Nov 222023
 November 22, 2023  Posted by at 9:21 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  74 Responses »

Paul Cézanne Young Italian Woman at a Table c1900


Israel’s Cabinet Approves Ceasefire, Hostage Deal With Hamas (Sp.)
Gaza ‘Truce’ Won’t Halt The Regional War (Illaik)
Will the Scorpion Sting the US Frog? (Alastair Crooke)
Putin Calls For Joint Global Efforts To End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (TASS)
Will Russia-China Patience Extinguish the Fire in West Asia? (Pepe Escobar)
Biden Op-ed Likening Russia to Hamas is Result of Dementia – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
Western Leaders Came to Ukraine to Test Kiev Regime Viability (Sp.)
US Mission To NATO Signals Zelensky Must Sit At “Negotiating Table” (ZH)
Rep. Goldman Denounced “Dangerous” Rhetoric Using Dangerous Rhetoric (Turley)
‘All In’ for Trump House Speaker Johnson Pays Visit to Mar-a-Lago (Sp.)
Trump Seeks To Halt Gag Order In Election Meddling Case (BBC)
We Must Demand Justice for the January 6th Protestors! (Ron Paul)
Texas AG Sues Pfizer Over Tainted Children’s Drugs (ZH)
Lawsuit Against Alleged CIA Spying On Assange Visitors (Gosztola)





Children of Gaza



“Interest on the federal debt is now so immense that it’s consuming 40% of all personal income taxes… If federal finances continue on their current path, we are only a few years from the entirety of income taxes being needed to finance the debt…”



Morning Joe



Nap Macgregor



Scott Ritter: “Israel been defeated on the battlefield! We will not SAVE THEM this time..”



Sachs UN








Truth Social files defamation suit vs 20 media companies



The head of the aid organization that runs the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza, now under sustained assault by Israeli forces, wrote a letter to Pres. Biden: “You have destroyed the international rules of the game, insulted the authority of the UN, torn apart the sense of justice, and hurt human values, and tarnished the face of human civilization.”





Nobody believes in Israel’s good intentions.

Israel’s Cabinet Approves Ceasefire, Hostage Deal With Hamas (Sp.)

The Israeli cabinet has accepted a deal with Palestinian movement Hamas for a temporary ceasefire and the release of hostages in a vote on Wednesday, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. The newspaper cited a senior Israeli official as saying that the deal would see Hamas release 30 children and eight mothers, as well as 12 more women, during a four-day ceasefire. The official also said that all the branches of the Israeli security services supported the deal, the newspaper reported. The deal includes only Israelis, but Hamas may release foreign nationals under deals with other countries, the report said. Implementing an agreement between Israel and Palestinian movement Hamas on the release of hostages will start a day after the deal is reached and the US anticipates the freeing of additional hostages, a senior Biden administration official said during a press briefing.

“Even if we get an agreement tonight or tomorrow morning, the implementation would not start until 24 hours after that,” the official said on Tuesday evening. “If we had an agreement tonight, the implementation would probably be Thursday morning Israel time.” Palestinian movement Hamas will release 50 of some 240 hostages being held in the Gaza Strip, women and children first, over a four-day ceasefire that was approved by Israel’s cabinet, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing the Israeli government. Israel would publish a list of names of prisoners to be released under a deal with Palestinian movement Hamas within the next 24 hours so that Israelis can appeal the release in court, Axios reported Tuesday, citing an Israeli official. The report added that Israel would extend the truce by an additional day for every ten hostages released.

Palestinian movement Hamas said in a statement on Wednesday that it has agreed with Israel on a four-day truce in the Gaza Strip with the cessation of all hostilities and the release of 50 Israeli hostages in return for 150 Palestinian prisoners. “Following difficult and complex negotiations that lasted for many days, we announce that … we, thanks to the persistent efforts of Qatar and Egypt, have reached an agreement on a humanitarian truce (temporary ceasefire) for four days, according to which a ceasefire on both sides comes, as well as the cessation of all military activities of the occupation army in all areas of the Gaza Strip, as well as the cessation of the movement of its military equipment into the Gaza Strip,” Hamas said on Telegram.

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“..In short, the ground battle in northern Gaza has only just begun, and is gearing up to get even hotter in the weeks ahead.”

Gaza ‘Truce’ Won’t Halt The Regional War (Illaik)

The Israeli military has announced the expansion of its ground operations in the northern Gaza Strip. After seizing territories on Gaza’s coastline, in the western part of the northern strip, Tel Aviv’s actual ground operation is now beginning. For more than three weeks of its ground offensive, the occupation army has been operating in areas close to the shoreline, in places where tunnels cannot be dug, and, therefore, areas where the Palestinian resistance does not have significant defensive capabilities. But now, the occupation army is moving eastward from the Gaza coast, allowing the armed resistance to maneuver far more easily and inflict greater losses on the invading soldiers and their armored vehicles – as has become quite evident in recent days. In short, the ground battle in northern Gaza has only just begun, and is gearing up to get even hotter in the weeks ahead.

In support of the resistance in Gaza, the Yemeni army and Ansarallah fighters seized an Israeli-owned vessel in the Red Sea on 19 November after threatening to target all Israeli ships crossing the Bab al-Mandab Strait. Over the past week, on Lebanon’s border with Israel, the Lebanese resistance Hezbollah has increased the frequency of its military operations. On 20 November, the occupation army monitored more than 40 attacks on its positions, one of which was carried out with four rockets, each with an explosive warhead weighing around 500 kilograms. The salvo destroyed the Israeli ‘Branit’ military barracks near the border with Lebanon. In just the past three days, Hezbollah has carried out an average of 12 military operations against Israeli targets each day. Simultaneously, Iraqi resistance attacks are continuing against US military bases in Iraq and Syria – over sixty operations to date.

The increased pace of clashes across West Asia is, however, being widely ignored by many of Tel Aviv’s western allies, whose attention has been diverted by ongoing prisoner exchange talks between Israel and the Palestinian resistance, mediated by Qatar and the US. These weeks-long negotiations are being treated as evidence that the next phase will necessarily be a de-escalation in Palestine. Those expectations have been fanned by a leak that Israel’s cabinet has discussed the imminent demobilization of a number of army reservists. While the Israeli military may indeed demobilize part of the reserve forces it called up after 7 October, this decision is not based on de-escalatory considerations. The more than 300,000 Israeli reservists initially mobilized was far too great for the capacity of the occupation army, which was unable to absorb these personnel into its fronts in Gaza, Lebanon, and the West Bank.

Despite this, many still optimistically cling to the de-escalation narrative. They are further encouraged by official US statements criticizing – albeit in a watered-down manner – Israel’s targeting of Palestinian civilians, and point to the occasional US-Israel divergences over what they call the “post-Hamas phase” in Gaza as further proof that Tel Aviv will have to scale down its war. But at the current stage of the conflict, these discrepancies and observations are considered totally irrelevant by officials in the region’s Axis of Resistance. They note instead that Washington continues to maintain its pace of arms support for Israel, as it has done since the war’s onset, while sticking to its refusal to entertain any permanent ceasefire.

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“..he manoeuvres to alleviate criticism and to stay in power as long as he can. More importantly, he hopes this will enable him to spread the blame, shedding all and any responsibility and accountability from himself..”

Will the Scorpion Sting the US Frog? (Alastair Crooke)

The allegory is one in which a scorpion depends on the frog for its passage across a flooded river, by hitching a lift on the frog’s back. The frog distrusts the scorpion; but reluctantly agrees. During the crossing the scorpion fatally stings the frog swimming the river, under the scorpion. They both die. It is a tale from antiquity intended to illustrate the nature of tragedy. A Greek tragedy is one in which the crisis at the heart of any ‘tragedy’ does not arise by sheer mischance. The Greek sense is that tragedy is where something happens because it has to happen; because of the nature of the participants; because the actors involved make it happen. And they have no choice but to make it happen, because that is their nature.

It is a story that was deployed by a former senior Israeli diplomat, well versed in U.S. politics. His telling of the frog fable has Israel’s leaders desperately fending off responsibility for the 7 October débacle, with a cabinet furiously trying to turn the crisis (psychologically) from culpable disaster – to present the Israeli public instead with an image of epic opportunity. The chimaera being presented is one that by reaching back to earliest Zionist ideology, Israel can turn the catastrophe in Gaza – as Finance Minister Smotrich has long argued – into a solution that once and for all ‘unilaterally resolves the inherent contradiction between Jewish and Palestinian aspirations – by ending the illusion that any kind of compromise, reconciliation or partition is possible. This is the potential scorpion sting: the Israeli cabinet betting all on a hugely risky strategy – a new Nakba – that could draw Israel into major conflict, but in so doing also sink what remains of western prestige.

