Jun 052024
 


Vincent van Gogh The good Samaritan (after Delacroix) 1890

 

Trump Calls For Supreme Court To Intervene Before Sentencing (MN)
Dershowitz: Trump Could Fast-Track His Appeal To Supreme Court (ZH)
Republicans Vow To Scorch the Earth After Trump Conviction (RCW)
The Fake Conviction (Newt Gingrich)
Joe Biden’s Health Is About To Be Put To A Severe Test (Sadygzade)
Biden Does ‘We Gotta Secure The Border!’ Routine (ZH)
“A Blatant Lie” (Turley)
Freedom of Speech in the USA? Think again! (Gilbert Doctorow)
Swiss Senate Votes Against Aid For Kiev (RT)
NATO Member Turkiye Would Like to Join BRICS – Top Diplomat (Sp.)
NATO Preparing Troop Plans For Potential Russia Conflict – Telegraph (RT)
Punish Hungary To Ensure EU’s Future – Bloc Presidency Holder Belgium (RT)
Orban Believes Trump, EU Could End Ukrainian Conflict In 24 Hours (TASS)
People are Not Reading Your Stuff: Publisher Drops Truth Bomb at WaPo (Turley)
The Military-Industrial Complex Is Killing Us All (Vine/Arriola)
Musk Corrects “Liar” CNBC Journo Over Nvidia Report (ZH)
Pakistan Overturns Imran Khan’s Treason Conviction (RT)

 

 

 

 

“He’s polling right up there with fungal infections!”

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1797758238215016770

 

 

 

 

Hunter jurors

 

 

 

 

Border poll

 

 

Gaetz
https://twitter.com/i/status/1798004447362343011

 

 

O’Leary Musk

 

 

 

 

Before July 11th.

Trump Calls For Supreme Court To Intervene Before Sentencing (MN)

Donald Trump has called for the Supreme Court to step in before he is sentenced in the ‘falsified business documents’ case on July 11th. In a Truth Social post, Trump said he has not done anything wrong and referred to the prosecutors as “Fascists.” He added “A Radical Left Soros backed D.A., who ran on a platform of ‘I will get Trump,’ reporting to an ‘Acting’ Local Judge, appointed by the Democrats, who is HIGHLY CONFLICTED, will make a decision which will determine the future of our Nation?” “The United States Supreme Court MUST DECIDE!” Trump asserted. The sentencing date has been set a few days before the RNC Convention in Wisconsin. Trump is currently at the mercy of Judge Merchan, with the potential sentence being up to four years in jail for each of the 34 charges.

Merchan is a Columbian immigrant whose daughter is president of a political consulting firm that works closely with Democratic candidates. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was literally funded into office by George and Alex Soros’ Open Society, with the latter gloating about the verdict last week and calling for Democrats to repeatedly label Trump a “convicted felon.” “Repetition is the key to a successful message,” Soros declared. In the wake of the verdict, there was a massive spike in Google searches for how to donate to Trump, and he has raised over $200 million and counting since. It is an unprecedented amount for a candidate. Despite Trump being convicted on 34 counts, there has been no negative impact on his support and even a slight increase in favorability, especially amongst independent voters.

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“..the Supreme Court has an obligation to review the case before the election so that the American public has resolution..”

Dershowitz: Trump Could Fast-Track His Appeal To Supreme Court (ZH)

In a Friday interview with Megyn Kelly, Dershowitz suggested that Trump’s legal team should immediately push to get their appeal heard before the New York Court of Appeals, asking them to bypass the Appellate Division – which, Dershowitz suggested, are elected and more likely to work against Trump. “The Appellate Division or Manhattan judges that are elected and they don’t want to have to face their families and say you were the judge who allowed Trump to become the next President of the United States. They don’t want to be Dershowitz’ed,” he said, referring to the fact that he defended Trump during his first impeachment trial in the Senate. “They don’t want to be treated in New York, the way I have been treated in Martha’s Vineyard and Harvard and New York because I defended Donald Trump, so they should skip the Appellate Division.”

And so, to avoid the politicized Appellate Division, Trump’s attorneys should ask the Court of Appeals for an expedited appeal while preparing to argue in front of the US Supreme Court that the Manhattan case was rushed to try and get a verdict before the election. Dershowitz further suggested that the Supreme Court has an obligation to review the case before the election so that the American public has resolution. As Tom Ozimek of the Epoch Times notes further, Dershowitz has in the past accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of unfairly building the case against the former president by using a novel legal theory to elevate misdemeanor business falsification charges into a felony by alleging that the records fraud was carried out to conceal an underlying crime. In the Trump case, the underlying crime that was alleged was seeking to interfere in the 2016 election by using non-disclosure agreements to prevent unfavorable media coverage about an alleged affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels that the former president has denied.

Mr. Dershowitz said that Trump attorneys should consider supporting their petition to the New York Court of Appeals by highlighting two issues, with the first relating to the fact that the state’s highest court recently reversed Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction because the trial judge prejudicially allowed testimony on allegations unrelated to the case. The retired law professor alleged that Judge Juan Merchan “improperly” allowed irrelevant salacious details of President Trump’s alleged tryst with Ms. Daniels to be admitted into the record, while also raising the so-called “missing witness” issue. The second point that Mr. Dershowitz said would bolster a petition for an expedited review to the New York Court of Appeals is that the judge allegedly didn’t instruct the jury properly on why prosecutors didn’t call former Trump Organization CFO Alan Weisselberg to testify in the case. The judge was open to having Mr. Weisselberg testify but the prosecution didn’t call him, framing him as an unreliable witness due to earlier perjury charges in an unrelated case, while the defense also didn’t call him, citing the fact that prosecutors had undermined his credibility.

Mr. Dershowitz argued that failure to call Mr. Weisselberg left a hole in proving the case because it was expected that his testimony would have undermined some of the claims from another witness, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who testified against the former president. “Number two, I think would be the failure to give an instruction on the missing witness,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “The way the judge and the prosecution handled Allen Weisselberg really denied the defendant the right to a presumption that the only reason he wasn’t called was because he would not have corroborated the very important testimony, lying testimony of Michael Cohen.” Mr. Dershowitz said those two issues are what Trump attorneys should highlight in their request for an expedited appeal. “This is a winnable appeal,” he insisted.

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“They’ve broken a seal,” Lee said of the Trump conviction. “I don’t know that it can be contained.”

Republicans Vow To Scorch the Earth After Trump Conviction (RCW)

Spurred by the volcanic temper of their base, Republicans are now preparing to scorch the earth in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s conviction, potentially setting off a chain reaction that could fundamentally alter the American political system entirely. No one knows exactly how far they will go in their response. What is clear is that conservatives have no patience for President Biden’s argument Friday morning that justice was served in Manhattan, that “the American principle that no one is above the law was reaffirmed.” They see the conviction instead as unprecedented “lawfare” meant to interfere with the coming election and, some say, an unprecedented response is now in order. “The good guys must be as tough as the villains or freedom is doomed,” senior Trump advisor Stephen Miller told RealClearPolitics without offering exact details. Rep. Mike Collins, meanwhile, was explicit. “Time for Red State AGs and DAs to get busy,” the Georgia Republican said Thursday, floating the idea that Republicans should begin using the courts to pursue their political enemies.

“Hillary Clinton’s campaign-funded Steele dossier is a good start,” Collins continued, referencing how the former Secretary of State’s presidential campaign misreported their spending on the infamous opposition research document. Clinton was later fined $11,000 by the Federal Election Commission. No criminal charges were brought. “The statute of limitations expired but I’m told that’s not a thing anymore,” Collins said. Republicans on Capitol Hill are preparing a more traditional counter-offensive, one within established parliamentary rules. Led by Utah Sen. Mike Lee, eight Republicans have vowed to oppose all major legislation “not directly relevant to the safety of the American people” and blockade all judicial nominees in protest of Trump’s conviction. “We can’t pretend that our political world didn’t change yesterday pretty dramatically and for the worse,” Lee told RCP. The Utah Republican admitted that legislation normally slows ahead of an election but White House efforts to get anything through the Senate “just got a lot harder for them.”

A legislative blockade alone may not satisfy a conservative base hell-bent on retribution. “I don’t want to hear elected Republicans complaining. I don’t need to see their tweets and statements condemning the verdict. The only thing I want to hear from these people is which Democrats they will have arrested. Don’t tell us that you’re sad about the verdict. We don’t give a shit about your feelings. We want to see corrupt Democrats frog marched on camera in handcuffs. If you won’t do that, then shut up,” Matt Walsh, a Daily Wire columnist with a following in the millions, wrote on the social media website X. Replied conservative influencer Chaya Raichik: “Exactly. Where’s the list! Here’s a start: Obama Hillary Joe Biden Hunter Biden.”

Mike Davis, a longtime Republican strategist floated as a potential Trump attorney general, told Axios he wants prosecutors in red states like Georgia and Florida to open criminal probes into Democrats for allegedly conspiring to interfere in the election by indicting the former president. For his part, Lee stopped short of endorsing those efforts. He likened it to some campaigns on the left to pack the Supreme Court, an initiative he has long opposed, warning that it would lead to “lawlessness” and “politicization.” “I think this is an analogous circumstance,” the senator said of the prosecution of a major presidential candidate, something that the Department of Justice has long avoided. “They’ve broken a seal,” Lee said of the Trump conviction. “I don’t know that it can be contained.”

He held out one remote possibility: If Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his team experience a change of heart during the appeals process. “They could confess error on appeal,” Lee said. “Other instances of lawfare, wherever they exist, could be dropped. You could put this genie back in the bottle still, but not for very much longer.”

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“..You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree.”

The Fake Conviction (Newt Gingrich)

Americans are now being forced to think through the first fake conviction in the history of presidential politics. As an historian, I am really bothered when I hear lawyers on television describe these proceedings as though they were somehow related to the rule of law and the normal legal process. It is clear that what happened to President Donald J. Trump in Judge Juan Merchan’s court was not a legitimate conviction. Nearly every element of the prosecution was false. Therefore, the outcome is false. To say President Trump is now a convicted felon – as the left and its propaganda media allies are practically singing – is to legitimize the most corrupt judicial event in American presidential history. The burden of proof is not on President Trump. He remains an innocent citizen framed by an astonishingly corrupt district attorney, judge, and Biden Justice Department. Don’t take my word for it alone. Consider what a host of experts have to say.

Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard, sat through much of the trial and condemned it with strong language in his newsletter: “I have observed and participated in trials throughout the world. I have seen justice and injustice in China, Russia, Ukraine, England, France, Italy, Israel, as well as in nearly 40 of our 50 states. But in my 60 years as a lawyer and law professor, I have never seen a spectacle such as the one I observed sitting in the front row of the courthouse yesterday. “The judge in Donald Trump’s trial was an absolute tyrant, though he appeared to the jury to be a benevolent despot. He seemed automatically to be ruling against the defendant at every turn.” George Washington Law professor and legal analyst Jonathan Turley said, “Before jurors left, however, Judge Juan Merchan framed their deliberations in a way that seemed less like a jury deliberation than a canned hunt.” Attorney Mike Davis on the Just the News “No Noise” TV show said: “I would say the first one is there is no crime here. They waited until after this multi-week trial to even tell the criminal defendant what the legal allegations he was supposed to defend himself in that prior trial. He had no opportunity to defend himself.”

An innocent citizen being “hunted,” in Turley’s language, cannot be honestly convicted. That is why I argue this is a fake conviction. Again, I’m not the only one who thinks this. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is hardly a fan of President Trump, said, “These charges never should have been brought in the first place. I expect the conviction to be overturned on appeal.” House Speaker Mike Johnson called it “a shameful day in American history,” and continued, “Alvin Bragg targeted a political opponent, made up unprecedented charges, and denied him his Constitutional right to a fair trial.” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik summarized the corruption and dishonesty brilliantly: “The facts are clear: this was a zombie case illegally brought forward by a corrupt prosecutor doing Joe Biden’s political bidding in a desperate attempt to save Joe Biden’s failing campaign. She pointed out that the case hinged on the word of Michael Cohen, who has a history of perjury and an axe to grind with Trump.

She pointed out that Judge Merchan’s own family members benefited financially from the case, that he levied unconstitutional gag orders on Trump, and repeatedly sided with the prosecution throughout the case. Mark Steyn captured why we must insist that the conviction is fake and reject any effort to suggest that Trump is guilty. As Steyn wrote: “pretending that there is anything ‘great’ about this that should command our ‘respect,’ is making evil and corruption respectable and bi-partisan.” Ironically, in a Senate hearing involving smears and sexually salacious accusations chaired by then-Sen. Joe Biden 33 years ago, we were taught how to stand up to outrageous, corrupt, and disgusting behavior by then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas. After being repeatedly slandered by senators on Biden’s committee, on Oct. 11, 1991, Thomas said:

“This is a circus. It’s a national disgrace. And from my standpoint as a black American, as far as I’m concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree.” A generation later, President Trump, is learning what Justice Thomas learned in 1991: Challenge the establishment, and it will go all out to destroy you. Every time you talk with someone who says President Trump is a convicted felon, point out it is a fake conviction. Challenge them to defend the dishonest, corrupt people who are putting the nation through this mess – starting with President Biden, the leader of the corrupt and dishonest.

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“Biden is described as a “healthy, active, robust 81-year-old male, who remains fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief.”

Joe Biden’s Health Is About To Be Put To A Severe Test (Sadygzade)

The Biden administration managed to keep the discourse surrounding his health out of the mainstream political discussion, and all stumbles and falls were attributed to fatigue and a heavy schedule, or written off as commonplace. However, the situation changed with the publication of Robert Hur’s report in February 2024, where the special prosecutor responsible for investigating a scandal involving Biden’s handling of secret documents commented on his health. Hur’s report states that during his investigation “evidence was found that President Biden intentionally retained and disclosed secret materials after the end of his vice-presidency when he was a private individual.” However, Hur concluded that “the evidence does not support guilt beyond reasonable doubt.” He reasoned that “in court, Mr. Biden would likely appear before the jurors just as he was during our interview with him – a charming, affable elderly man with poor memory.”

In Hur’s opinion, “it would be difficult to convince jurors that they should convict him – the by then former president, deep into his eighties – for a serious criminal offense requiring intent.” The widespread resonance of Hur’s report required immediate action by the Biden administration to mitigate the damage caused by its publication. This response was the publication of the president’s current health report on February 28, 2024. The examination was conducted by the president’s physician Kevin O’Connor from The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences. According to the document, addressed to the president’s assistant and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden is described as a “healthy, active, robust 81-year-old male, who remains fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief.”

This triggered an additional flurry of discussions about Biden’s health. Questions also arose about the position of the Democratic administration members regarding their support for Biden’s nomination for another presidential term, as Robert Hur is a subordinate of US Attorney General Merrick Garland, a very influential person in the structure of the Democratic party. Given the realities of political life in the US, it is fair to say that a new presidential campaign begins on the day of the inauguration of the elected president. However, the last year, especially the last six months before federal elections, are the most challenging for the candidate. This stage is characterized by frequent trips to undecided states, public appearances at rallies, and participation in debates. All this requires the candidate to have robust health and a significant amount of energy. For the incumbent president, this stage is even more challenging, as he is forced to combine election campaigning with the duties of the President of the United States.

In April of this year, Biden stated in an interview on “The Howard Stern Show” that he plans to participate in debates with the likely candidate from the Republican party, Donald Trump. “I’m happy to debate him,” Biden said, dispelling doubts about his participation in presidential debates, which traditionally take place in three different states. Later, in May, Biden’s team agreed to participate in debates organized by CNN, which are tentatively scheduled for June 27. Biden’s decision to participate in the debates pursues two important goals: to change the public narrative that Biden avoids direct discussion with his Republican opponent, and to improve his standing in the polls (according to most voter surveys, Biden is either trailing Trump or is on par).

If, in order to solve the first task, Biden simply needs to appear on stage at the appointed time; the second task may prove to be more challenging. The incumbent president, like any politician defending his position through participation in debates, needs to be persuasive, logical, and demonstrate mental agility. And all this in the conditions of a 90-minute live broadcast with a very strong debater – Donald Trump. Predicting the possible consequences of Joe Biden’s health on the upcoming elections is mere speculation and guesses. The analysis of possible scenarios directly depends on the actual state of health of the president and his diagnoses, which are unknown to the general public. But undoubtedly, Joe Biden’s health will become one of the main elements of Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric, including during the first face-to-face debates scheduled for June. However, how convincing these arguments will be will depend on Biden’s public appearance during the main summer-autumn phase of the 2024 presidential race.

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40-odd months of open borders later, and 10-20 million illegals, the story will now be: see, we secured the border, as the GOP refused. And half the population will buy that.

Biden Does ‘We Gotta Secure The Border!’ Routine (ZH)

After shredding Donald Trump’s ‘xenophobic’ Executive Orders on border security his first day in office more than three years ago, resulting in what some estimate to be upwards of 20 million illegal migrants pouring into the United States (which Trump plans to deport), President Joe Biden is quietly signing an executive order on Tuesday aimed at slowing migrant crossings. As we noted on Friday, the EO would slash asylum claims by roughly two-thirds of where they stand today – and would cap the number of daily encounters at an average of 2,500 crossings per day (or 912k per year), however Biden would allow mass asylum claims to resume once border encounters fall to around 1,500 per day. US Border Patrol recorded approximately 4,300 daily encounters in April – which of course doesn’t include ‘gotaways’ – those who enter the US without notice. The move comes three months after the White House said Biden was no longer considering using executive action to secure the border.

According to Bloomberg, lawmakers and others have been invited to a Tuesday afternoon event at the White House. The order is Biden’s most aggressive move yet to address the crisis on the US-Mexico border, which has seen record levels of migrants and taxed communities across the country struggling to deal with the influx of new arrivals. A bipartisan Senate plan that would have given Biden similar powers was blocked by Republicans at Trump’s behest earlier this year, denying the president a political win and prompting him to act unilaterally. Tuesday’s order is politically risky. It will invite criticism from Biden’s left flank, which has blasted moves to ramp up deportations as an inhumane approach to the crisis. That has the potential to stymie his efforts to shore up an electoral coalition already riven by divisions over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war and overarching concerns over his age and fitness to serve a second term. -Bloomberg

The Biden administration’s move underscores how the administration has been compelled to act just months before the 2024 US election – as it’s become a centerpiece issue for Republicans on the campaign trail. Donald Trump has been constantly hammering Biden over the border as polls continue to show that voters think the border and immigration are critical issues. The Executive Order is also timed to reflect an effort to deter a seasonal increase in crossings that typically occurs each summer and early fall (right before the election), and comes as Mexico welcomes a new president, Claudia Sheinbaum, who was elected on Sunday. She doesn’t take office until Oct. 1, and it’s unknown what actions she will take on the border situation.

In recent weeks the Biden administration has taken other steps to tighten immigration rules. Last month, they proposed a rule that would allow the US to expedite the expulsion of certain undocumented migrants trying to claim asylum. According to the report, Biden will use Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act – which Trump invoked – which are anticipated to invite legal challenges. House Speaker Mike Johnson told Fox News Sunday that the move is “too little too late,” adding “The only reason he’s doing that is because the polls say that it’s the biggest issue in America.”

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It’s a pattern: taking credit for other people’s achievements. And again: half the population will buy that.

“A Blatant Lie” (Turley)

Winston Churchill once said that “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” It often seems like the Biden White House and campaign has embraced that warning as an operating principle. The most recent target was the veteran Fox news anchor John Roberts, who was accused of airing “a blatant lie” in questioning Biden’s claim that he was the first president to push through a cap of $35 on insulin treatments. Roberts was entirely correct, but the campaign has still not removed the false attack on his integrity and accuracy. In the interests of full disclosure, I am a legal analyst for Fox News and I have known Roberts for decades. There is no one who I hold in higher regard for his integrity or his intellect than John Roberts. We have known and worked with each other at different networks through the years. Roberts is an old-school journalist with impeccable credentials.

Yesterday, the Biden campaign launched the attack on Roberts for his questioning of the claim of President Joe Biden that he solely secured the insulin cap. Roberts remarked that he had a recollection that it was former President Donald Trump who pushed the cap. “I seem to remember that back in May of 2020, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid said that President Trump had signed an executive order to cap the price of insulin for Medicare recipients at 35 bucks. Now, maybe I’m misremembering that, but I think it kind of already happened.” The Biden campaign then called it “a blatant lie” in a posting on X that has reached over a million people. Contrary to the Biden campaign’s claims, Roberts’s recollection was entirely correct. Under the Trump Administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in May 2020 that the Part D Senior Savings Model participating plans would cap insulin copays to $35 per month’s supply, and over 1,750 Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans applied to offer lower insulin costs.

