American and Ukrainian military officials are devising a new strategy to “create enough of a credible threat” forcing Moscow into “meaningful negotiations” at the end of 2024 or in 2025. However, the two parties have yet to agree on the specific details that this strategy would entail. When evaluating the outcome of the failed Ukrainian counteroffensive, the newspaper pinned the blame on Kiev. It pointed out that the Ukrainians had divided up their forces between the eastern and southern fronts, rather than concentrating on retaking the southeastern coastline.

However, the media stated that the failure cannot solely be attributed to Ukraine not adhering to NATO’s strategic plan. The newspaper also recognized that American and Ukrainian strategists “did not initially realize” to what extent the Russians were strengthening their defenses. “Ukrainian troops training in Germany practiced breaking through defenses far less strong than what they would eventually face,” the report noted. Furthermore, Russia has demonstrated its expertise in employing diverse drone technologies and has effectively monitored the contact line, preventing Ukrainian forces from breaching its defenses. By the conclusion of 2023, Russia has bolstered its military presence, beefed up its arsenal, and obtained a significant advantage in terms of firepower, according to the report.

The only silver lining, in the eyes of the West, were Kiev’s missile attacks on Crimean infrastructure. However, even these actions failed to alter the overall power dynamics on the battlefield. Currently, the US military is urging their Ukrainian counterparts to embrace a strategy known as “hold and build.” This tactic entails reinforcing Ukraine’s military industrial capacity by digging in and making substantial improvements throughout 2024. Washington believes that this would “improve Ukraine self-sufficiency” and help it “repel any new drive” from Russia. The goal described by the media appears to be far more modest than what was declared by the West and Kiev before the Ukrainian counteroffensive disaster. Likewise, Washington’s funding for the effort would be more modest, too, the newspaper noted. Having forked out over $111 billion to Ukraine over the 21 months of the conflict, US lawmakers want to see “a new strategy” before they vote for any additional funds.

Furthermore, Ukrainian generals and senior civilian officials have “unrealistic expectations” about Washington’s capabilities, since the US simply does not have that amount of weapons that Kiev wants to be supplied with, according to the media. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has decided to dispatch Lt. Gen. Antonio A. Aguto Jr. on the ground “to work more directly” with the Ukrainian military leadership and bolster coordination with Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, the top American commander in Europe. International observers are taking the rhetoric coming from Ukrainian and American officials about a new “long-term” strategy of digging in or boosting Ukraine’s industrial capacity, with a grain of salt. Speaking to Sputnik on December 1, Russian military expert Ivan Konovalov wondered as to who would pay for Kiev’s plan to build new defenses along the contact line.

According to some estimates, Ukraine would have to strengthen at least 2,800 km (1,700 miles) to create a defense line. It would take at least eight to nine months to accomplish this feat, while its cost would be around $10 billion, per Russian military observers’ estimates. Given that Kiev is almost out of money and Republican lawmakers are hesitant to greenlight a new multi-billion package for Ukraine, the situation is hanging in the balance.

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“Ukraine (like the West, having broken all agreements with Russia) has nothing with which to negotiate.”

Ukraine on Brink of Coup as Zelensky Begs US for More Money (Sp.)

Nearly two years since the escalation of the Ukrainian conflict in February 2022, the regime in Kiev finds itself dependent on financial and military assistance from its Western sponsors. With Ukraine’s economy in tatters, the country’s leadership now struggles to find the money it desperately needs amid the ongoing conflict with Russia, as political powers in the United States and the EU become increasingly reluctant to waste their money on Kiev’s military escapades. Earlier, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Washington DC to plead before the US Congress for more military and financial help, essentially trying to convince the US legislators that spending another few tens of billions of dollars on satisfying Kiev’s war effort is a good idea.

While the fate of the next US package to Ukraine currently hangs in the balance amid the congressional debates between Democrats and Republicans, renowned political commentator and binary economist Prof. Rodney Shakespeare has suggested that “elements in the USA’s political structure” apparently hope to convince Ukraine to sue for peace by delaying this funding. Shakespeare, however, did not seem to think highly of this tactic, arguing that “Ukraine (like the West, having broken all agreements with Russia) has nothing with which to negotiate.” “Ukraine does not understand this and neither does the West. At present, both Ukraine and the West think that there is some sort of military stalemate. But there is NO stalemate – only the continuing and disastrous loss of Ukraine’s manhood (and now, apparently, even its pregnant womanhood),” he said, apparently referring to Kiev’s recent efforts to press-gang women into military service.

As the reality of the “disastrous situation” Ukraine currently finds itself in becomes apparent, “a coup in Kiev is becoming likely,” Shakespeare remarked. He added that the recent death of a top Ukrainian military officer who was killed by a grenade explosion while celebrating his birthday, as well as the poisoning of Ukraine’s spy chief’s wife, “all point in the same direction.” “Ukraine will stagger on for a little while but a coup and recognition of the disastrous military situation are likely to make irrelevant the terms for allocating (or not) new funds and make much more relevant the overall outcome of the war,” he said. Shakespeare also pointed out that in its current state, Ukraine “will soon collapse” if the flow of money from Kiev’s foreign sponsors were to cease.

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$200 million instead of $60 billion. “The latest $200 million in aid announced by Biden will come from the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA)..”

Biden Pledges $200 Million For Ukraine After Zelensky Meeting (RT)

US President Joe Biden has promised another $200 million in emergency military aid for Ukraine. He made the pledge during an Oval Office meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on Tuesday. The meeting comes after a bill intended to provide $60 billion in aid for Kiev was blocked in the US Senate last week, as Republicans demanded tougher immigration control on the southern US border in exchange for approving Ukraine assistance. Speaking to reporters after the Tuesday meeting, Biden insisted that Congress “pass the supplemental funding for Ukraine” before breaking for recess, adding that failure to do so would be “the greatest Christmas gift” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The decisions we make now are going to determine the future for decades to come, particularly in Europe,” Biden said. The latest $200 million in aid announced by Biden will come from the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which allows the Biden administration to transfer weapons from US stocks without congressional approval in the event of an emergency. The package will include ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), high-speed anti-radiation missiles, anti-armor systems, artillery rounds, missiles, demolition munitions, 4 million rounds of small arms ammunition, generators and other equipment and spare parts, the Associated Press reported, citing US officials.

Earlier in the day, Zelensky met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to plead for more aid amid Kiev’s ongoing conflict with Russia. The Ukrainian leader met with House Speaker Mike Johnson, as well as a number of other senators. Posting on X (formerly Twitter), Zelensky said he’d had a “friendly and candid conversation” with senate leaders. Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday, however, that it would be “practically impossible” for Congress to pass the supplemental funding package, which includes the stalled $60 billion for Kiev, before Christmas, saying it needed to be done as part of a broader package that includes changes to border security policy.

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“..if you want to secure your border first, you are actually a Putin puppet: He said this publicly today..”

Zelensky’s Visit ‘Disgraceful’ – Senator JD Vance (RT)

The visit by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to the US is an attempt to pressure Americans to give up their fight for border security and allow more funding for Kiev instead, Republican Senator James David Vance said on Tuesday. On Monday, Zelensky arrived in Washington, where he was scheduled to meet with US President Joe Biden, who is struggling to secure congressional approval for the new multibillion-dollar aid pledged to Kiev. Speaking to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, the Ohio senator called Zelensky’s move to seek more funding “utterly disgraceful.” Vance added that the Ukrainian president is coming to the US “lecturing” Americans and “demanding” more of their taxpayer dollars.

He said Zelensky’s visit will end with an “undignified process” in which the Ukrainian leader will demand that US lawmakers sign off on further funding or be labeled “puppets” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. After arriving in Washington, the Ukrainian leader gave an address at the National Defense University of the US, claiming that the delays and scandals related to “unresolved issues on Capitol Hill” are inspiring the Kremlin. Commenting on this, Vance said that “if you want to secure your border first, you are actually a Putin puppet: He said this publicly today,” and added that he found it “disgraceful” and “grotesque.” Last week, a bill that was supposed to provide more than $110 billion for overseas security, including more than $60 billion for Kiev, was blocked in the Senate.

It came as Republicans demanded tougher immigration controls on the southern US border. On Tuesday, Zelensky was scheduled to meet with US President Joe Biden to discuss “the continuation of defense cooperation” between the states and their coordination of efforts in the coming year, according to his office. This all comes amid Ukraine’s six-month counteroffensive against Russia, which has failed to yield any significant results. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, since the beginning of June, Kiev’s troops have lost more than 125,000 military personnel and 6,000 pieces of heavy equipment.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that as Ukrainian leaders plead for more military aid from Western allies, draft-eligible men are trying to flee the country at a time when they are needed “more than bullets.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday reiterated that Moscow would prefer to achieve its goals in the Ukrainian conflict politically and diplomatically, noting that Russia is “still ready for negotiations.” He added that the possibility of reaching agreements has been disrupted by Kiev. Last October, Zelensky signed an official decree banning any negotiations with Russia under President Vladimir Putin.

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“There are not cemeteries, but entire burial fields. People on the frontline take such things to heart and they do not accept shades of gray..”

Ukrainian General Reveals Discord Among Frontline Troops (RT)

Ukrainian frontline troops are disgruntled with the way Kiev is handling the ongoing conflict with Russia, including the gaslighting it engages in via the national media, retired Gen. Sergey Krivonos warned on Monday. Soldiers wonder why they must shed blood on behalf of an uncaring government, he claimed. Krivonos is a critic of President Vladimir Zelensky, who sacked him from the National Security and Defense Council in late 2020 for allegedly not being a team player. The commander, who has since left the military, allegedly under pressure, blasted what he perceives to be a disconnect between the government and the military. He was interviewed by Priamyi, a TV channel that currently broadcasts only online that is historically associated with the country’s former president Pyotr Poroshenko.

The general said Kiev was “teasing the tiger” with its treatment of troops, who, he warned “may act quite harshly” in response. “There are not cemeteries, but entire burial fields. People on the frontline take such things to heart and they do not accept shades of gray. For them, there is either black or white,” he said. The Russian Defense Ministry has estimated Ukrainian losses between June and November at over 125,000 troops. Kiev does not report its casualties, but Western media say that they must be steep, judging by the rapidly expanding graveyards and other circumstantial evidence. Kiev is running out of career military and is struggling to conscript soldiers, since civilians “are less than eager to fight for a military and national government that is viewed as rife with corruption and incompetence,” the Washington Post reported last week.

Krivonos cited a recent announcement by the Ukrainian state-owned railway operator that seasonal trains would be on offer for people visiting ski resorts as an example of what irritates troops. He believes the country needs to go into total war mode and accused Zelensky of failing to do so due for fear of losing popularity. The Zelensky government has contributed to the problem by using the state-controlled “television marathon” – the only programming on the air – to gaslight the public, the general said. He called the content “one of the worst manipulations” of the Ukrainian people. Another problem is tolerance of graft, he alleged. People who empty their pockets buying overpriced eggs should not get farewell applause from MPs and disappear into the night, he said in a clear nod to Aleksey Reznikov. The former defense minister was sacked in September, months after a scandal erupted over the procurement of overpriced food for troops by his department. ‘Reznikov’s eggs’ reports became the subject of gallows humor in Ukrainian trenches.

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“..the US defense establishment increasingly physically resembles the numbers on the ledgers the accountants have been trying to balance – it just doesn’t add up.”

The Pentagon Is A Multitrillion-Dollar Fraud (Scott Ritter)

Recently, the Pentagon admitted it couldn’t account for trillions of dollars of US taxpayer money, having failed a massive yearly audit for the sixth year running. The process consisted of the 29 sub-audits of the DoD’s various services, and only seven passed this year – no improvement over the last. These audits only began taking place in 2017, meaning that the Pentagon has never successfully passed one. This year’s failure made some headlines, was commented upon briefly by the mainstream media, and then just as quickly forgotten by an American society accustomed to pouring money down the black hole of defense spending. The defense budget of the United States is grotesquely large, its $877 billion dwarfing the $849 billion spent by the next ten nations with the largest defense expenditures.

And yet, the Pentagon cannot fully account for the $3.8 trillion in assets and $4 trillion in liabilities it has accrued at US taxpayer expense, ostensibly in defense of the United States and its allies. As the Biden administration seeks $886 billion for next year’s defense budget (and Congress seems prepared to add an additional $80 billion to that amount), the apparent indifference of the American collective – government, media, and public – to how nearly $1 trillion in taxpayer dollars will be spent speaks volumes about the overall bankrupt nature of the American establishment. Audits, however, are an accountant’s trick, a series of numbers on a ledger which, for the average person, do not equate to reality. Americans have grown accustomed to seeing big numbers when it comes to defense spending, and as a result, we likewise expect big things from our military.

But the fact is, the US defense establishment increasingly physically resembles the numbers on the ledgers the accountants have been trying to balance – it just doesn’t add up. Despite spending some $2.3 trillion on a two-decade military misadventure in Afghanistan, the American people witnessed the ignominious retreat from that nation live on TV in August 2021. Likewise, a $758 billion investment in the 2003 invasion and subsequent decade-long occupation of Iraq went south when the US was compelled to withdraw in 2011– only to return in 2014 for another decade of chasing down ISIS, itself a manifestation of the failures of the original Iraqi venture. Overall, the US has spent more than $1.8 trillion on its 20-year nightmare in Iraq and Syria. These numbers are mind-numbingly large – so large that they become meaningless to the average person. The US defense enterprise is so massive that it is literally a mission impossible to speak of balancing the books.

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“Ethiopia will become a member of BRICS on Jan 1..”

BRICS Candidate Ethiopia Likely To Default – Reuters (RT)

Ethiopia will hold a call with its international bondholders later this week after the African nation failed to pay a $33 million bond coupon that was due on Monday, according to a senior finance ministry official, as quoted by Reuters. Last week, the finance ministry said the country’s efforts to renegotiate the bond terms before the deadline for the coupon payment had fallen through. The sides had reportedly disagreed over how long to extend the maturity and spread out repayments of its single $1 billion international bond maturing in December 2024 . After the grace period of 14 days expires, the East African nation is expected to become the latest emerging-market sovereign to default on its debt, unless Addis Ababa successfully restructures it in time.

Zambia, Ghana and Sri Lanka have defaulted on Eurobonds in recent years. Tunisia, Pakistan and Bolivia are also currently at risk, Bloomberg reported, citing bond market pricing. Ethiopia, which requested a debt overhaul under the G20 Common Framework in early 2021, had managed to service interest payments on its international bond until now. According to the statement issued by the Ethiopian finance ministry, the nation will seek a “broadly similar treatment” from bondholders. “It would be important to treat all our creditors equitably,” the ministry said. Meanwhile, State Minister of Fiscal Policy and Public Finance Eyob Tekalign Tolina told Reuters that the “authorities’ intention is to remain current on our obligations.”

According to Tolina, there will be a call with investors holding the international bond on Thursday. Ethiopia, which was severely hit by the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and a military conflict in its northern Tigray region, is currently struggling to pay its debts. The nation is also seeking a four-year loan from the International Monetary Fund. Ethiopia will become a member of BRICS on Jan 1. The invitation to join was approved in August and extended to Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The group currently consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

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X thread.

“..I’ve got a bunch of kids, and they have to live here…” “And I want them to live in a country with a functioning justice system and elections that are semi-real.”

Tucker Carlson: 2024 Presidential Election Is Being Rigged (Kanekoa)

.@TuckerCarlson talks about how the 2024 presidential election is being rigged by Biden’s bogus prosecution of Trump. “You are trying to take the front runner out of the race on bogus legal charges.” “You’re violating the rule of law. You’re mocking our sacred norms, and you’re doing it with the presidency at stake.” “To indict him on that at the same time that the sitting President did the same thing. And you’re expecting me to go along with it?” “The idea that you’re prosecuting a man with a felony charge for bringing home documents and not returning them to the national f**kin archives.”

“Are you serious? Is there a single high-level bureaucrat in Washington who doesn’t do that every single day?” “The second they indicted him on ridiculous charges and raided Mar-a-Lago and went through his wife’s underwear drawer and all of that s**t…” “That can’t stand because I have to live here and I’ve got a bunch of kids, and they have to live here…” “And I want them to live in a country with a functioning justice system and elections that are semi-real.” “And if we allow this to happen, none of that will come to pass.”

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“I know I can give good speeches. But there is much more to that. Would I be good at that? Probably not..”

Tucker Carlson Says Does Not Think He Would Be Good Pick for Trump’s VP (Sp.)

US media personality Tucker Carlson said Tuesday that he does not think he would be a good pick as the next US vice president if former US President Donald Trump wins the 2024 election. “I know I can give good speeches. But there is much more to that. Would I be good at that? Probably not,” Carlson said in a live broadcast on X Spaces, adding that he has never “done anything like that before.” As a main guest of the X Spaces conversation, Carlson also said he was concerned about the US judicial system, as it is trying to convict Trump to get rid of him from the presidential race. In mid-November, Trump said in an interview that he would consider picking Carlson as his running mate in the 2024 US presidential election because “he’s got great common sense.”

The US presidential election is scheduled for November 5, 2024. In a number of polls, Trump, who dominates the Republican primary race, maintains a narrow lead over incumbent US President Joe Biden. Trump was indicted by a grand jury in August on four charges connected to the January riot at the US Capitol. The former US president has pleaded not guilty. Trump’s trial is set to begin on March 4, 2024.

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First steps
https://twitter.com/i/status/1734644284526121079

 

 

Sand Tiger Shark
https://twitter.com/i/status/1734487380298715579

 

 

Gaboon Viper
https://twitter.com/i/status/1734502324536590734

 

 

Dogs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1734674483632542081

 

 

Xmas lights

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 192023
 
 September 19, 2023  Posted by at 8:35 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  56 Responses »


Paul Cézanne Les (Grandes) Baigneuses 1905

 

Boldly Into the Chaos (Kunstler)
How Biden Will Circle the Wagons (Hanson)
‘It Was My Decision’: Trump Defends 2020 Election Challenge (ET)
Trump to Skip Second GOP Debate, Address Detroit Auto Workers Instead (Sp.)
Hunter Biden Sues IRS for ‘Violating His Privacy’ (Sp.)
The Surgical Charging of Hunter Biden Ignores a Pattern of Concealment (Turley)
Hunter Biden Claims Whistleblowers Tried To ‘Target’ And ‘Embarrass’ Him (ZH)
European Elite’s Dream Of Power Crumbles (RMX)
Hungary, Poland and Slovakia Pull Out Of EU Grain Platform (RT)
Kiev Demands West Take Measures To Combat ‘War Fatigue’ (RT)
Clintons Look to Cash in on ‘Aid’ for Ukraine (Sp.)
US Sanctions War Is Good For Russian Shipping, Greeks Too (Helmer)
The BRICS Commodity Powerhouse: Can It Force a New Economic ‘Order’? (Crooke)
Biden Wants to Salvage US Hegemony by Reforming UN Security Council (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Trump NBC

 

 

RFK Brand

 

 

 

 

Stoltenberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Much as the deck is stacked against Mr. Trump, his enemies have stupidly stuffed that deck full of jokers that are liable to shriek and giggle their way out of court when turned face-up..”

Boldly Into the Chaos (Kunstler)

The Ukraine war caper has pretty clearly lost its appeal as a supposed crusade for “democracy.” The yellow and blue flags vanished from the front porches and car bumpers months ago. It was a lie from the get-go that we have any national interest in that sad sack country. Our own government engineered the fiasco, and from every angle it has been a dead loss for all parties on our side. Ukraine has been reduced to a failed state in-waiting; Euroland has sacrificed its industrial economy for nothing; and the USA has squandered its last bits of prestige among other nations in this ignominious game of Lets You and Him Fight. Also, Americans have begun to notice that the billions funneled into Mr. Zelensky’s cadre of neo-Nazis and kleptocrats is money that is not going to places like East Palestine, Ohio, Lahaina, Maui, and the towns along our tortured southern border from Matamoros to Tijuana.

Even the people who supposedly elected “Joe Biden” are becoming a little concerned about blundering into World War Three over the mess created by Victoria Nuland & Company. How did we come to the point that it is now illegal to question the veracity of elections in America? And to charge a former president of the US for doing it? Much as the deck is stacked against Mr. Trump, his enemies have stupidly stuffed that deck full of jokers that are liable to shriek and giggle their way out of court when turned face-up. Judge Tanya Chutkan of the DC District Court is one of the jokers, having already branded Mr. Trump a seditious insurrectionist in the trails of many J-6 demonstrators she sent to jail on longer sentences than the prosecutors even asked for.

DA Fani Willis of Fulton County, Ga, is another joker who constructed a career-ending booby-trap for herself, and DA Alvin Bragg of New York County (Manhattan) will not be the one laughing when he’s finally bum-rushed out of his law license. An interesting fate awaits “Joe Biden” in the months ahead as the revenue stream of the Biden family foreign consulting firm gets audited in a House impeachment Inquiry. And an interesting-er fate awaits the Party of Chaos when it finally has to admit that it doesn’t have a candidate for the 2024 presidential election — at least a candidate anyone has ever heard of. The “president” stands (shakily) bestride a dilemma. He can gracefully bow out of office and avoid the historic humiliation of being unmasked as the crookedest chief executive ever — but if he does that, he loses the ability to pardon the son he so loves in any upcoming indictments, or pardon himself as CEO of Biden Consulting Inc.

Or, just maybe, the Blob will steal into the White House residence some gloomy pre-dawn morn, and settle its quivering, gelatinous endoplasm over “JB’s” face until his struggles with Congress and everything else on this plane of existence come mercifully (for us) to their end.

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“House Republicans will have to break through the labyrinth of Biden paywalls and find how much money was rerouted into Biden coffers.”

How Biden Will Circle the Wagons (Hanson)

The strategies of saving the Biden presidency from an impeachment and a Senate trial despite overwhelming evidence of his corruption are starting to emerge. The Family is confronted with damning evidence from the laptop, from the testimonies of Hunter’s business associates Bobulinksi and Archer, from Ukrainian oligarchs and Viktor Shokin, from IRS whistleblowers, from FBI writs, from a likely pseudonymous Biden trove of 4,000 emails to his son and associates, and from the absolute paranoia of a White House that must constantly change its narrative of denials to adjust to a growing portrait of utter corruption, bribery, and perhaps even the treason of warping U.S. policy to fit Biden family interests.

One of their strategies is to deny, then hedge, then ignore, then grow silent—and repeat the wash/rinse/spin cycle of stonewalling as many times as necessary to evade the mounting truth. Insidiously Joe Biden has retreated from his once loud protestations that he supposedly had no idea of what Hunter and his associates were doing. Such a patently dishonest denial set the model that the President would have no compunction about lying to the American people until the evidence of his wrongdoing becomes overwhelming. But this first line of defense did not crumble for years—only to be replaced by a second line of denial: Biden may have known of Hunter’s shenanigans, but he had no business interests with him. That was another blatant untruth.

And that additional stalling also allowed Biden to ignore the closing walls of incrimination for even more months. When these two forward lines of defense collapsed, as the Biden consortium knew they eventually would, a retreat to a third line of defense followed: yes, Joe knew, after all, of Hunter’s miscreant shakedowns; and, yes, Joe, after all, conceded that from time to time he did meet Hunter’s business associates, and upon requests made phone calls to Hunter’s clientele. But he did not profit from such knowledge and associations. Instead an upright old Joe from Scranton was playing along with the “illusion” of influence peddling: Scranton naiveté is not D.C. criminality. Biden’s tripartite lines of defense always got shorter and shallower as evidence mounted. But so far Biden has managed to consume 31 months of his presidency through these strategic retreats.

His fourth and final line of defense will likely be that he was involved, that he had rather than feigned contact, but that he did nothing other than what scores of other high-ranking politicians do who rub shoulders with would-be miscreants, sycophants, and crooks—and so did not knowingly take “loans” and “gifts” that had strings attached. To breach this fourth defense line, House Republicans will have to break through the labyrinth of Biden paywalls and find how much money was rerouted into Biden coffers. And then they must additionally compare what came into the Biden hands with a) what the family reported on their respective income tax returns, and b) whether their various properties and lifestyles were remotely possible without such massive hidden income. And getting bank records from the Bidens will be near impossible.

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“I was asked to speak, and I was the President of the United States. I’m allowed to do that.”

‘It Was My Decision’: Trump Defends 2020 Election Challenge (ET)

Special counsel Jack Smith is now prosecuting the Washington case against President Trump, alleging conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and conspiracy against rights. They relate to Jan. 6 only in terms of his calls to delay the vote certification in Congress on that day. “First of all, I had very little to do with January 6th,” he said, referring to the Capitol breach. “I was asked to speak, and I was the President of the United States. I’m allowed to do that.” He said that “hundreds of thousands of people were there, and it was a beautiful, beautiful sight,” and that he spoke “peacefully and patriotically” at the event. He told Ms. Welker he had thought about going into the Capitol that day, but Secret Service advised him to go back to the White House.

