Jun 142022
 


Joseph Mallord William Turner Teasing the Donkey 1827

 

DC Shifts To Damage Control As Ukraine Defense Fades (AT)
Russian Forces Cut Off Last Routes Out Of Sievierodonetsk (R.)
Ukraine Has LOST, And So Have We (Denninger)
The US Is Still Importing Russian Oil Despite The Ban (FC)
Biden Admin Quietly Urging Companies To Purchase Russian Fertilizer (ZH)
Japan On Verge Of Systemic Collapse (ZH)
‘Lying’: Aussie Scientist’s Vaccine Outrage (News.com.au)
January 6th Committee Chair Says No Criminal Referrals Will Be Made (RS)
Capitol Police Debunk Jan. 6 Panel Allegation About GOP Lawmaker (JTN)
Society of Spectacle (Chris Hedges)
Sunday Shows Don’t Cover Attempted Murder of Supreme Court Justice (ET)
Proud of Yourselves? (Kunstler)
“National Security” Invoked For Epstein Meeting with US Senators in UK (Webb)
Julian Assange Extradition Rulings Could Be Annulled (Canary)

 

 

 

 

Biden Trump

 

 

 

 

Food shortage

 

 

 

 

“An armistice would allow Ukraine to deny that it had given up claims on territory held by Russia.”

DC Shifts To Damage Control As Ukraine Defense Fades (AT)

By late May, Russian artillery had begun to reduce Ukrainian forces in the Donbas, threatening to trap Ukrainian forces in a pocket around Severodonetsk – now all but under Russian control. Pentagon observers noted that the Russians had learned to coordinate artillery, infantry, armor and air power. Ukraine began to lose 100 to 200 killed in action per day. The first sign of a shift to damage-control in Washington came June 8 in a New York Times report by reporter Julian Barnes, quoting US intelligence officials who complained that “American intelligence agencies have less information than they would like about Ukraine’s operations and possess a far better picture of Russia’s military, its planned operations and its successes and failures.”

That is implausible, but not impossible; the United States has satellite images that reveal every detail of ground action, as well as 150 advisers on the ground as of January. Failure to assess the situation on the ground in Ukraine would imply a stupefying level of incompetence in the American intelligence community, which cannot be excluded. A former senior CIA official, Beth Sanner, told the newspaper, “How much do we really know about how Ukraine is doing? Can you find a person who will tell you with confidence how many troops has Ukraine lost, how many pieces of equipment has Ukraine lost?” Sanner formerly was deputy director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – and a presidential briefer during 2017.

“Everything is about Russia’s goals and Russia’s prospects for meeting their goals,” Sanner added. “We do not talk about whether Ukraine might be able to defeat them. And to me, I feel that we are setting ourselves up for another intel failure by not talking about that publicly.” Translated from spook-speak, Sanner’s warning about an “intel failure” means that the failure had already occurred and that the intelligence services hoped to blame the Ukrainians for it – just as Biden did in Los Angeles two days later. [..] One possible outcome that’s been floated in the American media and closely considered in Moscow is a Korean-style armistice, with an armistice line between East and West Ukraine but without a peace treaty.

Jong Eun Lee of American University wrote May 12 in The National Interest: “Nearly three months into a war, could Ukraine be convinced that a similar armistice is preferable to continued war? The burden is on the United States and the world to convince Ukrainians … that their security threats would not worsen in the future, and that their territorial losses could be restored in the future.” An armistice would allow Ukraine to deny that it had given up claims on territory held by Russia. Although the proposal has been studied in Moscow, Russia has little motivation to accept it while it is gaining ground.

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Talk peace now.

Russian Forces Cut Off Last Routes Out Of Sievierodonetsk (R.)

Russian forces cut off the last routes for evacuating citizens from the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk, a Ukrainian official said, as the Kremlin pushed for victory in the Donbas region. The last bridge to the city was destroyed, trapping any remaining civilians and making it impossible to deliver humanitarian supplies, said regional governor Sergei Gaidai, adding that some 70% of the city was under Russian control. Ukraine has issued increasingly urgent calls for more Western heavy weapons to help defend Sievierodonetsk, which Kyiv says could hold the key to the battle for the eastern Donbas region and the course of the war, now in its fourth month. Late on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the battle for the eastern Donbas would go down as one of the most brutal in European history.

