Jul 092024

Pablo Picasso The old guitarist 1903-4


‘I’m Not Going Anywhere’ – Biden (RT)
Democrats Want Biden To Drop Out This Week – Axios (RT)
Biden’s Handlers Guiding Him With Flash Cards (RT)
Sen. Kennedy Says Biden Is Politically ‘As Dead As Fried Chicken’ (ZH)
Democrat Paymasters Discussing ‘Elegant’ Biden Withdrawal – NYT (RT)
MSNBC Host Calls For Biden Aides To Be ON STAGE With Him At Next Debate (MN)
New Right-Wing Group In European Parliament To Be Third Largest (RT)
Russia Slams Ukrainian Claim Of Attack On Civilian Targets (RT)
No Promise Ukraine Will Join NATO In A Decade – Stoltenberg (RT)
NATO’S Plan For Permanent War In Ukraine and On The Fareast Front (Helmer)
NATO Is Approaching Russia’s Borders From The Other Side (Gevorg Mirzayan)
“A Death Squad Ruling” (Turley)
In It to Spin It (Kunstler)
US Ambassador To Japan Comments On American Military Sex Crimes (RT)
Empire Of Salt And Gold: Where Did The Richest Man In The World Come From? (RT)



Mansa Musa






Ritter Hezbollah






Rogan Tucker



@EmeraldRobinson: The Biden regime doesn’t have an “election” problem. After all, the 2020 election was rigged. That system remains in place.

The Biden regime has an “optics” problem: nobody now believes Biden can beat Trump. It’s not enough to rig an election. They must sell the lie.





The US president shouted at MSNBC’s hosts when they asked if he’d suspend his campaign..

‘I’m Not Going Anywhere’ – Biden (RT)

US President Joe Biden has vowed to continue his reelection campaign, telling MSNBC that he is “not going anywhere” and that despite widespread concerns about his mental health, he is “the best candidate to beat Donald Trump.” Speaking to hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Monday, Biden reiterated that he is “firmly committed” to winning a second term in office, and called on “Any of these guys that don’t think I should run” to challenge him at next month’s Democratic National Convention. Confronted by Brzezinski with a list of liberal news organizations and pundits who have called on him to bow out of the race, Biden claimed that all are part of an “elite” conspiracy to force him out of contention. “I don’t care what those big names think,” Biden said. “The American public is not going to move away from me as an average voter,” he declared, his voice rising to a shout.

“Remember all this talk about how I don’t have the black support, come on, give me a break! Come with me. Watch! Watch!” “I’m more than the presumptive, I’m going to be the Democratic nominee,” he asserted. While the Democratic Party stood united behind Biden during this year’s largely symbolic primary season, the president’s political future has been thrown into uncertainty following a disastrous debate performance against his Republican rival, former President Donald Trump, last month. Biden appeared visibly confused during the CNN-hosted showdown, slurring his words and struggling to finish his sentences. Democratic donors and liberal pundits have called on Biden to suspend his campaign, with some formerly friendly media outlets demanding that he resign as president. Meanwhile, senior party lawmakers are reportedly preparing to sign letters demanding that he be replaced with a more lucid candidate.

Biden’s comments to MSNBC mirror those he made in a letter to Democrats in Congress on Monday. On TV and in the letter, Biden insisted that he “wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024.” However, Biden rambled at times during his phone interview with Scarborough and Brzezinski, and could be heard shuffling papers at one point. Asked whether he had “been tested for any age-related illnesses” including “pre-Parkinson’s,” Biden repeated his previous assertion that he had “a cold” or “maybe an infection or something” on the night of the debate. A survey conducted by CBS News/YouGov in the wake of the debate found that 72% of registered voters do not believe that Biden has the “mental and cognitive health necessary to serve as president.” A subsequent Reuters/Ipsos poll has revealed that one in three Democrats believes that the 81-year-old should not seek reelection.

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“Every day that goes by is a disaster..”

Democrats Want Biden To Drop Out This Week – Axios (RT)

A growing number of senior Democrats want Joe Biden to withdraw from the US presidential election race by Friday, Axios has reported, citing sources. Lawmakers are said to be hoping that the entire party will “beg” the incumbent US leader to step aside. Big Democratic donors and key constituents have expressed serious concerns about Biden’s ability to win reelection against Republican rival Donald Trump in the November vote, lawmakers from all factions of the party have said, as cited by the outlet. One lawmaker in particular told Axios that every participant at a monthly forum in his state, which wasn’t named, preferred to talk about Biden’s age rather than community issues.

Dozens of House members and senators also reportedly told the outlet that it was “clear that scores are close to speaking out or signing letters telling Biden it should be over,” stressing that these calls would only intensify. “Every day that goes by is a disaster,” a top Democratic operative who is “talking nonstop” to elected officials told the media. They specified that Vice President Kamala Harris would need time to ramp up her own campaign and pick a running mate, should Biden agree to drop out and endorse her as the nominee. Grave concerns among Democrats and key party donors have been growing rapidly since Biden’s disastrous performance in the June 27 debate against Trump.