Of course, as the former Israeli diplomat underlines, this ploy is essentially constructed around Netanyahu’s personal ambition – he manoeuvres to alleviate criticism and to stay in power as long as he can. More importantly, he hopes this will enable him to spread the blame, shedding all and any responsibility and accountability from himself. [Better still], “it can place Gaza in an historic and epic context as an event that might render the PM as a formative wartime leader of grandeur and glory”. Far-fetched? Not necessarily. Netanyahu may be writhing politically for survival, but he is a true ‘believer’ too. In his book, Going to the Wars, historian Max Hastings writes that Netanyahu told him in the 1970s that, “In the next war, if we do it right, we’ll have the chance to get all the Arabs out … We can clear the West Bank, sort out Jerusalem.” And what is the Israeli cabinet thinking about the ‘next war’? It thinks ‘Hizbullah. As one minister noted recently, ‘after Hamas, we will turn to deal with Hizbullah’.

It is precisely the confluence of a lengthy war in Gaza (along lines established in 2006), and an Israeli leadership seemingly intent to provoke Hizbullah on to, and up, the escalatory ladder, which is causing red lights to flash inside the White House, according to the former Israeli diplomat. In the 2006 war with Hizbullah, the entire urban populated suburb of Beirut – Dahiya – was levelled. General Eizenkot (who commanded Israeli forces during that war and is now a member in Netanyahu’s ‘War Cabinet’) said in 2008: “What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on … From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases … This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.”

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Putin first wants more countries to step up to the plate. He won’t be isolated.

Putin Calls For Joint Global Efforts To End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (TASS)

The international community should join forces to find a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Russia’s position is consistent and does not change with the situation. We urge the international community to join forces in order to ease tensions, ensure a ceasefire and find a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he noted, addressing an extraordinary summit of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). According to Putin, “BRICS nations and the countries of the region could play a key role in this work.” “This is why the participation of our colleagues from the Middle East in today’s meeting, who were invited to join BRICS as full members earlier in the year, is particularly important,” the Russian leader noted.

“I would like to use this opportunity to respectfully commend their efforts to improve the situation, particularly by holding the Peace Summit in Egypt and the extraordinary Arab-Islamic Summit in Saudi Arabia,” Putin said. The Russian president highlighted the fact that “all BRICS countries share similar positions on the need to make joint efforts to find a long-term and sustainable solution to the prolonged Israeli-Palestinian issue.” In his view, “this became evident in the UN General Assembly’s vote on a draft resolution on a humanitarian ceasefire, as well as in discussions of a UN Security Council resolution on the Middle East settlement, which was adopted for the first time in seven years.” “Even though the resolution only calls for humanitarian pauses and not for a ceasefire, we see its adoption as a step in the right direction,” the Russian president pointed out. He stressed that “while a full ceasefire would be better, such humanitarian pauses are required for efforts to release hostages and evacuate civilians and foreign nationals from the Gaza Strip.”

The UN Security Council earlier passed a Malta-drafted humanitarian resolution aimed at assisting children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict zone. The seven-point document particularly calls for long humanitarian pauses and the immediate release of all hostages, especially children. Putin also thanked his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for facilitating the evacuation of Russian nationals from Gaza. The Russian leader emphasized the need to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East and prevent the conflict from expanding. “By and large, ensuring a long-term and sustainable ceasefire is certainly the most pressing goal,” Putin noted. “It is important to stop other countries from being dragged into the war in the Middle East and prevent the conflict from expanding, as well as to preserve the fragile interfaith peace,” he added.

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“..that’s actually BRICS 10, because after the election of pro-Hegemon Zionist Javier “Chainsaw Massacre” Milei for President, Argentina is now out of the picture, and possibly discarded by January 1st, 2024..”

Will Russia-China Patience Extinguish the Fire in West Asia? (Pepe Escobar)

Everyone familiar with West Asia – from US generals to grocers in the Arab Street – knows that Israel is a landed aircraft carrier whose mission is to keep West Asia in check on behalf of the Hegemon. Of course in a dog eats dog geopolitical environment it’s easy to misunderstand all wag the dog shenanigans. What’s certain is that for hegemonic circles of the US Deep State, and certainly for the White House and the Pentagon, what matters in the current incandescent juncture is the uber-extreme/genocidal Likud-led Netanyahu government in Israel, not “Israel” per se. That projects Netanyahu as the exact mirror image of the beleaguered sweaty sweatshirt actor in Kiev. Quite the geopolitical gift – in terms of deflecting blame away from the Hegemon for a genocide deployed live on every smartphone on the planet.

And all that conducted under a veneer of legality – as in the White House and the State Department “advising” Tel Aviv to act with moderation; yes, you can bomb hospitals, schools, medical workers, journalists, thousands of women, thousands of children, but please be gentle. Meanwhile, the Hegemon has deployed an Armada to the Eastern Mediterranean, complete with two very expensive iron bathtubs, sorry aircraft carrier groups plus a nuclear submarine close to the Persian Gulf. That’s not exactly to survey guerrillas in underground tunnels and to “protect” Israel. The ultimate – neocon and Zio-con – targets are of course Hezbollah, Syria, Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq and Iran: the whole Axis of Resistance.Iran-Russia-China, the new neocon-defined “axis of evil”, which happen to be the Top Three Actors of Eurasia integration, for all practical purposes have interpreted the genocide in Gaza as an Israeli-American operation. And they have clearly identified the key vector: energy.

The inestimable Michael Hudson has noted how “we’re really seeing something very much like the Crusades here. It’s a real fight for who is going to control energy, because, again, the key, if you can control the world’s flow of energy, you can do to the whole world what the United States did to Germany last year by blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines.” And that brings us to the fascinating case of the OIC/Arab World delegation of Foreign Ministers now on tour of selected capitals promoting their plan for a complete ceasefire in Gaza plus negotiations for an independent Palestinian state. The delegation, called the Gaza Contact Group, includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Indonesia, Nigeria and Palestine.

Their first stop was Beijing, meeting Wang Yi, and the second stop Moscow, meeting Sergei Lavrov. That tells us all we need to know about BRICS 11 in action – even before the fact. Well, that’s actually BRICS 10, because after the election of pro-Hegemon Zionist Javier “Chainsaw Massacre” Milei for President, Argentina is now out of the picture, and possibly discarded by January 1st, 2024, when BRICS previously 11 starts under the Russian presidency. The OIC/Arab League special conference on Palestine in Saudi Arabia had yielded a meek final declaration that disappointed virtually the whole Global South/Global Majority. But then something started to move. Foreign Ministers started to coordinate closely. At first Egypt with China, after previous coordination with Iran and Turkey. That may sound counter-intuitive – but it’s all due to the gravity of the situation. That explains why the Iranian Foreign Minister is not part of the current traveling delegation – which is led, in practice, by Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The meeting with Lavrov coincided with an extraordinary online BRICS meeting on Palestine, called by the current South African presidency. Crucial point: the flags of new members Iran, Egypt and Ethiopia could be identified behind the speakers. Iran’s President Raisi went no holds barred, calling for BRICS member states to use every political and economic tool available to pressure Israel. Xi Jinping called once again for a two-state solution and positioned China as the mediator of choice. For the first time Xi in his own words laid it all out: “There can be no security in the Middle East without a just solution to the question of Palestine. I have emphasized on many occasions that the only viable way to break the cycle of Palestinian-Israeli conflict lies in a two-state solution, in the restoration of the legitimate national rights of Palestine, and in the establishment of an independent state of Palestine.” And it should all start via an international conference.

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“The story is that Joe Biden, the president of the United States is lacking in such mental capacity that the presidency is being managed by people who weren’t elected to do that job. That’s what people should be worried about.”

Biden Op-ed Likening Russia to Hamas is Result of Dementia – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden lacks the mental ability to draw parallels between Russia and Hamas, says a former US Marine. The Washington Post ran an op-ed under Biden’s byline at the weekend, likening the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas’ breakout from the besieged Gaza Strip on October 7 to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in defence of the Russian-speaking Donbass region — following eight years of Ukrainian shelling of civilians. Biden “didn’t write this” as he “doesn’t have the mental capacity,” Ritter told Sputnik. “I’m not picking on him, I’m just being honest,” he said. “This was written by his national security staff. It was edited by Jake Sullivan. I believe [US Secretary of State] Tony Blinken came in with a lot of stuff that this was a collaborative effort by the people who are managing Joe Biden.” “This is the story, not the content of the op-ed,” Ritter stressed. “The story is that Joe Biden, the president of the United States is lacking in such mental capacity that the presidency is being managed by people who weren’t elected to do that job. That’s what people should be worried about.”

