Feb 022024
 
 February 2, 2024  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  68 Responses »


Winslow Homer Mending the nets 1881

 

House Speaker Mike Johnson First Floor Speech On Border Catastrophe (Kanekoa)
It’s Biden vs. Texas, and Texas Is Right. (McMaken)
Israel Accepts Ceasefire Deal – Al Jazeera (RT)
US Created Ukraine Conflict to Keep Europe ‘Under Its Thumb’ (Sp.)
EU Leaders Agree to Give $54Bln in Macro-Financial Assistance to Ukraine (Sp.)
Zelensky Wants Zaluzhny Out Over Effort At Ceasefire With Russia – Hersh (Sp.)
Zelensky To Fire Top General This Week – CNN (RT)
Zelensky’s Generals Refuse To Accept Firing Top Commander – Bild (RT)
Biden Makes Clear Case for NATO Complicity Over IL-76 Shoot-Down (SCF)
Ukraine’s ‘Failed State’ Status (DeMartino)
Mass European Farmer Protests Blowback for Ukraine Support (Sp.)
CIA Staffer Sentenced To 40 Years For Leaking US Hacking Secrets (RT)
Roger Waters Faces Axe by Record Label Over Defiant Israel Stance (Sp.)
UK High Court Throws Out Trump’s Christopher Steele Case (BBC)
Interesting – Elon Musk (Kanekoa)

 

 

 

 

Meme team
https://twitter.com/i/status/1753078612243423563

 

 

 

 

Jan 6

 

 

Tucker Bret

 

 

KJP Boeing

 

 

Scott Ritter: Turkey & Russia JOIN WAR

 

 

Macgregor: Iran must pay

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Just as we lock our doors at night to protect our homes, we secure our borders to protect our homeland. And my friends, that is our sacred obligation.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson First Floor Speech On Border Catastrophe (Kanekoa)

House Speaker Mike Johnson delivers first floor speech on border catastrophe, accusing President Biden of intentionally creating a “clear and present danger to our national security.” “Since I was elected Speaker less than 100 days ago, more than 700,000 illegals have been welcomed into our country illegally by the Biden administration. American schoolchildren have been forced into virtual schools so migrants can sleep in their school buildings. Korean War veterans have been booted from nursing homes that were sold to house migrants. Our streets are being flooded with fentanyl. Hundreds of thousands of children and adults are being poisoned and losing their lives. Vulnerable children and women are being exploited and trafficked by cartels. Since President Biden and Alejandro Mayorkas assumed office, there have been more than 7 million encounters with illegal aliens just at our southern border alone.

35 of our 50 states, including my home state of Louisiana, don’t have a population that large. More than 300 individuals who are on our terror watchlist have been apprehended on the southern border. The frightening question is, how many have entered undetected? We know there are at least 1.8 million gotaways that have escaped. Understand that the situation at our border presents a clear and present danger to our national security, and it demands that it be addressed. FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Homeland Security Committee in November that these gotaways are a great concern for the agency, and all 56 of our Joint Terrorism Task Forces are trying to identify who these people are. We don’t know how many terrorists are inside our borders. We do know that fentanyl is pouring into our communities like an open sewer. Right now, the leading cause of death in America for Americans aged 18 to 46 is fentanyl poisoning.

To make matters worse, we’ve learned that the Biden administration is now simply just releasing 85% of the illegals who come across that border right into the country. For reference, by the way, in 2013, the Obama administration detained 82% of illegal aliens. How do we go from detaining 82% to releasing 85%? It only happens if this is by design. It only happens if it’s an orchestrated intentional effort by the administration to do exactly that, and that is what the evidence shows. Earlier this month, I released a memo documenting 64 specific actions that the Biden administration has taken to undermine our border security and to promote the mass release of illegals and dangerous persons into our country. The very first day President Biden walked into the Oval Office, he revoked Executive Order 9844. Do you know what that did? It ended the construction of the border wall that Congress had already paid for. Everybody has seen the images of the materials out there rotting in the sun. Why?

Because Joe Biden decided unilaterally that he didn’t want a wall. In February 2021, the administration stopped applying Title 42 expulsions to children and incentivize by doing that incentivize families to send unaccompanied children through Mexico under the watch of cartels and traffickers. Since then, the administration admits to losing track of more than 80,000 unaccompanied children somewhere in the US. We don’t know where they are. Have they been put into trafficking rings? We know that some of these kids are being trafficked for free labor and being forced to do things that are too appalling for us to articulate on this floor. Everybody here knows that’s happening, and we’re not demanding the President stop it? He can. He has the power to do it.

[..] We have to decide if we believe in the rule of law or not. We have to decide if we’re a sovereign nation or we’re not. I believe that border security is part of our solemn obligation to safeguard the well-being of our citizens and uphold the principles that define who we are as a nation. A weak border weakens America, and a strong border is good for America, and a stronger America is good for everybody around the world. And everybody in this chamber should acknowledge that. Just as we lock our doors at night to protect our homes, we secure our borders to protect our homeland. And my friends, that is our sacred obligation.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1753202850023498016

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“..what is self-evident here is that it is up to the state government to determine for itself whether or not the state is being invaded..”

It’s Biden vs. Texas, and Texas Is Right. (McMaken)

So, what exactly does the Texas governor’s declaration say? Overall, it makes the case that the Biden administration has been ignoring federal immigration laws and illegally withdrawing border-control operations from the Texas-Mexico border. Abbott concludes: “Under President Biden’s lawless border policies, more than 6 million illegal immigrants have crossed our southern border in just 3 years. That is more than the population of 33 different States in this country. This illegal refusal to protect the States has inflicted unprecedented harm on the People all across the United States.” If that were all, we’d just chalk this up to a document that amounts to little more than a letter to the editor. But then Abbott says that the US Constitution provides a remedy for the situation:

“..the Framers included both Article IV, § 4, which promises that the federal government “shall protect each [State] against invasion,” and Article I, § 10, Clause 3, which acknowledges “the States’ sovereign interest in protecting their borders.” The final paragraph is where it gets interesting. Abbott writes: “The failure of the Biden Administration to fulfill the duties imposed by Article IV, § 4 has triggered Article I, § 10, Clause 3, which reserves to this State the right of self-defense. For these reasons, I have already declared an invasion under Article I, § 10, Clause 3 to invoke Texas’s constitutional authority to defend and protect itself. That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary. The Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other Texas personnel are acting on that authority, as well as state law, to secure the Texas border.”

Abbott is essentially saying that federal supremacy in this case has been rendered null and void by a federal refusal to enforce federal law. Can he get away with it? For clarity, let’s look at Article 1, section 10. It reads: “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.” The key phrase here is “unless actually invaded.” Whether or not the current flood of migrants across the border constitutes “invasion,” as stated here, is perhaps debatable.

However, what is self-evident here is that it is up to the state government to determine for itself whether or not the state is being invaded. After all, the whole point of the section is to grant certain powers to states outside the authority of the federal government. If the federal government also gets to determine for itself whether or not the state is being invaded, then the section is pointless. So, an honest reading of this text ought to preclude the Biden administration or US Supreme Court coming back and saying “you’re not being invaded, now do what we say.”

Abbott

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Wait and see.

Israel Accepts Ceasefire Deal – Al Jazeera (RT)

Israel has agreed to a ceasefire proposal that would halt its war with Hamas, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday, citing the Qatari Foreign Ministry. Hamas has reportedly given the plan a “positive” response. The ceasefire plan was hashed out in Paris over the weekend, with Qatari and Egyptian diplomats mediating between Israel and the Palestinian militant group. Delegations from West Jerusalem and Gaza left the French capital promising to study the proposal and negotiate further this week, and by Thursday evening, a deal was apparently within reach. “Israel agreed to the ceasefire proposal and we have initial positive confirmation from Hamas,” a spokesman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry said on Thursday evening, according to Al Jazeera. “We are awaiting their response,” the spokesman added.

The proposed ceasefire will be implemented in three stages, according to a Hamas statement shared with Reuters earlier this week. The first phase would see fighting stop for 40 days as Hamas hands over the female civilians, children, and elderly people it is still holding captive. During this time, large-scale deliveries of food and medicine into Gaza would resume. The following stages would see Hamas turn over captive Israeli soldiers and the bodies of Israeli troops, in exchange for further aid deliveries and the freeing of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. “Military operations on both sides will stop during the three stages,” the militants said, adding that the number of Palestinian prisoners freed would be open to negotiation.

The proposal falls short of the full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza that Hamas initially demanded. As a step toward ending the war, however, it also threatens Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to keep fighting until Israel achieves “total victory” over the militants, as he has promised on multiple occasions. While hardliners within Netanyahu’s cabinet have pressed him to reject any deal they view as too lenient towards Hamas, Israel has faced international condemnation over its conduct in Gaza, and two of the Jewish state’s most stalwart backers – the US and UK – suggested this week that they could soon recognize an independent Palestinian state. Such an outcome would be a political disaster for Netanyahu, who angered Washington and London last month when he outright rejected a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict with the Palestinians.

Hamas fighters attacked Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking roughly 240 as hostages. Israel responded by imposing a siege on Gaza and launching waves of airstrikes on the densely-populated enclave. A ground operation followed three weeks later, and after almost four months of fighting, more than 27,000 Palestinians have died, two thirds of them women and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

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“..European countries are “going down faster than we can even imagine..”

“..we were concerned about their economy moving up because they were getting cheap Russian energy..”

US Created Ukraine Conflict to Keep Europe ‘Under Its Thumb’ (Sp.)

On Thursday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban relented to pressure from the EU and finally allowed €50 billion in military and financial aid to be transferred to Ukraine after blocking the funding for more than a month. The funds are ostensibly planned to fund Ukraine until 2027 and came as US aid remains stalled in Congress. Before the latest aid package was approved by the EU, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg remarked at a Monday news conference in Washington, DC, that “weapons are – in fact – the way to peace [in Ukraine],” but that’s not quite the case, an analyst told Sputnik. Dr. David Oualaalou told Sputnik’s Critical Hour on Wednesday that Stoltenberg’s assertion “defies logic” and asserted that Ukraine is already “gone.” Oualaalou argued that Europe was pushed into supporting Ukraine by the US, which is not “paying the price” of that support in the same way Europe is.

He added that the economic situation in Europe, largely brought on by the consequences of their support of Ukraine and sanctions on Russia, makes the continent reliant on the US. “[The US] created the conflict to ensure that Europe will stay under [its] thumb by dictating the terms and complicating matters for them,” Oualaalou explained. “One way you do that, [is] you complicate the economic outcome for an entity, doesn’t matter who, that’s how you do it.” He added that his family members in Europe acknowledge that European countries are “going down faster than we can even imagine,” and pointed to the farmer and worker protests breaking out across the continent. Complicating matters further, Oualaalou argued, is that even with monetary aid being sent to Ukraine, Europe is too short on ammunition to give Ukraine much that will help them on the battlefield.

“I hope your listeners know that the UK cannot fight the Houthis, for example,” Oualaalou said, referring to the growing conflict in the Red Sea. “The reason? They don’t have firepower, they don’t have enough. That is why they are just riding with the US.” Oualaalou also argued that even the US and UK combined will not be able to defeat the Houthis. “We couldn’t defeat the Taliban, we couldn’t defeat the militias in Iraq. What makes us think we’re going to defeat the Houthis? And the Houthis, to my knowledge, and I’ve been on the ground, I was there. They are fierce fighters.” Co-host Garland Nixon suggested that the real goal in funding Ukraine was to line politicians’ “filthy pockets” with money, an assertion Oualaalou agreed with. But he also reiterated that it is also part of the US geopolitical strategy.

“[The] Ukraine conflict was created by design for us to keep the Europeans down because we were concerned about their economy moving up because they were getting cheap Russian energy – that’s what’s at the heart of it,” he said. Asked about the narrative and media attention shifting from Ukraine to the Middle East, even as the conflict continues, Oualaalou admitted that it’s simply part of the larger plan, and that there could be more on the horizon. “That’s usually how the narrative goes because that is the aim – you move from one conflict to the next one because you’re already preparing [for] the next conflict. … what I see on the horizon, is what’s going on too, in Asia,” he explained. “It [has] become clear in the West that Ukraine is a failed state. The objective has been accomplished. Let’s move to the next conflict. And once that’s settled, we’re going to move to a third one and so forth.”

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To achieve what?

EU Leaders Agree to Give $54Bln in Macro-Financial Assistance to Ukraine (Sp.)

The EU leaders have reached an agreement on allocating 50 billion euros ($54 billion) as part of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine, European Council President Charles Michel said on Thursday. “All 27 leaders agreed on an additional €50 billion support package for Ukraine within the EU budget. This locks in steadfast, long-term, predictable funding for #Ukraine. EU is taking leadership & responsibility in support for Ukraine; we know what is at stake,” Michel wrote on X. The EU leaders have agreed to hold a debate about its assistance to Ukraine every year, and to review it after two years if necessary, The Guardian reported on Thursday, citing the EU summit’s conclusions. According to the conclusions, the European Council will hold a debate every year on the implementation of the Ukraine facility, and will invite the European Commission to make a proposal to review it in two years if needed.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported, citing a European diplomat, that the EU funds for Hungary will remain frozen after Budapest also agreed on the allocation of assistance for Ukraine. European officials have continuously said that they are ready to study alternatives in the event of a final blocking of aid to Kiev from the EU budget. The total amount of EU macro-financial assistance to Ukraine in 2023 amounted to 18 billion euros, transferred in monthly payments in the amount of 1.5 billion euros. This assistance was provided to Kiev regardless of the implementation of reforms and the fight against corruption.

In December, Hungary vetoed an enlargement of the EU’s 2024-2027 budget to incorporate 50 billion euros in macro-financial aid for Ukraine. Media reported that Hungary had proposed splitting the package into four tranches, subject to approval each year. However, several EU diplomats are reportedly opposed to giving Hungary the option of an “annual veto”. Western countries, led by the United States, have been providing military aid to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s special military operation in February 2022. The aid evolved from providing artillery munitions and training in 2022 to heavy weapons, including tanks, advanced air-defense systems, prohibited cluster munitions and long-range missiles, later that year and in 2023.

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Your top man must be a warmonger.

Zelensky Wants Zaluzhny Out Over Effort At Ceasefire With Russia – Hersh (Sp.)

Volodymyr Zelensky wants to remove Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny from his post because of his alleged involvement in secret talks with Western officials about pursuing a ceasefire with Russia, US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported. On Monday, Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksiy Goncharenko said, citing sources, that Zaluzhny was allegedly ordered to resign. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry and Zelensky’s spokesman denied the claims. “Zelensky’s desire to fire his commanding general is the result, some Americans believe, of his knowledge that Zaluzhny had continued to participate – whether directly or through aides is not known – in secret talks since last fall with American and other Western officials on how best to achieve a ceasefire and negotiate an end to the war with Russia,” Hersh said on Thursday. The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing sources, that the Ukrainian government had postponed the dismissal of Zaluzhny due to a leak of information about his possible resignation.

The government planned to fire Zaluzhny, but on Monday evening, when information leaked, it decided to back off, the report said, adding that now, the government is slowing down the process. According to reports, Zelensky was forced to reverse his decision as international partners, including the United States and the United Kingdom, expressed concern about Zelensky’s actions.Zelensky reportedly met with Zaluzhny to inform the general of the decision to fire him. Instead, Zelensky offered Zaluzhny the post of secretary of the country’s security council, but Zaluzhny turned it down. The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence service, Kyrylo Budanov, and the commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, Oleksandr Syrsky, were named candidates for the post of commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, the report added.

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If only he could find a replacement.

Zelensky To Fire Top General This Week – CNN (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky intends to fire his top general, Valery Zaluzhny, before the end of the week, CNN claimed on Wednesday citing sources familiar with the situation. The report follows similar rumors appearing in outlets such as the Financial Times and the Washington Post, which have so far been dismissed by Kiev. The relationship between the two men reportedly began to deteriorate when the general wrote an article for The Economist in November, describing the battlefield situation as a “stalemate” following Kiev’s failed counteroffensive. The president has vehemently rejected that assessment. According to CNN, Zaluzhny was called into Zelensky’s office on Monday, where he was told he would be fired in the next few days. While no formal announcement has yet been made, a source allegedly told the outlet that a presidential decree is expected by the end of the week.

Rumors that the country’s popular military leader would be replaced originally started circulating in the media earlier this week based on anonymous sources in Kiev. The Washington Post claimed that the president explained his decision to Zaluzhny by saying that a new commander was needed to rejuvenate the situation, as the Ukrainian people had grown tired of war while Kiev’s foreign backers had reduced military assistance. The general was then reportedly offered an advisory position, which he declined, opting instead to leave the military entirely, a source told the outlet. After reports of Zaluzhny’s imminent sacking leaked on Monday, Zelensky spokesman Sergey Nikiforov issued an official statement insisting it was “untrue.” The Ukrainian Defense Ministry also posted a message on social media declaring the rumors false.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Ukrainian president had chosen to reconsider the decision after the initial plan ended up in the press. However, another source told the paper that the firing had only been temporarily delayed while Kiev looks for a fitting replacement for Zaluzhny. Moscow, meanwhile, has described the rumors of the Ukrainian commander’s dismissal as a sign that Kiev’s leadership is in disarray and has “a lot of problems,” according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. He predicted that divisions in Ukraine’s military and civilian leadership stemming from the failed counteroffensive would continue to grow as Russia proceeds with its objectives.

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“Syrsky himself – alongside the Ukrainian military intelligence chief, Kirill Budanov – reportedly “politely declined” an offer to take up Zaluzhny’s position..”

Zelensky’s Generals Refuse To Accept Firing Top Commander – Bild (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has been unable to fire the nation’s top general, Valery Zaluzhny, because both replacements under consideration refused the job, the tabloid Bild reported on Thursday. A host of Western and Ukrainian media previously claimed, citing anonymous sources in Kiev, that Zelensky had sacked Zaluzhny, prompting the Ukrainian government to refute those rumors. According to Bild, the president did attempt to fire the general on Monday and had to reverse his decision “within an hour” because he could not find a replacement for the nation’s top commander. The move drew strong opposition from the Ukrainian generals, the tabloid claimed. Zelensky allegedly wanted to see Ground Forces Commander Aleksandr Syrsky in Zaluzhny’s place because “he is more loyal to the president,” Bild said, citing Gustav Gressel, a Ukraine expert with the Berlin-based European Council on Foreign Relations think tank.

The generals disapproved of the choice because they see Zaluzhny as a “more humane” leader who is “closer to the troops,” the analyst explained. Syrsky himself – alongside the Ukrainian military intelligence chief, Kirill Budanov – reportedly “politely declined” an offer to take up Zaluzhny’s position, the paper claimed. Yesterday, Britain’s The Times named Syrsky and Budanov as possible candidates to be Ukraine’s top general, also reporting that they had refused. Despite Zaluzhny retaining his post, the conflict between him and Zelensky continues to “smolder,” Bild alleged. The relationship between the two men reportedly began to deteriorate when the general wrote an article for The Economist in November, describing the battlefield situation as a “stalemate” following Kiev’s failed counteroffensive. The president has vehemently rejected that assessment.

According to the German outlet, the president and his commander also clashed over strategy in the cities of Bakhmut and Avdeevka. In late spring 2023, when the Russian forces were pressing their advantage against the Ukrainians in Bakhmut, Zelensky insisted the city should be held to the last man, while Zaluzhny wanted to withdraw to preserve his forces, the paper said, adding that the situation was being repeated in Avdeevka. On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Zelensky had abandoned his plans to fire the top general after his plan was leaked to the media. CNN reported on Thursday, however, that the Ukrainian leader still wanted to go ahead with the decision and would fire Zaluzhny by the end of the week.

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“..even the Pentagon has admitted there is no evidence showing Iran had a hand in the drone attack. Nevertheless, Biden has asserted Iran is to blame and that this gives the U.S. a right to respond militarily..”

Biden Makes Clear Case for NATO Complicity Over IL-76 Shoot-Down (SCF)

Joe Biden is contending that the United States has the right to attack Iran as a result of the deadly strike on a U.S. base in Jordan which killed three American troops. Biden is throwing rocks in a glass house if we then look at the case of the IL-76 shoot-down over Russia when 74 people were killed. It is by no means clear if Iran was involved in the Jordan base raid. Tehran strongly denies it and even the Pentagon has admitted there is no evidence showing Iran had a hand in the drone attack. Nevertheless, Biden has asserted Iran is to blame and that this gives the U.S. a right to respond militarily. If Biden can make that case, then the United States and its NATO allies should be held accountable for the shooting down of the IL-76 transport plane over Russia killing all onboard, according to the reasoning of none other than the US President.

By “accountable” that means Russia has the right to take retaliatory military action against the culprit of the crime in which 74 people were killed. Again, this is according to Biden’s own reasoning.Biden was not speaking about the fatal IL-76 incident that occurred on January 24 when nine Russian servicemen and 65 Ukrainian prisoners were killed after their cargo plane was hit in mid-air with a warhead. The president was responding to U.S. journalists questioning him about the deaths of three American military personnel at a base in Jordan that Iraqi militants attacked on January 28. Biden said he held Iran responsible for the American fatalities and vowed to retaliate. Somewhat contradictorily, the president and his spokesmen have said the United States does not seek to have a wider war with Iran even though Biden said he intends to attack Iranian assets in a “tiered way at a time of his choosing”. If that’s not a wider war, what is?

Iran has vehemently denied any involvement in the drone attack on the U.S. base in Jordan near the border with Syria and Iraq. The strike was claimed by Iraqi militia known as Islamic Resistance which is allied with Iran.Asked if he blamed Iran, Biden said he did “in the sense that they’re supplying the weapons to the people who did it.” Iran and the Iraqi militants are affiliated in a similar way to Tehran’s support for Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, and the Ansar Allah movement in Yemen. All are motivated by staunch opposition to U.S. military occupation in the Middle East and Washington’s support for Israel’s genocidal aggression in Gaza. Collectively, Iran and its allies are known as the Axis of Resistance.There is no evidence that Iran supplied the weapons to the militants who killed the three American troops. Iran contends that each resistance member possesses its own agency and decision-making.

By contrast, however, the supply of American and other NATO weaponry to the Kiev regime is publicly recorded. It is estimated that the West has funded Ukraine with a total of $200 billion since the proxy war against Russia erupted in February 2022. About half of that has been spent on weapons that include long-range missiles such as Patriot, Shadow Storm, Scalp and Iris-T systems. British and French cruise missiles have been repeatedly used to hit pre-war Russian territory such as Belgorod resulting in dozens of civilian deaths. The strike on the IL-76 transport plane is believed to have been carried out with Western-supplied weapons. Russian crash investigators have this week confirmed earlier claims that the cargo plane was shot down with a NATO weapon, either a U.S.-made Patriot missile system or a German Iris-T surface-to-air missile.

When the IL-76 was blown out of the sky on January 24 over Russia’s Belgorod region, Russian radars detected the launch of two anti-aircraft warheads nearly 100 kilometers away from the target. The missiles were allegedly fired from the location of Liptsy in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkov province. It is believed that only NATO-supplied weapons to the Ukrainian forces could have achieved that extensive range.At the time of the IL-76 shoot-down, the Kremlin said that if it confirmed that Western weapons were responsible then Russia would deem the West to be complicit in the crime. On January 26, Russian First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky said: “According to preliminary investigation, Ukrainian armed forces carried out this terrorist attack using an anti-aircraft missile system. The missiles were launched from the village of Liptsy in Kharkov region.”

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“..despite all the aid that has been sent to Ukraine, which he estimated to be over $200 billion, the army itself is woefully ill-equipped for battle..”

Ukraine’s ‘Failed State’ Status (DeMartino)

Earlier this week, Ukraine’s security service announced that five Ukrainians, including the current head of a department in Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, had been served with notices of suspicion related to the embezzlement of nearly $40 million that was supposed to be spent on artillery shells.The news was the latest in a consistent pattern of fraud and corruption being reported in Ukraine since Russia’s special military operation began nearly two years ago. Former Ukrainian ambassador and whistleblower Andrii Telizhenko told Sputnik’s Fault Lines that corruption is rife in Kiev and is only getting worse. “So this whole scheme of $40 million is just a small little example,” Telizhenko explained. “Ukraine became a failed state,” Telizhenko said, “because of the corruption and because Ukraine was sold off to the people inside Ukraine, was sold off to its Western allies, and people in Ukraine are suffering from this.”

Telizhenko noted that despite all the aid that has been sent to Ukraine, which he estimated to be over $200 billion, the army itself is woefully ill-equipped for battle. “People are still collecting money to buy medical kits and drones for the soldiers,” Telizhenko said. “[This is] what is happening in Ukraine, total corruption.” Telizhenko noted that there was another case in which more than $1 billion worth of military equipment that the US Department of Defense authorized to be sent to Ukraine never arrived and the DoD was unable to locate them. “So this is a great example where equipment is being lost for billions of dollars, equipment is not being made for hundreds of millions of dollars, and it’s all being stolen by the Kiev regime, and I think, with the help of the deep state government in Washington.”The actions by Ukrainian authorities to arrest those involved in the motor scandal are token gestures, says Telizhenko,“It’s all a big show.”The corruption in Ukraine has always been there but grew exponentially after the West began meddling in Ukrainian affairs, he explained.

“Corruption, which was inside Ukraine, which [already] was pretty big, but then it came from the outside, from people like [US President Joe] Biden in Washington, the deep state, which said, ‘Oh, why [don’t] we also make money on this together with the Ukrainian politicians?’” Telizhenko blasted the Ukrainian officials calling them “hypocrites” and “so-called patriots.” The corruption is so entrenched, Telizhenko said, that it will take more than the removal of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to root it out.“It [is] coming to a situation where a change of government in Washington, DC, a change of national policy issues in Washington, people like [Former US President Donald] Trump [could] come in,” Telizhenko explained. “He spoke about making peace in 24 hours, that’s a possibility.” “The end game… for Ukraine is to have a new government inside Ukraine and to see what government comes from Washington, maybe that will give some stability in the world,” he concluded.

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“..we see how the [countries in the union are] going really down the slope and nobody’s stopping it..”

Mass European Farmer Protests Blowback for Ukraine Support (Sp.)

After farmers blocked highways leading into Paris last week, farmers from several other European countries have followed suit, protesting against their countries’ dropping of fuel subsidies, green regulations and dropping sale prices. Veteran war correspondent Elijah Magnier told Sputnik’s Fault Lines on Wednesday that the root causes of the protests stem from Europe’s decision “to follow the United States policy and join the war against Russia.”
“We shot ourselves in the foot, basically that’s very soft – we shot ourselves in the head and now we are paying the price,” Magnier said. He noted how everything from energy to consumer food prices has skyrocketed in Europe, but that has not caused European leaders to change course. “Now, they are attacking the heart of Europe that are the farmers … they can no longer stand on their feet with the difference of prices, with the increase of price [for consumers and] the lower price that the markets are buying off of them.”

Co-host Jamarl Thomas asked Magnier what demands the farmers have. Magnier replied that they want protection from cheap products coming out of Ukraine, subsidies on diesel fuel to be reinstated, the rollback of European Green New Deal regulations that limit when and what crops are allowed to be planted and a fair price from the supermarket that matches the cost of living increases in Europe. Part of the issue, says Magnier is that the EU hamstrings what the individual countries’ leaders can do to respond to their population. “It’s a serious issue today in Europe, where the European leaders are no longer able to rule Europe as it used to be, and we see how the [countries in the union are] going really down the slope and nobody’s stopping it,” Magnier explained.

In particular, Magnier explained, farmers are angry that they have to follow the new regulations but Ukraine is allowed to skirt them under the guise that they are at war. “When you say ‘you cannot plant this kind of vegetable at this particular time of the year because of the CO2 and because of the climate change and because we need to transform Europe into a green environment,’” Magnier explained. “You cannot [also] say, ‘Okay, this is applicable only on the Europeans [with] the exception of Ukraine,’ that doesn’t go, it doesn’t work. “The farmers today are waking up [to] the consequences of the Ukrainian conflict and they are saying ‘we have to be completely detached from what is happening in Ukraine because this is not our war,’” he added. Instead of fighting with the farmers, Magnier said he believes the EU should at least pause the Green New Deal regulations until after the conflict in Ukraine is over and talk to the farmers about what they need and can accommodate, but he noted that trust between the two parties has already been severed.

“So what [European Commission President] Ursula von der Leyen is saying is, ‘Well, I’m ready to talk to you to see what we need and how we can work together.’ But it is too late. [The EU should] stop all [their] procedures and say, ‘let us talk.’ But you don’t negotiate with the knife at the throat of the farmers saying, ‘Well, now I have to think what I can lift, what I cannot lift.'” “If the leaders in Brussels don’t start talking and listening to the farmers, they cannot achieve their [Green New Deal] plan, so the plan is unachievable,” he added.

Dutch farmer

Read more …

Vault 7. “..Schulte had helped create the hacking tools that he later exposed to WikiLeaks..”

CIA Staffer Sentenced To 40 Years For Leaking US Hacking Secrets (RT)

A former CIA software engineer who embarrassed his employer by allegedy giving a massive trove of classified information to WikiLeaks has been sentenced to 40 years in prison by a New York judge. US District Court Judge Jesse Furman handed down the sentence against Joshua Schulte on Thursday, falling short of the life prison term that federal prosecutors had requested. Schulte, who was accused of carrying out the largest theft of US secrets in the CIA’s history, was convicted on charges of espionage, computer hacking, contempt of court, making false statements to the FBI, and possessing child pornography. Schulte, 35, was allegedly the source behind the so-called Vault 7 release by WikiLeaks in 2017, which exposed the methods used by the CIA to hack smartphones and other devices.

The bombshell report exposed how the US spied on foreign governments, terrorism suspects and other targets, creating a major embarrassment for Washington’s intelligence agencies. It also reportedly triggered a secret CIA plot to kidnap or assassinate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Prior to his arrest in 2018, Schulte had helped create the hacking tools that he later exposed to WikiLeaks. The CIA tactics included efforts to turn so-called smart TVs – televisions with online connectivity – into listening devices. Prosecutors claimed he was behind “the most damaging disclosures of classified information in American history.”Schulte argued during his July 2022 trial that the CIA and FBI were making him a scapegoat for a humiliating leak of data that could have been stolen by hundreds of other people. He claimed, too, that he had no motive to carry out such a leak.