A poll by Reuters/Ipsos has revealed that one in three Democrats believes Biden should quit the race, while some major donors have reportedly demanded that the 81-year-old be replaced on the party’s ticket. The White House and the Biden campaign have offered a range of excuses for what happened at the debate. Biden blamed his weak performance on a busy period of international travel ahead of the event, saying he “nearly fell asleep on stage.” However, the administration has dismissed rumors of Biden’s potential withdrawal, with spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre insisting the president remains “clear-eyed” and that “he is staying in the race.”

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“It surprised me that a seasoned political pro like the president would need detailed verbal and visual instructions on how to enter and exit a room..”

Biden’s Handlers Guiding Him With Flash Cards (RT)

US President Joe Biden’s every movement is planned by his assistants, with photos showing the elderly leader exactly how to get to the podium at events, Axios reported on Monday. Biden has come under pressure to quit his reelection campaign after a debate with Donald Trump exposed his apparently declining cognitive ability. Before each of his public appearances, Biden’s staffers prepare a document for the president, detailing how he will enter the venue, how he will walk to the podium, and how he will face the audience, the US news site reported. Images of these documents show full-page photographs of the route Biden will walk, with simple, one-line text instructions such as “Walk to the podium.” “I staffed a simple fundraiser at a private residence, but they treated it like it was a NATO summit with his movements,” one person who arranged staffing for a Biden event this year told Axios.

“It surprised me that a seasoned political pro like the president would need detailed verbal and visual instructions on how to enter and exit a room,” the staffer added. The White House told Axios that such instructions are common, and are prepared ahead of events for both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. “High levels of detail and precision are critical to presidential advance work – regardless of who is president,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said. Biden’s mental and physical health have come under intense scrutiny since his lackluster debate performance against former President Donald Trump last month. During the CNN-hosted showdown, Biden appeared confused and struggled to finish sentences, his voice weak and his mouth hanging agape.

While the White House blamed Biden’s poor performance on a cold and his busy travel schedule earlier in the month, major Democratic Party donors have since called on the president to suspend his campaign, while senior party lawmakers are reportedly preparing to sign letters demanding that he be replaced with a less infirm candidate. With Biden floundering during subsequent media appearances – including a radio interview in which he claimed to be “a black woman” – multiple reporters have come forward to claim that the White House fed them pre-approved questions to ask the president.

Liberal pundits once considered friendly to Biden – including The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer, the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough – have all called on him to leave the race, while Axios’ Alex Thompson claimed on Saturday that his fellow reporters feel “duped” by a White House that covered up evidence of Biden’s decline before the debate. However, Biden exhibited similar gaffes and verbal slip-ups during his 2020 campaign, and countless videos have surfaced in the years since showing the president mixing up countries and their leaders, shaking hands with imaginary people, and appearing to get lost in public. Throughout this year’s campaign, Trump has repeatedly insisted that Biden “can’t string two sentences together,” and mockingly imitated his opponent attempting to find his way off stage after speeches.

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“Biden is cooked, and if he somehow stays in office, we’re all cooked.”

Sen. Kennedy Says Biden Is Politically ‘As Dead As Fried Chicken’ (ZH)

Much to the chagrin of panicked Democrats, President Joe Biden isn’t going anywhere. “I want you to know that despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump,” Biden ‘wrote’ in a Monday letter to congressional Democrats, undoubtedly penned by his cabal of unelected officials who can’t fathom releasing the ring of power.
“I have heard the concerns that people have … I am not blind to them,” the letter continues, adding “I wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024.” The letter comes as Biden reportedly canceled a meeting with Senate Democrats led by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA).

Meanwhile, five House Democrats have publicly called on Biden to drop out of the race, with several committee ranking members joining the call during a private call on Sunday, Axios reports. • Many more Democrats have privately expressed the view that Biden needs to drop out, and an even larger group has voiced concerns about his ability to take on former President Trump.• The Biden campaign’s efforts to address those concerns, largely by dismissing the president’s doubters, have stirred further discord among his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill. Biden, or someone who sounds like Biden, then reiterated his position in a Monday telephone interview with MSNBC. Biden then took a few shots at Trump, reading all the things his team wishes he had the cognition to say in real time.

Reports indicate that numerous political representatives on both sides of the aisle are meeting out of public view to discuss what needs to happen next. At least one Republican Senator, John Kennedy from Louisiana, has not been afraid to say exactly what he thinks of Joe Biden’s condition and the predicament the US faces. Biden is cooked, and if he somehow stays in office, we’re all cooked.

The Senator is telling it like it is. Biden’s condition cannot be covered up or ignored any longer simply because the political left values “winning” over the truth. For most people the election is purely symbolic, a representation of where the country stands ideologically. We all know that there are other powerful elements at work influencing America’s path. But if the public shows they are willing to tolerate something like this, then they’re telling the powers-that-be that they’re willing to tolerate anything. For the political left the election is not symbolic, it’s an existential crisis. Any shift away from the woke ideal (even a symbolic shift) cannot be allowed. For them, losing the election would mean the country has rejected their religion, not just Biden. It’s unthinkable.