“I wanted to go down peacefully and patriotically to the Capitol. Secret Service, who I have great respect for, said, ‘Sir, it’s better if you don’t do that. It could be unsafe,'” President Trump said. He clarified they didn’t mean they anticipated a riot, but because with such a large crowd, a single assailant would have significant cover. “So I didn’t have a dispute with them.” He further alleged that the breach happened because then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) turned down his offer of 10,000 additional National Guard. “She’s responsible for January 6th,” he alleged. “And the J6 Committee refused to interview her.” He noted that the treatment of those who were present was one reason he decided to run for reelection. “People that went [there], that didn’t even go into the building, have suffered gravely,” he said, pointing out that rioters in cities across the country calling to “defund the police” were not prosecuted in the same way.

The Department of Justice has thus far brought 1,100 cases against those who were present on Jan. 6, and efforts continue. “When you launched your campaign in March, you told the crowd, quote, ‘I am your retribution.’ What does that mean? What does that look like?” Ms. Welker asked President Trump. “I think retribution is talking in terms of I have to protect people,” he said. “What they’re doing to people is so horrible. They’re putting people in jail for long periods of time. Firemen, policemen, accountants, even lawyers. They’re in prisons for years now and don’t even have trials in some cases.” “I’m talking about fairness,” he said, adding he was open to pardoning those who were wrongly imprisoned, and dismissing rumors that he planned to fire or target his political opponents. “I’m looking to appoint an attorney general who’s going to be tough on crime and fair. Very simple.”

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The lion’s den?!

“Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers..”

Trump to Skip Second GOP Debate, Address Detroit Auto Workers Instead (Sp.)

Former US President Donald Trump is reportedly set to address current and former members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union in Detroit instead of participating in the upcoming Republican primary debate.An insider with the Trump reelection campaign relayed to US media that the former commander-in-chief is looking to speak with a crowd of current and former union members, as well as blue-collar workers in the plumbing and electrical industries. However, early reports of the speaking event have not been warmly accepted by the UAW union, whose president issued a statement noting Trump is part of the problem the agency is trying to combat. “Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,” UAW President Shawn Fain said told US media.

“We can’t keep electing billionaires and millionaires that don’t have any understanding what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to get by and expecting them to solve the problems of the working class.” Last week, some 13,000 workers from the auto industry initiated strikes following a call by the UAW. The strikes affected the so-called “Big Three” automakers in the United States – Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. The strikes commenced after negotiations failed to secure wage increases for workers by the deadline set for late Thursday night. Should Trump deliver on the speaking event, it would mark the second occasion in which he has decided to sidestep a Republican debate. The first instance took place in August and saw Trump participate in a pre-recorded interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that was released as the initial debate came underway. The second GOP debate is scheduled to take place on September 27 at the Reagan Library in California.

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“..the Biden camp argued that the indictment was politically motivated and “unconstitutional.”

Hunter Biden Sues IRS for ‘Violating His Privacy’ (Sp.)

Hunter Biden was indicted on September 14 on three charges related to his alleged false statements to purchase a firearm. The First Son faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Hunter Biden’s legal team filed a lawsuit against the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Monday. The suit alleges that the privacy of the president’s son was violated by the two whistleblowers who went before Congress to testify against him. It adds that agents “targeted and sought to embarrass” the First Son. The filing, according to media reports, names IRS Agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, accusing them of having “mishandled” certain aspects of the investigation into Hunter Biden. According to the lawsuit, the IRS “willfully, knowingly, and/or by gross negligence, unlawfully disclosed Mr. Biden’s confidential tax information.”

But that is not all. The younger Biden is seeking $1,000 in damages for “each and every unauthorized disclosure of his tax returns.” A US federal court released a three-count indictment against the president’s son, Hunter Biden, on September 14. Two of the charges are related to the fact that Hunter Biden lied about not using illegal drugs when completing a gun purchase form for a Colt Cobra revolver. The third charge relates to the actual possession of a weapon while using narcotics. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the charges, according to court documents. According to the state prosecutors’ line of inquiry, the crimes were committed by the US president’s son in October 2018. In response, the Biden camp argued that the indictment was politically motivated and “unconstitutional.” The indictment came just weeks after an earlier plea agreement on tax and gun charges tied to Hunter fell apart in July after the presiding judge raised concerns about the terms of the deal.

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”The obvious value in not claiming income is to avoid taxes. However, claiming income also highlights not just the receipt of these funds but their sources..”

The Surgical Charging of Hunter Biden Ignores a Pattern of Concealment (Turley)

Thus far, the Justice Department has surgically avoided charges that would implicate the president. This may simply be a coincidence, and correlation does not constitute causation. However, the other charges (including those that the Justice Department effectively killed by slow-walking its investigation) have an obvious potential connection: They all worked to help conceal the influence-peddling operation. None of this means that this unifying theory is true, but it cannot be ignored by anyone investigating this corruption scandal. First, there are the tax violations. While Hunter may be charged with some tax violations, the statute of limitations has now run out on the most controversial payments in the 2014 and 2015 period for foreign sources such as Ukraine’s Burisma.

The obvious value in not claiming income is to avoid taxes. However, claiming income also highlights not just the receipt of these funds but their sources. Likewise, falsely claiming income as a “loan” can keep the money off the books or make it less likely to trigger scrutiny on the source and purpose of payments. Second, there are the money transfers. The House has now detailed millions in transfers to Biden family members from a dizzyingly array of dozens of companies and accounts. The use of a complex labyrinth raises obvious concerns that it is a tactic used by individuals to conceal money transfers. Third, many of us have noted that there seems ample basis for charging Hunter Biden under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, particularly given previous charges against such defendants as Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.

Registering as a foreign agent obviously invites much greater scrutiny over foreign dealings and the specific nations involved in lobbying efforts. Again Hunter could still eventually face charges for avoiding taxes. But there is little evidence that the Justice Department has actively pursued these broader implications or motivations. For many, the marginalization of these charges raises troubling concerns, particularly in light of the failed sweetheart deal and the allegations from the whistleblower. Even if the tax charges are brought, the framing of the investigation has been on the income rather than the influence sought in these dealings.

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“..under a presumption that the rights that apply to every other American citizen do not apply to Mr. Biden..”

Hunter Biden Claims Whistleblowers Tried To ‘Target’ And ‘Embarrass’ Him (ZH)

Fresh off his felony indictment for gun charges, Hunter Biden is suing the IRS, alleging that agents have “targeted and sought to embarrass” him. Yes, the same Hunter who tried to deduct hookers from his tax return. And the same IRS that let him ‘call in’ for interviews (so he never did), and abruptly swapped out the team investigating him in May – leading to several whistleblowers coming forward to allege not just slow-walking the case, but a coverup involving (obviously) preferential treatment. So, on Monday morning, with Hunter in congressional crosshairs, Hunter’s lawyers filed a lawsuit Monday morning which cites two major examples in IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, who claimed that the agency mishandled aspects of the Biden investigation.

Biden’s lawyers allege that the IRS “willfully, knowingly, and/or by gross negligence, unlawfully disclosed Mr. Biden’s confidential tax information,” and have demanded $1,000 in damages for “each and every unauthorized disclosure of his tax returns,” Fox News reports. “Biden is the son of the President of the United States. He has all the same responsibilities as any other American citizen, and the IRS can and should make certain that he abides by those responsibilities,” reads the filing. “Similarly, Mr. Biden has no fewer or lesser rights than any other American citizen, and no government agency or government agent has free rein to violate his rights simply because of who he is.” “Yet the IRS and its agents have conducted themselves under a presumption that the rights that apply to every other American citizen do not apply to Mr. Biden,” the filing continues.

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How much longer can the EU exist?

European Elite’s Dream Of Power Crumbles (RMX)

For a long time, the major capitals of Western Europe dreamed their beautiful dream about how the EU, as a power, would become an increasingly important actor in building security policy after the end of the Cold War. In this dream, Great Britain was supposed to be the European anchor in transatlantic relations with America. Somewhere at the turn of the first and second decade of the 21st century, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel established a key division of labor between themselves. According to this, Paris was responsible for the security of the Mediterranean basin and West Africa, while Germany, due to its relations with Russia, was supposed to “take care” of the security of Eastern Europe and the Black Sea basin. However, recent years have shown the complete failure of these plans. One by one, elements of the beautiful dream of power fell apart.

Brexit ejected Great Britain from the orbit of European integration. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany’s Eastern policy collapsed. The disastrous intervention in Libya, followed by subsequent military coups in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, as well as the entrenchment of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group there, clearly indicate that French leadership in European security policy toward Africa has ended in complete disaster for the time being. One might think that all these events would be enough for the European elite to realize the need to abandon dreams and return to reality. However, the only reaction to the geopolitical crisis in Europe is the proposal to establish majority decisions in the area of the EU’s foreign and security policy, which de facto means accepting the dominance of Paris and Berlin.

The current situation, however, requires a fundamental change in Europe’s thinking and action. Some time ago, there was an idea circulating to create a European Security Council by EU countries. Perhaps it is worth returning to it, provided it would establish a mechanism based on the real military resources of states and their competencies in the field of international policy. The current way of thinking about Europe’s security policy is still, unfortunately, some kind of mirage growing out of the old imperial and colonial ambitions of powers. It ignores the growing potential of Central and Eastern European countries, mainly Poland, but also the Baltic and Scandinavian states. Above all, however, it has proven to be completely ineffective.

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“..after Kiev announced that it would sue the three nations for banning the import of Ukrainian produce..”

Hungary, Poland and Slovakia Pull Out Of EU Grain Platform (RT)

Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia are withdrawing from an EU platform coordinating Ukrainian grain imports after Kiev announced that it would sue the three nations for banning the import of Ukrainian produce, Polish media reported on Monday. The Ukrainian government announced on Monday that it would bring a case against the three countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO), after they announced unilateral bans on the import of Ukrainian seeds and grains. Earlier this summer, the EU allowed five Eastern European nations to block the import of these products for domestic sale, but refused to reauthorize the ban on Friday. As a result, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia imposed bans of their own.

Citing an anonymous source in Brussels, Poland’s PAP news agency said that these countries would withdraw from the EU platform that coordinated the first ban. The decision was made “out of caution and the fact that Ukraine could use information provided within the framework of the coordination platform against these three countries during WTO proceedings,” the source said. Officials in Budapest, Warsaw, and Bratislava argue that Ukrainian agricultural imports undercut domestic prices and threaten the livelihoods of local farmers. Speaking to Politico on Monday, Ukrainian trade representative Taras Kachka dismissed these concerns, arguing that “prices are global.”

Bulgaria and Romania have not imposed unilateral bans. In response, Bulgarian farmers staged a nationwide protest on Monday, causing blockades at dozens of highways and border crossings. In Bucharest, Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said that he would consider a ban if Ukrainian produce began to flow into the country. The EU has condemned the unilateral bans, as has Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. The decision by Brussels not to extend the ban “is an example of true unity and trust between Ukraine and the EU. Europe always wins when the rules work and the treaties are fulfilled,” he said on Friday.

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” Western nations should create their own “agreed formula for … the vision of Ukraine’s victory” and also “enshrine military assistance to Ukraine in … legislation..”

Kiev Demands West Take Measures To Combat ‘War Fatigue’ (RT)

Ukraine faces the threat of its “carefully woven web of foreign assistance” being slowly unraveled due to waning optimism and growing disappointment among its Western backers, the head of the National Security and Defense Council, Aleksey Danilov, wrote in an opinion piece published on Saturday in the newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda. The security chief accused “reputable and influential” Western media outlets of publishing materials suggesting Ukraine’s much-hyped summer counteroffensive is failing, Kiev’s troops are unable to take back territory from Russia, and Moscow’s resources are “limitless.” These sentiments slow down the Western military assistance to Kiev and stand in the way of Ukraine’s “peace formula,”Danilov added. He stated that the only solution to the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, which has been going on for more than a year and a half, is a military solution.

“The peace formula is the weapons formula,” he said in the article. Danilov urged the West to combat its own growing skepticism about Ukraine’s prospects in the conflict. Western nations should create their own “agreed formula for … the vision of Ukraine’s victory” and also “enshrine military assistance to Ukraine in … legislation,” he said, adding that election cycles might affect “the stability of the partnership” between Ukraine and the West. The US and its allies should also “develop and implement a set of measures to neutralize so-called ‘war fatigue,’” Danilov maintained. He also admitted that “a sprint” – i.e. a short conflict – had been “replaced by a long run.” His words came more than three months into the Ukrainian counteroffensive, which has so far failed to bring about any meaningful changes to the front lines but has seen Kiev’s troops suffer heavy losses in attempts to penetrate Russian defenses.

Numerous Western media outlets have reported on the growing skepticism among Western officials about the prospects for the operation. The New York Times reported in August that US and UK officials were “perplexed” by Kiev’s tactics, while the Wall Street Journal said Washington would reduce military aid to Ukraine in 2024. Moscow has repeatedly expressed its willingness to engage in peace talks as long as its interests are taken into account and the “reality on the ground” is respected. However, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has imposed a legal prohibition on all discussions with Russia. He also insisted on his own “peace formula” – the one Danilov was referring to – which includes the withdrawal of Russian troops from all territories claimed by Kiev, reparations from Moscow, and a criminal tribunal for the members of Russian government.

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“The Clinton Foundation has been illegally raising money, in theory, for HIV/AIDS projects in Ukraine since 2004, without seeking or obtaining approval for these efforts, as is required in advance..”

Clintons Look to Cash in on ‘Aid’ for Ukraine (Sp.)

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) has announced plans to launch a “Ukraine Action Network,” ostensibly to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Ukrainians amid the West’s ongoing proxy war against Russia in the troubled Eastern European country. The campaign, set to be formally unveiled Tuesday at the CGI’s annual conference in New York, is said to be the outcome of a collaborative effort between former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenskaya that began a year ago. The Ukraine Action Network is expected to help “mobilize existing CGI partners, as well as new leaders from around the world, to create and finance new commitments for Ukrainians.” The details of the program, including which “Ukrainians” specifically are expected to benefit, have yet to be elaborated.

The Clintons shut down the CGI component of their Clinton Foundation non-profit in 2017, firing dozens of employees and shuttering the CGI’s New York office after donations by businesses and foreign nations dried up following Mrs. Clinton’s surprise loss in the 2016 presidential election. The Clintons revived the CGI in 2022, with thousands of donors and hundreds of partnering organizations announcing the launch of over 140 different projects at last year’s conference. In a letter to attendees of the upcoming Tuesday gathering, the foundation indicated that the 2023 meeting would “hear from those who are tackling some of today’s most pressing issues, including climate change, health inequities, food insecurity, economic inequality, threats to democracy around the world, and record-breaking refugee displacement.”

Officials, business leaders, and celebrities expected to attend include Bill Clinton, Biden Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, California Governor Gavin Newsom, former Obama and Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Pope Francis, NBA Hall-of-Famer Dwayne Wade, Google President Ruth Porat, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and others. Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst who has been investigating the Clintons’ charity-related activities for about eight years, told Sputnik last month that the foundation’s plans to incorporate Ukraine into its agenda may be a sign that they’re hoping to cash in on some of the potentially vast package of reconstruction support for Kiev by Western countries. “The Clinton Foundation has been illegally raising money, in theory, for HIV/AIDS projects in Ukraine since 2004, without seeking or obtaining approval for these efforts, as is required in advance, from numerous domestic and foreign government authorities. No outsider actually knows exactly what they have been doing for nearly 20 years in that ransacked remnant of a country,” Ortel said.

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“The war is good, very good for the oil tanker companies which can run the gauntlet of the Americans”, says a Greek source. The international shipping media are fearful of reporting this publicly..”

US Sanctions War Is Good For Russian Shipping, Greeks Too (Helmer)

The US-led sanctions war against Russian fossil fuel exports, especially oil, has been the best thing to have happened to Sovcomflot, Russia’s leading shipping company and operator of the world’s largest oil and gas tanker fleets. Revenues are up, earnings and profits are multiplying; Sovcomflot has never had so much cash in the bank; its debt is down to the lowest level in more than twenty years – and none of it is in American or European bank hands. Released on August 28 and expressed in discreet language, the new company financial report says: “Revenues from tanker business segments (transportation of crude oil and petroleum products) are supported by favourable market conditions against the background of increased demand for tanker tonnage, taking into account the changing geography of international trade in oil and petroleum products.

Despite the presence of a seasonal reduction in freight rates in the summer, the company believes that the market fundamentals, including the limited growth of the global tanker fleet due to the small number of orders for the construction of new vessels, suggests a high probability of stability in the medium term of freight rates at a level above the historically average.” “Favourable market conditions” is Sovcomflot’s phrase for the US and NATO sanctions, first imposed on Sovcomflot’s financing and payment operations in February 2022, and escalated this year in EU and UK sanctions targeting Dubai and Hong Kong fleet management companies. The reference to “changing geography” means what shipping experts and analysts from London to Oslo, Piraeus to Singapore acknowledge privately:

“The war is good, very good for the oil tanker companies which can run the gauntlet of the Americans”, says a Greek source. The international shipping media are fearful of reporting this publicly. London-based shipping publications like Lloyds List, sold by the London-listed Informa group to the Montagu investor group, are not reporting what their industry sources agree is happening. “Some people tend to close doors behind them”, a veteran maritime news reporter coyly describes the news blackout. Seatrade, another Informa outlet, is restricting its reporting to NATO tracking of sanctions busting.

US maritime media like GCaptain (California) and Marine Money (Connecticut) refuse to respond to questions about their news blackout. Equally quiet, although for different reasons, are the Indian, Chinese and Singaporean shipping press. Sovcomflot is now confidently predicting the worldwide split between the Russian and US- NATO fleets will continue for the foreseeable future. “Despite the presence of a seasonal reduction in freight rates in the summer, the company believes that the fundamental market fundamentals, including the limited growth of the global tanker fleet due to the small number of orders for the construction of new vessels, suggests a high probability of stability in the medium term of freight rates at a level above the historically average.”

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“The newly expanded BRICS, after all, is now a Commodity Powerhouse. So, who now controls inflation in the U.S.: A trapped Fed, or the new commodity king?”

The BRICS Commodity Powerhouse: Can It Force a New Economic ‘Order’? (Crooke)

Although many in the West think everything ‘is fine’ – that the U.S. Fed likely will bring inflation under control, and soon will be cutting interest rates. Yet oil prices are up 37% and rising. This has been the case since the price bottomed out a few months ago. “People forget oil prices fell almost 50% from their peak, and that fall ended in May of this year. And that big decline in oil prices was the major factor in bringing headline inflation [down] from 9% to 3%”. Energy is a major cost input that needs to be passed on to consumers. And so is interest on debt, which increases as interest rate rises cut across the economic spectrum. Everybody is waiting for the Fed to cut rates, because the only way for the U.S. government, American consumers, and businesses to manage their present debt (on which they loaded-up – at zero rates) is if interest rates drop.

People may understand this, but they just assume that it’s not going to be an issue because, of course, the Fed ‘is going to cut rates’. It is very unlikely however, that the western authorities will be able to get rates down again to zero. Selling further oil from the U.S. Strategic Reserve just isn’t going to happen: At this point, the U.S. economy can only run for 20 days on its current oil reserves. And the Fed is not going to be able to launch much of another round of money-printing, should the economy drop into recession. The Fed may try to rescue the economy in this way, though when inflation is the problem, it is not possible to solve an inflation problem by creating more inflation. Inflation (and interest rates), after a short lag, would again rise.

The point is that much of the ruling strata still do not ‘get it’: the decades-long experience of near-zero inflation that the West has experienced has imprinted itself on the collective mindset – but that world of effortless money-making was an aberration, not a norm. Plainly put, the West now is somehow trapped in various diverse financial ways, such as fiscal exhaustion (i.e. U.S. deficit spending has reached 8.5% of GDP). Whilst true, that many in the West do not understand that the zero-inflation era was an aberration, caused by factors that no longer pertain – for sure, the aberration is well understood in Beijing and Moscow. Liam Halligan notes similarly that oil prices are up almost a third over the last three months: “It’s a hugely significant increase that could seriously aggravate the cost of living crisis. Yet the surge seems to have barely been noticed by much of our political and media class”.

Crude markets began to tighten earlier this summer after the Opec exporters’ cartel agreed to withhold oil supplies in a bid to raise prices, and Halligan tartly observes: “Anyone who downplays the power of Opec knows nothing about worldwide energy markets and even less about geopolitics”. Is it happenstance that a quiet financial war, triggered by the drip-drip of de-dollarisation and higher energy costs, might finally give BRICS the leverage to coerce a change of policy in the West? And should western reluctance to re-structure persist, might the BRICS leadership ratchet higher? The newly expanded BRICS, after all, is now a Commodity Powerhouse. So, who now controls inflation in the U.S.: A trapped Fed, or the new commodity king?

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“The US can’t win the geopolitical chess game anymore without trying to change the conditions of the test or the rules, or by cheating..”

Biden Wants to Salvage US Hegemony by Reforming UN Security Council (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden will urge the UN to expand the Security Council to water down Russia and China’s influence in the body, the Western press says. Could Biden succeed? Joe Biden “will take a look at the architecture of the Security Council,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby announced ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting. Still, the British media assumes that the US president will advocate adding new members to the United Nations Security Council in order to weaken Russia and China’s role. Reportedly, Biden wants to add India, Brazil, Germany, South Africa, and Japan to the international body. Currently, the Security Council has 15 members: five of them are “permanent” (P5) and enjoy veto powers (Russia, China, France, the UK, and the US); and 10 are “non-permanent,” with five of them being elected each year by the General Assembly for a two-year term.

“It is empty posturing, because Biden knows that the UNSC can only be expanded by an amendment to the Charter, and any of the P5 can veto it,” Professor Alfred de Zayas, former UN independent expert on international order and author of 10 books, including The Human Rights Industry and Building a Just World Order, told Sputnik. “One can surmise that Biden is joining the ‘bandwagon’ of many countries and academics who are similarly asking for expansion. Perhaps Biden’s noises will be well received in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where the prestige of the US has been in decline, and the US could score points at low cost,” the former UN independent expert continued.

Biden is by no means an innovator: at the 15th BRICS Summit, which convened in August in Johannesburg, the core nations of the group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) stated in their final declaration that they are in favor of reforming the UN Security Council and expanding developing countries’ representation. The BRICS declaration named Brazil, India, and South Africa as potential new members of the UNSC. Thus, the US president de facto wants to add two of Washington’s ardent allies to the list – Germany and Japan. The two weren’t added to the original composition of the UNSC (which was formed immediately after the Second World War) since they were the two major WW2 aggressors. In addition, Team Biden seemingly wants to curry favors with major powers of the Global South in an apparent bid to drag them to Washington’s side.

“Since [the West’s] desperate efforts to expel Russia, a permanent member, from the principal organ of the UN have failed thus far, they are trying a different tactic of overhauling the P5 to salvage Western decline and one that only further demonstrates how disconnected the foreign policy establishment is from reality. The US can’t win the geopolitical chess game anymore without trying to change the conditions of the test or the rules, or by cheating,” Max Parry, a US independent journalist and geopolitical analyst, told Sputnik. According to Parry, “the reasons surrounding the timing of this attempt to propose changes could not be more clear, with Washington striking out virtually everywhere in proxy theaters of conflict and spheres of influence.”

“US hegemony is shrinking with more and more countries throughout the global south shifting away from the West toward Moscow and Beijing’s camps and the Ukraine proxy war has been yet another foreign policy disaster that has geostrategically backfired,” the journalist said.

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Bowie America

 

 

Water ant
https://twitter.com/i/status/1703836863847366841

 

 

Starling
https://twitter.com/i/status/1703840569716269160

 

 

Platypus

 

 

Wait for it

 

 

Fairy tale

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 012023
 
 September 1, 2023  Posted by at 8:41 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Laurits Andersen Ring At Breakfast 1898

 

US Getting ‘Money’s Worth’ In Ukraine – Sen. Blumenthal (RT)
US Congress To Consider Pro- and Anti-Nazi Amendments (RT)
Heritage Suggested We Form A Ukraine Strategy. Neocons Lost Their Minds (Fed.)
Living on a War Planet (Bromwich)
Hungary Blocks EU Military Aid To Ukraine – Borrell (RT)
Biden Will Use Covid To Rig Election – Trump (RT)
Trump Reportedly Rambled Non-Stop During NY Deposition (Manley)
‘Obama’s Man In Africa’ Under House Arrest As Popular Coup Rocks Gabon (GZ)
The Real Threat From China: They’re Better at Capitalism Than We Are (Lawrence)
Does BRICS Need Its Own Currency? (Pepe Escobar)
From One Unapologetic Media Hoax to the Next (VDH)
New Meanings of ‘Deep State’ and ‘Working Class’ (Matt Taibbi)
Glyphosate Exposure Linked to Severe Depression and Cognitive Decline (SP)

 

 

 

 

Watters Biden book

 

 

RFK
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697198312259006945

 

 

Tulsi

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

Hotel Ukraine

 

 

Tucker Portnoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We’ve helped restore faith and confidence in American leadership — moral and military..”

Have we completely lost oversight of how obscene this is?