During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, he complained of horrible conditions in his New York jail cell, which he called a “torture cage,” and he said prosecutors were seeking “vengeance” after previously offering him a plea bargain calling for a 10-year prison sentence. Furman found that Schulte was motivated by “anger, spite and perceived grievance” against his CIA bosses after they ignored his complaints about working conditions. After being jailed in 2018, the ex-programmer continued trying to leak classified materials in what prosecutors called an “information war” with the US government, the judge said.

While executing a search warrant in the espionage case, FBI investigators allegedly found an encrypted cache of more than 3,000 images and videos depicting child sexual abuse on Schulte’s home computer, according to prosecutors. More than six years of his 40-year prison sentence stemmed from the pornography charges. Although Furman didn’t grant the request by the US Department of Justice to imprison Schulte for life, he did agree to apply a “terrorism enhancement,” a legal provision that allows harsher sentences for terrorism-related offenses. Assange, who has been jailed in London since 2019 while fighting extradition to the US, faces up to 175 years in prison on 17 espionage charges.

Read more …

Waters is 80 years old and doing massive sold out shows all the time. He’ll be fine.

Roger Waters Faces Axe by Record Label Over Defiant Israel Stance (Sp.)

Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) is reportedly planning to axe its 2016 publishing deal with 80-year-old rock legend Roger Waters over his “inflammatory comments” on the crises in Israel and Ukraine, and his outspoken criticism of the United States. Sources told entertainment magazine Variety that the Germany-based record giant is getting ready to take the radical step to “separate entirely” from Waters. Ordinarily, publishing deals are generally allowed to expire without renewal instead of being prematurely ended. Waters mentioned being “fired” by BMG in an interview with independent journalist Glenn Greenwald late last year, citing pressure from Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League pro-Israeli lobbying group, over his outspoken position on the conflict in Gaza.

“Bertelsmann’s, did they say ‘F*ck you Jonathan Greenblatt, we’re a proper company and this is a great artist and we have his publishing and we supported him and he makes great records’? No, they didn’t. They went ‘ok’ and they fired me, boom!” Waters recalled, accusing Greenblatt of falsely labeling him an “anti-Semite” and threatening to “remind the public” that BGM “collaborated with the Nazis in World War II” to push the label to axe him. After the October 7 escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli crisis, Waters, a longtime self-professed pro-Palestinian peace activist, accused Israel of “committing genocide” and suggested that “its leaders and any Western leaders who support it should be prosecuted under the Genocide Convention.”

On Ukraine, Waters was invited by Russia to speak at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council last February, where he condemned all sides in the conflict but emphasized that Russia’s special military operation was “not unprovoked” and the “provocateurs” must be condemned “in the strongest possible terms.” Waters’ nuanced stance on the Ukrainian crisis led his name to be placed on a notorious ‘kill list’ website linked to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Consistently speaking out against the suspected crimes of the UK government as a “willing accomplice and satellite of the American Empire,” Rogers has decried the “US Empire” as “the most evil of all by a factor of at least ten times.”

Waters’ future with BGM was called into question last year. After being appointed CEO of BMG last July, record industry big whig Thomas Coesfeld unilaterally canceled the release of a new 50th anniversary recording of Dark Side of the Moon, the legendary album which propelled Pink Floyd and Waters to international stardom in 1973. The album wound up being released by independent UK-based publisher Cooking Vinyl Publishing instead. Waters was Pink Floyd’s lead lyricist, co-lead vocalist and band leader between 1968 and 1985. He was inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, and has often been characterized as one of the top rock singer-songwriters of all time.

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Steele belongs in jail. But he has protection.

UK High Court Throws Out Trump’s Christopher Steele Case (BBC)

Donald Trump’s attempt to bring a case in the UK courts against a former MI6 officer who wrote a salacious dossier linking him to Russia has failed. The former president had been seeking to use data protection laws to sue Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, the company run by Christopher Steele. Mr Steele compiled the dossier which had unproven allegations about bribing officials and sex parties. It was leaked to the media just before Mr Trump was sworn in as president. In bringing the lawsuit, he said the dossier contained allegations that were inaccurate and breached his data protection rights. A ruling on Thursday by the High Court in London threw out the case. Mrs Justice Steyn DBE said she did not make any judgement on the allegations themselves but found Mr Trump’s claim had not been brought within the six-year limitation period.

“There are no compelling reasons to allow the claim to proceed to trial,” she wrote. A statement is expected from Mr Steele later today. The case stems from 2016, when a US political consultancy asked Mr Steele’s company to produce a report into potential Russian interference in that year’s US general election. The project was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s Democrats and other political opponents of Mr Trump. Mr Steele, the former head of MI6’s Russia desk, sent his findings to the FBI, a British national security officer and an aide to a senior US senator. The dossier, later obtained and published by BuzzFeed News, detailed uncorroborated intelligence claims that Mr Trump had a “compromising relationship with the Kremlin”.

The former president said in his witness statement when he brought the case last year that “none of these things [in the Steele dossier] ever happened.” “I can confirm that I did not, at any time engage in perverted sexual behaviour including the hiring of prostitutes to engage in ‘golden showers’ in the presidential suite of a hotel in Moscow.” Mr Trump said official investigations had debunked the dossier but it continued “to cause me significant damage and distress” because people still believed it. He added that he had not had time to sue in the UK before 2023 because he had been busy being president. Antony White KC, for Orbis, told the court in October that Mr Trump had accepted that the company was not responsible for BuzzFeed’s publication of the document.

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X thread that Musk labeled “interesting”.

“Elon Musk paid more income tax than anyone ever in the history of Earth back in 2021. He paid over $11 billion in taxes.”

Interesting – Elon Musk (Kanekoa)

Judge Kathaleen McCormick rescinded Elon Musk’s $55 billion Tesla compensation package, overturning the company’s board and 80% of its shareholders. McCormick also ruled against @elonmusk during his Twitter acquisition. Before becoming the head of the Delaware Chancery Court, McCormick worked at a Delaware law firm called Young Conaway. This firm and its employees have been major donors to President Joe Biden for decades. In 2016, Hunter Biden hosted a gubernatorial campaign event for Congressman John Carney, with then-Vice President Joe Biden as the guest speaker. This event took place at the Law Offices of Young Conaway in Wilmington, Delaware. Carney, a close friend of Joe Biden for the last four decades, later became governor and nominated Kathaleen McCormick, a partner at Young Conaway, to her position on the Delaware Chancery Court.

In a March 2018 email, Hunter Biden claimed to personally know every judge on the Delaware Chancery Court while threatening legal action against his Chinese business partners. “I will bring the suit in the Chancery court in Delaware – which as you know is my home state and I am privileged to have worked with and know every judge on the chancery court.” After Elon Musk purchased Twitter with the stated goal of restoring free-speech, President Biden called for a federal investigation into Musk on the podium at the White House. Following this, the Biden Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Federal Trade Commission initiated legal actions and investigations against Tesla, SpaceX, and X. This recent decision by Judge McCormick, who worked with Biden’s top donors and was nominated by Biden’s close friend, to override Tesla’s board and the majority of its shareholders is another clear example of the Biden administration and its allies weaponizing the American legal system against their political opponents.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Assange

 

 

 

 

Brahman

 

 

Treat

 

 

Disabled
https://twitter.com/i/status/1753069487925190827

 

 

Tiny
https://twitter.com/i/status/1752811211866116527

 

 

Mandarin

 

 

Ears
https://twitter.com/i/status/1752788518420840805

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 152024
 
 January 15, 2024  Posted by at 9:17 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  54 Responses »


Salvador Dalí The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus 1959

 

There is Hope After All (Paul Craig Roberts)
We Are Witnessing The Final Downfall Of The West (Emmanuel Todd)
The End of Global Leadership (Patrick Lawrence)
After 100 Days, Netanyahu Vows To Continue Gaza Killing (Cradle)
Western Strikes On Houthis Mostly Failed – NYT (RT)
Egypt’s Suez Canal Revenues Plunge (RT)
Political Survival Now Netanyahu’s ‘Real Objective’ (Sp.)
Ukrainian Army Mostly ‘Very Old Men’ – Commander (RT)
Why Did West Put Ukraine Funding Onto Back Burner? (Sp.)
Germany Unsure Where Its Ukraine Weapons Went – Der Spiegel (RT)
No Peace Without Russia – Swiss Foreign Minister (RT)
Fani Willis Says Accusations Of Affair With Trump Prosecutor Are Racist (NYP)
NBC News Admits ‘Deep State’ Exists… To Save Us From Trump’s Return (ZH)
Dems Hatch “Republicans For A Day” Scheme To Boost Haley Vs. Trump In Iowa (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Vivek
https://twitter.com/i/status/1746566676026393079

 

 

 

 

David Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Doe 3

 

 

Assad

 

 

 

 

“The West is going down in flames. Don’t be discouraged by the collapse of evil. Be encouraged. The collapse of evil brings the opportunity for renewal.”

There is Hope After All (Paul Craig Roberts)

From time to time I receive a message from a reader that he or she has been reading my analyses for years, is convinced that what we have known as Western civilization is in collapse, but wishes to see some hope. What can we do to resurrect our civilization, integrity, moral behavior, and respect for truth? My position has been that nothing can be done unless the people are aware of their plight. My job is to bring awareness. Nothing can be done until the people seek awareness and become aware. As long as the media and official narratives keep people in The Matrix, nothing can be done. Movies such as V for Vendetta and The Matrix have made this clear. But today I bring you good news. After a conversation with a friend today, I can tell you that it is in the collapse of the system where hope resides. As every aspect of the system is corrupt, collapse is the corrective. The ruling elites have miscalculated. By bringing about the collapse, the elites are collapsing their own power.

Collapse brings reset, not the World Economic Forum’s, but the peoples’ reset. The people have the numbers, not the elites, who are diminished by fights among themselves. As their power shrinks from their miscalculations, their power diminishes. The elites know this, which is why they are trying to kill us with “vaccines,” “pandemics,” and the destruction of our food supply in the name of “saving the planet from global warming.” The only way humans can destroy planet Earth is through nuclear war, which seems to be the goal of US/Israeli neoconservatives, such as Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland. Why is there hope in collapse of the accumulated evil? Because it clears the agenda. What can you do to survive the collapse? Arm yourselves. Create organizations of family, friends, community, county, and elevate them into state alliances against the anti-American woke, the anti-American neoconservatives, the anti-American Democrats, and your deadly anti-American enemy in Washington. Secession of the red states is possible.

It is the blue states that are the reservoirs of anti-American hatred. These states are a far more dangerous enemy to Americans than Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Hamas, and Houthis in Yemen. Yet we hear from the whore media nothing of the real threat, only the make-believe threat to America from the designated enemies of Zionist Israel’s expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates. Except for the Houthis and Hamas, the Muslim rulers are too content accepting bribes from Washington to do anything about the US/Israeli genocide of the Palestinians. Other than the Houthis, the entire Muslim world could be in the dock, with Israel and the West, at the International Court of Justice. One consequence could be the collapse of American/Israeli power in the Middle East. Arab power collapsed long ago. But American power has failed to take its place.

After a 20-year effort, the American “superpower” was defeated and driven out of Afghanistan by a few thousand lightly armed Taliban, who again rule the country, just as happened in Vietnam where endless US bombing only ensured the Vietcong’s victory. It is the Houthis and Iranians who are likely to control the sea lanes in the territory under attack, not Washington, unless the Houthis and Iranins accept being paid off. None of this works for the anti-American, anti-nation, anti-national sovereignty, anti-white civilization ruling elite of Washington. The ruling anti-western white elites hate America, national sovereignty, and human liberty far more than they hate their self-chosen foreign enemies chosen for profit and control reasons. The US Constitution is in the way of their dictatorship more than are the Houthis.The West is going down in flames. Don’t be discouraged by the collapse of evil. Be encouraged. The collapse of evil brings the opportunity for renewal.

Read more …

X thread by Emmanuel Hemmerlé.

“The American ruling class is devoid of morality, it has no more religion, all that remains with it is an obsession with money and war and a kind of enjoyment at creating a mess all over the world.”

We Are Witnessing The Final Downfall Of The West (Emmanuel Todd)

Emmanuel Todd is a prominent and brilliant French intellectual: a historian, a demographer, and an anthropologist. He is one of France’s last independent thinkers, a category that has become a rarity… while we used to have so many. He has just published a new book: “The Defeat of the West”. In it, he proposes a dispassionate analysis of the world’s geopolitical scene, laying out facts without taking moral stances. In Todd’s assessment, the disappearance of American Protestantism is the key factor in the fall of the West. This fall of the Protestant religion in America has given rise to this new American ideology reigning over the whole Western space: Nihilism. This is the central concept of the book. This Nihilism is both the trigger of the West’s final downfall and the driving force behind the West’s renewed violent imperialism. Here are some of his quotes from interviews he has given over the last couple days:

“My book is basically a sequel to Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. On the eve of the 1914 war, he rightly believed that the rise of the West was at its heart the rise of the Protestant world – England, the United States, Germany unified by Prussia, Scandinavia. France’s luck was to be geographically glued to the leading pack. Protestantism had produced a high level of education, unprecedented in human history, universal literacy, because it required that every believer should be able to read the Holy Scriptures for himself. In addition, the fear of damnation and the need to feel chosen by God induced a work ethic, a strong individual and collective morality. On the negative side, there were some of the worst forms of racism that ever existed – anti-black in the United States or anti-Jewish in Germany – since, with its conceptual dichotomy of “Chosen by God” and “Damned by God”, Protestantism renounced the Catholic principle of equality between all people.”

“Today, symmetrically, the recent collapse of Protestantism in the U.S. has set in motion an intellectual decline, a disappearance of work ethic, and its substitution by mass greed (official name: neoliberalism). After the rise of the West comes its downfall. This analysis of the religious element does not denote any nostalgia or moralizing lamentation in me: it is a historical observation.” “I emphasize the industrial deficiency of the United States with the revelation of the fictitious nature of the American GDP. I deflate this GDP and show the root causes of industrial decline: the inadequacy of engineering training and more generally the decline in educational levels. The US GDP is a bubble.” s”The fixation of the Western middle classes on transgenderism raises a sociological and historical question. To constitute in the social horizon the idea that a man can really become a woman and a woman a man is to affirm something biologically impossible, it is to deny the reality of the world, it is to affirm the false.”

“Trans ideology is, therefore, in my opinion, one of the flags of this nihilism that now defines the West, this drive to destroy, not just things and humans but reality.” “The collapse of Protestantism in the United States has caused a decline in the level of education.” “The disappearance of religion: Americans don’t go to church anymore, they don’t believe in God anymore.” “There is a powerful nihilistic impulse in the US: the search for war and violence. This is a lost society without meaning, that provokes or fans conflicts everywhere in the world.” “Something important has happened in the West : the transition from liberal democracy to liberal oligarchy.”

“France does not exist because it is now aligned with the United States.” “The Americans’ obsession is to prevent the cooperation between Germany and Russia. This is American leaders’ terror. But it’s going to fail because the West is going to lose. It’s reality that’s going to win.” “The best thing that could happen to Europe is the retreat of the US.” “The West is on an aggressive trajectory.” “The American ruling class is devoid of morality, it has no more religion, all that remains with it is an obsession with money and war and a kind of enjoyment at creating a mess all over the world.”

Read more …

“..the apartheid state, as it exposes its own grotesquerie, also exposes the West’s centuries of sins..”

The End of Global Leadership (Patrick Lawrence)

There are many photographs of President Biden floating around these days. Maybe it is because, even allowing for his physical decline and his mental incompetence, his minders can no longer keep him so thoroughly out of sight as this, an election year, begins. The picture I am thinking of, carried by the BBC, is a video frame shot at Biden’s Valley Forge speech last week. That was his first outing as he seeks reelection next November. And there are Joe Biden and First Lady Jill—excuse me, Dr. Jill—standing before the usual prop on such occasions, an immense American flag. Joe smiles out from a mask-like face, blank with what looks like bewilderment. Dr. Jill smiles, too—a frozen smile, but one that suggests she is at least aware of what is going on. Dr. Jill waves, left arm hoisted high. The two are holding hands. What is it about this image, among so many others, that causes it to linger in my mind? I conclude it was the utter emptiness of the poses and the gestures. I have seen few photographs of prominent pols, and in this case the spouse, so abjectly devoid of sincerity and authenticity.

It has something to do with the moment, too. This is a president who has supplied and financed a proxy war in Ukraine that has failed after killing scores of thousands of soldiers and displacing millions more. This is a president who now sponsors a genocide in Gaza as the world watches in real time—a genocide, do you hear me? This president’s signature project—America will lead democratic nations in a crusade against the world’s authoritarians—is virtually nowhere taken seriously. This is a man who presides with imperial distance over a republic that has tumbled into spiritual and social collapse and extreme economic inequality, all the while displaying more or less complete indifference to this national plight. This is a president facing articles of impeachment based on plentiful evidence that he participated in the influence-peddling schemes of his son and brother.

This is a man who is smiling. At the end of the video Dr. Jill has to lead President Joe off the stage. He does not stop smiling as she does so. I suppose the intent is to encourage as many Americans as possible to assume—to assume without thinking too much—all goes swimmingly as 2024 begins, the outlook altogether hunky-dory. My read of the Valley Forge image is upside down to this. I find the president and First Lady’s fixed expressions, and their evident determination that they must not betray any of what lies behind the smiles, frightening. This is what “victory culture” looks like when it is videoed or photographed, to borrow Tom Engelhardt’s very useful phrase. When Tom published The End of Victory Culture in 1995, he thought he had written the epitaph for the peculiarly American preference for the illusion of never-ending “wins,” success everywhere one looks. He knows better now, as a revised edition of this fine book makes clear. If I find the image of Joe and Dr. Jill Biden at Valley Forge frightening, I also find it dangerous. And I may as well add, I find it abusive.

This is a time of many defeats for America and Americans. There is the list noted above. The war in Ukraine is out-and-out lost no matter how long and perversely the U.S. and its clients continue wasting lives and money to avoid this truth. The Israelis will prevail on the ground in Gaza, as argued recently in this space, but Israel and America have already lost big, very big, if we think in strategic terms rather than tactically. The Gaza crisis, in turn, has further shredded the social and political fabric at home. Federal and state legislatures, the courts, the universities, the media, rights of assembly and free speech: How far will America go until it recognizes that U.S. support for an out-of-control Zionist state is damage America inflicts on itself?

I look now to a defeat greater than all of these. Ours is a passage in history that, however difficult it is, we must recognize for its sheer magnitude. It was a long time coming, but the pathological savagery of the Israelis as they exterminate the Palestinians of Gaza announces the end of any claim America and the West altogether have to global leadership on any kind of moral basis, legal basis, or any assumption that the West possesses superior ideals, principles of government, or what have you. Israel’s genocide, we had better acknowledge, has many antecedents. In this way the apartheid state, as it exposes its own grotesquerie, also exposes the West’s centuries of sins.

Read more …

“..the war is turning out to be a bloody slog that is demonstrating the limits of Israeli military capabilities—and the sophistication of Hamas’s underground defense network.”

After 100 Days, Netanyahu Vows To Continue Gaza Killing (Cradle)

In a speech on 13 January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin said not even the International Court of Justice in The Hague would stop Israel from continuing its war on Gaza, which has killed some 23,900 Palestinians, including 10,000 children, so far. “No one will stop us — not The Hague, not the Axis of Evil, and no one else. It is possible and necessary to continue until victory, and we will do it,” Netanyahu told a televised press conference marking day 100 of the war. Earlier this week, South Africa brought a case against Israel for breach of the UN Genocide Convention, of which Tel Aviv is a signatory. South Africa is hoping the court will issue a temporary injunction demanding Israel halt its bombing and ground campaign that has seen 65,000 tons of munitions dropped on Gaza, leaving large areas in its cities and refugee camps appearing as “moonscapes” and many dead under the rubble.

Netanyahu accused South Africa of supporting “baby burners,” though Israel has not provided any evidence Hamas committed such crimes. Instead, evidence continues to emerge that the Israeli forces burned many of their own civilians to death during Operation Al-Aqsa Flood by responding to the attack by Hamas’ Qassam Brigades using helicopter and tank fire. Israel issued the “Hannibal Directive” to kill Israeli civilians and soldiers rather than let them be taken captive by fighters from Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades, to exchange for Palestinians held captive in Israel. The Israeli premier claimed that the war on Gaza had already “eliminated most of the Hamas battalions.” However, The Wall Street Journal noted on 14 January that Netanyahu has not achieved the goals he declared at the beginning of the war, including destroying Hamas, ending its control of Gaza, and freeing Israeli captives taken on 7 October.

Instead, “the war is turning out to be a bloody slog that is demonstrating the limits of Israeli military capabilities—and the sophistication of Hamas’s underground defense network.” “The Israeli military is still seeking to find and destroy tunnels where Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, and others are believed to be hiding,” the paper added. In his speech, Netanyahu told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week, “This is not only our war, this is also your war.” As Al-Mayadeen noted, Tel Aviv is deeply dependent on Washington, which has played a vital role in the war to support the killing. Israel’s Channel 12 reported on 26 December that 244 US transport planes and 20 ships had delivered over 10,000 tons of armaments and military equipment to Israel since 7 October.

According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the Biden administration cleared a potential $147.5 million foreign military sale of M107 155mm artillery shells and supporting equipment to Israel on December 30. Israel is also relying on US naval forces to target Yemen’s Ansarallah-led armed forces, who have been targeting Israeli-linked commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea. Ansarallah seeks to blockade and punish Israel for what the resistance group views as the genocide in Gaza. But Israeli leaders are hoping for additional US help to expand the war to Lebanon to confront the most important Axis of Resistance member, Hezbollah

Live genocide

Read more …

Ask the Saudis how hard it is.

Western Strikes On Houthis Mostly Failed – NYT (RT)

The US-led strikes on alleged positions of Houthi militias in Yemen have failed to significantly weaken their military potential and prevent them from further attacks on shipping routes in the Red Sea, the New York Times reported on Saturday, citing sources. According to the first assessment of Friday’s barrage cited by the paper, the attacks successfully hit 90% of designated targets. However, two US officials suggested that while the strikes had destroyed or damaged more than 60 drone and missile sites with more than 150 munitions, the Houthis still retained about 70-80% of their military capability. The article added that some of the militia’s assets are also mobile, meaning they could be hidden if necessary.

Meanwhile, The Times noted that locating Houthi targets is proving more difficult than expected, as Western efforts picked up steam only after the start of the Hamas-Israel conflict on October 7. The Houthis, who control most of Yemen, have rallied to the support of the Palestinian armed group, attacking both Israeli targets and what they describe as Israeli-linked ships in the region in recent weeks. US officials interviewed by the NYT have suggested that Washington may launch another barrage on Houthi targets after it analyzes the damage from the recent strikes. The outlet’s sources also noted that while the militia’s response to the Western attack has so far been muted, they are bracing for a Houthi retaliation.

The US and UK launched what they called “defensive” strikes against the Houthis in the early hours of Friday morning, backed by Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, with President Joe Biden declaring them a success and accusing the militia of “endangering freedom of navigation”. According to Reuters, the barrage has caused mixed reactions in the EU, where several members would have preferred a calmer policy towards the security crisis in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Moscow has called the strikes “illegal,” noting that they had violated the UN Charter. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has also suggested that the latest development risks derailing the Yemen reconciliation process and triggering a “destabilization of the entire Middle East.”

Read more …

“Egypt’s Suez Canal saw a 40% year-on-year decline in the first eleven days of 2024..”

Egypt’s Suez Canal Revenues Plunge (RT)

Revenues generated by Egypt’s Suez Canal saw a 40% year-on-year decline in the first eleven days of 2024, canal authority head Osama Rabie said earlier this week. Ship traffic through the maritime artery connecting the Mediterranean and the Red Sea dropped 30% between January 1 and January 11 compared to the same period a year prior, the official noted, speaking on a talk show Thursday night. According to Rabie, the number of ships that have moved through the Suez Canal fell to 544 in the first eleven days of the current year compared to 777 in the equivalent period of 2023. He pointed out that the period of cargo transportation has increased by at least two weeks while costs for the delivery of goods and insurance were also growing.

“The Cape of Good Hope is not a valid and safe route for ships to cross at this time, especially in light of bad weather and the long duration of the crossing,” the official said, adding that navigating around the African continent adds up to 15 days compared to passing through the Suez Canal. The canal is a major source of foreign currency for Egypt. In recent years, the country’s government has been trying hard to increase revenues generated by allowing commercial vessels through it. The route was expanded in 2015, with further enlargement underway. In June, Egypt’s Suez Canal posted an all-time high annual revenue of $9.4 billion in the fiscal year 2022-2023, up from $7 billion recorded a year earlier.

Back then, 25,887 ships carrying 1.5 billion tons of cargo passed through the route, marking the highest amount on record. However, at the end of last year, cargo traffic through one of the world’s vital trade arteries dropped 28% due to the attacks carried out by Yemen-based Houthis against commercial ships in the Red Sea. The assaults became more frequent after the rebels instituted a de facto blockade through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. They have been attacking vessels thought to be linked to Israel in what they say is a show of solidarity with the Palestinians following the escalation of hostilities in Gaza.

Read more …

“..the real objective of Netanyahu and his government is political survival. The victory, per se, is very far.”

Political Survival Now Netanyahu’s ‘Real Objective’ (Sp.)

Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip in response to Hamas’ attacks on October 7 has essentially devolved into a bloody quagmire. It remains unclear how exactly it might end. While Israeli forces continue to battle Palestinian militants amid the ruins of the Gaza Strip, Tel Aviv’s stated goal of destroying Hamas appears to be far from accomplished, even as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasts that not even International Court of Justice will prevent Israel’s triumph. Commenting on the current situation, Beirut-based scholar and analyst specializing in the Middle East Dr. Lorenzo Trombetta pointed out to Sputnik that now, 100 days after the launch of Israel’s invasion, “it is clear to many Israelis, and perhaps also to Netanyahu and his ministers, that this achievement” – the destruction of Hamas – “is far from being obtained.”

According to Dr. Trombetta, Israeli “military operations on the ground and their airstrikes will continue in the Gaza Strip and in various areas of the region.” “And the victory won’t be something that won’t concern the present in the endgame, the narrative, aim of Netanyahu this victory be something concerning the future,” he remarked. “But between the victory and today, for Netanyahu, that is the political survival. I think the real objective of Netanyahu and his government is political survival. The victory, per se, is very far.” As for what victory might look like for the denizens of the Palestinian strip, Trombetta suggested that a “Hamas victory could be its survival after the October 7 offensive and after so many months, and perhaps because the war would continue, if Hamas will continue to survive and we could have a physical presence in the Gaza Strip, this could be a victory, of course, and this will be claimed as a victory.”

“But for the Palestinian society, it could be seen in another way,” he added. He branded as unrealistic the scenario in which the Israeli military assumes “full control of the Gaza Strip” or where Egypt and other Arab states manage to “exert that control” over the area. “So as far as things are going in this direction, I think that at the end of the day, there would be a sort of truce between Hamas and Israel and Hamas would continue to have a physical presence in Gaza Strip with huge humanitarian aid for basic reconstruction, at least for basic services in some parts of the Strip, where Israel could maintain some partial control of key areas,” Trombetta speculated. “A sort of mixed control between Hamas and Israel, mainly Israel on the internal borders of the Gaza Strip while Hamas can retain some key hotspot here and there.”

He also said it is unlikely that the Gaza Strip would receive some “new legal status” in the near “foreseeable future,” and that he thinks “from now to one year and half of two years, we will see a de facto hybrid scenario in Gaza Strip, something that is resembled to after post-conflict settlement, but not really something that will last the many years.” Regarding the recent escalation in the Red Sea, Trombetta noted that the US-UK strikes on Houthi position in Yemen “didn’t calm down the situation,” achieving the opposite result instead. “It will get worse and worse, because the Houthis will continue to fire, the Anglo-US leading Western coalition will continue to retaliate or to strike Houthi positions and there will not be any truce among parties because the Houthi are very well determined to be present in this conflict, to say, hey, we are here, we want to say our word, we, we want to show our support to Gaza and our other friends, to the axis of resistance,” he predicted.

Nap Sachs

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“..the average age of a soldier is way over 40 years old..”

Ukrainian Army Mostly ‘Very Old Men’ – Commander (RT)

The Ukrainian Armed Forces are in dire need of younger recruits because the average age of a soldier is way over 40 years old, said Alexey Tarasenko, commander of the 5th Assault Brigade. Speaking to Espresso TV on Sunday, Tarasenko said that it is “outlandish and perplexing” to hear that some people doubt the need for additional mobilization. “The military is eagerly waiting for fresh reinforcements because the situation in many units is critical in terms of personnel,” the commander lamented. “Even those who do come often leave much to be desired. Mostly, these are men of a much older age with a multitude of problems that typically arise [at that age].”

The military desperately needs “young men” because those who joined the army at the very beginning of the conflict are mostly “gone,” he said, adding the average age of soldiers is above 40. Tarasenko’s remarks came after Ukraine’s parliament – the Verkhovna Rada – asked the government for additional revisions of the much-debated bill that would expand the pool of men available for conscription. The proposed legislation would lower the maximum draft age from 27 to 25, limit deferrals, and increase penalties for draft dodgers. The critics have argued that the bill contains provisions that violate the constitution and pave a way for corruption. Last month, President Vladimir Zelensky revealed that the army had requested to mobilize between 450,000 and 500,000 people. Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top general, however, denied that the military asked for a specific number of new fighters.

Nevertheless, the situation prompted the authorities to consider different options for replenishing battlefield losses, including the introduction of electronic call-up papers, and to explore the conscription of women. The governor of Nikolaev region, Valery Kim, warned at the time that conscripting half a million people “is not enough” and Ukraine needs to enlist at least two million. Ukraine does not reveal its casualty numbers. According to Russia’s estimates, some 400,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed or wounded during the conflict, including 125,000 over the course of Kiev’s failed counteroffensive between early June and late November.