Keep in mind, the DNC, some Neo-cons and the media have been consistently lying about Biden’s health for years. They have been gaslighting the American people, suggesting that what the populace sees with their eyes is not what is really happening. The exposure of Biden’s breakdown calls into question many things beyond the election; it calls into question the very fabric of American government.

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“..Larry Fink of BlackRock, Jon Gray of Blackstone, and Peter Orszag of Lazard..”

Democrat Paymasters Discussing ‘Elegant’ Biden Withdrawal – NYT (RT)

Major donors to the US Democratic Party are discussing ways how President Joe Biden could drop out of the 2024 race without hurting the party’s chances of beating Donald Trump in November, the New York Times reported on Monday. Democrats and their supporters have been increasingly doubting Biden’s electability after his disastrous performance during the televised debate with Trump last month. Multiple reports said that Democrats and some of Biden’s own aides were “shocked” by the 81-year-old’s behavior on stage and have big concerns over his mental and physical fitness to serve as president for a second term. “Some donors have discussed ‘elegant’ ways for Biden to step aside to preserve his reputation,” while others “believe that dropping out sooner is better,” the NYT’s DealBook newsletter said.

Some executives told DealBook that it would be “a mistake” for Biden to quit the race without becoming the nominee first. They argued that doing so would “rob him of the power to anoint his replacement.” Democrats will meet in Chicago in late August to officially name their candidate for the 2024 election. According to the report, an open convention where delegates are not bound to any particular candidate could create an “intraparty strife that helped Donald Trump win.” DealBook cited its sources as saying that prominent financiers and investors, including Larry Fink of BlackRock, Jon Gray of Blackstone, and Peter Orszag of Lazard, and Robert Wolf, a former US executive “close to Barack Obama,” are discussing whether to “stick with Biden.” The 46th president, however, refused to quit the race, albeit admitting that he does not debate “as well as [he] used to.” Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, Biden said that he is “not going anywhere,” describing himself as “the best candidate to beat Donald Trump.”

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“A candidate should be allowed to let staff members actually answer questions for them.”

MSNBC Host Calls For Biden Aides To Be ON STAGE With Him At Next Debate (MN)

MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell has called for allowing Joe Biden to have aides with him on stage to speak for him and help him sound coherent. Yes, really. This is where we are now. O’Donnell said that it would be good to “Allow the candidates to have as many staff as they want, join them on the stage throughout the debate, and make sure that all of them have microphones.” He added that “the candidates should be allowed to turn to their staff and confer with them about anything at any time in the debate.” “And we should be able to hear everything they say. So we can hear if the candidate has competent or incompetent staff, we could hear the candidate overrule some advisers and say something else,” he continued. “We could watch the candidates actually think and process information, including including possibly information that they might not know until a staff member tells them or reminds them,” O’Donnell further suggested.

He continued, “A candidate should be allowed to let staff members actually answer questions for them.” When he says ‘candidates’ he means Biden, because Trump clearly doesn’t need people talking for him. Only the mentally deficient, incoherent, bumbling Biden needs that. What is this supposed to be? Show and tell at pre school? It’s a debate between candidates who are expected to lead the country. They shouldn’t need people to help them talk. It’s not a debate between the candidates if other people are doing the talking. O’Donnell is only putting the ludicrous suggestion out because it is clear that Biden is not running anything. His aides are doing it all. Indeed, an Axios report notes how literally everything Biden does is micromanaged and written down for him, down to where and when he walks and stands.

The report notes that “One template — a copy of which was obtained by Axios — is short and simple, with one large picture of the event space on each page, accompanied with big text such as: ‘View from podium,’ and ‘View from audience.’ In the five-page document, two pages are separate pictures of, ‘Walk to podium.’” Before a presidential event, the White House sends event staffers a document to emulate when preparing their own materials for the president,” the report further states. One staffer told Axios that “It surprised me that a seasoned political pro like the president would need detailed verbal and visual instructions on how to enter and exit a room.” This has been going on for years now.

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“It promotes conservative family values, restrictions on immigration, and increased power of national governments of EU members relative to Brussels..”

New Right-Wing Group In European Parliament To Be Third Largest (RT)

An alliance of conservative anti-immigration parties in the European parliament, launched last month by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, is set to become the third largest in the chamber, according to Politico. The Patriots for Europe will be officially established on Monday, and is expected to confirm that 30 MEPs from the French right-wing party National Rally (RN) will be in the group, the outlet said in the morning, citing insider sources. In the previous EU legislature, the RN – which was previously led by Marine Le Pen – belonged to the Identity and Democracy (ID) group. A source told Politico that she insisted on postponing the announcement until after the second round of the parliamentary election in France.