The region, comprising the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, is claimed by Russian separatists. “For us, the price of this battle is very high. It is just scary,” he said. “We draw the attention of our partners daily to the fact that only a sufficient number of modern artillery for Ukraine will ensure our advantage.” Russia’s main goal is to protect Donetsk and Luhansk, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, after the leader of one of the separatist regions asked for additional forces from Moscow. Ukraine needs 1,000 howitzers, 500 tanks and 1,000 drones among other heavy weapons, Presidential Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Monday. Moscow issued the latest of several recent reports saying it had destroyed U.S. and European arms and equipment.

Russia’s defence ministry said high-precision air-based missiles had struck near the railway station in Udachne northwest of Donetsk, hitting equipment that had been delivered to Ukrainian forces. Ukraine’s interior ministry on Telegram said that Udachne had been hit by a Russian strike overnight Sunday into Monday, without mentioning whether weapons had been targeted. Moscow has criticised the United States and other nations for sending Ukraine weapons and has threatened to strike new targets if the West supplied long-range missiles. The European Commission will recommend granting Ukraine official status as an EU candidate country, Politico reported late on Monday, citing several unnamed officials.

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“Putin’s folks lob artillery shells at the other guys; anything within 10-20 miles of their weapons gets pulverized.”

Ukraine Has LOST, And So Have We (Denninger)

I predicted this, and now its happened. Oh yeah, it hasn’t been “recognized” yet, but it will be. There are reports that Zelinsky is drafting women. You don’t do that unless you’re out of fighting-age men who can actually fight. Note that the soyman who runs away or spends his time buttfucking and/or preening can’t actually fight, and you must have people who can. When you even contemplate drafting women you’ve made a statement that you’re out of competent fighting men. This is similar to what the NVA did after Tet and what Iran did, but both grabbed literal boys, shoved rifles in their hands and sent them out to die. Which they did, in size. The war was over in that case both times, but not yet admitted. In the former case we literally walked away from a win thanks to Cronkite and the stupidity of the American people buying his bullshit.

Thus it is here, except this time its just money, much of which has been siphoned off by defense contractors and the families of politicians — like fuckface Biden. Russia has employed a nasty and very effective strategy which our so-called “punditry” has entirely failed to understand. Putin’s folks lob artillery shells at the other guys; anything within 10-20 miles of their weapons gets pulverized. With satellite and UAV targeting and fire direction these are wildly effective — and cheap. He can do this all day long for almost no money. He blasts away until your force is cut in half, creating a no-go zone where if you stick your head up to try to return fire it gets blown up and then slowly does a pincer on one of the pieces, making the perimeter ever-smaller until they either surrender or are all dead. Then he goes after the next one, and so on.

Ukraine has proved incapable of hitting Putin’s field pieces as they do not have air superiority and man-portable stuff does not have the range to hit them. Thus Putin can do this with impunity — and is. Yeah, Russian soldiers are dying. But Ukraine is losing both men and material at a much higher rate, and slowly, one-by-one, all the places in the eastern part of the nation are having their Ukrainian troops removed. In pieces. At the same time the so-called Russian Sanctions have blown up spectacularly in the western world’s face. Russia now has a stronger currency than it did before the war we instigated began. Oil and Natural Gas, never mind things like fertilizer, are nice and expensive which suits Putin just fine. He has negotiated long term interchange with China for both and is building out the capacity to wildly increase same. Europe is fucked down the road as a result and in the meantime they got nothing for all these “sanctions.”

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“..several tankers have come to the U.S. from India since the war began, likely including Russian crude, and more are on the way..”

The US Is Still Importing Russian Oil Despite The Ban (FC)

Less than two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. banned the import of Russian fossil fuels like oil and natural gas—a major source of funding for the war. But as the war drags on, some Russian oil is still making it to the United States, according to a new report that tracks the flow of fossil fuels from Russia. India has quickly increased the amount of Russian oil that it buys, and some Indian refineries have been re-exporting refined oil products to both the U.S. and Europe. “We can see crude oil shipments going into refineries that take Russian oil, and then we can see where the stuff goes that they produce,” says Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at the Helsinki-based nonprofit Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, which produced the new report.

