Feb 162024
 


J.J. Grandville ‘A Comet’s Journey’, Illustration from ‘Un Autre Monde’ 1844

 

Prosecutors Reportedly Met with Biden Admin Before 3 Trump Indictments (BB)
Judge Denies Trump Motion To Dismiss Stormy Daniels ‘Hush Money’ Case (ZH)
Obama CIA Colluded with Foreign Powers in Massive Spy Op Against Trump (Miles)
US Intel Asked Foreign Countries to Surveil Trump Associates (Turley)
US Intel Fabricated Claim Putin Preferred Trump Over Clinton in 2016 (Sp.)
Will Bobulinski’s Testimony End Joe Biden’s 2024 Presidential Bid? (Sp.)
A Kamala Harris Presidency Would Be The Death Of The Democrats (Bridge)
Trump Could Force Ukraine To Make Peace – Bloomberg (RT)
Texas Should Be Renamed ‘Ukraine’ – Rep. Chip Roy (RT)
Kremlin Responds To Rumors Of Russian Space Nukes (RT)
Epstein Victims Sue FBI (RT)
Over a Million Palestinians to be Forced Into Egypt at Gunpoint (Mike Whitney)
Soros Could Take Control Of Hundreds Of US Radio Stations (RT)
Europe ‘In For Very Rocky Times’ After Failed Sanctions on Russia (Miles)
Defusing the Derivatives Time Bomb (Ellen Brown)

 

 

 

 

Fani
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758242279196672503

Yeartie
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758162535197376793

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker radicalized


https://twitter.com/i/status/1758104468971769856

 

 

Mastery

 

 

 

 

The levels of collusion are out of this world. And still, “Stormy Daniels” is the only case left that still seems alive.

Prosecutors Reportedly Met with Biden Admin Before 3 Trump Indictments (BB)

Three separate prosecutors reportedly met with White House aides before indicting former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden’s political opponent. The reported meetings suggest a coordinated attack against Biden’s 2024 rival. If coordination occurred, it lends credence to Trump’s belief that the indictments are election interference. The timing of the indictments are peculiar. After Trump announced a reelection bid against Biden, four indictments hit Trump in four separate jurisdictions, each following revelations about the Biden family business. In three cases, prosecutors reportedly met with the Biden administration before indicting Trump:
Alvin Bragg: New York – “Stormy Daniels” Case (state)
Jack Smith: Miami – “Documents” Case (federal)
Fani Willis: Fulton County, Georgia (state)

First Case: “Stormy Daniels”
The first indictment occurred on April 4, 2023, the same day that former Biden aide Kathy Chung testified about Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, contradicting Biden’s version of events. On March 17, 2023, Bragg asked for a meeting with federal law enforcement ahead of the Trump indictment Trump, a court source told Fox News. A year earlier, Bragg’s office hired a former senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official Matthew Colangelo, who spent years targeting Trump at the Justice Department. He also attacked Trump in his role in the New York Attorney General’s office. “Bragg has been very discredited by the indictment because the people that read it, even Democrats—they’re saying this is not an indictment,” Trump exclusively told Breitbart News after the indictment: Some are saying this is unconstitutional because there’s no crime. He’s been absolutely discredited. It’s a shame. They’re willing to destroy our country. This is all run by the White House, by the way, just in case you have any questions. In fact, they put a man from the White House into one of the top White House/DOJ officials is right there—Matthew Colangelo. He’s the one that’s leading it. He was sitting in the front row in the court during the whole thing. He was in the front row. This is all done by the White House because they don’t want to run against us.

Second Case: “Documents”
Smith filed the second indictment on June 8, 2023, the same day an FBI 10-23 form surfaced alleging Joe Biden was bribed $5 million. Later in June, Smith filed a superseding indictment in the case the day after Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal in Delaware fell apart. Months prior, in March, a member of Biden’s counsel’s office met with a top member of Smith’s team, just nine weeks before he indicted Trump in the classified document case, Breitbart News reported. The meeting “raises obvious concerns about visits to the White House after [Bratt] began his work with the special counsel,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told the Post. “There is no reason why the Justice Department should not be able to confirm whether this meeting was related to the ongoing investigation or concerns some other matter.” Trump slammed the indictment as election interference. Biden does not want to “run” against him, Trump exclusively told Breitbart News in July. “They didn’t want to run against me. That’s why they did it,” he said. “They did this so I wouldn’t get the nomination… They don’t want to run against me, that’s why they did it.”

Third Case: Georgia Case
Willis filed the third indictment against Trump on August 14, 2023. The official court website of Fulton County, Georgia, published what appeared to be an indictment against Trump before deleting it. Months before the indictment, Willis’ top county prosecutor met twice with Biden’s White House counsel on May 23 and November 18, 2022, a year before Trump’s August indictment, Breitbart News reported. Willis’ prosecutor reportedly charged Fulton County taxpayers $2,000 for each meeting, billing $250 an hour for eight hours. Neither Willis nor the prosecutor dispute the allegations, but a spokesperson for Willis’s office told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution she would later respond in court filings. “[T]he district attorney was totally compromised. The case has to be dropped,” Trump told reporters in Washington, DC. “They say she’s in far more criminal liability than any of the people she’s looking at.” Once again, the timing of the indictment was suspect. Willis indicted Trump on the same day former FBI supervisory special agent confirmed Biden’s 2020 transition team was tipped off about its plan to interview Hunter Biden.

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“He has since been indicted in Florida, Georgia, and Washington D.C. – which has only propelled him to new heights in the polls.”

Judge Denies Trump Motion To Dismiss Stormy Daniels ‘Hush Money’ Case (ZH)

The judge in former President Donald Trump’s New York hush-money trial says the case will go forward as scheduled, with jury selection beginning on March 25. The decision by Judge Juan Manuel Merchan was made after consulting with the judge in Trump’s now-delayed federal election interference case in Washington DC. Trump was in attendance on Thursday for the hearing to determine whether Trump is guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in an alleged scheme to conceal stories about alleged extramarital affairs which former porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal sprung on the billionaire during the 2016 election. Thursday marked Trump’s first return to the court in the New York criminal case since he became the first ex-president indicted in US history. He has since been indicted in Florida, Georgia, and Washington D.C. – which has only propelled him to new heights in the polls.

Sparks flew in the coutroom, as Trump’s attorneys blasted the decision to keep the March date – arguing that Trump will have to stand trial in New York while simultaneously attempting to seal the Republican nomination. “It is completely election interference to say ‘you are going to sit in this courtroom in Manhattan,” said defense attorney Todd Blanche. Merchan at one point told Blanche “Stop interrupting me.” In recent weeks, Merchan has taken steps to prepare for the trial – which would be the first for Trump of his several cases, AP reports. Over the past year, Trump has lashed out at Merchan as a “Trump-hating judge,” asked him to step down from the case and sought to move the case from state court to federal court, all to no avail. Merchan has acknowledged making several small donations to Democrats, including $15 to Trump’s rival Joe Biden, but said he’s certain of his “ability to be fair and impartial.”

Thursday’s proceeding is part of a busy, overlapping stretch of legal activity for the Republican presidential front-runner, who has increasingly made his court involvement part of his political campaign. The recent postponement of a March 4 trial date in Trump’s Washington, D.C. election interference case removed a major hurdle to starting the New York case on time. -AP. Trump has denied any of the alleged sexual encounters. At the time, Trump’s lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000, and arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid to pay McDougal $150,000 in a practiced coined “catch-and-kill.” Trump’s company then paid Cohen $420,000 and marked the payments as legal expenses vs. reimbursements, according to prosecutors.

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Why the Five Eyes? “..the US was not able to spy on Trump legally [through] the intelligence community,” McAdams said. “So they asked their allies, ‘Hey, spy on someone and tell us what’s going on.’”

Obama CIA Colluded with Foreign Powers in Massive Spy Op Against Trump (Miles)

New reporting suggests the lengths the US deep state went to to undermine former US President Donald Trump. Since 2016, Democratic Party officials have accused former US President Donald Trump of illegally colluding with the Russian government as part of the discredited “Russiagate” narrative. Now, it appears such claims may represent a case of projection on the part of Trump’s critics. That’s the takeaway from a bombshell report by “Twitter Files” journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger this week that suggests that CIA officials under former US President Barack Obama worked through English-speaking intelligence partners to spy on Trump’s presidential campaign. The report alleges that the CIA under intelligence chief John Brennan worked with Five Eyes intelligence partners to circumvent legal restrictions against domestic spying by the agency. Five Eyes is an alliance of intelligence agencies in the United States, the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Brennan’s CIA allegedly colluded with these foreign intelligence agencies to conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign. The spy agency also reportedly targeted prominent people associated with the campaign, operating from a list of 26 figures that intelligence assets could attempt to extract information from. Attorney Steve Gill and analyst Daniel McAdams joined Sputnik’s Fault Lines program on Thursday to discuss the shocking revelations. “It’s now becoming clear that despite all the claims that Trump didn’t know what he was talking about when he said that his campaign operatives were being spied on by the federal government – they were,” noted Gill. “It is deplorable that we have a federal government that is spying on our citizens, not because of a legitimate national security interest, but because the deep state is trying to protect their interests rather than the interests of fair and free elections,” he added.

“You know, they’re targeting their political opponent. This is the stuff that you see in third-world countries and allegedly in Russia, and it is despicable that it’s not getting the backlash from the public and the media that it deserves.” Host Jamarl Thomas then cut to a clip of a 2020 appearance by Trump on the 60 Minutes television program. “The biggest scandal was when they spied on my campaign,” said Trump to reporter Leslie Stahl. “They spied on my campaign.” An argument then ensued between Trump and Stahl over whether the alleged spying actually took place. “He was right,” Thomas observed after playing the clip. “Leslie Stahl should be fired by 60 Minutes today,” said Gill.

“All these people that have collected their Emmys and their awards for their journalistic integrity and their successes, including those that denied that the Russia hoax was being pushed by Hillary Clinton… at the very least they should be turning in their awards as they exit their positions of power in the media.” Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, also commented on the bombshell report during the final hour of the program Thursday. “The revelations about the spying on the Trump campaign now that have come out thanks to Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger… [are] astonishing because it tells you that the US was not able to spy on Trump legally [through] the intelligence community,” McAdams said. “So they asked their allies, ‘Hey, spy on someone and tell us what’s going on.’”

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“Congress should be interested in whether the origins for the Russian investigation began with nudges from American intelligence in 2016 to the “Five Eyes.”

US Intel Asked Foreign Countries to Surveil Trump Associates (Turley)

There is a disturbing report published on Michael Shellenberger’s Public Substack detailing how the U.S. intelligence community called upon foreign governments to target associates of Donald Trump before the 2016 election. The request to the “Five Eyes” agencies (the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) appears to have come from Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan. According to Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag, foreign intelligence agencies were asked to conduct the surveillance, including “bumping” the associates — a term for making contact with or casually engaging a target to generate intelligence. These encounters may also have been used to generate intelligence reports used to support further intelligence efforts by the United States in the Russian investigation. The journalists reported that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters intelligence apparatus, or GCHQ, went ahead in contacting the Trump’s associates as early as March 2016.

Keep in mind that this was the same month that George Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign as an adviser. It was also when Papadopoulos met a London-based professor, Josef Mifsud, who Papadopoulos was led to believe had “substantial connections to Russian government officials.” On March 21, 2016, Trump identified Papadopoulos and Carter Page as members of his foreign policy team. If true, the question is the basis for such surveillance of U.S. citizens associated with the opposing political party and a presidential campaign. The role of Brennan is intriguing. Brennan was the one who briefed President Barack Obama on Hillary Clinton’s alleged “plan” to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”

It was also Brennan who later declared during the Trump Administration that a press conference with Vladimir Putin was “nothing short of treason.” He later said that he did not mean real treason when he said it was nothing short of treason. Brennan also signed the infamous letter warning that the Hunter Biden laptop had all of the markings of Russian intelligence, a letter that he later admitted was “political.” Now these sources are claiming that agents from the Five Eyes “were making contacts and bumping Trump people going back to March 2016.” Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced to probation in 2021 after admitting that he falsified evidence to renew a wiretap against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Shellenberger and Taibbi have a record of investigating in areas long avoided by other journalists, particularly in exposing the massive censorship system funded and coordinated by the government. There is much to learn about these allegations and their underlying support. If proven, it would appear that neither the Inspector General nor John Durham were given the full picture of the origins of the Russian investigation. Moreover, there are intriguing questions over a referenced binder that sources said contained much of this intelligence and analysis. That binder or binders allegedly disappeared from the CIA. Once again, this is still the early reporting and we need to have more confirmation on these facts. However, Congress should be interested in whether the origins for the Russian investigation began with nudges from American intelligence in 2016 to the “Five Eyes.”

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“..intelligence indicates that Russians viewed Clinton as manageable and likely to continue existing US policies, the report said..”

US Intel Fabricated Claim Putin Preferred Trump Over Clinton in 2016 (Sp.)

The US intelligence community fabricated claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, journalists Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag reported on Thursday. An Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) published by the US Director of National Intelligence in January 2017 purported that Putin wanted Trump to win the election. However, the assessment’s authors fabricated the intelligence on the claim, the report said, citing sources close to a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia scandal. The findings of the HPSCI investigation are being blocked from release, according to the report. Evidence indicates that Putin actually preferred Clinton, the report said.

The House investigators found that US intelligence analysts had information about Russians calling Trump unreliable and unsteady, the report said. In contrast, intelligence indicates that Russians viewed Clinton as manageable and likely to continue existing US policies, the report said. Former CIA Director John Brennan led the attempt to frame Trump as Putin’s preferred candidate in the ICA, the report said. The HPSCI investigation determined that the intelligence community conducted the assessment for political purposes, the report said. On Wednesday, Putin said in an interview with Russian media that it would be better for Russia for current US President Joe Biden to remain in office because he is more predictable. Trump called Putin’s remarks a “great compliment” and said that Biden would give up everything to Russia.

Russia will work with any president elected by US citizens, Putin added. In the wake of the 2016 election campaign, former President Trump was investigated by federal agencies for possible ties between his aides and Russia. Both Trump and Russia denied allegations of collusion. A four-year investigation by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the allegations found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy. A subsequent investigation by US Special Counsel John Durham concluded that the FBI should have never launched the probe into the collusion allegations.

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“..why are authorities finally giving Bobulinski an audience only now?”

Will Bobulinski’s Testimony End Joe Biden’s 2024 Presidential Bid? (Sp.)

Former head of the Sinohawk company Tony Bobulinski testified behind closed doors before US lawmakers in the House impeachment inquiry on February 13. Commenting on the testimony, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer told Just the News on Wednesday that Bobulinski had revealed that “Joe Biden knew [Tony] was going in business with Hunter and with [Joe’s brother] Jim Biden, and he knew that the business was selling the Biden brand.” In an explosive opening statement, Bobulinski alleged that Joe Biden could be probed in relation to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity statutes, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). “From publicly available information alone, it seems clear that the Biden family monetized Joe’s public offices for decades, just as the Clinton family seems to have done, albeit on a much smaller scale than the Clintons,” Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel told Sputnik.

“We also know from [Joe Biden’s] tax returns that he declared very low incomes for decades. Miraculously after he left the vice presidential mansion on January 20, 2017, his declared income soared. But the murky ventures that may have paid him millions of dollars have never accurately been explained. Like other corrupt, dynastic families in both political parties, the Bidens, until now, have never been forced to explain how they obtained their mansions and other assets, and whether they have paid all required income and other taxes on these cash flows.” Ortel drew attention to the fact that Bobulinski has been trying to make his case against the Biden family “business” for years; and yet over the same period, the FBI, Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service have refused to prosecute many Biden family members and associates for corruption, influence peddling, money-laundering and income tax evasion.

“The really damning questions here include why did government officials protect so many potential, high-level defendants and who has been involved in this decision-making process?” the Wall Street analyst asked. “As in my case in December 2018, when I tried to persuade the FBI to investigate Clinton Foundation crimes unsuccessfully, I think the real timing question is why are authorities finally giving Bobulinski an audience only now?” There are crucial questions concerning Bobulinski’s interaction with the Biden family and Chinese business tycoons which require answers, according to Jason Goodman, a US investigative journalist and founder of CrowdSource the Truth. “Bobulinski was in business with an individual who was addicted [Hunter Biden] to crack which is obviously illegal and dangerous,” Goodman told Sputnik. “Either he didn’t notice this, or he knew and didn’t think it was a concern. Either reflects poorly on his judgment.

Even without the crack, a reasonable person might have questions about getting into business with a bunch of Chinese nationals and the vice president’s moron son who clearly was doing exactly nothing for the business. It really is a very strange circumstance and hard to understand how a legitimate businessperson could find themselves in such a situation.” Charles Ortel also wonders “why [Bobulinski] agreed, initially, to get anywhere near the Biden family in these ‘ventures’. “Having stepped forward with his explosive allegations, Bobulinski runs the risk of being hunted by the Biden administration’s “justice machine”, according to Sputnik interlocutors. “One hopes Bobulinski is safe, but I believe another Biden accuser who deserves a fair hearing – Tara Reade – fled to Russia in fear of being attacked,” Ortel remarked. “Bobulinski will be repeatedly audited and harassed by the IRS. Also, given personal experience, his computer will be hacked by government operatives,” suggested retired certified public accountant Robert Bishop in an interview with Sputnik.

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“..Harris was polling at 1% when she dropped out of the presidential nominee race in 2019..”

A Kamala Harris Presidency Would Be The Death Of The Democrats (Bridge)

With President Joe Biden’s advanced age and cognitive decline taking central stage just months before the presidential election, Democrats need to discuss ‘the Kamala problem.’ As the US speeds towards the 2024 presidential election, the Democrats find themselves in a rather untenable position. Not only is the incumbent US President Joe Biden suffering visibly on the mental front – reminiscing aloud over meetings he’s never had with long-dead world leaders – but his second in command lacks the essential support of the Democratic base. While Biden’s approval rating sits in the basement at 39%, Vice President Kamala Harris has managed to outdo him with 37.5%. This should come as no surprise considering that Harris was polling at 1% when she dropped out of the presidential nominee race in 2019. How did she manage to alienate so many people within her own party?

Earlier in her career as California’s district attorney, Harris, the child of immigrants from Jamaica and India, had a reputation as a ‘top cop’ who worked against the interests of victims. She frequently failed, for example, to exercise her authority to investigate charges of misconduct and abuse by police and prosecutors. At the same time, she often kept people – many of them poor black people – behind bars even when there was ample evidence of wrongful convictions, while opposing legislation that would have demanded her office to investigate fatal police shootings. During the 2019 Democratic presidential debate, Representative Tulsi Gabbard called out Harris over her record. “She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations, and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said. “She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California. And she fought to keep cash bail systems in place that impacts poor people in the worst possible way.”

Harris never denied the charges, only saying that she was responsible for “reforming California’s justice system.” More recently, Harris’ popularity has taken a hit because she has failed to show any real accomplishments in the past four years on the VP job. On the most important issue that Biden tasked Harris with, which was to investigate what was driving waves of illegal immigrants to America, she dropped the ball, neglecting to even visit the US-Mexico border. A former Biden administration senior official told Axios: “She’s been at best ineffective, and at worst sporadically engaged and not seeing [the border] was her responsibility. It’s an opportunity for her, and she didn’t fill the breach.” This is what happens when you elect a candidate based on their identity, not their competence – it’s nearly impossible to relieve them of their duties.

Should the Democratic Party take the decision to replace Harris, 59, at this particular juncture, the fallout would be fierce and swift. Anyone who dares criticize Harris, the first woman and first Black American to hold the office of vice president, will be accused of holding her to a higher standard than past (male, white) politicians. As far as Harris is concerned, she firmly believes that she can lead the nation should something untoward happen to Joe Biden. “I am ready to serve. There’s no question about that,” Harris told the Wall Street Journal in an interview last week, just days before the release of a damning report emphasizing her boss’ failing memory. The report, penned by Special Counsel Robert Hur after an investigation into Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, said Biden displayed “diminished faculties” in interviews and derided him as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

The public relations fallout has become so critical for the White House that there are rumors of invoking the 25th Amendment, which outlines presidential succession. This empowers the vice president and cabinet to remove the president from office through a majority vote in the event it’s determined he or she is no longer fit to hold office. The amendment has never been invoked in US history, and it probably won’t be invoked now since the specter of a Harris presidency is even less attractive than sitting through a Biden speech. Whatever the case may be, Donald Trump will not miss an opportunity to throw a spotlight on Harris and her inglorious stint as vice president, nor should he, considering that chances are high that Biden won’t serve out his term through age 86. In other words, Trump would be reminding Americans that a vote for Joe Biden is essentially a vote for Kamala Harris. Such a strategy will likely attract many swing voters into the Trump camp.

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And peace is of course bad.

Trump Could Force Ukraine To Make Peace – Bloomberg (RT)

Republican presidential frontrunner and ex-US leader Donald Trump is planning to pressure Ukraine to negotiate peace with Russia if he wins an expected rematch against incumbent Joe Biden for the White House, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing sources. Should Trump become president, he may also retract a number of defense commitments to some NATO allies, according to reports. People familiar with the matter said Trump advisers had talked about ways of bringing Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his Russian counterpart to the negotiating table shortly after the potential inauguration. One adviser, according to Bloomberg, suggested that Washington could push Kiev to engage with Moscow by threatening to cut massive military assistance, adding that Russia could be swayed by the threat of increasing that aid instead.

Bloomberg sources also stressed that Trump aides had not discussed the matter with Russian officials, as it would be illegal for private US entities to negotiate with foreign governments on behalf of the administration. Russian officials have repeatedly said they are open to talks with Ukraine, but noted that any dialogue would take place only after Zelensky cancels his decree banning negotiations with the current leadership in Moscow. The Ukrainian leader introduced the ban last autumn after four of Kiev’s former regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Another facet of Trump’s presumed foreign policy appears to be a concept of “a two-tiered NATO alliance” in which a common defense clause would be applied only to those nations that had reached a certain defense-spending threshold, Bloomberg reported, adding that no final decision had been made on the matter.

Still, the agency noted that such an approach could “upend decades of US policy” while risking “fracturing” the defense alliance. During his term as president, Trump repeatedly pushed NATO countries to increase military spending to 2% of GDP, a threshold many have struggled to reach. As of July, only 11 NATO members had met or exceeded that level. Bloomberg’s report came after Trump claimed last week that, while in office, he had threatened not to defend those ‘delinquent’ NATO members that did not pay their fair share of defense spending if they were attacked by Russia. His remarks triggered condemnation both from the White House and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Moscow has repeatedly said it has no plans or interest in attacking the US-led military bloc.

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“I’ve never seen the nursing home known as the United States Senate work harder than when it comes to spending the American people’s money for foreign wars..”

Texas Should Be Renamed ‘Ukraine’ – Rep. Chip Roy (RT)

Republican congressman Chip Roy from Texas has slammed the US Senate for passing a $95 billion bill for Ukraine and Israel without including provisions for securing the southern border, calling the bill an “abomination.” The Democratic-led upper house passed the international security assistance package on Tuesday with a 70-29 vote after a group of Republican lawmakers broke ranks to back the measure – but it has yet to be approved by the House of Representatives. Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Roy proposed submitting a bill to rename the state of Texas as Ukraine, quipping that “then, maybe this administration and senators will work on securing the border of the United States.” “I’ve never seen the nursing home known as the United States Senate work harder than when it comes to spending the American people’s money for foreign wars,” the Republican lawmaker said.

Roy went on to call out GOP senators who supported the Senate bill, and who argued that much of the $60 billion for Ukraine would in fact support the US defense-industrial base and help American business. “Since when do we have economic development that is being driven by funding war overseas?” the congressman asked, insisting that “anybody that’s sane and sees what’s happening at our southern border would know that you cannot fund foreign wars, while our border is wide open and exposed to criminals and lawlessness and terrorists.” Roy stated that border security remains a priority for the American people as well as for Republicans in Congress, and vowed to block the Senate-approved bill when it gets to the House.

House speaker Mike Johnson has strongly opposed further funding for Ukraine unless it is tied to border security and tougher immigration laws. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has been urging Congress to speed up approval of the aid for Ukraine, arguing that stalling the funds plays into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin and increases the likelihood of a direct confrontation with Moscow in the future. Biden has claimed the Russia could attack a NATO state if it manages to defeat Ukraine, which would require Washington to intervene, in line with the bloc’s mutual defense guarantee. Moscow, in turn, has repeatedly denied having any intention to attack NATO – with Putin stressing that Russia has “no interest… geopolitically, economically or militarily” in doing so, and would only engage in hostilities if attacked first.

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“It’s clear that the White House is trying, by hook or by crook, to push Congress to vote on a bill to approve funding [for Ukraine]. We’ll see what tricks the White House will use..”

Kremlin Responds To Rumors Of Russian Space Nukes (RT)

Western media reports claiming that Russia could place nuclear weapons in space are nothing more than a ploy by the White House to convince US lawmakers to approve further military aid to Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. Citing sources, several US media outlets reported this week that American intelligence had obtained information on purported Russian plans to deploy a nuclear anti-satellite system in orbit, although the idea supposedly remains at the developmental stage. ABC News claimed that while the system would not be used to attack targets on Earth, US officials still consider it “very concerning and very sensitive.” Responding on Thursday, Peskov suggested that the administration of US President Joe Biden is using the issue to force a vote to approve Ukraine aid. Moscow, however, will wait and see what comes from an upcoming White House briefing on the topic, Peskov added.

“It’s clear that the White House is trying, by hook or by crook, to push Congress to vote on a bill to approve funding [for Ukraine]. We’ll see what tricks the White House will use,” he said. Nuclear weapons in space are banned under the Outer Space Treaty, which was opened for signature by the US, Soviet Union, and the UK in 1967, as Moscow and Washington sought to ease tensions during the Cold War. More than 100 countries have since joined the treaty. On Wednesday, Republican congressman Mike Turner, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, claimed to have shared information “concerning a serious national security threat” with US lawmakers, while urging Biden to declassify the relevant materials. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is scheduled to brief congressional leaders on security issues on Thursday.

When pressed on whether he would address Turner’s concerns, he declined to respond, noting he was “surprised” by the statement, given the upcoming meeting on the matter. His comments came after the New York Times suggested, citing sources, that Turner – whom it described as the administration’s ally on Ukraine aid – had pushed the nuclear issue into the spotlight, to “perhaps to create pressure” on lawmakers to approve $60 billion in supplemental funding for Kiev. The Biden administration has been urging Congress to approve more aid for Ukraine since the autumn. Its efforts have been met with opposition from Republicans, who have demanded that the White House do more to improve security on the southern US border in return.

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“..Wray promised to conduct an internal investigation to “figure out if there is more information we can provide.”

Epstein Victims Sue FBI (RT)

A dozen victims of Jeffrey Epstein have sued the FBI, alleging that the agency failed to properly investigate the notorious sex offender. They claim that the FBI sat on reports about Epstein’s activities for two decades, allowing the victims to be “trafficked, abused, raped, tortured and threatened.” The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in New York on Wednesday by 12 women, all of whom are referred to in the document as anonymous Jane Does. “For over two decades, the Federal Bureau of Investigation permitted Jeffrey Epstein to sex traffic and sexually abuse scores of children and young women by failing to do the job the American people expected of it,” the complaint alleges. “As a result of the continued failures of the FBI, Jane Does 1-12 bring this lawsuit to get to the bottom – once and for all – of the FBI’s role in Epstein’s criminal sex trafficking ring.”

According to the lawsuit, the FBI began receiving tips, reports, and complaints about Epstein’s alleged trafficking and abuse of minors in 1996, but failed to open a case or share this information with other law enforcement agencies. The FBI eventually opened a case in 2006, two years before Epstein pleaded guilty to a child prostitution charge in Florida. A controversial plea deal saw Epstein register as a sex offender and serve 13 months on supervised release in lieu of a possible life sentence. Despite the fact that he had been convicted for one offense and dodged a litany of other sex-trafficking charges, the FBI continued to ignore tips that flowed in over the next decade, the lawsuit claims. “As a direct and proximate cause of the FBI’s negligence, plaintiffs would not have been continued to be sex trafficked, abused, raped, tortured and threatened,” the complaint said. Epstein was eventually arrested in 2019 and charged with the trafficking of dozens of minors. He died awaiting trial in a Manhattan jail cell a month later, with his death officially ruled a suicide.

Epstein’s girlfriend and “madam,” Ghislaine Maxwell, was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for child sex trafficking in 2022. According to testimony from victims, Epstein and Maxwell recruited girls to perform sexual acts on themselves and their rich and powerful associates, and instructed these girls to recruit additional victims. Among the powerful men accused of abusing the girls was Britain’s Prince Andrew, who settled out of court with an accuser in 2022. The plaintiffs behind the latest lawsuit are seeking an unspecified amount in compensation and damages from the US government. The FBI has already been accused of negligence in its handling of the Epstein case. In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in December, agency Director Christopher Wray was asked why the FBI didn’t do more to stop the notorious pedophile. Wray promised to conduct an internal investigation to “figure out if there is more information we can provide.”

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Egypt has started building refugee camps.

Over a Million Palestinians to be Forced Into Egypt at Gunpoint (Mike Whitney)

Here’s a blurb from Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion who said: “You are no doubt aware of the [Jewish National Fund’s] activity in this respect. Now a transfer of a completely different scope will have to be carried out. In many parts of the country new settlement will not be possible without transferring the Arab fellahin.” He concluded: “Jewish power [in Palestine], which grows steadily, will also increase our possibilities to carry out this transfer on a large scale.” (1948) This same line of reasoning has persisted through the decades although today’s Zionists tend to express themselves more brashly and with less restraint. Take, for example, popular conservative pundit Ben Shapiro who presented his views in an article titled “Transfer is Not a Dirty Word”. Here’s what he said:

“If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper. It’s an ugly solution, but it is the only solution. And it is far less ugly than the prospect of bloody conflict ad infinitum…. The Jews don’t realize that expelling a hostile population is a commonly used and generally effective way of preventing violent entanglements. There are no gas chambers here. It’s not genocide; it’s transfer…. It’s time to stop being squeamish. Jews are not Nazis. Transfer is not genocide. And anything else isn’t a solution”. Transfer is Not a Dirty Word, Narkive “Squeamish”? Shapiro thinks that anyone who recognizes the appalling moral horror of driving people off their land and forcing them into refugee camps is squeamish?

This is the essence of political Zionism and it dates back to the very beginning of the Jewish state. So, when critics claim that Netanyahu has assembled the “most right-wing government in Israel’s history”, don’t believe them. Netanyahu is no better or worse than his predecessors. The only Prime Minister who veered even slightly from this ‘iron law’ of Zionism, was Yitzhak Rabin who was (predictably) assassinated by an opponent of Oslo. What does that tell you?It tells you there was never going to be a “two-state” solution; it was a charade from the get-go. And (as Netanyahu intimated recently) Israeli leaders merely played along with the hoax in order to buy-time to prepare for the solution that is being imposed today. Have you ever wondered why so many Israelis support Netanyahu’s murderous rampage in Gaza?

(Hint) It’s not because Israeli Jews are homicidal maniacs. No. It’s because they know what he is doing. They’re not taken-in by the “Hamas” diversion, that is merely propaganda pablum for the West. They know that Netanyahu is implementing a plan to seize all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. And, in doing so, he is achieving the territorial ambitions of his Zionist ancestors. So, even though the majority of Israelis despise Netanyahu and think he should be prosecuted for corruption, they are willing to look the other way while he does their bidding. What onlookers need to realize is that the current strategy is not new at all, in fact, it has a 75 year-long pedigree that aligns with the demographic objectives of the Zionist leadership. None of this of course has anything to do with Hamas which is merely the pretext for the eradication of the indigenous people. What we are seeing is the actualization of the Zionist dream, the modern version of Plan Dalet, the original roadmap for ethnic cleaning that was drawn up in 1948.

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“He was the largest donor of the 2022 US midterm election season, funneling $128 million to Democratic candidates and organizations..”

Soros Could Take Control Of Hundreds Of US Radio Stations (RT)

Liberal financier George Soros has bought a major stake in the US’ second-largest radio company and could gain “effective control” of more than 220 stations across the country, the New York Post reported on Wednesday. Soros Fund Management purchased around $400 million of debt owed by the Audacy media group during its bankruptcy process, the newspaper reported, citing court filings. The billionaire bought the debt at roughly 50 cents on the dollar from hedge fund HG Vora, the report continued, noting that once the deal is approved by a bankruptcy court, Soros will own about 40% of Audacy’s overall debt. While 40% is not a majority stake, a source told the New York Post that Soros could nevertheless gain “effective control of the media giant when it emerges from bankruptcy.”

Audacy owns 227 music, sports, and talk radio stations in 45 US states. The company also owns CBS Radio, which operates 11 news stations including San Francisco’s KCBS and New York’s WCBS. After years of declining revenue, Audacy filed for bankruptcy early last month with $1.9 billion in debt. Should the deal go ahead as reported, Audacy will be the latest addition to Soros’ growing media empire. Soros Fund Management joined a consortium of creditors to purchase Vice Media last summer, paying $350 million to acquire a former media juggernaut once valued at $5.7 billion. An “insider source” cited by the New York Post described the Audacy deal as “scary,” saying he believed that Soros intended to use his stake to influence public opinion ahead of this year’s presidential election.

A hedge fund manager who shot to infamy for crashing the British pound in 1992, Soros is among the wealthiest men on earth, with an estimated net worth of around $7 billion. That’s on top of the $32 billion he’s donated to a web of NGOs, charities and political campaigns through his Open Society Foundations. Soros is an advocate for mass immigration to Western countries, European federalism, and economic and political liberalism. He was the largest donor of the 2022 US midterm election season, funneling $128 million to Democratic candidates and organizations. As well as direct donations to candidates and activist groups, Soros reportedly gave $300,000 to a group of TikTok influencers who collaborated with the White House to promote President Joe Biden’s policies. The Open Society Foundations announced last year that Soros, who is 93 years old, would step down from the helm of the organization and hand control to his 38-year-old son, Alex.

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“..“no one is buying European or German products,” he claimed, contributing to “a really critically-wounded Europe.” “We are in for very rocky times..”

Europe ‘In For Very Rocky Times’ After Failed Sanctions on Russia (Miles)

Beijing reacted angrily Wednesday to reports that the European Union plans to target three Chinese companies as part of the bloc’s 13th round of sanctions against Russia. The move by the EU follows claims that Chinese and Indian businesses have helped Russia “circumvent” European sanctions by providing them with electronic components used in the manufacturing of drones and other military equipment. The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia since the intensification of the Donbass conflict in early 2022. Beijing blasted the EU restrictions as “illegal” and criticized the “long-arm jurisdiction” against Chinese companies. China has benefited in recent months as Western sanctions against Russian energy have hampered European competitiveness, forcing companies in Germany and other EU nations to raise prices as they rely on more expensive American liquified natural gas.

Seen in this light, the EU’s attempts to punish Chinese businesses may be viewed as a desperate attempt to hobble the competition as Europe increasingly faces economic crisis and deindustrialization. Economist Richard Wolff joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program on Wednesday to discuss the grim economic outlook for the continent. “Europe, which has been kind of a dominant player in the whole world for a couple of thousand of years, is in what I believe to be – and I’m far from the only one – a crisis so profound it may be what we look back on and call the terminal crisis, the last one, because it literally cannot survive,” Wolff speculated. “On the one hand, it is being outcompeted by the United States, which has dominated it for the last 75 years anyway,” he noted. “But now the new player in the world economy, the People’s Republic of China and its allies, known generally as the BRICS, competing and challenging Europe, from the other side of the planet, if you like, means that Europe is caught between them.”

Wolff claimed the cultural, historical, and linguistic differences between EU countries have undermined the continent’s attempts to unify in recent decades. Now, Europe is a “junior partner” Wolff claimed, caught between the US-led G7 economic bloc and the China-led BRICS countries. While Europe previously benefited from its relationship with Russia in the form of cheap natural gas, Russia has now turned towards China and the other nations of the BRICS bloc after being “betrayed by the rest of Europe.” If the solidifying of new alliances has economically harmed Europe, it has benefitted Russia, Wolff claimed, which has been able to sell its oil and gas to India and China. “The Russian ruble is in fine shape. The Russian economy is growing faster than last year, [faster] than the United States is and is in no way falling apart,” the economist insisted. Meanwhile “no one is buying European or German products,” he claimed, contributing to “a really critically-wounded Europe.” “We are in for very rocky times,” Wolff warned ominously.

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“.. in the event of the bankruptcy of a major financial institution, derivative claimants are put first in line to grab the assets — not just the deposits of customers but their stocks and bonds..”

Defusing the Derivatives Time Bomb (Ellen Brown)

This is a sequel to a Jan. 15 article titled “Casino Capitalism and the Derivatives Market: Time for Another ‘Lehman Moment’?”, discussing the threat of a 2024 “black swan” event that could pop the derivatives bubble. That bubble is now over ten times the GDP of the world and is so interconnected and fragile that an unanticipated crisis could trigger the collapse not just of the bubble but of the economy. To avoid that result, in the event of the bankruptcy of a major financial institution, derivative claimants are put first in line to grab the assets — not just the deposits of customers but their stocks and bonds. This is made possible by the Uniform Commercial Code, under which all assets held by brokers, banks and “central clearing parties” have been “dematerialized” into fungible pools and are held in “street name.”

This article will consider several proposed alternatives for diffusing what Warren Buffett called a time bomb waiting to go off. That sort of bomb just detonated in the Chinese stock market, contributing to its fall; and the result could be much worse in the U.S., where the stock market plays a much larger role in the economy. A Jan.30 article on Bloomberg News notes that “Chinese stocks’ brutal start to the year is being at least partly blamed on the impact of a relatively new financial derivative known as a snowball. The products are tied to indexes, and a key feature is that when the gauges fall below built-in levels, brokerages will sell their related futures positions.” Further details are in a Jan. 23rd article titled “’Snowball’ Derivatives Feed China’s Stock Market Avalanche.” It states, “China’s plunging stock market is leading to losses on billions of dollars worth of derivatives linked to the country’s equity indexes, fuelling further selling as retail investors offload their positions…. Snowball products are similar to the index-linked products sold in the 2008 financial crisis, with investors betting that U.S. equities would not fall more than 25% or 30%,” which they did.

The Chinese stock market is much younger and smaller than that in the U.S., with a much smaller role in the economy. Thus China’s economy remains relatively protected from disruptive ups and downs in the stock market. Not so in the U.S., where speculating in the derivatives casino brought down international insurer AIG and investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, triggering the global financial crisis of 2008-09. AIG had to be bailed out by the taxpayers to prevent collapse of the too-big-to-fail derivative banks, and Lehman Brothers went through a messy bankruptcy that took years to resolve. In a December 2010 article on Seeking Alpha titled “Derivatives: The Big Banks’ Quadrillion-Dollar Financial Casino,” attorney Michael Snyder wrote, “derivatives were at the heart of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, and whenever the next financial crisis happens, derivatives will undoubtedly play a huge role once again…. Today, the world financial system has been turned into a giant casino where bets are made on just about anything you can possibly imagine, and the major Wall Street banks make a ton of money from it. The system … is totally dominated by the big international banks.”

