Feb 212024
 
 February 21, 2024  Posted by at 9:46 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  42 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Landscape with House and Ploughman 1889

 

Assange ‘Too Ill’ To Attend Last Chance UK Appeal Against US Extradition (RT)
President Trump’s Kafkaesque Civil Trial in New York State (Calabresi)
Pay to Play: Trump Faces a Staggering Cost for Appeal (Turley)
US ‘in Decline’ Today Due to ‘Ignorance, Arrogance’ – Pakistani Senator (Sp.)
What Happened To Alexei Navalny This Time Round (Helmer)
The US Is Planning for the Aftermath of Ukraine War (van den Ende)
How The Rosneft Refinery In Germany Is Being Expropriated (Helmer)
Germany Nationalizes Rosneft Deutschland, Poland Will Help (Andrei Gurkov)
As Ramadan Approaches, Israel Threatens War On Lebanon (Harb)
The Resistance Has a Plan for Israel (Alastair Crooke)
The Ever Expanding War (Paul Craig Roberts)
10 Million Illegals Have Entered The US Under Biden (ZH)
Germany Retreats Into The Middle Ages As Its Economy Declines (Henry Johnston)
Fixation on CO2 Ignores Real Driver of Temperature (ET)

 

 


MattOBranain: My rough sketch while trying to listen on a difficult audio feed. At front two Counsels for #Assange, to right behind them Gareth Perice, then from right John Shipton, @GabrielShipton, @Stella_Assange, behind them @ChrisLynnHedges. Also saw @CraigMurrayOrg and @suigenerisjen.

 

 

Trump Haley

 

 

Mike Benz
https://twitter.com/i/status/1759722356975530158

 

 

 

 

Thomas

 

 

Tucker Boris

 

 

Rogan Phil
https://twitter.com/i/status/1760025164677558690

 

 

 

 

“..the victim of his ‘crime’ (journalism) is a state rather than a person–the definition of a political offense, which the US-UK extradition treaty explicitly forbid..”

Assange ‘Too Ill’ To Attend Last Chance UK Appeal Against US Extradition (RT)

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is “too ill” to attend his appeal against the UK’s decision to extradite him to the US, his lawyers have said. The US wants him on 17 charges of espionage tied to WikiLeaks’ publication of State Department and Pentagon files in 2010. Assange, 52, has been held largely in solitary confinement in the Belmarsh maximum security prison in England since 2019, when Ecuador revoked his asylum at American insistence. The Australian-born publisher had requested to appear in court personally, but was unable to do so due to poor health, according to his lawyers. “The world is watching,” Assange’s wife Stella said outside the court house. She accused the US of abusing the legal system to “hound, prosecute and intimidate” and argued that the US “plotted to murder” her husband – referring to revelations that the CIA sought to kill Assange in 2017, when he sheltered in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

“What’s at stake is the ability to publish the truth and expose crimes when they’re committed by states,” Stella Assange told the dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday. Protesters carried Australian flags and signs that said “Free Julian Assange” and “drop the charges.” The Australian parliament passed a motion, supported by the country’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, calling for Assange’s release from British captivity in the run up to the appeal. “The outrageous part of the UK’s years-long ‘trial’ to condemn Julian Assange to die in an American dungeon is that the victim of his ‘crime’ (journalism) is a state rather than a person–the definition of a political offense, which the US-UK extradition treaty explicitly forbid,” NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said on X (formerly Twitter).

Activists outside the court chanted “US, UK, hands off Assange” and “There is only one decision – no extradition,” among other slogans. This week’s hearing will decide whether Assange will be allowed to appeal the 2022 decision by the UK government to extradite him to the US. His attorneys have argued that the extradition would amount to punishment for political opinions and violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

If the appeal fails, Assange will apply to the European Court of Human Rights and seek a Rule 39 order to stop the extradition while it considers the case, Stella Assange has said. In 2010, WikiLeaks published the US military’s Iraq and Afghanistan “war diaries,” as well as a trove of State Department cables. One of the videos, later known as “collateral murder,” showed a US helicopter killing 11 people in Iraq, including two Reuters journalists. Suspecting the Swedish “sexual assault” case was a pretext for the US to arrest him – correctly, as it later emerged – Assange sought asylum in Ecuador, which has no extradition treaty with Washington. He spent the next seven years in the country’s embassy in London, blocked from leaving by the British authorities.

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Kafla indeed.

President Trump’s Kafkaesque Civil Trial in New York State (Calabresi)

Donald Trump has been ordered to pay a $355 million fine and has been barred from doing business in New York State for three years. Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump to pay essentially all of his cash reserves of $400 million, which fine if upheld would force Trump to sell some of his real estate holdings to raise cash to live on. Once interest is added on the total fine will rise to $450 million. This is all on top of an $83.3 million fine Trump must pay for allegedly defaming the writer E. Jean Carroll. The fines in total could deprive Trump of between 11% and 13% of his wealth. Trump’s adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric have also been fined, and they are barred from doing business in New York State for two years. Ivanka or Melania Trump could legally run the Trump businesses for the next two years, but Judge Engoron appointed retired U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones to continue in her role as an “independent monitor” of the Trump business empire but expanded her authority to review financial disclosures before they are submitted to third parties.

Judge Jones can hire an independent director of compliance, and she has the authority to compel Trump to sell some or even all of his businesses down the road. This is all punishment for Trump allegedly committing fraud by falsely inflating and deflating the value of his real estate assets to pay lower state taxes and to receive more favorable loans from banks. The New York State laws used to go after Trump have NEVER been used in this way, historically, and while Trump may owe some back state taxes, if Judge Engoron is right, not a single bank claimed that it had been defrauded by Trump in the loans it had made to him. This is truly a victimless crime. Bankers took the stand at Trump’s civil trial testifying that they would have gladly made loans to Donald Trump given his extraordinary success as a businessman. It must also be noted that the banks that made loans to Trump did not take his assessment of the net worth of his assets at face value but made their own independent assessments of the value of Trump’s assets.

This is apparently standard practice in the New York State real estate market where borrowers often overstate the value of their assets. The bottom line is that a never before used New York State penalty has been twisted into a tool for a grossly excessive fine and more seriously the completely inappropriate appointment of Judge Jones as an “independent monitor” who can micromanage the Trump business, which she is not competent to do, and to even order the dissolution of the Trump Business in New York State. This outcome was pursued by Letitia James, a politically ambition Democrat, who is the Attorney General of New York State, and who hopes to win a future Democratic primary for Governor of or Senator from New York State.

Ms. James and Judge Engeron have essentially turned a vaguely worded New York State law into a modern day Bill of Attainder targeted at Donald Trump both for political gain and because they despise his political views and desperately want to call his truthfulness into question as he runs for President of the United States in 2024. In doing this, the have violated Trump’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech and of the press; his Fifth Amendment right not to be deprived of liberty or property without due process of law; his Fifth Amendment right not to have property taken away from him except for a pubic use with just compensation being paid; his Eighth Amendment right not to be made to pay an excessive fine; his Article IV, Section 2 right as a citizen of Florida to do make and enforce contracts in New York on the same terms as are other New Yorkers; and his Fourteenth Amendment right to be free to pursue an occupation without unnecessary and burdensome regulation.

The civil fraud judgment against Donald Trump is a travesty and an unjust political act rivaled only in American politics by the killing of former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton by Vice President Aaron Burr. If the New York State appellate courts do not reverse this judgment, the U.S. Supreme Court MUST grant cert on this case and reverse Judge Engeron’s outrageous decisions. National, presidential politics will be permanently altered if a local State’s legal system can be used in this way against candidates for President of the United States. This case raises a national issue of profound importance and if the New York State appellate courts do not address it, the U.S. Supreme Court MUST!

O’Leary
https://twitter.com/i/status/1759969359282463085

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“..every day, Trump is being hit by roughly $90,000 in just interest increases.”

Pay to Play: Trump Faces a Staggering Cost for Appeal (Turley)

In the wake of the massive judgment against Donald Trump, many in New York are celebrating the prospect that the former president could be forced to sell off his property just to be able to appeal the $355 million judgment against him. While Trump has good grounds to object to this excessive fine, he still has to come up with close to a half billion dollars just to make his arguments to the New York Court of Appeals. In order to file an appeal, the courts require a deposit for the full amount of the damages or a bond covering the full amount. Even with escrow options, the call for cash or collateral can be enough to put some executives in a fetal position. It can be challenging enough for many companies drained from years of litigation. For Donald Trump, the demand for $355 million plus $100 milion in interest could force a fire sale on properties to pony up just the deposit.

Many of us have been critical of the ruling of Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron who imposed the astronomical fine despite finding that Trump’s “victims” not only did not lose a single dollar but made handsome profits. Indeed, these banks testified that they wanted to continue to do business with Trump as a “whale” client, but Engoron is now barring them from doing so. Putting aside the merits of this judgment, the threshold deposit rule magnifies the unfairness of this New York law that does not require that anyone actually lose money to claim hundreds of millions from a company. One can argue that, if upheld, any insolvency is the fault of the company. However, this rule can force insolvency just to seek review of a judgment. For Trump, even this fine would only amount to roughly 14-17% of his wealth. The addition of the recent $83.3 million in damages imposed in a separate New York courtroom for defamation would bring the demand to over half a billion dollars in deposits with interest.

So, by making the fine so large, Engoron not only makes an appeal difficult, but could guarantee that Trump will lose tens of millions even if his judgment is dramatically reduced or tossed out. On top of this looming penalty, however, he already owes the writer E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million in damages from a separate defamation case that concluded in January. His legal fees are also mounting as he battles four criminal cases at the federal and state level. There is already speculation of whether Trump will have to leverage or sell his iconic properties at distressed prices. He has 30-days to ante up with the court and buyers could use that deadline to their advantage. The added amount is due to another New York provision imposing a massive 9 percent interest rate on judgments. That means that every day, Trump is being hit by roughly $90,000 in just interest increases.

Trump could secure a bond, but such a guaranty would come at its own premium price. However, a bonding company requires a defendant to put up 10% for the total and would lose that amount even if he prevailed. That is a roughly $45 million cost just to secure the right to an appeal. In this case, the cost could be higher given the judgment and the bar on Trump doing business for three years in New York. The expectation is that Trump can make the deposit or secure a bond to avoid what some gleefully called a “fire sale” on this properties. The deposit is now being celebrated as an added indignity and penalty. However, as New Yorkers cheer this moment, many business are likely wondering “but for the grace of God go I.” Undervaluing or overvaluing property is a common practice, particularly in real estate. That is why representations, like the one made by the Trump Corporation, come with a warning that estimates are their own and that the banks need to make their assessments.

Faced with high crime and high taxes, the spectacle in Manhattan is only likely to accelerate the exodus of businesses and high-earners from the city. That prospect has already alarmed Gov. Kathy Hochul who declared “business people have nothing to worry about, because they’re very different than Donald Trump and his behavior.” That sounds a lot like “you are fine so long as you are not Trump.” Yet, that is not reassuring to businesses who want a legal system that is based on something other than selective and arbitrary enforcement. Attorney General Letitia James campaigned on bagging Trump without even bothering to name the offense. She also sought to dissolve the National Rifle Association. The line between doing business and a public execution appears to be the dubious discretion of Letitia James. That is not the type of assurance that most businesses would accept in risking billions in investment. Despite the high taxes and falling services in New York, the city remained a draw for business as a commercial and legal center. The experience and objectivity of courts in dealing with business disputes was a selling point for companies.

That has been shattered by the James campaign and the Engoron ruling. Telling business to just “don’t be like Trump” is more menacing than consoling. Letitia James is now the face of New York corporate law — it is the “face that launched a thousand ships” . . . toward Florida. Businesses can get lower taxes, lower crime, better schools, and a better regulatory environment in virtually any other state. Fewer are likely to want to come for the shows, but stay for the disgorgement. Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary said Monday that he would “never” invest in New York after this absurd judgment. Creating an ad hoc business code for Trump undermines the city’s reputation as a premier jurisdiction for corporate and tax law. If the rate of exit increases, it will impact not just employees working for these companies (like the Trump companies) but the vast network of supporting businesses, including law firms. As New York politicians campaigning on “eat the rich” platforms, the confiscatory Trump judgment leaves many in the city wondering if they could be the next course.

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“The US I knew was a very strong and inclusive society, welcoming towards foreigners. They used to be multicultural and multireligious. Now I see a lot of paranoia and a lot of xenophobia in the US..”

US ‘in Decline’ Today Due to ‘Ignorance, Arrogance’ – Pakistani Senator (Sp.)

The reasons why the United States failed in Afghanistan and Iraq and is “in decline” today are its “ignorance and arrogance,” the chairman of the defense committee of the Senate of Pakistan, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, told Sputnik. “The US policy towards certain countries in Asia is sometimes based on the combination of ignorance and arrogance. Arrogance, because they are a big country, because they think of themselves as a superpower, they think they know it all. But they don’t. They don’t know the culture and the values of other countries. And also ignorance, because they don’t understand the people of these places. This is why they failed in Afghanistan, this is why they failed in Iraq,” Sayed said in an interview.

These are the same reasons why the US is “in decline” now and has been like that for some time, he added. The senator explained that he used to live in the US, received a masters degree from one of the most respected US universities in Washington — Georgetown, and worked in the US Congress as an intern. However, the country had changed a lot since then and the US he knew “was different.” “The US I knew was a very strong and inclusive society, welcoming towards foreigners. They used to be multicultural and multireligious. Now I see a lot of paranoia and a lot of xenophobia in the US. They call the Chinese threat, the Russian threat, the Islamic threat … That’s nonsense. They are returning to the 50s. So for me the modern US is a very strange, exclusive and divisive America,” the senator said.

In October 2001, a US-led coalition launched an invasion of Afghanistan. However, the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in August 2021, triggering the collapse of the US-backed government and accelerating Washington’s troop pullout. On August 31 of the same year, US forces completed their withdrawal from the country, ending the 20-year-long military presence. In March 2003, the US-led coalition invaded Iraq without a UN Security Council resolution. Consequently, the total of excess deaths related to the war amounted to 654,965 as of October 2006, according to The Lancet journal’s survey. The US troops withdrew from Iraq in December 2011. Despite that, to date, the US and coalition forces remain a notable military presence in the country, with military bases.

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“Inside Russia, it has been obvious for a long time that in or out of prison, Navalny alive was politically insignificant; now even less. The new western propaganda is as ineffectual for Russians as Navalny was himself.”

What Happened To Alexei Navalny This Time Round (Helmer)

Since a pack of lies about Alexei Navalny won last year’s Oscar for the best documentary film of the year when he was alive, there’s no doubt he can win another Oscar when he’s dead. But alive or dead, the prize-winning propaganda of Navalny’s story bears no resemblance to the truth. This is what happens in wartime, especially when the side which is losing the war on the battlefield – that’s the US, NATO and the Ukraine – claims to be winning the war of words against Russia. The Navalny story is now in two parts: Part 1, the Novichok in his airport cup of tea, in his hotel water bottle, and then in his underpants which causes Navalny’s collapse, but fails to be detected by Russian doctors in Omsk, by German doctors in Berlin and Munich, and then by Swedish and French state laboratories. Part 2, Navalny’s sudden death after he had taken a walk in the IK-3 penal colony in the village of Kharp, in the Russian Arctic region of Yamalo-Nenets.

The first part took 62 reports in this archive to expose the faking; the most telling evidence of this came from Navalny himself in the documented tests of his blood, urine and hair. According to these data, Navalny’s collapse was the outcome of an overdose of lithium, benzodiazepines, and other drugs. Part 2 of the Navalny story began last Friday, February 16, with the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) announcement, followed by an official telegramme to his mother in Moscow, that he had died just after two in the afternoon, Yamalo-Nenets time; that was just after noon Moscow time. Two hours later the Russian media began carrying the official announcement. The wording of the last line of the announcement is significant. “The causes of death are being established”, the FSIN statement said. Causes — plural.