Trump praised the new policy, which was widely covered by the press. There was a Rose Garden event where Trump was praised for his actions: Trump later, in July 2020, signed four executive orders aimed at lowering the cost of insulin. That included Executive Order 13937, which required Federally Qualified Health Centers to pass 340B discounts on to patients. Notably, Biden later reversed Executive Order 13937 before those cost-saving measures could take effect.

This is obviously not the first false statement from the President. However, it is notable that his campaign spread obvious disinformation that was picked up by over a million people but then declined to take down the false claim. The campaign is now in a worse position. To take down the posting is to acknowledge not just that it has lied about Roberts, but that the President lied in taking sole credit for this cap. This is the same administration supporting the banning, blacklisting, and throttling of those responsible for disinformation. I would not support such censorship of the campaign. This and other columns refuting the false account is sufficient to combat a “blatant lie” by the Biden campaign. Whether it is his uncle being eaten by cannibals or insulin caps, free speech can correct false claims without government regulation. However, President Biden and his administration continue to push for censorship of others accused for false or misleading statements. The fact that John Roberts was right is hardly surprising. However, there remains a “blatant lie” on the Biden campaign’s social media that must still be corrected.

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Not only Scott Ritter was pulled off that plane to St Petersburg, so was Judge Nap(olitano).

Freedom of Speech in the USA? Think again! (Gilbert Doctorow)

First there was the news that Scott Ritter, a former U.S. military intelligence officer, was pulled off his plane which, with further flight connections would have taken him to St Petersburg, Russia where he was designated as a high level invited guest and would speak at the International Economic Forum that opens tomorrow. Upon being removed from the plane, his documents were taken from him. He was eventually released but his U.S. passport was kept by officials. Clearly Scott is not headed anywhere for some time. For those of you who have not been paying close attention to the U.S. “dissident movement,” allow me to explain that Scott Ritter has been a very active and widely listened to critic of American foreign policy, particularly as it relates to Russia and the Ukraine war. The weight of his messaging has been reinforced by his having been an insider and implementer of U.S. policies a couple of decades ago. Scott was one of the few U.S. inspectors of Iraq’s alleged programs of weapons of mass destruction. When snippets from his interviews are aired by Russian state television, they never fail to remind audiences of his past in U.S. intelligence.

Following his visit to Russia a year ago to promote a book he had just published, Scott became especially warm to the Putin ‘regime,’ as they would say in Washington. My first reaction upon hearing about this blatantly political act by the Biden Administration to knee-cap its critics and stifle free speech, was to look for an explanation in Ritter’s past military service. This viciousness of powers-that-be against one of their own sounded like what happened in Canada in the year before the onset of Covid to a very widely read and authoritative blogger, Patrick Armstrong. He was a former diplomat and had served in the Canadian embassy in Russia. Armstrong was visited by Justin Trudeau’s storm troopers who advised him to close his blog lest he lose not only his state pension but all of his savings. Patrick understood where things stood and fell silent. However, the follow-up news on the Yandex-Dzen website regarding events in Scott Ritter’s plane yesterday is still more damaging to my vision of free speech in the U.S.A. at present.

One other passenger was taken off the plane by U.S. government officials to prevent his appearing at the St Petersburg Economic Forum: Judge Andrew Napolitano. Judge Napolitano is the moderator of the very widely watched interview program “Judging Freedom” which is disseminated on youtube as well as on the main social media. He is a very responsible and informative critic of U.S. foreign policy, as are his regular guests. He is at the higher level of intellectual discourse a peer to the journalist Tucker Carlson who caters to the hoi polloi. He also is known for defending Donald Trump’s positions on a variety of issues. The deprivation of travel rights served on Judge Napolitano is a gross infringement of freedom of speech that the Biden administration cannot live down. All talk from the Oval Office of defending American democracy is shown through actions like these to be crass lies and utter hypocrisy. It is a long way to the November elections, but hopefully American voters will ‘throw the bums out’ and save what is left of freedom of speech.

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“..Lavrov argued that Switzerland was no longer a neutral party and had “turned from neutral to openly hostile.”

Swiss Senate Votes Against Aid For Kiev (RT)

Switzerland’s upper house of parliament rejected a 5 billion Swiss franc ($5.58 billion) aid package to finance the reconstruction of Ukraine on Monday. Lawmakers cited concerns that it would violate borrowing restrictions in the neutral country, Reuters has reported. The proposed aid was part of a wider package that also included additional funding for the Swiss military, the outlet said. The Council of States, one of Switzerland’s two houses of parliament, announced plans to set up a special 15-billion-franc ($16.7 billion) fund in April, proposing to allocate 10.1 billion francs to the Swiss Army and send the rest to Ukraine to support its economic development and reconstruction. The fund, despite initially being backed by a Swiss parliamentary committee, had faced opposition from right-wing lawmakers and was widely expected to be defeated, the report noted.

With 28 votes against and 15 in favor, the House rejected both the additional funding for the Swiss Army and the reconstruction aid for Ukraine. Opposition came from the conservative Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and the liberals from the Free Democratic Party (FDP), as well as from left-wing parties. According to the report, lawmakers argued that the package would breach a so-called “debt brake” provision in Switzerland, and would result in budget restrictions.In May, the Federal Council indicated that neither the funding for the Swiss military nor the aid for Ukraine met the “statutory requirements for extraordinary expenditure.” “The contribution amount can be controlled, which is why this expenditure cannot be recognized as extraordinary,” the government said.

The Council noted that the creation of such a fund under special legislation would have to be properly financed, whether through savings or additional revenue. The latest funding was rejected two weeks before the Swiss government is due to host a summit on the Ukraine crisis. The so-called ‘peace conference’ is scheduled to take place on June 15 and 16 at the Burgenstock Resort near Lucerne. Russia has not been invited to the summit. Switzerland has been under increased pressure from Western countries urging Bern to provide more help to Kiev. While refusing to supply Ukraine with military aid, citing its long-term neutrality policy, Bern has provided economic and humanitarian funding worth over $3 billion since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, according to Swiss government data. In April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov argued that Switzerland was no longer a neutral party and had “turned from neutral to openly hostile.”

Mearsheimer

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Might not go smooth.

NATO Member Turkiye Would Like to Join BRICS – Top Diplomat (Sp.)

BRICS was established in 2009 as a cooperation platform for the world’s largest emerging economies, bringing together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. On January 1, 2024, the bloc was expanded to include Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. Turkiye would like to become a member of BRICS and will monitor the developments in the organization, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Tuesday. “Certainly, we would like to become a member of BRICS. So we’ll see how it goes this year,” Fidan said during an event at the Centre for China and Globalisation (CCG) in Beijing, as quoted by the South China Morning Post newspaper. The BRICS bloc outperformed the G7 – the conglomerate of wealthy industrialized nations – in GDP in 2022. According to a forecast, BRICS economies will account for more than 50 percent of global GDP by 2030. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have become key pillars in the emerging multipolar world.

Economic experts stress that BRICS is also a locomotive of de-dollarization of the global economy since members of this bloc are increasingly switching to national currencies in trade relations – for instance, 90% of settlements between Russian and Chinese companies are now made in rubles and yuans The BRICS doubled its membership last year, becoming the BRICS+ after including Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on January 1, 2024. Russia welcomes Turkiye’s interest towards BRICS, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on uesday. “We, of course, all welcome this increased interest in BRICS on the part of our neighboring states, including our important partners such as Turkiye. Of course, the topic of this interest will be on the agenda of the BRICS summit, which will be chaired by Russia,” Peskov told reporters.

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“..training exercises have exposed red tape and infrastructure bottlenecks that prevent the rapid transfer of personnel and materiel across the continent.”

NATO Preparing Troop Plans For Potential Russia Conflict – Telegraph (RT)

NATO is working on plans to rush tens of thousands of US troops along “land corridors” in Europe in the event of war with Russia, a senior strategist has told The Telegraph. Last year, members of the US-led military bloc agreed to keep 300,000 troops ready for deployment, purportedly in response to a potential Russian attack. However, training exercises have exposed red tape and infrastructure bottlenecks that prevent the rapid transfer of personnel and materiel across the continent. NATO military leadership is therefore working to ensure that the flow of troops would not be stopped by likely Russian strikes on ports used by the US military to unload its cargos, The Telegraph reported on Tuesday.

“It is clear that huge logistics bases, as we know it from Afghanistan and Iraq, are no longer possible because they will be attacked and destroyed very early on in a conflict situation,” Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank, head of NATO’s JSEC logistics command, told the newspaper. The primary route for American troops in the event of war with Russia would be via the Dutch port of Rotterdam to Germany and Poland, the report said. Alternative corridors would start in Italy, Greece, and Türkiye, and would respectively run through Slovenia and Croatia to Hungary and through Bulgaria and Romania. There are also plans to involve Norway, Sweden, and Finland for backup logistics.

The US and its allies have claimed that Moscow could attack NATO, and that sending arms to Ukraine to fight Russia will help stall or prevent that outcome. Moscow has denied having any such intentions, and has accused Western governments of creating false threats to deceive their populations over the Ukraine conflict. Russian officials have described the hostilities with Ukraine as a US-initiated proxy war aimed at undermining Russian development, in which Ukrainian soldiers serve as “cannon fodder” while weapons, intelligence, training, and planning is contributed by the West. A direct conflict with NATO would be an existential threat to Russia, according to Moscow, considering the bloc’s superiority in conventional forces. Consequently, any such clash would warrant the deployment of nuclear weapons under Russian nuclear doctrine, it has warned.

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“If we go all the way with this mechanism, it must work. If it doesn’t work, we have to reform it. That’s the future of the European Union.”

Punish Hungary To Ensure EU’s Future – Bloc Presidency Holder Belgium (RT)

The EU should strip Hungary of its voting rights to safeguard the union’s future, Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib has argued. Budapest is scheduled to take over the EU Council’s rotating presidency in July. Belgium, the current holder, is in a group of countries voicing frustration over Hungary’s opposition to key EU plans – including support for Ukraine in the conflict with Russia. “I think we need to have the courage to make decisions: go right to the end of Article 7, activate Article 7 right to the end, which provides for the end of the right of veto,” the Belgian diplomat told Politico on Sunday. Article 7, which involves a suspension of voting rights, is often referred to as a “nuclear option” against member states considered to have breached the EU’s values.

The European Parliament voted to launch the procedure against Hungary in 2018, accusing Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government of undermining the rule of law through alleged attacks on the media and judiciary – but the process stalled due to disagreements between member states. Orban is a vocal critic of the Western stance on the Ukraine crisis. He has argued that the arming of Kiev against Moscow has failed to stop the hostilities, and that sanctions have inflicted more harm on the EU than on Russia. Budapest has repeatedly used its veto power to block trade restrictions on Russia that it views as a threat to Hungarian interests, and to restrict funding for Ukraine. Lahbib accused the Orban government of “increasingly adopting a transactional, blocking and veto attitude” to the bloc’s affairs.

“This is a moment of truth,” she said of the Article 7 threat. “If we go all the way with this mechanism, it must work. If it doesn’t work, we have to reform it. That’s the future of the European Union.” Hungary is the only EU member currently facing such proceedings. In May, Brussels dropped a similar inquiry into Poland’s domestic policies. Warsaw aligns with Brussels on Ukraine, but until recently had a conservative government that opposed it on other matters, including refugees and LGBT rights. This changed last December, when Donald Tusk – a longtime EU supporter and former president of the European Council – returned to office as Polish prime minister. “You can do anything as long as you’re one of them, as long you’re part of the Brussels mainstream,” Polish MEP Radoslaw Fogiel said at the time, in an interview with the news outlet Hungarian Conservative.

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The man that Belgium thinks should be punished:

“We must not forget that the war is waged by people, and these very people, if they are willing, have every opportunity to make peace..”

Orban Believes Trump, EU Could End Ukrainian Conflict In 24 Hours (TASS)

Donald Trump, the potential Republican candidate in the US presidential election, and the European Union could put an end to the conflict in Ukraine in 24 hours, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said. “If Trump and the EU wanted to end the war [in Ukraine], they could have done it in 24 hours. We must not forget that the war is waged by people, and these very people, if they are willing, have every opportunity to make peace. I think that if Trump became president, he could achieve a ceasefire in Ukraine in one day, and then start talks,” the prime minister told the Il Giornale newspaper. According to him, the EU strategy on the Ukrainian issue has failed even from a tactical point of view. “We don’t understand that we are playing with fire. We should ask ourselves what are Europe’s strategic interests and demand a ceasefire. Our citizens want peace, not war, which could be a political game,” Orban added.

The prime minister said that he expects a new right-wing majority in the European Parliament after the elections scheduled for June 8-9. “The current European Commission has failed on the agricultural issue, on the conflicts, on the migration issue, on the economy, and now its leadership must go. Strengthening democracy means electing a new commission, different from the current one, which was the worst in my memory,” Orban said. At the same time, he hinted that much depended on the decision of his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the European conservatives, and Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French National Rally party’s parliamentary group. “The right-wing parties must cooperate, we are in the hands of two women who must come to an agreement,” the Hungarian prime minister concluded.

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“..you need to return to being reporters and not advocates; you need to start reaching an audience larger than yourself and your friends.”

People are Not Reading Your Stuff: Publisher Drops Truth Bomb at WaPo (Turley)

Washington Post publisher and CEO William Lewis is being denounced this week after the end of the short-lived tenure of Executive Editor Sally Buzbee and delivering a truth bomb to the staff. Lewis told them that they have lost their audience and “people are not reading your stuff.” It was a shot of reality in the echo chambered news outlet and the response was predictable. However, Lewis just might save this venerable newspaper if he follows his frank talk with meaningful reforms to bring balance back to the Post. As someone who once wrote for the Washington Post regularly, I have long lamented the decline of the paper following a pronounced shift toward partisan and advocacy journalism. There was a time when the Post valued diversity of thought and steadfastly demanded staff write not as advocates but reporters. That began to change rapidly in the first Trump term.

Suddenly, I found editors would slow walk copy, contest every line of your column, and make unfounded claims. In the meantime, they were increasingly running unsupported legal columns and even false statements from authors on the left. When confronted about columnists with demonstrably false statements, the Post simply shrugged. One of the most striking examples was after its columnist Philip Bump had a meltdown in an interview when confronted over past false claims. After I wrote a column about the litany of such false claims, the Post surprised many of us by issuing a statement that they stood by all of Bump’s reporting, including false columns on the Lafayette Park protests, Hunter Biden laptop and other stories. That was long after other media debunked the claims, but the Post stood by the false reporting.

The decline of the Post has followed a familiar pattern. The editors and reporters simply wrote off half of their audience and became a publication for largely liberal and Democratic readers. In these difficult economic times with limited revenue sources, it is a lethal decision. Yet, for editors and reporters, it is still professionally beneficial to embrace advocacy journalism even if it is reducing the readership of your own newspaper. Lewis, a British media executive who joined the Post earlier this year, reportedly got into a “heated exchange” with a staffer. Lewis explained that, while reporters were protesting measures to expand readership, the very survival of the paper was now at stake: “We are going to turn this thing around, but let’s not sugarcoat it. It needs turning around,” Lewis said. “We are losing large amounts of money. Your audience has halved in recent years. People are not reading your stuff. Right. I can’t sugarcoat it anymore.” Other staffers could not get beyond the gender and race of those who would be overseeing them. One staffer complained “we now have four White men running three newsrooms.”

The Post has been buying out staff to avoid mass layoffs, but reporters are up in arms over the effort to turn the newspaper around. The question is whether, after years of creating a culture of advocacy journalism and woke reporting, the Post is still capable of reaching a larger audience. If you want to read about certain stories, you are not likely to go to the Post, NPR or other outlets. Likewise, with reporters referring to the January 6th riot as an “insurrection,” there is little doubt for the reader that the coverage is a form of advocacy. Again, such stories can affirm the bona fides for reporters, but they also affirm the bias for readers. I truly do hope that the Washington Post can recover. The newspaper has played a critical role in our history and a towering example of journalism at its very best from the Pentagon Papers to Watergate. If you want people to “read your stuff,” you need to return to being reporters and not advocates; you need to start reaching an audience larger than yourself and your friends.

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“Americans should pray it never actually has to defend the United States..”

The Military-Industrial Complex Is Killing Us All (Vine/Arriola)

The Emergence of a Monster: To face what it would take to dismantle the MIC, it’s first necessary to understand how it was born and what it looks like today. Given its startling size and intricacy, we and a team of colleagues created a series of graphics to help visualize the MIC and the harm it inflicts, which we’re sharing publicly for the first time.

The MIC was born after World War II from, as Eisenhower explained, the “conjunction of an immense military establishment” — the Pentagon, the armed forces, intelligence agencies, and others — “and a large arms industry.” Those two forces, the military and the industrial, united with Congress to form an unholy “Iron Triangle” or what some scholars believe Eisenhower initially and more accurately called the military-industrial–congressional complex. To this day those three have remained the heart of the MIC, locked in a self-perpetuating cycle of legalized corruption (that also features all too many illegalities). The basic system works like this: First, Congress takes exorbitant sums of money from us taxpayers every year and gives it to the Pentagon. Second, the Pentagon, at Congress’s direction, turns huge chunks of that money over to weapons makers and other corporations via all too lucrative contracts, gifting them tens of billions of dollars in profits. Third, those contractors then use a portion of the profits to lobby Congress for yet more Pentagon contracts, which Congress is generally thrilled to provide, perpetuating a seemingly endless cycle.

But the MIC is more complicated and insidious than that. In what’s effectively a system of legalized bribery, campaign donations regularly help boost Pentagon budgets and ensure the awarding of yet more lucrative contracts, often benefiting a small number of contractors in a congressional district or state. Such contractors make their case with the help of a virtual army of more than 900 Washington-based lobbyists. Many of them are former Pentagon officials, or former members of Congress or congressional staffers, hired through a “revolving door” that takes advantage of their ability to lobby former colleagues. Such contractors also donate to think tanks and university centers willing to support increased Pentagon spending, weapons programs, and a hyper-militarized foreign policy. Ads are another way to push weapons programs on elected officials.

Such weapons makers also spread their manufacturing among as many Congressional districts as possible, allowing senators and representatives to claim credit for jobs created. MIC jobs, in turn, often create cycles of dependency in low-income communities that have few other economic drivers, effectively buying the support of locals. For their part, contractors regularly engage in legalized price gouging, overcharging taxpayers for all manner of weapons and equipment. In other cases, contractor fraud literally steals taxpayer money. The Pentagon is the only government agency that has never passed an audit — meaning it literally can’t keep track of its money and assets — yet it still receives more from Congress than every other government agency combined.

As a system, the MIC ensures that Pentagon spending and military policy are driven by contractors’ search for ever-higher profits and the reelection desires of members of Congress, not by any assessment of how to best defend the country. The resulting military is unsurprisingly shoddy, especially given the money spent. Americans should pray it never actually has to defend the United States. No other industry — not even Big Pharma or Big Oil — can match the power of the MIC in shaping national policy and dominating spending. Military spending is, in fact, now larger (adjusting for inflation) than at the height of the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq, or, in fact, at any time since World War II, despite the absence of a threat remotely justifying such spending. Many now realize that the primary beneficiary of more than 22 years of endless U.S. wars in this century has been the industrial part of the MIC, which has made hundreds of billions of dollars since 2001. “Who Won in Afghanistan? Private Contractors” was the Wall Street Journal‘s all too apt headline in 2021.

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Musk: on X: “Laura “Liar” Kolodny”.

The move makes a lot of sense.

Musk Corrects “Liar” CNBC Journo Over Nvidia Report (ZH)

Another day, another Tesla report to take with a big grain of salt until further notice. In the latest report from CNBC, citing “emails written by Nvidia senior staff” and “correspondence from Nvidia staffers” that “Musk presented an exaggerated picture of Tesla’s procurement” of Nvidia’s flagship artificial intelligence chip, the H100, diverting “a sizable shipment of AI processors” from Tesla to X and xAI. Update: Further notice has occurred… the salt was wise. In a Tuesday morning post on X, Musk said: “Tesla had no place to send the Nvidia chips to turn them on, so they would have just sat in a warehouse,” adding “The south extension of Giga Texas is almost complete. This will house 50k H100s for FSD training.” According to Musk, “Of the roughly $10B in AI-related expenditures I said Tesla would make this year, about half is internal, primarily the Tesla-designed AI inference computer and sensors present in all of our cars, plus Dojo,” adding that Nvidia hardware “is about 2/3 of the cost.”