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Ron Paul Assange

 

 

 

 

Baby rhino

 

 

Bear and Moose

 

 

 

 

Lion turtle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758108922764804147

 

 

Dinosaur
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758103418093064324

 

 

India and Pakistan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758122937905820057

 

 

Bach

 

 

Legend

 

 

 

 

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Jan 072024
 
 January 7, 2024  Posted by at 9:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  37 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn An Old Scholar Near a Window in a Vaulted Room 1631

 

In a World Fraught With War and Danger… Signs of Hope (SCF Op-ed)
Israeli War Cabinet Cracks At The Seams Over Possible 7 October Probe (Cradle)
Israel Aiming To Derail ICJ Genocide Case – Axios (RT)
Biden Admin Can Force Israel to Stop Fighting in Gaza But Will Not Do It (Sp.)
Retired US General on Why American Army Numbers Smallest Since 1940 (Sp.)
Zelensky Punishes Men And Women Who Refuse Draft (Kominyenko)
White House Warns Of ‘Dire’ Situation With Ukraine Aid (RT)
Obama Sends Election Warning To Biden – WaPo (RT)
Criticism Over Secrecy of Pentagon Chief’s Hospitalization Mounts (Sp.)
Trump Says He Has ‘More Indictments Than Al Capone’ (RT)
Epstein, Clintons, Zelenska & Cash (Sp.)
Epstein Invoked Fifth Amendment 600 Times in 2016 Testimony (Sp.)
Hunter Biden’s ‘Sugar Brother’ Kevin Morris Plots Gauzy Documentary On First Son
When Satire Beats You By 18 Months

 

 

 

 

Trump Jan 6

 

 

Tucker Clay Higgins Jan 6 – Revealing -Over 200 FBI assets

 

 

 

 

RFK

 

 

 

 

Orlov

 

 

Ritter

 

 

 

 

“The U.S. and its Western partners are bankrupt in every way, financially, morally and politically. The world can see that as clear as the fable of the naked emperor..”

In a World Fraught With War and Danger… Signs of Hope (SCF Op-ed)

The emergence of a multipolar world is a reminder that the world has a lot to be optimistic about – despite the ravages of conflict and manifold perilous tensions. Russia and China’s strength to face down U.S. aggression is one such assurance of a better world taking shape. Out with the old and in with the new. There is an unerring sense that we are witnessing not merely one year giving way to the next. The world is undergoing truly historic changes that are related to the inexorable decline of the U.S.-led Western order and the emergence of a multipolar global order. The United States is still undoubtedly a global power with hegemonic ambitions. Its possession of hundreds of military bases in over 100 countries around the world is a testimony to its formidable military strength.

Nevertheless, the Washington-dominated Western order – or so-called “rules-based order” – is in fateful decline. The emergence of a multipolar alternative order is illustrated by numerous fora, the BRICS with its growing membership, the increasing influence of the G20, and the dynamism of the Eurasian economies. All these developments bear witness to the demise of the Western order. The substantial move away from the U.S. dollar as the premier currency of trade is perhaps the most consequential manifestation of the global shifts in power. Empires rarely expire quietly as millennia of history show. There is always a hard-bitten struggle to maintain privileges and monopoly control. The fading of the U.S. is no different. The empire is going down screaming and kicking.

This would account for the mainspring of tensions and conflict in today’s world. The proxy war in Ukraine against Russia, the eruption of genocidal violence in the Middle East and the incendiary tensions in the Asia-Pacific with China are all related to the U.S. loss of imperial power. Given the appalling violence and danger of these conflicts escalating into a conflagration, we nevertheless conclude the year with hopeful realism. Russia, China, and many other nations are steadfastly refusing to capitulate to U.S. aggression. The American empire is cornered by its own corruption and internal crisis. There was a time in history when Western powers could shoot their way out of trouble by starting wars overseas under all sorts of false pretences.

Those days are over. The U.S. and its Western partners are bankrupt in every way, financially, morally and politically. The world can see that as clear as the fable of the naked emperor. Russia, China and other nations that aspire for a new, fairer world based on respect for international law and the founding principles of the United Nations are not going to pander to the geopolitical blackmail of the U.S. and its dying Western empire. Despite the grim circumstances existing in parts, the world has much to look forward to in terms of achieving international cooperation, development and peace. Signs of hope are all around us. When an empire goes down there is much grinding and gnashing. But it goes down and the world goes on.

Happy New Year to all our readers.

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“What happened yesterday was a politically motivated attack in the middle of a war.” “I have participated in many cabinet meetings. Such conduct has never occurred and must not occur..”

Israeli War Cabinet Cracks At The Seams Over Possible 7 October Probe (Cradle)

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz says he supports the Israeli Army Chief of Staff’s call for an investigation into the security and intelligence failures of 7 October, the Times of Israel reported on 6 January. During a cabinet meeting on 5 January, several extremist ministers, including National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, ganged up against Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi for his intention to launch a probe into the army’s shortcomings on 7 October, when Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on military bases and settlements in southern Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly ended the meeting after shouting erupted as some ministers came to Halevi’s defense.

Gantz acknowledged it was appropriate for government ministers to challenge the information provided to them by security chiefs at cabinet meetings but added: “What happened yesterday was a politically motivated attack in the middle of a war.” “I have participated in many cabinet meetings. Such conduct has never occurred and must not occur,” he said. Gantz then defended Halevi’s decision to appoint a panel to probe the military’s failures on 7 October. Netanyahu has insisted that such a probe can only occur after the war. The Chief of Staff explained his reason for opening a probe to Ynet: “Something happened here that the army should learn from. Tomorrow, if an incident happens in another sector, we want to understand what caused the failure in the chain of command. This is an operational investigation that has implications for the fighting in the north.”

Opening an investigation into the events of 7 October is controversial for Israeli leaders as it could affect the political fortunes of many should they be found responsible for an event that Israelis view as the greatest national tragedy since the Holocaust. Numerous reports have also emerged in Israeli media suggesting that the army killed many of their soldiers and civilians on 7 October to stop the Hamas attack. Roughly 1,200 Israeli soldiers and civilians died during the fighting; Israeli authorities typically claim Hamas murdered them all.

Israel deployed tanks, attack helicopters, and armed drones to attack the Israeli settlements infiltrated by Hamas. Troops bombed homes with Hamas fighters and their Israeli captives inside and attacked Hamas fighters near the border as they were taking Israelis captive back to Gaza. As a result, many Israelis were killed in their homes by Israeli tanks and helicopter fire, while others were gunned down near the Gaza border. Any investigation into the army’s conduct on 7 October would provide additional details of how, when, and how many Israelis were killed by friendly fire.

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“A ruling by the court could have significant potential implications that are not only in the legal world but have practical bilateral, multilateral, economic, security ramifications..”

Israel Aiming To Derail ICJ Genocide Case – Axios (RT)

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has ordered its embassies across the globe to pressure their host countries to reject South Africa’s genocide case against it at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Axios has reported, citing an urgent diplomatic cable. Pretoria addressed the ICJ last week, claiming that Israel’s ongoing attacks on Gaza are “genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part” of the Palestinian population. South Africa wants the The Hague-based court to issue an injunction ordering the IDF to suspend its military campaign in the enclave. More than 22,600 people have been killed in Gaza over the past three months, according to the local health ministry.

ICJ
https://twitter.com/i/status/1743520801620480247

The cable, which was sent out by the Foreign Ministry on Thursday, stresses that Israel’s “strategic goals” are for the ICJ to reject South Africa’s request for an injunction, refrain from determining that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and acknowledge that the IDF’s actions in the enclave comply with international law, Axios said in an article on Saturday. “A ruling by the court could have significant potential implications that are not only in the legal world but have practical bilateral, multilateral, economic, security ramifications,” the document, copies of which were seen by the outlet, read. According to the Foreign Ministry, Israeli diplomats must pressure their counterparts and high-level politicians in host countries to issue “immediate and unequivocal public statement along the following lines: To publicly and clearly state that YOUR COUNTRY rejects the outragest, absurd and baseless allegations made against Israel.”

It’s also important for foreign nations “to publicly acknowledge that Israel is working to increase the humanitarian aid to Gaza, as well as to minimize damage to civilians, while acting in self defense after the horrible October 7 attack by a genocidal terrorist organization [Hamas],” the cable read. The Foreign Ministry stressed that Israeli diplomats must urgently work on obtaining such statements so that they come out before the ICJ hearings begin on January 11. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also send letters to dozens of world leaders, relaying a similar message, it added. Countries like Türkiye, Jordan, and Malaysia have supported South Africa’s cases. However, it was rejected by Israel’s prime backer, the US. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said earlier this week that “we are not seeing any acts that constitute genocide” in Gaza.

Nap Mearsheimer

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“But of course, Blinken is not going to do that. He is a diehard Zionist. He is in on the plot over there with Netanyahu to inflict outright genocide on the Palestinians..”

Biden Admin Can Force Israel to Stop Fighting in Gaza But Will Not Do It (Sp.)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has undertaken yet another voyage to the Middle East, meeting Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip. While media reports this week suggested that Blinken will try facilitate the return of Palestinians displaced by the fighting back to their homes and to urge Israel to increase aid to Palestinians, American human rights lawyer Francis Anthony Boyle argues that the US state secretary is “up to no good.” In an interview with Sputnik, Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois’ College of Law, suggested that Blinken headed to the Middle East to “better coordinate the escalation of conflict” there instead of trying to put an end to bloodshed. “In fact, the Biden administration just needs to order Israel to cease fire immediately, and they will have to do it.

“But of course, Blinken is not going to do that. He is a diehard Zionist. He is in on the plot over there with Netanyahu to inflict outright genocide on the Palestinians,” Boyle said. According to him, the US appears to be “just backing whatever Israel wants to do,” which currently appears to be attempting to to displace over 2 million Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. “If you look at the countries Blinken is going to, he is going to try to neutralize any opposition to this plan by by Israel and see if they can pull it off,” Boyle remarked. He also argued that the Biden administration is “complicit in Israeli genocide against the Palestinians” by supplying Israel with military hardware and munitions and by providing Tel Aviv with political support.

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“..they’re trying to bring those individuals back into the force, but it’s not happening. They don’t want to come back.”

Retired US General on Why American Army Numbers Smallest Since 1940 (Sp.)

By the end of 2023, there will be only 452,000 active-duty soldiers in the US Army, the smallest force since 1940, Defense News recently reported. In this vein, the international military news outlet pointed to recruiting shortfalls in the U.S. Army that could result in 3,000 Army Special Operations troops being cut before the end of this year. There are a number of factors that have contributed to the dwindling strength of the [US] armed forces, Paul E. Vallely, a retired US Army major general and chairman of the Stand Up America US Foundation, told Sputnik. First and foremost is the COVID-19 pandemic, in which a number of US soldiers were discharged from the army without pay because they didn’t want to take the vaccine, according to Vallely. “And of course, now they’ve changed that around, and they’re trying to bring those individuals back into the force, but it’s not happening. They don’t want to come back.”

The second factor, Vallely claimed, was “the surrender and withdrawal out of Afghanistan.” He argued that “many future soldiers decided they didn’t want to go into the armed forces with the poor leadership of some of the generals and admirals. “I think the third thing is that based on this racial rather than equity type of performance standards, where they’re going to select you based on race, rather than your ability to fly an airplane or whatever under what we call the critical race theory, that has to do with DEI, [namely] diversity, equity and inclusion.” The retired US Army major general accused the left wing of the American political system of trying “to judge you based on your racial makeup, rather than on your ability and skill to conduct certain actions required in the military.”

“And then you have this diversity trend where they’ve gone LGBTQ, and young American people, for the most part, don’t buy into that. They’re not going to go into the Air Force or the Army or Special Forces if there’s a transgender person next to them or in the shower and so on. So these are the issues that have affected both re-enlistment and the enlistment of new people.” Vallely remained pessimistic about the Pentagon’s hope that putting more money into the recruiting budget will help recruiters bring more people into the Army. “I don’t think it’s going to have any effect,” he remarked. Asked if it’s safe to say that the coming structural changes in the U.S. Army also reflect the challenges America faces abroad and at home, Vallely pointed to the migration crisis, saying, “What the military has to do is protect our [US] southern border.”

“We have thousands coming illegally across our southern border that are financed and supported by the Mexican cartels. So our military has to do something. We can’t depend on police or border patrol with the situation now and that’s going to be a major challenge for the United States to protect its borders. We have people coming in from all over the world,” he added.

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“In October 2023 Zelensky purchased a former Nazi lakeside luxury villa for €8.12 Million in Germany via his offshore company. The “Bogensee House” was a gift from Hitler to the Nazi minister Joseph Goebbels on his 39th birthday. The Egyptian journalist who investigated the purchase of this luxury villa by Zelensky’s mother-in-law was found dead with numerous abrasions, fractures and a severe head injury.”

Zelensky Punishes Men And Women Who Refuse Draft (Kominyenko)

All Ukranian men aged 25-60 years (including those abroad) who do not report to a recruiting station will be punished. Roughly 6,000 Ukro men flee Ukraine daily, 45% of them in the guise of truck drivers, another 150-200 men as volunteers, the residual are fathers with multiple children and the disabled. Divorcing and taking the kids has become popular some escape by taking the disabled aboard, others have medical certificates of exemption and some change their gender on their passport. Soon it will be a criminal act to flee the country to avoid the draft, justifying the complicit EU countries in their arresting and deporting of Ukrainians to die at the frontline.

A financial crisis is unfolding in Ukraine due to Zelensky’s mass mobilisation plan, Ukraine’s financial system is on the brink of collapse. The threat of drafting another 500,000 Ukrainians is sweeping the country with panic. Zelensky’s punishment; includes isolating people from; their bank accounts, selling property, consular services, renewing ID’s, acquiring power of attorney, access to credit cards. From Jan. 1st, 2024 it is impossible to see a doctor in Ukraine without a military service pass. So much for do no harm! Kiev authorities will serve summonses at checkpoints, law enforcement will also issue summonses to unsuspecting citizens at checkpoints. They are proposing a mechanism to track those eligible for mobilisation, the “international rules based order (NWO)” wet dream. A run on ATM’s in Ukraine has seen USD 1 billion extracted in a single day. They are plundering their accounts and hoarding cash while dumping the banks.

Ukraine is developing a single database listing all potential recruits, this system shall deliver digital conscription notices via phone. The military is using ministerial databases to create it. Antiquated push-button Nokia phones are now the craze in Ukraine, no Internet, no ID, hence nowhere to send friendly military summons. Men are reassigning property to their partners, one man transferred his car and apartment to his wife. In the meantime, Ukraine’s Finance Minister has stated that the country does not have the money to finance the mobilisation of 500,000 cannon fodder. Zelensky needs western cash to continue sacrificing innocents. The West has always known that Ukraine would be decimated by Russia and will probably not survive as a nation-state.

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Note that the GOP has just about offered to support Ukraine aid, if and when the Biden admin promises to secure the border. Also note that they haven’t said even one single word about that. They want to keep the border open. That’s priority no. 1.

White House Warns Of ‘Dire’ Situation With Ukraine Aid (RT)

The White House desperately needs congressional approval for its major aid package for Ukraine if it hopes to continue supporting Kiev, Shalanda Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, told journalists on Friday. Washington has very few other options left to continue the aid flow, she said, adding that the US is running out of time in this regard. Washington provided Ukraine with a $250 million arms package in late December, deemed the last one due to the lack of funding. According to Young, the administration of President Joe Biden decided to forgo its drawdown authority, allowing it to take weapons from existing US stockpiles and send them to Kiev. These stocks cannot be refilled without the funding that is yet to be approved by Congress.

The Pentagon still has some limited authority to provide the Ukrainian military with weapons, but “that is not going to get big tranches of equipment into Ukraine,” the official added. Earlier this week, Pentagon spokesman Major General Patrick Ryder also said the US Defense Department was running “out of money” for Ukraine. The situation with the aid for Ukraine is nothing short of “dire,” Young admitted, warning of an event when the US would potentially have to stop its assistance to Kiev completely. “Yes, Kiev might have a little time from other donors to make sure they can keep their war footing, keep the civil service, but what happens in the [European Union], in other NATO allies, if the US pulls out their support?” she told journalists at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

The official warned that such a development might also prompt other nations to withdraw their support for Kiev. “What message does that send to the rest of the world? And what will their decisions be if they see the United States not step up to the plate?” Biden urged lawmakers to pass a massive aid package, including some $61 billion for Kiev, in late October 2023. The bill remained stuck in Congress for months amid Republican opposition, which demanded a stricter border protection policy. The legislation was eventually left in limbo after Congress shelved it late last year, postponing discussions until after the holiday break.

At the same time, another major donor – the EU – also saw its major aid package to Kiev delayed due to internal disagreements. A planned four-year scheme worth some €50 billion ($55 billion) was vetoed by Hungary late last year, with deliberations on it pushed into 2024. Amid such developments, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour earlier this week that his nation had no “plan B” without the US military aid. He also reiterated Kiev’s demands for combat drones, long-range missiles, and air defense capabilities, among other gear.

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“..He is not only concerned by Biden’s weak polling number but also by the effectiveness of his unorthodox campaign structure..”

Obama Sends Election Warning To Biden – WaPo (RT)

Former US President Barack Obama has urged Biden’s advisers to bolster the reelection campaign by engaging top-level decision-makers or empowering those already in place in the headquarters amid the lackluster voter approval that may see Donald Trump return to power in 2024. Obama and Biden discussed the campaign during a previously unreported private lunch at the White House in recent months, the Washington Post reported in an article published on Saturday, citing sources familiar with the matter. The former president reportedly became “animated” while talking about the 2024 elections and the prospect of former president Donald Trump winning the race.

Obama, who served as the 44th president of the US, recalled the success of his 2012 reelection campaign when some of his top aides took charge of the reelection operations on the ground across the country, and criticized Biden’s approach of leaving his advisors in the White House. According to the people, who spoke to the outlet on the condition of anonymity, Obama did not refer to anything specific in the campaign structure but rather suggested that it needs to “move aggressively” as Trump appears to take the lead in the 2024 Republican presidential nominating contest. He did not recommend any specific individuals to be recruited by the campaign but allegedly mentioned his senior strategist David Plouffe, who led Obama’s 2008 race, as an example of who could help.

The Biden campaign and Obama’s spokespeople did not respond to a request for comment from the Washington Post. However, Obama has long worried about Donald Trump’s political strength and warned earlier this year that he could be a more formidable challenger than many Democrats realize. He is not only concerned by Biden’s weak polling number but also by the effectiveness of his unorthodox campaign structure. Biden’s campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodrigues is based in the campaign’s headquarters in Wilmington. At the same time, the top aides – Anita Dunn, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Mike Donilon, and Steve Ricchetti work from the White House, which means that all important decisions need to go through the White House first.

Some Democrats raised their concerns that the campaign may not be able to immediately respond to fast-moving developments. David Axelrod, the former senior presidential advisor, said on Friday that while he cannot comment on Obama’s discussions with Biden, each president approaches his reelection differently. Back in November, Axelrod suggested that Biden should consider dropping out of the 2024 race. Biden’s support rating hit a record low before the year’s end with just 38% of voters approving his performance, according to the polls recently conducted by the Washington Post. Voters, including a majority of Democrats, are particularly concerned about Biden’s age as well as his handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

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Weird story. Was he afraid they’d take his powers away? He was in the ICU for four days, but the latest pieces just say “hopitalized”.

Criticism Over Secrecy of Pentagon Chief’s Hospitalization Mounts (Sp.)

There has been a growing wave of censure over the secrecy that has surrounded the hospitalization of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The Pentagon has been slammed for concealing 70-year-old Austin’s condition for four days after he was admitted on January 1 to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center over “complications following a recent elective medical procedure.” No details have been released as to what the procedure was or what complications ensued. In an effort to smooth the situation over, Lloyd Austin himself released a statement on Saturday taking “full responsibility” for not divulging his condition earlier. “I am very glad to be on the mend and look forward to returning to the Pentagon soon. I also understand the media concerns about transparency and I recognize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better,” Austin said, adding: “But this is important to say: this was my medical procedure, and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure.”

However, the statement did little to quell the disapproval. “When one of the country’s two National Command Authorities is unable to perform their duties, military families, Members of Congress, and the American public deserve to know the full extent of the circumstances,” said Senator Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a member of the aforementioned committee, said that Austin “must address promptly” why the White House wasn’t informed of his hospitalization until later. The Pentagon Press Association underscored in a letter to the Defense Department that has been shared with the media that amid the current global tensions, it was “particularly critical for the American public to be informed about the health status and decision-making ability of its top defense leader.”

According to the nonprofit Military Reporters and Editors (MRE), the decision to keep the hospitalization under wraps for days was “in the worst traditions of obfuscation and opacity.” “This is a violation of the intent and spirit of the Pentagon’s own Principles of Information, and it fails to meet the standards of public disclosure for senior government officials unable to exercise their duties,” MRE said in a statement. On January 4, the Defense Department spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder announced that Lloyd Austin had been hospitalized since New Year’s Day, with his deputy, Kathleen Hicks, taking over some of his duties. On January 5, Austin reportedly resumed full duties while still remaining in hospital.

However, the hospitalization was purportedly kept secret even from senior Pentagon officials and congressional lawmakers until Ryder’s press release. The “vast, vast majority of leaders were unaware,” one US official was cited as saying. When questioned why it took days for the Pentagon to notify the public about Austin’s hospitalization, Ryder said: “This has been an evolving situation in which we had to consider a number of other factors.” He added that Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks was “prepared to act for and exercise the powers of the Secretary, if required.”

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“..I was being indicted so fast we didn’t know where in the hell they were coming from. If I flew over a blue state, the next day I’d get served with a subpoena..”

Trump Says He Has ‘More Indictments Than Al Capone’ (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has dismissed the multiple criminal cases against him, telling supporters that he’s been prosecuted more harshly than infamous Chicago gangster Al Capone. He made his comments at a rally in Iowa ahead of the first contest of the election year. “I’ve got more indictments than Al Capone, did you ever hear of Al Capone?” Trump asked supporters in Mason City on Friday. “The great Alphonse Capone…but I’ve got it worse than Al Capone and he’s about as bad as you get,” he continued. “This was never in my plan…I was being indicted so fast we didn’t know where in the hell they were coming from. If I flew over a blue state, the next day I’d get served with a subpoena,” he exclaimed, to laughter from the crowd.

With eleven months to go until the 2024 presidential election, Trump is facing more than 90 criminal counts in two federal cases – concerning his alleged instigation of the January 2021 riot on Capitol Hill and his alleged mishandling of classified documents – as well as two state-level cases and a multitude of civil suits. He has dismissed the federal indictments as a “pathetic attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their weaponized Department of Justice to interfere with the 2024 Presidential Election.” Trump held two rallies in Iowa on Friday, during which he implored residents of the Hawkeye State to turn up at next week’s Republican caucuses and support his bid for the presidency. The Iowa caucuses are the first contest of the primary season, and recent polling shows him with a commanding 32-point lead over his nearest Republican rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Nevertheless, Trump urged his supporters not to get complacent. “Bad things happen when you sit back,” he said, adding that “you have to get out and vote because it sets the tone. It even sets the tone, frankly, for November.”

Hours before Trump spoke in Iowa, President Joe Biden delivered a speech of his own in Pennsylvania, in which he claimed that American democracy was “nearly lost” when Trump’s supporters rioted at the Capitol three years ago. Trump argued that Biden is the real “threat to democracy,” citing the indictments against him and the harsh sentences handed down to non-violent participants in the Capitol riot. “Joe Biden’s record is an unbroken streak of weakness, incompetence, corruption, and failure,” Trump told the crowd at the first rally of the evening. “That’s why Crooked Joe is staging his pathetic fearmongering campaign event in Pennsylvania today.” Despite the Biden campaign’s efforts to frame the 2024 election as a referendum on democracy itself rather than on his own record, most recent polls show the incumbent Democrat losing to Trump.

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Where the Clintons typically find their money.

Epstein, Clintons, Zelenska & Cash (Sp.)

Unsealed court filings over accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein named over a hundred of rich and powerful people connected to the billionaire pedophile — including former US President Bill Clinton and his aide Doug Band. Ironically, back in 2003, Doug Band helped kick off now-famous Clinton Foundation international initiatives with the aim of rehabilitating Bill’s post-presidential image, marred by sex scandals, and turning the ex-president into “the world’s philanthropist in chief,” writes Vanity Fair. The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), one of the foundation’s international projects, was supposedly started in league with Jeffrey Epstein — who died in Manhattan jail in 2019 while awaiting trial — late in 2004-early in 2005, according to Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst who has been investigating the Clinton Foundation’s alleged fraud for several years.

Ortel said the Clinton Foundation and its numerous offshoots were nothing but a vehicle to transform the once-broke presidential family into mega-multi-millionaires and help their associates to get rich too. The Wall Street analyst is highly skeptical about the Clintons’ new joint endeavor with the Zelenskys, who have also been mired in corruption allegations. “By the time Hillary Clinton commenced work with Ukraine’s First Lady, the Clinton family had more than twenty years of experience breaking key charity laws, especially in New York City and State which, to date, have targeted Donald Trump and his family for charity frauds, but allowed Clinton charity frauds to expand in scope, scale, and international breadth,” Ortel told Sputnik. “In fact, ‘Clinton Global Initiative’ and ‘The Clinton Foundation’ have not complied with laws concerning ‘public charities’,” the Wall Street analyst continued. “These laws require that such entities be controlled by truly independent boards of directors, bar creation of ‘private gain’ through their operation, and forbid partisan political activities.”

The Zelenska Foundation was founded in 2022 with the declared aim of attracting foreign businesses, funds and donors to “restore Ukraine’s human capital”. The Foundation’s public launch took place on September 22, 2022 at a charity event in New York during the opening of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly. The event was attended by former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, then-British foreign secretary James Cleverly, actor Matt Damon and “a wide circle of diplomats and businessmen”, according to the Ukrainian president’s official website. Around that time Hillary Clinton started wooing the Ukrainian first lady, who received the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for exceptional leadership in December 2022 and the 2023 Clinton Global Citizen Award in September 2023. Hillary and Olena’s partnership, which started in 2022, resulted in the CGI Ukraine Action Network announced by the Clintons in September 2023, according to The Independent.

Ortel noted that the Clintons have a long record of collaborating with the Ukrainian elites, including oligarch Viktor Pinchuk and his wife Olena — daughter of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. Like Zelenskaya, Olena launched a foundation, this one to raise funds to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ukraine, and cooperated closely with the Clintons. Her husband is well known as one of the most generous donors to Clinton charities. “The Clinton family began operating in association with various persons in Ukraine by 2003 even though the original purported Clinton charity – The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation never legitimately obtained approvals to operate outside Little Rock, Arkansas for any charitable purposes other than housing Presidential Records for Bill Clinton’s period as President (20 January 1993 through 20 January 2001) and allowing interested parties to perform research on these records at the Presidential Center,” explained Ortel.

“Without complying with applicable state, federal and foreign laws, Bill Clinton and his cohort of co-conspirators then ostensibly raised money for a raft of ‘charitable’ projects, including in Ukraine, for which there has never been proper accounting. If Ukraine maintains legal records on charities (an open question), there should be filings available to investigators that might allow authorities to compare claims made by Bill Clinton concerning his work there with apparent legal reality,” he continued. According to Ortel, “as during the Clinton years as Secretary of State, there is no oversight of monies flowing towards Ukraine from donors who believe they might be helping Ukraine repel Russia’s special military operation.”

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“..conspiracy theorists continue to wonder if Epstein was murdered..”

Epstein Invoked Fifth Amendment 600 Times in 2016 Testimony (Sp.)

Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein invoked the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution about 600 times in 2016 while testifying for a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by one of his victims, Virginia Giuffre, according to a court filing. The Fifth Amendment states that a person has the right against self-incrimination. Epstein’s reluctance to testify against his longtime associate, Ghislaine Maxwel, was revealed during Friday’s filing in Manhattan federal court involving a new batch of unsealed documents related to the billionaire financier’s sexual abuse of teenage girls. According to the court filing, Epstein routinely answered “Fifth” to about 500 substantive questions posed by Giuffre’s attorneys during a September 2016 deposition.

In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to procuring a person under 18 for prostitution and felony solicitation of prostitution. The 66-year-old billionaire financier was later released under a plea deal, only to be charged with sex trafficking in July 2019. In August of that year, he was found dead in his New York City jail cell, with officials declaring his death a suicide. The cause of his death remains controversial, however, as conspiracy theorists continue to wonder if Epstein was murdered to prevent him from testifying against his high-profile friends, including Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Prince Andrew.

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“..he has given me back my dignity. He has been a brother to me…”

Hunter Biden’s ‘Sugar Brother’ Kevin Morris Plots Gauzy Documentary On First Son

First son Hunter Biden’s so-called “sugar brother,” Hollywood attorney Kevin Morris, is backing a soft-focus documentary on the disgraced and indicted presidential offspring. While the first son’s life as viewed through his now-infamous laptop resembles a Quentin Tarantino film — with plenty of not-so-tasteful nudity — the untitled Morris project would show a more gentle Hunter “painting, selling his art, raising his son, and navigating everyday life as a sober adult with ongoing criminal investigations and in the crosshairs of [former President Donald] Trump and his supporters,” the Los Angeles Times credulously reported this week. A film crew has been trailing Hunter, 53, for years and was most recently spotted recording the first son publicly defying a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee to sit for a deposition Dec. 13.

The Post has also noted the presence of cameras around the Biden scion, including when Hunter cozied up to one of our reporters at a December 2022 showing off his surprisingly pricey work at Soho’s Georges Berges gallery. The crew also popped up at the same gallery in the fall of 2021, at the very first public showing by the world’s most well-compensated amateur artist. Morris even took his cameras all the way to Serbia, where the crew crashed the set where filmmaker Phelim McAleer was shooting “My Son Hunter,” a flick mocking the Biden family that was distributed by Breitbart in September 2022. The Ireland-born McAleer told the LA Times he allowed Morris and his crew to film on their set for a few days and even went out to dinner with his adversary. At one point, the director said, Morris began asking him questions along the lines of “What was the history of the laptop? What did I know about the history of the laptop?”

“He was out there looking for information and evidence for his client while he was pretending to be something he was not,” McAleer claimed. There is no current release date for the flick, but if it ever does show up at a theater or streaming service near you, it may be among the costliest openings in history. Morris, of the powerhouse entertainment law firm Barnes & Morris — now known as Yorn Levine Barnes Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner Endlich & Gellman after he left the practice in 2021— made his bones repping “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone before cultivating a client list for the firm that included Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson and Will Ferrell. Professional expertise and political opportunity converged when Morris met Hunter at a November 2019 Southern California fundraiser for then-candidate Joe Biden.

Over the following three years, according to IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler, Morris gave Hunter $4.9 million — covering expenses including overdue tax bills, legal fees, housing, and car payments. At least one loan to Hunter from Morris, for at least $1.2 million in 2020, carried interest and requires repayment beginning in 2025. Vexed by an onslaught from federal prosecutors and congressional Republicans, the younger Biden has stepped up the public defenses of his conduct over recent months. He sued Ziegler and another IRS whistleblower, Gary Shapley, in September, accusing them of trying to “target and “embarrass” him.

Hunter has also repeatedly and petulantly accused the GOP of weaponizing his drug and alcohol addiction and other personal struggles. The friendship with Morris — who has his own history of alcohol addiction and also grew up in an Irish-Catholic family outside of Philadelphia — appears part of the first son’s own spin on rehabilitation. “I don’t know where I would be if not for Kevin,” Hunter Biden told the LA Times. “And I don’t mean just because he has loaned me money to survive this onslaught, I mean because he has given me back my dignity. He has been a brother to me.

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Word for word. Does the Biden Admin follow Babylon Bee?

The article is Babylon Bee, Jul 27, 2022 : “‘You Can’t Be Pro-Insurrection And Pro-American,’ Says President Of Nation Founded By An Insurrection”

When Satire Beats You By 18 Months

The president shot back at what he called “Super Duper Ultra MAGA Turbo Titans” Monday as he claimed “you can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-American” despite being the commander in chief of a nation founded by an insurrection. “Can you imagine Thomas Jefferson calling for the blood of tyrants? What if John Adams refused to pledge fealty to King George? England would’ve nuked us to oblivion. It would’ve been total malarkey anarchy!” said the unblinking Biden, unflinching in the face of a citizenry increasingly questioning whether he is fit to be president.

“Look, here’s the deal, these Capitol insurrectioneserutes are traitors to American ideals because they wanted to challenge the results of an election,” Biden confirmed. “I know this for a fact because a traitor is everyone who does not agree with me.” “We saw what happened,” he continued, referring to the events of January 6. “Law enforcement agencies were speared with terrorist javelins dripping in blood, surrounded by carnage.” “These are all things that actually happened that I am not making up,” he added. At publishing time, White House officials had advised the president to stop saying “we saw what happened” in regards to the January 6 capitol riots because he keeps describing events that never took place.

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Elephant

 

 

Norwegian
https://twitter.com/i/status/1743537552764576104

 

 

 

 

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Jan 052024
 


Georgia O’Keeffe New York night 1929

 

Democrats Are Moving To Bar Republicans From Ballots Nationwide (Turley)
Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Ballot Disqualification Case ‘With Prejudice’ (ET)
Trump Attorneys Ask Judge To Hold Special Counsel In Contempt (JTN)
Dems: Trump Firms Earned Millions in Foreign Payments During Presidency (Sp.)
Pressure In Congress To Determine If Bidens Got Defensive Intel Briefing (JTN)
Israel Partially Withdraws From Gaza After ‘Listening’ To US – Politico (RT)
Israel’s Gaza Withdrawal, a Prelude To Full-Out War (Cradle)
US Reportedly Preparing for Gaza War to Broaden Into Regional Conflict (Sp.)
Only 15% of Israelis Want Netanyahu to Remain in Power After Gaza War (Antiwar)
A Letter to My Son on His First Birthday in Gaza (Hajjaj)
Another Biden Official Resigns Over Israel Policy (RT)
Pentagon ‘Out Of Money’ For Ukraine (RT)
The Day the Dollar Dies? (Collins)
Epstein Document Dump Is ‘Coverup’ – Cernovich (RT)
Julian Assange’s Trojan Wars With Mike Pompeo & Hillary Clinton (Hayes)

 

 

 

 

RFK Ukraine

 

 

 

 

Epstein Mar-a-Lago

 

 

Dershowitz

 

 

 

 

“..Former congressional candidate Gene Stilp, who’s made headlines by burning MAGA flags with swastikas outside courthouses, filed the challenge.”

Democrats Are Moving To Bar Republicans From Ballots Nationwide (Turley)

As the decisions disqualifying former President Donald Trump from the 2024 election work their way through the courts, a new filing in Pennsylvania seeks the same “ballot cleansing” by barring Republican Rep. Scott Perry. It’s only the latest effort targeting congressional candidates as Democrats seek to bar opponents as “insurrectionists” for questioning the election of President Biden. We have become a nation of Madame Defarges — eagerly knitting names of those to be subject to arbitrary justice. Former congressional candidate Gene Stilp, who’s made headlines by burning MAGA flags with swastikas outside courthouses, filed the challenge. Using the 14th Amendment to disqualify candidates like Perry is consistent with Stilp’s signature flag-burning stunts.

But what’s chilling is how many support such efforts, including Democratic officeholders from Maine’s secretary of state to dozens of members of Congress. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) sought to bar 126 members of Congress under the same theory for challenging the election before Jan. 6, 2021. Similar legislation from Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) to disqualify members got 63 co-sponsors, all Democrats, including New York Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman and Ritchie Torres and “Squad” members Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. When Maine’s secretary of state disqualified Trump, three in the state’s congressional delegation — Sens. Angus King (I) and Susan Collins (R) and Rep. Jared Golden (D) — condemned the decision. But others supported the antidemocratic action.

The grounds were virtually identical to those of Stilp. He accuses Perry of supporting challenges to Biden’s election and opposing its certification. Of course, he ignores Democratic members who sought to block certification of Republican presidents under the very same law with no factual or legal basis. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) praised the effort then-Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) organized to challenge the certification of President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election. Jan. 6 committee head Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) voted to challenge it in the House. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) sought to block certification of the 2016 election result — particularly ironic since he’s a leading voice calling for Trump to be disqualified.

He insisted last week on CNN that the effort to prevent citizens from voting for Trump is the very embodiment of democracy: “If you think about it, of all of the forms of disqualification that we have, the one that disqualifies people for engaging in insurrection is the most democratic because it’s the one where people choose themselves to be disqualified.”

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“..a Soros-funded, left-wing group’s scheme to interfere in an election on behalf of Crooked Joe Biden by removing President Trump’s name from the ballot and eliminating the rights of Colorado voters to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Ballot Disqualification Case ‘With Prejudice’ (ET)

A federal judge in California dismissed a lawsuit that sought to keep former President Donald Trump off the Republican primary ballot. On Wednesday, District Judge David Carter granted a motion to dismiss the lawsuit “with prejudice,” which means that it can’t be submitted to the same court again, according to court papers. A plaintiff attempted to argue that they suffered “emotional injury” due to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and watched the events unfold on television, on the radio, and in various publications. They then argued that the incident caused them “severe emotional distress” and then filed a lawsuit to keep the former president from California’s ballots. But the judge wrote that because the events occurred “more than two years before the plaintiff” filed suit, it was outside of the two-year statute of limitations.

The decision by Judge Carter, a Clinton-appointed jurist who has ruled against President Trump in a separate case, was posted online by former Republican National Committee for California chairwoman Harmeet Dhillon. “The remnants of the last California case to keep President Trump off the ballot here were dismissed today by Judge David O. Carter!!” she wrote on X on Wednesday. In recent days and weeks, there have been a number of lawsuits filed in different states to try and bar President Trump from appearing on the ballot ahead of the 2024 election. Those suits have claimed that the former president engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the United States under an interpretation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment’s Section 3, which was written in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War.

At least two of those challenges have seen some success in Maine and Colorado, although there has been widespread speculation that higher courts or even the U.S. Supreme Court would strike those rulings down. Days before Christmas, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled to keep the former president off the primary ballot in the state, which was promptly appealed to the Supreme Court. Last week, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, unilaterally decided to keep President Trump off the ballot, which was similarly appealed. Ahead of the Supreme Court appeal, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said that “unsurprisingly, the all-Democrat appointed Colorado Supreme Court has ruled against President Trump, supporting a Soros-funded, left-wing group’s scheme to interfere in an election on behalf of Crooked Joe Biden by removing President Trump’s name from the ballot and eliminating the rights of Colorado voters to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

Legal analysts have suggested that the U.S. Supreme Court would take up those two cases and likely would rule against the plaintiffs at least on procedural grounds. However, it’s not clear whether the court will take up the more thorny questions presented under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. “It seems a certainty that SCOTUS will have to address the merits sooner or later,” Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, wrote on his website last month, referring to the Supreme Court.

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“The prosecutors repeatedly engaged in that exact conduct, disobeying the Stay Order at least three times in just two weeks …”

Trump Attorneys Ask Judge To Hold Special Counsel In Contempt (JTN)

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team want U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to hold special counsel Jack Smith in contempt of court for pursuing activities related to his election case despite Chutkan pausing proceedings pending Trump’s legal appeals. Chutkan, in mid-December paused the case after Trump petitioned the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to decide on his claims to enjoy presidential immunity, which Chutkan herself rejected. Smith, for his part, asked the Supreme Court to step in, but it declined to do so. Despite the pause, Smith has remained active and requested that Chutkan not permit Trump to admit evidence related to security failures at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, or selective prosecution.

Chutkan’s order “stays any further proceedings that would move this case towards trial or impose additional burdens of litigation on Defendant,” the Hill reported. Trump’s attorneys, for their part, contend that Smith’s team has clearly violated that directive. “The prosecutors repeatedly engaged in that exact conduct, disobeying the Stay Order at least three times in just two weeks … The prosecutors have no justification for their misconduct,” they asserted. Trump faces four counts in the case, including conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of, and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. He pleaded not guilty last year.