The exact amount that has reached the U.S. is unknown, but the the report notes that several tankers have come to the U.S. from India since the war began, likely including Russian crude, and more are on the way. The loophole could be closed by making refineries that take Russian cargo ineligible to sell to the U.S. “That would have an impact,” Myllyvirta says. “That would face every one of those refiners with a choice…it’s a business decision to take whether you keep taking on Russian cargo even if that makes it unacceptable for you to ship to the U.S. market.” In the European Union, most Russian oil imports will be banned by the end of the year. Lithunia, Finland, and Estonia have already cut their imports from Russia by more than half.

While Russia has other customers, the EU could potentially impact some of them as well, because oil delivered to India and the Middle East travels on tankers from European countries. A sanction on those ships could make deliveries drop. More sanctions recently introduced from the insurance industry make it harder to insure shipments from Russia, which could impact other buyers like China. Russian oil now sells for around 30% less than oil from other sources—but because of the huge increase in global oil prices, it’s still making more money than it did last year. (Russia’s finance minister recently went on TV to announce that despite sanctions, the country expected to make as much 14 billion euros more this year than last year, and some of that would go to the “special operation” in Ukraine.) In the first 100 days of the war, Russia earned 93 billion euros from fossil fuel sales, the report says.

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“The Kremlin has insisted that the US provide assurances to global buyers that they won’t face sanctions, suggesting it as a condition to unblock any shipments of Ukrainian farm products now.”

Biden Admin Quietly Urging Companies To Purchase Russian Fertilizer (ZH)

The Biden administration has been quietly urging agricultural and shipping companies to buy and carry more Russian fertilizer, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the efforts. The move comes as fears over sanctions have led to a sharp drop in supplies, contributing to the ongoing ‘spiraling global food costs.’ The effort is part of complex and difficult negotiations underway involving the United Nations to boost deliveries of fertilizer, grain and other farm products from Russia and Ukraine that have been disrupted by President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of his southern neighbor. “US and European officials have accused the Kremlin of using food as a weapon, preventing Ukraine from exporting. Russia denies that even as it has attacked key ports, blaming the shipment disruptions on sanctions imposed by the US and its allies over the invasion.” -Bloomberg

With Moscow being a key supplier of fertilizer, the US and EU have included exemptions on sanctions against doing business with Russia – however many shippers, banks and insurers have been cautiously staying away out of fear that they might accidentally run afoul of the rules in an expensive lesson. Now, US officials are trying to encourage activity in the space. Exports of Russian fertilizer are notably down 24% YTD. As Bloomberg notes, the new push by Washington underscores the current challenge facing the west – which seeks to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin over the invasion of Ukraine, while also easing pressure on economy-damaging food inflation during an election year in America. Since the war began in February, already-high inflation spiked further – a point Putin regularly makes while railing against sanctions.

Earlier this month, the Biden admin sent a representative to UN-led talks with Moscow regarding supply issues – as insufficient deliveries of fertilizer could also negatively affect next year’s crops. The Kremlin has insisted that the US provide assurances to global buyers that they won’t face sanctions, suggesting it as a condition to unblock any shipments of Ukrainian farm products now.

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Bank of Japan buys all goverment bonds, and it’s still not enough.

Japan On Verge Of Systemic Collapse (ZH)

[..] with Japanese yields surging, the Bank of Japan today bought more than 1.5 trillion yen of government bonds to defend its yield curve control target as the 10Y JGB rose above 0.25%, the upper end of the BOJ’s YCC corridor. As Deutsche Bank’s George Saravelos shockingly calculates in a post this morning titled “The printer is on overdrive”, and available to professional ZH subscribers, if the current pace of buying persists, the bank will have bought approximately 10 trillion yen in June. To put that number in context, it is roughly equivalent to the Fed doing more than $300bn of QE per month when adjusting for GDP!

This is a “truly extreme” level of money printing given that every other central bank in the world is tightening policy. It is one of the reasons why we have been bearish on the yen. And as so many have argued, currency intervention in this environment is simply not credible given it is the BoJ itself that is the cause of yen weakness. More broadly, Saravelos echoes what we said in our preview of the end of MMT, writing that he worries that “the currency and Japanese financial markets are in the process of losing any sort of fundamental-based valuation anchor.”

The more global inflation picks up, the more the BoJ prints. But the more easing accelerates, the higher the need to press hard on the brake when the (inflation) cliff approaches and the more dangerous it becomes. As a result, we will soon enter a phase where dramatic and unpredictable non-linearities in Japanese financial markets would kick in, according to the DB strategist, who also notes that “if it becomes obvious to the market that the clearing level of JGB yields is above the BoJ’s 25 basis point target, what is the incentive to hold bonds any more?”