Musk estimated that Tesla purchases of Nvidia hardware will be “$3B to $4B this year.” As CNBC continues; By ordering Nvidia to let privately held X jump the line ahead of Tesla, Musk pushed back the automaker’s receipt of more than $500 million in graphics processing units, or GPUs, by months, likely adding to delays in setting up the supercomputers Tesla says it needs to develop autonomous vehicles and humanoid robots. “Elon prioritizing X H100 GPU cluster deployment at X versus Tesla by redirecting 12k of shipped H100 GPUs originally slated for Tesla to X instead,” an Nvidia memo from December said. “In exchange, original X orders of 12k H100 slated for Jan and June to be redirected to Tesla.”

A more recent Nvidia email, from late April, said Musk’s comment on the first-quarter Tesla call “conflicts with bookings” and that his April post on X about $10 billion in AI spending also “conflicts with bookings and FY 2025 forecasts.” The email referenced news about Tesla’s ongoing, drastic layoffs and warned that headcount reductions could cause further delays with an “H100 project” at Tesla’s Texas Gigafactory. The new information from the emails, read by CNBC, highlights an escalating conflict between Musk and some agitated Tesla shareholders who question whether the billionaire CEO is fulfilling his obligations to Tesla while also running a collection of other companies that require his attention, resources and hefty amounts of capital. Really? Does it highlight the escalating conflict?

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But he will remain in jail because of all the other indictments.

Pakistan Overturns Imran Khan’s Treason Conviction (RT)

The Islamabad High Court on Monday vacated the former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s conviction for leaking state secrets. He remains behind bars, however, for allegedly violating Islamic tradition with his marriage. Khan, 71, was ousted in April 2022. Since then, he has faced over 100 indictments, which his party has denounced as politically motivated. The state secrets case saw him sentenced to ten years in prison in February, just ahead of the national elections. “Thank God, the sentence is overturned,” Naeem Panjutha, a spokesman for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, said after the court announced its decision. Former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (2018-2022) was also acquitted of the charges. Khan has cited a classified cable as proof that the Pakistani military conspired with the US to overthrow his government after he visited Russia. The US has denied the accusation.

The government in Islamabad has claimed that by revealing the contents of the cable, Khan violated the state secrets law. “It is a fact that a national security document was used for political purposes,” government spokesman for legal issues Aqeel Malik said at a press conference on Monday, noting that PM Shehbaz Sharif’s government might appeal Khan’s acquittal to the Supreme Court. Two other convictions against Khan, handed out just days before the February 8 vote, have been stayed pending appeal. In one case, he and his wife Bushra were sentenced to 14 years for illegally selling state gifts. Khan remains in prison because of the seven-year conviction for allegedly violating Islamic tradition by marrying Bushra too soon after her divorce. According to his party, the case has no leg to stand on, as Bushra herself had the sole right to decide on the timing of the marriage.

Multiple convictions have been used to bar Khan and PTI from running for office in the February election. The party’s candidates still got 93 out of the 266 directly elected seats in the legislature, but were kept from power by a coalition of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which won 54 and 73 seats, respectively. While Monday’s acquittal is a “huge political and legal victory” for Khan, the cricket-star-turned-politician won’t be released any time soon, journalist and political analyst Mazhar Abbas told Reuters.

Read more …

 

 

From Jim Kunstler’s site. Obviously, we have the same issues. Credit card expiration is a point that warrants attention. Our Patreon revenue is down 25%. So is Paypal.

“Note to Readers: We’ve just come through the time of year when credit cards expire. My Patreon revenue is down and I doubt it is because you’re disappointed in this blog’s content. Plus, it comes to you absolutely reliably twice-a-week, without fail. You can continue reading it for free — there’s no pay-wall — but just know that I depend on this support to make a living. Back in the day, a newspaper would pay me a salary, but this is no longer that day and now public voices like mine must perform like buskers on the street. Acknowledging that times are tough and getting tougher, if you are a regular reader here, please consider kicking in maybe two bucks a month for the eight blog-columns you’ll get and probably appreciate, just as I will be grateful to get paid for the work I do putting them out there. Just sayin’. . . .”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orca
https://twitter.com/i/status/1797838232970834430

 

 

Hug

 

 

Excavator

 

 

Owl head

 

 

Mom

 

 

Pick up

 

 

Dog toys

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 232024
 


Vincent van Gogh The sower 1888

 

Trump In The Bronx: Thousands Expected To Show Up For Massive Rally (ZH)
Trump Claims Biden Authorized FBI To Use Deadly Force In Mar-a-Lago (RT)
Election 2024: A Political Renaissance for America or the Path to Totalitarianism (AmG)
Judge Aileen Cannon to Hear Motions to Dismiss in Trump Documents Case (ET)
Alan Dershowitz Might Get Away With His Motto for Trump Case (Taft)
Raisi Led The Charge For Russia–Iran–China’s ‘New World Order’ (Pepe Escobar)
CIA Prevented Hunter’s Tax Sugar Daddy From Becoming Federal Witness (ZH)
Tucker Carlson Sets Record Straight on Claims of Hosting Russian TV Show (Sp.)
Germany Would ‘Abide’ By ICC Netanyahu Arrest Warrant (RT)
‘We’re Next!’ Lindsey Graham Warns About ICC (RT)
Ukraine Is Losing, Direct Intervention By The West Risks Nuclear Conflict (RT)
Musk Questions Ukrainian Democracy (RT)
Scientists Reveal Hidden Branch of the Nile, May Solve Pyramid Mystery (Sp.)
The Slow-Motion Execution of Julian Assange Continues (Chris Hedges)

 

 

 

 

Alina/Mechan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1793149492419588317

 

 

Tucker Prince

 

 

Not looking good, Bill..

 

 

“Biden presents as old and ancient. That [Trump] does not look old.”

 

 

Unified Reich

 

 

Volga

 

 

 

 

In Trump terms, “a crowd of up to 3,500 people” is not a massive rally. But it’s ‘lovely ironic’ that it is Alvin Bragg who brings Trump to Manhattan.

Trump In The Bronx: Thousands Expected To Show Up For Massive Rally (ZH)

With Donald Trump stuck in New York for his ‘hush money’ trial, which now rests in the hands of the jury (while having imploded in the court of public opinion), the former president is holding what’s expected to be a massive rally on Thursday in the Bronx amid huge gains in polling among black and latino voters. The Trump campaign expects a crowd of up to 3,500 people, according to the NY Post. It will mark the first time he’s campaigned in his home state since a 2016 event in Buffalo. Several polls suggest as many as 23% of black voters and 46% of latino voters could cast their ballot for Trump – a huge boost from the 6% of black and 28% of latino voters who supported him in 2016, which grew to 8% and 32% respectively in 2020. As the Epoch Times noted last month, support for the Democratic Party among black and Hispanic voters has been eroding for years.

The percentage of black voters who “lean Democrat” topped out at near 90 percent in 2008 but fell to 66 percent by 2023, the lowest level yet recorded according to data from Gallup’s annual polling on the subject. Meanwhile, the percentage of black voters who “lean Republican” rose from single digits to 19 percent over the same period. Of note, the Bronx hasn’t backed a Republican candidate for White House in 100 years when Calvin Coolidge won every single NY county in 1920 and 1924. Meanwhile, Trump’s Thursday rally comes weeks after a massive rally in the Jersey Shore town of Wildwood -drawing an estimated 100,000 supporters – and days after Trump supporters were seen marching in the South Bronx over the weekend. [..] Indeed, the Trump campaign has been making the best of the former president’s situation. “While he is in court, we are using New York City as a backdrop,” said Trump campaign spokesperson Danielle Alvarez in a statement to the Post. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” another source close to the campaign told the outlet.

“President Trump is taking advantage of being stuck in New York by holding a rally that will surely highlight how Joe Biden has failed Bronx residents with inflation and the open border. The nation’s biggest outlets are headquartered in NYC. [Manhattan DA Alvin] Bragg has inadvertently given Trump a massive stage.” Staten Island Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, the only Republican member of Congress representing a New York City district, told The Post she thinks Trump’s Bronx rally is “a great start.” “It’s exciting for New York City to have President Trump rallying, and it’s important for him to reach out to, particularly minority communities. I think New York is in play,” she said.

“New York is desperate for a balance, and they’ve shown that … We flipped that City Council seat in the Bronx, right in the heart of AOC’s district. In my congressional district, we were able to flip multiple [state] Assembly seats Republican. “My district would love for President Donald Trump to make a stop, particularly Staten Island,” added Malliotakis, shouting out the only borough to back Trump in both 2016 and 2020. In future, the lawmaker added, she would “love to see him do something at Yankee Stadium, or take over the beach on Staten Island like he did in Wildwood.” -NY Post. This is a complete optics nightmare for Democrats.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1793255284711788854

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Garland/DOJ were desperate to see what was in the folder they thought Trump held… they overruled FBI agents who resisted the plan…

“..the FBI said in a statement that its agents had followed “standard procedure” during the raid. “The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force..”

Look, there is no “standard procedure” for raiding a former President’s home. It never happened before.

Trump Claims Biden Authorized FBI To Use Deadly Force In Mar-a-Lago (RT)

Donald Trump has accused US President Joe Biden of authorizing the use of deadly force during the FBI’s raid on his estate in 2022, citing a law enforcement document released on Tuesday in the classified documents case against the former president. The document in question describes the FBI’s plans for a court-authorized search on August 8, 2022 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. “Wow! I just came out of the Biden Witch Hunt Trial in Manhattan, the ‘Icebox,’ and was shown Reports that Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ, in their Illegal and UnConstitutional Raid of Mar-a-Lago, authorized the FBI to use deadly (lethal) force,” Trump wrote in a post on his Truth Social account on Tuesday.

Garland
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792981056158634423

The FBI’s operations order was revealed as part of the investigation into Trump’s alleged falsification of business records. During the search of Trump’s residence in connection with this probe it was supposedly discovered that the ex-president had retained classified documents. According to a court filing, the order contained a policy statement regarding the use of deadly force, which stated, for example, that “Law Enforcement officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force when necessary,” Fox News reported on Tuesday, citing the document. The US Department of Justice and FBI agents “planned to bring ‘Standard Issue Weapons’, ‘Ammo’, ‘Handcuffs’, and ‘medium and large sized bolt cutters’, but they were instructed to wear ‘unmarked polo or collared shirts’ and to keep ‘law enforcement equipment concealed,” the filing revealed.

“Now we know, for sure, that Joe Biden is a serious threat to democracy. He is mentally unfit to hold office – 25th amendment,” said Trump, who is the current Republican frontrunner to challenge Biden in November’s presidential election. In a rare and apparently direct response to the former president’s post, the FBI said in a statement that its agents had followed “standard procedure” during the raid. “The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force,” the statement read. “No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter.” The FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago found that dozens of classified documents remained in the residence. Trump, however, has claimed that he was within his rights as a former president to possess the documents.

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“..Assuming the election’s fidelity—that this assumption must be made is an indication of how close the country is flirting with totalitarianism..”

Election 2024: A Political Renaissance for America or the Path to Totalitarianism (AmG)

It has been decades in the making, but the country is now on the precipice between its traditional ideology of political liberalism and a path that will lead, far sooner than Americans might think, to totalitarianism. The historical bulwarks of Americanism and the American political system—government of the people, freedom, and liberty—have been deliberately eroded. A citizenry steeped in republican virtue, cognizant of the political ideas and principles that made America a lasting and strong constitutional republic, and knowledgeable about the duties and obligations of American citizenship have been under daily assault for years from the foreign ideology of communism. That odious ideology has operated under synonyms such as “progressivism,” “multiculturalism,” or DEI to make its poison more palatable to American audiences.

The media—the so-called “Fourth Estate”—has been another layer of protection that has been peeled away. Today, they are activists advancing the left’s agenda in all but name. Great newspapers that were lively to read and informative are no longer. One reads them now the same way Soviet citizens used to read Pravda—only by knowing the lies that are printed and surmising what is left out of the story can one come close to knowing the truth. Compare the front page of the New York Times from fifty, forty, or thirty years ago to one today, and the change is telling and sad to see. Rather than a robust culture of free speech, censorship is pervasive by the legacy and social media, Big Tech, and by a ubiquitous and devilish culture of self-censorship.

American universities were once the envy of the world, as lively academies of intellectual debate and devoted to the pursuit of knowledge are now factories of indoctrination. Their law, medical, engineering, and business schools have also been transformed into political instruments that advance the “Party Line.” Unbelievably, thought control in K-12 is even worse. Popular culture fell a long time ago, and most of it is simply a contemporary version of Soviet entertainment where the heroic worker and peasant defeat the evil capitalist and priest. Worse still is the promotion of degeneracy and decadence with gender reassignment led by a teacher’s union that more resembles a Clockwork Orange ensemble than as the protectors of the most vulnerable in our society—our children.

As alarming as these developments are, what is worse is the permanent weaponization of government against political opponents. The raids, indictments, trials, and gag orders for a former president and leading 2024 candidate demonstrate that the Constitutional rights of the most prominent political figure in American politics in this century can have his rights violated, so too can all Americans. The lawfare employed against President Trump has been specifically designed by the left to consume his time and other resources away from his campaign for President in this critically important election year.

Of course, it is not only Trump. The imprisonment of former Trump official Peter Navarro and perhaps of Trump advisor Steve Bannon is an attempt to decapitate the Make America Great Again Movement through their imprisonment and to send a message to others about what will happen to anyone who opposes the state. The persecution of Trump’s legal advisor, John Eastman, is a similar tactic. The result is that law firms will be reluctant to accept the movement’s legal challenges. These actions are the first strike in the left’s campaign of “lawfare” to disarm Trump and to deter any Republican challenge to the parameters of the election and its aftermath. It is also political muscle flexing in an attempt to intimidate anyone who would assist Trump’s campaign and an effort to demoralize his base. After the British executed Admiral John Byng in 1757, Voltaire wrote it was “to encourage the others,” and so it is today.

The irony of the many steps taken by the left to advance a totalitarian agenda is that it is they who falsely proclaim that it is Trump and the MAGA movement that are the fascists. It is the left that is actually implementing such vile and anti-American practices against their political enemies and the American people. Recently, former 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was once again on the Sunday news shows talking about how Donald Trump would arrest his political enemies, while in reality it is only the Democratic Party and the Biden administration that have put Peter Navarro in prison, may imprison Bannon, and indicted the former President 92 times.

This cannot stand if America is to survive as a constitutional republic. If it does, then the country is on the path to totalitarianism. Totalitarianism does not just show up one day, springing forth fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. But it does come quickly, more so than most Americans realize, as the ideology, laws, norms, and culture are eroded by the new revolutionary regime. When they seized power in 1917, the Bolsheviks did not know how far they could push the Russian people, but that was not for lack of intent or for a lack trying. Their ambition was to remake everything—culture, politics, economics, the arts, science, diplomacy, education, values, and thought. Every year, they tightened their grip until they crushed the people in the horrors of Stalinism. It took only twenty years from the time the Bolsheviks came to power to the show trials of mature Stalinism.

Nothing is decided and there will be many ups and downs, twists and turns, and surprises between now and Election Day. The election of 2024 is critical and as important as any in its history. Assuming the election’s fidelity—that this assumption must be made is an indication of how close the country is flirting with totalitarianism—it will provide Americans with the clearest choice in our history since the Civil War. When that choice is understood to be one between the continuation of the American Republic or to enter the hell of totalitarianism, the election will spark a renaissance of America’s traditional political ideology, institutions, values and culture. This election provides the opportunity to drive a stake through the heart of totalitarianism “with an American face,” as Americans, having seen into the abyss, will reject the totalitarian path. A re-birth of the understanding of the value of American citizenship—that spirit of 1776—and of our inalienable and universal freedoms can come from the 2024 election.

To ensure that positive outcome will require not only support for President Trump but also extraordinary vigilance by the American people through the election and its aftermath.

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“Judge Cannon postponed the trial indefinitely to consider additional motions to dismiss, including “indictment based on unlawful appointment and funding of Special Counsel” on June 21..”

Judge Aileen Cannon to Hear Motions to Dismiss in Trump Documents Case (ET)

After the prosecution and defense rested their cases in former President Donald Trump’s trial in Manhattan, his attorneys and those of co-defendant Walt Nauta will appear in southeast Florida on May 22 to argue for the dismissal of his classified documents case. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will preside over back-to-back hearings that consider multiple motions to dismiss the case. Mr. Nauta’s attorneys will argue that the case should be dismissed based on selective and vindictive prosecution. Judge Cannon will then hear arguments from all defendants to dismiss the case on insufficient pleading. President Trump will be absent for both hearings in Fort Pierce, Florida, after Judge Cannon granted his “motion for leave to be excused” on May 14. The defendants have filed multiple motions to dismiss the case, including one citing the Presidential Records Act and another invoking “unconstitutional vagueness” that Judge Cannon heard during a March 14 hearing.

President Trump also filed a May 21 motion to dismiss, alleging prosecutorial misconduct when the FBI seized 15 boxes of documents during the Mar-a-Lago raid. Judge Cannon postponed the trial indefinitely to consider additional motions to dismiss, including “indictment based on unlawful appointment and funding of Special Counsel” on June 21. There are also partial evidentiary hearings scheduled for June 24–26 and a “defense reciprocal discovery” hearing on July 10. As a result of these pre-trial issues, Judge Cannon has indefinitely postponed the trial for this case, which experts say may not occur before the November election. The Justice Department charged Mr. Nauta with multiple counts, including: “participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice,” after President Trump tasked him with moving some of the boxes containing classified documents at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort and residence in Palm Beach, Florida.

Mr. Nauta’s attorney, Stanley Woodward, Jr., argues that the Justice Department’s Special Counsel’s Office decision to prosecute the valet was “both selective and vindictive.” Mr. Woodward wrote that the legal standard for “selective prosecution” is that a prosecution “has a discriminatory effect” and that it was motivated by a “discriminatory purpose.” He also describes vindictive prosecution as when a prosecutor’s charging decision was “motivated by a desire to punish [the defendant] for doing something that the law plainly allowed him to do” while treating the defendant with “genuine animus.” Since others at the resort had moved the boxes “in the same or similar time, manner, and place as Mr. Nauta,” it would be discriminatory to charge him and no one else with this crime, Mr. Woodward argued in the motion to dismiss.

The Special Counsel’s Office rejected this argument and said it rests Mr. Nauta’s comparison to two other employees of President Trump “but whose conduct was not remotely similar to his own.” Therefore, it fails to prove that Mr. Nauta was selected for prosecution over those individuals for “improper reasons,” prosecutors say. As for vindictive prosecution, Mr. Woodward argued that Mr. Nauta was only prosecuted after he declined the Special Counsel’s Office’s request that he give “full cooperation in the investigation.” Mr. Woodward believes the indictment was “vindictive” because it appears that prosecutors targeted Mr. Nauta after he chose to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and declined to testify in front of a grand jury. The Justice Department called this a “novel and unsupported claim” and wrote that if the court accepted it, that would imply that any defendant asked to provide “full cooperation” would be immune from charges by simply “declining the offer.”

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“..Alan Dershowitz Might Be the Only One..”

Alan Dershowitz Might Get Away With His Motto for Trump Case (Taft)

The Trump trial in New York has seen a meltdown by the judge, a “star” witness who predictably lied on the stand, a mattress actress who described in fanciful detail a likely apocryphal tryst with the TV star-turned-president, and now this goat rodeo has been branded. It’s not just any slogan, no sir. Legal scholar and Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz may be one of only four people in America with the standing to pull this motto out on national TV and not get laughed at. Dershowitz was in the Manhattan courtroom on Monday and was appalled at seeing in person the sloppy, one-sided, and outrageous conduct against former President Donald Trump. Furthermore, he wants the video of the trial, which he says the court has, to be preserved and seen “by every American… to see what this judge looked like when he shouted at [defense witness Bob] Costello… (see my story about this nearby) and strike this testimony… and not allow this defendant to put on a defense.”