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“Former President Trump has legitimate businesses, but the Bidens do not,” Comer argued..”

They simply don’t know how to deal with business succcess. In DC, success means a $300,000 salary that magically turns into a $10 million fortune.

Dems: Trump Firms Earned Millions in Foreign Payments During Presidency (Sp.)

Former US President Donald Trump’s companies received millions of dollars from foreign governments and companies while serving in the White House, new documents released by House Democrats have revealed. The transactions were detailed in a report titled “White House For Sale” released on Thursday. It details millions in transactions received by Trump-owned companies, including from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates among other nations. The biggest spender was China, which spent $5.5 million in total on business connected to Trump, including from China’s Embassy in the US, a state-owned bank and Hainan Airlines Holding Company. Saudi Arabia placed second, spending more than $615,000 at Trump-owned hotels.

There were no payments in the report from Russian entities, despite the long running Democrat conspiracy known as “Russiagate” that Trump conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. As the report notes, while Trump handed over the day-to-day operations of his companies to his sons, he declined to divest his assets, as is typical for presidents before entering office. The report claims Trump maintained personal ownership and control of the companies, including the ability to draw on funds without outside oversight. The report seemingly reflects accusations that Republicans have made against President Joe Biden and his family. Last month, House Republicans opened an informal impeachment inquiry into Biden, focusing on foreign business deals made by the president’s family members.

Responding to the report, US Rep. James Comer (R-KY) argued the situations are not comparable. “Former President Trump has legitimate businesses, but the Bidens do not,” Comer argued, adding that in contrast to Trump, who owns several properties and businesses, the Bidens were simply “cashing in on the Biden name.” “No goods or services were provided other than access to Joe Biden and the Biden network,” he said. The son of the former president, Eric Trump, argued that his father’s hawkish stance on China while in office proves he was not compromised. “That narrative is insane, there is no president in United States history who was tougher on China than Donald Trump,” he said, noting that the Chinese embassy had signed a 20-year lease in Trump Tower in 2008, long before the elder Trump entered office.

The report, however, argues that while some payments were coming in, those same countries were lobbying the Trump administration for certain policies. “These payments were made while these governments were promoting specific foreign policy goals with the Trump administration and even, at times, with President Trump himself, and as they were requesting specific actions from the United States to advance their own national policy objectives,” the report reads. It also points to comments Trump made during a campaign rally in 2015, bragging about his relationship with Saudi Arabia. “Saudi Arabia, I get along great with all of them,” he said, according to the report. “They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much!”

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“..If the Bidens didn’t get defensive briefings, it could raise fresh questions about the U.S. intelligence community’s capabilities and the selective nature of its use of defense briefings..”

Pressure In Congress To Determine If Bidens Got Defensive Intel Briefing (JTN)

The FBI conducted FISA surveillance on one of Hunter Biden’s Chinese business partners while other federal prosecutors secured evidence that a second Chinese associate of the first family was present when foreign bribery payments were made. And a major bank reported to the U.S. Treasury Department that in 2017 a $5 million loan the Bidens got from a Chinese energy company smacked of a Beijing influence operation targeting Joe Biden before he was president. bA fast-growing body of evidence from bank transactions to court transcripts is putting pressure on Congress to resolve an important question: Did Joe Biden or any of his family members get a defensive briefing from U.S. intelligence that some of their foreign business partners had unsavory ties or were engaged in criminal behavior?

The answer could have a profound effect on the direction of the nascent House impeachment inquiry. If lawmakers confirm that the president got one or more defensive briefings, it could add an element of intentionality and motive since his family would have proceeded with deals and partners despite warning signs delivered from the U.S. government. If the Bidens didn’t get defensive briefings, it could raise fresh questions about the U.S. intelligence community’s capabilities and the selective nature of its use of defense briefings. Just the News confirmed Hillary Clinton got at least one such defensive briefing about one of her family or political associations while Donald Trump did not when allegations of Russia collusion – long since debunked – first surfaced in 2016. Instead, Trump and his associates were targeted for criminal investigation.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the fiery Republican from Georgia, was the latest Wednesday to add her name to those pushing Congress to determine once and for all whether Joe Biden or his family got warnings from the FBI, the CIA, or other intelligence agencies. Those warnings, if they happened, would have come as the first family did business with a Ukrainian oligarch deemed corrupt by the State Department, a Romanian oligarch dealing with corruption allegations in his own country and the energy firm CEFC China Energy that was implicated in a foreign bribery scheme that resulted in a federal conviction of Patrick Ho, one of Hunter Biden’s associates and law clients.

[..] “Joe Biden’s intersections with his son’s overseas business occurred within three different realities, first as Vice President, second as a private citizen, and third as President. Each reality will determine the advisability of the type or necessity of a defensive briefing,” Brock said. “Hunter Biden didn’t consult with Canada or New Zealand. He picked money gushers in China and Russia and Ukraine,” Brock added. “Countries with hostile intelligence services that would jump at the chance to engage with an offspring of a U.S. VP. What do you think we would do if a son of Putin or Xi came here to consult with Exxon or Apple? Joe Biden was briefed, alright. But his track record suggests his own interests came first no matter the briefing.”

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“What we’re seeing is the beginning of a transition,” one official said, while another added that Washington was “pleased to see the shift” but wished it had happened much sooner..”

Israel Partially Withdraws From Gaza After ‘Listening’ To US – Politico (RT)

Israel’s withdrawal of troops from Gaza indicates that it is “listening” to Washington, which has long urged West Jerusalem to shift to low-intensity military operations, Politico reported Wednesday. It comes after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced last weekend that it would withdraw five brigades from combat in Gaza, comprising thousands of soldiers. The IDF’s decision to reduce its troop presence in the Palestinian enclave is seen as “a signal that Israel is beginning to finally shift away from large-scale bombing and more toward targeted, surgical strikes on senior Hamas leaders,” as Washington has repeatedly urged, amid a rising civilian death toll among Gazans, Politico reported, citing unnamed US officials.

“What we’re seeing is the beginning of a transition,” one official said, while another added that Washington was “pleased to see the shift” but wished it had happened much sooner, according to the outlet. The killing of Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri by a drone attack in a suburb of Beirut on Tuesday could be “another sign Israel is ready to shift to more surgical operations,” Politico’s source said. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati called the killing of Arouri “a new Israeli crime aimed at inevitably dragging Lebanon into a new phase of confrontation.” In response, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mark Regev, said that “whoever did this strike was very surgical and went for a Hamas target because Israel is at war,” without confirming or denying the IDF’s involvement.

In mid-December, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan recalled that Washington has repeatedly urged Israel to shift its high-tempo military operation in Gaza to a “lower-intensity, surgical, focused, targeted campaign.” He added that once this phase is activated, there will be no sanctuary for Hamas leaders, as Israel has the right to go after those who planned and executed the October 7 attacks. The Palestinian military group attacked Israel from Gaza on that date in 2023, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 hostages, according to Israeli estimates. In response, West Jerusalem declared war and launched an air and ground offensive in Gaza to root out Hamas, resulting in more than 22,000 casualties among the enclave’s residents, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

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“..reducing the pace of the war in the Gaza Strip increases the possibilities of an Israeli war on Lebanon..”

Israel’s Gaza Withdrawal, a Prelude To Full-Out War (Cradle)

At the start of the new year, Israel’s occupation army began implementing the withdrawal of a large portion of its forces from the northern Gaza Strip. This withdrawal did not mean the end of the war on Gaza, and it certainly did not suggest calm on the Lebanese-Israeli front. On the contrary, reducing the pace of the war in the Gaza Strip increases the possibilities of an Israeli war on Lebanon. The battles taking place between the occupation army and Hezbollah along the southern Lebanese border since 8 October, in support of the resistance in Gaza, have been increasing in intensity day after day. Washington and Tel Aviv have sought to maximize pressure on Hezbollah by warning of the possibility of a large-scale war between Israeli forces and the Lebanese resistance.

These tactics were in effect long before the assassination of Hamas’ Deputy Head of the Political Bureau Saleh Al-Arouri on 2 January by an Israeli air strike in Dahiyeh, the southern suburb of Beirut. The killing of Al-Arouri now increases the chance of the war expanding. The first stage of Tel Aviv’s war was the mass destruction and occupation of northern Gaza; the second stage is the occupation of key points in the south of the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian civilians have flocked for safety. The current troop withdrawal from the territory’s north means that the Israelis are cementing their southern plans and preparing to move on to phase three: the long, low-intensity war. As it enters the third stage, the occupation army intends to maintain a geographical buffer surrounding the northern Gaza Strip. It also plans to continue occupying the Gaza Valley area (central Gaza), while completing its operations in Khan Yunis in the south.

The fate of the Philadelphia axis – or Salah ad-Din Axis – a strip of land on the border between Gaza and Egypt which Israel wants to control, will be left to deliberations between Tel Aviv and Cairo. This is to ensure that incidents do not occur that lead to tension between the two parties, as well as to guarantee that refugees do not flow from the south of the Gaza Strip towards Sinai. Israel’s ground withdrawal from northern Gaza is taking place primarily because the occupation army’s target bank has been depleted. All targets prior to the start of the war have been destroyed, and all new operational targets have been bombed. Despite this, the Palestinian resistance continues to carry out operations against Israeli forces. These organizations remain relatively unscathed in the entire area of the northern Gaza Strip, which will increase the ability of the resistance to inflict losses on occupation ranks, now and in the future.

This clear Israeli loss – in terms of Tel Aviv’s stated war objectives – has been made evident by two basic factors: First, that the occupation army cannot ‘cleanse’ the northern Gaza Strip house by house or tunnel by tunnel, because this process will take years, expose more of its soldiers to danger, and cannot be implemented without further displacing the entire population of northern Gaza or massacring them. It should be noted, despite Israeli attempts to portray matters otherwise, that hundreds of thousands of civilians are still present in the north. Second, the Israeli government needs to gradually re-inject reserve soldiers into the country’s economy to jump-start it, and to ensure that the productive sectors are not exposed to damage from which recovery will take a long time. This, despite the fact that the US and much of Europe appear ready to assist Israel’s economy, if necessary.

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“..The insiders warned that the scenario of a wider conflict in the Middle East is “perilous” for Biden’s “reelection chances.”

US Reportedly Preparing for Gaza War to Broaden Into Regional Conflict (Sp.)

Citing sources familiar with the matter, US media reported on Thursday that US officials are concerned that the risk of the Gaza conflict escalating into a regional conflict is growing. The United States through back channels urged Iran for months to persuade its so-called “proxy forces” to scale back attacks on US forces in the Middle East, but so far no shift in the level of violence is evident, the report said. US intelligence officials are reportedly looking into ways to deter attacks by proxy militants against US forces in Iraq and Syria. The United States is also putting together plans to potentially strike Houthi targets in Yemen if the group’s attacks against commercial vessels near the Red Sea continue, according to the report.

The sources also claimed that a possible escalation could lead to President Joe Biden becoming more deeply involved in the Middle East as his 2024 election campaign is seeking to focus on domestic issues. The insiders warned that the scenario of a wider conflict in the Middle East is “perilous” for Biden’s “reelection chances.” Iran has sternly rejected accusations from Western countries over Tehran’s alleged involvement in the Houthi attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea. In addition, Iran emphasized that resistance groups in the Middle East, such as the Houthis, do not receive any instructions from Iran.

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“Despite the little support for Netanyahu, the respondents favor the slaughter he is overseeing in Gaza.”

Only 15% of Israelis Want Netanyahu to Remain in Power After Gaza War (Antiwar)

Only 15% of Israelis think Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu should remain in office once the Israeli campaign in Gaza is over, according to a new poll published Tuesday by the Israel Democracy Institute. Former Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, a member of Netanyahu’s war cabinet, received more support, with 23% of respondents saying he should take the position after the war, while 30% did not name their preferred leader. Despite the little support for Netanyahu, the respondents favor the slaughter he is overseeing in Gaza. The poll found that 56% of respondents believed continuing the military offensive was the best way to recover the hostages, while 24% thought a swap deal that would involve releasing thousands of more Palestinian prisoners would be a better option.

Other polls since October 7 have shown that the majority of Israelis want Netanyahu to step down after the war, giving him the incentive to continue to onslaught for as long as possible and take action to provoke a wider regional war that could draw in the US directly. Netanyahu is facing a political reckoning due to the massive Israeli intelligence failure that allowed the October 7 attack to happen and for his previous strategy of helping prop up Hamas to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. Despite the little support for Netanyahu, the respondents favor the slaughter he is overseeing in Gaza.

The poll found that 56% of respondents believed continuing the military offensive was the best way to recover the hostages, while 24% thought a swap deal that would involve releasing thousands of more Palestinian prisoners would be a better option. Other polls since October 7 have shown that the majority of Israelis want Netanyahu to step down after the war, giving him the incentive to continue to onslaught for as long as possible and take action to provoke a wider regional war that could draw in the US directly. Netanyahu is facing a political reckoning due to the massive Israeli intelligence failure that allowed the October 7 attack to happen and for his previous strategy of helping prop up Hamas to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state.

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“..you’ll never be able to have the memories I wanted for you. Those have been buried beneath the rubble, too.”

A Letter to My Son on His First Birthday in Gaza (Hajjaj)

No matter what, my child, we were going to celebrate your first birthday. Ever since you were born, Qais, I have felt a strong sense of purpose in life to push myself as a father. I have long prepared for this stage in my life, eager to provide you with a good upbringing that I can later look back on with pride. Ever since you were born, your mother would make you little birthdays to mark every new month that you’ve brightened our lives. I would join in on these little parties, but privately, I have been waiting for your first birthday to plan for something big. I was going to invite the entire extended family, especially your aunts and uncles and cousins. We would gather in our spacious home overlooking our planted garden from every direction, except for the street, which boasted a beautiful palm tree heavy with dates, across the street from the same neighbors I’ve known since I was born in al-Shuja’iyya, in the eastern part of Gaza City.

The last time we laid eyes on our home was through a phone screen. We looked at photos of what remained of the house after we evacuated it a month earlier — before the ground invasion. The entire house, and many other houses near it, had been reduced to rubble. We left our beautiful home and stayed at your grandfather’s in the Zeiytoun neighborhood, also in Gaza City. We didn’t take many things with us; we didn’t know our time away would be so long. Even now, we don’t know when we’ll be able to return, or whether we’ll be able to return at all. We know that even if we are allowed, there’s nothing to go back to. When the house was destroyed, so were our hopes of having your first birthday in that little world we had made for you. But don’t worry little one. We will have a new house one day, wide and spacious and surrounded by trees and a vegetable garden.

Right now, all we have to do is wait and join our hopes with yours for all the good things that can happen to us — to see the end of the war, to live a normal life where your access to food isn’t conditional upon your suffering, and to be able to see and hear what a child on their first birthday are supposed to see and hear. In the middle of a narrow alleyway in the Yibna refugee camp in Rafah — the latest stop in our story of displacement — one of our neighbors works the entire day making bread for displaced people. Those of us in the camp don’t have access to ovens, so we bring her flour to make us bread, and she only takes a modest, almost symbolic price for her labor. Right beside her, there is a large crater that stands as a testament to the destruction already wrought on the neighborhood. All around us, the houses that are still left standing have been deserted and the charred remains of abandoned cars line the side of the nearby road. The windows of all the houses around us have been shattered, the doors to the homes ripped from their hinges. People in the street farther down the road try to buy and sell everything and anything.

Qais, you saw all of this. These are things I wish you would never have had to see, especially not in your first year of life. In our house in Gaza City, birds would be in the window beside your crib. There was a wall where we hung all your pictures, and I left a special spot in the center where I wanted to hang a picture of your first birthday party. I wanted to be able to stroll the streets of Gaza City and visit the best toy stores to buy you the best, most expensive, most beneficial toys — maybe something that can teach you a new skill, different from the behaviors you’ve picked up as a displaced refugee, mimicking how the grown-ups around you stoked a fire as you grabbed a piece of plastic and started blowing on it. But you’ll never be able to have the memories I wanted for you. Those have been buried beneath the rubble, too. We are now in Rafah, in a house not our own, unable to find a cake, or sweets, or anything else you would normally find at a birthday party.

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“..short-sighted, destructive, unjust and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse..”

Another Biden Official Resigns Over Israel Policy (RT)

A senior official at the US Department of Education has resigned in protest at President Joe Biden’s support for Israel, saying the administration has turned a blind eye to “atrocities” against Palestinians since the start of the war in Gaza. Policy adviser Tariq Habash, a Palestinian-American, left his position on Wednesday, explaining in a resignation letter that he could not continue to “represent an administration that does not value all human life equally.” “The actions of the Biden-Harris Administration have put millions of innocent lives in danger, most immediately for the 2.3 million Palestinian civilians living in Gaza who remain under continuous assault and ethnic cleansing by the Israeli government. Therefore, I must resign,” Habash wrote.

“I cannot stay silent as this administration turns a blind eye to the atrocities committed against innocent Palestinian lives, in what leading human rights experts have called a genocidal campaign by the Israeli government.” Biden has voiced strong support for Israel’s retaliation to a Hamas terrorist attack in October, which claimed some 1,200 lives and saw more than 240 people taken hostage by Palestinian militants. However, the two-month operation has left much of Gaza in ruins, killing more than 22,000 people and injuring thousands more, according to local health officials. Despite repeated warnings of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza by international rights groups, along with the United Nations, Washington has offered little public criticism of the Israeli campaign, and continued to pledge military support.

Other senior officials have voiced similar concerns, with 11-year State Department veteran Josh Paul – the longtime director of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs – also resigning in October over the US’ “blind support” for Israel. “I cannot work in support of a set of major policy decisions, including rushing more arms to one side of the conflict, that I believe to be short-sighted, destructive, unjust and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse,” Paul wrote in a statement explaining his resignation. Biden visited Israel on the day Paul tendered his resignation, pledging to ask Congress to allocate additional aid to meet the ally’s military needs. Though he has made good on that promise, lawmakers remain deadlocked over a new aid package, with Republicans in the House demanding sweeping border reforms before approving additional assistance for both Ukraine and Israel.

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“..while the Pentagon is authorized to spend another $4.2 billion on weapons for Ukraine, the actual funds are not available and must be set aside by Congres..”

Pentagon ‘Out Of Money’ For Ukraine (RT)

The US government has exhausted its funds for military assistance to Ukraine, Pentagon spokesman Major General Patrick Ryder has said, noting that Washington is simply “out of money” unless lawmakers pass a new aid package. Speaking to reporters at a Thursday briefing, Ryder explained that while the Pentagon is authorized to spend another $4.2 billion on weapons for Ukraine, the actual funds are not available and must be set aside by Congress. “We have the authority to spend that [$4.2 billion] from available funds but wouldn’t have the ability to replenish the stocks by taking money out – or taking stuff out of our inventory,” the spokesman said, adding “We’re out of money.”

The admission came after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that his country had no “plan B” without American military aid, reiterating demands for new combat drones, long-range missiles and air defense capabilities, among other gear. Kuleba also noted growing political divisions regarding Ukraine within the United States, as a vocal group of Republican critics have blocked the passage of additional aid funds while demanding sweeping immigration reforms. Though the party backed dozens of separate aid packages following the escalation of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, some GOP members have soured on the American largesse in recent months, creating a widening partisan divide on the issue.

While President Joe Biden has urged lawmakers to pass a massive aid package including some $61 billion for Kiev, Congress has remained deadlocked for weeks amid Republican opposition, though independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema has said lawmakers are “closing in” on a deal. Nonetheless, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Thursday to expect decreases in US aid in the future, voicing hopes to eventually help Ukraine “build its own military industrial base so it can both finance and build and acquire munitions on its own.” The United States has authorized nearly $45 billion in direct military assistance to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia escalated in early 2022, in addition to other indirect military aid and financial and humanitarian assistance. Moscow has repeatedly condemned Western arms shipments to Kiev, arguing they would only prolong the fighting and do little to deter its military aims.

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“..The world has growing concerns about the stability of the United States and our ability to meet our debt obligations.”

The Day the Dollar Dies? (Collins)

In 1974, when Secretary Simon arranged his deal with the Saudis to avoid a “dollar crisis,” our national debt was roughly 32 percent of GDP. We were winding down our decades-long involvement in Vietnam and Southeast Asia and had secured a detente with Cold War adversaries China and the Soviet Union. Today, the United States is over $34 trillion in debt, around 120 percent of our GDP—more than it was even during World War II. A bit over $7 trillion of that—the value of the entire U.S. annual budget—is held by foreigners. We are on our way to $1 trillion a year in debt service, more than our defense budget. And the $10 your grandmother stuck in your birthday card that was lost in the commotion of your birthday party in 1971 would, if found today, be worth $1.20. And in the world, the United States is engaged in escalating conflicts with two powerful, nuclear-armed, adversaries, China and Russia, as well as the war Iran’s terrorist proxy, Hamas, is waging on our ally, Israel.

• Citing three current and former U.S. officials, NBC News reported that China’s leader Xi Jinping boldly told the U.S. president that he intends to acquire Taiwan, a vital interest of the United States. Not only do we (and the rest of the world) get most of our chips from Taiwan, but 50 percent of the world’s maritime container traffic passes through the Taiwan Strait. • The Ukraine-Russia war continues and has escalated in the last few days with no end in sight. In a conflict where U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has pledged American prestige by asserting in October that we will “deliver what it takes, for as long as it takes, so that Ukraine can live in freedom.” But just last month, President Biden seemingly walked back his commitment by saying the United States will back Ukraine “as long as we can.” • U.S. Navy forces deployed to the Red Sea to protect shipping and deter Iranian belligerence against Israel were attacked by Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen. Scores of U.S. armed services members have been injured in Iraq and Syria in similar attacks.

Within our own borders, violent protests that went unchecked after the death of George Floyd, the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, and the Marxist-inspired pro-Hamas protests have rattled the sense of American stability among foreigners more than at any time since the Vietnam War. Given all that, it should not be a surprise that other countries are moving to de-dollarize their holdings. The world has growing concerns about the stability of the United States and our ability to meet our debt obligations. The Saudis, whom we have relied upon for 50 years to help maintain demand for the U.S. dollar as the world’s global reserve currency, had announced that they are joining the BRICS, the international coalition of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa. Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates joined the same day.

Were that not enough, now the Biden administration is contemplating a policy that cannot help but exacerbate de-dollarization. According to the Financial Times, the United States and the G-7 “are actively exploring ways to seize Russian central bank assets” in their countries to fund Ukraine because political opposition to continuing Ukraine support in the United States and Europe threaten the flow of money that has kept Ukraine afloat. The paper reported it had seen a document written by the United States that said, under international law, “G7 members and other specially affected states could seize Russian sovereign assets as a countermeasure to induce Russia to end its aggression.”

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“.. they chose to wait until just days before the “previously sealed records involving Jeff Epstein” were set to become public. These records contained the names of numerous influential figures..”

Epstein Document Dump Is ‘Coverup’ – Cernovich (RT)

A much-hyped trove of nearly 1,000 newly-unsealed pages of court documents from a 2015 defamation case filed by a victim of infamous pedophile Jeffrey Epstein contains “no revelations,” conservative commentator Mike Cernovich claimed on Wednesday in a post on X (formerly Twitter). Cernovich, working with Epstein defense attorney and accused sex trafficking participant Alan Dershowitz, sued to have Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s defamation lawsuit unsealed in 2017 and has previously claimed credit for the predator’s 2019 arrest. In his post, he claimed the Southern District of New York (SDNY) had arrested Epstein in 2019 the weekend before the documents were first set to be unsealed as a result of his lawsuit, so as to prevent any of Epstein’s powerful friends, soon to be exposed in the documents, from being criminally charged.

To bolster his argument, he highlighted that the SDNY had the option to bring charges against Epstein, relating to the alleged payment for sex with minors between 2002 and 2005, at any point from 2002 onward. However, they chose to wait until just days before the “previously sealed records involving Jeff Epstein” were set to become public. These records contained the names of numerous influential figures to whom Epstein had allegedly trafficked underage girls. “The indictment against Epstein does not charge anyone except Epstein, and there’s nothing to indicate that anyone who flew to Epstein’s private island has faced scrutiny,” Cernovich continued, arguing that “SDNY charged the lowest level offenses possible” so that they would be legally unable to raid that island – or even the pedophile’s New Mexico ranch – for weeks, allowing evidence to vanish. At least one safe, said to be in FBI custody, has never been seen again.

Meanwhile, Epstein himself died – allegedly by his own hand – shortly after his arrest while still in pretrial detention, the charges against him never having been aired inside a courtroom. Acknowledging that “we’ll never know for certain” what was in the vanished safe, Cernovich insisted “we do know that the FBI has Jeffrey Epstein’s blackmail files” and that “very powerful forces have made sure we will never see it.” Authorities raiding Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse in 2019 found and photographed boxes of hard drives, videos, binders full of burned CDs, and other media, all individually labeled by Epstein. However, it was never entered into evidence because the FBI did not initially have a warrant to remove it, according to a special agent who testified at Maxwell’s trial. When they returned with a warrant, the evidence was supposedly gone. Epstein’s properties were well-equipped with surveillance equipment, according to several witnesses, and his victims have claimed he would pump them for blackmail material on the powerful men he trafficked them to for sex.

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“..Achilles personifies America, determined to destroy Assange, like Hector before him, in mind, and desecrate him in body as well..”

Julian Assange’s Trojan Wars With Mike Pompeo & Hillary Clinton (Hayes)

Lawyers for British political prisoner Julian Assange are set to make their final appeal against his extradition to the United States in late February. In an ideal world, he would never have been imprisoned but would have instead garnered many more awards in excess to those he has already received, trinkets for his children to play with as he dispensed words of wisdom to younger generations of starry-eyed idealists, who would hope to emulate him. Penelope, his wife, meanwhile, would have gotten on with her humdrum life as a wife, as a mother, and as a hot shot human rights’ lawyer in her own right. I call Stella Moris, Julian’s wife, Penelope as that was the name of the wife of Odysseus, who waited faithfully for a staggering twenty years for him to return from the Siege of Troy.

And even though Odysseus famously had to put up with all kinds of travails as he battled his way back to her, Penelope was not spared the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as she had to contend with all kinds of lesser beings trying to fill Odysseus’ sandals for their own base reasons. And, though there are those echoes of the Odyssey in the Assanges’ plight, the Iliad seems a much better framework to gauge this epic battle between all that is good and that which is evil. If, for example, Assange is Hector, defending the honour of Troy, then Achilles personifies America, determined to destroy Assange, like Hector before him, in mind, and desecrate him in body as well. Either way, Assange’s has been a titanic struggle the gods themselves would have paid good money to watch.

That said, in our dystopian Dorian Gray take, Hillary Clinton must, of course, be the beautiful Helen of Troy, over whom Virgil, Homer and Yeats, to say nothing of the Greek gods themselves, all waxed. And the pig headed and pot bellied Mike Pompeo is, of course, her faithful understudy. Let me explain. Even though Pompeo, who owes his exalted position to the Koch brothers and some other colourful American billionaires, has called for Assange’s assassination, that is one of his less outrageously violent demands. Although Pompeo calls Assange “a fraud—a coward hiding behind a screen”, Assange has no Internet access in Stalag Belmarsh and it is a strange sort of coward, who rankles Empire and pays the price for it in the manner Assange did, just as it is for Pompeo, who never fired a shot in anger in his life, to shoot off his well fed mouth in this manner.

And, as Pompeo believes Edward Snowden “should be brought back from Russia and given due process”, before being put to death, we can see that Pompeo does not have the best interests of dissidents like Assange or Snowden at heart. He will never play Santa in his local shopping mall except, perhaps, in a Halloween horror special. And nor, despite the better angels of her nature, will Hillary Clinton, who is more morally rudderless than Lady Macbeth and whose own impressive rap sheet is much too long to go into detail here. Suffice to say that Hillary Clinton did not make her billions by working for Wikileaks or doing pro bono cases for the likes of Julian Assange but she has invested her time wisely, networking through morally dubious magic money and power trees like the Clinton Foundation.

Assange’s problem resembles not so much a legal one as the one Schindler faced in tricking Amon Göth to exert power by pardoning his surviving victims he had already driven to distraction. Assange has exposed Hillary Clinton, faux feminism’s Helen of Troy, as being Dorian Gray brought back to life and, as Hillary’s goons cannot have their bargain basement goddess maligned, they want their pound of flesh and more from the Assanges’ hides.

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Parrots

 

 


The goliath tigerfish is said to be a bigger and deadlier version of the piranha. It has 32 teeth that are of similar size to those of a great white shark and has been known to attack humans and even crocodiles. It has only ever been caught by a handful of fishermen due to the danger it poses. in Africa’s Congo River. It can grow up to 5 feet long and weigh over 100 pounds.

 

 

Water

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 042024
 
 January 4, 2024  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  45 Responses »


Rembrandt Old man with a beard 1630

 

Nabuillina vs the West (RT)
Russia May Establish BRICS Secretariat – Iranian Foreign Ministry (Sp.)
Medvedev Labels French Diplomats ‘Scum, Bastards, Freaks’ (RT)
Washington Sees No Sign of Genocide in Gaza (RT)
The US Can’t Stop China’s Rise, But It Will Cripple The EU While Trying (RT)
Leopard 2 Tanks Supplied to Ukraine Are Non-Operational – German MP (Sp.)
Will Chancellor Scholz Step Down Amid Plummeting Rating? (Sp.)
“What Do We Do if He Doesn’t Recuse Himself?” (Turley)
Colorado Disqualification Case Brings Back Bad Memories for SCOTUS (Turley)
White House Blames Republicans For Illegal Immigration Crisis (RT)
House Speaker Johnson At Border: ‘Disaster Of The President’s Own Design’ (JTN)
The Epstein Files (Cernovich)
Was Barack Obama Guilty of Insurrection? (Cashill)

 

 

 

 

Vivek


https://twitter.com/i/status/1742613810370711790

 

 

 

 

 

 


Robin Williams offers Auguste Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ a roll of toilet paper.

 

 

Neutering the CIA

 

 

Nap/Ritter

 

 

 

 

Putin has surrounded himself with some excellent people that he places a lot of trust in. For instance Lavrov as FM, Patrushev for security, Medvedev as the crown prince who can express things Putin may think but can’t say. And then there’s Elvira Nabiullina, who as central banker has guided the economy, and the ruble, through a decade of problems, not least of all many layers of sanctions, and came out on top.

Nabuillina vs the West (RT)

Elvira Nabiullina’s ten-year stewardship at the forefront of the Bank of Russia, marked by fiscal mastery and trailblazing leadership, showcases a narrative of exceptional achievement against the backdrop of societal shifts and global economic challenges. Nabiullina’s journey from humble beginnings to becoming the first woman to steer the economic course of a then G8 country underscores her mettle and intellectual prowess, exemplifying the significance of equal opportunities in a landscape defined by traditional gender roles. Maintaining a low profile yet earning the accolade of Russia’s ‘leader of distinction,’ Nabiullina’s transparent and disciplined leadership style, complemented by an unparalleled work ethic, has solidified her position as a beacon of excellence, integrity, and resilience. Her impact on the financial landscape resonates not only as a testament to her adept economic stewardship but also as a pioneering force toward a more inclusive and equitable future.

Nabiullina’s tenure has been characterized by deft maneuvers, particularly during challenging times when her hawkish monetary policies stabilized the economy and garnered international acclaim, including the prestigious title of central bank governor of the year. As the West intensifies efforts to isolate Russia financially, Nabiullina stands as the linchpin, navigating the economy through unprecedented sanctions. However, despite commendable fiscal strategies, the recent IMF prediction of a 2.2 percent growth in Russia’s economy, a substantial increase from the initial 0.7 percent forecast, prompts scrutiny. Entering a new year, Nabiullina faces mounting challenges – tightening sanctions, potential brain drain, volatile commodities markets, a weakened ruble, and spiraling inflation. This critical juncture prompts the question: Will she persist as Moscow’s steadfast economic steward, ensuring the Kremlin’s financial resilience, or will internal dissent and external pressures necessitate a change in course?

In a recent interview with RBK, Nabiullina acknowledged the hurdles ahead, underscoring the need for preparedness amidst potential escalations in Western sanctions. The freeze and blockage of central bank reserves and Russian investors’ assets were deemed painful measures, with Nabiullina not ruling out the possibility of further sanctions against Moscow. Furthermore, Nabiullina revealed that the Russian central bank will require two to three months or more to ensure a steady decline in inflation before making decisions on interest rate cuts, emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive analysis of indicators characterizing sustainable inflation declines. Admitting that the central bank might have initiated monetary policy tightening earlier than July, Nabiullina stressed the uncertainty surrounding the timing of rate cuts, urging a cautious approach and considering a broad spectrum of indicators indicative of inflation stability.

In her role as a torchbearer for gender equality, Elvira Nabiullina aligns with her counterparts, Christine Lagarde and Janet Yellen. Her decade-long leadership has not only demonstrated fiscal mastery but has also championed inclusivity in the financial realm, actively addressing gender disparities in the global economic landscape. Nabiullina’s commitment to gender diversity extends beyond fairness, recognizing its indispensable role in fostering sustainable economic growth. Her leadership is a beacon of inspiration for women aspiring to excel in central banking and finance, contributing to the broader narrative of achieving gender equality in influential economic positions. As we reflect on Nabiullina’s decade-long stewardship, the upcoming year promises to be a pivotal chapter in her legacy. Will she continue to navigate economic challenges with the finesse that earned her international recognition? Only time will tell, but one thing remains certain – Elvira Nabiullina’s journey is far from over, and the world will be watching closely.

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“..currently each country holding the presidency of BRICS collects and stores information about the bloc’s activities, but does not transfer this data to the succeeding nation..”

Russia May Establish BRICS Secretariat – Iranian Foreign Ministry (Sp.)

Russia may establish a BRICS secretariat, Mahdi Safari, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for economic diplomacy, told Sputnik, citing Moscow’s experience in managing international organizations. “Russia – a country with vast experience in international and regional organizations – in my opinion could establish a new body in BRICS which will eventually evolve into secretariat,” Mahdi Safari says. According to the Iranian diplomat, currently each country holding the presidency of BRICS collects and stores information about the bloc’s activities, but does not transfer this data to the succeeding nation. Safari stressed that Iran wants “this secretariat to be established as soon as possible.” The deputy foreign minister also congratulated Russia on assuming the BRICS presidency in 2024 and thanked it for helping Iran to join the bloc, expressing confidence that Russia will help Tehran and other new BRICS members to achieve unity.

Iran is not seeking to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) as soon as possible because its membership in other leading regional organizations is in sum equal to WTO membership, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy also told Sputnik. “We are a [WTO] observer country, but with membership in BRICS, the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization], EAEU [Eurasian Economic Union], ECO [Economic Cooperation Organization] — all of that combined equals the WTO itself! Now, we do not see the need for WTO membership … [Being a member of] these organizations, we have automatically almost become a member of the WTO at the regional level and are enjoying our benefits. This is a winning position for all parties,” Safari says.

Tehran’s membership in the aforementioned groups meets almost all the country’s needs at the regional and global levels, the diplomat noted, adding, however, that if Iran was offered membership in the WTO, it would welcome such a step and agree to join the organization. At the same time, the diplomat pointed out that free trade with the EAEU would have a great impact on Iran-Russia trade and create prospects for successful cooperation in finance, transit, energy, technologies and knowledge-intensive projects. BRICS is already effectively dealing with important energy issues and is able to play a key role in aerospace and the development of new technologies, expanding its presence to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Mahdi Safari told Sputnik.

“The most important problem is represented by three issues: the first is energy production, the second is energy transportation, and the third is energy consumption. I can say that these three issues are being resolved by BRICS,” Safari said, adding that thanks to the membership of India, Russia and Iran, the group could also play an important role in such areas as new technologies, aerospace, transit corridors and global trade. In addition, BRICS can contribute to the international presence in the waters of the Persian Gulf, Oman Gulf and Indian Ocean, he added. “Iran’s accession to BRICS will provide this organization with enormous opportunities. One of them is transit, the second is energy, be it oil or gas, the third is new technologies and the knowledge-intensive sector,” the diplomat said. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS are the world’s largest producers and consumers of oil and gas, Safari noted in his interview with Sputnik, adding that BRICS is an oil and gas market half the size of the world, while the SCO is a major regional market, which itself can have a great impact.

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“We never liked the French,” Medvedev said in a Telegram post. “The frogs fought a war against us..”

Medvedev Labels French Diplomats ‘Scum, Bastards, Freaks’ (RT)

The French Foreign Ministry has justified Russia’s historic dislike of France by declaring the Ukrainian massacre of civilians in Belgorod to be self-defense, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev claimed on Wednesday. Ukrainian artillery struck the central square of the Russian city with cluster bombs on Saturday, injuring over 100 civilians and killing 25, including children. Asked about it on Wednesday morning, a spokesman of the Foreign Ministry in Paris said that Ukraine was “acting in self-defense” while Russia was “an aggressor state” responsible for any “human tragedies that accompany” the conflict. “We never liked the French,” Medvedev said in a Telegram post. “The frogs fought a war against us,” he added, referring to Napoleon Bonaparte’s ill-fated 1812 invasion.

“Now we are convinced of this. The French Foreign Ministry said that the strike on Belgorod using cluster munitions was ‘self-defense’,” he added. “Scum. Bastards. Freaks.” The French response to the Belgorod massacre echoed the official position of the European Union, which has fully endorsed Kiev. “In general, Ukraine has the legal right to defend itself,” EU foreign policy spokesman Peter Stano said on Wednesday. “Regarding the specific incident in Belgorod, no information that comes from Russia can be considered trustworthy.” Although Kiev’s forces have struck Russia’s border regions for months, the December 30 attack on Belgorod was the worst of its kind over the course of the conflict. Moscow has accused the US and the UK of helping plan the attack, while a security source told RT that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky personally ordered the massacre.

Russia has responded with drone and missile strikes on Ukrainian military industry facilities, repair shops and ammunition warehouses, including depots loaded with weapons donated to Kiev by the West. Medvedev currently serves as President Vladimir Putin’s deputy on the national Security Council. Since the Ukraine conflict escalated in February 2022, the former president (2008-2012) and prime minister of Russia (2012-2020) has emerged as a hard-line critic of Kiev and the West, compared to the more moderate rhetoric coming from the Kremlin.

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“Calls for mass displacement of the Palestinians are contrary to official Israeli government policy and the US view..”

Washington Sees No Sign of Genocide in Gaza (RT)

US President Joe Biden’s administration has rejected genocide allegations against Israel by multiple nations, including a NATO ally, insisting that Washington sees no indication that West Jerusalem’s forces are committing such acts as they pound the Gaza Strip in a campaign to destroy Hamas. South Africa’s government filed a genocide case against Israel last week in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and NATO member Türkiye announced its official support for the charge on Wednesday. US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller denounced the allegations at a press briefing later on Wednesday, saying there was no indication that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were committing genocide against the Palestinians.

“Genocide is of course a heinous atrocity, one of the most heinous atrocities that any individual can commit,” Miller said. “Those are allegations that should not be made lightly, and as it pertains to the United States, we are not seeing any acts that constitute genocide.” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was more pointed in his response, saying the allegations against Israel were “meritless.” He added that the ICJ case filed by South Africa was “counterproductive and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.” More than 22,000 Palestinians have been killed since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, according to Gaza health authorities. The UN warned last month that more than 500,000 Gazans were starving amid the Israeli bombardment, and 85% of the population had been displaced.