US Getting ‘Money’s Worth’ In Ukraine – Sen. Blumenthal (RT)

The US is using Ukraine as the “tip of the spear” against Russia, getting a major return on its “investment” in Kiev without any American lives lost, according to Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat. “Even Americans who have no particular interest in freedom and independence in democracies worldwide, should be satisfied that we’re getting our money’s worth on our Ukraine investment,”Blumenthal argued in an op-ed, published earlier this week by the Connecticut Post. “For less than 3 percent of our nation’s military budget, we’ve enabled Ukraine to degrade Russia’s military strength by half. We’ve united NATO and caused the Chinese to rethink their invasion plans for Taiwan.

“We’ve helped restore faith and confidence in American leadership — moral and military. All without a single American service woman or man injured or lost, and without any diversion or misappropriation of American aid,” he claimed. The senator’s unsubstantiated and unverifiable claims were made after he visited Kiev with fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Republican Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican. Blumenthal was impressed by Zelensky’s “magnetic energy” and “resolve and resilience,” and taken by his admission that “Ukraine could not have survived without America and our allies.” “Ukraine is at the tip of the spear, fighting our fight for independence and freedom,” the senator claimed.

Zelensky doesn’t want or need US troops, but “he deeply and desperately needs the tools to win,” Blumenthal added, providing a wish list of more tanks, planes, guns, ammunition and everything else. The US has so far committed over $130 billion in funding to Ukraine, covering everything from HIMARS multiple rocket launch systems, M777 towed artillery, M1 Abrams tanks, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, Javelin and Stinger missiles, Patriot air defense batteries, ammunition, equipment, and even salaries for Ukrainian soldiers and government officials.

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Obscene 2. Funding Azov.

US Congress To Consider Pro- and Anti-Nazi Amendments (RT)

Congresswoman Victoria Spartz, an Indiana Republican, has proposed an amendment to the 2024 Pentagon funding bill that would remove the 2018 prohibition on funding ‘Azov’ due to the Ukrainian unit’s neo-Nazi character. Fellow Republican Andy Ogles of Tennessee, on the contrary, wants to explicitly ban the Pentagon from providing intelligence to Azov. The Spartz amendment would “Strike section 8105 of the bill which prohibits funds to the ‘Azov Battalion’,” according to documents posted on the website of the House Rules Committee. It would amend HR 4365, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for the next fiscal year, which begins in October. Journalist Aida Chavez noticed the amendment on Thursday, along with several other proposals by Republican lawmakers, who have a slim majority in the House.

Ogles, on the other hand, wants to expand Section 8105 to ban the US from providing intelligence to Azov, and also ban any aid to the ‘Russian Volunteer Corps’ (RVC). He had previously tried to ban any “funding, equipment, training, fuel, or other support” to “the Russian Volunteer Corps, the Azov Battalion, or any other neo-Nazi militia” in Ukraine in an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). ‘Azov Battalion’ was originally a militia set up by the notorious neo-Nazi Andrey Biletsky after the 2014 US-backed coup in Kiev, that took part in Ukraine’s crackdown on dissidents in Kharkov and Donetsk. Biletsky admitted to several Western outlets that he handpicked their symbols – the ‘Wolfsangel’ rune used by the German 2nd SS Panzer Division ‘Das Reich’ in WWII, and the ‘Black Sun’ logo beloved by SS leader Heinrich Himmler.

Spartz was elected in 2020 and represents Indiana’s 5th congressional district. She was born in Chernigov, in present-day Ukraine, and immigrated to the US in 2000. Her amendment is the first time any US lawmaker has attempted to repeal Section 8105 since it was passed in 2018. In late 2019, a group of 40 House Democrats wrote to the State Department describing Azov as a “violent white supremacist” group “that openly welcomes neo-Nazis into its ranks.” The unit responded by accusing them of hostility to Ukraine. Azov has since been fully integrated into Ukraine’s armed forces. The ‘Azov Tactical Group’ is currently operating as part of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade, recently visited by President Vladimir Zelensky on the Donbass front.

Several other House Republicans have proposed more Ukraine-related amendments to the Pentagon funding bill. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia want to block any funds from being used for Ukraine. Greene also wants to ban “the conduct of ground operations in Ukraine by the US Armed Forces or intelligence officials of the US.” Paul Gosar of Arizona has proposed redirecting all $300 million from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (Section 8104) to the pay of enlisted service members, while his colleague Andy Biggs wants to delete the entire section outright. Montana’s Matt Rosendale would block all spending on Ukraine “until a border wall system along the US-Mexico border is completed and operational control of such border is achieved.”

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“..even if one accepts that we should be supporting Ukraine to the hilt, it’s fair to ask what the plan is to end the war — and no, “until Russia is totally defeated” is not a serious response, much less a strategy.”

Heritage Suggested We Form A Ukraine Strategy. Neocons Lost Their Minds (Fed.)

The Heritage Foundation came under fire [last] week from a bunch of politically toxic neocons for suggesting we should prioritize helping Americans suffering from natural disasters like the Maui wildfires over funding a grinding war of attrition between Ukraine and Russia. A radical suggestion, I know. The background here is that under the leadership of President Kevin Roberts, Heritage has been saved from irrelevance by focusing less on what establishment neocon Beltway elites think is important and more on what ordinary Americans actually want. And one of the things they want is for Congress to stop pouring taxpayer dollars into Ukraine. In an op-ed last week, Roberts noted this as part of a pointed criticism of an underhanded White House plan to force another round of aid to Ukraine into a supplemental funding bill that would add money to FEMA’s depleted Disaster Relief Fund (DRF).

Roberts rightly says this is a dirty trick designed to pressure Republicans to support more aid to Ukraine by tying it to aid for hurricane and wildfire victims. Then this week, Heritage posted a couple of ads making the entirely fair point that every American has now sent more money to Ukraine than to the victims of the Maui fires. One of those ads argued that until the Biden administration comes up with a plan to end the war, Congress shouldn’t approve another cent of aid. Reasonable people can disagree about how much support Americans owe the Ukrainians in their struggle against Russia. But even if one accepts that we should be supporting Ukraine to the hilt, it’s fair to ask what the plan is to end the war — and no, “until Russia is totally defeated” is not a serious response, much less a strategy.

This war, like nearly all wars, will end with a negotiated political settlement. Since American taxpayers are funding the war, they deserve to know if our leaders have a plan to end it that doesn’t amount to World War III. As the war drags on, it seems increasingly obvious they do not have such a plan. Their only policy seems to be to keep funneling money into Ukraine with little to no oversight and no strategy to forge a durable peace settlement. But for Heritage to articulate all of this was too much for the neocons. As with one voice, they denounced Heritage and invoked Ronald Reagan, declaring that Reagan is surely “rolling over in his grave,” as both Marc Thiessen and Avik Roy put it. National Review’s Jay Nordlinger went a step further, pronouncing that the Heritage Foundation has become a “moral obscenity.”

Elsewhere at NR — which unlike Heritage has not managed to escape irrelevance — there was an unintentionally hilarious post from Dominic Pino critiquing Heritage’s position on U.S. aid to Ukraine. Pino managed to sum up the neocon worldview in a single line, noting that “not all the money goes to Ukrainians. Much of it goes to U.S. defense contractors, which employ Americans and contribute to U.S. economic output.” Ah yes, there’s nothing like bankrolling foreign wars with no end-game strategy to get the American economy going. Defense contractors are Americans too! Think about it, the Ukraine war is a U.S. jobs program!

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Q: If, as the author here, you realize the Russia SMO was provoked, at what point does the reaction to the provocation become “illegal and immoral”?

The provocation was not just a virtual further eastward extension of NATO, but Ukraine had gathered a huge military force (200-300K) looking ready to invade the Donbass. After killing some 14,000 there over 8 years.

Living on a War Planet (Bromwich)

The Russian invasion of Ukraine was an illegal and immoral act, but the adjective that usually follows illegal and immoral is “unprovoked.” In truth, this war was provoked. A contributing cause, impossible to ignore, was the eastward extension of NATO, always moving closer to the western borders of Russia, in the years from 1991 to 2022. That expansion was gradual but relentless. Consider the look of such a policy to the country –- no longer Communist and barely a great power — which, in 2013, American leaders again began to describe as an adversary. With the end of the Cold War in 1991 (the very global conflict that gave NATO its reason for being), the eastward projection of the alliance accelerated dramatically.

Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic, all former members of the Soviet bloc, were brought into NATO in 1999; and 2004 witnessed an even richer harvest of former satellites of the USSR: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, all either near to or bordering on Russia. Then came the Bucharest Summit Declaration of April 2008: Georgia and Ukraine, the NATO heads of state announced, would be given the opportunity to apply for membership at some future date. If you want to know why Putin and his advisers might have considered this a security concern for Russia, look at a map. The United States has supported Ukraine with copious donations of weapons, troop-trainers, and logistical and technical advisers left to work the interoperable targeting equipment we “share” with that country. Between 2014 and 2022, NATO drilled at least 10,000 Ukrainian troops per year in advanced methods of warfare.

In the war itself, weapons supplies have climbed steadily from Stinger and Javelin missiles to Abrams tanks (whose greenhouse-gas environmental footprint is 0.6 miles per gallon of gas, or 300 gallons every eight hours of use), to cluster bombs, and most recently the promise of F-16s. All this has put fresh wind in the sails of the weapons manufacturers of the American military-industrial-congressional complex. In May 2022, the CEO of Lockheed Martin thanked President Biden personally for his kindness. F-16s, after all, are big money-makers. As for the additional fuel that ordinary Ukrainians require, it is now being sequestered underground by Ukrainian commodities traders at enormous environmental risk.Wars and their escalation — the mass destruction of human life that is almost invariably accompanied by destruction of the natural world — happen because preparations for war bring leaders ever closer to the brink. So close, in fact, that it feels natural to go on.

That was certainly the case with Russia, Ukraine, and NATO, and the escalation that followed. Examples of such escalation are indeed the rule, not the exception in time of war.Think of the invention, testing, and strategic planning that led to the dropping of the first nuclear bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. In Jon Else’s extraordinary documentary The Day After Trinity, the physicist Freeman Dyson offered a sober analysis of the momentum driving the decision to use the bomb: “Why did the bomb get dropped on people at Hiroshima? I would say: it’s almost inevitable that it would have happened — simply because all the bureaucratic apparatus existed by that time to do it. The air force was ready and waiting. There had been prepared big airfields in the island of Tinian in the Pacific from which you could operate. The whole machinery was ready.”

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“..Hungarian FM Peter Szijjarto described the EU as being in a “very bad shape” due to the Ukraine conflict, “worse than at any time in the past, in terms of security, economy and energy supply.”

Hungary Blocks EU Military Aid To Ukraine – Borrell (RT)

The EU has been unable to release €500 million in ‘European Peace Facility’ funding for Ukraine, due to opposition from one of the members, the bloc’s foreign policy commissioner Josep Borrell told reporters on Thursday. The country was later identified as Hungary. “I have to regret that the 8th tranche of the European Peace Facility (EPF) is still blocked,” Borrell said after an EU ministerial meeting in Toledo, Spain. “I hope we will be able to unblock [it] in the next [few] weeks. But this is a problem that is still pending to be solved.” Budapest has been blocking the EPF funds for months, objecting that Kiev has designated a major Hungarian bank as a ‘war sponsor’. The bloc has used the EPF, established in March 2021, as a way to fund weapons and ammunition deliveries to Ukraine outside of normal budgetary procedures.

Following the meeting of EU defense ministers on Wednesday, Borrell spoke of the need to train more Ukrainian troops faster, noting that almost 40,000 conscripts will have undergone training at various EU sites this year, including at the Spanish military academy in Toledo itself. Thursday’s meeting involved foreign ministers, and included a briefing by Ukrainian FM Dmitry Kuleba. At the press conference, Borrell spoke of the need for the EU to support Ukraine “today, tomorrow and always” in a manner that is “predictable and sustainable,” but mainly financial. The Spanish politician again mentioned that he had proposed to the European Commission to create a new Ukraine Assistance Fund, spanning the period from 2024 to 2027, and expressed hope the body would “reach an agreement by the end of the year.”

Borrell envisioned the fund to amount to about €5 billion annually, for a total commitment of €20 billion over the next four years. While Borrell spoke as if Brussels could afford to leverage its entire economic, political, and military might in the service of Ukraine, Hungary has been skeptical of the bloc’s policies. Speaking at a forum in Slovenia earlier this week, Hungarian FM Peter Szijjarto described the EU as being in a “very bad shape” due to the Ukraine conflict, “worse than at any time in the past, in terms of security, economy and energy supply.” The bloc’s commitment to arming Ukraine has made it unable to broker a peace, while the EU’s energy, security, and economic prosperity have been dealt serious blows by the embargo against Russia, according to Szijjarto.

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“..it was Trump himself who continuously renewed the state of emergency declaration used to justify the changes.

He also imposed a nationwide lockdown in March and April 2020, issued national guidelines recommending the closing of schools, and appointed the pro-mandate Dr. Anthony Fauci..”

Biden Will Use Covid To Rig Election – Trump (RT)

Former US president Donald Trump has claimed that President Joe Biden’s administration will take advantage of the reemergence of Covid-19 to rewrite election rules in order to prevent him from winning the upcoming election. “The left-wing lunatics are trying very hard to bring back covid lockdowns and mandates with all of their sudden fear mongering about the new variants that are coming,” Trump said in a video message released on Thursday. “Gee whiz, you know what else is coming? An election.” “They want to restart the covid hysteria so they can justify more lockdowns, more censorship, more illegal drop boxes, more mail-in ballots and trillions of dollars in payoffs to their political allies heading into the 2024 election,” he continued, adding “does that sound familiar?”

The threat of Covid-19 was invoked by both Democrat and Republican governors to change election laws in 2020. Mail-in ballots were issued to more voters and accepted beyond the usual election-day deadline, party activists were permitted to harvest ballots from drop-boxes, and absentee ballots were accepted without witness signatures. The implementation of these laws varied from state to state, with Democrat-run states typically waiving the most rules. While these changes resulted in an election that defied almost every traditional indicator to end in Trump’s loss, it was Trump himself who continuously renewed the state of emergency declaration used to justify the changes.

He also imposed a nationwide lockdown in March and April 2020, issued national guidelines recommending the closing of schools, and appointed the pro-mandate Dr. Anthony Fauci to lead his coronavirus task force. “To every Covid tyrant who wants to take away our freedom, hear these words: we will not comply, so don’t even think about it. We will not shut down our schools; we will not accept your lockdowns; we will not abide by your mask mandates; and we will not tolerate your vaccine mandates,” Trump continued in Thursday’s video. “They rigged the 2020 election and now they’re trying to do the same thing all over again by rigging the most important election in the history of our country.”

Public health officials are currently tracking the spread of two new coronavirus variants: EG.5, or Eris, and BA.2.86. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer tracks new cases of the virus, its most recent figures show a 19% increase in hospitalizations and a 17% increase in deaths between the second and third week in August. However, only a quarter as many people were hospitalized this month as during the same month last year, and most of those receiving treatment are over the age of 65, CDC Director Mandy Cohen said on Tuesday. Nevertheless, universities in Georgia and Louisiana have already reimposed mask mandates, as have some healthcare providers and other businesses.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1697083418947801265

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Quite funny.

Trump Reportedly Rambled Non-Stop During NY Deposition (Manley)

Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James claimed the Trump Organization illegally increased their profits by hundreds of millions of dollars by exaggerating the value of their properties. A transcript of a deposition recently revealed that former US President Donald Trump rambled so frequently throughout a formal interview that a lawyer with the Office of the New York Attorney General griped: “We’re going to be here until midnight.” The deposition was made public ahead of Trump’s September 22 hearing over a state lawsuit that accuses the former commander-in-chief of engaging in business fraud practices that saw his net worth skyrocket by some $2 billion.
The attorney general’s case against Trump indicates the former president, as well as his two eldest sons, and two of his former top executives repeatedly inflated his net worth in financial filings made on behalf of the Trump Organization.

Prosecutors argue that by doing so, it helped Trump deceive banks into extending lower-cost loans that saved him hundreds of millions of dollars in interest. During the seven-hour deposition, Trump rambled about various topics including his “beautiful” marble bathrooms, a reference to the historical figure George Washington, and boasted that he could have done more sales than “ever” during his presidency. When asked how his children’s roles in the Trump Organization changed after he was elected to the US presidency, Trump strayed from the answer and began to talk about North Korea. “I was interested in solving the problem with North Korea, which was ready to blow up, and solving the problems we had with China, who was just ripping us off left and right, and making sure that Russia never went into Ukraine, which they didn’t, under our auspices and, you know, a lot of other things,” Trump said as part of his lengthy response.

When the former president was asked to clarify his answer, he continued to pile details onto his response. “I think you would have a nuclear holocaust, if I didn’t deal with North Korea. I think you would have a nuclear war, if I weren’t elected. And I think you might have a nuclear war now, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said. The attorney general’s lawyer, Kevin Wallace, then responded: “I’m not going to use my seven hours on nuclear war.” When asked how involved he was in his family’s business dealings during his presidency, Trump launched into another lengthy answer in which he boasted about the properties that the Trump Organization owns. “We have properties that make money, but you can sell for many, many times because of the quality of the property like a Turnberry in Scotland,” said Trump, who complained several times that the lawsuit was “unfair.”

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“Irresponsible and unpredictable governance has led to a steady deterioration in social cohesion, threatening to drive the country into chaos..”

‘Obama’s Man In Africa’ Under House Arrest As Popular Coup Rocks Gabon (GZ)

When a military junta arrested President Ali Bongo Ondimba on August 30, Gabon became the ninth African nation to depose its government through a military coup. As citizens of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali did before them, crowds of Gabonese poured into the streets to celebrate the removal of a Western-backed leader whose family flaunted its lavish lifestyle while more than a third of the country’s population languished in destitution. “Irresponsible and unpredictable governance has led to a steady deterioration in social cohesion, threatening to drive the country into chaos,” a leader of Gabon’s junta, Col. Ulrich Manfoumbi, declared upon seizing power. President Bongo’s arrest was met with indignant condemnations from Washington and Paris, which had propped him up as he pillaged his country’s vast oil wealth.

His ouster represented a particularly sharp rebuke of former President Barack Obama, who groomed the Gabonese autocrat as one of his closest allies on the continent, and leaned on him for diplomatic support as he waged a war on Libya that unleashed terror and instability across the region. So close was the bond between Obama and Bongo that Foreign Policy branded the Gabonese leader, “Obama’s Man in Africa.” With Obama’s help, Bongo attempted to fashion himself as a reformist modernizer. He traveled repeatedly to Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum, where was appointed an “Agenda Contributor.” There, he pledged to accelerate the Fouth Industrial Revolution in Africa by implementing lucrative digital identification and payment systems among his country’s heavily impoverished population.

Bongo’s bio on the WEF website lists him as a “spokesperson for Africa on biodiversity” and “composer of musical pieces” whose interests include “history, football, classical music, jazz and bossa nova.” The self-styled renaissance man managed to hit it off with Obama, kibitz with Klaus Schwab, and press the flesh with Bill Gates. But at home, he found few friends among the struggling Gabonese masses. Ali Bongo rose to power as the son of the late Gabonese autocrat Omar Bongo Odinmba, who ruled the country from 1967 to his death. In 2004, a year after discussing a $9 million image-washing deal with disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Bongo secured a meeting with President George W. Bush. When he died five years later, he left behind a $500 million presidential palace, over a dozen luxurious homes from Paris to Beverly Hills, and a country overrun with inequality.

[..] nothing on the Bongo family’s lengthy and well-documented record of corruption seemed to bother President Barack Obama when he embarked on a regime change operation in Libya ironically justified as an exercise in “democracy promotion.” With Washington’s help, Gabon was rotated into the UN Security Council, where it functioned as a rubber stamp for US resolutions demanding sanctions and a No Fly Zone on Libya in February 2011. Bongo’s cooperative spirit earned him a visit with Obama in Washington four months later. There, while staying at the president’s personal residence, he became the first African leader to call for Qaddafi to give up power. “They could call any African leader with private cell numbers,” then US Ambassador to Gabon Eric Benjaminson remarked to Foreign Policy, referring to Bongo’s staff. “They knew Qaddafi and they knew his chief of staff very well, and we were trying to work through the Gabonese to get Qaddafi to step down without military action.” Benjaminson added, “Obama sort of liked him.”

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“This administration simply has no idea what a sound China policy would look like.”

The Real Threat From China: They’re Better at Capitalism Than We Are (Lawrence)

The Biden regime’s robotic procession to Beijing proceeds apace. Following Antony Blinken’s fruitless visit in mid–June, we have paid Janet Yellen’s airfare for another fruitless visit, and following Yellen it was the same for John Kerry. This week it is Gina Raimondo’s turn. The secretary of state, the Treasury secretary, the chief climate envoy, and the commerce secretary: What is the point of this parade? I cannot but wonder whether these officials are dispatched across the Pacific in descending order of competence. Raimondo, who previously flopped as governor of Rhode Island—except for her plan to cut civil service pensions, an unfortunate success—is mediocrity made flesh. The Chinese must be wondering, with chagrin or amusement or both, who the Biden regime will next send their way.

The assignment in all these cases is the same: It comes down to “two seemingly contradictory responsibilities,” as The New York Times’s Ana Swanson put it in a curtain-raiser last week. She described “a mandate to strengthen U.S. business relations with Beijing while also imposing some of the toughest Chinese trade restrictions in years.” This is succinct, although we can live without the “seemingly.” Proposing to conduct routine business while sabotaging China’s competitive position in advanced technologies is prima facie a ridiculous idea. But The Times must have its “seemingly,” because it is imperative we pretend the Biden regime thinks sensibly and means well in its relations with the People’s Republic.

Blinken got nothing done, Yellen got nothing done, Kerry got nothing done, and in Raimondo’s case it is hopeless. The final item on her itinerary is a visit to Disneyland in Shanghai, and you have to credit the secretary’s scheduler for the parting reference to dreams and fantasy. An English friend observes that we Americans are doing a lot of blinkin’ and yellin’ across the Pacific these days. Fair enough, but I think it is more of the former than the latter for the time being. This administration simply has no idea what a sound China policy would look like.

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It’s not so easy. But the euro proves this is not true: “A currency has to be issued by a sovereign government.”

Does BRICS Need Its Own Currency? (Pepe Escobar)

Right at the heart of fervent discussions are the merits of designing a new BRICS currency. Brazilian economist Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr., a former IMF director who was deeply involved with BRICS from 2007 to 2015, has noted how a reserve currency discussion among the original five members was already too difficult. With 11, even more so. A currency has to be issued by a sovereign government. The indispensable Michael Hudson has cut to the chase to focus on what President Putin stressed in the summit in Johannesburg: what is needed is a means of settlement among Central Banks to keep in check the imbalances of trade and investment in their balance of payments. That implies no BRICS supra-national gold backed currency.

Prof. Hudson has observed that, “nobody uses gold as a currency. You don’t go to the grocery store or you don’t buy stocks and bonds or even houses with gold. You’re not going to be able to do it with anything like a BRICS currency within the future.” So the possible “BRICS currency” on a – distant? – future will be “only a narrow currency that only governments can spend for each other, and it’s created on a computer. It’s not anything that you can hold in your pocket to spend.” Michael Kumhof, a senior advisor for the Bank of England, adds a few more elements: “A currency does not need to be issued by a single state, instead its issuance can be delegated by a group of states to a common institution, see the ECB [European Central Bank]. And while that currency would be unlikely to be used by people to buy a coffee (although who knows, given enough time), it could be used by corporations for invoicing in cross-border trade.”

Kumhof projects a different future: “Imagine if 50-100 countries joined BRICS, some of them with pretty small, marginal currencies. They might appreciate being able to invoice and settle in a strong common currency rather than only having a choice between USD and, say, RMB. Not to mention the fact that if the Chinese want to keep some of their capital controls (good idea for now, I think), the RMB could not really fully replace the USD in such transactions. A BRICS currency would not be subject to such restrictions. This BRICS bank would buy up bonds of member countries according to some quota, and then issue a common currency against it, with all its gains and losses shared by member governments.

That could create an arbitrarily large amount of liquidity (and firepower for BRICS) without requiring any debt to do so, in fact massively reducing debt while doing so. And of course I agree that this would need to be supplemented by a bancor-type arrangement to clear cross-country imbalances.” What’s certain for now is that at the heart of what’s coming next will be an enhanced role for the New Development Bank (NDB), the BRICS bank, headquartered in Shanghai and now presided by former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

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“Moscow supposedly had created fake nude pictures, fake photos of Hunter’s drug use, and fake email and text messages from Hunter to the other Bidens.”

From One Unapologetic Media Hoax to the Next (VDH)

From 2015 to 2019, we were suffocated 24/7 with lies like “Russian collusion,” “Putin’s puppet,” “election rigging” and the “Steele dossier.” When all such “evidence” was proven to be a complete fraud cooked up through Hillary Clinton’s stealthy hiring of and collusion with a discredited ex-British spy, a Russian fabulist at the Brookings Institution and a Clinton toady in Moscow, did the media apologize for their untruth? Was there any media confessional that perhaps Robert Mueller and his leftwing legal team (the giddy media-dubbed “all-stars,” “dream team,” and “hunter killers”) proved a colossal waste of time? Not at all. Instead, the media went next right on to “the phone call” and “impeachment.” The country then wasted another year.