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“.. the escalation in Yemen after US and UK strikes on the Houthis is “more important for the West now, because commercial shipping is at risk.”

Why Did West Put Ukraine Funding Onto Back Burner? (Sp.)

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Thursday that US assistance for Ukraine “has now ground to a halt.” “While the US would like to sustain the war in Ukraine, because none of its objectives have been met, Washington can see the Ukraine conflict is unwinnable and Russia has the upper hand strategically,” Anuradha Chenoy, a retired professor and dean of the School of International Studies at the New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Sputnik. She added that Ukraine is “now on the back burner of the Western mindset,” and that the escalation in Yemen after US and UK strikes on the Houthis is “more important for the West now, because commercial shipping is at risk.” This is a “creeping escalation of a regional war,” which Chenoy stressed no one doesn’t want to see because “it can really damage the global economy” and negatively impact oil and other commodities.

“If this war escalates it will be dangerous economically and militarily with global impacts,” she warned. As for Global South nations, Chenoy went on, they are especially up in arms against “any other war” because they all face “developmental challenges and internal issues that they have to concentrate on; many countries are indebted, many have their own conflicts.” “So the Global South does not want to see any conflagration in the Middle East, because if oil prices go up, they are the first to be impacted negatively. They would express neutrality in such a conflict and call for immediate peace. They also appeal to the Houthis, to not endanger commercial shipping, keep sea lanes safe and secure and negotiate a resolution of the Palestine issue,” Chenoy concluded.

Biden Ukr

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“..regarding the massive commitment to finance the Ukrainian military, there have been “no controls” whatsoever, Der Spiegel reported, quoting the ministry..”

Germany Unsure Where Its Ukraine Weapons Went – Der Spiegel (RT)

The German government checked only twice where the weapons it had sent abroad in 2023 went, Der Spiegel reported on Friday, citing officials. Meanwhile, Berlin’s massive military assistance to Kiev was also left unsupervised, with German policymakers relying on assurances from Ukrainian officials. The Ministry of Economics provided the information in response to a request from Bundestag member Sevim Dagdelen, who is now a member of the recently formed BSW party founded by MP Sahra Wagenknecht. The latter, often described as the ‘Icon of German Left,’ has been a vocal critic of arms deliveries to Kiev. Citing the reply, Der Spiegel noted that Berlin had checked the whereabouts of small arms sent to Taiwan in January 2023, and in June, it carried out a similar inspection in Cape Verde.

German officials insisted that both on-site inspections meant to make sure that the weapons did not leave the end destination went smoothly. However, regarding the massive commitment to finance the Ukrainian military, there have been “no controls” whatsoever, Der Spiegel reported, quoting the ministry. German officials reportedly stated that Kiev had assured them that all German weapons would remain in the country, adding that “any verification measures must under no circumstances impair Ukraine’s effective defense against ongoing Russian aggression.” Ukraine received €17 billion ($18.7 billion) in military aid from Germany between January 2022 and October 2023, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Meanwhile, the German government approved nearly €12 billion ($13 billion) in arms exports in 2023, setting a new record.

Commenting on the officials’ reply, Dagdelen called the inspections a “laughing stock.” She suggested that the German government was much more eager to check weapons going to Cape Verde than to Saudi Arabia – which she called a “dictatorship” – or the United Arab Emirates. “Given the corruption in Ukraine, checks must be there too,” the MP added. Russia, which has repeatedly condemned Western arms deliveries to Ukraine, has also warned that these weapons could end up in the black market, reaching criminals and terrorists around the world. Meanwhile, in late December, Ukrainian Interior Minister Igor Klimenko admitted that Kiev does not know precisely how many weapons are in the hands of its citizens. He noted that the estimates vary from one to two million and are based mainly on data provided by Ukraine’s international partners and statistics collected in other conflict-ridden countries.

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“The Swiss diplomat insisted on the urgency of ending the war promptly, as lives are lost daily. “We have no right to wait..”

No Peace Without Russia – Swiss Foreign Minister (RT)

Any peace negotiations to resolve the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev should involve Russia, asserted Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis during a press briefing in Davos, where he co-hosted a gathering focused on discussing a “peace formula” proposed by Kiev. The Ukrainian government has consistently sought to engage entities other than Russia in these discussions. Security officials from 83 countries gathered in the Swiss mountain resort before the World Economic Forum, which is scheduled to open on Monday evening. This Sunday gathering marked the fourth of its kind organized by Kiev, which actively promotes its vision for conflict resolution, supported mainly by its Western backers. “One way or another, Russia will have to be included,” Cassis conveyed to journalists on the sidelines of the meeting. “There will be no peace without Russia’s word,” he emphasized. The Swiss diplomat insisted on the urgency of ending the war promptly, as lives are lost daily. “We have no right to wait,” he stated.

Unveiled in November 2022, the Ukrainian proposal, also known as ‘Zelensky’s peace formula,’ demands that Kiev be granted control over its pre-2014 borders. Additionally, it calls for prosecuting Russian leadership and reparations from Moscow. The plan requires Moscow’s forces to withdraw from territories claimed by Ukraine before initiating peace negotiations. The ten-point plan also addresses less contentious areas, such as global food and energy security. Moscow has previously characterized the proposal as detached from reality. It has consistently expressed readiness for peace talks, emphasizing the need to consider the situation on the ground. In the autumn of 2022, four former Ukrainian territories, including two Donbass republics, officially joined Russia following referendums. The Crimean Peninsula, claimed by Ukraine, has been part of Russia since 2014, when its people voted to join Russia in a referendum.

Cassis also underscored the crucial role of BRICS nations, particularly China, in the future peace process. “The participation of the BRICS alliance is crucial because these countries have a relationship with Russia,” he noted, adding that “China plays a significant role.” Cassis called on meeting participants to explore collaboration with China on this matter. Representatives from Beijing did not attend the Davos gathering. China presented its 12-point peace roadmap early last year, addressing measures like a ceasefire, peace talks, abandoning the “Cold War mentality,” and ending sanctions while promoting global stability and international supply chains. The roadmap, welcomed by Moscow, was poorly received by Kiev and swiftly dismissed by Western backers.

Last February, US officials rejected the Chinese proposals, contending they would primarily benefit Russia. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg argued that China lacks “credibility” on the issue due to its refusal to condemn Russia for attacking Ukraine. In December, Moscow labeled the entire “peace process” organized by Kiev as a mere PR stunt. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced Zelensky’s peace formula as “a figment of a sick imagination,” asserting that demands for Ukraine to reclaim its pre-2014 borders, including the Donbass, amounted to a call “for genocide.”

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“..She called Wade “a great friend and a great lawyer,” along with a “superstar,” but failed to mention him by name once during her more than 30 minute speech..”

Fani Willis Says Accusations Of Affair With Trump Prosecutor Are Racist (NYP)

A Georgia district attorney accused of hiring her lover to prosecute former President Trump broke her silence on the controversy, saying she and the prosecutor were targeted because they are black. “They only attacked one,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis Sunday at Big Bethel AME Church in Atlanta. “First thing they say, ‘Oh, she’s gonna play the race card now.’ “But no God, isn’t it them that’s playing the race card when they only question one?” The comments were Willis’ first time addressing the allegations publicly — but she neither confirmed nor denied the claims lobbed at her and special prosecutor Nathan Wade, who helped secure an indictment against the former Republican president in an election interference case. She called Wade “a great friend and a great lawyer,” along with a “superstar,” but failed to mention him by name once during her more than 30 minute speech, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The pair were accused by Trump co-defendant Michael Roman of having a “clandestine” and “improper” affair when appointments were made for the 2020 election interference case. Roman, a former official on the Trump 2020 campaign, argued in a court filing last week that the integrity of the case had been compromised by their alleged affair and asked that all charges against him be dropped. “The district attorney chose to appoint her romantic partner, who at all times relevant to this prosecution has been a married man,” the filing read. Roman contended in the filing that Wade used some of the $654,000 in legal fees he’d earned on the case to take Willis on vacations to “Napa Valley, California, Florida and the Caribbean.” Willis pointed out during her speech that the other two prosecutors assigned to the case, Anna Green Cross and John Floyd, both are white, and noted that allegations have only emerged targeting the two prominent black members of the prosecution — her and Wade.

“Isn’t it them playing the race card when they constantly think I need someone from some other jurisdiction in some other state to tell me how to do a job I’ve been doing almost 30 years?” she asked. Roman was unmoved by Willis accusations of the charges being racially charged. “The biggest difference between Ms. Cross, Mr. Floyd and Mr. Wade is that Ms. Willis is not in a relationship with Ms. Cross and Mr. Floyd,” he said in a statement to the Constitution-Journal Sunday. Willis is planning to file an official response to the allegations, her spokesperson said. Once that filing is in, Fulton Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said he would schedule a hearing to address the matter.

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“There are an array of horrors that could result from Donald Trump’s unrestricted use of the Insurrection Act.”

NBC News Admits ‘Deep State’ Exists… To Save Us From Trump’s Return (ZH)

The last time Donald Trump got within striking distance of the Oval Office in 2016, the Clinton campaign, the Obama administration, and various foreign accomplices invented a hoax accusing the real estate tycoon of being a secret Russian agent, who would use the power of the United States to do Vladimir Putin’s bidding (Which begs the question; why wouldn’t Putin have just invaded Ukraine when his ‘puppet’ Trump wouldn’t have waged a proxy war?). And when Donald Trump asked Ukraine about obvious corruption by the Biden family, one of the key ‘deep state’ players in his impeachment behind the scenes was none other than Mary McCord – who went from taking down Michael Flynn after the FBI set him up, to helping Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) to peddle a “whistleblower” complaint about Trump’s Ukraine call. McCord is back with a new hoax to peddle, telling NBC News that the Deep State is preparing for Trump’s return – and is taking action to limit his ability to ‘become a dictator’ and use the military to those ends.

“We’re already starting to put together a team to think through the most damaging types of things that he [Trump] might do so that we’re ready to bring lawsuits if we have to,” McCord – executive director of the Institution for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law – told the outlet. The quotes from this fine piece of yellow journalism from NBC are simply hilarious… “Donald Trump is sparking fears among those who understand the inner workings of the Pentagon that he would convert the nonpartisan U.S. military into the muscular arm of his political agenda as he makes comments about dictatorship and devalues the checks and balances that underpin the nation’s two-century-old democracy.” “A circle of appointees independent of Trump’s political operation steered him away from ideas that would have pushed the limits of presidential power in his last term.” “In a new term, many former officials worry that Trump would instead surround himself with loyalists unwilling to say no.”

“He’s a clear and present danger to our democracy.” “His support is solid. And I don’t think people understand what living in a dictatorship would mean.” “There are an array of horrors that could result from Donald Trump’s unrestricted use of the Insurrection Act.” “The military is hundreds of thousands of people strong, and ultimately Trump will find people to follow his legal orders no matter what … The Insurrection Act is a legal order, and if he orders it there will be military officers, especially younger men and women, who will follow that legal order.” This one might be the best: “We’re about 30 seconds away from the Armageddon clock when it comes to democracy,” said William Cohen, a former Republican senator from Maine and defense secretary in the Clinton administration. “I think that’s how close we’re coming to it when you have a presidential candidate who can be indicted on 91 counts, who can be [found liable for] sexual aggression, who we have seen lies pathologically, who has flouted every rule in the book.”

Wow! Narrative: Trump is going to appoint loyal peons to subvert democracy and declare himself a dictator. But wait, the deep state cavalry is here! “Now, bracing for Trump’s potential return, a loose-knit network of public interest groups and lawmakers is quietly devising plans to try to foil any efforts to expand presidential power, which could include pressuring the military to cater to his political needs.”

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Too clever by half.

Dems Hatch “Republicans For A Day” Scheme To Boost Haley Vs. Trump In Iowa (ZH)

Iowa Democrats and independents have a plan to make a dent in former President Donald Trump’s massive lead over the rest of the GOP field – help Nikki Haley by becoming “Republicans for a day” during the Iowa caucuses. According to Axios, “crossover” voting is a low-key tradition in the Iowa event, as the state allows day-of party registration for voters, while Democrats aren’t holding in-person presidential caucuses this year – providing the perfect opportunity for uniparty Democrats to support yet another perpetual war candidate. As Don McLeese of west Des Moines told Axios, the crossover voting scheme gives anti-Trumpers “a chance to diminish Trump’s inevitability,” adding “I’ll hold my nose and caucus for Haley.”

Iowa Republican precinct captain for Haley, Lyle Hansen, acknowledged that “there could be a good crossover” vote for Haley, because Democrats “get to come over and pick the candidate for Biden to oppose.” Des Moines Democrat Jonathan Neiderbach told the outlet “I believe all Americans should cast a vote against Donald Trump every chance we have.” Reality bites… As Axios notes, the crossover votes are “are highly unlikely to help Haley catch Trump, who’s consistently had a big lead in Iowa polls.” But GOP strategist David Kochel said that if crossovers see Haley as the best Republican alternative to Trump, they could help her finish a solid second in Iowa, ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “If you even had 5,000 or 7,500 people across the state cross over for her, that might be the difference between her and Ron DeSantis,” Kochel said.

The intrigue: There’s some risk for Iowa’s Democratic Party if many of its members cross over to vote with Republicans. People who switch parties to participate in a caucus sometimes don’t switch back, Tim Hagle, a political scientist at the University of Iowa, tells Axios. Responding to the ‘threat,’ Trump senior adviser Chrris LaCivita brushed aside any concerns. “If that is something they are relying on to get through the night, then poor people, I feel bad for them,” he told Axios.

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Japan

 

 

Eagle owl

 

 

Lions

 

 

We need this

 

 

 

 

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.

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Moore

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Shrimp

 

 

Dogs play

 

 

Italian music

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 132023
 


Edward Hopper The Circle Theater, New York 1936

 

Joe And Hunter Biden Caught On 17 Recordings With Burisma Owner (WE)
Comer Says Will View Additional FBI Documents on Possible Biden Crimes (Sp.)
The Democrats Versus Trump: A Bad Horror Movie? (Ron Paul)
Donald Trump’s Indictment Case has a Looming 2024 End Date (Turley)
Trump Promises “Final Battle” To “Demolish The Deep State” (SN)
We’re Not Finished (Jim Kunstler)
‘Cynical’ Ukrainian Counteroffensive Takes ‘Horrific’ Casualties (Tweedie)
Ukraine’s Counteroffensive To Last For Weeks Or Months – Macron (TASS)
Americans in Pain (Mazzarino)
Fox Sends Tucker Carlson Cease-and-Desist Letter (Axios)
Debt Crisis Was Bipartisan Excuse to ‘Cut Social Spending,’ Not Defense Budget (Sp.)
How The BRI Train Took The Road To Shangri-La (Pepe Escobar)
US Attempts ’Divide and Conquer’ Strategy Against BRICS (Pepe Escobar)

 

 

 

 

Oliver Stone

 

 

 

 

Ed Dowd

 

 

 

 

Sy Hersh Zelensky Embezzling $400 Million from US

 

 

Ritter

 

 

Blood clots
https://twitter.com/i/status/1668242537662803969

 

 

 

 

Insurance policy.

Joe And Hunter Biden Caught On 17 Recordings With Burisma Owner (WE)

A top Senate Republican revealed Monday that an FBI informant said the Ukrainian oligarch involved in an alleged “criminal bribery scheme” with Joe and Hunter Biden also claimed to have 17 recordings of his conversations with the president and his son. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) revealed on the Senate floor that a largely unredacted version of the bureau’s FD-1023 confidential human source form said that “the foreign national who allegedly bribed Joe and Hunter Biden allegedly has audio recordings of his conversations with them — 17 such recordings.” The Republican senator said, “These recordings were allegedly kept as a sort of insurance policy for the foreign national in case he got into a tight spot.”

Mykola Zlochevsky, the Ukrainian owner of Burisma, was the “foreign national” involved in the alleged “criminal bribery scheme” detailed in the FBI form, and Zlochevsky referred to Joe Biden as the “big guy” during a conversation several years before the June 2020 date of the bureau document, according to sources familiar with the FBI record who described its contents to the Washington Examiner. Grassley added Monday that, according to the FD-1023, “the foreign national possesses 15 audio recordings of phone calls between him and Hunter Biden” and “two audio recordings of phone calls between him and the-Vice President Joe Biden.” The senator also said the FBI record “also indicates that then-Vice President Joe Biden may have been involved in Burisma employing Hunter Biden.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware is handling the ongoing federal criminal investigation into Hunter Biden. It is allegedly up to U.S. Attorney David Weiss, a Trump-appointed holdover, to decide whether to indict the president’s son. In February 2021, Joe Biden asked all Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys appointed by Trump for their resignations, with Weiss a rare exception. “What is U.S. Attorney Weiss doing with respect to these alleged Joe and Hunter Biden recordings that are apparently relevant to the high-stakes bribery scheme?” Grassley asked Monday. Sources previously told the Washington Examiner that the Burisma owner discussed an alleged bribe of $5 million to Joe Biden and of $5 million to Hunter Biden, according to the paid FBI informant who said he heard this from Zlochevsky. The sources said Zlochevsky said he believed it would be difficult to unravel the alleged bribery scheme for at least 10 years because of the number of bank accounts involved.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1668308263350284293

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“Now, the FBI has told me there are more 1023 forms. I will be granted access to these additional docs..”

Comer Says Will View Additional FBI Documents on Possible Biden Crimes (Sp.)

US House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer said on Monday that he will be granted access to additional FBI documents that contain allegations of potential criminal activity by President Joe Biden in his previous capacity as vice president. Earlier this month, lawmakers on the Oversight Committee were granted access to an FD-1023 form, which is used by the FBI to record information from confidential human sources, that alleged then-US Vice President Joe Biden engaged in a bribery scheme involving a foreign national. “Now, the FBI has told me there are more 1023 forms. I will be granted access to these additional docs,” Comer said in a statement via Twitter. The document alleges that the president and his son Hunter received a total of $10 million to help end a probe into Ukrainian energy industry holding company Burisma, US Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said last week.


The head of Burisma purportedly told the FBI’s confidential source that the executive retained evidence of the payments to Joe and Hunter Biden, Greene said, characterizing the alleged actions as a “political bribery pay-to-play scheme.” There were two footnotes in the FD-1023 form made accessible to lawmakers that referenced other 1023s, Comer said on Sunday in an interview with Fox News. “There are a lot more of these than what the federal government wants to admit, and the question is, why hasn’t the federal government done anything about it?” Comer said. Biden called the allegations of a bribery scheme involving Burisma “a bunch of malarkey,” when asked about the situation on Thursday.

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“Democrats were furious that Trump was less than enthusiastic about their plans to use Ukraine as a proxy to go to war with Russia.”

The Democrats Versus Trump: A Bad Horror Movie? (Ron Paul)

The Democrats and Donald Trump reminds me of a bad horror movie, where the hapless protagonists only make the monster stronger with each attempt to eliminate it. So goes the Democrats’ endless attempts to finally rid America of the “scourge” of Donald Trump. Thanks to the Durham Report we now know they started even before Trump was elected president. Hillary Clinton’s campaign – with the full knowledge of the candidate and the sitting president, Barack Obama – cooked up a “dirty trick” to portray Trump as an agent of Russia in their effort to deny Trump the White House. When that didn’t work they weaponized the FBI, CIA and the rest of the “deep state” to undermine and hobble his presidency. They spied on Trump and his campaign staff using false information manufactured by the FBI.

When that didn’t work they impeached him under the false charge that he sought foreign assistance for his 2020 re-election bid. This time a spy, in the person of NSC staffer Alexander Vindman, was sent to listen in on Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian president Zelensky and then make all manner of false charges against Trump based on it. Democrats were furious that Trump was less than enthusiastic about their plans to use Ukraine as a proxy to go to war with Russia. Vindman, though an active-duty US military officer, was of Ukrainian background and was loyal to the country of his origin rather than the country of his citizenship. He also openly defied the military chain-of-command and his commander-in-chief. Trump’s lack of enthusiasm for their “Project Ukraine” infuriated Vindman and he sought his revenge against the US President.

When that didn’t work they impeached Trump again over the false charge that he led an “insurrection” against the US government on January 6, 2021. The more surveillance video we see of this “insurrection,” the more it looks like a false-flag operation cooked up perhaps by Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Washington swamp to finally be rid of Trump. Hundreds of political prisoners have been held in solitary confinement on false accusations that they tried to overthrow the US government. When that didn’t work and Trump’s re-election numbers looked more and more favorable while Biden’s approval rating continued to linger in the political basement, the Democrats have now indicted him over some classified documents apparently discovered in his residence in Florida.

[..] Suddenly Donald Trump, who polling suggests would obliterate Joe Biden in a fair US election, faces 100 years in prison! Where else would you see the head of one political party arrest his main political opponent on cooked up charges? A banana republic! For those of us who love this country, it is truly shocking to see this abuse of power. But there’s one thing these dirty tricksters never seem to understand: the more false evidence and false charges they cook up against Trump, the stronger Trump becomes. With these outrageous and continuous attacks on Trump, the Democratic Party (and plenty of Republicans) has lost all credibility. When this plan fails, and it will, I am afraid to think what they might try next.

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“..this is a prosecution entirely removed from recent history..”

Donald Trump’s Indictment Case has a Looming 2024 End Date (Turley)

When Special Counsel Jack Smith walked before cameras on Friday after the release of the Trump 44-page indictment against former President Donald Trump, he started with arguably his most difficult case to make. He declared “we have one set of laws in this country and they apply to everyone.” After years of scandal and documented political bias by key Justice officials, the line likely left many skeptical, assuming many were even watching. The indictment was clearly a pitch to the public that this is a prosecution entirely removed from recent history. We’re also meant to not think about the fact that the Biden Administration is charging the leading candidate opposing him in the upcoming election.

This indictment has merit, but the Justice Department lost the right to expect trust from the citizens years ago — long before the damning Inspector General’s Report and the recent report of Special Counsel John Durham. To make matters worse, the same suspects have surfaced to celebrate Trump’s expected demise — and remind the public of the perceived double standard in Washington. Peter Strzok, the FBI special agent who was fired over his anti-Trump bias in the Russian collusion investigation, cheered the indictment by tweeting a photo of handcuffs with Trump’s image. Strzok seems to think that it is a good thing for Smith to remind everyone of how he promised his colleague and lover Lisa Page that she did not have to worry about Trump being elected because they had an “insurance policy” to “stop it.”

Hillary Clinton went on social media to hawk her line of merchandize mocking the case against her for storing classified material on her personal server and then destroying tens of thousands of emails sought by the Congress. She sent out a picture mocking Trump while wearing her “But Her Emails” hat. With millions of Americans wondering why Trump is being charged but Clinton was given a pass, Clinton decided to do a victory lap. And hey, why not: James Comey is back. [..] In April, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg related to hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election. Nevertheless, Comey chose this month to declare that, in the 2024 election, “it has to be Joe Biden.” For critics, that is consistent with his views and actions before he was fired as FBI director.

After Trump was indicted in a raw political prosecution in New York, Comey also went public to declare it a “good day.” So in the court of public opinion, past history and hypocrisy may mean that few are swayed about whether they back Trump or not. Which leaves the criminal court. This indictment has some devastating elements, including an audiotape in which Trump tells two visitors about a highly classified attack plan on Iran while admitting that it remained classified. That tape directly contradicts his past claims of declassification and suggests that Trump was using the document as a type of trophy. There are also damaging statements from former staff and counsel alleging that Trump actively sought to conceal documents. Smith is now left in a battle not with Trump but time.

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He already had 4 years to do it.

Trump Promises “Final Battle” To “Demolish The Deep State” (SN)

During a speech in North Carolina this past weekend, President Trump promised to “demolish the deep state” in what will be “a final battle.” “We are a failing nation. We are a nation in decline. And now these radical left lunatics want to interfere with our elections by using law enforcement. It’s totally corrupt and we can’t let it happen,” Trump told the crowd. “This is the final battle,” he further urged, adding “With you at my side, we will demolish the Deep State, we will expel the warmongers from our government, we will drive out the globalists, we will cast out the communists, we will throw off the sick political class that hates our country.” Trump continued, “We will roll out the fake news media, we will expose the RINOs for what they are, we will defeat Joe Biden and we will liberate America from these villains once and for all.” “We’re going to liberate our country. The silent majority is rising, and under our leadership, the forgotten man or woman will never be forgotten again,” Trump vowed.

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“..what is so striking in Mr. Kennedy’s performance so far is an absence of fakery. It’s more than refreshing, it’s… startling..”

We’re Not Finished (Jim Kunstler)

[..] we need somebody to steer. Mr. Trump has volunteered to try doing it again. The first time, forces in every quarter of American power set out to bushwhack, sandbag, harass, hector, and hound him. In the process, they just about destroyed the rule of law. Then they simply dis-elected him surreptitiously, something you’re not supposed to say, but there it is, like so much meat on the table. Now they’re trying to hoo-rah him into jail. Whatever you think of his, er, complex personality, you must admire his perseverance through adversity. If he somehow manages to wriggle through the present obstacle course of Lawfare chicanery, his next term would be an extravaganza of retribution. The spectacle would provide much satisfaction but, in the end, it would just be a sideshow, and it is not the same thing as taking care of business.

“Joe Biden,” of course, the man who is not really even there, is only pretending to run for reelection, or at least a coterie around the Oval Office is pretending for him while they try to figure out what to do. They’re in an awful quandary. They hold all the levers of power and they have no other credible candidate, not a living soul, in their own official hatchery. Outside of that ghastly edifice, Robert F. Kennedy is making a determined flanking move, an end-run near the sidelines. The Democratic Party in all its florid and mendacious lunacy is pretending to not notice him, especially their praetorian news media that is the vector for America’s mass mental illness. Mr. Kennedy put it so simply in April when he announced a run to preside over the stupendous mess that is our government.

He said his mission is an experiment to see what happens when you tell Americans the truth. Hold that thought. How long has it been since you thought anything like that was possible? There’s a broad-based assumption across the land, derived from our fading prime artform, the movies, that Americans can’t handle the truth. Like so much else in our national life, that is probably erroneous… fake truth. And what is so striking in Mr. Kennedy’s performance so far is an absence of fakery. It’s more than refreshing, it’s… startling. Makes you blink, a little bit. Makes you remember what it’s like to not be lied-to incessantly. Makes you want to see more of it because it gives you strength when you thought you were finished. Get this now: our world is changing, and deeply, but we’re not finished.

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“..right now the strategy that the Kiev regime appears to be using to clear the minefields is over the vehicles and bodies of its territorial defense units..”

‘Cynical’ Ukrainian Counteroffensive Takes ‘Horrific’ Casualties (Tweedie)

The Kiev regime appears to be cynically throwing men and machines against solid Russian defenses — but all may not be as it seems, a military commentator says. One week into the Ukrainian counteroffensive and the Ukrainian army has already lost thousands of casualties, along with up to 15 of the vaunted German Leopard 2 tanks, 13 M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) supplied by the US and five of the French AMX-10 RC light tanks. Security Analyst Mark Sleboda told Sputnik that Ukraine’s military chiefs were to blame for sending their troops into the killing fields. “Currently there is fighting along pretty much every line of engagement between Russia and Ukraine right now, except for the Kherson area where the recent flooding has made combat impossible,” Sleboda noted.

He said the Kiev regime was sending troops forward in NATO-supplied IFVs and armoured personnel carriers (APCs), supported by tanks and artillery — including US-made HIMARS rocket launchers. “But they’re doing it into echelon to Russian defenses that have been formed over months,” Sleboda stressed. “Five layers of defense, trenches, concrete fortifications, pillboxes, bunkers, tank obstacles like dragon’s teeth.” But he said that most significant was that Russian forces had “created mazes of minefields” which have taken a significant toll on attacking Ukrainian vehicles. “[..] it sounds rather cynical, but right now the strategy that the Kiev regime appears to be using to clear the minefields is over the vehicles and bodies of its territorial defense units,” Sleboda said. “And the horrific casualties that are resulting from this are pretty high.”

He said the Ukrainian plan right now appeared to be based on “hoping to punch a hole in the line somewhere.” “And then presumably a very large reserve force, supported by a the majority of the western main battle tanks, will seek to exploit that,” Sleboda ventured. “But then even so, to make it even through one line of defense and to face several lines more, each actually progressively more significant than the others, It seems a very bad situation.” But the security expert warned against complacency on the Russian side, saying he expected “something more cunning” from the Ukrainian armed forces.

“Once the waters recede from the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, I expect some kind of multiple pronged attack, including amphibious assaults against a lower Kakhovka reservoir towards Energodar and the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant,” he said. “But I would presume that Russia is also prepared to defend that there as well.” “NATO has been wargaming this out for half a year. This is the most hyped, announced offensive in world history,” Sleboda stressed. “I’m expecting that there has to be a curveball. It can’t be this straight up playing exactly into Russia’s defenses. There’s going to be something. We just haven’t seen it yet.”

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We want peace, but first we want to kill some more people…

Ukraine’s Counteroffensive To Last For Weeks Or Months – Macron (TASS)

Ukraine’s counteroffensive will last for several weeks or months and France hopes that it will help create conditions for future peace talks, French President Emmanuel Macron told a news conference on Monday. “Ukraine’s counteroffensive began several days ago. It has been thoroughly planned,” he said. “This counteroffensive will last for several weeks or months. We did our best to help it happen within the frames outlined by us since the conflict beginning: to punish Russia in order to stop its military effort, to help Ukraine resist and win back its territory, but to never attack Russia and avoid any forms of escalation of this conflict.”


He reiterated commitment to the long-term support for Kiev and expressed the hope that the Ukrainian army’s offensive operations will be successful as “the transition to the phase of talks in favorable conditions” will depend on that. “It is clear today that Ukraine will not be conquered, that the only peace that is acceptable today is the one which is based on international law and the sovereign choice of the Ukrainian people,” he stressed. “Our enduring support for Ukraine must continue for a long time, be it political, military, economic, humanitarian assistance or assistance linked with [Ukraine’] restoration.”.

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“it’s easy enough not to meet stressed-out military service members and their families..”

