Jun 022024
 


John French Sloan East Entrance, City Hall, Philadelphia 1901

 

Tyranny Is Upon Us: Law And Juries Are Weaponized (Paul Craig Roberts)
The Trump Trial Harkens Back to a Dark Period of American Law (Turley)
The Democrats Just Sealed Donald Trump’s Victory In November (Bridge)
DOJ: You Can’t Hear The Biden-Hur ‘Memory Interview’ Because of Deepfakes (Sp.)
Desperate, Lying Biden May Abuse AI to Pull the Ultimate Race Hoax (Sellers)
Artificial ‘N****R’ (Sellers)
RFK Jr. Slams Biden’s Decision to Allow Ukrainian Strikes Inside Russia (Sp.)
Ukraine Conflict Is Reshaping War For the 21st Century (DeMartino)
The Popski Syndrome – Allied Defeat Turns Into Battlefield Fantasies (Helmer)
Presidents Who Gamble With Nuclear Armageddon (Jeffrey Sachs)
Russia’s Victory Over Ukraine Is Drawing Near (Scott Ritter)
Ukraine Won’t Exist In 50 Years – Tucker Carlson (RT)
Dave Smith Burns Chris Cuomo To The Ground In Epic Covid Debate (ZH)
Mark Rutte, The Dutch Invader, Is Sinking In The Hungarian Goulash (Helmer)
Huge Anti-War Rally In Budapest, Hungary (RT)

 

 

 

 

RFK Elon

 

 

Flynn/Macgregor

 

 

 

 

Eric Trump

 

 

JD Vance
https://twitter.com/i/status/1796593469546287378

 

 

 

 

Eva

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..a single accounting reporting charge, a misdemeanor, was magically turned into 34 federal felonies of election violations..”

“..legally this is a case for which there are no legal grounds for bringing it..”

Tyranny Is Upon Us: Law And Juries Are Weaponized (Paul Craig Roberts)

Jury Finds Trump Guilty on All 34 Felony Charges in New York Trial. Keep in mind that these are 34 made-up felonies based on how an expense was recorded by accountants and attorneys. Trump did not record the expense.The expense was recorded according to accounting standards. Keep in mind that a single accounting reporting charge, a misdemeanor, was magically turned into 34 federal felonies of election violations, if memory serves, the argument being that Trump won the election by misreporting the expense. There are so many civil and criminal show trials going on against Trump that it is hard to keep track of all the absurdities. Keep in mind that it is a case without complainants, without harmed parties. It is a case brought by a prosecutor who can show no party harmed. What is frightening is that legally this is a case for which there are no legal grounds for bringing it. Yet, the bar associations, the law schools, the media said nothing.

Getting Trump was so important that law was sacrificed for the purpose. Trump’s demonization made a fair trial impossible, and few jurors can resist using their power against a rich person. The weaponization of law in order to interfere with an election –in other words the prosecutor is guilty of interfering in an election–the charge brought against Trump– means the future of America is tyranny. An appeal will be made, but a state where justice is as corrupt as New York is incapable of producing a decision based on law. If there is any fight left in Americans, and I am unsure, a prison sentence from the totally corrupt judge should launch a civil war. Many would say it is about time or past time. If not, the people have submitted to tyranny. The North submitted to Lincoln’s tyranny. The South did not. Little is left of the South. It is unclear what stands against the tyranny of Washington.

Read more …

The constitutional law professor: “Even after sitting in the courtroom watching the trial and the verdict, I still have no idea what Trump was convicted of in the case..”

The Trump Trial Harkens Back to a Dark Period of American Law (Turley)

After years of trying — in the words of the judge — “to get the damned rascal in this court,” it was a conviction that many welcomed. But those words were not from Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, and the conviction was not that of former President Donald Trump. Rather they were from US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase, at the end of the 18th century, when America embraced political prosecutions to target critics and opponents. The man on trial then was James T. Callender, a muckraking writer critical of President John Adams. For accusing politicians of corruption, Callender was charged with sedition, fined $200 and put in prison. It was one of the many political prosecutions carried out by the Adams administration. Political prosecutions are something most citizens associate with dictatorships. But the Trump prosecution has forced many to confront the undeniable reality of the politicization of our legal system. In many respects, President Biden and Democrats have re-created the Adams era.

Biden has led calls for censorship of political critics and his administration has coordinated the silencing and the blacklisting of those with opposing views. Democratic politicians have pressured social-media companies to serve as surrogates for the government in banning, throttling and defunding individuals and groups. Indeed, I have previously written that Biden is now the most anti-free-speech president since Adams. The Adams era also reflected the same blind loyalty of many media outlets. Federalist publications supported the crackdowns while echoing charges against political opponents as seditionists and insurrectionists. Jeffersonian publications, like Callender’s, attacked Adams for his “unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and selfish avarice.” The nation was divided down the middle as both sides accused each other of being traitors and insurrectionists. Sound familiar? Yet, it is the politicization of the legal system that is the most chilling return to the Adams era.

Even liberal legal analysts and figures have admitted that the case against Trump was unprecedented and would not have been brought against anyone other than Trump. CNN legal analyst Elie Honig recently wrote that there should be concern over a judge being appointed (not randomly selected) who is not just a Biden donor but someone who “has earmarked donations for ‘resisting the Republican Party and Donald Trump’s radical right-wing legacy.’” Adding to these concerns is the movement of the third-highest official in the Biden Justice Department to the staff of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to build the case against Trump. Before joining the case, Matthew Colangelo was also paid by the Democratic National Committee for “political consulting.” So Trump was convicted in a trial with a Biden donor judge, who has a daughter who is a major Democratic operative, a lead prosecutor previously paid as a DNC political consultant and a jury selected in a district that voted roughly 90% against Trump.

The trial itself was a travesty. Even after sitting in the courtroom watching the trial and the verdict, I still have no idea what Trump was convicted of in the case. The charges were built on a dead misdemeanor barred with the passage of the statute of limitations. It was zapped back into life by alleging that the falsification of business records occurred to unlawfully influence the 2016 presidential election. Merchan told the jury members that they did not have to agree on what those unlawful means may have been. Specifically, he allowed them to base their verdict on any one of three vaguely defined crimes of a federal election violation, falsification of business records or taxation violations.

Read more …

“The only thing better than that would be to witness the first president in US history to pardon himself as the Trump legacy goes full circle.”

The Democrats Just Sealed Donald Trump’s Victory In November (Bridge)

Members of the Democratic Party continue to fail to understand that the more mud they fling at the former president, the dirtier they look by comparison. On Thursday, a unanimous decision from a 12-person jury declared Donald Trump guilty on 34 felony counts, which could see the former president sentenced to 136 years in prison. There’s just one catch: the notorious Orange Man will never spend a single night behind bars. The worst that will happen for the Republican presidential frontrunner is that he will enter the race with a criminal record. Because the crimes are nonviolent and Trump has no prior convictions, any chance of prison time is a long shot. What could happen instead is that Judge Juan Merchan could sentence him to house arrest – which would undoubtedly make ankle bracelets, much like the famous Trump ‘mug shot,’ the latest fashion accessory – probation or some other lighter form of supervised release.

Another option that would backfire in the Democratic Party’s face is the imposition of community service. While Democrats may relish the idea of Trump being forced to join a prison work gang as punishment, it’s too easy to imagine millions of Trump supporters turning out at some soup kitchen or animal shelter to throw their support behind the most controversial figure in American politics today. And then there is the question of New York, the site of the Trump case, which is only second to the state of California when it comes to liberal residents. Trump inveighed against District Attorney Alvin Bragg, calling him the “Soros-backed DA.” As The New York Times wrote of the Bragg-Soros connection, “Soros donated to a liberal group that endorses progressive prosecutors and supports efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system – in line with causes that he has publicly supported for years. That group used a significant portion of the money to support Mr. Bragg in his 2021 campaign.”

On November 21, 2022, The Times reported that the district attorney’s office “has moved to jump-start its criminal investigation” into Trump’s reported “hush-money payment to a porn star who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump.” This was the first indictment of a former president in US history. Trump pleaded not guilty, yet was found guilty of all counts on May 30, 2024, making Bragg the first prosecutor in US history to win a conviction against a former president. Trump, who will be sentenced on July 11th, denies ever having had sex with Daniels. Another aspect of the Trump case that has rallied many to Trump’s defense is the political identity of the judge presiding over the case, Juan Merchan, whom Trump has criticized as “conflicted.” That may be an understatement when it is considered that Merchan donates to an organization called ‘Stop Republicans,’ as well as the Biden campaign.

Finally, Trump posted on his Truth Social platform that Loren Merchan, the judge’s daughter, is president of Authentic Campaigns, a Chicago-based progressive political consulting firm whose top clients include Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who was the lead prosecutor in Trump’s first impeachment trial. Merchan’s daughter helped raise at least $93 million in campaign donations – and used the Trump case in her solicitation emails – highlighting a major conflict of interest that have Trump supporters demanding Judge Merchan recuse himself from the case. Finally, there is the question of fairness when it is considered that New York is major Democrat country. Can Trump seriously hope for a fair trial to take place in this prominent Blue state? He certainly doesn’t think so.

Merchan imposed the 10th contempt of court fine of $1,000 for an April 22 interview in which the former president said: “That jury was picked so fast – 95% Democrats. The area’s mostly all Democrat.” While the Democrats may be rubbing their hands in glee after finally getting Trump entangled in the judicial net, they continue to ignore the fact that every scandal has only served to empower the 45th president. In the worst-case scenario, should Trump be sent to prison, this will not stop the flow of campaign cash from entering the GOP’s coffers; in fact, it is practically guaranteed that the spectacle of the Orange Man behind bars – complete with mug shot in prison garb – will be the best campaign promo of all time. The only thing better than that would be to witness the first president in US history to pardon himself as the Trump legacy goes full circle.

Read more …

Anything can be deepfake, and now you can’t hear any of it anymore. Unless it’s about Trump.

DOJ: You Can’t Hear The Biden-Hur ‘Memory Interview’ Because of Deepfakes (Sp.)

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is attempting to prevent the release of the audio of the infamous “memory interview” between US President Joe Biden and special counsel Robert Hur, arguing that “deepfakes” may appear as a result. Hur was investigating Biden’s handling of classified documents he obtained as a senator and vice president. While Hur wrote in his report that Biden likely violated the law intentionally, he declined to press charges because he thought Biden would appear to the jury as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” It also noted that Biden had trouble remembering when he was vice president and which year his son Beau died. The DOJ issued a filing on Friday that argued “The passage of time and advancements in audio, artificial intelligence, and ‘deep fake’ technologies only amplify concerns about malicious manipulation of audio files. If the audio recording is released here, it is easy to foresee that it could be improperly altered, and that the altered file could be passed off as an authentic recording and widely distributed.”

While the DOJ admits that there is plenty of “other raw material to create a deepfake of President Biden’s voice” available to unscrupulous actors, it argues that if the public became aware that the legitimate recording was released, they would be more apt to believe a fake recording is legitimate. The filing was first obtained by Politico. It is not known how the court will respond to the strange reasoning. If a legitimate copy of the recording were released, it stands to reason it would become easier –not more difficult– to disprove fake versions. As the DOJ admits in its filing as part of its argument that the release of the audio recording is unnecessary, the full transcript of the interview has already been released. It would be trivial for someone with AI experience to use the “raw material” already available of Biden to create a deepfake version of the interview and say it was leaked. A legitimate version being released would make that much easier for other internet users and the media to definitively debunk.

The filing also comes after Biden used his executive privilege to stop the release of the tape to House Republicans who had sought to obtain it as part of their investigation into the Biden family. The latest filing was in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The DOJ also argues that the release of the audio would be a violation of Biden’s privacy. However, since we already know what he said thanks to the transcript– and we have no reason to believe that the transcript is incorrect, the only thing that would be revealed is everything between those words. How long did Biden pause before answering? How many times did he stumble on his words? Did he sound confused or angry during the interview? These are the questions that could be revealed through the release of the audio and according to the filing, the DOJ doesn’t think it is in the “public interest” to reveal the answers, so much so that they are willing to resort to absurd fear-mongering over a new technology in hopes that the judge will be cowed into blocking its release.

Read more …

I split Ben Sellers’ piece in two. First, reality.

Desperate, Lying Biden May Abuse AI to Pull the Ultimate Race Hoax (Sellers)

It is patently clear that 99% of what comes out of Biden’s mouth, and those of his surrogates is an abject, gaslighting falsehood. Many in the voting public have now woken up to this fact, which is why we’ve seen so many red-pilled ex-Biden backers suddenly flipping their support to Trump in protest of all—or even some—of the above. Taking a page from Adolf Hitler, Democrats already primed people for the so-called Big Lie, deflecting from the fact that they were in the process of committing it by, appropriately enough, projecting it preemptively onto Republicans Regrettably, we may now be on the cusp of what history will record as the “Biggest Lie,” if and when the truth ever comes to light—something so shamefully bald-faced, so transparently manipulative, that most will think, “They wouldn’t dare lie about that.” But indeed, Biden has proven nothing if not that he will lie about anything.

We are witnessing the remarkable confluence of several disparate factors that are leading us on the path to the biggest race hoax in recorded history—and yet, it seems obvious, like a black swan event, that something so dastardly would be the inevitable outcome of putting the declining Democrat ethos and the rise in artificial intelligence-generated disinformation together in a tinderbox that includes the bombastic Donald Trump.On Thursday, a former producer from Trump’s ABC television show The Apprentice drudged up a long simmering rumor regarding tapes of Trump having used the n-word to refer to contestant Kwame Jackson. Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung called it a “a completely fabricated and bullsh*t story,” Politico reported. Many critics have pointed out that President Joe Biden’s own troubled history when it comes to making controversial remarks about race often undermines his current posturing about being a champion of minority causes.

Nonetheless, Biden’s campaign—after recently botching the rollout on an eight-figure effort to win back black voters—made hay of the Trump smear, releasing an official statement to torque up the race-baiting allegation. “No one is surprised that Donald Trump, who entered public life by falsely accusing [b]lack men of murder and entered political life spreading lies about the first [b]lack president, reportedly used the N-word to casually denigrate a successful [b]lack man,” claimed Jasmine Harris, the Biden campaign’s director of black media. The campaign also appeared to have been coordinating with Pruitt on the story, which he released in a Slate op-ed, as it had canned footage ready to roll out of former Trump staffer turned critic Omarosa Manigault Newman leveling unsubstantiated ‘racism’ claims against her ex-boss.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1796222579759358116

Read more …

Second, AI.

“..a new low-water mark for America, as it faces a bombardment of structure tests from the radical Marxist subversives hoping to topple it for once and for all.”

Artificial ‘N****R’ (Sellers)

Lost in the Trump Manhattan trial about his alleged falsification of business documents to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels was the fact that the $130,000 paid to Daniels by Michael Cohen did not fulfill its contracted purpose. Prior to the November 2016 election, the Wall Street Journal published a story that named Daniels and Playboy bunny Karen McDougal, alleging the two had received hush-money payments to keep quiet about their decade-old affairs with Trump. Within two years, some of the key players in the purported scandal were speaking openly about it. Suffice it to say, if Pruitt had the evidence at the time to support his allegation about Trump using the n-word on The Apprentice, those tapes would have found their way into the hands of interested parties somewhere along the way long before Trump’s third presidential run.

It is reasonable to infer that the absence of the tapes up to this point suggests they don’t exist. Frighteningly, what does now exist is a rapid surge in artificial intelligence technology that could allow the Biden campaign to produce fake tapes of Trump using the pejorative, sowing just enough suspicion among his nascent black supporters that they would flock back to the fold on the Democrat plantation. Already, we have seen the technology put to frightening use to imitate Biden’s voice in a fake robocall that went out to New Hampshire voters, telling them to stay home since he wasn’t on the ballot, despite an expensive write-in campaign to deliver him a victory in the Granite State. The deep-fake was traced back to the owner of a telecom company in Texas, who had previously donated money to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The technology also has been misused to create pornography of high school students and to scam a company out of $25 million with a phony conference call. And oh yea, the CIA has admitted it is taking full advantage of it for undisclosed purposes. Most perniciously, it has already been used for at least one race hoax. A disgruntled high school athletic director in Baltimore was caught using deep-fake software to mimic the voice of his principal going on a racist and anti-Semitic rant in retaliation for a probe of his misappropriation of school funds. The rant appeared on Instagram and quickly began to circulate. Although AI was suspected almost immediately, Pikesville High School Eric Eiswert was subjected to negative publicity and an intensive forensic investigation that drew in the FBI and experts from the University of California, Berkeley, before he was ultimately vindicated.

The potential for AI abuse, paired with the Biden administration’s penchant and proclivity for it, would certainly lead one to wonder, should a tape of Trump using the “n-word” suddenly surface, whether its authenticity could be trusted. Would Biden, or another bad actor working on his behalf, be willing to stoop so low as to falsely smear someone with an entirely made-up tape in order to deceive and manipulate a particular class of voters into making a misinformed decision? Sadly, if past is prologue, one need no longer ask questions about the depths to which they will stoop. Will it work? If so, it would simultaneously be a breakthrough achievement in AI technology—the successful passage, perhaps, of a sort of Turing test on the road to singularity—and a new low-water mark for America, as it faces a bombardment of structure tests from the radical Marxist subversives hoping to topple it for once and for all.

Read more …

“..authorizing Ukraine to strike targets deep in Russia. Using our weapons, trained in their use by our trainers..”

RFK Jr. Slams Biden’s Decision to Allow Ukrainian Strikes Inside Russia (Sp.)

US presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. condemned President Joe Biden’s decision to greenlight Ukrainian strikes using US-supplied weapons inside Russian territory. “More insane escalation by the Biden administration — authorizing Ukraine to strike targets deep in Russia. Using our weapons, trained in their use by our trainers,” Kennedy said on X. In a major policy shift, Biden authorized the use of US weapons against military installations in Russia. A State Department spokesperson insisted that the authorization was limited to what they called “counter-fire purposes” in Kharkov (also known as Kharkiv) region. The US has not authorized the use of long-range missiles, including ATACMS, inside Russia, the spokesperson told Sputnik.

Read more …

Drones. And the “turtle tank.”

Ukraine Conflict Is Reshaping War For the 21st Century (DeMartino)

The weapons that shaped warfare in the 20th century: barbed wire, machine guns, tanks, long-range artillery, and battleships, still play significant roles on the battlefield in the 21st, but they are dwarfed in importance by one invention, from which multiple theaters have been affected: the drone. While specific numbers of their effectiveness are difficult to come by at this stage of the conflict (that will be a job for war historians) there is no doubt that it is the most significant innovation on the battlefield today, used by both sides to inflict large amounts of casualties on the other. During Ukraine’s failed 2023 counteroffensive, drones played a huge role in stopping that advance. With the possible exception of Russia’s distance mining equipment, which also took out large numbers of tanks, drones were pivotal in taking out NATO’s most powerful armor.

“[US media] admitted how useless the Abrams [tank] is when tens of millions of dollars per tank can be taken out by a $500 drone. It is a new model of warfare,” Mark Sleboda, a security and international relations expert told Sputnik’s Fault Lines on Friday. “But it is an evolution of warfare that is occurring before our eyes. So, the Chinese and Americans are certainly paying very close attention,” he noted earlier in the interview. It is an opinion shared by former Marine and UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter. Speaking on the Danny Haiphong show, he explained how everything from tactics to logistics has been changed by drones. “When this war started, people were working off of Cold War-era doctrinal thinking. That is: you have tank columns, you have artillery that operates in battery or battalion sized formations flooding a zone, you have big arrow movements and things of that nature,” Ritter recalled. “[Then] drones started coming in, not just for targeting purposes, not just for deep strike purposes, but tactical drones on the battlefront. These FPV drones are a nightmare for soldiers.”

“If I tried to take Marines into combat using the tactics that I was taught,” Ritter continued “[With] two platoons online, basic fire etcetera, my base of fire would disappear because it’d be swarmed by FPV drones… then my Marines attacking would be hit by these drones and they’re all dead.” Much like Haig, this was a lesson that the Armed Forces of Ukraine failed to learn during their counteroffensive. Rabotino was intended to be the first minor step during that offensive that would lead to Tokmak which would serve as the staging ground for an assault on Melitopol. But as armor assault after armor assault was destroyed, it became apparent that the Ukrainians would never reach their goal. But, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky needed something to show his Western benefactors, so Rabotino became the goal. It took 71 days to capture the tiny village with a pre-war population of about 500 people, largely using the same tactics they began with. Ukraine lost dozens of expensive tanks and thousands of men capturing and then holding the village.

The Ukrainian offensive never went any further and in May, Russia recaptured the village. Just as the invention of the tank helped break the stalemate of the First World War, new technologies are emerging to counteract the drone and there it seems Russia has a decided advantage on that front. According to Military Watch Magazine, Russian electronic defenses have rendered Ukraine’s best artillery weapons all but useless, including the Excalibur GPS-guided artillery shells, the vaunted HIMARS rocket artillery systems and the JDAM precision-guided bombs. “Everything ended [in 2023]: the Russian deployed electronic warfare, disabled satellite signals, and HIMARS became completely ineffective,” one senior Ukrainian military official was quoted as saying. But the innovations on the battlefield aren’t exclusive to high technology, often they come from the soldiers on the ground. As tanks were increasingly taken out by drones, soldiers started adding cope cages in an attempt to protect them. This eventually led to the deployment of what is affectionately called the “turtle tank.”

Typically beginning with a T-72 tank, so-called turtle tanks are outfitted with a metal shell that covers almost the entirety of the tank, leaving only the very front and its cannon exposed to drone attack. While limiting the driver in visibility and maneuverability, those drawbacks have proven worth it. The Ukrainians who initially laughed at the turtle tank’s awkward appearance and low-tech solution quickly stopped laughing as they retreated from turtle tank assaults across the Western front.

Read more …

“..the Russian response will not be nuclear. That is impossible. There are a thousand options between doing nothing and going nuclear, and we can be sure the General Staff are working on all of them..”

The Popski Syndrome – Allied Defeat Turns Into Battlefield Fantasies (Helmer)

In war, exaggeration is a killer. In the media, exaggeration is a bestseller. In the current war there is a dearth of military and political analysts who for truth or money will tell the difference. Instead, when the mentality of the war fighters is a combination of racial superiority and spetsnaz derring-do, what you get is the conviction that with one more brilliant operation and one more super-weapon, victory can be snatched from every indicator of defeat because the adversary will be persuaded to accept negotiations as he loses his nerve. This is the meaning of the Anglo-American publicity which burst over the long Bank Holiday and Memorial Day weekend, as summer campaigning began in earnest for the July and November elections in the UK and US — with the incumbent in the former running 21 points behind, and the incumbent in the latter trailing on an approval margin of minus-16 points.

The Reuters propaganda agency, based in New York, is claiming to have found four Russians from “a senior level in the political and business worlds” to be talkative about what they say they know of the Kremlin’s end-of-war plans. “[President Vladimir] Putin can fight for as long as it takes, but Putin is also ready for a ceasefire – to freeze the war… Putin would, however, be ready to settle for what land he has now and freeze the conflict at the current front lines, four of the sources said. ‘Putin will say that we won, that NATO attacked us and we kept our sovereignty, that we have a land corridor to Crimea, which is true,’ one of them said, giving their own analysis.” With just one more successful push from the Ukrainian side, Reuters and its four Russians believe, Putin will agree to give up his war. This push, which the western media have been amplifying this week, is the drone attacks on Russian radar stations for early warning of nuclear missile attack at Armavir, Krasnodar, and Orsk, Orenburg.

Although Russian military sources claim these attacks were pinpricks, and the second of them was shot out of the sky before detonation, western media are reporting that it is now the battle strategy of the US, the British, and the Ukrainians to provoke Putin into retaliation, crossing the red line of tactical nuclear warfare. That’s a red line, the allies are calculating, which Putin would rather negotiate end-of-war terms than cross. A retired Moscow military analyst warns against the exaggeration, not of the attacks themselves, but of Putin’s power to decide end-of-war terms over the opposition of the General Staff and the new Defense Ministry. “It is obvious the Ukrainians have had a string of successful breakthroughs,” the source acknowledges, “– against ships, airfields, refineries, and now this radar site. We also understand it is not the Ukrainians: all target selection, identification, guidance, and the hardware are American or European. Where the command control of these launch sites is, we do not know but it might well not be in Ukraine.”

“But the Russian response will not be nuclear. That is impossible. There are a thousand options between doing nothing and going nuclear, and we can be sure the General Staff are working on all of them. So when people say this is provocation for a nuclear strike and that [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky is provoking it, we understand that, first, NATO planners know Putin will not go nuclear because he and his generals are too rational and sane. And second, Zelensky is not the one making the provocations. So the real red line now is not the nuclear arms provocations from the NATO side. That’s a fantasy of theirs. Just so, in response, I think it’s time Putin stops making threats and strikes at the source of these operations.” When desperate weakness triggers battlefield fantasies, call this the Popski Syndrome.

Popski was the call sign and unit nickname assigned by the British Army headquarters in Cairo to a tiny unit of behind-the-lines special forces operating against the Italian and German armies in the Libyan deserts from late in 1941 until September 1943, when the war moved on to Italy, taking Popski with it. Popski’s unit numbered 24 men to start in Libya; in Italy, by the war’s end, it had reached 80. Vladimir Peniakoff was Popski, born to wealthy Jewish Russians who fled the Revolution to install their aluminium business and themselves in Belgium, then the UK. With London publisher Jonathan Cape, Peniakoff imagined he could turn his small guerrilla war in the Libyan and Tunisian deserts into something approaching the bestsellerdom of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T.E.Lawrence’s story of the war of the Arabian peninsula tribes against the Turks between 1916 and 1918; first published in 1926.

Read more …

A timeline.

Presidents Who Gamble With Nuclear Armageddon (Jeffrey Sachs)

The Doomsday Clock was at 17 minutes to midnight when Clinton came to office, but just 9 minutes when he left it. Bush pushed the clock to just 5 minutes, Obama to 3 minutes, and Trump to a mere 100 seconds. Now Biden has taken the clock to 90 seconds. Most presidents, and most Americans, have little idea how close to the abyss we are. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which was founded in 1947 in part to help the world avoid nuclear annihilation, established the Doomsday Clock to help the public understand the gravity of the risks we face. National security experts adjust the clock depending how far or how close we are to “midnight,” meaning extinction. They put the clock today at just 90 seconds to midnight, the closest that it’s ever been in the nuclear age.

The clock is a useful measure of which presidents have “gotten it” and which have not. The sad fact is that most presidents have recklessly gambled with our survival in the name of national honor, or to prove their personal toughness, or to avoid political attacks from the warmongers, or as the result of sheer incompetence. By a simple and straightforward count, five presidents have gotten it right, moving the clock away from midnight, while nine have moved us closer to Armageddon, including the most recent five. Truman was president when the Doomsday Clock was unveiled in 1947, at 7 minutes to midnight. Truman stoked the nuclear arms race and left office with the clock at just 3 minutes to midnight. Eisenhower continued the nuclear arms race but also entered into the first-ever negotiations with the Soviet Union regarding nuclear disarmament. By the time he left office, the clock was put back to 7 minutes to midnight.

Kennedy saved the world by coolly reasoning his way through the Cuban Missile Crisis, rather than following the advice of hothead advisors who called for war (for a detailed account, see Martin Sherwin’s magisterial Gambling with Armageddon, 2020). He then negotiated the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with Khrushchev in 1963. By the time of his death, which may well have been a government coup resulting from Kennedy’s peace initiative, JFK had pushed the clock back to 12 minutes to midnight, a magnificent and historic achievement. It was not to last. Lyndon Johnson soon escalated in Vietnam and pushed the clock back again to just 7 minutes to midnight. Richard Nixon eased tensions with both the Soviet Union and China, and concluded the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I), pushing the clock again to 12 minutes from midnight. Yet Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter failed to secure SALT II, and Carter fatefully and unwisely gave a green light to the CIA in 1979 to destabilize Afghanistan. By the time Ronald Reagan took office, the clock was at just 4 minutes to midnight.

The next 12 years marked the end of the Cold War. Much of the credit is due to Mikhail Gorbachev, who aimed to reform the Soviet Union politically and economically, and to end the confrontation with the West. Yet credit is also due to Reagan and his successor George Bush, Sr., who successfully worked with Gorbachev to end the Cold War, which in turn was followed by the end of the Soviet Union itself in December 1991. By the time Bush left office, the Doomsday clock was at 17 minutes to midnight, the safest since the start of the nuclear age.

Read more …

UKiev.

Russia’s Victory Over Ukraine Is Drawing Near (Scott Ritter)

By the time the counteroffensive ground to a halt, in December 2023, Ukraine was a spent force militarily. Its armed forces had used up their reserves of manpower. NATO had depleted its stocks of available military materiel. And the West had become politically exhausted at the prospect of a never-ending conflict which seemed destined to result in an endless cycle of throwing good money after bad, all the while failing to bring about the strategic goal of defeating Russia. Moscow, on the other hand, emerged from the 2023 Ukrainian counteroffensive in a good position. From a military perspective, the Russians had won the war of attrition with Ukraine and the collective West – basic military math had Ukraine consuming manpower and material resources at a far greater rate than they could be replenished, making Kiev grow physically weaker every day the conflict dragged on, while the Russians were able to accumulate manpower and material resources at a rate far greater than Ukraine was able to destroy, meaning Russia grew stronger every day te conflict continued.

Economically, Ukraine and its Western backers were exhausted. The blowback from the aggressive anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the West had severely curtailed the industrial capacity of the European members of the NATO alliance to sustain the scope and scale of its military support to Ukraine, while domestic political realities in the US, amplified by the fact that it was engaged in a hotly contested presidential election cycle, paralyzed the American ability to sustain Ukraine financially. The military and economic exhaustion of Ukraine and the collective West severely impacted the ability of this coalition to politically sustain support for a war that had no discernable prospect of ending well. While the conflict has not, by any stretch of the imagination, been without cost to Russia, the approach taken by the leadership, to create conditions on the battlefield designed to maximize enemy losses while minimizing their own, meant that Moscow entered 2024 in a much stronger position militarily, economically, and – perhaps most importantly – politically.

War, it has been said, is an extension of politics by other means, and this is no exception to the age-old adage. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest electoral victory has provided the leadership in Moscow with a political mandate that strengthens Russia’s hand considerably, especially contrasted with the weakened posture of Ukraine. It is within such a context that the Russian offensive north of Kharkov must be evaluated. From a military-political standpoint, the operation has a specific objective – to push Ukrainian forces back from the border with Russia so that Ukrainian artillery and rocket systems can no longer strike Russian territory. But there is a larger purpose for this offensive – to continue the process of grinding down the Ukrainian military, to complete the larger task of ”demilitarization” set by the Kremlin.

In this, Russia is succeeding. First and foremost, by attacking north of Kharkov, Moscow has compelled UKiev to commit not only the last of its mobile strategic reserves in response but, because these forces are inadequate in strength, to force Ukraine to strip away units on the eastern line of contact, in Kherson, Zaporozhye and Donbass, and to divert them to the Kharkov direction. The depletion of reserves is part and parcel of the overall Russian strategy of attrition. Moreover, as these forces displace to the Kharkov region, they are being interdicted by Russian air, missile, and drone strikes, further eroding their combat power. The result is that Ukraine is now defending a longer line of defense with even fewer forces than it started with.

Read more …

“They’re already selling off lands in Ukraine to foreign investors, and they will flood Ukraine with third-world immigrants and Ukraine will not exist in 50 years..”

Ukraine Won’t Exist In 50 Years – Tucker Carlson (RT)

The US has “betrayed” Ukraine and will destroy the country by selling off its land and “flooding” it with third-world immigrants, American journalist Tucker Carlson predicted in an interview with former President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Jr. In a video interview published on Friday, Carlson and Trump Jr. both agreed that US President Joe Biden had brought the world to the brink of World War III, and that the US is essentially “at war with Russia.” “No-one’s articulated what victory in Ukraine looks like,” Trump Jr. said. “I don’t know what it means. Is it just like perpetual death of Ukrainians and Russians until they’re all wiped out and Blackrock comes in there and takes over all the farmland? That’s what it feels like to me.” Blackrock is the world’s biggest investment company, and controls an estimated $10 trillion in assets. The firm is one of Ukraine’s largest foreign bondholders, and in 2022 signed a memorandum of understanding with Kiev stating that it would manage Ukraine’s post-conflict reconstruction.

Several BlackRock alumni serve in the Biden administration, including Brian Deese, the head of the National Economic Council. After Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky signed a controversial package of land reforms into law in 2020, foreign investment firms like NCH Capital, BNP, and the Vanguard Group now control around 28% of Ukraine’s arable land, according to research by the Oakland Institute, an American think tank. Zelensky’s reforms were backed by the International Monetary Fund and US Agency for International Development. “They’re already selling off lands in Ukraine to foreign investors, and they will flood Ukraine with third-world immigrants and Ukraine will not exist in 50 years,” Carlson stated. “There’ll be no Ukrainian nation. We betrayed them like no other country ever.”

Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised that he would end the Ukraine conflict “in 24 hours” if re-elected this November, telling a Libertarian Party conference last weekend that he intends to “quit spending hundreds of billions of dollars to fight other people’s wars.” Trump has never fully elaborated on how he would do this, save for forcing Zelensky to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but recent reports by Bloomberg and the Washington Post suggest that he would leverage the US’ massive military assistance to Kiev to pressure Zelensky into accepting the loss of some of Ukraine’s pre-conflict territory. However, Trump’s rhetoric on Russia has toughened in recent months, with the former president telling donors last week that he “would have bombed” Moscow when Russia’s military operation began in 2022. Trump did not lobby his Congressional allies to block a $61 billion aid package for Kiev in April, and said at the time that he would support lending, rather than gifting, money to Zelensky in future.

Read more …

“..you ate up every piece of propaganda, repeated all of it without any thought to whether it was true or not..”

Dave Smith Burns Chris Cuomo To The Ground In Epic Covid Debate (ZH)

For the legions of us who still carry righteous rage about the tyrannical and destructive Covid-19 regime, the planets aligned on Friday and gave us the enormous, vicarious pleasure of watching one of libertarianism’s most articulate voices repeatedly pummel one of the most visible villains of that dark era. In a debate hosted by Patrick Bet-David of PBD Podcast fame, “Part of the Problem” podcaster and comedian Dave Smith took on former CNN anchor and Covid regime propagandist Chris Cuomo. From lockdowns to masks, vaccines, Ivermectin and the vilification of resisters, the debate covered a lot of ground, with Smith dropping one laser-guided bomb after another on Cuomo.

Let’s dive right into the highlights…First, Smith opened the debate with a gentlemanly gesture, giving Cuomo a copy of the Tom Woods book, “Diary of a Psychosis: How Public Health Disgraced Itself During Covid Mania.” Tongue in cheek, he said, “I know you like following the science, and there’s a whole lot of science in that book.” Before the next clip, recall that, in an infamous segment on CNN, Cuomo and Don Lemon smugly battered Joe Rogan and others who used Ivermectin to battle Covid. Despite the fact that Ivermectin has been used since 1975 with great success against a wide variety of human maladies, Cuomo and Lemon ran hard with the regime narrative that referred to the wonder drug solely as a veterinary de-wormer.

Earlier this month, Cuomo revealed to Bet-David that he’s now himself taking a “regular dose of Ivermectin” for purported long Covid. However, In this jaw-dropping sequence, Cuomo stunned anyone with a memory of his exchange with Lemon by saying, “I don’t like what people did to Joe Rogan about Ivermectin.” A stunned Smith replied, “YOU did it!” Cuomo denied it and challenged Smith to “find the clips.” The PBD crew obliged, promptly rolling the damning video: Smith condemned Cuomo for failing to do his job, which was to “be skeptical of power and to shine a light against the propaganda…you ate up every piece of propaganda, repeated all of it without any thought to whether it was true or not, and then smeared millions of Americans like myself who were opposed to this stuff.” Cuomo said Smith was guilty of using “hyperbole” in referring to the Covid regime as “totalitarian.” An unwavering Smith had a pointed and compelling response: Smith elaborated, explaining why “it was completely criminal for all of these governments to lock down”…

Asked whether lockdowns were a net benefit — or instead erred on the side of catastrophe — Cuomo drew audience laughter when he said, “The people I talked to — who made these decisions — stand by them.” Smith quipped, “I’m sure Dick Cheney stands by the war in Iraq too!” Smith grew indignant when Cuomo suggested that Smith’s focus was on drawing attention to himself — to the detriment of society. Smith countered: “You’re attacking my motives…meanwhile, when those CNN checks were coming in, you said nothing that would have put them in jeopardy, but now that you’re here, you’re starting to tell a little bit of the truth.”