In the UK coroner’s court practice, what this means is that there is likely to have been a sequence of causation, medically speaking, with the first or proximate cause of death identified as heart, brain, or lung injury or failure; and the second, intervening or contributory cause of death such as biochemical factors, including prescription drugs in lethal combination; mRNA anti-Covid vaccination triggering fatal blood clots; or homicidal poisons. For example, in the case of the alleged Russian Novichok death of Dawn Sturgess in England in 2018, the evidence is of British government tampering with the post-mortem reports to add Novichok when it wasn’t identified at first. In Navalny’s case, poisoning on the order of President Vladimir Putin has already been announced as the cause of Navalny’s death without evidence at all. The delay time required for the complicated processes of forensic pathology and toxicology to establish the evidence has been reported in the Anglo-American media to signify cover-up and body snatching. Meduza, an oppositionist publication in Riga, reports that “a doctor who advised Navalny’s associates” has said that blood clotting was “an unlikely cause of death” – this is medically false.

In speculation of poisoning as cause of death, there is at least as much likelihood that Navalny, his team, and their CIA and MI6 handlers devised a repeat of the August 2020 Tomsk operation; decided when Navalny met with his lawyer at the prison on February 14; but implemented two days later without the resuscitation Navalny himself was expecting. The Anglo-American propaganda warfare army is already pronouncing the contributory Cause 2– Putin did it — as the cause of Navalny’s death. If the Russians announce the proximate Cause 1 as cardiac arrest or brain aneurism, without a Cause 2, they won’t be believed. In the short term, Cause 2 cannot be established with credibility in Russia since it took the British government ten years, 2006-2016, to fabricate their story of Russian polonium poisoning in the Alexander Litvinenko case. In the Russian Novichok cases in England, it has so far taken six years of court, police and pathologist proceedings, 2018-2024, without outcome, and another two years will follow.

The problem for readers to interpret what has happened is that the Anglo-American propaganda warfare machine is better at what it does than the Russian side. But then when it comes to war with guns, not words, the Russian side is far superior, as can be seen in the Ukraine right now. Accordingly, the Kremlin has decided to concentrate on the main fight. Inside Russia, it has been obvious for a long time that in or out of prison, Navalny alive was politically insignificant; now even less. The new western propaganda is as ineffectual for Russians as Navalny was himself.

Nap Navalny
https://twitter.com/i/status/1760094451521970418

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“Nowhere outside the U.S. can you find as many American politicians in one place as at the Munich Security Conference this year.”

The US Is Planning for the Aftermath of Ukraine War (van den Ende)

According to the Rand Corporation, there are two scenarios for the United States: “after” the less favorable war or “after” the more favorable war. The prominent think tank for U.S. policymaking recently published a long report on the so-called aftermath of the war in Ukraine. Washington and its NATO allies have to admit that the U.S. is losing another proxy war together with its satellite states of Europe. Previously they lost in Afghanistan (after more than 20 years, a second Vietnam), also recently in Syria and Iraq, and now in Ukraine. Even so-called “Russia experts” in Europe admit that Ukraine is losing. “I do not rule out that Ukraine will lose the war this year. Europe has misjudged the Russian army,” says Belgian “Russia expert” Joris van Blade to De Standaard. Russia has the initiative again and the Russian people are not going to stop the war, he thinks. “We have missed historic opportunities to make Europe safer.”

According to the Rand study, two scenarios are possible: a so-called “hardline” or a “softline” postwar. Of course, the U.S. prefers a softline postwar outcome, where they still have room for manipulation and possible coup d’état and Balkanization (partition) of Russia just like they did in former Yugoslavia. According to Rand, the U.S. military presence in Europe has increased to around 100,000 personnel since the start of Russia’s Special Military Operation in February 2022. The United States deployed attack aviation from Germany to Lithuania; Patriot air defense systems from Germany to Slovakia and Poland; and F-15 tactical fighters from the United Kingdom to Poland. In addition, European countries are sending F-16s to Romania, as the Netherlands recently indicated. These F-16s are capable of attacking Russian cities. Washington characterized these deployments as part of a wartime surge to deter Russia from expanding its aggression beyond Ukraine to attack U.S. allies in Europe.

Leaders in Europe are almost hysterical. One after another, they proclaim that Russia is going to invade Europe, starting with Moldova, the Baltic States, and Poland. The Netherlands, Germany, and France are warning their people to expect an attack from Russia, as is Sweden, which recently joined NATO. The population is being frightened by the unhinged rhetoric of their politicians. Conscription must be reactivated and Germany even has a concept ready to recruit migrants (about 1.5 million serviceable men) and entice them to get a passport. European leaders are also concerned about the upcoming elections in the U.S. after Republican contender Donald Trump made comments suggesting he would quit NATO and let Europe fend for itself. They are worried that the U.S. might abandon them. During a recent NATO conference in Brussels, a lot of war rhetoric was spoken. “We live in an era where we have to expect the unexpected,” said Dutch NATO Admiral Rob Bauer. Meanwhile, the Danish and German defense ministers have warned of a potential war with Russia within five years.

The U.S. and European leaders assume the “hardline” scenario is likely in the next few years. They proclaim through their mouthpieces in the corporate-controlled news media that Russia is becoming much more “risk-acceptant”. Therefore, it is calculated that a hardline approach may increase NATO’s ability to deter purported Russian aggression. It’s that time of year again for the hawkish Munich Security Conference, in Bavaria, Germany. This is the forum where President Putin provoked alarm when he gave his famous speech in 2007, making it clear that the unipolar world was over and a multipolar world would emerge in the foreseeable future. Putin’s prognosis caused much chagrin for Western leaders. This year’s theme at Munich is animated by Trump’s supposed undermining of NATO.

The appeal for support from the U.S. has become more urgent among some European politicians. Ukraine lacks weapons and ammunition, they openly say. Russia is sometimes five times superior on the battlefield. In addition, a U.S. support package worth around $60 billion was approved by the Senate last week but the Republican-dominated House of Representatives could reject it – and so far it looks like it will. Europe, in turn, would not be able to fill this gap and, therefore, Ukraine will lose the proxy war for the U.S. and the West. In addition to the presence of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, the European leaders and lobbyists will also use the opportunity in Munich to lobby Republican Senators and Representatives to support Ukraine (with money). Nowhere outside the U.S. can you find as many American politicians in one place as at the Munich Security Conference this year.

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2 articles, one topic. Germany steals a Russian company.

How The Rosneft Refinery In Germany Is Being Expropriated (Helmer)

This is how the war in the Ukraine doesn’t end, not for the Germans and the Poles. So long as they can, they plan to steal or destroy Russian assets west of what used to be Kievan Ukraine; and mobilize the US military bases in both countries to reinforce and defend their larcenies. The German political party which promises to continue this war for the employment of German workers and the enrichment of German executives and shareholders will win the next election, replacing the Social Democratic Party and the Greens as the party of war. The post-Ukraine strategy of the Stavka starts here — To Berlin! On Friday last, the Russian language edition of the German state medium Deutsche Welle (DW) published a report of German and Polish government plans for the expropriation of PCK, the Rosneft crude oil refinery at Schwedt in northern Germany, and the Rosneft network of operating assets in Germany, Poland, and Austria.

The German assets of Rosneft, the Russian state oil production company under worldwide sanctions, had been placed under what the German government called “fiduciary management” by an “independent” state regulator in September 2022. This was announced at the time as a temporary arrangement to comply with the sanctions, renewable every six months, but leaving undisturbed the Russian ownership of the assets. This scheme was renewed at six monthly intervals, as Rosneft has reported. There was nothing independent about the BNA or what it has been doing every six months. BNA stands for the Federal Network Agency — Bundesnetzagentur für Elektrizität, Gas, Telekommunikation, Post und Eisenbahnen. It claims to be “an independent higher federal authority with its main office in Bonn operating within the scope of business of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV). We have been responsible for Germany’s essential electricity, gas, telecommunications and postal infrastructures for over 20 years.”

“Within the scope of” is a German fig leaf for “under control”. “Our task,” BNA says, is “to ensure fair and non-discriminatory competition for all market participants. Our success and our expertise in regulation led to the energy and rail sectors also being placed under our responsibility.” This was not what the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz intended when it commenced its takeover of Rosneft and assigned BNA the role of camp guard. BNA described what it was doing to “safeguard security of supply in Germany…on the basis of the Energy Security of Supply Act (section 17 EnSiG) until 15 March 2023. This basis enables the fiduciary to take action to keep the business running in accordance with its importance for the functioning of society in the energy sector. The fiduciary management may be extended under certain conditions… The decision to introduce fiduciary management was prompted by…by the sanctions imposed on Russia…The fiduciary management means that the original owner no longer has authority to issue instructions.”

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“The German government is running out of time: on March 10, when the next decision on the transfer of Rosneft Deutschland under the so-called trust management of the state expires..”

Germany Nationalizes Rosneft Deutschland, Poland Will Help (Andrei Gurkov)

Expropriation of Rosneft’s German assets is becoming increasingly likely. Warsaw is ready to provide oil to the Schwedt refinery and replace supplies from Kazakhstan. But what about compensation? The nationalization of Rosneft’s German assets is becoming more and more likely, and new signals from Poland reinforce this impression. The German government is running out of time: on March 10, when the next decision on the transfer of Rosneft Deutschland under the so-called trust management of the state expires. Berlin, apparently, no longer wants to extend this regime introduced in September 2022 for six months, because they seek a stable, not temporary, solution to the fate of the oil refinery in Schwedt — PCK Raffinerie Schwedt. This is exactly the case, although Rosneft has other assets in Germany.

But in this refinery, the state-owned Russian concern actually owns 54%, and maintaining Moscow’s control over a strategically important enterprise seems to the German authorities to be too much of a risk, especially against the background of the growing threat from Russia. After all, PCK Raffinerie Schwedt provides petroleum products to a significant part of East Germany and, above all, to the capital of the country, Berlin, with its approximately four million inhabitants. The intention of the German government to put an end to the legally suspended state of the plant has clearly strengthened after the recent elections in Poland. They brought to power a pro-European coalition, which German politicians trust much more than the previous Polish government. Relations between the two countries are currently warming rapidly, as evidenced by the talks between the new Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on February 12.

Therefore, the visit of Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy of Germany Robert Habeck to Warsaw the next day, February 13, played an important, and perhaps decisive role in determining the next concrete steps with regard to Rosneft Deutschland. “Poland has helped a lot in the past to provide oil to the east of Germany,” the German minister recalled after the talks and made it clear that in the event of the expropriation of Rosneft, the supply of the plant in Schwedt would improve, since the Polish side is ready to significantly increase the pumping of oil through its territory towards Germany from the port of Gdansk. According to the Reuters news agency, citing an informed source, Warsaw assured Berlin even before Habeck’s arrival that it would be able, if necessary, to completely replace the volumes of Kazakh oil currently flowing to Schwedt.

Some explanations are needed here. Until 2023, this refinery, built six decades ago in the GDR on the border with Poland, operated exclusively on oil coming from the USSR and then from Russia via the Druzhba oil pipeline. In response to the full-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine, the European Union imposed an embargo on Russian oil transported by tankers, but not on supplies via the Druzhba pipeline system, since several Eastern European EU members are still heavily dependent on them. However, the German government decided for its part to completely abandon Russian oil. Since last year, the Schwedt plant has been supplied with oil purchased on the world market in three ways. From the German Baltic port of Rostock via a longstanding and not very powerful pipeline that was originally laid down as a backup — through the Polish port of Gdansk, from where oil is pumped through Poland using the westernmost segment of the Druzhba, and from Kazakhstan in transit through the Russian territory on the same Druzhba.

Germany strongly emphasizes its desire to increase oil purchases in Kazakhstan, cooperation with which is becoming more intensive. However, there are fears that in the event of the nationalization of Rosneft’s German assets, Moscow will block the Druzhba oil pipeline as a retaliatory measure and thereby [stop] the supply of Kazakh oil. [..] It is noteworthy that articles in the German media about Robert Habeck’s negotiations in Warsaw, and in general about the future of Rosneft Deutschland, in effect do not consider the option of Rosneft selling this company and its assets. This is despite the letter with such a proposal, as the economic newspaper Handelsblatt wrote in early February, from the head of the Russian concern Igor Sechin to the German government. But Berlin, the publication concluded, “has placed its bet on expropriation.”

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“..the regional backlash threatens to undermine US diplomacy, unravel Arab normalization deals with Israel, and jeopardize US business interests throughout West Asia..”

As Ramadan Approaches, Israel Threatens War On Lebanon (Harb)

Tel Aviv’s mounting threats to destroy Beirut as it has done to Gaza, coupled with growing Israeli public support for aggressive military action against Lebanon, have spiked tensions on the northern battlefront in recent days. Furthermore, the precarious game at play in Washington – which has done absolutely nothing to impede Israeli occupation forces from launching an assault on Rafah and uprooting more than a million Palestinians from their last refuge on the Egyptian border – is driving the war to a volatile, dangerous brink. Adding fuel to this already incendiary mix are two critical factors. First, Israel’s targeted strikes on Lebanese civilians, exemplified by the recent attacks in Nabatiyeh and Al-Sowanah, have provoked a stern response from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, who vowed retribution, declaring that “the price of civilian blood will be blood.”

Second is the approaching month of Ramadan, a sacred period observed by hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide, which adds a transnational dimension to these developments. Fasting Muslims from Indonesia to Morocco will grow increasingly frustrated with Washington’s inaction in preventing genocide and the displacement of over two million Palestinians in Gaza, many of whom are on the brink of starvation. Despite US assurances that it is pressuring Israel to mitigate casualties, the relentless onslaught has resulted in an appalling daily death toll of around 300, with nearly 29,000 lives lost, and over 60 percent of homes and infrastructure decimated. When Nasrallah declared that “for every drop of blood shed in Gaza and the entire region, the primary responsibility falls on [US President Joe] Biden, [US Secretary of State Antony] Blinken, and [US Secretary of Defense Lloyd] Austin,” his words resonated deeply – not only within the Islamic world but with millions globally – calling for an end to the war by halting the influx of American weapons to the Israeli military.

The US State Department has received multiple warnings from diplomats in the region of the growing resentment toward Washington for its complicity in Israel’s genocidal campaign. Despite its tone-deaf attempts to adjust its stance and emphasize a need to protect Palestinian civilians, the regional backlash threatens to undermine US diplomacy, unravel Arab normalization deals with Israel, and jeopardize US business interests throughout West Asia. Speaking to The Cradle, sources close to the Axis of Resistance in Lebanon said the next fortnight carries the potential for a catastrophic escalation, particularly if Israel intensifies its military aggression during Ramadan and advances its plans to displace Palestinians from Rafah.

Additionally, the discontent among Israeli settlers displaced by Lebanese resistance operations along the northern border poses further risks, with officials in Tel Aviv contemplating drastic measures to ensure calm, including potential military action – a preview of which southern Lebanese civilians have recently witnessed. The discontent among northern settlers grows as they grapple with the new security dynamics in the aftermath of the Hamas-led Al-Aqsa Flood operation on 7 October. Extending over 100 kilometers from Naqoura to the Shebaa Farms and penetrating 5 to 10 kilometers deep, this border strip has seen the displacement of thousands of settler families.

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“..They want us to pay a price without Israel committing to a thing..”