Americans in Pain (Mazzarino)

America’s War on Terror, launched in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, has had a staggering impact on our world. The Costs of War Project at Brown University, which I helped found, paints as full a picture as possible of the toll of those “forever wars” both in human lives and in dollars. The wars, we estimate, have killed nearly one million people, including close to 400,000 civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan alone. Worse yet, they sickened or injured several times more than that — leading to illnesses and injuries that, we estimate, resulted in millions of non-battlefield deaths. And don’t forget that those figures include dead and wounded Americans, too. Most of us, however, have little awareness of any of this.

If you live outside the archipelago of American military bases that extends across this country and the planet — an estimated 750 of them outside the U.S. on every continent except Antarctica — it’s easy enough not to meet stressed-out military service members and their families. It’s easy enough, in fact, not to grasp just how America’s wars of this century rippled out to touch military communities. In recent times, those bases have become ever more difficult for the public to enter and often aren’t close to the cities where so many of us live. All of this means that, if you’re a civilian, the odds are you haven’t met the grieving spouses of the soldiers who never came home or the shaken children of the ones who did, forever changed, sometimes with amputated limbs or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I’m thinking of the ones with those far-off gazes and the pain they have to deal with in their heads, their limbs, their backs.

Personally, I find it overwhelmingly hard to write about such human-shaped holes in our disturbed world. That’s probably why the Costs of War Project has a 35-person (and counting) team of journalists, physicians, social scientists, and other experts to portion out the research and the pain that goes with it as they deal with the fact that the monumental death and injury counts they’ve produced are likely to be underestimates.

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“Tucker will not be silenced by anyone … He is a singularly important voice on matters of public interest in our country, and will remain so.”

Fox Sends Tucker Carlson Cease-and-Desist Letter (Axios)

Fox News has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tucker Carlson as he ramps up a competing series on Twitter that drew a combined 169 million views for its first two episodes, Axios has learned. The contract battle between Fox and its former top host — who was taken off the air in April, after the network’s historic Dominion settlement — has mighty repercussions for the conservative media ecosystem. With “Tucker on Twitter,” Carlson and his growing production team are working to elevate Elon Musk’s social media site as a news platform. Fox is continuing to pay Carlson, and maintains that his contract keeps his content exclusive to Fox through Dec. 31, 2024. Carlson is making a First Amendment argument for posting on Twitter, and asserts that Fox has committed material breaches of his contract.


Carlson’s first two Twitter episodes were straight-to-camera monologues. He plans to keep iterating with longer, more varied episodes and the addition of guests, Axios is told. Justin Wells, Carlson’s executive producer, tweeted yesterday: “Next Episode of Tucker on Twitter coming Tuesday: Tucker’s response to the indictment of President Donald Trump. Harmeet Dhillon, a lawyer who represents Carlson along with Bryan Freedman, said in a statement to Axios: “Fox News continues to ignore the interests of its viewers, not to mention its shareholder obligations.” “Doubling down on the most catastrophic programming decision in the history of the cable news industry, Fox is now demanding that Tucker Carlson be silent until after the 2024 election,” the statement continued. “Tucker will not be silenced by anyone … He is a singularly important voice on matters of public interest in our country, and will remain so.”

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“Biden wants a free hand to continue to give billions every week to finance the Ukraine proxy war, and he’s got that free hand now..”

Debt Crisis Was Bipartisan Excuse to ‘Cut Social Spending,’ Not Defense Budget (Sp.)

Democrats and Republicans have used the recent debt ceiling stand-off as a pretext for cutting social spending while inflating the military budget. The latest threat of a US Treasury default due to wrangling over the budget between the Democrat-held White House and Republican-controlled Congress has been averted after House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden struck a deal on limited spending cuts. But economist Dr. Jack Rasmus told Sputnik that poverty alleviation programs were the casualty of that battle, while the Pentagon’s budget emerged unscathed and even boosted. “You’ve got to understand that both Democrats and Republicans, a majority of them in Congress, liked the debt ceiling situation because it allows them to put pressure on social programs’ spending,” Rasmus said.

“You know, defense spending is never affected by these deals. That always goes through. You can see it in this deal here, 11 percent in the first year increase in the Pentagon budget alone, not the other defense spending.” But the saga and its outcome was nothing new in Washington DC, the academic pointed out. “You go back to Obama in 2011, last time we had this, and the defense spending increase just blew right through. It had no effect. They only cut a trillion dollars out of social programs spending.” However, the Democratic leadership will be happy as the final budget deal does nothing to rein in their pet project of arming the Kiev regime for a proxy conflict with Russia.

“Biden wants a free hand to continue to give billions every week to finance the Ukraine proxy war, and he’s got that free hand now,” Rasmus said. “And both sides never even made an effort to do any cuts here on the defense side. So Biden got his blank check for raising Pentagon and war spending and financing Ukraine. And the Republicans got all the rest. “So Democrats got what they wanted, at least the corporate Democrats running the party. And the Republicans got a you know, a big bite of the apple of cutting social spending,” he added. “And they’re going to get another bite here when it comes later in the year for passing the budget for the next year.”

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“..the US/NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is simultaneously a war designed to interrupt the progress of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)..”

How The BRI Train Took The Road To Shangri-La (Pepe Escobar)

It is important to recognize that the US/NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is simultaneously a war designed to interrupt the progress of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). As we approach the 10th anniversary of the BRI, to be marked by the third Belt and Road Forum later this year in Beijing, it is clear the original Silk Road Economic Belt – announced by President Xi Jinping in Astana, Kazakhstan, in September 2013 – has traveled a long way. By January this year, 151 nations had already signed up to the BRI: No less than 75 percent of the world’s population that represents more than half of the global GDP. Even an Atlanticist outfit such as the London-based Center for Economic and Business Research admits that the BRI may increase global GDP by a whopping $7.1 trillion a year by 2040, dispensing “widespread” benefits.

Included in the Chinese Constitution since 2018, BRI constitutes the de facto overarching Chinese foreign policy framework all the way to 2049, marking the centenary of the People’s Republic of China. The BRI advances along several overland connectivity corridors – from the Trans-Siberian to the “middle corridor” along Iran and Turkiye and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) all the way to the Arabian Sea. Meanwhile, on the waterways front, the Maritime Silk Road offers a parallel network from southeast China to the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Swahili Coast, and the Mediterranean Sea. All that is mirrored by the Russian-driven Northern Sea Route, connecting the eastern and western sides of the Arctic, and reducing to and fro sailing time from Europe to Asia from one month to less than two weeks.

Such a massive Make Trade Not War project, centered on connectivity, infrastructure building, sustainable development, and diplomatic acumen – focusing on the Global South – could not but be interpreted by western elites as a supreme geopolitical and geoeconomic threat. And that’s why every geopolitical turbulence across the chessboard is directly or indirectly linked to BRI. Including Ukraine.

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Meeting without Russia.

US Attempts ’Divide and Conquer’ Strategy Against BRICS (Pepe Escobar)

Something extraordinary, at least on the surface, happened on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore earlier this month – a somewhat pompous affair self-described as “Asia’s premier defense summit”. Intel heads of 24 nations met in de facto semi-secrecy, because in the end the event was duly leaked (Western spin qualified it as an “informal” meeting). Among the 24, the real deal comprised the US and all the other Five Eyes, plus representatives of two BRICS members, China and India. All the others were not identified with certainty or preferred to remain anonymous – presumably due to their “hanger on” status. Crucially, key BRICS member Russia was not represented. Reuters swore the information about the not-so-secret gathering came from five different – unnamed – sources.

A Southeast Asian diplomat independently confirmed the presence of the Five Eyes, China, India and Singapore – and that was it. The de facto sponsor of the meeting was Singapore’s Ministry of Defense. Things gets curioser and curioser when we examine the leak a bit closer. So many sources basically corroborating each other point to a concerted spin – practically on an official level. If this was meant to be really secret, as in the past, that would have been the case, with every involved lip conveniently sealed. So why leak it? Such spy vs. spy meetings, historically, take ages to prepare, especially one involving 24 nations and featuring superpower rivals US and China. That implies countless qualified sherpas redacting documents; very complicated logistics; an ultra-secure environment; and an extremely detailed script covering every intervention.

All of that must have been discussed in excruciating detail for months, side by side with putting together the larger agenda for the Shangri-La Dialogue: and all the while there were no leaks. And then what was leaked, after the meeting, was just that it happened. With only selected participating players fully identified. There’s absolutely nothing on substance. It beggars belief that the Five Eyes would openly discuss Western security fears and/or procedures openly with the Chinese, not to mention the other minor hangers-on. After all the Beijing leadership is fully aware the US-UK is engaged in full hybrid war against China, with the Five Eyes and containment mechanisms such as Quad and AUKUS in tow. The main reason for the leak is a dead giveaway when we see what US Think Tankland is spinning: the US was talking security with China and India behind Russia’s back. Translation: the US is trying to undermine the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) from the inside.

This is purely wishful thinking – because no one knows anything about the substance of the discussions. The meat of the matter was not leaked on purpose. The dead giveaway about the leak being engineered to undermine the BRICS – at least in the Western public sphere – would have to come from the usual suspects themselves: US think tanks, inserted in what the indispensable Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst, christened as MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think Tank complex).

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Olympos

 

 

Flees

 

 

Mastiff

 

 

 

 

Octopus moonwalk
https://twitter.com/i/status/1668129343451680769

 

 

Cookie monster

 

 


The South Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher was first described 130 years ago and has eluded scientists for over 100 years because of its behavior. Thanks to Miguel David De Leon we get a glimpse of the beautiful bird that is sadly threatened with extinction

 

 

 

 

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Apr 212023
 
 April 21, 2023  Posted by at 6:57 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  3 Responses »


Keith Haring Untitled 1983

 

 

 

Andrew Korybko:

 

Debunking The Latest Fake News Narrative

CNN published an exclusive piece on Thursday alleging that “Evidence emerges of Russia’s Wagner arming militia leader battling Sudan’s army”. They claim that satellite imagery shows increased Russian military transport activity between Libya and Syria in the run-up to Sudan’s “deep state” war. According to CNN, this confirms rumors that General Haftar is supplying Rapid Support Forces’ (RSF) leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (“Hamedti”) with surface-to-air missiles (SAM) on behalf of Wagner.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published their own exclusive piece the day prior on Wednesday alleging that “Libyan Militia and Egypt’s Military Back Opposite Sides in Sudan Conflict”, so these two stories complement one another. Both Hamedti and Wagner have denied these claims, however. The Sudanese Ambassador to Russia also confirmed that “Russia is a friendly country to us so we have been in direct contact with [the] Russian Foreign Ministry since the very beginning of those events last Saturday.”

That diplomat’s reaffirmation of Sudan’s close ties with Russia is especially important since he represents the government that’s internationally recognized as being led by Chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, who commands the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and is one of the two figures vying for power. At present, Khartoum therefore doesn’t extend credence to the emerging US-led Western Mainstream Media (MSM) narrative that Russia is arming the RSF via Haftar-Wagner, but that could soon change.

Preconditioning The Public For Another Proxy War

Unless the present three-day Eid ceasefire holds and leads to the start of peace talks that ultimately end this “deep state” war, which is unlikely since both sides made clear their intent to completely destroy the other, then this conflict is expected to resume in the near future. Should the SAF fail to defeat the RSF and possibly even be placed on the backfoot, then Burhan might gamble that it’s in his best interests to parrot the MSM’s anti-Russian accusations in an attempt to receive direct Western military support.

That scenario isn’t all that far-fetched either considering that the Associated Press and Politico both cited unnamed officials on Thursday to report that the US is assembling additional troops in nearby Djibouti to prepare for the possible evacuation of Americans from Sudan. This pretext could easily be exploited to arm the SAF and/or attack the RSF, especially if the Pentagon claims that the latter tried stopping its operation by building upon last week’s claim that its forces shot at an armored US diplomatic vehicle.

In the event that Burhan repeats the MSM’s emerging anti-Russian narrative and promises to rubbish Sudan’s naval base deal with Moscow upon defeating the RSF, then the Biden Administration can “justify” its military intervention on the basis of “defending Sudanese democracy from a Kremlin coup”. The public would then be told that the latest conflict was sparked by Russia’s support for the “insurgent” RSF, which the MSM would attribute to its interests in defending Wagner’s mining operations there.

American Meddling In Russian-Egyptian Relations

This would predictably precede an unprecedented but preplanned information warfare campaign painting Russia as a “destabilizing” force in Africa, which would be aimed at counteracting its hitherto highly successful efforts at presenting itself as a force of stability in support of legitimate governments. The purpose of this aforesaid operation would be to erode Russia’s newfound “Democratic Security” appeal across the continent with a view towards reversing the decline of Western influence there.

Furthermore, Burhan’s potentially opportunistic piggybacking on the earlier described emerging anti-Russian narrative could have serous implications for Moscow’s ties with Cairo due to the perception of them backing opposite sides in Sudan’s “deep state” war. Russian-Egyptian relations have recently been beset by scandal upon the latest Pentagon leaks alleging that Cairo abandoned its supposedly secret plan to supply rockets to Moscow under pressure from Washington and agreed to arm Kiev instead.

Considering this context, the scenario of Egyptian-backed Burhan blaming Russia for sparking the latest conflict could therefore lead to the rapid deterioration of Russian-Egyptian ties, especially if Cairo decides to indirectly retaliate against Moscow by curtailing its investment rights in Port Said. Those two signed an additional agreement on this industrial zone last month, which was first approved in 2018 and is supposed to help Russia expand its economic engagement with the broader region.

Punishing The Emirates For Its Close Relations With Russia

That goal could be jeopardized if Egypt decides to punish Russia through these means in response to Burhan opportunistically piggybacking on the MSM narrative in an attempt to obtain direct Western military support against the RSF. Furthermore, the UAE’s ties with Egypt and the US could also become much more complicated in that event too since Abu Dhabi is accused of backing reportedly RSF-allied Haftar, being favorable disposed to that armed Sudanese group, and secretly allying with Russia.

The last-mentioned accusation was brought to the public’s attentions as a result of the previously mentioned Pentagon leaks, which were denied by the UAE but coincided with the weakening of its ties with Washington that are partially over that Gulf country’s growing ones with Moscow. There are more factors at play than just the Russian-Emirati relationship, but the point is that the UAE’s problems with the US could be amplified by the MSM if Burhan accuses Russia of arming the RSF via Haftar-Wagner.

It also deserves mentioning that America’s other ulterior interest in its incipient propaganda campaign against Russia in Sudan is to complicate its geopolitical opponent’s logistical connections with the Central African Republic (CAR), which owes its continued existence as a state to Moscow’s military support. The Kremlin largely relies on transit across Sudan in order to supply its forces and its ally’s there, but this could be cut off if Burhan jumps on the anti-Russian bandwagon and revokes Moscow’s privileges.

The Chadian Connection

Lastly, another strategic factor behind this latest information warfare offensive against Russia is that it could ruin that country’s surprisingly solid relations with regional military heavyweight Chad. As explained in this recent analysis here, N’Djamena ended up expelling the German Ambassador earlier this month for meddling instead of the Russian one despite the US telling its counterparts in late February that Moscow is using Wagner in the CAR and Libya to arm anti-government rebels against it.

The Associated Press cited an African analyst from a Western risk assessment firm in their article on Thursday about 320 SAF troops fleeing to Chad to claim that this development could prompt N’Djamena into taking those forces’ side in Sudan’s “deep state” war. According to Benjamin Hunter, “N’Djamena is likely to oppose (Dagalo) due to fears that RSF dominance in Darfur could empower Chadian Arabs to unseat the (president’s) regime. Many within (Dagalo’s) Rizeigat tribe live across the border in Chad.”

If Chad becomes embroiled in Sudan’s “deep state” war on Burhan’s side, then it might be susceptible to Western suggestions that jumping on the anti-Russian bandwagon like he would have already done in this scenario could lead to them suspending their regime change campaign against N’Djamena. Should that happen, then this regional military heavyweight might also support any potentially forthcoming rebel/terrorist offensive that its historical French partner could soon plot against Russia in the CAR.

Concluding Thoughts

Putting everything together, the US plans to achieve the following strategic objectives by introducing the narrative that Russia is arming the RSF:

  1. Entice Burhan to extend credence to these claims in exchange for US military support;
  1. Demand that he also rescinds Russia’s naval base rights and cuts off its overflight access to the CAR;
  1. Consider direct support to the SAF on the pretext of commencing an “evacuation operation” in Sudan;
  1. Discredit Russia and the UAE’s African engagement policies by framing both as “destabilizing forces”;
  1. Attempt to provoke a crisis in Russia’s relations with Sudan’s Chadian and Egyptian neighbors;
  1. Exploit the above scenario to assemble a regional coalition for pushing back against Russia in Africa;
  1. Encourage Chad to support a French-backed rebel/terrorist offensive in the Russian-allied CAR;
  1. Plot a copycat proxy war in Russian-allied Mali in order to crush the Kremlin’s influence in the Sahel;
  1. Perfect this new Hybrid War method prior to employing it all across the continent;
  1. And thus turn Africa into the top proxy war battleground of the New Cold War.

The US therefore has many reasons to push this fake news campaign, though it’s unclear whether it’ll ultimately achieve any of its envisaged objectives or not.

 

 

 

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Mar 052023
 


Robert Capa Capucine, French model and actress, in her hotel room, Rome 1951

 

American Leaders Are ‘Fundamentally Stupid’ – US Democrat (RT)
Trump Vows To End Ukraine Conflict In 24 Hours (RT)
Bakhmut, Strategic Or Not, Is Falling (MoA)
U.S. Intel On China Considering Lethal Aid For Putin’s War (NBC)
China Is Finally Stepping Up To Its Role As A Superpower (Lukyanov)
West Likely Covering Up Nord Stream Probe Findings – French General (RT)
We’ll Soon Find Out (Kunstler)
EU Should ‘Get Ready’ For Stagflation – Jeffrey Sachs (RT)
Obesity Is a US Security Threat (ZH)
Almost 80% of Americans Aged 17 to 24 Unfit for Military Service (ET)
EU Delays Final Vote On Combustion Engine Ban (EN)
Twitter Discloses Another Possible Government Censorship Effort (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Russell MSNBC

 

 

 

 

Trump Deep state

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Our leaders are intellectually bankrupt. They don’t know what they can accomplish and what they can not accomplish. Fundamentally they’re stupid, and they don’t have any other ideas.”

American Leaders Are ‘Fundamentally Stupid’ – US Democrat (RT)

Motivated by a desire to sever Germany’s economic ties to Russia, the US’ “intellectually bankrupt” politicians have made nuclear war a realistic possibility, Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Geoffrey Young told RT on Saturday. Young said that the electorate he has spoken to in Kentucky are “sick of” seeing their tax dollars go to Ukraine, and think that the US should cut off the supply of arms to Kiev. In Washington, however, politicians are “separated from reality,” he said. “I think most of them are severely deluded about reality by decades of anti-Russian propaganda in our mainstream media,” he claimed, pointing to the fact that Congress is currently holding hearings on climate change, which he called “totally irrelevant..at this moment when humanity is threatened by a possible nuclear war.”

Aside from using Ukraine to fight a proxy war against Russia, Young claimed that the Bden administration’s overarching goal has been to “strengthen Washington’s hold over our European so-called allies.” “The Nord Stream bombing was a part of that strategy, designed to make Germany, the largest economy in Europe, totally dependent on the US,” he explained. “For decades, Washington’s biggest nightmare has been that Germany and Russia would ally, have their economies complement each other… and make the United States irrelevant.” American journalist Seymour Hersh recently published reports blaming the bombing of the Nord Stream pipelines on the CIA and the Norwegian navy, who he claimed acted on the instruction of President Joe Biden.

Hersh said that the attack was largely intended to remove Berlin’s ability to lift sanctions on Russia and resume buying Russian gas – which is significantly cheaper than American liquefied natural gas. These sanctions have been ineffective. According to the most recent figures from the IMF, Russia’s economy is set to grow faster than that of the UK and Germany this year, and faster than all of the G7 nations in 2024. Yet the West continues to prepare more sanctions on Moscow out of “incompetence,” Young told RT. “Our leaders are intellectually bankrupt. They don’t know what they can accomplish and what they can not accomplish. Fundamentally they’re stupid, and they don’t have any other ideas.”

The US and its allies should therefore “back off” before the conflict in Ukraine spreads any further, he recommended. Young’s position on Ukraine puts him at odds with the rest of the Democratic Party, who have voted in lockstep to continue the US’ military support for Ukraine. Only a minority of Republicans in Congress have opposed this support, with 11 GOP representatives sponsoring legislation last month that would cut off the flow of weapons to Kiev. Young is challenging incumbent Governor Steve Beshear in the Kentucky Democratic primary this May. He ran for the House of Representatives as a self-described “Peace Democrat” last November, but lost to Republican Andy Barr.

Read more …

“We are never going back to a party that wants to give unlimited money to fight foreign wars that are endless wars, that are stupid..”

Trump Vows To End Ukraine Conflict In 24 Hours (RT)

President Joe Biden is leading the United States “into oblivion,” Donald Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland on Saturday, promising to stop wasting US taxpayer money on “stupid” foreign wars as he rallies support for a potential political comeback in 2024. “I was the only president in decades that didn’t have a war,” Trump said in his nearly two-hour long speech at the annual conservative gathering at Gaylord National Resort, claiming that if he was in office right now, “Ukraine would have been thriving, there would have been no dead people, no obliterated cities that can never be rebuilt.” Last month, Trump promised to immediately call Moscow and Kiev, if re-elected, insisting he knows exactly what to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky to stop the conflict.

“I know what to say,” he reiterated on Saturday. “Before I arrive in the Oval Office, I will have the disastrous war between Russia and Ukraine ended… I will get the problem solved and I will get it solved in rapid order and it will take me no longer than one day.” At the same time, Trump blasted Biden for wasting billions of US taxpayer dollars instead of forcing Washington’s European allies to bankroll Kiev. “Is NATO putting up dollar for dollar with us?” he said. “We put up $140 billion and they put up just a tiny fraction of that. And you know, we all want to see success, but it’s far more important to them than it is to us because of that location.” “We are never going back to a party that wants to give unlimited money to fight foreign wars that are endless wars, that are stupid,” Trump proclaimed.

Trump warned Americans that they are facing the “most dangerous time in our country’s history, and Joe Biden is leading us into oblivion,” claiming that the world will soon plunge into WWIII unless “something doesn’t happen fast.” “I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent world war three,” he said. In recent months, Trump has repeatedly called for the US to lead the way in negotiating a peace settlement in Ukraine, while blasting the way President Biden has handled the conflict. He also condemned the US’ promise to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, saying the move could bring about a nuclear war – as Moscow continues to insist that arms shipments make the West a direct party to the hostilities.

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“The Ukrainian soldiers in Bakhmut, several thousands still seem to be there, will then be left with only two options: surrender or die.”

Bakhmut, Strategic Or Not, Is Falling (MoA)

Over the last six weeks the Russian counter-battery campaign destroyed some additional 500 Ukrainian howitzers and multiple rocket launchers. The Russian Lancet suicide drones (videos) have done a lot of that work. Russia has thereby increased its own artillery advantage even more. As artillery is the major killer in any modern war this also means that casualties on both sides will follow a similar ratio as the number of guns and rounds fired by each side. For the last several weeks the daily ‘clobber report’ by the Russian Defense Ministry reported some 350-400 Ukrainian soldiers killed per day along the whole frontline. On Thursday that number increased to 640, stayed at 640 in Friday’s report and increased to 880 in today’s report. 490 of those were reported in the Bakhmut area.

BBC cooperates with other organization to count every announcement of a dead soldier in the Russian local media. Since the start of the war it has identified a total of 16,000: Throughout 2022, Russian sources typically reported about 250–300 deaths each week, doubling in January and continuing to grow again in February. Russian source report death per week at a lower rate than Ukrainian death per day. The ratio is again about 10 Ukrainians for 1 Russian. That number of Russian dead has doubled in January and further increased in February says the BBC. But the 10 to 1 ratio between Ukrainian and Russian dead will still have been the same.

I have said for a while that Bakhmut was in operational encirclement. Russian artillery could reach its last roads in and out. Since three days ago Bakhmut is in tactical encirclement. Russian direct fire, i.e. tank guns and hand held anti-tank missiles, can now cover all of Bakhmut’s supply routes. They will shoot at any car that attempts to drive there. Its one reason why the reported deaths have harshly increased. Should the Ukraine decide to order its soldiers to stay in Bakhmut the city will be physically encircled. All roads will be blocked not only by fire but by heavily armed Russian checkpoints. The Ukrainian soldiers in Bakhmut, several thousands still seem to be there, will then be left with only two options: surrender or die.

Read more …

Anonymous sources galore. But zero evidence. Just poking the dragon.

U.S. Intel On China Considering Lethal Aid For Putin’s War (NBC)

Initial U.S. intelligence suggesting that China is considering supplying lethal aid to Russia for its war in Ukraine was gleaned from Russian government officials, according to one current and one former U.S. official familiar with the intelligence. U.S. officials then spent weeks corroborating the information from other sources of intelligence, the current and former officials said, and with allies who also brought additional streams of information. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence matters. The multiple threads of intelligence suggesting that China is considering giving lethal aid to Russia, including ammunition and artillery, raised alarm among Biden administration officials, particularly given how such a move by Beijing could shift the dynamic of the war in Moscow’s favor.

“A Russian military that’s fueled by or aided by a Chinese infusion of weapons and platforms is more lethal militarily and more capable,” a senior administration official said. “That’s not going to be good for the people of Ukraine.” Top administration officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and CIA Director Williams Burns, have publicly expressed confidence in the intelligence and warned China against providing Russia with lethal military aid. China has denied it is considering sending lethal aid to Russia, calling the U.S. accusation “disinformation.” U.S. officials note that they have not seen any evidence of movement or a decision from China to take that step. At a White House press briefing Thursday, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby was asked how serious the administration thinks China is about possibly sending weapons to Russia.

“We actually don’t know,” Kirby said. Kirby added that the U.S. believes China has not taken it off the table but also has not seen any evidence that Beijing is moving toward sending lethal aid to Moscow. The initial intelligence was vague about what specific systems or equipment China was considering providing to Russia, including whether they could provide drones beyond what are already available commercially, officials familiar with the intelligence said. “There are varying levels of confidence about how serious China is about this,” a second senior U.S. official said. In an interview Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Burns acknowledged that the decision to release the information publicly was intended to deter China from deciding to provide Russia with lethal aid. “We’re confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment,” Burns said. He added: “Secretary Blinken and the President have thought it important to make very clear what the consequences of that would be.”

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“This will change the world..”

China Is Finally Stepping Up To Its Role As A Superpower (Lukyanov)

China has stepped up its diplomatic activity considerably. This is not only because it has broken out of the long-standing pandemic isolation that previously hampered its outreach. The main motive is that China’s role and weight in the international arena have grown to the point where contemplative detachment is no longer possible. This is an important shift in Chinese self-awareness; the question now is what changes in international practice it will lead to. Non-action as the highest virtue and the non-contradictory interpenetration of opposites are principles of traditional philosophy, but they are also quite an applied way of conducting international activities. A detailed analysis of this phenomenon should be left to specialists, but it is worth noting that the shift from such a worldview to a more familiar ideological and geopolitical confrontation took place when China adopted the generally alien Western communist doctrine.

Mao Zedong attempted to change not only the social order but also the culture of the Chinese. But his reign ended with a bargain with the United States, which was a return to a strategic equilibrium that better suited the Chinese view of the world. Mutual recognition did not mean agreement and harmony, but it was in line with the objectives of the parties at the time. This period, which lasted until very recently, is only now showing signs of coming to an end. There is much debate in America about the last few decades, and there is complaining that it is China that has gained the most from the interaction. Criteria may vary, but in general it is hard to disagree that Beijing has been the primary beneficiary – at least in terms of the transformation of the country and its place on the international stage. Deng Xiaoping’s strategy of quiet, gradual ascent was entirely in the Chinese spirit, and the result has undoubtedly been justified.

So much so that it was extremely difficult for Beijing to understand that this super favorable and advantageous situation would come to an end. This proved inevitable for one simple reason: China has acquired a power that, whatever its wishes and intentions, makes it a potential rival to the US. And this has led to a natural evolution of the American approach to Beijing. After all, the US style is the direct opposite of the classic Chinese style described above. And the latter’s attempts in the late 2010s and early 2020s to slow down the growing American pressure have run up against Washington’s firm intention to move the relationship into the category of strategic competition. To be fair, China’s assertiveness and self-confidence were also growing, but if everything had depended on Beijing alone, the period of beneficial cooperation would have lasted several more years.

Be that as it may, a new era has dawned. China’s diplomatic revival is intended to demonstrate that Beijing is not afraid to play a role in world politics. The form of engagement so far bears the hallmarks of the previous period and of that very traditional approach – the sterile precision of the wording of Chinese peace proposals on the Ukraine issue is evidence of this. But this too is likely to change. China’s desire to maintain an outwardly well intentioned neutrality suits Moscow; it is the West that is quick to allege insincerity, and to do so in a tone that is unbecoming of the Chinese. Beijing should not be expected to make a sharp U-turn, which is also contrary to its sense of propriety, but the direction is set. And it is not a question of whether China shares Russia’s assessment of what is happening in Ukraine.

Beijing has carefully avoided expressing an opinion because it does not consider it to be its business. But the realignment of forces on the world stage is taking its course, with China and Russia, whether they like it or not, on one side and the United States and its allies on the other. And from now on this will become increasingly clear. In his ten years at the helm of his country, Xi Jinping has transformed its domestic and foreign policies. On the one hand, he has emphasized the classical Chinese outlook more than his predecessors, while on the other, he has honored the slogans and ideas associated with socialism. The former implies a self-sufficient harmony, while the latter tends to be outward-looking as much as inward-looking. This symbiosis is likely to define China’s positioning in the next five or ten years of Xi’s rule. The hostile international environment will increasingly test Beijing’s ability to maintain an acceptable equilibrium. Much will depend on how successful these attempts are, including for Russia.