[..] Alas, amid the joy of Smith’s outstanding performance, there was a wistful element too, as many who’d hoped Smith would carry the flag of liberty as the 2024 Libertarian Party presidential candidate were reminded of what a remarkable champion he would have been — in stark contrast to the leftist, open-borders, drag-queen-promoting, kid-transing doozie the party ended up with. That said, far be it from us to end a feel-good story on a down note. Our highlight reel just scratched the surface: If you’re looking for weekend entertainment, here’s the entire debate, which also covers much more Covid ground, Trump’s trumped-up conviction and a lot more:

Dave Smith CNN
https://twitter.com/i/status/1796766419709022460

Read more …

“We certainly can’t support the election of a person to the position of NATO’s secretary general, who previously wanted to force Hungary on its knees..”

Mark Rutte, The Dutch Invader, Is Sinking In The Hungarian Goulash (Helmer)

The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte was the first leader of a NATO state to try to send his soldiers on to the Ukrainian battlefield to fight Russian forces directly. That was in July 2014, in the aftermath of the Ukrainian shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. That Rutte scheme failed after it was vetoed by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel; she insisted on more time to prepare the NATO forces in the Ukraine to fight Russia. Now that they are, Rutte is the US candidate to become the new secretary-general of NATO. For the first time, however, his appointment is being vetoed by a NATO member, Hungary, which has proposed an alternative candidate – the ethnic German Klaus Iohannis, who is President of Romania. Because NATO rules require unanimity on the secretary-general, the Hungarian objection puts the Rutte nomination in the soup — make that goulash.

Rutte’s plan to deploy up to 9,000 troops in the Donbass had been devised in the summer of 2014 with two other Dutchmen – David Petraeus, who is also a US national, a US Army general, and former CIA director; and Sandra Roelofs, a Dutch national who held Georgian citizenship because she was married to Mikheil Saakashvili, onetime President of Georgia. Their cover story was that the NATO military intervention force was required to recover the black boxes of the downed MH17 aircraft and the bodies of the passengers, most of them Dutch. Every one of Rutte’s attempts to go to war with Russia has ended in exposure of his personal lying; the collapse of the Dutch-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW); and the loss of almost €30 billion in bilateral trade – oil and petroleum products from Russia; Dutch pharmaceuticals, medical technology, financial services, cut flowers, seeds and plants.

None of these losses has had material or political impact on the domestic Dutch constituencies or the Dutch media, which have accepted the state propaganda line, and in the case of the Dutch media owner, Derk Sauer, the money to keep repeating it. The book documenting the collaboration of Rutte and his officials in fabricating the narrative of Russian culpability in the MH17 crash, concealing the role of Kiev president Petro Poroshenko, and manipulating the evidence at The Hague District Court show trial, can be read here. Defeated at the Dutch parliamentary election last November, Rutte has been replaced as prime minister by a coalition of parties led by Geert Wilders, who agreed this week to Hendrikus (“Dick”) Schoof as prime minister. Schoof is a Dutch deep-stater and career liar who was promoted by the MH17 affair into the Dutch equivalent of the FBI, and then into the top job of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security.

According to a veteran Dutch political analyst, “the nomination of Dick Schoof is a terrible fact. He is the head of the secret services responsible for NATO agitprop on MH17, on OPCW, on the so-called Covid protective measures. Also, he was responsible for the protection of Geert Wilders [from Islamic attacks]. In a way Wilders has been his prisoner – Schoof has been the jailer who has held the keys to Wilders’s physical survival. Schoof has also been protecting Rutte from personal scandal. He’s the J.Edgar Hoover type of secret policeman.” The Russian reaction to Rutte’s nomination for the NATO post was muted until the Hungarian government announced that it is opting out of NATO operations, financial support and arms supplies to the Ukraine war; and that it will not accept Rutte at NATO. “We certainly can’t support the election of a person to the position of NATO’s secretary general, who previously wanted to force Hungary on its knees,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó said several weeks ago.

Read more …

“I’m saying this slowly so that Brussels would understand: we will not go to war. We will not go to the East for a third time, we will not go to the Russian front again.”

Huge Anti-War Rally In Budapest, Hungary (RT)

Hundreds of thousands participated in a peace march in Hungary’s capital, Budapest on Saturday, denouncing the EU’s policy of escalating tensions with Russia. The event culminated with a speech by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who accused Brussels of bringing Europe closer to a global conflict. The demonstrators marched from the iconic Chain Bridge to Margaret Island on the Danube River. Many carried flags, chanted pacifist slogans, and held signs reading “No war” and “Give us peace, Lord.” “Never before have so many people lined up for peace. We are the biggest peace corps, the largest peacekeeping force in Europe,” the prime minister said, as quoted by Reuters. “Europe must be prevented from rushing into war, into its own destruction.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1796910522383704217

Orban said his country must draw lessons from the devastation it went through the darkest times of the 20th century. “In the two world wars, the Hungarians lost 1.5 million lives, and with them – their future children and grandchildren,” he told the crowd. “I’m saying this slowly so that Brussels would understand: we will not go to war. We will not go to the East for a third time, we will not go to the Russian front again.” Orban urged everyone to support the “pro-peace and pro-sovereignty” agenda of the ruling Fidesz party in the European Parliament election next week. “Do we want to shed Hungarian blood for Ukraine? No, we don’t,” he said. The pro-war [forces] have gone beyond common sense by wanting to defeat Russia as they tried to do during the First World War and the Second World war.

Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, Orban has repeatedly accused the EU leadership in Brussels of dangerous brinkmanship with Moscow and warned that the bloc must not allow itself to be dragged into a full-blown war. Budapest has refused to provide any military aid to Ukraine and threatened to veto financial assistance to Kiev. Orban heavily criticized the economic sanctions imposed on Moscow by the EU, arguing that the bloc had “shot itself in the lungs” by undermining trade and its own energy supply.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Moore Peterson

 

 

Oxdog
https://twitter.com/i/status/1796805027706621955

 

 

Giraffes
https://twitter.com/i/status/1796194713969537066

 

 

Thank you
https://twitter.com/i/status/1796891909656310164

 

 

Happiness

 

 

Fishing net

 

 

Emmanuel
https://twitter.com/i/status/1796791908389323179

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 102024
 


Carl Spitzweg The raven 1845

 

Jack Smith Has Few Options in Trump Case, Say Former Prosecutors (ET)
Trump Announces ‘Major Motion’ Filed in New York Appeals Court (ET)
Democrats Attack Judge for Delaying Trump Florida Trial (Turley)
Putin Doesn’t Bluff (Jim Rickards)
US Defenseless Against Russian Hypersonic Missiles, Iranian Drones – DoD (Sp.)
Boeing’s Setbacks Show Why US Industries Lose Competitive Edge (Sp.)
Aging US Fleet and Drained Stockpiles No Match for China and Russia (Sp.)
Biden Denies Economic Reality In Car Crash CNN Interview (MN)
Tucker Carlson Interviews Biden Accuser Tara Reade (RT)
Whole West Is Working To Supply Ukraine – Putin (RT)
West ‘Trying To Distort’ History Of WWII – Putin (RT)

 

 

 

 

Fani more

 

 

Larry Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evidence tampering. Throw out the whole case. Not salvageable.

Jack Smith Has Few Options in Trump Case, Say Former Prosecutors (ET)

A federal judge’s ruling this week that postponed former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case represents a significant legal win for the former president, legal analysts say. A former federal prosecutor, Renato Mariotti, wrote that there is virtually “nothing” special counsel Jack Smith can do to speed the process up. “Realistically there is nothing Jack Smith can do to move the Mar-a-Lago case forward to trial before the election. Judges have extremely broad discretion over their trial calendar, which is what gives Judge Cannon the ability to avoid setting a trial date at this time,” Mr. Mariotti wrote on social media. Another former federal prosecutor, Brandon Van Grack, wrote that Mr. Smith’s team will have “a bumpy ride” ahead of them because of Judge Cannon’s “numerous other scheduled hearings on pretrial motions” from President Trump and two co-defendants, which he indicates that Judge Cannon believes “have merit.”

Harry P. Litman, a law professor and a former U.S. attorney, echoed those claims, saying that the case is now in a “deep freeze” after the latest order. Meanwhile, multiple television legal analysts claimed that with her latest order, Judge Cannon is intentionally trying to delay the case. The Epoch Times contacted the court for comment. “This is news but it’s hardly unexpected. Judge Cannon seems desperate to avoid trying this case. This isn’t justice. defendants aren’t the only ones with speedy trial act rights, we the people have them too,” wrote former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, who currently works for MSNBC, on Tuesday afternoon. But Tim Fitton, the head of the Judicial Watch legal group, wrote that complaints about Judge Cannon’s decisions are unwarranted, arguing that such a timeline “is normal and not surprising.”

“But the Left’s election riggers and civil rights abusers believe that Trump has no rights and will attack Judge Cannon for proceeding normally in this case and for not violating Trump’s constitutional rights,” he wrote on X, formerly known Twitter. In that post, he pointed out that Mr. Smith’s team last week submitted court papers to Judge Cannon essentially saying that his team misled the court because the contents of a box of documents were re-arranged. Prosecutors did not disclose the exact reason why the materials may have been shifted. “There are some boxes where the order of items within that box is not the same as in the associated scans,” Mr. Smith’s team wrote, adding that the update contrasts with what they told the judge several weeks ago during a hearing.

The boxes in question have “items smaller than standard paper such as index cards, books, and stationary, which shift easily when the boxes are carried, especially because many of the boxes are not full,” they added. After the disclosure, President Trump wrote his Truth Social platform that he believes Mr. Smith should be arrested before calling for the case to be immediately dropped.

Read more …

“‘I’ve been doing this for 60 years, and I don’t understand what crime he’s been charged with. Nobody understands this. I just don’t get the crime. There’s no evidence of any crime whatsoever..”

Trump Announces ‘Major Motion’ Filed in New York Appeals Court (ET)

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday confirmed that his lawyers asked a New York state appellate court to issue a ruling on a judge’s gag order that prohibits him from speaking about certain individuals connected to his ongoing trial. His team filed a motion on Wednesday, which has been sealed and is inaccessible, according to the court docket. The Manhattan district attorney’s office filed a response to the motion, but it was also sealed. While speaking with reporters outside the courthouse on Thursday morning, President Trump confirmed the move. Anonymously sourced reports published Wednesday said that it was a motion to expedite the ruling. “I just want to let you know that we’ve just filed a major motion in the appellate division concerning the absolutely unconstitutional gag order, where I’m essentially not allowed to talk to you about anything meaningful that’s going on in the case. And many good things are going on with the case. It shouldn’t have been filed,” he said. During his comments to reporters, he did not go into specifics about the motion.

The former president is under a gag order that prohibits him from making public statements about potential witnesses, court staff, prosecutors’ staff, or family members. Judge Juan Merchan, who issued the order and later expanded it, ruled that President Trump violated his directive 10 times before threatening to jail the former president if he makes future comments that he believes violate that order. Previously, the New York Court of Appeals rejected the former president’s bid to pause the trial while he battles the gag order. They also rejected an attempt to pause the enforcement of the order, which was issued in March after prosecutors requested it. His lawyers have argued that the gag order violates the former president’s First Amendment right to free speech, noting that he is currently the leading Republican presidential candidate. But earlier this week, Judge Merchan fined the former president for a 10th time for an April remark that he made to a media outlet about the Manhattan jury pool, which he said was “95 percent” Democratic.

The judge then said that a $1,000 fine isn’t enough and that he might have to jail the former president, although he did not go into specifics about how that would look like. “Your continued willful violations of this court’s orders threaten to interfere with the … administration of justice,” Judge Merchan said before issuing a warning about possible jail time. The former president, in response, criticized the judge and wrote on Truth Social that he is now not allowed to respond publicly to “lies and false statements” made about him during the New York trial. It came after witness Stormy Daniels made salacious allegations about President Trump during her first trial appearance, which President Trump has denied. According to emails reviewed by The Epoch Times, the Trump campaign also used the judge’s threat as a means to fundraise for his presidential campaign. “The liberal judge in New York just threatened to THROW ME IN JAIL,” read one of the emails, adding that they want him “in HANDCUFFS.”

During his remarks to reporters on Thursday, the former president also quoted multiple legal analysts’ commentary on the case to say that it should never have been brought against him. Those analysts, which President Trump read aloud from a piece of paper, stated prosecutors revived the case after more than seven years in a politicized attempt to harm his 2024 reelection campaign. “‘I’ve been doing this for 60 years, and I don’t understand what crime he’s been charged with. Nobody understands this. I just don’t get the crime. There’s no evidence of any crime whatsoever. This is a sham,’” President Trump said, quoting retired Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz. The trial is expected to last another two weeks. On Thursday, Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, again took the witness stand and was grilled by defense attorneys about whether she was using her allegations against President Trump to make money for herself and bolster her name recognition.

President Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Ms. Daniels for her silence ahead of the 2016 election about the alleged encounter. President Trump has pleaded not guilty and denies Ms. Daniels’ claims. The case is seen by some as the least consequential of the four criminal prosecutions President Trump faces. But the chances of the other three, going to trial before the election are growing more distant. He has pleaded not guilty in all the cases. The former president’s cases in Georgia and Washington were paused by the respective judges overseeing them. Meanwhile, in a major legal win, a Florida federal judge suspended his classified documents case indefinitely after prosecutors revealed that the contents of an evidence box were inexplicably rearranged.

Read more …

” this is a case where justice delayed is justice.”

Democrats Attack Judge for Delaying Trump Florida Trial (Turley)

While pundits, politicians and the press have long expressed outrage over attacks on judges by former President Donald Trump, many are now attacking any judge who delays any trial of Trump before the election. Democrats have accused Judge Aileen Cannon of being politically compromised, if not conspiratorial, in her delay of the Florida trial over the mishandling of classified documents. Yet, there is ample reason for the delay that many of us anticipated in this type of case when it was filed. For months, many of us have said that we doubt that this type of trial could be held on the rapid schedule demanded by Special Counsel Jake Smith. Smith has repeatedly sought to curtail trial review and even appellate rights of Trump to advance his schedule. His office has made convicting Trump before the election the overriding objective of its motion — a sharp departure from past Justice Department efforts to avoid trials to influence elections.

As a criminal defense counsel, I have handled classified material cases and they are notoriously slow. Smith could have prosecuted this case in the shorter time frame if he simply charge obstruction. That would have also eliminated the glaring contrast with the handling of the Biden investigation into the current president’s retention and mishandling of classified material. Smith decided to charge an array of document charges related to classified material. The defense must have access, review, and can appeal issue related to the classified procedures. Yet, Smith wanted both the array of document charges and a fast track to trial. The Supreme Court has agreed with Cannon that Smith desire to secure a conviction before the election is not the overriding consideration. Judge Cannon is faced with recent admissions that the government mixed up files in the boxes and staged the famous photos of document strewn over a floor with classified jackets. Most importantly, disputes over the relevant documents continue as expected in the case. Nevertheless, leading democrats are denouncing Cannon as a partisan hack.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on federal courts and oversight subcommittee, said accused Cannon of “deliberately slow-walking the case.” Ignoring the fact that similar cases have taken much longer to go to trial, Whitehouse simply declared “it is hard for me not to reach the conclusion that this [judge] is deliberately slow-walking the case to put it into a position where should [Trump] be elected, he can order that the investigation and prosecution be terminated.” His colleague Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) insisted that Cannon was “managing this case in a way that is making it highly unlikely that it will be resolved in a timely fashion.” Coons added “Justice deferred is often justice denied.” It is a bizarre statement. Classified documents cases routinely take longer to go to trial. The alternative is to cut off the ability of the defense to fully review the documents and review objections for resolution before trial. Yet, because the defendant is Trump and these Democrats want the trial to influence the election, such defense protections are now evidence of judicial bias.

They, of course, ignore that Cannon has ruled repeatedly against major Trump motions in the case. Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said Cannon’s “at it again, doing everything she can to delay.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), offered the most telling line. He said “I question whether this judge understands the magnitude or the legal import of this trial.”Indeed, it is the timing as much as the charges that makes this so important to the Justice Department and the Democrats. Smith has crafted this case to impact the election and the failure of the court to support that effort is apparently grounds for recusal. Blumenthal called for such a motion before the window is lost before the election: “It’s a classic dilemma for justice that a particular judicial officer may be conducting a trial that could be better done by somebody else.” Despite the statement of his colleague Coons, this is a case where justice delayed is justice.

Read more …

“You may assume that Houthi rebels in Yemen want to avoid attacks by the U.S., but they don’t care — they live in caves anyway, so you can’t bomb them into the Stone Age because they’re already there//”

Putin Doesn’t Bluff (Jim Rickards)

One of the persistent problems in intelligence analysis is what experts call “mirror imaging.” This is jargon for an analytic flaw in which the analyst assumes that his beliefs and preferences are shared by an adversary. Instead of looking at the adversary as he actually is, the analyst is looking in a mirror while assuming he is looking at the adversary. This is an extremely dangerous flaw. You may be rational, but the mullahs who rule Iran are not. You may believe that leaders want economic growth, but Communist Chinese leaders elevate the party over all other considerations including the well-being of their people. You may assume that Houthi rebels in Yemen want to avoid attacks by the U.S., but they don’t care — they live in caves anyway, so you can’t bomb them into the Stone Age because they’re already there. Nowhere is this flaw more apparent today than in the U.S. intelligence analysis of Vladimir Putin.

In 2008, President Bush said that Ukraine and Georgia should join NATO. A few months later, Putin invaded Georgia, annexed part of its territory and destroyed Georgia’s chances of joining NATO. In 2014, the U.S. backed a coup d’état in Ukraine that deposed a duly elected leader. Three months later, Putin annexed Crimea from Ukraine and made it part of the Russian Federation. In 2021, NATO began formal processes to admit Ukraine as a member. In February 2022, Russia began a special military operation that’s resulted in 500,000 dead Ukrainian soldiers. Some estimates are even higher. Ukraine’s chances of joining NATO are now zero. In every case, U.S. analysts did not believe Putin would take the steps he did because they thought it might somehow weaken Putin or Russia. That’s mirror imaging at its worst. The truth is Putin doesn’t bluff. When he says he will do something, he does. When he says he will react to some Western act, the reaction takes place.

Putin said if the West steals Russian assets, Russia will retaliate by seizing billions of dollars of direct foreign investment in Russia owned by major European companies such as Siemens, Total, BP and others. And sure enough, just days after Biden signed legislation to authorize the theft of Russian assets, a Russian court ordered $440 million be seized from JPMorgan. The escalation in the asset seizure war has begun. Putin will win in the end. Unfortunately, escalation is also increasing on the geopolitical front. The U.S. and some of its European allies are becoming increasingly desperate about Ukraine’s ability to hold off Russia on the battlefield. The recent $61 billion aid package for Ukraine (about two-thirds of which will go to U.S. defense companies) won’t be nearly enough to reverse the tide. The U.S. and its NATO allies have already given just about all they can afford to give Ukraine without jeopardizing their own security. The problem isn’t a lack of money but a lack of weapons and ammunition. Before the aid package was approved, critics complained that Ukraine was losing because the U.S. was withholding desperately needed materiel. But that’s not really true.

The Europeans could have simply bought the weapons from the U.S. and delivered them to Ukraine. They didn’t. Why? Because the weapons simply weren’t there. Yes, there will always be a supply of weapons flowing to Ukraine — they’re not going to run out completely. But Ukraine won’t have nearly enough weapons and ammunition to undertake meaningful offensive operations against the Russians. They’ll just have enough to keep them in the fight, which is the goal of NATO. Unfortunately for Ukraine, the problems run much deeper than a lack of equipment. They’re also running out of trained manpower. Former commander Valeriy Zaluzhny has suggested Ukraine needs an extra 500,000 troops. But they’re having trouble finding new volunteers. An estimated 650,000 fighting age men have fled Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Russian army is even larger than it was before the invasion, and Russian industry is churning out weapons and ammunition at astonishing rates.

Read more …

“..could we knock down 99 percent of those missiles coming in?”

US Defenseless Against Russian Hypersonic Missiles, Iranian Drones – DoD (Sp.)

The crisis in Ukraine and escalating tensions in the Middle East have demonstrated that the US’ $886 billion defense budget has not translated into real-world capabilities on the ground. Now, an explosive verbal exchange on Capitol Hill has revealed that North America’s skies are defenseless against not only Russian, but even Iranian missiles. An otherwise boring and formulaic briefing by senior Pentagon officials to lawmakers from the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces went off the rails on Wednesday after subcommittee Chairman Angus King took the floor and forced Department of Defense officials to reveal that North America is helpless against adversaries it has spent years agitating around the world. “The truth is we have no defense for hypersonic missiles – yes or no? Mr. Hill, any defense on the hypersonic missile?

You’re the commander of an aircraft carrier in the Greenland Gap. If we have a hypersonic missile launched from Murmansk [traveling at] 6,000 miles an hour, what do you do?” King asked, querying Deputy Secretary of Defense for Space and Missile Defense John Hill. “We have some systems to defend in the terminal stage but we need more, you’re correct, Senator King… that our hypersonic defenses are inadequate and we do need [more]. SM-6 is in the Navy’s terminal range [capability], the Patriot – I’ll let General Gainey speak to the specifics on that. Those are examples but no argument, we need to focus on hypersonic defenses,” Hill responded. “So why are we talking about 2029 and even stretching that out? This is next year kind of stuff. I don’t get your budget,” King countered, referencing the lack of focus on anti-hypersonic capabilities in current US defense spending plans.

“What we faced in the budget this year – it was a difficult year, particularly with the Fiscal Responsibility Act caps that we had to work with. There were must-pay bills that we had to work with for the personnel, the salaries, the health care, inflation costs. When you get down to the point of where you get down to the discretionary types of things where you can really control your choices,” Hill said. “But that’s your mission – your mission is missile defense,” King retorted. “The budget decisions are made at a higher level and so you’re trading off between readiness or your future investments,” Hill said. “Well let me put the question another way: let’s say what happened on April 14 [Iran’s retaliatory missile and drone attack on Israel, ed.] happened over the Arctic Ocean – 300 missiles, drones, UAVs came across the Arctic Ocean toward Canada and North America. Could we do what Israel and we and other countries did – could we knock down 99 percent of those missiles coming in?” King asked. “No chairman,” Air Force General Gregory Guillot, commander of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), responded.

Read more …

One major accident away from bankruptcy.

Boeing’s Setbacks Show Why US Industries Lose Competitive Edge (Sp.)

Boeing’s problems keep piling up. The company faces a new inquiry over B787 Dreamliner safety inspections and is feeling the blowback from sanctions on Russia. Passengers and crew members have been evacuated from a Corendon Airlines Boeing 737-800 after one of the plane’s tyres burst during landing in Turkey. The accident occurred on Thursday at Gazipasa, an airport near the Turkish town of Alanya. It was the third serious incident involving one of the aviation giant’s aircraft in just two days, the Daily Mail noted. Bad news has dogged Boeing for the past few years, undermining its profits and driving down its share price. Earlier this week, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) opened a new probe into whether the Seattle-based corporation broke rules during inspections of its long-haul B787 Dreamliner passenger jet, and whether its employees falsified aircraft records.

The FAA announced last month that Boeing had “voluntarily” revealed that some of its employees had not performed required tests to confirm adequate bonding and grounding of the fasteners connecting the wings to the fuselage, and had then falsely reported the checks had been completed. Quoting a source familiar with the issue, CBS News said as many as 450 aircraft could be affected, including around 60 airframes still on the production line. According to the FAA, the aircraft still in Boeing’s possession are undergoing re-inspection, while the company maintains that the reported “misconduct” would not pose an “immediate safety-of-flight issue.” The FAA’s latest inquiry comes on the heels of a US Congressional investigation into the safety culture and manufacturing standards at Boeing. Sam Salehpour, a Boeing quality engineer, told Congress last month that the industrial giant was cutting corners to speed up production — which is fraught with acute safety risks.

The whistle-blower also complained that Boeing employees raising red flags over quality issues were “ignored, marginalized, threatened, sidelined and worse.” He told Congress that he was afraid of being subjected to “physical violence” after exposing the aerospace corporation’s flaws Two other Boeing whistleblowers, Joshua Dean, former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, and John “Mitch” Barnett, a former Boeing employee, passed away in May and March, respectively. Dean died after a short illness, while Barnett was found dead in an apparent suicide. Barnett and Dean both raised the alarm over manufacturing defects in Boeing’s 737 Max and other planes, after a series of crashes involving the aircraft. In January, all 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes were temporarily grounded by the FAA after a door panel blew out on an Alaska Airlines flight. The same month, an oxygen leak was discovered on board a Boeing 737. Remarkably, the aircraft was scheduled to carry US Secretary of State Antony Blinken from the Davos World Economic Forum.

At least ten more whistle-blowers, including former and current employees, are ready to testify against the aerospace company, the Independent reported, quoting lawyers for both Dean and Barnett. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Boeing is facing a new problem stemming from anti-Russia sanctions, imposed by the US over Moscow’s special operation in Ukraine. As a result, the industrial giant cannot deliver enough B787 Dreamliners. According to the WSJ, the trouble was caused by a lack of heat exchangers – temperature-regulating parts for the B787 – which were previously produced in Russia. Even though the production was shifted to the US and the UK, new factories have proven incapable of keeping up with demand.

Boeing’s inability to obtain enough heat exchangers disrupted the pace of Dreamliner manufacturing. The company was forced to warn investors that it will not deliver as many planes as anticipated this year. American Airlines blamed Dreamliner delays for its decision to suspend some international and long-haul flights this year and next. Boeing also severed ties with a major Russian titanium supplier and halted selling spare parts and maintenance services to Russian airlines that operate its passenger planes. The WSJ admitted that US anti-Russia sanctions significantly backfired on Boeing and jet manufacturing in general, naming Russia “a big player in the global aerospace supply chain.”

Read more …

China possesses approximately 370 warships, compared to the US fleet of 291 vessels. In 2023, China added 30 ships to its fleet [..] the US built only two warships last year..”

Aging US Fleet and Drained Stockpiles No Match for China and Russia (Sp.)

The US Navy faces delays in vessel repairs and a sluggish pace in construction of new warships. The crisis was reported by the US Naval Institute (USNI) and the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), according to Asia Times. Diana Maurer, Director of Defense Capabilities and Management at the Government Accountability Office, testified to the Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee on May 1. She revealed that fewer than 40 percent of US Navy ships had completed repairs on time, despite available space in shipyards. According to the GAO, “the Navy has not developed a full cost and schedule estimate for its Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) – an effort to improve its dry docks, facilities, and equipment – and reports that it will not be able to do so until Fiscal Year 2025.” Maurer signaled that shipyard conditions are second only to F-35 Lightning II sustainment costs, raising the alarm over the Navy’s readiness.

In his own congressional testimony, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral James Kilby acknowledged that issues related to “ship production and repair” rank among the top challenges confronting the US Navy today. The US Navy’s ship design practices are largely outdated, which contributes to the slower pace, less predictable costs and performance outcomes of warship construction when compared to commercial shipbuilding. According to GAO, the Navy has been slow to embrace new design tools such as 3-D modeling and digital twinning, and still provides its contractors with 2D design data for legacy ship classes. Shipbuilders also complain that the Navy is usually slow to provide vendor-furnished information (VFI) – the documents that shipyards need as input to engineering and design products – to feed digital models. The Navy’s contractors want clearer technical tasks as well as funding for acquiring and implementing new digital tools.

The issue has been raised amid the US growing competition with China and the Biden administration’s saber-rattling over the island of Taiwan and the South China Sea. At the Senate panel’s hearing, Republican Senator Dan Sullivan from Alaska lamented that the building of new submarines and surface warships in the US is well below the pace set by China. Last July, a leaked US Navy intelligence briefing slide published by The War Zone revealed that China’s shipbuilding capacity is 232 times greater than that of the US. While the People’s Republic’s shipyards have a capacity of over 23.2 million tons, the US capacity is less than 100,000 tons according to the leaked presentation, which was confirmed as authentic in September 2023 by a US Navy spokesperson.

The US Naval Institute admitted in 2021 that China already boasted the world’s largest navy, while in February 2024, US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) commander Admiral Samuel Paparo warned that Beijing was winning the shipbuilding numbers game. According to Congress, China possesses approximately 370 warships, compared to the US fleet of 291 vessels. In 2023, China added 30 ships to its fleet, 15 of which were large surface combatants including cruisers, destroyers. and an additional aircraft carrier. By contrast, the US built only two warships last year.

Read more …

“..claiming that inflation was 9 percent when he came into office, when in reality it was 1.4 percent..”

Biden Denies Economic Reality In Car Crash CNN Interview (MN)

During a brutal CNN interview aired Wednesday, Joe Biden looked shocked when host Erin Burnett reeled off a list of stats detailing how bad the economy is. Instead of suggesting how he is going to improve the situation, Biden denied any of it was real and claimed every poll showing Americans favouring Trump on the economy is wrong. “Voters, by a wide margin, trust Trump more on the economy,” Burnett noted, before listing possible reasons for that including the cost of buying a home having doubled, real income accounting for inflation being down, economic growth being way short of expectations and consumer confidence being near a two year low. “Are you worried that you’re running out of time to turn [the economy] around?” Burnett asked Biden. “We’ve already turned it around,” Biden bizarrely claimed, before adding that “the polling data has been wrong all along.”

When Burnett pointed out that Grocery prices are up almost a third, Biden shrugged it off and claimed Americans “have the money to spend.”

He repeated the tired lie about creating millions of jobs that everyone knows is complete rubbish because he’s including jobs that were reinstated from the pandemic:

Biden also told an absolute whopper, claiming that inflation was 9 percent when he came into office, when in reality it was 1.4 percent. After Biden took office, inflation surged to rates unseen since the early 1980s, peaking at an annual rate of 9.1 percent in June 2022, a full 17 months after he took office. Yet, he is claiming it was ALREADY at 9 percent. Since Biden took office, the average prices of goods and services have increased 19 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. By comparison, during Trump’s four years in office, prices increased by 8 percent, or roughly 2 percent per year, which is the normal annual rate of inflation.

Read more …

Good thing he went to see her.

Tucker Carlson Interviews Biden Accuser Tara Reade (RT)

American journalist Tucker Carlson has released a 22-minute interview with RT contributor and former US Senate aide Tara Reade, who rose to prominence after accusing Joe Biden of having sexually assaulted her back in 1993. The interview was recorded in Moscow, where Reade moved last year due to concerns for her safety in the US. In 2020, at the height of the US presidential election campaign, Reade publicly accused Biden of having subjected her to a “violent sexual assault” on the Capitol grounds in 1993. She was working on the Democratic senator’s team at the time. In a 2021 interview, President Biden said the incident “never happened.” In her interview with Carlson, Reade recounted how the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI had “harassed” her, claiming that she had even received “death threats. According to the former aide, US authorities built a case against her after accessing her email and social media accounts.

She added that, while the FBI and the DOJ had come close to indicting her, they wouldn’t disclose what her supposed crime was as the whole case was “sealed.” Reade suggested that the real reason behind the legal proceedings was her failure to ‘shut up’ about the sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by Biden. She claimed that the mainstream US media had lapped up “innuendos” about her, with most outlets working as “proxies of the US government.” Reade added that, in addition to her sexual harassment allegations against Biden, her recent criticism regarding the state of the US economy as well as the “proxy war against Russia via Ukraine” had made US authorities view her as a “traitor.” She said this was all the more “heartbreaking” because she had spent years working for the Democratic Party, and “believed in it wholeheartedly.” “I’ve never committed a crime. I’m not a traitor. I’m not a spy,” she told Carlson.

Tara Reade

Read more …

Who is the weak link?

Whole West Is Working To Supply Ukraine – Putin (RT)

The collective West has been working tirelessly to arm Ukraine against Russia, seeking to destroy it in its present form throughout the conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. He made the remarks while hosting a group of military commanders in the Kremlin who have distinguished themselves in the special operation against Ukraine. The meeting took place on Tuesday after Putin’s inauguration for his fifth term in office, but was released only on Thursday amid Victory Day celebrations. “We know, and you know this better than anyone else, the enemy has enough modern tools, since the entire Western community is working for our enemy, dreaming about Russia ceasing to exist in its current form,” Putin stated.

The collective West itself has created a “system of confrontation,” believing Russia to be a “weak link” in it, the president explained. The conflict with Ukraine, however, has already proven that is not the case and the West was mistaken, Putin stated. “I am sure they are now convinced that this was far from the reality, and rather the opposite is true,” he said. Putin underscored the need to further develop military technologies and be “one step ahead” of the country’s adversaries in order to be “successful.” Among other things, Putin commended on the efforts of Russian civil society to actively support the country’s troops and supply the military with assorted additional tools, ranging from mask nettings to sophisticated drones.

“In our country, as we often say, the so-called people’s military industrial complex is growing now. To be honest, when I meet with those who are in one way or another involved in such activities, the combat work in the civilian sphere, I, frankly, am surprised myself,” Putin stated. In order to be truly effective, however, civilian crowdfunded projects still require the state’s involvement and support, the president said. “Of course, all this must be concentrated in a certain way, everything must be sorted into the right places in a certain way, and supported at the state level. That’s what we are doing,” Putin concluded.

Read more …

“..based on the desire to justify current followers of the Nazis..

West ‘Trying To Distort’ History Of WWII – Putin (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has used his address at the military parade in Moscow celebrating the 79th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany to accuse the West of “distorting the history” of the conflict. He also accused the US-led bloc of wielding “colonial policies” aimed at elevating a few nations by restraining the development of other sovereign states. According to Putin, Western nations “would like to forget the lessons of World War II.” “We see how they are trying to distort the truth about World War II – it interferes with those who are accustomed to building their essentially colonial policy on hypocrisy and lies. They demolish memorials to true fighters against Nazism and place traitors and Nazi collaborators on pedestals,” the president said. He called this revanchism policy a “mockery of history” based on the desire to justify current followers of the Nazis.

“These [actions] are part of the general policy of Western elites of inciting more and more regional conflicts, interethnic and interreligious hostility, and restraining the development of sovereign independent states,” Putin stated, noting that no country or military bloc has a right to do so, which World War II proved. We reject any state or alliance’s claims to exceptionalism. We know what the exorbitance of such ambitions leads to. This year’s Victory Day celebration is taking place amid a tense geopolitical situation due to the Ukraine conflict, in which most Western states have firmly taken Kiev’s side. Over the past two years, many Western leaders have been spreading what Moscow calls Russophobia, claiming that Russia may attack Europe if it secures victory in Ukraine. Putin emphasized that while Russia would do everything possible to prevent a global conflict, it will not allow anyone to threaten its own safety and sovereignty.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Eva

 

 

17 million

 

 

1000s

 

 

Feather star
https://twitter.com/i/status/1788199677097091323

 

 

Bees

 

 

Break
https://twitter.com/i/status/1788300348085407848

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 212024
 
 April 21, 2024  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  37 Responses »


Andrew Wyeth Christina’s world 1948

 

House Passes $95 Billion Aid Package For Ukraine, Israel And Taiwan (ZH)
American Aid ‘Keeps History On Right Track’ – Zelensky (RT)
Who Gets What From Congress’ $61 Bln Bag of Goodies? (Sp.)
David Sacks Warns Ukraine Will ‘Collapse Anyway,’ Despite Aid Bill (Sp.)
US Aid Bill ‘Insufficient’ for Ukraine’s Needs, Bolsters US Military (Sp.)
US Lawmakers Approve More Government Spying (RT)
US Confiscation of Russian Assets Will ‘Supercharge’ De-Dollarization
$500 Russian Drones Destroying $10,000,000 American Tanks – NYT (RT)
‘Pariah’ Israel Dragging US ‘Into Garbage Bin of History’ (Sp.)
Trump Wants To ‘Kill His Opposition’ – Hillary Clinton (RT)
Texas Is a Fading Conservative State (Paul Craig Roberts)
A Collective “Common Enemy” Now Stalks Mankind (Karganovic)

 

 

24 hours without internet at home. A little bit of improvisation today.

 

 

 

 

Vivek Trump SS

 

 

Third eye

 

 

 

 

 

 

But not the border. Mike Johnson became speaker BECAUSE he said he’d protect the border.