The Resistance Has a Plan for Israel (Alastair Crooke)

In a speech on Tuesday, Hizbullah leader Seyed Nasrallah said that the Party will continue the border offensive until at least the Gaza massacre stops. The war in Gaza however, is far from over. And Nasrallah warned that even were a ceasefire to be reached in Gaza, “should the enemy perform any action, we will return to operating according to the rules and formulas that existed before. The purpose of the resistance is to deter the enemy, and we will react accordingly”. Israel’s Defence Secretary Gallant has underlined that contrary to international consensus expectations, he too expects the war in Lebanon to continue. Gallant said the military has stepped up its attacks against Hizbullah by one level out of ten: “The Air Force planes flying currently in the skies of Lebanon have heavier bombs for more distant targets. Hizbullah went up half a step, whilst we, a full one … We can attack not only at 20 kilometres [from the border], but also at 50 kilometres, and in Beirut and anywhere else”.

It is not clear what ‘red line’ Hizbullah would have to cross for Israel to significantly escalate its response to much higher levels; Israeli leaders have suggested that an attack on a strategic site; or an attack leading to major civilian casualties; or a substantive barrage on Haifa might constitute the breaking point. Nonetheless, with three military divisions rather than the usual one now deployed in the north of Israel, the IDF has more forces poised for action on the northern border than it has preparing for an incursion into Rafah – at this point. It is clear, as Chief of Staff Halevy has specified, that Israel is “preparing for war” against Hizbullah (more than preparing for Rafah). Is the threat to Rafah a bluff to put pressure on Hamas to concede on the deal and hostages? One way or another, both Israel’s political and military chiefs are adamant: The IDF will incurse into Rafah – ‘at some point’. The qualitatively different Hizbullah’s strike on Safed on Israel’s northern regional command HQ on Wednesday – which that resulted in 2 dead and 7 further casualties – is being treating in Israel as the gravest attack since the start of the war, with Ben Gvir calling it a “declaration of war”. Subsequent Israeli attacks killed 11 people, including six children, in a barrage of strikes on villages across southern Lebanon, in retribution for the Safed blitz – with the fierce exchange of fire still continuing.

The ‘Safed Strike’ deep into the Galilee very likely was intended to signal that Hizbullah is not about to capitulate to western demands that it provide Israel with a ceasefire that is intended to facilitate evacuated Israelis to return to their homes in the north. As Nasrallah confirmed in a scathing attack on those external (Western) mediators who serve only as Israel’s lawyers, and neglect to address the massacres in Gaza: “It is easier to move the Litani River forward to the borders, than to push back Hezbollah fighters from the borders, to behind the Litani River … They want us to pay a price without Israel committing to a thing”. In these circumstances, Nasrallah clarified that residents of northern Israel will not return to their homes – warning that even more Israelis risk being displaced: “‘Israel’ must prepare shelters, basements, hotels and schools to house two million settlers who will be evacuated from northern Palestine, [were Israel to expand the war zone].”

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“..The inaction of Putin, China, and Iran has steeled the American neoconservatives in their agenda of American hegemony..”

The Ever Expanding War (Paul Craig Roberts)

As I previously wrote, the Israeli/American intention is to expand the war against Hamas to Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. The expansion has begun. The latest news is that Israel has struck deep into Lebanon: “War Expands With Massive Israeli Airstrikes 60km Deep Into Lebanon.” The Arabs, likely restrained by Putin, have once again sat on their butts while Israel picks them off one by one. Only the Houthis but not a single Arab or Muslim country came to Hamas’ help. Consequently, the Arabs sat sucking their thumbs while Gaza and Hamas were destroyed. The arabs accepted Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people. Evil prevails when it is left unopposed. If Hezbollah, Syria, the Iraqi militias, and Iran had joined Hamas’ attack, Israel today would not exist. Having missed their chance, they will now be knocked off one at a time by Israel and Washington.

Already before Israel is finished with Palestine, Israel has attacked with missiles and jet fighters deep into Lebanon. It appears that the Israeli-Washington strategy is to attack Lebanese cities to set off civil war between the Lebanese army and the Hezbollah militia so that Israel can take advantage of civil war in Lebanon to drive Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon and take possession of the water resources that Israel covets. When Hezbollah is finished, Washington and Israel will wipe out the Iraqi militias and attack Syria, a section of which containing the oil fields Washington already occupies. The Russians left the liberation of Syria unfinished. Syria has the Russian air defense system but apparently is not permitted to use it against Washington and Israel. Once Iraqi militias and Syria are out of the picture, Iran, sitting there on its huge number of missiles, doing nothing, will be next.

When Iran falls, the CIA’s Jihadists will be released into the Russian Federation, Central Asia, and China’a troublesome province. The inaction of Putin, China, and Iran has steeled the American neoconservatives in their agenda of American hegemony. As Putin, XI, and Iran seem determined to sit out conflicts that not only affect them but are directed against them, Washington will continue to run over red lines until a war is forced. Putin has been deceived, betrayed, demonized, and given the West’s cold shoulder for two decades, and he still wants to negotiate with those who have thrashed him? Negotiation with a government that has proven it doesn’t keep the agreements is a form of reality denial. As the evidence indicates, the Western world is in moral and social collapse, so its destruction will be no loss. The question is whether the values the Christian West once stood for will find expression elsewhere.

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Pretty crazy..

10 Million Illegals Have Entered The US Under Biden (ZH)

A record 7.3 million illegal aliens have crossed the southwest border under President Biden’s watch, a number which according to Fox News.is greater than the population of 36 individual states. That figure is sourced from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which has already reported 961,537 Southwest land border encounters in the current fiscal year, which runs from October through September, and if the current pace of illegal immigration does not slow down, fiscal year 2024 will break last year’s record of 2,475,669 southwest border encounters — a number that by itself exceeds the population of New Mexico. The total number of southwest land border encounters since Biden assumed office in 2021 is 7,298,486, CBP data shows.

That number is larger than the population of 36 U.S. states including: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. In fact, the only states that are not in danger of being “replaced” are the blue ones. Compared to the largest U.S. states, the 7.3 million number is about 18.7% of California’s population of 39 million, 23.9% of the state of Texas and its 31 million residents, 32.3% of the population of Florida and 37.3% of New York. It’s more than half the size of Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio. As Fox News graphically describes, were the number of illegal immigrants who entered the United States under President Biden gathered together to found a city, it would be the second-largest city in America after New York.

Shockingly, that total does not include an estimated additional 1.6 million illegals who entered the US at other locations, nor 1.8 million known “gotaways” who evaded law enforcement, which would make the total bigger than the population of New York. Taken together, over 10 million migrants have crossed into the U.S. illegally during the Biden administration, a record Biden’s critics assert could only be achieved by intentionally refusing to enforce the law. “This unprecedented surge in illegal immigration isn’t an accident. It is the result of deliberate policy choices by the Biden administration,” said Eric Ruark, Director of Research for Numbers USA, a nonprofit that advocates for immigration restrictions.

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“..renewables can’t power modern civilization is because they were never meant to. One interesting question is why anybody ever thought they could.”

Germany Retreats Into The Middle Ages As Its Economy Declines (Henry Johnston)

Bloomberg recently foretold the end of Germany’s days as an industrial power in an article that begins with a depiction of the closing of a factory in Dusseldorf. Stone-faced workers preside with funereal solemnity over the final act – the fashioning of a steel pipe at a rolling mill – at the century-old plant. The “flickering of flares and torches” and “somber tones of a lone horn player” lend the scene a decidedly medieval atmosphere. Intentional or not in their inclusion of such evocative detail, the Bloomberg writers offer potent imagery for Germany – not only because the country is regressing economically but because its elites are increasingly guided by an atavistic force: the abandonment of reason. As hard economic realities lay bare the futility of its utopian energy plan and the consequences of numerous terrible decisions mount, Germany is experiencing what Swedish essayist Malcom Kyeyune calls “narrative collapse.”

The peculiar offspring of this, Kyeyune argues, is a turn toward ritual, superstition, and taboo. It is a malaise afflicting the entire West, but Germany is suffering a particularly acute case. Kyeyune defines this as an occurrence “when social and political circumstances change too rapidly for people to keep up, the result tends to be collective manias, social panics, and pseudo-religious revivalist millenarianism.” The abandonment of reason can be conceived of in various ways. Quite a lot of ink has already been spilled about the irrationality behind Germany’s fantastically improbable climate policy. Indeed, the quasi-religious verve with which this program has been rolled out speaks to something of a loosening of the country’s moorings. But as we will see shortly, the problem goes far beyond an attachment to unattainable policy goals. Prominent German business executive Wolfgang Reitzle argued that for the government to deliver on its climate and energy policy, capacities for wind and solar power would have to be more than quadrupled, while storage and back-up capacities would have to be massively increased.

Such a plan is “neither technically feasible nor affordable for a country like Germany,” Reitzle argues. What it is then, he concludes, “is simply insanity.” Michael Shellenberger, in a piece for Forbes magazine in 2019, points out that the initial impetus for seeking to transition to renewables emerged from the idea that human civilization should be scaled back to sustainable levels. He cites German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s 1954 landmark essay ‘The Question Concerning of Technology’ and subsequent work by the likes of Barry Commoner and Murray Bookchin as espousing what emerged in the 1960s as a much more austere vision for the future of civilization. Shellenberger concludes that the reason why “renewables can’t power modern civilization is because they were never meant to. One interesting question is why anybody ever thought they could.”

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“..temperature doesn’t follow CO2—instead, CO2 follows temperature, which, itself, is due to solar activity.”

Fixation on CO2 Ignores Real Driver of Temperature (ET)

Each year from 2023 to 2030, climate change sustainable development goals will cost every person in economies such as the United States $2,026, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development estimates. In lower-income economies, the per-person annual cost ranges from $332 to $1,864. In total, the global price tag comes to about $5.5 trillion per year. Separately, a report from the left-aligned nonprofit Climate Policy Initiative found that in 2021 and 2022, the world’s taxpayers spent $1.3 trillion each year on climate-related projects. It also found that the “annual climate finance needed” from 2031 to 2050 is more than $10 trillion each year. “Anyone who willfully denies the impact of climate change is condemning the American people to a very dangerous future,” President Joe Biden said on Nov. 14, 2023, while announcing $6 billion in new investments through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). “The impacts we’re seeing are only going to get worse, more frequent, more ferocious, and more costly.”

At its signing in August 2022, President Biden said the IRA “invests $369 billion to take the most aggressive action ever—ever, ever, ever—in confronting the climate crisis and strengthening our economic—our energy security.” A report from Goldman Sachs put the dollar amount much higher, stating, “Critical funding for this next energy revolution is expected to come from the IRA, which will provide an estimated $1.2 trillion of incentives by 2032.” The trillions of dollars being poured into new initiatives stem from the goals set by the United Nations’ Paris Agreement’s legally binding international treaty to “substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions” in the hope of maintaining a temperature of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

But any decrease in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions won’t have an effect for hundreds to thousands of years—even under the most restrictive circumstances, according to some experts. “If emissions of CO2 stopped altogether, it would take many thousands of years for atmospheric CO2 to return to ‘pre-industrial’ levels,” the Royal Society states in a report on its website. The organization describes itself as a “fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists.” “Surface temperatures would stay elevated for at least a thousand years, implying a long-term commitment to a warmer planet due to past and current emissions,” the report states. “The current CO2-induced warming of Earth is therefore essentially irreversible on human timescales.”

A frequently asked questions page on NASA’s website holds the same position. “If we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, the rise in global temperatures would begin to flatten within a few years. Temperatures would then plateau but remain well-elevated for many, many centuries,” NASA states. And, other scientists say, that’s because CO2 isn’t the culprit in the first place. “CO2 does not cause global warming. Global warming causes more CO2,” said Edwin Berry, a theoretical physicist and certified consulting meteorologist. He called Royal Society’s position on CO2 “pure junk science.” Ian Clark, emeritus professor for the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Ottawa, agreed that if all greenhouse gas emissions ceased today, the Earth would continue warming—but not because of CO2. He said that contrary to popular opinion, temperature doesn’t follow CO2—instead, CO2 follows temperature, which, itself, is due to solar activity.

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Vaxx
https://twitter.com/i/status/1760000991980593608

 

 

Cat perfume

 

 

Dinosaur Size
https://twitter.com/i/status/1760025082657706403

 

 

Blink an eye

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 182024
 
 February 18, 2024  Posted by at 9:46 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  69 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn The Storm on the Sea of Galilee 1633
On March 18, 1990, the painting was stolen by thieves disguised as police officers. They broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, and stole this painting, along with twelve other works. The paintings have never been recovered, and it is considered the biggest art theft in history. The empty frames of the paintings still hang in their original location, waiting to be recovered.

 

Obscene Award Vs Trump Is Testing New York Legal System’s Integrity (Turley)
Cultural Marxism and the Corruption of Common Law (Brooks)
From Censorship to Criminalizing Dissent (Jeffrey Tucker)
Navalny Timeline (Maria Zakharova)
Transcending Adveevka (Pepe Escobar)
Throwing Good Money After Bad in Ukraine? (CN)
Europe Is Losing Dignity By Obediently Submitting To US – Lavrov (TASS)
Germany Blocked Von Der Leyens NATO Bid – Welt (RT)
EU To Get ‘Defense Commissioner’ – Von der Leyen (RT)
France Warns Of ‘Economic Shock’ From Russian Victory (RT)
Suicide Pact Threatens to Flood EU With 75 Million More Migrants (MN)
Texas To Build Military Base Camp On Mexico Border To House 1,800 Soldiers (ZH)
American Doctor In Gaza: What I Saw Wasn’t War – It Was Annihilation (LAT)
Plastics Cannot Be Recycled and Producers Know This (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Neil Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

 


Celtic Park, Glasgow, Sat Feb 17

 

 

 

 

Biden Navalny

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..Engoron fulfilled Oscar Wilde’s rule that the only way to be rid of temptation is to yield to it. He ordered everything short of throwing Trump into a wood chipper..”

Obscene Award Vs Trump Is Testing New York Legal System’s Integrity (Turley)

In laying the foundation for his sweeping decision against former President Donald Trump, Judge Arthur Engoron observed that “this is a venial sin, not a mortal sin.” Yet, at $355 million, one would think that Engoron had found Trump to be the source of Original Sin. The judgment against Trump (and his family and associates) was met with a level of unrestrained celebration by many in New York that bordered on the indecent. Attorney General Letitia James declared not only that Trump would be barred from doing business in New York for three years, but that the damages would come to roughly $460 million once interest was included. That makes the damages against Trump greater than the gross national product of some countries, including Micronesia. Yet the court admitted that not a single dollar was lost by the banks from these dealings. Indeed, witnesses testified that they wanted to do more business with Trump, who was described as a “whale” client with high yield business opportunities.

Undervaluing and overvaluing property is a longstanding practice in New York real estate. The forms submitted by the Trump organization cautioned the banks to do their own estimates and the loans were paid in full and on time. Yet, the New York law used by James is a curiosity because it does not actually require a victim. Indeed, everyone can make ample profits and still allow for an investigation into “repeated fraudulent or illegal acts.” Having campaigned on bagging Trump on any basis, James turned the law into a virtual license to hunt him down along with his family and his associates. Engoron proved the perfect judge for the case. The opinion itself seems almost cathartic for the jurist who struggled with Trump inside and outside of court. In the judgment, Engoron fulfilled Oscar Wilde’s rule that the only way to be rid of temptation is to yield to it. He ordered everything short of throwing Trump into a wood chipper.