The conflict began when Hamas militants launched surprise attacks against villages in southern Israel, killing more than 1,100 people, including nearly 700 Israeli citizens, and taking hundreds of hostages back to Gaza. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has likened Israel’s military campaign in the Palestinian enclave to Nazi Germany’s Holocaust against the Jewish people. He also has blasted Western nations for supporting Israel’s tactics, and he suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was just as genocidal as Germany’s Adolf Hitler. Türkiye’s foreign minister, Hakan Fidan, argued on Wednesday that by giving “unconditional support” to Israel, Western nations had lost all credibility to talk about “principles, virtue and morality.” He added, “I see that all of this is paving the way for a huge geostrategic rupture.”

Miller’s comments came one day after the US State Department rebuked “inflammatory and irresponsible” statements by two Israeli politicians calling for the removal of Palestinians from Gaza. Israeli Defense Minister Ben Gvir doubled down on his statement later on Tuesday, saying, “With all due respect, we are not another star on the American flag.” Calls for mass displacement of the Palestinians are contrary to official Israeli government policy and the US view, Miller told reporters on Wednesday. “They are in direct contradiction of his own government’s policy, and we believe those statements should stop,” he said of Gvir’s rhetoric. However, Miller added that it was appropriate for the IDF to ask Gazans to “temporarily” evacuate their homes when Israeli forces carry out “legitimate military operations” in their neighborhoods.

RT
https://twitter.com/i/status/1742706506619851124

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“You need to be in China to compete in the game, you don’t win by refusing to participate when the other side is still kicking the ball.”

The US Can’t Stop China’s Rise, But It Will Cripple The EU While Trying (RT)

For years now, the US has been strongarming the Netherlands into accepting technology restrictions on the export of advanced lithography machines to China. These machines, produced by the Dutch firm ASML, use lasers to help create circuits for microchips. Although ASML is a world-leading specialist company, its foundational patents are derived from the US, which allows Washington to coerce it into following unilateral export controls as the Americans see fit. American restrictions have come in several waves, building on the sweeping export controls introduced in 2022. One such update concerning a specific kind of lithography machine came into effect on Monday, January 1, 2024. ASML attempted to rush through the sale of several such machines to China before the deadline but canceled it at the last moment – reportedly due to pressure from the US.

The news caused ASML’s US shares to drop. The fundamental goal of US foreign policy here is to try and crush China’s semiconductor industry and hobble its high tech ambitions, which has become one of the critical strategies to try and curb China’s military and economic rise as a whole. In doing so, the US has blacklisted Chinese technology firms and has increasingly tried to stave off the exports of semiconductor equipment to China, describing it as a “small yard, high fence” approach. Despite this, there is overwhelming evidence at this stage that such sanctions are not working, not least because China is pursuing a coordinated state and industry effort to forcibly advance itself in semiconductor technology which has seen Huawei, the original US target of sanctions, effectively piece together its very own semiconductor supply chain.

While doing this, China has also found increasingly creative ways around restrictions, secured loopholes for US equipment, and has continued to make progress on new chip nodes while also making older designs more efficient and effectively shrugging off America’s coercive campaign. If it wasn’t obvious already, the US is doubling down on failure and is forcing China towards self-sufficiency, which, of course, most ironically, will hurt US companies and exports above all. How exactly can the US feasibly maintain strict export controls over the world’s second-largest economy and largest trading nation? However, moves targeted at companies such as ASML show that the US continues to represent an obvious threat and challenge to European economic competitiveness and prosperity. Why? Because EU firms are being forced, by command of a third party, to sever ties with their most lucrative market, in order to meet American goals.

The US likes to claim that it supports free and fair trade in a market governed by the rule of law, but what kind of “rule of law” is there in a system where a firm you operate has secured a large number of sales in anticipation of a restriction deadline imposed by a third party outside of your legal system and then has to cancel those sales anyway because the same third party doesn’t want to wait for the deadline? China is the world’s largest semiconductor market, whose high-tech development fuels a greater demand for microchips than anywhere else in the world. The US believes it can hamstring China’s long-term prospects by blocking this ascension as the country moves away from low-end manufacturing. Washington’s plan to stop China’s development and induce stagnation is based on faulty logic that China is incapable of innovating or moving forward without Western technology, which goes against all evidence to the contrary.

Instead, in the long-term, this approach will effectively cut off Western firms from the critical and lucrative Chinese market, as the US aims to create a new global supply chain in technology which it dominates, and therefore make the EU dependent upon it. This reminds us that the EU is the biggest loser of America’s war on China as it seeks to break a lucrative trading relationship but also, more critically, undermine European competitiveness, as it has done by depriving it of Russian energy over the war in Ukraine, and therefore absorb the market space for itself. To follow American wishes on China is to sacrifice sovereignty, geopolitical autonomy, and prosperity to serve the goals of the United States. It is a lose-lose situation. What happens to ASML when the time comes that China is capable of creating its own high-end chips and lithography equipment? And no longer has need of it for its domestic market, and offers the same solutions to other countries? You need to be in China to compete in the game, you don’t win by refusing to participate when the other side is still kicking the ball.

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What a surprise…

Leopard 2 Tanks Supplied to Ukraine Are Non-Operational – German MP (Sp.)

Very few of the Leopard 2A6 tanks delivered by Berlin to Ukraine are still in service, according to Green Party member Sebastian Schafer. The majority of the machines were damaged in battle and spare parts are scarce, he stressed. “Unfortunately, we must admit that Ukraine can now use only small number of tanks delivered,” Schafer wrote to Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann arms manufacturers, which was reported on by German media. The politician noted that some of the Leopard tanks were further damaged by Ukrainian servicemen who tried to repair them. He stresses that there is a shortage of spare parts in the Lithuanian repair center. According to the politician, who recently visited the repair center in Lithuania with Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, there are not enough spare parts for these tanks in the workshops to keep the vessels in working condition.

In his speech, Schaefer, a member of the parliamentary budget committee, called for measures to speed up the repair work. Western donors had earlier announced the delivery of Leopard tanks to Kiev, hailing them as a miracle weapon that would turn the tide for Ukraine. In total, the German government has transferred 18 Leopard 2 tanks from the Bundeswehr arsenal to Ukraine. Within weeks of the Leopards’ arrival on the battlefield, Russian forces began hunting them down with missiles and kamikaze drones. In November 2023, Forbes magazine reported that Ukraine was in danger of losing its entire Leopard fleet due to the incompetence of its soldiers.

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“..he does not currently see a way to force Scholz to step down, as it is not in the interests of his coalition partners, as they are even more unpopular..”

Will Chancellor Scholz Step Down Amid Plummeting Rating? (Sp.)

Support for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party has dropped from 20% to 15% according to a December survey by the country’s Institute for New Social Answers (INSA). The drop is reportedly causing deep concern among party officials. Furthermore, the gap between it and its main rivals, the opposition conservative block CDU/CSU, has nearly tripled, reaching 17 percentage points. Scholz’s approval rating as the head of the government has also plummeted, with only one in five Germans expressing approval of his performance, as reported by Bild. Likewise, a December article from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica hinted at “bad rumors” circulating in the Bundestag, without disclosing sources. The potential successor to Scholz, according to the Italian publication, is also under consideration, with Pistorius being a prominent candidate.

The Wirecard scandal of 2020, involving a fraudulent scheme amounting to $2 billion, may also influence Scholz’s fate. At that time, Scholz served as the Minister of Finance in Angela Merkel’s government. Wirecard, once considered a promising fintech company specializing in cryptocurrency cards, went bankrupt in June 2020, revealing the disappearance of €1.9 billion from its accounts. Markus Braun, the head of the company, was arrested, and Jan Marsalek, the company’s executive, went missing. Scholz was responsible for financial supervision, as Wirecard was a partner of the federal government. The chancellor has consistently denied any involvement in the scandal and personal responsibility for what transpired. Addressing the chancellor’s policies, Gunnar Beck, a member of the European Parliament from the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, stated in an interview with the Russian newspaper Izvestia on January 3 that Scholz should resign.

“I think it would be very good if he (Scholz) resigned because his government is a disaster, diplomatically, economically, and in all other respects. But I don’t think he will resign for this reason. If he resigns now, it will not lead to the restoration of his own political career or to the electoral success of his own party in the next elections. It would be good for the country if he resigned, but I don’t think he will do that,” he said. As the politician noted, he does not currently see a way to force Scholz to step down, as it is not in the interests of his coalition partners, as they are even more unpopular. The opposition party will also not push him to resign because it is in the interest of the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Friedrich Merz, for Scholz to cause a real catastrophe in the remaining 18 months.

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“There is nothing Congress can do to force Thomas off the appeal. The concern is that Raskin is encouraging new targeting of justices at their homes by protesters..”

“What Do We Do if He Doesn’t Recuse Himself?” (Turley)

Rep. Jamie Raskin raised eyebrows on Sunday with a CNN interview where he said that there may have to be action taken if Justice Clarence Thomas does not recuse himself from pending appeals over the disqualification of Donald Trump from the Colorado and Maine ballots. Not only is there a weak basis for demanding such recusal, the suggestion of some type of response or retaliation raises ongoing concerns over efforts to influence or intimidate justices. CNN host Dana Bash asked Raskin, a former law professor, whether Thomas or any of the judges appointed by the former president should recuse themselves. Raskin responded that “anybody looking at this in any kind of dispassionate, reasonable way would say, if your wife was involved in the ‘Big Lie’ and claiming that Donald Trump had actually won the presidential election and been agitating for that and participating in the events leading up to January 6, that you shouldn’t be participating in (the rulings).”

I, for one, disagree. Under this theory, Thomas would have to recuse himself from any election or Trump related case because of his wife’s advocacy. Justices on both the left and right have long applied a far more narrow view of recusal. However, Raskin then stated: “He absolutely should recuse himself. The question is, what do we do if he doesn’t recuse himself?” The reference to some response from Congress or the public was left unexplained. In the past, Democrats have been criticized for fueling the attacks or targeting of conservative justices. In fairness to Raskin, I do not believe that he is an advocate for violence. He could be referring to the public voting against Trump. I wish, however, that his fealty to the constitution would extend to opposing this pernicious and dangerous theory. Other leading Democrats in Congress have done so.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer was widely criticized (including by Chief Justice John Roberts) when he went in front of the Supreme Court to publicly declare “I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price! You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” There is nothing Congress can do to force Thomas off the appeal. The concern is that Raskin is encouraging new targeting of justices at their homes by protesters. The interview had other curious elements. Raskin made a rather anemic effort to portray the removal of someone from the ballot as weirdly democratic under the theory that Trump picked himself for disqualification: “If you think about it, of all of the forms of disqualification that we have, the one that disqualifies people for engaging in insurrection is the most democratic because it’s the one where people choose themselves to be disqualified.”

That is akin to treating every criminal charge as an act of self-selection and consent by the accused. Raskin also stated that all of the justices on the left and right “call themselves textualist and originalists.” That is not true in the sense of originalism as a school of constitutional interpretation. Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Jackson do not follow an originalist approach but rather a more flexible living constitutional approach. Moreover, many of us do not believe that the text or original intent of the 14th Amendment support this anti-democratic theory.

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“.. the two states’ decisions — and the risk of others joining them — underscores the imperative need for the nation’s high court to decide the issue once and for all.”

Colorado Disqualification Case Brings Back Bad Memories for SCOTUS (Turley)

It is “a sad day for America and the Constitution when a court decides the outcome of an election.” Those words, condemning a4-3 decision by state supreme court justices regarding a presidential election, undoubtedly spoke for millions of Americans. However, it wasn’t a reference to the Colorado Supreme Court’s recent 4-3 decision to disqualify Donald Trump from running in the 2024 election. Instead, it was a statement by James Baker, then a spokesman for Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, criticizing the Florida Supreme Court’s decision during the 2000 election. Of course, the condemnations in 2000 would shift to the U.S. Supreme Court, when it stopped the recount ordered by the four Florida justices and effectively called the election for Bush.

Then, it was the left condemning the U.S. justices as being, in the words of law professor Cass Sunstein, “illegitimate, undemocratic, and unprincipled.” Even the justices appeared to lose some of their customary collegiality and civility in the moment. Then-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously omitted the customary word “respectfully” before the phrase “I dissent” at the end of her opinion. Now, the Supreme Court is being pulled into another election vortex by the Colorado decision and, potentially, by some of the cases in at least 15 other states. (Appeals of ballot decisions are pending in Arizona; ballot challenges are in process in Alaska, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. A Wisconsin challenge has been denied twice.)

Colorado and, now, Maine remain outliers after the Michigan Supreme Court rejected another disqualification effort in that state. Last Wednesday, the Colorado GOP appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to accept the case given the split among the states and the importance of the issue. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have criticized the decision by Maine’s secretary of state and urged that the courts overturn it. But the two states’ decisions — and the risk of others joining them — underscores the imperative need for the nation’s high court to decide the issue once and for all.

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Attack is the best defense?

White House Blames Republicans For Illegal Immigration Crisis (RT)

US President Joe Biden’s administration has responded to the political fallout over a record influx of illegal immigrants by trying to shift blame for the border crisis to Republican lawmakers. As House Speaker Mike Johnson led a delegation of Republicans visiting the US-Mexico border on Wednesday, the White House issued a statement accusing the opposition party of blocking Biden’s efforts to resolve the crisis. Biden spokesman Andrew Bates condemned Republicans for refusing to pass the president’s emergency-funding request and accused them of having an “anti-border-security record,” including an effort to cut funding for Border Patrol officers.

“House Republicans are once more compromising America’s national security and economic growth with shutdown threats,” Bates said in response to a report that lawmakers vowed to block funding for the whole government if Biden didn’t close the border. He added, “Today’s statements are just House Republicans’ latest admission that as President Biden and both parties in the Senate seek common ground to address the needs of the American people, their conference is instead choosing extreme politics that would subject American families to needless pain.” However, Biden bundled his request for $6.4 billion in border security funding into a $106 billion emergency spending package that also includes military aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Most House Republicans oppose continuing to send weapons to Kiev, arguing that Biden’s policies lack a strategy for ending the fighting. Lawmakers have also argued that the president’s plan doesn’t go far enough to stop the flow of illegal aliens into the US. Border Patrol officers reportedly encountered more than 300,000 illegal immigrants crossing into the US in December, an all-time high for a single month. Illegal border crossings have surged since Biden took office in January 2021 and began dismantling the immigration policies of his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump. Biden’s administration released nearly 1.4 million illegal aliens into the US in the last fiscal year, in many cases letting them stay in the country while awaiting court hearings for dubious asylum claims, according to the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington.

A Monmouth University poll released last month showed that Biden’s approval rating dropped to a record low of 34%. Just 26% of US adults approve of his immigration policies, a troubling statistic as he seeks reelection in 2024. Critics of Biden’s policies have argued that in addition to flooding the US with illegal aliens, the nation’s porous borders have jeopardized national security. More than 172 illegal immigrants encountered by Border Patrol agents in the last fiscal year had been flagged on the nation’s terrorist watch list. House Republicans plan to launch impeachment proceedings next week against Biden’s Homeland Security chief, Alejandro Mayorkas, citing his alleged failure to enforce immigration laws. “The border crisis is a direct result of President Biden’s policies,” Johnson said on Wednesday as he began his border trip.

Caravan

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“Treason, I don’t know. It comes to an end soon and we’re here to make sure it happens.”

House Speaker Johnson At Border: ‘Disaster Of The President’s Own Design’ (JTN)

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said on Wednesday that the crisis at the southern border is a “disaster of the president’s own design,” adding that Biden has the authority to fix the problems. A group of 64 lawmakers representing 26 states visited the southern border in Texas on Wednesday. Describing the situation there as “heartbreaking and infuriating,” Johnson called on President Biden to reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy that he ended as soon as he took office in 2021. He also said the Biden administration must end “catch and release,” which allows illegal immigrants apprehended at the borer to be released into U.S. communities. Johnson said those policy changes would “stem the flow” of illegal immigrants arriving at the border by 70% or more. He told reporters that a border sheriff explained to him that the policy changes made since 2021 have “dismantled” 100 years of progress on border security.

House Republicans on the border trip urged Biden to resume construction of border barriers along open areas of the border. Johnson said there have been 7 million border encounters with illegal immigrants under Biden and a record amount of 312 individuals on the terrorist watchlist caught at the border. He noted that the Biden administration has taken the state of Texas to court for taking steps to secure the border. “Madness is the only word that we can think of to describe this,” Johnson said, as another lawmaker suggested treason as another word. “Treason, I don’t know. It comes to an end soon and we’re here to make sure it happens.”

Johnson emphasized that the president has the authority to “stop this madness.” He said the Biden administration has opened the border to the “entire world.” Johnson declared that any foreign aid package for Ukraine and Israel that Congress passes “better begin by defending America’s national security.” Republican leaders are pushing to incorporate border security measures into a supplemental foreign aid package. “We want to get the border closed and secured, first, and we want to make sure that we reduce non-defense discretionary spending,” he said.

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X thread.

I’m hesitant to pay too much attention to this. FBI and CIA have had access to it for years. The info has been thoroughly cleaned.

The Epstein Files (Cernovich)

The Epstein Files. Today a tranche of documents were released in a case involving Jeffrey Epstein. There’s no revelations. Jeffrey Epstein’s case was covered up. I can explain why. In 2017, my lawyer Marc Randazza found a wonky freedom of the press case. There was a defamation case, and although Jeffrey Epstein wasn’t named as a defendant, the case was central to some “conspiracy theories.” Marc asked me if I wanted to file a motion to intervene. We expected it to be a simple matter. Media interest was almost zero. No one in the “free press” cared. Then Trump nominated Alexander Acosta to the Secretary of Labor. Acosta had handled the original Epstein criminal case, and said Epstein was given kid gloves treatments due to protection from the intelligence community. Epstein was an asset of the FBI. What his exact relation was remains sealed.

By 2019 the case I sought to intervene in had an ORANGE MAN BAD angle because Acosta was Trump’s Labor Secretary. Even if the motives were impure, at least we were on to the races. Hundreds-of-thousands of dollars later, a trip to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and a lot of fighting, we had a batch of documents ready to be unsealed. The weekend before the documents were made public, SDNY arrested Epstein quietly when he landed his private jet on an airport from a trip he took in France. No perp walk for Epstein. In 2019 I wrote the following after a press conference was held re: Epstein’s arrest: ” Why didn’t the SNDY charge Jeffrey Epstein under the Mann Act? Under the Mann Act, it’s unlawful to transport an underage girl through interstate travel, including on an airplane.” “In a widely-publicized press conference the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced sex trafficking charges against Jeff Epstein.”

“Epstein was charged for paying minors for massages from 2002 to 2005. Yet what was more newsworthy was the what the indictment left out.” “The indictment against Epstein does not charge anyone except Epstein, and there’s nothing to indicate that anyone who flew to Epstein’s private island has faced scrutiny.” “The SDNY’s actions have all of the telltale signs of containment. Because the Miami Herald and Cernovich won a civil lawsuit, leading to over 2,000 records being unsealed, it’s simply impossible for the same Feds who gave Epstein a pass years ago to continue to cover up.” “The SDNY could have charged Epstein in 2002, 2003, 2004, or at anytime until today. Yet they did not file charges until the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that previously sealed records involving Jeff Epstein would become public record.Thus they are charging him without implicating anyone else who assisted with his operation.”

You know what happened next. Epstein committed suicide. Because SDNY charged the lowest level offenses possible, they “lacked jurisdiction” to raid Epstein’s island in Little St James, as well as his New Mexico and Paris properties. Those houses were left unattended for a couple of weeks. During that time, a safe went missing. During the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, it was reported: Evidence from Jeffrey Epstein’s safe ‘went missing’ after FBI raid. What was in the safe? We’ll never know for certain. We do know that the FBI has Jeffrey Epstein’s blackmail files. The real Jeffrey Epstein files are the blackmail material. Very powerful forces have made sure we will never see it.

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“The flood came. It inundated America’s newsrooms for the next two and a half years and washed away the Republican House majority in 2018. And we’re charging Donald Trump with insurrection? Please! Pass the bananas.”

Was Barack Obama Guilty of Insurrection? (Cashill)

According to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, no person shall be eligible to hold federal office who “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion.” Although all parties know the “insurrection or rebellion” clause refers specifically to recently completed Civil War, the Department of Justice argues for a much more elastic definition, all the better to hang Donald Trump with. Yet if there were one president guilty of insurrection in recent years, that president would have to be Barack Obama. In late 2016 and early 2017, Obama knowingly conspired with others to subvert the presidency of Donald Trump. Thanks to the zealous note taking of his once and future factotum, Susan Rice, we have documentation of this flagrant act of sedition. The formal plot to unseat President Donald Trump was launched with a White House meeting on Jan. 5, 2017, 15 days before Trump’s inauguration.

In conference with Rice and Obama were his national security team, including all the usual suspects: the FBI’s James Comey, the CIA’s John Brennan, then Vice-President Joe Biden, DNI James Clapper and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Following the meeting, Obama asked Yates and Comey to stick around along with Rice, his trusted scribe. Obama had a reason for singling out Comey and Yates. Unlike the others, they were staying on in their jobs. On the very day at the very moment Trump was being inaugurated, Rice sent to “self” a peculiar email memorializing this meeting. “President Obama began the conversation,” wrote Rice, “by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book.'”

The “issue” in question was the framing of Donald Trump for collusion with Russia. Obama had to know by this time that the collusion accusation was spawned by the Clinton campaign. The law firm that served as cutout for Clinton, Perkins Coie, was the same law firm that magically produced Obama’s birth certificate in 2011. There is evidence that Obama knew in early August of the provenance of the infamous Steele dossier. In 1974, Nixon campaign aide Donald Segretti made “dirty tricks” a household phrase. The nation was scandalized that Segretti would send fake letters using the letterhead of presidential candidate Edmund Muskie. For his dirty tricks, Segretti served four months in prison. For hers, the mother of all dirty tricks, Hillary Clinton walked away without even a scolding. The Steele dossier proved to be the most consequential dirty trick in American political history.

There is no “book” that justifies what Comey and pals did in the weeks immediately following this meeting while Obama was still president. The next day, Jan. 6, 2017, the conspirators released the declassified version of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA). Commissioned a month earlier by Obama, the ICA was John Brennan’s way of welcoming the president-elect to Washington. Titled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections,” the report concluded that Putin “ordered” an influence campaign, the goal of which was “to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”The corollary of this, of course, was that “Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

The “Obama dossier,” as Rep. Devin Nunes called the ICA, reads like one of my college term papers, filled with sundry bits of information gathered from here and there just hours before the due date. Although Comey lobbied to have the Steele dossier included in the body of the text, wiser heads prevailed, and it was relegated to the appendices. On the same day the ICA was released, Jan. 6, Comey, Clapper, Brennan and the NSA’s Mike Rogers briefed the incoming president at Trump Tower, sort of. “[W]e were not investigating him and the stuff [in the dossier] might be totally made up but it was being said out of Russia and our job was to protect the president from efforts to coerce him,” Comey wrote in his notes to self following the meeting. At least three of the four men were investigating Trump, and it was not the Russians who were doing the coercing.

Only Comey stayed behind to brief Trump about the Steele dossier. It had not yet been published. CNN had the story, Comey knew. He also knew that by telling the president about the dossier, he would give CNN the necessary news hook to report the dossier’s allegations, at least the more plausible ones. One of the conspirators promptly leaked the news of the more intimate briefing to CNN. On Jan. 8, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe emailed his senior FBI colleagues. “CNN is close to going forward with the sensitive story,” wrote McCabe, emphasis his. “The trigger for [CNN] is they know the material was discussed in the brief and presented in an attachment.” McCabe sent this email under the heading, “The flood is coming.” The flood came. It inundated America’s newsrooms for the next two and a half years and washed away the Republican House majority in 2018. And we’re charging Donald Trump with insurrection? Please! Pass the bananas.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hair

 

 

Ice
https://twitter.com/i/status/1742536626541089246

 

 


Donnie Dunagan was the youngest U.S. Marine drill instructor. He served three tours in Vietnam and was wounded several times, retiring as a Major in 1977. Throughout his career he managed to keep secret that he had been the voice of Bambi in the 1942 Disney film.

 

 

Cassoway

 

 


Raimondi Cove Plant reaches maturity only after 100 years, flowers only once in a lifetime, and can live over 1000 years. Raimondi Cove Plant (Puya raimondi) is a unique and rare plant that can grow at a high altitude of about 3800 m. It is the largest species of bromeliad, reaching up to 15 m (50 ft) in height.

 

 


The Oriental dwarf kingfisher is a small, red and yellow kingfisher, averaging 13 cm (5.1 in) in length, yellow underparts with glowing bluish-black upperparts

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 032024
 


Joan Miro Dancer 1925

 

In Court Cases Facts Are Losing Their Relevancy (Paul Craig Roberts)
Maine Shows the Danger of Zealots in our Legal System (Turrley)
Trump Fights 2024 Maine Election Ban (RT)
New York City Council Members Reportedly Weighing Trump Ballot Ban (Sp.)
Karaganov: Russians Are The Real Europeans, The West Has Lost Its Way (RT)
What Will Be Left Out of the EU? (Barton)
Scholz Claims Putin to Blame for Germany’s Economic Woes (Sp.)
Ukraine and Palestine: A Double Threat To US Hegemony (Bhadrakumar)
US Rejects Gaza Ethnic Cleansing Proposal (RT)
2024: The Year Global Government Takes Shape (Kit Knightly)
2024 Is Going To Be ‘Even More Crazy’ – Elon Musk (RT)
Corruption, Chaos, Conflict – Fourth Turning Erupts In 2024 (Quinn)
Dollar’s Dip in 2023 Just the Start as BRICS Strives for Dedollarization (Sp.)
US Debt Hits A Record $34.001 Trillion (ZH)

 

 

 

 

The reveal has been postponed until the end of the month.

 

 

 

 

RFK

 

 

 

 

TCN

 

 

 

 

 

 

J6 Full

 

 

 

 

“..as They Have in News Reporting, Scholarship, and Science..”

In Court Cases Facts Are Losing Their Relevancy (Paul Craig Roberts)

Informed people understand that the indictments, civil charges, and judicial rulings against Trump all involve what is politely called “a stretch of the law.” But they do not seem to grasp that Trump’s defense against the charges is not based on the falseness of the charges but on whether he has presidential immunity. In other words, the phony charges stand, and the question is whether Trump has presidential immunity. Whether the charges are factual is not considered relevant. The advantage in Trump’s attorneys taking this approach is that if Trump has immunity, all the indictments are dismissed and trials over the disputed charges do not take place, a good thing as the biases of the Democrat prosecutors, judges, and jurors make fair trials for Trump impossible.

The disadvantage is that Trump’s enemies can claim that the charges are true but could not be brought to trial because of immunity. More seriously, it means that the lack of evidentiary basis for the charges will not be established. In other words, the Democrat prosecutors who weaponized law in order to intentionally concoct false indictments are protected from having their crimes revealed. Of course the Democrat juries and judges would validate the Democrat prosecutors cases despite the lack of evidence. In the US judicial system where truth is irrelevant, accusation alone serves as the basis for indictment and conviction. As no defendant or defendant’s lawyer trusts the American judicial system, 97% of all alleged felonies are resolved with plea bargains in which even innocent defendants agree to a lessor charge in order to avoid the risk of a longer sentence imposed by a trial.

Only the idealistically few expect a fair trial. By declining the Justice (sic) Department’s plea to fast-track an immunity decision, the Supreme Court has probably delayed any Trump trial until after the election. If the federal appeals court upholds Democrat district court judge Tanya Chutkan’s biased ruling against Trump, then the appeal goes to the Supreme Court. It lengthens the ordeal that Trump has to endure, but it likely frees him from campaigning with a false conviction hanging around his neck.

Read more …

“..pundits who warn that Democrats can no longer rely on the election process, given Trump’s soaring popularity.”

Maine Shows the Danger of Zealots in our Legal System (Turrley)

“You had me at hello.” That line from the movie “Jerry Maguire” came to mind this week after yet another Democratic secretary of state moved to prevent citizens from voting for former president Donald Trump. Maine’s Shenna Bellows issued a “decision” that declared Trump an “insurrectionist” and ineligible to be president. She joined an ignoble list of Democratic officials in states such as Colorado who claim to safeguard democracy by denying its exercise to millions of Americans. Yet the most striking aspect of this poorly crafted decision was not its litany of conclusory findings, but rather Bellow’s implausible suggestion that she struggled over the decision. Bellows was a natural choice for challengers, who have been searching for any officials or courts willing to embrace this dangerous theory under the Fourteenth Amendment that they can unilaterally bar candidates deemed rebellious or insurrectionalist.

Challengers knew that they had Bellows at hello. She was one of the first officials to declare the Jan. 6 riot to be an “insurrection” prompted by Trump’s speech. Bellows previously declared that “the Jan. 6 insurrection was an unlawful attempt to overthrow the results of a free and fair election…The insurrectionists failed, and democracy prevailed.” A year after the riot, Bellows was still denouncing the “violent insurrection.” Of course, in the 1996 movie, Jerry Maguire reminded Dorothy that ” we live in a cynical world — a cynical, cynical world — and we work in a business of tough competitors.” However, he added “you complete me.” In our cynical politics, Bellows and Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, among others, have become wildly popular for seeking to complete the effort to defeat Trump by removing him from the ballot. This cynicism is captured in statements from pundits who warn that Democrats can no longer rely on the election process, given Trump’s soaring popularity.

One columnist wrote that “Democrats may have to act radically to deny Donald Trump the 2024 Republican nomination. We cannot rely on Republicans to do it…Trump must be defeated. No matter what it takes.” Many Democratic jurists and officials have refused to participate in this cynical effort to win the election through the courts. Maine’s Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden denounced Bellows decision. California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) warned Democrats against embracing this legal theory. His state’s secretary of state Shirley Weber (D) had refused to do what Bellows just did. Yet Democrats know that they need only to remove Trump from the ballots of a couple of key states to make him constitutionally incapable of becoming president, due to the electoral college. Thus, Trump could be the overwhelming choice of the voters but still be effectively barred from assuming office.

To achieve this end, advocates are willing to adopt the type of ballot-cleansing powers long associated with authoritarian countries such as Iran. That is why this theory of disqualification remains one of the most dangerous to arise in our nation’s history. The U.S. stands as the most successful and stable democratic system in history. In the blind quest to block Trump “at any cost,” these officials have introduced a destabilizing element to our system that could be replicated in tit-for-tat politics for years to come. It has already begun, with Republicans calling to bar President Joe Biden from ballots. The ballot-cleansing effort is only the latest example of what Justice Louis Brandeis identified as the true threat to our democracy — not the threat from other countries, but from within. “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding,” he said.

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Time for the Supreme Court to step in. Or Trump will have 20 of these cases.

Trump Fights 2024 Maine Election Ban (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has begun a court fight to get himself back on this year’s election ballot in Maine, arguing in a legal filing that a state official had no authority to disqualify him from the race. Trump’s lawyers filed the appeal on Tuesday in Maine Superior Court, challenging last week’s decision by Secretary of State Shenna Bellows to bar the ex-president from the ballot because of his alleged role in the January 2021 US Capitol riot. The case is likely to ultimately be decided by the US Supreme Court, along with Trump’s disqualification from the ballot in Colorado, but Maine has required him to begin his challenge in the state court system.

The ruling making Trump ineligible in Maine “was the product of a process infected by bias and pervasive lack of due process,” Trump’s lawyers said in Tuesday’s filing. They added that Bellows has a documented history of being biased against Trump and gave him no opportunity to defend himself against her allegations. The Maine and Colorado disqualifications were based on interpretations of a constitutional amendment that banned people who engage in an “insurrection or rebellion” from holding public office in the US. The amendment was passed by lawmakers in 1866 to ensure citizenship and constitutional rights for former slaves and to block politicians who had taken part in the Confederate rebellion from returning to power.

Bellows and other Democrats have accused Trump of inciting the Capitol “insurrection,” where demonstrators sought to block the transfer of power after he lost to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. She has made public statements on social media calling Trump an “insurrectionist” and suggesting that he should have been removed from office after being impeached for his alleged role in the riot. Trump has repeatedly claimed that the election was rigged, but has denied any role in triggering the riot. Trump is polling as, far and away, the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. However, his candidacy has been jeopardized by state efforts to disqualify him, as well as felony indictments in four separate criminal cases. He has called the legal actions a politically motivated “witch hunt” to block voters from being able to elect him again.

Read more …

There we go…

New York City Council Members Reportedly Weighing Trump Ballot Ban (Sp.)

New York City council members are urging the state’s Board of Elections to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the 2024 primary and general election ballots due to his alleged involvement in the events following the 2020 election, the National Review reported on Tuesday. “The Board of Elections must give effect to the Fourteenth Amendment and its safeguards to protect the integrity of New York’s electoral process, maintain the public’s faith in our democratic system, and respect the rule of law,” councilman Shekar Krishnan is quoted in the report as having written in an email this week to other council members.

Though the report cites several council members as having endorsed Krishnan’s letter, Democratic councilor Robert Holden is quoted in the report as saying that he found the idea of removing a candidate from the ballot without legal cause “troubling.” “This trend across the nation, including here in New York, is dangerous. If you are against a candidate, you work hard to beat them at the polls, not prevent them from participating in an election,” Holden is quoted as saying. Other council members are quoted in the report as agreeing with Holden, with some calling the letter a “waste” of the council’s time.

“My colleagues should instead be devoting their energy and efforts towards resolving the ongoing migrant crisis and bringing the budget back under control. New York City is facing some very real problems right now, and Donald Trump being on the ballot here is not one of them,” Council member Jane Ariola is quoted as saying in the report. Last month, both Maine and Colorado disqualified Trump from the 2024 primary ballot, citing the insurrectionist clause in 14th Amendment. Both bans are expected to be swiftly appealed in both the state courts and the US Supreme Court.

Read more …

Sergei Karaganov is Russia’s HSE University Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs. Very much worth a read.

“..without European inoculation, without European culture, we would not have become such a great power. We would not have had Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Pushkin or Blok.”

Karaganov: Russians Are The Real Europeans, The West Has Lost Its Way (RT)

The elites of Western Europe – and especially in Germany – are in a state of historical failure. The main basis of their 500-year domination [of the world] was military superiority, on which the economic, political and cultural dominance of the West was built. But this has been knocked out from under them. With the help of this advantage, they manipulated the world’s resources in their favor. First they plundered their colonies, and later they did the same, but with more sophisticated methods. Today’s Western elites are failing to address a range of growing problems in their societies. These include a shrinking middle class and rising inequality. Almost all their initiatives are failing. The European Union, as everyone knows, is slowly but surely sprawling out. That is why its ruling class has been hostile to Russia for about 15 years now.

They need an external enemy; Josep Borrell [the EU’s top foreign affairs official] called the world around the bloc a jungle last year. Indeed, in the past, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the sanctions adopted by the EU [against Russia] were necessary first and foremost to unite the European Union and prevent it from collapsing. The German and Western European elites have an inferiority complex in, what is for them, a now-monstrous situation, where their part of the world is being overtaken by everyone. Not only by the Chinese and the Americans, but also by many other countries. Thanks to Russia’s liberation of the world from the ‘Western yoke’, Western Europe is no longer lording it over the states of the Global South, or as I call them, the countries of the world majority.

The threat Western Europe now presents is that the Old World has lost its fear of armed conflict. And that is very dangerous. At the same time, the West of Europe, let me remind you, has been the source of the worst disasters in human history. Now in Ukraine there is a struggle not only for Russia’s interests, for the interests of its security, but also to prevent a new global confrontation. The threat is growing. This is also due to the West’s desperate attempts at counter-attacks to maintain its dominance. Today’s Western European elites are failing and losing influence in the world to a much greater extent than their American counterparts. Russia is fighting its own battle and fighting it successfully. We are acting confidently enough to sober up these Western elites, lest they unleash another world conflict in despair at their failures. We must not forget that these same people’s predecessors unleashed two world wars within one generation in the last century. Now, the quality of these elites is even lower than it was then.

[..] The West is now closing the Iron Curtain, first of all because we in Russia are the real Europeans. We remain healthy. And they want to exclude these healthy forces. Secondly, the West is closing this curtain, even more tightly than during the Cold War, in order to mobilize its population for hostilities. But we do not need a military confrontation with the West, so we will rely on a policy of containment to prevent the worst. Of course, we will not cancel anything, including our European story. Yes, we have completed our European journey [in terms of integration]. I think it has dragged on a bit, maybe for a century. But without European inoculation, without European culture, we would not have become such a great power. We would not have had Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Pushkin or Blok.

So we will keep European culture, which the West of our continent seems to be trying to abandon. But I hope that it will not destroy itself completely, in this regard. Because Western Europe is not only abandoning Russian culture, it is abandoning its own culture. It is cancelling a culture that is largely based on love and Christian values. It is cancelling its history, destroying its monuments. However, we will not reject our European roots. I have always been against looking at the West with mere squeamishness. You should not do that. Then we would be like them. And they are now sliding towards an inevitable march towards fascism. We do not need all the contagions that have been and are growing out of the west of Europe. Including, once again, the growing contagion of fascism.

Read more …

“..Europe is currently being prepared to hand its territory over to a new mixed, Islamised Europe..”

What Will Be Left Out of the EU? (Barton)

The first decisive attempt to flood Europe with mostly Muslim migrants took place in 2012. In January that year, the unelected, cosmopolitan EU leadership pushed ahead with its scheduled integration within EUROMED. First a Barcelona seminar under the telling slogan: War and Peace in XXI century. The Arab Spring a year later took place. During the seminar the EU Special Envoy, Bernardino Leon urged the EU to offer a ‘a new relationship’ to Arab countries that underwent the Arab Spring. This new relationship was to be based on equal treatment between the European Union and the Arab partners. In the presence of the former, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy in Europe, Javier Solana, Leon assured Tunisia of being granted a relationship similar to other European countries outside the EU like Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.

This push was further reinforced in February 2012 by a Brussels Press Briefing. This took place to give information and significance to the meeting of the Prime Minister of Tunisia, Hamadi Jebali (the same one who announced to his countrymen that they possibly were in the Sixth Caliphate) and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso. The latter within his Press Briefing mentioned a number of priorities to be dealt with. Significantly, one of them involved the resumption of the dialogue on mobility and migration. Further developments related to influx of Muslim migrants to Europe are related to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Despite the fact that yet in 2010 she erupted in reference to multi-culti integration calling it an utter failure her decision to accept over a million refugees mainly from the Middle East marked a profound change in her policy.

Watching closely the 2015 migrant crisis billionaire financer George Soros welcomed her decision. The same cosmopolitan George Soros prepared his plan of bringing up to 1 million Muslims to Europe annually. The plan was among other things reported on 22 July 2017, in Tusnadfurdo, Romania, by the prime minister of Hungary, Victor Orban and vehemently opposed by him. A few words on the plan may give some insight into Soros’s thinking and the European Commission readiness to cooperate. The plan comprises of four points and the Soros Empire published it and began recruitment for implementation of it. The second point envisaged that upon arrival every Muslim migrant should be given an amount in euros equivalent to four and a half million forints which the author of the plan would be glad to finance.