The same biased reporters now claimed that the heroic Andrew Vindman had caught Donald Trump fabricating lies about the Bidens—given Joe Biden was a possible 2020 opponent—to force Ukraine to investigate them or lose American foreign aid. On that accusation Trump was impeached. Then the truth emerged that unlike Joe Biden, Trump never threatened to cancel aid, but merely to delay it. Trump was right that the Bidens were knee deep in Ukrainian bribes and influence peddling. And that the whistleblower had no first-hand knowledge of the Trump call but was spoon fed a script cooked up by the gadfly Vindman and Rep. Adam Schiff. The result was journalistic glee that we impeached a president for crimes that he did not commit but exempted another president, Joe Biden, who had actually committed them.

Then came the next hoax of the Russian fabricated facsimile of Hunter’s laptop. The 2020 Biden campaign along with an ex-CIA head rounded up “51 intelligence authorities” to mislead the country into believing that Russian gremlins in the Kremlin had fabricated a fake laptop. Ponder that absurd fantasy: Moscow supposedly had created fake nude pictures, fake photos of Hunter’s drug use, and fake email and text messages from Hunter to the other Bidens. The media preposterously convinced the country that the Russians and by extension Donald Trump had once again sandbagged the Biden campaign. No apologies followed when the FBI later admitted it had kept the laptop under wraps for more than a year, knew it was authentic, and yet said nothing as the media and former spooks misled the country and warped an election.

Now we are enmeshed in at least four court trials on cooked-up charges that could as easily apply to a host of Democrats as to Trump. For the last eight years, a discredited media has never expressed remorse for any of the damage they did to the country. And they will not again, when their latest mythological indictments are eventually exposed.

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“..the best and most thorough whitewash job since the Soviets wiped the photo record clean of Yezhov and Trotsky. It’s an awesome achievement.”

New Meanings of ‘Deep State’ and ‘Working Class’ (Matt Taibbi)

DEEP STATE: In July of last year David Rothkopf wrote a piece for the Daily Beast called, “You’re going to miss the Deep State when it’s gone: Trump’s terrifying plan to purge tens of thousands of career government workers and replace them with loyal stooges must be stopped in its tracks.” In the obligatory MSNBC segment hyping the article, poor Willie Geist, fast becoming the Zelig of cable’s historical lowlight reel, read off the money passage: During his presidency, [Donald] Trump was regularly frustrated that government employees — appointees, as well as career officials in the civil service, the military, the intelligence community, and the foreign service — were an impediment to the autocratic impulses about which he often openly fantasized.

This passage portraying harmless “government employees” as the last patriotic impediment to Trumpian autocracy represented the complete turnaround of a term that less than ten years before meant, to the Beast’s own target audience, the polar opposite. This of course needed to be lied about as well, and the Beast columnist stuck this landing, too, when Geist led Rothkopf through the eye-rolling proposition that there was “something fishy, or dark, or something going on behind the scenes” with the “deep state.” Rothkopf replied that “career government officials” got a bad rap because “about ten years ago, Alex Jones and the InfoWars crowd started zeroing in on the deep state, as yet another of the conspiracy theories…”

The real provenance of deep state has in ten short years been fully excised from mainstream conversation, in the best and most thorough whitewash job since the Soviets wiped the photo record clean of Yezhov and Trotsky. It’s an awesome achievement. Through the turn of the 21st century virtually no American political writers used deep state. In the mid-2000s, as laws like the PATRIOT Act passed and the Bush/Cheney government funded huge new agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the word was suddenly everywhere, inevitably deployed as left-of-center critique of the Bush-Cheney legacy. How different was the world ten years ago? The New York Times featured a breezy Sunday opinion piece asking the late NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake — a man described as an inspiration for Edward Snowden who today would almost certainly be denounced as a traitor — what he was reading then.

Drake answered he was reading “Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry” by Marc Ambinder, whose revelations about possible spying on “eighteen locations in the Washington D.C. area, including near the White House, Congress, and several foreign embassies,” inspired the ACLU to urge congress to begin encrypting communications. On the eve of a series of brutal revelations about intelligence abuses, including the Snowden mess, left-leaning American commentators all over embraced “deep state” as a term perfectly descriptive of the threat they perceived from the hyper-concentrated, unelected power observed with horror in the Bush years.

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Still in use. Insane.

Glyphosate Exposure Linked to Severe Depression and Cognitive Decline (SP)

A new peer-reviewed study released by a group of scientists in Taiwan has revealed an astonishingly strong link between severe depression, cognitive decline and exposure to the world’s most used herbicide, glyphosate. The study was fully published last Tuesday in the highly respected Elsevier Journal, Environmental Research, and was met with silence by the manufacturers of glyphosate-based herbicides such as Bayer/Monsanto, who produce the infamous weedkiller Roundup. The study authors stated that they: “conducted analyses on existing data collected from 1532 adults of the 2013–2014 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to explore the possible relationship between glyphosate exposure and cognitive function, depressive symptoms, disability, and neurological medical conditions.”

“Our study used a cohort representative of the U.S. adult general population and found a significant negative correlation between urinary glyphosate levels and cognitive function test scores. Additionally, our findings suggest that the odds of having severe depressive symptoms were significantly higher than having no symptoms in individuals with higher glyphosate levels, as measured by the PHQ-9,” the scientists continued. The NHANES is a biennial nationwide survey that recruits a representative sample of the population. The study population had a mean age (SD) of 48.15 (18.32) years and a mean BMI (SD) of 29.15 (7.25) kg/m2. The majority of participants were women (51.5%), while the most common ethnicity was non-Hispanic white (47.1%). Regarding socioeconomic status, 53.7% of participants reported a household income of ≥ $4500 per year. Additionally, 37.2% of participants had a body mass index of ≥30 kg/m2. The proportion of individuals with detectable levels of glyphosate was 80.4%.

“Because many of the key neurological system questionnaires used to assess neurological function in NHANES are only available to adults, we restricted our study population to those 18 years of age or older,” the scientists added. “In conclusion, our study provides important evidence of an association between urinary glyphosate levels and adverse neurological outcomes in a representative cohort of U.S. adult population. Specifically, we observed lower cognitive function scores, greater odds of severe depressive symptoms, and increased risk of serious hearing difficulty in individuals with higher glyphosate exposure,” the scientists concluded.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Moore

 

 

 

 

Red crab
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697266961934414091

 

 

Shrimp
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697299523020705853

 

 

Dogs play

 

 

Italian music

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 312023
 
 August 31, 2023  Posted by at 9:24 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  45 Responses »


Pablo Picasso The Dream 1932

 

US Headed For ‘Hot War’ With Russia – Tucker Carlson (RT)
Biden Looks to Prevent Future President From Ending Ukraine War (Antiwar)
Trump Vows To Lock Up Political Enemies If He Returns To White House (G.)
Ukraine’s Fate Sealed Long Before Failing Counteroffensive (Scott Ritter)
Ukraine To Review All Draft Exemptions – Zelensky (RT)
French Troops Reportedly Given Until September 3 to Withdraw From Niger (Sp.)
Coup In Gabon, Situation In West Africa A Big Issue For Europe – Borrell (RT)
EU Imports Of Russian LNG Leap By 40% Since Ukraine Invasion (G.)
Expanded BRICS Set to De-Dollarize the World, Control Global Energy Supply (ET)
What if Biden Backs Out of the Race? (RCW)
Majority of Voters Are Skeptical of Possible Biden Impeachment (Manley)
Hunter Biden Helped Plan State Dinners During Dad’s VP Days (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

One thing you can not do today is not watch the Tucker Carlson interview. I picked some snippets AND the full interview.

“They can’t lose. They will do anything to win. So how do they do that? They’re not going to do COVID again…They’re going to go to war with Russia is what they’re going to do. There will be a hot war between the United States and Russia within the next year…They need to declare war footing in order to assume war powers in order to win. I believe that and I think all the evidence suggests that’s true.”

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1696842931372429744

 

 

Full interview:

 

 

 

 

Rogan Anthony

 

 

Yeadon

 

 

 

 

“..the American empire is in freefall right now – and we’re going to lose the US dollar, and when that happens we’re going to have real poverty here, like Great Depression-level poverty.

And it comes from this war..”

US Headed For ‘Hot War’ With Russia – Tucker Carlson (RT)

The US proxy war against Russia is likely to become an open war within the next year, former Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on Wednesday. The ruling Democrats need the war to keep power and too many Republicans are willing to go along, he added. “They will do anything to win,” Carlson said in an hour-long interview with radio host Adam Carrolla. He argued that another coronavirus lockdown is unlikely, as too many people would refuse to comply, so “they’re going to go to war with Russia, that’s what they’re going to do.” “There will be a hot war between the US and Russia in the next year,” Carlson said. “I don’t think we’ll win it.” “We’re already at war with Russia, of course, we’re funding their enemies,” he added.

The US has allocated over $130 billion for Kiev over the past 18 months for weapons, military equipment, ammunition, and the salaries of government officials. “I think that could easily happen,” the former cable TV host continued. “I think we could ‘Tonkin Gulf’ our way into it, where all of a sudden missiles land in Poland, ‘The Russians did it! Our NATO ally has been attacked! We’re going to war’! I can see that happening very easily.” In August 1964, the US fabricated an incident with the North Vietnamese navy in the Gulf of Tonkin as a pretext to deploy ground troops in South Vietnam. The scenario Carlson described already happened as well, when a Ukrainian air-defense missile struck a village across the Polish border last November, killing two local civilians.

Warsaw and Washington were quick to debunk Kiev’s claim that it had been a Russian strike, however. Carlson argued that the US could “force a peace in Ukraine tonight” by cutting off Kiev’s funding. “Otherwise, and I would bet my house on it, we are going to war with Russia,” he said. “And, of course, the stakes are everything. Life on the planet. These are the two biggest nuclear arsenals in the world, facing off against each other.” The US has “already lost control of the world – the American empire is in freefall right now – and we’re going to lose the US dollar, and when that happens we’re going to have real poverty here, like Great Depression-level poverty.

And it comes from this war,” Carlson told Carolla. He added that most Americans may not be able to see that, but it’s “super obvious” when one leaves the US, even for a short while. Moreover, he argued, the US “crushed” the German economy “when the Biden administration blew up Nord Stream” last September, and its Ukraine policies have done a lot to undermine Western Europe, Washington’s only real ally in the world. Carlson has just returned from Hungary, where he took part in a conference and interviewed Prime Minister Viktor Orban for his new show on X, formerly Twitter. Carlson made Elon Musk’s social media platform his new home after Fox News canceled his top-rated evening show in April, for reasons that have never been made public.

Read more …

The naked power of Raytheon.

Biden Looks to Prevent Future President From Ending Ukraine War (Antiwar)

The Biden administration is working to reach a deal with Ukraine for long-term military support to keep backing the war with Russia that would be difficult for a future president to exit, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. The effort is part of a commitment made by G7 nations at the recent NATO summit in Vilnius to negotiate their own bilateral security deals with Ukraine. Besides the G7 nations, 18 other countries have agreed to provide long-term military support for Kyiv. The idea of the long-term commitment is to show Russia that it can’t wait out the Biden administration. The Journal report reads: “Western officials are looking for ways to lock in pledges of support and limit future governments’ abilities to backtrack, amid fears in European capitals that Donald Trump, if he recaptures the White House, would seek to scale back aid.” Trump, who escalated US involvement in Ukraine during his term by taking the step to provide Javelin missiles, has said he would end the Ukraine war within “24 hours” if elected in 2024.

The former president is the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination. The Journal report acknowledged that the Biden administration could not legally bind a future president from exiting a deal with Ukraine, but Republican hawks in Congress could make it difficult. During his time as president, Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, but the majority of Republicans in Congress supported exiting the agreement. A US official told the Journal that one proposal being considered for Ukraine would be a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which would not require congressional approval. President Biden has previously floated the idea of an “Israel model” for Ukraine. The US provides Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid each year under a 10-year MOU but does not provide mutual defense guarantees. The Journal report said that French officials have suggested military aid commitments for Ukraine should be over a four-year period.

Read more …

“Do you regret not locking [Clinton] up? And if you’re president again, will you lock people up?” Trump said: “The answer is you have no choice, because they’re doing it to us.”

Trump Vows To Lock Up Political Enemies If He Returns To White House (G.)

Donald Trump says he will lock up his political enemies if he is president again. In an interview on Tuesday, the rightwing broadcaster Glenn Beck raised Trump’s famous campaign-trail vow to “lock up” Hillary Clinton, his opponent in 2016, a promise Trump did not fulfill in office. Beck said: “Do you regret not locking [Clinton] up? And if you’re president again, will you lock people up?” Trump said: “The answer is you have no choice, because they’re doing it to us.” Trump has encouraged the “lock her up” chant against other opponents but he remains in considerable danger of being locked up himself. Under four indictments, he faces 91 criminal charges related to election subversion, retention of classified information and hush-money payments to a adult film star. He denies wrongdoing and claims to be the victim of political persecution. Trials are scheduled next year.

Earlier this month, Politico calculated that Trump faced a maximum of 641 years in jail. After the addition of 13 racketeering and conspiracy charges in Georgia, Forbes upped the total to more than 717 years. Trump is 77. Both sites noted, however, that if convicted, the former president was unlikely to receive maximum sentences. Nor would convictions bar Trump from running for president or being elected. On that score, Trump dominates national and key state polling regarding the Republican presidential nomination. In his Tuesday interview on BlazeTV, Trump also said he “never hit Biden as hard as I could have” while in office. Trump’s first impeachment concerned attempts to find dirt on rivals including Biden, related to politics and business in Ukraine. Now, in Congress, Trump’s Republican allies are threatening to impeach Biden over unsubstantiated allegations connected to his surviving son, Hunter.

Trump told Beck that Biden was behind the indictments against him. In fact, all were brought by prosecutors independent of the White House: 44 by the justice department special counsel Jack Smith, 34 by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, and 13 by Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton county, Georgia. Trump also claimed “the woman that I never met, that they accused me of rape, that’s being run by a Democrat, a Democrat operative, and paid for by the Democrat [sic] party”. That was a reference to civil claims brought by E Jean Carroll, a writer who says Trump sexually assaulted her in New York in the 1990s. Earlier this year, Trump was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation and fined about $5m. A second trial is due next year.

The judge in the case has said Trump has been adjudicated a rapist. Also facing investigations of his business affairs, Trump said Democrats and other opponents were “sick people … evil people”. The twice impeached, four times indicted, 91 times charged ex-president also told Beck he “always had such great respect for the office of the president and the presidency”.

Read more …

“..the Ukrainian high command will be confronted with the reality that they will need to order a general retreat to more defensive positions..“

Ukraine’s Fate Sealed Long Before Failing Counteroffensive (Scott Ritter)

While Ukraine, with the support of its NATO allies, has accrued sufficient military capacity to engage in concerted military operations against Russia since the counteroffensive began in early June, the reality is that this effort is unsustainable. In short, Ukraine has reached the end of its tether. While the tactical situation along the line of contact with Russia fluctuates daily, and Ukraine has been able to achieve some limited success in certain areas, the cost that comes with these successes has been so high that Ukraine lacks not only the ability to exploit these successes, but is in danger of not being able to maintain a military presence along the entirety of the frontline sufficient to hold back any concerted Russian offensive operations.

The heavy casualties suffered by Ukraine, combined with the failure of the counteroffensive to breach even the first line of the prepared Russian defenses, have prompted the Ukrainian army to commit its strategic reserve into the fight. This reserve, consisting of some of the best trained and equipped forces available to the Ukrainians, was meant to exploit the advances made by the initial offensive operations. The fact that the strategic reserve has been committed to achieve objectives that all preceding attacking units had failed to accomplish only underscores the futility of the Ukrainian effort, and the inevitability of its ultimate defeat.

The collapse of Ukrainian military cohesion along the line of contact with Russia is occurring even as the last vestige of the Ukrainian counteroffensive bleeds itself white in the fields of Zaporozhye. Because of battlefield losses suffered by Ukraine in the months leading up to the initiation of the June counteroffensive (mainly, but not exclusively, in the Battle for Artemovsk), Ukrainian forces were stretched thin as units were reshuffled along the front to replace those that had been depleted in battle. As the counteroffensive floundered, military resources were withdrawn from other sectors of the front to make up for the losses.

This thinning of the Ukrainian lines provided opportunities for the Russian forces, leading to major advances in the vicinity of Kupyansk. As Ukrainian losses continue, this thinning will only become more prevalent, creating gaps in the Ukrainian defenses which can be exploited by a Russian military which has upwards of 200,000 well-trained, well-equipped reserves which have yet to be committed into the battle. This cause-effect relationship will continue, since Ukraine has no more reserves available to replace battlefield losses which will continue to accrue all along the line of contact. Eventually, the Ukrainian posture will be unsustainable, and the Ukrainian high command will be confronted with the reality that they will need to order a general retreat to more defensive positions—perhaps as far back as the right bank of the Dnepr River—or face the inevitability of the total destruction of their army.

Read more …

“Earlier this week, mobile operator Kievstar mentioned “400,000 heroes” who had “gone to eternity” in a charity drive, before quickly deleting the post.”

Ukraine To Review All Draft Exemptions – Zelensky (RT)

The National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine decided on Wednesday to review every single draft exemption issued since the start of the conflict with Russia, citing widespread corruption. “All cases where [exemption] decisions are clearly groundless and illegal should be dealt with by law enforcement,” President Vladimir Zelensky announced after the NSDC meeting. The council also decided to fully digitize the entire Armed Forces database and revise the criteria for determining fitness for military service, to prevent “manipulation”and give field commanders more opportunities to find appropriate roles for soldiers. NSDC head Aleksey Danilov said that Ukraine is rolling out a “newly approved” plan for further mobilization, calling up as many men as it may need to continue the fighting.

Zelensky sacked the heads of all enlistment offices in early August, after the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) announced the discovery of a “widespread conspiracy” to forge health exemptions by military-medical commissions in 11 regions of the country. The conspirators allegedly charged up to $6,000 for fraudulent papers, which draft-dodgers then used to leave the country. The government in Kiev has ordered several waves of conscription since the hostilities with Russia escalated in February 2022. In late June, recruitment centers in several regions stopped sending individual summons, issuing blanket notifications to all men of military age instead.

After Zelensky’s purge of enlistment commissioners, the Financial Times reported that some fraudulent exemptions could cost up to $10,000, and that almost 20,000 Ukrainians have been caught trying to dodge the draft, citing official government figures. The BBC spoke of a widespread social media movement to help the draft-dodgers, with groups with as many as 100,000 members offering tips, tricks and other assistance. Meanwhile, photos posted on social media in recent months have shown cemeteries across Ukraine rapidly filling up, due to the death toll of the grinding offensive against Russian strongholds in the south. Earlier this week, mobile operator Kievstar mentioned “400,000 heroes” who had “gone to eternity” in a charity drive, before quickly deleting the post.

Read more …

Only…They can’t fire at them and give France an excuse to invade..

French Troops Reportedly Given Until September 3 to Withdraw From Niger (Sp.)

Niger’s National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) has reportedly demanded the complete withdrawal of French troops from the West African country by September 3. Earlier in the day, Saudi media reported the CNSP had announced the annulment of all security and military agreements with France. By the end of the week, supporters of the pullout are going to stage an indefinite protest against the presence of the French military in Niger. Some residents have reportedly demanded that the authorities cut water and power supply to the French base, as well as halt food deliveries.

Last week, the Nigerien Foreign Ministry called on French Ambassador Sylvain Itte to leave the country within 48 hours. Paris said it took note of Niger’s request to the ambassador, but noted Niger’s military leadership has no authority to make such decisions. On July 26, Niger’s presidential guard ousted and detained President Mohamed Bazoum. The guard’s commander, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, proclaimed himself the president of the caretaker CNSP-led government. Most Western countries as well as ECOWAS condemned it. In early August, ECOWAS adopted a plan for a potential military intervention in Niger.

Read more …

“..how we can improve our policy in respect with these countries..”

Decades too late.

Coup In Gabon, Situation In West Africa A Big Issue For Europe – Borrell (RT)

European Union defense ministers will meet to discuss the situation in the Central African state of Gabon, after soldiers of the former French colony announced earlier that they had assumed control, the bloc’s foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell said on Wednesday. “If this is confirmed, it is another military coup which increases instability in the whole region,” Borrell said, during a meeting of EU defense ministers in the Spanish city of Toledo reported-on by Reuters. A group of Gabonese soldiers appeared on national television in the early hours of Wednesday, saying they had dissolved state institutions and canceled the results of the country’s disputed elections.

The move came after Gabon’s longtime leader, Ali Bongo, was declared the winner of last week’s presidential election, giving him the green light to govern for a third term. The soldiers denounced the “irresponsible, unpredictable governance” of Bongo, claiming his 14 years in office had resulted in a “deterioration in social cohesion that risks leading the country into chaos.” The coup in Gabon is the latest in a series of military takeovers in Africa in recent years, coming just weeks after soldiers seized power in Niger. The new military rulers in Niger, another former French colony, have refused to release ousted President Mohamed Bazoum and restore democratic rule, despite pressure from the 15-nation West African Regional bloc, ECOWAS.

The regional authority has activated a standby force for a military intervention backed by France, which it has threatened to use against the coup leaders in Niamey if diplomatic efforts fail. Mali and Burkina Faso, both military-ruled countries, have warned against armed action directed at their counterparts in Niger. While expressing concern about the situation in Gabon, which has a population of nearly 2.5 million, Borrell stated that coups in other parts of the continent are “a big issue for Europe.” “The whole area, starting with Central African Republic, then Mali, then Burkina Faso, now Niger, maybe Gabon, it’s in a very difficult situation and certainly the [EU] ministers… have to have a deep thought on what is going on there and how we can improve our policy in respect with these countries,” he said.

Read more …

Ha! Ha! Sanctions.

EU Imports Of Russian LNG Leap By 40% Since Ukraine Invasion (G.)

EU imports of Russian liquified natural gas (LNG) have increased by 40% since the invasion of Ukraine despite efforts to cut down supplies. Member states have bought more than half of Russia’s LNG on the market in the first seven months of this year, according to analysis of data by Kpler, which tracks marine and tanker traffic. Spain and Belgium, which acts as major gateways for LNG supplies to the bloc, have emerged as the second and third-biggest customers of Russian LNG respectively after China. “EU countries now buy the majority of Russia’s supply, propping up one of the Kremlin’s most important sources of revenue,” said Jonathan Noronha-Gant, a senior fossil fuel campaigner at the anti-corruption group Global Witness, which did the analysis.

Europe’s pipeline gas flows from Russia have fallen to historic lows since the invasion last year as countries wean themselves off it, but to make up for the shortfall shipments of cooled LNG from all over the world, including Russia, have surged and are not subject to any EU sanctions. EU countries bought 22m cubic metres of Russian LNG between January and July 2023, compared with 15m during the same period in 2021, Global Witness said. “Buying Russian gas has the same impact as buying Russian oil. Both fund the war in Ukraine, and every euro means more bloodshed. While European countries decry the war, they’re putting money into Putin’s pockets,” Noronha-Gant said. “These countries should align their actions with their words by banning the trade of Russian LNG that is fuelling both the war and the climate crisis.”

Spain and Belgian said the numbers did not reflect national purchasing but the fact that their ports were major gateways for the rest of the continent. European leaders spent 2022 reducing their reliance on Russian energy and trying to build alternative supplies after the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, closed off the gas taps to Europe. The EU imposed sanctions on imports of Russian oil and coal after Moscow’s forces invaded Ukraine in February last year. It also banned Russian entities from storing gas in the bloc and prohibited most new investments in the Russian energy sector. Fears of winter blackouts led to people in many countries being asked to turn down their heating thermostats by 1C and night-time illumination of public buildings across the bloc, including the Eiffel Tower, was stopped. In some cities street lights were turned off after midnight to save energy.

Read more …

Irreversible.

Expanded BRICS Set to De-Dollarize the World, Control Global Energy Supply (ET)

“The expansion of BRICS has made it clear that the de-dollarization of the international finance system is inevitable.” This view, from economist William Gumede—who’s also executive chairperson of the Democracy Works Foundation in South Africa—has been echoed around the world since BRICS leaders announced the expansion of the bloc on Aug. 24 at a summit in Johannesburg. Current BRICS members are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. In January, BRICS—originally established in 2009 to represent the world’s strongest emerging market economies—will add Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to its ranks. Mr. Gumede, one of South Africa’s leading academics and thought-leaders, has been researching the potential impacts of de-dollarization since 2014.

He told The Epoch Times the average per capita GDP of the G7 economies was currently six times that of BRICS economies. But, the unexpectedly swift expansion of BRICS would increase the trade bloc’s share of the global economy much faster than earlier predictions. “These forecasts did not take into account that BRICS would expand its membership very quickly. A larger BRICS will mean the world will increasingly use U.S. dollars less,” he said. Mr. Gumede said the bigger BRICS alliance would eventually rival the Group of Seven (G7) large industrial economies of the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, France, Japan, Italy, and Canada, which together are home to 16 percent of the world’s population and account for 62 percent of the global economy.