Read more …

“And if we don’t have any conclusions, it’s [because] there are probably conclusions that they don’t want to give..”

West Likely Covering Up Nord Stream Probe Findings – French General (RT)

The fact that none of the Western nations investigating the Nord Stream pipeline explosions have released their findings implies they have reached a conclusion they would rather keep under the rug, a French general has claimed. Dominique Trinquand, the former head of the French military mission to the UN and NATO, also described as “trustworthy” a recent exposé by Pulitzer Prize-winning US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, which alleged that Washington was behind the act of sabotage. Speaking on France’s LCI TV channel on Friday about the attack, which took place in September 2022, Trinquand argued that “we would have found proof if it were the Russians.” He went on to suggest that if there is still no evidence incriminating Moscow, “you have to look elsewhere.”

A key question that needs to be asked, according to the French general, is “who benefits from the crime?” Seeing that the destroyed pipelines were owned by Moscow, “the crime a priori will not benefit the Russians,” Trinquand insisted. He also pointed out the fact that even though such countries as Sweden, Denmark, and Germany have conducted their own probes into the explosions, recovering a lot of material from the site, no conclusions have been made public as of yet. “And if we don’t have any conclusions, it’s [because] there are probably conclusions that they don’t want to give,” the general surmised.

Commenting on Hersh’s bombshell report, which pointed the finger squarely at the US, Trinquand asserted that the story is not only plausible, but also verifiable by pretty much anyone thanks to online aircraft- and vessel-tracking services available nowadays. In his article, Hersh claimed US Navy divers had planted bombs at the undersea pipelines for pumping gas from Russia to Germany back in June 2022 under the guise of the BALTOPS 22 NATO exercise in the Baltic Sea. According to the exposé, the explosives were detonated three months later with a remote signal sent by a sonar buoy dropped by a Norwegian Navy P8 surveillance plane. Washington has consistently denied any involvement in the sabotage, while top Russian officials have called for a UN investigation into what President Vladimir Putin has described as an “act of international terrorism.”

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“..just adds another layer of perfidy to the giant matrix of lies laid down by US agency officials in this disgraceful episode of US history..”

We’ll Soon Find Out (Kunstler)

In an interview with Fox News’s Bret Baier last Tuesday, FBI Director Chris Wray said, “The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.” Like so much else in America’s tortured, distractible life these days, the meaning larded into that utterance went clear over the collective heads of just about everybody. What was the key part of that statement? “For quite some time now….” Gee, really? Like, how long? One year? More than that? Maybe since March 2020? And you didn’t say anything, Mr. FBI Director? You didn’t do a thing to dispel the Covid-19 miasma of confusion that swaddled Washington DC like a smallpox blanket of yore?

The question of where the novel coronavirus came from has been a ferocious national controversy since late 2019, you understand. Several government agencies, including the CIA and all the offices under the gigantic National Institutes of Health (NIH) – including the NIAID run for decades by Dr. Anthony Fauci — plus the FDA and CDC, tucked into the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)… all of these outfits have pretended to not know the true origin of Covid-19 for over three years. And the FBI Director, who could have shed some authoritative light on the matter by stepping up to a podium and weighing in, just let all that chaos roll? And by-the-by, let’s not forget that the whole time Chris Wray knew with moderate certainty that Covid-19 came from the Wuhan virology lab, he was in charge of a battalion of FBI agents assigned to managing Twitter, Facebook, and Google — that is, the apps that comprise the digital Public Square — to make sure that anyone who opined about Covid coming from the Wuhan lab got censored, banished, cancelled, reputationally destroyed.

So, why did Mr. Wray make this statement on Tuesday… “The FBI has for quite some time now assessed…” Probably we’re hearing the old Modified Limited Hangout strategy, a venerable ruse, which is when a criminally culpable government throws the public a bone of admission about something that is common knowledge anyway — the thing everybody knows — while pretending that they were in on the common knowledge all along — which just adds another layer of perfidy to the giant matrix of lies laid down by US agency officials in this disgraceful episode of US history. What Mr. Wray left out of his statement this week is any hint that a gang of US scientists and doctors under Dr. Fauci were directly and intimately involved in the activities at Wuhan that produced the virus that killed millions around the world, and led to the warp speed production of a “vaccine” mere weeks after the organism appeared — which will probably end up killing and maiming more people than the disease itself.

Read more …

Hmm.. What’s happening in Europe is not just some financial phenomenon. It’s eating its own sanctions.

EU Should ‘Get Ready’ For Stagflation – Jeffrey Sachs (RT)

The Eurozone is on the verge of stagflation, renowned US economist Jeffrey Sachs has warned on his Youtube channel. Stagflation refers to a period of stagnant economic growth tied up with persistently high inflation and a sharp rise in unemployment. According to Sachs, who was the mastermind behind “shock therapy” reforms in the 1990s in Russia, the recent slowing in headline inflation in the euro area is a temporary occurrence, as it includes highly volatile fresh food and energy prices, which change quickly. However, the core inflation, which excludes these readings and therefore gives a clearer picture of underlying pressures within the economy, surged to a new record last month, signaling that the Eurozone economy may be headed into a crisis in the long run.

“Core inflation in Europe just keeps rising, despite headline slowing as the economy tips into recession. Get ready for stagflation!” Sachs said. Headline inflation across the 20 countries of the euro area slowed to 8.5% in February from 8.6% the month before, according to Eurostat data. Experts attribute the trend to the decline in energy prices brought about by unseasonably mild weather and, subsequently, lower demand. Core inflation, on the other hand, rose by 5.6%, a new historic high for the indicator. The surge in core inflation is likely to force the European Central Bank to keep raising interest rates, which often stalls economic growth or even pushes the economy into a recession, a period of negative growth.

“If we don’t get clear signals that core inflation is going down, we’ll have to do more,” Belgium’s central bank head Pierre Wunsch, who is also a member of the ECB governing council, told reporters this week, adding that “looking at rates of 4% would not be excluded.” Sachs is not the first to issue warnings about a looming stagflation. Another renowned economist, Nouriel Roubini, has been saying for months now that the world economy is headed into what he calls “a global stagflationary debt crisis,” noting that with interest rates at their current level, the debt ratio is quickly becoming unsustainable.

Read more …

Two articles on the same topic. Zero Hedge focuses on military, ET more on food.

It is absolute insanity that the US subsidizes the demise of its own citizens, through foodstamps etc.

77% of Americans aged 17-24 are unfit for military service.

Obesity Is a US Security Threat (ZH)

As the US military struggles to fill the ranks with new recruits, a new report from the Department of Defense reveals that the vast majority of Americans aged 17-24 are unfit for military service. Citing a Feb. 16 congressional hearing, a DoD report reveals that 77% of Americans in the above age group could not physically qualify to enter the armed forces – a 6% increase from 2017. A key factor is obesity – which hit nearly 42% in 2020. Meanwhile, a 2022 study cited by the Epoch Times found a link between receiving government food assistance and a greater chance of becoming obese through the consumption of unhealthy foods. A 2015 USDA analysis found that 40% of total SNAP participants were obese. Last month, Military.com reported on an Army initiative to whip fat, low-scoring recruits into shape in ‘pre-basic training courses.’

“The program, known as the Future Soldier Preparatory Course, is designed to expand the pool of eligible Americans who can join the service by creating short camps that help applicants reach Army standards. The service came up short of its recruiting goal last year, bringing in 45,000 new active-duty troops — well below its goal of 60,000. This year, the service is even more ambitious, seeking 65,000 new recruits.” -Military.com “The Future Soldier Prep Course is giving young Americans who want to serve the chance to do so, by helping them not only meet our standards, but in many cases rise above them,” said Gen. James McConville, the Army’s top officer. “We started seeing positive results early on in the program, and I am happy to see it expand to additional installations so we can continue to attract and invest in our nation’s best talent.”

In September 2022, a U.S. Army general bluntly said that young Americans are either too obese, too sick, or too criminal to serve in the military. “Some of the challenges we have are obesity, we have pre-existing medical conditions, we have behavioral health problems, we have criminality, people with felonies, and we have drug use,” Lt. Gen. Xavier Brunson told The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington. Brunson called it a “condition,” saying that “this is not an Army problem, so nationally what we have to look at is what’s going on with our youth.” The general’s statement came as a response to difficulties the U.S. military had reaching their target goals for recruits in 2022. This struggle, prevalent in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, has prompted security analysts and some U.S. institutions to declare obesity a threat to national security.

“Each year, more than $60 million goes toward replacing the 1,200-plus first-term enlistees discharged for excess weight,” Irina Tsukerman, a security analyst and the owner of Scarab Rising, told The Epoch Times. She said high obesity rates have narrowed the recruiting pool considerably, coupled with “falling intelligence and education standards.” She also noted that, along with reduced resiliency and flexibility, the military is less prepared to meet “asymmetrical or conventional challenges.” Police departments struggle with similar challenges, according to Tsukerman.

Read more …

“The top seven subsidized foods covered under SNAP have been associated with “cardiometabolic risk factors” such as obesity..”

Almost 80% of Americans Aged 17 to 24 Unfit for Military Service (ET)

It’s no secret that the U.S. military is struggling to find people who are fit for service these days. Maintaining health and wellness among its existing members has also become a challenge. A Department of Defense report cited during a Feb. 16 congressional hearing offered a hard pill to swallow: 77 percent of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are unqualified physically to enter the armed forces. That’s a 6 percent increase from 2017, which has added to the struggle to find new recruits in every branch of the military. One of the major hurdles recruiters now face is obesity, which has become a dominant health challenge for Americans. As of 2020, the prevalence of obesity in the adult population hit nearly 42 percent. In addition, research shows that government food subsidies are a significant contributing factor.

One 2022 study found a link between receiving food assistance and a greater chance of becoming obese through the consumption of unhealthy foods. That’s especially true for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). As the largest federal nutrition assistance program in the United States, SNAP counts thousands of U.S. military members among its beneficiaries. Presently, there are 22,000 active duty individuals and nearly 250,000 National Guard service members who receive SNAP, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). But this isn’t a new problem. Findings from a 2015 USDA analysis revealed that 40 percent of total SNAP participants were obese. The top seven subsidized foods covered under SNAP have been associated with “cardiometabolic risk factors” such as obesity since 2009. Subsidized crops are turned into highly processed foods with little to no nutritional benefit, many of which are available to SNAP recipients.

Ultra-processed foods directly contribute to obesity, according to a 2022 health report. The analysis states that the consumption of ultra-processed foods is likely much higher among those participating in SNAP. And that’s because, unlike some U.S. nutrition subsidy programs, SNAP covers items such as cookies, soda, candy, and ice cream. So participants aren’t only eating higher quantities of heavily processed items, but also have access to a lot of junk food. Although food assistance is critical for more than 41 million Americans, nutritionists argue that a helping hand shouldn’t be at the expense of someone’s health. And it really comes down to cost. It’s simply cheaper to eat junk than it is to eat healthier food.

“We need a system that reduces the cost of healthy, unprocessed foods and makes it easier for people to afford and access them,” Dana Ellis Hunnes, senior clinical dietitian at UCLA Medical Center, told The Epoch Times. Hunnes has a passion for nutrition, which she shares in her book “Recipe for Survival.” She noted that ultra-processed food is the cornerstone of federal food assistance, which can fuel high obesity rates. “Ideally, we should be offering significantly more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and farmers’ market vouchers than … processed cereals, dairy products, and other packaged ultra-processed foods,” she said.

Read more …

A suicidal society in a last gasp save.

EU Delays Final Vote On Combustion Engine Ban (EN)

European Union member states decided on Friday morning to postpone a vote to ratify an EU-wide ban on the sale of new combustion engine vehicles as of 2035, reflecting growing discontent over one of the central measures to achieve climate neutrality by mid-century. The ban was designed as a gradual transition and proposes that all new cars and vans sold across the EU market from 2035 onwards should have a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions, a provision that will effectively exclude all those that run on petrol and diesel. Brussels chose 2035 as the cut-off date because the average lifespan of vehicles is 15 years and the Green Deal aims to make the entire economy CO2-neutral by 2050.

Friday’s vote by EU ambassadors was supposed to be a mere formality after the bloc’s two co-legislators, the EU Council and the European Parliament, had reached in October a provisional agreement that kept the 2035 deadline intact. The Parliament rubberstamped the law last month with a tight margin of 340 MEPs in favour and 279 against. The legislation was then passed on to ambassadors for the final green light. But as Friday’s vote approached, a number of member states intensified their opposition. Germany, Italy, Poland and Bulgaria are among those who in recent weeks expressed concerns regarding the far-reaching measure, Euronews understands. Together, the four countries would have been able to mount a so-called “blocking minority,” using either abstention or rejection votes.


Germany, a world leader in the automotive industry, is campaigning to have cars that run on synthetic fuels, also known as e-fuels, excluded from the 2035 ban. E-fuels are an emerging technology whose carbon footprint and commercial viability have been contested by environmental organisations. German Transport Minister Volker Wissing, who hails from the liberal, business-friendly FDP party, said earlier this week he had asked the European Commission for a new proposal to introduce the e-fuel exemption but he had not received any positive feedback from the bloc’s executive. “Against the background of the enormous fleet of cars that we have in Germany alone, there can only be a compromise for the FDP on the fleet limits if the use of e-fuels is also possible,” Wissing said.

Read more …

Possible?

Twitter Discloses Another Possible Government Censorship Effort (Turley)

An old saying, attributed to Henry David Thoreau, maintains that you do not have to find a trout in your glass to know someone is watering down the milk. This week Americans found a veritable school of trout in their milk — an unintentional demonstration by the Biden administration of why such a gathering of fish is often called a “lie.” In the 17th release of the “Twitter Files,” journalist Matt Taibbi disclosed that the U.S. government is funding a group that has supported the censorship of dissenting viewpoints on social media, including those of U.S. citizens. That may sound familiar. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote here that the congressionally created, federally funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) had supported the British-based Global Disinformation Index (GDI).

The index was widely ridiculed for targeting ten conservative and libertarian sites as the most dangerous sources of disinformation; it sought to persuade advertisers to withdraw support for those sites, while listing their most liberal counterparts as among the most trustworthy. At the time, I noted that the Biden administration had played us for chumps. As we celebrated the demise of the infamous Disinformation Governing Board with its “Disinformation Nanny,” the Biden administration never disclosed a larger censorship program. Shortly after my column posted in The Hill, the NED wrote to me to say that it was discontinuing support for the GDI. Microsoft also was forced into retreat after it was shown to be pushing the GDI’s biased blacklist. Again, many celebrated a victory for free speech.

Yet, here we are again staring down at a trout in our milk. This week, Taibbi reported that the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) may have supported a different disinformation blacklisting operation. The GEC controversy appears strikingly similar to the one involving the NED. Both have supported third-party organizations that carried out blacklisting. Taibbi contends that the GEC contracted with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), which sent suggested blacklists to Twitter; DFRLab says Taibbi’s report is incorrect and that it does not make content moderation decisions. Yet, even Twitter censors reportedly balked at the size of the suggested blacklists and lack of supporting evidence. One list submitted by the GEC included several CNN journalists and Western government accounts, according to Taibbi.

Twitter’s Patrick Conlon reportedly mocked the list by referring to network anchor Anderson Cooper, joking: “Not exactly Anderson’s besties, but CNN assets if you will.” Yoel Roth, then Twitter’s head of trust and safety, responded “omg” and “what a total crock.” It would be funny except for the fact that we know Twitter has admitted censoring many of those targeted by the government. Still, many congressional Democrats continue to oppose efforts to investigate government censorship efforts, unleashing a type of Red Scare 2.0 by accusing critics of supporting insurrectionists or being “Putin lovers.” Others have simply insisted that if you see a trout in your milk, it is just your opinion.

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Mar 022023
 


Camille Pissarro Plum Trees in Blossom, Éragny 1894

 

Zelensky, Cronies In Major Corruption Scandal In Ukraine – And US? (Lavrenin)
Zelensky Floats ‘Strategic Pullback’ From Bakhmut (ZH)
Germany’s Scholz: Russia Must Take First Steps Towards Peace In Ukraine (TASS)
UK Ex-Foreign Secretary: US Makes Decisions On Arms Supplies To Ukraine (TASS)
Ready to Die for Ukraine? Russia Warns of Nuclear Annihilation (Celente)
Deep State Absolutely Wants to Kill You – Alex Newman (USAW)
EU Is Threatening Serbia – Vucic (RT)
Pentagon Says It Struggles To Track US Weapons In Ukraine (RT)
Deadly Balancing Act For Region With US Hell Bent On China War (Lo)
US Rallying Allies For New China Sanctions (RT)
Russiagate Spells Journalism’s Death (Chris Hedges)
Greek Consumers Pay Up To 45% More This Year For Basic Food Items (K.)
Ghislaine Maxwell Reportedly In Solitary After Saying Epstein Was Murdered (GP)

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

Penn Blitzer

 

 

 

 

Bukele
https://twitter.com/i/status/1630958207530065927

 

 

Keir Simmons
https://twitter.com/i/status/1631096391488471042

 

 

 

 

“..we can be certain that the inspectors won’t disclose any serious abuses following the audit, since this would deal a blow to President Joe Biden..”

Zelensky, Cronies In Major Corruption Scandal In Ukraine – And US? (Lavrenin)

The corruption scandals in Ukraine are being actively publicized by the media and are linked not only to the government’s political opponents, but also to Ukraine’s partners, primarily the United States. For example, Bihus.Info published an investigation into Yermak’s ties with former deputies from the now banned “Opposition Platform – For Life” party. This was Ukraine’s second largest political faction, until it was prohibited by Zelensky, as part of his crackdown on political opponents. Many experts have viewed the saga as an attempt by the American government to solve its own pressing issue of Republican demands that the White House establishes control over US aid to Ukraine. Having gained a majority in the House of Representatives, the Republican Party wants stricter controls over the expenditure of multibillion-dollar tranches allocated to Kiev. In Ukraine, the political consequences may also be significant.

On January 29, several inspectors arrived in Kiev from the US. The commission included Inspectors General Diana Shaw, Robert Storch, and Nicole Angarella from the US Department of State, the Pentagon, and the Agency for International Development (USAID), respectively. According to the US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink, the purpose of their visit was “to advance independent oversight of US assistance to Ukraine”. The offices of all three inspectors have established an interdepartmental working group that includes similar services in other departments and several government auditing services – 17 in total. The group will be responsible for holding meetings with “key American and Ukrainian officials, colleagues in various government agencies and non-governmental organizations implementing programs funded by the United States.” The inspectors are clearly trying to work with the civilian population, bypassing the Ukrainian authorities.

Among the inspectors, Robert Storch is closely familiar with Ukraine’s internal affairs. From 2007 to 2009, he worked in Ukraine as a consultant on anti-corruption issues, and in 2014, he returned to Kiev to help develop anti-corruption legislation. He also advised the authorities on the creation of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). Storch has already been active in Ukraine. He met with Vitaliy Shabunin, director of the Anti-Corruption Centre (ACC), who recently criticized the Ukrainian Presidential Office and raised issues of graft in the higher echelons of power, and who was in turn criticized by Reznikov. After the meeting with Storch, however, the anti-corruption activist wrote in his Telegram channel that “all three inspectors-general are deeply aware both of corruption in food purchases and other problems in the Ministry of Defence (which will soon become public)”.

Storch also made time to hold a meeting with Reznikov directly. What’s next? It remains unclear whether the increased interest in policing corruption is an initiative by Ukraine’s pro-Western structures or is part of a new strategy from Washington. Nevertheless, the US inspectors’ main goal was to investigate the misuse of allocated funds. Given that the aid accounts for about half of Ukraine’s budget, the US reasonably expects the funds to be used for achieving set goals and not enriching officials. Consequently, we can be certain that the inspectors won’t disclose any serious abuses following the audit, since this would deal a blow to President Joe Biden and would also reflect negatively on American officials.

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PR dep. working overtime.

Zelensky Floats ‘Strategic Pullback’ From Bakhmut (ZH)

Zelensky officials are now openly talking about a possible ‘strategic pullback’ from the besieged eastern city of Bakhmut. This comes after Zelensky himself said he’s not ready to order a continued defense of the city at all costs. By all accounts both sides are suffering huge casualties, but Russia has the superior artillery fire, which has been sustained around the clock, also as Kremlin forces have the city almost completely surrounded. According to The Hill: “A Ukrainian presidential adviser on Tuesday said troops may “strategically pull back” from the town of Bakhmut, the focus of intense and brutal fighting for the past few months. Alexander Rodnyansky told CNN the Ukrainian army has not yet pulled out of the city, but Kyiv may soon decide the cost of holding Bakhmut “outweighs the benefits.”


“Our military is obviously going to weigh all of the options,” the Zelensky aide told CNN. “So far they’ve held the city, but if need be, they will strategically pull back because we’re not going to sacrifice all of our people just for nothing.” President Zelensky has also admitted defense of the town has proven “most difficult” for his forces. However, in rare comments, Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said Ukrainian forces continue putting up a fierce resistance on Wednesday. So far they’ve been throwing an immense amount of manpower into Bakhmut, he said. “The Ukrainian army is throwing extra reserves into Artyomovsk and trying to hold the town with all their strength,” Prigozhin said, using the Russian name for Bakhmut, in an audio message published by Wagner’s press service. “Tens of thousands of Ukrainian army fighters are putting up furious resistance. The bloodiness of the battles is growing by the day.”


Russia just took Khromove

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“He would like to see the withdrawal of Russian troops in the first place..”

Germany’s Scholz: Russia Must Take First Steps Towards Peace In Ukraine (TASS)

The German government thinks that Russia should be the first to take a step towards achieving peace in Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at a joint press conference with Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins in Berlin on Wednesday. Scholz argued it was “clear” to him that Russia had attacked Ukraine, and that Russia was the country that “must do something” to make peace possible. He would like to see the withdrawal of Russian troops in the first place. Scholz stated that attention should now be paid to what he described as “the security policy situation on NATO’s eastern flank.” “In the event of an attack, we will together defend every centimeter of the alliance’s territory,” Scholz argued. He assured that the West would continue to “support Ukraine as much as necessary.”

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UK=Perfect Puppets.

UK Ex-Foreign Secretary: US Makes Decisions On Arms Supplies To Ukraine (TASS)

Britain will not be able to independently expand the supply of arms to Ukraine, since the main decisions in this regard are still being made in Washington, former British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a conversation with Russian pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov (Vovan) and Alexei Stolyarov (Lexus), published on Wednesday. Hague served as Britain’s Foreign Secretary from 2010 to 2014. In a conversation with pranksters who called him on behalf of Ukraine’s former president, Pyotr Poroshenko, he said that he remained in touch with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, advised him on the need to increase arms supplies to Ukraine and was sort of a mentor for the head of the British Cabinet. “Great Britain will not change its policy without the United States, without coordinating it with the United States. In other words, the main decisions are still made in Washington,” Hague said.


He noted that if Britain had free reign to make a decision to supply long-range weapons to Ukraine, there would be no doubt on that score. He added that the process of Ukraine’s accession to NATO, in his opinion, would last for years. Hague speculated that the scheme that existed between the United States and Israel might serve as a solution for such a transition period. This is not an agreement or a defensive alliance, he said, but political certainty that Israel will always have the most advanced systems for defense. Ukraine, too, can have such relations with Britain, the US and many other Western states. “As for NATO, you can only imagine how long all this coordination will take in the alliance,” Hague said.

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“If the issue of the very existence of Russia is raised seriously, it won’t be decided on the Ukrainian front. [It’ll be decided] together with the issue of the further existence of the entire human civilization.”

Ready to Die for Ukraine? Russia Warns of Nuclear Annihilation (Celente)

Last week, in an article published in Izvestia newspaper, the former president of Russia Dmitry Medvedev warned of a nuclear ‘apocalypse’ if NATO and the U.S. continued to ramp up the Ukraine War. Noting that the West and its “satellites” represent only 15 percent of the world’s population, he wrote it is “delusional” if they think that, “after putting the Soviet Union to rest, it’ll be able to also bury modern Russia without significant problems for itself, by throwing the lives of thousands of people involved in the conflict [in Ukraine] into the furnace,” and that those are “extremely dangerous misconceptions.”

The now deputy chair of the Russian Security Council also noted that “If the issue of the very existence of Russia is raised seriously, it won’t be decided on the Ukrainian front. [It’ll be decided] together with the issue of the further existence of the entire human civilization.” He warned the more weapons the U.S., NATO and its allies send to Ukraine while failing to discuss peace, the more it’s “…bound to lead to a total fiasco; the defeat for everyone; a collapse. An apocalypse when the former life would have to be forgotten for centuries, until the smoky debris ceases to emit radiation.” Echoing Medvedev’s nuclear warning, on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow must take into account NATO’s nuclear capabilities as he claimed that the West wants to destroy Russia.

“Where the leading NATO countries have proclaimed their main goal to be the strategic defeat of Russia, in order for our people ‘to suffer’ as they put it, how, in these conditions, could we not take into account their nuclear potential?” he asked. Putin said the West is complicit in “crimes” being committed by Ukraine by supplying the country with weapons and that the end goal is to destroy and divide Russia. Resonating that sentiment on Monday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said America and its allies want to “isolate, and even dismember” Russia and the future world order is being formed.

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Mengele, Rockefeller, Schwab.

Deep State Absolutely Wants to Kill You – Alex Newman (USAW)

Award-winning journalist Alex Newman, author of the popular books “Deep State” and “Crimes of the Educators,” predicted at the beginning is this year that the Deep State demons will have one crisis after another to keep people confused and afraid. The latest crisis is the economic and ecological disaster in East Palestine, Ohio. Newman says expect many more disasters and explains, “All across the country we are seeing very bizarre things happen. Factories and chemical plants going up in flames, food processing facilities blowing up, airplanes crashing in mysterious ways, and I think we are heading into an era of really serious crisis. Last summer, I was putting together the wave of crises that the Deep State was preparing for us, and one of the terms I used was ‘polycrisis.’ Then, right before the World Economic Forum meeting this year, they actually put on their website is 2023 the year of the polycrisis? Of course, it will be the year of the polycrisis.

I think we are prepared and being groomed for cyber-attacks, currency crisis, economic crisis and, of course, Russia/Ukraine and China/Taiwan. I think all of this is going to be used for a series of never-ending crises until we are ready to give up our freedoms, give up our national sovereignty and self-government, and move towards this crazy totalitarian, technocratic system they want.” Newman says it’s not going to be a kind transition for most people. Newman says, “The thing that is so hard for people to understand is that there are very powerful people that are working together, and they absolutely want to kill you. That is not speculation. These people have been openly saying for a century that they believe there are too many people on this planet. . . . The eugenics movement never died. Margaret Sanger, the Rockefellers, Dr. Joseph Mengele was funded by the Rockefeller dynasty. These people are very much still around. Bill Gates is the perfect example. His dad was on the board of Planned Parenthood, the largest butcher of unborn babies in America. . . . Bill Gates says openly and frequently that there are too many people on this planet. He wants to use vaccines and healthcare to reduce the number of people on the planet.”

Newman has a dark warning for America and explains, “Now that they are done with America and we are no longer useful and an obstacle to this global agenda, they need to knock us out. They may not want to resort to nuclear bombs, but if they did, it would not surprise me. . . . America is founded on very important ideals, and these are, once again, making a resurgence. Our self-evident truths that are enshrined in our Constitution, that God created us equally, that God gave us the right to property. God gave us our right to life. Government exists to protect these rights. These are Biblical ideas distilled into a political document. . . . These are ideals that are fundamental to liberty, and as long as the United States exists in its present form . . . . America is a major threat to this agenda. I don’t think we should put it past them that they would use nuclear bombs against us. I also think there is a fifth column in Washington that would be more than happy to collaborate.

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“Vucic vowed that he would never sign any “formal or informal recognition of Kosovo” as long as he is Serbia’s president..”

EU Is Threatening Serbia – Vucic (RT)

Serbia has not agreed to the EU’s “normalization” proposal on its relations with the breakaway province of Kosovo, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday while appearing on national TV. He added that Belgrade was facing threats from Brussels, but still refused to discuss the recognition of Kosovo and its accession to the UN. His words came a day after the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said on Twitter that both Belgrade and Pristina supported the Franco-German proposal for a “path to normalization” of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti then said he had offered to sign the plan, but that Vucic refused to do so, even though he had apparently “agreed to” it. On Tuesday, however, Vucic said that the sides “did not agree,” but simply agreed on continuing the talks. He added that “nothing has been signed in Brussels.”

Serbia is “ready to work on the implementation of many [points of] this plan,” Vucic said, but Belgrade still does not want to discuss “mutual recognition” as well as Kosovo’s accession to the UN. Serbia has not struck any “secret agreements,” the president said, adding that “not a single agreement is hidden” and he has “nothing to hide.” Vucic also called Borrell’s statement “very vague” and said that he was ready to discuss the “concept” of normalization. Vucic vowed that he would never sign any “formal or informal recognition of Kosovo” as long as he is Serbia’s president. He also admitted that Belgrade was facing pressure from Brussels and that the consequences of rejecting the plan would be a halting of Serbia’s integration into the European Union and a withdrawal of EU investments.

“We currently have 80,000 people working in German-owned factories alone. They threatened a number of other measures, including that Serbia would become a pariah isolated from the [rest of the] world,” Vucic said. An EU plan published by the bloc’s External Action Service says that Serbia and Kosovo would “develop normal, good-neighborly relations with each other on the basis of equal rights” and their dialogue would be guided by UN principles, including “those of the sovereign equality of all States.” The EU has insisted on Serbia recognizing Kosovo’s independence as a precondition for joining the bloc, even though five member countries – Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Greece, and Romania – do not recognize it either.

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“..refused to say whether his team had encountered any such corruption in Ukraine..”

Pentagon Says It Struggles To Track US Weapons In Ukraine (RT)

A classified report last year found that the Pentagon was unable to keep tabs on tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons sent to Ukraine. Details of the report were revealed – apparently inadvertently – by a Republican lawmaker during a hearing on Tuesday. Speaking at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee in Washington on Tuesday, Pentagon Inspector General Robert Storch noted that the US has allocated $113 billion in aid to Ukraine since the conflict there began last February, around 60% of which went to the country’s military. Storch – who is tasked with ensuring that this money is accounted for and not lost to waste, fraud, or abuse – refused to say whether his team had encountered any such corruption in Ukraine. However, Republican Rep. Mike Johnson stated that a report from Storch’s office last October found that the Pentagon was unable to carry out monitoring of weapons deliveries to Ukraine in line with its own policies.