The essence of the proposal is the so-called “pull factor” to maintain a continuous influx. After all, the received sum in euros by each migrant upon arrival would be higher than the Hungarian annual average wage. The third point of the plan stated that the migrants arriving in the EU would have to be distributed among the countries of Europe as part of a mandatory and permanent mechanism. And interestingly, the fourth point is about setting up a European immigration agency which would take all the decision-making powers related to migrant affairs away from the nation states and hand them over to Brussels. The opposition to massive migration and Soros-like proposals on part of Orban is loud and firm. His not very widely publicised statements clearly indicate what is at stake. I shall quote just three of them:

Over the next few decades the main question in Europe will be this: will Europe remain the continent of the Europeans? Will Hungary remain the country of the Hungarians? Will Germany remain the country of the Germans? Will France remain the country of the French? Or will Italy remain the country of the Italians? Who will live in Europe?’ Social democratic parties aren’t what they once used to be. They’ve married themselves to global business interests representing neoliberal economic policy, and now they have a single policy area, they’re concentrating on a single area: preservation of their influence over culture. This is the second important element in Europe today. And the third important thing is that Europe is currently being prepared to hand its territory over to a new mixed, Islamised Europe. If you are raped legally, forced to accept something you don’t like, how would you like to have a compromise and agreement? It’s impossible.

Read more …

“Spiraling energy costs in the EU have meant that the bloc has had to overpay more than $204 billion on energy over the past 20 months alone..”

Scholz Claims Putin to Blame for Germany’s Economic Woes (Sp.)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz took a page out of President Biden’s playbook in his New Year’s Eve address, blaming Putin, rather than his own government’s short-sighted policies, for unleashing a global security crisis and putting the German economy into a tailspin. “With COVID-19 barely receding, Russia began a merciless conflict in the center of Europe. Soon after that, the Russian president turned off the natural gas tap, and in the fall there was a brutal terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel,” Scholz said. “Our world has become a more unsettled and harsher place. It’s changing at an almost breathtaking speed,” the chancellor added. “The result is that we too are having to change. This is a worrying thing for many of us. For some, it is also causing discontent. I do take that to heart. But I also know this: We in Germany will get through it,” Scholz said.

Assuring that his government has done a good job in tackling inflation, raising wages, fighting unemployment and replenishing the country’s energy supplies since the cutoff of Russian gas, Scholz expressed confidence that Berlin has managed to hold back an “economic downturn” and to save energy collectively as a nation. Stressing that the key to German power lies in the “strength” of the European Union and its 400 million inhabitents, Scholz urged that “it is important for Europe to emerge unified and strengthened from the European elections in the coming year. After all, Russia’s war in the east of our continent is not over. Nor is the armed conflict in the Middle East. The year ahead will also bring presidential elections in the United States, which may have far-reaching consequences – including for us here in Europe.”

The chancellor’s comments blaming Russia for sky-high energy costs in Europe are nothing new, with Scholz, members of his cabinet and Germany’s allies both in Europe and across the Atlantic regularly repeating the mantra that it was Russia which “turned off the taps” of cheap and dependable gas supplies to the continent. Scholz and his colleagues traditionally leave out the fact that it was the United States which (allegedly) destroyed the Nord Stream Baltic Sea gas pipelines, and that Poland and Ukraine, not Russia, cut off gas flows to Europe via their overland pipelines, leaving TurkStream the only fully operational Russian infrastructure pumping gas to Europe. Spiraling energy costs in the EU have meant that the bloc has had to overpay more than $204 billion on energy over the past 20 months alone, with manufacturers flee the region for climes where energy costs are lower and tax breaks more plentiful (first and foremost the United States).

Meanwhile, ordinary Germans have been left facing higher fuel and utility costs and jacked up prices at supermarkets and big box stores. Curiously, Scholz didn’t mention the impact of the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Act on the German economy, even has hundreds of enterprises big and small packed up their bags and left for North America amid the energy crunch to take advantage of the US federal government’s generous subsidies for the production of so-called ‘green’ technologies. As for Vladimir Putin, the Russian president warned the Europeans over a year-and-a-half ago that if they made the short-sighted decision to stop the purchase of Russian energy, the EU’s economic competiveness would be shattered.

[..] Polling conducted last month found that some three quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with Chancellor Scholz’s ‘traffic light coalition’, with Scholz’s Social Democratic Party polling at just 17 percent support, the Greens at 13 percent, and the Free Democrats at 5 percent, for a total of 35 percent. The mainstream conservative Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union bloc and the populist right Alternative for Germany hit 24 and 17 percent support, respectively, while Linke and former Linke lawmaker Sahra Wagenknecht’s new populist left BSW party 2 and 14 percent support, respectively.

Read more …

“Russia has been rather explicit that during its 2024 chairmanship of BRICS, it will push for the creation of a currency to challenge the petrodollar..”

Ukraine and Palestine: A Double Threat To US Hegemony (Bhadrakumar)

Washington’s neck-deep involvement in the current phase of the West Asian crisis can turn into a quagmire, since it is also tangled up with domestic politics in a way that the Ukraine war never has been. But then, the outcome of the Ukraine war is already a foregone conclusion, and the US and its allies have realized that Russia cannot be defeated militarily; the endgame narrows down to an agreement to end the conflict on Russia’s terms. To be sure, the outcome of the Ukraine war and the denouement of the Israel-Palestine conflict, which is at the root of the West Asian crisis, will have a profound impact on the new world order, and the two processes reinforce each other. Russia realizes this fully. President Vladimir Putin’s stunning ‘year-enders’ in the run-up to the New Year speak for themselves: daylong visits to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh (watched by a shell-shocked US President Joe Biden), followed by talks with Iran’s president and rounded off with a telephone conversation with the Egyptian president.

In the space of 48 hours or so, Putin touched base with his Emirati, Saudi, Iranian, and Egyptian colleagues who officially entered the portals of the BRICS on 1 January. The evolving US intervention in the West Asian crisis can be understood from a geopolitical perspective only by factoring in Biden’s visceral hostility toward Russia. BRICS is in Washington’s crosshairs. The US understands perfectly well that the extra large presence of West Asian and Arab nations in BRICS — four out of ten member states — is central to Putin’s grand project to re-structure the world order and bury US exceptionalism and hegemony. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran are major oil producing countries. Russia has been rather explicit that during its 2024 chairmanship of BRICS, it will push for the creation of a currency to challenge the petrodollar. Without doubt, the BRICS currency will be at the center stage of the grouping’s summit due to be hosted by Putin in Kazan, Russia in October.

In a special address on 1 January, marking the start of Russia’s BRICS Chairmanship, Putin stated his commitment to “enhancing the role of BRICS in the international monetary system, expanding both interbank cooperation and the use of national currencies in mutual trade.” If a BRICS currency is used instead of the dollar, there could be significant impact on several financial sectors of the US economy, such as energy and commodity markets, international trade and investment, capital markets, technology and fintech, consumer goods and retail, travel and tourism, and so on. The banking sector could take the first hit that might eventually spill over to the markets. And if Washington fails to fund its mammoth deficit, prices of all commodities could skyrocket or even reach hyperinflation triggering a crash of the US economy.

Read more …

The moral high ground.

US Rejects Gaza Ethnic Cleansing Proposal (RT)

The US State Department condemned Israeli proposals to remove the Palestinian inhabitants of Gaza en masse in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller explicitly rejected recent comments from Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir supporting the mass deportation of Palestinians as “inflammatory and irresponsible.” Noting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other members of his cabinet have denied that it was official government policy to resettle Gaza’s Palestinian inhabitants, Miller demanded the ministers back away from such rhetoric “immediately.” “Gaza is Palestinian land and will remain Palestinian land, with Hamas no longer in control of its future and no terror groups able to threaten Israel,” he continued.

On Monday, Ben Gvir described “encouraging the residents of Gaza to emigrate” outside the enclave as “the right, just, moral, and humane solution,” explaining that it would allow Israelis living in border communities to return home. He doubled down on his comments following Miller’s statement, writing in a post on Telegram, “I greatly appreciate the USA, but with all due respect…we will do what is good for the state of Israel.” Smotrich made similar comments in an interview with Army Radio on Sunday. “What needs to be done in the Gaza Strip is to encourage emigration,” he said. “If there are 100,000 or 200,000 Arabs in Gaza and not 2 million Arabs, the entire discussion on the day after [the war] will be totally different.” While an official with Netanyahu’s office subsequently told the Associated Press that “contrary to false allegations, Israel does not seek to displace the population in Gaza,” instead merely looking to “enable those individuals who wish to leave to do so,” a government document leaked in November called for the mass relocation of all 2.3 million of the territory’s residents to Egypt’s Sinai peninsula – a plan that has alarmed Palestinians and Egyptians alike.

The US State Department has repeatedly called for Gaza to be run by the Palestinian Authority, which currently administers the West Bank and ran Gaza prior to Hamas’ 2007 election victory, as a prelude to full Palestinian statehood. Israel has openly opposed a two-state solution. At least 1.8 million of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants have been displaced since Israel began bombing the territory following Hamas’ October 7 cross-border attack, which left 1,200 Israelis dead. Many residential neighborhoods have been completely flattened, with vital civilian infrastructure such as the hospital system virtually destroyed. Over 21,800 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli bombs since the start of the war, according to the enclave’s health ministry, with upwards of 56,000 more seriously injured. Thousands more are reportedly missing beneath the rubble.

Read more …

“That’s a lesson they learned from Covid — putting a name and a face on globalism only foments collective resistance to it.”

2024: The Year Global Government Takes Shape (Kit Knightly)

Global government is the endgame. We know that. Total control of every aspect of life for every single person on the planet, that’s the goal. That’s been apparent to anyone paying attention for years, if not decades, and any tiny portion of remaining doubt was removed when Covid was rolled-out and members of the establishment started outright saying it. Covid marked an acceleration of the globalist agenda, a mad dash to the finish line that seems to have lost momentum short of victory, but the race is still going. The goal has not changed, even if the years since may have seen the agenda retreat slightly back into the shadows. We know what they want conceptually, but what does that mean practically? What does a potential “global government” actually look like?

First off, let’s talk about what we’re NOT going to see. 1 – They are not going to declare themselves. No, there will almost certainly never be an official “world government”, at least not for a long time yet. That’s a lesson they learned from Covid — putting a name and a face on globalism only foments collective resistance to it. 2 – They’re not going to abolish nationhood. You can be sure Klaus Schwab (or whoever) isn’t ever going to appear simulcast on every television in the world announcing that we’re all citizens of ze vurld now and that nation states no longer exist. In part because that is likely to focus resistance (see point 1), but mainly because tribalism and nationalism are just too useful to all would-be manipulators of public opinion. And, of course the continuing existence of nation states in no way precludes the existence of a supra-national control system, any more than the existence of Rhode Island, Florida or Texas precludes the existence of the Federal government.

3 – There will never be an overt declaration of a change of system. We will not be told we are united under a new model, instead the illusion of regionality & superficial variance will camouflage a lack of real choice across the political landscape. A thin polysystemic skin stretched tight over a monosystemic skeleton. Capitalism, communism, socialism, democracy, tyranny, monarchy…these words will steadily dilute in meaning, even more than they have already, but they will never be abandoned. What globalism will bring us – I suggest – is a collection of nation-states largely in name only, operating superficially different systems of government all built on the same underpinning assumptions and all answering to an unelected and undeclared higher authority. …and if that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s essentially what we have already.

The only major aspects missing are the mechanisms by which this rough model can be transformed into a flowing network, where all corners are eroded and all genuine sovereign powers become entirely vestigial. That’s where the three main pillars of global rule come in:
1/ Digital Money
2/ Digital ID
3/ “Climate Action”

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“..the pace of AI development, rising mortality among young people after mass vaccination against Covid-19, record-breaking illegal immigration to the US, and anti-white rhetoric from South African presidential hopeful Julius Malema.”

2024 Is Going To Be ‘Even More Crazy’ – Elon Musk (RT)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has predicted that 2024 will be “even more crazy” than the preceding four years. Musk was responding to a follower wishing for “a normal year.” “Can we just have a normal year in 2024?” an anonymous pundit known as ‘Wall Street Silver’ tweeted on New Year’s Eve. “Don’t we deserve that after four years of crazy?” “2024 is gonna be even more crazy is my prediction,” Musk responded on Monday. Musk did not predict any “crazy” events that may happen, but in a series of follow-up tweets, the billionaire drew attention to the pace of AI development, rising mortality among young people after mass vaccination against Covid-19, record-breaking illegal immigration to the US, and anti-white rhetoric from South African presidential hopeful Julius Malema.

During 2023, Musk repeatedly warned that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could spiral into a nuclear war between Russia and the US. The billionaire had been providing Ukraine with free access to SpaceX’ Starlink internet service, but has refused to enable the service in the vicinity of Crimea, for fear that Kiev would use Starlink to guide drones to Russian warships. This would have made his company “explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation,” he explained in September.

Hundreds of comments under Musk’s post suggested that much of this year’s “craziness” will be centered around the 2024 presidential election in the US. Musk has not backed a candidate in the race, but told an audience in November that he would “not vote for [President Joe] Biden.” Musk, who previously expressed support for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and described Vivek Ramaswamy as a “promising candidate,” added that his refusal to support Biden would not automatically translate into a vote for presumptive Republican contender Donald Trump.

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“..the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Corruption, Chaos, Conflict – Fourth Turning Erupts In 2024 (Quinn)

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” – Thomas Paine – The American Crisis

Thomas Paine wrote these words 247 years ago, in the most historic year in our history – 1776. That was during the first American Fourth Turning. It’s not a coincidence we are now in the midst of our fourth Crisis period in U.S. history, as they arrive like clockwork every 80 years or so, the length of a long human life. Paine’s American Crisis began in 1773, ignited by the Boston Tea Party and the British reaction to this revolutionary act of defiance. Our current Millennial Crisis was triggered by the Federal Reserve/Wall Street/Government created financial disaster in 2008 and subsequent outrageously desperate, totalitarian, un-Constitutional, extreme acts designed to keep the ruling class in power, while impoverishing and enslaving the masses in a surveillance state techno-gulag.

The polarization and fractures have become too deep to repair. The country, and the western world in general, are hurtling towards a darkening abyss of civil conflict, financial collapse, global war, societal chaos, and loss of life on a scale grander than WW2, the Civil War, and the American Revolution combined. Our technological advancements have outstripped our ability to intelligently, thoughtfully, and humanly, use this power for the benefit of future generations. The destructive deficiencies of human nature, such as: greed, desire for power, hatred, arrogance, resentment, and an unlimited supply of self-delusion, continue to plague our world, as only the most power-hungry psychopaths rise to the highest levels of government, business, religion, and finance.

The immense technological power in the hands of egocentric, megalomaniacal, sadistic, billionaires and their highly paid toadies, lackeys, and apparatchiks, inserted throughout the media, government, academia, banking, and corporations, has pushed the world to the brink of Armageddon. We are entering the sixteenth year of this Fourth Turning. Based on history, we can expect a climax of this Crisis in the 2030-to-2032-timeframe. The path to that climax is guaranteed to be violent and unforgiving.

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“The decline of the dollar is a long-term trend and phenomenon and we are only at the early inception phases of this process..”

Dollar’s Dip in 2023 Just the Start as BRICS Strives for Dedollarization (Sp.)

The dollar suffered a 2.7 percent decline against other major global currencies in 2023, battered by anticipation among speculators of a shift in Fed policy to cut interest rates and weaken global interest in dollar-denominated investments and debt as the US economy slows. The drop in the dollar’s value, the biggest of its kind since 2020, when the greenback declined 5.5 percent as Washington pumped trillions of new dollars into the economy, now comes amid the ongoing tectonic transformations in the contours of the global economy as the US attempts to use its currency as a means of economic pressure against geopolitical rivals.

The West’s economic war against Russia, waged via sanctions and trade restrictions, sparked realization even among many of the US’s traditional allies that their economic relationships and financial well-being were inextricably linked to American goodwill which could disappear at any moment. This realization helped motivate half a dozen countries to join the BRICS bloc last year (Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Argentina), and prompted BRICS+ and other countries to accelerate a search for safe alternatives to the de facto global reserve currency. “The decline of the dollar is a long-term trend and phenomenon and we are only at the early inception phases of this process,” Ashraf Patel, a research associate with the Institute for Global Dialogue, a Pretoria, South Africa-based think tank, told Sputnik.

“The expansion of BRICS and the multi-currency order and move towards a ‘BRICS currency’ is certainly one core factor as the world trade [and] economic investment patterns are diversifying,” Patel said, referring to the currency concept discussed extensively ahead of the BRICS summit in South Africa, and floated again ahead of the upcoming summit in Kazan, Russia later this year. Whether through another nation’s currency or in the form of a new BRICS monetary unit, the prospective benefits of a stable alternative to the dollar as the hegemon of world trade for Global South countries cannot be overstated, the researcher says.

Still, “advocates for dedollarization would need to show value such as cheaper trade costs and less volatility,” Patel stressed. “Dedollarization would of course mean less space for the US to use and abuse currencies of nations for political objectives, as has been their standard policy practice for decades,” he added, characterizing the process, which he estimates been underway since the global financial crisis of 2009, as one of “economic common sense” for other countries. “Lessons from when the Gold Standard was ended in the 1970s is instructive and can provide insights on the pace and velocity of such a process, but the gates of dedollarization have now opened and generally a new global financial-economic and trade diversification is the new norm,” Patel said.

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Surreal.

US Debt Hits A Record $34.001 Trillion (ZH)

The US Treasury has a morbid habit of revealing big, round numbers of debt around major calendar milestones, and the new 2024 year was no different because according to the latest Treasury Daily Statement published after the close today and reflecting the US Treasury’s financial statements as of Dec 29, 2023, total US debt as of the end of the year was – drumroll – just over $34 trillion for the first time ever, or $34,001,493,655,565.48 to be precise. Since this is a topic we have covered more or less daily for our 15 year existence, we don’t need to say much suffice to show a chart of total US debt since zerohedge launched in Jan 2009, when total US debt was only $10.6 trillion. We sure have gone a long way since then.

Some context: US debt increased by…
$1 trillion in the past 3 months
$2 trillion in the past 6 months
$4 trillion in the past 2 years
$11 trillion in the past 4 years
… and so on. You get the exponential picture. At this point everyone knows how this ends – certainly the CBO does… but since there is no way to reverse the catastrophic outcome, there is no point in even talking about it. At best, one may only prepare for the inevitable hyperinflationary outcome, which would be good news to what is now over $1 trillion in interest expense: after all, someone has to devalue the currency all that interest is payable in.

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Dog bus

 

 

Jelly

 

 

Chirps
https://twitter.com/i/status/1742275062579806658

 

 

Eclipse
https://twitter.com/i/status/1742119762405032261

 

 

 

 

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Dec 202023
 
 December 20, 2023  Posted by at 9:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


Edward Hopper Hotel by a railroad 1952

 

Colorado Supreme Court Disqualifies Trump From 2024 Ballot (ZH)
This Is What An *Actual* Attack On Democracy Looks Like (Ramaswamy)
The Colorado Supreme Court 4-3 Decision Is Pure Nonsense (CTH)
Trump Could Leave NATO – Reuters (RT)
Russia Is Counting On Donald Trump’s Return – Czech President (RT)
We Are Well Beyond Hypocrisy (Victor Davis Hanson)
US Escalation in the Red Sea – A Lose/Lose Proposition (Bentley)
Ukraine – Another Lost US/NATO War With No Regrets (Sp.)
Ukrainians Tell MP They Would Give Up Citizenship To Avoid Conscription (RT)
The Multifront Attack on Elon Musk (Jeffrey Tucker)
Media Matters Sues Texas AG In Federal Court (ET)
Giuliani Sued Again By Election Workers Over Latest False Claims (BBC)
The Terror Watchlist Prepared the Way to Tyranny (Paul Craig Roberts)
US National Debt Jumps $2.6 Trillion In Six Months (RT)
US Judge Orders More Than 170 Jeffrey Epstein Associates To Be Named (BBC)
Imran Khan Uses AI To Deliver Speech From Prison (RT)
Assange Appeal Hearing Set for February (Lauria)

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

Vigano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And you thought things were crazy before…

Colorado Supreme Court Disqualifies Trump From 2024 Ballot (ZH)

The Colorado Supreme Court has disqualified Donald Trump from Colorado’s 2024 presidential election ballot, and in a 4-3 ruling has effectively blocked Trump from seeking the presidency because of his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, citing the post-Civil War-era 14th Amendment to the US Constitution that bans insurrectionists from holding public office. The Colorado case was the first constitutional challenge to Trump’s 2024 run to go through a full trial. Voters, represented by the advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, had argued he should be barred from the ballot for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. Colorado’s highest court – whose seven-member bench was entirely appointed by Democratic governors – overturned a ruling from a district court judge who found that Trump incited an insurrection for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, but said he could not be barred from the ballot because it was unclear that the provision was intended to cover the presidency.

In its ruling, the Democrat-controlled court found that Trump engaged in insurrection by inflaming his supporters with false claims of election fraud and directing them to the Capitol. The state justices determined that the office of the president is covered under the insurrection clause, which specifically lists those who previously took oaths to support the Constitution as “a member of Congress,” “officer of the United States,” “member of any State legislature” or an “executive or judicial officer of any State.” The district court had previously ruled that the office of the president was not covered under the clause. The majority opinion was unsigned but joined by four of the seven justices. [..] Three justices dissented from Tuesday’s decision: Chief Justice Brian Boatright, Carlos Samour and Justice Maria Berkenkotter. Each wrote separate dissents taking issue with how the plaintiffs brought their 14th Amendment lawsuit using a provision of Colorado election law.

Berkenkotter wrote that “the majority construes the court’s authority too broadly.” “The questions presented here simply reach a magnitude of complexity not contemplated by the Colorado General Assembly for its election code enforcement statute,” wrote Boatright. “The proceedings below ran counter to the letter and spirit of the statutory timeframe because the Electors’ claim overwhelmed the process.” Samour similarly wrote that Colorado’s election law provides no “engine” for such a lawsuit, also noting that no federal legislation existed to enforce the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. “Even if we are convinced that a candidate committed horrible acts in the past—dare I say, engaged in insurrection—there must be procedural due process before we can declare that individual disqualified from holding public office. Procedural due process is one of the aspects of America’s democracy that sets this country apart,” Samour wrote.

Ironically, all this ruling will do is further cement Trump’s status as leading presidential candidate as it not only affirms his status as target #1 of the Biden Department of Justice and liberal court system, but will test the Conservative-dominated Supreme Court appeal over its interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which according to many including a Colorado District court, does not apply to the Presidency. Indeed, as Vivek Ramaswami observed, the 14th Amendment was part of the “Reconstruction Amendments” that were ratified following the Civil War. “It was passed to prohibit former Confederate military and political leaders from holding high federal or state office. These men had clearly taken part in a rebellion against the United States: the Civil War. That makes it all the more absurd that a left-wing group in Colorado is asking a federal court to disqualify the 45th President on the same grounds, equating his speech to rebellion against the United States.”

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X thread.

This Is What An *Actual* Attack On Democracy Looks Like (Ramaswamy)

This is what an *actual* attack on democracy looks like: in an un-American, unconstitutional, and *unprecedented* decision, a cabal of Democrat judges are barring Trump from the ballot in Colorado. Having tried every trick in the book to eliminate President Trump from running in this election, the bipartisan Establishment is now deploying a new tactic to bar him from ever holding office again: the 14th Amendment. I pledge to *withdraw* from the Colorado GOP primary unless Trump is also allowed to be on the state’s ballot, and I demand that Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, and Nikki Haley to do the same immediately – or else they are tacitly endorsing this illegal maneuver which will have disastrous consequences for our country.

Today’s decision is the latest election interference tactic to silence political opponents and swing the election for whatever puppet the Democrats put up this time by depriving Americans of the right to vote for their candidate of choice. The 14th Amendment was part of the “Reconstruction Amendments” that were ratified following the Civil War. It was passed to prohibit former Confederate military and political leaders from holding high federal or state office. These men had clearly taken part in a rebellion against the United States: the Civil War. That makes it all the more absurd that a left-wing group in Colorado is asking a federal court to disqualify the 45th President on the same grounds, equating his speech to rebellion against the United States.

And there’s another legal problem: Trump is not a former “officer of the United States,” as that term is used in the Constitution, meaning Section 3 does not apply. As the Supreme Court explained in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (2010), an “officer of the United States” is someone appointed by the President to aid him in his duties under Article II, Section 2. The term does not apply to elected officials, and certainly not to the President himself. The Framers of the 14th Amendment would be appalled to see this narrow provision—intended to bar former U.S. officials who switched to the Confederacy from seeking public office—being weaponized by a sitting President and his political allies to prevent a former President from seeking reelection. Our country is becoming unrecognizable to our Founding Fathers.

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“..psychological lawfare stuff – intended for media consumption..”

The Colorado Supreme Court 4-3 Decision Is Pure Nonsense (CTH)

Three main points before getting to the substance.
#1) It was a 4-3 decision. Meaning it was the politics of the court, literally the political makeup and perspective therein, that determined the outcome of the decision. This is showcased in point #3, which is the funniest part.
#2) The entire framework of the case against Trump in the Colorado decision is predicated on this: “[the complainants] asserted that he was ineligible under Section Three because he engaged in insurrection on January 6, 2021, after swearing an oath as President to support the U.S. Constitution.” [pdf, page 6] REMINDER – President Donald Trump was not charged with “insurrection,” is not accused of “insurrection,” does not fit the complaint under the definitions of “insurrection,” and has never been found guilty of insurrection. The complaint is moot before the court. But hey, it’s Lawfare… and we all know Lawfare is created for public media consumption, so that takes us directly to the biggest point.
#3) Instead of me writing it, let me screengrab it so we can all laugh together.

Wait, what? Yes, that’s correct. As long as President Trump appeals the decision to the Supreme Court, the appeals court stays their own ruling – essentially indefinitely. The Colorado primary ballots printed, and the primary election will be over, before the Supreme Court puts this on their docket. In addition to the virtual guarantee the high court will overrule this political nonsense, SCOTUS can make the entire issue moot before them by following their own normal schedule for submissions, arguments, deliberation and opinions delivered by the court. The Colorado appellate court knows this, that’s why they put this self-stay into their 4-3 ruling. It’s a politically correct way of giving the optics of telling their tribe, ‘hey we’re with you,’ without the ramifications of the political backlash. In other words, psychological lawfare stuff – intended for media consumption.

Making the issue that much better for Donald Trump, the efforts of the Prescott-Bush clan (look it up – they live in CO) will backfire bigly. The public backlash against a judicial ruling that interferes with the right of the citizens to determine their own election candidates plays perfectly into the sunlight operation against the Lawfare left. This backlash will be epic, albeit hidden by MSNBC and the rest of the insufferable media. Why? Because it doesn’t fit the Lawfare narrative. I’m not even going to highlight the nonsense from the leftists who are in a frenzy over this one. Just smile, pretend it’s the end of the world, eat your favorite foods and live your best life while trying not to laugh. Seriously, this is just that level of goofy. Remember what I said about Ron DeSantis in 2022, and everyone looked at me funny. Well, this is way more predictable than me saying DeSantis will collapse in sunlight.

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“If he defeats Biden, he “would likely install loyalists in key positions in the Pentagon, State Department and CIA whose primary allegiance would be to him..”

Trump Could Leave NATO – Reuters (RT)

Donald Trump’s potential second term in the White House might see Washington stop funding Ukraine, withdraw from NATO, and further cut economic ties with China, Reuters reported on Monday, citing anonymous sources. During his 2017-2021 presidency, many of Trump’s policies ended up obstructed by unelected government officials and sometimes even his own appointees, according to numerous insider accounts. He seeks to get around that problem by appointing “loyalists” more amenable to his “isolationist policies and whims,” the outlet claimed. Reuters admitted that Trump himself has offered “few clues” about his intentions. The article was based on interviews with almost 20 current and former aides and diplomats, most of whom were not named.

According to eight European diplomats, there are “acute fears” that the second Trump administration would cut off aid to Ukraine and doubts whether it would honor the US commitment to “defend NATO allies.” “There are rumors that he wants to take the US away from NATO or withdraw from Europe, of course it sounds worrying but… we are not in a panic,” said a diplomat from one Baltic country. Another diplomat, representing a northern European NATO member state, outlined the options his and some other embassies have sent to their capitals about the November 2024 election. If the incumbent president, Democrat Joe Biden, is reelected, “Things might go rather well: the US keeps on rehabilitating herself,” he said.

A “mild” version of the second Trump presidency would be “a repetition of his first term with some aggressive overtones.” If he actually follows through on pledges to dismantle the ‘Deep State’ apparatus, that would be the “doomsday option,” according to the diplomat. Trump is currently the favorite for the Republican presidential nomination. If he defeats Biden, he “would likely install loyalists in key positions in the Pentagon, State Department and CIA whose primary allegiance would be to him,” the anonymous aides told Reuters. That would enable him to “advance his foreign policy priorities faster and more efficiently than he was able to when previously in office.”

Making political appointments is the constitutional prerogative of US presidents. However, Trump has hinted he might purge the lower ranks of the federal bureaucracy, on many occasions describing the “Washington swamp” as an impediment to genuine reforms. “President Trump came to realize that personnel is policy,” Robert O’Brien, Trump’s fourth national security advisor, told Reuters. “At the outset of his administration, there were a lot of people that were interested in implementing their own policies, not the president’s policies.” Four people who “converse” with the 45th president have said that he regularly gets advice from former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Ambassador Richard Grenell, and his one-time deputy, Kash Patel. None of them responded to Reuters’ interview requests. Neither Trump nor his campaign commented on the story.

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“The Czech leader, who previously served as a senior NATO military official and is a staunch supporter of Kiev in its fight with Moscow..”

Russia Is Counting On Donald Trump’s Return – Czech President (RT)

The Ukraine conflict may experience a “significant shift” next year, and not “in the good sense of the word,” Czech President Petr Pavel told the news service of the web portal Seznam.cz in an interview published on Monday. The Czech leader, who previously served as a senior NATO military official and is a staunch supporter of Kiev in its fight with Moscow, pointed to the 2024 presidential election in the US as the key moment for the confrontation. He claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was counting on Donald Trump winning at the ballot box come November and then striking a deal with Russia on Ukraine, which would ignore the wishes of Kiev and other European nations. The outcome, according to Pavel, would be “some kind of compromise that would theoretically return Russia to the status of a key player, and the others would have to put up with it somehow.”

He described the scenario as “unfavorable” for EU nations, including his own. In his public statements, Putin previously rejected the analysis outlined by Pavel. He argued that the personality of the US president was largely irrelevant to the country’s policy vis-a-vis Moscow. “[Trump] was accused of having a special relationship with Russia, which is total nonsense and bulls**t. But he was the president who introduced the most sanctions against Russia,” Putin noted in September at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. The US elites perceive Russia as an existential enemy, he added. They suppress the voices of Americans, who want good relations with Moscow, the Russian leader claimed.

“We have no idea who will be elected, but whoever it is, the anti-Russian vector of US policy is unlikely to change,” Putin concluded. Kiev has recently suffered a series of setbacks in terms of securing Western aid on both sides of the Atlantic. In Washington, a partisan conflict over border security caused a White House request for over $60 billion in additional Ukraine assistance to be blocked. In Brussels, Hungary vetoed a European Commission proposal to allocate €50 billion ($54 billion) over four years to support Kiev. In his interview, Pavel also said Putin had “made it clear” that peace talks on Ukraine are only possible with the US, and not Kiev or any European nation. Moscow perceives the conflict to be part of a Washington-led proxy war against Russia and believes the US has the ultimate say on it.

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“Do we remember when, not long ago, whistleblowers were noble?”

We Are Well Beyond Hypocrisy (Victor Davis Hanson)

The Left is saturating the airwaves with outrage over the current House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry. They allege that formally investigating Joe Biden’s role in the family grifting operation is somehow a poor constitutional precedent, if not out-of-bounds entirely. So we hear further arguments that it will be unwise to impeach a first-term president when he loses his House majority, that there is no reason to “waste” congressional time and effort when Biden will be automatically acquitted in the Democratically controlled Senate, and that the impeachment is cynically timed to synchronize with president’s reelection efforts. All of these are the precise arguments many of us cited when Donald Trump was impeached in December 2019 (as his reelection campaign began, and immediately after being cleared of the 22-month, $40-million-special-counsel Russian-collusion hoax).

The Democrats tried to remove an elected president over a phone call without a special counsel’s report. So Trump was impeached only after the 2018 election led to a Democratic House majority, which went from eating up nearly two years of his administration in the Russian-collusion hoax straight into the impeachment farce. There was no concern about the cost to the nation of putting an elected government into a continual state of siege. There is one difference, though, between the Trump impeachment and the Biden impeachment inquiry. Donald Trump was impeached because he accurately accused the members of the Ukrainian government of paying Hunter Biden, with his zero fossil fuel expertise, an astronomical sum to serve on the Burisma board—as the costly quid that earned the lucrative quo from his dad Vice President Joe Biden.

No one now denies that Joe Biden got prosecutor Viktor Shokin fired by threatening to cancel legislatively-approved U.S. aid. Shokin knew about the skullduggery through which the Biden family eventually received $6.5 million from Ukraine—and so Biden ensured his firing, and publicly bragged about it in performance-art fashion. In sum, Trump had a perfect right as commander in chief to delay (he did not cancel) aid to Ukraine, to ensure that its government was not still paying off the Bidens for their lobbying efforts on its behalf. It is also now clear that Biden serially lied about his ignorance of Hunter’s shake-down operation. In fact, he was, as Devon Archer emphasized, “the brand” central to Hunter’s scheme to coerce money from foreign governments. Joe was proverbially, in Hunter’s words “the man sitting next to me” and thus able to either punish or reward foreign interests, depending on the size of the checks they wrote to his various fronting family members.

The left is now furious that Hunter has been subpoenaed by the House to testify in private about how he earned his multimillion-dollar income, whether he fully paid taxes on it, and to whom he distributed his winnings. Hunter has refused to testify. He is now being held in contempt of the U.S. Congress—to the silence of the usually self-righteous former senator Joe “pay your fair share” Biden. We hear sanctimonious harangues that Joe is guilty of loving “his only son” Hunter too much, or that it is way out of bounds for a Department of Justice prosecutor to hound Joe Biden by going “after his family,” or that Republican congressional subpoenas and contempt findings should be summarily ignored. Ask Peter Navarro or Steve Bannon whether one can simply ignore a House subpoena. Ask Ivanka Trump whether she was, or was not, subpoenaed to appear before the January 6 committee. Ask the Trump sons whether they could breezily say “no” to Letitia James’s subpoenas in her farcical real-estate-valuation suit against Trump.

Do we remember when, not long ago, whistleblowers were noble? The alleged whistleblower Eric Ciaramella, an Obama holdover who had burrowed inside the Trump administration, had zero firsthand knowledge of the Trump phone call to Ukrainian president Zelensky. Ukrainian expatriate Lt. Col Alexander Vindman was on the call, as a member of the Trump national security team. He broke the law and apparently disclosed the classified call—in outrage that Trump was apparently too hard on his native Ukraine— to Ciaramella, and then hid the latter’s identity. Both met privately with Rep. Adam Schiff (D—CA) to engineer an impeachment writ. Instead, both came forward as whistleblowers to testify before Congress about how the Biden Justice Department deliberately and carefully ensured that the mountain of evidence for the prosecution of Hunter Biden that they had presented had simply been ignored—at least long enough for the statute of limitations to run out on his most egregious crimes.

When they both made their case that facts proved the Biden family received huge sums for selling access to or action from Joe Biden, they were roundly trashed by Democrats in congress and pilloried as disgruntled politicos by a toady press.

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“The choice is between demanding an end to the Gaza humanitarian tragedy or escalating the conflict into a war that will have global consequences.”

US Escalation in the Red Sea – A Lose/Lose Proposition (Bentley)

The latest escalation in world military affairs, the situation in the Red Sea and Yemen, has the real potential to eclipse both the war in Ukraine and the invasion of Gaza, both in terms of military and economic impact, on a global scale. The hubris and abject idiocy of US plans to open yet another conflict that they cannot hope to win, and that cannot lead to anything but the destruction of the world economy can only be described as criminally insane. In a recent letter to “Dear America”, the Houthi leaders wrote, “A desperate plea for reflection. The consequences are dire, and the responsibility lies with the guardians of the American dream. Beware, for the path you tread upon carries weighty consequences, reverberating across oceans and continents. Choose wisely…” The choice is between demanding an end to the Gaza humanitarian tragedy or escalating the conflict into a war that will have global consequences. The US has already announced its intention to choose the latter. It is a choice for which the American people, if they allow it to happen, will suffer gravely.

The US and UK have moved at least 24 combat ships into the seas off the coast of Yemen, ostensibly “to protect global shipping lanes”. This is a lie. The Houthis have clearly stated that, one, that they are only targeting ships serving Israeli interests, and that all other shipping is under no threat, and two, that they are willing to cease all military operations against Israeli shipping as soon as Israel stops its attacks on Gaza and the West Bank. It is ONLY Israeli shipping that is under threat, and it is ONLY Israeli shipping that US and UK naval forces are deployed to protect. But by escalating the situation in the Red Sea, they are putting at risk ALL shipping passing through the Red Sea and Suez Canal, which accounts for 12% of all global trade and 30% of all container shipping, as well as about 8% of world trade in both oil and LNG, for a total annual value of over a trillion US dollars.

As things stand now, only Israel-linked shipping is at risk, and even that risk can be completely eliminated by the cessation of Israeli attacks on Gaza and the West Bank. But if the US attacks Yemen, the Houthis will respond, and they do have the capability to sink US Navy ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. And once that happens, the Red Sea becomes an active war zone, and then, all bets are off, along with all shipping in the Red Sea, and 12% of all global trade. Think about it… The economies of the EU nations are already in serious decline. The US national debt stands at over $33 TRILLION, and the era of the US dollar’s reserve currency status in global trade is closing fast. A 12% overnight decline in global trade would almost certainly lead these economies into economic depression equivalent to the Great Depression of almost 100 years ago.

As I have said many times before, economic war and military war are two sides of the same coin. The Houthis have a major economic advantage based on their geography to influence and even threaten global economic activity, and have proven their ability and willingness to use it. And it is by no means certain that the Western armada assembled along the Yemeni coast can even defeat the Houthis militarily without unacceptable and unsustainable losses. According to Fabian Hinz, a research fellow at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Houthis are known to possess two types of larger anti-ship ballistic missiles: The Asef, which has a ranger 450km range, and the Tankil,which has a range of 500km. These missiles can travel at speeds up to Mach 5, and carry warheads of between 300 to 500 kg. (By comparison, Chinese anti-ship missiles with 600 kg warheads have been dubbed “Aircraft Carrier Killers”.) The range of these missiles allows the Houthis to cover not only the southern third of the Red Sea, but all of the Gulf of Aden and much of the Arabian Sea as well.

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“No empires have lasted forever and that of the US/NATO world will be the last..”

Ukraine – Another Lost US/NATO War With No Regrets (Sp.)

One of the enigmatic aspects of international politics is that big and militarily superior countries have systematically lost wars in smaller countries over the last 50 years, from Vietnam to Ukraine. “Losing” here means military defeat, being forced out, losing the struggle for the hearts and minds of the people, and facing fiasco when it comes to achieving the professed noble motives like introducing human rights, democracy, freedom or liberating women. And given the tremendous human costs, particularly in the Middle East, the US’ “Global War on Terror” since September 11, 2001 is also an intellectual and moral disaster. The US – by far the world’s largest military spender, interventionist, warrior, occupier, global base-builder with the most militarized foreign policy – is in a class of its own. In losing wars too.

It is now rapidly losing legitimacy, relevance and credibility in the eyes of most of the world outside US/NATO/EU/ANPO/AUKUS. Firstly, all these imperial militarist adventures have been woefully anti-intellectual and imbued with the arrogance of power, elements of racism and hubris. Secondly, after quite predictable fiascos and defeats – such as in Iraq – there comes a time when propaganda, psychological operations (PSYOPS), media influencing, and psycho-political projection no longer do the trick. There comes a time, too, when even the biggest military spender and economy cannot finance its weapons addiction and its arsenals of weapons and ammunition dry up.