The size of the damages is grotesque and should shock the conscience of any judge on appeal. Even if the Democrat-appointed judges on the New York Court of Appeals were to ignore the obvious inequity and unfairness, the United States Supreme Court could intervene. State courts tend to get a significant amount of deference in the interpretation of their own laws. After all, if New York wants to turn Wall Street into a remake of “The Hunger Games,” it has only itself to blame as other businesses flee the state. The impact on New York business is likely to be dire. New York is already viewed as a hostile business environment, with the top end of its tax base literally heading south as taxes and crime rises. This draconian award is only going to deepen concerns over the arbitrary application of the law by figures like James, who previously sought to disband the National Rifle Association. (She has shown less interest in cracking down on liberal organizations like Black Lives Matter or the National Action Network of Al Sharpton despite their own major financial scandals.)

As James gleefully uses this law to break up a major New York corporation, it is hard to imagine many businesses rushing to the Big Apple. This follows Democratic politicians such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) campaigning against Amazon seeking to open new facilities in the city. After this week, drawing new businesses to the city is going to be about as easy as selling country estates during the French Revolution. The one hope for New York businesses may be the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite the deference afforded to the states and their courts, the court has occasionally intervened to block excessive damage awards.

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“..as specious allegations come before American courts, folks can’t help noticing that the so-called “oppressed” usually win..”

Cultural Marxism and the Corruption of Common Law (Brooks)

Legal scholars once insisted that “justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.” Everyone should be able to expect a fair trial that’s accurately covered by public news organizations. But unbiased judges and honest reporters are in short supply. While Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is facing unprecedented indictments, journalists are still insisting that American justice is fair and impartial. The left’s recourse to “lawfare” requires judges and journalists to conceal the truth rather than expose it. Legacy news organizations say there’s no evidence of the “weaponization of justice” or a “two-tiered” legal system. But, as specious allegations come before American courts, folks can’t help noticing that the so-called “oppressed” usually win.

For example, in 2019 American advice columnist E. Jean Carroll suddenly accused Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. Mr. Trump vigorously denied the allegations, but Ms. Carroll was permitted to sue him for defamation and battery. One could have guessed the outcome of this case before it began. The left views Donald Trump as an arch-oppressor, and E. Jean Carroll was seen as an “oppressed” victim. In May 2023, a New York jury found the former president liable for defamation and sexual abuse and awarded E. Jean Carroll $5 million in damages. In January of this year, Mr. Trump was found liable in a second defamation suit, and Ms. Carroll was awarded an additional $83.3 million. The second award was unprecedented. Late in January, Breitbart News reporter Hannah Bleau Knudsen revealed several facts about this case that she said the establishment media didn’t want the public to know.

First, there were no witnesses and no surveillance video of the attack, which was alleged to have occurred in a downtown New York department store. The plaintiff came forward with her story while promoting a book titled “What Do We Need Men For?,” which featured a list of “The Most Hideous Men of My Life.” The dress she claimed to be wearing during the alleged attack was not for sale in the year she initially claimed the event occurred. Despite her public reputation for being very open about sexual matters, she didn’t accuse President Trump until some 30 years after the alleged encounter. Her entire story was very similar to a 2012 “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” episode, titled “Theatre and Tricks,” in which an individual talks about a rape fantasy in Bergdorf Goodman. In a November 1993 edition of Elle, before the alleged abuse, Ms. Carroll had made a joke associating sex with Bergdorf Goodman.

E. Jean Carroll’s case was financially backed by anti-Trump Democrat mega-donor Reid Hoffman. One of her lawyers is Roberta Kaplan, whose wife is a Democratic Party activist. In fact, her lawsuit was only able to proceed after New York Democrats created a 2022 “Adult Survivors Act,” which allowed judges to overlook the usual statute of limitations for such charges. Judgments in cases that are tried in partisan-charged venues such as New York City or Washington DC, have almost become forgone conclusions. A steep decline of common law principles will not bode well for the future of the American Republic. Who would have thought that in 2024 American citizens would be witnessing a partisan special prosecutor seeking the U.S. Supreme Court’s permission to put the opposing party’s presidential candidate on trial months before a presidential election.

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“Can you imagine? Criticize a wind turbine or pandemic lockdowns and find yourself hauled in front of a judge!”

From Censorship to Criminalizing Dissent (Jeffrey Tucker)

A major battle is brewing throughout the Western world over the basic principle of free speech. Is it going to be protected by law? It’s not entirely clear what the outcome will be. We seem to be on the precipice of a potential calamity if the courts don’t decide the right way. Even if we squeak out a victory, the question is already in play. Our free speech rights have never been more fragile. Turn your attention to France right now. In the dead of night, a new law slipped through the General Assembly that would make it a crime to criticize mRNA shots. Critics call it the Pfizer law. It calls for fines up to 45,000 euros and possibly three years in prison for debunking an approved medical treatment. Like all Western nations, criticism of the mRNA platform has already been subjected to vast social-media censorship. Even given this, there has been a major and global consumer turn against these shots. People are not convinced that they are necessary, safe, or effective. Still, government imposed mandates for everyone, billions of people worldwide.

This was a form of conscription that has driven a deep divide between the rulers and the ruled. Rather than back down, however, governments, which have been captured by pharmaceutical interests, are going to bat for the companies and the technology to threaten imprisonment of anyone who speaks out openly against them. Here is where censorship becomes severely weaponized. It’s the next logical step. First you deploy every power to keep the distribution channels of information free of dissent. When that doesn’t entirely work, simply because people find alternative means of getting the word out, you have to intensify matters and institute outright controls. It stands to reason that this would happen. After all, the whole point of censorship is to curate the public mind to put down opposition to regime priorities. When mainstream corporate media is falling apart and new media is rising, the next stage is to go the full way to flat-out criminalize opinion, like any totalitarian government.

We are very close to that stage. If it can happen in France, it can happen throughout Europe, then the Commonwealth, and then the United States. We know this much about politics today. It is global. The elites that have seized control of our governments coordinate across borders. This is why it is hugely important to pay attention to what’s going on across the pond. As a second item, I’m alarmed to read the lead piece in the New York Times opinion section that celebrates a defamation case about which I had not previously heard. It is by Michael Mann, professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He had sued a writer for the Competitive Enterprise Institute for taking issue with Mann’s climate change model, and the so-called hockey stick in particular.

This is not my area of specialization at all but I have no doubt that mainstream climate science should be subject to vigorous criticism. If the COVID era has taught us anything, it is that the “scientific consensus” can be outrageously wrong and needs a check that comes in the form of writing, some of it zippy and cutting. Dr. Mann filed a defamation lawsuit. Defamation is a very high bar: it means to deliberately lie about something with the intention to harm. One might not suppose that many things could qualify as that, certainly not criticism of a climate model. Indeed, most defamation lawsuits are dismissed outright simply because this country generally values free speech. This one, however, was accepted by the judge in Washington, D.C. court. After a full decade in litigation, and a full hearing, the jury ended up deciding in favor of the plaintiffs. One defendant, Rand Simberg, has been told to pay $1K and the other, Mark Steyn, $1M. Simberg says he will appeal and stands by every word that he wrote. Steyn agrees and is ready to appeal.

Essentially this verdict is criminalizing hyperbole, said the defense attorney. The op-ed writer, however, says this is justice. “Our recent trial victory may have wider implications,” he says. “It has drawn a line in the sand. Scientists now know that they can respond to attacks by suing for defamation.” He mentions in particular people who have disagreed with the COVID consensus—disagreeing with Anthony Fauci—or otherwise make “false claims about adverse health effects from wind turbines.” Can you imagine? Criticize a wind turbine or pandemic lockdowns and find yourself hauled in front of a judge!

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There is talk of bloodclot(s). Paul Craig Roberts concludes Navalny died of mRNA.

Navalny Timeline (Maria Zakharova)

“The reaction of Western leaders, politicians and the media to the news of the death of Alexei Navalny once again demonstrated their hypocrisy, cynicism and unprincipledness. The “in any situation, blame Russia” scheme is in action. Moreover, for each case there is a preparation according to the manual. Let’s look at the chronology. Today at approximately 14:19, a message was published on the website of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug about the death of convicted Alexei Navalny in correctional colony No. 3. Literally 15 minutes later, a torrent of carbon-copy accusations began pouring in:

– 14:35 – Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström: “Terrible news about Navalny. If the information about his death in a Russian prison is confirmed, this will be another heinous crime of the Putin regime”;
– 14:35 – Norwegian Foreign Minister Bart Eide: “Deeply saddened by the news of Navalny’s death. The Russian government bears a heavy burden of responsibility for this”;
– 14:41 – Latvian Foreign Minister Edgar Rinkevich: “Whatever you think about Navalny as a politician, he was just brutally murdered by the Kremlin. This is a fact and something that everyone should know about the true nature of the current Russian regime”;
– 14:50 – Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky: “Russia still treats foreign policy issues the same way it treats its citizens. It has turned into a cruel state that kills people who dream of a beautiful, better future, like Nemtsov and now Navalny, who was imprisoned and tortured to death”;
– 14:51 – French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejournet: “Navalny paid with his life for the fight against the system of oppression. His death in a penal colony reminds us of the realities of Vladimir Putin’s regime”;
– 15:02 – President of the European Council Charles Michel: “The EU holds the Russian regime solely responsible for this tragic death”;
– 15:10 (during a press conference) – leader of the Kyiv regime Zelensky: “Obviously, he was killed by Putin, like thousands of others who were tortured.”
– 15:16 (in the media), 16:50 (in social networks) – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: “Russia must establish all the facts, answer very serious questions”;
– 15:20 – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte: “Navalny’s death illustrates the unprecedented cruelty of the Russian regime”;
– 15:30 – President of Moldova Maia Sandu: “Navalny’s death in a Russian prison is a reminder of the regime’s blatant oppression of dissent”;
– 15:35 – German Foreign Minister Annalena Bärbock: “Navalny, like no one else, was a symbol of a free and democratic Russia. That’s why he had to die”;
– 15:43 – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: “A grim reminder of what Putin and his regime are”;
– 15:49 – Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson: “The Russian authorities and President Putin personally are responsible for the fact that Navalny is no longer with us”;
– 16:14 – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz: “Navalny paid with death for his courage. This terrible news once again demonstrates how Russia has changed and what kind of regime is in power in Moscow”;
– 16:25 – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “Navalny’s death in a Russian prison, as well as one man’s obsession and fear, only highlight the weakness and rot at the heart of the system that Putin built. Russia bears responsibility for this”;
– 17:28 – French President Emmanuel Macron: “In today’s Russia, free people are placed in the Gulag and sentenced to death.”

In a short period of time, within two hours (from 14:19), Western politicians and the media at their side were able, as it were, to obtain the results of a forensic examination that had not yet been carried out, conduct an investigation, blame Moscow and render a verdict. There is no other explanation other than the fact that all these reactions were prepared in advance. [..] “We might be able to believe in this incredible, miraculous speed if the whole world had not just watched the helpless ‘investigation’ of terrorist attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipeline that stretched out over many months and turned up empty,” the ministry added.

Navalny

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“The people of Novorossiya, as much as Yemeni Houthis, have Faith imprinted in their DNA..”

Transcending Adveevka (Pepe Escobar)

Avdeevka. The name sounds like an incantation. Like Debaltsevo, or Bakhmut. The incantation summons the figure of a cauldron. As it stands, and it’s all moving at lightning speed, it takes only 2 km for the cauldron to be closed. Virtually all roads and muddy trails are under massive Russian fire control. There may be up to 6,000 Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) soldiers left. They have nowhere to go. They are already in – or are going straight to – Hell.= “The Butcher” Syrsky, who has just been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the AFU amidst a nasty dog fight in Kiev, immediately got himself a fresh cauldron. Old habits die hard. The morale and psychological state of AFU fighters is in tatters. Azov batallion neo-nazis are being decimated by massive artillery, FPVs and FABs. Still, AFU generals are setting up the P.R. stage for another “victory” – a replay of Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo, even as the actual retreat, evacuation or “extraction” will proceed through the Corridors of Hell.

In fact, the only player who has successfully extracted himself from Hell, just in time, was Gen Zaluzhny. To quote Dylan: “Strike another match/ go start anew.” During my vertiginous journey across Donbass, only a few days ago, Avdeevka – the incantation – was omnipresent. At a meeting in a secret compound plunged in darkness in the western outskirts of Donetsk, two top commanders of Orthodox Christian batallions, while discussing tactics, noted that the fall of Adveevka would be a matter of days, maximum weeks. The symbology is quite transcendental. Kiev has been fortifying Adveevka non-stop for nearly 10 years – essentially to keep shelling civilians in Donetsk and other parts of Donbass with impunity, ad infinitum. Donetsk remains extremely vulnerable – and the shelling persists. The strength, resilience and faith of the residents of this historic mining town – and the surrounding countryside – are deeply moving.

In a very special conversation with Alexander Dugin, we both made it clear, directly and indirectly, that the working classes of Novorossiya are spiritual brothers of the oppressed in Palestine and Yemen. Yes, the Axis of Resistance in West Asia is mirrored by the Slavic Axis of Resistance in the black soil of the steppes. As much as Russia may have been drawn to a civilizational war against the collective West, that is also a spiritual war. The proxy war by the Hegemon against Russia in Ukraine is as much a geopolitical gamble as a war of Western nihilism against Russian Orthodoxy. I did mention the parallel between Orthodox Christianity and Shi’ism to a top commander; he may have been bemused, but he definitely got the message. After all, he must have instinctively noticed it was the rejected, harassed and bombed in Orthodox Christianity and Islam who have re-awakened the Orthodox and Islamic civilizations for a transcendental war of survival – supported by faith.

Way beyond the Adveevka incantation – a sort of catalyst of all these times of trouble, as Mother Mary of God eventually comes offering solace – what struck me in this vertiginous journey in Donbass is Almighty People Power. Civilians are the true heroes of the full liberation of Novorossiya, as much as the people scattered across Greater Syria – encompassing Palestine, Syria and Lebanon – Iraq and Yemen. These are the souls who have endured a Hell on Earth much more toxic and much longer than the Adveevka cauldron, since Zionism and its subsequent eschatological garrison-settler colonial offspring took over the Holy Land. The people of Novorossiya, as much as Yemeni Houthis, have Faith imprinted in their DNA. Those deeply committed commanders and soldiers that I met in Novorossiya close to the front lines mirror the popular consensus.

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“Ray McGovern and Lawrence Wilkerson argue the U.S. should accept that no amount of U.S. funding will change Russia’s will and means to prevail in Ukraine.”

Throwing Good Money After Bad in Ukraine? (CN)

On July 13, 2023, President Joe Biden announced Russian President Vladimir Putin “has already lost the war.” That was six days after C.I.A. Director William Burns, normally a sane voice, had called the war a “strategic failure” for Russia with its “military weaknesses laid bare.” Earlier, in December 2022, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines reported that the Russians were experiencing “shortages of ammunition” and were “not capable of indigenously producing what they are expending.” We advise caution, as these same people now say that Ukraine can prevail if the U.S. provides $60 billion more. Do they think they can change geography, overcome Russian industrial might, and persuade the Russians that Ukraine should not be a core interest of theirs? Recall President Barack Obama’s reasons for withholding lethal weapons from Ukraine.

In 2015, The New York Times reported on Obama’s reluctance: “In part, he has told aides and visitors that arming the Ukrainians would encourage the notion that they could actually defeat the far more powerful Russians, and so it would potentially draw a more forceful response from Moscow.” Senior State Department officials spelled out this rationale: “If you’re playing on the military terrain in Ukraine, you’re playing to Russia’s strength, because Russia is right next door. It has a huge amount of military equipment and military force right on the border. Anything we did as countries in terms of military support for Ukraine is likely to be matched and then doubled and tripled and quadrupled by Russia.” The above words were spoken by then-Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken on March 5, 2015 to an audience in Berlin. It turns out President Obama was right. It is hard to understand why Blinken (and Biden) chose the way of President Donald Trump, who gave lethal weapons to Ukraine, over the way of Obama.