Storch responded that the report in question was supposed to remain classified, but admitted that it was “accurate” in acknowledging “challenges” faced by the US in Ukraine. Monitoring of such arms deliveries is governed by the 1996 Arms Export Control Act. Questioned by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz – a vocal opponent of military aid to Ukraine – Storch would not confirm or deny under oath whether the Pentagon was complying with this act. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby claimed in January that the Biden administration has “not seen any signs” that military or economic aid “has fallen prey to any kind of corruption in Ukraine.” However, the classified document mentioned by Johnson appears to back up a slew of reports suggesting that weapons often disappear once delivered. Reports from last year – backed up by Amnesty International – claimed that as little as 30% of Western weapons sent to Ukraine were actually making it to the front lines.

American and Canadian officials admitted at the time that they had no idea where most of these weapons were ending up, with one US intelligence source telling CNN that they vanish “into a big black hole” once they enter Ukraine. The Kremlin has claimed that up to $1 billion worth of these weapons are funneled from Ukraine to criminals and terror groups in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia every month, while Europol and Interpol both warned that weapons have likely been transferred from Ukraine to criminal organizations in Europe. Pressed by Gaetz on Tuesday, Storch admitted that “there’s a long history of issues with corruption in Ukraine.” Earlier on Tuesday, a former American soldier who fought for Ukraine’s foreign legion before defecting to Russia told RT that he had personally seen commanders selling off Western missile launchers and rifles.

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“Why talk when you can just pull out a gun? That’s America’s style..”

Deadly Balancing Act For Region With US Hell Bent On China War (Lo)

In one respect, Antony Blinken’s latest claim about Taiwan is right. The US secretary of state said any cross-strait crisis is “a matter of concern to quite literally the entire world”. That’s true because Washington has made it so by deliberately escalating what are already high tensions into a powder keg. When arsonists like Blinken are threatening to torch a house, which is Taiwan, to save it, it’s no wonder the whole neighbourhood is alarmed. It doesn’t help when top US military men just keep on predicting a war with China, any time now, and up to 2027 at the latest. It also doesn’t help when the United States keeps selling more weapons to the island, and is now increasing its military presence with actual boots on Taiwanese ground. If that’s not provocation, I don’t know what is.

There is an easier and sensible way to ease tensions with China, and that’s by trying to reach an understanding with Beijing over the island, as both the US and the mainland have managed to do in the past 40 years, until now. But then the US decides it must openly confront and contain a rising China. And what’s more convenient than playing the Taiwan card, Asia’s peace and security be damned? After all, if the whole region goes up in smoke, that’s someone else’s neighbourhood, not America’s. It’s déjà vu. How many times have we seen this film before? Why talk when you can just pull out a gun? That’s America’s style. It’s apparently even written into its constitution. Washington plans to significantly increase its presence of troops on Taiwan, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, by quadrupling the number to 200 military personnel in the coming months.

Meanwhile, separate reports also say Taiwanese troops will be sent to the US for combat training. Until recently, there were not supposed to be any US troops on Taiwan; and even up to the start of 2021, no more than two dozen were reported. The military exchange will be a real escalation. Such moves are usually between the militaries of two sovereign countries. It’s clear while the Joe Biden White House claims to uphold the one-China principle, its actions say otherwise. For a while, President Tsai Ing-wen tried to put a lid on the rising US presence of troops, but now she doesn’t even bother. Washington keeps arguing for increasingly assertive and overt support, especially with frequent US naval operations across the strait. It’s the only way to help deter “Chinese aggression”. That’s a matter of perspective. For Beijing, it just looks like deliberate provocation.

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All these economies are overflowing with Chinese imports.

US Rallying Allies For New China Sanctions (RT)

The US is coordinating with its close allies to impose new sanctions on China should it decide to support the Russian campaign in Ukraine, according to Reuters. Beijing has rejected claims that it intends to offer military aid to Moscow, and recently unveiled a plan seeking a peaceful settlement to the conflict. Washington is in “consultations” with foreign partners, namely those from the G7 nations, regarding new economic penalties, several unnamed US officials told the outlet on Wednesday. They declined to provide details about the potential sanctions, only confirming that discussions are “laying the groundwork for potential action.” The report follows repeated warnings toward China from the US and other Western nations, which claim Beijing intends to supply weapons to Russian forces for the campaign against Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg echoed the charges during a recent interview with the Associated Press, saying “we have seen some signs that they may be planning for that,” but without offering evidence. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that Washington would “not hesitate” to target Chinese firms with sanctions in the event that Beijing supplies lethal aid to Moscow, saying the move would carry “implications and consequences.” Blinken added that he raised the issue with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi when they met at the Munich Security Conference last month. China has dismissed the charges as “groundless speculation,” arguing that it does not intend to provide weapons to Russian troops while accusing Washington of hypocrisy.

“The US has no right to dictate China-Russia relations, and we will never accept coercion and pressure from the US,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Monday. She went on to observe that it is Washington, not Beijing, that has been “pouring lethal weapons into the battlefield in Ukraine.” While Western nations have long pressured China to sever ties with Russia, accusations toward Beijing have only grown louder since it unveiled a 12-point roadmap for a diplomatic settlement for the conflict in Ukraine last month. Moscow has signaled willingness to “carefully analyze” the details of the proposal, though US officials quickly rejected the plan, claiming Beijing has adopted “Russia’s false narrative about the war” and is not “serious” about ending hostilities.

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Russiagate to Covid to Ukraine. Who could have predicted?

Russiagate Spells Journalism’s Death (Chris Hedges)

Gerth, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who worked at The New York Times from 1976 until 2005, spent the last two years writing an exhaustive look at the systemic failure of the press during the Trump-Russia story, authoring a four-part series of 24,000 words that has been published by The Columbia Journalism Review. It is an important, if depressing, read. News organizations repeatedly seized on any story, he documents, no matter how unverified, to discredit Trump and routinely ignored reports that cast doubt on the rumors they presented as fact. You can see my interview with Gerth here. The New York Times, for example, in January 2018, ignored a publicly available document showing that the F.B.I.’s lead investigator, after a 10-month inquiry, did not find evidence of collusion between Trump and Moscow.

The lie of omission was combined with reliance on sources that peddled fictions designed to cater to Trump-haters, as well as a failure to interview those being accused of collaborating with Russia. The Washington Post and NPR reported, incorrectly, that Trump had weakened the GOP’s stance on Ukraine in the party platform because he opposed language calling for arming Ukraine with “lethal defensive weapons” — a position identical to that of his predecessor President Barack Obama. These outlets ignored the platform’s support for sanctions against Russia as well its call for “appropriate assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and greater coordination with NATO defense planning.” News organizations amplified this charge. In a New York Times column that called Trump the “Siberian candidate,” Paul Krugman wrote that the platform was “watered down to blandness” by the Republican president.

Jeffrey Goldberg, editor of The Atlantic, described Trump as a “de facto agent” of Vladimir Putin. Those who tried to call out this shoddy reporting, including Russian-American journalist and Putin critic Masha Gessen were ignored. After Trump’s first meeting as president with Putin, he was attacked as if the meeting itself proved he was a Russian stooge. Then New York Times columnist Roger Cohen wrote of the “disgusting spectacle of the American president kowtowing in Helsinki to Vladimir Putin.” Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s most popular host, said that the meeting between Trump and Putin validated her covering the Trump-Russia allegations “more than anyone else in the national press” and strongly implied — and her show’s Twitter account and YouTube page explicitly stated — that Americans were now “coming to grips with a worst-case scenario that the U.S. president is compromised by a hostile foreign power.”

The anti-Trump reporting, Gerth notes, hid behind the wall of anonymous sources, frequently identified as “people (or person) familiar with” — The New York Times used it over a thousand times in stories involving Trump and Russia, between October 2016 and the end of his presidency, Gerth found. Any rumor or smear was picked up in the news cycle with the sources often unidentified and the information unverified. A routine soon took shape in the Trump-Russia saga. “First, a federal agency like the CIA or FBI secretly briefs Congress,” Gerth writes. “Then Democrats or Republicans selectively leak snippets. Finally, the story comes out, using vague attribution.” These cherry-picked pieces of information largely distorted the conclusions of the briefings.

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Great! Now go run a homeless kitchen…

Greek Consumers Pay Up To 45% More This Year For Basic Food Items (K.)

Greek consumers are paying up to 45% more this year for basic food items compared to a year ago, as estimates of temporary price appreciation, which started before the war in Ukraine and intensified later on, turned out to be false hopes, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data show. Although there were eventually no food shortages and the market caps imposed on some products in the first weeks after the Russian military invaded Ukraine, such as flour, sunflower oil, sugar and chicken, did not have to last for long, the price increases have not only not been contained since then, but are continuing in 2023. Despite the significant de-escalation in recent months, the prices of electricity and natural gas also remain high, having been up to four times higher in the past year than in 2021, even after the government subsidies for household consumers’ bills.

Increased spending on food and other household essentials, as well as inflated energy bills, despite subsidies, resulted in more than half of households reporting that their monthly income was sufficient up to the 18th of each month. Out of a total of 62 food items, only in one case was there a price reduction in January 2023 compared to a year earlier and that was negligible (-0.02% for fresh fish). All other products saw prices increase from 0.29% (fresh fruit) to 44.96% (sugar). In fact, the increase is over 20% in 14 types of food, which includes the most basic ones, such as milk (24.29% for fresh milk with even greater increases in other types), bread (25.55%), flour (26.89%), eggs (26.27%), cheeses (26.61), yogurt (21.65%), olive oil (22.37%), beef (20.15 %), lamb and goat (21.35%).

For a “basket” with 25 basic products – food and household items – on March 1, 2022 Greeks paid 76.26 euros, while the exact same products (same brand and code) now cost €91 – i.e. 19.33% more money. In some cases the increases even reach 60%, such as in branded toilet paper or detergents and shower gels, where price hikes of over 50% are recorded.

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“I probably wish I had stayed in England.”

Ghislaine Maxwell Reportedly In Solitary After Saying Epstein Was Murdered (GP)

Convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell was reportedly punished by authorities at the Federal Correctional Institute Tallahassee over a recorded jailhouse interview that aired in January. The onetime British socialite, who was accused of procuring underage girls for convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, “was handcuffed and slung into solitary confinement for 48 hours after prison authorities accused her of profiting from a media interview,” the Daily Mail reported Monday. “She protested her innocence but was marched off to the Special Housing Unit (SHU) — a ‘prison within a prison’ comprising tiny, grim cells where inmates are locked up for 23 hours at a time and fed through slits in the door.”

The news outlet quoted unnamed “insiders” as saying that the inmate they know as “Max” “was just minding her own business when they came in, turned her around and handcuffed her.” “She got really upset, she was crying, she was yelling that she hadn’t received any money, but nobody saw her again for three days.” The Mail’s source said, “The SHU is not a nice place.” “It’s like a little box and you’re only allowed out to shower once a day. There’s no contact from anyone, no privileges, they slide your meals through a slot.” According to the report, Maxwell’s interview, which was aired Jan. 23 on TalkTV, would have violated the terms of her 20-year federal prison sentence if she received payment for the appearance.

Also in question was how the interview was obtained. As federal prisoner number 02879-509, she is permitted video calls with only those family members and friends on a list approved by the federal prison, according to the report. She apparently conducted the interviews during phone calls with her friend, filmmaker Daphne Barak. Maxwell made headlines for several remarks made during those interviews. One much-publicized comment was that she believed Epstein, contrary to the official narrative, did not commit suicide in his jail cell in 2019. “I believe that he was murdered,” Maxwell said.

When she heard the news of his death, “I was shocked,” she said. “And I wondered how it had happened. Because as far as I was concerned, he was going to … I was sure he was going to appeal. And I was sure that he was covered under the non-prosecution agreement.” She also expressed regret for her association with Epstein during the interview. “I honestly wish I’d never met him, you know, looking back now,” she told the interviewer. “I probably wish I had stayed in England.”

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Fingers don’t have muscles, apart from the arrector pili, which are completely unrelated to motion. The 34 muscles that actually move human fingers are all located in the palm and forearm

 

 

AI sign language

 

 


Chand Baori is the deepest and probably the oldest stairwell in the world

 

 

Silent flight

 

 


The tufted ground squirrel is noted for having the largest known tail to body size ratio of any mammal, with the volume of its tail including the air included in the fluff being 130% of the volume of its body

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 172023
 


Hasui Kawase Mimhae Pavilion, Kyongju, Korea 1940

 

How The Davos Elite Took Back Control (Fazi)
Global Political Elite Skipping Davos (RT)
All Quiet (Panic) on the Western Front (Escobar)
Kiev Coaching EU On Path To Ruin – Exiled Ukrainian Politician (RT)
West Sees Ukraine As Spoils Of Cold War – Medvedchuk (RT)
Croatian President Weighs In On ‘Proxy War’ Against Russia (RT)
Biden Uses His Lawyers To Shield His Classified Docs From The FBI (Turley)
More Documents Marked As Classified Found At Biden’s Home – White House (CBS)
Adam Schiff Admits Biden May Have Endangered National Security (CB)
Did The Deep State Turn on Biden? (Roach)
Turns Out Hillary Clinton, Not Russian Bots, Lost the 2016 Election (Jacobin)
‘Twitter Files’ Expose Big Pharma Bullying (ZH)
China Records First Population Decline In 60 Years (RT)
The Black Album (Trish Wood)
There Is Nothing Green About Green Energy (Pettimore)
The Age of Exterminations: How to Kill a Few Billion People (Ugo Bardi)

 

 

 

 

The Woke Mind Virus
https://twitter.com/i/status/1613830456243273730

 

 

Dowd sudden death epidemic
https://twitter.com/i/status/1615116979030966278

 

 

Forget about the housing market. It’s done.

 

 

BBC stickers

 

 

Pregnant women are not getting vaxxed.

 

 

Carpe
https://twitter.com/i/status/1615019200921182217

 

 

 

 

 

 

The business elite.

How The Davos Elite Took Back Control (Fazi)

Founded in 1971 by Schwab himself, the WEF is “committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation”, also known as multistakeholder governance. The idea is that global decision-making should not be left to governments and nation-states — as in the post-war multilateralist framework enshrined in the United Nations — but should involve a whole range of non-government stakeholders: civil society bodies, academic experts, media personalities and, most important, multinational corporations. In its own words, the WEF’s project is “to redefine the international system as constituting a wider, multifaceted system of global cooperation in which intergovernmental legal frameworks and institutions are embedded as a core, but not the sole and sometimes not the most crucial, component”.

While this may sound fairly benign, it neatly encapsulates the basic philosophy of globalism: insulating policy from democracy by transferring the decision-making process from the national and international level, where citizens theoretically are able to exercise some degree of influence over policy, to the supranational level, by placing a self-selected group of unelected, unaccountable “stakeholders” — mainly corporations — in charge of global decisions concerning everything from energy and food production to the media and public health. The underlying undemocratic philosophy is the same one underpinning the philanthrocapitalist approach of people such Bill Gates, himself a long-time partner of the WEF: that non-governmental social and business organisations are best suited to solve the world’s problems than governments and multilateral institutions.

Even though the WEF has increasingly focused its agenda on fashionable topics such as environmental protection and social entrepreneurship, there is little doubt as to which interests Schwab’s brainchild is actually promoting and empowering: the WEF is itself mostly funded by around 1,000 member companies — typically global enterprises with multi-billion dollar turnovers, which include some of the world’s biggest corporations in oil (Saudi Aramco, Shell, Chevron, BP), food (Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé), technology (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple) and pharmaceuticals (AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna). The composition of the WEF’s board is also very revealing, including Laurence D. Fink, CEO of Blackrock, David M. Rubenstein, co-chairman of the Carlyle Group, and Mark Schneider, CEO of Nestlé. There’s no need to resort to conspiracy theories to posit that the WEF’s agenda is much more likely to be tailored to suit the interests of its funders and board members — the world’s ultra-wealthy and corporate elites — rather than to “improving the state of the world”, as the organisation claims.

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CEOs take over.

Global Political Elite Skipping Davos (RT)

The annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland has kicked off on Monday with a number of top-tier leaders absent. US President Joe Biden is skipping this year’s gathering, along with French President Emmanuel Macron, and new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Russian President Vladimir Putin is also passing on the event, along with the entire Russian business elite, which has been forced off the guest list by Ukraine-related sanctions. Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Chinese businessmen will also miss the forum following the aftershocks of a recent spike in Covid-19 cases and troubles on the domestic stock market, which saw some $224 billion erased last year from the fortunes of China’s wealthiest people.


Of the Group of Seven (G7) leaders, only German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is set to attend Davos this year, along with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Despite the shrinking number of political leaders, this year’s attendance list is rich in top managers. Among 2,700 participants in the official WEF sessions, “we’re likely to surpass the old record from 2020 with 600 global CEOs – including 1,500 C-suite level overall,” according to WEF head of digital and marketing, George Schmitt. According to Bloomberg, a total of 116 billionaires are attending the WEF this year, a 40% rise from ten years ago. Representatives from the US will form the largest group with 33 delegates. Some 18 more billionaires are coming from Europe, and 13 from India, including industrialist Gautam Adani, the world’s fourth-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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“Analyst Peter Koenig has developed a convincing thesis that the WEF, the WHO and NATO may be running some sort of sophisticated death cult.”

All Quiet (Panic) on the Western Front (Escobar)

Cynics of all persuasions may be excused for lamenting Mr. Zircon – currently on oceanic patrol encompassing the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean and of course “Mare Nostrum” Mediterranean – won’t be presenting his business card at Davos. Analyst Peter Koenig has developed a convincing thesis that the WEF, the WHO and NATO may be running some sort of sophisticated death cult. The Great Reset does mingle merrily with NATO’s agenda as agent provocateur, financer and weaponizer of the proxy Empire vs. Russia war in black hole Ukraine. NAKO – an acronym for North Atlantic Killing Organization – would be more appropriate in this case. As Koenig summarizes it, “NATO enters any territory where the ‘conventional’ media lie-machine, and social engineering are failing or not completing their people-ordaining goals fast enough.”

In parallel, very few people are aware that on June 13, 2019 in New York, a secret deal was clinched between the UN, the WEF, an array of oligarch-weaponized NGOs – with the WHO in the front line – and last but not least, the world’s top corporations, which are all owned by an interlinked maze with Vanguard and BlackRock at the center. The practical result of the deal is the UN Agenda 2030. Virtually every government in the NATOstan area and the “Western Hemisphere” (US establishment definition) has been hijacked by Agenda 2030 – which translates, essentially, as hoarding, privatizing and financializing all the earth’s assets, under the pretext of “protecting” them. Translation: the marketization and monetization of the entire natural world.

Davos superstar shills such as insufferable bore Niall Ferguson are just well rewarded vassals: western intellectuals of the Harvard, Yale and Princeton mould that would never dare bite the hand that feeds them. Ferguson just wrote a column on Bloomberg titled “All is Not Quiet on the Eastern Front” – basically to peddle the risk of WWIII, on behalf of his masters, blaming of course “China as the arsenal of autocracy”. Among serial high-handed inanities, this one stands out. Ferguson writes, “There are two obvious problems with US strategy (…) The first is that if algorithmic weapons systems are the equivalent of tactical nuclear weapons, Putin may eventually be driven to using the latter, as he clearly lacks the former.” Cluelessness here is a euphemism. Ferguson clearly has no idea “algorithmic weapons” mean; if he’s referring to electronic warfare, the US may have been able to maintain superiority for a while in Ukraine, but that’s over.

[..] Nobody with an IQ over room temperature will expect Davos next week to discuss any aspect of the NATO vs. Eurasia existential war seriously – not to mention propose diplomacy. So I’ll leave you with yet another typical tawdry story about how the Empire – who rules over Davos – deals in practice with its vassals. While in Sicily earlier this year I learned that an ultra high-value Pentagon asset had landed in Rome, in haste, as part of an unscheduled visit. A few days later the reason for the visit was printed in La Repubblica, one of the papers of the toxic Agnelli clan. That was a Mafia scam: a face-to-face “suggestion” for the Meloni government to imperatively provide Kiev, as soon as possible, with the costly anti-Samp-T missile system, developed by an European consortium, Eurosam, uniting MBDA Italy, MBDA France and Thales.

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Medvedchuk is the voice of reason in Ukraine politics. So of course he’s in exile.

Kiev Coaching EU On Path To Ruin – Exiled Ukrainian Politician (RT)

Kiev’s adopted policy of hatred and intransigence towards Russia is inevitably driving it into poverty, a former Ukrainian opposition-party leader, who was forced from his home nation, has concluded. Now Kiev is teaching Europe the same approach, leading to the same outcome and to possible nuclear war, he added. Viktor Medvedchuk’s political party had the biggest opposition faction in the current Ukrainian parliament. The government of President Vladimir Zelensky launched a crackdown on the group and on its leader personally. A proponent of reconciliation with Russia, he has written a keynote article published on Monday in Russian newspaper Izvestia, explaining the roots of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Both Zelensky and his predecessor Pyotr Poroshenko had been elected after the 2014 coup in Kiev on a platform of peace, and each made a U-turn after getting into office, Medvedchuk pointed out.

He argued that this shows a pattern of betrayal of the Ukrainian people by its leadership and by what he termed a “party of war.” Being enemies with Russia is against Ukraine’s economic interest, Medvedchuk asserted. Not only is Russia a major market and source of raw materials from which Ukraine can benefit, the country’s industrial sector was mostly in the east and people there, who for historic reasons have emotional ties to Russia, were antagonized by Kiev. Economic ruination is an inevitable consequence of the conflict, the politician wrote. “It is no longer Europe that teaches Ukraine politics, but Ukraine that teaches Europe how to achieve economic decline and poverty with the help of a policy of hatred and intransigence. And if Europe continues to support this policy, it will be dragged into a war, possibly a nuclear one,” he warned.

He accused Western nations of giving the incumbent Ukrainian government “triumph after triumph, while no military breakthrough is observed,” referring to the parades that generals in Ancient Rome were given after major victories. Meanwhile, the “party of peace” gets no voice either at home or in Western nations, Medvedchuk lamented. “Those who stood for peace were slandered, intimidated and repressed on incitement from the West. The Ukrainian party of peace simply did not fit into Western democracy.” “This eloquently suggests that most US and European politicians do not want any peace for Ukraine. But this does not mean at all that Ukrainians do not want peace, and Zelensky’s military triumph is more important to them than their lives and destroyed homes.” he reasoned. Only when pro-peace politicians are allowed to make their case freely can there be hope to resolve the situation, Medvedchuk believes.

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“Western nations must recognize that Russia has legitimate interests in Ukraine. Otherwise, it will “grow further, spilling over to Europe and other countries..”

West Sees Ukraine As Spoils Of Cold War – Medvedchuk (RT)

The West’s insistence that it won the Cold War and was entitled to the spoils at the expense of Russian interests is at the root of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the country’s exiled opposition leader has said. Viktor Medvedchuk was forced to leave his home nation under the threat of prosecution for alleged treason. His Opposition Bloc – For Life party had the biggest faction in the Ukrainian parliament and advocated reconciliation with Russia. However, the government of President Vladimir Zelensky cracked down on it and ultimately forced many of its members into exile or silence. In an article published by Russian newspaper Izvestia on Monday, Medvedchuk analyzed the causes of the current crisis, arguing that the origin of the conflict lies in the way that the end of the Cold War is perceived by Washington and Moscow.

“The West definitely considers itself as a winner and Russia as a defeated party,” he said. Consequently, it considers ex-Soviet territories as “legitimate prey for the US and NATO” under the “woe to the conquered” principle. From Moscow’s standpoint, it simply relinquished confrontation when it decided against pursuing communism. Since the 1990s, it had sought friendly relations with Western nations, as well as economic and political integration into the EU, Medvedchuk wrote. The US plan, as evidenced by the expansion of NATO in Europe despite the objections of Moscow, was at odds with opening the door to its Cold War opponent. Ultimately, it derailed EU-Russian engagement, he argued. Conflicts like the Balkan wars are further evidence that the West had moved to gobble up the former Eastern Bloc, he continued, since they helped to “make it easier for the winner to take it over.”

The West targeted Ukraine for absorption and saw the country as part of its rightful prize, but a lot of resistance had to be overcome in order to split it from Russia, considering Kiev’s historical ties with Moscow, and the economic interest in maintaining good relations, Medvedchuk explained. Kiev antagonized the eastern part of the country, which was both economically stronger and more pro-Russian than the nationalist lands in the east, he suggested. And even then, both Zelensky and his predecessor, Pyotr Poroshenko, had been elected on a peace platform only to become “war party” politicians after taking office. The current conflict can be resolved only if pro-peace politicians are allowed to make their case, and Western nations must recognize that Russia has legitimate interests in Ukraine. Otherwise, it will “grow further, spilling over to Europe and other countries,” and has the potential to escalate into a nuclear war, he warned.

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“They go from war to war. And what should I be? An American slave?”

The president and PM have very different views.

Croatian President Weighs In On ‘Proxy War’ Against Russia (RT)

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic has claimed NATO, a military bloc of which Zagreb is a member, is waging a “proxy war” against Moscow in Ukraine. He also dismissed sanctions against Moscow as “nonsense,” adding that he does not want to be an “American slave.” Speaking to Croatian reporters in the city of Vukovar on Sunday, Milanovic said, among other things: “Washington and NATO are waging a proxy war against Russia through Ukraine,” as quoted by media outlet Istra24. He went on to argue that “The plan cannot be to remove Putin. The plan cannot be sanctions,” adding that such punitive measures are “nonsense and we will not achieve anything with them.” “They go from war to war. And what should I be? An American slave?” Croatia’s president asked rhetorically.

Milanovic voiced his frustration with the US-led military bloc’s policies in the same interview in which he tore into Croatia’s prime minister, Andrej Plenkovic, over his latest Ukraine-related remark. Speaking to news channel France 24 on Saturday, Plenkovic said the Balkan nation’s lawmakers, who in mid-December didn’t support the EU’s program to train Ukrainian military personnel in member states, have “failed to be on the right side of history.” Commenting on the remark, Milanovic, in turn, slammed the premier for bringing “disgrace” to his country “and to its democratic representatives in front of others.” The Croatian president argued that this kind of behavior reaches a low that is “the bottom of the bottom.”

As for the EU’s mission, the Croatian president warned that it effectively means that “for the first time in its history, the EU is participating in a war.” This, according to Milanovic, is “against the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.” In December 2022, Milanovic argued that having Ukrainian service members train on Croatian soil would “bring war” to the Balkan nation. He also insisted at the time that “Ukraine is not an ally,” criticizing Brussels’ decision last June to grant Kiev candidate status as “cynical.”

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“Using private counsel allows Biden to raise attorney-client privilege. [..] While that attorney-client privilege can be overcome under a “crime/fraud exception,” it adds a level of initial protection.”

Biden Uses His Lawyers To Shield His Classified Docs From The FBI (Turley)

The discovery of a fourth set of classified documents, at the Biden residence in Delaware, has further undermined the White House’s virtual mantra that the president “takes classified documents very seriously.” Putting aside the repeated movement of highly classified documents over six years, one curious element has emerged in this scandal: the use of private counsel. Not only did President Joe Biden enlist lawyers to clear out his private Washington office; he then used them — rather than security officers or the FBI — to search for additional classified documents. The initial use of lawyers is notable. While it seems a fairly pricey moving crew, Biden could argue a trove of documents might require a judgment on where they should be sent and whether they belong to Biden, the Penn Biden Center or the government.

But why was a legal team sent in six years after Biden took the documents on leaving as vice president? Were the lawyers specifically selected because they had clearances, an acknowledgment there might be classified material unlawfully housed in the office? After the fourth batch of documents was discovered this week (the third found in Delaware), Richard Sauber, referred to as the “special counsel to the president,” stressed that he has a clearance. Sauber admits the lawyers who found the first batch at the residence didn’t have clearances but says he found the later documents. It remains unclear which lawyers were involved in which discoveries, whether they had clearances and (if so) at what level. In fact, it seems to suggest Biden continued to use uncleared lawyers after his team found highly classified documents Nov. 2 in the Penn Biden office closet in Washington. That itself could be viewed as gross mishandling of classified information.

It’s strange Biden did not use security officers or the FBI to conduct further searches. The president has a host of people who regularly handle classified material. So why use the lawyers? The answer appears the same as in the case of Hillary Clinton’s emails: control. Using private counsel allows Biden to raise attorney-client privilege. Trump also used counsel, but eventually the FBI raided his home to search and remove not just classified material but documents found in boxes with that material. While that attorney-client privilege can be overcome under a “crime/fraud exception,” it adds a level of initial protection. It also allowed Biden to control the discovery and initial record of the discovery of classified information. The key to any investigation will be the chain of custody extending back to the documents’ removal in 2017 when Biden left office.

How these documents appeared in their discovered locations is known only to his lawyers. It’s a link in the chain of custody that Biden effectively controls. With Mar-a-Lago, the FBI was criticized for staging documents to be shown in the storage room. The photos were then leaked to an eager media. There will be no staged photos of documents alongside Time magazine covers for Biden. Nor were documents he housed with classified documents removed. Indeed, it’s not clear if the FBI will know what documents were stored in the same boxes. What was potentially lost is significant. Classified documents are generally supposed to be in folders with a thick, colored border and large printed classification warnings. Were some of those folders observable before they were moved? If so, anyone could tell a pile contained classified material, including the president and passersby.

Likewise, the initial discovery could show the context of surrounding material. The FBI at Mar-a-Lago carefully photographed that context and its search. Here, we’re relying on counsel to have kept such a record when most lawyers would be reluctant to do so given the risk to their client. The key is that unlike FBI agents, these lawyers are not acting on behalf of the public interest but for the president’s personal interests. If there are criminal charges, the key witnesses will be lawyers representing the president as an individual. They are more likely to minimize incriminating or embarrassing elements.