Those are sharp words from Dershowitz who has been in some of America’s most august courtrooms, congressional halls, and venues and done some serious backroom brawling in defense of his clients. But this, he said, is “one of the most unfair trials I have ever seen in the 60 years of practicing, teaching, and writing about criminal law. It’s a scandal.” He told Sean Hannity of Fox News that in this trial Judge Juan Merchan expanded the use of irrelevant testimony by the prosecution and curtailed the use of exonerating evidence for Donald Trump. He claimed, as others do, that the judge has ignored Trump’s Sixth Amendment Rights. Dershowitz said that in the time he was in court on Monday, he personally witnessed multiple rulings and decisions by the judge that were reversible errors in Trump’s case. He was the only spectator allowed to remain in the courtroom when the judge cleared it when he yelled at Costello. Maybe Judge Merchan thought Dershowitz was on the case.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1793091599775445338

Back in the day, America got a look at another judge in a deadly serious case against a beloved and ubiquitous TV star and sports figure, OJ Simpson. Americans were riveted by the TV coverage of the double murder trial of the retired NFL great. Dershowitz was part of Simpson’s “dream team” of lawyers who won the sports star and actor an acquittal. He and Robert Shapiro and DNA specialists Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, who founded The Innocence Project, are the only members of the defense team still alive. Johnny Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, and the man who assembled them all, attorney Robert Kardashian have all died. But you know the motto that Cochran coined during the closing arguments of the trial. One of OJ’s bloody kid gloves was found at the scene of the murders. Police found the matching bloody glove behind OJ’s house. They were bagged by evidence teams and stayed locked up for months in a police evidence locker.

During the trial, a young prosecutor tried to pull off a dramatic courtroom moment when he asked OJ to put his gnarled and arthritic hands inside the dried-out leather gloves. Not surprisingly, they didn’t fit like a glove. Cochran seized on the moment and told the jury during closing arguments, “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” They did. Now one of the original dream team members has reworked the phrase to include his assessment of this Trump trial. Dershowitz told Hannity Tuesday night, “I have a motto for the defense: ‘If it’s not legit, you must acquit.’ And this is not a legitimate trial and there must be an acquittal… in the interest of all Americans.” Like the OJ case, DA Alvin Bragg may finally get down to the business of finding the real criminal in that Manhattan courtroom. All he’ll need to do is look in the mirror.

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“..none of the three Asian powers will allow the other partners to be destabilized by the usual suspects..”

Raisi Led The Charge For Russia–Iran–China’s ‘New World Order’ (Pepe Escobar)

Amidst all the sadness and grief over the loss of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, let’s take a moment to showcase the critical path he helped forge toward a new global order. In the nearly three years since Raisi ascended to the Iranian presidency, Eurasian integration and the drive toward multipolarity have become fundamentally conducted by three major actors: Russia, China, and Iran. Which, by no accident, are the three top “existential threats” to the hegemonic power. At 10 pm this past Sunday in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited Iran’s ambassador to Moscow, Kazem Jalali, to be at the table in an impromptu meeting with the cream of the crop of Russia’s Defense Team. That invitation reached far beyond the myopic media conjecture over whether the Iranian president’s untimely death was due to an “accidental crash” or an act of sabotage. It came from the fruits of Raisi’s tireless labor to position Iran as an east-facing nation, boldly forging strategic alliances with Asia’s major powers while sweetening Tehran’s relations with past regional foes.

Back to that Sunday night table in Moscow. Everyone was there – from Defense Minister Andrei Belousov and Secretary of the Security Council Sergei Shoigu to Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, Emergencies Minister Aleksandr Kurenkov and Special Assistant to the President, Igor Levitin. The key message portrayed was that Moscow has Tehran’s back. And Russia completely supports the stability and continuity of government in Iran, which is already fully guaranteed by Iran’s constitution and its detailed contingencies for a peaceful transition of power under even unusual circumstances. As we are now deep into total Hybrid War mode – bordering on Hot – across most of the planet, the three civilization states shaping a new system of international relations could not be more obvious. Russia–Iran–China (RIC) are already interlinked via bilateral, comprehensive strategic partnerships; they are members of both BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and their modus operandi was fully unveiled for the whole Global Majority to examine at Putin’s crucial summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last week.

In short, none of the three Asian powers will allow the other partners to be destabilized by the usual suspects. Late President Raisi and his top diplomat, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, leave a stellar legacy. Under their leadership, Iran became a member of BRICS, a full member of the SCO, and a major stakeholder in the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). These are the three key multilateral organizations shaping the road to multipolarity. Iran’s new diplomatic drive reached key Arab and African players, from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt to Libya, Sudan, and Djibouti. Tehran, for the first time, conducted a sophisticated, large-scale military operation against Israel, firing a barrage of drones and missiles from Iranian territory. Iran–Russia relations reached the next level in trade and military-political cooperation. Two years ago, Putin and Raisi agreed on a comprehensive bilateral treaty. The draft of the core document is now ready and will be signed by Iran’s next president, expanding the partnership even further.

As a member of an Iranian delegation told me last year in Moscow, when the Russians were asked what could be on the table, they replied, “You can ask us anything.” And vice versa. So all interlocked declinations of Raisi’s “Look East” strategic shift coupled with Russia’s earlier “pivot to Asia” are being addressed by Moscow and Tehran. The Council of Foreign Ministers of the SCO is meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday in Astana, preparing for the summit in July, when Belarus will become a full member. Crucially, Saudi Arabia’s cabinet has also approved the decision for Riyadh to join, possibly next year. Iran’s continuity of government will be fully represented in Astana via interim Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, who was Amir-Abdollahian’s number two. He’s bound to immediately enter the fray alongside Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to discuss the multi-layered multipolar path.

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Good question: “Why would the CIA protect Morris?”

CIA Prevented Hunter’s Tax Sugar Daddy From Becoming Federal Witness (ZH)

A trove of new whistleblower documents provided to House GOP investigators reveal, among other things, that the CIA prevented federal investigators from pursuing Hollywood lawyer Kevin Morris as a witness in their investigation of Hunter Biden. Morris, a Hollywood entertainment lawyer who has ‘long supported’ Hunter (and why?) has loaned the First Son more than $6.5 million, according to a January letter to the House oversight committee. We’ve known about the CIA connection since March, when the Chairmen of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, Jim Jordan (R-OH) and James Comer (R-KY) said that a whistleblower has brought them information that ‘seems to corroborate our concerns’ that the CIA directly interfered with DOJ and IRS investigations of Hunter Biden. According to a whistleblower, the CIA “intervened in the investigation of Hunter biden to prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) from interviewing a witness,” the letter, addressed to CIA Director William Burns, reads.

Specifically, the Committees were concerned at how “the DOJ deviated from its standard processes to afford preferential treatment to Hunter Biden,” which they learned “after two brave whistleblowers testified to Congress” that the Justice Department had done just that. “DOJ officials restricted what investigative steps the investigators could pursue, tipped off Hunter Biden’s attorneys about investigative steps, and even prevented investigators from conducting witness interviews. The whistleblowers’ testimony about the preferential treatment provided to Hunter Biden has been corroborated by testimony from other witnesses and documents the Committees have received.” And now we know who that witness is… “In a Wednesday statement, the House Ways and Means Committee wrote that whistleblower documents indicate “In 2021, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Leslie Wolf told investigators they could not pursue Hollywood lawyer Kevin Morris as a witness based on information she received from the CIA. Investigators were never provided the same information that AUSA Wolf received.”

“From whistleblower-provided evidence, we know Hunter Biden and his business associates made millions from selling access to Joe Biden and the quote ‘brand’ that is Joe Biden around the world. We know President Biden’s denials of any knowledge or involvement are not true,” reads the letter. “We know the Department of Justice tried to undermine, stonewall, and block the investigation into the Biden family, including President Biden.” The letter also details several lies Hunter told to Congress: “Hunter Biden’s deposition is key to understanding the attempts to conceal how the family made millions from selling access. Yet, new documents provided by the whistleblowers show that Hunter Biden repeatedly lied to Congress in his February deposition to distance his involvement in what should be considered a clear scheme to enrich the Biden family.”

First, Hunter Biden lied about the recipient of a WhatsApp message sent with the apparent intention to threaten a business associate and demand payment. Second, Hunter Biden lied when he claimed he was not the corporate secretary of Rosemont Seneca Bohai and that the shell company he established with Devon Archer and its associated bank accounts were not under his control nor affiliated with him. Third, Hunter Biden lied during his deposition when he said he never helped individuals obtain U.S. visas. Why would the CIA protect Morris?

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Newsweek knows the claim is nonsense, but the outlet works for Biden’s DOJ.

“By claiming I work for a foreign government, Newsweek is trying to justify a FISA warrant that would allow the Biden administration to continue to spy on me. It’s disgusting,”

Tucker Carlson Sets Record Straight on Claims of Hosting Russian TV Show (Sp.)

Previously, Newsweek and several other outlets reported that Tucker Carlson had launched his own show on Russian television. Tucker Carlson has refuted reports that he has become a host on Russian television. This claim was unequivocally false, the journalist told Sputnik. “By claiming I work for a foreign government, Newsweek is trying to justify a FISA warrant that would allow the Biden administration to continue to spy on me. It’s disgusting,” he said. Similarly, in a post on X, Neil Patel, the CEO of the Tucker Carlson Network, said the network “has not done any deals with state media in any country.” He added that “Whoever is currently pretending to be the old Newsweek brand would know that if they had checked with us before printing like news companies are supposed to do.” Tucker Carlson’s representative Arthur Schwartz also dismissed such reports as “pure nonsense” in an an email to Forbes.

Earlier, Newsweek reported that the US journalist – a former Fox News anchor – was launching his own show on Russian state TV. The unsubstantiated claim that was then widely picked up by users on social media. Carlson was fired by Fox News in April 2023 after the outspoken anchor spent over two years using his popular prime time “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show to pillory the Biden administration, the military-industrial complex, and US warmongering. He has since launched a new media company and interview show on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Earlier in the year, Carlson said that his lawyers warned him that the United States could arrest him on sanctions violations for conducting an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. However, the pundit said he was happy to face such a risk and rejected the premise of such charges.

On February 9, the American journalist released his interview with Putin, which garnered over 100 million views in 24 hours on X. The long-time TV news anchor said at the time that he organized the interview because he felt it was his journalistic duty to inform Americans about the realities of the conflict in Ukraine and its consequences. Needless to say, the hypocrisy of Western journalists and legacy media was laid bare in the attack they launched at Tucker Carlson, accusing him as a traitor after the sit-down with the Russian leader. Furthermore, in a series of clips posted to his internet channel about his experiences from his eight-day stay in Russia, Carlson attempted to debunk myths and stereotypes about Russia and life in the capital in the midst of the West’s sanctions ‘total war’.

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“..calling for “civilized nations” to boycott any arrest orders against its leaders..”

Germany Would ‘Abide’ By ICC Netanyahu Arrest Warrant (RT)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government has made clear that it would cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) if proposed arrest warrants are issued against Israeli leaders over alleged war crimes against the Palestinians. Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit was asked whether Berlin would execute an ICC arrest warrant against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Of course, yes, we abide by the law,” he responded, as cited by Die Welt. The statement came after Israel’s ambassador to Berlin, Ron Prosor, urged Scholz’s administration to defy the ICC. The court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, filed applications on Monday for arrest warrants against Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza conflict.

Israel’s government responded by branding the proposed warrants as anti-Semitic and calling for “civilized nations” to boycott any arrest orders against its leaders. Prosor appealed to the Berlin government directly on Tuesday, saying the German “Staatsrason” – its vow to ensure Israel’s security as part of its own national interest – was being put to the test. “The public statement that Israel has the right to self-defense loses credibility if our hands are tied as soon as we defend ourselves,” the envoy said. “The chief prosecutor equates a democratic government with Hamas, thereby demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and the Jewish people. He has completely lost his moral compass.” Prosor added that Germany has a responsibility to “readjust this compass.” He called the warrant applications a “disgraceful political campaign,” saying they could become a “nail in the coffin for the West” and its institutions.

Hebestreit declined to comment directly on the Israeli government’s demands. Germany is a signatory to the ICC and has staunchly supported such multilateral organizations. France, which is also among the 124 countries that recognize the ICC’s authority, is in the same boat. The French Foreign Ministry affirmed its support for the tribunal on Tuesday, saying it would be up to the court’s pre-trial chamber to decide whether to order the arrests of Israeli and Hamas leaders – based on evidence submitted by the prosecutor. Neither Israel nor the US is a party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC. US President Joe Biden denounced the proposed warrants as “outrageous,” and members of Congress have threatened to sanction the court.

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Would that be so crazy?

‘We’re Next!’ Lindsey Graham Warns About ICC (RT)

If the International Criminal Court is willing to go after the Israeli leadership, it won’t hesitate to go after US lawmakers, according to Senator Lindsey Graham. The South Carolina Republican has united with Democrats in calling for sanctions on the Hague court. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, arguing there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that they were guilty of “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in the Gaza conflict. Khan has also sought warrants for three senior members of Hamas. “We – hopefully, together – will find a way to register our displeasure with the ICC because if they’ll do this to Israel, we’re next,” Graham said on Tuesday, at a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing where US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was testifying.

“Yeah, you can clap all you want,” Graham replied, as a group of protesters in the chamber began to applaud at his “we’re next” comment. He argued that the US needs to impose sanctions against the ICC “to not only help our friends in Israel but protect ourselves over time,” noting that the court “tried to come after our soldiers in Afghanistan, but reason prevailed.” Washington had sanctioned the ICC prosecutor who tried to investigate allegations of atrocities and war crimes committed by the US and its allies in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, a dozen senators wrote to Khan to remind him that a US law allows “all means necessary and appropriate” to defend any Americans – or allies – sought by the court. The 2002 law was nicknamed the “Hague Invasion Act.”

Graham was not signatory to that letter. On Tuesday, however, he issued a joint statement with seven other senators – three Republicans and four Democrats – pledging to “work in a bipartisan manner to strenuously object to the ICC’s actions against our ally, Israel, and take appropriate steps to help Israel and protect American personnel from future ICC action.” Washington has insisted that the ICC lacks jurisdiction over West Jerusalem, since Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute which established the court. Last year, however, the US praised Khan for seeking to charge Russian President Vladimir Putin – even though Moscow is not a party to the Rome Statute, either.

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Sergei Poletaev.

Ukraine Is Losing, Direct Intervention By The West Risks Nuclear Conflict (RT)

Western officials have been talking about sending troops to Ukraine since the beginning of the year. French President Emmanuel Macron said that he is ready to consider “any scenario,” including a ground operation. Government officials in Estonia and Lithuania (including Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte) were quick to support him. And the Leader of the House Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries became the first US politician who didn’t exclude the possibility of sending troops. Formally, Ukraine hasn’t requested Western troops – Kiev has only demanded more weapons. But now, the New York Times reports that Kiev has officially asked the US and NATO to send military instructors to train 150,000 recruits on its territory, closer to the front line. Though the US has refused to comply with the request, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Charles Q. Brown Jr, has said that a NATO deployment of trainers appears inevitable, and that “we’ll get there eventually, over time.”

The subject of sending troops to Ukraine comes up quite often but, so far, Western countries have steered clear. Why? Is a full-fledged NATO intervention in Ukraine possible and what would happen if it took place? And how else might the West turn the course of the conflict in its favor? Western doctrine in regard to Russia was defined even before the start of the full-scale conflict: the idea was to fight Russia “with the hands of” Ukraine and on Ukrainian territory. The goal was to force Russia to play by Western rules (ideally, by defeating it on the battlefield) and reassert the US-led bloc’s shaky global hegemony. But, at the same time, officials wanted to minimize their own risks and avoid being drawn into a direct military confrontation that could result in a nuclear war. The second staple of this doctrine – a total trade war – has not yielded the desired results. In 2022, it became clear that the West overestimated the degree of its control not only over the international financial system, but even over its own financial flows.

Despite certain losses and additional costs, Russia has been able to replace old trade ties with new ones and to do so with a minimal loss of revenue. The severe sanctions imposed by the West on its own companies turned out to be quite useless, since for the most part Russia continues to receive the latest Western products and technologies. As for the idea of defeating Russia on the battlefield, the turning point occurred in the summer of 2023. After the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, it became clear that the AFU would not be able to impose peace on its own terms. The problem is that in the conflict with Russia, the West has gone ‘all in’ and any military outcome that could be regarded as beneficial for Moscow – even negotiations on an equal footing – would now be regarded as a defeat. The whole world would realize that they can stand up to the hegemon and not just avoid becoming an outcast, but even gain some benefits. The West cannot allow this, since it could cause a chain reaction on a global scale.

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“..the Ukrainian president’s status could call into question any future treaties he may sign with Russia..”

Musk Questions Ukrainian Democracy (RT)

Elon Musk has cast doubt on Western involvement in the Ukraine conflict being described as upholding democracy, if the country’s leader has a questionable legal claim to power. Tuesday marked the first day after the expiration of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s five-year presidential term. His government declined to hold a new election, citing martial law put in place due to hostilities with Russia. The American billionaire entrepreneur responded to an X (formerly Twitter) post highlighting the deadline published by conservative journalist Jack Posobiec. Musk said: “But I thought we were there to ‘uphold democracy’?” Zelensky’s democratic bona fides were called into question before the fighting with Russia started in February 2022. His government had cracked down on critical media and opposition politicians, claiming that it was fighting Russian influence and the power of oligarchs. His remaining in power is based on the absence of a duly elected successor, who Zelensky’s office has argued cannot be produced during war time.

Kiev cited a constitutional restriction on voting under martial law as the reason for not organizing a presidential vote. The Ukrainian Constitution does explicitly forbid parliamentary elections and some kinds of referendums during national emergencies, but says nothing about presidential elections. The Constitutional Court has not ruled on how the current impasse should be resolved. The US and its allies have portrayed the arming and training of Ukrainian troops to fight Russia as a contribution to a global fight of democracies against autocracies. Conversely, Moscow has argued that the conflict is a US-initiated proxy war on Russia, in which Ukrainian soldiers serve as cannon fodder. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that the issue of Zelensky’s legitimacy is something that the country itself has to sort out. However, the Ukrainian president’s status could call into question any future treaties he may sign with Russia, he added.

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“..was covered in sand when a major drought set in around 4,200 years ago..”

Scientists Reveal Hidden Branch of the Nile, May Solve Pyramid Mystery (Sp.)

Scientists have recently discovered a long-buried branch of the Nile river that once rushed with life alongside the country’s magnificent Giza pyramid complex. The river branch is about 40 miles long (64 km), but has been hiding under desert and farmland for millennia, according to a study that published the findings on Thursday in Communications Earth & Environment. Eman Ghoneim, a geomorphologist who was born and raised in Egypt, is a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She and her team analyzed batches of satellite images as well as sediment samples that were collected from beneath the desert’s surface. “We were looking at these meandering natural features closer to the [pyramid] field, like long depressions and troughs, now covered up entirely by farmlands and sand,” Ghoneim says. “It can be very hard to see if you don’t know what to look for.”

Radar gave the research team the “unique ability to penetrate the sand surface and produce images of hidden features including buried rivers and ancient structures,” said Ghoneim. And through this process, they found the long-lost ancient branch of the Nile that once ran through the foothills beside the Giza pyramid field – just a kilometer from the banks of the river. The team believes this hidden branch could be the answer to how builders transported heavy materials to the construction site of the now iconic pyramids – as heavy materials would have been easier to float down river than to carry across land. The ancient Egyptians built 31 pyramids along the now inhospitable desert strip between 4,700 and 3,700 years ago. Ghoneim adds that the branch could help researchers find potential sites of ancient human settlements that might be buried beneath the land’s surface.

While archaeologists have long suspected a waterway was responsible for helping to build the pyramids, Ghoneim says “nobody was certain of the location, the shape, the size or proximity of this mega waterway to the actual pyramids site.” The scientists believe the river, which they named Ahramat, was covered in sand when a major drought set in around 4,200 years ago. And the discovery of the river branch could also explain why the pyramids were built in different areas. Ghoneim explains that the water’s course and volume changed over time, so kings of later eras had to make different choices compared to those of earlier eras. She adds that she is hopeful of continuing to piece together a map of the Nile’s previous life.

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“The ruling by the High Court in London permitting Julian Assange to appeal his extradition order leaves him languishing in precarious health in a high-security prison. That is the point.”

The Slow-Motion Execution of Julian Assange Continues (Chris Hedges)

The extradition request is based on the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs — hundreds of thousands of classified documents, leaked to the site by Chelsea Manning, then an Army intelligence analyst, which exposed numerous U.S. war crimes including video images of the gunning down of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians in the Collateral Murder video, the routine torture of Iraqi prisoners, the covering up of thousands of civilian deaths and the killing of nearly 700 civilians that had approached too closely to U.S. checkpoints. In February, lawyers for Julian submitted nine separate grounds for a possible appeal. A two-day hearing in March, which I attended, was Julian’s last chance to request an appeal of the extradition decision made in 2022 by the then British home secretary, Priti Patel, and of many of the rulings of District Judge Baraitser in 2021.