The ballot took place on Sunday and ended in disappointment for RN. In the first round, it took a strong lead – but centrist and left-wing politicians coordinated strategic dropouts of their candidates to deny the right a majority and push it into third place. The Patriots group was unveiled in late June, with Orban’s Fidesz party joining forces with Czech and Austrian nationalists. The voting bloc has continued to attract MEPs since then, and finally met the criteria for formal recognition last Saturday. A group needs at least 23 members from seven different EU states to qualify. ID had 49 MEPs in the outgoing parliament, which made it the sixth-largest group. The Patriots are projected to have 79 MEPs in total.

According to Politico, participants have differing opinions on whether the Patriots are a rebranding of ID or a new group with similar ideas. It promotes conservative family values, restrictions on immigration, and increased power of national governments of EU members relative to Brussels. RN President and MEP Jordan Bardella appeared to hint at his party’s participation in a speech on Sunday evening. He said that “at long last, starting tomorrow our MEPs will fully play their role in a large group which will influence the power balance in Europe”. Politico sources have said a French MEP will be president of the Patriots group.

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“..deliberately targeting a prominent children’s hospital..? Not Russian MO.

Also: “..Not a single ballistic missile since May 2023 reached its target in the capital..” So this was the first?

Betcha it was a Ukrainian missile.

Russia Slams Ukrainian Claim Of Attack On Civilian Targets (RT)

Claims by Ukrainian officials that Russia deliberately attacked civilian targets in Kiev on Monday are “absolutely untrue,” the Defense Ministry in Moscow has stated. The Ukrainian capital was rocked by a series of powerful explosions earlier in the day, according to numerous videos published by local media. Civilians on the ground were reportedly injured. Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky has accused Moscow of deliberately targeting a prominent children’s hospital, claiming that “it’s impossible that Russia does not know where its missiles fly and must fully answer for its crimes.” Ukrainian Interior Minister Igor Klimenko has branded Russia “a nation of terrorists and scum,” adding that at least seven people were killed in the capital.

The Russian military confirmed firing a barrage of long-range missiles on Monday, but stressed that it was targeting military factories and airfields in Ukraine. “Claims by representatives of the Kiev regime alleging a purportedly deliberate Russian strike on civilian sites are absolutely not true,” the statement said. “Numerous photos and videos from Kiev irrefutably confirm destruction by a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile, which was fired by a launcher positioned inside the city,” it stated. Russia reportedly used hypersonic air-launched Kinzhal missiles in the barrage. Senior Ukrainian officials have claimed that the weapons are vulnerable to interception by Patriot missile systems. Last week, a senior air defense commander said that no Kinzhal had pierced the American-made shield so far, despite Moscow firing over 20 of them.

“All the Kinzhal missiles launched at the Ukrainian capital since the deployment of Patriot systems was announced were successfully stopped. Not a single ballistic missile since May 2023 reached its target in the capital,” Colonel Sergey Yaryomenko, commander of the 96th air defense brigade, told the Ukrinform news outlet. Moscow has previously said that Kiev exaggerates its interception rates. The Ukrainians claim to have shot down more Kinzhals than Russian forces have actually deployed, according to senior Russian military officials.

Defense Missile

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“Kiev must win in the conflict with Moscow in order to join.”

No Promise Ukraine Will Join NATO In A Decade – Stoltenberg (RT)

There is no guarantee that Ukraine will join NATO within the next decade, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said, adding that Kiev’s membership depends on whether it wins the conflict with Russia. In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Stoltenberg, who will leave his post in October, was asked to explain why he hopes that Ukraine will join the US-led military bloc by 2034, rather than within three years. “Well, no one has said exactly 10 years but it’s obvious that it is a very serious issue to bring in Ukraine,” NATO’s top official noted, explaining that “Ukraine is now a country at war.” He stressed that the most important thing for NATO now is “to step up our support to Ukraine to ensure that Ukraine prevails. That’s a precondition for any future membership for Ukraine.”

In an interview with DPA news agency last week, Stoltenberg said that he hoped Kiev will become part of the bloc within a decade. His comments came as Kiev’s ambassador to NATO, Natalya Galibarenko, told Politico that Ukraine wanted an “irreversible” membership offer at the bloc’s summit in Washington, which is slated to be held between July 9 and 11. NATO members first agreed that Ukraine would join the bloc in 2008 but gave no specific timeline. After the Western-backed coup in Kiev in 2014, Ukraine fully committed to the goal of obtaining membership. In the fall of 2022, it formally applied to join NATO after four of its former regions voted overwhelmingly to become part of Russia.

NATO officials, however, have repeatedly said that Ukraine’s membership is out of the question while it is in conflict with Russia due to escalation concerns. Moscow views NATO’s expansion towards its borders as an existential threat; Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Ukraine’s intention to join the bloc was one of the key reasons for the conflict. Moscow has also said that Kiev’s neutrality is the key prerequisite for sustainable peace with its neighbor.

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“I don’t believe Orban is just making overtures in Hungary’s interests either. He’s an emissary for Trump’s end-the-war plan”.