So much for geography and relative strength. What about core interests? In 2016 President Obama told The Atlantic that Ukraine is a core interest of Russia but not of the U.S. He warned that Russia has escalatory dominance there: “We have to be very clear about what our core interests are and what we are willing to go to war for.” Earlier, when a saner William Burns was ambassador to Russia, he warned of Moscow’s “emotional and neuralgic reaction” to bringing Ukraine into NATO. Braced on the issue by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in February 2008, Burns reported that Russia’s opposition was based on “strategic concerns about the impact on Russia’s interests in the region” and warned then that “Russia now feels itself able to respond more forcefully”. Burns added: “In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene.”

The overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 gave immediacy to Russia’s warnings on Ukraine and its fear that the West would try to effect “regime change” in Russia, as well. In a major commentary, “Russian Military Power”, published in December 2017, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency concluded: “The Kremlin is convinced the U.S. is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine. Moscow views the United States as the critical driver behind the crisis in Ukraine and the Arab Spring and believes that the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych is the latest move in a long-established pattern of U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts …”

Is Putin paranoid about “U.S. regime change efforts?” D.I.A. did not think him paranoid. And surely Putin has taken note of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s remarks in April 2022: “One of the US’s goals in Ukraine is to see a weakened Russia. … The US is ready to move heaven and earth to help Ukraine win the war against Russia.” In sum: Russia has both the will and the means to prevail in Ukraine – no matter how many dollars and arms Ukraine gets. Obama was right; Russia sees an existential threat from the West in Ukraine. And nuclear powers do not tolerate existential threats on their border. Russia learned this the hard way in Cuba in 1962.

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The Europeans are grown-up people. May they take care of their own fate..”

Europe Is Losing Dignity By Obediently Submitting To US – Lavrov (TASS)

The United States is openly engaged in pumping resources out of European countries, while Europe in its obedient submission is losing strategic autonomy and the sense of dignity, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the plenary session of the forum of supporters for the fight against modern practices of neocolonialism For Freedom of Nations. “Against the backdrop of economic problems, the Americans have openly engaged in pumping resources out of Europe. They are cutting off promising markets and reliable energy sources. For the sake of this, they blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines without hesitation and ordered Germany and the rest of Europe to swallow this humiliation. Europe quietly obeyed, forgetting about its former timid speculations about strategic autonomy and dignity,” Lavrov emphasized. He pointed out that now “the European industry is literally being forced to choose between transferring operations overseas and ruin.” “The Europeans are grown-up people. May they take care of their own fate,” Lavrov said.

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“..von der Leyen’s antagonism toward Moscow “could prove to be a disadvantage in the long term..”

Germany Blocked Von Der Leyens NATO Bid – Welt (RT)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz intervened last year to prevent European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen from becoming NATO’s next secretary general, Germany’s Die Welt newspaper has said. Scholz reportedly felt that von der Leyen’s hardline anti-Russian stance would be a problem “in the long term.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg received a fourth extension to his term as head of the military bloc last July. While Stoltenberg may remain in office until October, the alliance’s leaders have already begun jockeying to replace him. At the end of last year, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested von der Leyen to President Joe Biden as a potential replacement, Welt reported on Saturday. Biden approached Scholz with the idea, but was shot down, the report claimed, citing “several high-ranking EU officials and top diplomats.

“Scholz was categorically against von der Leyen becoming NATO chief,” one of these sources said. The German chancellor reportedly told Biden that the position of secretary-general is too important “to leave to a Christian Democrat from Germany,” and that von der Leyen’s antagonism toward Moscow “could prove to be a disadvantage in the long term,” in the newspaper’s words. There is no formal process by which NATO chooses its secretary-general. Instead, member states discuss candidates among themselves until a consensus is reached. NATO’s largest military power and de-facto controlling member, the US, is said to favor a woman for the role. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was suspected to be a prime candidate last year, until she traveled to Washington in June and – according to Welt – failed to impress Biden or members of Congress. Stoltenberg’s term was extended a month later.

While Washington apparently wants a woman at the helm, Biden has already ruled out another leading female candidate, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. According to Welt, the US president considers Kallas too critical of Moscow and incapable of building stable relations with the Kremlin when the conflict in Ukraine eventually ends. With von der Leyen, Frederiksen, and Kallas out of contention, the Netherlands’ caretaker prime minister, Mark Rutte, is now described in the media as a frontrunner for the job. Welt’s sources stated that “support for him is increasing,” and that leaders in 21 member states – including Biden and Scholz – are prepared to endorse his candidacy. While Biden may have favored a woman, Rutte is reportedly seen as someone who could work with either him or former President Donald Trump, should the latter defeat Biden in this November’s election. “The decision should, if possible, be made before the European elections in June,” a NATO diplomat told Welt. This weekend’s Munich Security Conference, the paper noted, will provide ample opportunity for Rutte to bring more supporters on board.

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Ursula saw Germany’s move to block her coming. She’ll start her own NATO.

EU To Get ‘Defense Commissioner’ – Von der Leyen (RT)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will appoint a dedicated “defense commissioner” if she retains her post after EU elections in June, she said on Saturday. The precise duties of the role are unclear. “If I would be the president of the next European Commission, I would have a commissioner for defense,” von der Leyen said at the Munich Security Conference. Creating such a post would be a “reasonable” decision, she added. Von der Leyen and her 27 commissioners are not directly elected by European voters. Instead, a president of the commission is nominated by the European Council and approved or rejected by the European Parliament. If confirmed, the president then selects 27 commissioners, usually one from each member state.

The next commission will be formed while Hungary – whose prime minister has an antagonistic relationship with von der Leyen – holds the council’s rotating presidency. While right wing parties are projected to surge in June’s parliamentary elections, von der Leyen’s centrist European People’s Party (EPP) will likely remain the largest faction in the 720-seat legislature. The EPP has backed the appointment of a defense commissioner. In a draft manifesto seen by Euractiv last month, the party stated that whoever takes the post should be in charge of ensuring the EU spends 0.5% of its shared budget on defense and directs an equal share to overhauling the bloc’s ailing arms industry. Von der Leyen did not expand on these responsibilities, nor did she suggest whether a defense commissioner would have any input into the bloc’s overall military strategy, which was set out for the first time by the European Council in 2022.

The commission president said that it is an “open” question as to which nationality would get the post. However, she added that it is “important” for an Eastern European to receive a good portfolio, and “this is a good portfolio.” Earlier this week, an anonymous EU diplomat told Politico that Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas are leading candidates for the position. Both are vocal backers of Ukraine, with German media reporting on Saturday that Kallas reportedly missed out on a chance to replace Jens Stoltenberg as NATO’s secretary general due to her overly hawkish stance on Russia.

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“Today’s efforts to support Ukraine are nothing compared to those we would have to deploy against a Russia that feels victorious..”

France Warns Of ‘Economic Shock’ From Russian Victory (RT)

A potential Russian victory in Ukraine could deal an economic blow to the West because Moscow would gain control of vast resources, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne has said. In an opinion piece for the French daily Le Monde published on Saturday, the minister argued that Moscow wanted Paris to believe that it would be “more reasonable to abandon the Ukrainians to their tragic fate.” He protested against this point, saying that “the French are not fools” and that there were few things that “would be more contrary” to the country’s interests. Beyond the security risks, however, a Russian victory would also have powerful economic repercussions for the West, Sejourne said. “Allowing Russia to seize the Ukrainian black lands, which are among the most fertile in the world, would be to abdicate a part of food sovereignty, accept unbridled inflation, and provide Russia with unprecedented means of pressure and extortion,” he stated.

Recalling that Ukraine accounts for 30% of global wheat exports, the minister claimed that Moscow’s control over those resources would enable it to “attack our own farmers.” He also said that Europe would be at “an immense risk” if Russia were allowed to continue controlling the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, the largest facility of its kind on the continent, without elaborating on why. “Europe and the world, the French people would suffer an unprecedented economic shock,” Sejourne stressed. Russian troops seized the power station in March 2022 shortly after the start of the Ukraine conflict. After four former Ukrainian regions, including Zaporozhye, voted to join Russia later the same year, the facility was transferred to state ownership.

Sejourne went on to urge the West to resist the “temptation of fatigue.” “Today’s efforts to support Ukraine are nothing compared to those we would have to deploy against a Russia that feels victorious,” he said, insisting that the current policies would allow Kiev’s backers to keep control over prices. Russia has repeatedly warned the West against supporting Ukraine with arms, warning that it will only prolong the conflict. The Russian military also said last month that it had eliminated several dozen mercenaries in Ukraine, saying that most of them were French-speaking. While Paris initially denied that there were any French mercenaries in Ukraine, it later admitted that a number of French nationals had indeed joined Kiev’s forces, although it insisted they had no links to the national government.

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Just like Texas.

Suicide Pact Threatens to Flood EU With 75 Million More Migrants (MN)

The EU has passed a migration pact dubbed “the suicide of Europe” which could lead to the continent being flooded with as many as 75 million new migrants. The European Parliament’s LIBE committee passed the act on Wednesday, which formalizes the distribution of migrants to member states and punishes those that refuse to take them. Because cultural enrichment and diversity is “our greatest strength,” countries that try to maintain their national identity without being subsumed by migrants will be hit with severe financial penalties. Marine Le Pen, the leader of National Rally’s parliamentary wing, previously said the pact would lead to “the suicide of Europe,” adding that it was a deal with the devil and represents an “organized plan of submersion of Europe and the nations which compose it.”

Member states will be forced to accept migrants or pay a massive financial penalty of €25,000 per migrant. This makes little sense given that we’re constantly reminded of how mass migration is such an economic boon and is both inevitable and vital to maintaining GDP levels. However, it makes total sense when you understand that such claims are completely fraudulent. “The next question is how many they will force on us. Now they are deciding that. So they are creating rules that give Brussels the right to say how many migrants they will distribute,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán last year. “So, several countries have indicated that they do not agree. We do not want to implement it. In the end, we are facing a very unpleasant turn of events here.”

Orbán questioned why, if accepting migrants was so financially profitable, are western European nations trying to offload them onto Hungary. Róbert Gönczi, an analyst at Hungary’s Migration Research Institute, pointed out that migrants distributed to Hungary normally end up leaving for Sweden or Germany, where they receive far bigger welfare payments. “The redistribution system could also create intra-EU flows from the countries where these migrants have been relocated to the countries where they actually want to leave, as typically the destination countries have not changed,” said Gönczi.

“However, it would now be necessary for other EU countries to welcome these migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, he added. The real problem is that the reinforcement of the EU’s external borders would be less or not at all, which is what is really needed.” As we previously highlighted, there is no appetite whatsoever for the EU simply to impose proper border controls. The new leader of Frontex, the European Union agency tasked with securing borders, recently called for open borders and vowed to appease left-wing pro-mass migration activists. “Nothing can stop people from crossing a border, no wall, no fence, no sea, no river,” said Hans Leijtens, which was a bizarre statement given that’s his one job.

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The Supreme Court said Biden could remove barbed wire. It said nothing about Texas putting up new wire.

Texas To Build Military Base Camp On Mexico Border To House 1,800 Soldiers (ZH)

In the latest signal of his resolve to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States, Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday announced that the Lone Star State will build a military base along the Rio Grand at the border city of Eagle Pass. Spanning 80-acres, “Forward Operating Base Eagle” will house upwards of 1,800 Texas National Guard soldiers supporting Operation Lone Star, and will be expandable to house 2,300. Texas Maj. Gen. Thomas Suelzer said the camp will have 300 beds by mid-April, and will add another 300 beds every month after that. “Before this effort here, they had been living in conditions that were atypical for military operations,” Abbott said at a press conference in Eagle Pass. “Because of the magnitude of what we’re doing, because of the need to sustain and actually expand our efforts of what we’re doing, it’s essential that we build this base camp for the soldiers.”

As it is, soldiers are housed all over the area, varyingly living in hotels, tents and even some private houses. Some bear long commutes. “Illegal crossings are down and, coincidentally, razor-wire barrier is up,” said Abbott. “We will continue to muster the efforts are needed to make sure that Texas does the job that the United States Congress has mandated. The United States Congress has mandated for barriers to be built on the border. Biden is not building those barriers.” Eagle Pass has been in the national spotlight in recent months, a flashpoint in the ongoing battle between Texas and the federal government over border security, including state authority to enforce immigration laws. Earlier this year, Texas seized control of a 47-acre park in the city, a park that has been a major avenue of illegal immigration.

The Texans also began barring US Border Patrol agents and watercraft from the property, which they’ve used as a staging area for processing migrants. The new base, located about 6 miles south of the park, will include a 700-seat dining facility, workout equipment, a recreation center and laundries, vehicle maintenance bays, weapons storage rooms and a helipad. Soldiers will have individual rooms. In January, the US Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could proceed with removing razor wire installed by Texas at the Eagle Pass border. However, a defiant Gov. Abbott not only slammed the order and barred federal agents from accessing the razor wire, he also added even more. On Friday, officials said they will add more barriers extending to the north and south of Shelby Park, the recreational site seized by the state in January, add three fan boats to the river-patrol capacity, and expand drone and radar capabilities.

Some 3,000 Texas troops are deployed along the 1,200-mile-long Mexican frontier. In December, Texas enacted a law allowing state law enforcement to arrest immigrants who’ve entered Texas without authorization. Biden’s Justice Department quickly sued, arguing that the Texas law encroaches on federal border-management authority. Gallup recently found that, among Americans who disapprove of President Biden’s job performance, immigration is their top reason for giving him a failing mark. In the January poll, only 41% approved of Biden — the worst-ever showing for an incumbent at that time in his term

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By Irfan Galaria.

American Doctor In Gaza: What I Saw Wasn’t War – It Was Annihilation (LAT)

In late January, I left my home in Virginia, where I work as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon and joined a group of physicians and nurses traveling to Egypt with the humanitarian aid group MedGlobal to volunteer in Gaza. I have worked in other war zones. But what I witnessed during the next 10 days in Gaza was not war — it was annihilation. At least 28,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. From Cairo, Egypt’s capital, we drove 12 hours east to the Rafah border. We passed miles of parked humanitarian aid trucks because they weren’t allowed into Gaza. Aside from my team and other envoy members from the United Nations and World Health Organization, there were very few others there. Entering southern Gaza on Jan. 29, where many have fled from the north, felt like the first pages of a dystopian novel.

Our ears were numb with the constant humming of what I was told were the surveillance drones that circled constantly. Our noses were consumed with the stench of 1 million displaced humans living in close proximity without adequate sanitation. Our eyes got lost in the sea of tents. We stayed at a guest house in Rafah. Our first night was cold, and many of us couldn’t sleep. We stood on the balcony listening to the bombs, and seeing the smoke rise from Khan Yunis. As we approached the European Gaza Hospital the next day, there were rows of tents that lined and blocked the streets. Many Palestinians gravitated toward this and other hospitals hoping it would represent a sanctuary from the violence — they were wrong. People also spilled into the hospital: living in hallways, stairwell corridors and even storage closets.

The once-wide walkways designed by the European Union to accommodate the busy traffic of medical staff, stretchers and equipment were now reduced to a single-file passageway. On either side, blankets hung from the ceiling to cordon off small areas for entire families, offering a sliver of privacy. A hospital designed to accommodate about 300 patients was now struggling to care for more than 1,000 patients and hundreds more seeking refuge. There were a limited number of local surgeons available. We were told that many had been killed or arrested, their whereabouts or even their existence unknown. Others were trapped in occupied areas in the north or nearby places where it was too risky to travel to the hospital. There was only one local plastic surgeon left and he covered the hospital 24/7. His home had been destroyed, so he lived in the hospital, and was able to stuff all of his personal possessions into two small hand bags.