But he said the words attributed to Biden no longer carry the same weight as comments by previous presidents, thanks to the proliferation of alternatives to the mainstream media. “So when Joe Biden or his managers publish an op-ed of this nature, it no longer has the same cachet, the same impact that it would have ten years ago,” Ritter argued. “Today, it’s immediately cancelled out as ridiculous as absurd.” Ritter wrote for Consortium News last week that Biden and Blinken were being disingenuous in their call for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, given that no Israeli leader in decades has been serious about implementing it. “Even if such a governing coalition could be crafted together to politically sustain the idea of a two-state solution that fails to resonate with Israelis and Palestinians alike, there remains the ultimate hurdle that needs to be cleared before any notion of a lasting peace between Israeli and Palestinian states premised on the notion of equality — Israel’s nuclear weapons program,” Ritter wrote.

The former weapons inspector said Israel’s nuclear program had been “shrouded in ambiguity from the moment it was born, back in the 1960s when they actually produced a weapon.” “The United States has been the principal reason why this has happened,” Ritter pointed out. “The Nixon administration was confronted with the fact that Israel had nuclear weapons. We knew it. And they were in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, because even if they didn’t sign the treaty, we signed the treaty. And the treaty only allows five declared nuclear powers. So we would have to sanction Israel.” He underscored the aggressive nature of Israel’s military doctrine known as the “Samson option” after the biblical hero who collapsed the temple of the Philistines, killing them and himself. That doctrine mandates first use of nuclear weapons against neighboring Middle Eastern states if Israel faces military defeat and a return to Palestinian majority rule.

“That’s Israel’s nuclear policy, that if Israel goes, everybody goes,” Ritter explained. “And we went along with it because we believed that we could secure Israel enough so they would never have to use this weapon.” But Biden’s ostensible resurrection of the two-state solution calls that doctrine into question, he said. “A Palestinian state implies that Israel has normalized relations with their Palestinian neighbors and by extension, their regional neighbors.Therefore, there could be no justification for the continuation of this policy,” Ritter said. “Moreover, Palestine could never be considered free and independent so long as it was living next door to a nuclear power, an undeclared nuclear power.”

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“European leaders want to understand whether they will have their say in the process of replacing Zelensky, or whether this political transformation in Kiev will be carried out, as usual, by two powers – London and Washington..”

Western Leaders Came to Ukraine to Test Kiev Regime Viability (Sp.)

European Council President Charles Michel arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday as well as Maia Sandu, president of Moldova. Separately, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius took the train to Kiev to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on an unannounced visit. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin landed in Ukraine on Monday to unveil a new US military aid package worth $100 million for the Ukrainian military. Prior to that, new Foreign Secretary David Cameron made his first trip to the Eastern European country last week. “Firstly, we must not forget that today all ‘progressive’ humanity is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Maidan,” Dmitry Evstafiev, political scientist and HSE University professor, told Sputnik with a touch of irony referring to the 2014 February coup in Kiev.

“Therefore, all the main European leaders, in Kiev, in fact, defend the policy that they began 10 years ago to finally turn Ukraine against Russia. This was a very important strategic choice. And this was, first of all, a European choice, not an American one. The Americans simply hijacked the processes that the Europeans launched, hijacked it successfully and effectively in such a way that today’s Europe, while still representing something geopolitically, no longer represents anything in terms of geoeconomics.” Secondly, it has become obvious that the Zelensky regime is becoming “catastrophically toxic” not only for the United States, but also for Europe, Evstafiev continued. “For the United States, the Zelensky regime has become toxic for quite a while, and it was a very difficult story for the Americans, which turned the issue of supporting, in fact, a radical nationalist, almost dictatorial at that time, and now an overtly dictatorial regime, into one of the most important topics of internal political struggle in the United States,” the professor remarked.

Per Evstafiev, Washington is no longer concealing the fact that it wants to turn a Ukraine conflict into a big European war using the desire of the Zelensky regime to somehow survive amid the deteriorating military situation and dwindling US support. The high-profile visits came at a time when the West has shifted focus on the Palestinian-Israeli standoff, which reportedly frustrated Zelensky. The Western mainstream press has also recently changed its coverage of the conflict from lauding Ukraine to admitting Kiev’s failure to proceed with its counteroffensive. Against this backdrop, European leaders are apparently trying to find out to what extent the Kiev regime is viable and whether it is worth continuing to support Volodymyr Zelensky, the expert said.

“And here there is a second layer to this issue: European leaders want to understand whether they will have their say in the process of replacing Zelensky, or whether this political transformation in Kiev will be carried out, as usual, by two powers – London and Washington. In this sense, of course, the outright incapacity of the German government and the virtual absence of political leadership in Germany becomes a huge problem for Europeans. Nevertheless, Europeans may try to seize on some opportunities in Kiev and try to defend their positions and their interests in the process of changing power in Kiev.”

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“U.S. and European officials have begun quietly talking to the Ukrainian government about what possible peace negotiations with Russia might entail to end the war..”

US Mission To NATO Signals Zelensky Must Sit At “Negotiating Table” (ZH)

The official X account of the US Mission to NATO wrote Monday, “In this tough and dynamic battle, Ukraine’s soldiers are fighting bravely every single day, and they continue to inspire the world with their bravery and courage.” “We will continue to support them to be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table when the time comes,” the statement said. This marks a drastic shift in public messaging. Up to a short while ago, the Biden administration had essentially banished the words “negotiating table” from its public discourse. Journalist Glenn Greenwald has commented of this narrative shift: “The West is now telling Zelensky, more or less explicitly and right out in the open: time to wrap this up.” This significant difference in public rhetoric has also begun to appear more and more in mainstream media, which has also very belatedly reflected the American public’s ‘war fatigue’ – which was already setting in even before Ukraine’s much-vaunted early summer attempt at a counteroffensive…

It’s widely believed that talks could already quietly be happening, and that Washington is finally pressuring the Zelensky government to find compromise. “U.S. and European officials have begun quietly talking to the Ukrainian government about what possible peace negotiations with Russia might entail to end the war, according to one current senior U.S. official and one former senior U.S. official familiar with the discussions,” an early November report in NBC said. “The conversations have included very broad outlines of what Ukraine might need to give up to reach a deal, the officials said.” Certainly, at the very least this will include Kiev permanently giving up any future claims on Crimea. But the question of the four annexed territories is what will determine whether a peace deal is reached or not.

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“He claims, as have other Democratic members, that “you can’t use hate speech.” That is demonstrably and completely wrong. Hate speech is protected under the First Amendment. You cannot commit hate crimes.”

Rep. Goldman Denounced “Dangerous” Rhetoric Using Dangerous Rhetoric (Turley)

Even in his freshman year, Democratic New York Rep. Dan Goldman has proven one of the most controversial members in Congress from attacking witnesses to inadvertently undermining the Biden defenses. The latest controversy involves a call to “eliminate” Donald Trump after accusing him of using “inflammatory rhetoric.” He has since apologized for his own language. Despite being one of the many past targets of Goldman’s wrath, I do not believe that Goldman was calling for violence. It was what I call “rage rhetoric” in my book The Indispensable Right. However, the incident shows the perils of criminalizing political speech. Goldman remains a favorite on MSNBC where he rarely fails to disappoint viewers with his brand of smash-mouth politics and rhetoric. It was, therefore, somewhat ironic for Jen Psaki to interview him on the inflammatory rhetoric in this election on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki.”

Goldman responded: “rhetoric is really getting dangerous, more and more dangerous, and we saw what happened on Jan. 6, when he uses inflammatory rhetoric. It is just unquestionable at this point that that man cannot see public office again. He is not only unfit, he is destructive to our democracy and he has to be eliminated.” Some have called for Goldman to be investigated by the Secret Service. Others have called for a censure resolution. I do not agree. It was clearly reckless rhetoric and not a true threat. Yet, the incident shows how inflammatory terms are often used in politics. In the very same sentence in which Goldman denounced “dangerous” rhetoric, he proceeded to use dangerous rhetoric. Rep. Goldman has been one of the most vocal voices for prosecuting incitement based on such language.

In an interview with NPR, Goldman (who was counsel in the Trump impeachment) defended the use of such rhetoric as the basis for impeachment or prosecution: “there’s all sorts of speech that is criminalized. You can’t – you know, you can’t use hate speech. You – people – in all sorts of crimes. You can’t send death threats across, you know, the Internet. There are so many criminal laws that do criminalize speech, and so the notion that the president of the United States somehow has a First Amendment right to be protected by the government for his speech doesn’t make any sense. It’s a backwards argument, and it’s a loser.” As a threshold observation, the interview shows how dangerously ill-informed Goldman is on the First Amendment. He claims, as have other Democratic members, that “you can’t use hate speech.” That is demonstrably and completely wrong. Hate speech is protected under the First Amendment. You cannot commit hate crimes.

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“I have endorsed him wholeheartedly,” Johnson said. “He had a phenomenal first term. His first two years, as you all know, we brought about the greatest economic numbers in the history of the world, not just the country, because his policies work.”