It’s called over-extension and diminishing legitimacy in the eyes of others, it’s called militarism to death and is transforming into imperial decline and eventual fall. No empires have lasted forever and that of the US/NATO world will be the last. No one is so foolish to believe that, in an incredibly diverse world, everybody else would accept one player to be the all-dominating system and shape others into its own image. Missionary times are a thing of the past. Enter Ukraine. NATO set itself up in Kiev immediately after it became independent and declared in 2008 that it would become a member of the alliance. It was a gross violation of the promises indisputably given to the last Soviet President, Michael Gorbachev, but such was the unipolar we-can-do-whatever-we-want sentiment.

In an autistic manner, NATO refused to listen to Russia’s legitimate security concerns and also did not bother about the fact that there was only a tiny minority among the Ukrainian people in favour of membership of NATO. Instead, a regime change in Kiev was all that was needed: installing a pro-Western leadership, paying it well and giving it an offer it could not refuse by wooing it step-by-step into the ever-expanding alliance. Russia then put its foot down, and insult had to be added to injury: We will help you, Ukraine, for as long as it takes for you to win “our” war against Russia and “weaken” it; you’ll be covered the whole way, just fight for us to the last Ukrainian.

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“..73% claiming that retaining their Ukrainian passport was not worth the risk..”

Ukrainians Tell MP They Would Give Up Citizenship To Avoid Conscription (RT)

A majority of Ukrainians responding to a Facebook poll by a leading lawmaker have said they would be willing to renounce their citizenship in order to avoid being drafted into the military. In a series of Facebook posts on Monday, Mariana Bezuglaya, an MP from President Vladimir Zelensky’s ruling party, initially asked female followers if they would give up their Ukrainian passports to avoid potential forced mobilization to “rear positions” in the military industry. Even though the lawmaker emphasized that frontline combat positions are currently out of the question for women, some 65% of the more than 3,800 respondents said they would renounce their citizenship rather than take the risk.

In two follow-up polls, the MP wondered if women would at least consider registering with the military authorities for potential mobilization in the future, in exchange for reopening the borders for men, or for the demobilization of those who have already served for two years. Only 17% and 22% of respondents agreed, respectively. In her last “experimental survey” on Monday, Bezuglaya addressed men with a similar question: “In order not to be mobilized, am I ready to renounce Ukrainian citizenship?” Over 4,300 users took part in the poll, with 73% claiming that retaining their Ukrainian passport was not worth the risk. Bezuglaya is currently deputy chair of the parliamentary committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, and is best known for proposing a bill in May 2022 that would have allowed Ukrainian officers to execute soldiers for insubordination without a trial.

Earlier this month, the lawmaker marked International Volunteer Day by thanking everyone who had already signed up to the military, but demanded more enlistment and urged women to join the ranks. The 35-year-old claimed she had undergone military training herself in 2015, when the government in Kiev was waging its “anti-terrorist operation” against the residents of Donbass. Kiev’s push to recruit more troops follows its underwhelming summer counteroffensive, which according to estimates by the Russian Defense Ministry has cost Ukraine over 125,000 troops. Last month, Zelensky promised a “comprehensive proposal” to reform the conscription system, which has yet to be announced. According to Russian intelligence, Ukraine’s backers in the West have demanded that the draft be expanded to teenagers, older men, and women.

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“The presumption here is preposterous: that Elon doesn’t care if his product is flawed and doesn’t desire improvement.”

The Multifront Attack on Elon Musk (Jeffrey Tucker)

[..] Musk bought the Twitter platform and purged 4 out of 5 employees, including the many government agents who had been hired to turn Twitter into a government propaganda machine. Since then he has upheld the First Amendment and innovated a series of tools that allow for internal and crowd-source fact-checking to make his renamed platform the most reliable source of news and opinion in the world. Since he took over, he has faced a barrage of state-generated attacks. The SEC has sued Musk over the purchase of the platform. According to the New York Times, “his takeover has been the subject of several lawsuits and investigations by the federal authorities. The Federal Trade Commission has probed whether X had the resources to protect users’ privacy after he laid off much of its staff and several senior executives responsible for privacy and security resigned. The agency has also sought to depose Mr. Musk. Former Twitter shareholders have also sued Mr. Musk for fraud in a case related to his belated disclosure of his stake in the company.”

The FTC has demanded internal X documents. Says The Hill: “the FTC has sent more than a dozen letters to Twitter since Musk completed his acquisition in October. It states that the agency has demanded Twitter provide internal communications “relating to Elon Musk” from any Twitter employee, information about the platform’s Twitter Blue verification subscription service and the names of journalists who were granted access to Twitter records.” The Biden Department of Justice has sued SpaceX…get this…for not hiring refugees for secret rocket technology. CNN says: “The suit claims that ‘from at least September 2018 to May 2022, SpaceX routinely discouraged asylees and refugees from applying and refused to hire or consider them, because of their citizenship status, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA),’ according to an August 24 DOJ news release.”

The Biden Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commision have sued Tesla over improper perks. Forbes says: “The widened investigation comes after federal prosecutors and the SEC began probing a secret Tesla project known as Project 42 that employees described as a glass house for Musk in the Austin, Texas, area near Tesla’s factory, the Journal reported in August.” The Biden Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation against Tesla over self-driving cars. Reuters reports: “The U.S. Department of Justice launched the previously undisclosed probe last year following more than a dozen crashes, some of them fatal, involving Tesla’s driver assistance system Autopilot, which was activated during the accidents, the people said.” The presumption here is preposterous: that Elon doesn’t care if his product is flawed and doesn’t desire improvement.

There is a federal investigation of Neuralink. Reuters again: “Elon Musk’s Neuralink, a medical device company, is under federal investigation for potential animal-welfare violations amid internal staff complaints that its animal testing is being rushed, causing needless suffering and deaths, according to documents reviewed by Reuters and sources familiar with the investigation and company operations.”Then there is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation over harassment at Tesla. The EEOC says: “Since at least 2015 to the present, Black employees at Tesla’s Fremont, California manufacturing facilities have routinely endured racial abuse, pervasive stereotyping, and hostility as well as epithets… Slurs were used casually and openly in high-traffic areas and at worker hubs.

“Black employees regularly encountered graffiti, including variations of the N-word, swastikas, threats, and nooses, on desks and other equipment, in bathroom stalls, within elevators, and even on new vehicles rolling off the production line.” Finally, we have the aggressive advertising boycott on the part of major corporations, including Disney, CNBC, Comcast, Warner Bros, IBM, and the Financial Times, among many others. Musk has refused to be intimidated by these people. He has said that he refuses to be blackmailed by money and instead told the companies to “Go f*** yourself.” Which is rather remarkable and really does speak to a major problem in social media today, which is the extent to which so many platforms are willing to do the bidding of the corporatist system in order to serve the bottom line.

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“..radical left-wing organizations who would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square..”

Media Matters Sues Texas AG In Federal Court (ET)

Media Matters for America is suing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in federal court, arguing that reporting by its senior investigative reporter on Elon Musk’s X app is being “chilled” by the AG’s announced investigation. Media Matters, a progressive watchdog group, filed its lawsuit Tuesday. It had reported last month that, according to its analysis, X was a platform hosting bigots and that it had paid far-right extremists, warning advertisers that their content was running beside pro-Hitler and anti-Semitic content. The report was then cited by major companies, like Apple, Disney, Sony, and Fox Sports, who announced they were boycotting the platform from their advertising campaigns.

This triggered Mr. Paxton to announce on Nov. 21 an investigation into Media Matters “for potential fraudulent activity” in its report, after X responded to the allegations saying that the progressive group had manufactured its results. X has sued Media Matters for defamation over the report in a Texas federal court, citing advertising data showing that report author Eric Hananoki was among only two users to see an Apple ad next to the hateful content, while explaining that content follows the search history of users. “Attorney General Paxton was extremely troubled by the allegations that Media Matters, a radical anti-free speech organization, fraudulently manipulated data on X.com (formerly known as Twitter),” the Office of the Attorney General in Texas said in announcing its investigation following X’s comments.

Mr. Paxton argued that his case was to protect the First Amendment rights of Texans. X has come under attack from progressive groups after Mr. Musk’s takeover of Twitter and the release of internal communications that revealed the company censored speech in favor of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden in the run-up to the 2020 election. Mr. Paxton’s office explained in its statement that it was pursuing its investigation of Media Matters’s report under the Texas Business Organizations Code and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which allows his office to “vigorously enforce against nonprofits who commit fraudulent acts in or affecting the state of Texas.” “We are examining the issue closely to ensure that the public has not been deceived by the schemes of radical left-wing organizations who would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square,” Mr. Paxton said of the negative publicity directed at X since Mr. Musk’s takeover and efforts to reform the platform in favor of free speech for all Americans, regardless of political view.

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“Of course I don’t regret it,” Mr Giuliani told reporters on 11 December. “I told the truth. They were engaged in changing votes.”

Giuliani Sued Again By Election Workers Over Latest False Claims (BBC)

Two Georgia poll workers have filed a new lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani, days after winning a $148m (£116m) defamation case against him. Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss allege that Mr Giuliani continued to lie when he repeated false claims mid-trial that “they were engaged in changing votes”. The mother-daughter pair are seeking an injunction to bar Mr Giuliani from making further false statements about them. “It must stop,” the lawsuit demands. An attorney for Mr Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The new legal action says that Mr Giuliani “has engaged in, and is engaging in, a continuing course of repetitive false speech and harassment”.

They added in their filing that his “wrongful conduct was extreme and outrageous, and it was calculated to cause harm to Ms Freeman and Ms Moss”. The two women previously filed a defamation case against Mr Giuliani, who was found liable for spreading lies that the poll workers had tampered with votes during the 2020 election. A jury ultimately ordered Mr Giuliani to pay the women $148m (£116m) in damages.. During the trial, Mr Giuliani insisted numerous times that he told the truth about the women and reiterated falsehoods about them. These statements are the source of the new lawsuit. “Of course I don’t regret it,” Mr Giuliani told reporters on 11 December. “I told the truth. They were engaged in changing votes.”

In another instance on 15 December, he said his statements “were supportable and are supportable today”. The women’s new lawsuit notes several other instances where Mr Giuliani made allegedly defamatory statements during and after the trial, including in right-wing media appearances. Last week, a Washington DC jury heard hours of painful testimony from Ms Moss about the fallout of those claims. She testified that she and her mother were subjected to violent and racist threats that made them fear for their lives. Mr Giuliani did not testify during the trial, but Judge Beryl Howell, who presided over the case, warned his attorneys that his remarks could be defamatory.

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“..9/11, which was blamed without any evidence on Muslim terrorists when all evidence points to an inside job so that the US could remake the Middle East for Israel.”

The Terror Watchlist Prepared the Way to Tyranny (Paul Craig Roberts)

Did you know that there are 2,000,000 names on the Federal government’s terror watchlist? The National Security Council claims most are not Americans, but the Department of Homeland Security admits that there have been tens of thousands of Americans who have been treated like terrorists. It does not occur to the National Security council that there are no terrorist events corresponding to two million terrorists. If there truly were two million terrorists, the US would be in chaos. So what is the list for? It expands the security bureaucracy. The list has grown from 120,000 to two million, seventeen times larger than its original figure. Is this in response to terrorists events? You name the events.

The list enables the FBI to pressure people into becoming informants and false witnesses in frame ups by threatening to add them to the terror list, The list allows authorities to punish and to silence truth-tellers who expose the official narratives for the lies that they are. You can add your own explanations. Remember, the Nazi-sounding Department of Homeland Security and the terror watchlist were the creations of 9/11, which was blamed without any evidence on Muslim terrorists when all evidence points to an inside job so that the US could remake the Middle East for Israel.

In other words, a false flag attack was used to strip Americans of their rights to travel. It is unclear to me how the watchlist can continue to exist after Federal Judge Anthony Trenga declared the watchlist unconstitutional. Did the federal nazis appeal his decision and get it over-ruled? The watchlist is just a way of controlling people. Its other useful function is to acclimatize Americans to the warrantless invasion of their privacy and accustom them to obeying arbitrary orders. The watchlist is a way of preparing Americans for tyranny.

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“.. It is likely to grow by $5.2 billion daily for the next ten years..”

US National Debt Jumps $2.6 Trillion In Six Months (RT)

US national debt has continued to mount, jumping by $2.6 trillion in the six months through December to reach $33.8 trillion, according to the Treasury Department. The Treasury indicated that factors such as tax cuts, stimulus programs, increased government spending, and decreased tax revenues have been driving up debt. “The national debt just exceeded $100,000 per citizen,” Republican Congressman John James said last week. “This should send a message to the White House that this reckless federal spending is at a breaking point.” The latest fiscal data showed that as of November 2023, it cost $169 billion for the US to maintain the debt, which equates to 16% of total federal spending. Interest payments on the national debt are estimated to have surged above $1 trillion on an annualized basis as of the end of October, according to Bloomberg calculations based on US Treasury data.

According to Bank of America (BoA), public debt could surge by $20 trillion over the next decade. It is likely to grow by $5.2 billion daily for the next ten years, which would put it at around $54 trillion by 2033, BoA warned last month. The US exceeded its debt ceiling, which was legally set at $31.4 trillion, in January 2023. After months of warnings of a potentially disastrous default from the Treasury, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan debt bill in June that allowed the limit to be lifted until January 2025. This effectively permitted the government to continue unlimited borrowing through next year. Debt spiked to $32 trillion less than two weeks after the bill was approved, and has been piling up ever since. The situation has caused major international credit ratings agencies Fitch and Moody’s to cut their outlooks for the US this year.

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“..Judge Loretta Preska calls for Epstein’s connections to be “unsealed in full”.

US Judge Orders More Than 170 Jeffrey Epstein Associates To Be Named (BBC)

The names of more than 170 associates of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein could be made public next month after a ruling from a US judge. Prince Andrew is expected to be among them, if evidence is released from a woman who claims he groped her in 2001. The identities are being revealed under a settled lawsuit against sex trafficker and Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell. Anyone on the list has until 1 January to appeal to have their name removed. Epstein, a millionaire financier known to mix with high-profile figures like Prince Andrew, died in jail in 2019. His death, as he awaited federal sex-trafficking charges, was ruled to be a suicide by the New York medical examiner. The 51-page ruling issued on Monday by New York Judge Loretta Preska calls for Epstein’s connections to be “unsealed in full”.

It is the latest filing in the case brought by Ms Giuffre against Maxwell, a former British socialite who is serving a 20-year prison term for the crimes she committed with Epstein. Ms Giuffre’s defamation lawsuit was brought in 2015 and settled in 2017, leaving the names of scores of Epstein associates under a court-ordered seal. They include 40 documents of evidence from Johanna Sjoberg, who has claimed Prince Andrew groped her breast while sitting on a couch inside Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001. Buckingham Palace has previously said the allegations are “categorically untrue”. Last year, the Duke of York paid millions to Ms Giuffre to settle a lawsuit she filed claiming that he sexually abused her when she was 17 years old.

Prince Andrew said he had never met Ms Giuffre and denied her allegations. In her ruling, Judge Preska noted that many of the individuals named in the lawsuit have already been publicly identified by the media or in Maxwell’s criminal trial. She added that many others “did not raise an objection” to the release of the documents. Some of the names on the list will remain sealed, including those belonging to child victims, the judge said in her ruling. US congressional Republicans are pushing to subpoena the flight logs for Epstein’s private plane. Convicted in 2008 for soliciting prostitution from a minor, Epstein had moved in social circles that included key figures in the world of business and politics.

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“The US officials allegedly hinted to the Pakistani diplomat that if the prime minister lost an impending no-confidence vote in parliament, “all will be forgiven in Washington.”

Imran Khan Uses AI To Deliver Speech From Prison (RT)

Former Pakistani Prime Minister, who is currently imprisoned, has used artificial intelligence to deliver a speech to his supporters. The four-minute address was broadcast during a ‘virtual rally’ attended by more than 4.5 million people across Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and YouTube. Pakistani authorities have clamped down on gatherings organized by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party since he was briefly arrested for the first time in May. The former prime minister was sentenced to three years behind bars in August for illegally selling state gifts. The 71-year-old faces a slew of other charges, all of which he claims are politically motivated. According to PTI representatives, the cricket-star-turned-politician wrote a script for the speech and passed it on to his supporters through lawyers. It was then dubbed with the help of a tool developed by the AI firm ElevenLabs, which can create a ‘voice clone’ of a person based on speech samples.

In his message, Khan accused the Pakistani government of kidnapping and harassing activists from his party.He also stressed that his “determination for real freedom is very strong,” thanking the PTI social media team for “this historic attempt” to circumvent government restrictions. Meanwhile, the NetBlocks watchdog reported that it had detected disruptions in social media availability in Pakistan, starting late on Sunday. The group alleged that this may have been due to deliberate “internet censorship.” Khan was charged by a special court in October with breaching state secrecy laws over an alleged conspiracy to reveal what he characterized as proof of US interference in orchestrating his removal from power last year.

The diplomatic cable at the center of the case was sent by then-Pakistani Ambassador to the US Asad Majeed Khan after his meeting with two senior US State Department officials in March 2022. According to multiple media reports purportedly based on the document, Washington made clear that it was unhappy about Khan’s failure to toe the West’s line. The US officials allegedly hinted to the Pakistani diplomat that if the prime minister lost an impending no-confidence vote in parliament, “all will be forgiven in Washington.”Khan was ousted about a month after the meeting, and has since mounted a major protest campaign. While the US has denied exerting any pressure on Pakistan, the International Monetary Fund unexpectedly extended a $3 billion bailout for Islamabad in July – a decision that The Intercept has claimed was influenced by Washington.

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“..what will likely be his last appeal against being extradited..”

Assange Appeal Hearing Set for February (Lauria)

Imprisoned publisher Julian Assange will face two High Court judges over two days on Feb. 20-21, 2024 in London in what will likely be his last appeal against being extradited to the United States to face charges of violating the Espionage Act. Assange’s wife Stella Assange confirmed that the hearing will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice. Assange had had an earlier request to appeal rejected by High Court Judge Jonathan Swift on June 6. Assange then filed an application to appeal that decision and the dates have now been set. Assange is seeking to challenge both the home secretary’s decision to extradite him as well as to cross appeal the decision by the lower court judge, Vanessa Baraitser.

Baraitser had ruled in January 2021 to release Assange from Belmarsh Prison and deny the U.S. request for extradition based on Assange’s mental health, his propensity to commit suicide and conditions of U.S. prisons. On every point of law, however, Baraitser sided with the United States. The U.S. appealed her decision, issuing “diplomatic assurances” that Assange would not be mistreated in prison. The High Court, after a two-day hearing in March 2022, accepted those “assurances” and rejected Assange’s appeal. His application to the U.K. Supreme Court to hear the case was then denied. Assange then applied for a new appeal of Baraitser’s legal decisions and the home secretary’s extradition order.

Swift rejected Assange’s 150-page argument in a three-page ruling. The appeal of that decision will now take place in February. If convicted under the World War I-era Espionage Act, the WikiLeaks publisher and journalist is facing up to 175 years in a U.S. dungeon for publishing classified material revealing crimes by the U.S. state, including war crimes. Assange was also charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, though the indictment against him does not accuse him of stealing U.S. documents or even of helping his source, Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, to do so.

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Kory

 

 


https://twitter.com/goddeketal/status/1737200419397414943

 

 

Impawsible

 

 

Basket star

 

 


The Cashew of Pirangi is the world’s largest cashew tree located in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. It covers an area between 7,300 and 8,400 square meters. Having the size of 70 normally sized cashew trees, it has a circumference of 500 meters. The spread over a hectare of land was, unlike other trees, created by the tree’s outward growth. When bent towards the ground (because of their weight), the branches tend to take new roots where they touch the ground. The tree is said to have been planted in 1880s. However, based on its growth characteristics, the tree is estimated to be more than a thousand years old.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 262023
 
 November 26, 2023  Posted by at 9:57 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  25 Responses »


Giorgio de Chirico Piazza d’Italia 1913

 

The Gaza Truce Is A Sign That Hamas Can’t Be Defeated (Inlakesh)
Hamas ‘Remains Strong’ After 49 Day Fight: Israeli Media (Cradle)
Biden Endorses Israel’s War To Eliminate Gaza (Aaron Maté)
The Thanksgiving Truce (Lauria)
Second Nakba; Same Israeli Lies; Same Western Narrative (Cook)
Israel Receives Third List Of Hostages To Be Released From Gaza (Az.)
US-German ‘Peace Talks Plot’ Shows West on Brink of Losing Ukraine (Sp.)
Ukraine Will ‘Strengthen EU’ – Baerbock (RT)
Germany Today Could Do What Hitler Did But Faster – Hungary’s Top MP (RT)
The Mind-Bending Politics of RFK Jr.’s Spoiler Campaign (NYMag)
The Invisible Hand Just Slapped Disney (Turley)
Bill Gates, Jeffrey Epstein and a Global Health Investment Fund (BB)
Jeffrey Sachs Says COVID About ‘Massive Government Lying’ (NM)

 

 


Some pictures do not need a caption.
– Banksy

 

 

Saudi Arabia Leaders Warns U.S To Stop Israel Or Face Its Wrath

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Middle East Will Cause WW3! Iran will ENTER Israel!!

 

 

Inevitable victory for Russia | Ukraine is crushed – Douglas Macgregor

 

 

Fed

 

 


2005. Not guilty.

 

 

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”
– Kurt Vonnegut

 

 

 

 

“At this time, it appears that the idea that “Hamas must go” is no more than a pipe dream.”

The Gaza Truce Is A Sign That Hamas Can’t Be Defeated (Inlakesh)

After repeatedly rejecting a truce with Hamas and labeling the idea “ridiculous”, Israel agreed to a four-day cessation of hostilities in Gaza and a prisoner exchange. Six weeks of death and destruction, which Israeli and Western leaders declared should have led to the destruction of Hamas, have now bolstered the Palestinian movement’s image throughout the Arab world and beyond.The four-day truce that was implemented this Friday provided a sigh of relief for those most affected by the war in the Gaza Strip, but has in many ways spelled disaster for the Israeli government. As women and children, held captive by both Hamas and Israel, are being reunited with their families, the threat of further warfare looms. Although the loved ones of those released are now celebrating, the next steps will be crucial in determining the final outcomes of the 46-day battle that has now been placed on pause. At this time, it appears that the idea that “Hamas must go” is no more than a pipe dream.

On October 27, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to the sound of overwhelming applause, calling for a truce to stop the fighting in the Gaza Strip. Although the non-binding resolution passed with a majority of 120 votes in favour, Israel and the United States outright rejected it. Tabled by Arab nations, the call for a truce was labeled as a “defense of Nazi terrorists” by Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the UN. This came after Hamas released four Israeli civilian hostages without conditions, for what the group said were humanitarian reasons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others in his emergency war government, have repeatedly stated their goal of crushing Hamas and allied Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, refusing to negotiate with them. The six-week-long aerial bombardment of densely populated civilian areas in the besieged Palestinian enclave, which also morphed into a ground war, has claimed over 20,000 lives according to some estimates, but failed to eliminate Hamas. In fact, Israeli forces have not been able to show a single significant military achievement against the Palestinian armed groups. While Hamas claim to have struck 355 Israeli military vehicles during the past two weeks of fighting, publishing video evidence of dozens of attacks, Israeli forces have failed to assassinate senior leaders of Hamas, to free hostages by force, uncover major tunnel networks, or even publish proof that they have killed a significant number of Hamas fighters on the battlefield.

According to the Calcalist financial newspaper, the Gaza war was estimated early on to cost around $50 billion, roughly 10% of Israel’s GDP. In addition to this, the Israeli military has reportedly suffered losses in intelligence and monitoring equipment along their northern border, due to attacks carried out by the Lebanese group Hezbollah. Yemen’s Ansarallah also seized a ship in the Red Sea, owned by an Israeli businessman, which has severely impacted trade through the southern port city of Eilat. This is not factoring in the inevitable long-term effects on things like Israel’s tourism sector or investment in its high-tech industry.

Palestinian Ambassador to UK

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“..the Military Oversight Authority is refusing to allow Israeli media to show an action map of its progress in Gaza, fearing that it will show how little the army has achieved..”

Hamas ‘Remains Strong’ After 49 Day Fight: Israeli Media (Cradle)

Following the implementation of a four-day truce in Gaza, the Israeli media is flush with reports that Hamas remains strong after 49 days of fighting, and that the Israeli military is losing the war. Following the 7 October Hamas attack on Israeli settlements surrounding the Gaza strip, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to eliminate Hamas. But despite Israel’s horrific bombing campaign and ground operation in Gaza that has killed some 15,000 Palestinians, the majority women and children, the Israeli media is reporting that Hamas remains in control of the conflict. Following the release of the first batch of Israelis held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hebrew language Channel 12 said that on 25 November, “Whoever is in a hurry to mourn Hamas should look at this day to understand that this is not the reality.

“After 49 days of fighting, Hamas has proven that it is still strong, and that it still controls the Gaza Strip.” The channel noted that Hamas successfully completed the exchange of captives, including one held by another Palestinian faction, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, despite claims it had lost control over its fighters and cells. “After all this, the scene of Hamas kneeling is still a long way off,” the channel added. The Israeli channel’s military affairs correspondent, Nir Dvory, said that the Hamas movement “has not collapsed yet,” noting that the Israeli army “failed to liquidate the movement’s officials” whom it declared targets of its operations. Hours after the temporary truce took effect between the Israeli occupation and the resistance in Gaza on Friday, criticism began to appear for not achieving the declared goals of the war on the Gaza Strip.

According to Channel 12, the Military Oversight Authority is refusing to allow Israeli media to show an action map of its progress in Gaza, fearing that it will show how little the army has achieved. Israeli media reported as well that Reserve Major General Israel Ziv stated that if Hamas currently succeeds in stopping the continuation of the fighting, “it has emerged victorious.” At the same time, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported the intelligence capabilities of the Palestinian resistance are much more sophisticated than previously known. The newspaper’s military affairs analyst, Yossi Yehoshua, revealed the Israeli army found documents in a Hamas base in Gaza that included details of the structure and social composition of Israel’s Paratroopers Brigade, as well as pictures of the former brigade commander and other officers who had ended their service.

The extent and complexity of Hamas’ tunnel system also surprised Israel’s military,Yedioth Ahronoth reported. An officer admitted that the resistance tunnels in the northern Gaza Strip, those closest to the border with Israel, were “deep, long, and operational in a way that was fundamentally different from what Israeli intelligence estimated.” The Israeli officer said, “No one imagined that this is what we would find there.”

Tapper

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“.. it will be difficult to continue with a ground maneuver in the southern Gaza Strip should public anger over what will be perceived as abandoning women and children increase.”

Biden Endorses Israel’s War To Eliminate Gaza (Aaron Maté)

In rationalizing his continued support for Israeli aggression, Biden echoed the Netanyahu government’s claim that its attacks have forced Hamas to negotiate the captives’ release. “I don’t trust Hamas to do anything right,” Biden told reporters during his Thanksgiving vacation. “I only trust Hamas to respond to pressure.” The available evidence shows otherwise. As Mohammad Alsaafin notes, the thousands of Palestinians – and an unknown numbers of Israeli and other foreign captives — killed by Israeli bombings “did not have to die—not just because Israel could have refrained from targeting civilians, which it has clearly refused to do, but because the contours of the deal announced Wednesday have been on the table for weeks.” On Oct. 26th, Hamas official Ali Barakeh laid out the terms for a proposed hostage exchange similar to those reached this week.

“We are ready to let them all leave,” Barakeh told the Washington Post. That same day, senior Qatari negotiator Mohmmed al Khulaifi said that he believed “all civilian hostages” could be freed if Israel would pause its bombardment of Gaza. Rather than engage with these overtures, Israel launched a ground invasion the following day. According to Western and Arab officials interviewed by the New York Times, Israel’s Oct. 27th ground invasion thwarted the release of up to 50 captives in exchange for a bombing pause. The talks were additionally “stymied” by Israel’s decision to cut off Gaza’s telecommunications network, which meant Qatari officials and Hamas “struggled to make quick, consistent contact.” Another obstacle was Israel’s initial refusal of Hamas’ demand to free Palestinian “women and minors held without charge” from Israeli prisons — the captives that Western audiences are not supposed to care about.

After undermining a hostage deal with its ground invasion of Gaza, Israel thwarted another opportunity with last week’s attack on Al-Shifa hospital. On Nov. 14th, Israel relayed its acceptance of a similar offer to Hamas’ original. But hours later, after Israeli forces stormed Al-Shifa, Hamas made clear that “[t]he deal was off,” according to the Times. “It had looked like towards the end of that day … that we were closing in and [then] everything stalled,” a senior US official told the Washington Post. According to one source familiar with the talks, Hamas was “concerned about the evacuations of patients, including premature babies, and attacks on other hospitals.”

According to Israeli military correspondent Amos Harel of Haaretz, Israel’s decision to accept a deal this week stemmed from “not only… the terms of the deal,” which “improved somewhat,” but a more important imperative: sustaining the Gaza assault over the long-term. The Israeli “security establishment,” Harel writes, has developed the “understanding that the outcry of the hostages’ families is arousing broad public support, and that it will be difficult to continue with a ground maneuver in the southern Gaza Strip should public anger over what will be perceived as abandoning women and children increase.” In other words, to keep killing Palestinian women and children caged in Gaza, Israel decided that it must finally stop abandoning the Israeli women and children held hostage in Gaza.

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“..ultimately, both Israel and U.S. politicians depend on the support of the American people..”

The Thanksgiving Truce (Lauria)

Israel has long depended on American military aid and diplomatic support to pursue its interests in the Middle East. Without such backing, especially in a time of open warfare, it is doubtful that Israel could for long pursue its goals in Gaza. American politicians likewise depend on support from Israel and its lobby in the United States to pursue their political careers. But ultimately, both Israel and U.S. politicians depend on the support of the American people. There was already a trend, especially among young Americans, many of them Jews, to no longer lend unconditional support to Israel. This became evident with the growing popularity of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement among American youth, causing individual states to pass laws outlawing the movement.

The trend towards rejecting the mainstream media’s whitewashed history of Israel and Palestine, and the growing understanding that Israel was established in 1948 largely through the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their ancestral homes and land, has only intensified with Israel’s current onslaught against Gaza.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden know that if they lose the American people they are both in serious trouble. Biden is already feeling the heat from American voters because of his handling of Gaza. He can pretty much kiss the swing state of Michigan goodbye with its large Arab population. But polls show many Democrats across the entire country also strongly disapprove.

Palestinian Americans sued in federal court on Nov. 16 to immediately force Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to stop providing additional weapons, money and military and diplomatic support to Israel. A motion from the Center for Constitutional Rights’ for preliminary injunction charges that: “Defendants have been on notice of the risk of genocide since at least October 9, if not already on October 7, through the public and widely circulated statements and actions by Israeli officials with whom they were in close, regular contact and consultation, as well as by warnings of indicators of genocide from United Nations officials and other sources that have only increased since then.”

Israel understands that to maintain U.S. government support, without which it cannot continue its genocidal goals, it needs to keep the U.S. public on side, lest it bring pressure on Biden and Congress to finally cut off aid to stop the massacres. Right now Netanyahu sees Americans dangerously turning against Israel and the Biden administration. Weekly protests and American Jews taking over Grand Central Station (which the New York governor called “a major incident”) are clearly alarming Washington and Tel Aviv, (not to mention London, Berlin and Paris where it’s illegal to support the Palestinians.) Is it therefore a coincidence that a 4-day ceasefire allowing cameras to show food trucks delivering aid to Gazans coincides with the 4-day U.S. Thanksgiving holiday?

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“The final destination is clearly in view, as, in truth, it has been for more than seven decades..”

Second Nakba; Same Israeli Lies; Same Western Narrative (Cook)

After its mass ethnic cleansing operations of 1948 and 1967, Israel tried to manage the remaining Palestinian population through the traditional apartheid model of herding the natives into reservations, as its predecessors did with the remnants of the “locals” who survived their efforts at extermination. Any caution on Israel’s part derived from the different political climate it had to operate in: international law became more central after World War II, with clear definitions of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The West wilfully mischaracterises Israel’s process of dispossessing and ghettoising these remaining Palestinians as a “conflict” because they refuse to submit quietly to the apartheid, ghettoisation model. Now, Israel’s management approach to the Palestinians has broken down completely — for two main reasons.

First, the Palestinians, aided by new technologies that have made it more difficult to keep them out of view, have attracted ever widening popular support – and most problematically, among Western publics. The Palestinians have also managed to bring their cause to international forums, even gaining recognition as a state by a majority of members of the United Nations. Potentially, they even have redress in the West’s international legal institutions, like the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. As a result, subduing the Palestinians — or maintaining “calm”, as Western establishments prefer to call it — has become more and more difficult and expensive. And second, on Oct. 7, Hamas proved that Palestinian resistance cannot be contained even under a siege enforced by drones, and an Iron Dome interception system protecting Israel from retaliatory rockets. In such circumstances, Palestinians have shown they will seek surprising and creative ways to break out of their confinement and bring their oppression into the spotlight.

In fact, given the West’s dulled sensitivities to Palestinian suffering, militant factions are likely to deduce that headline-grabbing atrocities — mirroring Israel’s own historic approach to the Palestinians — are the only way to gain attention. Israel understands that the Palestinians are going to continue being a thorn in its side, a reminder that Israel is not a normal state. And the struggle to correct Israel’s decades of dispossessing and brutalising Palestinians will become ever more a defining moral cause among Western publics, as the fight against apartheid South Africa once was. So Israel is taking advantage of this moment to “finish the job”. The final destination is clearly in view, as, in truth, it has been for more than seven decades. The crime is unfolding step by step, the pace quickening. And yet senior politicians and journalists in the West, like their predecessors, continue to be blind to it all.

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Qatar is trying hard to extend the truce.

Israel Receives Third List Of Hostages To Be Released From Gaza (Az.)

Israel has received a list of hostages to be released in the third stage of the implementation of a ceasefire agreement, the Kan radio station noted, Report informs referring to TASS. According to the Times of Israel newspaper, the Israeli prime minister’s office has notified the families of those on the list handed over by Qatar. The third group of hostages may be released on Sunday. The Palestinian movement Hamas announced on November 22 that an agreement on a four-day humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip had been reached through the mediation of Qatar and Egypt. The agreement stipulates the release of 50 women and children under the age of 19 who are held in Gaza in exchange for the release of 150 women and children under the age of 19 from Israeli prisons.

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“..Kiev now faces the last moment when it can lay claim to more or less acceptable terms of a truce with Moscow…”

US-German ‘Peace Talks Plot’ Shows West on Brink of Losing Ukraine (Sp.)

Washington and Berlin have reportedly kicked off a plot to push Ukraine for negotiations with Russia by slashing military supplies to Kiev and leaving Volodymyr Zelensky with little if any options, according to the German publication [Bild]. According to Bild, there is also a plan B envisaging a frozen conflict that would solidify a new quasi-border between Ukraine and Russia along the contact line. “First, [this report] should be seen in a specific temporal context,” Dmitry Evstafiev, a political scientist and High School of Economics (HSE) University professor, told Sputnik. “This is not a statement, of course, this is a publicity stunt. It appeared in the media almost immediately after the end of the meeting of the notorious Ramstein group that has made an essential decision to create the [Ground Based] Air Defense coalition to strengthen air defense.

“Moreover, it is quite obvious that they will strengthen not so much the air defense of Ukraine, but the air defense of the countries bordering Ukraine. Therefore, this is a kind of first proposal that it is necessary to take certain political steps that would indicate that Ukraine is ready for negotiations.” The second aspect is an interview given by the leader of the Servant of the People faction, Davyd Arakhamia, which is “clearly synchronized with the West.” According to Evstafiev, it is “even more indicative against the backdrop of problems at the front.” Speaking to Western journalists, Arakhamia noted that Russia’s main condition during the March 2022 peace talks with Kiev was Ukraine’s neutrality and guarantees that the Eastern European country wouldn’t join NATO. (It was Arakhamia who headed the Ukrainian delegation during the negotiations with Russians in Belarus and Türkiye in 2022.)

In addition, he debunked the Western media narrative that Russia does not want to negotiate peace with Ukraine by saying that Moscow is open to talks and it may start them when Kiev is ready. “At the moment, [Western] support to Kiev is becoming more and more politically expensive/costly, or whatever you want to call it, for the key countries that provide assistance, these are, first of all: Germany and the United States,” said Evstafiev. “The United States has already almost halted aid [to Ukraine]. Of course, there will still be a revaluation through the Pentagon, but one can no longer expect large packages.”

“Assistance from the European Union will be largely aimed at maintaining the functionality of the public administration system and some kind of social support, but not so much for military support. Therefore, the first point is that support for Kiev has become toxic in terms of politics. “The second point, which is absolutely clearly visible from the statements of Western sources, is that Kiev now faces the last moment when it can lay claim to more or less acceptable terms of a truce with Moscow. (…) The third point – which Westerners do not conceal – is that Russia will agree to any starting conditions for these negotiations. Arakhamia speaks about this directly, openly and without hesitation.”

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What a drama that woman is.

Ukraine Will ‘Strengthen EU’ – Baerbock (RT)

The EU and NATO will continue to back Ukraine because they view such support as geopolitically critical, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said. Speaking at the Green Party Conference in Karlsruhe on Saturday, Baerbock argued that the European Union has to accept Kiev, as it can no longer afford any gray areas in Europe. “It’s in our own geopolitical interest that Ukraine joins the European Union, which is why we will not only continue our support for Ukraine, but also strengthen it in the EU and NATO,” she said, stressing that “Europe is our life insurance and that’s what is important and geostrategically crucial.” “Today it is clear that Ukraine will strengthen the EU in the foreseeable future,” she stressed.

Last month, Baerbock said that Ukraine’s future “lies in” the EU, including regions that were incorporated by Russia in 2022 but are still claimed by Kiev. “[The EU] will soon stretch from Lisbon to Lugansk,” Baerbock told journalists on the sidelines of the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in the Ukrainian capital. Reiterating Berlin’s stance that Ukraine should join the EU, Baerbock said the same applies to Moldova, Georgia and potentially the Western Balkans, so as to leave no “gray areas” in Europe. However, earlier in November, she admitted that the bloc itself would have to undergo “tedious” reforms to properly function with so many members. Germany is Ukraine’s second-largest donor of military aid behind the US, and Baerbock has become one of the most vocal advocates of Kiev since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Berlin recently pledged to “expand and increase” its support for Kiev in the coming years. Berlin is planning to provide another air-defense system and electricity generators as part of the so-called “winter protection umbrella” scheme.Having spent some $18.2 billion providing military assistance to Kiev, Germany still trails far behind the US, which has spent around $45 billion, according to Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Russia has stated that Western arms supplies to Ukraine have failed to have a significant impact on the frontline. In early November, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that “despite the supply of new kinds of NATO weapons, the Kiev regime is losing.” The Russian military has also regularly published photos and videos of destroyed Ukrainian heavy armor, including German-made Leopard tanks.

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Sink Germany, that is.