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“I know some people are getting misdiagnosed with anxiety or functional neurological disorder – that’s not what’s going on. It’s a physical injury.”

‘Lying’: Aussie Scientist’s Vaccine Outrage (News.com.au)

An Australian scientist, unable to work for eight months after a debilitating neurological reaction he blames on the Covid shot, has likened the treatment of people suffering vaccine injuries to that of returning veterans with health issues after the Vietnam War. Dr Rado Faletic has slammed the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) adverse event reporting process, saying the medicines regulator tasked with vaccine safety surveillance was “simply uninterested” in investigating his symptoms despite submitting multiple reports. “I’m similar to thousands of Aussies. After the vaccine I had a huge constellation of symptoms from head to toe,” the 46-year-old said, describing it as similar to “mutant long Covid”.

“The worst has been an oppressive brain fog. I’ve had headaches, chest pains, abdominal pains, unbelievable muscle twitching, issues focusing my vision. Basically I’ve been unable to work for eight months. I’m only now just starting to feel a little bit normal. This is not a mild side effect – this has been life-changing.” Dr Faletic said doctors and specialists were unable to find anything obviously wrong with him. “You go to the hospital, they take your blood, do an echocardiogram or X-ray or MRI and don’t find anything,” he said. “They say, ‘Well you look fine, go home and rest.’” He added, “I don’t necessarily blame the doctors. The problem is there hasn’t been a test to find out what’s wrong. I know some people are getting misdiagnosed with anxiety or functional neurological disorder – that’s not what’s going on. It’s a physical injury.”

Dr Faletic, who earned his PhD in hypersonic technology from the ANU and now runs an international research consulting firm based in Canberra, says his faith in the scientific and medical community has been badly shaken by his experience. He received his first Pfizer dose on October 19 last year and his second on November 9. He had a bad reaction to both “within hours”, but says the second was “dramatically off the charts”. “I waited a little while [to take the vaccine] – I work with technology and have a science background, so I understood that with a new product, new technology, there could be some things we don’t know about,” he said. “I thought, enough time has passed, surely our government would have flagged any reactions of concern. I took it and all this stuff happened to me. It’s not a matter of it being a coincidence – it all happened within hours of the shots.

Then I thought, surely the government would be interested in what’s happened to me? Nope.” Dr Faletic says it soon became clear to him that the TGA wasn’t interested. “I’ve done 50 rounds with the TGA on this,” he said. “They’ve said, ‘We can find no safety signals,’ which I think is disingenuous if not outright lying. In my small personal circle I know over a dozen people with different long vax problems, [ranging from] ongoing headaches, memory problems or brain fog to some people who were basically bedridden for months.” When he went searching for answers, he found “hundreds of people” in online groups who had experienced similar symptoms and submitted reports themselves. “The TGA still claims there is nothing to see,” he said.

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Schiff and Cheney don’t agree.

January 6th Committee Chair Says No Criminal Referrals Will Be Made (RS)

On Sunday, multiple members of the January 6th Committee proclaimed that they had enough evidence to support a criminal indictment of Donald Trump. That sent the media into a frenzy as another “the walls are closing in” moment unfolded. Their dream of seeing the former president perp-walked was at hand. That was…until Monday evening arrived. In a sudden turn of events, Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the January 6th committee, is now saying that the committee will not make any criminal referrals at all, not just of Trump, but of anyone. [..] Here’s the money quote per CNN. “Pressed again on whether the committee would ever make a formal referral to the Justice Department, the Mississippi Democrat said, “No, that’s not our job. Our job is to look at the facts and circumstances around January 6, what caused it and make recommendations after that.”

This has been the story of the January 6th committee since its ill-advised, illegitimate inception. They over-promise and underdeliver — every single time. We’ve been hearing about bombshell evidence proving Trump engaged in a criminal conspiracy to cause the Capitol breach for over a year now. Where is it? When are they going to connect those dots they keep insisting connect? With two hearings down, there’s no sign any such evidence is coming. Now, Thompson basically says “Well, yeah, we’ve got the goods, but we won’t be making any criminal referrals.” Does that pass the smell test for anyone? I think what it shows is that you can expect more of the same in the hearings they have left. More emotional speeches, more interviewing irrelevant people like Chris Stirewalt, and absolutely no proof of what they actually allege.