‘All In’ for Trump House Speaker Johnson Pays Visit to Mar-a-Lago (Sp.)

On Monday, US House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) made the pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago, the estate of former US President Donald Trump, who is leading the polls among Republicans in the 2024 race for the presidency. According to US media reports, Johnson attended a fundraiser hosted by Trump for US Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) who, like Johnson, is a close supporter of Trump. It was reportedly the first time Johnson and Trump have spoken since the Louisiana lawmaker became House Speaker a month ago. The previous Speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), had a troubled relationship with the former president, and it was ultimately a strongly pro-Trump faction of the House GOP Caucus that caused McCarthy’s eviction from the Speaker’s seat in early October.

In the fracas of selecting a new Speaker, Trump endorsed Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) instead of Johnson and even floated the idea of him becoming Speaker himself for a time, since the Constitution doesn’t require that the Speaker be a sitting member of Congress. However, Trump did eventually urge Republican lawmakers to rally behind Johnson because he was the leading candidate and the lower Congressional chamber had been without leadership for three weeks. After Johnson was elected Speaker, Trump praised him for being an underdog. “At this time yesterday, nobody was thinking of Mike,” Trump said. “And then we put out the word, and now he’s the Speaker of the House. So I want to just thank all of the supporters that I have, and I want to thank all the supporters that Mike has, and again, he’ll be a great Speaker. I think you’re going to be very proud.”

Johnson has remained loyal to Trump, too. Johnson and Bilirakis were both signatories of an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court in late 2020 that supported Trump’s claim that the November 2020 election had been marred by fraud, invalidating his loss to Joe Biden. While those claims have been widely discredited in the years since, including by many who were part of Trump’s cabinet at the time, Johnson is one figure who has maintained that the 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump. Last week, Johnson told reporters he was “all in” on Trump’s 2024 election bid. “I have endorsed him wholeheartedly,” Johnson said. “He had a phenomenal first term. His first two years, as you all know, we brought about the greatest economic numbers in the history of the world, not just the country, because his policies work. And I’m all in for President Trump.”

Trump has not yet won the Republican National Committee’s endorsement as their presidential candidate, but has led the pack of candidates since announcing his intention to run. The latest poll by Morning Consult found two-thirds of GOP voters ready to pull the lever for Trump in November 2024; however another poll by Harvard CAPS-Harris found that 60% of likely Trump voters said there is “at least some chance” they would support a different candidate. Behind Trump, the Morning Consult poll found just 13% of GOP voters support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and 9% support former UN ambassador Nikki Haley. However, Trump is also facing down several criminal cases that have levied a wide array of federal offense accusations at him, including related to the January 6, 2021, insurrection by his supporters at the US Capitol and the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago during an FBI raid in August 2022. Some of the charges could bar him from running for public office if he is found guilty.

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There are so many of these, it’s hard to keep track.

Trump Seeks To Halt Gag Order In Election Meddling Case (BBC)

An appeals court is weighing a bid by Donald Trump to halt the limited gag order he faces in his federal trial on election subversion charges. The order keeps Mr Trump from speaking out against court personnel, potential witnesses or the special counsel’s office. It is currently on hold. Lawyers for the former president and current Republican frontrunner called for the order to be revoked. But a three-judge panel appeared sceptical over lifting the restriction. The trio of Democratic appointees grilled both sides over the most appropriate way to balance free speech considerations with the integrity and safety of those involved in a criminal trial that begins next March. After an initial hearing that was scheduled for 40 minutes but lasted more than two hours, the judges did not issue an immediate ruling.

Attorneys for Mr Trump had challenged what they called an effort to censor his speech in the midst of a hotly contested presidential campaign. But prosecutors with the US justice department argued he has a “well-established practice of using his public platform to target his adversaries”. Mr Trump’s criticism of those involved in the federal case over the 2020 election had occurred most recently this weekend, they noted. At a Saturday campaign rally in Iowa, Mr Trump called Special Counsel Jack Smith, the key prosecutor involved in the case, “deranged” and a “Trump-hating prosecutor”. He also said that Mr Smith’s “wife and family despise me much more than he does”, at “about a 15 on a scale of 10”.

They were the types of remarks that Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the election subversion case, has sought to limit since she issued a “narrowly tailored” gag order last month. Her intention, she said, was to prevent “a pre-trial smear campaign”. “The order is unprecedented and it sets a terrible precedent for future restrictions on core political speech,” John Sauer, Mr Trump’s attorney, told the Washington DC appeals court on Monday. Mr Sauer claimed there was no evidence that anybody involved in the case was facing an “imminent, pending threat” because of Mr Trump.

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“Yes, there was an insurrection of sorts. Those in power hated Donald Trump so much that they were willing to torture and even murder their fellow Americans to keep him from the presidency. Unless these people are brought to justice, we will have no Republic left to defend.”

We Must Demand Justice for the January 6th Protestors! (Ron Paul)

New US House Speaker Mike Johnson struck a blow for liberty and justice last week when he finally authorized the release of all the tapes from the January 6, 2021 “insurrection.” We were told by no less than President Biden himself that this was the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” The FBI was unleashed by the Biden Administration to hunt down hundreds of participants in this “insurrection” and lock them up in the gulag where they awaited trial in torturous conditions – many in solitary confinement. A Congressional Committee was set up under then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “get to the bottom” of the “Trump-led insurrection.” It did not include a single Representative nominated by the opposition Republican Party, but rather two “Republicans” – Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – who could be relied on by Pelosi and the Democrats to toe the line.

In short, the whole thing was an old-fashioned Soviet show trial, where the evidence was kept secret and the pre-determined verdict – guilty – was to be used to tighten the grip of the ruling regime and intimidate any further dissenters into silence. The message was clear: “speak out against the ‘perfection’ of the 2020 election and you may find yourself in the gulag along with the insurrectionists.” It was terrifying and profoundly anti-American. And, as we finally can see for ourselves thanks to Speaker Johnson, it was a huge lie. The new video shows demonstrators shaking hands with police officers once they entered the Capitol Building. They were welcomed into the building by officers who even held the doors for them to enter! They had no way of knowing that they would soon be rounded up and locked away.

Does that mean no crimes were committed on January 6th? Not at all. The tapes already released were carefully chosen to single out examples of violence and other possible criminality. But the full release of the tapes demonstrates beyond a doubt that the endless propaganda that this was a coordinated attempt to overthrow the government was false. And as for that violence and mayhem on January 6th? How much of it was instigated by undercover FBI agents? New footage clearly shows officers outside the building firing on protestors with no warning. That must be why, in hearing after hearing, Biden Administration officials like Attorney General Merrick Garland have refused to tell Congress the number of federal agents present and their roles in instigating violence.

The release of this evidence should immediately result in the release of all non-violent protestors awaiting trial or serving their sentences. Those in power responsible for promoting this lie should take their places in the jail cells. This delayed justice will not help protesters like Matthew Perna, however. Though the new video release clearly shows him calmly walking inside the Capitol in the presence of unconcerned police officers, when Merrick Garland’s Department of “Justice” announced they would seek terrorism charges against him, Perna, in despair, decided to hang himself in his garage. Yes, there was an insurrection of sorts. Those in power hated Donald Trump so much that they were willing to torture and even murder their fellow Americans to keep him from the presidency. Unless these people are brought to justice, we will have no Republic left to defend.

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Texas AG Ken Paxton is busy. He has officially opened an investigation into Media Matters for potential fraudulent activity, and sued Pfizer at the same time.. Both of whom are dealing with the same judge.

Texas AG Sues Pfizer Over Tainted Children’s Drugs (ZH)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued Pfizer and Tris Pharma “for defrauding the Texas Medicaid program by providing adulterated pharmaceutical drugs to Texas children.” Specifically, Pfizer’s ADHD drug “Quillivant XR” was “knowingly distributed” to children on Medicaid despite the drugmaker’s “pattern of failing quality control tests” due to a flawed manufacturing process by Tris, which Pfizer contracted with to produce the drug, according to the complaint. “I am horrified by the dishonesty we uncovered in this investigation,” said Texas AG Ken Paxton. “Pfizer and Tris intentionally concealed and failed to disclose the issues with Quillivant to receive taxpayer funded benefits through Texas Medicaid, defrauding the state and endangering children.

Our Civil Medicaid Fraud Division has done an outstanding job holding these pharmaceutical companies accountable.” According to the filing, “At no point did Defendants warn Texas Medicaid providers or decision-makers that Quillivant had known manufacturing issues affecting its efficacy, thereby depriving the Medicaid program of the crucial information it relies on.… As a result, thousands of Texas children received an adulterated Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance.”The lawsuit, initially filed under seal, was unsealed at the AG’s request.