This narrative became all too common among the remaining staff at the hospital. This surgeon was lucky, because his wife and daughter were still alive, although almost everyone else working in the hospital was mourning the loss of their loved ones. I began work immediately, performing 10 to 12 surgeries a day, working 14 to 16 hours at a time. The operating room would often shake from the incessant bombings, sometimes as frequent as every 30 seconds. We operated in unsterile settings that would’ve been unthinkable in the United States. We had limited access to critical medical equipment: We performed amputations of arms and legs daily, using a Gigli saw, a Civil War-era tool, essentially a segment of barbed wire. Many amputations could’ve been avoided if we’d had access to standard medical equipment. It was a struggle trying to care for all the injured within the constructs of a healthcare system that has utterly collapsed.

I listened to my patients as they whispered their stories to me, as I wheeled them into the operating room for surgery. The majority had been sleeping in their homes, when they were bombed. I couldn’t help thinking that the lucky ones died instantaneously, either by the force of the explosion or being buried in the rubble. The survivors faced hours of surgery and multiple trips to the operating room, all while mourning the loss of their children and spouses. Their bodies were filled with shrapnel that had to be surgically pulled out of their flesh, one piece at a time.

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“..The recycling process—from collection to sorting to processing to transport—requires more time, labor, and equipment to achieve a lower quality and less efficient output..”

Plastics Cannot Be Recycled and Producers Know This (Sp.)

The Center for Climate Integrity (CCI) released a report on Thursday which details how the plastics industry has evolved its marketing pitch in order to circumvent public backlash and potential regulation.= According to a report by the CCI, despite their knowledge that recycling plastics is not technically or economically practical, petrochemical companies have continued to push “fraudulent” marketing and public outreach campaigns to convince consumers otherwise. Doing so, the report says, has stalled legislative and regulatory action that could have addressed plastic waste and pollution long ago. “Fossil fuel and other petrochemical companies have used the false promise of plastic recycling to exponentially increase virgin plastic production over the last six decades, creating and perpetuating the global plastic waste crisis and imposing significant costs on communities that are left to pay for the consequences,” the CCI wrote.

More than 99% of plastics are produced from fossil fuels, the report continues. Though there are thousands of different types of plastic, the majority of these cannot be “recycled”. And despite efforts to convince consumers otherwise, the recycling rate in the US for plastics in 2021 was estimated to be only 5% to 6%. After a 10-year review on plastics, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that there are only two types of plastics that can be turned into high quality objects: PET and HDPE, which are both commonly used to make plastic containers and bottles. Meanwhile, any other form of plastic is incinerated or sent to landfills, because even though some plastics are recyclable in theory, they are not actually recycled in practice due to purity requirements that are not practical—for example, a green PET bottle cannot be recycled with a clear PET bottle. The quality of the plastic also degrades as it is recycled, which limits its use in its next life. And ultimately, recycled plastic materials will still end up in the landfill.

The toxicity of the plastics also creates issues during the recycling process. The chemical additives in plastics include stabilizers, plasticizers, coatings, catalysts, and flame retardants as well as possible contamination by whatever that plastic contained such as cleaning solvents or pesticides. This means a majority of plastics cannot be recycled into food-grade packaging, or other products that interact with food. The cost of recycling plastics is also much higher than what it costs to produce new plastic. “The recycling process—from collection to sorting to processing to transport—requires more time, labor, and equipment to achieve a lower quality and less efficient output than the process of making virgin resin from fossil fuels,” the report explains.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret Files of the Corona Expert Council

 

 

Bird feeder

 

 

Puppy nightmare
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758666573378994534

 

 

Billiard

 

 

The War on Children

 

 

Panama canal
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758845580640411653

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 172024
 
 February 17, 2024  Posted by at 9:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  57 Responses »


Francisco Goya The Dog 1819-23

 

Trump Slams Judge After $364 Million Verdict; Vows To Appeal (ZH)
Trump Responds To Judge Engoron’s Decision (ZH)
Speed. . . and. . . Action (Jim Kunstler)
Musk Decries US Government Censorship (RT)
‘Want to Get ‘Radicalized’, See Russia’- Scott Ritter (Sp.)
An Anti-Russian Europe Is a Europe That Destroys Itself (Dionisio)
Russian Space Nukes and Navalny’s Death… U.S. Psyops Go Ballistic (SCF)
Ohio Rep. Part of Shadowy Cabal Aiming to Destroy Russia – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
Russian Media Thrilled By Biden’s LNG “Gift” To Putin (ZH)
Axis of Resistance: from Donbass to Gaza (Pepe Escobar)
Why Israel’s War on UNRWA is so Sinister (Cradle)
Political, Economic Indicators Not Promising for Biden (Gallup)
How the CIA Destabilizes the World (Jeffrey Sachs)
Bombing Muslims for Peace (Bill Astore)

 

 

 

 

Tucker Mike Benz

 

 

Fani Maddow

 

 

 

 

FANI Grand Jury Foreman

 

 

 

 

 

 

The judge and AG are essentially saying they know more about banking than the “defrauded” bankers, who made a hefty profit. This will never pass in the Supreme Court.

But: “He is expected to launch an appeal, which would put the verdict on hold until a higher court reviews the case. But if he wants to avoid paying the fine or have personal assets seized while the appeal process plays out, he still has to deposit the full amount to be held by the court within 30 days.”

For people like Letitia James and Fani Willis, “get Trump” is a career move. As promised in their White House talks.

Trump Slams Judge After $364 Million Verdict; Vows To Appeal (ZH)

New York Judge Arthur Engoron has ordered former President Donald Trump to pay $364 million for allegedly defrauding banks in order to acquire loans and other benefits – loans which the banks themselves testified they were satisfied with after doing their own due diligence. Trump is also barred “from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of three years,” while his sons have been barred from serving as New York executives for two years. New York Attorney General Letitia James had sought $370 million from Trump, his company, and its top executives for what she claimed was “repeated and persistent fraud” – which included allegations of falsifying records and financial statements to the tune of as much as $2.2 billion. Trump maintains that his financial statements to banks were conservative, and has called the case a “fraud on me.”

“This is a case that should have never been brought, and I think we should be entitled to damages,” Trump said on Jan. 11. Following Friday’s decision, Trump’s attorneys hit back – calling it “manifest injustice” in a statement. The months-long civil trial included testimony from Trump and his oldest children. The former president was combative in his day on the stand, blasting James as a “hack” and calling the judge “extremely hostile.” Trump repeatedly complained about Engoron before and throughout the trial, and the judge slapped him with a partial gag order after he started blasting the judge’s law clerk as well. Trump’s complaints led to a flood of death threats against the clerk, as well as Engoron, court officials said, and Trump was fined $15,000 for twice violating the order. -NBC News

During the trial, Deutsche Bank executive David Williams, who directly worked on at least one of several loans obtained by Trump over several decades, testified that it’s “atypical, but not entirely unusual” for a bank to internally slash a client’s stated asset values by 50% and approve a loan anyway, as they did with Trump, Bloomberg reported in November. “It just depends on the circumstances,” said Williams, a managing director at the bank. “Deutsche Bank, which loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Trump for properties in Miami, Chicago and Washington, cut his stated net worth in 2011 and 2012 from about $4.2 billion to $2.3 billion, according to internal bank credit memos. The same documents indicated the bank approved the loans anyway because it expected them to generate a profit based on Trump’s history of successful developments and other criteria.

Trump, who denies wrongdoing and claims the case is politically motivated, is calling to the stand this week four current and former Deutsche Bank employees — including the family’s former private banker Rosemary Vrablic — as part of his defense case, seeking to flip the script on the state’s version of events”. -Bloomberg. The testimony undermined AG James’ premise, that Trump defrauded the German bank. But of course, none of that matters to Engoron – while Trump’s Martyr status just intensified. Expect this decision to be reflected in upcoming polls.

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“Trump has responded to Judge Engoron’s decision, calling him a “crooked” judge who’s just committed election interference (and much, much more)..”

Trump Responds To Judge Engoron’s Decision (ZH)

“A Crooked New York State Judge, working with a totally Corrupt Attorney General who ran on the basis of “I will get Trump,” before knowing anything about me or my company, has just fined me $355 Million based on nothing other than having built a GREAT COMPANY. ELECTION INTERFERENCE. WITCH HUNT (more to follow!),” said Trump in a post to Truth Social. “The Justice System in New York State, and America as a whole, is under assault by partisan, deluded, biased Judges and Prosecutors. Racist, Corrupt A.G. Tish James has been obsessed with “Getting Trump” for years, and used Crooked New York State Judge Engoron to get an illegal, unAmerican judgment against me, my family, and my tremendous business. I helped New York City during its worst of times, and now, while it is overrun with Violent Biden Migrant Crime, the Radicals are doing all they can to kick me out….”

And according to the former president, Engoron conspired with New York Attorney General Letitia James. “This Election Interference and tyrannical Abuse of Power by a Crooked Judge and Crooked Attorney General cannot be tolerated. My case was already won in the Appellate Division, and more than 80% of the frivolous claims were wiped out. Yet, as I suspected, and in order to hurt me and the Republican Party politically, Crooked and Corrupt Judge Arthur Engoron ignored his loss at the Appellate Division, and came up with an outrageous $355 Million Dollar fine against me. Using a statute that has never been applied like this before, the Corrupt Judge conspired with the Crooked Attorney General, Letitia James, and punished a liquid and beautiful Corporate Empire that started in New York, and has been successful all around the world…..

“There were no victims, and not one person testified there was any fraud. The actual witnesses established my Net Worth exceeded that reported in my Financial Statements as those Statements never included my most valuable Asset – the TRUMP Brand. The Highly Respected Expert Witness said my Financial Statements were among the best he has ever seen. I paid over $300 Million Dollars in taxes to New York City and State, and they want me gone. They are Crazed Lunatics who are destroying everything in their way. It all starts with Biden’s attacks on his Political Opponent!” Trump also said he’d appeal Engoron’s decision.

“The actual bankers who were involved in the loan transactions testified I was a highly sought-after “whale” of a client with “one of the strongest personal balance sheets” they had ever seen, and I was overqualified for the loans. Those banks earned more than $100 Million Dollars in profits doing business with me and my companies. But to justify his crazed attack on me and my family, this biased, Trump Hating Judge, ignored all this, and even said Michael Cohen told the truth, although Cohen admitted to lying hundreds of times, and lied right in front of the Judge during the trial. This shocking and corrupt Interference in the Free Markets for political gain places every New York business transaction at risk. We must make sure Corrupt Politicians and Judges cannot continue to abuse the power of their office, and violate the public trust. We have already won, and will continue the fight on appeal!”

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“The reason the lovebirds could take so much time cavorting across the Caribbean and California — vineyard tours featuring “pairings of champagne, chocolate, and caviar,” Ms. Willis testified — is because their Fulton County case was entirely prepped for them out of DC by Mary McCord..”

Speed. . . and. . . Action (Jim Kunstler)

Have you noticed yet that America has turned into a Coen Brothers movie? Everywhere you look, you see madcap characters disgracing themselves while doing their bit to burn the whole country down. It’s a panoramic extravaganza of everything gone wrong, with slapstick overtones, driving toward an apocalyptic climax — civil war, nuclear war, economic collapse, maybe all three. And all because the people on-screen just can’t stop lying. Yesterday was Fani Willis’s turn, her big scene. The Fulton County, Georgia, DA, wasn’t even scheduled to testify, but she barged into Judge Scott McAfee’s courtroom and seized possession of the witness stand, like it was home-base in a game of ringolevio. This was after the morning vivisection of her boyfriend, the feckless Nathan Wade, testifying to the couple’s fun-filled romantic travels during the months they were supposedly busy constructing a racketeering case against Donald Trump and eighteen others scooped into their dragnet.

The reason the lovebirds could take so much time cavorting across the Caribbean and California — vineyard tours featuring “pairings of champagne, chocolate, and caviar,” Ms. Willis testified — is because their Fulton County case was entirely prepped for them out of DC by Mary McCord, the veteran blob lawyer active in every Get-Trump hoax cooked up since 2016. (And I’d bet cash-money that she had plenty of assistance from Lawfare blobsters Norm Eisen and Andrew Weissmann.) The complex particulars of the case were all teed up, ready to go. All Ms. Willis and her lead prosecutor, Mr. Wade, had to do was get the trial date set, raise the curtain, and follow the script. Alas, the couple got carried away in the raptures of amour and, all of a sudden, we’re in something like The Real Housewives of Atlanta. And then they lied about the details under oath, especially around the money involved. If they are not disqualified from participating in the Trump “racketeering” case — in which their own behavior would be centerpiece evidence of an ineptly tainted and malicious prosecution — and/or if the case is not tossed summarily, then it will have to be removed to another county and most likely delayed until after the 2024 elections. Nice work, Party of Chaos!

That little opéra bouffe is but one sub-plot in the larger scenario. Also this week, the scandal of the century was re-kindled when alt-news reporters Taibbi, Shellenberger, and Gutentag filed the story of how Barack Obama and CIA Director John Brennan, with his chore girls, Avril Haines and Gina Haspel, cooked up the RussiaGate caper and fed it to the FBI, with a major assist from The New York Times, the WashPo, CNN, and other useful idiot news media vectors. All of this had actually been well-documented for years, but the reporters dredged up new corroboration from disgusted blob insiders further clarifying the origins of the hoax. The cast of characters in that part of the big movie has been consistent through eight full years of anti-Trump hysteria and the associated trips laid on our country. Ms. McCord, for instance, was U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security during the birth of RussiaGate; later served as counsel to the House Committee that kicked-off Trump Impeachment No. 1 (coordinating the Eric Ciaramella “whistleblower” scam); then became counsel to Rep. Bennie Thompson’s J6 committee investigation, and now turns up as Fani Willis’ legal tutor, and probably also tutor to New York State Attorney General Letitia James and her preposterous Get Trump real estate valuation case under Judge Engoron.

(Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan DA on the Stormy Daniels case against Mr. Trump, was coached by then US Associate Attorney General Matthew Colangelo who was hired out of the DOJ directly into Mr. Bragg’s office for tutoring purposes.) All of this coaching post Jan 20, 2021, was coordinated by the “Joe Biden” White House. Speaking of whom, the evermore spectral “president” was not having a great week either after DOJ Special Counsel Robert Hur painted him into a corner in his final report as either too demented to face charges in the purloined documents case (and, by inference, not mentally capable to be president), or else a criminal trafficking in top secret documents he was not authorized to possess as Senator and Veep. Looks like that puts an end to “JB’s” game of pretending to run for reelection (that is, lying about it) and leaves the Democratic Party holding a flaming bag of dog doo-doo.

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Musk is paying good attention to what happens to Trump: “How far will they go to stop me?”

Musk Decries US Government Censorship (RT)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has claimed that his foray into social media – buying the former Twitter (since renamed X) and trying to make it a bastion of free speech – made him and all of his businesses targets for constant attacks by governments and their censorship allies. “The public still doesn’t understand even a tiny fraction of the power of the censorship-government-industrial complex,” Musk said on Friday in a post on X. “As predicted, my companies and I came under relentless attack the moment the censorship of this platform was lifted. How far will they go to stop me?” The US billionaire made the comments in response to a post by podcast host David Sacks, who warned that “regime Democrats” are working every day to undermine Americans’ free-speech rights and freedom from political persecution.

Musk also agreed with a suggestion that his political enemies are “just getting started” after winning a Delaware court ruling late last month voiding his $56 billion compensation package at Tesla. Musk, who heads several other companies, has previously claimed that he’s at “quite significant” risk of being killed. His father, Errol Musk, said in an interview last September that he feared his son could be assassinated by a “shadow government” because of the influence he wields. Ranking as America’s richest man with a fortune estimated by Forbes at over $200 billion, Elon Musk has been hit with a flurry of legal attacks and negative media coverage since buying Twitter for $44 billion in October 2022 and vowing to end censorship on the platform. Advertiser boycotts cut into X’s revenue, and President Joe Biden’s administration sued Musk’s SpaceX company for allegedly discriminating against refugees in its hiring practices.