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Turley’s comment on this: “Biden counsel continues to make statements seemingly against their client’s interests. Sauber said that the lawyers who discovered the documents on Wednesday night did not have clearances…”

More Documents Marked As Classified Found At Biden’s Home – White House (CBS)

Lawyers for President Biden found more documents marked as classified at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, than previously known, the White House acknowledged in a statement Saturday. White House lawyer Richard Sauber said in a statement that a total of six pages of documents marked as classified were found during a search of Mr. Biden’s private library. The White House had said previously that only a single page was found there. The latest disclosure is in addition to the discovery of documents found in December in Mr. Biden’s garage and in November at his former offices at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, from his time as vice president. The apparent mishandling of classified documents and official records from the Obama administration are under investigation by a former U.S. attorney, Robert Hur, who was appointed as a special counsel on Thursday by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Sauber said in a statement Saturday that Mr. Biden’s personal lawyers, who did not have security clearances, stopped their search after finding the first page on Wednesday evening. Sauber found the remaining material Thursday, as he was facilitating their retrieval by the Department of Justice. “While I was transferring it to the DOJ officials who accompanied me, five additional pages with classification markings were discovered among the material with it, for a total of six pages,” Sauber said. “The DOJ officials with me immediately took possession of them.” The Justice Department declined to comment to CBS News on the newly discovered documents. Sauber has previously said that the White House was “confident that a thorough review will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced, and the president and his lawyers acted promptly upon discovery of this mistake.”

Sauber’s statement did not explain why the White House waited two days to provide an updated accounting of the number of records with classified markings. The White House is already facing scrutiny for waiting more than two months to acknowledge the discovery of the initial group of documents at the Biden office. On Thursday, asked whether Mr. Biden could guarantee that additional classified documents would not turn up in a further search, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, “You should assume that it’s been completed, yes.” Sauber reiterated Saturday that the White House would cooperate with Hur’s investigation. Bob Bauer, the president’s personal lawyer, said his legal team has “attempted to balance the importance of public transparency where appropriate with the established norms and limitations necessary to protect the investigation’s integrity.”

Marco Polo

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Shifty turns.

Adam Schiff Admits Biden May Have Endangered National Security (CB)

In what is a stunning admission, California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff has admitted that President Joe Biden may have endangered national security by mishandling classified documents. He spoke to ABC “This Week” host Jonathan Karl on Sunday when the topic of the classified document scandal and Attorney General Merrick Garland appointing a special counsel was talked about. “Congressman Schiff, you were on this show just after Attorney General Garland appointed a special counsel in the case of the Trump documents. You said it was the right move. Do you feel the same way about this special counsel?” the host said. “I do think it’s the right move. The attorney general has to make sure that not only is justice evenly applied, but the appearances of justice are also satisfactory to the public.

And here, I don’t think he had any choice but to appoint a special counsel. And I think that special counsel will do the proper assessment,” the Congressman said. “I still would like to see Congress do its own assessment of — and receive an assessment from the intelligence community of whether there was an exposure to others of these documents, whether there was harm to national security, on the case of either set of documents with either president. But, yes, I think the special counsel was appropriately appointed,” he said. “Jonathan, if I could also, though, because my state is still trying to dig out from these terrible storms, I want to thank the president for making an emergency declaration and let Californians know that in the three most affected counties they can now apply for help in terms of rebuilding their homes and their businesses and that other counties need to report their damage as soon as possible so they can qualify for relief as well,” he said as the host brought the conversation back to the documents.

“You raise the possibility of those national security assessment. Is it possible that national security was jeopardized here as – as many, including you, raised that possibility with the Mar-a-Lago documents?” the host said. “I don’t think we can exclude the possibility without knowing more of the facts. We have asked for an assessment in the intelligence community of the Mar-a-Lago documents. I think we ought to get that same assessment of the documents found in the – in the think tank, as well as the home of President Biden. I’d like to know what these documents were. I’d like to know what the IC’s assessment is, whether there was any risk of exposure and what the harm would be and whether any mitigation needs to be done. I think that would be appropriate and consistent with what we requested in the case of Mar-a-Lago,” the Congressman said.

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Well, someone did.

Did The Deep State Turn on Biden? (Roach)

In spite of his manifest unpopularity and refusal even to campaign, Biden was installed as president in 2020. Having rarely met an actual Biden supporter, Trump voters were skeptical and angry. The extended recounts, unceremonious dismissal of legal challenges, and videos of disappearing ballots, along with strident denunciations of “election deniers,” did not reassure anyone. Later revelations showed the coordinated way government officials, the media, NGOs, billionaires, and others conspired to “fortify” the 2020 election. Biden governed as he ran: mostly hidden from the public, beholden to donors and party elders, doing as little as possible. This seemed acceptable for a while, since it allowed the various constituent parts of the government to do what they wanted with little interference.

Everyone knows Biden’s never been that sharp and seems more decrepit than ever, that his vice president is even dumber than he is, and that he’s not really running anything. But this is all a feature, not a bug, for the cabal that brought him to office. For them, the more independence they have from oversight, the better. Lately, it seems there’s a disturbance in force. Biden and his allies have continued their vendetta against Trump, exposing his tax returns and raiding his home for possessing documents he supposedly owed the National Archives. This did not go over as well as Attorney General (and all-around hack) Merrick Garland anticipated, and it seems Garland and the January 6 Committee have each decided to scale back their demands. This is why the recent exposure of top secret documents in Biden’s old office, his garage, and a mysterious third location suggests something is afoot.

We went from a Monday disclosure to a special counsel being appointed on Thursday. Nothing like this happens this quickly unless it is by design. There are, of course, ways to deal with this situation that do not involve public exposure. Couldn’t Biden or his staff order some FBI agents or White House people to pick them up and take them to wherever they’re supposed to be stored? It’s in the news because somehow his lawyers found the documents and reported them before the story could go through White House channels. And, lawyers being lawyers, they followed the street-lawyer rule that if someone has to go to jail, make sure it’s your client and not you. Concerned about individual culpability for obstruction or mishandling documents, they made this hot potato someone else’s problem as fast as possible.

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The Jacobin is one of the Dems’ staunchest supporters. Until now.

Turns Out Hillary Clinton, Not Russian Bots, Lost the 2016 Election (Jacobin)

Amid the generalized media crack-up that surrounded the 2016 presidential election, the bogeyman of “Russian bots” quickly became a load-bearing concept. A Russia-based social media campaign, or so it was said, had saturated sites like Twitter with fake accounts and, in doing so, helped to swing the election for Donald Trump. Becoming axiomatic in liberal circles, this story soon took on a life of its own. It’s since played a prominent role in mainstream media narratives of the 2016 election, been the subject of highly publicized congressional hearings, and also loomed large in the wider global discourse about “fake news.” That the Russian government preferred Trump to Hillary Clinton and that Russia-connected actors engaged in digital skulduggery related to the election are not really in dispute.

Much of the mainstream discussion around Russian bots, however, has been premised on unexamined assumptions about the scale and effectiveness of these efforts. Powerful states including the United States, after all, regularly engage in the likes of online propaganda and sock-puppeting campaigns. Whether they have a more than negligible impact on real world events, electoral and otherwise, is another question. It’s notable, then, that a new analysis published by the Center for Social Media and Politics at New York University finds no evidence whatsoever that Russia-based Twitter disinformation had any meaningful impact on voter behavior in 2016. In place of the terrifying bot army menace that’s periodically been invoked, the researchers instead detail an enterprise with minimal reach or influence, and one overwhelmingly concentrated among partisan Republicans already inclined to vote for Trump.

They estimate that as many as thirty-two million US Twitter users may have been “exposed” to tweets from Russia-aligned accounts over the eight-month period preceding the 2016 election.” In numerical terms that may sound like a lot, but it actually isn’t when you factor in the sheer volume of posts and information encountered by social media users on a daily basis. As the report puts it: While, on average, respondents were exposed to roughly 4 posts from Russian foreign influence accounts per day in the last month of the election campaign, they were exposed to an average of 106 posts on average per day from national news media and 35 posts per day from US politicians. In other words, respondents were exposed to 25 times more posts from national news media and 9 times as many posts from politicians than those from Russian foreign influence accounts.

Sheer exposure, of course, doesn’t even necessarily amount to influence. Like advertising, politically motivated content can functionally be background noise if it fails to reach particular audiences or in turn doesn’t have an impact on those that it does. In both respects, the study is quite unequivocal: not only were Russian Twitter efforts dwarfed by posts from media and politicians, but actual exposure to them was highly concentrated within a subset of partisan conservatives: Results . . . show that the amount of exposure depends substantially on users’ self-identified partisanship: those who identify as “Strong Republicans” were exposed to roughly nine times as many posts from Russian foreign influence accounts than were those who identify as Democrats or Independents.

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Musk Says ZeroHedge Did “Nothing Warranting Suspension”

‘Twitter Files’ Expose Big Pharma Bullying (ZH)

Today’s Twitter Files drop contains several notable pieces of evidence. First, that lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry launched a ‘massive lobbying blitz to crush any effort to share patents/IP for new covid-related medicine,” according to The Intercept’s Lee Fang. As part of this effort, lobbying group BIO “wrote to the newly elected Biden admin, demanding the U.S. gov sanction any country attempting to violate patent rights and create generic low cost covid medicine or vaccines.” Of note, Pfizer and BioNTech raked in $37 billion in revenue in 2021 alone from the COVID-19 vaccine, while Moderna made $17.7 billion the same year (and has recently announced a plan to hike the price of the Covid-19 vaccine by approximately 400%). BioNTech, which developed the Pfizer vaccine, “reached out to Twitter to request that Twitter directly censor users tweeting at them to ask for generic low cost vaccines.”

According to Fang, “Twitter’s reps responded quickly to the pharma request,” while “A lobbyist in Europe asked the content moderation team to monitor the accounts of Pfizer, AstraZeneca & of activist hashtags like #peoplesvaccine.” Meanwhile, the “fake accounts” flagged by the pharmaceutical companies for action were real people – one of whom Fang spoke with on the phone. “For more than two years, a global movement has been speaking out against pharmaceutical greed and demanding that everyone, everywhere has the tools to combat pandemics,” said Maaza Seyoum, a campaigner for the People’s Vaccine Alliance. “Whatever nasty tricks companies and governments pull,” she continued, “we cannot and will not be silenced.” Second, ‘Pfizer & Moderna’s lobbying group, BIO, fully funded a special content moderation campaign designed by a contractor called Public Good Projects (PGP), which worked w/Twitter to set content moderation rules around covid “misinformation.”‘ according to Fang.

BIO funded the PGP campaign, “Stronger,” to the tune of $1.275 million. Its focus? Helping Twitter ‘create content moderation bots,’ selecting which public health accounts would be verified, and helping to crowdsource content takedowns. Of note, the Moderna/Pfizer-funded campaign included regular emails to Twitter officals with takedown and verification requests. “Here’s an example of those types of emails that went straight to Twitter’s lobbyists and content moderators. Many focused on @zerohedge, which was suspended.” Fang includes a screencap of an email with two excel spreadsheets containing said requests.

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One child policy fallout. Like trying to turn an oil tanker around. Population to almost halve by 2100.

China Records First Population Decline In 60 Years (RT)

The population declined in 2022 to 1.411 billion, down some 850,000 people from the previous year, China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced during a Tuesday briefing on annual data. Analysts said the decline was the first since 1961 during the great famine triggered by former leader Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward. “The population will likely trend down from here in coming years. This is very important, with implications for potential growth and domestic demand,” said Zhiwei Zhang, president and chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management. The birth rate also fell to a record low of 6.77 births per 1,000, down from 7.52 a year earlier and the lowest level since the founding of Communist China in 1949. Some 9.56 million babies were born, compared with 10.62 million in 2021 – despite a push from the government to encourage more married couples to have children.


The new data came alongside the announcement of one of China’s worst annual economic performances in nearly half a century, with the economy expanding by just 3% for the year, far below the government’s target, underscoring the steep economic challenges the country faces as its labor force shrinks and its retired demographic grows. The demographic crisis, which is expected to have an increasing impact on Chinese growth in the years to come, has been a key concern for policymakers. Beijing scrapped its decades-long and highly controversial “one child” policy in 2015, after realizing the restrictive policy had contributed to a rapidly aging population and shrinking workforce that could severely distress the country’s economic and social stability. To arrest the falling birth rate, the Chinese government announced in 2015 that it would allow married couples to have two children. But after a brief uptick in 2016, the national birth rate has continued to fall.

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“At least the Manson Murders were covered by corporate media. We all shared a similar experience.”

The Black Album (Trish Wood)

Later I bought the book, Helter Skelter, written by the man who prosecuted Charlie. But as an adult and a true crime reporter it was a story I steered clear of, never once accepting a production role in any of the many retellings. Like Didion, I remained skittish about it. I couldn’t make sense of Sharon Tate’s astonishing beauty being annihilated and the peace and love ethos of rich Hollywood hippies reduced to feral human remains – for nothing. The True Detective-type photos from Cielo Drive are images that still haunt. So, why am I so gripped by the revelations that Big Tech, legacy media and for sure the government actually silenced the voices of experts honestly trying to stop the unfolding disaster of lockdowns? Why does this feel like a moment as significant as those era-ending murders in the pretty house on a quiet SoCal Drive?

A team of independent journos is uncovering irrefutable proof that our well being was not paramount in the minds of those who peddled a fake consensus to invoke lockdowns — in my view — the most ruinous public health mistake in modern history. Government, its public health officials, legacy media, and even the medical journals were more into narrative stitching than truth and actually saving lives. The stories of governmental and scientific fraud and perfidy are all over Substack and Twitter and Elon is being hailed as a hero — as he should be, despite what my friend CJ Hopkins said on the podcast last week. But corporate media are running their usual smear-games — abdicating their responsibility to their audience — in order to hide their own complicity in a policy scandal that dwarfs all others.

In the meantime, we are on our own, facing an ugly truth about the people who govern us and the agencies they exploit to stay in power. Everything we thought was true about this power dynamic is a lie. At least the Manson Murders were covered by corporate media. We all shared a similar experience.

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Trojan Horse.

Twitter thread.

There Is Nothing Green About Green Energy (Pettimore)

As a miner for 40 years I have worked in various mines around the world. Gold, platinum, copper, coal, lead, zinc, oil and salt. I’m going to tell you something, and here it is. We will destroy the earth in the name of “Green Energy” Follow along and I will explain. MiningWatch Canada is estimating that “[Three] billion tons of mined metals and minerals will be needed to power the energy transition” – a “massive” increase especially for six critical minerals: lithium, graphite, copper, cobalt, nickel and rare earth minerals Over the next 30 years 7.5 billion of us, we will consume more minerals than the last 70,000 years or the past 500 generations, which is more than all of the 108 billion humans who have ever walked the Earth.

Mining requires the extraction of solid ores, often after removing vast amounts of overlying rock. Then the ore must be processed, creating an enormous quantity of waste – about 100 billion tonnes a year, more than any other human-made waste stream. Purifying a single tonne of rare earths requires using at least 200 cubic meters of water, which then becomes polluted with acids and heavy metals. On top of that, imagine the destruction and energy required to obtain these essential metals:
18,740 pounds of purified rock to produce 2.2 pounds of vanadium
35,275 pounds of ore for 2.2 pounds of cerium
110,230 pounds of rock for 2.2 pounds of gallium
2,645,550 pounds of ore to get 2.2 pounds of lutecium

Also staggering amounts of ore are needed for other metals. By 2035, demand is expected to double for germanium; quadruple for tantalum; and quintuple for palladium. The scandium market could increase nine-fold, and the cobalt market by a factor of 24. (Marscheider-Wiedemann 2016 ‘raw materials for emerging technologies’. The potential demand for rare metals is exponential. We are already consuming over two billion tonnes of metals every year — the equivalent of more than 500 Eiffel Towers a day. There is nothing refined about mining. It involves crushing rock, and then using a concoction of chemical reagents such as sulphuric and nitric acid, a long and highly repetitive process using many different procedures to obtain a rare-earth concentrate close to 100% purity.

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“The problem is that we don’t have a discussion on population: we have a clash of absolutes.”

The Age of Exterminations: How to Kill a Few Billion People (Ugo Bardi)

With 8 billion people alive on Earth, it may be reasonable to believe that the planet is becoming a little crowded. Nevertheless, we should not neglect the opposite opinion: that we have resources and technologies sufficient to keep 8 billion people alive and reasonably happy, and perhaps even more. Neither position can be proven, nor disproven. The future will tell us who was right but, in the meantime, it is perfectly legitimate to propose that population growth should be slowed down by birth planning. The problem is that we don’t have a discussion on population: we have a clash of absolutes. The position that sees overpopulation as a problem has been thoroughly demonized over the past decades and, still today, you cannot even mention the subject without being immediately branded as a would-be exterminator.

It happened to Bill Gates, to the Club of Rome, and to many others who dared suggest that the world would be a better place if the human population were to stabilize at levels lower than the present one. The demonization trend is, of course, a knee-jerk reaction: the people who propose population planning would be simply horrified at being accused of supporting mass exterminations. But note also that demonization starts from a real problem. Exterminations DID happen in the recent past, and they were carried out largely on the basis of a wrong evaluation of the overpopulation problem. During the Nazi era in Germany, the idea that Europe was overpopulated was common and it was widely believed that the “Lebensraum, “living space” available was insufficient for the German people. The result was a series of exterminations correctly considered the most heinous crimes in human history.

How was that possible? The Germans of that time were the grandfathers of the Germans of today, who are horrified at thinking of what their grandparents did or at least did not oppose. But, for the Germans of those times, killing the Untermenschen, the inferior races, seemed to be the right thing to do, given the vision of the world that was proposed to them and that they had accepted. The Germans fell into a trap called “utilitarianism.” It is one of those principles that are so embedded in our way of thinking that we don’t even realize that it exists. But it does, and it causes enormous damage. In principle, utilitarianism wouldn’t seem to be such a bad idea. It is a rational calculation of the consequences of taking or not taking a certain action based on the principle of generating the maximum good for the maximum number of people. So defined, it looks both sensible and harmless. But that’s the theory. What we have is a good illustration of the age-old principle that “in theory, theory and practice are the same thing. In practice, they are not.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Relativity
https://twitter.com/i/status/1614947859245240325

 

 

Huxley

 

 

This should make a few doctors think.

 

 

Hairdresser
https://twitter.com/i/status/1614661494947340289

 

 

 

 

Cleaner shrimps

 

 

Blue whale
https://twitter.com/i/status/1615041486331969584

 

 


A hummingbird lays back and “relaxes” after drinking flower nectar. Source: Rahul Singh

 

 

Skippy

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 172021
 


Pieter Bruegel the Elder The Triumph of Death 1562

 

A Desperate Biden Administration Turns to Terrorism (Daniel McAdams)
Horse-Bleep (Rescue)
The Antiviral Effects of Ivermectin on RNA Viruses (Nature)
Appeals Court Refuses to Stop Maine Vaccine Mandate (ET)
Covid Vaccine Stand-off Between Chicago Mayor, Police Hits Courts (Y!)
Alarm Bells Ringing Over Poor Greek Vax Rate (K.)
IMDB Steps In To Prop Up Audience Rating Of Fauci Documentary (JTN)
DHS Seeks To Track Biometric Data Of Workers (JTN)
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State (Taibbi)
Relentless Retail Inventory Squeeze amid Shortages & Supply Chain Chaos (WS)
Stella Moris On Her Secret Family With Julian Assange (G.)

 

 


Bare Shelves Biden

 

 

RIP
https://twitter.com/i/status/1449207395926745092

 

 

Daniel is Ron Paul’s right hand man.

A Desperate Biden Administration Turns to Terrorism (Daniel McAdams)

For Americans watching the shocking re-Nazification of Germany – where once again the ability to even buy food depends on a person’s physiological/medical status – it may be tempting to downplay the re-emergence of a nasty German political virus and scoff that, “it can’t happen here!” But it is happening here. The Biden Administration is sinking under the weight of its feeble figurehead, who is clearly living in a world of his own creation rather than living on planet reality. As Biden’s approval ratings plummet to near-historic depths, the people who run his administration – some say it’s really led by demon Susan Rice – are not backing off their hyper-authoritarian approach to…well, everything. In fact they’re doubling down.

Nurse shortage? Tough – get your shot. Billions of containers waiting to be unloaded and trucked to fill empty shelves? Tough – get your shot. Murder alley Chicago facing 50 percent less cops because those who don’t want the vax are being fired? Tough – get your shot. No one to fly the plane? Tough – get your shot. No teachers? Tough – get your shot! Into this explosion of malevolent incompetence staggers US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department Wally Adeyemo – second-highest ranker in the entire Department. The Nigerian-born Adeyemo, who previously served as director of African American outreach for the inspiring John Kerry 2004 presidential campaign and as a senior advisor to corrupt “woke” multi-gazillionaire Larry Fink, should be given credit for at least being honest about the intentions of his bosses in the Biden Administration.

Sometimes they tell the truth by accident. Interviewed on ABC News on Thursday, Adeyemo was asked about the thousands of container ships anchored offshore in California and elsewhere as US store shelves begin to look like Bulgaria circa 1975 – and even Santa Claus is sweating “supply chain” strangulation as Christmas quickly approaches. It’s not because Newsom’s California is a Marxist hellhole, where the religious fundamentalism of the Green New Deal fanatics has taken massive numbers of truckers off the road. Nope. It’s not Biden’s vax mandate which has unleashed a massive outflux of workers from their jobs – quitting or fired – at a time of severe labor shortages. Nope. The problem is you. You unwashed vermin who refuse to have a cocktail of experimental goop jabbed into your arm.

In the ABC interview Adeyemo admitted what we all know: inflation is beating the hell out of middle America (though Biden’s multi-millionaire chief-of-staff laughed it off as “high class problems”). “We are seeing high prices for some of the things that people have to buy,” Adeyemo told ABC’s Stephanie Ramos. But it’s not the Administration’s fault. Shelves bare? Treasury’s Number Two tells America it’s all the fault of those who have not yet succumbed to his boss’s demand that you take the jab: “The reality is that the only way we’re going to get to a place where we work through this transition is if everyone in America and everyone around the world gets vaccinated.” There is a word for this and it’s not actually blackmail. It’s terrorism. Until that part of America which has to this point decided that it does not want to take an unproven medical treatment is browbeaten – or worse – into submission to Fauci’s needle, the rest of the country will continue to suffer through empty shelves and a crappy Christmas. Too strong a word? Here’s how the dictionary defines terrorism:

Threat: You will eat nothing and you will be happy. Political objective: Get the shot! It’s terrorism plain and simple and the Biden Administration’s “War on Us” is taking a dangerous turn. The millions who have taken the shot are being baited to attack those who have for whatever reason – including the medically sound acquisition of natural immunity through contracting and defeating the virus – declined to take the medical procedure. In reality both groups should unite against the past two Administrations which have lied and intimidated Americans over the virus from nearly day one. But that would threaten the elites, who rule by divide-and-conquer tactics.

Duress
https://twitter.com/i/status/1449519642033197058

Read more …

“Within two days, 23.7 million people had seen that Pulitzer-worthy bit of Twitter talk.”

Horse-Bleep (Rescue)

In a hokey tweet on August 21, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told Americans the obvious: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” Everyone knew what “it” was: an animal form of the drug ivermectin that folks were said to be using, widely, for covid-19. Don’t, said FDA. Within two days, 23.7 million people had seen that Pulitzer-worthy bit of Twitter talk. Hundreds of thousands more got the message on Facebook, LinkedIn, and from the Today Show’s 3 million-follower Instagram account. “That was great!” declared FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock in an email to her media team. “Even I saw it!” For the FDA, the “not-a-horse” tweet was “a unique viral moment,” a senior FDA official wrote to Woodcock, “in a time of incredible misinformation.”

There was one problem, however. The tweet was a direct outgrowth of wrong data—call it misinformation—put out the day before by the Mississippi health department. The FDA did not vet the data, according to our review of emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and questions to FDA officials. Instead, it saw Mississippi, as one email said, as “an opportunity to remind the public of our own warnings for ivermectin.” The story behind the tweet that went ’round the world shows how a myth was born about a safe, if now controversial, human drug that was FDA-approved for parasitic disease in 1996 and bestowed the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015. It is a story in which the barest grain of truth morphed into an anything-goes media firestorm.

It began with one sentence in a Mississippi health alert on reports to the state’s poison control center: “At least 70% of the recent calls have been related to ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers.” In the thick of a fierce covid wave in the American South, no official at the FDA, or reporter for that matter, seemed to ask: 70 percent of what? Instead, government and media joined forces against a public health threat that, in retrospect, was vastly exaggerated. Amid dozens of articles that ensued, Rolling Stone told of Oklahoma hospitals so jammed with ivermectin overdoses that gunshot victims had to wait for care—except it wasn’t true. Twice, The New York Times printed corrections of the same false information from Mississippi, which it described in one article and later removed, as “a staggering number of calls.” The Associated Press, Washington Post and, twice, the The Guardian in London also corrected its reporting on the alert. The Times’ correction summed it up: “This article misstated the percentage of recent calls to the Mississippi poison control center related to ivermectin. It was 2 percent, not 70 percent.”

Read more …

This is where you go: ”any questions?” No? Then let’s roll!

“..a 5000-fold reduction in viral RNA compared with control was found..”

The Antiviral Effects of Ivermectin on RNA Viruses (Nature)

In a recent in vitro study, the Vero/hSLAM cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 virus were exposed to 5 μM ivermectin in 48h, and a 5000-fold reduction in viral RNA compared with control was found. The results showed that treatment with ivermectin effectively kills almost all viral particles within 48h. The study was the first to assess the antiviral effect of ivermectin on COVID-19. The authors acknowledged that the drug may have antiviral effects by inhibiting the importin (IMP) α/β receptor, which is responsible for transmitting viral proteins into the host cell nucleus. The authors proposed human studies to confirm the potential benefits of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. Although this study was the first to confirm the antiviral effect of ivermectin on COVID-19, other studies examined the antiviral effects of the drug on both RNA and DNA viruses..

Read more …

“We look forward to a decision from the Court of Appeals. If that decision is not favorable, we will request emergency relief from the Supreme Court..”

Appeals Court Refuses to Stop Maine Vaccine Mandate (ET)

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday refused to issue an emergency injunction to stop Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The three-judge panel of the Boston-based court issued a one-sentence statement saying the request was denied without an explanation, The Bangor Daily News reported. A final ruling will likely be issued next week, according to Liberty Counsel, an organization representing more than 2,000 health care workers across the state in the lawsuit. “We look forward to a decision from the Court of Appeals. If that decision is not favorable, we will request emergency relief from the Supreme Court,” Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement. Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey applauded the decision.

“We are pleased with the decision and will continue to vigorously defend the requirement that health care workers in Maine be vaccinated against COVID-19,” he said in a statement obtained by The Hill. Maine Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat, announced her state’s mandate on Aug. 12 that workers have until Oct. 29 to comply. Exemptions were allowed for medical reasons. Unlike most states, Maine does not allow for religious or philosophical exemptions to vaccine requirements. The plan was challenged by a group of healthcare workers who said they opposed COVID-19 vaccines because some vaccines were developed from cell lines of aborted fetuses. The workers also sued several healthcare companies where they work.

U.S. district judge Jon Levy ruled on Wednesday that Maine can bar religious exemptions to its requirement that healthcare workers in the state get vaccinated against COVID-19. Levy, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama, said the healthcare workers who brought the case have not been prevented from staying true to their religious beliefs, although refusing the vaccine will cost them their jobs.

Read more …

“The Chicago stand-off comes as the city once again leads the United States in murders, with 639 homicides this year through October 13 — up 55 percent from two years ago.”

Covid Vaccine Stand-off Between Chicago Mayor, Police Hits Courts (Y!)

A Chicago judge on Friday banned a police union president from making public statements on the city’s Covid-19 policy as a stand-off over vaccine mandates sparked dueling lawsuits. The dispute between mayor Lori Lightfoot and police union head John Catanzara has made the city the latest flashpoint in a deeply polarized debate over vaccines and whether governments have the right to mandate them. Lightfoot sought and received an injunction against Catanzara Friday when the judge issued a 10-day restraining order that bans him from making statements that encourage members not to report their vaccination status.

The police union filed its own lawsuit Friday against Lightfoot and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown that seeks to force arbitration over the matter. Like all city employees, Chicago police officers have been mandated to report their vaccine status to an online portal by midnight Friday. Those not vaccinated will be subject to twice-weekly testing. Those who refuse to disclose their status have a few days’ grace to explain themselves — but face being placed on unpaid leave and eventually fired. In two videos released this week, Catanzara urged police officers to ignore the order and risk loss of pay. On Tuesday, he predicted that if a large number of officers refused to be tested or report their vaccinations, Chicago would have a “police force at 50 percent or less for this weekend.”

Lightfoot responded by saying: “I cannot and will not stand idly by while the rhetoric of conspiracy theorists threatens the health and safety of Chicago’s residents and first responders.” She also said Catanzara was “encouraging a work stoppage or strike.” Both state law and the union contract prohibits Chicago police from striking. The union responded with a tweet Friday saying: “President John Catanzara has never engaged in, supported, or encouraged a work stoppage.” [..] The Chicago stand-off comes as the city once again leads the United States in murders, with 639 homicides this year through October 13 — up 55 percent from two years ago. With shootings also up 68 percent over the period and carjackings heading for a record, the threat of losing much of the police force, even temporarily, has caused a deep sense of unease.

Read more …

Nobody I know believes the 62% vaccination rate.

Alarm Bells Ringing Over Poor Greek Vax Rate (K.)

Authorities are feeling increasingly uneasy about the pace of the country’s vaccination program, which is moving even slower in October than September, which had also seen a drop. As a result the aim to vaccinate at least 70% of the population to create the coveted wall of immunity is being further delayed, with winter just around the corner. In early September, after the summer holidays, there was a slight increase compared to the August break, with an average of about 20,000 shots being administered per day. The goal was to gradually increase this number in October so that by the end of the month or the beginning of November an additional million people would be vaccinated.