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“Barnea, who represents the CIA and Pompeo, contended that the Fourth Amendment right to privacy under the U.S. Constitution did not apply at the Ecuador embassy in London..”

Lawsuit Against Alleged CIA Spying On Assange Visitors (Gosztola)

United States court held an extraordinary hearing on November 16, where a judge carefully considered a lawsuit against the CIA and former CIA director Mike Pompeo for their alleged role in spying on American attorneys and journalists who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Judge John Koeltl of the Southern District of New York pushed back when Assistant U.S. Attorney Jean-David Barnea refused to confirm or deny that the CIA had targeted Americans without obtaining a warrant. He also invited attorneys for the Americans to update the lawsuit so that claims of privacy violations explicitly dealt with the government’s lack of a warrant. In August 2022, four Americans sued the CIA and Pompeo: Margaret Ratner Kunstler, a civil rights activist and human rights attorney; Deborah Hrbek, a media lawyer who represented Assange or WikiLeaks; journalist John Goetz, who worked for Der Spiegel when the German media organization first partnered with WikiLeaks; and journalist Charles Glass, who wrote articles on Assange for The Intercept.

The lawsuit alleged that as visitors Glass, Goetz, Hrbek, and Kunstler were required to “surrender” their electronic devices to employees of a Spanish company called UC Global, which was contracted to provide security for the Ecuador embassy. UC Global and the company’s director David Morales “copied the information stored on the devices” and shared the information with the CIA. The agency even had access to live video and audio feeds from cameras in the embassy. On June 4, 2023, the Spanish newspaper El País reported that UC Global director David Morales had a folder on his laptop marked “CIA.” Spanish police initially withheld 213 gigabytes of files in a criminal case against Morales that has unfolded as the U.S. government pursues Assange’s extradition on Espionage Act charges. (Morales and UC Global were sued as well.)

Often a lawsuit—especially one involving allegations of illegal and unchecked surveillance—would end swiftly. A judge would accept all of the “national security” arguments made by the CIA and dismiss the case. However, Koeltl has chosen to be more fair and measured when assessing the stunning allegations. Barnea, who represents the CIA and Pompeo, contended that the Fourth Amendment right to privacy under the U.S. Constitution did not apply at the Ecuador embassy in London. The CIA did not play a “sufficient role in controlling or directing” the actions of Morales and UC Global contractors. When Barnea maintained that CIA access to live video feeds would not necessarily mean that the agency was in control or directing UC Global, Koeltl seemed baffled.

“So U.S. agents were monitoring the feed in the United States, and that’s not sufficient involvement by the government?” “You don’t seem to dispute in your papers that a warrant would be necessary to seize the contents of the electronic devices,” Koeltl said, as Barnea outlined the government’s argument that Americans who visited Assange had no “reasonable expectation of privacy” when they entered the embassy. “You don’t seem to dispute in your papers that a warrant would be necessary to seize the contents of the electronic devices,” Koeltl said, as Barnea outlined the government’s argument that Americans who visited Assange had no “reasonable expectation of privacy” when they entered the embassy. Barnea replied, “I don’t believe that a warrant is ever required outside the United States. The Second Circuit [Court of Appeals] has held that the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment only applies within the United States.”

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Net Zero













Belgium bicycle






Argentinosaurus lived on the then-island continent of South America somewhere between 97 and 93.5 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period. It is among the largest known dinosaurs and this is the size of its leg (human for scale).





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May 262023

Damien Hirst Renewal Blossom 2018


Ukraine Sent Poor, Untrained Men Into Bakhmut Meat Grinder (Antiwar)
US Has Been Preparing Ukrainian Counteroffensive ‘For Months’ – Nuland (RT)
Shoigu Sees West Waging Undeclared War On Russia, Belarus (TASS)
More Than 2,500 Foreign Mercenaries Fighting For Ukraine – Shoigu (RT)
Kiev Regime Must Cease To Exist – Medvedev (RT)
China Tells EU To Look At ‘Root Cause’ Of Ukraine Conflict (RT)
What Matters Is A Guy With Dementia Not Elected US President – Medvedev (TASS)
Top US General Milley Delivers Sober Take On Ukrainian Ambitions (RT)
Minsk, Moscow Sign Documents On Storage Of Russian Nukes In Belarus (TASS)
Kremlin Responds To Ukrainian Threat To Kill Putin (RT)
Hungary: European Parliament Trying To Block Budapest’s EU Presidency (TASS)
The G7 Must Accept That It Cannot Run The World (Martin Wolf)
Catastrophic “Loss of Control” Data Breach in NY Elections (UncoverDC)








Putin Valdai











Bowie Tina



Pepe Escobar:
European Central Bank (ECB) at 25:

Industrial production: – 16%
Real wages: – 11.2%
GDP per (occupied) person: -5%
Absolute poverty: +234%
Precarious: +81%
Expats: +140,2%
Savings rate: -82,5%

With friends like this, Europeans definitely don’t need enemies.





“.. to Save Better Forces for Counteroffensive..”

“..he was being sent fresh recruits who didn’t want to fire their guns because they were afraid of the sound..”

Ukraine Sent Poor, Untrained Men Into Bakhmut Meat Grinder (Antiwar)

Ukraine sent untrained recruits into the battle of Bakhmut to save its professional soldiers for an expected counteroffensive, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The Journal spoke with men who were part of a small group that was sent into Bakhmut, which became known as the meat grinder, just a few days after being mobilized. Out of 16 men in the group of draftees, 11 were either killed or captured. The Journal described them as “mostly poor men from villages in the northeastern Kharkiv region, many of them unemployed, doing odd jobs as handymen or shift work at factories in the regional capital.” Some of the men had military training years or decades ago, but none had combat experience. A few of them threatened to refuse orders when they were told they were being sent to the frontlines on February 21, citing a lack of training, but they ultimately went.

One man, Vladyslav Yudin, told the Journal that he told a sergeant major that he had never fired or even held a gun before. “Bakhmut will teach you,” Yudin was told. The men participated in brutal house-to-house combat in Bakhmut. Many of them are presumed dead, but their families are still holding out hope that they were captured by the Russians and are still alive. The men’s accounts match what Ukrainians fighting on the frontlines had been telling the media while the battle was still raging. They told stories of troops being sent in with little support, training, or ammunition. The Washington Post spoke to a Ukrainian battalion commander in March who said he was being sent fresh recruits who didn’t want to fire their guns because they were afraid of the sound.

Despite Kyiv’s Western backers advising against expending resources on Bakhmut, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tried to hold onto the city for as long as he could, but it was fully captured by the Wagner Group and Russian forces this past weekend. Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin estimated that 50,000 Ukrainians lost their lives fighting for the city, but the number is not confirmed. Prigozhin also said that he recruited 50,000 people from prison to fight in Bakhmut and about 20% of them were killed.

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The wicked witch is back..

US Has Been Preparing Ukrainian Counteroffensive ‘For Months’ – Nuland (RT)

The US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told an audience in Kiev on Thursday that Washington has been helping plan the Ukrainian ‘counteroffensive’ against Russia for almost half a year. “Even as you plan for the counteroffensive, which we have been working on with you for some 4-5 months, we are already beginning our discussions with [the] Ukrainian government and with friends in Kiev – both on the civilian side and on the military side – about Ukraine’s long-term future,” Nuland told the Kiev Security Forum via video-link from the State Department. She added that the attack will be “likely starting and moving concurrently” with events such as the NATO summit in Lithuania, scheduled for July 11.

According to Nuland, the US is also planning for Ukraine’s future military to deter Russia, so “wherever and however this ends – one year, six years, 16 years – we are not doing this again.” She also painted a rosy picture of a future in which Ukraine would be the “engine of Europe’s revitalization” and “setting the democratic example… for the whole world.” The forum was organized by the Open Ukraine Foundation, established by former Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatseniuk, who moderated the panel at which Nuland spoke. Another panel was co-sponsored by the Atlantic Council, whose officials argued that “transatlantic unity and robust support can help Ukraine defeat Russia and renew European security.”

The government in Kiev had been heralding a major “counteroffensive” for months. President Vladimir Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have argued that they didn’t have quite enough weapons, ammunition and equipment and needed the West to send more. As of Thursday, two of Zelensky’s advisers gave public statements implying the offensive hasn’t started yet, while a third insisted it was already underway along the 1,500-kilometer long frontline. Nuland famously traveled to Kiev to support the Maidan protests in December 2013, handing out pastries to the crowds demanding a pact with the EU. In a February 2014 phone call, she discussed the composition of the future Ukrainian government with US ambassador to Kiev Geoffrey Pyatt. Three weeks later, the nationalists would violently seize power from President Viktor Yanukovich, triggering events that would lead to Crimea rejoining Russia and clashes in the Donbass.