Germany Today Could Do What Hitler Did But Faster – Hungary’s Top MP (RT)

Germany is destroying itself faster than under Adolf Hitler’s rule, while the UN is nothing but a front company for propaganda, Hungarian parliamentary speaker Laszlo Kover has said. The senior MP, well-known for repeatedly making various controversial statements, produced a flurry of inflammatory remarks on Thursday when he spoke at a sovereignty-protection forum held in the central Hungarian town of Jaszapati. The speaker launched a bitter attack on Germany, comparing its current leadership to that of the Hitler era.“We have no reason to be happy that the Germans are destroying themselves and are doing so with a whirlwind speed, perhaps faster than Hitler did,” Kover asserted.

Hitler needed 12 years to accomplish this, those who are now [in Berlin] do not even need 12 years to send Germany to the ground in every sense, economically and socially. Apart from obliterating German leadership, the top MP was also highly critical of the EU, as well as the UN. He blasted the United Nations as a mere “front company” without any weight and being used only for propaganda purposes. Kover, who is a co-founder of Hungary’s Fidesz party, compared the European Union to the Warsaw Pact, a long-defunct Cold War-era security system established by the USSR and its Eastern European satellites, including Hungary. Nowadays, Brussels effectively plays the same role as Moscow used to play at the time, the MP suggested, insisting that Budapest was at war only with the Eurobureaucracy rather than with the EU itself. “The Union is us,” he stressed.

Kover’s speech at the forum also included a personal touch, as he launched a bitter attack on the US ambassador to Hungary, David Pressman, stating the top diplomat actually meant that little to him, he literally considered Washington’s envoy in Budapest a “non-existent” person. “He is not persona non-grata, but rather a non-person,” the speaker stated. “For me, for example, he’s a non-existent person who sometimes appears. I don’t know who he is, what he wants, he’s supposed to be an ambassador, but he doesn’t act like one.” It “doesn’t matter” what the US diplomat relays to the Hungarian government – and otherwise – given that Pressman apparently came to the country with a firm belief he was actually sent to govern it, Kover explained.

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“Theoretically, any of these candidates earning just a small percentage in one key state could be enough to fuck up the whole map for the major parties — much less all of them..”

The Mind-Bending Politics of RFK Jr.’s Spoiler Campaign (NYMag)

“Kennedy” and “Democrat” had become practically synonymous since the family landed in America in 1848. “I have a strong emotional connection to the party,” he said. He didn’t want to leave. “I was very resistant to it.” But it was the way forward: “Life is a series of separations … I feel like I didn’t really have a choice.” The choice he did make landed like a Big Bang, its impact immediately redefining the contours of presidential politics. The general election is now projected to be a three-way race between Biden, Trump, and their mutual, Kennedy, with a cluster of less popular third-party candidates filling out the constellation. Deep polarization to a near evenly divided electorate means major-party candidates are super-vulnerable to external threats.

Much was made of a recent New York Times–Siena College poll that showed Trump beating Biden in several key swing states. The reality is more like, in a reliably unreliable estimate of how people will behave on Election Day a year from now, you have two likely nominees so unlikable that they are tied for historic unlikableness with the 2016 nominees (only one candidate has been a historically unlikable constant across elections). Then factor in the margin of error of 1.8-to-4.8 points across the dataset. Then rerun the poll with Kennedy in the mix, as Times–Siena did, and you get a chaotic and scarcely recognizable race with Kennedy in striking distance at 24 percent. As CNN polling savant Harry Enten put it, “A clear Trump polling lead became a jumbled mess with no clear favorite to win in the Electoral College thanks to Kennedy. Both Biden (34 percent) and Trump (36 percent) were south of 40 percent in an aggregate across the six states.”

It’s true that in the 1992 election, Ross Perot was often outright beating Bush and Clinton in the polls, and he didn’t become president. But Kennedy doesn’t have to win to sabotage Biden or Trump. He doesn’t even have to come close. In 2000, when Democrats won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College, Ralph Nader scored 97,488 votes in Florida, where Al Gore lost by 537 votes. In 2016, when Democrats again won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College, Libertarian Gary Johnson got 172,136 votes in Michigan, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein got 51,463. Clinton lost by 10,704 votes. Johnson got 106,674 votes in Wisconsin and Stein 31,072. Clinton lost by 22,748. Not only is Kennedy polling more competitively now than any independent since Perot, but he has backup. Celebrity academic Cornel West is also running as an independent. Stein has risen from the dead to haunt the Dems once more on a Green Party ticket.

From retirement, Senator Joe Manchin threatens to run with No Labels, which has already secured ballot access in the swing state of Arizona. Theoretically, any of these candidates earning just a small percentage in one key state could be enough to fuck up the whole map for the major parties — much less all of them. In the face of this reality, Biden plans to argue that Kennedy is a closet conservative. Trump is already arguing that Kennedy is a closet liberal. (If either likely nominee has more sophisticated messaging planned to fight off Kennedy, it is not yet apparent.) That both claims are sort of true and sort of not true in equal measure is, sort of, the basis of Kennedy’s appeal. According to the Times, Democratic lawyers across the country are mobilizing to suppress third-party challenges through initiatives to further limit ballot access, the central obstacle for an independent candidate. “We’ll get on the ballot in every state,” Kennedy told me.

RFK

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Go woke go broke.

The Invisible Hand Just Slapped Disney (Turley)

This year marks the 300th anniversary of Adam Smith, the iconic figure behind the theory of free markets, or of what we have since come to call “capitalism.” Born in June 1723, Smith went on to explain how the “invisible hand” of the market worked as people exercised their choices between certain products. It can shape economies and challenge whole governments. One company in particular appears to be learning that lesson. In recent filings, Disney appears to acknowledge that Smith’s invisible hand is giving the “House of Mouse” the middle finger. In a new corporate disclosure, Disney acknowledges that its controversial political and social agenda is costing the company and shareholders.In its annual SEC report, Disney acknowledges that “we face risks relating to misalignment with public and consumer tastes and preferences for entertainment, travel and consumer products.”

In an implied nod to Smith, the company observes that “the success of our businesses depends on our ability to consistently create compelling content,” and that “Generally, our revenues and profitability are adversely impacted when our entertainment offerings and products, as well as our methods to make our offerings and products available to consumers, do not achieve sufficient consumer acceptance. Further, consumers’ perceptions of our position on matters of public interest, including our efforts to achieve certain of our environmental and social goals, often differ widely and present risks to our reputation and brands.” Disney and other companies have previously ignored consumer backlash over corporate campaigns such as Disney’s opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law. Corporate officials once avoided political controversies and focused on selling their products and services rather than viewpoints.

Disney has reportedly lost a billion dollars just on four of its recent “woke” movie flops, productions denounced by critics as pushing political agendas or storylines. Yet until now, the company has continued to roll out underperforming movies as revenue has dropped. What’s more, Disney stars persist in bad-mouthing its fabled storylines and undermining its new productions. The company admits that it has suffered a continued slide in “impressions” (that is, viewership) by 14 percent. For shareholders, it may seem counterintuitive that corporate executives would trade off profits for political or social agendas. However, it does serve as a rationale for individual corporate executives who are professionally advanced when they champion such causes.

For example, when Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, pledged to drop Bud Light’s “fratty reputation and embrace inclusivity,” she was heralded by colleagues, even though her move went on to tank that brand as a whole. Indeed, Bud Light has still not recovered from the loss of billions in profits, market share, and overall market value. The same trend is playing out in the media. Public trust in journalists has fallen to a record low. Yet media executives continue to push advocacy journalism, abandoning objectivity. As former New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones declared, “all journalism is activism.”

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“..Epstein worried that saving lives by curing diseases would not lower population growth rates..”

Bill Gates, Jeffrey Epstein and a Global Health Investment Fund (BB)

Over time, Gates and JPMorgan established an investment fund that sought to profit from the development of vaccines and other health technologies. Epstein wanted a piece of the action, and Staley brought Epstein into the Gates partnership. The Gates-JPMorgan partnership was called the Global Health Investment Fund (GHIF) and was created circa 2011. At the time, Staley managed the Epstein relationship for the bank, and Epstein was a valuable client who brought JPMorgan a lot of business. Epstein was an adviser to billionaires like Victoria’s Secret mogul Leslie Wexner and Wall Street legend Leon Black and the “family offices” which manage their fortunes. Wexner and Black deny any involvement in Epstein’s criminal activities.

The GHIF partnership brought in a host of other powerful investors, including The Pfizer Foundation, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, as well as entities funded by the governments of Sweden, Canada, and Germany. There would also be private support from “qualified individuals and family offices.”The GHIF’s purpose was to give “individual and institutional investors the opportunity to finance late-stage global health technologies that have the potential to save millions of lives in low-income countries.” The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency committed to help offset any potential GHIF losses. As the GHIF was getting started, Epstein began pitching other business ideas to Gates and his foundation staff. They met “many times,” according to the New York Times, and Gates flew on Epstein’s Gulfstream plane from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, according to a March 2013 flight manifest.

It turned out that Gates and Epstein had mutual interests in the areas of global health and funding scientific breakthroughs. Both men also had a deep interest in genetic tinkering projects. Epstein reportedly wanted to “seed the human race” with his own DNA by impregnating scores of women. Ironically (or perhaps hypocritically), Epstein was concerned about overpopulation. Likewise, Gates has long been worried about overpopulation and has stated repeatedly that he wants to mass vaccinate the third world, specifically for the purpose of curbing population growth. In a 2010 TED Talk, Gates succinctly explained his rationale for funding vaccines and birth control to curtail population growth worldwide.

“The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion,” Gates warned. “Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, ten or fifteen percent.” But Epstein worried that saving lives by curing diseases would not lower population growth rates. He “criticized efforts to reduce starvation and provide health care to the poor because doing so increased the risk of overpopulation,” the New York Times reported. Bill and Melinda Gates apparently do not see curing diseases in the same way.

Meet Bill Gates

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And I began to really see close up that there was so much lying coming out of NIH [National Institutes of Health], coming out of Fauci, coming out of, unfortunately, the government protecting all of this and now it’s spilling out..”

Jeffrey Sachs Says COVID About ‘Massive Government Lying’ (NM)

A prominent “lifelong Democrat” scholar and economist who chaired a COVID-19 commission blasted Dr. Anthony Fauci and others for promoting “massive government lying” regarding the coronavirus, and accused Senate Democrats of refusing to investigate the virus’ origins. Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University professor who chaired a COVID-19 commission set up by “The Lancet” medical journal, said he has since left the Democratic Party after seeing how government officials have behaved around the origins of the virus. “The sad part of this, not with respect to the vaccine per se, but with respect to the origin of the virus, is that it’s yet another case of massive government lying,” Sachs said during an appearance on The Hill’s “Rising” show. “We have since discovered from the start that what the government told us about ‘natural origins’ of this virus were hokey, and really amounting to scientific fraud.”

Sachs said that even the scientists who wrote “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2” in the spring of 2020 “didn’t even believe that as they were writing it because they knew that there were so many hints that this could well have come out of a U.S. lab, or out of Chinese lab, or out of a U.S.-China partnership in the research.” Sachs admitted he, too, bought into the mainstream media’s COVID-19 reporting at the beginning of the pandemic, especially after a major scientific journal, “Nature,” said there was overwhelming evidence the origin was natural.He then credited reporting by The Intercept, U.S. Right to Know, and whistleblowers for helping to change his thinking.”[They] started letting us in on what was really said inside, was shocking,” said Sachs, who added that after requesting a certain document he had been refused by a fellow commission member.

Rancourt

“I said, ‘Well, you can’t be on the commission. We’re a transparent commission,” Sachs said. “And I began to really see close up that there was so much lying coming out of NIH [National Institutes of Health], coming out of Fauci, coming out of, unfortunately, the government protecting all of this and now it’s spilling out.” Sachs insists his desire to investigate COVID-19’s origin has more to do with present-day and future research. He credited Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for focusing on gain-of-function research and for trying to persuade Democrat colleagues to probe the issue. “It’s shocking to me that Democratic senators can’t understand this is not a partisan issue,” Sachs said. “This is a life and death issue. What kind of research is going on? What kind of laboratory manipulation’s going on? What is going on under what we euphemistically … call our biodefense research? Because who knows what it really is?

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X files

 

 


First, Estonia, then New Zealand. Now, Slovenia?

 

 

Grocery shopping

 

 

 

 

Starlings

 

 

Sleep dog

 

 

Impossible

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 022023
 
 September 2, 2023  Posted by at 8:56 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  38 Responses »


William-Adolphe Bouguereau La naissance de Vénus 1879

 

Happenings Await (Jim Kunstler)
White House Preparing For Biden Impeachment – NBC (RT)
Biden Dragged US Into Proxy War With Russia That Moscow Is Winning – MTG (Sp.)
Rise of BRICS ‘Devastating’ For US – MTG (RT)
Nikki Haley Calls US Senate ‘Most Privileged Nursing Home In The Country’ (G.)
Conflict Should Be Transferred To ‘Russian Territory’ – Ukraine Spy Chief (RT)
US To Send Depleted Uranium Munitions To Ukraine – Reuters (RT)
How Much Do Mercenaries Make in Ukraine? (Sp.)
Only 10% of Western Firms Have Left Russia – Austria (RT)
African Coups Expose And Unravel A Web Of Western Meddling (Marsden)
Russia Inherits Prigozhin’s African Odyssey (Bhadrakumar)
History’s Starting to Rhyme – The Fight for Uranium (Jim Rickards)
JPMorgan Flagged Over $1 Billion In Suspicious Epstein Transfers (ZH)
BRICS and the Future of Humanity (Solo)

 

 

 

 

Sachs

 

 

 

 

RFK

 

 

 

 

Tucker
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697603136276598857

 

 

DAX Anthony

 

 

 

 

17% of Americans got the latest booster. They’ve seen enough.

“..the party will be so badly damaged by then that it will have no other option except to let Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in to drive out the remaining demons..”

Happenings Await (Jim Kunstler)

In what might be one of his last official acts, “Joe Biden” announced last week that Americans would be “encouraged” to get a new-and-improved mRNA vaccine booster against the new Covid virus strain EG.5 “Eris” (named after the Greek goddess of strife and discord). The “president,” said he asked Congress for funding “for a new vaccine that is necessary, that works…. It will likely be recommended that everybody get it no matter whether they’ve gotten it before or not.” Say, what…? Did the earlier vaccines not work, Joe? Most assuredly they did not. The shots injured, disabled, and killed a great many people, and it staggers the rational mind that the CDC is still pushing these shots. You might conclude that they’re pretending this didn’t happen to evade responsibility. After all, what would be the consequences if these officials admitted that all the previous Covid vaccines were ineffective and harmful?

And what would be the reaction of the 81.3 percent of the population who got at least one dose of the previous vaccines and the 65.6 percent who are “fully vaccinated” with two or more shots? (Note, statistics from the CDC.) I’ll tell you what would happen: the CDC officials and a great many other persons on the public payroll would be in court on criminal charges. And doctors and hospitals would be subject to so many lawsuits they would never again have time to actually practice medicine, while millions of people with damaged immune systems and wrecked organs take flight like so many black swans flapping into the setting sun of their own prematurely attenuated lives. If you care to be astounded, listen to this talk that Dr. Peter McCullough gave to an audience in New Hampshire a few days ago, calling out all the principals who devised the Covid-19 fiasco by name: Ralph Baric, Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszek, and Francis Collins, and then describing exactly how the dastardly act and the cover-up went down.

Speaking of happenings this autumn, expect the war in Ukraine to come to an end. The news media might omit to inform you about this, but it awaits. Russia will not trumpet its victory, so as to avoid inflaming America’s crazed neo-cons. Rather it will just quietly take charge of its successfully neutralized neighbor, make provision for some sort of administration over what remains of the rump state — in a way that affords Russia a sense of permanent security — at the same time that Russia commences new negotiations separately with several European nations to reestablish realistic relations.

The US will be delicately hung out to dry on this. Short of resorting to nuclear World War Three, there is nothing the US can do about it — except for the Democratic Party to blame the whole sorry thing on “Joe Biden” as he is forced to resign from office pending that aforesaid impeachment threat. No other explanation for the end of our Ukraine project will be required. The party of chaos will flounder a while in the very chaos that it induced, trying laughably to switch out Kamala Harris for Gavin Newsom — or some other ploy to stay in business. But the party will be so badly damaged by then that it will have no other option except to let Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in to drive out the remaining demons and save the venerable old org from suicide.

If you think that these various momentous happenings won’t affect the financial markets and the banking system in the coming season, prepare to be amazed. This is how America truly gets to feel the pain, and this might be how the pitchforks finally come out for the people who wrecked our country.

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Nobody believes McCarthy will actually do it. “He ain’t no Nancy”. He’ll ask for a vote first.

White House Preparing For Biden Impeachment – NBC (RT)

The White House has brought together two dozen legal and media experts to combat an expected Republican effort to impeach US President Joe Biden, NBC reported on Friday, citing a White House aide familiar with the administration’s strategy. According to eight inside sources, the counter-impeachment strategy has reportedly been under development for several months as House Republicans have attempted to investigate the president and his son, Hunter Biden, and their foreign business entanglements. The White House aide who revealed the project to NBC also shared its ultimate goal: to present any impeachment inquiry as an “evidence-free partisan sham that shows a [Republican Party] penchant for chaos.”

The administration’s response will show that its opponents are “out of touch,” one official explained, by juxtaposing Republican attacks on Biden with the president’s work on “economic issues” that affect ordinary Americans. The team has been constructed to prevent any impeachment inquiry from interfering in White House business, the aide explained. This is supposed to allow administration officials to concentrate on their jobs without being “bogged down in the minutia of ongoing investigations.” “Never in modern history has an impeachment been based on no evidence whatsoever,” the aide told the news outlet, implying that taking on the Bidens would constitute such an impeachment.

White House aides on the counter-impeachment team have reportedly spent August’s vacation researching Republican talking points, putting together a message and response team to fight back. They have commissioned polls and studied political ads in the hope of disseminating a unified message supporting Biden to the Democratic Party. The Republican investigation into Biden and his son initially focused on the younger Biden’s alleged crimes, which – according to evidence gathered from a laptop he left in a Delaware repair shop, at least – include influence peddling and corruption as well as more pedestrian drug, gun, and prostitution offenses.

Hunter Biden has not been convicted of anything related to the current investigation, though he was about to enter a guilty plea on tax evasion and gun charges last month before a judge balked at the sweetheart deal he had worked out with prosecutors which would see him avoid a custodial sentence or felony conviction entirely. An issue for an impeachment would be the extent to which the elder Biden was involved in his son’s business deals in countries like Ukraine and China, deals which were directly affected by the policies Joe Biden was making as Vice President under then-president Barack Obama. While the president has denied any knowledge of or participation in his son’s professional activities, email records, as well as the testimony of Hunter Biden’s former business partner Devon Archer, contradict his public statements on the matter.

Comer

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MTG is, let’s say, a unique voice.

Biden Dragged US Into Proxy War With Russia That Moscow Is Winning – MTG (Sp.)

Republican firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has consistently spoken out against sending more arms supplies to Ukraine. After the Biden administration signed off on the delivery of DPICM cluster munitions to Kiev in July, the congresswoman warned that Washington was dragging the US into an unwanted war with Russia. US President Joe Biden has every single American “involved in a proxy war with Russia” that Moscow “is winning,” Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) told an audience gathered at a town hall meeting in Floyd County on August 31. The politician, who has been staunchly opposed to how the Biden administration has been bankrolling the regime in Kiev, told constituents: The Republican politician went on to point out that the intelligence community was blatantly “lying” to Americans, claiming that Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, wants to “take over Europe.” “If that was the case… He would be much more aggressive in the war, and he’s not,” the politician, also known by her initials, MTG, emphatically stressed.

“Now, I’m old enough to remember, and I know you are. Every single foreign war America has been involved in… What did we see on television? … Bombing after bombing. Remember all that? Do you guys remember we watched the rockets being fired… We watched troops fighting… How many of you have been able to watch the war in Ukraine that you’re paying for on the nightly news? None of you. You want to know why? America is being lied to about that war. Here’s the tragedy. They’re losing. Russia is winning. That’s the truth,” stated the Georgia congresswoman. MTG weighed in on the cost-of-living issues plaguing the people of America, saying that “energy bills are going up, your groceries are going up… inflation is hurting you. You’re watching your retirement money shrink to nothing because inflation’s going up.” Pointing out that the US federal government was mired in debt “worth $32 trillion,” she queried: “Are we going to end up in another war?”

[..] Reacting to the latest exorbitant military assistance for Ukraine announcement, Marjorie Taylor Greene told the gathering on constituents on August 31: “Washington has sent $113 billion over there. 113 billion. I voted no to every single penny of it. No, I said, no.” She added that there were “innocent people dying every single day” in the Ukraine conflagration. Indeed, despite the massive military assisstance to Kiev, the Ukrainian counteroffensive that started in June has brought no tangible results so far, with the costly Western-gifted weapons destroyed by Russia’s military. The Ukrainian military has sustained tremendous losses, including over 43,000 troops dead and even more wounded. “… But what funding that war means is means we are funding death. We are funding the murder of innocent people,” the congresswoman stressed to the crowd. If the “arrogant leaders” in Washington continue to fund the Ukraine conflagration at the rate they are doing it now, it’s “going to drag on for decades,” said MTG.

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She’s not wrong here.

Rise of BRICS ‘Devastating’ For US – MTG (RT)

As BRICS gains momentum, the US economy becomes weaker because the members of the grouping can circumvent American sanctions and trade in their own currencies, Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said on Thursday. Speaking to her constituents in Georgia, the Republican congresswoman lashed out at the administration of US President Joe Biden, which she said is turning a blind eye to the rise of BRICS – an economic group which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa and accounts for more than a quarter of global GDP. The Republican firebrand claimed that while the Washington is “doing… nonsense” – including providing all kinds of support to Ukraine which is locked in a conflict with Russia – “there are other countries in the world, powerful countries, organizing together because they are tired of the United States.”

In this sense, the BRICS countries are making serious trade agreements “where they are saying: we’ll buy from you, you’ll buy from us, we don’t care about US sanctions and we’ll sell to one another, buy and sell in our own currency, not the US dollar,” she stated. “This is one of the most devastating things that can happen to all of us,” Greene claimed. As BRICS becomes more powerful, the US dollar gets weaker, she said. “And you know what happens to all of us? We’re going to go broke,” the congresswoman predicted, adding that this dynamic will negatively affect the retirement plans and personal savings of ordinary Americans. “What is going to happen to our children, when the US dollar means nothing anymore, because Russia, and China, and India with its huge population of billions of people have more buying power in their own currencies than we do?

This is a very serious concern,” Greene said. The congresswoman’s remarks come on the heels of a historic BRICS summit in South Africa, where the group agreed to an unprecedented expansion, admitting six new countries – Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – which will become full-fledged members in 2024. In a declaration summarizing the summit, BRICS, which has historically positioned itself as an alternative to Western-dominated international institutions, reaffirmed its commitment to inclusiveness, while expressing support for the “legitimate aspirations” of African, Asian, and Latin American countries to play a more prominent role in the global arena.

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“An old political saying, that the word “Senate” comes from the same Latin word as “senile”, is circulating again.”

Nikki Haley Calls US Senate ‘Most Privileged Nursing Home In The Country’ (G.)

The US Senate is “the most privileged nursing home in the country”, the Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said. The former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations, 51, was speaking to Fox News a day after the Republican leader in the Senate, 81-year-old Mitch McConnell, suffered a second freeze in a month, this time while speaking to reporters in Kentucky. “What I will say is, right now, the Senate is the most privileged nursing home in the country,” Haley said. “I mean, Mitch McConnell has done some great things, and he deserves credit. But you have to know when to leave.”

On Thursday, the congressional physician said McConnell was clear to work, perhaps while suffering the after-effects of concussion, sustained in a fall in March, or dehydration. Other falls have been reported, including a “face plant” at a Washington airport, but McConnell has said he will complete his current six-year term, his seventh, which ends in 2026. It was reported on Thursday that some Republican senators were discussing whether to force a confrontation on the issue of their leader’s health. Haley said: “No one should feel good about seeing [McConnell’s freezes] any more than we should feel good about seeing Dianne Feinstein, any more than we should feel good about a lot of what’s happening or seeing Joe Biden’s decline.”

Feinstein, 90, is a Democrat and the senior senator from California. Her health and mental capacity long in question, she has said she will retire next year. Biden, 80, is the oldest president ever elected and would be 86 by the end of his second term if he wins re-election. A recent poll showed that more than 75% of Americans think he is too old to run again. This week, the Guardian reported a claim in a new book that Biden has privately admitted he is occasionally tired. The current Senate is the oldest in US history. An old political saying, that the word “Senate” comes from the same Latin word as “senile”, is circulating again.

Polling shows support for upper age limits for elected officials. Haley has called for mental competency tests for candidates over 75, though aiming such remarks more at Biden than Trump, the 77-year-old Republican frontrunner. “I wouldn’t care if they did [tests] over the age of 50,” Haley told Fox News. “But these people are making decisions on our national security. They’re making decisions on our economy, on the border. “We need to know they’re at the top of their game. You can’t say that right now, looking at Congress.”

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Russian hardliners are going to get tired of this.

Conflict Should Be Transferred To ‘Russian Territory’ – Ukraine Spy Chief (RT)

Kiev should bring the ongoing hostilities with Moscow to Russian territory, the head of the Ukrainian military’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) has said, contradicting Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s earlier statement. Both officials’ comments, however, come as Moscow has repeatedly accused Kiev of staging numerous “terrorist attacks” inside Russia. In an interview with Ukrainian TV anchor Natalya Moseichuk, Kirill Budanov touted a transfer of military action to Russian territory as an “excellent idea.” “The war must be extended to other territory – which for us is clearly Russia – and other areas where they have influence,” he said. According to Budanov, such a tactic would help Ukraine stretch and paralyze Russian forces. “The wider the operations are, the better,” the intelligence official added.

Budanov’s remarks starkly contrast with Zelensky’s comments last month when he ruled out attacks on Russian territory, explaining that this “would pose a great risk that we would be left alone” without the West’s help. Around the same time, however, Mikhail Podoliak, a top aide to the Ukrainian leader, said that Kiev’s Western backers supported the destruction of “everything Russian” in the territories it deems “occupied,” including the Crimean Peninsula, a statement the Kremlin shrugged off as wishful thinking. Russian territory, including Moscow, has come under recurring drone raids targeting civilian facilities in recent months. Ukraine has stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attacks, with Podoliak blaming “unidentified” aircraft instead.

In addition to aerial attacks, Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine of attempting to stage incursions into border regions, resulting in intense skirmishes and civilian deaths. In one notable example, in May, a Ukrainian saboteur group infiltrated the Belgorod region, killing one civilian and injuring several others. Kiev claimed this was an operation conducted by the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), comprised of neo-Nazi militants and another collaborationist group called the “Freedom of Russia Legion.”

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Yeah, attack Russian territory with these…

US To Send Depleted Uranium Munitions To Ukraine – Reuters (RT)

The US is set to become the second country after the UK to greenlight shipments of depleted-uranium shells to Ukraine, according to Reuters, despite concerns that such munitions could have a dramatic negative effect on public health and the environment. The munitions are intended for US Abrams tanks, first of which are expected to arrive in Ukraine in the coming weeks, the agency reported. According to several unnamed US officials and a “document” cited by Reuters on Saturday, the depleted uranium shells will be part of the next multi-million dollar arms donation expected to be announced next week. The reported plan follows another highly controversial US move to cluster munitions to Ukraine, which had been criticized even by some of Washington’s closest allies.

Should the US approve depleted-uranium shells for Ukraine, it would follow an earlier move by the UK, which announced similar shipments in March. The UK’s decision left Moscow furious, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying that the delivery would be “taking this escalation to a new and very serious stage.” Russia’s embassy in London accused the US and its allies of being willing to turn Ukraine into “not only an anti-Russian military shooting range, but also a radioactive landfill.” When these toxic shells first showed up in Ukraine, Moscow warned that the UK “will be held accountable” for the irreparable harm caused to civilians and soldiers alike. However, both UK and US officials have disputed health hazards associated with DU shells – which use a dense uranium core to improve their armor-piercing capabilities – and deny studies that the weapons were linked to a spike in cancer and birth defects in Iraq.

In the wake of the British move, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow would respond by placing tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus. He noted that in this respect Moscow’s actions do not differ from those of the US, which has nuclear weapons deployed in five European countries. Moscow said it will only remove these weapons if the US removes its own nuclear missiles from Europe and dismantles the infrastructure associated with them. Ukraine’s Western backers claim that they are not directly participating in the conflict in Ukraine, and have avoided providing certain weapons – notably fighter jets and long-range missiles – that would risk provoking a direct clash with Russia. Nevertheless, they have sent Kiev more than $100 billion worth of arms, while ignoring Moscow’s repeated warnings that every subsequent weapons package brings the US and NATO closer to active participation in the conflict. Furthermore, by enabling Ukraine’s drone attacks on Russian civilians, Western nations have become “sponsors of terrorism,” according to the Kremlin.

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How much of your money, that is.

How Much Do Mercenaries Make in Ukraine? (Sp.)

The Russian military has reported a major uptick in Ukraine’s recruitment of foreign mercenaries. Estimates on just how much these ‘soldiers of fortune’ get paid vary wildly, from less than $1,000 a month to $2,000 per day. Sputnik did a little digging and spoke to a pair of veteran military experts to try to get to the bottom of things. A Bundeswehr vet who volunteered to fight alongside the Ukrainian Army gave a tell-all interview to German media recently, revealing the surprisingly low going rate of foreigners taking part in NATO’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine “It depends on how much time you spend on the front lines. There is a principle of combat payments – that is, they pay for each day spent in battle…Per month, it turns out to about €2,000-€2,500 euros. For Ukraine, this is quite a lot,” the mercenary said.

He added that troops who spend more time on the front can get even more, up to about €3,000 (or $3,260), per month. The merc’s testimony seems to match up with figures put out in February by Russia’s Investigative Committee, which has been collecting information on potential war crimes in Ukraine. According to investigators’ figures, foreigners in Ukraine receive between 30,000 and 100,000 hryvnia (about $815-$2,710). The Investigative Committee launched criminal cases against 160 mercs from 33 different countries, including Georgia, the US, Latvia, Israel and Sweden related to suspected crimes against Russian troops and civilians.

The ballpark figures have also been separately confirmed in an investigation by French media this summer, which uncovered that mercs attached to Ukraine’s infamous International Legion receive a base salary of €500 euros, and up to €3,000 a month when they’re on the front lines. Volunteers also complained about having to pay out of pocket for vehicles, supplies and even small arms, notwithstanding the nearly $100 billion in aid doled out by the West to date for weapons. The monthly figures are a far cry from the smattering of information reported during the early stages of the crisis last year, including reporting by British media in March 2022 on payments of up to $2,000 per day plus bonuses for multilingual former soldiers willing to head to Ukraine to engage in extraction operations.

It also challenges the traditional range of “security contractor” job postings, which similarly cite a pay rate of $500-$1,000 per day, equivalent to a six-figure salary when annualized (assuming that the fighter lives that long). “$1,000-$2,000 a month, I think, is kind of low. If you told me that’s for a day, I’d say okay, I can see that. Maybe a little on the high side, but up to that amount for a commander or something, yes, I can see that. But if you’re talking on a per month basis, actually it’s quite low for a mercenary type of situation,” Earl Rasmussen, a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel-turned international consultant with over two decades of military experience, told Sputnik.

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“Schallenberg said Russia would remain important for the EU, urging the bloc’s lawmakers to “get real.”

Only 10% of Western Firms Have Left Russia – Austria (RT)

More than 90% of Western businesses that were present in Russia before the conflict with Ukraine broke out are still operating in the country, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said on Thursday. In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Schallenberg also highlighted Russian companies are still active in Austria and Germany, while Vienna’s dependence on gas supplies from the sanctions-hit country remains high. “Exit from the Russian market is a far more complicated process than it is often described,” Schallenberg said. Austria’s reliance on Russian gas supplies has been reduced but still amounts to 50%, the minister said, stressing that the landlocked country cannot build LNG terminals, unlike some fellow EU member states.

“All in all, only 12% of Austria’s energy requirements are covered by Russian gas supplies,” the minister added. “We have created strategic gas reserves, and won’t face intermittent power outages during the upcoming winter.” Earlier this year, Schallenberg said Russia would remain important for the EU, urging the bloc’s lawmakers to “get real.” The minister defended the right of Raiffeisen Bank International, Austria’s second-largest lender, to continue operating in Russia, as it is one of only two foreign banks that is systemically important for the Russian economy, along with pan-European commercial bank UniCredit. “To think that there won’t be Russia anymore and we can decouple in all areas is delusional,” he stated in a March interview with Reuters.

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It all fell apart with the murder of Gaddafi.

African Coups Expose And Unravel A Web Of Western Meddling (Marsden)

French prosecutors have just charged former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who spearheaded Western support for the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, over alleged Libyan financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. Time sure does fly! It seems like it was just yesterday that the Libyan leader was visiting Sarkozy at the Élysée in the wake of Sarkozy’s 2007 election victory, insisting on making himself comfortable in a traditional Bedouin tent on the lawn of the lavish state guest house. Sarkozy had made a trip to Tripoli himself just a few months earlier, barely weeks after taking office. His spokesman called France and Libya’s anti-terrorist cooperation a “longtime common combat.”

But suspicions about Sarkozy’s motives for leading the regime change charge arose in 2012, when Libyan intelligence officials implicated French agents in the capture and killing of Gaddafi in October 2011, alleging a cover-up related to Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. Anonymous European officials also started singing the same tune to the Western press. When former US president Barack Obama took office in 2009, Paris insiders said that, given his focus on containing China, Obama delegated much of Africa to the French and Brits – who promptly screwed things up. And Obama was still talking about those screwups in 2016 when he told The Atlantic in an interview that he “had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up,” in the wake of the French- and UK-backed coup against Gaddafi.

Obama underscored, in the same interview, just how easy it was to “purchase France’s involvement in a way that made it less expensive for us and less risky for [America]” – just by allowing Sarkozy to take credit for the coup. The idea that France or a French president can be “purchased” seems relevant here. These events in Libya should also raise questions about the recent coup in Gabon and the role of France in creating the conditions that ultimately gave rise to it. As with Libya and Gaddafi, Sarkozy also seemed to have an odd fixation with Gabon, making three visits to the country between his election in mid-2007 and February 2010, including shortly after Ali Bongo took power in 2009, with 42% of the vote, in the wake of his father Omar’s death. Kind of weird for a French president whose predecessor, Jacques Chirac – who loved Africa so much he built the Musée du Quai d’Orsay in tribute to it – had lamented his lack of interest in the continent.

“The main interest of my trip is to reaffirm loyalty. I want to show that France is faithful,” Sarkozy said during one of those visits to Gabonese President Ali Bongo in 2010. In the wake of these new corruption charges, it seems that French “loyalty” in the case of Libya may have been tied directly to French presidential or special interests. And, by some accounts, that could also be the case with Gabon.

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“More than anyone, the CIA and Kiev had a score to settle and wanted Prigozhin dead… Projecting Russian influence into Africa is a crucial part of Putin’s foreign policy, and Wagner is the key to this success..”

Russia Inherits Prigozhin’s African Odyssey (Bhadrakumar)

Africa, especially west Africa, has a strong sense of collective identity. Trends in one country have a way of spreading across the continent. Therefore, It might or might not be a coincidence that the military takeover in Gabon on Wednesday came just a day after French President Emmanuel Macron took a tough stance vis-a-vis the generals in power in Niger. Macron not only scoffed at the generals’ demand seeking removal of the French envoy in Niamey and the French troops numbering 1500 personnel in that country but threatened to attack Niger. Apparently, Macron meant business. AFP had reported last week the stern warning by the spokesman for the French general staff, Colonel Pierre Gaudillière, that “French military forces are ready to respond to any resurgence of tension that would undermine French military and diplomatic bases in Niger” and that “measures have been taken to protect these bases”.

But the generals in Niamey hit back despatching a communication to the French foreign ministry that Macron’s envoy, Ambassador Sylvain Itté “no longer enjoys the privileges and immunities attached to his status as a member of the diplomatic staff of the French Embassy”; his “diplomatic cards and visas” and those of his family members “are cancelled”; and, the Niger police “have been instructed to proceed with the expulsion” of Itté. It is a humiliating rebuff to Macron. He has no option now but to dial back his threat. A bloodbath in Niger to vent his anger at the deportation of his ambassador will be disastrous for France’s international standing. Besides, a “known unknown” factor also comes into play which will make Paris (and Washington) think twice — the ghost of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin. This needs explaining.

Although no credible source has linked Russia to the coup in Niger, its strong connection with interventions in African countries — Central African Republic, Sudan, Mali and Libya — through the Wagner group leaves unanswered questions. This of course brings up the circumstances of the plane crash of Prigozhin in mysterious circumstances, which Russian investigators now estimate as an act of sabotage. There is no question that Prigozhin was an obstacle to the US/NATO plans in Africa. John Varoli, former foreign correspondent for New York Times, Bloomberg and Reuters TV (who was based in Moscow from 1992 to 2013 and was “trained as a US foreign policy expert with a focus on Russia and Ukraine”) wrote a riveting blog in Substack recently where he concluded on the following lines:

“More than anyone, the CIA and Kiev had a score to settle and wanted Prigozhin dead… Projecting Russian influence into Africa is a crucial part of Putin’s foreign policy, and Wagner is the key to this success. Relations with African leaders are built on Prigozhin’s personal charisma… Likewise, by eliminating Prigozhin and his top officers, NATO has dealt a blow to the Kremlin’s ambitions in Africa… Like with any high-profile assassination, we will never know the full truth. But one thing is for certain — the U.S., certain NATO members and Ukraine benefit the most from Prigozhin’s demise, while the Kremlin gains absolutely nothing. All available information points to Western involvement and guilt.”

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All roads lead to Africa.

History’s Starting to Rhyme – The Fight for Uranium (Jim Rickards)

Another conflict with escalatory potential involves the state of Niger, located in the Sahara desert. A recent military coup d’état overthrew the elected government several weeks ago (although the coup leaders contend the election was fraudulent). Some surveys show that the military junta enjoys broad popular support. Niger is France’s largest supplier of uranium, while France is one of the largest builders of nuclear power plants in the world. France desperately needs to restore order in Niger, including forcing the junta to step aside and reinstate the elected government. France has special forces including the French Foreign Legion ready to intervene. However, France does not want to proceed unilaterally, and is trying to recruit African allies to join the invasion.

The most significant regional grouping is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which includes both Francophone states like Senegal and Côte D’Ivoire and important Anglophone states such as Nigeria. France is recruiting ECOWAS to participate in its invasion of Niger. ECOWAS members are divided on the idea. In any case, ECOWAS action would require approval of the African Union and possibly the United Nations as well as weeks of mobilization. So no military action is likely for several months at the earliest. There’s no evidence that Russia was involved in the Niger coup, but Russia certainly stands as a major beneficiary. Russia is the other large manufacturer of nuclear power plants in addition to France. Russia gets its uranium from inside Russia, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian republics. (Russia also owns large amounts of U.S. uranium deposits obtained in a deal authorized by Hillary Clinton in exchange for huge donations to the Clinton Foundation).

If Russia can cut off France’s access to Nigérien uranium, it will tighten its hold on global uranium supplies and enhance its position as a provider of nuclear power plants. There is some talk now (not confirmed) that Russia may offer support to the Nigérien coup, including possible deployment of the Wagner Group mercenary army. That would greatly complicate any plans for French or ECOWAS involvement. Again, we would have the specter of Russia (via Wagner) and France (a NATO member) squaring off in a war for uranium in the Sahara desert. The escalatory potential is obvious. By the way, the bloodthirsty Victoria Nuland visited Niger recently and was not warmly received. She departed the country empty-handed. No doubt she left some threats of U.S. support for the French behind.