NATO’S Plan For Permanent War In Ukraine and On The Fareast Front (Helmer)

American, British and Canadian troops in NATO’s forward bases in Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania are being told to prepare for deployment to the Ukraine next year. They are also being warned to expect to fight under heavy Russian artillery, missile, guided bomb, and drone strikes. This message is also intended to slip into the hands of Russian military intelligence and find its way to the Kremlin. There, Moscow sources believe, the intelligence is interpreted as provocation — part of the US and NATO scheme to escalate NATO attacks in the Black Sea and deep into Russian territory, in order to encourage Russian counter-attacks against NATO targets, triggering thereby Article Five of the NATO Treaty and collective NATO force intervention to follow. Additionally, Russian sources interpret the intelligence as confirming that the US will not allow capitulation and replacement of Vladimir Zelensky and his regime in Kiev — so no denazification, which is one of the two main objectives of the Special Military Operation.

Also, no peace terms will be countenanced short of Russian withdrawal from Crimea and the four regions of Novorossiya, and the military defeat of the Russian Army. So, no demilitarization, the second of Russia’s long-term security objectives. The immediate General Staff response has been to devise “soft” measures to combat the US, UK and other NATO airborne electronic warfare units which are providing guidance, targeting, launch timing and flight manoeuvre of Storm Shadow and ATACMS missiles, as well as coordination of Ukrainian aerial and naval drone strikes. The Russian command has also unleashed a new round of missile attacks against Ukrainian airfields – Voznesensk and Mirgorod – where the bombers launching long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles are based, and where the NATO-supplied F-16s are planned for deployment in a few weeks’ time. Under growing domestic pressure to counter attacks as damaging to civilians as the Sevastopol beach strike of June 23, President Vladimir Putin has been making a sequence of statements of calculated ambiguity, if not of strategic deception.

One interpretation of this by security analysts in Moscow is that the president is avoiding the provocation trap, creating instead a record of peace terms he is offering, confident they will be dismissed in Kiev, Brussels, London, and Washington. This is to reserve Russian freedom of action for now, reverse the blame later on. On Friday, in Putin’s remarks to the press after meeting at the Kremlin with Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban – currently the rotational president of the European Union Council – Putin repeated his peace terms offer and his expectation of their rejection: “We remain open for a discussion on a political and diplomatic settlement. However, the opposite side only makes clear its reluctance to resolve this issue in this manner. Ukraine’s sponsors continue using this country and its people as a ram, making it a victim in the confrontation with Russia.”

“We outlined our peace initiative quite recently at my meeting with the senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. We believe that its implementation would make it possible to end hostilities and begin negotiations. Moreover, this should not just be a truce or a temporary ceasefire, nor should it be a pause that the Kiev regime could use to recover its losses, regroup and rearm. Russia advocates a full and final end to the conflict. The conditions for that, as I have already said, are set out in my speech at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are talking about the complete withdrawal of all Ukrainian troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and from the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. There are other conditions as well.”

Putin is not alone in the war staff – the Stavka – in suspecting provocation by the Americans and British while they prepare for escalation to direct war. Too, the Stavka recognizes this was Stalin’s problem interpreting intelligence from Tokyo and Berlin, especially Richard Sorge’s cables from December 1940 through the early days of June 1941, warning of Hitler’s preparations to invade across the Soviet border. Moscow sources are sure that avoiding Stalin’s catastrophic misjudgement of Hitler’s timing is a priority of Putin’s and of the General Staff’s. Misjudging the timing of the US coup in Kiev of February 21, 2014, almost cost the loss of Sevastopol and Crimea; misjudging the readiness of Ukrainian forces at Hostemel on February 24, 2022, cost the lives of at least 300 Russian paratroopers, failed at triggering regime change in Kiev, and doomed the peace negotiations in Istanbul of March 30. “We told you so” is not a refrain the Kremlin is hearing now from the General Staff for the first time.

Putin’s reluctance to act is criticized in Moscow as the pace of the Ukrainian missile and drone raids increases. “I know for a fact that General Staff fully anticipated NATO’s involvement from the start and contingency planning has been done accordingly,” reported the US-based military analyst Andrei Martyanov on July 3. “It was clear from the first day of SMO [Special Military Operation] not now. The only issue was how Russia will approach escalation and the gradual involvement of NATO until it becomes clear that it is between combined West and Russia.” “What happened to no NATO, and de-Nazification?” a military source asks.“The Americans, Ukrainians, British have been escalating and the president has been temporizing in response,” he answers. “I don’t believe Orban is just making overtures in Hungary’s interests either. He’s an emissary for Trump’s end-the-war plan”.

The source is referring to Orban’s boostering for Trump’s election in November. “You can criticize [Trump] for many reasons,” Orban has said, “but the best foreign policy of the recent several decades belongs to him. He did not initiate any new war, he treated nicely the North Koreans, and Russia and even the Chinese … and if he would have been the president at the moment of the Russian invasion [of Ukraine], it would be not possible to do that by the Russians. Trump is the man who can save the Western world.”