House Passes $95 Billion Aid Package For Ukraine, Israel And Taiwan (ZH)

The House on Saturday passed a set of foreign aid bills that would send $61 billion to Ukraine, $26 billion to Israel, and $8 billion to the Indo-Pacific region. In total, the foreign assistance package totals $95 billion – which only passed after Speaker Mike Johnson cut a deal with Democrats in order to force it through by a vote of 311 to 112. The Senate is expected to pass the package, which was negotiated in conjunction with the White House, marking a victory against conservative lawmakers who insisted on protecting the US border before sending money abroad to protect those of other countries. “We cannot be afraid of our shadows. We must be strong. We have to do what’s right,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, said. Democrats and some Republicans waved Ukrainian flags during the vote, a rare moment of bipartisanship in a bitterly and narrowly divided House.

“Traditional House Republicans led by Speaker Mike Johnson have risen to the occasion,” House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said. “We have a responsibility to push back against authoritarianism.” -Bloomberg. Earlier in the day, the House passed an $8 billion aid package aimed at countering Chinese aggression towards Taiwan, as well as a bill that would force Chinese-controlled ByteDance Ltd to divest from TikTok or face a US ban. The bill also allows for the confiscation of Russian dollar assets in order to help fund more assistance to Ukraine. Breaking down the Ukraine aid – of the $61 billion, $13 billion will replenish US stockpiles of weapons, and $14 billion will go towards US defense systems for Ukraine. $7 billion will go toward US military operations in the region. We assume the remainder will go directly to Ukrainian oligarchs.

The Israel bill, which passed by a vote of 366 to 58, includes $4 billion for missile defense. Notably absent was so much as a dime for the US border… “Nothing is done to secure our border or reduce our debt,” said Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), whose outrage was shared with Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Paul Gosar of Arizona, who say they’re ready to boot Johnson from his Speakership. “Ukraine is not even a member of NATO,” Greene continued. Who would have known!

Read more …

The history of corruption, that is.

American Aid ‘Keeps History On Right Track’ – Zelensky (RT)

The decision by the US House of Representatives to allocate tens of billions of dollars to Kiev will bring Ukraine closer to a “just end” in its conflict with Russia, President Vladimir Zelensky wrote on X (formerly Twitter), thanking Speaker Mike Johnson for his support. The nearly $61 billion package approved on Saturday contains funding for the purchase of weapons and military equipment, as well direct financial assistance to Ukraine. Passed after months of delays and political wrangling, the bill next moves to the Senate, which already indicated in February that it will approve it.“I am grateful to the United States House of Representatives, both parties, and personally Speaker Mike Johnson for the decision that keeps history on the right track,” Zelensky wrote, suggesting that the aid will “keep the war from expanding,” and “save thousands and thousands of lives.”

“Just peace and security can only be attained through strength,” he wrote. Zelensky added that Ukraine “will undoubtedly use American assistance to strengthen both of our nations and bring a just end to this war closer.” Republican lawmakers had previously refused to back the bill, tying their approval to demands for better protection of the border with Mexico and a crackdown on illegal immigration. Kiev was forced to deal with increasing ammunition shortages after aid from the US – Ukraine’s biggest sponsor – began to dry up. Biden blamed Ukraine’s recent setbacks on the battlefield, including the loss of the strategic city of Avdeevka, on “congressional inaction.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Saturday’s vote “predictable,” adding that it will “further enrich the US and further ruin Ukraine,” and “cause more Ukrainians to die because of the Kiev regime.”

Read more …

“..very little change will be noted by those actually fightin..,”

Who Gets What From Congress’ $61 Bln Bag of Goodies? (Sp.)

The House approved nearly $100 billion in assistance to Washington’s overseas allies, partners and client states on Saturday, with supporters of the aid managing to overcome opposition after a six-month deadlock in the chamber. Nearly $61 billion of the $95 billion from the proposed funding package is committed to fueling the conflict in Ukraine (at least $23 billion of that to be spent replenishing depleted US weapons stocks). Over $26 billion in additional commitments are made to Israel (nearly eight times what Washington normally sends Tel Aviv’s way in a given year). $8.12 billion is committed to stirring up tensions with China in Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region more broadly. Passing the House, the aid package is now set to be voted on by the Senate, where leaders from both parties have been clamoring for months for the foreign assistance to be urgently passed. If it passes the Senate, the legislation will end up on President Biden’s desk for signature.

Supporters and opponents of the foreign aid package gave stirring speeches ahead of the Saturday’s House vote restating their positions. “I often say it’s never too late to do the right thing. But waiting to do the right thing comes at a cost,” Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer said. “We saw that cost in Israel this week as an emboldened Iran launched an unprecedented attack on our ally. For Ukraine the cost of our inaction is great if incalculable. It is measured in Ukrainian lives, towns and territory lost…Today we act. We act to make it clear to the world that America is still the defender of freedom, democracy and international law.” Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a staunch opponent of further US assistance to Ukraine, military or otherwise, proposed an amendment to slash support for Kiev to zero. “The United States taxpayer has already sent $113 billion to Ukraine, and a lot of that money is unaccounted for,” Greene said.

“The federal government continues to fund the military-industrial complex, and this is a business model that requires Congress to continue to vote for money to fund foreign wars. This is a business model that the American people do not support. They don’t support a business model built on blood and murder and war in foreign countries while this very government does nothing to secure our border. The American people are over $34 trillion in debt and the debt is rising by over $40 billion every single night while we all sleep. But yet nothing is done to secure our border or reduce our debt.” Pointing to polling indicating that a majority of Americans disapprove of new aid to Ukraine, Greene said Congress has chosen to vote to “protect Ukraine” instead of protecting “the American citizens that pay your paycheck.” “

Ukraine is not even a member of NATO. But the most important thing you hear in Washington, DC is that we have to send Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars over to Ukraine and keep the money going, to continue to murder Ukrainians, wipe out an entire generation of Ukrainian men…What kind of support is that? It’s repulsive,” the Georgia Republican said. The tens of billions of dollars in new US aid doled out via the legislation passed by the House Saturday may prolong the Ukrainian crisis, but won’t be able to secure a NATO victory in the proxy war against Russia, says former DoD senior security policy analyst Michael Maloof. “Now, the money that’s going to Ukraine for the most part will probably go to US defense contractors in various states, but to make newer equipment for our own stockpiles, which will then allow the US to unload older stuff for Ukraine,” Maloof told Sputnik.

“It’s not going to be enough for Ukraine to overcome its current geostrategic position at this point, simply because they don’t have a consistent ability to arm,” the observer added, pointing out that along with the weapons themselves is the ability to find the men to use them, something the Kiev regime is having increasingly severe difficulty doing as it is. “Other money to be provided to Ukraine is intended to pay government employees,” US Air Force Lt. Col. (ret.) Karen Kwiatkowski, a former DoD analyst, told Sputnik. “Thus presumably it will include meeting soldiers’ needs but it goes to Kiev bureaucrats first. Given how it will be allocated, very little change will be noted by those actually fighting,” Kwiatkowski believes, estimating that of the $61 billion allocated, $45 billion will remain in the US and $16 billion will be sent to Ukraine as so-called direct aid.

“Likely the $16 billion that makes it to Ukraine will be instantly absorbed to pay government bills rather than the war effort,” she said, pointing to Kiev’s massive budget deficit. “They have no means to undertake a counteroffensive, and just given the amounts of artillery that they burn through, what even the US is proposing probably wouldn’t last more than six months at best. And it’s undetermined what Europe is going to provide. So I think the Ukraine basically is over. It’s just a mop up [operation for] the Russians. And it’s just going to take time for that reality to sink in to Zelensky, who should begin considering getting out of there fast because I don’t think the country is going to politically last much longer,” Maloof said.

Read more …

“If you vote to send our money abroad while waving a foreign flag, you’ll be called an American patriot. If you vote to keep our money at home to fund domestic priorities like the border, you’ll be called a foreign agent.”

David Sacks Warns Ukraine Will ‘Collapse Anyway,’ Despite Aid Bill (Sp.)

Previously, the US billionaire investor David Sacks underscored the need to “cut a deal” and seek a detente with Russia to avoid a third world war. He told a gala for the Republican think-tank American Moment in Washington that US involvement in the ongoing proxy conflict in Ukraine was only prolonging the standoff. The collapse of Ukraine is inevitable, despite the US House of Representatives having passed a foreign aid package that includes $61 billion in aid for Kiev, American entrepreneur David Sacks wrote on the X social media platform. “These scenes of celebration are going to look particularly foolish when Ukraine collapses anyway. The federal government can print more money; it can’t just print more artillery shells and air defense missiles,” the investor wrote, reacting to the jubilant scene in the House, where some of the lawmakers were seen waving Ukrainian flags. He continued by saying, “And I should have added, they can’t print more soldiers.”

The post by Sacks was in reply to a similarly deprecatory one by GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who posted footage from the House after the bill was passed, commenting that, “they vote to send more of your hard-earned money to a corrupt foreign regime. And just like that they shout ‘UKRAINE! UKRAINE!’ while happily working to secure Ukraine’s borders, not ours. The billionaire investor pointed out in his thread on X that, “It’s not “just” $61 billion. Ukraine will need massive annual cash infusions to stave off total defeat. So it’s $61 billion as the baseline for an annual appropriation in a new forever war.” He pointed out that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars also began with “annual appropriations in the $60B range. Those wars ended up costing trillions.” “Simple math,” the investor remarked, showed that the new funding bill could do no more than possibly buy Ukraine “precisely half of a Summer Counteroffensive.”

And, of course, everyone knows full well how that much-heralded counteroffensive attempt ended up last year – limited battlefield achievements coupled with massive manpower and hardware losses. According to Sacks, it is a bizarre world, where “If you vote to send our money abroad while waving a foreign flag, you’ll be called an American patriot. If you vote to keep our money at home to fund domestic priorities like the border, you’ll be called a foreign agent.” The entrepreneur recalled that according to US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, “CIA Director Burns had to warn [Ukraine’s President Volodymyr] Zelensky to stop stealing so much money. His subordinates were angry that he wasn’t sharing the spoils.” “Do you think that problem has been resolved and Zelensky will share more this time?” queried David Sacks.

Read more …

“Russia has been quite successful in its goal of ‘demilitarizing’ both Ukraine and NATO..”

US Aid Bill ‘Insufficient’ for Ukraine’s Needs, Bolsters US Military (Sp.)

After more than 2 month of hard negotiations, the US House of Representatives has passed a multi-billion foreign aid package. However, the bill has sparked debate and criticism, with experts questioning its efficacy and allocation. David Pyne, a former US Department of Defense officer and executive vice president of Task Force on National and Homeland Security, offered a critical assessment of the aid package. He argued that the allocated funds are “woefully insufficient” for Ukraine’s wartime needs. The bill “will not change the outcome of the war which will inevitably end with a Russian victory and Ukraine being forced to accept Russia’s peace terms”, Pyne believes. Questions also arise regarding the distribution of the aid, since House Speaker Mike Johnson indicated that only a fraction, approximately $12-14 billion, would directly provide weapons to Ukraine.

However, Pyne raised concerns that a substantial portion, around 80%, would benefit US defense industries. He highlighted the potential for President Biden to utilize drawdown authority, enabling the redirection of additional funds from existing military stocks to Ukraine. Furthermore, Pyne shed light on Ukraine’s critical shortages of artillery shells and air defense missiles. He outlined Russia’s success in inflicting significant casualties on Ukrainian forces and emphasized the challenges in addressing Ukraine’s munitions deficits. “Russia has been quite successful in its goal of ‘demilitarizing’ both Ukraine and NATO, causing the US and its NATO allies to unilaterally disarm themselves of tens of thousands of its most modern weapon systems and transfer them to Ukraine”, stated Pyne.

Pyne highlighted the stark disparity between Russian and Ukrainian&NATO artillery capabilities, noting that “Russia produces over three times as many artillery munitions than all of NATO combined”. “Russian forces have been successful in inflicting half a million Ukrainian military casualties including about 250,000 killed in action and 250,000 seriously wounded with as many or more Ukrainian amputations over the past two years than France suffered… on the Western Front during World War One,” Pyne said. The assessment underscores the complexity of providing effective support to Ukraine amidst escalating conflict. As the aid bill moves forward, discussions surrounding its implementation, distribution, and broader geopolitical implications are likely to persist, as well as questions regarding US true purposes and intentions towards Ukraine as a nation.

Read more …

“..the FBI had illegally used its surveillance powers against American citizens more than 278,000 times in a 12-month period..”

US Lawmakers Approve More Government Spying (RT)

The US Senate has passed legislation renewing and expanding an expiring law that enables the government to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans under the guise of protecting them from foreign threats. The bill was approved by a 60-34 vote in the early morning hours of Saturday, authorizing a two-year extension of the so-called Section 702 program of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). President Joe Biden is expected to quickly sign the legislation, renewing the spying tool after it expired at midnight on Saturday. Section 702 is ostensibly about surveilling the communications of foreigners for intelligence purposes, including detection of possible terrorist plots against the US. However, many of the phone calls and messages that are tapped by Washington’s spying apparatus occur between foreigners and US citizens.

The FBI has accessed the 702 database of intercepted communications to investigate targeted Americans, such as Black Lives Matters activists, journalists, members of Congress, political donors, and possible participants in the January 2021 US Capitol riot. Such searches normally require investigators to secure a warrant, meaning a court has found probable cause to suspect that the targeted person has committed a crime. Critics of the program had demanded that reforms be made before renewing Section 702 to protect US citizens from unconstitutional spying. A 2023 investigation by the US FISA court found that the FBI had illegally used its surveillance powers against American citizens more than 278,000 times in a 12-month period. Congress voted down an amendment that would have required warrants for probes of communications involving Americans.

“Section 702 has been abused under presidents from both political parties, and it has been used to unlawfully surveil the communications of Americans across the political spectrum,” said Kia Hamadanchy, senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. “By expanding the government’s surveillance powers without adding a warrant requirement that would protect Americans, the House has voted to allow the intelligence agencies to violate the civil rights and liberties of Americans for years to come.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) hailed the fact that the FISA program was reauthorized “in the nick of time,” just as it was expiring. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) said that failure to renew the spying powers could cause US officials to “miss a key piece of intelligence,” such as a threat to American troops stationed overseas or a potential terrorist attack.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) lamented the fact that lawmakers declined to pass his amendments to the FISA bill, which would have enabled the government to continue spying on foreigners while protecting the civil liberties of Americans. His proposal was voted down by an 82-11 margin. “We could have ensured both constitutional rights and national security were protected,” Paul said. “Yet again, the Senate was asked to consider the question: ‘Can liberty be exchanged for security?’ And sadly, the majority of senators said, ‘Yes, it can.’”

Read more …

“..lack of control [by the owners] over assets is not a good basis of any currency.”

US Confiscation of Russian Assets Will ‘Supercharge’ De-Dollarization

On Saturday, the US House of Representatives passed the cheekily-named REPO Act, which would enable US President Joe Biden to confiscate roughly $6 billion in frozen Russian assets held in US banks and send it to Ukraine.The provision is part of a package bill that also includes over $95 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific, as well as a potential TikTok ban.The bill is expected to pass in the Senate and then be immediately signed by US President Joe Biden. While the $6 billion represents only a fraction of the more than $300 billion in Russian assets frozen by the G7 countries in 2022, most of that money is held in Europe and US lawmakers hope that it will encourage European lawmakers to do the same.

“We’re making good progress in how to access that funds on an agreed basis that I think we can take forward to the G7,” UK foreign minister David Cameron, whose government has already come out in support of seizing Russian assets, told reporters earlier this month. The decision to confiscate Russian assets and provide them to Ukraine represents a major escalation in the West’s sanction war against Russia. However, the move is short-sighted by the US because it will accelerate global de-dollarization, which will remove one of the most powerful tools the US has.

“It’s reinforcing the need to de-dollarize on the part of any third-party country. Be it Russia, be it China – be it anybody else, including any country in the G-7 that may be marginally supportive of the United States. This is pure and simple economic blackmail,” Paul Goncharoff, an analyst and management consultant at Dezan Shira & Associates in Moscow told Sputnik. “Now they’re wondering ‘Am I putting it into something that will be seized or frozen?’ So lack of control [by the owners] over assets is not a good basis of any currency.” “So it just supercharges de-dollarization. And that’s not good, especially when you have an America that is used to living on larger and larger debt raised by people placing the trust and buying treasuries and bonds,” Goncharoff added.

Read more …

“The drones’ accuracy exceeds 90%, the NYT said, adding that they are also capable of hitting heavy armor in its weakest spots..”

$500 Russian Drones Destroying $10,000,000 American Tanks – NYT (RT)

Expensive American M1 Abrams tanks delivered to Ukraine are increasingly falling prey to Russian drones that cost only a fraction as much, the New York Times reported on Saturday. Even “one of the most powerful symbols of American military might” is not invulnerable to such attacks, it said. At least five US-supplied tanks out of the 31 provided by Washington have already been destroyed by Russia, the American media outlet said, adding that three others had been “moderately damaged.” In most cases, the tanks have been destroyed by first-person-view (FPV) kamikaze drones, also known as loitering munitions. Such drones are capable of actively maneuvering before hitting their target.

In at least one instance, though, an Abrams tank was taken out in a duel against a Russian T-72B3 main battle tank. The Russian military has published upwards of a dozen clips, mostly taken from drones, showing the destruction of US-supplied equipment. According to the NYT, the tanks turned out to be “more easily taken out by exploding drones than some officials and experts had initially assumed.” The media outlet cited an Austrian historian and military expert, Colonel Markus Reisner, who described such a situation as “unbelievable.” The paper also described the Russian UAVs as “highly-accurate, low-cost tank killers.”

The drones’ accuracy exceeds 90%, the NYT said, adding that they are also capable of hitting heavy armor in its weakest spots. The UAVs “can cost as little as $500,” the paper reported, are capable of “taking out a $10 million Abrams tank.” The paper also admitted that there was no “easy, or single” way to defend a tank against a drone attack. US-made Abrams tanks made their long-expected appearance on the front line in late February amid the Ukrainian effort to halt advancing Russian troops after the capture of the Donbass town of Avdeevka. A batch of 31 M1 Abrams tanks was pledged to Kiev early last year, ahead of the ultimately disastrous Ukrainian counteroffensive. The delivery was made in full only by mid-October, when the ill-fated push had already largely been exhausted.

Read more …

“The United States government for so long now, hasn’t seen a war they didn’t want to be a part of.”

‘Pariah’ Israel Dragging US ‘Into Garbage Bin of History’ (Sp.)

On Friday, the US vetoed granting Palestine full membership in the UN, which was promised to the Palestinians in 1948 when the state of Israel was created. The US has been Israel’s strongest supporter in the UN, previously vetoing three ceasefire resolutions before finally allowing a fourth to pass through abstention last month. Earlier, Israel struck Iran in response to Iran’s attack last week, which was itself a response to Israel attacking Iran’s consulate in Damascus earlier this month. The attack, which was described by both sides as minor, came after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not respond until after Passover, which runs from April 22 to April 30. Israel’s apparent insistence on launching a regional war in the Middle East is dragging the United States with it “Into the garbage bin of history,” and US lawmakers seem willing to watch it happen, journalist Esteban Carrillo, the head of news at The Cradle, told Sputnik’s Political Misfits on Friday.

While discussing the recent US vote against Palestinian statehood in the UN, Carrillo explained that it is working against US interests “It’s completely a case of the tail wagging the dog. And US politicians just seem so content to just go along with it,” he explained. “What does Netanyahu have over the heads of these people? Because it doesn’t seem like they are even willing to consider at this point stepping away from this pariah that is just dragging them down into the garbage bin of history.” Tensions between Iran and Israel seem to have cooled somewhat after Israel’s attack was so minor. Explosions were heard near an Iranian base outside of Isfahan, but Iran claimed there was no damage or injuries. A second attack against the city of Tabriz was likewise thwarted.

The attack, which Iran claims came from within its own territory, seemed designed to make Israel not appear “as weak as they are,” Carrillo explained. “After six months of flattening Gaza and killing tens of thousands of Palestinians, they have failed to achieve a single strategic objective against Hamas.” However, the small scope of the attack also seemed designed to allow Israel to “play tough guy” without igniting a larger conflict. “Iran’s response over [Friday morning’s] attack is essentially summed up in ‘what strike? What happened? Our air defenses took everything down,’” said Carrillo. But that doesn’t mean Israel is finished. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still determined to keep the war going to ward off political and legal challenges facing him. “I don’t think that we’re out of the water yet in terms of [Israel] dragging the United States into a regional war,” Carrillo explained, adding earlier that it isn’t hard to convince US lawmakers to join fights. “The United States government for so long now, hasn’t seen a war they didn’t want to be a part of.”

Read more …

‘A vote for Trump is a vote for Putin’ – Hillary Clinton. Yawn…

Trump Wants To ‘Kill His Opposition’ – Hillary Clinton (RT)

Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has claimed that the man who defeated her in the 2016 election, Donald Trump, is a wannabe strongman who aims to murder his political enemies. Speaking in a podcast interview posted on Friday by Democrat activist Mark Elias, Clinton said American voters had underestimated how “dangerous” Trump would be as president. She likened Trump, now the presumptive Republican nominee in this year’s US presidential election, to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Putin does what [Trump] would like to do – kill his opposition, imprison his opposition, drive journalists and others into exile, rule without any check or balance,” Clinton said. “That’s what Trump really wants.” Ironically, Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have themselves long been accused by some conservatives of eliminating people who pose a threat to their power or wealth.

In fact, investigative journalist Danny Casolaro coined the conspiracist term “Clinton Body Count” in the late 1980s, in reference to the allegedly mysterious deaths of people with connections to the Clintons. Casolaro was found dead in a West Virginia hotel room in 1991 with his wrists slashed 10-12 times. His death was ruled a suicide. Hillary Clinton also has made a habit of linking Trump to Russia and Putin. Her presidential campaign helped trigger allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election by funding the since-discredited Steele dossier. She told Elias that Putin is just one of the US adversaries whom Trump would like to emulate, and that his other role models include Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“We have to be very conscious of how he sees the world because in that world, he only sees strongman leaders,” Clinton said. “He sees Putin. He sees Xi. He sees Kim Jong-un in North Korea. Those are the people he is modeling himself after, and we’ve been down this road in our world history. We sure don’t want to go down that again.” If Trump is elected president again, Clinton warned, “it will be like having a dictator. I don’t say that lightly. Go back and read Project 2025. They’re going to fire everybody. The person in the government who knows about what may be the next pandemic? ‘Get rid of him, he didn’t vote for me, or I don’t like the way he looks.’”

She added: “It’s really important to think about what could happen to our world with Trump back in the White House – withdrawing us from NATO, not caring about what happens in Europe… the idea that he wants Ukraine to fail, the idea that he doesn’t want us to be able to surveil our enemies. I mean, this is a very scary prospect.” Clinton expressed optimism that Trump will not be able to defeat incumbent President Joe Biden in November because Democrats will be running the election in key states, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. Trump has maintained that all allegations against him are part of a politically motivated smear campaign. He dismissed the ‘Russiagate’ accusations as a hoax and witch hunt that aimed to sabotage his presidency and block him from forging better US relations with Russia.

Read more …

“Where there is no vision, the people are lost..”

Texas Is a Fading Conservative State (Paul Craig Roberts)

Americans regard Texas as a Conservative state. It is not. The conservatism is only skin deep. The conservatism is limited to a small majority of the people. Professional organizations, such as the Bar Association, many city governments, the universities, and the public schools have been infiltrated and taken over by woke liberals. Texas universities are as crazed, corrupt, and anti-American as those in the Northeast and on the West coast. They serve the same agendas, such as indoctrinating white people that they are racist, legitimizing sexual perversity, redefining American patriots as Nazis and Trump Deplorables. The public schools teach that white people are racists and confuse kids about their gender. The Bar Association uses law as a weapon against Republicans, such as attorney Sidney Powell.

The Texas Bar Association disciplined Sidney Powell, first convicting her of misconduct and fraud for filing lawsuits challenging fraudulent vote counts in the 2020 presidential election, and revoking her license as punishment. The state appeals court found that the bar association had convicted her on the basis of zero evidence. It was just a vendetta by woke liberals devoid al all integrity against a Republican.This is America today. In the hands of blue cities and states and in the US Department of Justice (sic) law as law no longer exists. Neither does the US Constitution. What exists is a weapon to be used against Trump Republicans and dissenters from official narratives.

In America there are two systems of law. One system located in red states is a rule of law. The other in blue states is a system of law as a weapon to destroy opponents. We see this clearly in blue NY and blue Atlanta where show trials devoid of any evidence are being conducted against President Trump. We see it in the Justice (sic) Department’s continuing misuse of law to force attendees at the January 6 rally to incriminate themselves by pleading guilty in order to avoid a 20-year prison sentence for exercising their constitutional right to protest.

The totally corrupt Biden Regime has an open border policy for the explicit purpose of turning red states into blue ones by filling them with millions of immigrant-invaders in order to overload the voting rolls with Democrat voters. The Democrats assume that they have purchased the loyalty of the immigrant-invaders by allowing them in and supporting them on public welfare while giving them work permits so that they can underbid the employment of American citizens. Evidence was recently provided that Biden has flown at public expense 360,000 immigrant-invaders into Florida, and evidence was provided that the Biden regime has funded the Jewish NGO that is recruiting world-wide immigrant-invaders with $300,000,000. American citizens are helpless, because almost half of them are so utterly stupid that they vote for their own self-destruction by voting Democrat.

Read more …

“..Harari deserves credit for blood-curdling honesty, if not for the morality of his and his masters’ “visions.”

A Collective “Common Enemy” Now Stalks Mankind (Karganovic)

Yuval Hariri, Klaus Schwab’s spokesman, recently made a statement that should send chills up everyone’s spine. “If bad comes to worse and the Flood comes,” Harari said, he and the likeminded cabal of shadowy world masters will “build an Ark and leave the rest to drown.” Elsewhere, Harari elaborates on the reasons for his fellow elitists’ cold-hearted indifference to the fate of the vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants: “If you go back to the middle of the 20th century …and you think about building the future, then your building materials are those millions of people who are working hard in the factories, in the farms, the soldiers. You need them. You don’t have any kind of future without them.” What he means is that you – referring to the dominant social and financial elites of that era – still “needed” the labour of millions in the various fields of economic endeavour in order to turn a profit.

Since then, how have things changed according to “futurologist” Harari? “Now, fast forward to the early 21st century when we just don’t need the vast majority of the population, because the future is about developing more and more sophisticated technology, like artificial intelligence [and] bioengineering, most people don’t contribute anything to that, except perhaps for their data, and whatever people are still doing something useful, these technologies increasingly will make them redundant and will make it possible to replace those people.” Elitist mouthpiece Harari deserves credit for blood-curdling honesty, if not for the morality of his and his masters’ “visions.” He is plainly signalling the view that this writer, the editors of this portal, its readers and the rest of mankind are expendable and apart from whatever economic utility they still might possess are bereft of any inherent dignity or value.

Harari and his immediate superior in the elitist nomenklatura, Klaus Schwab, technically are private individuals. Their organisational vehicle, the World Economic Forum, is a private NGO registered in Switzerland. Formally, they neither represent nor do they speak for any government or official structure with a proper claim to legitimacy. They have no licence to plan or arrange the future of humanity, beside the self-authorisation to do so which they and the oligarchical globalist power centres they commune and mingle with have arrogated to themselves. No one elected or empowered them to plan anybody’s future, other than their own, and even that strictly in their private capacity.= Yet disposing of the future of mankind is precisely what they presume to do, in Davos in plenary session once a year and the rest of the time in conspiratorial confabulation amongst themselves.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Catfish
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781592640623886517

 

 

Horses dolphins
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781559109487124859

 

 

King

 

 

Octopus
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781604985345606000

 

 

Resting sharks
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781720652241846625

 

 

Reflex

 

 

Piggy bank

 

 

Great white

 

 

Rhino

 

 

Aquarium
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781745912303251759

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 162023
 


El Greco Dormition of the Mother of God 1565-1566

 

Hunter Biden’s Lead Criminal Defense Attorney Asks To Withdraw From Case (ZH)
Trump Attorneys Slam ‘Flawed, Unconstitutional’ Fulton County Indictment (Sp.)
Justice Shrugged: The Persecution of Donald Trump (Miele)
The Criminalization of Election Controversies (Turley)
Trump Must Turn Himself In At Georgia Jail – Sheriff (RT)
Ukraine Matters To Biden More Than Hawaii – Ron Paul (RT)
Team Biden Hurts US Prestige and Credibility By Walking Into Ukraine Trap (Sp.)
Ukraine Could Give Up Territory To Russia – NATO Official (RT)
If Ukraine Agrees To Give Up Territories, It Will Lose Kiev – Medvedev (TASS)
Western Military Dominance ‘Has Ended’ – Moscow (RT)
Ukraine’s Military Resources Are “Almost Exhausted” – Shoigu (ZH)
Shoigu Hails High Level Of Contacts Between Russia, Chinese Military (TASS)
Why US Drones Prove Useless in Ukraine (Sp.)
MI6 Plans To Send Ukrainian Mercenaries To Africa (RT)
How Charities Secretly Help Win Elections (Thayer)

 

 

 

 

Ramaswamy

 

 

 

 

RFK Fauci

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greenwald

 

 

 

 

Longtime Hunter attorney (let’s see who paid his bills!) Christopher Clark for 5+ years got used to anything he wrote being accepted. But when he went for the ultimate sweetheart deal, where Hunter could have shot someone on 5th avenue (the Trump thing) without facing punishment, Judge Maryellen Noreika said: “I don’t like these terms”. Which were in the small print of the deal, of course. And neither Hunter nor Clark ever expected her to read them. She put their world upside down. Now Christopher Clark is trying to sneak out of the building, hoping no-one will notice he wrote the whole thing. Oh, and he may be called as a witness now….

Here’s Clark’s way out ?! “Biden attorney Abbe Lowell blamed prosecutors for drafting the agreements the judge wouldn’t approve..”

Hunter Biden’s Lead Criminal Defense Attorney Asks To Withdraw From Case (ZH)

Hunter Biden’s top criminal defense attorney has asked a federal judge for permission to withdraw from the case after a plea deal unraveled in late July. Christopher Clark, Hunter’s longtime defense attorney, filed a motion with the Delaware judge overseeing Hunter’s case on the grounds that he could now be called as a witness in future proceedings, CNN reports. “Based on recent developments, it appears that the negotiation and drafting of the plea agreement and diversion agreement will be contested, and Mr. Clark is a percipient witness to those issues,” reads the Tuesday filing. Last week federal prosecutors announced that the had reached an impasse on Hunter’s plea deal related to tax offenses and a “diversion agreement” to take care of a gun possession charges.

After the deal unraveled, the feds asked Judge Maryellen Noreika to withdraw a late August deadline to renegotiate the plea deal, after she said she was not ready to accept it & asked both sides to file additional briefs explaining the legal structure of the revised deal. Noreika also called the deal federal prosecutors reached with Hunter over his gun possession offense “unusual,” and that it contained some “non-standard terms,” such as “broad immunity” from other potential charges. Under the original plea agreement, Biden intended to plea guilty to two misdemeanor tax crimes committed in 2017 and 2018, and would avoid prison on the gun possession charge. As part of the conditions for Hunter’s release, he must not consume alcohol or prohibited drugs, or possess a firearm, must submit to random drug tests as required, must actively seek employment and not violate any laws.

On Sunday, Biden attorney Abbe Lowell blamed prosecutors for drafting the agreements the judge wouldn’t approve. Biden’s lawyers said Sunday they believed the gun diversion deal was still “valid and binding.” Abbe Lowell, one of the attorneys, placed blame on prosecutors for drafting the agreements the judge took issue with. -CNN. After the plea deal unraveled, US Attorney David Weiss requested and was granted “special counsel” status by Attorney General Merrick Garland. According to prosecutors, there is still an ongoing investigation which may carry future charges outside the scope of the plea deal. Biden pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor tax crimes, and will avoid prison charge for possessing a gun while addicted to an illegal drug. The deal sought to cap a five-year investigation into Hunter’s tax affairs and business dealings, which federal prosecutors say Hunter failed to pay over $100,000 of income tax on at least $1.5 million in income between 2017 and 2018.

Read more …

“We look forward to a detailed review of this indictment which is undoubtedly just as flawed and unconstitutional as this entire process has been..”

Trump Attorneys Slam ‘Flawed, Unconstitutional’ Fulton County Indictment (Sp.)

A 41-count indictment, including against former US President Donald Trump, approved by a Fulton County grand jury in the state of Georgia in an election interference case, is “flawed and unconstitutional,” Trump attorneys said, adding that they look forward to a detailed review of the indictment. A Fulton County grand jury indicted Monday night Trump with 13 criminal charges related to an investigation alleging he attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to a court document. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis later told reporters that the grand jury had issued arrest warrants for the 19 defendants named in the indictment, but they all have until August 25 to voluntarily surrender.

“This one-sided grand jury presentation relied on witnesses who harbor their own personal and political interests— some of whom ran campaigns touting their efforts against the accused and/or profited from book deals and employment opportunities as a result. We look forward to a detailed review of this indictment which is undoubtedly just as flawed and unconstitutional as this entire process has been,” the attorneys noted in a statement distributed by the ex-president in an email to his supporters.

The process leading up to the decision was “shocking and absurd, starting with the leak of a presumed and premature indictment before the witnesses had testified or the grand jurors had deliberated and ending with the District Attorney being unable to offer any explanation,” they stressed. “In light of this major fumble, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office clearly decided to force through and rush this 98-page indictment,” the attorneys emphasized. The former US president was previously indicted on charges related to his supporters’ storming of the Capitol in January 2021, financial fraud in payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and mishandling of classified government documents.

Read more …

“You either agree with the government’s interpretation of election results or else you risk going to jail.”

Justice Shrugged: The Persecution of Donald Trump (Miele)

Trump’s refusal to accept the election results turns on his deep sense of individualistic ambition, his willingness to challenge societal norms, and his determination not to surrender his principles, even at the expense of public ridicule, political persecution, and now potentially years in prison. But you can’t view the 2020 election in a vacuum. Trump was no different than Rearden in fighting what he knows is a rigged system. For the preceding five years, Trump had been the victim of a series of vicious attacks by the Deep State and the media who never really accepted him as president. So Trump had no reason to accept the election results parroted by the same actors who had already tried to destroy him multiple times. And now, two and a half years after the 2020 election, as Trump has a fighting chance of returning to the White House in the greatest political comeback in history, his enemies have come for him again, with three separate indictments and soon to be a fourth.

The four-count indictment most recently brought against Trump by Special Counsel Jack Smith is intended to make a victory in 2024 nearly impossible. The Deep State in this case represents the entrenched bureaucracy of the federal government as well as the individual states’ election officials. This is the same Deep State that gathered up 51 national security officials to sign a statement prior to the 2020 election that falsely claimed that Hunter Biden’s laptop “has all the classic earmarks of Russian disinformation.” It had none of them. No wonder Trump was disinclined to accept their conclusions that the election was secure and fair. Trump sought to prove his concerns about the legitimacy of the 2020 election by pursuing a vigorous legal strategy as was guaranteed to him under the First Amendment’s right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Biden’s weaponized Department of Justice is determined to deny that right to Donald Trump, and by extension to the rest of us. You either agree with the government’s interpretation of election results or else you risk going to jail. The indictment brought against Trump acknowledges that everyone has a First Amendment right to speak their minds and even to “formally challenge the results of the election through lawful and appropriate means,” but it then avers that Trump’s right to believe he won the election is abrogated by a string of court losses and equally pessimistic assessments from so-called experts.

Here’s where it gets interesting, and where the Department of Justice has overstepped. The four counts in the indictment are based on what prosecutor Jack Smith calls three conspiracies: “A conspiracy to defraud the United States” by seeking to stop the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021; “a conspiracy to corruptly obstruct and impede the Jan. 6 congressional proceeding at which the collected results of the presidential election are counted and certified; and “a conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted.”

All of these alleged conspiracies and the resulting four charges are directly related to the joint congressional session on Jan. 6, when the Electoral College votes were opened and debated to determine whether they should be counted. Moreover, when Jack Smith announced the indictment, he suggested that Trump was responsible for the riot that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on that day, yet none of the charges hold Trump responsible for the violence. Every charge in this dubious indictment could have been brought even if the protesters had marched “peacefully and patriotically” to the Capitol as Trump had requested. The charges in the indictment have nothing to do with the violence; they only relate to Trump’s insistence that he won the election, and that he would do whatever it takes to prove it.