The two High Court judges, Dame Victoria Sharp and Justice Jeremy Johnson, in March rejected most of Julian’s grounds of appeal. These included his lawyers’ contention that the UK-US extradition treaty bars extradition for political offenses; that the extradition request was made for the purpose of prosecuting him for his political opinions; that extradition would amount to retroactive application of the law — because it was not foreseeable that a century-old espionage law would be used against a foreign publisher; and that he would not receive a fair trial in the Eastern District of Virginia. The judges also refused to hear new evidence that the CIA plotted to kidnap and assassinate Julian, concluding — both perversely and incorrectly — that the CIA only considered these options because they believed Julian was planning to flee to Russia.

But the two judges determined Monday that it is “arguable” that a U.S. court might not grant Julian protection under the First Amendment, violating his rights to free speech as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. The judges in March asked the U.S. to provide written assurances that Julian would be protected under the First Amendment and that he would be exempt from a death penalty verdict. The U.S. assured the court that Julian would not be subjected to the death penalty, which Julian’s lawyers ultimately accepted. But the Department of Justice was unable to provide an assurance that Julian could mount a First Amendment defense in a U.S. court. Such a decision is made in a U.S. federal court, their lawyers explained.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg, who is prosecuting Julian, has argued that only U.S. citizens are guaranteed First Amendment rights in U.S. courts. Kromberg has stated that what Julian published was “not in the public interest” and that the U.S. was not seeking his extradition on political grounds. Free speech is a key issue. If Julian is granted First Amendment rights in a U.S. court it will be very difficult for the U.S. to build a criminal case against him, since other news organizations, including The New York Times and The Guardian, published the material he released.

The extradition request is based on the contention that Julian is not a journalist and not protected under the First Amendment. Julian’s attorneys and those representing the U.S. government have until May 24 to submit a draft order, which will determine when the appeal will be heard. Julian committed the empire’s greatest sin — he exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, routine violation of human rights, wanton killing of innocent civilians, rampant corruption and war crimes. Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Labour, Trump or Biden — it does not matter. Those who manage the empire use the same dirty playbook. The publication of classified documents is not a crime in the United States, but if Julian is extradited and convicted, it will become one.

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What do we think of Terrance Howard? Fine actor, sure, but…

https://twitter.com/i/status/1793018427453432189
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792991155434533029

 

 

Happer

 

 

3 vs 1
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792709386017841329

 

 

Tesla water

 

 

Humpback

 

 

Baby condor

 

 

 

 

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Feb 112021
 
 February 11, 2021  Posted by at 10:02 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  41 Responses »


Ansel Adams Evening at McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park 1942

 

AstraZeneca Says Vaccine Against New Covid Variant May Take 6-9 Months (G.)
CDC: Fully Vaccinated People Don’t Need To Quarantine If Exposed To Covid (NBC)
Deaths of Elderly Who Recovered From COVID, but Died After Vaccine (Attkisson)
Dershowitz Destroys Democrats’ Impeachment In Under 2 Minutes (WND)
Dershowitz: Trump Defense Must Avoid ‘Trap’ Of Debating Election Fraud (JTN)
‘Feel Our Pain,’ Politicians Demand (Tracey)
The Disarticulation of Pandemic War Propaganda (MPN)
New US Military Base in Northeast Syria Latest of Biden’s Warlike Moves (MPN)
Facebook New Algorithm Will ‘Reduce Political Content’ On News Feeds (JTN)
Former Republican Officials In Talks To Form Anti-Trump Third Party (R.)
Will Corporation-Owned Smart Cities Come To Nevada? (AN)
Yellen Eyes Innovation To Battle Misuse Of Cryptocurrencies (R.)
Assange Prosecution Will Continue Under Biden (Gosztola)
In Mail-In Impeachment Vote, Senate Convicts Trump 8275 To 3 (BBee)

 

 

 

 

COVID numbers in the UK and US crashed at the exact same moment. How is that possible?

 

 

“About Thatcher’s death: Let’s privatise her funeral. Put it out on competitive tender and accept the cheapest bid. That’s what she would have wanted.”
– Ken Loach

 

 

What are your plans until 2022? Forget them.

AstraZeneca Says Vaccine Against New Covid Variant May Take 6-9 Months (G.)

AstraZeneca has said that it could take between six and nine months to produce Covid-19 vaccines that are effective against new variants of the coronavirus. The company’s vaccine, developed jointly with scientists at the University of Oxford, remains effective on at least one variant of the virus first discovered in Kent, England, but preliminary findings in a small-scale trial prompted South Africa to limit its use while it ascertains its efficacy. However, a six-month turnaround for an updated vaccine would represent a vast improvement over traditional vaccine development timelines. The vaccine is particularly important for poorer countries, because the company – unlike some of its rivals such as Pfizer – has pledged to sell it at cost price.


The vaccine also does not require very low temperatures during transport, making it cheaper to deliver. Announcing its financial results for 2020 on Thursday, AstraZeneca said: “In collaboration with the University of Oxford, AstraZeneca is focused on adapting C19VAZ to new disease strains if required and hopes to reduce the time needed to reach production at scale to between six to nine months, by utilising existing clinical data and optimising its established supply chain.” AstraZeneca will not incorporate revenues from the vaccine into its financial results, but it said that 2020 performance in its main profit-making business remained strong.

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Pfizer says they don’t know if their vaccine protects you from infections, or those around you. But the CDC now knows better? Or is this true only when wearing 3 masks?

CDC: Fully Vaccinated People Don’t Need To Quarantine If Exposed To Covid (NBC)

People who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 do not need to quarantine if they are exposed to the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday in updated guidance on its website. Quarantine is typically recommended for healthy people who have been exposed to the virus. During quarantine, people are asked to isolate from others for one to two weeks to see whether they develop symptoms of Covid-19. By not exposing others, quarantining can help stop the spread of the disease. In the updated guidance, the CDC said such quarantining is not necessary for fully vaccinated people within three months of having received their last doses as long as they do not develop any symptoms.

“Fully vaccinated” means that at least two weeks have passed since a person has received the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine. Other recommendations remain in place for fully vaccinated people. They include wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. The guidance says the risk that fully vaccinated people could spread the coronavirus, to others is “still uncertain.” However, “vaccination has been demonstrated to prevent symptomatic Covid-19; symptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission is thought to have a greater role in transmission than purely asymptomatic transmission,” according to the CDC.

The CDC already recommends that people who have had Covid-19 and recovered do not need to quarantine for 90 days after the illness, if newly exposed to someone who is infected; the new guidance for vaccinated people aligns with the earlier recommendations. The guidance “makes sense,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital, although he said he was curious about what evidence the CDC was using. Early data from AstraZeneca and Moderna’s Phase 3 clinical trials have suggested that vaccines may slow transmission of the virus, although more work is needed to confirm the findings.

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2 days after 14 infections among fully vaccinated in pensioners’ home in Germany.

Deaths of Elderly Who Recovered From COVID, but Died After Vaccine (Attkisson)

Two small clusters of deaths after COVID-19 vaccination have been reported among nursing homes in Kentucky and Arkansas. In Kentucky, four seniors died the same day of their vaccination on Dec. 30, 2020. Three of the four who passed away reportedly already had had coronavirus prior to getting vaccinated. In Arkansas, four seniors died at a long term care facility about a week after their vaccination. All tested positive for COVID-19 after vaccination. The deaths are reported in a federal database called VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Deaths after vaccination don’t necessarily mean the vaccine is to blame. Of those receiving coronavirus vaccines, many are elderly and frail, or already suffering from serious illnesses. That makes it difficult to know whether there’s a connection.

According to VAERS reports, the Kentucky deaths occurred on Dec. 30 after vaccinations with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. An ill 88-year-old woman who was “14 + days post covid” was given the Pfizer-BioNTech shot while she was “unresponsive in [her] room.” She died within an hour and a half (914961-1). An 88-year-old who was “15 days post covid” got the shot, was monitored for 15 minutes afterward, and passed away within 90 minutes (914994-1). A third report says an 88-year-old woman who was “14 + days post covid” vomited four minutes after receiving her shot, became short of breath, and passed away that night (915562-1). And an 85-year-old woman vaccinated at 5 p.m. was “found unresponsive” less than two hours later and died shortly after (915682-1). In response to questions about the Kentucky cluster, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said its experts noted “no pattern … among the [Kentucky] cases that would indicate a concern for the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Scientists differ on whether people who have had coronavirus, like the Kentucky patients, should receive the COVID-19 vaccination at all. The CDC insists it’s safe for people who have recovered from COVID-19 to get vaccinated and that there’s no minimum interval recommended between infection and vaccination. “Vaccination should be offered to persons regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19] infection,” it states. But other scientists say vaccinating people who are already considered immune after a natural COVID-19 infection wastes valuable doses of vaccines when there are shortages. And neither Pfizer’s nor Moderna’s studies showed any benefit to vaccinating previously infected patients.

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“No. 1 they have no jurisdiction. No.2 it’s a bill of attainder, No. 3 they’re impeaching him for constitutionally protected speech..”

Dershowitz Destroys Democrats’ Impeachment In Under 2 Minutes (WND)

Famed Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz was on President Trump’ defense team during the first impeachment trial one year ago. And while he’s not a member of the team this time, he’s offering a quick, two-minute argument he says should close the case. “You don’t have to listen to me. Listen to James Madison, who’s the father of the Constitution,” Dershowitz said on “The Charlie Kirk Show” podcast. “He said that impeachment is only for somebody who’s still sitting in office. He said it quite clearly in the Federalist Papers,” Dershowitz said of Madison. “There’s no way around that.” The Harvard professor insisted the text of the Constitution is clear as well.

“It says impeachment is for purposes of removing a president. Once a president is removed you can also vote to disqualify him but disqualification doesn’t stand alone as a remedy,” he said. “If it did, then the Congress would have a roving commission to go through the entire United States and decide who to impeach and who not to impeach, and who to prevent from running for office,” said Dershowitz. “Say the Republicans come up with a young vibrant candidate to run against Biden four years from now. All the Democrats would have to do is impeach him, even though he’s never held office, and just disqualify him from running for office. Or find someone … who had a smaller officer earlier, and they can impeach him,” Dershowitz said.

“That’s not what the Framers had in mind. What the Framers had in mind is not allowing the Senate to put people on trial. That’s called a bill of attainder and a bill of attainder is specifically prohibited by the Constitution.” Dershowitz said there are “so many things wrong with this impeachment.” “No. 1 they have no jurisdiction. No.2 it’s a bill of attainder, No. 3 they’re impeaching him for constitutionally protected speech,” he said. Dershowitz said the impeachment itself “is doing a tremendous amount of damage to our Constitution.”

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“This is not the forum in which any evidence of election fraud is going to be seriously considered,” Kline said. “They have no interest in it…”

Dershowitz: Trump Defense Must Avoid ‘Trap’ Of Debating Election Fraud (JTN)

Key legal allies of former President Trump say his defense team must avoid the “trap” of debating election fraud during his Senate impeachment trial. House impeachment managers Tuesday cited Trump statements challenging the integrity of the 2020 election in arguing that the former president engaged in a “months-long effort to incite” an “insurrection” which culminated on Jan. 6, when a pro-Trump mob forced its way past police lines into the U.S. Capitol. House Democrats’ move to frame Trump’s electoral fraud claims as incitement in their impeachment narrative created an opening for Trump’s defense to, in effect, put the 2020 election itself on trial before a nationwide viewing audience, as many of his supporters have urged.

Some Trump allies say his electoral fraud case has never received a full public airing due to legal challenges being tossed out on grounds of standing, timeliness and other technical issues rather than on merit. But former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who helped lead the successful defense that gained Trump’s acquittal in the 2020 impeachment trial, said this move would be “a terrible mistake” for Trump. “It’s a trap that the Democrats are trying to set for the Trump lawyers,” Dershowitz told Just the News in an interview Wednesday. “It’s a trap to have them talk about electoral fraud, because if they do, they’ll lose [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell and other senators.” The “absolute trap,” Dershowitz said, “was being set by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who is leading the Democrats’ impeachment case. Raskin studied law under Dershowitz, who called his former student “a smart guy.”

[..] Attorney Phill Kline, a Trump supporter and director of the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, has litigated many cases involving claims of electoral fraud during the 2020 election. He told Just the News that while he thinks a national conversation about electoral fraud should continue, he doesn’t believe that the impeachment forum is ideal. “This is not the forum in which any evidence of election fraud is going to be seriously considered,” Kline said. “They have no interest in it. They refuse to acknowledge clear facts. And so it’s the wrong audience and the wrong time.” Kline said the Trump defense team should focus on the former president’s First Amendment right to speak openly and raise questions about election fraud. “They have been trying to criminalize thought for some time now,” Kline said. “This is just the fruit of their belief that if you do not think as they do, you’re a threat to the nation.”

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It’s become quite theatrical.

‘Feel Our Pain,’ Politicians Demand (Tracey)

Congress is increasingly not a place where the average member partakes in what’s generally understood as legislative activity, but rather engages in a variety of elaborate self-promotional exercises. The diminishment in the power of average House Members (as opposed to Party leaders who run their respective caucuses like fiefdoms) has been amply documented. One consequence of this trend is that “comms” has become far more of an all-consuming focus for a certain type of Member, particularly those who are most adept at social media. One “comms” strategy that appears highly effective at the moment in generating outsized public attention is extreme, heavily-personalized emotional exuberance.

With the “trauma” of the MAGA goofball mob intrusion still apparently dominating their psyches, members of Congress have taken it as a solemn duty to claim “space” for the “sharing” of their “lived experience” relating to this event. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a true pioneer in importing the rhetoric of therapeutic trauma jargon, already the lingua franca of an ascendant activism-minded cultural and media cohort, into the mainstream of the Democratic Party. At her direction, it will only become more ubiquitous. And given that such rhetoric deliberately inverts the normal epistemology of contested political claims — it’s deemed incumbent on the listener not to critically evaluate the veracity of such claims, but instead uncritically believe them — the new mode of public argument she’s popularizing is likely to prove highly effective, as it inherently forecloses the prospect of any argument at all.

Per this framework, arguments are replaced with subjective assertions that must be presumptively accepted, lest one be guilty of “minimizing” or “belittling” the elected official’s experiences and thus compounding their trauma. Jamie Raskin, the Democrats’ lead impeachment manager, took a page from this playbook during the opening presentation of Donald Trump’s trial Monday, breaking down in tears at one point as he wove a narrative about the terror of January 6 with his own personal turmoil. Raskin’s son died on December 31, and the pain he felt from that experience was integrated seamlessly with the pain that he posited all members of Congress must have felt during the goofball riot.

Of course, everyone who’s not a psychopath would sympathize with Raskin for having lost a son to suicide. But to invoke this tragedy in the context of an impeachment trial has an obvious political intent. The intent was to heighten the emotional resonance of the prosecution’s case for convicting Trump, as according to Raskin, he feared that his daughter might also face untimely death because she happened to be in the Capitol with him on January 6. The more intense the “pain” that can be conveyed to the juror-senators, the more likely they are to vote to convict Trump — or so the calculation seemingly goes.

Fellow impeachment manager David Cicilline charged that every single member of Congress nearly avoided being slaughtered in a mass execution-style attack that day — “They could have killed all of us,” he said — although no real evidence has ever been presented to substantiate this dramatic theory, which seems only to be professed by partisan Democrats. A number of basic facts stemming from the Capitol intrusion which could provide clarity are still mysteriously absent from the public record, such as whether any of the rioters brandished or discharged firearms. You’d think this would be helpful information to know before proclaiming, as Cicilline did, that what occurred was an “armed insurrection.” It would be a very curious “armed insurrection” for no firearms to have been deployed over the course of the “insurrection.”

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“The study Fauci funded at the WIV in 2014 was done so in contravention to the [Obama] moratorium then in effect.”

The Disarticulation of Pandemic War Propaganda (MPN)

A now-deleted fact sheet published by the U.S. State Department on January 15, 2021, claimed that for over a year, “the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has systematically prevented a transparent and thorough investigation of the COVID-19 pandemic’s origin.” The official release of that fact sheet focuses on the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV); a controversial research lab in the Hubei province of China which has been the target of well-earned suspicions over its work on bat-borne zoonotic diseases like SARS-CoV-2, better known as the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Missing from the State Department’s missive is the intimate bond that this particular laboratory has to American scientific institutions and to a tight-knit group of individuals with direct links to the U.S. intelligence apparatus and the biodefense establishment. National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci’s funding of gain-of-function (GoF) research in 2014 at the Chinese lab is just one example. The highly polarizing GoF studies, which entail turbo-charging a pathogen’s virulence through the “generation of viruses with properties that do not exist in nature” present considerable biosafety hazards, which led the Obama administration to issue a federal moratorium on GoF research. The study Fauci funded at the WIV in 2014 was done so in contravention to the moratorium then in effect.

Deeper and more disturbing ties to outfits like USAID-funded Ecohealth Alliance have been covered by independent journalists like Same Husseini and others, revealing the WIV’s close relationship to people like David R. Franz – former commander of Fort Detrick, the pre-eminent biowarfare and biodefense facility in the U.S. and the source of the anthrax spores used in the infamous 2001 anthrax attacks. In July 2020, this author carried out an investigation into the nexus between the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), USAID and zoonotic disease research in Asia.

Recently, some of these facts have seeped into mainstream news outlets as the “lab-leak” hypothesis, which suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen escaped from a laboratory in China. Careful to avoid drawing attention to links between American scientific institutions and their Chinese counterparts, a narrative is gathering momentum as the idea of a ‘cover-up’ by Chinese authorities is promulgated on prime time television news magazine shows like “60 Minutes,” which ran an expose the promoted the idea that China is “weaponizing” the pandemic. The narrative is not new and has been lingering in the background since the pandemic was declared.

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“this new center [is being built] with the aim of observing Russian forces..”

New US Military Base in Northeast Syria Latest of Biden’s Warlike Moves (MPN)

The U.S.-government funded outlet Voice of America has confirmed rumors that a new military base is being built in northeastern Syria. A convoy of 40 troop carriers and other vehicles arrived and began setting up shop in the city of Hasakah near the Turkish and Iraqi borders over the weekend. “The U.S. flag is now raised over a building,” said journalist Jindar Berekat, a native of the city, “it is not clear how many American soldiers will be stationed at this location, but their armored military vehicles are here and it looks like they are still constructing parts of it.”

“Many here believe that the building of a U.S. base inside Hasakah could be a response to the growing Russian presence in the city,” a local reporter told Voice of America, “this new center [is being built] with the aim of observing Russian forces in Hasakah.” Russian military units have been present in Syria since 2015, intervening on behalf of the government of Bashar al-Assad. The two foreign superpowers have come close to armed confrontation in Syria many times, including in 2017, when President Trump ordered the bombing of a Russian airbase near the Lebanese border. Already, the American presence has prevented the Russian military from carrying out patrols in northeastern Syria.

While the United States has presented its role in Syria as a counter terrorism operation, Assad’s government has accused it of plundering its resources, “condemn[ing] in the strongest terms the agreement signed between al-Qasd militia (SDF) and an American oil company to steal Syria’s oil under the sponsorship and support of the American administration.” Around 500 American troops have been guarding the country’s oilfields for months, and last summer, Senator Lindsay Graham confirmed that the U.S. had indeed signed a deal with the SDF to “modernize” the country’s oil industry. Damascus considers the agreement “null and void.”

The new base at Hasakah is the latest in a string of actions that suggest the United States wishes to bolster or expand its presence in the war-torn country. Last month, American forces reinforced another base along the M4 highway, which runs from the city of Aleppo through the north of the country and towards the Iraqi border in the east. At the same time, its ally Israel was conducting a series of major airstrikes across the east of the country, reportedly targeting Iranian or pro-Iranian forces.

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Only the good stuff?!

Facebook New Algorithm Will ‘Reduce Political Content’ On News Feeds (JTN)

Facebook announced on Wednesday the social media platform will in the coming weeks start limiting the amount of political content viewers see on their news feeds. The company is aware that “people don’t want political content to take over their News Feed,” Product Management Director Aastha Gupta wrote in a blog post on the site. The change will begin with Facebook temporarily reduce the distribution of political content in News Feed for a small percentage of people in Canada, Brazil and Indonesia this week. Gupta said the process will begin in the U.S. in the coming weeks.