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“..at any moment, the NATO general picks up the phone and, on instructions from Washington, issues a directive to certain units without the approval of their national parliaments..”

NATO Is Approaching Russia’s Borders From The Other Side (Gevorg Mirzayan)

The leadership of the North Atlantic Alliance has announced its readiness to participate more actively in East Asian affairs. This is ostensibly a response to China’s actions. Firstly, because of its cooperation with Russia. “The growing rapprochement between Russia and its authoritarian friends in Asia makes our work with friends in the Indo-Pacific region even more important,” says NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Western states are looking for the culprits in this – and find them in the person of the Chinese comrades, who, they say, have provided Russia with everything necessary to confront the “civilized world.” Secondly, because China’s actions allegedly threaten the security of Europe. “Publicly, President Xi pretends that he avoids the conflict in Ukraine in order to avoid sanctions and maintain trade relations. However, in fact, China supports the largest military conflict in Europe since World War II, while wishing to maintain good relations with the West,” continues Stoltenberg.

In China, of course, they deny all the accusations. “NATO is a product of the Cold War and the largest military force in the world. Instead of denigrating China and attacking it with all sorts of statements, NATO should realize the role that the alliance has played in the Ukrainian crisis,” said the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lin Jian. According to him, China is neither the initiator nor a party to the Ukrainian crisis. “I advise the parties concerned to stop shifting responsibility and sowing discord, to refrain from adding fuel to the fire and provoking an inter-bloc confrontation. And instead do something useful for a political solution to the crisis,” the diplomat explained. Moreover, the Chinese claim NATO has no place in East Asia, if only because the organization will bring with it only conflicts and wars. “All countries of the Asia-Pacific region are committed to promoting peace and development. Americans need to respect this commitment and also work for peace and development, and not bring block confrontation and conflict with them to the region,” the Chinese Embassy in Washington has said in a statement.

However, the Americans seem to ignore these accusations. The arrival of NATO in East Asia has already been resolved for them — it will be implemented under whatever administration comes next. And the statement about China’s partisan involvement in the Ukrainian crisis is just an excuse, as well as a rhetorical device in order to put pressure on the European countries and convince/force them to support the expansion of NATO to the Far East. “The fact is that Europe is trying to avoid genuine participation in the military confrontation with China. And it motivates this by the fact that the confrontation with Russia is already difficult enough. Europe is ready to support the United States verbally, but at the same time it is not even ready to allocate money for the fareast confrontation, not to mention sending the military to the shores of China,” Vadim Trukhachev, associate professor at the Russian State University, explains to Vzglyad.

“The Americans are really creating a global planetary player or a police organization out of NATO. And they’re not shy about talking about it – to argue that not only American bases, but also European and other bases should restrain China. All this has already been implemented in the form of small missions, and now the Americans are pushing the topic of creating NATO rapid reaction forces. Now these troops consist of 30,000 people, but they want to increase them to 300,000,” Andrei Klintsevich, head of the Center for the Study of Military and Political Conflicts, explains to Vzglyad. Such international forces, Polish, German, French and Italian, would operate outside national command and control. “That is, at any moment, the NATO general picks up the phone and, on instructions from Washington, issues a directive to certain units without the approval of their national parliaments. And the troops are flying away to carry out the multinational task,” Klintsevich continues.

Europe’s sluggish resistance to the prospects of such a deployment is the last problem on the way to the Far Eastern expansion of the alliance. Moreover, there are already enough countries in the Far East which are ready to support the arrival of NATO in the region. Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea are seen as the key partners of the alliance here. Countries that are very much afraid of China’s growth. Which are much more dependent on the United States than India, and will attend the NATO summit in Washington. According to US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, the Indo-Pacific region is “now more connected to Europe than ever before.” Finally, the United States has already made certain preparations – for example, the AUKUS bloc (consisting of Australia, United Kingdom, and the United States), which was conceived precisely as a weapon to deter the PRC. “The AUKUS bloc is likely to expand – additional countries will be included, most likely Japan and South Korea. And then this bloc will sign some kind of unification agreement with NATO, after which the alliance will become a global one,” Klintsevich explains.

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“While some of us believe that Trump’s speech was entirely protected under the First Amendment, the justices suggested that it was also protected as a matter of immunity.”

“A Death Squad Ruling” (Turley)

The proceedings in Manhattan after the decision belie the claims that a president can now commit murder with impunity. Judge Juan Merchan is likely to find that Trump’s conduct in office in approving payments related to Stormy Daniels fall into the third, unprotected category. While some of the testimony may have intruded into protected areas, most experts anticipate that the court will reject dismissal of charges under an absolute immunity claim. Judges in the other Trump prosecutions will be performing the same inquiry, though the impact is likely to be much greater in the case of the special counsel in Washington, D.C. In fairness to critics, Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent gave credence to their hyperbolic theories. Sotomayor wrote: “The president of the United States is the most powerful person in the country, and possibly the world. When he uses his official powers in any way, under the majority’s reasoning, he now will be insulated from criminal prosecution. Orders the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune.”