However, this was not meant to be, as in the first two weeks of October, there was a dip in appointments for the first dose – less than half compared to September. According to data.gov.gr, 62% of the population has received a single dose. The average daily rate of single dose shots in October was 5,500, while in September it was almost 13,000. By the time Greece reached the peak of the vaccination program in June, there was an average of 93,130 vaccinations per day being administered, of which 39,707 were first doses. This was because there was still a large proportion of the population which was positively inclined to the vaccine but wanted to wait a while before going ahead with it.

Currently, the percentage that has not been vaccinated is about the same as the percentage that indicated in the polls they would not get a jab or expressed caution about it. Bearing this in mind, targeted campaigns may be launched in the near future. Getting results, however, will be a tall order.

Read more …

Ha ha ha! Brilliant.

IMDB Steps In To Prop Up Audience Rating Of Fauci Documentary (JTN)

A documentary film tracking Dr. Anthony Fauci’s medical career from the AIDS crisis to COVID-19, is creating controversy away from the big screen. “Fauci,” from NatGeo and Magnolia Pictures, hit select theaters Sept. 10 before getting a Disney+ release earlier this month. The documentary lets disparate figures like President George W. Bush, U2’s Bono and Bill Gates praise the Infectious disease specialist. The studios failed to make the documentary’s box office figures available to film industry sites or JustTheNews.com. The vast majority of studios, large and small, routinely share that data, as NatGeo and Magnolia have done on previous releases.

Movie fans then noticed RottenTomatoes.com, arguably the biggest review aggregator site on the web, didn’t initially feature any “audience” reviews of the film. Mainstream film critics saluted “Fauci,” although most admitted the film served up a hagiography of the 80-year-old bureaucrat. Once audiences started weighing in on the film at Rotten Tomatoes, though, the results were withering. Professional critics gave “Fauci” a 92% “fresh” score, while audiences gave it just a 2% — or “rotten” — rating. A similar pattern emerged at IMDB.com, a major film and TV reference destination. “Fauci’s” audience rating, on a scale from 1-10, hovered around 1.8. This week, however, the site altered its review algorithm. Now, the audience review tally is a more robust 5.8.

A quick glimpse at the review breakdown, provided by the site, shows the overwhelming number of audience critics gave the film a one-star rating. The site now features this explanation: “NOTE: Our rating mechanism has detected unusual voting activity on this title. To preserve the reliability of our rating system, an alternate weighting calculation has been applied.”

Read more …

Next step after the Green Pass.

DHS Seeks To Track Biometric Data Of Workers (JTN)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seeking proposals for a new system that will allow it to track the biometric data of its workers in order to monitor their physical and mental well-being. DHS said in a call for proposals this week that it is looking to “find innovative technological solutions that will improve the overall health and wellness of those consistently placed in high-stress and dangerous conditions” under DHS employment. “DHS is seeking capabilities that not only promote intervention action when necessary, but preemptively and in real-time optimize DHS personnel performance and resilience,” the agency added. The window for proposals for the project extends until next April.

Read more …

“Carollo looks like he’s about six, and I say that fully conceding jealousy over his full head of hair.”

Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State (Taibbi)

On The Young Turks the other night, during a segment called — this is not a joke — “RebelHQ,” commentator Ben Carollo extolled the virtues of the CIA. In one section, he described how intelligence officials responded to “Donald Trump trying to plan some ridiculous scheme to maintain himself as president”: “It’s not a conspiracy theory to say that these government officials wanted to listen to congress and cared about Democratic norms and respected the constitutional structure of the way the United States is today.” When I first heard Carollo talking about the desire of intelligence officials to “listen to congress,” I thought he was being literal.

Maybe, I thought, he meant that time in 2014, when the CIA spied on the the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into its torture program, wiring up Senate computers and reading staffers’ emails. Or perhaps he meant that time in 2015, when the Obama administration was using the NSA to listen to Israeli critics of his Iran deal, and ended up with “inadvertent” access to phone calls back and forth with political opponents in the U.S. congress, on both sides of the aisle. Or, maybe Carollo also meant that time when the CIA intercepted communications between the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community and congressional staff, about pending whistleblower complaints. As the ICIG put it in one of its declassified notifications, “CIA security compiled a report that includes excerpts of these whistleblower-related communications, and this report was eventually shared with CIA management.” This way, the CIA bosses could know ahead of time who was going to congress with complaints about abuses! Good times.

Alas, Carollo didn’t mean intelligence officials are listening to congress in that sense. His video essay entitled, “Fact-checking Glenn Greenwald’s stunt on Fox News,” was designed to refute the apparently ridiculous notion that “there’s some sort of secret deep state working behind the scenes.” A central part of his argument is that unlike agencies like Homeland Security, formed under the Republican administration of George W. Bush and designed to be “far more shielded from congressional oversight,” the CIA reports to congress and basically does what it’s told. The agencies with the real power to color outside the lines, Carollo tells us, are DHS-sub-operations, “specifically ICE, and Customs and Border Control,” which “have far less congressional oversight and far less structure in place for there to be those checks and balances.” Because of that, Carollo says, “Donald Trump was more than capable of enacting an extremely racist border policy.”

Even the Pentagon and the defense intelligence agencies are less of a concern, he said, because “when it comes to something like the military, there’s a long history of deep congressional oversight,” and “many checks and balances that are put into place.” Carollo looks like he’s about six, and I say that fully conceding jealousy over his full head of hair. It’s relevant only because he’s representative of a generation of young, left-leaning intellectuals who grew up in the Trump years believing the CIA, FBI, NSA, and other such agencies to be trusted, straight-and-narrow defenders of democratic “norms.” These credulous kids with piercings and chin-beards who think the secret services are on their side are the fruits of one of the great P.R. campaigns of our time.

Read more …

Great Reset.

Relentless Retail Inventory Squeeze amid Shortages & Supply Chain Chaos (WS)

The holiday selling season is approaching, and a whole litany of weird shortages is ricocheting through the economy. Stuff suddenly gets hung up somewhere, on a ship, or in a port, and then ends up somewhere else, or it’s on backorder for months, as manufacturers are struggling with material shortages and in in Asia with Covid outbreaks that shut down factories for weeks at a time. And stimulus-fueled demand in the US has been huge and relentless, while retailers are struggling with inventories, some more than others. Auto dealers, particularly new-vehicle dealers, are experiencing catastrophic shortages of popular models, as automakers have been getting blasted by semiconductor shortages that simply refuse to abate, leading to rotating shutdowns of assembly plants globally.

Auto dealers are the largest retailer segment, with their sales normally accounting for over 20% of total retail sales, and with their inventories normally accounting for 33% of total retail inventories. Inventories at auto dealers, measured in dollars, declined to a new multi-year low of $151 billion in August, according to data released by the Commerce Department on Friday. The long-term dollar-increase in inventory levels that you can see in the chart above is a reflection of higher costs per vehicle in inventory. But the number of vehicles in inventory has been in the same range for two decades, as unit sales have mostly been below the peak achieved in the year 2000.


It’s even worse during the current shortages: Inventory in dollars – though it collapsed – is being inflated by the shift to high-end models as automakers are prioritizing the biggest money makers. Sales of new and used vehicles also collapsed as there hasn’t been enough to sell. The industry-standard Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of sales plunged five months in a row and is down by 33% from May:

And so the inventory-sales ratio – inventories divided by sales, a standard metric of supply that cancels out the impact of price increases – has been ticking up over the past three months from the May low, which had been the lowest in the data going back to 1992. The upticks were driven by sales that collapsed even faster than inventories. Following the Lehman bankruptcy, new vehicle sales plunged, and the US was suddenly drowning in inventory, and the inventory-sales ratio spiked. During the pandemic, the opposite occurred: Fueled by huge amounts of fiscal and monetary stimulus, retail demand surged and collided with production woes due at first to Covid issues and then the semiconductor shortage. And prices have spiked, with many new vehicles being sold at prices well above sticker, which is nuts.

Read more …

Really, Stella, talk to the Guardian? They were only ever going to smear Julian even more, while washing their hands of their role in his misery,

Stella Moris On Her Secret Family With Julian Assange (G.)

In May 2012, the UK’s supreme court ruled he should be extradited to Sweden. In June, Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy, where he could not be arrested because of the international legal protection afforded diplomatic premises, and refused to come out. In doing so, he breached his bail conditions. Two months later, Ecuador granted Assange political asylum, stating that they feared his human rights would be violated if he were extradited. By now, Assange had fallen out with former colleagues at WikiLeaks and collaborators at mainstream news organisations. His relationship with the Guardian soured over the decision to bring the New York Times into the collaboration, and he was angered that the Guardian investigated the Swedish allegations, rather than supporting him unquestioningly.

He was also furious about details published in a Guardian book, WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy. Meanwhile, all five media partners condemned his decision to publish Cablegate unredacted, potentially endangering the lives of thousands of activists and informers in countries including Israel, Jordan, Iran and Afghanistan. The situation could not have been messier. He fell out with so many people: WikiLeaks staff, his lawyer Mark Stephens, the writer Andrew O’Hagan, who had been contracted to ghost a book out of him, which Assange never delivered. Laura Poitras’s film about Assange, Risk, is particularly poignant because she had started the project as a fan. In it, Assange comes across as vain, sexist, arrogant and messianic.

The allegations of hypocrisy were most damaging: Poitras reveals that Assange told her the film was a threat to his freedom and demanded scenes be removed. “He was really angry and he tried to intimidate,” Poitras told me at the time of Risk’s release. James Ball, global editor at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and former Guardian journalist, briefly worked for WikiLeaks. He talks about the “incredible intensity” of his time at Ellingham House. “We were in the middle of nowhere in Norfolk, and we couldn’t bring phones because they could be tracked, so we were cut off from friends and family.” Ball challenged Assange when he was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, with a £12m penalty clause, that would have prevented him saying anything about WikiLeaks for two decades.

“Julian basically told everyone not to let me go to bed till I agreed to sign,” Ball says. Eventually, he did get to bed without signing. “I was woken up by Julian who was sitting on my bed, pressuring me again. He was prodding me in the face with a cuddly toy giraffe. I managed to get out, and then I got really angry for several months. A friend suggested I look into cult deprogramming. I don’t think Julian necessarily meant to build a cult, but WikiLeaks did operate like one.” Moris dismisses all the criticism of Assange as character assassination. Does she think his reputation for being difficult is fair? “How many publishers, editors, CEOs have a reputation for being nice and agreeable?” she asks. “Julian doesn’t like people who are deceitful, Julian doesn’t like opportunists, and he can be quite direct. Also people who are on the autism spectrum don’t score particularly high on the agreeableness scale.” (A psychiatrist confirmed a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome in last year’s extradition hearing.)

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Major league weird.

 

 

Leonardo da Vinci’s self-supporting bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dec 062020
 
 December 6, 2020  Posted by at 10:31 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Absinthe Drinker 1901

 

Large-Scale Covid19 Vaccination Campaign Kicks Off In Moscow (RT)
The Vaccine Race is a Race Against Capital Flight (Luongo)
US COVID Deaths Projected To More Than Double To 410,000 By January (R.)
Florida Requires Labs To Report ‘Cycle Threshold’ Of COVID-19 Tests (JTN)
COVID Will Drive Global Debt To $200 Trillion By End Of 2020 – S&P (RT)
Bernie Sanders Mocks Those Who Believe The Deep State Exists (Greenwald)
The President Can Pardon Himself, But That Does Not Mean He Should (Turley)
Rep. Mo Brooks’ Challenge To Electoral College Certification (JTN)
Budgets, Vetoes, Values, Defence … Division And Dithering Shame The EU (O.)
UK Urged To Follow Denmark In Ending North Sea Oil And Gas Exploration (O.)

 

 

Vaccines and autoimmune

 

 

 

 

 

 

First (though admittedly, China is a mystery).

Large-Scale Covid19 Vaccination Campaign Kicks Off In Moscow (RT)

A wide-ranging anti-coronavirus vaccination campaign began in Moscow on Saturday, with thousands signing up for shots online, in the Russian capital. Frontline workers were given first priority, as previous indicated. Those wishing to participate have to sign up online before receiving their initial dose of Sputnik V at one of the city’s 70 specialist clinics. The vaccine consists of two separate injections, the second jab must be administered 21 days after the first one. The whole procedure, which includes the time needed to cool down the formula after it’s removed from the freezer, takes less than an hour, officials said. Injections are administered to people aged between 18 and 60 that present no chronic health conditions. Those who have had respiratory infections, like flu or common cold, less than two weeks ago, are not eligible. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are also barred, for now.


On Friday, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin wrote on his blog that 5,000 people had signed up for the vaccine in five hours after online registration was launched. He said they were doctors, care workers, and teachers, who were “risking their health and lives the most.” Vaccination is free for Russian citizens. Senior health official Alexey Kuznetsov announced that Sputnik V’s maximum commercial price will be 1,942 rubles ($26) for both injections. President Vladimir Putin authorized the start of a large-scale vaccination campaign on Wednesday. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said all of Russia’s regions would roll out their campaigns next week. Meanwhile, select groups of doctors and nurses had already been getting the vaccine, with the priority given to those on the frontline against Covid-19. The vaccination began in some army units as well.

Read more …

Expect horror stories about Russian vaccines.

The Vaccine Race is a Race Against Capital Flight (Luongo)

The ruble rose sharply versus the dollar this week, collapsing below the critical 76 level to close this week below 74. More evidence that with Putin’s announcement of Sputnik V vaccine distribution starting Russia the markets are looking for a home where capital can have a prayer in hell of being treated well. Because that will most certainly not be the case in Europe. The only reasons the euro is rising in on political instability in the U.S. and the lack of forward budget thanks to the veto by Hungary and Poland. Because while the euro may be breaking out versus the dollar the bellwether bond markets in Europe, namely German bunds, are rising in yield.

While this isn’t a bear market in any sense since the selling hasn’t overwhelmed ECB buying, it’s also hard to determine if that would ever happen given just how much of the European sovereign debt market the ECB actually owns now. Investors in the West are trying to beat the COVID-19 narrative, pinning their hope of economic recovery on the vaccine restoring normality. But if there is one thing I’ve noted over and over again over the past ten months, it is that the goal posts for normality keep getting moved. Remember 15 days to flatten the curve? Now it’s a 100-day mask mandates with state-by-state full lockdowns. Anyone thinking that we’ll ever return to anything resembling the old world is terminally naïve.

The race for global capital begins now with Russia’s roll out of Sputnik V by the millions of doses. It doesn’t matter if the vaccine works or it doesn’t. Pfizer’s doesn’t. What matters is what excuses politicians can make to fit their agenda. Putin wants to make Russia a destination for global capital, keeping Russia open for business. Russia pushing Sputnik V out the door this quickly is forcing the West’s hand. They wanted bigger lockdowns for longer. Asia will stay open while the West plays games resetting its system. They are really angry at the Russians for being good at math and science.

That is why the race for the vaccine is actually the race for global capital in the end. Because the rollout of the vaccine asymmetrically around the world will be followed by where watching where the capital will flow to. Russia will be one of those places along with everyone they sell it to and everyone they do business with. COVID-19 is a litmus test of governments. Investors are looking around now looking for where the political risk really lies over the next decade. Sanctions, threats and capital controls can only slow the outflow but it can’t stop it.

Read more …

Winter is a bigger factor than most acknowledged.

US COVID Deaths Projected To More Than Double To 410,000 By January (R.)

U.S. deaths from the coronavirus will reach 410,000 by the end of the year, more than double the current death toll, and deaths could soar to 3,000 per day in December, the University of Washington’s health institute forecast on Friday. Deaths could be reduced by 30% if more Americans wore face masks as epidemiologists have advised, but mask-wearing is declining, the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said. The U.S. death rate projected by the IHME model, which has been cited by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, would more than triple the current death rate of some 850 per day.

“We expect the daily death rate in the United States, because of seasonality and declining vigilance of the public, to reach nearly 3,000 a day in December,” the institute, which bills itself as an independent research center, said in an update of its periodic forecasts. “Cumulative deaths expected by January 1 are 410,000; this is 225,000 deaths from now until the end of the year,” the institute said. It previously projected 317,697 deaths by Dec. 1. The model’s outlook for the world was even more dire, with deaths projected to triple to 2.8 million by Jan. 1, 2021. The United States, which has the world’s third largest population, leads the planet with more than 186,000 COVID-19 deaths and 6.1 million coronavirus infections.

[..] The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues forecasts only four weeks in advance, and its latest estimate is for 200,000 to 211,000 dead by Sept. 26. But the institute said with so many Americans still refusing to wear masks, there remains “an extraordinary opportunity” to save lives. “Increasing mask use to the levels seen in Singapore would decrease the cumulative death toll to 288,000, or 122,000 lives saved compared to the reference scenario,” it said. “Mask use continues to decline from a peak in early August. Declines are notable throughout the Midwest, including in some states such as Illinois and Iowa with increasing case numbers,” the report said.

Although U.S. infections have declined to around 45,000 per day from a peak of around 70,000 per day in July, COVID-19 was the second leading cause of death, the institute said. That would place it behind only heart disease, having surpassed cancer as a cause of death in the United States.

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How much sense can you make?

Florida Requires Labs To Report ‘Cycle Threshold’ Of COVID-19 Tests (JTN)

The Florida Department of Health is requiring that all labs in the state report the critical “cycle threshold” level of every COVID-19 test they perform. In a press release this week, the department said that, regarding COVID-19 tests, “cycle threshold (CT) values and their reference ranges, as applicable, must be reported by laboratories to FDOH via electronic laboratory reporting or by fax immediately.” “Cycle thresholds” are the level at which widely used polymerase chain reaction test can detect a sample of the COVID-19 virus.


The higher the number of cycles, the lower the amount of viral load in the sample; the lower the cycles, the more prevalent the virus was in the original sample. Numerous epidemiological experts have argued that cycle thresholds are an important metric by which patients and the public can make an informed decision about how infectious and/or sick an individual with a positive COVID-19 test might be. However, health departments across the country are failing to collect that data.

Read more …

Keep rates low or else!

COVID Will Drive Global Debt To $200 Trillion By End Of 2020 – S&P (RT)

The world’s appetite for borrowing is growing with global debt expected to reach the next milestone of $200 trillion as early as this year, according to ratings agency S&P Global. That will reportedly account for 265 percent of the world’s annual economic output, amounting to a 14-point rise as a percentage of world GDP. The dramatic surge was triggered by both the economic plunge due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the extra borrowing that governments, firms and households have had to fall back upon, the New York-based agency said. “Global debt-to-GDP has been trending up for many years; the pandemic simply exacerbated the rise,” the report reads.


Despite mounting debt and a series of defaults over the coming year, the S&P doesn’t expect a major crisis any time soon. “The projected 14-percent surge in global debt-to-GDP in 2020 is unlikely to cause a near-term debt crisis, provided economies recover, vaccines are widely distributed, interest rates remain very low, and borrowing behavior moderates,” the agency said. The global debt-to-GDP ratio will reportedly ease back to 256 percent within two years, as soon as the world economy gets back on its feet after the pandemic. “We expect the debt growth of corporates, governments, and household to ease as they tend to after recessions,” the report reads.

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Bernie never recovered from the smears.

Bernie Sanders Mocks Those Who Believe The Deep State Exists (Greenwald)

That Putin wanted Tump to win was one of the leading themes used by Democratic-Party-allied media outlets to attack Trump, rendering it crippling for Sanders to be similarly tied to Moscow, particularly given the perception that Putin would help Sanders because the Kremlin judged him to be the weakest candidate against the GOP president. Indeed, The Post article explicitly drew the Sanders/Trump comparison (emphasis added): The disclosure of Russian assistance to Sanders follows a briefing to lawmakers last week in which a senior intelligence official said that Russia wants to see Trump reelected, viewing his administration as more favorable to the Kremlin’s interests, according to people who were briefed on the comments. . . .

The prospect of two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow appears to reflect what intelligence officials have previously described as Russia’s broader interest in sowing division in the United States and uncertainty about the validity of American elections. Reflecting his 2020 strategy of trying to appease the Democratic establishment in lieu of his more successful 2016 strategy of proudly positioning himself as its adversary, Sanders by this point had repeatedly echoed the maximalist conspiracy theories about Trump and Russia, leaving him with little room to maneuver once this Cold War tactic was predictably deployed against him. After suggesting the leak to The Post was intended to harm his campaign, he had no other options beyond sputtering with faux-toughness about how he would show Putin who was boss.

In other words — both prior to the leak and after — Sanders repeatedly validated rather than scorned the CIA’s Russia narrative (just as he did with the equally cynical Bernie Bro attacks). So it put him in a defensive crouch for the rest of the campaign, unable to explain why Putin — Public Enemy Number One among the Democratic Party base — was trying to help him win.

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“..it would be as constitutional as it would be wrong.”

The President Can Pardon Himself, But That Does Not Mean He Should (Turley)

It seems the subject of Donald Trump, like necessity, is the mother of invention, at least when it comes to legal analysis. From bribery statutes to constitutional provisions, legal experts routinely and unfailingly conclude that Trump or his family can be prosecuted or impeached for an endless array of misdeeds. Even theories denied by the Supreme Court are seen as valid when used against Trump. Now the same certainty has been declared on whether Trump can grant himself a pardon. One of the longest standing debates in constitutional law is dismissed as ill-informed by some of the same experts. His role as a catalyst for clarity was apparent in an interview by Harvard professor Laurence Tribe.

After host Lawrence O’Donnell said he believed a president could give himself a pardon, Tribe proclaimed such a view is “incoherent and incompatible” as a constitutional matter. The declaration likely surprised few on MSNBC. Tribe has been an outspoken critic of Trump, whom he has denounced as a “terrorist,” and he has supported a wide array of criminal and constitutional claims against him. These views are popular as are Tribe’s increasingly personal diatribes, including vulgar attacks on Republican leaders and even a false attack on Attorney William Barr for his Catholic faith. For the record, I have maintained that a president can grant himself a pardon. I held that position before Trump took office. I also believe a president can be indicted in office.

The reason is the same: The Constitution prohibits neither a self-pardon nor a presidential indictment. This is not the first time that Tribe and I have disagreed. Two decades ago, we testified together at the impeachment hearing of President Clinton. At that time, Tribe was far more restrictive in his legal and constitutional interpretations, declaring that lying under oath in the Clinton case would not be an impeachable offense. While a federal court and Democrats agreed that Clinton knowingly committed perjury, Tribe insisted that a president could commit perjury in certain circumstances and not be impeached. Thus, a president can commit a felony for which thousands have been incarcerated, including those prosecuted by his own administration, but he should not be removed from office for the same act.

[..] The stronger argument against a presidential self-pardon is not the textual one raised by Tribe but, simply, that the Constitution should be read to include a principle against self-dealing. Yet presidents regularly engage in all forms of self-dealing, from nepotism to favoritism to cronyism, without a hint of constitutional difficulty. Bill Clinton not only appointed his wife to head a major federal commission on health care but pardoned his own half-brother. The Framers did not bar such forms of self-dealing any more than they barred self-pardons. This is why Trump can pardon himself, and why he should not do so. Just as I denounced Clinton for abusing the pardon powers, I believe such a step by Trump would be an even greater abuse. In other words, it would be as constitutional as it would be wrong.

Read more …

Dec 8 and Dec14 are arbitrary dates. Only Jan 20 is cast in stone.

Rep. Mo Brooks’ Challenge To Electoral College Certification (JTN)

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) faces an uphill battle if he challenges the Electoral College and backs President Trump on Jan. 6, when Congress is scheduled to certify Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. Brooks said this week he has been sharing his plan with fellow House members in hopes of invoking the 12th Amendment and helping Trump win. At least one senator must partner with Brooks to trigger a vote on an electoral challenge, and Brooks told Fox News Radio on Thursday, “We have some leads for United States Senators who may do it.” Under the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, in a contingent election no candidate wins a majority of Electoral College votes, and the election is thrown to the U.S. House of Representatives.

There, each state’s delegation has one vote, and a candidate must receive the votes of a majority of state delegations to win. Because of the calendar, the new Congress is the one that decides, not the outgoing one. In the new Congress, there are more states with Republican delegations than Democratic ones, so in that scenario, Trump would win. “Thank you to Representative Mo Brooks,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning after news of Brooks’ intention broke. “Ask your senators and congressman if they will object to any Electoral College certification of Joe Biden on January 6,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch tweeted Nov. 23. It’s unlikely, however, that Brooks would be able to successfully invoke the 12th Amendment if he can’t get a majority of both the House and the Senate to support his efforts.

Brooks said he doesn’t think he needs a majority. Legal experts disagree, arguing that while a single member of the House and Senate can raise an objection, majorities in both the House and the Senate would have to approve it for any electoral votes to be tossed out. This would not happen under a Democratic-controlled House. “They are misunderstanding the law,” says election law expert Hans von Spakovsky. The procedures for the counting of Electoral College votes in Congress are set forth in 3 U.S.C. 15, according to von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission and manager of the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative.

“What it says is that an objection can be filed to the certification of votes from the states when they are being counted in the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, if it is signed by one member of the House and one member of the Senate,” he told Just the News. “However, the Senate and the House then each have to stage a vote on the objection, which obviously will not go forward unless a majority of senators and a majority of representatives approve of the objection.”

Read more …

Poland and Hungary are becoming a very big problem for Europe.

Budgets, Vetoes, Values, Defence … Division And Dithering Shame The EU (O.)

It’s all happening at once for the EU. Fundamental problems and disputes, long fudged, postponed or ignored, are simultaneously coming to a head. Is this a union of shared values or of economic interests? Who pays the bills? How is Europe best defended when the US cannot be trusted? What about Turkey? And then there’s “bloody Brexit”. Little wonder some are predicting a nervous collapse. These fraught issues and more will converge at this week’s “doomsday” EU summit, presaging greater-than-usual fractiousness. But if it is as inconclusive as many previous gatherings, the European project faces serious trouble. Implementation of the €1.1tn, seven-year EU budget and €750bn Covid recovery fund cannot sensibly be delayed much longer. Yet two states – Poland and Hungary – are blocking the way.

Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s rightwing populist leader, and Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, jointly declared last week they would veto the budget if it retained “rule of law” criteria requiring adherence to EU-defined standards of judicial independence. Both governments are in long-running disputes over what Brussels views as their illiberal, “un-European” policies on judges, media freedom and women’s and gender rights. They reject what they call “politically motivated” meddling. The fact that the row is blocking timely pandemic relief shames the EU. If it cannot unite to fight this unprecedented human emergency, voters will ask, then what can it do? Even the experienced German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who holds the EU presidency, is flailing as the French and others insist they will not bow to authoritarian diktats.

This dispute, plus ongoing tensions over the cost of an expanded budget now UK contributions are ending, prompted an intriguing intervention last week from António Costa, the Portuguese prime minister. Portugal assumes the EU presidency next month, and is staring aghast at the can of worms it’s inheriting. Costa’s proposal was suitably radical: effectively split the EU in two, and thus save it, by recognising irreconcilable internal differences. This variation on the old idea of a two-speed or two-tier Europe would be based not on geography but on values, Costa suggested. It would separate the so-called “frugal” states – the Netherlands, Austria and Nordic countries concerned about high spending and fiscal transfers – plus east European states opposed to rule of law mechanisms and migrant quotas – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – from the remainder.

“Basically, it is whether the EU is a union of values or whether, on the contrary, it is primarily an economic instrument,” Costa argued. Countries opposing further integration would benefit from “variable geometries” while others like France, and southern states such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, could pursue their version of ever closer union. It’s a brave idea that Costa, reportedly with French backing, will pursue at a special spring summit in Lisbon. Yet it has a major flaw. Germany, the EU’s chief paymaster with a current net budget contribution of €12.8bn, gives lip service to EU integration and solidarity. But it has a deeply ingrained horror of underwriting the profligacy and pipe-dreams of indebted fellow eurozone members.

This same German reluctance hinders Emmanuel Macron’s ambitions for a unified “global Europe” to match the US and China: Berlin fears it will end up footing the bill, financially and politically. When France’s president called again last month for a sovereign European defence strategy, Germany’s defence minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, slapped him down. “The idea of strategic autonomy for Europe goes too far if it nurtures the illusion that we could ensure Europe’s security, stability and prosperity without Nato and the US … Germany and Europe cannot protect themselves without America’s nuclear and conventional power. This is simply a fact,” she said. Macron was furious.

Read more …

Not going to happen.

UK Urged To Follow Denmark In Ending North Sea Oil And Gas Exploration (O.)

Britain must end all oil and gas extraction in the North Sea as a matter of urgency if it is to maintain its position as a credible climate champion. That was the stark warning issued by green campaigners yesterday in the wake of last week’s decision by Denmark to halt its exploration for new North Sea reserves as part of its commitment to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change. The Danish decision is an embarrassment for Boris Johnson who announced last week that Britain would take a lead in the battle against global heating by cutting national carbon emissions by 68% by 2030, a rate faster than any other major economy. However, the UK has not announced plans to end exploration in the North Sea for new gas and oil fields or to halt extraction there – despite the established link between global warming and fossil fuel extraction and burning.

By announcing its North Sea ban last week, say campaigners, Denmark has undermined Johnson’s attempt to portray himself as a world climate leader next Saturday when he is scheduled to co-host a virtual Climate Ambition summit of world leaders. “If the UK is to be a real global climate leader, it must follow Denmark’s lead by stopping issuing new oil and gas exploration licences and delivering a managed phase-out of oil and gas extraction,” said Ken Penton, UK climate campaigner for the international NGO, Global Witness. “This must include funding a just transition for oil and gas workers and their communities to ensure they can benefit from the new green economy and do not suffer the fate of UK coal miners and their communities.”

The Danish government voted on Thursday to cancel the country’s next North Sea oil and gas licensing round, 80 years after it first began exploiting its hydrocarbon reserves. Denmark’s 55 existing platforms, spread across 20 oil and gas fields, will be allowed to continue extracting fossil fuels but the decision to end the hunt for new reserves will guarantee an end to Denmark’s fossil fuel production.

Read more …

 

 

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Stephanie Kelton Deficits

 

 

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