Biden reacted to the Twitter takeover by suggesting that Musk should be investigated by the federal government. Asked whether Musk could jeopardize US national security, the president told reporters, “I think that Elon Musk’s cooperation and/or technical relationships with other countries is worthy of being looked at.” Under its previous ownership, Twitter was among the social media platforms that helped Biden win the 2020 US presidential election by censoring a bombshell report on alleged influence-peddling in Ukraine and China by his family. Republican lawmakers have accused the FBI of colluding with Twitter executives to squash the report. Musk also released internal Twitter documents exposing government involvement in the censoring of speech regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. “Thank God for Elon Musk for allowing to show us and the world that Twitter was basically a subsidiary of the FBI, censoring real medical voices with real expertise that put real American lives in danger because they didn’t have that information,” US Representative Nancy Mace said last year.

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“Russia is a nation, not a city. And the Russians love their country..”

‘Want to Get ‘Radicalized’, See Russia’- Scott Ritter (Sp.)

The knives are out for Tucker Carlson in the Washington establishment and the legacy media as he continues to debunk myths and stereotypes about Russia with a series of videos about life in the capital in the midst of the West’s sanctions ‘total war’. In the latest of a series of clips posted to his internet channel about his experiences from his eight-day stay in Russia, Carlson praised Moscow’s grocery prices. “I went from amused to legitimately angry,” Carlson said after purchasing a week’s worth of groceries for the equivalent of about $105 US. “Coming to a Russian grocery store, the ‘heart of evil’, and seeing what things cost and how people live, it will radicalize you against our leaders. That’s how I feel, anyway – radicalized,” Carlson said after dragging US leaders through the mud for “wrecking people’s lives” through “filth and crime and inflation.”

The independent conservative journalist’s comments sparked immediate outrage from detractors, with neocon Republican lawmaker Thom Tillis echoing Hillary Clinton, blasting Carlson as a “useful idiot” and mocking him for suggesting Russia “is so much better than the US with all those cheap groceries and lavish subway stations.” Another neocon group, ‘Republicans Against Trump’, blasted Carlson as a “Kremlin propagandist” and accused him of running a program called “Russia is awesome, the US is crap.” The hate was echoed by establishment media, with the USA Today publishing a column suggesting Tucker should do “everything he can to get his followers to move to Russia.” MSNBC host Chris Hayes immediately jumped in to suggest that the discrepancy in grocery prices is the result of America being a “rich country” and that “if you are an american [sic] and go to a country that is poorer, things will be cheaper there.”

Others suggested Tucker’s experiences were unique to Moscow, and that he would see something different if he went to “real Russia” outside the “Potemkin village” Russian capital. “It’s like a modern day equivalent of John Reed’s classic ‘10 Days That Shook the World’ – ‘8 Days That Radicalized Tucker Carlson’,” former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter told Sputnik of Carlson’s eye-opening experiences during his visit to Russia. “We all saw the interview with Vladimir Putin, over 1 billion of us, and we’ve seen Tucker Carlson’s video clips of his experience in Moscow, the Moscow Metro, shopping in a Moscow market, a visit to the Russian McDonald’s [equivalent]. Everything that Tucker Carlson said is true, 100%. The Metro is an amazing place, clean, it’s a work of art. There is no food shortage in Moscow. Yes, Russian fast food is not only as tasty as its American equivalent, but because of the GMO laws, yes, Tucker, you should have asked that question, healthier,” Ritter said.

Pointing to those dishing out of hate Carlson’s way and claiming his experiences were somehow “fake,” Ritter, who has traveled to Russia extensively over the past year, Ritter assured that he has “been to the rest of Russia,” and could confirm that what the former Fox News host saw in Moscow could be observed in other Russian cities as well. “In May, when I made my first visit to Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the first city I landed in wasn’t Moscow. It was Novosibirsk. Now is Novosibirsk is brilliantly lit up as Moscow? No, it’s not a city of 13 million. It’s not the capital of the Russian Federation. It’s not the center of commerce for Russia. But Novosibirsk is the third largest city in Russia and the largest developing economy. You know, when you go to a supermarket in Novosibirsk, it’s every bit as well stocked as those you will find in Moscow. Why? Because Russia is a modern state.

Russia is a state that has the ability to transport food products throughout the great expanse of the nation. Russia is not Moscow. Russia is a nation of over 150 million people who live with the same level of modernity as the rest of the world,” Ritter said. “In Novosibirsk, I saw a people who live their lives just like everybody else – [with] a public transportation system that’s clean, efficient, streets that are clean, efficient. Why? Because throughout Russia, the Russian people care about their cities as much as the residents of Moscow care about theirs. Russia is a nation, not a city. And the Russians love their country,” he added.

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“Russia did everything it could to free itself from US domination in the terrible 1990s, and Ukraine did everything it could to integrate itself under US control, mainly from 2004 onwards..”

An Anti-Russian Europe Is a Europe That Destroys Itself (Dionisio)

According to Syrsky, the new commander-in-chief of Kiev’s troops, the lives of Ukrainian soldiers are the most important thing the army has. An assumption that was only made when it became obvious to everyone that there was no chance of victory in a direct fight against Russia. As long as it was possible to feed the idea that „Ukraine was beating Russia“, when it was Russia that had the initiative — and never lost it — the lives of Ukrainian soldiers were worth little. Men — and some women — in their hundreds of thousands were thrown into muddy trenches, poorly fed and with ammunition in short supply, against an opponent who never lacked anything.

The fact is that when the Kiev forces had combat capability — not to be confused with „the ability to win“ — the official communication was that „Ukraine was winning the war“; when it became clear that the cost of fighting the Russian forces was so high that it could not be sustained, the pro-Kiev media, financed by Uncle Sam’s NGOs and primary sources of Western official information, began to say „Ukraine cannot lose the war“; when it could no longer be hidden that the „counter-offensive“ had failed and with it, the hopes — fanciful — of a Kiev victory, we moved on to the „Ukraine and Russia are in a stalemate“ phase. The Ukrainian reality, under the Kiev regime, is characterized by always being in direct contradiction with the Russian reality and, coincidentally, with the concrete observable reality. This is why the relationship between the two realities is an invaluable dialectical example from a pedagogical point of view.

While living with Russia, Ukraine has become one of the world’s greatest powers. There is not, and never has been, a successful Ukraine without Russia on its side. Vladimir Putin did not lie about the fact that Russia has always helped Ukraine. For those who don’t know, it wasn’t out of any kind of adventurism that the Donbass was annexed to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1917, Ukraine was an eminently rural and de-industrialized region of the Russian empire, so, in 1918, in order to guarantee conditions for the territory’s development and, in this way, a more harmonious development of the nascent Soviet state, the Donbass became part of the Ukrainian Socialist Republic, as a way of guaranteeing the progress of the newly formed homeland.

The truth is that, in 1991, Ukraine had more than 50 million inhabitants, one of the largest armies in Europe (perhaps the second largest), an enviable military-industrial complex, a highly qualified, talented and productive population, capable of revealing itself in all aspects of human life, from the arts to science, from agriculture to sport. After surviving many tensions imposed from outside and introduced by the usual suspects, in 2004-2005, the Orange Revolution accelerated the process of creating an anti-Russia. The idea was not new and had already crossed the minds of people linked to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and beyond. From then on, the balance of power between the Russian-speaking and Russian-sympathetic peoples and the peoples who had become „Russian-phobic“ began to reverse and, gradually, the anti-Russian forces began to infect the entire territory, gradually conquering new strongholds, from the outskirts of Galicia to the center of Kiev.

From then on, what would be the imported „solution“ to fill Ukraine’s lack of national identity began to take shape. As a country that had never existed until 1918, and only became fully independent in 1991, Ukraine had to create a national identity in order to guarantee its existence. Not an easy thing to do in a country built up by ruler and square in successive waves of annexation. The induced „choice“ was to turn Ukraine into an „anti-Russia“. Everything Russia would be, Ukraine would have to be the opposite.

It’s clear to see that this „choice“ would have to be induced, since in the case of a country with the same language, or languages with the same root (for those who separate „Ukrainian“ from „Russian“), with the same religion, culture and national past, the natural choice would never be antagonism, since one and the other thrived on a symbiotic relationship. And this relationship was mutually fruitful right up until the moment when Russia did everything it could to free itself from US domination in the terrible 1990s, and Ukraine did everything it could to integrate itself under US control, mainly from 2004 onwards. The chronological succession leaves no doubt: Russia freed itself from American tutelage during the late 90s and early 2000s, Ukraine embraced it from 2004 onwards.

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“..The U.S. media have claimed (preposterously) that if the military aid is not supplied then Ukraine’s defeat could result in American troops being deployed to prevent Russian rampaging across Europe.”

Russian Space Nukes and Navalny’s Death… U.S. Psyops Go Ballistic (SCF)

The claims about Russian space-based nuclear weapons unraveled to become a joke. Fortunately, the death of Western-sponsored dissident Alexei Navalny then occurred to enable Western media to go into a frenzy of anti-Russia headlines. First up was the scaremongering story about Russia allegedly developing a space-based nuclear weapon. Initially, it was dramatically trailed as posing a serious national security threat to the United States. Despite the sensational reporting, the story quickly became a laughingstock. Even some U.S. lawmakers dismissed it as “bullshit” and a blatant attempt by the Biden White House and intelligence agencies to push Congress into passing a new mega military aid bill for Ukraine worth $61 billion.

We’ll get to the Navalny story in a moment. But let’s just first parse the orchestration of the alleged Russian space nukes. The drama began on Wednesday when Mike Turner, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (a dodgy source if ever there was one), made public appeals to President Joe Biden to declassify intelligence on “a serious threat to national security”. Turner is a Republican member of the House of Representatives but he is a close ally of the Democrat White House in terms of keenly supporting military aid to Ukraine. The latest bill passed the upper chamber of the U.S. Senate the day before, February 13, but it is unlikely to be approved by the House where many Republican lawmakers are staunchly opposed to it.

Accompanying the “concerns” of the intel committee chairman Turner, media outlets then vented anonymous US intelligence sources “revealing” that the national security threat was from Russian nuclear weapons allegedly under development for destroying American communication satellites in space. The White House then “confirmed” the intel the next day, February 15. It was a flagrant put-up job. But the Biden administration sought to tamp down any public panic by saying that the threat was not imminent and the alleged Russian satellite-killing weapon had not been deployed in orbit, nor would there be any danger to Earth. (So, what was all the fuss about?)

Ironically, derisive comments from incredulous U.S. lawmakers were also echoed by the Kremlin. The latter’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov made a similar assessment that the Biden administration was playing tricks to push through the military funding package for Ukraine. That bill has been delayed since the end of last year. The Biden administration has been cajoling Congress for months to vote it through. After the Senate finally passed the bill this week, President Biden put pressure on the House, saying that “history is watching you”. The bill has been exalted as having existential importance in defeating “Russian aggression” in Ukraine. The U.S. media have claimed (preposterously) that if the military aid is not supplied then Ukraine’s defeat could result in American troops being deployed to prevent Russian rampaging across Europe.

The American public, as with the European public, has become increasingly skeptical about the relentless funneling of taxpayer funds and weapons to Ukraine. Many citizens in the West – a majority, according to polls – have become critical of fueling a bloody war for the dubious cause of “defending democracy” in a regime dominated by NeoNazis. At a time of deep social and economic hardship in the U.S. and Europe, the Western public is rightly disdainful of hundreds of billions of dollars and euros being wasted on death and destruction and also being siphoned off by a corrupt cabal in Kiev. The $61 billion in military aid to Ukraine is just the latest tranche that Washington is seeking to throw at the black hole of its proxy war against Russia – a war that is really all about defeating Russia as a geopolitical obstacle to U.S. hegemony. Another driver is the massive profits that taxpayers are subsidizing the military-industrial complex at the rotten heart of Western capitalism.

Navalny

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“There’s no ammunition left. There’s nothing left. Ukraine has got nothing.” “And he [Turner] knows he’s looking at it, saying ‘it’s over, game set match – Russia, they win,’” he added.“

Ohio Rep. Part of Shadowy Cabal Aiming to Destroy Russia – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

Ohio Representative Mike Turner (R-OH) made waves this week when he warned of an alleged “serious national security threat” to the United States. The supposed risk was soon revealed to be Russian in nature, with a media cycle quickly emerging over the danger of alleged “space nukes” the country could detonate to disable US satellite communications. The timing of the revelation raised eyebrows as Turner had visited Ukraine just days ago as part of a Congressional delegation in solidarity with the country’s embattled President Volodymyr Zelensky. Turner’s claims also come as the Biden administration struggles to continue funding the US-backed Ukrainian proxy war, with key Republicans blocking a compromise bill with aid for Kiev and Tel Aviv.

Former UN weapons inspector and whistleblower Scott Ritter joined Sputnik’s Fault Lines program on Thursday to discuss the latest Russophobic hysteria, speculating Turner is part of a secret group of lawmakers and intelligence officials hellbent on undermining Russia at any cost. “There’s a cabal,” claimed Ritter, who was shunned in Washington after defying intelligence claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction during the George W. Bush administration. “Turner is… part of the cabal of people that view this Ukrainian conflict [as] not about defense of democracy – knock off this nonsense – it’s about defeating Russia, the strategic objective of the United States by using Ukraine as a proxy in a conflict against Russia.”

“You’ve heard everybody say this, ‘we’re killing them without losing a single American, we’re weakening Russia, we’re creating the conditions to destroy Russia, to collapse Russian society, to bring down [Russian President] Vladimir Putin,’” noted Ritter. “He believes that this is a good thing. He believes that’s the direction the United States should be going. And he understands that Ukraine right now is in freefall. Their military is being slaughtered on the battlefield. The Americans have no clue what’s happening on the battlefield right now.”

Ukraine has faced declining fortunes in the Donbass conflict since the spectacular failure of the country’s vaunted “counteroffensive” last year. In recent days Russian forces have achieved an advantage in the city of Avdeyevka, where for months they’ve endured a stalemate with Ukrainian troops. Shortages in ammunition have undermined Ukrainian reinforcements in the past weeks, allowing Russia to break down Kiev’s foritifications. “The Russians aren’t losing anywhere,” said Ritter. “Maybe in the Black Sea they lost a ship, big deal, but on the ground, they’re routing Ukraine. There’s no ammunition left. There’s nothing left. Ukraine has got nothing.” “And he [Turner] knows he’s looking at it, saying ‘it’s over, game set match – Russia, they win,’” he added. “‘Therefore, we need to make people understand the consequences of a Russian victory.’”

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“Pravda argued that Germany will eventually have to return to buying Russian gas because it will have no other choice..”

Russian Media Thrilled By Biden’s LNG “Gift” To Putin (ZH)

This week, President Vladimir Putin praised President Joe Biden as a more experienced and predictable president than Donald Trump, hoping the 81yo president “with a poor memory” wins a second term. Meanwhile, Trump made remarks during a campaign rally Wednesday night in South Carolina on Putin’s comments: “He’s just said that he would much rather have Joe Biden as president than Trump. Now that’s a compliment. A lot of people said, ‘Oh, gee, that’s too bad.’ No, no, that’s a good thing.” Democrats spent years framing Trump as ‘Putin’s puppet,’ but the actions by Biden, essentially handing over the global energy kingdom to Moscow by halting permits for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects in Texas, is a stark reminder of why Putin prefers the elderly and weak president. Last month, the Wall Street Journal editorial board called Biden’s LNG export license halt “an election-year gift to Russia and Iran.” And the editorial board is out with another piece titled “Biden’s LNG ‘Gift’ to Vladimir Putin.”