And before some on the left try to cope by saying it’s not Congress’ job to make criminal referrals, the committee absolutely has the power to do so. Further, its own members have stated they have such power. How do I know? Because after Thompson’s comments, Rep. Liz Cheney immediately fired back, saying there has been no decision on any criminal referral regarding Trump. Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves as vice chair of the committee, released a statement contradicting the chairman’s comments. “The January 6th Select Committee has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals. We will announce a decision on that at an appropriate time,” the Wyoming Republican tweeted. The comment marked a rare public break between the two leaders of the committee.

Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Elaine Luria also tried to walk back Thompson’s proclamation, with the latter directly undermining the chairman. “You know, I haven’t seen the chairman’s statements,” Schiff told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “We haven’t had a discussion about that, so I don’t know that the committee has reached a position on whether we make a referral or what the referrals might be. I thought we were deferring that decision until we concluded our investigation. At least that’s my understanding.” Rep. Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat, went a step further, tweeting, “Our committee has yet to vote on whether we will recommend criminal referrals to the Department of Justice. If criminal activity occurred, it is our responsibility to report that activity to the DOJ.”

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“..we do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious.”

Capitol Police Debunk Jan. 6 Panel Allegation About GOP Lawmaker (JTN)

In a major blow to one of the Democrat-led Jan. 6 investigative committee’s allegations, the Capitol police chief declared Monday there is no evidence that Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk led a group of protesters on a reconnaissance mission the day before the riots. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, appointed since the Jan. 6 tragedy, wrote in a letter to Congress obtained by Just the News, that an exhaustive review of security footage found no evidence that the Georgia congressman did anything other than give constituents a tour of some congressional office buildings. The Congressman didn’t even enter the U.S. Capitol with the group, Manger said.

“There is no evidence that Representative Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol with this group on January 5, 2021,” Manger wrote in a letter to Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., the ranking Republican on the House Administration Committee. “We train our officers on being alert for people conducting surveillance or reconnaissance, and we do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious.” Davis, who led his own review of all security footage, demanded Monday night that the Democrats who besmirched Loudermilk’s name apologize and face an ethics inquiry. “The Democrats need to be ashamed of themselves,” Davis told the Just the News, Not Noise television show.

Manger’s letter undercuts allegations made a month ago by Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, the chairman and vice chairwoman, respectively, of the Democrat-led Jan. 6 committee. They sent a letter released to the media in May demanding Loudermilk volunteer testimony and explain why he was giving a tour of the Capitol the day before the riots, suggesting it could be part of an effort to help case the Capitol building before the Jan. 6 protests.

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“The gaping hole between the reality of what we have become, and the fiction of who we are supposed to be, is why spectacle is all the ruling class has left.”

Society of Spectacle (Chris Hedges)

The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, whose first of six televised hearings began last Thursday, is spectacle replacing politics. There is nothing substantially new in the accusations. The committee lacks prosecutorial power. No charges have been filed by Attorney General Merrick Garland against former President Donald Trump and none are expected. The choreographed hearings, like the two impeachment trials of Trump, will have no effect on Trump voters, other than to make them feel persecuted, especially with more than 860 people already charged (including 306 guilty pleas) for their role in storming the Capitol. The committee echoes back to Trump opponents what they already believe. It is designed to present inaction as action and substitute role-playing for politics. It perpetuates, as Guy Debord writes, our “empire of modern passivity.”

The committee, which most Republicans boycotted, hired James Goldston, a documentary producer and former president of ABC News, to turn the hearings into engaging television with slick packaging and an array of pithy sound bites. The result is, and was meant to be, politics as reality television, a media diversion that will change nothing in the dismal American landscape. What should have been a serious bipartisan inquiry into an array of constitutional violations by the Trump administration has been turned into a prime-time campaign commercial for a Democratic Party running on fumes. The epistemology of television is complete. So is its artifice.

[..] The gaping hole between the reality of what we have become, and the fiction of who we are supposed to be, is why spectacle is all the ruling class has left. Spectacle takes the place of politics. It is a tacit admission that all social programs, whether the Build Back Better Plan, a ban on assault weapons, raising the minimum wage, ameliorating the ravages of inflation or instituting environmental reforms to stave off the climate emergency, will never be implemented. Those who occupy the “sacred space” of “our constitutional republic” are capable only of pouring money into war, allocating $54 billion to Ukraine, and passing ever higher military budgets to enrich the arms industry. The wider the gap becomes between the ideal and the real, the more the proto fascists, who look set to take back the Congress in the fall, will be empowered.