Returning to the State Department in 2021 as part of Joe Biden’s administration, Nuland was once again put in charge of Ukraine policy. Speaking at a Carnegie Foundation event in February, she said the conquest of Crimea and regime change in Moscow would be the ideal outcome of the current conflict. Her sister-in-law Kimberly Kagan runs the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington advocacy group frequently quoted by Western media about the situation on the Ukraine frontline.

Greenwald Sachs

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“Today, we are being confronted by the collective West, which, in effect, is waging an undeclared war on our countries..”

Shoigu Sees West Waging Undeclared War On Russia, Belarus (TASS)

A Western-led undeclared war is being waged against Moscow and Minsk, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart, Viktor Khrenin, on Thursday. “Today, we are being confronted by the collective West, which, in effect, is waging an undeclared war on our countries,” Shoigu said. According to him, NATO’s military activities “have been most aggressive of late.” “A number of measures to enhance the combat readiness of the [North Atlantic] Alliance’s Joint Armed Forces in Eastern Europe is currently being implemented. Extra troops and military infrastructure are being deployed there, and combat training and reconnaissance activities have intensified near the border of the [Russia-Belarus] Union State,” Shoigu said.

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“The West is forcing the Kiev regime, regardless of losses, to show tactical successes and willingness to fight ‘to the last Ukrainian’ and pumping it with weapons..”

More Than 2,500 Foreign Mercenaries Fighting For Ukraine – Shoigu (RT)

Western countries are forcing Kiev to show tactical successes on the battlefield regardless of the cost to human lives and “pumping” the country full of weapons and fighters, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said. Speaking at a meeting of the council of defense ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Minsk on Thursday, the Russian minister said the value of the West’s military-technical assistance to Kiev has already exceeded $65 billion and more than 2,500 foreign mercenaries are currently taking part in military operations in the country. He also claimed that Kiev’s tactics have evolved to include terrorist methods of confrontation, including sabotage and high-profile killings.

“The most tense situation today has developed in the Eastern European region. The West is forcing the Kiev regime, regardless of losses, to show tactical successes and willingness to fight ‘to the last Ukrainian’ and pumping it with weapons,” Shoigu said. He claimed that this would only lead to further escalation and prolong the conflict. Shoigu suggested that this was being done intentionally and that NATO had been using the Ukraine crisis as an excuse to build up its military capabilities and modernize its infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe. Shoigu claimed the US and its allies are intentionally creating hotbeds of tension and provoking crises near the borders of CSTO members, leading to an “extremely unstable” military-political situation in these areas. The minister accused the West of providing support for terrorist and extremist structures, and also using sanctions, threats and blackmail to achieve their goals of destabilizing the region.

On Thursday, Shoigu also spoke with his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin. During their meeting, he explained that the West was waging an “undeclared war” against Russia and Belarus and that NATO’s military activity had taken a “most aggressive direction.” In response to the West’s “increasingly aggressive rhetoric” and joint “nuclear missions,” which involve drills on deploying weapons of mass destruction, Moscow and Minsk officially signed a nuclear weapons deal on Thursday, allowing the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus. Shoigu explained that control over the weapons remains in Moscow’s hands, but noted that “additional measures” could be taken going forward in order to ensure the security of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

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“..the root cause of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine stems from decades of Western disregard of Russian national security..”

Kiev Regime Must Cease To Exist – Medvedev (RT)

There is no doubt that Ukraine has no future in its current form, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday, outlining three possible scenarios for the collapse of its statehood and assessing the risks of renewed conflict in Europe and a global war. “This conflict will last for long. For decades, probably. This is a new reality,” the former Russian leader, now the vice-chair of the national security council, told journalists upon wrapping his visit to Vietnam earlier this week. “It is necessary to destroy the very nature of the Nazi government in Kiev,” Medvedev added, claiming that otherwise the conflict could drag on perpetually, with “three years of truce, two years of conflict, rinse and repeat.”

In a Telegram post on Thursday evening, Medvedev elaborated that Ukraine’s statehood could either collapse quickly, or through a “relatively slow erosion, with the gradual loss of remaining elements of sovereignty.” He went even further to outline exactly how he believes the “Kiev regime” would cease to exist. In the first scenario, parts of Western Ukraine will come under control and eventually be annexed by the neighboring European Union states, Medvedev claimed. The remaining “no man’s land” wedged between Russia and the EU protectorate will become the “new Ukraine,” still striving to join NATO and posing a threat to Russia. In that case, he believes, the armed conflict will shortly reignite, likely becoming permanent with a risk of quickly escalating into a full-blown world war.

In the second scenario, Ukraine would get a government-in-exile but de-facto cease to exist, with control over its entire territory split between the EU and Russia. In that case, according to Medvedev, the risk of world war is “moderate,” but the “terrorist activity by Ukrainian neo-Nazis” on the territories annexed by the EU neighbors would drag on. Medvedev said he would prefer the third scenario, in which Ukraine’s Western territories voluntarily join their EU neighbors, while the Eastern and some central regions exercise their “right for self-determination sealed in Article 1 of the UN Charter.” Officials in Moscow have said repeatedly that the root cause of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine stems from decades of Western disregard of Russian national security.

Back in 2021, the Kremlin made an attempt to push NATO to negotiate on long-standing political and defense grievances, but was ignored. In late February 2022, Russia launched its military operation to curb the threat, and now calls for a neutral, non-aligned status for a demilitarized and denazified Ukraine, insists Kiev drops its plans to join NATO and the EU and demands Kiev confirms its non-nuclear status. Medvedev was president of Russia between 2008 and 2012, and then prime minister until 2020. Currently, he serves as the deputy head of the national security council, which is formally chaired by President Vladimir Putin. Despite his prior reputation as a moderate liberal, he has been far more hawkish on Ukraine than the official Kremlin.


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The west still doesn’t take China seriously. Big mistake.

China Tells EU To Look At ‘Root Cause’ Of Ukraine Conflict (RT)

European countries should focus on finding and fixing the “root causes” that led to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Chinese Special Representative on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui told German Federal Foreign Office State Secretary Andreas Michaelis during a meeting in Berlin on Wednesday. Li said Beijing’s position on the Ukrainian issue remains unchanged and is focused on promoting peace talks and a political settlement to the conflict, according to a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Recalling Chinese President Xi Jinping’s words, Li said that “there is no panacea to resolve the crisis” and that all parties needed to create favorable conditions for the resumption of peace talks through the accumulation of mutual trust.

“China supports European countries to start from the root causes of the crisis and find solutions to both symptoms and the root causes, and make efforts for the long-term stability of the European continent,” Li said, adding that Beijing is willing to maintain close communication with Germany on this issue. According to the statement, Michaelis said the German side highly valued China’s positive efforts to de-escalate the Ukrainian crisis and noted that it was “useful and necessary” for the two countries to strengthen dialogue on a number of major international and regional issues, including the situation in Ukraine. Li and Michalis’s meeting comes as the Chinese special representative is on a week-long tour of Europe intended to encourage a political settlement for Ukraine and promote China’s 12-point road map to achieving peace in the region.

The envoy has already met with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Poland’s deputy foreign minister and French foreign ministry officials. He is set to conclude the tour with a visit to Moscow on Friday. China’s peace efforts have been welcomed by Russia and several other nations, with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying many points on Beijing’s plan are “in tune” with Moscow’s position. However, most Western powers have dismissed China’s roadmap, stating that it lacked “credibility” amid Beijing’s refusal to join the West’s anti-Russian sanction campaign. The EU’s Foreign Policy chief has also called China’s plan “wishful thinking” and insisted that the only solution worth considering is one proposed by Kiev, which includes a complete withdrawal of Russian forces and an international tribunal.


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“Donald Trump: the Russian politician described him as “a nice guy, but a bit of a coward.”

What Matters Is A Guy With Dementia Not Elected US President – Medvedev (TASS)

The only thing that matters for Moscow is that US voters do not choose a president suffering from dementia during the 2024 election, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, told reporters during a visit to Vietnam. When asked which candidate would be preferable for Moscow, Medvedev replied: “The only thing that matters is that a guy with dementia is not elected.” “But this is possible,” he added. Speaking about electoral chances of former US President Donald Trump, the Russian politician described him as “a nice guy, but a bit of a coward.” “Historically, it was always easier for us to work with the Republicans,” he added. Donald Trump announced his presidential bid in November 2022. Incumbent US President Joe Biden said he would seek re-election on April 25. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis joined the race on May 24.

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We’re being prepared for years of warfare.

Top US General Milley Delivers Sober Take On Ukrainian Ambitions (RT)

The fighting in Ukraine is going to continue with no military solution in the near future, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday. Milley spoke alongside Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin after the virtual meeting of the ‘Ukrainian Defense Contact Group’, a collection of Western countries pledging to supply Kiev with weapons, equipment and ammunition to use against Russia – while insisting they are not a party to the conflict. Ukraine’s strategic objectives are to take all the territory “occupied”by Russia, where “a couple hundred thousand” Russian troops are currently positioned, Milley told reporters. “That might be achievable militarily, but probably not in the near term.”