The initial rollout will allow the company to explore different methods of ranking political content prior to its deciding on a permanent solution. Facebook has in recent months and years attempted to reducing political content, include no new political ads in the final week of the 2020 presidential campaign. However, the company and other social media giants have meanwhile faced growing scrutiny of what third-party content they choose to censure or block. “Our goal is to preserve the ability for people to find and interact with political content on Facebook, while respecting each person’s appetite for it at the top of their News Feed,” Gupta said.

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They’ve lost their party. Might as well start another one.

Former Republican Officials In Talks To Form Anti-Trump Third Party (R.)

Dozens of former Republican officials, who view the party as unwilling to stand up to former President Donald Trump and his attempts to undermine U.S. democracy, are in talks to form a center-right breakaway party, four people involved in the discussions told Reuters. The early stage discussions include former elected Republicans, former officials in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump, ex-Republican ambassadors and Republican strategists, the people involved say. More than 120 of them held a Zoom call last Friday to discuss the breakaway group, which would run on a platform of “principled conservatism,” including adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law – ideas those involved say have been trashed by Trump.

The plan would be to run candidates in some races but also to endorse center-right candidates in others, be they Republicans, independents or Democrats, the people say. Evan McMullin, who was chief policy director for the House Republican Conference and ran as an independent in the 2016 presidential election, told Reuters that he co-hosted the Zoom call with former officials concerned about Trump’s grip on Republicans and the nativist turn the party has taken. [..] Call participants said they were particularly dismayed by the fact that more than half of the Republicans in Congress – eight senators and 139 House representatives – voted to block certification of Biden’s election victory just hours after the Capitol siege.

Most Republican senators have also indicated they will not support the conviction of Trump in this week’s Senate impeachment trial. “Large portions of the Republican Party are radicalizing and threatening American democracy,” McMullin told Reuters. “The party needs to recommit to truth, reason and founding ideals or there clearly needs to be something new.”

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Why is the idea of surrendering control of parts of the US to Facebook, Google etc. not shot down on sight?

Will Corporation-Owned Smart Cities Come To Nevada? (AN)

With plans reportedly still moving forward for Blockchains, LLC, to break ground on a Tom Wiscombe Architecture and Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects (EYRC)-designed smart city in Nevada in 2022, Governor Steve Sisolak is looking to give it, and similar developments across the state, the power to form their own governments. According to documents acquired by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sisolak has floated a draft proposal to create “Innovation Zones” across the state in a bid to draw technology companies, and giving them the power to set up their own governments. In exchange for this autonomy, the Nevada state government would forgo the tax abatement or incentive packages typically used to encourage big businesses to relocate.

Sisolak first mentioned the idea during his January 19 State of the State address but later confirmed that a draft bill was in the works on February 4 via Twitter. According to the text reviewed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal (subject to change before a final bill is submitted), such an “alternative form of local government” is needed to entice big tech companies, and that over time, the administration of those zones would gradually take over governmental duties from their respective counties. Each zone would be overseen by a three-person board of supervisors, with the company behind the development having the majority of the say in who gets appointed.

It should be noted that the governor’s proposal only extends to companies doing “innovative” work; relating to blockchains, healthcare, robotics, renewable energy research, biometrics, autonomous vehicles, and similar cutting-edge research. Any company applying to set up an Innovation Zone through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development would need to own and be intent on developing at least 50,000 acres not already part of a city or town, $250 million on hand, and a plan to invest at least $1 billion in the area over the next 10 years.


Tom Wiscombe Architecture and EYRC revealed their design for the Blockchains city in 2018, and now the project’s developer may get the power to form its own government there. (Courtesy EYRC Architects and Tom Wiscombe Architecture)

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No. What Yellen eyes is control.

Yellen Eyes Innovation To Battle Misuse Of Cryptocurrencies (R.)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday warned about an “explosion of risk” from digital markets, including the misuse of cryptocurrencies, but said new financial technologies could also help fight crime and reduce inequality. In remarks to a financial sector innovation roundtable, Yellen said such technologies could be used to stem the flow of dark money from organized crime and fight back against hackers, but also to reduce digital gaps in the United States. She said passage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act in December would allow the Treasury Department to rework a framework for combating illicit finance that has been largely unchanged since the 1970s.


“The update couldn’t have come at a better time,” Yellen told policymakers, regulators and private sector experts. “We’re living amidst an explosion of risk related to fraud, money laundering, terrorist financing, and data privacy.” The COVID-19 pandemic had triggered more – and more sophisticated – cyberattacks aimed at hospitals, schools, banks, and the government itself, she said. Cryptocurrencies and virtual assets offered promise, but they had also been used to launder the profits of online drug traffickers and to finance terrorism. Innovation in the sector could help address these problems while giving millions of people access to the financial system, she said.

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“..the Biden Justice Department is effectively signaling his administration is not all that serious about press freedom..”

Assange Prosecution Will Continue Under Biden (Gosztola)

The Justice Department under President Joe Biden plans to continue the case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that was launched under President Donald Trump. “We continue to seek his extradition,” Justice Department spokesperson Marc Raimondi told Reuters, days before February 12, the deadline for the United States government to submit its “grounds for appeal.” The statement represents a departure from President Barack Obama’s administration, which declined to prosecute Assange. Justice Department officials were reportedly concerned about the threat it would pose to press freedom.

On January 4, British district judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected the U.S. government’s extradition request and concluded Assange’s mental condition was “such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America.” She accepted that Assange would likely be imprisoned at a supermax prison in the U.S. under special administrative measures (SAMs) and would find a way to commit suicide. “I am satisfied that, in these harsh conditions, Mr. Assange’s mental health would deteriorate causing him to commit suicide with the ‘single minded determination’ of his autism spectrum disorder.” However, the Biden Justice Department plans to contest the judge’s conclusion that Assange should not be extradited because he would likely commit suicide.

[..] During Biden’s first foreign policy speech on February 4, he proclaimed, “We believe a free press isn’t an adversary; rather, it’s essential. A free press is essential to the health of a democracy.” However, in Trump’s last year in office, he signed a counterintelligence strategy document that lumped in “leaktivists” and “public disclosure organizations,” like WikiLeaks, with Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and terrorist groups, which U.S. security agencies view as “significant threats.” That strategy document, which covers 2020-2022, sharply conflicts with Biden’s assertion that the U.S. government believes the free press is not an adversary. Indeed, it shows U.S. security agencies believe they should monitor, neutralize, and even target dissident media organizations that may employ practices pioneered by WikiLeaks.

While the tone of the new administration may sound more polite toward elite journalists, by refusing to abandon this dangerous political case, the Biden Justice Department is effectively signaling his administration is not all that serious about press freedom and what officials have to say are empty platitudes that should not pacify people aware of what is at stake if Assange is brought to the U.S. and put on trial.

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“The Senate then moved on to other business, passing universal healthcare by a margin of 320,000 to 4.”

In Mail-In Impeachment Vote, Senate Convicts Trump 8275 To 3 (BBee)

In a historic move, the U.S. Senate decided to switch to voting by mail for Trump’s second impeachment trial. After all the votes were counted by an intern in a back room with no cameras, the Senate ruled to convict President Trump of incitement to violence by a vote of 8275 to 3. “Our holy democracy has spoken,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “Do not ask any questions or you are a blasphemer against the sacred sacredness of our vote. Everyone can go home now!” A couple of troublemaking Senators attempted to overthrow the Constitution by bringing up the point that there are only 100 Senators, making it impossible to arrive at a tally of 8275 to 3, but they were quickly removed from the Senate Chambers and condemned for “attempting to suppress the votes of people of color.” The Senate then moved on to other business, passing universal healthcare by a margin of 320,000 to 4.

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Jul 032020
 


Theodor Horydczak Washington Monument 1933 (soon to be renamed)

 

US Economic Reboot Menaced By Bug In The System (R.)
Florida Shatters Records With Over 10,000 New COVID19 Cases In Single Day (R.)
China Didn’t Alert WHO To Coronavirus Outbreak — The Internet Did (DC)
House Dems, Liz Cheney Restrict Trump’s Planned Troops Withdrawal (Greenwald)
Gilead Is Profiteering Off A COVID Drug We Already Paid For (Sirota)
Ghislaine Maxwell, Longtime Jeffrey Epstein Associate, Arrested (NYP)
Virginia Giuffre, Alan Dershowitz Both Lose In New Court Ruling (NYPost)
The Strategies of Dementia Politics (NR)
FedEx Asks Washington Redskins To Change The Team’s Name (NBC)

 

 

It’s Julian Assange’s birthday today. Light a candle.

 

 

Again, both the world and the US set new highs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Fauci shot his credibility:

 

 

Is a virus a bug?

US Economic Reboot Menaced By Bug In The System (R.)

Like a computer suffering from a pesky virus, the U.S. economy has been shut off and turned back on. This reboot seems to be working. The economy added almost 5 million jobs in June, on top of the roughly 3 million added in May, bringing the unemployment rate down over two percentage points to 11.1%. But as frustrated tech users know, short-term fixes are usually just that. Beyond the decent headline numbers, the labor force participation rate also increased to 61.5%, and around two-fifths of the job gains were in the hard-hit leisure and hospitality sector. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics actually revised the net jobs added over the previous two months upwards to 90,000.

But the root source of the economic woes – Covid-19 infections and deaths – is also moving northward. The U.S. reported almost 50,000 new cases on Wednesday, the fifth daily record in a little over a week, according to the New York Times. Texas hit a whopping 8,000 new daily cases. What these relatively decent jobs numbers may actually show is an economy that reopened too quickly. In fact, recent JPMorgan data from around 30 million of its credit- and debit-card holders shows that increased spending in restaurants appeared to be correlated with a rise in new infections three weeks later.

So the fragile recovery could easily crash – or at the very least, freeze. The virus spikes are prompting states and cities to stall or reverse reopenings. Texas has closed bars and limited restaurant occupancy. California shut down bars and indoor dining in 19 counties. And even New York City, which has dramatically reduced infections, decided on Wednesday to delay bringing back indoor dining at restaurants, which had been slated to restart next week.

Ultimately, it’ll be impossible to assess the depth of the lasting economic damage until reopening is mostly complete. In the topsy-turvy world of 2020, jobs numbers are not the best way to predict how the economy will perform. Until the bug is removed from the system, or brought under control, medical statistics will provide perhaps the most important information. With almost 2.7 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and 128,000 deaths, and rising, these numbers aren’t looking good.

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Time for a holiday…

Florida Shatters Records With Over 10,000 New COVID19 Cases In Single Day (R.)

Florida shattered records on Thursday when it reported over 10,000 new coronavirus cases, the biggest one-day increase in the state since the pandemic started, according to a Reuters tally. Outbreaks in Texas, California, Florida and Arizona have helped the United States break records and send cases rising at rates not seen since April. In June, Florida infections rose by 168% or over 95,000 new cases. The percent of tests coming back positive has skyrocketed to 15% from 4% at the end of May. Florida, with 21 million residents, has reported more new daily coronavirus cases than any European country had at the height of their outbreaks.


To contain the outbreak, Florida has closed bars and some beaches but the governor has resisted requiring masks statewide in public or reimposing a lockdown. Only one other state has reported more than 10,000 new cases in a single day. New York recorded 12,847 new infections on April 10, three weeks after the state implemented a strict lockdown that closed most businesses. While the state has relaxed many measures, it requires masks in public and mandates anyone arriving from 16 other U.S. states with high infections self-quarantine for two weeks. Once the epicenter of the U.S. epidemic, New York saw cases rise by about 6% in June – the lowest rate in the entire country.

Read more …

Let’s see how this plays out.

China Didn’t Alert WHO To Coronavirus Outbreak — The Internet Did (DC)

China didn’t alert the World Health Organization (WHO) to the coronavirus outbreak, a new timeline released by the WHO shows. China’s propaganda machine has claimed that China quickly reported the viral outbreak to the WHO, a claim that the WHO’s initial timeline supported. But the WHO found out about the outbreak from the internet, not from Chinese officials contacting them, according to the new timeline. The updated timeline, which was released June 29, says the WHO “picked up a media statement by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission from their website” and also picked up a report on an American website, though it doesn’t say in what order those two events occurred.

The WHO doesn’t link to the Wuhan health commission’s media statement that it says tipped the organization off to the outbreak. Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed skepticism that the statement even exists. “Even if the Commission posted something on their website – which we have seen no proof they have – the CCP still did not report the outbreak to the WHO as required by the International Health Regulations,” McCaul said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “As the updated WHO timeline clearly states, WHO staff ‘picked up a media statement…from their website’ – it was not sent to them by any officials in China,” the Texas Republican continued.

“I have repeatedly requested information from the WHO about what they knew and when they knew it, and I would welcome any clarity from them on this. But, so far, they have refused to answer any of those requests,” McCaul added. Dr. Michael Ryan, a top WHO official, previously said in an April 20 news conference that the American website, ProMED, gave the WHO its first indication of the coronavirus outbreak. “On 31st December information on our epidemic intelligence from open-source platform partners, PRO-MED, was received indicating a signal of a cluster of pneumonia cases in China. That was from open sources from Wuhan,” Ryan said.

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As I was saying yesterday. How did we ever come to see such acts as normal? I have no doubt that a vast a majority of Americans want to bring the troops home.

House Dems, Liz Cheney Restrict Trump’s Planned Troops Withdrawal (Greenwald)

Last night, the House Armed Services Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of an amendment — jointly sponsored by Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado and Congresswoman Cheney of Wyoming — prohibiting the expenditure of monies to reduce the number of U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan below 8,000 without a series of conditions first being met. The imposed conditions are by no means trivial: for these troop reductions from Afghanistan to be allowed, the Defense Department must be able to certify, among other things, that leaving Afghanistan “will not increase the risk for the expansion of existing or formation of new terrorist safe havens inside Afghanistan” and “will not compromise or otherwise negatively affect the ongoing United States counter terrorism mission against the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and associated forces.”

The Crow/Cheney amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last night passed by a vote of 45-11. The NDAA was then unanimously approved by the Committee by a vote of 56-0. It authorizes $740.5 billion in military spending — roughly three times more than the world’s second-highest spender, China. President Trump throughout the year has insisted that the Pentagon present plans for withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan prior to the end of 2020. Last week, reports indicated that “the Trump administration is close to finalizing a decision to withdraw more than 4,000 troops from Afghanistan by the fall.” Trump’s plan “would reduce the number of troops from 8,600 to 4,500 and would be the lowest number since the very earliest days of the war in Afghanistan, which began in 2001.”

In February, Trump announced an agreement with the Taliban to end the war completely. Shortly after those White House withdrawal plans were reported, anonymous intelligence officials leaked a series of claims to the New York Times regarding “bounties” allegedly being paid by Russia to Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops. Those leaks emboldened opposition to troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on the ground that it would be capitulating to Russian treachery. It was that New York Times leak that Liz Cheney, along with GOP Congressman Mac Thornberry, cited in a joint statement on Monday to suggest troop withdrawal would be precipitous:

“After today’s briefing with senior White House officials, we remain concerned about Russian activity in Afghanistan, including reports that they have targeted U.S. forces. It has been clear for some time that Russia does not wish us well in Afghanistan. We believe it is important to vigorously pursue any information related to Russia or any other country targeting our forces. Congress has no more important obligation than providing for the security of our nation and ensuring our forces have the resources they need. We anticipate further briefings on this issue in the coming days.”

[..] The NDAA that was approved last night by the Committee also imposed restrictions on Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from Germany. Trump’s plan called for the removal of roughly 9,500 troops from German soil, reducing the number of U.S. troops in this extremely prosperous and rich European nation from 34,500 to 25,000. But by an overwhelming vote of 49-7, the Armed Service Committee approved an amendment to the NDAA that “bans the administration from lowering troop levels below current levels until 180 days after Pentagon leaders present a plan to Congress and certify it will not harm U.S. or allied interests.”

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Never let a crisis go to waste.

Gilead Is Profiteering Off A COVID Drug We Already Paid For (Sirota)

This is a story of cause and effect — a tale of repeated and calculated public policy decisions that have now led to a predictable outcome. This story begins 25 years ago, when the Clinton administration rescinded a rule that required pharmaceutical companies to charge Americans reasonable prices for medicines developed at government expense. Some progressive lawmakers tried to reinstate the rule, but Republicans and Democrats joined together to halt those initiatives. In the ensuing years, the Obama administration refused Democratic lawmakers’ demand to invoke existing federal laws to force down the price of critical medicines.


Meanwhile, the GOP also blocked legislation to let Medicare use its purchasing power to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs All of that reflected the lobbying, campaign contributions and indomitable bipartisan power of the pharmaceutical industry in Washington. And it led to a result that this newsletter has been warning about, as Gilead just announced that it will charge privately insured Americans more than $3,000 each for a 5-day COVID treatment that was developed with financial support from the government. That’s a $3,000 price tag for a government-sponsored drug treatment that experts say the company could offer at $10 and still make a profit.

Read more …

Wonder what happened to make it happen at this particular time. She seemed safe holed up in Paris.

Bookmakers are now taking your bets on her suicide.

Ghislaine Maxwell, Longtime Jeffrey Epstein Associate, Arrested (NYP)

Longtime Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested Thursday on a six-count indictment charging her with grooming young girls for sex. The British socialite, 58, was arrested by the FBI in New Hampshire around 8:30 a.m., authorities said. The just-unsealed indictment charges stem from Maxwell’s role “in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein” as early as 1994, court papers say. “The victims were as young as 14 years old when they were groomed and abused by Maxwell and Epstein, both of whom knew that certain victims were in fact under the age of 18,” the indictment says.


She is specifically accused of grooming three underage victims for sex with Epstein in places including his Upper East Side townhouse, Florida, New Mexico and London. Maxwell is charged with six counts — conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury. Prosecutors also accuse Maxwell — a one-time girlfriend of Epstein’s — of repeatedly lying about her involvement in the financier’s sex trafficking ring during a 2016 deposition.

Read more …

From Wednesday, before Ghislaine was arrested. I’m thinking there is probably a connection, but I don’t know which.

There’s a curious line in here:

“The 13-page ruling said Cooper & Kirk “has not, from what the Court can tell, been actively working on the case.”

She has to destroy all the evidence because her lawyers were not working? What?

Virginia Giuffre, Alan Dershowitz Both Lose In New Court Ruling (NYPost)

Attorneys for alleged Jeffrey Epstein “sex slave” Virginia Roberts Giuffre were ordered Wednesday to destroy evidence from her case against Ghislaine Maxwell — as lawyer Alan Dershowitz was also denied access to the potentially explosive information. Manhattan federal Judge Loretta Preska said she was “troubled” to learn during oral arguments last week that Giuffre’s lawyers, from the firm of Cooper & Kirk, had been given sealed records from her since-settled suit against Maxwell, who Giuffre claims recruited her to have sex with Epstein and his pals while she was underage.

The other men allegedly include Dershowitz, whom Giuffre is suing for defamation over his public denials of her accusations, including calling her a “certified, complete, total liar,” and who is counter-suing Giuffre for causing “serious harm … to his reputation, his business and his health.” “As a practical matter, the Court would be surprised — shocked, even — if Cooper & Kirk was not in some sense ‘using’ the Maxwell discovery in its representation of Ms. Giuffre in her action against Mr. Dershowitz,” the judge wrote.

Preska also rejected claims by Giuffre’s lawyers that they were entitled to the evidence, obtained from her former attorneys at Boies Schiller Flexner, because they’d been hired to represent her in the Maxwell case. The 13-page ruling said Cooper & Kirk “has not, from what the Court can tell, been actively working on the case.” Preska directed the Cooper & Kirk lawyers to destroy the evidence, along with “any material, including work product, derived from” it, and to submit an affidavit afterward.

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I know I’m not supposed to quote right wing media, but this is just too funny. And it raises a valid point: they can’t keep Biden hidden from view forever, and now when he does come out, he’ll be nervous.

The Strategies of Dementia Politics (NR)

Stoke chaos, obstruct economic recovery, and hide Biden in the basement till Election Day.

Joe Biden is tragically suffering a mental eclipse and sliding away at a geometric rate. Understandably, his handlers have kept him out of sight. He stays off the campaign trail on the pretext of the virus and his age-related susceptibility to COVID-19 morbidity. I say “pretext” without apology. Quarantine should not have otherwise stopped Biden over the past three months from doing daily interviews, speeches, and meetings. But each occasion, however scripted, rehearsed, and canned, would only have offered further daily proof that Biden is cognitively unable to be president or indeed to hold any office. Often Biden cannot finish a sentence. Names are vague eddies in his mind’s river of forgetfulness.