If the rational, factual world does not work, why not try one of the many conspiracy theories? If this is what democracy means, why support democracy? The right-wing also communicates through spectacle. What were the four years of the Trump presidency but one vast spectacle? Spectacle versus spectacle. The aesthetic of spectacle, as in the dying days of the Roman Empire or Tsarist Russia, is all that is left. “Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business,” Neil Postman writes in Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. The current ruling class, blinded by their hubris and pomposity, however, is not very good at it.

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“It is stunningly unprofessional of major media outlets to consciously ignore news of the threat to Justice Kavanaugh..”

Sunday Shows Don’t Cover Attempted Murder of Supreme Court Justice (ET)

Many news networks on June 12 omitted mention of the recent attempted murder of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, even though some touched on issues facing the nation’s top court. All Sunday morning shows on CNN, CBS, NBC, and ABC did not cover the attempted killing, which took place on June 8. Fox News covered the topic during “Fox News Sunday.” Several shows brought up the Supreme Court in other contexts. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Dana Bash noted that the Supreme Court is poised to strike down Roe v. Wade before asking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) about the upcoming midterm elections. Bash also mentioned the nation’s top court declined to take up a case involving elections in Pennsylvania.


Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” only mentioned the Supreme Court once, when asking Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife. The Supreme Court was not brought up on CBS’s “Face the Nation” or ABC’s “This Week.” “It is stunningly unprofessional of major media outlets to consciously ignore news of the threat to Justice Kavanaugh,” Jeffrey McCall, a communications professor at DePauw University, told The Epoch Times in an email, describing what happened as “the journalism of omission.” The safety of Supreme Court justices is a highly important topic, especially with looming decisions on gun rights and abortion, McCall said.

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(“They were enchanted!”)

Proud of Yourselves? (Kunstler)

Are drag queens really the best interlocutors for the doctrine of Diversity and Inclusion? Have we nothing better on offer to occupy childrens’ minds, say, learning to bake bread or build a bird-house? Practical skills they will need when the economy of Western Civ completes its disorienting descent out of Modern Times into the New Medieval? Does anyone actually know what children think about a drag queen reading, say, My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis to a roomful of five-year-old boys and girls? I mean, apart from what the parents who take them there tell us their children think. (“They were enchanted!”) We know that the parents are pretending that this is a wholesome developmental exercise. And yet, let’s face it: is it not the whole point of being a drag queen to present a horrifying parody of an adult female human? Something like women-as-monsters?

Do any of the mommies who bring their children to the drag queen story hour present themselves in public as women the way the drag queens do? As, above all, sexually super-available? Would, say, the Palo Alto mommy of a five-year-old pause to twerk in the frozen food section of the supermarket on any given afternoon? In that context, what might be the reaction of other mommies shopping for hot pockets and Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby? Five-year-old children generally have no idea what adult sexuality is about. Should perhaps their first exposure to a realm so fraught and complex that many adults do not understand it be the presentation of women as monsters? And why are the mommies so avid for their children to be introduced to sexuality this way? Are some of the children perceptive and astute enough to suspect that drag queens on display are not really women?

That, for instance, they might be… men? (A beard can be a give-away.) And might they take that thought a step or two further and ask themselves: why does this man want to pretend to be a monster-woman? Why doesn’t he want to be a daddy? Are mommies monsters? Can they turn into something like this when I’m not around? Are daddies who try to act like mommies monsters? How exactly is a child supposed to process all of this? All on its own, without any inversions, distortions, and misconstructions, sex is difficult for some young humans to process. By the time they reach the threshold of puberty — say, age thirteen for girls — the onset of sexual development is so alarming that they attempt to starve their way out of it and cut themselves up.

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“..Epstein personally escorted the two women into the room where the two senators were waiting.”