In other words, these are not real crimes like insurrection or sedition; they are thought crimes. Smith’s “conspiracy” charges simply reflect that Trump consulted his lawyers to develop a legal strategy on how to right the wrong that he perceived. In its substance, from paragraphs 8 to 123, the indictment merely alleges over and over again that Trump refused to accept the conclusions of others that the election of Biden was legitimate, and that he had help from like-minded attorneys. How infuriating that must be to prosecutor Smith, who believes with all his heart that no one could doubt the veracity of what government officials (like him!) tell us.

Tucker 2020

Read more …

Every single word, even every thought, becomes a crime..

The Criminalization of Election Controversies (Turley)

The long-anticipated indictment by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is expected in the coming days and will focus on alleged election tampering and related offenses in the 2020 presidential election. If indictments were treated like frequent flyer miles, Donald Trump would get the Georgia indictment for free. However, it will be anything but costless. Regardless of the merits, it will magnify both the cost and complications for Trump. Like the New York indictment, a Georgia indictment would not be subject to a presidential pardon. Not only have GOP candidates indicated that they would pardon Trump on any federal charges if elected to the presidency, Trump could pardon himself (including a preemptive pardon before trial) if elected — but that power does not reach state convictions.


As with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, many view Willis as a Democratic prosecutor pursuing the highly unpopular former president. However, given the three grand juries and the three years that have passed, Willis may have found new evidence or witnesses that could tie Trump to criminal conduct in seeking to challenge the results in the election. Thus far, the focus has been on the controversial call that Trump had with Georgia officials — a call widely cited as indisputable evidence of an effort at voting fraud. Yet, the call was similar to a settlement discussion, as state officials and the Trump team hashed out their differences and a Trump demand for a statewide recount. Trump had lost the state by less than 12,000 votes. That might be what he meant when he stated, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.”


Mark Meadows was charged for asking for a politician’s phone number…

While others have portrayed the statement as a raw call for fabricating the votes, it seems more likely that Trump was swatting back claims that there was no value to a statewide recount by pointing out that he wouldn’t have to find a statistically high number of votes to change the outcome of the election. It is telling that many politicians and pundits refuse to even acknowledge that obvious alternate meaning. For Trump’s part, he is not helping with his signature, all-caps social media attacks. In addition to attacking Willis for a supposedly “racist” and “unethical” past, Trump recently declared that Willis “wants to indict me for a perfect phone call; this was even better than my perfect call on Ukraine.” I have previously disagreed with the claimed perfection of that Ukraine call, the subject of Trump’s first impeachment. However, neither call needs to be “perfect” to be protected.


The importance made of the call in the likely Georgia indictment will be one of the greatest “tells” as to what Willis has in terms of evidence. If the call is a critical linchpin to the prosecution, it will look like a political stunt out of the Bragg-school of prosecution. There have also been stories indicating that Willis is focusing on connections of Trump team members like Rudy Giuliani to a “breach” of the voting system on Jan. 7, 2021. The team was seeking access to the voting machines to show that they could be compromised or manipulated. Text messages state that the team secured an “invitation” to examine the machines in Coffee County.

Pipe burst

Read more …

The biggest show on earth. Brought to you by Disney…

Trump Must Turn Himself In At Georgia Jail – Sheriff (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants on his racketeering case are set to be booked on their charges at a county jail in Georgia, a departure from the courthouse processing seen in his three other criminal cases. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office announced the decision on Tuesday, saying that Trump and the other defendants could appear at the local jail to turn themselves in “at any time,” though noted the plan is still subject to change due to the “unprecedented nature” of the case. “At this point, based on guidance received from the district attorney’s office and presiding judge, it is expected that all 19 defendants named in the indictment will be booked at the Rice Street Jail,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement, pointing out that the facility is “open 24/7.”

That procedure would differ from Trump’s other ongoing criminal litigation, in which he has been processed inside courthouses. During booking, defendants are typically photographed and fingerprinted, and while Trump was not required to provide mugshots for his other lawsuits, Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat said he planned to snap a photo of the ex-president for the racketeering case. “It doesn’t matter your status. We have a mugshot ready for you,” Labat told reporters ahead of the latest indictment. “Unless someone tells me differently, we are following our normal practices.” Trump and a long list of his current and former allies were hit with a sweeping 41-count indictment earlier this week, with prosecutors alleging they worked to invalidate Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential race.

Among the charges is a felony racketeering count, as well as several counts for conspiracy to interfere in an election, perjury, and soliciting a public official to violate their oath. The latest round of charges mark Trump’s fourth criminal indictment this year alone, with federal prosecutors previously slapping him with dozens of felony counts for the alleged mishandling of classified material after leaving the White House in 2021. He has also been charged in New York for an alleged hush-money scheme with porn actress Stormy Daniels during his 2016 campaign, and faces a separate election-interference case led by special counsel Jack Smith, who is also spearheading the classified documents trial. Trump, who has announced his candidacy in the 2024 presidential contest, has denied all wrongdoing in each case, insisting he has been unfairly targeted in a politically motivated “witch hunt” which began during his own presidency.

Read more …

“..$900 from each and every US household, at a time when most Americans say they can’t afford a $1,000 emergency.”

Ukraine Matters To Biden More Than Hawaii – Ron Paul (RT)

President Joe Biden is demanding another $24 billion for Ukraine while the US “disintegrates,”former Texas congressman Ron Paul wrote on Monday, pointing out the unprecedented devastation from the Hawaii fires. It’s “hard to look at recent footage of the devastation in Maui and then hear President Biden tell Congress that he needs another $24 billion for Ukraine,” Paul said. “How can this Administration continue to justify tens of billions of dollars for this losing war that is not in our interest while the rest of the United States disintegrates?” The US has poured “well over $120 billion” into the “proxy war on Russia,” Paul added. He cited a Heritage Foundation analysis that calculated this comes out to $900 from each and every US household, at a time when most Americans say they can’t afford a $1,000 emergency.

“How many Americans would rather have those $900 dollars back in their pocket rather than in the pockets of Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, and Ukraine’s oligarchs?” Paul asked, noting that even the establishment media is now admitting that “Ukraine is not winning and cannot win.” “Continuing to pour money into a losing cause will just result in bankruptcy at home and more dead Ukrainians overseas,” Paul concluded. The Texas physician served in Congress for a total of 23 years and ran for president three times – as a Libertarian in 1988, and in Republican primaries in 2008 and 2012 – before retiring in 2013 to found the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Multiple fires broke out in Hawaii last week, devastating the island of Maui and practically destroying the historic town of Lahaina.

As of Sunday, the death toll was reported at 96, with at least 1,000 more people still missing. “This is the largest natural disaster we’ve ever experienced,” Hawaii Governor Josh Green said at a news conference on Sunday. Damages to homes alone were estimated at $6 billion. Biden spent the weekend on the beach in Rehoboth, Delaware. He said “no comment” when asked about Maui. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday confirmed there were no plans for the president to visit Hawaii. Last week, Biden sent Congress a request for $13 billion in “security assistance” and $7.3 billion for “economic and humanitarian assistance” for Ukraine, which has included paying the salaries of government employees in Kiev.

Read more …

“hyperbolic rhetoric”

Team Biden Hurts US Prestige and Credibility By Walking Into Ukraine Trap (Sp.)

US observers have raised the question whether President Joe Biden could shift from his maximalist aims in Ukraine which threaten to turn into a trap for Washington. Prior to the much-anticipated 2023 Ukrainian counteroffensive, American politicians and mainstream press had drawn a picture of what the endgame in Ukraine should look like, with Kiev forces seizing as much territory as it could to gain the upper hand in negotiations. Citing White House officials, the US media suggested that by the end of summer, Ukraine would tip the balance in its favor. However, the reality on the ground does not match expectations. The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a DC-based think tank, has raised the question as to whether Team Biden has a Plan B for a face-saving exit after it persuaded everyone in the West that anything short of Kiev’s victory would be a global catastrophe.

In fact, the Biden administration set a trap for itself by employing a “hyperbolic rhetoric” in order to sell the idea of Washington’s Ukraine war to the American public and the world’s community. President Biden raised the stakes as high as possible while claiming in February 2023 during his speech in Poland that “what literally is at stake is not just Ukraine, it’s freedom.” Another talking point of the US foreign policy establishment, lawmakers and academia was that Russia’s victory would not only “embolden” Moscow for new “invasions” but also encourage Beijing to “take military action” against Taiwan – something that has been repeatedly denied as nonsense by China which has always seen the island as its inalienable territory.

Republican presidential contender Chris Christie has even gone so far as to claim that China’s potential “invasion” of Taiwan would inevitably necessitate putting American boots on the ground. As a result, the hyped-up narrative deprived Team Biden of room for maneuver: should the US president decide to pull out, he would have to explain to the international community why he is “giving up” on democracy and human values, bowing down to “dictators”, and leaving the world in “danger.”

Read more …

Anathema.

Ukraine Could Give Up Territory To Russia – NATO Official (RT)

Kiev could end up relinquishing some of its former territory in exchange for NATO membership, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s chief of staff, Stian Jenssen said at a debate on Tuesday. In his own statements on the issue, Stoltenberg has insisted that Kiev will set its own terms for “victory.” “I think that a solution could be for Ukraine to give up territory, and get NATO membership in return,” Jenssen said at the debate, according to Norway’s VG newspaper. This discussion is already underway within NATO, he said, suggesting that it could be a “possible solution” to the conflict. No NATO leaders have publicly endorsed the idea of Kiev giving up its claims to the territories of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, or Zaporozhye, which were incorporated into the Russian Federation following referendums last September.

Likewise, while Western officials have cast doubt on Ukraine’s ability to seize Crimea – an historical Russian territory which rejoined the Russian Federation in 2014, none have urged Kiev to abandon its claim to the peninsula. Such an idea has apparently been floated behind the scenes, however. Swiss outlet Neue Zürcher Zeitung claimed in February, citing sources, that CIA Director William Burns had offered Russia a “land for peace” deal in which Moscow would keep “20% of Ukrainian territory.” The White House, the CIA, and the Kremlin all denied that such a proposal had been made. Whether such a deal would be accepted by Kiev or Moscow remains doubtful. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated last year that securing the military neutrality of Ukraine was a key factor behind his decision to send troops into the country, and that having a NATO-aligned Ukraine on Russia’s borders would present an unacceptable security risk.

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council chief Aleksey Danilov stated on Tuesday that Kiev will never negotiate with Putin’s government, that none of Ukraine’s Western backers are pushing for peace, and that “Russia must be destroyed like a modern-day Carthage.” Achieving this goal is proving extremely difficult for Kiev. Two months into its long-anticipated counteroffensive against Russian forces, the Ukrainian military has lost more than 43,000 men and nearly 5,000 pieces of heavy equipment, according to the latest figures from the Russian Defense Ministry.

Stoltenberg insists that NATO will “ensure that Ukraine gets the weapons it needs to be able to retake territory, liberate the lands and win this war and prevail as a sovereign, independent nation.” While he has delivered variations on this statement throughout the conflict, NATO has been more evasive on when Ukraine can join the military bloc. After a summit in Lithuania last month at which Kiev was denied an offer of membership, NATO’s 31 members put out a joint statement explaining that Ukraine can join only “when allies agree and conditions are met.”

Read more …

“..To enter the bloc [NATO], the Kiev authorities would have to give up even Kiev itself, the capital of Ancient Rus..”

If Ukraine Agrees To Give Up Territories, It Will Lose Kiev – Medvedev (TASS)

Should Ukraine agree to relinquish disputed territories for the sake of joining NATO, it will have to give up even Kiev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said on his Telegram channel. While commenting on a remark by the director of NATO’s Secretary-General’s Private Office, Stian Jenssen, to the effect that Ukraine might become a member of the alliance in case of territorial concessions to Russia, Medvedev wrote: “Why? The idea is curious. The only question is that all of allegedly ‘their’ territories are highly disputable. To enter the bloc [NATO], the Kiev authorities would have to give up even Kiev itself, the capital of Ancient Rus,” he added.


“Well, they (the Ukrainian authorities – TASS) would have to move the capital to Lvov then. If, of course, the Poles agree,” Medvedev remarked. The director of NATO Secretary General’s Private Office, Stian Jenssen, said earlier on Tuesday that Ukraine could become a NATO member if it agreed to cede territories that it currently refused to recognize as part of Russia.

Read more …

“..Kiev’s foreign advisers are essentially using the Ukraine conflict as a testing ground for various military strategies involving Western weapons, while President Vladimir Zelensky supplies the manpower for these experiments…”

Western Military Dominance ‘Has Ended’ – Moscow (RT)

Asian, African and Latin American states have seen their role in the global arena increase as Western military dominance has started to wane, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said. Speaking at the 21st International Security Conference in Moscow on Tuesday, the minister argued that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has “put an end to the dominance of the collective West in the military sphere.” “Just as the defeat of fascism by the Red Army in Europe in the last century gave a powerful impetus to anti-colonial movements throughout the world, so will the defeat of the Ukrainian neo-fascists supported by the West serve as a factor in counteracting modern neo-colonialism,” Shoigu said.

The minister noted that Russia is currently fighting “not just the armed forces of Ukraine, but the entire collective West,” which, he added, has recently been joined by several states from the Asia-Pacific region. In its confrontations with Kiev’s forces, which have been provided with foreign weaponry worth billions of dollars, Russia has dispelled many myths about the superiority of Western military standards, Shoigu said. It has become clear that the use of Western weapons and supposedly advanced NATO tactics and training “cannot ensure superiority on the battlefield,” he added. The minister also claimed that Kiev’s foreign advisers are essentially using the Ukraine conflict as a testing ground for various military strategies involving Western weapons, while President Vladimir Zelensky supplies the manpower for these experiments.

Shoigu said the losses among Ukrainian military personnel are being disregarded by Ukraine’s Western backers. The Russian minister also claimed that Ukraine’s military resources are almost completely exhausted, according to preliminary estimates. Russia’s Defense Ministry had previously reported that since launching their counteroffensive operation in early June, Ukraine’s forces had lost some 43,000 soldiers as well as nearly 5,000 pieces of heavy equipment, including dozens of Western tanks and combat vehicles. Shoigu suggested that the US is using the Ukraine conflict to line the pockets of its defense industry by forcing its partners in Europe to procure new products to replace those they have sent to Kiev.

Read more …

“Under these conditions, bilateral relations between Russia and China have surpassed the level of strategic ties in all respects, becoming more than just allied.”

Ukraine’s Military Resources Are “Almost Exhausted” – Shoigu (ZH)

Russia’s defense minister Sergei Shoigu in fresh remarks before a security conference in Moscow acknowledged that while the special military operation in Ukraine has been a real test for Russia, the reality is that Ukraine’s ability to fight and its resources have been “almost exhausted”. He further said the Russian military has learned much about the West’s advanced weapons systems in the process. “In the special military operation, the Russian army has debunked many myths about the superiority of Western military standards,” he said in the rare public speech, as cited in Reuters. “The preliminary results of combat operations show that Ukraine’s military resources are almost exhausted,” he emphasized at one point, but without providing further specifics.

Importantly, China’s own defense chief, Li Shangfu, was in the audience for the event. The Kremlin has recently said that a Putin trip to Beijing to meet with President Xi Jinping is “on the agenda”, to happen by year’s end. Shoigu during the speech touted the large numbers of Western-supplied tanks and armored vehicles that have been taken out on the Ukrainian battlefield. “We have data on … the destruction of German tanks, American armored vehicles, British missiles and other weapons systems,” he said. “We are ready to share our assessments … with our partners.” Likely he had China in particular in mind, also as he followed by comparing the West’s deep involvement in Ukraine to the Taiwan situation. He then said: “Under these conditions, bilateral relations between Russia and China have surpassed the level of strategic ties in all respects, becoming more than just allied.”

While time may soon tell whether or not Ukraine’s defenses are “almost exhausted” – it has become very clear that the counteroffensive is not going well, and Biden’s ‘all in’ support to Kiev is becoming politically unpopular and an additional liability for Democrats going into the 2024 presidential election. Another key part of the Russian defense chief’s speech touched on nuclear weapons. He blasted allegations by the West that Putin is ready to use them: “From a military point of view, there is no need to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine to achieve the set goals,” Shoigu said at an international security conference in Moscow. He slammed media speculation that Russia could potentially use nuclear or chemical weapons to compensate for slow progress in its nearly six-month military campaign in Ukraine as “absolute lies.”

Read more …

As NATO eyes the Pacific.

Shoigu Hails High Level Of Contacts Between Russia, Chinese Military (TASS)

Russia and China maintain communication between the two countries’ military at a high level and conduct joint land, naval and air drills, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday. “We are maintaining contacts at a high level, exchanging delegations, conducting joint exercises and drill – this is shown on all global channels – about our joint patrols on land, at sea, and in the air,” he said during a working meeting Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu on the sidelines of the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security. The Russian defense minister noted that cooperation with China is developed both bilaterally and within multilateral formats, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the ADMM-Plus (ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus).

“Russia and China are strategic partners, good neighbors and close friends,” he stressed. “During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia this March, the leaders of our countries reiterated that Russian-Chinese comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation have reached the highest point ever in the entire history of bilateral relations. We are implementing our leaders’ agreements in practice.” Shoigu thanked his Chinese counterpart for taking part in the Moscow security conference, noting that Li’s speech at the conference opening and the analysis of international situation “deserve closer attention.”

The Russian defense minister noted that China traditionally takes an active part in the Army international forum and China’s products traditionally attract specialists’ interest. “Yesterday, I visited your exposition, which broadly represents China’s defense sector. I saw many new and promising things,” Shoigu said, adding that since the previous exhibition, where China also took part, “a serious step forward had been taken.” “Today, all companies, all countries taking part in the exhibition take into account the experience of the latest development, including in the zone of the special military operation,” he said. The Russian minister said he is confident that today’s meeting will help strengthen the traditionally friendly ties between the two countries’ defense ministries and enhancing regional and global security.

He noted that this is his third meeting with his Chinese counterpart this year and congratulated him on the 96th anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, which was marked on August 1. The Army 2023 international military-technical forum is running at the Patriot Congress and Exhibition Center, the Alabino training ground and the Kubinka airfield outside Moscow on August 14-20. About 1,500 leading Russian defense enterprises and 85 foreign companies and businesses from seven countries are participating in the forum’s expositions and business program. The forum has been organized by the Russian Defense Ministry. TASS is the forum’s strategic media partner.

Read more …

“..despite “outstanding performance characteristics” their highly-sophisticated equipment couldn’t perform appropriately in Ukraine’s tough battlefield conditions.”

Why US Drones Prove Useless in Ukraine (Sp.)

After China banned exports of long-range remotely-piloted aircraft to Ukraine, US military experts found that American arm-makers have nothing to offer the Ukrainian military to fill the gap. On one hand, US defense-tech firms produce drones with a price tag starting from $16,000, well above China’s DJI Mavic UAVs that cost around $2,000 or even less. What’s more, according to the US mainstream press, some US defense contractors who have spent months testing their drones in Ukraine have now decided to leave their drones in storage. The crux of the matter is that despite “outstanding performance characteristics” their highly-sophisticated equipment couldn’t perform appropriately in Ukraine’s tough battlefield conditions.

American arms manufacturers have long been focused on qualitative superiority of their systems while their Russian and Chinese peers concentrated on functionality and quantity, as per David T. Pyne, an EMP Task Force scholar and former US Department of Defense officer. “During the latter stages of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union, the US focused on producing more expensive high-tech weapon systems that were qualitatively superior to Soviet systems in most areas while the Soviets more than compensated for US technological superiority by outproducing the US and its NATO allies by a wide margin. While Russia has caught up with the US technologically, I think the same Cold War-era mentality that quality is more important than quantity continues to hold true here in the US as we continue to prioritize more high-tech equipment even though it costs a lot more money to produce,” Pyne told Sputnik.

According to Pyne, Russia appears to have a much more cost-effective military budget than the US has “because its procurement, manufacturing and personnel costs are lower.” Russia’s electronic warfare (EW) systems, air defenses and aircraft reportedly pose yet another challenge to NATO-grade unmanned vehicles. “Russian electronic warfare capabilities remain the best in the world across the electromagnetic spectrum,” the EMP Task Force scholar stressed. “I think that Russian EW systems remain highly effective against US-built drones although media reports indicate that the US is helping Ukraine learn how to more effectively counter Russian GPS jamming equipment, likely reducing the percentage of Ukrainian drones it can successfully jam down to perhaps eighty percent.”

Read more …

“..a “sabotage hit squad” consisting of some 100 Ukrainian “nationalist and neo-Nazi militants..”

MI6 Plans To Send Ukrainian Mercenaries To Africa (RT)

The UK foreign intelligence service MI6 has allegedly prepared a group of saboteurs to disrupt Russia’s growing economic cooperation with African states, a military-diplomatic source told the RIA and TASS news agencies on Wednesday. The British spy agency created a “sabotage hit squad” consisting of some 100 Ukrainian “nationalist and neo-Nazi militants,” the source claimed, citing “information confirmed by several sources.” London reportedly asked Kiev back in July to “provide maximum and prompt assistance to representatives of the British intelligence MI6 and SAS special unit” in order to select fighters with “significant combat experience on the ‘eastern front’.”

The source, cited by both RIA and TASS, claimed that the British-Ukrainian unit will be tasked with “sabotage of infrastructure in African countries, as well as the elimination of African leaders oriented towards cooperation with Russia.” The militant group, alleged to be headed by Kiev’s Main Directorate of Intelligence officer Lt. Col. Vitaliy Prashchuk, is expected to be deployed to the Sudanese city of Omdurman from the Ukrainian port of Izmail by a “chartered civilian ship” sometime during the second half of August, the source added. London has been deeply involved in the Ukraine conflict since its escalation in February 2022, supplying domestically produced and foreign military hardware to Ukraine, training Ukrainian troops in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, and sharing intelligence.

The Wall Street Journal reported in May that British special forces “are operating very close to the front lines” and that their “guiding influence on Ukrainian special-forces activity is evident in the sabotage operations Ukraine has conducted against Russian railway, airfield, fuel and other logistical nodes.” “We can’t rule out that the British participated in the planning, organization and support of terrorist attacks carried out by the Kiev regime on the territory of Russia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said at the time, adding that Moscow reserves the right to respond to such conduct by the UK at a time and place of its choosing.

Read more …

“..charities and foundations are strictly forbidden by law to operate with the effect, much less the intent, of benefiting a political party..”

How Charities Secretly Help Win Elections (Thayer)

This investigation reveals the shocking true story of the Everybody Votes campaign—the largest and most corrupt “charitable” voter registration effort in American history—that may have decided the 2020 presidential election and could decide 2024. Commissioned by Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, funded by the Democratic Party’s biggest donors, and coordinated with cutthroat Democratic consultants, the Everybody Votes campaign used the guise of civic-minded charity to selectively register millions of “non-white” swing-state voters in the hopes of getting out the Democratic vote for a 2020 presidential win. It worked. Our exclusive research reveals how a little-known organization called the Voter Registration Project (VRP) leveraged connections with billionaire private foundations, Sam Bankman-Fried’s mother, and foreign billionaires with a history of breaking U.S. election law to raise $190 million for the Everybody Votes campaign and register 5.1 million people.

Using data from leaked copies of the campaign’s secret plans, as well as 2020 exit polls, our researchers have discovered that the VRP’s 5.1 million new registrations provided Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden with somewhere between 1 million to 2.7 million votes across eight specially chosen swing states during the 2020 election. If the state-by-state projections of the campaign’s Democratic consultants held true into 2020, the Everybody Votes campaign’s “massive registration surge” would have provided Democrats more votes than the total margins of victory in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Biden ultimately won each of these states in 2020, netting him 53 electoral college votes.

Our investigation proves, once and for all, that Democrats used truckloads of money from private foundations and public charities to give their donors enormous tax breaks and pad their electoral margins in 2020, even though charities and foundations are strictly forbidden by law to operate with the effect, much less the intent, of benefiting a political party. The investigation also proves that the campaign’s supposed concerns for the “civic participation” of “underrepresented communities” were nothing more than a convenient lie. Unearthed drafts of the Everybody Votes campaign’s original partisan schematics prove that the campaign was designed to win elections first and worry about “civic participation” later. Changing the electorate’s racial composition was only ever a secondary concern.

If the Everybody Votes campaign was a political action committee (PAC) or a 501(c)(4) “dark money” group and if the organizers had just admitted they cared more about electoral results than inequality, then there would be no scandal. But it wasn’t, and they didn’t, and the result is an enormous scandal entangling some of the Left’s biggest political donors and many of its most powerful nonprofit activist groups. It’s not just a scandal of the past either. The operation was so successful in 2020 that the Everybody Votes campaign has announced it will continue on through 2024, registering millions more. New job listings suggest that this cycle’s operations will target Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin—each a must-win presidential swing state. Only time will tell if the campaign is a repeat success.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dig through earth
https://twitter.com/i/status/1691436302162345984

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 182023
 
 March 18, 2023  Posted by at 9:16 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  44 Responses »


Leonardo da Vinci A Copse of Trees 1508

 

Xi Jinping To Make State Visit To Russia On March 20-22 – Kremlin (TASS)
US and Other Western Nations Wary Of Xi’s Trip To Moscow (SCMP)
Kissinger Assesses China-brokered Deal Between Saudi Arabia And Iran (RT)
International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Putin (TASS)
The Gathering Storm (Macgregor)
Kiev Issues Warning To Countries That Don’t Support Ukraine (RT)
US ‘Obviously’ Blew Up Nord Stream – French Politician (RT)
US ‘Taking Close Look’ At Drone Operations – CNN (RT)
Russian Forces Block Ukrainian Army From Leaving Bakhmut (TASS)
EU States Using Ukraine To Dispose Of Old Weapons – Kremlin (RT)
Putin Says Crimea’s Reunification With Russia Was Historic Event (TASS)
‘Foreign Agent’ Rules: The End Of Globalization As We Knew It (Lukyanov)
Using NGOs In Hybrid Wars Favorite Method Of Russia’s Enemies – Medvedev (TASS)
Twitter Pushed To Censor ‘True Stories’ On Covid – Twitter Files (RT)
SVB + FTX + SBF = WTF? (Kunstler)
Swiss Government Discussing Merging UBS & Credit Suisse (Az.)
US Security Forces Brace For Possible Trump ‘Arrest’ (RT)

 

 

 

 

RFK military operation
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636817052710125569

 

 

 

 

Mappin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636520757328064513

 

 

mRNA victims

 

 

Orthodox

 

 

 

 

Watters Hallie Schweizer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636524966958039040

 

 

Orban peace

 

 

 

 

Xi arrives on the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.

Labeling this an official state visit means documents have been prepared that are ready to be signed. By all parties, including US and Ukraine.

US and EU can say that China should join the world community vs Russia, but it’s Xi who speaks for the majority.

Xi Jinping To Make State Visit To Russia On March 20-22 – Kremlin (TASS)

Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to Russia from March 20-22 at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin press service said in a statement on Friday. According to the statement, the two leaders will discuss “pressing issues related to the future of relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China.” The parties are also expected to exchange views on ways to enhance Russian-Chinese cooperation on the international stage. In addition, the Kremlin press service specified that “a number of important bilateral documents will be signed” during the Chinese leader’s visit. Putin and Xi Jinping last met in person on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Uzbek city of Samarkand in September 2022.


In late December, Putin held a video conference call with Xi Jinping, inviting him to make a state visit to Moscow in the spring of 2023. Earlier in March, Xi Jinping was re-elected as Chinese president for a third five-year term. Putin said in his congratulatory message that Moscow and Beijing would continue coordination on key issues. The Russian president also expressed confidence that together with the Chinese president, he would be able to boost cooperation between the two countries in various fields. Following the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2022, Xi Jinping was also re-elected as General Secretary of the party’s Central Committee for a third time. That said, this will be his first visit to Russia since the re-election.

Ritter Xi

Read more …

“If China brokers peace here like it just did with Saudi and Iran, it’s a new world order, instantly.”

US and Other Western Nations Wary Of Xi’s Trip To Moscow (SCMP)

Washington and other Western capitals reacted warily on Friday to the announcement of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia next week, with the US “deeply concerned” Beijing could try to pose as a peacemaker by promoting an immediate ceasefire in the war in Ukraine. Both Beijing and the Kremlin confirmed on Friday that Xi will make a state visit to Russia from Monday to Wednesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It will be Xi’s first foreign trip since he secured an unprecedented third term as China’s president last week. His face-to-face talks with Putin are widely expected to have broad implications for the war, now in its second year, and China’s already tense relationship with the US.

But its significance grew further on Friday after pressure grew on Putin: the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, issued an arrest warrant for him over the war crime of illegally deporting Ukrainian children to Russia. Additionally, Turkey, after blocking Finland’s application to join Nato in the wake of Russia’s invasion, agreed to support it. Putin has maintained that Nato is a threat to Russia. Beijing’s foreign ministry described the trip as a “visit of friendship, cooperation and peace”. Washington, though, sees it as a potentially harmful reframing of the conflict. The Chinese might promote a ceasefire and “try to couch themselves as peacemakers and as … the only ones calling for the fighting to stop”, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. “We have deep concerns about that, because of what it actually means in terms of benefiting Russia at the expense of Ukraine,” he said.

“That’s why we’re expressing these concerns even before the visit.” The US position is that any ceasefire that freezes positions on the ground would validate Russia’s seizing of Ukrainian territory and give it a chance to rebuild its forces for further attacks. “We don’t support calls for a ceasefire right now,” Kirby said. “We certainly don’t support calls for a ceasefire that would be called for by the PRC [People’s Republic of China] in a meeting in Moscow that would simply benefit Russia.” He criticised Beijing for not joining the rest of the international community in supporting Ukraine. “We would certainly hope that they would. But we’ll see what comes out of this meeting,” he said. Britain also said that any peace deal not predicated on Ukraine’s sovereignty and self determination was no peace deal at all.

Read more …

“China has in recent years declared that it needs to be a participant in the creation of the world order. It has now made a significant move in that direction..”

Kissinger Assesses China-brokered Deal Between Saudi Arabia And Iran (RT)

China has taken a major step towards its goal of becoming a participant in the shaping of the world order, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said. The veteran diplomat was commenting on the recent landmark deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which Beijing mediated. Riyadh and Tehran agreed to restore diplomatic relations after a seven-year pause during talks in Beijing a week ago. In comments cited by the Washington Post on Thursday, Kissinger said the development is “a substantial change in the strategic situation in the Middle East.” The Saudis, who have been among Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East for decades, “are now balancing their security by playing off the US against China,” he explained.

According to Kissinger, Riyadh’s actions are comparable to what he himself accomplished in the early 1970s when, as secretary of state in the Nixon administration, he helped achieve rapprochement with Beijing amid its tensions with Moscow. The Saudi-Iranian deal will also complicate matters for Israel, as “pressure on Iran will now have to take into account Chinese interests,” he said. Israel remains increasingly concerned about Tehran’s alleged nuclear weapon program, and has warned of potential pre-emptive strikes against Iranian targets. “China has in recent years declared that it needs to be a participant in the creation of the world order. It has now made a significant move in that direction” by persuading Saudi Arabia and Iran to negotiate, Kissinger said.

The author of the article, Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius, also acknowledged that “the US is no longer the indispensable power in the region – the only country strong or supple enough to broker peace deals.” “China has claimed a share of that convening power” by playing the role of mediator on this scale for the first time, he wrote. Another major regional player, the United Arab Emirates, is also “courting” Beijing, Ignatius said. Chinese President Xi Jinping stated earlier this week that Beijing should “actively participate in the reform and construction of the global governance system” and promote “global security initiatives.” In doing so, China will add “positive energy to world peace and development,” he added.

Read more …

Russia was (is) moving Ukrainian children out of the line of fire. Where Ukraine let them remain. The west now talks of “re-education camps”..

“Who would have thought 15 years ago, that taking care of children, saving them and treating them, would become criminally punishable in the West.” – Maria Zakharova

International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Putin (TASS)

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, the court said in a statement on Friday. The statement said they could be responsible “for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.” ICC arrest warrants are usually secret in order to protect victims and witnesses and also to safeguard the investigation. However, the court stated that it authorized the public disclosure of the existence of the warrants, the names of the suspects and the crimes for which the warrants are issued, because “the conduct addressed in the present situation is allegedly ongoing, and that the public awareness of the warrants may contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes.”


Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier, when he commented on potential ICC cases against Russia, that Russia doesn’t recognize the court’s jurisdiction. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in comments on the information from the Hague, said decisions of the court have no consequence in Russia and any potential arrest warrants are null and void. The International Criminal Court was established by the Rome Statute in 1998. It’s not part of the UN and is accountable to the countries that have ratified the statute. The countries that aren’t parties to the statute include Russia (signed, didn’t ratify), the US (signed, then revoked signature) and China (didn’t sign). Putin signed an executive order in 2016 that stated Russia wouldn’t be a member of the ICC. According to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the court didn’t live up to expectations and failed to become a truly independent organization for international justice. The US expressed strong displeasure with the court in 2020, after ICC prosecutors indicated they would investigate crimes by US servicemen in Afghanistan.

Read more …

“Biden’s policy of forcibly pushing NATO to Russia’s borders forged a strong commonality of security and trade interests between Moscow and Beijing that is attracting strategic partners in South Asia like India, and partners like Brazil in Latin America.”

The Gathering Storm (Macgregor)

The crisis of American national power has begun. America’s economy is tipping over, and Western financial markets are quietly panicking. Imperiled by rising interest rates, mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasuries are losing their value. The market’s proverbial “vibes”—feelings, emotions, beliefs, and psychological penchants—suggest a dark turn is underway inside the American economy. American national power is measured as much by American military capability as by economic potential and performance. The growing realization that American and European military-industrial capacity cannot keep up with Ukrainian demands for ammunition and equipment is an ominous signal to send during a proxy war that Washington insists its Ukrainian surrogate is winning.

Russian economy-of-force operations in southern Ukraine appear to have successfully ground down attacking Ukrainian forces with the minimal expenditure of Russian lives and resources. While Russia’s implementation of attrition warfare worked brilliantly, Russia mobilized its reserves of men and equipment to field a force that is several magnitudes larger and significantly more lethal than it was a year ago.Russia’s massive arsenal of artillery systems including rockets, missiles, and drones linked to overhead surveillance platforms converted Ukrainian soldiers fighting to retain the northern edge of the Donbas into pop-up targets. How many Ukrainian soldiers have died is unknown, but one recent estimate wagers between 150,000-200,000 Ukrainians have been killed in action since the war began, while another estimates about 250,000.

Given the glaring weakness of NATO members’ ground, air, and air defense forces, an unwanted war with Russia could easily bring hundreds of thousands of Russian Troops to the Polish border, NATO’s Eastern Frontier. This is not an outcome Washington promised its European allies, but it’s now a real possibility. In contrast to the Soviet Union’s hamfisted and ideologically driven foreign policymaking and execution, contemporary Russia has skillfully cultivated support for its cause in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. The fact that the West’s economic sanctions damaged the U.S. and European economies while turning the Russian ruble into one of the international system’s strongest currencies has hardly enhanced Washington’s global standing.

Biden’s policy of forcibly pushing NATO to Russia’s borders forged a strong commonality of security and trade interests between Moscow and Beijing that is attracting strategic partners in South Asia like India, and partners like Brazil in Latin America. The global economic implications for the emerging Russo-Chinese axis and their planned industrial revolution for some 3.9 billion people in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are profound.

Read more …

“..while Kuleba was “trying to clumsily intimidate the world community,” he was simultaneously publishing announcements on his ministry’s website searching for “anyone who could represent the Kiev regime at the ambassador level abroad.”

Kiev Issues Warning To Countries That Don’t Support Ukraine (RT)

Ukraine will remember those who backed it in its conflict with Russia and will hold those who did not accountable, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba warned in a BBC interview on Friday. The choices every nation made during Russia’s military operation in Ukraine will be “taken into account in building future relations,” Kuleba said, adding that countries that have “misbehaved in the course of this war and mistreated Ukraine” would pay a price. “If anyone in the world thinks that the way this or that country behaved – or treated Ukraine at the darkest moment of its history – will not be taken into account in building future relations, these people just don’t know how diplomacy works,” he stated, noting that “war is a time when you have to make a choice. And every choice has been recorded.”

The minister also blasted the West for not giving Ukraine weapons fast enough, pointing out that every day weapons are not delivered is a day some Ukrainian soldiers die on the frontline. Russia responded to Kuleba’s statement by noting that everything he said had already long been understood by Ukrainian citizens, which is why they are fleeing even from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote in a Telegram post that while Kuleba was “trying to clumsily intimidate the world community,” he was simultaneously publishing announcements on his ministry’s website, searching for “anyone who could represent the Kiev regime at the ambassador level abroad.”