He is in a far more dire mental state than a physically failing FDR was in his 1944 campaign for a fourth term. The earlier career of a healthy Biden illustrates that he was not especially sharp even when in control of most of his faculties. We recall the former sane/nutty Biden of Neal Kinnock plagiarism, his “put y’all in chains” demagoguery, the studied racism of Biden’s riffs about a “clean” and well-spoken Obama, and the sane/insane Corn Pop stories. All are the trademark of a once fool Joe Biden, who was at least alert when compared with his current catalepsy. If Donald Trump can be ungrammatical, Biden is agrammatical — he simply streams together half-thoughts without syntax and then abandons the sentence entirely.

If Trump repeats vocabulary, Biden increasingly searches for words, any noun, whatever its irrelevance to the point he is making. Biden seems to suffer dyscognitive seizures, in which for moments he has no idea what he is doing or saying or where he is — a tragic, nearly epileptic condition. In scary episodes, the pale, scaly, and frozen visage of Biden appears almost reptilian, like a lizard freezing and remaining stationary as it struggles to process signals of perceived danger. Inserting memorized answers into rehearsed questions, as if the entire con was spontaneous, only reveals how his once episodic dementia has become chronic as he loses his prompt and place. It was understandable that his handlers saw opportunity in secluding Biden during Trump’s tweeting, alongside the contagion, the lockdown, the recession, and the rioting that in voters’ minds had equated fear of chaos with the culpability of the current commander in chief.

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Redskins was always a problem. But while you’re toppling Washington statues, you want to keep his name linked to the team, the city? Can anyone explain the logic?

FedEx Asks Washington Redskins To Change The Team’s Name (NBC)

FedEx has asked the Washington Redskins to officially change their name, long condemned as an anti-Indigenous slur. The shipping company has communicated to the team a request that it change its name, FedEx confirmed Thursday in a statement to NBC News. FedEx owns the naming rights to the Maryland field where the team plays, and its chief executive, Fred Smith, owns a minority stake in the team. FedEx’s request comes a day after Adweek reported that 87 investment firms and shareholders worth $620 billion sent a letter urging FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo to stop doing business with the team until the name is changed.


In 2017, the Supreme Court struck down part of a law that bans offensive trademarks, which helped the team get the Redskins trademark back in 2018. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board had canceled the registration as offensive to American Indians. [..] Mayor Muriel Bowser said last month on Washington radio station WTEM that the name has been an obstacle in getting the city its own stadium. “I think it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people,” Bowser said. “And this is a great franchise with a great history that’s beloved in Washington, and it deserves a name that reflects the affection that we’ve built for the team.” [..] Dan Snyder, the team’s majority owner, told USA Today in 2013 that he would “never change the name.” “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps,” he said.

Read more …

 

 

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 November 13, 2019  Posted by at 8:56 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  15 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Pitcher of flowers on a table 1942

 

DC Bars To Open Early For Impeachment Mania (Hill)
Adam Schiff’s ‘Ham Sandwich’: Not An Inquiry, Just A Show (Hill)
The Trump Impeachment Inquiry Is Already In Big Trouble (Fox)
Trump Fumes As Dems Get Ready For ‘Sober And Rigorous’ Public Hearings (G.)
Bolton: Some Of Trump Foreign Policy Guided By Personal Interest (NBC)
Trump On Fed: Others Have Negative Rates: ‘Give Me Some Of That Money’ (CNBC)
Prince Andrew Accuser Target Of Suit Questioning Her Forced Sex Claims (USAT)
Ousted Bolivian President Evo Morales Thanks Mexico For Saving His Life (RT)
Morales Endures Twists And Turns During Flight To Political Asylum In Mexico (RT)
Opposition Senator Declares Herself ‘Interim President’ Of Bolivia (RT)
Alexander Downer Says Assange Should Not Expect Australian Intervention (SMH)
Wisconsin’s Dairy Crisis: “We Are Losing Two Farms A Day!” (SHTF)
Russians Interfere In New Zealand ‘Bird Of The Year’ Contest (RT)

 

 

“Subpoena Colada”.

DC Bars To Open Early For Impeachment Mania (Hill)

Restaurant and bar owners in Washington are aiming to cash in on impeachment in a decidedly #thistown way, opening their doors early so the city’s politically minded revelers can imbibe as they take in the House’s first televised hearings. The House impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is poised to enter a new phase on Wednesday, with public hearings scheduled in the Intelligence Committee, with more set for Friday. Duffy’s Irish Pub, in the District’s H Street NE neighborhood, will feature what it’s dubbing “happy hearing hours,” with $5 rail drinks and $2 off all drafts and wine during all impeachment hearings. The watering hole — which boasts eight large, flat-screen TVs with a “stadium sound” system — says it’s also whipping up a pair of impeachment beverages to mark the occasion.


Bartenders will be serving a “Subpoena Colada” and a drink called “James and the Giant Impeachment.” The eatery isn’t the only place prepping for all the impeachment action in the House. Union Pub says it will be open for business at 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday, just 10 minutes before the hearing is scheduled to begin. The Capitol Hill tavern will be showing everything impeachment on all its TVs and will be featuring a surplus of specials. For $7, customers can pick up a variety of peachy cocktails, including its “Impeachment Please”, made with peach-flavored Jim Beam, simply syrup and orange bitters, or “I Got 99 Problems But Impeachment Ain’t One,” a Sobieski peach vodka, peach Schnapps, orange juice, Sprite and lemon libation.

Read more …

“As a matter of due process, Schiff’s made-for-TV spectacle is a bad joke.”

Adam Schiff’s ‘Ham Sandwich’: Not An Inquiry, Just A Show (Hill)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and his House Intelligence Committee are taking the show public this week. The inquiry he’s been running is, he claims, analogous to a grand jury investigation: It’s a preliminary investigative stage before the inquiry’s transfer to the Judiciary Committee for the formal consideration of articles of impeachment. Grand juries, however, never go public. And that is precisely because they are intentionally one-sided. They are kept secret by law to avoid prejudicing the suspect. Prejudice is exactly what Schiff is aiming for, however. The point is not impeachment; it is to wound President Trump politically. To be clear, Schiff’s grand jury analogy is bogus. Congress is not a grand jury.

Grand juries are designed to be at least somewhat objective — a body of impartial citizens who, by constitutional mandate, must be satisfied there is probable cause that a crime has been committed before the state is permitted to indict and try a citizen presumed to be innocent. In theory, the grand jury is there to protect the suspect from an overbearing prosecutor. Here, House Democrats are the overbearing prosecutor, not the protective grand jurors. What is happening in the House is a political exercise. Schiff is a hyper-partisan. With the anti-Trump media leaving his absurd grand jury analogy unchallenged, he exploits it when it is useful, namely, when telling Republicans they will not be permitted to call their witnesses, and he puts the analogy aside when it is not useful, namely, in convening one-sided public hearings.

As a matter of due process, Schiff’s made-for-TV spectacle is a bad joke. That was underscored this past weekend when (a) Democrats gave Republicans a ridiculously short deadline to propose their own witnesses, whom Chairman Schiff reserved the right to veto; (b) Republicans duly proposed witnesses on the issues of Democrats’ collusion with Ukraine in the 2016 election campaign and in possible corruption; and (c) Schiff, as predictably as sunrise, ruled the GOP’s witnesses irrelevant. In point of fact, the witnesses that Republicans seek to call are entirely relevant to what would be at issue in an impeachment trial, to wit: Is any misconduct by the president alleged in an article of impeachment sufficiently egregious that he should be removed from power? But, see, a grand jury is not a trial.

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Views of the proceedings vary wildly. Here’s Greg Jarrett…

The Trump Impeachment Inquiry Is Already In Big Trouble (Fox)

The clown show known as an “impeachment inquiry” is getting more comical and hapless by the day. Consider the latest remark from the circus master himself, California Rep. Adam Schiff, (think Bozo, not Pennywise). The Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says he doesn’t want Republicans turning the impeachment proceedings into a “sham.” The hilarious irony is lost on no one. Schiff has already managed to accomplish it all on his own. At first, Schiff wanted the faux “whistleblower” who triggered the impeachment farce to testify. Then, suddenly, he didn’t. What changed? In the interim, evidence emerged that Schiff and/or his staff colluded with the “whistleblower” before the complaint was ever filed and then lied about it, earning Schiff “Four Pinocchios” from The Washington Post.

The chairman now wants to conceal his own role in engineering the pretext for impeachment and his subsequent deceit. This is why he has insisted that the “whistleblower” remain anonymous, despite no such right, guarantee, privilege, or entitlement written in the law, as I explained in an earlier column. Even though the undercover informant (reportedly working for the CIA) does not qualify for whistleblower status under the law as determined by the Department of Justice, any effort by Republicans to call him as a witness will be blocked by Schiff. But Schiff’s machinations are more malevolent than masking the key witness. Those he will call to testify are already on record dishing up prodigious plates of multiple hearsay and rank speculation.

It is obvious from the released transcripts of the heretofore “super top-secret” inquisition that none of them have any firsthand knowledge of a “quid pro quo” allegedly demanded by President Trump. For example, Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine who will testify on Wednesday, told Schiff’s committee that it was his “understanding” there was a link between U.S. security assistance and an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden. How did Taylor arrive at his opinion? He heard it through discussions with other diplomats, although there is no indication that any of these individuals had direct knowledge of anything. The chain of hearsay went something like this: the European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland told National Security Council official Tim Morrison who, in turn, told Taylor that there was a purported “quid pro quo.”

Read more …

… and this is the Guardian:

Trump Fumes As Dems Get Ready For ‘Sober And Rigorous’ Public Hearings (G.)

Only three times in the history of the American republic has Congress initiated public testimony that could result in the removal of the president by impeachment. The tally will rise to four on Wednesday. On the eve of public hearings, television crews moved into the halls of the Capitol in Washington, the parties distributed strategy memos and the House intelligence committee prepared to cross-examine its first two witnesses. Democrats allege that Donald Trump engaged the power of his office in an attempt to extort from Ukraine an announcement about investigations of Joe Biden, a domestic political rival, and 2016 election tampering.

Trump’s defenders argue that Trump is the victim of an attack by “unelected and anonymous bureaucrats” who disagreed with unorthodox foreign policy decisions. At the center, of course, is Trump, who has demanded Republicans defend his conduct as unimpeachable not only in the constitutional sense but as unimpeachable, period. As the first public testimony approached, Trump grew increasingly tetchy on Twitter: “A total Impeachment Scam by the Do Nothing Democrats!” Corey Brettschneider, a professor of constitutional law at Brown University, called it “maybe one of the most important moments in American history”. “This is only the fourth time that we’ve gotten this far, with a formal process happening,” Brettschneider said. “And I’d say in some ways, it’s among the most serious of alleged offenses.”

On Tuesday, both parties scrambled to coordinate strategy, pre-empt arguments by the other side and control the stagecraft. As the majority in the House, the Democrats have basic control of proceedings, including the witness list. The first two witnesses scheduled to testify on Wednesday are William Taylor, the acting ambassador in Kyiv who told investigators in closed-door hearings Trump “was adamant” about the need for a public announcement of investigations by the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy; and state department deputy assistant secretary George Kent, who said Trump “wanted nothing less than President Zelenskiy to go to a microphone and say ‘investigations’, ‘Biden’, and ‘Clinton’”.

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No I swear I kid you not. This is from John Bolton talking to “a gathering of Morgan Stanley’s largest hedge fund clients”. Who are all wondering what will happen to their Boeing shares. No 737 MAX sales, so how about some more bombs on Yemen, John? And here’s that check for your $100,000 speech fee.

Bolton: Some Of Trump Foreign Policy Guided By Personal Interest (NBC)

Bolton served as Trump’s national security adviser for 17 months. The Ukraine scandal began to unfold about a week after his contentious departure. Trump said he’d fired him, though Bolton said he had resigned. Multiple people who attended Bolton’s private speech in Miami did not recall him mentioning Ukraine but said he told attendees that he had kept a resignation letter in his desk for three months. Bolton declined to comment for this article. Bolton is a potential linchpin witness in the inquiry into Trump’s efforts to elicit help from the Ukrainian government to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden, given his central role in the White House during that time. The impeachment inquiry moves to public testimony this week.

Current and former administration officials have testified about Bolton’s strong opposition to the Ukraine pressure effort, which was led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and allegedly involved withholding military aid and a presidential meeting until the Ukrainian government publicly committed to investigations, including into 2016 U.S. election interference and a business associated with Biden’s son Hunter. Bolton’s lawyer teased his client’s value last week in a letter to House Democrats that noted that the former national security adviser had been present for “many relevant meetings and conversations” on Ukraine, including some that have yet to be disclosed to investigators.

His lawyer, Charles Cooper, said Bolton is willing to testify if a federal court approves it and issues a ruling that essentially says he can defy the White House’s position that he can’t speak to Congress. Bolton, a long-time foreign policy hawk who also served in the administration of President George W. Bush, expressed support in his private remarks for Trump’s stance against China on trade, people present said. But Trump and Bolton had a litany of policy differences — on Iran, North Korea, Syria and, apparently, Ukraine.

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The S&P 500 has become a religious shrine.

Trump On Fed: Others Have Negative Rates: ‘Give Me Some Of That Money’ (CNBC)

President Donald Trump used his pulpit before the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday to bash the Federal Reserve, a marked diversion from what many on Wall Street hoped would be a positive speech on the progress of trade relations between the U.S. and China. Instead of highlighting warmer relations with Beijing, Trump criticized the central bank for what he sees as its hesitation to lower interest rates and blamed the central bank for capping gains in the U.S. economy and stock market. The president noted that since his election, the S&P 500 is up over 45%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up over 50% and the Nasdaq Composite is up 60%. But those numbers could be way higher, Trump claimed, if it weren’t for the reluctance of the Fed.


“And if we had a Federal Reserve that worked with us, you could have added another 25% to each of those numbers, I guarantee you that,” Trump said. “But we all make mistakes, don’t we?” the president added. “Not too often. We do make them on occasion.” It wasn’t immediately clear which “mistake” Trump was referencing: His choice to nominate Fed Chair Jerome Powell to lead the central bank or Powell’s preferred course of monetary policy. “We are actively competing with nations who openly cut interest rates so that now many are actually getting paid when they pay off their loan, known as negative interest,” he said. “Who ever heard of such a thing?” “Give me some of that,” he said. “Give me some of that money. I want some of that money.”

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Why call her a Prince Andrew accuser, USA Today? She’s an accuser and victim of Epstein, first and foremost. And Ghislaine Maxwell, whom the various intelligence services have still not been able to locate. Right! And then after that, of Andrew and Dershowitz.

Dershowitz claiming that HE is the victim here, not her, is despicable. He was one of Epstein’s best buddies for many years, and there’s no way he didn’t know what went on.

Prince Andrew Accuser Target Of Suit Questioning Her Forced Sex Claims (USAT)

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz filed a defamation claim Thursday against a woman who says she was a Jeffrey Epstein “teen sex slave” forced to have sex with powerful men, including Dershowitz and Britain’s Prince Andrew. It’s the latest development in a long-running legal struggle between former Epstein lawyer Dershowitz, 81, and Virginia Roberts Giuffre, 35, an American living in Australia, who’s claimed since 2011 that convicted sex offender Epstein and his associates groomed her as a sex slave when she was a young Florida teen. She says they trafficked her to powerful men who were Epstein’s friends, with whom she said she was compelled to have sex in planes, hotels, mansions and on private islands.

But Dershowitz’s lawsuit raises multiple questions about Giuffre’s credibility regarding him and others. She and her legal team have made it clear she’s not going to stop accusing Andrew of dark deeds, insisting he “should go to jail” and should submit to questioning by the FBI. But so far she has not gone after him in court. [..] Giuffre’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, dismissed Dershowitz’ counterclaim as just another attack on Giuffre. “Recycling the same false claims from his increasingly stale playbook, Alan Dershowitz has once again launched an attack on Virginia Giuffre and her lawyers,” he said in a statement to USA TODAY. “Let’s call his counterclaim what it is: a failed attempt to make something old and tired look new.”

In April this year, Giuffre filed a defamation suit against Dershowitz in federal court in New York, for calling her a liar; that suit is pending. [..] Giuffre’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, dismissed Dershowitz’ counterclaim as just another attack on Giuffre. “Recycling the same false claims from his increasingly stale playbook, Alan Dershowitz has once again launched an attack on Virginia Giuffre and her lawyers,” he said in a statement to USA TODAY. “Let’s call his counterclaim what it is: a failed attempt to make something old and tired look new.” In April this year, Giuffre filed a defamation suit against Dershowitz in federal court in New York, for calling her a liar; that suit is pending.

[..] [Dershowitz] says he has travel records, credit card statements and phone records proving he was never in places when Giuffre claims to have had sex with him. Her “false claims” have led him to suffer severe emotional distress, including “cardiac conditions,” the filing says.

Read more …

“If I have committed a crime; it’s being Indigenous. If the Vice President has committed a crime; it’s implementing social programs for the humble & poorest sectors seeking social justice.”

Ousted Bolivian President Evo Morales Thanks Mexico For Saving His Life (RT)

Bolivia’s ousted socialist president, Evo Morales, has credited Mexico with saving his life, after the country offered him political asylum following his resignation from government. “I am very grateful to the president and the Mexican people, because he saved my life,” Morales said on Tuesday, after he arrived in Mexico City to claim political asylum. Unaccounted for in recent days, Morales decried the “coup” against him, and recounted how a member of his once-loyal military was offered $50,000 to turn him in to the opposition on Sunday. Morales was re-elected to the presidency in October, in an election result that opposition leaders called fraudulent.


Though he offered to hold fresh elections, protests continued and Morales stepped down on Sunday following a police and military mutiny. Nevertheless, the socialist leader – who presided over Bolivia through a period of relative stability and economic growth – vowed to remain politically active in exile. “As long as I have life, we continue in politics, the struggle continues, and we are sure that the people have every right to free themselves,” he told reporters in Mexico. Prior to his departure, Morales promised his supporters that he would “return with more strength and energy.”

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A continent being set on fire.

Morales Endures Twists And Turns During Flight To Political Asylum In Mexico (RT)

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales has landed safely in Mexico, but his journey to political asylum had twists and turns as neighboring states reacted to the ongoing turmoil back home. After landing in the North American country Morales said that Mexico saved his life and vowed to continue in politics as long as he is alive. He also told reporters that his home in Bolivia has been ransacked along with his sister’s house. The Mexican Air Force aircraft ferrying Morales to safety made a stop in Paraguay to refuel on Tuesday, after reportedly being denied permission to land in Peru. The plane had been allowed to refuel in Peru on its way to fetch Morales, suggesting that the Peruvian government had a change of heart due to the aircraft’s political cargo.

Initial reports claimed that Chile and Brazil had refused to allow Morales’ aircraft to pass over their airspace, but flight tracking enthusiasts noted that the plane was allowed to fly across Brazil on its way to Mexico. Also, Mexico’s foreign minister said that another country which denied permission for the plane to land and refuel, and also fly over its airspace was Ecuador. Despite the setbacks, Morales appears to be upbeat. One photograph shows him holding up a Mexican flag on board the plane delivering him to political asylum, while another photo is of Morales waving to the camera as he prepares to leave Paraguay for his final destination. Mexico’s foreign ministry said it had decided to take in Morales for humanitarian reasons.

According to Foreign Minister Marcelko Ebrard, Morales’ “life and physical integrity” were at risk in his home country. Bolivian opposition leaders had claimed that police and the military were looking to capture the former president – but the country’s police chief later dismissed these reports. It’s believed that several Bolivian officials, including former Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and Senate President Adriana Salvatierra, may also have traveled with Morales – but the Mexican government has declined to comment on these reports.

Read more …

Guiado 2.0

Opposition Senator Declares Herself ‘Interim President’ Of Bolivia (RT)

Opposition politician Jeanine Añez has declared herself “interim president” of Bolivia without a vote, but the party of ousted President Evo Morales said that the Senate had no quorum and the legislature’s session was not legal. Añez’s actions echo those of Juan Guaido in Venezuela, who declared himself “interim president” in January with the backing of Washington and the Organization of American States (OAS). While Guaido has repeatedly failed to oust President Nicolas Maduro, however, the opposition in Bolivia – also backed by the US and OAS – has been able to force the resignation of Morales after the military defected to their side. While opposition activists claimed that Añez’s declaration was in line with the Bolivian constitution, lawmakers from the ousted president’s Movement for Socialism called the assembly session illegal. They have refused to attend the proceedings, saying that armed groups loyal to the opposition controlled the roads and could not guarantee their safety.