“National Security” Invoked For Epstein Meeting with US Senators in UK (Webb)

In connection with Whitney Webb’s upcoming book on the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, One Nation Under Blackmail, Unlimited Hangout filed a Freedom of Information request asking UK law enforcement and the Ministry of Defence the identity of two sitting US senators who were present at Foxcote House in North Warwickshire, UK on September 1, 2002. UH contributor Johnny Vedmore had previously obtained information from eyewitnesses of that meeting that, not only were two US Senators present at that location that day, but that Metropolitan Police officers had supplied security for the meeting. The FOI request was filed to Metropolitan Police, the UK Ministry of Defence and North Warwickshire Police and only a response from the Metropolitan Police was received.

The motive for UH’s FOI request is as follows. It is known that Jeffrey Epstein, as attested to by Epstein’s flight logs, was present in this part of the UK during this same period (from August 31, 2002 to September 2, 2002) and eyewitnesses saw him attend this specific meeting at this location with two attractive and glamorously dressed women on each arm. One of these women was Nicole Junkermann, a former model and apparent intelligence asset as revealed in Vedmore’s previous investigative work. The other woman was described by eyewitnesses as a tall brunette. Per those eyewitness accounts, Epstein personally escorted the two women into the room where the two senators were waiting.

Notably the house where this meeting took place, Foxcote House, has been owned by the family of Leslie Wexner, specifically his wife Abigail Wexner, since 1999. Wexner’s role in financing much of Jeffrey Epstein’s activities, legal and illegal, is a major focus of Webb’s upcoming book and Wexner has encountered considerable difficulty in explaining away his relationship with Epstein, despite the largely servile posture of mainstream media in this regard. Given the circumstances, it seems highly likely that this meeting was a high-profile instance of Jeffrey Epstein engaging in the sexual blackmail of sitting American politicians. However, due to the well-known scandal around Jeffrey Epstein, his name was not used in our FOI request in order to avoid potentially “spiking” the response.

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“It could be argued that the [extradition] process was flawed because the right of defense was violated by the country requesting the extradition.”

Julian Assange Extradition Rulings Could Be Annulled (Canary)

UK home office minister Priti Patel is expected to rule any day on whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to the US to face espionage related charges. But legal sources now say that surveillance of Assange’s lawyers may see the extradition case thrown out. Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the UK government illegally spied on one of Assange’s lawyers. The Canary has previously listed a number of defence concerns that could be raised in court. These include Spain-based firm UC Global’s surveillance of Assange’s lawyers in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The Canary reported that meetings between Assange and some of his lawyers – including Melinda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson, and Baltasar Garzón – were monitored.

Surveillance also included the logging of visitors such as Gareth Peirce – another of Assange’s lawyers – as well as a seven-hour session between Assange and his legal team on 19 June 2016. Robinson subsequently commented that the surveillance was “a huge and a serious breach of [Assange’s] right to a defence and a serious breach of [Assange’s] fair trial rights”. Indeed, client-lawyer confidentiality remains a cornerstone of the English legal system. In this respect, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson commented: “The case should be thrown out immediately. Not only is it illegal on the face of the [extradition] treaty, the U.S. has conducted illegal operations against Assange and his lawyers, which are the subject of a major investigation in Spain.”

Evidence was presented in a Spanish court at the trial of David Morales, UC Global CEO, that surveillance which UC Global gathered was allegedly provided to a contact with links to US intelligence. The Canary also reported that during the extradition proceedings in London, the defence referred to “Witness #2”, a whistleblower who worked for UC Global. And according to Shadowproof, Witness #2 revealed that: “data was collected and uploaded daily to a remote server. That information was accessed by U.S. intelligence. Original recordings, including sound, were collected from several microphones every 14 days.” The Council of Bar and Law Societies of Europe, representing over one million lawyers, has issued a letter to UK home secretary Priti Patel. The Council points out that the surveillance on Assange and his visitors equated to a serious breach of client-lawyer confidentiality, as well as other concerns:

Letter from The Council of Bar and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) to UK authorities about the interception of communications between Julian Assange and his lawyers — Aitor Martínez (@AitorxMartinez) February 27, 2020 Indeed, the law in England on client-lawyer confidentiality is clear, as indicated by this 2018 judgement in the Court of Appeal. Now legal sources have told El Pais that the surveillance UC Global undertook may lead to the extradition against Assange being annulled. The newspaper reports that: “Proving that US intelligence services learned about Assange’s defense strategy by spying on his lawyers could annul the extradition by questioning the illegal methods used by the US to get Assange tried there, according to legal sources.” “It could be argued that the [extradition] process was flawed because the right of defense was violated by the country requesting the extradition.”

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