The dissent ignores parts of the majority opinion that expressly refute such claims. For example, the majority discussed how prosecutors could present evidence in a bribery case that a president “allegedly demanded, received, accepted, or agreed to receive or accept in return for being influenced in the performance of the act.” The prosecution can overcome the presumption of immunity with such evidence. Indeed, the majority stated that Trump’s alleged “private scheme with private actors” to create alternative slates of electors “cannot be neatly categorized as falling within a particular presidential function.” If that is established by the trial court, then Trump’s actions would not be protected by any sort of immunity.In defining official functions, the Court referenced constitutional and statutory authority. It also recognized that a president must be able to speak to the public on matters of public interest, as Trump did on Jan. 6, 2021. While some of us believe that Trump’s speech was entirely protected under the First Amendment, the justices suggested that it was also protected as a matter of immunity.

That is a far cry from a green light for death squads. The idea that Trump could not order a slate of fake electors but could order a slew of political assassinations finds little support in the actual opinion.Sotomayor is suggesting that the president could just declare that killing an opponent is in the national security interest. However, various laws contradict the claim that such acts are left to the discretion of the president. Not only would the military likely refuse such an unlawful order, but no court would consider it a core constitutional function. The opinion draws lines with ample protection for presidents. The court cited opinions and practices going back decades for such breathing space. Ironically, Biden’s hyperbolic account of the court’s opinion only serves to highlight the decision of former President Barack Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, to kill an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, in a drone attack without a charge, let alone a conviction.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Obama administration’s “kill list” policy to a group of lawyers and judges at Northwestern University Law School and received not condemnation but applause. Under Holder, the Obama administration fought every effort of the al-Awlaki family to seek information on the killing and insisted that courts had no role to play in such cases. Yet, in the wake of the immunity decision, Holder expressed shock at the implication of the presidential power. Could Obama and Biden be charged with murder for what they did? Most say no, because they were acting in fulfillment of their national security authority. If so, could they simply declare a political opponent to be an enemy combatant? They actually did maintain, years before this Supreme Court opinion, that such a decision was left to them and figures such as Holder.

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The God of Christmas Past.

In It to Spin It (Kunstler)

As happens often these days, he slips off to sleep. In his dream, a red phone is ringing.
“Who’s this. . .?” he says.
“Me, God. Thought it was time you and me had a little chat. You can’t be serious ’bout this re-election thang.”
“I’m defending our democracy. Gotta stay in. Defeat Hitler.”
“Democracy my ass! You channelin’ Hitler yourself a little too much lately. How it is you laid ninety-seven indictments on my dawg DJT? You done George Floyded da man!”
“But. . . but. . . the insurrection—”
“Insurrection my ass! Why you keep sayin’ dat?”
“If you repeat stuff enough, people believe it.”
“Who told you that?”
“Andrew Weissmann.”
“Oh, really? I kicked his ass outa my house more’n four thousand years ago. He ain’t nothin’ but trouble. Who told you to listen to him?”
“Lisa Monaco and Mary McCord.”
“Oh? Them two! Just so you know, I canceled they retirement plan up here with me. They goin’ to the other place wid Weissmann. Now, I got news for you, Joey: Ima have to take yo’ ass out dis election.”
“But why? I’ve accomplished so much. Did you see me at Gettysburg, beating those insurrectionists?”
“I see everything. Didn’t see you around dat day.”
“What about when I stormed the beaches at Normandy?”
“Naw. You was in a playpen, going goo-goo-goo. Look, Joey, here’s the deal: remember you said ‘God bless America’ in all them speeches you made?”
“We all say that. Anyway. . . .”
“Maybe y’all go through the motions, but I got responsibilities, know what I’m sayin’? I been tryin’ and tryin’ to bless dis land but yo’ bunch making’ it mighty difficult for me. So, news flash: yo’ ass is out de race. Official act from yours truly. Sorry.”
“But. . .but. . . that’s. . . that’s racist!” the President stutters as his dream dissolves in a vapor.

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“..standards and protocols for the education and training of its troops were “just not working.”

US Ambassador To Japan Comments On American Military Sex Crimes (RT)

US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel has expressed regret over sex crimes committed by American military personnel stationed on Okinawa Island, saying that the training standards of the troops were “just not working,” media reported on Saturday. The southernmost prefecture hosts 70% of all US military facilities in Japan, despite comprising just 1% of the country’s territory. Last month, the media revealed that a US Air Force soldier had been arrested back in March on charges of kidnapping and raping a teenage girl in Okinawa, a crime dating back to December 2023. Another similar case involved a US Marine who was arrested in May on suspicion of attempted rape resulting in injury. The Japanese government has acknowledged that at least five such cases took place this year in Okinawa. Following the incidents, Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Masataka Okano lodged a protest with the US ambassador in late June.