“Even though there is a foreign currency salary, it seems there is no one to be found,” Zakharova said. Meanwhile, Russia has pointed out that more and more UN member states are beginning to question the true nature of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev as they grow more skeptical of the West’s calls for peace in Ukraine. “Very quickly it has become obvious that it’s not Russia and Ukraine that are fighting in Ukraine right now. It’s a NATO proxy war against Russia with the hands of the Ukrainians, until the last Ukrainian,” Dmitry Polyansky, the deputy head of Moscow’s mission to the UN, said last week.

Read more …

Violent protests in France over Macron unilaterally pushing through pension reforms.

US ‘Obviously’ Blew Up Nord Stream – French Politician (RT)

French party leader Florian Philippot believes it has long been obvious that the United States was behind last year’s sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, which were built to deliver Russian natural gas to Western Europe. “Even before the war in Ukraine, the US for years fought against Nord Stream, it was a permanent part of their policy,” he told RIA Novosti in an interview published on Friday. “In early February 2022, [US President Joe] Biden said the Americans could make it so that the pipeline was no more. That’s what happened. And it was in the interest of the Americans,” according to Philippot, who heads the right-wing ‘The Patriots’ party in France. Last month, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that Biden personally ordered the bombing of the pipelines, and that Norway assisted in the sabotage.

He cited an unnamed source and supported his case using some of the same arguments as Philippot. Biden remarked that “there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2” during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in early February 2022. Hersh also claimed that Biden allowed US special services to classify the operation in a way that justified not informing the US Congress about it beforehand. Nord Stream 2 is the name of the second, newer pipeline, which was meant to greatly expand the capacity of the original Nord Stream, but was never operational. Both were disabled by sabotage. Philippot said he considered US culpability “obvious” even before Hersh’s revelations, but was not sure about Norway’s role.

He reasoned that Oslo had a motive since it “competes with Russia in gas trade, and many European nations replaced the Russian gas with Norwegian.” Both the US and Norway have denied any responsibility. Philippot also urged France to leave NATO, saying the military alliance “needs to be disbanded because it has no reason to exist.” “We have to stop this agenda of world war against Russia and China, it is absolutely insane,” he told the Russian news outlet, blaming the US for increasing global tensions. He also called French President Emmanuel Macron a deceitful leader. His government “prioritizes the US, and not its own people,” Philippot stated. He cited Macron’s decision to send billions of dollars worth of weapons and ammunition to Kiev, even as he is pushing through an unpopular pension reform, claiming a lack of money to fund social programs.

Read more …

“..the US is now “weighing the costs and benefits” of further drone operations..”

That took just one drone…

US ‘Taking Close Look’ At Drone Operations – CNN (RT)

The US is weighing the benefits and risks of drone flights over the Black Sea after losing an unmanned aircraft there while being chased by Russian interceptors, CNN reported on Thursday, citing sources. On Tuesday, Washington claimed that two Russian Su-27 fighters dumped fuel on a MQ-9 Reaper drone conducting a reconnaissance flight in the area, with one jet later colliding with the US aircraft. Moscow’s Ministry of Defense, however, dismissed the accusation, insisting that its interceptors had neither come into contact with the Reaper nor fired a weapon, saying that the drone crashed due to “sharp maneuvers.” Several officials have told CNN that the US is now “weighing the costs and benefits” of further drone operations.

At the same time, Washington has not entirely halted flights while the review is underway, the report says, and another Reaper was sent to monitor Russian forces searching for the debris. Pentagon officials say they are “taking a close look” at US drone routes and at ways to reduce the risk of clashing with Moscow’s military in the area. They are also said to be analyzing the potential intelligence benefits of such missions compared with the danger of escalation. One senior official told CNN the US was concerned that curbing drone activities could adversely affect intelligence gathering related to the Ukraine conflict. However, the US could still rely on other assets such as satellites, the report states.

Despite the ongoing review, Washington is considering flying another drone over the Black Sea in the near future, US officials said, without providing further detail. The US has significantly ramped up intelligence operations close to Russian borders, seeking to provide Ukraine with valuable data. Moscow has repeatedly insisted that such activities make the US a direct party to the conflict. On Friday, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who now serves as deputy chairman of the Security Council, blasted the US for sending its drone into the restricted flight Moscow has imposed due to the Ukraine conflict. “To put it simply, the Americans went way out of line, and there is no need to stand on ceremony with them,” he said, while recognizing the value of contacts between the Russian and US militaries.

Nap/Ritter

Read more …

They can leave, but not fully armed.

Russian Forces Block Ukrainian Army From Leaving Bakhmut (TASS)

Russian forces are steadily advancing in Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine) having thwarted the attempted withdrawal of several Ukrainian army units, acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin said on Friday. “We saw that several Ukrainian army units tried to get out of there, but they were thwarted by our forces,” he said in an interview with Russia’s Channel One. “The situation is steadily developing toward the liberation of this settlement.” Artyomovsk is located in the Kiev-controlled part of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Fierce fighting for control of the city is underway. According to the latest data, Russian forces have blocked or taken control of all paved roads to the city while the nascent spring mud season is complicating logistics efforts to supply the Ukrainian army with fresh ammunition and personnel.

Read more …

“.. the jets were retired last year, and several reports suggested that they were mostly not in operational condition…”

EU States Using Ukraine To Dispose Of Old Weapons – Kremlin (RT)

Plans by Poland and Slovakia to send Soviet warplanes to Ukraine look like attempts to dispose of antiquated equipment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during his Friday press briefing. “This is another example of how a number of NATO member states, including Poland, are raising their direct involvement in the conflict,” he announced, reacting to the recent announcements that Warsaw and Bratislava would send Soviet-designed MiG-29 warplanes to Kiev. Peskov added that it would not affect the outcome of Russia’s military operation but instead “may lead to additional suffering for Ukraine itself and its people.” “It seems like these countries [Poland and Slovakia] are just disposing of old equipment they no longer need,” Peskov said. The MiG-29 was designed in the 1970s and entered service in the 1980s.

Warsaw’s plan to transfer four of the MiG-29 fighters to Kiev “in the next few days” was announced by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki earlier this week. This makes Poland the first NATO country to pledge warplanes to Ukraine. The country has 28 MiG-29s, but it is unclear how many of them are in working condition, as the country has sought to update its air force with US- and South Korean-made fighters. Slovakia, also a NATO member, similarly announced on Friday that it would send 13 of its MiGs to Kiev. However, the jets were retired last year, and several reports suggested that they were mostly not in operational condition.

Ukraine has been requesting warplanes, specifically American-made F-16s for its military, but US President Joe Biden said in January that they were not planning to send any over. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz similarly stated the same month that Berlin was not even discussing transferring its own F-16s. French President Emmanuel Macron has sounded more vague, saying in January that he would not rule out sending fighter jets to Ukraine. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced in February that London would be training Ukrainian pilots, adding that there was still no decision on actually sending Western-made fighter jets to Kiev. Moscow has warned on numerous occasions that arming Ukraine was akin to playing with fire and that Western countries had practically already become a party to the conflict.

Read more …

9 years ago.

Putin Says Crimea’s Reunification With Russia Was Historic Event (TASS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin took the opportunity on Friday to congratulate all citizens of Russia with the upcoming anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia, calling it a historic event. “I want to congratulate the citizens of Crimea, Sevastopol and all citizens of our country with the Day of Crimea’s Reunification with Russia,” Putin said, opening a session on the socio-economic development of Crimea and Sevastopol. March 16, 2023 marks nine years since the Crimean referendum, where the majority of citizens of Crimea and Sevastopol voted in favor of reunification with Russia.


After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a coup in February 2014, mass protests erupted in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. On March 11, 2014, Crimea’s Supreme Council and Sevastopol City Council adopted a declaration of independence. On March 15, 2014, the Crimean authorities held a referendum on reuniting with Russia. Most voters supported the idea (96.77% in Crimea and 95.6% in the city of Sevastopol), with turnout reaching 80%. On March 18, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Ukraine, the United States and the European Union refused to recognize Crimea’s independence and its decision to reunite with Russia.

Read more …

“..The idea that cross-border funding of NGOs is not only acceptable, but normal and necessary, has become a product and a feature of the era of liberal globalization..”

‘Foreign Agent’ Rules: The End Of Globalization As We Knew It (Lukyanov)

Georgia hit the headlines early this month over the government’s attempt to pass a law on “foreign agents.” The draft bill (there were actually two of them) was eventually withdrawn and the issue taken off the agenda for the time being. The case is unusual because the Georgian leadership – far from being pro-Russian and anti-Western – has suddenly been relegated to this niche by the international media. Of course, everything is black-and-white these days, but the general topic is interesting in a wider context. The concept of a “foreign agent,” which was introduced in the US on the eve of World War II to counter enemy propaganda, has found new life in the 21st century. Until recently, it was mainly used in polemics between Russia and the West.

The latter accused Moscow of using the status to remove dissenters from the public space. Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s argument that the public has a right to know about foreign money being spent domestically is dismissed as a mere justification for restricting freedoms. The argument goes that “civil society” has the right to be funded “independently.” Herein lies a fundamental contradiction that we are now likely to see everywhere more and more. The idea that cross-border funding of NGOs is not only acceptable, but normal and necessary, has become a product and a feature of the era of liberal globalization. This view of civil society has been logically derived from the conceptual approach itself. If the aim is to remove trade, economic and, ideally, political barriers and to create a single global regulatory space, then non-governmental structures must either have no national affiliation at all or be connected with international organizations as much as possible.

This contradicts the classical notion of civil society, the essence of which is precisely its bottom-up origin, i.e., that it should emerge domestically. However, the West believes the top-down approach is a good thing – when it suits it, of course. Five years ago, US doctrine enshrined the return of great power rivalry as the core content of international politics. It drew a line under the previous period, which was more open. If this is the essence of world politics, then all the instruments are in play, and all the old themes, such as “money has no nationality” and “let information circulate without barriers,” can no longer be understood outside this context. Over the past couple of decades, there has indeed been a high degree of openness on the part of states to both socio-political and information activities. This is partly due to the significant increase in the number of embassy staff after the Cold War – where the scope of work, including with civil society, has expanded.

The impressive scale of mutual expulsions of diplomats after 2018 is linked to the collapse of relations, but also has an objective basis. Embassies are returning to more classical, i.e., narrower tasks, and there is no reason to have so many staff present. The same phenomenon applies to restrictions on media activity, which was relatively freely tolerated after the end of the Cold War. However, the atmosphere in this area has changed as the dominance of Western sources in the information space has been challenged by other players. In Western Europe and the US, measures against Russian and, to some extent, Chinese news channels have been explained by the fact that they are state-funded, while many of those from the West are private, in addition to their own state media.

Read more …

“To create organizations under benign covers, which actually seek to destabilize the situation in the country, to undermine stability in civil society..”

Using NGOs In Hybrid Wars Favorite Method Of Russia’s Enemies – Medvedev (TASS)

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev noted that using nonprofit organizations in hybrid wars is the favorite method of certain states that are hostile to Russia. The politician called “not to be shy” and to decisively thwart the operation of such structures. “We know that the favorite method of our enemies – all types – is to use nonprofits in hybrid wars. To create organizations under benign covers, which actually seek to destabilize the situation in the country, to undermine stability in civil society. We have seen many examples of this. These methods have been honed to perfection,” Medvedev said, speaking at a Ministry of Justice board meeting Friday. Medvedev noted that the Ministry has already created special measures for nonprofits, including publication of reports online.


“It is necessary to continue fine-tuning the law in this area, to prevent unfair competition, to introduce principles of openness and transparency, and streamline corporate management of nonprofit organizations,” he listed.Achieving balance and security in this area is of key importance, the official explained. “Thus, on the one hand, it is necessary to create comfortable conditions for normal, good-faith nonprofits, whose operation truly benefits the state and society. And, on the other hand – to brutally thwart the operation of structures, whose operation runs counter to Russia’s interests,” he noted. In this regard, one “should not be shy and should use all the necessary legal instruments,” Medvedev believes.

Read more …

“As Orwellian proof-of-concept, the Virality Project was a smash success..”

Twitter Pushed To Censor ‘True Stories’ On Covid – Twitter Files (RT)

A government-linked academic group pushed Twitter to censor factually correct stories about Covid-19 if they risked “fueling hesitancy” about vaccines, according to the latest batch of internal documents released by the platform’s new owner, Elon Musk. Published by journalist Matt Taibbi on Friday, the documents show that from February 2021 onwards, senior Twitter management – including former trust and safety chief Yoel Roth – signed up to a Stanford University initiative that would alert them to the latest “vaccine-related disinformation narratives” spreading on the platform.

Titled ‘The Virality Project,’ the initiative was led by a former CIA employee and comprised academics from several universities, as well as researchers from organizations funded by the Pentagon, the National Science Foundation, and the US State Department. The Virality Project also stated on its website that it “built strong ties” with the Office of the Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Homeland Security, among other agencies and departments. In its briefings to Twitter, the Virality Project recommended that “true content which might promote vaccine hesitancy” – such as stories of side effects and certain vaccines being banned abroad – be censored. Posts raising concern about vaccine mandates were viewed as “anti-vax” misinformation, while “just asking questions” was deemed “a tactic commonly used by spreaders of misinformation,” and posting about the “surveillance state” was deemed a bannable “conspiracy” theory.

It is unclear how often Twitter acceded to the Virality Project’s demands, though Taibbi said that within a month, the platform’s staff began using the project’s recommendations when evaluating content to censor. At the time, Twitter’s rules on Covid-19 “misinformation” required a specific post to be “demonstrably false,” while permitting “strong commentary,” opinion writing, and satire. The Virality Project, however, urged Twitter management to ban “repeat offenders” before they even made new posts. Sharing the leaked emails of White House coronavirus czar Anthony Fauci could “exacerbate distrust in Dr. Fauci and in US public health institutions,” the Virality Project warned in a June 2021 briefing, while a follow-up report highlighted the spread of “worrisome jokes” about harassing the door-to-door vaccine promoters deployed by the administration of US President Joe Biden.

“As Orwellian proof-of-concept, the Virality Project was a smash success,” Taibbi wrote on Friday. “Government, academia, and an oligopoly of would-be corporate competitors organized quickly behind a secret, unified effort to control political messaging.” Since purchasing Twitter in October and installing himself as the platform’s new CEO, Musk has been releasing regular batches of internal documents and communications in a bid to shed light on its previously opaque censorship policies. A tranche of files released in December revealed that Twitter censored “legitimate content” on Covid-19 at the direct request of the White House.

Read more …

“Money dies when it loses its direct connection to the generation of wealth from the real things of this earth..”

SVB + FTX + SBF = WTF? (Kunstler)

As if all the operations around finance in this land were not already unsound and degenerate enough, the alleged president just cancelled moral hazard altogether. It’s now official: from here forward there will be no consequences for banking fraud, poor decision-making, fiduciary recklessness, self-dealing, or any of the other risks attendant to the handling other people’s money. Bailing out the Silicon Valley Bank and Barney Frank’s deluxe Signature Bank means that the government will now have to bail out every bank every time something goes wrong. The trouble, of course, is that the government doesn’t have the means to bail out every bank. Its only resort is to ask the Federal Reserve to summon new money from a magic ether where the illusion of wealth is conjured to paper-over ever greater fissures in the splintering matrix of racketeering that America has become.

That will quickly translate into US dollars losing value, that is, accelerating inflation, which is how nature punishes you when your government lies and pretends that it has a bad situation well-in-hand. Be advised: the situation is not in-hand and is going to get a whole lot worse as new and subsidiary shocks thunder through the weeks and months ahead, until the whole wicked business blows. Likewise, the reactions of our government will only get more tragi-comically pathetic. The harder this gang of feckless, wannabe control freaks pretends to control events, the faster events spin out of control. Money dies when it loses its direct connection to the generation of wealth from the real things of this earth: fuels, crops, metals, materials, labor, and the value-added products made from them.

Since that divorce has already happened, the need arises for something else that can function as money (a store of wealth, an index of value, and a medium of exchange). The government will pretend that a Central Bank Digital Currency is that something else. Since banking is now nationalized by the Federal Reserve backstopping everything and everybody, then theoretically all the wealth of the nation is under its command. That would be another illusion. This CBDC would not be “money” representing wealth because America’s wealth is going, going, gone, pissed away, falling apart, de-laminating, oxidizing, rusting in the rain, going up in a vapor. Think of all those mortgaged cars on the road racking up the mileage until they’re worthless and all those mortgaged suburban houses built out of particle-board and vinyl smeared all over the landscape, decomposing into their constituent chemicals — over time, a dead loss. And that’s what’s left of our American Dream: coldcocked by entropy and, by extension, the laws of the universe.

Yellen

Read more …

Credit Suisse was back tanking yesterday.

Swiss Government Discussing Merging UBS & Credit Suisse (Az.)

UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse Group AG are opposed to a forced combination, even as scenario planning for a government-orchestrated tie-up continues, according to people with knowledge of the matter, Report informs referring to Bloomberg. UBS would prefer to focus on its own wealth-centric standalone strategy and is reluctant to take on risks related to Credit Suisse, the people said, asking not to be identified as the deliberations are private. Its smaller rival is seeking time to see through its turnaround after winning a liquidity backstop from the central bank, they said.


Credit Suisse arrested a collapse in investor confidence on March 16 after winning a 50 billion franc ($54 billion) credit line from the Swiss National Bank. That came after the Swiss lender had appealed to authorities for a public show of support following an unprecedented slump in the shares. With investors jittery after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, comments by Credit Suisse’s largest shareholder that it wasn’t willing to invest more in the bank were enough to provoke a deep selloff.

Read more …

They’re really scared of him. He’s polling well compared to DeSantis. And New York is as Dem as they come. But really? Stormy Daniels is all you got?

US Security Forces Brace For Possible Trump ‘Arrest’ (RT)

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are reportedly discussing security preparations in the event former President Donald Trump is indicted on felony falsification charges sometime in the coming days, according to multiple media outlets citing anonymous officials. The agencies are carrying out “preliminary security assessments” in and around a Manhattan courthouse to prepare for a possible indictment linked to an alleged “hush money” scheme involving a woman who claimed to have been intimate with the ex-president, five senior officials told NBC on Friday. While the officials stressed that the discussions are “precautionary” given that no charges have been filed, they said preparations are being made for an indictment that could come as early as next week.


Four law enforcement officials reached by the Associated Press confirmed the interagency conversations, which they said involve “security, planning and the practicalities of a potential court appearance” by Trump. The agencies discussing security preparations reportedly include the New York Police Department, New York State Court Officers, the US Secret Service, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Manhattan DA’s Office. According to a “source in the courts” cited by Fox News, the Secret Service will determine whether Trump is handcuffed in the event he is charged. The former leader is under a grand jury investigation launched by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office over the alleged felony falsification of business records, and is accused of arranging a payment of $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels through his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Trump
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636890792051523585

Daniels claims she was paid during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep quiet about alleged sexual encounters with Trump in the past, though he denies such liaisons ever took place. Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, told NBC News that if the ex-president is charged, he will “follow the normal procedures,” but has insisted on his client’s innocence. “The payments were made to a lawyer, not to Stormy Daniels. The payments were made to Donald Trump’s lawyer, which would be considered legal fees,” he said during a separate interview with MSNBC earlier this week, adding that Cohen “was his lawyer at the time and advised him that this was the proper way to do this to protect himself and his family from embarrassment. It’s as simple as that. That is not a crime.”


Cohen pleaded guilty to a federal charge related to the payment in 2018, and has since cooperated with the investigation into Trump after a public falling out with his former boss. He has provided hours of testimony before the grand jury probing Trump on the alleged felony charge, appearing for a second time on Wednesday.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Canucks
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636546986601066496

 

 

 

 

Knots

 

 

Coral

 

 

Humpback

 

 

Amur
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636800272231190528

 

 

Best friends
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636696497025699843

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 262022
 
 December 26, 2022  Posted by at 10:07 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  61 Responses »


Saul Leiter Man in straw hat 1955

 

Ukraine War Tolls Death Knell for NATO (Bhadrakuma)r
Putin Says He’s Ready To Negotiate ‘With Everyone Involved’ Over Ukraine (Hill)
Putin “Ready” To Negotiate, But West Wants To “Tear Apart” Russia (ZH)
Only One Nation Benefits From Sanctions On Russia – Minister (RT)
Erdogan Accuses West Of ‘Provocations’ Over Ukraine (RT)
West Issues Ultimatum To Serbia – Media (RT)
Ukraine Hits Airbase 300 Miles Deep into Russia (GR)
GOP Senators Blast McConnell For ‘Arrogance,’ Voter Betrayal (JTN)
Rand Paul Savages DC Elites With Epic “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” (DCE)
Rep. James Comer Calls For Defunding the FBI (DCE)
The Democrats are Now the War Party (Chris Hedges)
Soros Behind Twitter Operation to Shut Down Hunter Biden Laptop Story (BN)
In Post-Soviet Russia, New Years Remains A Bigger Holiday Than Christmas (RT)

 

 

What happened to us?
https://twitter.com/i/status/1607157558690676736

 

 

 

 

Musk


https://twitter.com/i/status/1606852465751629825

 

 

 

 

Stop now

 

 

Never leaves the human body
https://twitter.com/i/status/1606819520110538752

 

 

Control group
https://twitter.com/i/status/1606524791695237123

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..the nuclear triad. It is the main guarantee that our sovereignty and territorial integrity, strategic parity and the general balance of forces in the world are preserved..”

Ukraine War Tolls Death Knell for NATO (Bhadrakuma)r

The defining moment in US President Joe Biden’s press conference at the White House last Wednesday, during President Zelensky’s visit, was his virtual admission that he is constrained in the proxy war in Ukraine, as European allies don’t want a war with Russia. To quote Biden, “Now, you say, ‘Why don’t we just give Ukraine everything there is to give?’ Well, for two reasons. One, there’s an entire Alliance that is critical to stay with Ukraine. And the idea that we would give Ukraine material that is fundamentally different than is already going there would have a prospect of breaking up NATO and breaking up the European Union and the rest of the world… I’ve spent several hundred hours face-to-face with our European allies and the heads of state of those countries, and making the case as to why it was overwhelmingly in their interest that they continue to support Ukraine… They understand it fully, but they’re not looking to go to war with Russia. They’re not looking for a third World War.”

Biden realised at that point that “I probably already said too much” and abruptly ended the press conference. He probably forgot that he was dwelling on the fragility of Western unity. The whole point is that the western commentariat largely forgets that Russia’s core agenda is not about territorial conquest — much as Ukraine is vital to Russian interests — but about NATO expansion. And that has not changed. Every now and then President Putin revisits the fundamental theme that the US consistently aimed to weaken and dismember Russia. As recently as last Wednesday, Putin invoked the Chechen war in the 1990s — “the use of international terrorists in the Caucasus, to finish off Russia and to split the Russian Federation… They [US] claimed to condemn al-Qaeda and other criminals, yet they considered using them on the territory of Russia as acceptable and provided all kinds of assistance to them, including material, information, political and any other support, notably military support, to encourage them to continue fighting against Russia.”

Putin has a phenomenal memory and would have been alluding to Biden’s careful choice of William Burns as his CIA chief. Burns was Moscow Embassy’s point person for Chechnya in the 1990s! Putin has now ordered a nation-wide campaign to root out the vast tentacles that the US intelligence planted on Russian soil for internal subversion. Carnegie, once headed by Burns, has since shut down its Moscow office, and the Russian staff fled to the West! The leitmotif of the expanded meeting of the Board of the Defence Ministry in Moscow on Wednesday, which Putin addressed, was the profound reality that Russia’s confrontation with the US is not going to end with Ukraine war. Putin exhorted the Russian top brass to “carefully analyse” the lessons of Ukraine and Syrian conflicts. Importantly, Putin said, “We will continue maintaining and improving the combat readiness of the nuclear triad. It is the main guarantee that our sovereignty and territorial integrity, strategic parity and the general balance of forces in the world are preserved. This year, the level of modern armaments in the strategic nuclear forces has already exceeded 91 percent. We continue rearming the regiments of our strategic missile forces with modern missile systems with Avangard hypersonic warheads.”

Read more …

“..Zelensky has laid out a series of 10 conditions that must be met for peace to be achieved..”

That’s what you do when you’re losing.. You come with conditions.

Putin Says He’s Ready To Negotiate ‘With Everyone Involved’ Over Ukraine (Hill)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he’s ready to negotiate “with everyone involved” in the war with Ukraine. Putin told a Russian news reporter in an interview that aired on Russian media on Sunday that the Kremlin is ready to negotiate but their enemy are the ones refusing to talk. The comments from the Russian leader follow intense Russian shelling on the Ukrainian city of Kherson on Christmas Eve that killed at least 10 people and injured more than 50 others. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced Russia as “absolute evil” on Saturday following the deadly strikes, which he said were for “the sake of intimidation and pleasure.” Zelensky and President Biden discussed what a “just peace” would look like when Zelensky visited the United States on Wednesday for his first international trip since the war started in February.


Zelensky has laid out a series of 10 conditions that must be met for peace to be achieved, including total Russian withdrawal from Ukrainian territory. This would also include a Russian withdrawal from the Crimean Peninsula under the Ukrainian demands. [..] Putin has previously called on Ukraine and the international community to recognize Crimea as part of Russia, which they have been unwilling to do. Putin said in the interview that Russia is defending its national interests and its citizens in the 10-month conflict, The Associated Press reported. But he said Russia is prepared to negotiate “some acceptable outcomes” with all participants in the conflict. Putin called the conflict a war for the first time in a televised news conference on Thursday, saying it is Russia’s goal to end it. He previously only referred to it as a “special military operation.”

Putin direct

Read more …

“..we are defending our national interests, the interests of our citizens, our people..”

Putin “Ready” To Negotiate, But West Wants To “Tear Apart” Russia (ZH)

In a Sunday interview with Rossiya 1 state television, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country is now ready to negotiate an end to the conflict in Ukraine. However, he once again pointed the finger at the West for making any dialogue toward an acceptable end to the fighting all but impossible. “We are ready to negotiate with everyone involved about acceptable solutions, but that is up to them – we are not the ones refusing to negotiate, they are,” Putin said. “I believe that we are acting in the right direction, we are defending our national interests, the interests of our citizens, our people. And we have no other choice but to protect our citizens,” he added. From Moscow’s point of view, a signal of Ukraine’s ‘seriousness’ about talks would likely hinge on Kiev’s willingness to compromise on territorial concessions, especially regarding the Donbas in the east.


Additionally the Ukrainians would likely have to acknowledge Russian control over the Crimea. However, President Zelensky on Wednesday in his speech before Congress pledged “absolute victory” and has of late been vehement in rejecting any talk of letting go of territory as a non-starter, especially as the months-long Ukrainian counteroffensive has met with some significant successes.Also in the interview Putin continued his theme of the US and NATO waging a proxy war using Ukraine as a pawn. He said in the Sunday comments that the West is attempting to “tear apart” Russia. “At the core of it all is the policy of our geopolitical opponents, aiming to tear apart Russia, the historical Russia,” Putin said. “They have always tried to ‘divide and conquer’… Our goal is something else – to unite the Russian people.”

Read more …

“..were orchestrated to provide Europe with more expensive liquefied [natural] gas from America.”

Only One Nation Benefits From Sanctions On Russia – Minister (RT)

The sanctions the West has slapped on Russia over the Ukraine conflict are taking a heavy toll on the European economy, while the United States is the only actor profiting from the restrictions, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Saturday. Speaking to Asharq News daily, the minister claimed that Western sanctions had helped the Americans to achieve what they wanted, saying “their supplies of oil and gas to the European market have increased.” Energy shipments from the US, however, have proved costly for Europeans, resulting in skyrocketing inflation and decreased competitive power for European businesses, Siluanov said. According to the minister, both Western sanctions and the blasts that ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in late September “were orchestrated to provide Europe with more expensive liquefied [natural] gas from America.”

“America benefits, Europe loses,” he explained. Moscow has called the sabotage a terrorist attack, claiming that the US stood to benefit the most from the explosions. While Washington has denied any involvement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken described the incident as a “tremendous opportunity” for Europe to wean itself off of Russian energy. Siluanov went on to admit that sanctions have affected the Russian economy. “But they inflicted on the West no less, and perhaps even more pain,” he said, adding that the sanctions rhetoric has now become routine. The minister noted that the EU price cap on Russian oil “will certainly lead to price and market distortions,” reiterating Moscow’s position that it would not provide crude under contracts conforming to Western-mandated restrictions.

Russian oil companies are rerouting their oil shipments from the West in other directions, the minister said. “We will be looking for new markets, looking for new logistics. It is possible that this would be more expensive,” he stated. Earlier this month, the EU, the G7 countries and Australia introduced a price limit on Russian seaborne oil, set at $60 per barrel. The measure also prohibits Western companies from providing insurance and other services to shipments of Russian crude, unless the cargo is purchased at or below the indicated price. Following the move, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov warned that the restrictions would wreak havoc on global oil markets, while Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow was not planning to sell oil to nations supporting the price cap.

Read more …

Erdogan plays his cards.

Erdogan Accuses West Of ‘Provocations’ Over Ukraine (RT)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has praised Türkiye’s role in securing a grain deal between Russia and Ukraine, claiming in a speech on Sunday that unlike Ankara, Western nations did not make any tangible diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict. “Unfortunately, the West has only made provocations and failed to make efforts to be a mediator in the Ukraine-Russia war,” Erdogan said at a youth event in Türkiye’s eastern Erzurum province on Sunday. Türkiye has thus “assumed this mediator role in 2022” and is set to continue its diplomatic efforts next year, building up on the success of the Black Sea corridor created as part of an Istanbul grain deal in July, Erdogan said.

The grain corridor was touted as a way to secure food supplies to the neediest nations as a matter of priority, but Erdogan confirmed Russia’s long-standing concerns, saying on Sunday that some 44 percent of the grain exported from Ukraine went to Europe instead. In the meantime Moscow voiced its readiness to supply African nations with “large volumes” of grain and fertilizers out of its own stocks for free. Ankara adopted a neutral position early in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, refusing to take part in the Western sanctions on Moscow, while continuing its military cooperation with Kiev – including selling a number of Bayraktar attack drones. A preliminary peace agreement was reportedly reached in Istanbul as early as March, but was later rejected by Ukraine under alleged pressure from the West.

The grain deal, touted as a rare victory for diplomacy, was signed in July by representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye and the UN, with a Joint Coordination Center set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments. In late October, Russia briefly suspended its participation in the agreement, after accusing Kiev of launching a terrorist attack on the Crimea bridge, and drone strikes on ships involved in securing safe passage for agricultural cargo. Moscow ultimately returned to the accord after receiving unspecified “written security guarantees” from Kiev. Last month, Moscow allowed “a technical prolongation” of the deal, but Russian officials have repeatedly voiced concerns that the deal is not meeting its stated goals, and have also insisted that the provisions on lifting the restrictions on Russian agricultural exports were not being fulfilled. The Turkish president expressed hope that the issue of fertilizer exports and Moscow’s other concerns would be resolved through “more intense” negotiations next year.

Read more …

Keep on poking…

West Issues Ultimatum To Serbia – Media (RT)

Several Western countries have “sent an ultimatum” to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, demanding that Serbs in the northern part of breakaway Kosovo end their stand-off with local authorities, news website Pink.rs reported on Sunday. The outlet claims that ambassadors of the Quint group, comprising the US, the UK, France, Germany and Italy, are calling for barricades in the region be removed within 24 hours. If Belgrade fails to ensure this, the Western powers will reportedly let Albin Kurti, Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian prime minister, attack local Serbs. Earlier, Kurti warned that the “removal of these barricades cannot exclude casualties.”

Tensions between Belgrade and Pristina flared up earlier this month when Serbs, who make up the majority in the northern part of province, put up barriers to protest against the arrest of a former police officer, accused of attacking a Kosovo law enforcement patrol. After this, Vucic asked NATO’s KFOR peacekeepers for permission to deploy up to 1,000 Serbian troops and police officers in Kosovo, as it is entitled to do under UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which put an end to the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia in 1999. However, these plans were resisted by the US, with Gabriel Escobar, the State Department’s special envoy for the region, saying Washington had given Kosovo “very firm security guarantees.”

On Sunday, KFOR said that shots had been fired near a NATO patrol in northern part of Kosovo, close to the roadblocks, adding that there were no casualties. It stopped short of assigning blame. However, Serbian media, citing eyewitnesses, claimed that the incident took place when Kosovo’s special forces attempted to clear barricades near a town of Zubin Potok. With no sign of tensions abating, Milan Mojsilovic, Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, told local media on Sunday that the situation is complex, and requires the presence of the Serbian military along the administrative line which divides Kosovo from the rest of Serbia. NATO took control of Kosovo in 1999, after bombing Serbia on behalf of ethnic Albanian separatists. The province’s provisional government declared independence in 2008, which Belgrade has refused to recognize.

Read more …

They’re shot down but still kill.

Ukraine Hits Airbase 300 Miles Deep into Russia (GR)

Ukraine attacked with a drone an airbase in Russia’s Saratov region which lies about 500km (310 miles) northeast of the border with Ukraine. Three Russian military personnel were killed at Engels bomber base Russian news agencies reported, citing the defense ministry. Russian state media agency Tass quotes the defense ministry as saying: “On December 26, at around 01:35 Moscow time (2235 GMT), a Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down at low altitude while approaching the Engels military airfield in the Saratov region. “As a result of the fall of the wreckage of the drone, three Russian technical servicemen who were at the airfield were fatally injured.”


Russia accuses Ukraine of carrying out a similar attack on the airfield, home to strategic bombers, on 5 December. In that attack three servicemen were also killed by debris from a downed Ukrainian drone, Moscow said at the time. Two aircraft were lightly damaged. According to Reuters, the twin strikes dealt Russia a major reputational blow and raised questions about why its defenses failed, analysts said, as attention turned to the use of drones in the war between neighbors. Ukraine has never publicly claimed responsibility for attacks in Russia, but has said, however, that such incidents are “karma” for Russia’s invasion. As CNN reported recently Ukraine’s state-owned weapons manufacturer Ukroboronprom has indicated several times in the last few weeks that it is close to finishing work on a new long-range drone.

Read more …

“..Unfortunately, our supporters aren’t going to buy it either.”

GOP Senators Blast McConnell For ‘Arrogance,’ Voter Betrayal (JTN)

Conservative GOP senators blasted Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday for shepherding with Democrats a $1.7 trillion year-end spending bill into law over the objections of House Republicans, saying it was an act of “arrogance” that betrayed promises to voters. “Our party leadership turned on Republican voters, turned on the Republican base, turned on most Republican senators,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, told “The Cats Roundtable” and host John Catsimitidas on WABC radio in New York. “It has happened before, but this is one too many times. For me, this is the final straw.” Lee called the omnibus spending bill signed into law Friday “the ugliest spending bill on record” and one that signaled “that voters don’t see much of a defining difference with Democrats.”

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., mocked those of his GOP colleagues who voted for the bill and celebrated its passage. “To declare that a victory, to say that’s a win, that’s like a football team that just lost the game 60 to 0, and they kick a field goal in the waning seconds and say the field goal is a big win,” Johnson told Catsimitidas. “No, we just got our you-know-whats handed to us.” Johnson said that McConnell’s maneuver not only betrayed conservative voters but also undercut House Republicans about to take over in January who had asked for a short-term spending plan. “Unfortunately, the arrogance of our leadership who said, ‘We know better than House members. We’re going to pass this.’ … I’m not buying it,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, our supporters aren’t going to buy it either.”

Other senators took to Twitter to express their disdain for the spending law, warning it will worsen inflation next year. “I voted AGAINST the $1.7 TRILLION spending bill because I promised Florida families I’d fight every day to make Washington work for them,” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., tweeted. “This reckless inflation bomb is a disaster for our economy and a slap in the face to Floridians struggling to make ends meet.”

Read more …

“The Senators were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of pork danced in their heads. No budget was found, just mischief and debt.”

Rand Paul Savages DC Elites With Epic “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” (DCE)

This Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) posted a parody of the classic Christmas poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” to this social media, this time directed at the Democrat’s omnibus spending bill — which costs America a whopping $1.7 trillion dollars. “Twas the week before Christmas, and through the Senate and House, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The earmarks were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there,” Paul begins.= “The Senators were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of pork danced in their heads. No budget was found, just mischief and debt. While the taxpayers hung their poor heads and wept. When out on the lawn arose such a clatter — Senators sprang from their oxygen. What was the matter?” Paul added. “Away to the window, they flew like a flash, tore open the shutter when they heard the word cash.”