Welcoming the new members in Johannesburg last week, Brazil’s President Lula da Silva said their addition would mean BRICS would represent 46 percent of the global population and 37 percent of the world GDP. The expansion means BRICS now consists of some of the globe’s largest oil producers: Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt. Nigeria, another major oil exporter, is set to join when the bloc gets even bigger, probably at its next summit in Russia in 2024. “BRICS is going to dominate the world’s energy supply,” said Mr. Gumede. “The strength of the U.S. dollar is also partially based on the currency as underpinning oil trade—the so-called petrodollar—and members of OPEC settle their accounts in U.S. dollars.

Read more …

Look at the phrasing:

“One candidate who is already running, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., would stay in the race, trading on his family name rather than his conspiracy-fueled ideas.”

What if Biden Backs Out of the Race? (RCW)

President Biden has declared he’s running for a second term, but it’s far from certain he actually will. His infirmity and low poll numbers raise serious doubts. His physical decline shows when he walks or climbs the stairs of Air Force One. His cognitive decline shows when he refuses to hold press conferences or answer even the simplest questions, like how he feels about the devastating fires in Maui. His decline in the public’s estimation shows when pollsters ask Americans how they’re doing. Four out of five answer, “Not good. Not good at all.” Voters also say they don’t want another general election choice like the last one. So many votes in 2020 were negative ones “against the worse candidate,” not in favor of the better one. They don’t want another grudge match between two unpopular candidates.

Biden’s dismal poll numbers form a somber backdrop for his reelection campaign. That backdrop is even darker now that his health problems are so visible. These mounting problems may not prevent him from running, but they do lessen the chances. True, he keeps saying he is running. But, like all politicians, he may be deceiving the public or himself. The biggest “tell” is that Biden is avoiding the very things active candidates do. He’s not campaigning. He’s not attending a lot of small events with big donors. He’s not running ads. He’s not using the White House’s bully pulpit to address the nation on our challenges and his response to them. Still, those signs are not definitive. Biden might be lying low because the Republicans are fighting among themselves. Why get in their way? Better to wait until late autumn to ramp up his campaign.

He might be unsure if he really is running, uncertain if he is up to the arduous task, physically and mentally. Or he might have already decided, privately, that he will not run but is delaying the announcement since it would immediately turn him into a powerless lame duck. At this point, it’s impossible to know what he has decided. He might not know himself. But it is well worth considering the implications if Biden limits himself to one term and waits until late fall or early spring to make the announcement. The first implication is that a late withdrawal favors some Democratic candidates over others. It favors those with high name recognition, existing campaign operations, and the ability to fund expensive national efforts, either from outside donations or their own pockets.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has already established his campaign-in-waiting and can raise lots of money, especially from big donors in his home state. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker is a billionaire who can fund his own run and has begun setting up a national team. Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, by contrast, would be several steps behind and would need to raise a lot of money quickly to become a viable candidate. So would Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, or others who might step into the wide-open race. One candidate who is already running, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., would stay in the race, trading on his family name rather than his conspiracy-fueled ideas.

[..] The second consequence of a Biden withdrawal would be a fight over the future of Kamala Harris. She is the least popular vice president in polling history, and for good reason. Voters think she’s incompetent, inauthentic, and inarticulate, an empty-calorie word salad without any policy achievements. She’s the living embodiment of the “Peter Principle,” where people keep getting promoted until they reach their level of incompetence.

Read more …

Given GOP’s track record…

Majority of Voters Are Skeptical of Possible Biden Impeachment (Manley)

A poll published on Wednesday has revealed that a majority of American voters (56%) see a possible impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden as more of a partisan political stunt than those (38%) who view it as a “serious effort to investigate important problems.” At least 53% of Independents who responded to the poll also agreed that an impeachment inquiry would be more of a political stunt. The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by the Congressional Integrity Project, both groups of which lean Democrat. Some 37% of those who responded to the poll said they were Democrat, while 32% said they were Republican and 31% said they were Independent. About 88% of Biden voters said an impeachment of the president would be a “partisan political stunt” while just 20% of former US President Donald Trump’s voters said the same. When grouped politically, 81% of Democrats held this view, while 30% of Republicans said the same. Another 73% of Trump voters, and just 7% of Biden backers said the impeachment inquiry would be a “serious effort to investigate important problems.”

The survey then asked respondents whether Republicans should still move to impeach Biden if “no evidence is found” in the investigation. In response, 61% said they should not impeach him, while 32% said they should, and 7% said they were not sure. “MAGA Republicans’ impeachment promises are nothing more than a partisan political stunt designed to hurt President Biden, and the American people know it,” said Leslie Dach, a senior adviser for the Congressional Integrity Project. “Republicans have failed to find a single shred of evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden and voters see right through their partisan games.” A possible impeachment investigation in Biden appears to be on the horizon for Congress as summer comes to a close. Last week, US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said he would launch an impeachment inquiry in September should the Biden administration fail to turn over documents he believes are tied to an alleged bribery scheme involving his family.

Read more …

Seating his donors…

Hunter Biden Helped Plan State Dinners During Dad’s VP Days (Sp.)

A number of emails obtained from the US National Archives and Records Administration revealed more than 1,000 emails between the office of then-Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s advisory firm Rosemont Seneca Partners, America First Legal said in a statement. “We obtained new docs from our lawsuit against the National Archives revealing over 1,000 emails between Rosemont Seneca and the Office of Vice President,” the statement said on Wednesday. “The vast majority of these emails consisted of direct communications between Rosemont Seneca employees, including Hunter Biden, and the Office of the Vice President.”

The emails contradict Joe Biden’s claims that there was a wall between personal and government business, the statement said, underscoring that Hunter Biden was “intimately involved in planning for high-profile White House events” despite lacking any official role. One of the findings revealed that Hunter Biden took part in planning a 2011 luncheon with Chinese officials, arrival ceremony with the then German chancellor, 2012 state dinner with UK dignitaries, 2013 state luncheon with Turkish officials and a state dinner with French officials in 2014. The “Biden name” was used to gain access to the White House for Rosemont Seneca and their associates, the statement said, detailing a December 2013 incident in which a lobbyist “reached out” to Hunter’s business partner for last-minute tickets to a Christmas tour of the White House.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Sean Penn

 

 

 

 

Quail
https://twitter.com/i/status/1696789527984025741

 

 

Octopus

 

 

Cheetah

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 282023
 
 August 28, 2023  Posted by at 9:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  47 Responses »


Gustave Dore Dante and Virgil among the late penitents 1868

 

Tucker Carlson: The People Who Run America Are “Dangerous And Insane” (Sp.)
NATO’s Strategy on Ukraine Failed – Former Italian PM Conte (Sp.)
Zelensky Aide Confirms ‘Secret’ Meetings With NATO Brass (Sp.)
Realistically, How Strong Is America? (Paul Craig Roberts)
Trump: The Leader of a Faction or a Party? (McCotter)
Yes, Trump was Seeking Another Recount or Investigation in Georgia (Turley)
Trump Mugshot Proves Fundraiser Miracle – Politico (RT)
BRICS Nations Just Want What Is Theirs (Ullekh NP)
‘Welcome to the BRICS 11’ (Pepe Escobar)
Gold Will Destroy The Keynesian Fallacies (Barron)
Do Clintons Seek to Steal Thunder From Team Biden & Cash in on Ukraine? (Sp.)
Hundreds of US Airline Pilots Suspected of Being Unfit to Fly (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Levin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vivek

 

 


Abraham Lincoln looking out over the March on Washington – 60 years ago this weekend.

 

 

 

 

Good speech. Makes Tucker 2028 feel closer.

BTW: why did the US make a gay human rights lawyer ambassador to Hungary? To provoke perhaps?

Tucker Carlson: The People Who Run America Are “Dangerous And Insane” (Sp.)

Tucker Carlson did not mince words as he ripped into US Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman during an event in Budapest, calling the diplomat a “creep” that needs to be fired for actions “so far from the norms of diplomacy.” The former Fox News host said he felt compelled to apologize for how Washington was “harassing” the country led by the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “The world is realigning at high speed, and turning against the United States. But the Biden Administration is spending its time harassing one of our last sincere allies in Europe, Hungary, for the crime of being too Christian,” said Carlson at the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) Feszt After event at Millenáris Park in Budapest. Hungary has been tightening laws targeting LGBT propaganda under Viktor Orban, who has been in power since 2010.

At present, same-sex couples are legally barred from adopting children, and gender change is also prohibited by law. David Pressman, America’s ambassador to Hungary, is a gay human rights lawyer who took up the position in September 2022. The California-born former aide to then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has frequently mounted open criticism of the Hungarian government, under Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Earlier this year Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto lashed out at Pressman, saying that he had no business interfering in Hungary’s domestic affairs. During his speech in Budapest, Tucker Carlson made the emphatic argument that Pressman, a “political activist and Biden-donor,” was working on behalf of “special interests”, rather than the American people,” and not focusing on building stronger relations with Budapest.

“For a creep like David Pressman . . . to show up in your country and lecture you about your culture – and threaten you because you do things differently from the way they do things where he lives – hurts the United States and is a grave embarrassment to me as an American and an outrage to me as someone who pays his salary… It’s disgusting,” said Carlson. The entire premise behind “diplomacy” is that countries are different, said Carlson, himself the son of a diplomat. Accordingly, an envoy should not “hector other nations,” or “show up in somebody else’s country and scream at them because they’re different from you.” The political pundit added, in referense to David Pressman, that he was “embarrassed that I share a country of birth with a man, with a villain like this. It’s horrifying.”

According to Carlson, every time he visited Hungary, it reminded him of America back in 1980s, or as he remembered it from his early youth. However, critics in the West were trying to paint Hungary as a “rogue” state for adhering to its own strong Christian values and refusing to allow foreign envoys to tell telling Hungarians how to live. As Carlson accused Washington of demanding that Hungarians “worship transvestites,” and denounced this as as a case of a “foreign power pushing its weird boutique religion on you, and it’s wrong,” he presumed to give Hungarians some advice: “Just wait it out. The United States is in a place now where this is not sustainable. You can’t run a global empire on the imposition of boutique sexual politics on countries that don’t want them.”

Weighing in on the current policy of the United States, Tucker Carlson claimed that the people who run his country are “dangerous and Insane”. “They hate Hungary, and they hate it not because of what it’s done but because of what it is. It’s a Christian country, and they hate that. That is enough to incite our policymakers in the United States. That’s exactly why they hate Russia, by the way.” “People running the United States are no longer even pretending to offer a better life to the people who love there,” stated Carlson. As for the media landscape, there is no “diversity.” And why is this the case? “Because they are lying to you,” said Carlson, adding: “Anyone who doesn’t lie is punished and pushed off the stage.”

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“..the Ukraine conflict has “exposed the European Union’s inability to develop an effective common strategy..”

Because the EU has no leadership. People like Ursula and Borrell are not leaders.

NATO’s Strategy on Ukraine Failed – Former Italian PM Conte (Sp.)

“The strategy pursued so far in NATO, based on constant military supplies to Ukraine and the escalation logic, has not resulted in the desired military defeat of Russia. Quite the opposite. There was no defeat of the Russian army in Bakhmut [Artemovsk], no disintegration of its military units, no retreat during the Ukrainian counteroffensive,” Conte said on social media on Saturday. The economic sanctions imposed on Russia “did not lead to its bankruptcy and did not undermine its economy,” he added, noting that the possibility of internal destabilization in Russia had collapsed “in the face of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s strengthening leadership and growing domestic consensus,” and that Western policies had not led to Russia’s isolation.

“The isolation of Russia has by no means become a reality. On the contrary. The 15th summit of the BRICS group, led by Russia and China, has just wrapped up, with the concrete prospect of its further expansion in 2024, which will cover 45% of the world’s population and 38.2% of global GDP,” Conte said. In his opinion, the Ukraine conflict has “exposed the European Union’s inability to develop an effective common strategy and to exercise independent political and economic leadership,” he noted, adding that, in his opinion, the European leaders were subordinate to the United States. Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022 in response to calls by the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk for protection from Ukrainian troops. Since then, the EU imposed 11 packages of sanctions against Russia, and have been supplying Ukraine with arms.

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“..calling the crisis a proxy war “denies Ukraine agency.”

Zelensky Aide Confirms ‘Secret’ Meetings With NATO Brass (Sp.)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov first characterized the Ukrainian crisis as a NATO “proxy war” against Russia in April 2022. The US and its allies vocally rejected the characterization. But a series of Pentagon leaks, combined with statements made by Ukrainian officials themselves, have served to confirm the validity of Lavrov’s assessment. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s top advisor has confirmed that a “secret meeting” recently took place between Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, other Ukrainian generals, and NATO top brass on the Polish-Ukrainian border. “There are a lot of meetings like that,” presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said in an interview with Ukrainian television on Saturday. “Actually, Zaluzhnyi actively communicates with representatives of the ministries of defense and general staffs of our partners almost every day.”

“The General Staff is constantly making adjustments, depending on what is happening on the front line,” Podolyak added. “Obviously, these adjustments are always being discussed with our partners in order to actualize the deliveries” of additional weapons, including long-range missiles, armored vehicles, and air defense systems. The Zelensky aide also revealed that the NATO defense officials Zaluzhnyi most often communicates with are the Americans and the British, since “they know and understand better than others what is happening at the front.” Podolyak’s remarks confirm recent reports in US and UK media that the Ukrainian top commander and other Ukrainian top brass had met with Pentagon Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Christopher Cavoli, and British Chief of Defense Staff Tony Radakin to push for a change in strategy in Ukraine’s faltering counteroffensive.

Zaluzhnyi was said to have verbally agreed with the “advice” of his NATO counterparts. The Biden administration, the US’ European allies, and Western media have adamantly refused to call the Ukraine conflict a “proxy war” between NATO and Russia, claiming the West’s only role is to “support the Ukrainian people as they defend their country,” and that calling the crisis a proxy war “denies Ukraine agency.” However, the extent of NATO support, including nearly $100 billion in military equipment, intelligence, and other aid, combined with the April 2022 US/UK move to sabotage Russian-Ukrainian peace talks, Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin’s admission that Washington’s goal in Ukraine was to “weaken” Russia, and NATO’s longstanding efforts to incorporate Kiev into the Western military bloc, suggest otherwise.

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“..the United States might be the least safe place on earth for white people, even less safe than South Africa and Zimbabwe..”

Realistically, How Strong Is America? (Paul Craig Roberts)

America’s weakness is overlooked by investment analysts. Having offshored manufacturing, the US is import-dependent, and having weaponized the dollar Washington is causing foreign central banks to stop holding dollars as reserves. The consequence is that the US has a rising issuance of debt to finance trade and budget deficits, but a declining supply of customers for that debt. Either the Federal Reserve has to monetize the debt or interest rates will rise. Note also that it appears there will be in about 4 months a large expansion of BRICS. Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have been invited to join. I assume the Russians have the diplomatic sense not to invite someone unless they know they will accept. Otherwise, Russia will have set herself up for the Western media headline, “Country X refuses Russia’s invitation.”

In a slap down of Washington signifying the termination of the petrodollar, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said, “the special, strategic relations with the BRICS nations promotes common principles, most importantly the firm belief in the principle of respect for sovereignty, independence and non-interference in internal affairs.” BRICS expansion will make the two largest South American countries members, and with the Saudis, Iranians, and UAE almost the entirety of Middle East oil goes into the Russian organization, which with Russia’s oil is essentially the world’s oil supply, and Egypt sits on the Suez Canal. China and India, the largest part of Asia, are already members. This suggests to me that the US dollar is headed for trouble and will need interest rate support.

If the dollar loses exchange value, the cost of imports will drive US inflation considerably higher. The worst inflations are always caused by currency decline. Gold investments make a lot of sense for Americans assuming that the criminals in Washington who are ruling us don’t confiscate them. Keep in mind also that the indictments of Trump are completely phony. If white-hating black Democrat prosecutors and white-hating black Democrat juries convict Trump of these phony charges, political upheaval could result. If the Americans simply accept the false conviction of an American president, they will fall into tyranny and no asset will be safe. The real American situation could be very different from what Wall Street thinks.

Dollar problems could make the US an unsafe investment climate, and if we take account of the extreme efforts of the Biden regime, American universities, public school boards, and Woke media and corporations, such as Disney, BlackRock, Starbucks, and Budweiser, to demonize white Americans and infuse white American children with racial guilt, the United States might be the least safe place on earth for white people, even less safe than South Africa and Zimbabwe. Indeed, it seems some American cities already are. It is not only that white confidence and white lives are at risk. So are Americans’ civil liberty. American law schools are in the hands of Woke ideologues who want “to reclaim America from constitutionalism.” Law schools such as Harvard and Yale teach that the US Constitution is undemocratic and racist and should be abandoned. Under the Woke regime the law schools and New York Times intend to impose, only the Woke and “official victims” would have rights. None of this reality is part of Wall Street’s world or stock and bond market valuations.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1696046348494311769

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No, Trump will not vow to endorse Asa Hutchinson or Chris Christie. It’s about credibility.

Trump: The Leader of a Faction or a Party? (McCotter)

[..] former president Donald Trump has declined to sign the Republican National Committee’s colloquially termed “Beat Biden pledge.” The pledge would commit Mr. Trump to endorse the ultimate GOP 2024 presidential nominee. Signing the pledge also is required to participate in the GOP’s presidential debates. This is likely not a factor in Mr. Trump’s decision, as he has announced he will eschew the first debate. What, then, are some factors in Mr. Trump’s thinking? Per the New York Post: “I wouldn’t sign the pledge. Why would I sign a pledge? There are people on there that I wouldn’t have. I wouldn’t have certain people as, you know, somebody that I’d endorse,” Trump, 77, told Newsmax host Eric Bolling during an interview. “I can name three or four people that I wouldn’t support for president. So right there, there’s a problem,” Trump said of the Republican National Committee’s loyalty pledge requirement.

Presently, Mr. Trump holds a significant lead over his GOP rivals for the presidential nomination. If his lead holds and Mr. Trump wins the GOP nomination, his signing the “Beat Biden pledge” would put his opponents on the defensive. It would make it harder, though not impossible, for them to renege on their pledged support for Mr. Trump in the general election campaign. So, why did he not sign? Again, the RNC requires Mr. Trump’s GOP rivals to commit to endorsing the 2024 nominee to participate in the debates. Consequently, if Mr. Trump’s wins, everyone on the stage in Milwaukee has already committed to supporting him. Declining to be in the debate, Mr. Trump has no need to sign the pledge for that purpose. In fact, in expressing his refusal to sign the pledge, he has another opportunity to trash his GOP rivals as being unworthy of the debate. (And, in refraining from naming the “three or four” rivals he would not support, he casts all his rival under suspicion).

One would think this is political deftness. One would be mistaken. While Mr. Trump has a lead in a primary election – a segment of a segment of the overall electorate – he is in deep trouble in a general election. Again, per the New York Post, an AP-NORC Center survey found that 53% of Americans say they will “definitely not” vote for Mr. Trump, and 11% more say they “probably will not” vote for Mr. Trump. In sum, then, Mr. Trump should be leveraging his large primary lead not to denigrate and humiliate his GOP rivals, but rather to unite the Republican Party behind his candidacy. This is a point not lost upon the more politically savvy of his supporters. “There isn’t a real Republican Primary as President Trump continues to dominate the GOP primary in both national polls and early-state polls,” Republican House Conference Chair, Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), told Breitbart News. “All patriots should and must rally behind President Trump’s campaign to Save America and defeat the corrupt Deep State.”

True, to a point. While Mr. Trump has a large lead over each of his individual GOP opponents, the combined opposition to him is around 40%. As his rivals drop out, their voters are unlikely to go to Mr. Trump. Instead, they will go to other candidates until one challenger is left standing. This would be Mr. Trump’s nightmare scenario: one GOP rival left, who has garnered all the anti-Trump party support; and, should Mr. Biden not be the Democrat nominee, all bets could be off for Mr. Trump. Obviously, Mr. Trump wants to avoid this scenario. Further, as do all candidates, he wants to sew up the primary as soon as possible to stanch the loss of precious campaign resources in a drawn out primary. Nonetheless, presently the GOP is far from united behind Mr. Trump; and there is little to suggest this is going to change any time soon.

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And that’s not illegal.

Yes, Trump was Seeking Another Recount or Investigation in Georgia (Turley)

First, a brief reminder of what “the call” is. This was not some back-room, smoke-filled political wheel-and-deal call. It was similar to a settlement discussion between largely antagonistic figures and their opposing teams. State officials and the Trump team were seeing if they could resolve their differences without further litigation. The Trump team wanted a new statewide recount. Trump had lost the state by less than 12,000 votes and was making the case that he could still show that he had won the state. He stated, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.” If you are going to argue for another recount or continued investigation, the obvious argument is that it would not take statistically many votes to make a difference.

I have long disagreed with Trump over his claim of systemic voting fraud. I criticized Trump’s Jan. 6 speech while he was giving it. I supported Vice President Mike Pence and his certification of the election of Joe Biden. I have also regularly criticized Trump when I felt that such criticism was warranted. This does not change my view of whether the call is compelling evidence of a crime. When the Washington Post first reported this call, I posted a critical tweet based on its initial, erroneous account that Trump had ordered Georgia officials to just “find” the needed votes. I noted that such a demand would be breathtaking and further noted that, even if they did so, it would not stop Biden from winning the presidency. But a few hours later, the actual transcript of the call was released, showing a strikingly different context for the “find” comment than the Post had reported.

Trump was clearly referring to his objective in finding votes and the threshold he needed to meet. That is a predictable argument for a candidate in pushing for a continued investigation. The Post also ran a misleading story on a separate, related call that left the same false impression. By the initial account, Trump had supposedly told investigator Frances Watson to “find the fraud” and promised that she would be “a national hero.” In fact, Trump had stated that, if the officials did a neutral investigation, “you’re going to find things” including “dishonesty.” The Post had to issue a correction at the top of this second story after the Wall Street Journal found a recording of the call. “The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump’s comments on the call, based on information provided by a source,” the paper acknowledged.

Phillip Bump’s recent Washington Post column continues to cite the paper’s original, skewed account of that call in order to criticize my commentary on it. Yet even in doing so, Bump inadvertently demonstrates the danger of using this call to prosecute Trump. As a threshold matter, Bump suggests (and many have repeated) that Trump was not seeking another recount because the recount had already occurred and Trump never uses the word “recount” in the first call. The argument shows the lack of good faith in the criticism. Obviously, Trump was seeking another recount or investigation. We all know that Georgia completed the recount. I wrote about it at the time and considered that recount to end reasonable doubts over the election. Trump, however, was making the case for another investigation or recount. That was the subject of the call. He wanted the state to take another look. That is further born out in the second call when he again asks them to take another look.

Trump’s demand is as simple and obvious as it was wrong. He wanted to maintain a challenge to the election in the courts and in Congress. Just a couple days after the election, I wrote a column predicted this strategy based on what the Democrats had done in prior years. I called it the Death Star strategy. To make it work, Trump needed to find evidence of fraud and delay or undermine state certifications. A new recount or continued investigation would achieve that purpose.

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“..make a contribution to evict Crooked Joe Biden from the White House and SAVE AMERICA during this dark chapter in our nation’s history.”

Trump Mugshot Proves Fundraiser Miracle – Politico (RT)

Donald Trump’s recent mugshot, which has already become iconic among his supporters, has also helped his campaign raise a record-breaking sum, according to Politico. The Republican frontrunner faces a plethora of charges and turned himself in at the Fulton County jail in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday. On Saturday, the outlet reported that the former president had raised some $7.1 million since he had the photo taken by authorities. Politico quoted an anonymous source as saying that Trump’s campaign raked in $4.18 million on Friday alone – its single-highest 24-hour take to date. Shortly after the Fulton County’s Sheriff’s Office released the mugshot, the former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., announced that he had launched a line of merchandise bearing the image and the tagline “NEVER SURRENDER!”.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), he said that all proceeds from the sale of T-shirts, mugs, and posters would go to the Legal Defense Fund “to fight the tyranny & insanity we’re seeing before us.” On Thursday night, the Republican frontrunner posted a tweet of his own on X – his first since 2021 – directing supporters to his website. Its landing page features the mugshot and asks visitors to “make a contribution to evict Crooked Joe Biden from the White House and SAVE AMERICA during this dark chapter in our nation’s history.” After being booked on multiple charges relating to his alleged attempts to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election, he was then released on a $200,000 bond. Trump is the first former or sitting US president to have a police mugshot taken of himself.

Earlier this month, Fulton district attorney Fani Willis unsealed a 41-count indictment against the former president and 18 of his associates. Trump stands accused of violating Georgia’s organized crime laws, as well as conspiracy to interfere in an election, perjury, soliciting a public official to violate their oath, and other offenses. This is the fourth criminal indictment the 45th US president has faced since the start of the year. Federal prosecutors have already slapped him with dozens of felony counts, alleging he plotted to interfere in the 2020 elections, mishandled classified documents after leaving the White House in 2021, and paid hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels during his 2016 election campaign. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and described the charges as a politically motivated witch hunt designed to prevent him from running for president in 2024.