This latest note by the editorial board points out how Russian media is “thrilled” by Biden’s LNG gas export ban: “Now it is not Russia, but the United States that wants to bring the Germans to their knees,” gloated the Russian newspaper Pravda after the Energy Department imposed a moratorium on permits for new LNG export projects last month. Pravda argued that Germany will eventually have to return to buying Russian gas because it will have no other choice, and it may be right. They cite another Russian media outlet: RedDigest, a Russian-based news source, also predicted Europe will need to buy more Russian gas and be forced to pay a higher price. “The EU may well turn to Moscow for additional supplies. Of course, there will be no talk of any discounts,” a Feb. 3 article sneered. Mr. Biden’s LNG embargo will leave Europe more vulnerable to Mr. Putin’s energy blackmail.

And another: Bloknot, a pro-war Russian media outlet, accused the U.S. of scheming to replace Russian gas and then pulling the rug from under Europeans. “A brilliant scam: how the States fooled Europe with gas,” read a Bloknot headline. RT (formerly Russia Today) gloated that Mr. Biden’s “very timely decision to ban LNG exports” was a “gift to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.” In a separate note, WSJ said Biden’s attempt to punish Texas over the border dispute is part of a campaign by wealthy donors – including the Rockefeller family – to pressure the government into shifting away from LNG. Why are America’s elites and an elderly president with a “poor memory” giving Putin the keys to the global energy kingdom under the guise of ‘climate change’?

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“Scratch the veneer of who’s in power in Kiev and Tel Aviv, and who pulls their strings, and you will find the same puppet masters controlling Ukraine, Israel, the US, the UK, and nearly all NATO members..”

Axis of Resistance: from Donbass to Gaza (Pepe Escobar)

During my recent vertiginous journey in Donbass tracking Orthodox Christian battalions defending their land, Novorossiya, it became starkly evident that the resistance in these newly liberated Russian republics is fighting much the same battle as their counterparts in West Asia. Nearly 10 years after Maidan in Kiev, and two years after the start of Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, the resolve of the resistance has only deepened. It’s impossible to do full justice to the strength, resilience, and faith of the people of Donbass, who stand on the front line of a US proxy war against Russia. The battle they have been fighting since 2014 has now visibly shed its cover and revealed itself to be, at its core, a cosmic war of the collective West against Russian civilization.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin made very clear during his Tucker Carlson interview seen by one billion people worldwide, Ukraine is part of Russian civilization – even if it is not part of the Russian Federation. So shelling ethnic Russian civilians in Donbass – still ongoing – translates as attacks on Russia. He shares the same reasoning as Yemen’s Ansarallah resistance movement, which describes the Israeli genocide in Gaza as one launched against “our people”: people of the lands of Islam. Just as the rich black soil of Novorossiya is where the “rules-based international order” came to die; the Gaza Strip in West Asia – an ancestral land, Palestine – may ultimately be the site where Zionism will perish. Both the rules-based order and Zionism, after all, are essential constructs of the western unipolar world and key to advancing its global economic and military interests.

Today’s incandescent geopolitical fault lines are already configured: the collective west versus Islam, the collective west versus Russia, and soon a substantial part of the west, even reluctantly, versus China. Yet a serious counterpunch is at play. As much as the Axis of Resistance in West Asia will keep boosting their “swarm” strategy, those Orthodox Christian battalions in Donbass cannot but be regarded as the vanguard of the Slavic Axis of Resistance. When mentioning this Shia–Orthodox Christianity connection to two top commanders in Donetsk, only 2 kilometers away from the front line, they smiled, bemused, but definitely got the message. After all, more than anyone else in Europe, these soldiers are able to grasp this unifying theme: on the two top imperial fronts – Donbass and West Asia – the crisis of the western hegemon is deepening and fast accelerating collapse.

NATO’s cosmic humiliation-in-progress in the steppes of Novorossiya is mirrored by the Anglo–American–Zionist combo sleepwalking into a larger conflagration throughout West Asia – frantically insisting they don’t want war while bombing every Axis of Resistance vector except Iran (they can’t, because the Pentagon gamed all scenarios, and they all spell out doom). Scratch the veneer of who’s in power in Kiev and Tel Aviv, and who pulls their strings, and you will find the same puppet masters controlling Ukraine, Israel, the US, the UK, and nearly all NATO members.

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“I =srael’s allegations are not based on any evidence. They are instead part of a classified plan prepared in advance by Israel’s foreign ministry to destroy UNRWA..”

Why Israel’s War on UNRWA is so Sinister (Cradle)

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is facing the gravest existential crisis in its 74-year history, as funding cuts by several western countries come on top of ongoing atrocities perpetrated by Israel in Gaza. The UN agency is unique in being the only one dedicated to a specific group of refugees in specific areas, and the only relief organization that operates a full-fledged educational system. UNRWA is also the only organization mandated to work in Gaza and distribute aid to the two million people currently trapped and starved in the besieged enclave. To compound these challenges, the occupation wants to see it dismantled. In January, Israel alleged that Palestinian members of UNRWA’s staff participated in the resistance’s Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on 7 October, leading the US and 18 other nations to swiftly suspend funding for the organization.

The suspensions were met with shock, as UNRWA plays a key role in providing food and medicine to starving Gazans struggling to survive Israel’s siege and bombardment of the coastal enclave. However, Israel’s allegations are not based on any evidence. They are instead part of a classified plan prepared in advance by Israel’s foreign ministry to destroy UNRWA. It believes that UNRWA “works against Israel’s interests” by perpetuating the dream of the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the idea of armed struggle against occupation. The foreign ministry plan leaked to Israel’s Channel 12 on 28 December, set out a three-stage process to eliminate UNRWA in Gaza, using the Hamas-led resistance operation as a pretext:

First, prepare a case alleging UNRWA’s cooperation with Hamas; second, reduce UNRWA’s field of activity and find replacement service providers; and third, transfer UNRWA’s responsibilities to another entity. Channel 12 noted that Israel wants to move slowly, given that the US government sees UNRWA as crucial to humanitarian efforts in Gaza. The foreign ministry is seeking to gradually build the case for ousting the organization as part of the discussions on “the day after” the war – should Hamas be dismantled. According to a report by The New York Times, the “sequence of events” that led the US to suspend UNRWA funding began on 18 January when Amir Weissbrod, a deputy director general at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, met with Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA in Tel Aviv.

Weissbrod showed Lazzarini a dossier from Israeli intelligence claiming that 12 UNRWA employees had participated in the 7 October attacks. After the meeting in Israel, Lazzarini made no effort to confirm the validity of the claims. Instead, he flew to New York to meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and immediately began firing the employees, a UN official said. The Guardian reported that Lazzarini was later asked in a press conference if he had looked into whether there was any evidence for the allegations presented to him by Weissbrod. “No,” Lazzarini replied, “the investigation is going on now.” Lazzarini said he made the “exceptional, swift decision” due to “the explosive nature of the claims,” rather than any evidence. Lazzarini said he did not even read the dossier himself because it was in Hebrew. Instead, Weissbrod “was reading this and translating for me,” he said.

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Better grow the economy, Joe.

Political, Economic Indicators Not Promising for Biden (Gallup)

Several key indicators of the 2024 election environment indicate that President Joe Biden faces an uphill climb to win a second term. His job approval rating, Americans’ satisfaction with how things are going in the country and their confidence in the economy are below the levels associated with successful reelection bids in recent elections. While Democrats hold a slight edge in national party identification and partisan leanings, that advantage is smaller than what it has been in past presidential elections won by Democratic incumbents. In less direct measures of the electoral environment, Americans are more inclined to say that they are worse off financially, that it is harder to buy things and that the U.S. is as respected throughout the world as it was before Biden took office.

Biden’s fate will ultimately be determined by whether Americans’ views on these metrics improve over the course of the year (as they did for Bill Clinton in 1996 and Barack Obama in 2012), stay the same or get worse (as they did for George H.W. Bush in 1992 and Donald Trump in 2020). Incumbent job approval is arguably the best predictor of reelection success. Presidents with approval ratings of 50% or higher close to Election Day have all been reelected. All but one president with a sub-50% approval rating lost, the exception being George W. Bush. He won reelection with a 48% approval rating in Gallup’s final 2004 preelection poll taken in late October. However, he registered multiple 50% readings earlier in the month and had a 51% approval rating among likely voters in that final survey.

Among the approval ratings that did not carry incumbents to victory, Trump’s 46% approval rating is the highest and Gerald Ford’s 45% is close behind. The inauspicious ratings descend from there, all the way down to 34% for George H.W. Bush. Biden’s 41% job approval rating, the lowest among incumbents in January of an election year, puts him in a precarious spot. It has not been unusual for incumbents to be below the 50% threshold this early on. But Biden’s reelection may depend on his ability to boost his numbers close to that threshold, something Clinton, Obama and Richard Nixon were able to do but Trump and Ford were not. Other presidents, including George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, saw significant declines in approval during their fourth year in office.

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“..Given Burns’ stature and diplomatic accomplishments, perhaps he would support the urgently needed accountability..”

How the CIA Destabilizes the World (Jeffrey Sachs)

Once in a while, a former U.S. official spills the beans, such as when Zbigniew Brzezinski revealed that he had induced Jimmy Carter to assign the CIA to train Islamic jihadists to destabilize the government of Afghanistan, with the aim of inducing the Soviet Union to invade that country. In the case of Syria, we learned from a few stories in the New York Times in 2016 and 2017 of the CIA’s subversive operations to destabilize Syria and overthrow Assad, as ordered by President Barack Obama. Here is the case of a dreadfully misguided CIA operation, blatantly in violation of international law, that has led to a decade of mayhem, an escalating regional war, hundreds of thousands of deaths, and millions of displaced people, and yet there has not been a single honest acknowledgment of this CIA-led disaster by the White House or Congress.

In the case of Ukraine, we know that the U.S. played a major covert role in the violent coup that brought down Yanukovych and that swept Ukraine into a decade of bloodshed but to this day, we don’t know the details. Russia offered the world a window into the coup by intercepting and then posting a call between Victoria Nuland, then U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (now Under-Secretary of State) and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (now Assistant Secretary of State), in which they plot the post-coup government. Following the coup, the CIA covertly trained special operations forces of the post-coup regime the U.S. had helped bring to power. The U.S. government has been mum about the CIA’s covert operations in Ukraine. We have good reason to believe that CIA operatives carried out the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline, as per Seymour Hersh, who is now an independent reporter. Unlike in 1975, when Hersh was with the New York Times at a time when the paper still tried to hold the government to account, the Times does not even deign to look into Hersh’s account.

Holding the CIA to public account is of course a steep uphill struggle. Presidents and the Congress don’t even try. The mainstream media don’t investigate the CIA, preferring instead to quote “senior unnamed officials” and the official cover-up. Are the mainstream media outlets lazy, suborned, afraid of advertising revenues from the military-industrial complex, threatened, ignorant, or all of the above? Who knows. There is a tiny glimmer of hope. Back in 1975, the CIA was led by a reformer. Today, the CIA is led by William Burns, one of America’s long-standing leading diplomats. Burns knows the truth about Ukraine, since he served as Ambassador to Russia in 2008 and cabled Washington about the grave error of pushing NATO enlargement to Ukraine. Given Burns’ stature and diplomatic accomplishments, perhaps he would support the urgently needed accountability.

The extent of the continuing mayhem resulting from CIA operations gone awry is astounding. In Afghanistan, Haiti, Syria, Venezuela, Kosovo, Ukraine, and far beyond, the needless deaths, instability, and destruction unleashed by CIA subversion continues to this day. The mainstream media, academic institutions, and Congress should be investigating these operations to the best of their ability and demanding the release of documents to enable democratic accountability. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the Church Committee hearings. Fifty years on, with the precedent, inspiration, and guidance of the Church Committee itself, it’s urgently time to open the blinds, expose the truth about the U.S.-led mayhem, and begin a new era in which U.S. foreign policy becomes transparent, accountable, subject to the rule of law both domestic and international, and directed towards global peace rather than subversion of supposed enemies.

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“..Think of them as being possessed by a monomania for war akin to my urge to play with toy soldiers. The key difference? When I played at war, I was a wet-behind-the-ears 10 year old..”

Bombing Muslims for Peace (Bill Astore)

Like many American boys of the baby-boomer generation, I played “war” with those old, olive-drab, plastic toy soldiers meant to evoke our great victory over the Nazis and “the Japs” during World War II. At age 10, I also kept a scrapbook of the 1973 Yom Kippur War between Israel and its various Arab enemies in the Middle East. It was, I suppose, an early sign that I would make both the military and the study of history into careers. I recall rooting for the Israelis, advertised then as crucial American allies, against Egypt, Syria, and other regional enemies at least ostensibly allied with the Soviet Union in that Cold War era. I bought the prevailing narrative of a David-versus-Goliath struggle. I even got a book on the Yom Kippur War that captivated me by displaying all the weaponry the U.S. military had rushed to Israel to turn the tide there, including F-4 Phantom jets and M-60 main battle tanks. (David’s high-tech slingshots, if you will.)

Little did I know that, in the next 50 years of my life, I would witness increasingly destructive U.S. military attacks in the Middle East, especially after the oil cartel OPEC (largely Middle Eastern then) hit back hard with an embargo in 1973 that sent our petroleum-based economy into a tailspin. As one jokester quipped: Who put America’s oil under the sands of all those ungrateful Muslim countries in the Middle East? With declarations like the Carter Doctrine in 1980, the U.S. was obviously ready to show the world just how eagerly it would defend its “vital interests” (meaning fossil fuels, of course) in that region. And even today, as we watch the latest round in this country’s painfully consistent record of attempting to pound various countries and entities there into submission, mainly via repetitive air strikes, we should never forget the importance of oil, and lots of it, to keep the engines of industry and war churning along in a devastating fashion.

Right now, of course, the world is witnessing yet another U.S. bombing campaign, the latest in a series that seems all too predictable (and futile), meant to teach the restless rebels of Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and possibly even Iran a lesson when it comes to messing with the United States of America. As the recently deceased country singer Toby Keith put it: Mess with this country and “We’ll put a boot (think: bomb) in your ass.” You kill three soldiers of ours and we’ll kill scores, if not hundreds, if not thousands of yours (and it doesn’t really matter if they’re soldiers or not), because… well, because we damn well can! America’s leaders, possessing a peerless Air Force, regularly exhibit a visceral willingness to use it to bomb and missile perceived enemies into submission or, if need be, nothingness. And don’t for a second think that they’re going to be stopped by international law, humanitarian concerns, well-meaning protesters, or indeed any force on this planet. America bombs because it can, because it believes in the efficacy of violence, and because it’s run by appeasers.

Yes, America’s presidents, its bombers-in-chief, are indeed appeasers. Of course, they think they’re being strong when they’re blowing distant people to bits, but their actions invariably showcase a distinctive kind of weakness. They eternally seek to appease the military-industrial-congressional complex, aka the national (in)security state, a complex state-within-a-state with an unappeasable hunger for power, profit, and ever more destruction. They fail and fail and fail again in the Middle East, yet they’re incapable of not ordering more bombing, more droning, more killing there. Think of them as being possessed by a monomania for war akin to my urge to play with toy soldiers. The key difference? When I played at war, I was a wet-behind-the-ears 10 year old.

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On purpose

 

 

Donuts

 

 

 

 

Jaguar
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758482520239214824

 

 

Pelican

 

 

Newborn dolphin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758471327562809740

 

 

Goats Jump

 

 

 

 

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