“That means fighting is going to continue. It’s gonna be bloody. It’s gonna be hard. And at some point both sides will either negotiate a settlement or they will come to a military conclusion,” he said. Meanwhile, the US will continue supporting Ukraine. Austin and Milley insisted throughout that Kiev was not losing. They painted the months-long battle for Bakhmut, which Ukraine lost, as a triumph of defense. They also claimed that the Ukrainians were using the US-supplied Patriot air defense systems “very effectively.” The Russian Defense Ministry said it had used Kinzhal hypersonic missiles to destroy a Patriot battery in the Ukrainian capital earlier this month. Milley also defended the decision not to send F-16 fighters to Ukraine sooner, arguing that the US was not ramping up weapons deliveries as a result of public pressure, but always sending Kiev precisely what it needed at any given moment, using “hardcore military analysis” of cost, benefit and risk.

Deploying just ten F-16 fighters would cost $2 billion, including operations and maintenance, Milley explained, while Russia has over 1,000 modern jets. So the decision was made to supply Kiev with air defenses first, and send the F-16s as a more long-term solution. “It’s going to take a considerable length of time to build up an air force that’s the size and scope and scale that’ll be necessary,” Milley said. He also cautioned reporters to curb their enthusiasm, as “there are no magic weapons. An F-16 is not, and neither is anything else.” It has been known since February that Milley would retire at some point this year. On Thursday, US President Joe Biden nominated as his replacement the current Air Force chief of staff, General Charles Q. Brown Jr.

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“..The measures taken by Russia and Belarus “comply with all existing international legal obligations..”

Minsk, Moscow Sign Documents On Storage Of Russian Nukes In Belarus (TASS)

The defense ministers of Russia and Belarus, Sergey Shoigu and Viktor Khrenin, respectively, signed documents in Minsk on Thursday defining the procedures for storing Russian nuclear weapons at a special storage facility on Belarusian territory, the Belarusian Defense Ministry reported. “During the meeting, documents determining the procedure for keeping Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons in a special storage facility on the territory of the Republic of Belarus were signed,” the ministry’s press service said. The measures taken by Russia and Belarus “comply with all existing international legal obligations,” Shoigu stressed.

The defense ministers discussed the current military and political situation and issues of military and technical cooperation between the two countries’ defense ministries. On March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that, at Minsk’s request, Moscow would deploy its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, similar to what the United States has long been doing on the territory of its allies. As the Russian leader indicated, the construction of storage facilities for tactical nuclear weapons will be completed in Belarus by July 1. Moscow has already provided Minsk with Iskander tactical missile systems capable of carrying nuclear weapons and has helped Minsk to re-equip its military aircraft to carry specialized weapons. As well, Belarusian missile crews and pilots have undergone training in Russia.

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The death of Putin would mean the death of Ukraine.

Kremlin Responds To Ukrainian Threat To Kill Putin (RT)

Ukraine’s leadership has again proven its “terrorist” nature by threatening to assassinate President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov has said, while giving assurances that the Russian leader is well protected. “A terrorist regime talks about its terrorist aspirations,” Peskov told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster on Thursday. The spokesman was commenting on an acknowledgement by Vadim Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR), who told the German outlet Die Welt on Wednesday that Putin was on his agency’s kill list. Peskov said such statements show that the military operation, launched by Russia in Ukraine in February 2022, was “more than justified, more than necessary and that it must be completed.”

When asked if the Russian president’s security detail had been boosted after the threat from Kiev, Peskov replied: “Trust me, our security services know their job and know what they’re doing.” In his interview, Skibitsky claimed that Putin “notices that we’re getting ever closer to him.” Ukrainian operatives have so far been unable to get to him because the Russian leader “stays holed up,” he added. The intelligence official said the GUR was also “trying to kill” the head of the Wagner private military company, Evgeny Prighozhin, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. In early May, two small drones were disabled by air defenses, while trying to strike Putin’s Kremlin residence in Moscow. The Russian leader was not there at the time of the failed attack, and no one was hurt.

Despite the Ukrainian authorities denying any involvement, Moscow called the incident a “a pre-planned terrorist act” and an attempt on Putin’s life perpetrated by Kiev. The Kremlin vowed that Russia would retaliate to the raid “anywhere and anytime it deems necessary,” while senior lawmaker Vyacheslav Volodin called for the use of “weapons capable of stopping and destroying the Kiev terrorist regime.” Russia has accused Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s government of engaging in “terrorist tactics” since last fall, when it said Ukraine was targeting Russian infrastructure, including nuclear facilities and the strategic Crimean Bridge. The accusations were followed by the launch of a large-scale missile campaign across Ukraine, which delivered serious damage to the country’s energy system and depleted the capabilities of Ukrainian air defenses.


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No qualms about breaking their own rules..

Hungary: European Parliament Trying To Block Budapest’s EU Presidency (TASS)

The European Parliament has prepared a draft resolution depriving Hungary of the right to preside over the European Union in the second half of 2024, Hungarian Justice Ministry Judit Varga said. “Next week, the European Parliament will once again vote on a resolution against Hungary in a bid to block its EU presidency in the second half of 2024. We will not let them take this opportunity away from Hungary,” she wrote on Facebook (banned in Russia due to its ownership by Meta, which has been designated as extremist).

The European Parliament has passed resolutions criticizing Hungary before, which are recommendatory and not legally binding. The Hungarian authorities argue that European Parliament members from leftist parties dislike the country’s independent position on a number of international issues, including the conflict in Ukraine. Varga pointed out that it was up to the Council of the European Union and not the European Parliament to make decisions on the EU presidency rotation. According to her, the Hungarian government is “in daily contact with the Council’s general secretariat and continues to make preparations to perform the mission.”

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“..between 2000 and 2023, its share in global output (at purchasing power) will have fallen from 44 to 30 per cent, while that of all high-income countries will have fallen from 57 to 41 per cent..”

The G7 Must Accept That It Cannot Run The World (Martin Wolf)

“Goodbye G7, hello G20.” That was the headline on an article in The Economist on the first summit of the Group of 20 in Washington in 2008 which argued that this represented “a decisive shift in the old order”. Today, hopes of a co-operative global economic order, which reached their zenith at the G20’s London summit of April 2009(opens a new window), have evaporated. Yet it is hardly a case of “Goodbye G20, hello G7”. The earlier world of G7 domination is even more remote than that of G20 co-operation. Neither global co-operation nor western domination look feasible. What might follow? Alas, “division” might be one answer and “anarchy” another. That is not what the communiqué from the meeting of G7 heads of government in Hiroshima suggests.

It is breathtakingly comprehensive. It covers: Ukraine; disarmament and non-proliferation; the Indo-Pacific region; the global economy; climate change; the environment; energy, including clean energy; economic resilience and economic security; trade; food security; health; labour; education; digital; science and technology; gender; human rights, refugees, migration and democracy; terrorism, violent extremism and transnational organised crime; and relations with China, Afghanistan and Iran (among other countries). At 19,000 words, this reads like a manifesto for a world government. In contrast, the communiqué of the London G20 summit in April 2009 was just over 3,000 words. This comparison is unfair, given the focus at that time on the economic crisis. But an unfocused wish list cannot be useful: when everything is a priority, nothing is.

Moreover, both the “unipolar” moment of the US and the economic dominance of the G7 are history. True, the latter is still the most powerful and cohesive economic bloc in the world. It continues, for example, to produce all the world’s leading reserve currencies. Yet, between 2000 and 2023, its share in global output (at purchasing power) will have fallen from 44 to 30 per cent, while that of all high-income countries will have fallen from 57 to 41 per cent. Meanwhile, China’s share will have risen from 7 to 19 per cent. China is now an economic superpower. Via its Belt and Road Initiative it has become a huge investor in (and creditor of) developing countries, though, predictably, it is having to deal with the consequent bad debts so familiar to G7 countries. For some emerging and developing countries, China is a more important economic partner than the G7: Brazil is one example. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva may have attended the G7, but he cannot sensibly ignore China’s heft.

The G7 are also reaching out to others: their meeting in Japan included India, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia and South Korea. But 19 countries (opens a new window)have apparently applied to join the Brics(opens a new window), which already include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. When Jim O’Neill invented the idea of the Brics back in 2001(opens a new window), he thought this would be an economically relevant category. I thought the Brics would be about just China and India. Economically, that was right. But the Brics now seem to be on the way to being a relevant worldwide grouping. Clearly, what brings its members together is the desire not to be dependent on the whims of the US and its close allies, who have dominated the world for the past two centuries. How long, after all, can (or, for that matter, should) the G7, with 10 per cent of the world’s population, continue to do so?