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“By Ullekh NP, a writer, journalist, and political commentator based in New Delhi. He is the executive editor of the newsweekly Open and author of three nonfiction books: War Room: The People, Tactics and Technology Behind Narendra Modi’s 2014 Win; The Untold Vajpayee: Politician and Paradox; and Kannur: Inside India’s Bloodiest Revenge Politics.”

BRICS Nations Just Want What Is Theirs (Ullekh NP)

The BRICS nations, which had either rung out old monarchies or liberated themselves from colonial oppression, had long craved decolonization, but the US and its allies used every pretext to delay this overdue process. In the meantime, there were efforts such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that demonstrated the passion of multiple countries to break out of the clutches of American-centric global institutions, especially financial institutions, which had become instruments zealously used by the US and certain former colonial powers to control the resources of other countries. Any bid to question the hegemony of these global power structures was considered blasphemy, and the Western mainstream media promptly denounced any alternatives to the economic order of the day as non-starters or damp squib.

At the same time, they kept silent on the aspirations of the countries that had fought colonial and expansionist powers tooth and nail in the first half of the century to rewrite world history. The inclusion of six new members to BRICS at the recently concluded Johannesburg summit attracted international attention, but the highlight of the discourse so far has been pessimism about the grouping’s potential success. True, BRICS, or BRICS+ now thanks to its expansion, has not outlined alternative institutions it is planning to build. Neither is it an ideologically aligned entity like the G7. Nor has this grouping, which has been meeting annually on a rotational basis under the chairmanship of its member countries since 2014, chalked out any common aims in foreign policy – in fact, they do not have much in common except that they are aggrieved at being unfairly treated by the West and its satellite institutions since the end of World War II.

What BRICS has is a bank it created in 2015 called the New Development Bank (NDB), formerly known as the BRICS Development Bank, with the aim of “mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging markets and developing countries.” But it is still at an early stage. So, what else does it have, Western commentators ask, some terming the summit “semi-farcical” and “meaningless.” It’s simple. These countries don’t want to be denied certain advantages that they are entitled to in the age of globalization. The times they are a-changin’, as Bob Dylan sang. The commentariat who see trade alone as the focus of BRICS+ must look at the political fragmentation taking place in the world where each country – from Asia to Latin America to Africa – is standing up to protect its own interests instead of remaining loyally aligned to blocs, no questions asked.

[..] … even the most neocon commentators who are silent on the splits within G7 cannot deny that the best days of the US economy are over and that the world order is shifting eastward. At this moment, there will always be desperate measures on the part of the existing hegemon to fight back inevitable change, perhaps through confrontation or through cooperation. Many economists hope that the countries in the Global South, those long denigrated, will have a greater reason than now to stick together. It is in that context that BRICS+ acquires a halo.

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Pepe reworks an earlier article. The Cradle adds graphs. Check the difference in debt.

‘Welcome to the BRICS 11’ (Pepe Escobar)

The road leading to BRICS 11, during the two days of discussions in Johannesburg, was hard and bumpy, as admitted by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. The final result turned out to be a prodigy of trans-continental inclusion. West Asia was aggregated in full force. The Arab world has three full members, as much as Africa. And Brazil strategically lobbied to incorporate troubled Argentina. The global GDP-purchasing power parity (PPP) of BRICS 11, as it stands, is now 36 percent (already larger than the G7), and the institution now encompasses 47 percent of the world’s population. Even more than a geopolitical and geoeconomic breakthrough, BRICS 11 really breaks the bank on the energy front. By signing up Tehran, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, BRICS 11 instantly becomes an oil and gas powerhouse, controlling 39 percent of global oil exports, 45.9 percent of proven reserves and 47.6 percent of all oil produced globally, according to InfoTEK. A direct BRICS 11-OPEC+ symbiosis is inevitable (under Russia-Saudi Arabia leadership), not to mention OPEC itself.

Translation: The collective west may soon lose its power to control global oil prices, and subsequently, the means to enforce its unilateral sanctions. A Saudi Arabia directly aligned with Russia-China-India-Iran offers a stunning counterpoint to the US-engineered oil crisis in the early 1970s, when Riyadh started wallowing in petrodollars. That represents the next stage of the Russian-initiated and Chinese-finalized rapprochement between Riyadh and Tehran, recently sealed in Beijing. And that’s exactly what the Russia-China strategic leadership always had in mind. This particular diplomatic masterstroke is rife with meaningful details: BRICS 11 enters the fray on the exact same day, January 1, 2024, when Russia assumes the annual presidency of BRICS.

Putin announced that the BRICS 11 summit next year will take place in Kazan, the capital city of Russia’s Tatarstan, which will be yet another blow to the west’s irrational, isolation-and-sanctions policies. Next January, expect further integration of the Global South/Global Majority/Global Globe, including even more radical decisions, conducted by the sanctioned-to-oblivion Russian economy – now, incidentally, the 5th largest in the world by a PPP of over $5 trillion. The G7, for all practical purposes, has now entered an Intensive Care Unit. The G20 may be next. The new “Global Globe” G20 may be the BRICS 11 – and later on the BRICS 20 or even BRICS 40. By then, the petrodollar will also be on life support in the ICU.

[..] Putin went so far as to publicly call on all BRICS 11 to abandon the US dollar and expand trade settlements in national currencies – stressing that BRICS “oppose hegemonies of any kind” and “the exceptional status that some countries aspire to,” not to mention “a policy of continued neo-colonialism.” Importantly, as much as the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is celebrating its 10th anniversary next month, Putin drove home the necessity to: “…establish a permanent BRICS transport commission, which would deal not only with the North-South project [referring to the INTSC transportation corridor, whose key BRICS members are Russia, Iran and India], but also on a broader scale with the development of logistics and transport corridors, interregional and global.”

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The BRICS must use gold.

Gold Will Destroy The Keynesian Fallacies (Barron)

Introducing gold into the trading system will expose the main fallacy of Keynesian economics; i.e., the elevation of aggregate demand to prominence in a nation’s economy rather than production. Keynes shunned Say’s Law of Markets in his General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in order to hide his theory’s internal contradictions. As put succinctly by Emile Woolf, “Keynes endows the concept of ‘aggregate demand’ with god-like status while disregarding ‘production’-the only means of satisfying it.” Jean-Baptiste Say shows that production is required in order to enjoy the benefits of consumption.

On the face of it, it is hard to believe that anyone would believe that production either isn’t required for consumption or that it magically appears. Yet, this rather upside down theory appealed to politicians for obvious reasons; i.e., it gave them carte blanche to spend, all with money created out of thin air by the central bank. Rather than economize and prioritize spending that was absolutely necessary for the benefit of the entire nation, politicians were told by Keynes that it was their duty to spend if only to pay people to dig holes and others to fill them up.

The new international trade settlement system will require settlement in gold. A possible mechanism has been outlined by Alasdair Macleod of Goldmoney.com. The benefits of the new system will become obvious to every nation, not just the current BRICS members. The political benefits are that no one nation can control or manipulate the system for its unearned benefit. The economic benefits are that government spending will be minimized so that resources can be allocated to production rather than state aggrandizement. A member can expand imports only by expanding exports. This puts market pressure on member governments to reform their internal economies in order to increase production. To artificially increasing demand, per Keynesian orthodoxy, would be counterproductive, because gold would drain from the nation’s gold settlement account and imports would be suspended.

Therefore, the system encourages sound economic practices within its members’ individual economies. Printing money, excessive and unnecessary regulations, excessive taxation, and excessive government spending do nothing to aid a member’s ability to engage in trade. Nations like the US who have huge welfare obligations and who have politically connected industries that do not add to the nation’s capital base will struggle. Having lots of nuclear weapons will be irrelevant and having bases around the world will be liabilities rather than assets. An important point made by Macleod is that over time the gold settlement system for international trade will expand into members’ internal monetary systems. In other words, fiat currencies, which can be inflated/debased by governments, will be thrown on the ash heap of history. They will become “barbarous relics” instead of gold, as Keynes predicted in 1924.

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Haiti 2.0 or the White House?

Do Clintons Seek to Steal Thunder From Team Biden & Cash in on Ukraine? (Sp.)

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) gathering scheduled for September is expected to bring together corporate leaders, Hollywood stars, and other celebrities with the aim to “address climate change, health care issues, gender-based violence, the war in Ukraine and a host of other issues.” The timing of the Clintons’ September gathering hints at two probabilities: first, they are showcasing their talents just as Democrats need to find viable candidates to replace Biden; second, they may be salivating over a potentially mammoth rebuilding package in Ukraine, as Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel told Sputnik. What is the Clinton Global Initiative? In March 2022, the Clintons revived the CGI, which has long been suspected of being a vehicle for “pay-to-play” schemes by Bill and Hillary Clinton and personal enrichment of the political dynasty.

“For decades, the elder Clintons have not been able to resist milking purported charities for personal and political gain. A vivid example – ‘Clinton Global Initiative’ – was born in 2004 just around the time the Little Rock Presidential Center was opened to the public,” Ortel, who has been investigating the Clintons’ charities for around eight years, told Sputnik. “The initial concept of having a grand, closed to the public, confab in New York, around the time of the UN Annual Meeting was actually inspired in principle, but grievously flawed in practice. Gathering globalists around world leaders and glitterati might have given rise to great philanthropy, had the Clintons and their advisors bothered to follow the laws and regulations in New York state and city pertaining to charities and to soliciting donations, but the parent Clinton Foundation and CGI thumbed their noses at these strict rules.”

In his articles and interviews with various media outlets, Ortel has repeatedly drawn attention to obvious discrepancies in founding documents and financial records of the Clinton Foundation and its numerous offshoots. Per the Wall Street analyst, the Clintons were not just cutting corners: these errors and omissions could hint at nothing short of fraud and influence peddling by the famous political dynasty. Remarkably, two forensic investigators-turned-whistleblowers, John Moynihan and Larry Doyle, who have been carrying out their own inquiry into the Clinton Foundation in parallel with Ortel, came to similar conclusions. On December 13, 2018, Doyle and Moynihan testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, suggesting that the Clinton Foundation owes the US government between $400 million and $2.5 billion in taxes.

According to the forensic investigators, the charity does not operate as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, but acts as a foreign agent. As such, the foundation should have registered under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act), which it never did. Both Ortel and the Clinton Foundation whistleblowers Doyle and Moynihan suspect the Clintons of engaging in a pay-to-play game with foreign governments and tycoons, something which the Biden family has also been accused of by GOP congressional investigators. “When you check public filings in New York state, you will see that neither the parent nor CGI bothered to register using legal or ‘doing business as’ names by 2005, validly explaining the tax-exempt purposes or results of CGI,” said Ortel. “Yet, tens of millions of dollars were raised for CGI for meetings in 2005 through 2008, including one in Hong Kong in 2008, just after Barack Obama’s selection of Hillary Clinton to serve as Secretary of State.

[..] “Then, in 2009, Bill Clinton and his advisors allowed a false and materially misleading application for tax exemption to be filed with the IRS for ‘Clinton Global Initiative, Inc.’ Unlike filings by conservatives before Lois Lerner’s IRS Department, the CGI filing, utterly false as it was, sailed through with swift approval,” the Wall Street analyst continued. Ortel highlighted that during Hillary’s tenure as secretary of state and through the 2015/2016 election cycle, “CGI went from strength to strength.” However, when Hillary lost the presidential race, support for CGI and for the parent and affiliates dried up, the analyst noted. “Now, with Biden stumbling and in deep trouble for much smaller pay to play schemes, the Clintons seem to be showcasing their talents just as Democrats need to find viable candidates to replace Biden and his inept Vice President [Kamala Harris],” said Ortel.

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Even before mentioning vaccine injuries.

Hundreds of US Airline Pilots Suspected of Being Unfit to Fly (Sp.)

About 600 US pilots licensed to operate passenger flights are under investigation for lying about their medical records, US press reported Sunday, citing officials and internal records. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been looking into 4,800 former military veterans turned airline and commercial pilots who might have submitted “incorrect or false information” as part of their medical applications, FAA spokesman Matthew Lehner admitted in a comment to the daily. The pilots were red-flagged after investigators at the Department of Veterans Affairs cross-checked federal databases to discover aviators who were receiving veteran benefits for mental health disorders and other serious conditions, while hiding their true medical history from the FAA in order to continue flying.

While the FAA relies on screening to identify safety risks, the tests are often cursory and pilots are expected to self-report conditions that can otherwise be difficult to detect, such as depression or post-traumatic stress, The Washington Post cited physicians who conduct the exams as saying. Officials told the newspaper they suspected many of the pilots under investigation of being either too sick to fly or defrauding taxpayers by exaggerating their disabilities to claim bigger benefits. The FAA disbursed $3.6 million starting last year to run additional tests on thousands of pilots deemed “potential risks.”

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Goat
https://twitter.com/i/status/1695535072990855614

 

 

Ringtone
https://twitter.com/i/status/1695896301873856835

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 262023
 
 August 26, 2023  Posted by at 8:31 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  55 Responses »


Gustave Dore Dante and The Ninth Circle of Hell (Treachery) 1857

 

Europeans Fear Biden Will Push Ukraine To Peace – Bloomberg (RT)
US To Reduce Military Aid To Ukraine In 2024 – WSJ (RT)
Ukraine Mess Will Cost US $600 Bln More Even If Fighting Stopped Tomorrow (Sp.)
Ukraine Ends With ‘Post-Zelensky Warlord’ – Ramaswamy (RT)
‘Total Lie’ Russia Killed Prigozhin – Kremlin (RT)
Who’s Afraid Of Prigozhin And Wagner? (Bhadrakumar)
Expanded BRICS To Dominate Global Energy Markets (RT)
BRICS 11 – Strategic Tour de Force (Pepe Escobar)
Trump’s First X Post Gets Over 210 MILLION Views In 24 Hours (DCE)
Trump Mugshot Turned Into Merch (RT)
The Trump Mugshot Ignites a Tinderbox Nation (Turley)
Campaign Photo (Jim Kunstler)
Elon Musk Says He’s Being Sued For ‘Political Purposes’ (RT)

 

 

 

 

Trump ad

 

 

 

 

Huntersgate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, we can’t have that.

Europeans Fear Biden Will Push Ukraine To Peace – Bloomberg (RT)

European officials are concerned that US President Joe Biden could “nudge” Ukraine toward peace talks next year, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing anonymous sources. Bloomberg is the second major US outlet this week to warn that American military aid to Kiev may soon dry up. According to the US news site, European leaders worry that Ukraine’s lack of “significant battlefield progress,” coupled with pressure from the anti-interventionist wing of the Republican Party, could lead to Biden pressing Kiev to the negotiating table. The US has supplied more than $43 billion worth of arms to Ukraine since Russia’s military operation began last year, but the Biden administration is out of money for more aid packages. The president has asked Congress to pass a $40 billion emergency spending bill, half of which would be allocated to Kiev, but the bill will likely face stiff opposition from a growing number of Republicans opposed to Biden’s blank-check policy.

Furthermore, media reports earlier this summer suggested that continued military aid to Ukraine would be predicated on Kiev using its NATO weapons and training to make significant territorial gains against Russian forces. However, nearly three months into Kiev’s counteroffensive, the Ukrainian military has failed to breach Russia’s defensive lines, and has lost upwards of 43,000 men for its efforts, according to the most recent figures from the Russian Defense Ministry. With Ukraine’s odds of success dwindling, Biden will also enter 2024 having to campaign for reelection, likely against former President Donald Trump. The former president has repeatedly promised to force Kiev into a peace deal if elected, as has Vivek Ramaswamy, who is currently polling third for the GOP’s nomination.

American officials believe that the US will not give Ukraine “anywhere near the same level” of military aid in 2024 compared to this year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. According to the paper’s sources, Washington would not be able to give Kiev the same amount of arms and ammo again, and American military planners are advising their Ukrainian counterparts to use what they already have more effectively. Publicly, the Biden administration insists that the weapons will keep flowing to Ukraine. According to a report by Axios on Wednesday, “senior US officials” have been in contact with European leaders to reassure them that the aid will continue, while National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday that key Republicans still back the administration’s policy of arming Kiev “for as long as it takes.”

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“What about the money we have already spent? What is the money for and what is victory?”

US To Reduce Military Aid To Ukraine In 2024 – WSJ (RT)

The US is unlikely to give Ukraine “anywhere near the same level” of military aid in 2024 compared to this year, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing officials in Washington. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and his administration insist that they will continue to back Kiev to the hilt. The US has supplied more than $43 billion worth of arms to Ukraine since Russia’s military operation began last year, while leaked Pentagon documents indicate that NATO countries trained and equipped nine Ukrainian brigades to take part in the ongoing counteroffensive against Russian forces. With the Ukrainian military failing to penetrate Russia’s defensive lines after nearly three months of fighting, American military planners are advising their Ukrainian counterparts to stick to their NATO training and use what they’ve been given more effectively, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

“The American advice is based on the calculation that the surge of equipment the US has funneled to Ukraine…is enough for this offensive and is unlikely to be repeated at anywhere near the same level in 2024,” the newspaper explained. Washington’s continued bankrolling of the Ukrainian military is a matter of political contention in the US. While almost all Democratic members of Congress back Biden’s policy of arming Kiev “for as long as it takes,” a group of more than two dozen Republicans are vehemently opposed. Moreover, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has promised to force Kiev into a peace deal if elected president next November, as has Vivek Ramaswamy, who is currently polling third for the GOP’s nomination.

The Biden administration has spent all of its money set aside for Ukraine, and the president is now pushing Congress to pass a $40 billion emergency spending bill, half of which would be allocated to Ukraine. With Republican anti-interventionists up in arms, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has suggested that he won’t give the bill his unconditional support. “You don’t get to just throw money [away],” he said earlier this summer. “What about the money we have already spent? What is the money for and what is victory?”

Biden’s top officials have downplayed the growing divisions in Washington. “We believe that the support will be there and will be sustained,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday. Sullivan added that despite the “dissonant voices” on the right, Republicans in “key leadership positions” will ensure that weapons keep flowing to Kiev. According to a report by Axios on Wednesday, “senior US officials” have been in contact with European leaders to reassure them that the supply of military aid will not dry up.

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It all depends how Ukraine is re-divided.

Ukraine Mess Will Cost US $600 Bln More Even If Fighting Stopped Tomorrow (Sp.)

The costs of the geopolitical, military, and economic quagmire which the Biden administration unleashed in Ukraine will continue to steadily rise even if peace were to break out tomorrow, and American taxpayers are expected to largely foot the bill. That’s the conclusion of an independent economic analysis put out this week by a senior fellow from the Center for Security Policy and the Yorktown Institute, a pair of Washington, DC and Maryland-based think tanks. The analysis takes into account the World Bank’s March 2023 estimate that Ukraine will require some $411 billion in reconstruction support over the coming decade, plus whatever additional expenses may have arisen between then and now, with the analysis giving an overall ballpark figure of $600 billion+ in total expenses.

The analysis compared these ballooning costs to the $60 billion the US spent on Iraqi reconstruction after the 2003 invasion, plus the $90 billion spent in Afghanistan for reconstruction purposes during the 20-year US-led war and occupation of that country, which culminated in the collapse of the Afghan government and its NATO-trained military almost immediately after Washington withdrew its support in 2021. “There is no doubt that most of the US assistance to Afghanistan was probably stolen or went over to the Taliban…In the case of Iraq, most of the aid was wasted thanks to bad management, corruption and poor planning,” the report noted. “The US and its allies will need to cough up $60 billion annually to support Ukraine, and expect that a lot of it will be stolen. It will have to keep the funding up for 10 years,” the analysis added.

Citing waning support for continuing the proxy war against Russia from key allies including Germany and Britain, the report expects the US to have to cough up most of the cash. Accordingly, the analysis doesn’t rule out that the Biden administration may be deliberately seeking to prolong the military crisis as long as possible to put off committing reconstruction aid, particularly as a growing majority of Americans, including several major presidential candidates, no longer want to continue endlessly funding the conflict, or the Volodymyr Zelensky government. Ultimately, the analysis expects Ukraine to become “the most costly” reconstruction operation ever conducted by the US, pointing out that by comparison, the US Marshall Plan reconstruction campaign in Europe after World War II cost “just” $13.3 billion (or $173 billion in today’s dollars, accounting for inflation).

Questions have swirled for months surrounding Ukraine’s post-conflict economic future, with the nation’s gross external debt continuing to mount, and some observers fearing the country will be “crippled” by the debt it owes to the International Monetary Fund and other institutions over the long term. The tremendous interest US hedge fund giants like BlackRock have shown in Ukraine’s fertile black earth soil, as well as the country’s untapped rare earth mineral deposits, has also sparked concerns that Kiev might come out of the present crisis as a full-on economic neo-colony of the United States and its allies.

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Why would Russia allow that?

Ukraine Ends With ‘Post-Zelensky Warlord’ – Ramaswamy (RT)

Continuing to send weapons to Kiev does not serve US interests and is only pushing Russia and China closer together, according to candidate for the Republican presidential nomination Vivek Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy was the only candidate on Wednesday’s debate stage in Milwaukee unequivocally against increasing US funding for Ukraine, already at over $100 billion. Asked about it by the government-funded Voice of America after the debate, Ramaswamy said that sending more money to Kiev “does not advance American interests” and the president’s job is to look out for Americans. “You mark my words, the way this war ends right now, without the US actually stepping in and saying we’re not going to fund any more of it, is going to be some post-Zelensky warlord takes over with a couple hundred billion dollars of American military equipment, just like what happened after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. And you see how far that got,” the 38-year-old tech entrepreneur added.

Ramaswamy also said his plan to end the conflict “will actually be probably better for Ukraine. At least it comes out with its sovereignty intact, which is not the plan they’re on right now.” If a recent CNN poll is to be believed, 71% of Republicans are against sending more money to the government in Kiev, while 59% say the US has done enough for Ukraine already. “I think that this is disastrous, that we are protecting against an invasion across somebody else’s border, when we should use those same military resources to prevent… the invasion of our own southern border here,” Ramaswamy said during the debate. He also argued that the US support for Kiev is “driving Russia further into China’s hands” and accused some of his rivals of putting Ukraine ahead of the US. “I find it offensive that we have professional politicians on the stage that will make a pilgrimage to Kiev – to their pope, [President Vladimir] Zelensky – without doing the same thing for people in Maui or the South Side of Chicago,” Ramaswamy said.

This provoked angry replies from former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former vice president Mike Pence – both of whom have recently visited Ukraine – as well as Nikki Haley, who called Ukraine “the front line of defense” for the US and accused Ramaswamy of having no foreign policy experience. Ramaswamy is currently ranked third in the GOP primary polls, behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with 13.8% but ahead of Pence (4.1%), Haley (3.1%) and Christie (2.9%). Former president Donald Trump has said he would end the conflict “in 24 hours” and condemned the Biden administration’s bankrolling of the Ukrainian government. Trump is the absolute front-runner for the party nomination, with 56% support. He did not attend Wednesday’s debate, choosing to give an interview to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson instead.

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The plane had just come from Africa.

‘Total Lie’ Russia Killed Prigozhin – Kremlin (RT)

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday dismissed what he called unfounded speculation by some media in the West that Moscow may have been behind the crash of Wagner head Evgeny Prigozhin’s plane. “There is a lot of speculation about that plane crash and the tragic deaths of the passengers, among whom was Evgeny Prigozhin,” Peskov told reporters at the daily press briefing. “In the West, all that speculation is being presented from a certain angle. It’s all a total lie.” Peskov asked the media to rely on facts, “which as of this moment are few, as they have to be uncovered by the ongoing investigation.”

He also reminded reporters that President Putin had promised a thorough investigation, including the DNA testing of the remains. “There are no official results as of yet. The moment they are ready to be made public, they will be,” Peskov said. The Embraer 135BJ Legacy 600 private jet was en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg on Wednesday when it crashed in Tver Region. There were ten people on board, seven passengers and three crew members. None survived. Authorities are still working to identify the bodies. Prigozhin’s name was on the passenger manifest, along with Dmitry ‘Wagner’ Utkin, whose call sign gave the private military company its moniker.

Officially, however, the Wagner Group PMC does not exist. Putin commented on Prigozhin’s reported death on Thursday, calling him a man of “complicated destiny” whom he had known since the early 1990s. The Russian president touched on Prigozhin’s business deals in both Russia and Africa and thanked him and Wagner for what they had done in the Ukraine conflict. He did not touch on the failed Wagner mutiny at the end of June, after which much of the outfit was disbanded, with the remainder moving to Belarus, along with Prigozhin.

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Former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar is convinced it wasn’t Putin.