Then Senator Paul decided to name names — and he was genuinely bipartisan here, scorching high spenders on both sides of the aisle! Note: This article may contain commentary reflecting the author’s opinion. This Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) posted a parody of the classic Christmas poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” to this social media, this time directed at the Democrat’s omnibus spending bill — which costs America a whopping $1.7 trillion dollars. “Twas the week before Christmas, and through the Senate and House, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The earmarks were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there,” Paul begins. “The Senators were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of pork danced in their heads. No budget was found, just mischief and debt.

“While the taxpayers hung their poor heads and wept. When out on the lawn arose such a clatter — Senators sprang from their oxygen. What was the matter?” Paul added. “Away to the window, they flew like a flash, tore open the shutter when they heard the word cash.” Then Senator Paul decided to name names — and he was genuinely bipartisan here, scorching high spenders on both sides of the aisle! “With a little old driver so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick. More rapid than eagles. His coursers they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name: Now, McConnell! Now, Schumer! Now, Pelosi and Vixen! On Biden! On Stupid! On Dumber and Blitzen! To debt! To bankruptcy! To free money for all”

Read more …

“We need to halt everything with the FBI, all funding, until they come forward and explain to Congress exactly what they were doing..”

Rep. James Comer Calls For Defunding the FBI (DCE)

On Tuesday, Rep. James Comer, who is expected to be the incoming chair of the House Oversight Committee, spoke to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo about the recent revelations from the “Twitter Files” about the FBI’s influence in the silencing of the Hunter Biden laptop story in October 2020. When asked about the latest releases of the Twitter files, which outlined the FBI’s cooperation with Twitter to counter “misinformation” and “disinformation” on the social media site, Comer emphasized that the initial discovery proves wrongdoing, but additional investigations will have to be conducted.“Well, it means a lot more evidence of wrongdoing,” he told Bartiromo. “You know, in the beginning, I thought that there were probably two or three rogue employees who were orchestrating this cover-up of the Hunter Biden laptop story. But now we know the FBI had a division of at least 80 agents.”

“We also know that the FBI paid Twitter over $3 million for their time, all the time they took over the past couple of years in telling them who to suppress, who to ban,” the congressman explained. “You know, it’s just things that the government has no role in. The FBI was never granted the authority to create any type of disinformation task force that policed the social media sites.” “Now, this we know with Twitter, we’ve heard similar stories from Zuckerberg,” the Kentuckian explained referencing Zuckerberg’s admittance that Facebook deemphasized stories at the request of the FBI. “Who knows what went on at YouTube and Google? This is an agency that’s out of control.”

“And the most frustrating thing for me right now, Maria, is the fact that in this omnibus bill, there’s increased funding for the FBI, plus a $1.75 billion headquarters facility for the FBI,” he explained in reference to the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill currently being considered in the Senate. “We need to halt everything with the FBI, all funding, until they come forward and explain to Congress exactly what they were doing, why they were doing it, and who gave them the authority to do it.”

Read more …

“..No weapons system is too costly. No war, no matter how disastrous, goes unfunded. No military budget is too big..”

The Democrats are Now the War Party (Chris Hedges)

The Democrats position themselves as the party of virtue, cloaking their support for the war industry in moral language stretching back to Korea and Vietnam, when President Ngo Dinh Diem was as lionized as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. All the wars they support and fund are “good” wars. All the enemies they fight, the latest being Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, are incarnations of evil. The photo of a beaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris holding up a signed Ukrainian battle flag behind Zelensky as he addressed Congress was another example of the Democratic Party’s abject subservience to the war machine.

The Democrats, especially with the presidency of Bill Clinton, became shills not only for corporate America but for the weapons manufacturers and the Pentagon. No weapons system is too costly. No war, no matter how disastrous, goes unfunded. No military budget is too big, including the $858 billion in military spending allocated for the current fiscal year, an increase of $45 billion above what the Biden administration requested. The historian Arnold Toynbee cited unchecked militarism as the fatal disease of empires, arguing that they ultimatley commit suicide.

There once was a wing of the Democratic Party that questioned and stood up to the war industry: Senators J. William Fulbright, George McGovern, Gene McCarthy, Mike Gravel, William Proxmire and House member Dennis Kucinich. But that opposition evaporated along with the antiwar movement. When 30 members of the party’s progressive caucus recently issued a call for Biden to negotiate with Putin, they were forced by the party leadership and a warmongering media to back down and rescind their letter. Not that any of them, with the exception of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have voted against the billions of dollars in weaponry sent to Ukraine or the bloated military budget. Rashida Tlaib voted present.

The opposition to the perpetual funding of the war in Ukraine has come primarily from Republicans, 11 in the Senate and 57 in the House, several, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, unhinged conspiracy theorists. Only nine Republicans in the House joined the Democrats in supporting the $1.7 trillion spending bill needed to prevent the government from shutting down, which included approval of $847 billion for the military — the total is boosted to $858 billion when factoring in accounts that don’t fall under the Armed Services committees’ jurisdiction. In the Senate, 29 Republicans opposed the spending bill. The Democrats, including nearly all 100 members of the House Congressional Progressive Caucus, lined up dutifully for endless war.

Read more …

DNC, FBI, FTX, Twitter, Soros. Nice.

Soros Behind Twitter Operation to Shut Down Hunter Biden Laptop Story (BN)

First Draft News, a now-defunct nonprofit that left-wing billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations funded, played a key role in Twitter’s preparation to shut down the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020, according to internal documents published by author Michael Shellenberger as part of Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files.” The Aspen Institute hosted a September 2020 training exercise for members of the media and social media leaders regarding the handling of hypothetical data leaks which were similar to the Hunter Biden laptop report that broke in October, according to Shellenberger. Claire Wardle, former executive director and co-founder of First Draft News, appeared to be an attendee of the exercise, according to an email published by Shellenberger.

The address that apparently belonged to Wardle was one of multiple recipients in an email to top national security reporters, Facebook’s head of security policy and others, according to Shellenberger. The Open Society Foundations, which left-wing megadonor Soros chairs, once funded First Draft News. The organization shut down in June. “Today we are announcing that First Draft is closing its doors to make way for the next chapter — its mission will continue at the newly launched Information Futures Lab, an initiative from Brown’s School of Public Health,” an announcement from Wardle reads.

The Aspen Institute training exercise, titled “The Burisma Leak,” involved a series of hypothetical leaks during October 2020 showing that Hunter Biden had made more money in his role at Burisma than previously disclosed and had communicated with his father about his work there, Shellenberger reported. The exercise was meant to shape how the media covered the eventual leak of the Hunter Biden laptop story and the way social media platforms carried it. The Aspen Institute, a left-leaning think tank funded by massive philanthropic organizations including the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation, runs the Commission on Information Disorder, an anti-disinformation project that’s drawn ire from conservatives for its alleged far-left partisanship. The commission has urged social media platforms to censor accounts it considers misinformation “superspreaders” through demonetization, the removal of what it considers inaccurate posts and penalties for offending users.

Read more …

Pretty brilliant history lesson.

In Post-Soviet Russia, New Years Remains A Bigger Holiday Than Christmas (RT)

Present-day Russia is almost the only major Christian country in the world where New Year festivities are more prominent than those of Christmas. While Westerners are unpacking gifts on December 24th, Russians are still immersed in an atmosphere of their upcoming holiday, which, when it comes around, is filled with age-old traditions and lasts almost two weeks. To understand why the New Year has become a special celebration in Russia and what sets it apart from other countries, we must first dive into the history of the holiday. It was only in 1700 that Russia joined the pan-European tradition of celebrating the New Year on January 1, following a decree by Emperor Peter the Great. Before that, Russians had celebrated New Year’s on March 1, when it was time to prepare for the new season of agricultural work.

However, despite the will of the emperor, Russia did not fully synchronize with the rest of Europe – the country at the time functioned according to the old Julian calendar, while most European countries had already switched to the Gregorian one. Therefore, the new year in Russia began 13 days later. This became a key aspect that influenced the modern traditions of New Year celebrations. Thanks to Peter the Great, the New Year moved closer to the main Christian holiday, Christmas. For the next two hundred years, New Year and Christmas celebrations in Russia were a lot like those in Western Europe. The difference was only in the religious form – Russia followed Christian Orthodox canons, while the likes of France and Germany followed Catholic and Protestant ones.

Everything changed with the October Revolution, the overthrow of the emperor, and the creation of the new state – the USSR. The Bolsheviks carried out several reforms in the first years after the revolution that directly affected how Russia celebrates the New Year today, in the 21st century. On January 26, 1918, the Council of People’s Commissars of Russia issued a decree on the transition to the Gregorian calendar. As a result, the country celebrated the start of the year 1919 simultaneously with Western Europe. In 1929, the celebration of Christmas was officially ‘canceled.’ Although by this time the New Year had become a completely independent secular holiday, Christmas was privately celebrated in many homes.

Even in 1924, shortly before Lenin’s death, a Christmas Tree celebration was held for children. But, after 1929, the most important Christian date was erased from the calendar and remained exclusively in the homes of religious people. At the same time, the Orthodox Church did not switch to the Gregorian calendar, and therefore Orthodox Christmas is still celebrated on January 7, not December 25.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Ferns

 

 

Peter Sellers

 

 

 

 

Croc

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 102022
 


Salvador Dali Portrait of my father 1920

 

How The Green Agenda Is Being Used To Fleece The Naive (Rachel Marsden)
On Deconstructing Constructs (Batiushka)
How the Loss of Control of Either House Could Impact the President (Turley)
Moscow Comments On US Electoral System ‘Crisis’ (RT)
Washington Refuses To Send Advanced Drones To Ukraine – WSJ (RT)
Ukraine Extends Martial Law, Mobilization For 90 Days Until Feb. 19 (Az.)
The WEF Plan for Mankind and What Comes Next (Casey)
The WEF’s Stakeholder Capitalism Is Just Global Fascism By Another Name (AltM)
Europe Braces For New Refugee Crisis (RT)
Hungary Reacts To EU Aid Plan For Kiev (RT)
Kremlin Comments On Putin’s G20 Plans (RT)
Biden: Elon Musk’s Links To Other Countries ‘Worthy Of Being Looked At’ (G.)
The Quiet Merger Between Online Platforms and National Security State (Jac.)
Profit Inflation And A Basket Full Of Holes (K.)

 

 

“You have a device in your pocket that can communicate with satellites so that you can order tacos in your undies but we can’t count ballots.”

That says 150 million.

 

 

Keri Lake

 

 

 

 

Simpsons

 

 

This cannot be due to the vaxx/boosters, because no-one’s taking those.

 

 

 

 

Green becomes the color of oppression.

How The Green Agenda Is Being Used To Fleece The Naive (Rachel Marsden)

Banks and corporations making pledges of ‘net-zero’ emissions are taking the public for a ride, according to a new United Nations report released at this week’s COP27 climate change conference. “We must have zero tolerance for net-zero greenwashing,”UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, in reference to the concept of virtue-signaling a green agenda for marketing purposes as a strategy to gain more business, all while failing to back up the claims in practice. Oh, so the airlines asking whether you want to freely donate extra cash when buying a plane ticket to offset the carbon footprint of your flight aren’t technically achieving much beyond making the insufferably sanctimonious feel good about themselves? Or that the energy companies using renewables as window dressing are nonetheless continuing to invest in fossil fuels? You don’t say!

In case the idealists haven’t noticed, there’s currently an energy crunch in the West due to Western sanctions on fuel from Russia – and renewables aren’t anywhere near ready for prime time as a replacement. Germans are turning instead to coal and firewood, while France is scrambling to ramp up nuclear power. The EU even backpedaled at the beginning of the year in labeling gas and nuclear ‘green’ – which now conveniently allows its leaders to run around to fossil fuel pariah countries asking for desperately needed energy. Might as well, though, for all the good that this pricey and pretentious charade is doing. The UN says that more financing, to the tune of up to $340 billion per year by 2030, is the key. Anything less is apparently futile.

The notion of massive funding being necessary to prevent Earth’s temperature from increasing by 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is a tough sell, particularly in the absence of any logical explanation of how the cash would credibly be used to realistically adjust the thermostat, so officials now seem to be trying a new sales pitch. “The world must step up and protect people and communities from the immediate and ever-growing risks of the climate emergency. We have no time to lose,” Guterres said, with the UN citing things like flooding in Pakistan and multi-year droughts as justification for the funding.

Greenwashing is just another way of scamming the hopelessly naive. And no one does it better than governments themselves, who have managed to relieve taxpayers of countless billions to fill slush funds under the guise of saving the world. And now US President Joe Biden is using a green pretext to protect US economic interests to the detriment of European allies – even as the US ramps up fossil fuel liquefied natural gas exports to the EU. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act is conveniently framed as a green energy initiative, offering US consumers tax incentives to buy American electric cars with batteries that have at least 40% of components from the US or a country with which it has free trade. Germany and France view the measures as blatant protectionism.

Read more …

“An artificially-imposed union in unnatural borders is known as ‘a construct’..”

USA and Europe are constructs.

On Deconstructing Constructs (Batiushka)

An artificially-imposed union in unnatural borders is known as ‘a construct’. Constructs are artificial, as they are populated by different peoples, who speak different languages and have different cultures, and who would prefer to live in their own common nation-state because of those differences. For these reasons constructs are always imposed top-down for ‘reasons of State’ and rejected by those who are oppressed by them at the grassroots. Constructs are only ever popular among the elites which invent them and make money from them. They rarely achieve more than 50% popularity, usually far less. They are always rejected by the people at the bottom of the pile. This is why constructs never last.

1. The USA as a Construct For instance, the USA, founded on exploitation, gun-law, slavery and the genocide of its native peoples, is a construct. Its straight-line borders are artificial, the result of wars and treaties, forced on others by historical circumstances or illegal occupations, for example as in Alaska and Hawaii. Much of its southern territory is Spanish-named and was stolen from Mexico and is now – such is the justice of history and the reward of patience – being reoccupied by Spanish speakers. As for the northern border, that was fixed because basically the lands northwards were cold and uninviting. The vast majority of them, except for a very narrow strip close to the US border, spread up to the Arctic and were uninhabitable. Thus, the US elite left them to the unwanted whom they called ‘Canadians’, who presented no threat to them.

As regards its ‘United’ States, they are the result of an incredibly bloody Civil War, leaving as many as one million dead, the equivalent of ten million today. It was directed by an industrial elite in the North-East and the result, enforced by genocide, was by many never accepted. That elite was Zionist (not Jewish, though many of its financiers were Jews) in its proclamation that it was exceptional and that its ‘manifest destiny’ (i.e. manifest only to themselves) was to spread ‘from sea to shining sea’.

2. Europe and its Constructs Europe (meaning by etymology ‘the west’) is also a construct, its identity going back to an ancient Greek myth. For the Romans 2,000 years ago, it did not exist separately from Asia and Africa. Indeed, it is artificially separated from Asia (meaning by etymology ‘the east’), from where its peoples emigrated. There is no natural border between the European peninsula and Asia: its eastern border is purely political and for the moment fixed in the Ural Mountains and the Caucasus. Moreover, nearly all of its languages are ‘Indo-European’ and have their origins in a language spoken in today’s Turkey (Asia Minor) or even further east, well over 5,000 years ago. The historically recent contempt of ‘Europe’ for anything ‘Asian’, contemptuously termed ‘Asiatic’ or ‘barbarian’, is simply a rejection of its own origins and a self-justification for its artificial state of separation.

In the early 90s the then French President, Chirac, called on all: ‘Creeons l’Europe, Faisons l’Europe, il faut construire l’Europe’ (Let us create Europe, Let us make Europe, We must build Europe’). This was simply an open admission that Europe did not exist. It does not. Within contemporary Europe the EU, the UK and the Ukraine are obviously constructs. The EU goes back only to 1993, the Ukraine to 1992, and the UK to 1922. In other words, they are all temporary inventions of the twentieth century. Now we are in the twenty-first century, we can see that they will not last much longer.

Read more …

“..a Republican-controlled House has plenty to investigate, and impeachment is unlikely his greatest fear..”

How the Loss of Control of Either House Could Impact the President (Turley)

Last Thursday, Biden warned supporters that the Republicans have made clear “they’re gonna impeach me.” When Biden warned that he might be impeached if voters do not stop a Republican wave, there was an audible laugh which prompted the President to added “No, I’m not joking.” While Biden may or may not be the subject of an impeachment, a Republican-controlled House has plenty to investigate, and impeachment is unlikely his greatest fear. Here are the top three concerns, and there is every indication that Biden is wise to be worried.

Hunter Biden and Influence Peddling
House Democrats repeatedly moved to block investigations into the alleged multimillion-dollar influence-peddling operations by the Biden family. For his part, Attorney General Merrick Garland steadfastly refused to appoint a special counsel despite an overwhelming basis for such an appointment. Biden has repeatedly denied knowledge of Hunter Biden’s business entanglements despite numerous emails and pictures showing him meeting with Hunter associates. Hunter’s partner, Eric Schwerin, alone made at least 19 visits to the White House and other official locations between 2009 and 2015. There are emails of Chinese, Ukrainian and other foreign clients including some thanking Hunter Biden for arranging meetings with his father. People apparently were told to avoid directly referring to Joe Biden. In one email, Tony Bobulinski, then a business partner of Hunter, was instructed by Biden associate James Gilliar that the Bidens wanted to avoid such references: “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.” [..]

Social Media and Censorship-by-Surrogate The president has at times acted as a virtual censor-in-chief, denouncing social-media companies for “killing people” by not censoring enough. Recently, he expressed doubt that the public can “know the truth” without such censorship by “editors” in Big Tech. There is growing evidence of long-suspected back channels between government and Democratic political figures and Big Tech. Some of those contacts were recently confirmed but Congress again refused to investigate. If officials coordinated the censorship of citizens, it could lead to lawsuits (in addition to already pending actions) and embarrassing disclosures. The government cannot do indirectly what it is barred from doing directly. The investigation could produce considerable collateral damage for political and media figures alike.

Pandemic politics and policies Republicans have pledged to open a full investigation into what officials knew about the origins and risks of COVID-19. Specifically, members like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have pledged to uncover material showing what officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci knew about the lack of efficacy of masks as well as guidelines on limiting groups or the closure of businesses and schools. These investigations might also reveal the coordination of health-care guidelines with teacher unions and political allies. These investigations could eventually be linked in critical ways. For example, many of those who questioned the efficacy and cost of the massive lockdown were barred on social media (and attacked in the mainstream media). Fauci is accused of quickly scuttling such discussion, and critics point to his own alleged approval of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab.

Read more …

“Joe Biden promised unity but has instead demonized and smeared Americans while making life more expensive for all..”

Moscow Comments On US Electoral System ‘Crisis’ (RT)

The US electoral system has found itself in dire straits amid a high level of political polarization, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday, adding that the problems are evident to the entire world. Speaking to Sputnik radio, Zakharova was asked to comment on the midterm elections in the US. According to the spokeswoman, the crisis of the US voting system “is being noticed even by their closest allies.” The concern is also shared by “members of official international institutions” that assess elections from a legal point of view, she continued. “In my opinion, one can see this with the naked eye even without these statements,” Zakharova noted.

She pointed to the current intense political struggle between the Republican and Democratic parties. “I’m not even talking about social polarization, I’m talking about the level of dialogue between these poles,” she said, adding that it “looks more like annihilation than electoral procedures.” According to CNN vote tracking, the Republican Party is on course to regain control of the US House of Representatives and is projected to take at least 198 seats, against the Democratic Party’s 178. In the Senate, the parties appear to be neck and neck. However, exit polls suggest that 70% of US voters believe that the democratic system itself is “threatened,” either by lax voting laws, faulty vote machines, or false allegations of electoral misconduct.

This sentiment was echoed by US President Joe Biden last week, who accused his predecessor Donald Trump and other Republicans of encouraging political violence while blasting them for denying the results of the 2020 presidential election. The GOP dismissed the allegations, and accused the president of fostering division in America. “Joe Biden promised unity but has instead demonized and smeared Americans while making life more expensive for all,” it said.

Read more …

“..could “signal to Moscow that the US was providing weapons that could target positions inside Russia.”

Washington Refuses To Send Advanced Drones To Ukraine – WSJ (RT)

The administration of US President Joe Biden has rebuffed Kiev’s requests to provide it with state-of-the-art drones over concerns that doing so could escalate the Ukraine conflict, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing sources. According to US officials and people familiar with matter interviewed by the newspaper, the US won’t send the Gray Eagle MQ-1C drones to Ukraine that it has been requesting for months. This type of military aid, they said, could “signal to Moscow that the US was providing weapons that could target positions inside Russia.” US officials also worry that the technology used in the drones, particularly the cameras, could fall into the wrong hands, the report says.

In September, a bipartisan group of members of the US Congress is said to have insisted that the Biden administration send to Ukraine the medium altitude and armed drones, which can stay in the air for more than 24 hours. In their letter, they asked for the review process to be accelerated, which spurred a briefing on Capitol Hill, congressional officials told the WSJ. The MQ-1C Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft Systems can fly at an altitude of up to 7,600m for more than 27 hours and carry up to four HELLFIRE missiles. They also have a range of up to 4,600km via satellite communications, which may potentially enable Ukraine to strike targets deep inside Russian territory.

Since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine in late February, the US has been supplying Ukraine with large quantities of weapons, including reconnaissance and kamikaze drones. Washington has so far resisted calls to provide Kiev with advanced weaponry such as Patriot air defense systems and F-16 fighter jets. Russia has repeatedly warned the West against “pumping” Ukraine with weaponry, saying that do so will only prolong the conflict.

Read more …

Makes me wonder how many foreigners there are today in Ukraine’s army.

Ukraine Extends Martial Law, Mobilization For 90 Days Until Feb. 19 (Az.)

With efforts to hold back Russian forces continuing, Ukraine’s parliament has extended martial law and military mobilization in the country for 90 days, until Feb. 19 of next year. Tuesday’s passage of legislation presented by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy goes into effect as of Nov. 21, when the previous law on the extension of martial law expires. The previous extension of martial law and mobilization in light of the war was passed this Aug. 15, again for 90 days. Martial law in Ukraine was first declared by Zelenskyy on Feb. 24, when Russia launched its war on its neighbor. It was first extended in March for a period of 30 days.

Read more …

“Schwab was very clever to have put together an organization where the richest, most powerful, and most influential people in the world are charged huge amounts to be introduced to each other..”

The WEF Plan for Mankind and What Comes Next (Casey)

The World Economic Forum (WEF) describes its mission as the “international organization for public-private cooperation.” What do you make of the WEF and the power it wields? Doug Casey: “International organization for public-private cooperation” is a code phrase for economic fascism – which is to say, the hand-in-glove melding of the political power of the State with the economic power of corporations. Things like the WEF, and other NGOs (non-governmental organizations), institutes, and think tanks, have proliferated in recent years. They’re almost all destructive parasites on productive society. Almost all of them are leftist, statist, and collectivist in orientation. They’re typically populated by intellectuals and academics and funded by tax-exempt foundations, usually set up by elderly do-gooders interested in leaving a “legacy.”

The WEF is by far the most successful of the breed. Instead of just cadging donations so intellectuals could hang around and seem prestigious, in 1971, Klaus Schwab formed a club where the rich and powerful could discuss ideas with other members of the overlord class. Political and financial types could find a philosophical home, disguising the quest for money and power with a patina of benevolence. It’s become an amazingly large and powerful organization. They have roughly 800 full-time employees, most of them very highly paid. They have an annual budget of over $300 million. Their balance sheet indicates that the WEF is worth over $1 billion, funded by major corporations who give it millions of dollars, as do various governments. Most of the world’s political leaders and corporations are members.

Schwab was very clever to have put together an organization where the richest, most powerful, and most influential people in the world are charged huge amounts to be introduced to each other and talk about how they can become even richer, more powerful, and more influential. It seems clear that members of the WEF have to toe the party line or be disinvited. Nobody wants to be excommunicated from the WEF or cut off from association with other rich and powerful people. It’s safe to say that WEF members share a common philosophy, one that’s in line with Schwab’s weltanschauung.

Read more …

“The natural progression of every form of Marxism, communism, socialism, fascism etc. all ultimately lead to a kind of globalist ideology..”

The WEF’s Stakeholder Capitalism Is Just Global Fascism By Another Name (AltM)

The concept of “fascism” was originally entered into the Encyclopedia Italiana by Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile, who stated that “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” Benito Mussolini would later take credit for the quote as if he had written it himself, but it’s important to note because it outlines the primary purpose of the ideology rather than simply throwing the label around at people we don’t like as a dishonest means to undermine their legitimacy. Despite the fact that leftists today often attack conservatives as “fascists” because of our desire to protect national boundaries and western heritage, the truth is that all fascism is deeply rooted in leftist philosophies and thinkers.

Mussolini was a long time socialist, a member of the party who greatly admired Karl Marx. He deviated from the socialists over their desire to remain neutral during WWI, and went on to champion a combination of socialism and nationalism, what we now know as fascism. Adolph Hitler was also a socialist and admirer of Karl Marx, much like Mussolini. It is actually hard to find where Marx, the communists and the fascists actually differ from each other – A deeper sense of nationalism seems to be one of the few points of contention. Though Marx saw the existence of nation states as temporary to the proletariat and to the ruling class, he noted that the industrialists were erasing national boundaries anyway. Marx argues in the Communist Manifesto with some optimism:

“National differences and antagonisms between peoples are already tending to disappear more and more, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, the growth of free trade and a world market, and the increasing uniformity of industrial processes and of corresponding conditions of life.” Marx saw the development of corporate power as useful and the next necessary step towards socialism, noting that joint-stock companies (corporations) and the credit system are: “The abolition of the capitalist mode of production within the capitalist mode of production itself.” In other words, corporations are viewed as a tool for the eventual transition to a socialist “Utopia” and the death of free markets. Once again, we see there is very little difference in motive between the political left and the fascists. The natural progression of every form of Marxism, communism, socialism, fascism etc. all ultimately lead to a kind of globalist ideology and erasure of cultural separation.

Read more …

“A Slovak government contingency plan envisages that about 700,000 refugees may pour into the country this winter..”

Europe Braces For New Refugee Crisis (RT)

Eastern European countries are girding for a new influx of Ukrainian refugees this winter, with Slovakia anticipating that hundreds of thousands people may arrive in the country in the coming months due to low temperatures and hostilities in Ukraine, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing local officials. A Slovak government contingency plan envisages that about 700,000 refugees may pour into the country this winter, the report says. “A large number of (Ukraine’s) internally displaced people are currently temporarily housed in conditions that are not suitable for the winter,” the document reads, according to Reuters, adding that the “further escalation of the conflict is also a risk. Moreover, European nations are said to be opening reception centers and stocking up products to get ready for a new refugee crisis.

In Hungary, Zsofia Dobis-Lucski, a spokesperson for the charity organization Hungarian Reformed Church Aid, told Reuters that about 300–500 people have been arriving daily at the border train station in the town of Zahony in recent weeks. However, Witold Wolczyk, an official from Przemysl in eastern Poland, has so far noticed little commotion. At the same time, he told the outlet that local authorities have to prepare for a potentially difficult winter, as well as for a new wave of refugees. “We are constantly stocking up on hygiene products and food,” Wolczyk added. According to UN data, about 4.5 million refugees are currently registered within various national protection schemes in Europe, with about seven million people internally displaced in Ukraine itself.

Europe is bracing for a new refugee crisis amid Russian strikes on Ukraine’s power plants that have knocked out up to 40% of the country’s energy infrastructure, according to Kiev. The bombardment came after Moscow accused Kiev of conducting “terrorist attacks” on Russian infrastructure, including the strategic Crimean Bridge. Against this backdrop, in late October Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk urged her fellow citizens who had fled the country not to return home before spring to ease pressure on the power grid.

Read more …

€1.5 billion per month for Azov NATO.

Hungary Reacts To EU Aid Plan For Kiev (RT)

Hungary has rejected an EU loan scheme set to provide €18 billion ($18.1 billion) in stable financial aid to Ukraine next year. Finance Minister Mihaly Varga was quoted by the media as saying on Tuesday that Budapest has had “bad experience” with joint EU loans and still has not received enough aid regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Bloomberg, Varga told his colleagues at a meeting in Brussels that Budapest will not back the idea to use the EU budget in order to offer concessional loans to Kiev. The measure needs the approval of all the bloc’s 27 member states. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Monday that his country will not stop helping Kiev, but will also not greenlight a bloc-wide borrowing plan. “We are ready to continue financial support on a bilateral basis,” Szijjarto said.


“But we will certainly not support any kind of joint EU borrowing in this field.” “Why? Because we have already done it once. We supported joint borrowing during the coronavirus epidemic, and that was more than enough,” he explained. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed an aid package of €1.5 billion ($1.5 billion) per month for Ukraine over the course of 2023. The amount will ensure “a stable and reliable, predictable flow of income” for Kiev, she said last month. In a video address to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in October, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said his country will need $55 billion next year to cover the estimated budget deficit and rebuild critical infrastructure amid the conflict with Russia.

Read more …

Lavrov will do. Putin can spare the others from humiliating themselves.

Kremlin Comments On Putin’s G20 Plans (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the summit of G20 leaders in Bali, Indonesia next week in person, his press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed on Thursday. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be heading the Russian delegation at the two-day event, the official said. The same information was also given by Russia’s Embassy in Jakarta to Russian and foreign media outlets, while Reuters reported on it citing an Indonesian government official. Both sources said Putin may participate in the event via video link. The host nation previously came under pressure by the US and its allies to block Putin from attending the meeting, claiming that Russia should be isolated diplomatically as punishment for sending troops into Ukraine.


US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, together with representatives from the UK and Canada, walked out of a meeting of G20 finance ministers in April, in protest against a speech of Russian delegates. Jakarta did not yield and sent an invitation to Putin just like any other leader of G20 nations. There was some speculation in the Western media that US President Joe Biden could meet Putin on the sidelines of the gathering, but the White House ultimately ruled this out. According to some reports, the Biden administration made plans on how to prevent even a casual encounter between him and Putin, should the Russian leader attend the G20 summit in person. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is expected to participate in the event virtually too. He conditioned his involvement on Putin’s not going to Bali.

Read more …

I know! I know this one! Call Robert Mueller to investigate!

Biden: Elon Musk’s Links To Other Countries ‘Worthy Of Being Looked At’ (G.)

Joe Biden thinks Twitter boss Elon Musk’s relationships with other countries is “worthy of being looked at”. Biden was asked at a news conference on Wednesday whether he thought Musk was a threat to national security and if his acquisition of Twitter with help from a Saudi Arabian conglomerate should be investigated by the US government. “I think that Elon Musk’s cooperation and/or technical relationships with other countries is worthy of being looked at,” Biden said. “Whether he is doing anything inappropriate, I’m not suggesting that. I’m suggesting they’re worth being looked at.” Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, among the richest Middle East investors, and his investment firm has emerged as the second-largest investor in Twitter after Musk’s takeover of the social media platform.


Two US senators – Democrat Ron Wyden, who chairs the finance committee, and Chris Murphy of Connecticut – last week called for a “thorough vetting” of the Twitter deal. In a statement, Wyden said: “Given the Saudi regime’s history of jailing critics, planting a spy at Twitter, and brutally murdering a Washington Post journalist, the Saudi regime must be blocked from accessing Twitter account information, direct messages and other data that could be used to identify political opponents or to suppress criticism of the royal family. “I’ve long argued that the United States has a national security interest in protecting Americans’ data from murderous foreign governments, and this Saudi regime absolutely fits that description.” The White House said last month that reports the US was discussing launching a national security review of some of Musk’s ventures, including Twitter, were “not true”.

Read more …

This is not China.

The Quiet Merger Between Online Platforms and National Security State (Jac.)

The steady march of the post-2016 tech censorship campaign has been picking up pace lately, and we’ve just learned of another leap forward. According to recent major reporting from the Intercept, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been involved in efforts aimed at corralling what it refers to as “MDM”: misinformation, disinformation, and “malinformation.” Documents obtained and made publicly available by the news outlet show that the DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has been formulating a strategy to combat MDM regarding US elections and other matters. While seemingly unobjectionable on the surface -who could be against combating false information, which is rife online?- it raises serious questions about the extent of government involvement in the already-troubling phenomenon of tech censorship.

The conversations detailed in the documents show the federal government, and the DHS specifically, taking a more active role in tech companies’ efforts to suppress MDM. We’ve had some indications this was happening for a while, as when DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC in August that the government was “working with the tech companies” on “strengthen[ing] the legitimate use of their very powerful platforms and prevent[ing] harm from occurring,” and that it was doing so “across the federal enterprise” – comments that were only reported in right-wing media. The documents give us details about what that work has entailed. In these discussions, the government did not directly carry out censorship.

Rather, they involved government agencies: doing “debunking” and “pre-bunking”; directing the press, local and state governments, and other stakeholders to “trusted resources”; carrying out “rumor control”; boosting “trusted authoritative sources”; giving financial support to its external partners; and improving information literacy. Much of the focus is on elections, with participants talking about using these resources to prevent people being misled about how, where, and when to vote, and stressing that CISA should strictly be a “resource” that at most uses its “convening power.” But it’s not just election misinformation that’s the focus. Among the recommendations made by CISA is to target MDM that “undermines critical functions carried out by other key democratic institutions.” What are these institutions? It lists as examples the courts and, absurdly, the financial system which -besides not actually being one of our “democratic institutions”- is a notable broadening of what “fighting misinformation” involves. And yet a representative of JP Morgan Chase attended the discussions, and several emails suggest CISA is facilitating collaboration between Google and Facebook and the department of treasury on “social media and influence matters,” as one puts it.

Read more …

From the local Greek press. “..the same basic consumer goods and necessities are much more expensive in Greece than in Germany..”

Profit Inflation And A Basket Full Of Holes (K.)

There is certainly an inflation problem in the United States and Europe, and its reappearance after decades is a global phenomenon. No country, no economy, no one is immune. However, inflation is not a neutral phenomenon. As long as consumption holds up, companies pass the increased costs on to their customers. Even if they keep the same rate of profit, they increase their profits as an absolute number, since the same rate of profit is calculated on increased base prices. In addition, many companies take advantage of the situation to increase their profit margins. Real profits are rising, while real wages are falling, Paul Donovan, chief economist of UBS Global Wealth Management, wrote recently in the Financial Times, referring to the US economy. The problem is called profit inflation.

According to the Labor Institute of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (INE/GSEE), since April this year, the minimum wage has lost 19% of its purchasing power. In 2022, when inflation is hovering at around 10%, the losses are greater for the lowest incomes, reaching 40% for households with a monthly income of up to 750 euros. Note this too: In the first half of this year, Greek natural gas providers had the second highest profit margin in Europe. There’s profits, and there’s massive profits. Furthermore, the fact that inflation is currently a global problem does not explain why the same basic consumer goods and necessities are much more expensive in Greece than in Germany or other European and Mediterranean countries, even though some of these countries have higher wages, more expensive rents and other factors that affect cost. It does not explain why the same supermarket chains sell goods for noticeably less in their stores in Munich than they do in their stores in Athens.

The answer is because competition doesn’t work in Greece. Instead, we have the “market of cronies,” where easy and big money is made. These systems are not touched by Greek governments – certainly not the current one – even though the tsunami of price hikes, if left unchecked, will turn into a kind of looting at the expense of the people’s income. There is no magic solution. But if a government wanted to put a stop to this tsunami, it would act with responsibility, seriousness and professionalism – and it certainly wouldn’t work against the independent watchdog, the Hellenic Competition Commission. And after obtaining a real picture of the economic details of each sector from the relevant bodies (so as not to be ignorant), it would invite all those involved – from retail chains to importers, producers and manufacturers – and impose a broad agreement and cooperation to lower prices.

Nothing was done in this direction. Instead of some real fight against inflation there is the impression of a fight, with the launch of the so-called “household basket” – a set of products at supermarkets protected from inflation. It is a “basket” full of holes. The price of the products that go into it will rise modestly. But if this price needs to rise excessively, then it will be removed from the basket – with system and order.