Read more …

“..recovery from such an incident is not possible..”

Catastrophic “Loss of Control” Data Breach in NY Elections (UncoverDC)

A peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Information Warfare (JIW) confirms a “Loss of Control” breach has occurred in the NYSVoter Database. A peer-reviewed paper of their results in a respected journal is a hard-won and “significant milestone,” according to Marly Hornik, Executive Director of the NY Citizens Audit. The audit of the voter rolls was led by Marly Hornik and Andrew Paquette, Ph.D., Director of Research, who submitted the paper to JIW. Paquette “co-founded the International Game Architecture and Design Academy (now BUAS) in the Netherlands after a career in the feature film and video game industries. He received his Ph.D. from King’s College, London, in 2018 for a thesis on the development of expertise.”

In July 2021, Hornik and Paquette assembled a group of volunteers in New York that has grown to around 2000 individuals statewide to investigate the state’s voter registration rolls. Hornik presented the group’s preliminary findings to attendees at The Pit, sponsored by True the Vote, in August 2022. In her recent letter to New York citizens, Hornik explains the seriousness of the group’s findings:

“Through auditing the voter roll databases, obtained directly from state and local boards of elections, we have uncovered millions of invalid registrations, hundreds of thousands of votes cast by legally invalid registrations, hundreds of thousands of votes cast by legally invalid registrants, massive vote discrepancies, and the clear presence of algorithmic patterns we reverse engineered from within the state’s own official records. To be absolutely clear, there is no known innocent purpose or explanation for why these algorithms exist. I am told by cyber-intelligence experts they indicate a ‘Total Loss of Control’ data breach, the most severe kind of data breach recognized by our federal government. The law says it renders the affected NYSVoter database completely untrustworthy.”

[..] A “Loss of Control Breach” is a catastrophic level of “impact,” both functionally and in terms of information lost. It is important to note that the designation indicates “recovery from such an incident is not possible.”

Read more …
















Coconut Octopus











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Sep 202020

René Magritte The song of the storm 1937



I was going to make this the shortest essay I’ve ever written. “Trump Will Win Because of Energy. Period.” But wouldn’t you know, things start popping up on exactly the topic it was going to be about… The difference in energy between Donald Trump and Joe Biden should be obvious to everyone, including Biden supporters, though they will try to ignore it, as well as the role energy plays in a campaign, as it does in life in general -not just human life either-.

People recognize energy, they feel it. it’s a primal thing, directly linked to survival. It doesn’t get recognized at a rational level, but somewhere much deeper. And it’s not even so much that Trump’s energy levels are above average, for a 74-year old (though they appear to be), but that Biden’s are so far below average – or perhaps exactly what you would expect for a 77-year old, which is why so few of them are running for president of the United States, a job that I think we would all agree requires a lot of energy.

When you take out of the equation which person you like or not, when you disregard their policy proposals, and you only look at energy levels, the difference is vast. And people will catch on to this. The first debate is in 9 days, September 29, and how do you prepare Biden for that? Trump last night suggested his handlers do it by applying ‘big, fat shots in the ass’, but even that wouldn’t do it.

Trump doesn’t need to hammer this point home too hard, it will be obvious no matter what. It may even be better for him to show compassion for Biden. One of the main instructions from his team will undoubtedly be to NOT go after Joe Biden so hard it will make him stutter. Because that would make Trump look like a bully, and give Biden points on compassion from the audience.

But I doubt Trump will be able to help himself. And perhaps, at least from his point of view, he should just be and remain who he is. Because that worked four years ago. Will these be the best-watched debates in history? Quite possibly. Meanwhile, as Trump yesterday worked all day -if we are to believe the reports- and then campaigned all night in Fayetteville NC, Biden was MIA.

That by now is a pattern. As is the mysterious lack of door-to-door campaigning by the Biden team. It may not be impossible to win that way, but it certainly would be a first. And it makes the team look like they have a similar energy level to Biden himself (In another mystery, we see people talk about finding it hard to get yard signs for the Biden campaign).

That leaves you with the impression that the Biden team really has just one message: Orange Man Bad. Not: vote *for* me, but vote *against* the other guy. the racist/rapist who killed 200,000 Americans and offends “our” troops”. That in turn appears to signal that what energy there is, is negative energy. Doesn’t look like a winning formula.

But if the media, including social media, keep on pumping out that same message 24/7, who knows how many people will buy into it? After all, Twitter and Facebook et al are even more important influencers today than they were in 2016. Then again, the Trump people seemed to be much stronger on social media back then, and why would they have squandered that advantage? But then again, again, they weren’t constantly censored and banned then.

Trump last night in Fayetteville:

‘Big, Fat Shots In The Ass’: Trump Again Suggests Biden Is On Energizing Drugs

Donald Trump has mercilessly taunted Joe Biden, telling supporters that his Democratic nemesis must be taking performance-enhancing substances and should undergo a drug test. Trump reiterated previous casual accusations that Biden is too senile to be a good fit for the US president’s office while talking to a crowd of supporters in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Using his nickname for his Democratic opponent, Trump said that “Sleepy Joe” is appearing conspicuously efficient during debates and public events.

“Don’t underestimate [him], he’s been doing this for 47 years. And I got a debate coming up with this guy,” Trump said as he grinned, before suggesting that performance-enhancing substances were behind Biden’s efficiency. “You never know, they gave him a big, fat shot in the ass and he comes out,” Trump claimed as his audience laughed. “And for two hours he’s better than ever before. The problem is, what happens after that,” the Republican president added. Adding insult to the injury, Trump said offering a drug test to Biden is an option.

Remarkably, this is not the first time the 74-year-old president has accused his 77-year-old rival of being on drugs. Over a week ago, he fanned the claim while speaking to Fox. “I think there’s probably, possibly, drugs involved,” Trump told host Jeanine Pirro. “I don’t know how you can go from being so bad where you can’t even get out a sentence…” he speculated without finishing the sentence.

Trump and Biden are expected to face each other during debates in Cleveland on September 29, in Miami on October 15, and in Nashville on October 22. Their vice-presidential nominees Mike Pence and Kamala Harris will have a one-on-one in Salt Lake City on October 7.



In that same vein, there was also this from Irishman Graham Dockery on August 27:

Trump Has Called On Biden To Take A Drug Test. Why Don’t Both Old Guys Take This Idea Seriously?

Trump is 74 years old and Biden 77. If elected, Biden would be the oldest president in history, and would assume office at the same age Ronald Reagan left the White House – himself exhibiting the telltale signs of Alzheimer’s disease. If Trump wins, he’ll beat Reagan’s record by one year. Ten percent of white Americans over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s and related dementias. After 65, the risk of dementia doubles every five years. Even if Biden was speaking coherently, he would have a one-third chance of developing dementia by the end of his first term. Likewise, while Trump may appear sharp, he’s twice as likely to be losing his marbles now than he was in 2016.

Modern drugs can mask the symptoms of cognitive decline fairly well. Donepezil, Galantamine, Memantine and Rivastigmine are all used to boost memory, attention and the ability to perform simple tasks – like using a phone. Aside from these prescription medications, a candidate looking for a quick pre-debate fix could swallow some Adderall, a legal amphetamine that boosts cognition, short term memory and attention span, not to mention whatever experimental cocktails these two might have access to.

I’m not suggesting that either candidate is a chattering speed-freak. Trump’s opponents have beaten that drum before, accusing the president of railing Adderall every time he sniffs in a speech. Biden, on the other hand, looks like a man who could use an infusion from Doctor Feelgood. But it would be nice to know for sure. Most Americans would likely balk at the idea of sending a medicated husk to negotiate with allies and outwit adversaries. Let the two men competing for this position lay their cards on the table, and let the American public use this information to inform their decision.

After all, this is the leader of the free world we’re talking about, the man who, with a flick of his finger, could doom the planet to nuclear holocaust. It’s probably best if this leader remembers where he left the tapioca pudding.


Note that by now Trump’s advantage on energy says little about how the 2020 election will eventually be decided. It’s no longer possible for the US to NOT to sink into a deep quagmire because of mail-in ballots and the many days it may take to count them, the hundreds of lawyers that will be involved in various stages of that process -including many lawsuits-, and the Supreme Court, which will be a major election issue before November 3, and a possible/probable deciding factor sometime after that date.

Add to this that having the most votes, or even the highest numbers in the Electoral College system, no longer guarantees you a victory -because: lawyers and because: states may try to tamper with that system- and you end up with the most godawful mess ever. You would think everyone in Washington has an interest in not letting the city devolve into a circus tent where the clowns end up fighting the lions and tigers, but apparently they all have “more important” things to consider.

And all the time I’m thinking, guys, take care of your country, at least someone take care of it, you’re going to have to live in it together next year and the year after that etc.




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