Who’s Afraid Of Prigozhin And Wagner? (Bhadrakumar)

Prigozhin’s murder was staged on a special day that in a historical perspective, must be counted as the finest hour of Russian diplomacy ever since the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. The reality of “a new starting point for BRICS” — as Chinese President Xi Jinping stated — is yet to sink in fully, but what is beyond doubt is that Russia is walking away as the winner. Make no mistake that the BRICS unity held firm and rubbished all western prognosis; BRICS expansion means that the issue of a single settlement currency is on the table, and the international financial system is not going to be the same again; de-dollarisation is knocking at the gates; a new global trading system is taking shape which renders obsolete the exploitative 4-century old western regime geared to transfer wealth to the rich countries; BRICS has graduated, finally, from an informal club to an institution that will eclipse the G7.

[..] The plain truth is, there could be any number of people who wanted to physically eliminate Prigozhin. Within Russia itself, Prigozhin had recruited hardened criminals undergoing prison sentence to fight in Ukraine and thereby get their sentence commuted. He deployed them without adequate military training, and over 10,000 of them reportedly got killed. There is a deep sense of revulsion within Russia in the matter. Then there are the external enemies starting from France, which has been virtually evicted from the Sahel region, its playpen where it had a field day as the ex-colonial power until Prigozhin came and spoiled the party. France could barely hide its rancour toward Russia ever since then.

Meanwhile, the brewing crisis in Niger alerted the US that Prigozhin was on the prowl. The redoubtable acting secretary of state Victoria Nuland, who masterminded the 2014 coup in Ukraine, travelled to Niamey to plead with the coup leaders not to have any truck with Wagner. However, Prigozhin reportedly had sneaked into the neighbouring country, Mali, where Wagner is well established, with a view to establish contact with Niger’s new rulers and offer the services of Wagner. Suffice to say, Prigozhin was threatening to do to the Pentagon what he earlier did to the French Legion in Sahel.

It is entirely conceivable that the Biden administration decided that enough was enough and Wagner must be decapitated. Of course, Prigozhin’s departure along with his core group of senior commanders will incalculably weaken Wagner. Meanwhile, within Russia, the ruthless Uranian intelligence operates at different levels. The drone attacks on Moscow are being staged by saboteurs within Russia. And Ukraine too has a score to settle with Wagner, which is establishing itself in Belarus. Without doubt, there is a congruence of interests between the Ukrainian intelligence and its western mentors to destroy Wagner and eliminate it from the geopolitical chessboard altogether.

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Almost half the world’s oil. Now add Venezuela.

Expanded BRICS To Dominate Global Energy Markets (RT)

The BRICS group of nations is on course to change the power balance in the global energy market, InfoTech news outlet reported on Thursday, citing calculations based on 2022 OPEC data on oil exports and production. According to the calculations, once the group expands after adding six new nations to its ranks, it will control nearly half of the world’s oil production and reserves. BRICS currently consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. However, at the summit in Johannesburg this week, the group announced that Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates will officially join in January 2024. According to the report, the group will greatly increase its weight in the oil market with the inclusion of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran.

Along with current members Russia and Brazil, these nations combined control 39% of the world’s total oil exports, or 17.1 million barrels per day (bpd). The 11 nations of the expanded BRICS will account for around 47.6% of the world’s total oil production, data shows. In terms of oil reserves, BRICS will also control nearly half of the world’s total, 719.5 billion barrels out of 1.6 trillion. If Venezuela, which has also recently applied for membership, is accepted into its ranks, the group’s control will be even greater – around 65.4%. In comparison, the G7 group of leading economies (The US, UK, Germany, Italy, Canada, France, and Japan) controls only 3.9% of known crude reserves. sAnalysts note that the expansion of BRICS to the Gulf countries is likely to see the US lose its influence in the global oil market.

“Saudi Arabia and the UAE joining is… extremely significant. The United States used to rely on the Gulf monarchies, especially Saudi Arabia, to exert control over the oil price. With their accession to BRICS, it seems likely that America has lost any control it had over oil prices for the foreseeable future,” Irish economist Philip Pilkington said in an article for the British portal UnHerd. According to Pilkington, the outcome of this week’s BRICS Summit also symbolizes the end of Iran’s economic isolation. “Given that the country is the world’s eighth largest oil producer and possesses the third largest proven oil reserves, this is a substantial economic and geopolitical development,” he stated.

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“..we may soon progress to BRICS 20 – on the way to BRICS 40..”

BRICS 11 – Strategic Tour de Force (Pepe Escobar)

It will take time for the Global South, or Global Majority, or “Global Globe” (copyright President Lukashenko), not to mention the stunned collective West, to fully grasp the enormity of the new strategic stakes. President Putin, for his part, described the negotiations on BRICS expansion as quite difficult. By now a relatively accurate picture is emerging of what really went down on that table in Johannesburg. India wanted 3 new members. China wanted as many as 10. A compromise was finally reached, with 6 members: Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Argentina and Ethiopia. So from now on it’s BRICS 11. And that’s just the beginning. Starting with the rotating Russian presidency of BRICS on January 1, 2024, more partners will be progressively included, and most certainly a new round of full members will be announced at the BRICS 11 summit in Kazan in October next year.

So we may soon progress to BRICS 20 – on the way to BRICS 40. The G7, for all practical purposes, is sliding towards oblivion. Bur first things first. At that fateful table in Johannesburg, Russia supported Egypt. China went all out for Persian Gulf magic: Iran, UAE and the Saudis. Of course: Iran-China are already deep into a strategic partnership, and Riyadh is already accepting payment for energy in yuan. Brazil and China supported Argentina, Brazil’s troubled neighbor, running the risk of having its economy fully dollarized, and also a key commodity provider to Beijing. South Africa supported Ethiopia. India, for a series of very complex reasons, was not exactly comfortable with 3 Arab/Muslim members (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt). Russia assuaged New Delhi’s fears.

All of the above respects geographic principles and imprints the notion of BRICS representing the Global South. But it goes way beyond that, blending cunning strategy and no-nonsense realpolitik. India was mollified because Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at the table in Johannesburg negotiating on behalf of President Putin, and highly respected by New Delhi, fully understood that a new, single BRICS currency is a long way away. What really matters, short and medium term, is expanding intra-BRICS trade in their national currencies. That was stressed by New Development Bank (NDB) president Dilma Rousseff in her report to the South African summit hosts – even as Brazilian President Lula once again emphasized the importance of setting up a work group to discuss a BRICS currency.

Lavrov understood how New Delhi is absolutely terrified of secondary sanctions by the US, in case its BRICS role gets too ambitious. Prime Minister Modi is essentially hedging between BRICS and the completely artificial imperial obsession embedded in the terminology “Indo-Pacific” – which masks renewed containment of China. The Straussian neo-con psychos in charge of US foreign policy are already furious with India buying loads of discounted Russian oil. New Delhi’s support for a new BRICS currency would be interpreted in Washington as all-out trade war – and sanctions dementia would follow. In contrast, Saudi Arabia’s MbS doesn’t care: he’s a top energy producer, not consumer like India, and one of his priorities is to fully court his top energy client, Beijing, and pave the way for the petroyuan.

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The Tucker interview stood at 255 million views last time I looked.

Trump’s First X Post Gets Over 210 MILLION Views In 24 Hours (DCE)

On Thursday evening, leading Republican presidential candidate and 45th President Donald Trump returned to X, formerly Twitter, in his first post since being suspended following the events of January 6, 2021. The post, which has gone viral, is a picture of Trump’s mugshot along with with the caption, “ELECTION INTERFERENCE NEVER SURRENDER! DONALDJTRUMP.COM”. As of 8:38 PM on Friday evening, Trump’s mugshot surpassed 210 million views after it had been posted for a full day. As of this report, Trump’s mugshot has 211.3 million views, over 331,100 reposts, 93,700 quote tweets, 1.4 million likes, and 39,300 bookmarks. “Approximately 10 million views per hour of this image,” X CEO Elon Musk remarked about the post. “Next-level,” Musk added along with a repost.

The mugshot’s historic nature has already been noted by many outlets. CNN called the photograph “iconic and infamous” and The Associated Press described it as “an enduring image that will appear in history books long after Donald Trump is gone.” The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., defined the image as “the most iconic photo in the history of US politics.” The image has already become a rallying cry for many with Trump supporters purchasing merchandise with the iconic photo ablazed across shirts, hats, mugs, and more. Trump’s return to X after nearly two years to post the mugshot shows his marketing genius and will make a lasting impression on millions of Americans.

Following the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk, the billionaire unsuspended President Trump’s account, however, up until Thursday the president refused to use his account and instead used Truth Social. Trump’s return to Twitter, now X, has been long awaited and rumors circulated for months predicting that he would return to the platform in order to reach the tens of millions of Americans that use the social media network. In addition to being reinstated on Twitter earlier this year, Trump was also unsuspended on Facebook and Instagram. As previously reported by the DC Enquirer, Trump’s Instagram account was reinstated in early February after Meta unbanned his accounts after two years following the events of January 6th, 2021.

At the time of the initial ban, Meta released a press release giving the public an explanation of the company’s reasoning after it removed the 45th president on January 7, 2021. The company set a two-year hiatus until an oversight board could assess whether or not the former president should be allowed back on the platforms to reach his hundreds of millions of followers. Trump’s return to Facebook, Instagram, and now Twitter will prove to be a boon for his campaign and his popularity as the indictments ramp up. His choice to post his mugshot as his first post back to the platform reenforces the historic nature of the (mug)shot that will be heard around the world.

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“to fight the tyranny & insanity we’re seeing before us.”

Trump Mugshot Turned Into Merch (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump’s mugshot from when he was booked and arrested at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia has gone viral while his son has already turned it into a line of merchandise. Shortly after the Fulton County’s Sheriff’s Office released the mugshot on Thursday, marking the first time such a picture has been taken of a former or sitting US president, Donald Trump Jr. posted a message on X (formerly Twitter) announcing new t-shirts, mugs, and posters featuring the former US president’s mugshot along with bold red and white text reading ‘Free Trump’. A t-shirt costs $29.99, a mug is being sold for $15.99, and a mugshot poster is priced at $19.99. The former president’s son pointed out, however, that all the proceeds from the merchandise sales would go to the Legal Defense Fund “to fight the tyranny & insanity we’re seeing before us.” “Unlike many, I won’t try to profit from this but will do what I can to help,” Trump Jr. wrote.

Meanwhile, many Trump supporters on Etsy and other online marketplaces have also jumped on the bandwagon and started selling all kinds of merchandise featuring the mugshot – even thongs. Trump surrendered himself at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday after being charged with several felonies connected to his alleged attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections in Georgia. The former president was booked, arrested, and then quickly released thanks to a bail agreement secured earlier by his lawyers that saw Trump agree to post a $200,000 bond, as well as submit to several other conditions, including not using social media to target any of his 18 co-defendants or any witnesses in the case.

Some of Trump’s associates featured in the 41-count indictment have also turned themselves in at Fulton County Jail, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Trump has faced four criminal indictments this year as federal prosecutors have accused him of mishandling classified documents, attempting to interfere in the 2020 presidential elections, and allegedly paying hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels. The former president has denied any wrongdoing and has dismissed the allegations as a political witch hunt aimed at preventing him from running for the presidency in 2024.

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“The Trump mugshot captures a defining moment for our country. It will define us.”

The Trump Mugshot Ignites a Tinderbox Nation (Turley)

I think that the Georgia, New York, and federal January 6th indictments are unwarranted and threaten free speech. Moreover, it is valid for many to object that these prosecutions could have occurred years ago, but were launched just before the presidential election so that Trump will be running from court to court through the general election. It is also true that the Mar-a-Lago case is more serious and more substantive . . . and that threat is continuing to grow as a threat for Trump as witnesses change their testimony and Trump aides confirm key prosecution claims. Likewise, while I believe the case against Trump in the Georgia indictment is weak, there are defendants in that case that face stronger claims on specific election-related crimes.

Of course, in an age of rage, reason is the first to die. We cannot allow that to happen; we cannot allow rage addicts to drive our political or legal processes. We have the greatest legal system in the world. We will sort out these issues from the criminalization of political speech to the claim that Trump can be barred from the ballot even without a charge or conviction. Courts are likely to divide on these issues. However, we remain a nation of laws. That tradition takes a certain leap of faith. We do not support that system only when we prevail. That is the view of court packers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.,Y.). Notably, Ocasio-Cortez even said that she does not understand why we need a Supreme Court.

Even law professors and legal commentators have called our Constitution “trash” and called for the country to “reclaim America from constitutionalism.” That is the greatest danger of these times: that our deep divisions will cause us to lose faith in our defining values and in each other. The Trump mugshot captures a defining moment for our country. It will define us. I believe that it is paramount that appellate courts consider the merits of the free speech and other challenges to the Georgia, New York, and federal cases. That may be difficult if judges support these prosecutors in demanding trials before constitutional appeals are taken. Appellate judges could agree, in good faith, that challenges are premature before any convictions.

The important thing is for citizens not to be played as chumps. We will sort this out. The courts will address these important legal issues as citizens resolve the equally important political issues raised by these prosecutions. The merchandising and madness aside, we have more matters to resolve . . . together.

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“It helps him hugely that the cases are transparently idiotic and mendacious..”

Campaign Photo (Jim Kunstler)

On Thursday, attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who advised Georgia GOP officials on the process of assembling alternate electors in the case of election fraud under Georgia law, demanded a speedy trial. Under Georgia’s speedy trial law, Mr. Chesebro’s trial would have to take place this fall. (Such are the guiles of the law.) The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper called it, “an aggressive filing.” Ms. Willis had hoped to try all 19 defendants together during the 2024 presidential primary season, to support her RICO charges. Meanwhile, three other defendants, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, filed to have their cases removed to the federal court, in so far as the actions they are accused of taking happened while they worked in the service of the US government. Mr. Meadows is accused of seeking by email to get the phone number of a Pennsylvania election official.

Ms. Willis’s case hinges on a number of novel propositions. First, that it is somehow against the law to object to the outcome of an election. And second, that the process for relief in such a case, as provided in Georgia’s election contest law and the US Electoral Count Act of 1887, does not apply to Mr. Trump and his lawyers. Anyone who intends to challenge the outcome must necessarily assemble a panel of alternate electors if state officials cannot certify the election properly and in good faith. Ms. Willis refers to these erroneously as “fake electors.” Mr. Trump and his co-defendants will necessarily have to present evidence that the Georgia presidential election of 2020 was not certified properly or in good faith.

Will the defendants be allowed to present evidence of serious irregularities in the 2020 Georgia election results? If not, would that not be grounds for dismissal. So far, Democrats in charge of the machinery of law all over the country have skated on mere assertions that the 2020 election was fair. In Georgia, none of the principals involved in the dispute have been subject to cross-examination, the best instrument for truth-finding in the American legal system. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Sec’y of State Brad Raffensperger may not be so hot for an airing of what actually went on Nov 3, 2020 and the days after, especially the validity of over 100,000 mail-in ballots in a state where “Joe Biden’s” margin of victory was a mere 11,799 votes.

Mr. Trump seems to be thriving under the tribulation of four court cases brought against him as he runs for election in 2024. Each new set of charges boosts his poll numbers. It helps him hugely that the cases are transparently idiotic and mendacious. If he is initially convicted in any of them, he can still run for president and be elected, even if he’s jailed — as Eugene Debs did in 1920 getting 913,693 votes running on the Socialist Party from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, where he was jailed under the 1917 Espionage Act for speaking out against America’s entry into the First World War. The Party of Chaos is running scared. Everybody knows that “Joe Biden” can’t possibly run for another term and yet the public debate is so grotesquely disabled that nobody will talk about it. Most particularly, they will not talk about who might take his place. All they are really demonstrating with this barrage of prosecutions against their chief adversary is how broken, craven, and degenerate the party is, and what a menace it is, as they like to say, to our democracy.

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“We couldn’t even hire Canadian citizens..”

Elon Musk Says He’s Being Sued For ‘Political Purposes’ (RT)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk claims that the US Department of Justice has been “weaponized” against his company for “political purposes,” and that the firm is being sued despite trying to stay on the right side of the law. The Justice Department announced on Thursday that it had filed a lawsuit against SpaceX for refusing to hire refugees and asylum seekers, and for allegedly “discouraging” these people from applying. Although SpaceX stated in its job advertisements that it could only hire US citizens and permanent residents due to the national security implications of rocket technology, the lawsuit claimed that refugees and asylum seekers have the same employment rights as US citizens under a 1965 immigration law. Musk claimed on Friday that prior to the lawsuit, government officials told SpaceX on multiple occasions not to hire foreigners.

“SpaceX was told repeatedly that hiring anyone who was not a permanent resident of the United States would violate international arms trafficking law, which would be a criminal offense,” he wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “We couldn’t even hire Canadian citizens, despite Canada being part of NORAD!” he continued, referring to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a cross-border aerospace monitoring and missile warning command. “This is yet another case of weaponization of the DOJ for political purposes,” Musk added. In a separate post, he declared that “the weaponization of government agencies needs to stop. This fundamentally undermines public faith in the justice system.”

The arms trafficking law in question is the US State Department’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). All current SpaceX job listings inform potential candidates that unless a US citizen or permanent resident, they must obtain an ITAR waiver from the State Department to work at the company. As Musk explained on Friday, “the fundamental principle of ITAR law is that US companies who have advanced weapons technology, such as rockets with intercontinental range, must hire people who are permanent American residents, so that the technology does not fall into the hands of countries who wish us harm.”

While attempting to follow one law, the Justice Department’s lawsuit argues that Musk was breaking another. Although Musk is not a political rival of President Joe Biden, he has been at odds with the Biden administration since he purchased Twitter last October. Since taking over the since-renamed social media platform, Musk has published documents revealing a conspiracy by the White House, FBI, and other government agencies to control the flow of information on the site, prompting reports that the Biden administration had launched a national security investigation into the tycoon.

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Washkitten

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 252023
 


Ivan Aivazovsky Sea channel with lighthouse 1873

 

Double Jeopardy (Ingrassia)
Ukraine Will ‘Capitulate Unconditionally’ (Scott Ritter)
Kiev’s Ability To Reconquer Territories ‘Questionable’ – EU Top General (RT)
The Search for Robert L. Peters: He Goes By Various Names. But Why? (Turley)
The Biden Clan’s Con Is Coming to an End (Hanson)
Xi, Putin Hail First BRICS Expansion Since 2010 As Gulf Oil Powers Join (ZH)
BRICS Expansion ‘Main Catalyst’ of New World Order (Sp.)
Putin Comments On Prigozhin Plane Crash (RT)
US Starts ‘Deliberate, Sustained Leak Campaign’ to Blame Ukraine ‘(Sp.)
US Barely Ahead Of Russia In Military Strength – Report (RT)
How Ukraine Lost Its Independence and Became West’s Hostage (Sp.)
What’s Behind Decline of Germany? (Sp.)
Untold Story of George Soros’ Worldwide Soft Power Empire (Sp.)
Tritium in Fukushima Wastewater ‘Very Dangerous, Causes ‘Genetic Damage’ (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

RFK
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694818836539691174

 

 

Rogan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694575314129531060

 

 

 

 

McCullough
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694753709996101938

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very interesting. The Constitution protects the Office of the President. You can not drag a sitting president into court, because “to wound [the President] by a criminal proceeding is to hamstring the operation of the whole governmental apparatus..”

Only the Senate can investigate him/her. And guess what? “Jack Smith’s indictments of Donald Trump are unconstitutional because he was already tried in the Senate.”

Ergo: Since the Senate did not remove Trump from office, Jack Smith’s indictments are null and void.

Double Jeopardy (Ingrassia)

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution reads “[t]he executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” Therefore, President Donald Trump had executive power vested in him through his presidential office. From that power flows certain privileges and indeed executive immunities. Among these privileges are those expressly delineated in the Constitution itself. The impeachment process, for example, as stated in Article II, Sec. 4, requires that for all “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” the President “shall be removed from Office.” In other words, the Constitution lays out a process by which presidents of the United States are to be prosecuted—through impeachment. The reason impeachment, rather than traditional prosecution (and attendant punishments like incarceration), applies to the president is because of the uniqueness of the office itself.

The president exposes himself to outsized publicity, controversy, and risk as a result of his office. Therefore, the punitive measures that uniquely attach to the executive officeholder are consonant with the duties and powers of the office itself. In addition, there is a special constitutional prerogative, one might say, in safeguarding the integrity of the presidential office, no matter the character and fitness of its occupant. Specifically, that would mean not imprisoning the officeholder or former occupants of the office based on alleged criminality done within the officeholder’s official capacities as president. It is for this reason that the Department of Justice has confirmed, “to wound [the President] by a criminal proceeding is to hamstring the operation of the whole governmental apparatus, both in foreign and domestic affairs.” (Memorandum from Robert G. Dixon, Jr., Asst. Att’y Gen., O.L.C., Re: Amenability of the President, Vice President, and Other Civil Officers to Federal Criminal Prosecution While in Office 30 [Sept. 24, 1973]). How far-reaching the scope of those capacities cover while in office should give way to a liberal construction due to the catastrophic impact such charges would necessarily have on the political fabric of the country.

In any event, and for the purposes of what is relevant in Jack Smith’s two indictments, the factual grounds on which President Trump allegedly committed crime(s) within his official duties as president have already been twice considered by the House of Representatives, for which the President—in conformance with Article II, Sec. 4—was acquitted both times by the Senate. Because the Senate voted not to convict President Trump of his alleged crimes, any and every remedial measure afforded by the constitutional process has already been exhausted. Therefore, to continue to bring charges against the President for the asserted crimes on which he has already been prosecuted is by definition an abuse of the judicial power and an expressed violation of the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment: “…nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…”

Notably, the Impeachment Judgment Clause of the Constitution, Art. I Sec. 3, reads as follows: “a person convicted upon an Impeachment, shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.” A plain reading of the clause allows for the subsequent indictment after a person is convicted and convicted only. This is in agreement with the longstanding judicial canon of construction, expressio unius est exclusio alterius, “the expression of one is the exclusion of others,” which provides that because the text excludes the term “acquittal” from the relevant clause, the framers’ intent was that only convicted officeholders would be open to additional prosecution, and not officeholders that were already acquitted based on constitutional procedure for their alleged crimes, therefore exhausting the constitutional remedy in toto. United States v. Wells Fargo Bank, 485 U.S. 351, 357 (1988).

[..] In conclusion, Jack Smith’s claims are ill founded; to the extent they have any merit at all, they have already been prosecuted to the fullest extent the Constitution allows, and on each count, President Trump has already been acquitted of any and all criminal wrongdoing.

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“Think Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945. That’s your future. Enjoy..”

Ukraine Will ‘Capitulate Unconditionally’ (Scott Ritter)

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine will conclude with Kiev’s unconditional surrender, according to Scott Ritter, a former US intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector. On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that “Ukraine does not trade its territories, because we do not trade our people.” The message was dedicated to the Third Crimea Platform Summit, where Ukraine discussed ways of “de-occupying” the peninsula, which reunited with Russia in 2014 following a referendum triggered by the US-backed Maidan coup in Kiev earlier that year. Replying to Zelensky’s post, Ritter wrote that “it was NATO that suggested a trade. Russia isn’t trading anything.”

The former US intelligence officer was apparently referring to remarks by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s chief of staff, Stian Jenssen, who said in mid-August that Ukraine could “give up territory [to Russia], and get NATO membership in return.” According to Jenssen, this idea was actively being discussed within the US-led military bloc. The suggestion caused outrage in Kiev, with presidential aide Mikhail Podoliak branding it “ridiculous.” Such a move would amount to “deliberately choosing the defeat of democracy… and passing the war on to other generations,” he claimed. The head of the Ukrainian National Security Council, Aleksey Danilov, reiterated that Kiev would never negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin, insisting that “Russia must be destroyed like a modern-day Carthage.” Jenssen later apologized for his remarks, saying they were “a mistake.”

Ritter insisted that Moscow is “dealing with reality” when it comes to the conflict with Kiev, including “where Russian boots will be when Ukraine capitulates unconditionally.” “Think Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945. That’s your future. Enjoy,” he wrote, addressing Zelensky. On that date, representatives of the Japanese Empire signed an unconditional surrender to the Allies aboard the USS Missouri, ending the country’s participation in World War II.In line with the deal, Japan agreed to the loss of all its territories outside of its home islands, complete disarmament, Allied occupation of the country, and tribunals to bring war criminals to justice. On Wednesday, Zelensky admitted that the Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces, which began in early June, was proving “very difficult.” However, he also claimed that the operation was moving “slowly, but in the right direction.”

Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that the Ukrainian campaign is showing “signs of stalling.” The newspaper warned that “the inability to demonstrate decisive success on the battlefield [by Kiev’s forces] is stoking fears that the conflict is becoming a stalemate and international support could erode.”President Putin claimed on Wednesday that it was “astonishing” to see how little the authorities in Kiev cared about Ukrainian soldiers. “They are throwing [them] on our minefields, under our artillery fire, acting as if they are not their own citizens at all,” the Russian leader said. According to Moscow’s estimates, Ukraine has failed to make any significant gains since the launch of its counteroffensive, but has lost more than 43,000 troops and nearly 5,000 pieces of heavy equipment. Kiev has so far claimed the capture of several villages, but these appear to be some distance from Russia’s main defensive lines.