Greece Nov 8

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Kolakusic
https://twitter.com/i/status/1590295381509693441

 

 

 

 

 

 

Owl
https://twitter.com/i/status/1590405696688132096

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 012022
 
 November 1, 2022  Posted by at 8:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  73 Responses »


Vilhelm Hammershoi Woman Seen from the Back 1888

 

Leaked Documents Outline DHS’s Plans to Police Disinformation (IC)
“The Bird is Free.” Will Elon Musk Become Grand Duke of Mars? (Ugo Bardi)
How Elon Musk Should Shape Twitter — Sans the Sink (Turley)
‘Inflation Came From Nowhere’ – Lagarde (RT)
Putin Clarifies Position On Grain Deal (RT)
Russia Tells UN It Will Inspect Black Sea Ships (RT)
Israeli Finance Minister Added To Kiev’s ‘Kill List’ (RT)
Much Of Kiev Without Power & Water After New Russian Airstrikes (ZH)
From The Surreal To The Real To The Meta-Real (Batiushka)
Drone Attack On Sevastopol (MoA)
Comeback Kid Lula In The Eye Of A Volcano (Escobar)
Why The US-Saudi Relationship Is Withering (RT)
They Rule Over Dysfunctional Ruin, but They Rule (Crooke)
US Economic Decline And Global Instability Part 3 (Phillyguy)
Russia’s New Regions On Collision Course With Ukraine 100 Years Ago (Nepogodin)

 

 

“The less men think, the more they talk.”
~ Montesquieu

 

 

 

 

Nord Stream 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethical Skeptic 7:1

 

 

The Swiss National Bank just reported an enormous $142.6 BILLION dollar loss in the first 9 months of 2022, which is by far the largest loss in the bank’s 115 year history.

 

 

 

 

This is scary but not surprising. And it’s not about disinformation, but about anything that questions “official” info. “..the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.”

It’s just partisan politics, flavored with a whiff of what both parties agree on, i.e. war. And it just so happens that the people who bring you this are the exact same lot that gave you Russia Russia, which was the biggest crop of disinformation ever.

Leaked Documents Outline DHS’s Plans to Police Disinformation (IC)

Behind closed doors, and through pressure on private platforms, the U.S. government has used its power to try to shape online discourse. According to meeting minutes and other records appended to a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican who is also running for Senate, discussions have ranged from the scale and scope of government intervention in online discourse to the mechanics of streamlining takedown requests for false or intentionally misleading information. Though DHS shuttered its controversial Disinformation Governance Board, a strategic document reveals the underlying work is ongoing. DHS plans to target inaccurate information on “the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.”

Facebook created a special portal for DHS and government partners to report disinformation directly. “Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain,” Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, a former DHS official, texted Jen Easterly, a DHS director, in February. In a March meeting, Laura Dehmlow, an FBI official, warned that the threat of subversive information on social media could undermine support for the U.S. government. Dehmlow, according to notes of the discussion attended by senior executives from Twitter and JPMorgan Chase, stressed that “we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.” “We do not coordinate with other entities when making content moderation decisions, and we independently evaluate content in line with the Twitter Rules,” a spokesperson for Twitter wrote in a statement to The Intercept.

There is also a formalized process for government officials to directly flag content on Facebook or Instagram and request that it be throttled or suppressed through a special Facebook portal that requires a government or law enforcement email to use. At the time of writing, the “content request system” at facebook.com/xtakedowns/login is still live. [..] According to a draft copy of DHS’s Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, DHS’s capstone report outlining the department’s strategy and priorities in the coming years, the department plans to target “inaccurate information” on a wide range of topics, including “the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.” [..] The inclusion of the 2021 U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is particularly noteworthy, given that House Republicans, should they take the majority in the midterms, have vowed to investigate. “This makes Benghazi look like a much smaller issue,” said Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., a member of the Armed Services Committee, adding that finding answers “will be a top priority.”

Read more …

And in view of DHS et al trying to control information flow, Ugo Bardi’s point is salient: Elon Musk understands that better than all the rest put together.

“The Bird is Free.” Will Elon Musk Become Grand Duke of Mars? (Ugo Bardi)

Some people absolutely love censorship. But many (perhaps most) users of social media didn’t like to be watched from over their shoulders by those overzealous nannies who pretended to know better than them what is true and what is not. That generated criticism, and some attempts to rein in the censors. But, so far, we only saw censorship increasing its reach and becoming more pervasive.Except for the news of the day: the bird is free! Elon Musk bought Twitter and promises to eliminate censorship.

What’s happening? There are several possible interpretations, but at least something is clear: those who rule us are not a monolithic entity, as the Communist Party was in the Soviet Union. There are several would-be world rulers who are vying for power behind the scene. Musk may actually be smarter than most of them and able to understand that you gain nothing by silencing those who disagree with you. Suppose he wants to become the next US president, or maybe the Grand Duke of Mars, then he has to think like the Grand Duke of Tuscany did. He needs to know what people think because he can rule only if people agree that he is the ruler. Ruling by force and oppression is inefficient and, often, the ruler ends up hanged by the feet. So, Musk may well understand that he needs to leave some space for people to express themselves. The bird may not be completely free, but it has to be able to fly.

We seem to be in a transition moment (we always are). The Internet is under pressure by the attempt of controlling it by the powers that be, turning it into a tool for a totalitarian government (in China, the government may have succeeded at that). But, at the same time, some members of the elites are realizing that the Internet is a much better tool if used according to its characteristic of a two-way communication system. The Internet may allow us to generate a new governance system that might be more effective and just than the old totalitarian systems. It might be part of a “new Renaissance” that could take some aspects similar to the way Cosimo the 1st ruled in Tuscany during the 16th century. Maybe. But, as always, the future will surprise us.

Read more …

But still, Musk would have to deflect the entire kitchen sink that will be thrown at him.

How Elon Musk Should Shape Twitter — Sans the Sink (Turley)

News reports last week seemed to start out like a bar joke: The richest man in the world walks in carrying a sink . . . Of course, it was a joke — a colossal joke. The question is whom the joke is on. For Elon Musk, the punch line was appropriately delivered on Twitter, the company he’s taking over Friday at an inflated price. Calling himself “Chief Twit,” Musk posted the video with the caption “Entering Twitter HQ — let that sink in!” For the Musk-phobic, it was as funny as a drive-by shooting. CNN analyst Juliette Kayyem denounced Musk’s taunt as “fundamentally cruel.” After all, when Musk was first reported to be buying the company, employees were so traumatized that leadership had to offer emotional support just to “get through the week.”

The reason is less the fear of Musk bringing bathroom fixtures than free speech into San Francisco headquarters. Twitter has created one of the largest censorship systems in world history — a system widely condemned for a pattern of political bias and viewpoint intolerance. Outgoing CEO Parag Agrawal is unabashedly hostile to traditional views of free speech. Soon after he took over, he pledged to regulate content and said the company would “focus less on thinking about free speech” because “speech is easy on the Internet. Most people can speak. Where our role is particularly emphasized is who can be heard.” For employees who are true believers of this censorship scheme, the joke no doubt feels like it’s on them. The censorship skill set may not be quite as much in demand in a Musk-owned firm.

While Facebook, Google and other companies are still committed to corporate censorship, Musk has pledged to restore free speech principles to Twitter. But the joke may still be on Musk if he yields to Twitter’s corporate culture or the mainstream media’s unrelenting pressure. Democratic leaders like Hillary Clinton have turned from private censorship to good old-fashioned state censorship. Clinton has called on foreign governments to step in and pass laws that would force Twitter to continue to censor opposing views. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently repeated this call for global censorship at the United Nations to the applause of diplomats and media alike. Musk may have to yield to such domestic laws, but he can use his platform to inform citizens of those countries they are being censored and controlled in what they are allowed to read.

The most important thing in America is for Musk to hit the ground running at Twitter. First, he needs to order the preservation of all records. There are well-supported examples of biased censorship, including the burying of The Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story before the election. There are also allegations of back-channel communications from the government to manage a type of censorship-by-surrogate system to evade the First Amendment. Second, Musk should focus on the First Amendment as a model for Twitter’s content-management policy. It has become a mantra on the left that free-speech objections to social-media censorship are meritless because the First Amendment does not apply to private corporations.

Read more …

Lagarde should be fired for 1) making this statement, and 2) meaning it.

‘Inflation Came From Nowhere’ – Lagarde (RT)

The European Central Bank (ECB) has doubled its key interest rate to the highest level in more than a decade in an attempt to combat soaring inflation, ECB President Christine Lagarde has explained. In an interview with Irish national broadcaster RTE on Friday, Lagarde said: “We do it because we are fighting inflation” that had “pretty much come about from nowhere.” She pointed to a speedier-than-expected economic rebound from the pandemic as a cause alongside “the energy crisis caused by Mr. Putin who has decided in an unjustifiable way to invade another country.” The ECB chief added: “That’s what he [Putin] is trying to do, cause chaos and destroy as much of Europe as he can. This energy crisis is causing massive inflation which we have to defeat.”

She went on to say that “Anybody who is behaving in that way has to be driven by evil forces,” and that the “sick”Russian president is a “terrifying person.” Discussing her previous meetings with the Russian leader, Lagarde described him as an “unbelievably super-briefed person” with “flashing, freezing eyes.” After expressing her view, Lagarde however stressed that she’s “just a central banker,” and “shouldn’t be saying all these things.” On Thursday, the ECB announced another interest rate hike, taking Eurozone rates to the highest level since 2009. According to Lagarde, they are aimed at bringing inflation back to “reasonable levels so the cost of living isn’t as high as it is for people.” In September, inflation across the euro area hit 10%.

The EU has blamed Russia for the spiraling energy crisis across the continent. However, many economists point to the bloc’s fiscal policy responses as a major reason behind the crisis. Moscow has also criticized the “illogical and often absurd” moves by Western nations, saying that the sanctions imposed by the US, EU, and other countries on Russia have backfired and resulted in a sweeping energy crisis as well as record inflation across the West.

Read more …

This will cost Erdogan a lot of points. He negotiated the grain corridor, meant for Africa nations, but grabbed 34% for himself AND allowed Kiev to use the corridor to hide drones.

Putin Clarifies Position On Grain Deal (RT)

The grain deal between Moscow and Kiev has not met its stated goals, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday. Most of the Ukrainian agricultural products exported under the agreement have not reached the poorer nations they were supposedly intended for and have instead ended up in Europe and Türkiye, he argued. Putin said Moscow was suspending its participation in the deal, but not fully withdrawing from it. The deal was promoted to “secure the interests of the poorer nations,” he said, adding that, according to Russian intelligence, the real structure of Ukraine’s grain exports is vastly different. “We agreed to that [grain deal] precisely in the interests of the poorer nations,”the Russian president said.

“On the whole, it looks like 34% of [the Ukrainian] grain gets to Türkiye, 35% or even more is taken by the EU nations and only between three and four … or five percent, according to our Agriculture Ministry … goes to the poorer nations,” Putin said. His words came as the Russian military closed the Black Sea grain corridor used to export Ukrainian grain under the agreement reached in Istanbul in July. The agreement – mediated by the UN and Türkiye – was initially hailed as critical for easing the global food crisis and helping the world’s poorest nations avoid starvation. Russia has since repeatedly pointed out that the grain, in fact, goes to other destinations. Moscow decided to halt its participation in the deal following a massive drone attack on its naval base in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol last week.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the naval drones used in the attack navigated through the grain corridor’s security zone to reach their targets. One of them might have even been launched from a civilian vessel chartered to transport Ukrainian grain shipments, it added. Earlier on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia was ready to compensate the missing Ukrainian grain export volumes from its own stocks. At the same time, he said that Moscow could not yet name the conditions that would make it resume its participation in the deal. In the wake of Moscow’s decision to suspend its participation in the deal, the UN has insisted that “food must flow”regardless of circumstances. Civilian vessels “can never be a military target or held hostage,” the UN coordinator for the Black Sea grain initiative, Amir Abdulla, said. Russia has previously said that it could not guarantee the security of the grain corridor if Kiev used it for military purposes.

Read more …

Inevitable. If Turkey doesn’t do it, Russia must.

Russia Tells UN It Will Inspect Black Sea Ships (RT)

Ukraine “grossly violated” the Istanbul agreement on grain exports via the Black Sea and forced Moscow to suspend it indefinitely, Russia’s envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council on Monday. The Russian Navy will inspect all cargo ships bound for Ukraine, even those unilaterally cleared by the Turkish-based coordination center, he added. “This subversive action of Kiev grossly violates the Istanbul agreements and, in fact, puts an end to their humanitarian dimension. It is now obvious to everyone that the Black Sea humanitarian corridor is being used by the Ukrainian side for military sabotage purposes,” Nebenzia said, referring to Saturday’s drone attack on Sevastopol. Russia “cannot guarantee the safety of civilian ships participating in the Black Sea initiative,” Nebenzia added, as “we do not know what other terrorist attacks Kiev is preparing with the support of its Western sponsors.”

On Sunday, after Moscow announced the suspension of the arrangement, the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul said it had greenlit 16 ships to navigate the corridor on Monday and “informed” Russia about the decision. According to maritime traffic data, at least two ships left the Black Sea port of Odessa in the morning, reporting Istanbul as their destination. “Decisions and measures taken without our participation are not binding on us,”Nebenzia told the UN. Moscow “cannot allow ships to pass without our inspection and will be forced to take independent measures” to inspect ships authorized by the JCC without Russian approval. Meanwhile, the UN coordinator for the Black Sea grain initiative, Amir Abdulla, insisted that “the food must flow.”

The UN and Türkiye mediated a deal in July under which Ukrainian grain could be exported via the Black Sea, while Western obstacles to the exportation of Russian grain and fertilizer would be removed. The US and its allies insist they had never sanctioned grain exports – but their sanctions on Russian ships and insurance made them impossible in practice. Moscow has criticized the West for not keeping its side of the deal and pointed out that the bulk of Ukrainian exports had gone to the EU and not the African nations most affected by food insecurity. Russia halted its compliance with the pact on Saturday, after Kiev launched a major drone attack on the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels involved in securing safe passage for agricultural cargo from Ukrainian ports. On Sunday, after studying the wreckage of the unmanned combat vehicles, the Russian Defense Ministry said that those behind the attack made active use of the UN-brokered grain corridor.

Read more …

Just making friends.

Israeli Finance Minister Added To Kiev’s ‘Kill List’ (RT)

Israeli finance minister, Avigdor Lieberman has been added to the database of the “enemies of Ukraine” on the controversial Mirotvorets website on Sunday. The authors of the site, which is believed to have links to the Ukrainian security services, described Lieberman as “Russia’s agent of influence,” who had been manipulating publicly significant information in favor of Moscow. They also blamed him for taking part in acts of “humanitarian aggression” against Ukraine. Among the actions that led to Lieberman being placed on the list, were his refusal to finance an Israeli field hospital in Ukraine in March and his neutral stance on who is to blame for the massacre in the Kiev suburb of Bucha in April. The website also shared a link to an article, claiming that he had ties with Russian gas giant Gazprom.

Ukrainian authorities have frequently expressed their disappointment with the level of support they’ve been getting from Israel during the conflict with Russia. The country has only provided Kiev with humanitarian aid and life-saving defense equipment, but not weapons and munitions. Israel also refrained from joining international sanctions on Moscow. Last week, Liberman said that Israeli assistance to Ukraine since the outbreak of the fighting between Russia and Ukraine in late February amounted to some $40 million. Liberman has been finance minister since 2021. He’s a veteran politician, who has occupied various high positions in the Israeli government over the years, including foreign minister, defense minister, and deputy PM. The 64-year-old is also the head of Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home), which holds seven seats in the country’s parliament, the Knesset.

Liberman was born in Chisinau, Moldova when the republic was part of the Soviet Union and immigrated to Israel in 1978. The Mirotvorets website, translated as ‘peacemaker’, was launched in 2014, positioning itself as an independent database run by anonymous moderators to help Ukrainian authorities and “special services” apprehend pro-Russian terrorists, separatists, and war criminals, among others. However, some have branded the database a ‘kill list,’ which is backed by the government, after several individuals, including writer Oles Buzina, politician Oleg Kalashnikov, and Russian journalist Darya Dugina were assassinated shortly after their profiles appeared on the website. The most recent high-profile additions to Mirotvorets included Kazakhstan’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters. There were claims that the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, was put on the database in mid-October, but swiftly removed from it. The alleged addition happened after Musk offered a peace plan, which envisaged Kiev giving up territories to Moscow.

Read more …

Slow grind.

Much Of Kiev Without Power & Water After New Russian Airstrikes (ZH)

Much of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev is without electricity or water, after the latest round of major Russian airstrikes on Monday. The Russian military announced ‘successful’ strikes on multiple of the country’s vital infrastructure facilities. “The Russian Armed Forces continued to launch strikes with high-precision long-range air and sea-based weapons against Ukrainian military and energy facilities,” the Defense Ministry said. “The goals of the strikes were successful. All assigned objects were hit.” Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal confirmed direct hits on 18 sites – most of which were connected to the nation’s energy supply. These ramped up attacks have created a growing sense of panic with temperatures plunging and winter approaching.

“Missiles and drones hit 10 regions, where 18 sites were damaged, most of them energy-related,” Shmyhal stated on Telegram. “Hundreds of settlements in seven regions of Ukraine were cut off.” Facilities in Cherkasy and Kirovohrad also came under attack. Ukraine’s military said it intercepted projectiles over the Lviv region, which spared this western part of the country from damage. The Washington Post noted there are “power outages continuing in the Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv regions,” and others. The Post listed some of the below regions impacted by large-scale power outages and water supply disruptions:

• Kyiv region: Russian strikes damaged buildings, and rescuers are searching for victims, the regional police said. Attacks left 80 percent of the capital without water and are likely to cause sustained power outages, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
• Kharkiv: Two strikes hit critical infrastructure facilities in the eastern city, causing problems with the water supply and affecting the public transit network, the mayor said.
• Zaporizhzhia region: An infrastructure facility was struck by rockets, the local governor said, prompting warnings from officials in the southern region that energy supplies there could also be affected.
• Cherkasy region: Some of the region lost power after air attacks on infrastructure facilities, the military administrator said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned the attacks as more war crimes: “Another batch of Russian missiles hits Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Instead of fighting on the battlefield, Russia fights civilians,” he tweeted. Additionally Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko announced on Telegram that these fresh strikes left 80% of residents in the capital without water and some 350,000 homes with no electricity. “Just in case, we ask you to stock up on water from the nearest pumps and points of sale,” he advised. The mayor’s office vowed that water supply to the effected parts of the city would be restored in three to four hours, with emergency utility crews working urgently on it.

Rescue teams in the capital are reportedly searching for possible casualties under the rubble of buildings destroyed or damaged from the new salvo of Russian strikes; however, at this point casualty numbers are unclear. The US ambassador said she and her staff had to take shelter in this latest attack on the capital: Already before Monday’s attacks, Ukrainian officials estimated that 40% of the nation’s electrical power systems had been severely damaged, and urged households to limit their usage, especially with non-essential large appliances. Ukrainians are further being warned to prepare for long-term power outages as a frigid winter is just around the corner.

Read more …

“The mirage is over. This Hell-begotten war must end.”

From The Surreal To The Real To The Meta-Real (Batiushka)

[..] the surreal continued when, on 23 October, with the Russian Defence Minister’s phone calls to his US, UK, French and Turkish counterparts about the Russian discovery of a Kiev/MI6 plot to use a ‘dirty’ bomb and blame it on Russia. Having outed the plot, Sergei Shoigu had alerted the US Establishment to the extremism of the now desperate Kiev elite (and their British MI6 operatives). The US put the Kiev crazies in their place, since, after all, the US are the string-pullers and puppets are not allowed to do anything without their express permission. The US duly stated that it has seen no evidence that Russia intends to use nuclear weaponry and President Putin stated that Russia has no plans to use nuclear weapons. The panic and hysteria of the Western media and of others was unfounded; though the mass media did not report the US admission. Panic and hysteria sell.

[..] Let us now come back to reality. The 87,5% of the world which either supports the Russian campaign to liberate the Ukraine, or else remains neutral towards it, shows the increasing isolation of the Nazi West. And it is now also crystal clear that ‘the West’ is in fact only the USA, just as NATO is only the USA, the Wicked Witch of the West. The rest is just camouflage, a mirage. In Italy, Germany, France, Moldova, the Czech Lands, Romania (the former Defence Minister), Bulgaria, Serbia, even in the UK, dissident voices are protesting. For God’s sake, negotiate with Russia! The Ukraine is their business, not ours, they’re all basically Russkies anyhow. We want gas and food! Who cares about the Nazi puppets in Kiev?

More and more all European governments, apart only from the Hungarian, are being seen as what they are – simply US puppet elites, who do not represent their peoples. EU or Non-EU Europe, there is no difference, apart from Hungary, which alone has, in every sense, a popular government. If Nobel Prizes were given non-politically, surely Victor Orban should have won one of them by now. Here the hypochondriac French are going crazy because China is sanctioning them by depriving them of paracetamol. Perhaps as many as 20% of Western Europeans have now realised that the whole Ukraine affair is a put-up job, arranged by the US, with its British poodle yapping at its feet. Same as Iraq, same as Afghanistan. Same old, same old.

The poodle is more papist than the Pope. Over the last two months it is notable that most Ukrainian flags have been taken down in Europe. It is rare to see one now. The working class were never interested, they always knew it was just another operation by the arms industry, but now even the conformist middle-class is taking down its Ukrainian flags. The mirage is over. This Hell-begotten war must end.

Read more …

UK was directly involved.

Drone Attack On Sevastopol (MoA)

This morning at 4:20 local time the Russian fleet in the Crimean port of Sevastopol was attacked by nine unmanned aerial vehicles and seven autonomous maritime drones. Earlier a maritime drone that had run aground in Crimea and had been found and pictured. During today’s attack a large U.S. drone had flown circles south of Crimea. It likely relayed data from and to the drones. The maritime drones are British and Russia alleges that British specialists had trained the Ukrainian navy in using them. It also says that British soldiers were involved in the attack on the Nord Stream pipeline. The Ukrainians published two videos shot by the maritime drones while attacking. One of the video shows extensive gun fire impacts near the drone from a Russian helicopter that is attacking it.

The Russians say that all the aerial drones and 4 of 7 maritime drones were defeated before they could caused damage. They also say that one mine seeking ship was damaged in the harbor. It is possible that the damage is greater than Russia admits. As a consequence of the attack Russia declared that the deal which allowed for grain exports from Odessa has been suspended. That deal had already been in danger as the ‘west’ had not fulfilled its part of the deal which would have allowed for the export for Russian fertilizer to third parties. I find it likely that Russia will take additional measures to punish the Ukrainian navy for the brazen attack. Additional attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure is another possibility.

Meanwhile all recent attempts by the Ukrainian army to penetrate the Russian held lines have failed. It is notable that these are now much smaller in size with just a battalion or in some cases just two companies in the lead. It is now definitely mud season in Ukraine during which it is impossible to cross most farmland even on feet. This will hinder the attacking forces on both sides until winter sets in.

Read more …

Lula has strong ties to China and has been a driving force behind BRICS.

“..the next BRICS summit in South Africa, which will consolidate BRICS+, as an array of nations are itching to join, from Argentina and Saudi Arabia to Iran and Turkey.”

Comeback Kid Lula In The Eye Of A Volcano (Escobar)

Lula is one of the founders of the BRICS in 2006, which evolved out of the Russia-China dialogue. He’s immensely respected by the leaders of the Russia-China strategic partnership, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. He has promised to serve only one term, or up to the end of 2026. But that’s exactly the key stretch in the eye of the volcano, straddling the decade Putin described in his Valdai speech as the most dangerous and important since World War II. The drive towards a multipolar world, institutionally represented by a congregation of bodies from BRICS+ to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to the Eurasia Economic Union, will profit immensely to have Lula on board as arguably the natural leader of the Global South – with a track record to match.

Of course, his immediate foreign policy focus will be South America: he already announced that will be the destination of his first presidential visit, most probably Argentina, which is bound to join BRICS+. Then he will visit Washington. He has to. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Informed opinion across the Global South is very much aware that it’s under Obama-Biden that the whole, complex operation to topple Dilma and expel Lula from politics was orchestrated. Brazil will be a lame duck at the upcoming G20 in Bali in mid-November but in 2023 Lula will be back in business side-by-side with Putin and Xi. And that also applies to the next BRICS summit in South Africa, which will consolidate BRICS+, as an array of nations are itching to join, from Argentina and Saudi Arabia to Iran and Turkey.

And then there’s the Brazil-China nexus. Brasilia has been Beijing’s key trade partner in Latin America since 2009, absorbing roughly half of China’s investment in the region (and the most of any Latin American investment destination in 2021) and firmly placed as the fifth largest exporter of crude for the Chinese market, second for iron and first for soybeans. The precedents tell the story. Right from the start, in 2003, Lula bet on a strategic partnership with China. He considered his first trip to Beijing in 2004 as his top foreign policy priority. The goodwill in Beijing is unshakeable: Lula is considered an old friend by China – and that political capital will open virtually every red door.

In practice, that will mean Lula investing his considerable global clout in strengthening BRICS+ (he already stated BRICS will be at the center of his foreign policy) and the inner workings of South-South geopolitical and geo-economic cooperation. That may even include Lula formally signing up Brazil as a partner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in a way that won’t antagonize the US. Lula, after all, is a master of this craft.

Read more …

Saudi Arabia cannot pick the US over OPEC+ and BRICS. It’s not in their interest.

Why The US-Saudi Relationship Is Withering (RT)

As the Gulf States are ultimately concerned with preserving their own value systems and independence, they have increasingly diversified their relationships in recent years with tilts towards Russia and China. Beijing, with its enormous demand for energy, has also become a lucrative alternative to the West. Similarly, stable ties with Moscow also allow for cooperation in the common interests of oil-exporting countries, which has also had the effect of reducing Western influence and dominance over those countries. On recognizing this, why would Saudi Arabia and the states of OPEC voluntarily undermine their own oil revenue merely to suit the geopolitical interests of the United States?

The world is in the middle of an energy price crisis exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine. Saudi Arabia sees that the US and some of its allies want to purposefully try to lower the price of oil in a bid to try and hurt Russia. However, that is not how the market works and, by extension, such a move is also an assault on Saudi and OPEC interests. While the kingdom is officially neutral in regards to Russia-Ukraine, it also recognizes that the success of an energy price cap would embolden the West to push harder against Russia, which also serves to undermine the kingdom’s geopolitical independence.

In other words, if the US succeeded in dividing OPEC by unilaterally demanding a price cap on oil products, it would defeat the very purpose of the organization itself to protect the respective economic interests of those countries. The United States has been a useful partner to Saudi Arabia, but it is not a friend. It is not part of a ‘bloc’ or ideological coalition, as let’s say the UK is, but merely has seen the West as the most useful and lucrative partner to fulfil its own political needs. As those needs change, Saudi Arabia’s preferences are also subject to change. Washington is therefore learning that the kingdom is not a client state to be called on when needed, and thus this very close and often contradictory partnership is starting to strain.

Read more …

Nero comes to mind.

They Rule Over Dysfunctional Ruin, but They Rule (Crooke)

Since 2008, we have lived in a western world shaped by the ‘permanent state’ or by our managerial technocrats – label to choice. This ‘creative class’ (as they like to see themselves) is particularly defined by its intermediary position in relation to the wealth-controlling oligarchic cabal as ultimate big money overlords on one hand, and the dullard ‘Middle Class’ below them – at whom they sneer and deride. This intermediary class didn’t set out to dominate politics (they say); It just happened. Initially, the aim was to foster progressive values. But instead, these professional technocrats, who both had accreted considerable wealth and were tightly congregated into cliques in America’s large metro areas, came to dominate left-wing parties around the world that formerly were vehicles for the working class.

Those who coveted membership in this new ‘aristocracy’ cultivated their image as one of cosmopolitan, fast-moving money, glamour, fashion, and popular culture – multiculturalism suited them to perfection. Painting themselves as the political conscience of the whole of society (if not the world), the reality was that their Zeitgeist reflected primarily the whims, prejudices and increasingly psychopathies of one segment of liberal society. Into this milieu arrived two defining events: In 2008, Ben Bernanke, Chair of the Federal Reserve, gathered together in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, a room-full of the wealthiest oligarchs, ‘locking them in’ until they found the solution to the unfolding systemic bank failure.

The oligarchs did not find a solution but were released from their lock-up anyway. They opted instead, to throw money at structural problems, compounded by egregious errors of judgement about risk. And to finance the resulting massive losses – which were over $10 trillion in the U.S. alone – the world’s central banks began printing money – since when they have never stopped! Thus begun the era in the West where deep problems are not solved, but simply have freshly-printed money thrown at them. This methodology was whole-heartedly adopted by the EU also, where it was called Merkelism (after the former German Chancellor). Underlying structural contradictions were simply left to accumulate; kicked down the road.

Read more …

“To provide some perspective, from 2020- Q2 2022, US government debt increased over $7 trillion.”

US Economic Decline And Global Instability Part 3 (Phillyguy)

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s leading power. Since that time, US global supremacy has rested on unrivaled military and economic power, control of world’s energy reserves (primarily in the Middle East), and maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. This relationship began to transform in the mid-1970s, as US corporate profits began to stagnate/decline, the proximate cause being the 1973-1975 recession [3], a consequence of increased competition from rebuilt economies in Europe- primarily Germany (Marshall Plan) [4], Japan/South Korea (Korean war) and more recently China. The US ruling elite responded to this economic challenge by pursing neoliberal economic policies (reviewed in [1]).

This included: 1) multiple tax cuts for the wealthy, 2) financial deregulation- repeal of Glass–Steagall legislation (1933 Banking Act) by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA) in 1999 and Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA) of 2000, that exempted over-the-counter derivatives trades between financial firms from regulation. It should be noted that both of these bills were passed during the waning years of the Clinton Administration and may have been a quid pro quo to spare President Clinton an impeachment conviction over his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky [5]. 3) attacks on labor and the poor and job outsourcing to Mexico, China and other low-wage platforms, facilitated by passage of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 [6].

The effect of these policies is vividly observed in the manufacturing sector. In 1960 the US produced 50% of global manufacturing output, accounting for 25% of GDP. Today, the US produces circa 17% of global manufacturing output, accounting for 11% of GDP [7]. 4) Spending vast amounts of taxpayer money (> $20 trillion) on post-911 militarization. The neoliberal economic policies outlined above precipitated the Global Financial Crisis 2007-2008 (GFC), the largest financial crash since the Great Depression [8] [9] [10]. None of the structural economic problems giving rise to the GFC (listed above) have been resolved; instead, the FED has used the US Treasury as a taxpayer-funded ‘piggy bank’ (the FED cannot print money) to pump over $40 trillion (this figure may be as high as $50 trillion) to support insolvent banks, inflate bond and equity markets and over-priced real estate, creating the ‘everything bubble’ [11].

Thus, since 2009, the US ‘economy’ has been sustained by continuous money printing to prop up financial markets and the Pentagon. Not surprisingly, this has been accompanied by an explosion of debt and rising inflation, further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russian energy, which has led to demands for even more money to support financial markets and the Pentagon. To provide some perspective, from 2020- Q2 2022, US government debt increased over $7 trillion [12].

Read more …

Must read history lesson.

Russia’s New Regions On Collision Course With Ukraine 100 Years Ago (Nepogodin)

When four formerly Ukrainian regions joined Russia nearly a month ago, the collective West tried to present the occurrence as treacherous, unprecedented, and lacking local support. However, the reunification was preceded by a century-long struggle by a large amount of the regions’ inhabitants for the right to be considered Russians. In February 2015, the deputies of the parliament of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) signed a memorandum declaring the continuity of their statehood from the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic, one of the numerous entities that emerged during the Russian Civil War. This quasi-state, which was created by the Bolsheviks in 1918 and aspired to become part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), included not only Donbass, but also the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions.


History may zigzag, but time puts everything in its place. Today, Russian Donbass is restoring lost ties with Russia and establishing new ones,” wrote Denis Pushilin, the head of the DPR, shortly before the start of Russia’s military offensive. In this article, RT explores the brief history of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic and explains why the residents of Donbass wanted to live as part of Russia even 100 years ago. Back in 1999, the famous Russian political geographer and theorist Vladimir Kagansky wrote a large article entitled ‘Ukraine: Geography and Fate of the Country’, in which he made a forecast: Ukraine will inevitably transform, and this transformation mainly depends on Russia. He concluded that its self-determination would inevitably be anti-Russian, citing the country’s “stretchable borders” as one of the main reasons. At a minimum, this would encompass just the right bank of the Dnieper, or even Galicia alone.

At a maximum, the borders would stretch to the southern Russian cities of Voronezh and Stavropol. “The USSR and the CIS are a semi-empire of republics around Russia, and Ukraine is the main link in this necklace, a geopolitical pendant. Ukraine divides the space of the former USSR into separate, geographically separated blocks, and connects three blocks (Belarus and the Baltic States – Moldova – the Caucasus). Ukraine is the only alternative to Russia as the center of the current CIS and the entire post-Soviet space. It is the only way to potentially bypass Russia – the main anti-Russian bastion, and Russia’s main partner in the arrangement of this space,” wrote Kagansky.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Inflation As A Prelude To War

 

 

Rogan The Shining
https://twitter.com/i/status/1587125259492331520

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 182022
 


Paul Ranson Apple tree with red fruit 1902

 

Putin Claims New World Order, Blasts The West For ‘Insane’ Sanctions (ABC/AP)
Putin Says Sanctions Cost EU $400BN, Warns Of Severe Fertilizer Shortage (ZH)
Biden Told Secretaries Of Defense And State To Tone It Down (NBC)
Two Awkward Biden Moments Draw Online Scrutiny (JTN)
Macron Bends to Pressure, Now Says Ukraine ‘Must Win’ War With Russia (Celente)
Pro-Ukrainian, but Anti-Nazi (Batiushka)
How Low Can You Go? (Jim Kunstler)
Last Tango in Washington? (Brenner)
The Ukrainian Endgame: An Imperfect Peace Is Better Than Endless War (Bandow)
US Drone Sale To Ukraine Hits Snag (R.)
Stephen Colbert Staffers At House Office Charged With Illegal Entry (Fox)
Hunter Biden’s ‘Troubling’ Connection With Big-Name Hollywood Lawyer Probed (ET)
Deflationary Tsunami On Deck: Tidal Wave Of Discounts And Crashing Prices (ZH)
Britain Orders Extradition Of Julian Assange To United States (ABC.au)

 

 

 

 

Never sick

 

 

 

 

Clare Daly

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..came to think of themselves as God’s own messengers on planet Earth..”

Putin Claims New World Order, Blasts The West For ‘Insane’ Sanctions (ABC/AP)

In one of Vladimir Putin’s most substantial addresses since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the Russian President used his nation’s pre-eminent investment conference as an opportunity to lash out against his Western enemies. After a lengthy denunciation of countries that he claims want to weaken the Russian state with “reckless and insane” sanctions, President Putin used the stage at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum to lambaste the United States. “[The United States] declared victory in the Cold War and later came to think of themselves as God’s own messengers on planet Earth,” he said. In his 73-minute speech, he also said Russia was taking its place in a New World Order in which rules would be set by “strong and sovereign states”.


After sending troops into Ukraine in February, Russia came under a wide array of international sanctions, with hundreds of foreign companies also suspending operations or pulling out of the country entirely. But Mr Putin said these attempts to damage the Russian economy “didn’t work”. “Russian enterprises and government authorities worked in a composed and professional manner,” he said. “We’re normalising the economic situation. We stabilised the financial markets, the banking system, the trade system.” While Russia’s projected inflation rate has fallen marginally, Mr Putin conceded that the current projected annual rate of 16.7 per cent is still too high. Mr Putin also vehemently defended his country’s actions in Ukraine, as Russia has contended that its neighbour posed a threat due its desire to join the NATO military alliance.

Putin Spief

Read more …

From the PR team: “We all know that Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective. We want them to live with us the European dream.”

Putin Says Sanctions Cost EU $400BN, Warns Of Severe Fertilizer Shortage (ZH)

Ukraine just got a big boost for its EU membership bid on Friday, with the 27-member nation bloc’s executive giving full support for its candidate status. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced for the first time that the commission recommends “that Ukraine is given candidate status. This is of course on the understanding that the country will carry out a number of further reforms.” She said further while speaking from Brussels, “In the view of the Commission, Ukraine has clearly demonstrated the country’s aspiration and the country’s determination to live up to European values and standards.”