Read more …

Downer’s a nasty piece of work.

Alexander Downer Says Assange Should Not Expect Australian Intervention (SMH)

Former foreign minister Alexander Downer has dismissed the idea of Australian intervention to save WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from potential extradition to the US amid a political storm over leaks designed to influence the last presidential election. Mr Downer said the fate of Mr Assange, who is fighting his extradition from London to the US to face espionage charges relating to WikiLeaks’ release of classified files on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, rested with a British court. Mr Downer also ducked questions over his role in the controversial events that led to an FBI investigation into political interference in the 2016 US election campaign, saying he was assisting a US inquiry and did not want to add to a “toxic” debate.

The former Australian high commissioner to the UK mocked the idea of Prime Minister Scott Morrison acting on calls from Mr Assange’s supporters to do all it could to bring him home from the UK, where he has been held since his April 11 arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had lived in asylum for almost seven years. While he made no comment on the role WikiLeaks played in the US election when it released a trove of emails from the Democrat campaign, he said Mr Assange had to face British courts in response to the US extradition request relating to the separate espionage charges.

“All people are equal before the law. Julian Assange doesn’t get some dispensation from the law of the land, in this case of the UK, because you happen to agree with him or think he did the right thing,” Mr Downer said. “If the United States wants to extradite him, and extradition proceedings are underway, Australia can’t [intervene] even if it wanted to. That is the thing about these emotional narratives – they don’t even make sense.” [..] Mr Downer met Trump aide George Papadopoulos in a London bar in May 2016 where the aide told him the Russians were willing to release dirt on Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton ahead of the November election. Mr Downer reported that meeting to Australian intelligence services, who later shared it with the FBI.

Read more …

Big Ag rules.

Wisconsin’s Dairy Crisis: “We Are Losing Two Farms A Day!” (SHTF)

Wisconsin’s dairy crisis has only just begun as the state is losing two farms each day, according to Patty Edelburg, vice president of the National Farmers Union. As farm bankruptcies soar, it is possible that nearly 10% of Wisconsin dairy farmers may go out of business in 2019. “You look at the weather, you look at the crops you can’t get off the field, you look at the bills you can’t pay,” Edelburg, told Yahoo Finance. “Bankruptcies are up. Wisconsin is attributed as the number one bankruptcy in the nation right now when it comes to dairy farmers. That number is up, I think, 24% from last year already. We’re losing two farms a day.” Between 2016 and 2018, Wisconsin lost almost 1,200 dairy farms. The USDA saw a 6.8% decrease in farms across the entire country in 2018.


Wisconsin’s suicide rates have spiked over the last few years and according to the Wisconsin State Journal, experts are attributing many of those deaths to farmers facing economic challenges. “Farming is such a stressful occupation by itself,” Edelburg said. “When you start adding financial stress on top of it, it’s just going to add more stress. Farmers can’t pay their bills, they have no extra money, they have people honing down their neck looking to pay bills. They’re going to banks and they can’t get loans. They’re literally being denied loans.” She explained that the USDA farm agency trains its farm loan officers on how to look for warning signs as part of suicide prevention. “The bankers are the first and the forefront to see a lot of these things,” Edelburg said. “They’re delivering the bad news, and these farmers are dealing with it on that level.”

Read more …

Stop laughing! We can hear you all the way from here. Russians interfering in New Zealand popular bird contests is a very serious thing. Stop laughing!

Russians Interfere In New Zealand ‘Bird Of The Year’ Contest (RT)

New Zealand is home to over 200 bird species and most of them are unique to the north and south islands where they have lived for millions of years. But while the Dodo might be dead, modern day drama and meddling certainly isn’t. With many of New Zealand’s native birds in crisis, leading independent conservation organization Forest & Bird started up a yearly ‘Bird of the Year’ competition in order to raise awareness of native bird life. But instead of an increase in bird-watching or perhaps more money towards conservation – political turmoil unraveled. The reason? Suspicious votes from abroad, and a fair few from that sinister country RUSSIA!

Megan Hubscher, a spokesperson for Forest & Bird, is concerned: “People are coming up with all kinds of theories about Russian involvement in New Zealand elections. But we can assure everyone that everything seems above board this time around.” But this seemingly innocent competition attracts controversy. Over the past 14 years, various voting scandals have caused a flap. Last year, a large black-and-white cormorant bird gained hundreds of suspicious votes – perhaps because of its common name: ‘the shag’! (Yes you laughed) In 2017, vote-fixing claims came flooding in after 112 new email accounts had been set up to cast votes for a certain bird, and two years previously, two teenagers were caught setting up fake accounts to vote for the delightful kokako. Whoever thought political bird-fighting was such a thing?

Fast forward to 2019, and Forest & Bird is responding with Pentagon-level protection in response to hacking and fake voting. Results this week saw ballots from almost 100 countries, with hundreds of votes from nearby Australia (684), America (563), the UK (682) and, of course… Russia (with 335 votes, obviously from Kremlin spies. Thank you very much, and spasibo).

Read more …

 

JFK to James Tobin: “Is there any economic limit to the size of the debt in relation to national income? There isn’t, is there? … That’s right, isn’t it? The deficit can be any size, the debt can be any size, provided they don’t cause inflation. Everything else is just talk”

 

 

 

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Aug 092019
 


Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001

 

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unsealed a batch of documents in the Jeffrey Epstein case today, as announced recently. Actually, it’s a case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s madam and main procurer of little girls. Giuffre bought the case after Maxwell accused her of lying about the whole thing.

There’s still much more of this to come, and given the VIP status of many people mentioned in the case, and the documents, there’s no saying what exactly will be revealed.

But I thought I’d pick out a few bits, if only to show you to what extent your opinion on cases like this is being manufactured for you, without you realizing it of course. And if you think you DO realize it, chances are you are the sucker at the poker table.

First, the Guardian’s take:

Jeffrey Epstein: Large Tranche Of Files Released In Ghislaine Maxwell Lawsuit

A large tranche out of 2,000 pages of potentially explosive documents in a lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell – the British socialite and daughter of former media tycoon Robert Maxwell accused of acting as a recruiter of girls and women for disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein – have been made public. Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s many accusers, filed a Manhattan federal court lawsuit against Maxwell in 2015, alleging defamation.


Giuffre, née Roberts, claimed Maxwell defamed her by calling her a liar over her allegations against Maxwell and Epstein. Giuffre has alleged that Maxwell recruited her to work as a masseuse for Epstein when she was 15 and had been working as a locker-room attendant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Giuffre had previously alleged that Epstein, who had political connections, forced her into sexual encounters with Prince Andrew.

That’s an introduction in case you still needed it. And the best the paper can do after that is regurgitate a bunch of Trump quotes, along with a two decades old photo of Trump and Epstein:

Epstein, a financier whose net worth is now thought to be some $560m, also associated with Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. Trump, who was pictured partying with Epstein and women in the 1990s, has recently attempted to distance himself from the financier. In the wake of Epstein’s arrest last month, Trump told reporters he “knew [Epstein], like everybody in Palm Beach knew him”, but added: “I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.”


However, in a 2002 profile of Epstein from New York magazine, Trump was quoted as saying: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” Clinton also distanced himself from Epstein in a statement issued by his press secretary, saying he had “not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade” and “knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he had been recently charged in New York”.

Now, if you turn these two quotes around, and you start with the 2002 one and follow it with the morse recent quote, what you end up with is Trump at first being unaware of who Epstein is and upon finding out, distancing himself from the man. There’s also the alleged fact that Trump threw Epstein out of Mar-a-Lago some 15 years ago for forcing himself upon an underage girl.

I’m not trying to exonerate Trump, and may he burn in the same hell Epstein is going to if he’s guilty of the same depraved behavior, it’s just that I haven’t seen any proof, merely another endless tempest of innuendo, such as we’ve seen about Trump for 3 solid years now. Anybody remember Russiagate?

And you know, this is from the Guardian, whose simplistic worldview is everything Trump=BAD and everything Putin=BAD. But it’s still a bit puzzling. If they assigned a reporter, or more, to the story, how is it possible that the reporter(s) didn’t pick up on the one thing that is actually newsworthy about it? I think I know how that is possible: Trump=BAD.

I hadn’t seen any reports of Trump being on an Epstein plane to date, but CNBC’s coverage of the unsealed documents lifts a little piece of the veil. He WAS on an Epstein plane, albeit over 22 years ago, but it wasn’t the Lolita Express that flew underage girls and VIPs from various US locations to Epstein’s private Caribbean island. It was just Palm Beach to Newark.

That is something I’ve been wondering about for a while: We know that Bill Clinton was on that Lolita Express at least 26 times, yet there are no reports of Donald Trump having been on it even once. But just about any article that deals with Epstein has a 20-year-old photo of him with Trump.

Giuffre names names, 5 in particular, as CNBC found out from the docs. Wait, but the Guardian did not find these names?! What was the Guardian looking for then?

Court Documents About Jeffrey Epstein, Accused In Sex Traffic Case, And His Alleged Procurer Ghislaine Maxwell

The documents include one containing flights records showing that President Donald Trump flew on Epstein’s private plane in January 1997, from a Palm Beach, Florida, airport to Newark, New Jersey. In another document, one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, says Maxwell directed her to have sex with a former governor and other prominent people.

The files released Friday are part of a defamation lawsuit that Giuffre filed against Maxwell several years ago. The suit accused Maxwell of calling Giuffre, a liar for claiming that Maxwell and Epstein sexually abused her when she was underage. Giuffre had also alleged that she was sexually abused while in Epstein’s circle by “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executive, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister and other world leaders,” as well as noted lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor.

[..] On Friday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Maxwell’s request to have the full circuit review an earlier decision by a three-judge appeals panel that had denied Maxwell’s effort to keep the entire case sealed. The circuit court sent the case back to the district court, where a judge will decide how much of the remaining documents will be unsealed. It also unsealed documents that included pleadings in the defamation case, depositions, and other material.

Among the documents unsealed is deposition of Giuffre, in which she says that Maxwell directed her to have sex with Prince Andrew of Britain, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, hedge funder Glenn Dubin, late MIT scientist Marvin Minsky, modeling company founder Jean Luc-Brunel, the owner of large hotel chain, and another prince. In that deposition, when asked if she was angry at Epstein, Giuffre answered, “Furious.” Asked if she was angry at [Alan] Dershowitz, Giuffre said, “Absolutely.”

But all the above, the Guardian and CNBC, is only an lead-in to what made me take this up. The first I read about the unsealing was from Adam Klasfeld at CourtHouseNews via Zero Hedge. And there is not one iota of doubt about what is the main take-away from the first batch of unsealed docs. None. How did the Guardian miss this then, and CNBC? Is it incompetence? You be the judge.

Epstein Documents Hit; Accuser Says Trump ‘Didn’t Partake In Any Sex With Any Of Us’

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ordered the partial release of what is expected to be approximately 2,000 pages of documents related to convicted pedophile sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The document release stems from a 2015 defamation lawsuit in New York brought by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Epstein’s ‘Madam’ – Ghislaine Maxwell.

Giuffre says Maxwell helped Epstein traffic herself and other underage girls to sex parties at the billionaire pedophile’s many residences. The case was settled in 2017 and the records were sealed – leading to an appeal by filmmaker and author Mike Cernovich, who was later joined by the Miami Herald and several other parties including lawyer Alan Dershowitz – who has sought to clear his name in connection with Epstein’s activities.

[..] While Epstein’s ties to former President Bill Clinton and other famous figures are well known – all of whom have tried to distance themelves in recent weeks, much has been made about the relationship between President Trump and the pedophile financier.

Following a 2011 article by journalist Sharon Churcher claiming that Donald Trump was a “good friend of Jeffrey’s,” Giuffre was asked to clarify Churcher’s possible misquote that “Donald Trump was also a good friend of Jeffrey’s,” and that Trump “Didn’t partake in any” of — “any sex with any of us but he flirted with me.” “It’s true that he didn’t partake in any sex with us, and but it’s not true that he flirted with me. Donald Trump never flirted with me,” said Giuffre.

That main take-away, the Big Kahuna, which concerns the President of the United States, is that Giuffre fully exonerates Trump. At least for what she has witnessed of Epstein’s behavior. And Giuffre, if you follow the story, was a pretty central figure in the Epstein/Maxwell depravity. And she was that for many years. So you would think that must be the Guardian’s big fat headline tomorrow morning. Yeah, good luck.

The Guardian wrote the story for you long ago -and you don’t get a say-: Trump=BAD and Putin=BAD and Julian Assange=BAD and Jeremy Corbyn=an antisemite, so also BAD.

Here are the docs:

 

And:

 

And I keep on asking myself: how is it possible that Ghislaine Maxwell is still walking around free? Does she have something on every single DA in the US?

Also, the news out of those unsealed docs is that the President of the United States is exonerated by perhaps the no. 1 victim in Jeffrey Epstein’s cabal, and the media just “forget” to report on that?

 

 

 

 

Jul 122019
 


Johannes Vermeer The astronomer c1668

 

 

Alex Acosta is gone. That would appear to be good thing, because even if he claims he did the best he could in the 2008 Jeffrey Epstein plea deal, given the number of accusations and the seriousness of the alleged crimes, that deal seems to have had anything but the best interests of the victims in mind. That he agreed as part of the deal to not notify the victims was not only illegal, it was a total affront. It ‘sealed’ the deal, so to speak.

Saying “I was told to back off because he was intelligence” doesn’t make all that alright, it merely makes Acosta, if it were true, a salesman choosing his own career over the wellbeing of underage girls. But that’s still a bit of a side issue, at least in today’s frame, because it happened 11-12 years ago, and a lot more accusations are on the table now.

As I said earlier today, if they release Epstein on bail now, there will be riots. That’s how serious even America takes sex trafficking of underage children, provided their media tell them about it. They didn’t for many years in this case. So first giant kudos to Vicky Ward, Julie K. Brown, Miami Herald and Mike Cernovich and others. No matter what the MSM do, there are still a few voices left out there.

 

But there was something else I’ve been thinking about. I’ve read more on Epstein the past few days than I would advise anyone to do, learned a lot, but I keep having this question in my head: why did he fly back to the US from Paris on July 6? It might have appeared to be an ‘innocent’ trip, if you think anything about the man could still be labeled ‘innocent’, but something happened three days before the trip.

That is, a New York federal appeals court ordered the unsealing of up to 2,000 pages of judicial documents pertaining to Epstein and his ‘environment’. These pages do not address what led Acosta to let him off crazily easily in 2008, they’re from a 2015 case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who accuses Epstein, his alleged partner-in-sex-crime Ghislaine Maxwell, Alan Dershowitz and Prince Andrew.

But please allow me to take a step back. Here’s Julie K. Brown on July 3:

A New York federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered the unsealing of up to 2,000 pages of judicial documents that are expected to show evidence relating to whether New York financier Jeffrey Epstein and his partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, were recruiting underage girls and young women as part of an international sex trafficking operation.


The decision comes two days after the Miami Herald urged the court to issue a ruling in the civil case in the wake of last week’s Justice Department announcement in the federal criminal case that it would not void Epstein’s controversial 2008 non-prosecution agreement.

And then we move over to Courthouse News:

[..] In a partial dissent, U.S. Circuit Judge Rosemary Pooler argued that all of the files should have been handled by the trial judge. “On that score, it is worth clarifying here the breadth of the court’s unsealing order: it unseals nearly 2000 pages of material,” Pooler emphasized. “The task of identifying and making specific redactions in such a substantial volume is perilous; the consequences of even a seemingly minor error may be grave and are irrevocable.”


Boies said that he and his client Giuffre are readying for a protracted process. “It’s a very important step toward making the information that the court has available to the public,” he said. “It’s only a first step.”

That’s a big one in what I’m saying: it could take along time for the 2,000 pages to be made public after they were unsealed. What does that mean?

Here’s Julie K. Brown once more:

The New York case, filed in 2015, was brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims that she was trafficked by Epstein and Maxwell to wealthy and powerful politicians, lawyers, academics and government leaders when she was underage. Giuffre sued Maxwell for defamation after Maxwell publicly denounced her as a liar.


The case was settled in Giuffre’s favor in 2017, several sources have told the Herald. Nearly all the documents filed in connection with the case, however, were sealed [..] The Herald, as part of a November investigation called “Perversion of Justice,” went to court to unseal all the records in January. A lower court ruled against the newspaper, and the appeals court heard arguments by the Herald, Cernovich and Dershowitz in March.

This is all very recent stuff, not the 12-year old case for which Epstein settled in 2008. That doesn’t seem to bode well for him.

In its decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that a lower district court erred when it issued a blanket sealing of the case, which essentially allowed all the parties to file everything under wraps.“The District Court failed to review the documents individually and produce ‘specific, on-the-record findings that sealing is necessary to preserve higher values.’ Instead, the District Court made generalized statements about the record as a whole. This … was legal error,’’ said Judge Jose A. Cabranes, writing for the three-member panel.


The court, in a 2-1 decision, said the portion of the case involving summary judgment materials (167 documents, 2,000 pages) should be unsealed forthwith, except for minor redactions. The balance of the case history — involving perhaps thousands of additional pages — will be reviewed by the lower court. In her dissent, Judge Rosemary Pooler concurred with unsealing the documents, but disagreed with how they should be reviewed.

But now we get to the crux. Between the lines, there’s this ‘threat’ that reviewing and redacting the 2,000 pages could take a very long time. And since Epstein has ace lawyers, it might even take years.

Realizing that, I started asking myself: why did Epstein fly his private plane -back- from Paris to NJ Teterboro airport, where he was arrested, on July 6. While 3 days prior, a New York federal appeals court ordered the unsealing of up to 2,000 pages of judicial documents “that are expected to show evidence relating to whether New York financier Jeffrey Epstein and his partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, were recruiting underage girls and young women as part of an international sex trafficking operation.”

I’m still asking myself. Didn’t he know he’d be arrested? Seems a bit far-fetched. The man pays tons of money to have connections everywhere. He’s a registered sex-offender (though only level-1, not -3, thanks to Acosta). He’s a wounded animal. Presumably he did know. The court order 3 days earlier to unseal the 2,000 pages would have been a big red flashing sign, and there’s no way he didn’t know about it.

So why fly back? Did his lawyers enter into some deal to redact the pages in a way they could control? That would sound very much like what happened in the 2008 plea deal. Did they agree beforehand on what Epstein would face conviction wise? There was a report that, through his legal team, he offered to name names if he could get off with a 5-year prison term. What do you call that kind of thing, reverse blackmail?

 

The SDNY, which ordered Epstein’s July 6 arrest, must have found something new to build a case on, it can’t be the pre-2008 stuff, that wouldn’t be legal. Did they find this new evidence in the 2,000 pages? Not entirely impossible, I would venture. What’s also an option is that they talked to people involved in the investigation prompted by Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s allegations vs Epstein and Maxwell, before the docs were sealed.

You’re an ADA, you seek out a detective or your own predecessor, and you say: what do you remember was in there? I can totally see that.

So I remain with two questions: why did Epstein return to the US from an alleged multi-week stay in Paris mere days after a federal appeals court ordered 2,000 pages unsealed that can only possibly be damaging to him (or some of his rich and powerful friends), or they wouldn’t have been sealed.

Second question: why is this playing out when it is, as in today? Who ordered this? Was it Trump? He appears to be one of the few people in the rich New York/Florida scene who doesn’t have much to fear from Epstein and his potential blackmail schemes. I base that on the -pretty well documented- fact that Trump threw Epstein out of Mar-a-Lago on 2011. He wouldn’t have done that if Epstein had anything on him. I wouldn’t rule out Epstein chasing Ivanka back then either.

 

One more item: the most amusing thing about Epstein is that not a single source/person can say how he made his money. That’s a topic for a next essay, but there’s this: 20 years after -ostensibly-, leaving Bear Stearns Epstein turns up as a director for one of their SIV’s.The vehicle was called Liquid Funding Ltd, and Epstein is listed as a director and chairman. The entire vehicle went stone dead, as did Bear. But Jeffrey did not.

Bear’s 10-K: At November 30, 2002, the total assets of this entity (Liquid Funding, Ltd.) approximated $900 million. The Company’s maximum exposure to loss as a result of its investment in this entity is approximately $5.0 million. Epstein’s Financial Trust Co. had a $121 million investment in hedge fund firm DB Zwirn & Co., which shut down in 2008, and was also a major investor in Bear Stearns’s High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Fund

 

Epstein could have opted to stay in France, or fly to his Virgin Islands estate. Or anywhere really. But he chose to fly to Teterboro to be arrested. Why?