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“I am convinced that Russia can continue the war in Ukraine for a very long time..”

Kiev’s Ability To Reconquer Territories ‘Questionable’ – EU Top General (RT)

Ukraine might not be able to achieve its goals in the conflict with Russia, the EU top general, Robert Brieger, admitted to Germany’s Die Welt daily on Thursday. Moscow possesses vastly superior weapons and personnel reserves and can continue fighting for a long time despite Western sanctions, the head of the bloc’s military committee believes. The Ukrainian counteroffensive launched more than two months ago “has not gained any ground yet,” Brieger said, adding that he would be “cautious” about expecting any breakthroughs in the future. “The number of brigades available to Kiev for the offensive is limited,” he told Die Welt, adding that the Russian forces had built “well-secured defense lines” in the months before the Ukrainian operation.

The Austrian general, who chairs the meetings of the chiefs of staff from all 27 EU members and serves as an adviser to the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrel, believes that the conflict between the two sides has come down to a “war of attrition.” Under such circumstances, Moscow has some visible advantages over Kiev, Brieger said. “Russia has a very large number of weapons and a huge reserve of potential troops,” he explained, adding that “in this regard, Russia is clearly superior to Ukraine.” The sanctions imposed by the West against Russia over its continued military campaign in Ukraine have also barely impacted Moscow’s ability to continue the fight, the general noted. “I am convinced that Russia can continue the war in Ukraine for a very long time,” he said.

Kiev’s ability to recapture all the territories it considers part of Ukrainian territory “remains questionable,” Brieger said. The general also said he does not expect the EU to let Ukraine join the bloc before the conflict ends and a peaceful solution is found. Even after that, Ukraine’s membership might pose additional security risks for the EU, Brieger believes. The general said that territorial disputes with Moscow could remain even after the end of the fighting. In the future, if another conflict breaks out, the bloc would have to defend Ukraine under Article 42.7 of the EU treaty if it becomes a member state, he added. “As soon as Ukraine joins the European Union, this would mean completely new obligations for the EU in terms of security policy,” Brieger said, adding that the organization “would be challenged much more than before.”

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This is a topic a New York Times journalist should be investigating. Not a constitutional law proffesor. But here we are.

The Search for Robert L. Peters: He Goes By Various Names. But Why? (Turley)

He is a man with many names. “Celtic.” “The Big Guy.” According to congressional investigators, most citizens know him as “President Biden.” Alias are tricky things. They are sometimes innocent or essential like the code name that the Secret Service gives you as part of your protection like “Celtic.” Then there are nicknames that are preferred to your given name. Take the Big Lebowski. He did not like being called Mr. Lebowski and preferred “Dude” but he was flexible: “I’m The Dude. So, that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or, uh, Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.” It appears that President Biden also preferred on occasion not to be called “Mr. Biden.” The question is why and whether Mr. Peters is more Big Lebowski or Big Guy.

People apparently were told to avoid directly referring to President Biden. In one email, Biden associate James Gilliar explained the rules to Tony Bobulinski, then a business partner of Hunter’s, and not to speak of the former veep’s connection to any transactions: “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.” So it was not “Mr. Biden” who would receive a planned 10 percent cut on a deal with a Chinese energy firm. It was “the Big Guy,” who also was to receive benefits like office space from foreign sources. Recently, an FBI document showed that a trusted source relayed an allegation of bribery where Ukrainian businessman said that he was told not to send money directly to “the Big Guy” but used a complex series of accounts to transfer the funds.

The question is whether “Robert L. Peters” used in various emails was in fact Joe Biden. House investigators want to find out, but the Administration does not seem eager to resolve the question. The earlier email using the alleged alias is from 2016. It holds particular significance for House investigators because it cc’d Hunter Biden about Ukraine. In the now widely accepted influence peddling operation, the object of the influence was Biden. We now know that the President lied for years in denying knowledge or conversations about his son’s foreign dealings. Even the Washington Post now admits that the President lied when he said that Hunter made no money in China. However, these emails may show the quid in the quid pro quo. Biden is accused of sending official information on these countries to his influence peddling son.

The nothing-to-see-here crowd is dismissing the allegation while resisting any further confirmation of these emails. (Notably, many of them insist that the false claims of Russian collusion against Trump were established by the fact that his campaign chair, Paul Manafort, gave polling data to a Russian client). Yet, there are 27 emails linked to Joe Biden’s alleged “Robert L. Peters” alias including sent from John Flynn, a former senior adviser to Joe Biden, with the White House “@ovp.eop.gov” domain name. For his part, Peters uses “@pci.gov” domain name on a government network, which includes the Executive Office of the President. House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) has pushed the National Archives to share unredacted copies of these emails and has said that the House has not received the evidence. If so, it is not clear why the Archives would redact names from these emails or other information. If that matter comes to a head, the House is likely to win in court. However, efforts to obstruct such efforts could soon be one of the subjects of an impeachment inquiry.

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“So what is the Congress to do now—un-impeach and exonerate an innocent impeached Donald Trump, and instead impeach a guilty Biden for essentially the same allegations?”

The Biden Clan’s Con Is Coming to an End (Hanson)

Despite years of Biden family and media disinformation, we are finally learning that Joe Biden really did fire Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin for looking into state corruption involving the oil company Burisma and Hunter Biden—and ultimately Joe Biden himself. As Vice President, Biden, in his own words, bragged that he had threatened to cancel the deliverance of American foreign aid to Ukraine unless Shokin was dismissed. So what is the Congress to do now—un-impeach and exonerate an innocent impeached Donald Trump, and instead impeach a guilty Biden for essentially the same allegations? After all, the Left redefined the impeachment bar in 2019 as leveraging foreign aid to Ukraine to benefit one’s political career.

And that is exactly what Joe Biden did to ensure his son could continue to raise millions for the Biden family with foreign governments, while being shielded from political consequences. An impeached Trump also was accused of using the power of government to go after his likely 2020 presidential rival by suggesting that Joe Biden and his family were corrupt, and should be investigated by Ukrainian officials for fraud and bribery. Despite Joe Biden’s denials, Trump was right: there was plenty of evidence to link Ukrainian unwarranted payoffs going into Biden family coffers. So Trump in 2019 had good reasons to ensure that none of the Bidens were still burrowed deeply into the Ukrainian payoff machine. In contrast, Joe Biden had far less grounds to unleash the full powers of government against his probable 2024 rival ex-president Trump.

Special Prosecutor Jack Smith is not charging Trump with bribery of the Biden sort. He does not allege that Trump gave special foreign policy preferences for those foreigners who paid his family for such services. Instead, Smith argues that Trump unlawfully took out classified presidential papers—although Joe Biden did nearly the same. Biden kept quiet about his vast removal of classified documents for over a decade. Not until Trump was being investigated did Biden suddenly notify the government of his illegal removals. In contrast, a combative and boisterous Trump fought openly and constantly with federal archivists over which of his papers at his Mar-a-Lago estate were truly classified. Prosecutorial leaks floated all sorts of unproven nefarious agendas that had prompted Trump’s disputes over his presidential papers.

But no one to this day has seriously asked why senator and then Vice President Biden secretly and weirdly removed and kept such sensitive material for years. Recent reports allege that Hunter Biden may have been treated with kid gloves by prosecutors, partly because Hunter’s lawyers had threatened otherwise to call Joe Biden to the stand as a favorable witness. Government prosecutors under pressure from the White House apparently balked at the nightmare of a befuddled president of the United States testifying under oath about the supposed innocence of the very guilty Hunter Biden.

Hunter flights

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“..with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran set to enter the fold, it will have three of the world’s biggest oil producers..”

Xi, Putin Hail First BRICS Expansion Since 2010 As Gulf Oil Powers Join (ZH)

At a moment China and Russia have envisioned the future of BRICS as fundamentally an anti-Western bloc of developing nations, the Gulf oil powers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been formally invited to become members, which marks the bloc’s first expansion in over a decade. “The membership will take effect from the first of January, 2024,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said, adding that additionally Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia and Iran will be added to the fold next year. China’s President Xi Jinping hailed the rare expansion, beyond the current large economies of China, Russia, Brazil India, China and South Africa as “historic”. He said it will “inject new impetus into the BRICS cooperation mechanism and further strengthen the power of world peace and development.”

President Putin too congratulated the soon to be newest members, saying in a video message, “I would like to congratulate the new members who will work in a full-scale format next year.” “And I would like to assure all our colleagues that we will continue the work that we started today on expanding the influence of BRICS in the world,” the Russian leader added. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hailed the expansion which he said will strengthen the bloc. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan’s statement said, “the special, strategic relations with the BRICS nations promotes common principles, most importantly the firm belief in the principle of respect for sovereignty, independence and non-interference in internal affairs.”

He vowed in words before the BRICS conference on Thursday that the kingdom will be a “secure and reliable energy provider,” and noted that total bilateral trade between Riyadh and BRICS countries exceeded $160 billion in 2022, the Saudi foreign minister said. Set up in 2009, the BRICS nations represent some 40% of the world’s population and significantly over a quarter of the world’s GDP. And now with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran set to enter the fold, it will have three of the world’s biggest oil producers. As for Iran’s statement on it’s upcoming entry into the bloc: Mohammad Jamshidi, the political deputy of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, called the decision to add his country “a historic move.”

“A strategic victory for Iran’s foreign policy,” Jamshidi wrote on X, the website formerly known as Twitter. “Felicitations to the Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution and great nation of Iran.” In Putin’s virtual address the day prior, he emphasized that de-dollarization is “gaining momentum”. He said the dollar’s receding global centrality is an “objective and irreversible” process.

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“.. it’s the beginning of the end of the petrodollar..”

BRICS Expansion ‘Main Catalyst’ of New World Order (Sp.)

Integration of new members into BRICS will facilitate the advent of a new world order, marked by the end of the petrodollar’s “yoke,” Michael Goddard, president of the Netley Group, told Sputnik. Earlier in the day, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates were invited to become full members of BRICS. “The membership will take effect from January 1, 2024,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday at the BRICS Summit in South Africa. With two of the new countries located in the Middle East, two in Africa, and the rest – previously neighbors of the association of five nations that incorporates Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, this expansion is a hugely significant event in the world history, said Goddard.

“Obviously Africa is emerging, and that’s very important. But the main news is Saudi [Arabia] and the UAE. Basically, this will change the balance of power in the world, as it’s the beginning of the end of the petrodollar. And this is the main catalyst to bring about the new world order,” Michael Goddard underscored. He added that in his opinion, the “Saudis will begin to price more and more oil only in local currencies, in yuan, and whatever.”Integration of the six abovementioned countries in the BRICS group is “relevant on both economic and geopolitical grounds, for at least two reasons,” according to Sergio Rossi, professor of macroeconomics and monetary economics at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

“On the one hand, these countries export some key goods much demanded in the global supply chain, which could thereby contribute to economic growth across the global economy, particularly with regard to the so-called ‘Global South’ of the world. On the other hand, their own contribution to the global economy could accelerate the de-dollarization of this part of the world, with all the ensuing geopolitical consequences that could actually accelerate the creation of a multipolar economic system at global level,” Rossi told Sputnik.

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Lots of stories, his body was not found but his phone was, he was seen in Mali etc.

Putin Comments On Prigozhin Plane Crash (RT)

Yevgeny Prigozhin was a man of many talents who made a “significant contribution” to the struggle against neo-Nazis in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, commenting on the plane crash that reportedly killed the Wagner Group head. Speaking with journalists at the Kremlin, Putin said that he had known Prigozhin since the early 1990s, and described him as “a man of complicated destiny.” “He’d made serious mistakes in his life, but also got results. For himself as well as our common cause, when I asked it of him in these last months,” Putin added. He described Prigozhin as “a talented businessman” who worked in Russia as well as in Africa dealing with oil, gas, precious metals and gems.

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It’s all THEIR fault…

US Starts ‘Deliberate, Sustained Leak Campaign’ to Blame Ukraine ‘(Sp.)

As the summer approaches its end, US officials have begun to openly attempt to shift the blame for the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive from the West and NATO onto the Ukrainians. US officials speaking anonymously told America’s so-called “newspaper of record” this week that the counteroffensive has not succeeded because Ukrainian commanders spread troops out across the 1,000 km frontline with Russia, instead of concentrating forces on “severing” the “land bridge” linking mainland Russia and Crimea through Zaporozhye region. US strategists reportedly “advised Ukraine” to pump more troops toward the “top priority” target of Melitopol in Zaporozhye’s southwest, and to “punch through” Russian defenses and minefields, even if it cost large numbers of soldiers and equipment.

Instead, Kiev has reportedly spread forces out, keeping a significant reserve near the Donbass city of Artemovsk (Bakhmut), despite US estimations that trying to take the city back from Russia would “lead to large numbers of losses for little strategic gain.” Senior NATO military officials, including Pentagon Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Christopher Cavoli, and British Chief of Defense Staff Tony Radakin reportedly held a video call with Ukrainian command to push for a change in focus, with officials briefed on the call saying Ukraine’s top commander had verbally agreed to do so. US officials also confirmed anonymously what the Russian military has been saying publicly: that Ukraine’s forces have been taking staggering losses, and running out of senior commanders and experienced fighters, whose units have had to be “reconstituted a number of times” due to the intensity of the fighting.

Along with erroneous tactics, US officials have also criticized Ukraine for supposedly operating under the “old Soviet Communist doctrine, which seeks to minimize rivalries among factions of the army by providing equal amounts of manpower and equipment across commands,” and thereby “failing” to prioritize key objectives.

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And even that is not true..

US Barely Ahead Of Russia In Military Strength – Report (RT)

Russia is right behind the US in military strength, with China rapidly catching up, the Global Firepower (GFP) website said in its 2023 rankings report, released this week. GFP has been producing the annual report since 2006, ranking 145 countries around the world by “potential war-making capability across land, sea, and air fought by conventional means.” The in-house formula considers “manpower, equipment, natural resources, finances, and geography represented by 60+ individual factors” to arrive at an index, with zero being the theoretical perfect score. The US “leads the world technologically and is advanced in key medical, aerospace, and computer / telecom sectors,” according to GFP, which assigned Washington an index of 0.0712. It also has “a certain degree of self-sustainment,” while displaying “commanding numbers in key material, financial, and resource categories.”

Factored into GFP’s calculations were the size of the Pentagon budget – over $750 billion, more than triple that of China – the US Navy’s carrier fleet, and the size of the US Air Force. GFP claims that the Ukraine conflict has “showcased key limitations in Russian military capabilities” in terms of “preparedness, leadership, training, and supply issues,” admitting that it has relied on ‘open-source intelligence’ to estimate Russian combat losses. Even so, the outfit assigned Russia a score of 0.0714, just .0002 below the US. China came in at third place with a PowerIndex score of 0.0722, but “continues its climb to the No.2 spot owned for some time by regional powerhouse Russia,” according to GFP. India was fourth with a score of 0.1025, followed by the UK in fifth place at 0.1435. London’s ranking seemed to be influenced in part by the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers in Royal Navy service.

Global Firepower rankings showed France (9th) behind Japan (8th), Italy (10th) ahead of Türkiye (11th), and Iran (17th place) ahead of Israel (18th). Poland was supposedly 20th, ahead of Germany in 25th place. Ukraine ranked 15th, up from 16th place in 2022, “as a result of its response [to the conflict], financial and material backing from the West.” It had a score of 0.2516 as of May 31, and its armor, artillery, and aircraft numbers were based entirely on estimates. Global Firepower’s location, funding and ownership aren’t entirely clear. The outfit “does not assume responsibility as to the accuracy, correctness, completeness, reliability and ‘up-to-dateness’ of information made available throughout,” per its own disclaimer.

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“Ukraine gained independence with an economic clean slate, with an unheard of $0 in foreign debt in December 1991. Three decades on, the country’s socio-economic status is nothing short of catastrophic..”

How Ukraine Lost Its Independence and Became West’s Hostage (Sp.)

“The Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic resolves that: Ukraine shall be declared an independent democratic state on August 24, 1991. Upon declaration of its independence, only its Constitution, laws, orders of the Government, and other legislative acts of the republic are valid on the territory of Ukraine. A republican referendum shall be organized on December 1, 1991 to confirm the act of declaration of independence.” This was the partial text of the Ukrainian act of independence, adopted into law by Communist Party boss-turned-first president of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk. Just a little over five months earlier, in the status referendum of March 17, 1991, Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly (71.5 percent to 28.5 percent) in favor of saving the USSR. By December, 92.25 percent favored independence, with only 7.75 percent opposed.

Ukraine entered the 1990s with perhaps the most enviable status among all the former Soviet republics, starting out with an advanced industrial and agricultural economy comparable in size and complexity in Europe only to Germany, France, and the UK. Ukraine boasted a vast industrial sector ranging from heavy machine-building to aircraft manufacturing and rocketry, and some of the richest farmland on the planet. Unlike Russia, which agreed to shoulder responsibility for paying off the Soviet Union’s $100 billion debt, Ukraine gained independence with an economic clean slate, with an unheard of $0 in foreign debt in December 1991.

Three decades on, the country’s socio-economic status is nothing short of catastrophic, with Ukraine now one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in Europe (even before 2022), its economy almost entirely dependent on Western economic aid, and the nation facing an unprecedented demographic crisis (with a current population of 36.7 million, down from 43.5 million in 2021, and a peak population of 52 million in 1991). Politically as well, contemporary Ukraine’s fate is unenviable, with the Volodymyr Zelensky administration cancelling elections scheduled for 2024, banning opposition parties and imprisoning political opponents “linked to Russia,” and targeting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, again over suspected “Russian links.” His predecessors’ record was little better, with the post-Maidan coup authorities disappearing dozens of political opponents, banning the largest pro-Russian opposition party, and unleashing a wave of terror across the country’s southeast after coming to power in 2014.

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Is Germany an exceptionally stupid country, or are they just “early adapters”?

What’s Behind Decline of Germany? (Sp.)

Germany is projected to be the only G7 economy to contract in 2023: the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will slide by 0.3%, as per the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) forecast. The IMF attributes the trend to weak production output as well as economic contraction in two consecutive quarters (Q4 in 2022 and Q1 in 2023). The latter factor prompted international economists to conclude in mid-July that the country had fallen into a technical recession. “The end point after which the German economy began to shiver was the conflict in Ukraine and related [anti-Russia] sanctions,” Eugen Schmidt, member of the Bundestag, told Sputnik. “All these had a tremendous effect on the German economy.

Now we are witnessing inflation which is unprecedented over the past decade, and which the government, despite numerous measures to support the economy, has not been able to reverse. We also see this in the form of high energy prices, including for utilities for ordinary consumers and industrial enterprises.” “As a result, German industry (and we know that the wellbeing of the German economy and German citizens was based precisely on German industry) is feverish precisely because energy prices make the products of German enterprises unprofitable, that is, uncompetitive. Therefore, there is now a trend seeing energy-intensive enterprises in Germany either radically reducing production in the country, or even transferring production to those countries where energy prices are much lower,” the German parliamentarian continued.

Despite the nation having fallen into a recession, the German government is doing virtually nothing to smooth the situation, according to Schmidt. He argued that Berlin was guided by purely ideological ideas when it closed its nuclear plants, which had worked quite normally, covering the energy needs for the nation’s industry. “Now we buy expensive liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US and Qatar,” he said. “We import electricity from neighbors, from nuclear power plants that are located in France or Belgium. That is a completely absurd and harmful policy toward German industries.”

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“..Ukraine, perhaps more than any other case study to date, demonstrates the effective synergy between private “soft power” wielded by billionaires like Soros combined with institutions like USAID and the US State Department..”

Untold Story of George Soros’ Worldwide Soft Power Empire (Sp.)

X CEO Elon Musk dropped a bombshell late Wednesday after confirming that his social media empire would “be filing legal action” to “stop” an attempted crackdown on free speech by politicians and George Soros-funded NGOs justified using trumped-up data on the number of “hate incidents” in the British Isles. “Can’t wait for discovery to start!” Musk wrote. The billionaire did not elaborate, prompting users and media to speculate on the exact nature of the case. Musk’s message was a response to a report by an independent Irish journalist accusing authorities in Ireland and Scotland of inflating statistics about “hate-based offenses” to pass a new “hate speech” law which would make it a criminal offense to possess “hateful material” on your person or in your home – including up to a year in prison and a 5,000 euro fine for those refusing to hand over their digital device passwords to the authorities.

The crackdown is reportedly being backed by George Soros-funded non-government organizations (NGOs) accused of supporting a hardline censorship agenda, including by supporting police intervention and the seizure of personal phones and computers, as well as raids on the homes of the accused. Soros-backed NGOs’ alleged attempts to influence Irish and Scottish government policy are a prime example of soft power. Soft power, or the use of ideological, cultural, or economic influence rather than force to achieve one’s policy objectives, has been a primary tool of US and European foreign policy from at least the mid-1980s onward. After 1991, Western countries working to build the post-Cold War unipolar world order used soft power tools to spread visions of liberal democracy, free market economics, and “open societies” as “universal values” applicable to all nations. Countries refusing to adhere to these concepts have faced invasions, crushing sanctions, and coup d’états (among them Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine, just to name a few).

[..] Setting up shop in Ukraine immediately after independence in 1992, Soros’ foundations played an intimate role in the formation of the country’s post-Soviet elites, especially its liberal, pro-Western faction. Both during the Orange Revolution of 2004 and the Euromaidan coup in 2014, the OSF had a critical job to play in financing and otherwise supporting the “revolutionaries,” from lobbying efforts targeting US allies to “legalize” the coup, to meeting with the country’s new authorities to advise them on policy, to spending vast sums of money on an array of domestic “civil society” initiatives (including over $181 million by late 2015 alone). Ukraine, perhaps more than any other case study to date, demonstrates the effective synergy between private “soft power” wielded by billionaires like Soros combined with institutions like USAID and the US State Department, showing the effective role soft power in creating a crisis from scratch, and then attempting to use it to achieve a geopolitical objective.

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Check if your fish comes from Japan…

Tritium in Fukushima Wastewater ‘Very Dangerous, Causes ‘Genetic Damage’ (Sp.)

The tritium contained in filtered cooling water from the Fukushima nuclear site is very dangerous, renowned nuclear expert Dr. Christopher Busby told Sputnik. “It gets inside you easily. It exchanges with normal hydrogen, sometimes it becomes organically (covalently) bound. It causes genetic damage at tiny conventional doses (calculated using the energy per unit mass, joule/kg formula of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, employed by the IAEA),” said Busby. After months of controversy, Japan earlier announced that it would begin the release of over a million metric tons of treated, highly-diluted radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) into the Pacific Ocean on August 24.

The decision was made regardless of a torrent of criticism from the local population, the international humanitarian community, as well as vehement objections from China and other neighbors in the region. The plan to release the water had been in the wind for years. Back in 2019, Japan’s authorities had warned that they were running out of space to store the material. “The water has apparently been treated to remove the radioisotopes that the regulators believe pose the greatest risk, strontium-90, caesium-137, and carbon-14. But to take out the tritium is too expensive, and so the radioactive water is largely contaminated with large amounts of tritium oxide, in the form of tritiated water HTO. Tritium is the largest contaminant in terms of radioactivity, disintegrations per second, clicks on a counter, from the operation of all nuclear energy processes.

The neutrons, which are central to nuclear energy, produce tritium by various processes in reactors, and even outside reactors, where the nuclide, a radioactive form of hydrogen, is formed by adding neutrons to nitrogen in the air, and oxygen in the water, various other processes,” Christopher Busby, physical chemist and scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, explained. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. While it is produced naturally from interactions of cosmic rays with gases in the upper atmosphere, it is also a by-product of nuclear reactors. Tritium possesses the same number of protons and electrons as hydrogen, but unlike regular hydrogen, which does not have any neutrons, tritium has two. Thus, it is both unstable and radioactive.

While the Japanese (also the International Atomic Energy Agency, and a long list of self-identified experts) collectively say: “no problems, the quantities are very small and pose no risk to health, neither to people nor marine life,” this is not the case, according to Christopher Busby. “Tritium is interesting stuff. Its radioactivity is extremely weak: it emits a very short-range beta electron and itself then changes into nitrogen… In terms of radioactivity, because the decay electron is so weak, the method that the risk agencies use to quantify radiation effects has classed tritium as almost a non-event, in terms of health effects. This is most convenient for the nuclear industry, as it means that the exposure limits for tritium (in terms of Becquerels per liter) are truly enormous, when compared with other radioactive waste,” the nuclear expert clarified.

“The low beta energy of tritium allows the regulators to argue that the releases of huge amounts to the sea and rivers is safe. But the regulators are wrong. The system of analysis using the concept of ‘Absorbed Dose’ is unscientific, dishonest and at the origin of a huge historic public health scandal that has caused hundreds of millions of deaths from cancer due to badly regulated releases of certain specific contaminants, and this includes tritium, carbon-14, uranium (as particles) and certain other substances produced by nuclear processes,” Dr. Busby explained.

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Sifakas
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694753131198926888

 

 

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