Von der Leyen included further: “We all know that Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective. We want them to live with us the European dream.” “Yes, Ukraine should be welcomed as a candidate country — this is based on the understanding that good work has been done but important work also remains to be done,” von der Leyen said. The day prior, on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi traveled to Kiev by train where they delivered a unified and “strong signal of support” to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. They publicly backed Ukraine’s path to the EU, urging “immediate EU candidate status.”

[..] Russian President Vladimir Putin in statements issued the same day as von der Leyen’s EU candidacy preliminary approval announcement stressed the growing ‘cost’ to Europe over its intransigent pro-Ukraine position and anti-Russia sanctions. He estimated that the European Union will incur “losses of at least $400 billion” due to its multiple waves of sanctions imposed on Moscow thus far. He once again rejected responsibility for the global economic downturn, stating instead that inflation, energy costs and food crisis are all linked to the West’s policies. He further predicted a potentially disastrous development for the global food supply, already under threat, according to news wires:

“Putin predicted the fertilizer shortage could push food prices even higher, adding that Russia could boost its exports of fertilizer and grain. He also claimed that “gloomy forecasts” about the state of the Russian economy did not come true and that his government has successfully stopped the rise of domestic inflation.”

Read more …

Back in April.

Biden Told Secretaries Of Defense And State To Tone It Down (NBC)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken had taken off on separate flights from southeastern Poland after their risky, high-stakes visit to Kyiv when they were conferenced into a phone call from President Joe Biden. During their whirlwind April trip, Austin appeared to expand the U.S. goals in Ukraine, saying publicly that the administration wanted the Ukrainians to win the war against Russia, not just defend themselves, and that the U.S. hoped to weaken Russia to the extent that it could not launch another unprovoked invasion. Blinken had publicly aligned himself with the remarks. Now Biden wanted to discuss the mounting headlines that resulted. Biden thought the secretaries had gone too far, according to multiple administration officials familiar with the call.

On the previously unreported conference call, as Austin flew to Germany and Blinken to Washington, the president expressed concern that the comments could set unrealistic expectations and increase the risk of the U.S. getting into a direct conflict with Russia. He told them to tone it down, said the officials. “Biden was not happy when Blinken and Austin talked about winning in Ukraine,” one of them said. “He was not happy with the rhetoric.” The secretaries explained that Austin’s comments had been misconstrued, another senior administration official said. But the displeasure Biden initially conveyed during that phone call, the officials said, reflected his administration’s belief that despite Ukrainian forces’ unexpected successes early on, the war would ultimately head in the direction it is now in two months later: a protracted conflict in which Russia continues to make small and steady advances.

U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that the trajectory of the war in Ukraine is untenable and are quietly discussing whether President Volodymyr Zelenskyy should temper his hard-line public position that no territory will ever be ceded to Russia as part of an agreement to end the war, according to seven current U.S. officials, former U.S. officials and European officials. Some officials want Zelenskyy to “dial it back a little bit,” as one of them put it, when it comes to telegraphing his red lines on ending the war. But the issue is fraught given that Biden is adamant about the U.S. not pressuring the Ukrainians to take steps one way or another. His administration’s position has been that any decision about how and on what terms to end the war is for Ukraine to decide.

“We are not pressuring them to make concessions, as some Europeans are. We would never ask them to cede territory,” one U.S. official said. “We are planning for a long war. We intend to prepare the American people for that, and we are prepared to ask Congress for more money.”

Read more …

“A staggering 47% of responders “strongly” disapproved of his performance.”

Two Awkward Biden Moments Draw Online Scrutiny (JTN)

Amid reports of record low approval ratings for his performance in office, President Joe Biden drew online scrutiny for two awkward moments which have fueled renewed concerns over his fitness to lead. On Thursday, Biden offered somewhat blunt condolences for the passing of Jo-Ann Stores CFO Matt Susz, who died suddenly the day before. In a White House speech addressing efforts to curb inflation, Biden ripped international shipping companies but paused briefly to address the head of the company, saying “and by the way, my sympathies to your family of your CFO, who dropped dead very unexpectedly.”

The ungentle “dropped dead” description of Susz’s death, prompted a torrent of jokes and criticism with many Twitter users disapproving of Biden’s tone and word choice while others made references to oft-repeated concerns that the president may be experiencing mental deterioration. In a Friday episode, first lady Jill Biden abruptly yanked her husband away from reporters as he attempted to answer questions about rising inflation. The Bidens, and first cat Willow, were on their way to their home state of Delaware for the long weekend. “It should not be this high,” he said to reporters, per the New York Post. “They’re making exorbitant profits, number one. Number two, I’ve contacted them, my team has, to ask what their plans are and to give any suggestions they have.”

“Number three, I think we’re going to be in a position where we’re gonna,” he continued before his wife pulled him toward the plane, firmly stating “we gotta go!” The Friday episode also attracted a flurry of mockery, with commenters taking the first lady’s assertive role in the moment as evidence of the presidents “cognitive issues.” Others took issue with Biden’s routine departures from Washington to his home state. Biden’s approval rating stood at 39% on Friday, per a USA TODAY/Suffolk poll. A staggering 47% of responders “strongly” disapproved of his performance.

Biden oil

Read more …

“Any world leader who does not vow complete loyalty to Zelensky’s effort to win back every inch of his country is met by anger in the Western media..”

Macron Bends to Pressure, Now Says Ukraine ‘Must Win’ War With Russia (Celente)

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday passed the litmus test during a high-profile meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv when he told reporters that Ukraine must defeat Russia in its war. Macron was joined by Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The three took an 11′-hour train ride to Kyiv. They were also joined by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. “We saw a devastated city and traces of barbarism. And also the heroism of Ukrainian men and women who stopped the Russian army when it went to Kyiv. Ukraine is resisting. She must be able to win,” Macron said after a a tour of Irpin. The French president came bearing gifts. He promised Ukraine six massive truck-mounted artillery guns so “Ukraine alone can decide its fate.”

Any world leader who does not vow complete loyalty to Zelensky’s effort to win back every inch of his country is met by anger in the Western media that has become nothing more than mouthpieces for governments that hate Russia. Macron felt the wrath when he said, “We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means. I am convinced that it is France’s role to be a mediating power.” Dmitro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, took to Twitter at the time and posted, “Calls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it.” Even after the visit by the four European leaders on Thursday, Ukrainian leaders still insisted on not giving up an inch of territory.

Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai told the Associated Press that the visit would not yield progress if the leaders ask Ukraine to sign a peace treaty with Russia that involves giving up territory. “I am sure that our president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is not going to make concessions and trade our territories. If someone wants to stop Russia by giving them territories, Germany has Bavaria, Italy has Tuscany, the French can concede Provence, for instance,” he said.


It’s the little people!

Read more …

Batiushka is an interesting writer. Here (s)he takes things a step further. Can we follow?

Pro-Ukrainian, but Anti-Nazi (Batiushka)

The problem has never been one of Ukrainians. The problem has always been that of the spiritual disease of Nazism. And that is what it is – a spiritual disease. Once the soul of the Ukraine has been liberated from this disease, in other words, once it has been denazified, a New Ukraine will be born. It may well take the form of a Protectorate centred around Kiev and speak a mixture of Ukrainian with Russian and Surzhyk (Ukrainian Russian). It will have secure borders and its people will be patriotic Ukrainians, not in some racist way that denigrates others, but in a positive way that respects others. Once freed of parasitic oligarchs and corruption, the naturally rich New Ukraine could have a brilliant future and take a positive part in the Concert of the Nations.

Once it has been understood that there is no problem with the Ukraine or Ukrainians, but only with Nazism, there may take place other Special Operations in other parts of the world. China may soon launch an Operation in Taiwan to free the ethnic Chinese there from the Nazism of its US-appointed elite. As for Russia, it has not yet finished the job in the Ukraine, where the task is constantly being extended because the Nazi West keeps sending long-range missiles and artillery to Kiev. As long as these weapons are in use, firing on Donetsk or anywhere else in liberated territory, the war will be extended and continue. Russia may physically have to liberate the whole country, mobilising more forces beyond the small expeditionary force it originally sent.

And then if Western aggression continues, it may have to launch other operations in Moldova and the Baltics in order to liberate those peoples too from NATO Nazism, from their corrupt US-appointed elites and EU exploitation. It may have to rebuild them, so that their peoples, economic refugees from corruption living now in Western Europe, can gratefully come home. Beyond that, as regards Western Europe in general, it too will surely one day find itself liberated one way or another from transatlantic tyranny and threats, safe under the Russian security and nuclear umbrella. Someone must defend Western Europe from the threats which for the moment are still coming from outside Afro-Eurasia, which is 86% of the world. Only Russia can do that. Russian troops once liberated Berlin and Paris. Will it have to happen again and maybe this time be extended to include Rome, Madrid and London?

Read more …

“..our Ukraine project “to weaken Russia” brought on an epochal shift in the balance of power to our enormous disadvantage.”

How Low Can You Go? (Jim Kunstler)

Lots of things are going south all at once: the stock markets and bond prices, Bitcoin is doing a vanishing act. The Colorado River reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, are so low that, by September, both water and electricity may run out for a vast region that includes Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Southern California. The housing market is tanking (suburbia’s business model is broken). Whole herds of beef cattle roll over and die out on the range. Fertilizer is scarce. Food processing plants get torched by the dozen. Shortages loom. The oil-and-gas industry is getting killed four ways: 1) our stupid Russia sanctions queered longstanding global distribution arrangements; 2) the industry is starved for capital; 3) depletion is seriously kicking in; and 4) “Joe Biden” and the knuckleheads running the EU countries are trying to kill it so as to usher in a Green New Deal that just doesn’t pencil-out.

The car dealers have no new cars on their lots, and pretty soon they’ll run out of decent used cars — which, these days, are often priced higher than the non-existent new cars. How’s that for a business model? Plus, the financially beaten-up middle-class can’t afford cars in either case, and increasingly can’t qualify for car loans. The airline industry reels with a sucking chest wound due to a pilot shortage (thanks to vaxx mandates) and the high cost of jet fuel. The trucking industry’s business model is also broken with diesel fuel over six dollars a gallon — the cost of delivery exceeds the value of the cargo. America runs on trucks and if they stop running, so does everything else. Replacement parts are growing scarce for every mechanical device in the land. It’s getting harder to fix anything that’s broken.

“Joe Biden’s” proxy war against Russia in Ukraine isn’t working out. It was flamboyantly stupid from the get-go. We deliberately broke the Minsk agreements for a cease-fire in the Donbas to goad the Russians into action. NATO didn’t have the troops or the political mojo to back up its US-inspired bluster. Our financial warfare blew back in our faces and actually benefited the Russian economy and its currency, the ruble. The billions of dollars in weapons we’re sending into the war are easily interdicted in transport, or else are getting loose in a world of non-state maniacs ranging from the Taliban to al Qaeda to drug cartels. Meanwhile, Russia steadfastly grinds out a victory on-the-ground that will leave it in control of the Black Sea and will reveal the USA’s lost capacity to impose its will around the world. In other words, our Ukraine project “to weaken Russia” brought on an epochal shift in the balance of power to our enormous disadvantage.

Read more …

“..you are stuck with the albatross of a truncated, bankrupt Ukraine hung around your neck.”

Last Tango in Washington? (Brenner)

Reality has a way of catching up to us. Sometimes it comes via a sudden shock — Sputnik or Tet. Sometimes it creeps up incrementally — as in Ukraine with each thousand round Russian artillery barrage and the steady rise of the ruble now 25 percent higher than at the onset of the crisis. Dim the lights, the party’s almost over. But that is not the end of the affair. Whatever the exact outcomes, there is no going back to the status quo ante — the world, especially Europe, has changed in fundamental respects. Moreover, it has changed in ways diametrically opposite to what was desired and anticipated. The West has been inhabiting a fanciful world that could exist only in our imaginations. Many remain stranded in that self-deluded mirage. The more that we have invested in that fantasy world, the harder we find it to exit and to make the adjustment — intellectual, emotional, behavioral.

[..] Necessity is the mother of invention — or so it is said. However, grasping what is “necessary” can be a very slippery business. An actual recasting of how one views a problematic situation normally is a last resort. Experience and history tell us that, as do behavioral experiments. The psychology of perceived necessity is complex. Adversity or threat in and of itself does not trigger improvisation. Even the survival instinct does not always spark innovation. Denial, then avoidance, are normally the first, sequential reactions when facing adversity in trying to reach an objective or to satisfy a recognized interest. A strong bias favors the reiteration of a standard repertoire of responses.

True innovation tends to occur only in extremis; and even then, behavioral change is more likely to begin with minor adjustments of established thinking and behavior at the margins rather than modification of core beliefs and patterns of action. Those truths underscore the American dilemma as the Ukraine venture turns sour on the battlefield and your enemy is faring far better than expected while your friends and allies are faring far worse. Russia has blunted everything thrown at them – to the shock of Western planners. Every assumption underpinning their scorched-earth assault on the Russian economy has proven mistaken. A dismal record of analytical error even by C.I.A. and think tank standards.

Off-the-charts forecasts on the country’s economy, and the global impact of sanctions, crippled Washington’s plan from the outset. Tactical initiatives of a military nature have proven equally futile; another 1,000 vintage Javelins with dead battery packs will not rescue the Ukrainian army in the Donbass. So, you are stuck with the albatross of a truncated, bankrupt Ukraine hung around your neck. There is nothing that you can do to cancel these givens — except a direct, perhaps suicidal test of force with Russia. Or, perhaps, a retaliatory challenge elsewhere. The latter is not readily available — for geographic reasons and because the West already has expended its arsenal of economic and political weaponry.

Read more …

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

The Ukrainian Endgame: An Imperfect Peace Is Better Than Endless War (Bandow)

For good reason, then, Americans worry about deepening US involvement in the Russo-Ukrainian war. While it is unsurprising that Kyiv and its Washington factotums advocate going all in, even risking escalation of the conflict, doing so is not in this nation’s interests. Unfortunately, President Joe Biden’s recent article in the New York Time did little to ease public concerns. Especially his promise not to “pressure the Ukrainian government – in private or public – to make any territorial concessions.” The US and Europe should focus on ending, not winning, the war. The longer the conflict goes, the more it will devastate Ukraine and undermine the Ukrainian state. The economic harm to the allies and beyond also will grow, weakening support for Kyiv.


An American attempt to carry Ukraine to victory is more likely to encourage Putin to double down, perhaps even using nuclear weapons, than meekly yield. Washington’s goal should not be to save the Russian dictator from personal humiliation, which retired diplomat Dan Fried deemed “risible,” but to forestall Putin from engaging in dangerous escalation to prevent personal humiliation. Life is unfair, President Jimmy Carter once observed. That is especially true when it comes to international affairs. In a perfect world Ukraine would recover its territory, including that seized in 2014, collect reparations from Moscow, and frame Putin’s written apology for invading. However, none of these should be Washington’s objective. The US should promote a stable, peaceful settlement, one that keeps the Pandora’s Box of nuclear war closed.

Read more …

“..reviewed higher up the chain of command at the Pentagon..”

US Drone Sale To Ukraine Hits Snag (R.)

The Biden administration’s plan to sell four large, armable drones to Ukraine has been paused on the fear its sophisticated surveillance equipment might fall into enemy hands, according to two people familiar with the matter. The technical objection to the sale was raised during a deeper review by the Pentagon’s Defense Technology Security Administration charged with keeping high value technology safe from enemy hands. Previously the plan, which has been circulating since March, had been approved by the White House, three people said. The plan to sell Ukraine four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that can be armed with Hellfire missiles for battlefield use against Russia was first reported by Reuters earlier in June.


The objection to the export of the drones arose due to concerns the radar and surveillance equipment on the drones could create a security risk for the United States if it fell into Russian hands. The sources said this consideration had been overlooked in the initial review but came up in meetings at the Pentagon late last week. “Technology security reviews are a standard practice for the transfer of U.S. defense articles to all international partners. All cases are reviewed individually on their own merit. Through the established process, national security concerns are elevated to the appropriate approving authority,” said Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough. The decision on whether or not to continue with the deal is now being reviewed higher up the chain of command at the Pentagon, but the timing of any decision is uncertain, one of the people a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.

Read more …

Adam Schiff did it.

Stephen Colbert Staffers At House Office Charged With Illegal Entry (Fox)

The U.S. Capitol Police arrested a group of staffers with CBS’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” after they allegedly illegally entered a U.S. House of Representatives office building on Thursday night, Fox News has learned. The group of seven people were arrested in the Longworth House Office Building after being escorted out of the Jan. 6 committee hearing earlier in the day because they did not have proper press credentials, according to sources. The same group resurfaced later on Thursday night after the Capitol complex was closed to public visitors and Fox News is told that they took videos and pictures around the offices of two Republican members of Congress, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy R-Calif. and Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.

A senior source in the U.S House of Representatives told Fox News that seven individuals associated with Stephen Colbert’s show were arrested. The group was unescorted and charged with illegal entry to House office buildings after hours. Fox News is told that the “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” team applied to get press credentials for the Jan. 6 hearing, but the House Radio/TV Gallery rejected the request because they are not considered “news.” The issue didn’t go to the Radio/TV Correspondents Association, which usually handles credentialing. In addition to a regular Capitol Hill press pass, a special “overlay” is required for members of the press who want to be in the room for the Jan. 6 Committee hearings.


Members of Colbert’s team could have been in House office buildings if they were invited, which they were. Fox News is told that Colbert’s team conducted interviews earlier on Thursday with members of the Jan. 6 Committee, including Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. and Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla. They also interviewed Rep. Jake Auchincloss, D-Mass. [..] “On June 16, 2022, at approximately 8:30 p.m., U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) received a call for a disturbance in the Longworth House Office Building. Responding officers observed seven individuals, unescorted and without Congressional ID, in a sixth-floor hallway. The building was closed to visitors, and these individuals were determined to be a part of a group that had been directed by the USCP to leave the building earlier in the day,” the statement says. “They were charged with Unlawful Entry. This is an active criminal investigation, and may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the U.S. Attorney.”

Tucker Colbert

Read more …

“We are investigating the domestic and international business dealings of President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, to determine whether these activities compromise U.S. national security and President Biden’s ability to lead with impartiality..”

Hunter Biden’s ‘Troubling’ Connection With Big-Name Hollywood Lawyer Probed (ET)

The ranking member of the House’s principal oversight committee has launched a probe into a Hollywood lawyer’s “sudden patronage” of Hunter Biden allegedly involving financial and pro-bono legal support. “We are investigating the domestic and international business dealings of President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, to determine whether these activities compromise U.S. national security and President Biden’s ability to lead with impartiality,” Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, wrote to Hollywood attorney Kevin Morris on behalf of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in a letter dated June 14.

“Your sudden patronage of the President’s son, enormous financial contributions to President Biden, and outsized role you are taking in defending against both congressional and criminal investigations raise serious concerns about whether you are providing in-kind contributions to President Biden’s re-election efforts,” Comer wrote. Morris is known for negotiating a $550 million licensing deal for the creators of “South Park” and has won a Tony award as a co-producer of the Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon.” His law firm has represented Hollywood celebrities including Chris Rock, Scarlett Johansson, and Matthew McConaughey. Comer’s letter came after a New York Times report in early May that alleged that Morris has taken on a “financier, confidant and would-be avenger” for the president’s son.

The latter is under federal investigation into his tax payments and alleged foreign deals with entities affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records, Morris donated $2,800 to Joe Biden’s campaign “Biden for President” in October 2019, and a total of $55,000 in 2020 to the American Bridge 21st Century Political Action Committee, which supported Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. The New York Times reported that these donations occurred before Morris met and developed a relationship with the president’s son. According to Comer, the oversight committee Republicans are “particularly troubled” in seeing Morris’s alleged role in “attempting to personally shield Hunter Biden from congressional and criminal investigation.”

Read more …

You won’t know what hit you.

Deflationary Tsunami On Deck: Tidal Wave Of Discounts And Crashing Prices (ZH)

Three weeks ago, we showed readers what happens when the infamous “Bullwhip effect” reversal takes place by presenting the unprecedented surge in the “Inventory to Sales” ratio for a broad range of US retailers covering the furniture, home furnishings and appliances, building materials and garden equipment, and a category known as “other general merchandise,” which includes Walmart and Target. Since then, this ratio has only gotten even more extended, and as shown below it is now at the highest level since the bursting of the dot com bubble! What does this mean for retailers and the price of goods? Three weeks ago we said “Think: widespread inventory liquidations” and added…

To be sure, not every product will see its price cut: commodities, whose bullwhip effect take much longer to manifest itself, usually lasting several years in either direction, are only just starting to see their price cycle higher. However, other products – like those carried by the Walmarts and Targets of the world – are about to see a deflationary plunge the likes of which we have not seen since the global financial crisis as retailers commence a voluntary destocking wave the likes of which have not been seen in over a decade. Today both Wall Street and the mainstream media have caught up, with both predicting unprecedented deflationary price cuts in the coming weeks.

We start with Morgan Stanley’s bearish strategist Michael Wilson, who in his latest bearish weekly note (available to pro subs) focused on shrinking margins in general, and on retailer discounting in particular, and wrote that while there is a modest pick up in over sales, the far more concerning issue is that “inventory across the sector is up about 30% YOY and sales growth is up about 0% YOY translating to approximately 30% YOY of excess inventory” and while mark down/margin pressure did not hit in 1Q it should hit June/July. Indeed, “store checks show that aggressive discounting has already started as of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Discounting pressure could accelerate through July.” And since more retailers are now discounting, “companies are having to offer even bigger discounts to compel consumers to buy, and it is a race to the bottom in margins in order to clear through inventory.”

It gets much worse, however, because courtesy of the delayed nature of the bullwhip effect, Morgan Stanley thinks it will be some time before retailers can cut back on forward inventory orders! Companies are no longer in a position to order 6 months in advance because of delays in the supply chain, and are currently working with about an 8 month lead time. Shockingly, this means decisions today to cut forward orders could begin to eliminate the inventory problem in 1Q23, but not likely before then.

Read more …

“The elected Prime Minister stated that it’s time for Julian to come home..”

Britain Orders Extradition Of Julian Assange To United States (ABC.au)

The British government has ordered the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, but WikiLeaks said it would appeal against the ruling. Home Secretary Priti Patel made the decision after Mr Assange was denied a Supreme Court appeal back in March. That case related to Mr Assange’s physical and mental health, and the US government won after offering assurances he would not be held in solitary confinement. The Home Office said in a statement: “The UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange. “Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.”

The decision is a big moment in Mr Assange’s years-long battle to avoid facing trial in the US — though not necessarily the end of the tale. The 50-year-old Australian still has 14 days to appeal against his extradition based on issues like freedom of speech, arguing the espionage charges against him are politically motivated. “Today is not the end of the fight. It is only the beginning of a new legal battle,” Mr Assange’s wife Stella said. Ms Assange also called for Australian Prime Minister Albanese to apply some pressure. “Our expectation as a family is the Australian government will do whatever it takes to get him home,” she said. The Australian federal government says it will continue to offer consular assistance to Mr Assange.


“We will continue to convey our expectations that Mr Assange is entitled to due process, humane and fair treatment, access to proper medical care, and access to his legal team,” said a joint statement released late on Friday night from Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong and Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus. “The Australian government has been clear in our view that Mr Assange’s case has dragged on for too long and that it should be brought to a close. “We will continue to express this view to the governments of the United Kingdom and [the] United States.” Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has labelled the decision by the UK government to green-light the extradition as an “outrageous betrayal of rule of law, media freedom and human rights”. “The elected Prime Minister stated that it’s time for Julian to come home,” Mr Wilkie said, “enough is enough, that he couldn’t see what was served by Julian remaining in prison.

Stella Moris

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

UAW Elon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1537676631988310017

 

 

Twitter Lead Client Partner
https://twitter.com/i/status/1537541923883388931

 

 

 

 

Kamala Task Force

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Sep 162019
 
 September 16, 2019  Posted by at 9:20 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  21 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Night fishing at Antibes 1939

 

Oil Explodes 20% Higher, Biggest Jump On Record (ZH)
Trump Says US ‘Locked And Loaded’ As Iran Blamed For Saudi Attack (AP)
Liquidity Dies in Darkness (Rivelle)
‘Very Difficult’ For China’s Economy To Grow 6% Or Faster: Premier Li
China’s August Industrial Output Growth Grinds To 17.5-Year Low (R.)
General Motors Faces Strike By Almost 50,000 Staff (BBC)
OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma Files For Bankruptcy Protection (R.)
Industrialized Militaries Are A Big Part Of The Climate Emergency (IC)
Farming Subsidies Destroy The World (G.)
The World’s Most Important Political Prisoner (Craig Murray)

 

 

It went down a little after, but then the war threats started.

Oil Explodes 20% Higher, Biggest Jump On Record (ZH)

Shanghai Oil futures are halted limit up.


Source: Bloomberg

With traders in a state of near-frenzy, with a subset of fintwit scrambling (and failing) to calculate what the limit move in oil would be (hint: there is none for Brent), moments ago brent reopened for trading in the aftermath of Saturday’s attack on the “world’s most important oil processing plant”, and exploded some 20% higher, to a high of $71.95 from the Friday $60.22 close, its biggest jump since futures started trading in 1988. As Bloomberg notes, “for oil markets, it’s the single worst sudden disruption ever, surpassing the loss of Kuwaiti and Iraqi petroleum supply in August 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded his neighbor. It also exceeds the loss of Iranian oil output in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy.”

Furthermore, in light of news that the Saudi outage could last for months, this could be just the start. As a reminder, according to Morningstar research director, Sandy Fielden, “Brent could go to $80 tomorrow, while WTI could go to $75… But that would depend on Aramco’s 48-hour update. The supply problem won’t be clear right away since the Saudis can still deliver from inventory.” Of course, should Aramco confirm that the outage – which has taken some 5.7mmb/d in Saudi output after 10 drones struck the world’s biggest crude-processing facility in Abqaiq and the kingdom’s second-biggest oil field in Khurais – will last for weeks, expect the crude juggernaut to continue until the price hits $80, and keeps moving higher.


Source: Bloomberg

Read more …

Does any of this make any sense to you?

Trump Says US ‘Locked And Loaded’ As Iran Blamed For Saudi Attack (AP)

The U.S. government produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact at two Saudi energy facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom’s crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq. Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south. Iraq denied Sunday that its territory was used for an attack on the Kingdom and U.S. officials said a strike from there would be a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. The U.S. officials said additional devices, which apparently didn’t reach their targets, were recovered northwest of the facilities and are being jointly analyzed by Saudi and American intelligence.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, did not address whether the drone could have been fired from Yemen, then taken a round-about path, but did not explicitly rule it out. The attacks and recriminations are increasing already heightened fears of an escalation in the region, after a prominent U.S. senator suggested striking Iranian oil refineries in response to the assault, and Iran warned of the potential of more violence. “Because of the tension and sensitive situation, our region is like a powder keg,” said Iranian Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh. “When these contacts come too close, when forces come into contact with one another, it is possible a conflict happens because of a misunderstanding.”


[..] “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” Pompeo wrote. “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.” [..] U.S. officials previously alleged at least one recent drone attack on Saudi Arabia came from Iraq, where Iran backs Shiite militias. Those militias in recent weeks have been targeted themselves by mysterious airstrikes, with at least one believed to have been carried out by Israel. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Sunday dismissed Pompeo’s remarks as “blind and futile comments.” “The Americans adopted the ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran, which, due to its failure, is leaning toward ‘maximum lies,’” Mousavi said in a statement.

Read more …

“Trouble is, while loanable funds can be created without limit, the things that can be purchased with these funds is finite.”

Liquidity Dies in Darkness (Rivelle)

If democracy dies in darkness, so does liquidity in that embodiment of economic democracy, i.e., the capital markets. When information is scarce, investors must color in between the lines. That which is not known nor well quantified must be assumed or modeled. The door is therefore open to different investors reaching quite different conclusions about the underlying value of an asset leading, of course, to illiquidity. More so perhaps than any other in history, this cycle is the wellspring of the theories and actions of the central bankers who, in their infinite wisdom, determined that they could model interest rates better than markets could price them. Central banks have flooded the system with what they call “liquidity” but which are actually nothing more–nor less–than electronically conjured “loanable funds.”


Under the banner of “doing whatever it takes,” trillions in loanable funds were created so that now $17 trillion in global debt is priced to yield less than nothing. The magic trick of inverting economic logic with negative rates results from the capacity of the central banks to create unlimited quantities of loanable funds at no cost. Trouble is, while loanable funds can be created without limit, the things that can be purchased with these funds is finite. But, “free money” not only makes loans cheap, it also erodes the capacity of lenders to ask for such reasonable terms as traditional loan covenants and basic financial disclosure.

Read more …

Preparing the people for bad news?!

‘Very Difficult’ For China’s Economy To Grow 6% Or Faster: Premier Li

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said it is “very difficult” for China’s economy to grow at a rate of 6% or more because of the high base from which it was starting and the complicated international backdrop. The world’s No.2 economy faced “certain downward pressure” due to slowing global growth as well as the rise of protectionism and unilateralism, Li said in an interview with Russian media which was published on the Chinese government’s website, gov.cn. China’s GDP grew 6.3% in the first half of the year, and Li said the economy was “generally stable” in the first eight months of the year.


“For China to maintain growth of 6% or more is very difficult against the current backdrop of a complicated international situation and a relatively high base, and this rate is at the forefront of the world’s leading economies,” Li was quoted as saying. Analysts say China’s economic growth has likely cooled further this quarter from a near 30-year low of 6.2% in April-June. Morgan Stanley says it is now tracking the lower end of the government’s full-year target range of around 6-6.5%.

Read more …

4.4% it is.

China’s August Industrial Output Growth Grinds To 17.5-Year Low (R.)

The slowdown in China’s factory and consumer sectors deepened in August, with industrial production growing at the weakest pace in 17-1/2 years, a sign of increasing weakness in an economy lashed by trade headwinds and soft domestic demand. Production rose 4.4% in August year-on-year, slower than the 4.8% growth in July. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast output would rise 5.2%. August’s data is the slowest growth since February 2002. [..] The data also showed retail sales growth at 7.5%, below the 7.9% expected in a Reuters poll and the 7.6% increase in July.


Fixed-asset investment for the first eight months of the year rose 5.5%, according to data published by the National Bureau of Statistics, compared with a 5.6% rise forecast by analysts. Data last week showed factory-gate prices fell at their fastest pace in three years and analysts predict that producer deflation will continue to worsen in the coming months. It also follows a factory survey that showed activity shrank for the fourth straight month as the U.S. trade war dragged on. China’s imports of unwrought copper also fell 3.8% year-on-year in August, a metal with wide use in infrastructure, power and consumption.

Read more …

America’s dying unions.

General Motors Faces Strike By Almost 50,000 Staff (BBC)

Almost 50,000 General Motors workers have been called out on strike after the car giant failed to reach a pay and conditions deal with the United Auto Workers union (UAW). “We do not take this lightly. This is our last resort,” UAW vice-president Terry Dittes told reporters in Detroit. The sides had set a Saturday night deadline to reach agreement. The strike – from midnight (04:00 GMT) on Monday – is the first at GM, America’s biggest carmaker, since 2007. In that strike, a two-day stoppage cost $300m (£240m). The union’s previous four-year contract with GM expired this weekend, and the two sides had been holding negotiations on wide-ranging issues, including wages, healthcare, profit sharing, and job security.

Read more …

Right after the Sackler family had transferred their billions to safe locations.

OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma Files For Bankruptcy Protection (R.)

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday night, succumbing to pressure from more than 2,600 lawsuits alleging the company helped fuel the deadly U.S. opioid epidemic. Purdue’s board met Sunday evening to approve the long-expected bankruptcy filing, which the company is pursuing to restructure under terms of a proposal to settle the widespread litigation. Purdue, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in a federal bankruptcy court in White Plains, New York, reached a tentative deal to resolve lawsuits with 24 states and five U.S. territories, as well as lead lawyers for more than 2,000 cities, counties and other plaintiffs, the company said.


Two dozen states remain opposed or uncommitted to the proposed settlement, setting the stage for contentious legal battles over who bears responsibility for a public health crisis that has claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 people between 1999 and 2017, according to the latest U.S. data. Thousands of cities and counties, along with nearly every state, have sued Purdue and, in some cases, its controlling Sackler family. The lawsuits, seeking billions of dollars in damages, claim the company and family aggressively marketed prescription painkillers while misleading doctors and patients about their addiction and overdose risks.

Read more …

I’d rather have a look at overall pollution, not just emissions.

Industrialized Militaries Are A Big Part Of The Climate Emergency (IC)

A British doctor who co-authored two studies on the environmental impact of U.S. military operations in Fallujah said that the city’s population suffers “the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied.” Much of this impact can be blamed on the use of depleted uranium munitions by U.S. forces. Despite vowing to cease their use, a study by the independent monitoring group Airwars and Foreign Policy Magazine found that the military continued to use the toxic munitions during its most recent bombing campaign in Syria. The fact that fossil fuel emissions have been the major driver of climate change adds another grim irony to these wars.


For decades, the heavy U.S. military footprint in the Middle East has been justified by the need to preserve access to the region’s oil reserves. The industrial extraction of those same reserves has been one of the major drivers of global carbon dioxide emissions. In other words, we have been killing, dying, and polluting to ensure our access to the same toxic resource most responsible for our climate disruption. It took this perfect symmetry between industrial warfare and industrial exploitation of the earth to bring about the unspeakable emergency we now face.

Read more …

$1 million every minute. And look at the sugary crap we’re eating.

Farming Subsidies Destroy The World (G.)

The public is providing more than $1m per minute in global farm subsidies, much of which is driving the climate crisis and destruction of wildlife, according to a new report. Just 1% of the $700bn (£560bn) a year given to farmers is used to benefit the environment, the analysis found. Much of the total instead promotes high-emission cattle production, forest destruction and pollution from the overuse of fertiliser. The security of humanity is at risk without reform to these subsidies, a big reduction in meat eating in rich nations and other damaging uses of land, the report says. But redirecting the subsidies to storing carbon in soil, producing healthier food, cutting waste and growing trees is a huge opportunity, it says.

The report rejects the idea that subsidies are needed to supply cheap food. It found that the cost of the damage currently caused by agriculture is greater than the value of the food produced. New assessments in the report found producing healthy, sustainable food would actually cut food prices, as the condition of the land improves. “There is incredibly small direct targeting of [subsidies at] positive environment outcomes, which is insane,” said Jeremy Oppenheim, principal at the Food and Land Use Coalition (Folu), the collaboration of food, farming and green research groups that produced the new report. “We have got to switch these subsidies into explicitly positive measures.”


He said the true global total was likely to be $1tn a year, as some subsidies are difficult to quantify precisely: “That trillion dollars of public funding is available and is a massive, massive lever to incentivise the farming community across the world to act differently.”

Read more …

“..all the excuses for Assange’s imprisonment which so-called leftists and liberals in the UK have hidden behind will evaporate.”

The World’s Most Important Political Prisoner (Craig Murray)

We are now just one week away from the end of Julian Assange’s uniquely lengthy imprisonment for bail violation. He will receive parole from the rest of that sentence, but will continue to be imprisoned on remand awaiting his hearing on extradition to the USA – a process which could last several years. At that point, all the excuses for Assange’s imprisonment which so-called leftists and liberals in the UK have hidden behind will evaporate. There are no charges and no active investigation in Sweden, where the “evidence” disintegrated at the first whiff of critical scrutiny. He is no longer imprisoned for “jumping bail”.

The sole reason for his incarceration will be the publishing of the Afghan and Iraq war logs leaked by Chelsea Manning, with their evidence of wrongdoing and multiple war crimes. In imprisoning Assange for bail violation, the UK was in clear defiance of the judgement of the UN Working Group on arbitrary Detention, which stated:

“Under international law, pre-trial detention must be only imposed in limited instances. Detention during investigations must be even more limited, especially in the absence of any charge. The Swedish investigations have been closed for over 18 months now, and the only ground remaining for Mr. Assange’s continued deprivation of liberty is a bail violation in the UK, which is, objectively, a minor offense that cannot post facto justify the more than 6 years confinement that he has been subjected to since he sought asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador. Mr. Assange should be able to exercise his right to freedom of movement in an unhindered manner, in accordance with the human rights conventions the UK has ratified,”


In repudiating the UNWGAD the UK has undermined an important pillar of international law, and one it had always supported in hundreds of other decisions. The mainstream media has entirely failed to note that the UNWGAD called for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – a source of potentially valuable international pressure on Iran which the UK has made worthless by its own refusal to comply with the UN over the Assange case. Iran simply replies “if you do not respect the UNWGAD then why should we?”

Read more …