Emanuel said he deeply regretted what had happened to the victims, their families, and their community, but fell short of apologizing, according to the Associated Press. “Obviously, you got to let the criminal justice process play out,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean you don’t express on a human level your sense of regret. We have to do better,” Emanuel added, admitting that the US military’s standards and protocols for the education and training of its troops were “just not working.” Okinawa police and the foreign ministry, which was also aware of a string of sex crimes involving US troops in the prefecture, chose not to disclose the information to the local government, citing privacy considerations relating to the victims. This delay in reporting the incidents may have impeded measures intended to alert residents and take preventive steps, said Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki.

“These cases caused strong fear among prefectural residents and neglected women’s human rights and dignity,” Mainichi news outlet quoted him as saying last week.According to local media reports, Okinawa has seen a spate of sex crimes committed by US military personnel since 1995, when a 12-year old girl was raped by three American service members, sparking massive protests against the US presence in the area.In 2016, a woman in the city of Uruma was reportedly assaulted and murdered by a civilian US base worker who was formerly a Marine. In Okinawa, the number of incidents in which US military personnel and civilian staff were criminally accused has been on the rise with 72 cases reported in 2023, a record high over the past 20 years, Mainichi reported, citing prefectural police.

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History lesson.

Empire Of Salt And Gold: Where Did The Richest Man In The World Come From? (RT)

The pre-colonial history of African countries deserves close attention. The African continent became a place where great trading empires were born and flourished during the Middle Ages. The Sahel zone, the African ‘sandy coast’, which is a belt of land stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, became a kind of civilizational center for the continent. It was here that some of the first African countries arose.The Mali Empire, which covered the territories of modern Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Niger, and Mauritania, existed from the 13th to the 16th centuries. Originating in the vicinity of West Africa’s main trade and logistics artery, the Niger River, the empire became known throughout the world and reached its peak of prosperity thanks to one of its rulers, Mansa Musa.

According to various studies, Mansa Musa was in power for more than two decades – from 1307/1312 to 1332/1337 – and became the ninth ruler, or mansa, of the empire. Translated from the Maninka language, mansa means ‘king’ or ‘ruler’. Despite his relatively short reign, his rule led to the rapid economic development of the Mali Empire, the expansion of its territory, and a rise in science and culture.The ruler gained worldwide fame due to his untold wealth – even in the 21st century, Mansa Musa is recognized as the richest man in the history of mankind. In 2014, the publication Celebrity Net Worth estimated that, by modern standards, the ruler’s fortune would amount to $400 billion, which exceeds the capital of the Rothschild family and such figures as American entrepreneur John D. Rockefeller.

Mansa Musa, King of Mali, holding a sceptre and a piece of gold as represented in the Catalan Atlas, by the Jewish illustrator Cresques Abraham

It is rather difficult to make an accurate assessment of Mansa Musa’s total personal wealth, since in the Middle Ages the concepts of a ruler’s personal wealth and the general state of the empire are generally closely intertwined. In the 14th century, just as in the 21st, untold wealth was accumulated due to the country’s strategic location. Covering most of the Niger River valley and the surrounding areas of the Sahara Desert, the Mali Empire controlled the main routes along which the lucrative gold and salt trade with both Arab and Mediterranean countries took place. At that time, gold had already become both a symbol of prestige and a settlement currency, while salt was necessary for preserving food. This made these commodities essential for meeting the key needs of that time.

Deposits of basic commodities were also located on the empire’s territory, and Mali’s geographical location allowed its ruler to set taxes and trade duties, as well as to regulate the logistics chains of that time. The former brought the largest revenues to the state coffers. Thus, the Mali Empire occupied a central position in trans-Saharan trade, connecting West Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Arab world. In 1324, after more than a decade in power, Mansa Musa fulfilled the duty of every wealthy Muslim – he carried out the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. It was through this journey that the world learned about the wealth of both the Mali Empire and the ruler himself.

Mansa Musa went to Mecca accompanied by a large retinue. The size of the entire procession was 60,000 people, while Mansa’s personal escort numbered 12,000 slaves. The most striking part of the procession was 500 slaves, each of whom held an ingot of gold or a staff decorated with gold. In addition, the delegation was accompanied by 80 camels, which were also loaded down with gold. Michael A. Gomez, a professor at New York University and a specialist in the history of West Africa, suggests that the volume of gold taken on the Hajj could have been up to 18 tons. Such a procession could not go unnoticed. An equally important purpose of the pilgrimage was to demonstrate one’s wealth and power. On the way to Mecca, the delegation passed through the territory of modern Mauritania, Algeria, and Egypt.

Throughout the journey, Mansa Musa generously shared his wealth and distributed gold to all the poor and needy he met on the road. Upon his arrival in Cairo, which was capital of the Mamluk Sultanate at that time, the emperor’s huge outlays of gold even drove down its price, disrupting the stability of local markets. Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage led to unprecedented growth in the power of the empire and increased trade turnover. Gold began to course through the markets of Mediterranean countries, undermining their economies, which only contributed to developing the trans-Saharan trade routes, while elevating the role of the Mali Empire as its main trading center.

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