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“The only reason that JPMorgan after 16 years reported the $1 billion in suspicious transactions was because he was arrested and then he was dead..”

OK, what makes them suspicious? And isn’t there a law that says these MUST be reported -when they happen, not 16 years later?!

Also: what are the names on the transfers? We don’t get even one?

JPMorgan Flagged Over $1 Billion In Suspicious Epstein Transfers (ZH)

JPMorgan flagged over $1 billion in suspicious transactions linked to deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, which the bank reported to the US government, the US Virgin Islands has claimed in its lawsuit against the bank. “JPMorgan was a full-service bank for Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking,” said Mimi Liu, an attorney for the USVI, which says the enormous sum bolsters key allegations in their legal action against the bank, which they say knowingly benefited from Epstein’s wrongdoing, Bloomberg reports, noting that this is the first time in the case that the ‘sheer volume of Epstein’s financial activity at JPMorgan over a 16-year period has been disclosed.’ The suspicious activity was detailed in a 2019 filing to the US Department of Treasury, a USVI attorney told a federal court in Manhattan on Thursday.

The filing was made after Epstein died in a Manhattan jail cell a month after his arrest on sex trafficking charges. Epstein had been with the bank from the late 1990s through 2013, when they finally cut ties with him. Epstein notoriously trafficked some of his victims to a private island in the USVI. JPMorgan denies that it let Epstein’s activities slide, and says it reported around 150 cash transactions to a federal regulator between 2002 and 2013. Last month, the USVI told the judge in the case that the bank facilitated over $1.1 million in payments from Jeffrey Epstein to “girls or women,” many of whom had Eastern European surnames. Over $320,000 of the payments were made to “numerous individuals for whom JPMorgan had no previously identified payments,” Singer wrote, accusing the bank of failing to disclose the payments until after the end of discovery – the period in which parties in a lawsuit exchange evidence.

The bank claims that’s irrelevant, because the USVI doesn’t have legal standing to claim JPMorgan obstructed a trafficking investigation because it wasn’t a victim. That said, Liu is urging the judge in the case to decide various claims in the USVI’s favor without a trial. “The only reason that JPMorgan after 16 years reported the $1 billion in suspicious transactions was because he was arrested and then he was dead,” she said. JPMorgan claims they had no idea what Epstein was up to – pointing to depositions from current and former employees who say they had no knowledge of the trafficking. “There is hotly disputed testimony and evidence,” said Feliia Ellsworth, an attorney for the bank.

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BRICS and human rights.

BRICS and the Future of Humanity (Solo)

In Egypt, there are over 60,000 political prisoners and arbitrary detentions. There is also torture, enforced disappearances, death sentences; the persecution of independent journalists and the repression of any dissent are the order of the day. In Iran, the protests following the murder of the young Masha Amini were brutally repressed, leading to several death sentences after show trials. Here too, arrests (often of journalists, accused of documenting protests and abuses), torture, and enforced disappearances, not to mention discrimination against women and the persecution of gays and lesbians are widespread. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy where human rights are systematically violated, freedom of expression is attacked and women are discriminated against by law.

Here too there are unfair trials, arbitrary detentions and death sentences often imposed for simply participating in sit-ins and protests. With the bombings in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has also caused massacres of civilians and one of the most serious humanitarian crises in the world. In the UAE, consensual same-sex relationships between adults are criminalized and political dissidents are subjected to abuse, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment. Press freedom is hindered and limited by controls and bans. In India, democracy is degenerating into an increasingly totalitarian form and aims to transform a multilingual and multireligious country into a monolithic entity dominated by a fanatical Hindu party. Protests and dissent are repressed and religious and ethnic minorities persecuted.

As of 2022, the NGO Reporters Without Borders ranks China as one of the ten countries in the world with the least freedom of the press. In Russia, conscientious objectors and all those who refuse to participate in the war against Ukraine are persecuted, arrested and imprisoned. Brazil, Argentina and South Africa are the only BRICS members to have abolished the death penalty. China invaded Tibet in 1950 and annexed it in 1959, bloodily suppressing the revolt of the population; a situation that continues today. Russia has been carrying on an invasion war in Ukraine for over a year that has caused thousands of dead and wounded and terrible devastation, which is countered by an equally criminal warmongering policy by NATO, the European Union and the United States.

Currently, only Brazil and South Africa are among the 92 signatories and 68 states parties to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Among the remaining BRICS members India, Russia and China are nuclear powers with expanding arsenals.

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Skull moth

 

 

Jump

 

 

Alpaca

 

 

Pelican

 

 

Sea slug
https://twitter.com/i/status/1697636709955936532

 

 

Dogfather

 

 

 

 

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May 162023
 
 May 16, 2023  Posted by at 9:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  47 Responses »


Alessandro Allori Self portrait c1555

 

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Nonprofit Hospitals Made Huge Profits During Pandemic (ET)
Climate Sceptics Target Scientists For Vicious Abuse On Musk’s Twitter (G.)
Biden Finally Draws Larger Crowd Than Trump (BBee)

 

 

 

 

Watters


https://twitter.com/i/status/1658283426028605442

 

 

 

 

Zel speech

 

 

 

 

CNN

 

 

Gaetz

 

 

Trump

 

 

 

 

Oz social credit
https://twitter.com/i/status/1657785330936733698

 

 

Macron portrait

 

 

Tom Renz
https://twitter.com/i/status/1658306655090532353

 

 

 

 

There are voices that say Durham intends to go after the FBI next, but I doubt it. He has taken so long with his report that all the usual suspects have had the time to erase -the worst of- their tracks.

The FBI is a cesspit, but fear not: Wray has already made the changes needed. As you were. The smell is hard to bear.

There will be no new charges or arrests. Can you believe it? This has been a coup. There was never any proof for Crossfire Hurricane, but America’s rightfully elected president is gone anyway. And it’s him who’s under investigation, not the people who framed him.

John Durham: FBI Had No Verified Intel When It Opened Probe On Trump (JTN)

Special Counsel John Durham released a damning final report Monday after more than three years investigating the Russia collusion probe, declaring the FBI had no verified intelligence or evidence when it opened the Crossfire Hurricane probe of President Donald Trump’s campaign in the summer of 2016. The prosecutor, however, recommended no new criminal charges. “Neither U.S. law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” Durham wrote in a 300-plus page report sent to Congress and others and obtained by Just the News. DOJ was slated to make the report public later Monday.

The prosecutor faulted the department and the FBI for failing to follow their own standards and allowing a probe to persist, including the surveillance of an American citizen, without basis under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. “Based on the review of Crossfire Hurricane and related intelligence activities, we concluded the Department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report,” Durham wrote. “The FBI personnel also repeatedly disregarded important requirements when they continued to seek renewals of that FISA surveillance while acknowledging – then and in hindsight – that they did not genuinely believe there was probably cause to believe that the target was knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of foreign power.”

The report’s release touched off instant outrage and impact on Capitol Hill, where House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan tweeted he planned to summon Durham for testimony next week. The FBI immediately reacted, saying Durham’s findings justified the changes that current Director Christopher Wray made after taking over from fired Director James Comey. “The conduct in 2016 and 2017 that Special Counsel Durham examined was the reason that current FBI leadership already implemented dozens of corrective actions, which have now been in place for some time. Had those reforms been in place in 2016, the missteps identified in the report could have been prevented,” the FBI said. “This report reinforces the importance of ensuring the FBI continues to do its work with the rigor, objectivity, and professionalism the American people deserve and rightly expect.”

Durham specifically faulted the FBI for relying on evidence from the campaign of 2016 Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, including the now-discredited Steele dossier, saying leadership lacked the necessary distrust of politically motivated allegations. “Our investigation also revealed that senior FBI personnel displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor towards the information that they received, especially information received from politically affiliated persons and entities,” he wrote. “This information in part triggered and sustained Crossfire Hurricane and contributed to the subsequent need for Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation.”

“In particular, there was significant reliance on investigative leads provided or funded (directly or indirectly) by Trump’s political opponents. The Department did not adequately examine or question these materials and the motivations of those providing them, even when at about the same time the Director of the FBI and others learned of significant and potentially contrary intelligence.” The special prosecutor pointedly highlighted what he portrayed as a dual system of justice, noting the FBI never opened a counterintelligence probe of Clinton’s campaign, despite receiving intelligence she had authorized a dirty trick to paint Trump as a stooge for Russian President Vladimir Putin to impact the outcome of the election.

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“..This drastic action allegedly came on the orders of the Justice Department..”

IRS Abruptly Removes Investigative Team From Hunter Biden Probe (Straub)

In an alarming move that has raised eyebrows and suspicions about the integrity of federal agencies, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) abruptly removed the entire team working on the high-profile tax fraud investigation of Hunter Biden, first son of President Joe Biden. This drastic action allegedly came on the orders of the Justice Department, adding to the widespread concern among conservatives about potential corruption and the abuse of power within the federal government. The abrupt reassignment of the investigative team has been perceived by many as retaliation against the supervisory special agent whistleblower, who alleged a coverup of the controversial probe. The agent, who has been overseeing the investigation since early 2020, was informed of this sudden personnel change, according to a letter from his attorneys, Mark Lytle and Tristan Leavitt, to Congress.

In the letter, Lytle and Leavitt suggested that the removal of the investigators not only constituted retaliation but could also be construed as an obstruction of a congressional inquiry. The attorneys pointed out that their client had a legal right to make disclosures to Congress under 5 U.S.C. § 2302 and that any attempt to prevent a federal employee from furnishing information to Congress is a direct violation of long-standing appropriations restrictions. They further emphasized that the removal of the experienced investigative team was the very issue the whistleblower initially sought to expose. Hunter Biden [..] is the alleged subject of the coverup claims. Communications retrieved from his abandoned laptop revealed that he had paid up to “half” of his income to his father, President Joe Biden.

This controversy arose simultaneously with the release of the long-awaited report by special counsel John Durham detailing bias in the FBI’s investigation of former President Donald Trump’s alleged links to Russia. The timing of these events has further incensed conservatives, fueling claims of a biased news cycle. The IRS whistleblower first surfaced last month when Lytle informed congressional leaders that his client wished to expose the “preferential treatment” in the Hunter Biden case and the alleged false testimony to Congress by Attorney General Merrick Garland. Garland had repeatedly reassured lawmakers that Delaware US Attorney David Weiss could unilaterally make charging decisions in the investigation. This information comes amid reports of “growing frustration” within the FBI over Weiss’s failure to bring charges against Hunter Biden, despite the bureau concluding most of its work last year.

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“..they were instructed to pursue Jan. 6 investigations over child sex crime cases, because they were ‘no longer a priority.'”

3 FBI Whistleblowers To Testify On ‘Abuses Of Power’ (DM)

Three FBI officials will testify on alleged ‘abuses of power’ by FBI leadership – ranging from discrimination against conservatives to inflation of domestic terrorism statistics – during a public whistleblower hearing by the House Select Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government Thursday, DailyMail.com has learned exclusively. Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and head of the select committee, has secured the in-person testimony of suspended FBI special agents Garret O’Boyle and Steve Friend, as well as former FBI State Operations Specialist Marcus Allen. President of Empower Oversight Tristan Leavitt will also be testifying. The hearing is set to be held at 9 a.m. ET Thursday and will focus on the ‘abuses of power’ the former officials witnessed.

They will be given the opportunity to detail how they have been ‘retaliated’ against by the FBI, according to a source familiar. O’Boyle and Friend participated in a closed door transcribed interview in February conducted by the select committee. According to notes from the interview, the former agents specifically expressed concerns with instructions from FBI leadership that they focus on pursuing ‘domestic violent extremism’ probes and disregard standard investigative procedures in January 6 cases. In addition, the former officials told the committee that they were instructed to pursue Jan. 6 investigations over child sex crime cases, because they were ‘no longer a priority.’ Specifically, the former agents accuse the FBI of inflating statistics on ‘domestic violent extremism’ to fit the Biden administration’s political narrative that extremism is on the rise nationwide.

‘The manipulative casefile practice creates false and misleading crime statistics, constituting false official federal statements,’ Friend wrote in an affidavit. ‘Instead of hundreds of investigations stemming from an isolated incident at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, FBI and DOJ officials point to significant increases in domestic violent extremism and terrorism around the United States.’ Friend had his security clearance revoked last September after he vocalized concerns to his superiors, which he described in an affidavit as being a clear retaliatory move by the agency against him. O’Boyle’s clearance has also been stripped. Allen, who has not yet sat before the select committee, is expected to present new evidence to the lawmakers Thursday.

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“Trump versus RFK, Jr. would bring the people of this country together and refocus the nation’s attention on things that matter. It would also be the Baby Boomer’s last stand.”

Dirty Secrets (Jim Kunstler)

Like myriad institutions in recent decades, the Democratic Party had come to be dominated by women. Women, being hard-wired for safety-seeking, were easily manipulated by the security state into an hysteria fixated on Donald Trump, who was made to represent everything that seemed unsafe. They gave the game away on Mr. Trump’s inauguration day with their women’s march that featured thousands wearing the emblematic “pussy hats.” Message: don’t think you can have your wicked way with this! The hysteria hasn’t let up since then, and now that Mr. Trump is resurging from a thousand attempts to kill him off like some implacable axe-murderer in a horror movie, the corps of useful idiots is showing signs of nervous exhaustion.

The Democratic Party’s front-man, “Joe Biden” (or the claque behind him backstage), has screwed the pooch on just about every matter of vital public interest at home and abroad, and now this president stands revealed as the head of a racketeering operation that specialized in bribery. Yet, oddly, it is Mr. Trump who has been fed into the cogs of the judiciary on an unending set of Mickey Mouse charges. There’s a pretty fair possibility that none of that will work. The Democrats must suspect this, and their nemesis has declared his intentions for a return to power pretty clearly: fire all the seditionists in the security state, pardon all the people on the Right who were unjustly prosecuted, and commence some righteous prosecutions against people who actually deserve it.

Thus, the Left plunges ever-deeper into mental illness — celebrating it at every opportunity and even shoving it America’s face, Joker-style, in defiance: Here, have another drag queen…. A big part of the Left’s mental illness is the inability to even notice their own self-destructive trajectory. There’s a way out for them but it’s pretty drastic. That would be turning to RFK, Jr. for leadership. Trouble is, Mr. Kennedy intends to go after the Democrats’ patron, the security state itself, which he’s publicly blamed for the deaths of his father and uncle. Bobby Kennedy also happens to be an enemy of the US public health agencies and especially a critic of the Covid-19 vaccines that the Left has hung its identity on. They still can’t admit that getting vaxxed and boosted was a tragic mistake.

But an election contest between RFK, Jr. and Donald Trump would be a most salutary exercise for our country. Both of them want to dismantle the overgrown surveillance apparatus and severely reform the agencies under the executive branch. That is, they are both intent on disarming the security state and the Censorship Industrial Complex it spawned. They are both against the stupid Neo-con wars. Trump versus RFK, Jr. would bring the people of this country together and refocus the nation’s attention on things that matter. It would also be the Baby Boomer’s last stand.

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“Ukraine is not a symbol of Freedom & Liberal Democracy. It is a corrupt warmongering Proxy of the US and the Western Globalist Elites”

Ukraine Is Not A Symbol of Freedom & Liberal Democracy (Muir)

Statements from the U.S. and other Western officials, as well as pervasive accounts in the news media, have created a stunningly misleading image of Ukraine. There has been a concerted effort to portray the country not only as a victim of brutal Russian aggression but as a plucky and noble bulwark of freedom and democracy. The conventional narrative would have us believe that Ukraine is an Eastern European version of Denmark. The promoters of that narrative contend that the ongoing war is not just a quarrel between Russia and Ukraine over Kiev’s ambitions to join NATO and Moscow’s territorial claims in Crimea and the Donbas. No, they insist—the war is part of a global struggle between democracy and authoritarianism, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a leader worthy of nothing less than Winston Churchill’s legacy.

President Biden, in his March 26 remarks on the war, said the conflict was “a battle between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force.” CNN’s John Blake literally compared Ukraine’s cause to America’s in its Revolutionary War. He claimed Ukrainians “are building their own monuments to democracy, with their blood.” The world, he said, “has been transfixed by their battle to repel the mighty Russian army and preserve the birth of democracy in their homeland.” He added that “the war in Ukraine isn’t just a geopolitical struggle—it’s a call to remember. The courage of the Ukrainian people is a reminder of what the U.S. used to be—a ‘beacon of liberty,’ where virtually every schoolchild memorised the ‘Concord Hymn’ poem inscribed at the base of the Minute Man statue.”

In a March 26 USA Today op-ed, John M. Bridgeland, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President George W. Bush, similarly expressed fawning admiration for Zelenskyy and Ukraine’s alleged commitment to democracy. “The world is seeing the bravery of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people, who are willing to die to defend their democracy and freedom,” he wrote. Indeed, Bridgeland said, “No cost is too high [for Ukrainians] to defend their democracy and beloved Ukraine.”

[..] The notion that Ukraine was such an appealing democratic model in Eastern Europe that the country’s mere existence terrified Putin may be a comforting myth to U.S. politicians and pundits, but it is a myth. Ukraine is far from being a democratic-capitalist model and an irresistible magnet for Russia’s groaning masses. The reality is murkier and troubling: Ukraine has long been one of the more corrupt countries in the international system. In its annual report published in January 2022, Transparency International ranked Ukraine 123rd of the 180 countries it examined, with a score of 32 on a one to 100-point scale.

Ukraine’s track record of protecting democracy and civil liberties is not much better than its performance on corruption. In Freedom House’s 2022 report, Ukraine is listed in the “partly free” category, with a score of 61 out of a possible 100. Other countries in that category include such bastions of liberal democracy as Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines (55), Serbia (62), Hungary (59), and Singapore (47). Interestingly, Hungary—which has been a target of vitriolic criticism among progressives in the West because of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s conservative social policy—ranks eight points higher than Ukraine, which is the recipient of uncritical praise from the same Western ideological factions.

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This was always a non-story. Makes no sense at all. Next!

Prigozhin Denies Talking To Kiev About Selling Out Russian Troops (RT)

Evgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner private military company, claims it would have been “physically impossible” for him to meet with Ukrainian military intelligence agents in Africa to make a treasonous proposal to them. The alleged contacts were described by the Washington Post based on purported leaks from the Pentagon. The outlet claimed on Sunday that classified US documents, which made their way to the public through a Discord server, claim there had been communication between Prigozhin and Ukrainian military intelligence (GUR).

The Wagner head allegedly sought to have Ukrainian troops withdraw from the area around the bitterly contested city of Artyomovsk (known in Ukraine as Bakhmut) in order to ease the pressure on his own troops for a while, in exchange for information on Russian troop positions elsewhere. The alleged contacts were said to take place by phone and an in-person meeting in Africa, where the Wagner Group is also active. Prigozhin dismissed the report as “speculation dumped by the Washington Post” and insisted he had not been to Africa since months before the hostilities in Ukraine broke out in February 2022. He suggested that the newspaper was overstating the supposed intel or had fallen victim to planted disinformation.

The Post said two Ukrainian officials confirmed the contacts between Prigozhin and the GUR, but when the newspaper asked Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky about them, he appeared to be angered and demanded to know who the sources in his government were. “Who is talking about the activities of our intelligence? Because this is the most severe felony in our country,” he said, before accusing the newspaper of trying to help Russia. The Post later redacted this portion of the interview on its website. In a statement, Prigozhin alluded to the apparent act of self-censorship, calling into question the Post’s reliability.

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“..the ground will start to be laid for US/NATO to eventually turn rump Ukraine, the Baltic lap dogs, rabid Poland and a few other extras into a sort of Fortress Eastern Europe engaged in a war of attrition against Russia with the potential to last decades. That may be the ultimate argument for Russia to finally go for the jugular, as soon as possible.”

Cries and Whispers Along the Russian Watchtowers (Pepe Escobar)

Trademark American arrogance/ignorance does not erase the fact there seems to be a serious power struggle among the siloviki. Yevgeny Prigozhin, a siloviki, in fact denounced Shoigu and Gerasimov as incompetent, implying they only keep their posts out of loyalty to President Putin. This is as serious as it gets. Because it’s linked to a key question posed across several educated silos in Moscow: if Russia is widely known to be the strongest military power in the world with the most advanced defensive and offensive missiles, how come they have not wrapped up the whole deal in the Ukrainian battlefield? A plausible answer is that only 200,000 members of the Russian army are currently fighting, and about 400,000 to 600,000 are waiting in reserve for the Ukraine attack. While they wait they are in constant training; so waiting works to Russia’s advantage.

Once the famous “counter-offensive” peters out, Ukraine will be hit with massive force. There will be no negotiated settlement. Only unconditional surrender. What goin’ on right now – the Prigozhin drama – is subordinated to this logic, running in parallel to a quite sophisticated media operation. Yes, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) made several serious mistakes, as well as other Russian institutions, since the start of the SMO. To criticize them in public, constructively, is a salutary exercise. Prighozin’s tactics are a gem; he manipulates a degree of public outrage/indignation to put pressure on the MoD bureaucracy by essentially telling the truth. He could even go as far as naming names: officers who are abandoning different sectors of the frontlines. In contrast, his Wagner “musicians” are pictured as true heroes. Whether Prigozhin’s sound and fury will be enough to fine tune the MoD’s entrenched bureaucracy is an open question.

Still, media coverage of the whole drama is essential; now that these problems are in the public domain, people will expect the MoD to act. And by the way, this is the essential fact: Prighozin has been allowed (italics mine) to go as far as he wants by the Higher Power (the St. Petersburg connection). Otherwise he would be in a revamped-gulag by now. So the next few weeks are absolutely crucial. Putin and the Security Council certainly know what everyone else doesn’t – including Prighozin. The key take away is that the ground will start to be laid for US/NATO to eventually turn rump Ukraine, the Baltic lap dogs, rabid Poland and a few other extras into a sort of Fortress Eastern Europe engaged in a war of attrition against Russia with the potential to last decades. That may be the ultimate argument for Russia to finally go for the jugular, as soon as possible. Otherwise the future will be bleak. Well, not so bleak. Remember Putin: “We haven’t even started anything yet.”

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“..Baerbock said that possible arms supplies by third countries to Russia were unacceptable because they could be equated to participation in the conflict..”

West Acknowledges Direct Involvement In Conflict In Ukraine – UN Envoy

The West has outright acknowledged its direct involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Monday. “Recently [German Foreign Minister] Annalena Baerbock said that possible arms supplies by third countries to Russia were unacceptable because they could be equated to participation in the conflict,” the permanent representative pointed out. “And what about the fact that now the entire military machine of the West is working to keep the war going?” Nebenzya asked. “This is yet another open admission of direct Western involvement in the conflict,” Nebenzya said.

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Hungary seems to always cave in the end.

Hungary Blocks €500 Million Payment To Ukraine (RT)

Hungary has blocked the transfer of €500 million ($544 million) worth of arms and military equipment from the EU to Ukraine, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported on Monday. With Kiev scrambling for Western arms to bolster its long-promised counteroffensive against Russian forces, the package was supposed to be sent next week. The package was supposed to be the eighth drawdown for Ukraine from the European Peace Facility (EPF), a €5.6 billion ($6.08 billion) fund that the bloc uses to finance foreign militaries and reimburse its own members who send arms to foreign conflicts. Prior to last February, the ‘Peace Facility’ had only been used to supply non-lethal equipment to Georgia, Mali, Moldova, Mozambique, and Ukraine, for a total of less than $125 million.

Budapest refused to authorize the latest transfer unless it received “guarantees” that the EPF would remain “global” in its scope, and not be used solely to arm Ukraine, ANSA reported, citing “an informed source.” That Hungary would block the supply of arms to Kiev is not surprising. While Hungary is a member of NATO, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has refused to allow the US-led bloc to send weapons to Ukraine via Hungarian territory. Orban has accused the US and his fellow NATO allies of stoking the conflict “at the expense of European interests,” while his government supports a Chinese plan aimed at resolving the conflict diplomatically. Late last year, Hungary held up an €18 billion ($19.5 billion) tranche of economic aid for Ukraine, which the bloc would have borrowed on global markets. Orban argued that by doing so, the EU would have become “indebted” over Ukraine. He eventually relented when the bloc lifted a freeze it had placed on grant money for Hungary.

In January, Hungary also blocked the release of the seventh tranche of EPF arms for Ukraine, although the package was approved several weeks later. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has repeatedly called on the West to supply him with heavier weapons and more ammunition ahead of a much-vaunted counteroffensive against Russian forces. Zelensky toured Italy, Germany, the UK, and France in recent days and secured further promises of aid from all four, but he still insists he needs fighter jets and longer-range missiles to make good on his promise to retake the Russian territories of Kherson, Zaporozhye, Donetsk, Lugansk, and Crimea. American military officials have publicly expressed doubt that the Ukrainian military can achieve these goals, and leaked Pentagon documents suggest that Washington is bracing for the failure of Kiev’s offensive.

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This stinks.

Musk Responds To Epstein Subpoena (ZH)

Update: Musk has replied news that he’s been subpoenaed in the US Virgin Islands lawsuit against JPMorgan over their relationship with Epstein. “This is idiotic on so many levels,” said Musk, adding “That cretin never advised me on anything whatsoever.” “The notion that I would need or listen to financial advice from a dumb crook is absurd.” Lastly, Musk claims that JPMorgan “let Tesla down ten years ago, despite having Tesla’s global commercial banking business, which I then withdrew. I have never forgiven them.”
* * *
Elon Musk was issued a subpoena by the US Virgin Islands as part of its lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase over the bank’s alleged facilitation of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring, a court filing revealed Monday. According to the filing, the Virgin Islands has attempted to serve Musk since late April, because Epstein “may have referred or attempted to refer” Musk as a client to JPMorgan. “The USVI hired an investigative firm to try to locate an address from Musk, and also contacted one of the CEO’s lawyers, who in the past has waived the requirement of him being personally served with legal documents in past federal cases, according to the filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.” -CNBC.


“The Government contacted Mr. Musk’s counsel via email to ask if he would be authorized to accept service on Mr. Musk’s behalf in this matter but did not receive a response confirming or denying his authority,” reads the filing. JPMorgan is accused of servicing approximately 55 Epstein accounts between 1998 and 2013, years after his 2006 arrest for soliciting minors in Florida. Meanwhile, the US Virgin Islands has also been unable to subpoena Google co-founder Larry Page in connection with its investigation into Jeffrey Epstein, according to federal court filings.

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“what’s happening in the banking crisis today is that debts grow faster than the economy can pay..”

US Empire of Debt Headed for Collapse (Pepe Escobar)

Prof. Michael Hudson’s new book, The Collapse of Antiquity: Greece and Rome as Civilization’s Oligarchic Turning Point” is a seminal event in this Year of Living Dangerously when, to paraphrase Gramsci, the old geopolitical and geoeconomic order is dying and the new one is being born at breakneck speed. Prof. Hudson’s main thesis is absolutely devastating: he sets out to prove that economic/financial practices in Ancient Greece and Rome – the pillars of Western Civilization – set the stage for what is happening today right in front of our eyes: an empire reduced to a rentier economy, collapsing from within. And that brings us to the common denominator in every single Western financial system: it’s all about debt, inevitably growing by compound interest.

Ay, there’s the rub: before Greece and Rome, we had nearly 3,000 years of civilizations across West Asia doing exactly the opposite. These kingdoms all knew about the importance of canceling debts. Otherwise their subjects would fall into bondage; lose their land to a bunch of foreclosing creditors; and these would usually try to overthrow the ruling power. Aristotle succinctly framed it: “Under democracy, creditors begin to make loans and the debtors can’t pay and the creditors get more and more money, and they end up turning a democracy into an oligarchy, and then the oligarchy makes itself hereditary, and you have an aristocracy.” Prof. Hudson sharply explains what happens when creditors take over and “reduce all the rest of the economy to bondage”: it’s what’s called today “austerity” or “debt deflation”.

So “what’s happening in the banking crisis today is that debts grow faster than the economy can pay. And so when the interest rates finally began to be raised by the Federal Reserve, this caused a crisis for the banks.” Prof. Hudson also proposes an expanded formulation: “The emergence of financial and landholding oligarchies made debt peonage and bondage permanent, supported by a pro-creditor legal and social philosophy that distinguishes Western civilization from what went before. Today it would be called neoliberalism.”

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Egon talks his book.

A Disorderly Reset With Gold Revalued By Multiples (Egon von Greyerz)

Tectonic shifts lie ahead. These will involve a US and European debt crisis ending in a debt collapse, a precipitous fall of the dollar and the Euro with Gold emerging as a reserve asset but at multiples of the current price. The next phase of the fall of the West is here and will soon accelerate. It has been both precipitated and aggravated by the absurd sanctions of Russia. These sanctions are hurting Europe badly and affecting the US in a way that they didn’t expect, but was obvious to some of us. The Romans understood that free trade was essential between all the countries that they conquered. But the US administration blocks have both the money and the ability to trade of the countries they don’t like.

But shooting yourself in the foot really hurts and the consequences are in front of our eyes. No foreign country will want to hold US debt or dollars. That is a catastrophic problem for the US as their deficits will grow exponentially in coming years. So a debt collapse is not just a looming disaster but a bomb hurling towards the US economy at supersonic speed. With the imminent death of the petrodollar and explosion of US debt, there is only one solution for the funding requirements of the US Government – the FED which will stand as the sole buyer of US Treasuries.

So the DEBT spiral of higher debt, higher deficits, more Treasuries, higher rates and falling bond prices will soon turn into a DEATH spiral with a collapsing dollar, high inflation and most probably hyperinflation. Sounds like default to me but that word will probably never be used officially. It is hard to admit defeat even when it stares you in the face! Yes, the US will probably obfuscate the situation with CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies) but since that is just another form of Fiat money, it will at best buy a little time but the end result will be the same.

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“American life expectancy during this period sharply declined by a staggering 2.5 years from 2019 through 2022..”

Nonprofit Hospitals Made Huge Profits During Pandemic (ET)

Federal officials gave more than $23 billion in COVID-19 aid to the nation’s top 20 nonprofit hospitals, even as a 62 percent increase in their collective net assets led to parallel surges in the institutions’ total profits and revenues during 2018–2021, according to a new report. Only two of the 20 institutions have repaid the government for the COVID-19 aid they received. “The 20 largest nonprofit hospitals in the country continued making massive profits while their cumulative net assets soared to $324.3 billion in 2021, up from $200.6 billion in 2018. “Those hospital systems received congressional COVID bailouts of $23 billion and only two providers partially paid their COVID bailout back,” according to the report compiled by Open The Books, an Illinois-based research nonprofit that compiles and posts spending by all levels of government in the United States.

The two institutions that have partially repaid the government weren’t identified. The biggest jump among the top 20 was 92 percent by the Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, Minnesota, whose assets surged to $17.7 billion in 2021 from $9.2 billion in 2018. The Mayo Clinic received $350,000 in federal COVID-19 aid, the lowest amount received among the top 20 institutions. The Cleveland Clinic Health System, based in Independence, Ohio, saw its assets rise 60 percent, to $15.7 billion from $9.8 billion, while receiving $118 million in federal COVID-19 aid. Intermountain Healthcare, based in Salt Lake City, the 12th-largest of the top 20, enjoyed a 63 percent growth in net assets to $11.6 billion from $7.1 billion; Intermountain received $518 million in aid.

[..] As the revenue poured in for the 20 hospitals, compensation for their top executives soared, often beyond $10 million annually, according to the report. For example, the CEO of Ascension Healthcare, which is based in St. Louis and is the nation’s second-largest such system, received $13 million in 2021 and more than $22 million over the period covered by the study. [..] The recipient among the top 20 of the most COVID-19 aid was San Francisco-based CommonSpirit Health with $3.6 billion, followed by Providence St. Joseph Center with $3 billion, Ascension Healthcare with $2.7 billion, Livonia, Michigan-based Livonia Health with $2.3 billion and Sutter Health, based in Sacramento, California, with $1.7 billion. Meanwhile, the overall health of Americans got worse between 2018 and 2021. “American life expectancy during this period sharply declined by a staggering 2.5 years from 2019 through 2022. While ‘comparable country averages’ rebounded from a COVID-related drop in 2021, the United States continued declining in life expectancy,” the report found.

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Yeah, “The Science” doesn’t do it anymore. You’ll have to work again.

Climate Sceptics Target Scientists For Vicious Abuse On Musk’s Twitter (G.)

Some of the UK’s top scientists are struggling to deal with what they describe as a huge rise in abuse from climate crisis deniers on Twitter since the social media platform was taken over by Elon Musk last year. Since then, key figures who ensured “trusted” content was prioritised have been sacked, according to one scientist, and Twitter’s sustainability arm has vanished. At the same time several users with millions of followers who propagate false statements about the climate emergency, including Donald Trump and rightwing culture warrior Jordan Peterson, have had their accounts reinstated. Climate scientists say the change has been stark, and they are fighting to make themselves heard over a “barrage” of often hostile comments.

“There’s been a massive change,” said Mark Maslin, professor of earth system science at University College London and the author of popular books including How to Save Our Planet. “I get so much abuse and rude comments now. It’s happening to all of us, but I challenge the climate deniers so I’ve been really targeted.” Maslin says he used to have regular meetings with Sean Boyle, Twitter’s former head of sustainability, who was laid off in Musk’s mass cull of staff shortly after he took over in Aprll 2022. Maslin said Boyle discussed the platform’s work to develop ways of ensuring that trusted information was pushed to the top. “They were using climate change as a good test bed, because it was fairly clear who the good and bad actors were,” Maslin said. “But he was sacked and Twitter became the wild west.”

Maslin said he will stay on the platform and push back against conspiracy theories with scientific evidence. “I want people to understand there are solutions. There is a real need for us to be on social media defending the truth, however nasty the responses get.” But not all scientists have found standing up to regular hostility an easy feat. Doug McNeall, a statistician working on climate change at the Met Office Hadley Centre at Exeter University, said he had blocked or muted many accounts on Twitter even before Musk’s arrival. “I got to the point where it was definitely affecting my mental health,” he said. “I spent years debating quite strongly with climate sceptics, including people I assume were paid,” he added. “But there can be a real personal cost interacting over a long time with people who are abusing you.”

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El Paso.

Biden Finally Draws Larger Crowd Than Trump (BBee)

The mainstream media has been heaping praise on President Biden for finally drawing a larger crowd than former President Trump. According to reports, hundreds of thousands are gathering in El Paso and it’s all because of President Biden. “These are truly historic numbers we are seeing! Trump could never get this many people even at his biggest rallies,” gushed CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. “This is an incredible moment for President Biden. He’s clearly resonating with the American people — well, the people, anyway — and it’s clear that his policies are making a real difference.”


Upon seeing the massive crowds, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow added, “This just goes to show that people are hungry for real leadership and real strength. President Biden is clearly delivering on that front.” Many news sites praised the crowd for its youthfulness and diversity. “Just look at how young of a crowd Biden pulls!” exclaimed Anderson Cooper. “All those unaccompanied minors — I mean democrat voters and it’s all thanks to Biden.” When asked for comment, even Trump had to admit that it was a “tremendous and unbelievably large crowd of people that — to be quite frank with you — I could never draw, believe me!”

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Smile

 

 

Flower matis

 

 

 

 

Moose
https://twitter.com/i/status/1658079007307444227

 

 

Puma
https://twitter.com/i/status/1657802557731766274

 

 


Blue footed

 

 

Lynx

 

 

 

 

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Feb 172023
 
 February 17, 2023  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  64 Responses »


Tomb of the diver, Paestum c480 BCE

 

Seymour Hersh Calls Pipeline Sabotage ‘Dumbest’ US Act In Years (RT)
The US Destroyed the Nord Stream Pipeline. Interview with Seymour Hersh (GR)
US Presidents Renege on Agreements with Russia (Parsons)
Ukraine Conflict Will Likely Have No Military Winner – Milley (RT)
Russia Has Lost ‘Strategically, Operationally And Tactically’ – Milley (G.)
The Horrifying Endgame in Ukraine (Rickards)
Nuland Outlines US Goals In Ukraine (RT)
Beijing Challenges Western Press On Nord Stream Blasts (RT)
The West Has Long Planned A Proxy War With Russia In Ukraine (Sukharevskaya)
Russia Acted Out Of Necessity To Implement Minsk Accords – Kremlin (TASS)
Implications of US Destruction of Nordstream 2 Pipeline (Fuller)
Russian Diplomats Issue Dire Warnings that War with US Is Close (LI)
Bombshell New Emails Unsealed Between Epstein and JP Morgan Executive (TP)
NFL Players Association Urged to Screen for Vaccine Side Effects (ET)

 

 

 

 

Ukraine’s new troops
https://twitter.com/i/status/1626469724807696384

 

 

 

 

Douglas Macgregor – The Russian Onslaught

 

 

 

 

East Palestine water

 

 

 

 

Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

Trump
https://twitter.com/i/status/1620598762216517632

 

 

2019 Zel

 

 

 

 

“What [Biden] did is he said, ‘I’m in a big war with Ukraine. It’s not looking good. I want to be sure I get German and West European support,’”

Seymour Hersh Calls Pipeline Sabotage ‘Dumbest’ US Act In Years (RT)

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has slammed Washington’s alleged involvement in bombing the Nord Stream gas lines as one of the “dumbest” decisions taken in years, warning that the move will have “horrific” consequences for Europeans and further undercut the already “supremely useless” NATO alliance. Speaking to Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman for an interview on Wednesday, Hersh outlined his recent report on the destruction of the pipelines last year, which found that the US played a key role in planting and detonating explosives on sections of the Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea. “I think the consequences politically for us are enormous,” he said, adding that the long-term effects for Europe would be “horrific” and “cut into the notion that they can depend totally on America, even in a crisis.”

“I think that this has probably been, in the view of some of the people who did it, one of the dumbest things the American government has done in years – and we’ve had four years of Trump.” Hersh argued that US officials have long seen cheap energy alternatives for Europe as a “threat,” noting that Washington has “always wanted to isolate Russia” to prevent oil and gas sales to the EU. He said the Joe Biden administration feared Europe would “walk away” from the conflict in Ukraine and felt the need to pressure allies to stay the course. “What [Biden] did is he said, ‘I’m in a big war with Ukraine. It’s not looking good. I want to be sure I get German and West European support,’” Hersh continued. He added that the president did not want Berlin to reverse course and reopen the Nord Stream lines, which had been under sanctions, “so he took away that option,” effectively telling his European partners “You’re second rate.”

“I know people that are paying five times as much now for electricity. People are paying three or four times more for gas. There’s not enough of it. It’s very expensive,” he said, arguing that Europe is now forced to obtain energy from other sources than Russia, including the United States itself. “And I think it’s going to undercut NATO, which I always found to be supremely useless,” he added. While the Biden administration has vocally denied Hersh’s report, with State Department spokesperson Ned Price calling it “utter and complete nonsense,” the journalist has stuck by his unnamed source, insisting the information relayed to him was accurate. He told Democracy Now! that he would continue to report on the issue in the future, saying there are “still things I need to write about.”

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“I can tell you that the people involved in the operation saw the president as choosing to keep Germany cold for his short-range political goals, and that horrified them.”

The US Destroyed the Nord Stream Pipeline. Interview with Seymour Hersh (GR)

Joe Biden decided not to blow them up. It was in early June, five months into the war, but then, in September, he decided to do it. I’ll tell you something. The operational people, the people who do kinetic things for the United States, they do what the president says, and they initially thought this was a useful weapon that he could use in negotiations. But at some point, once the Russians went in, and then when the operation was done, this became increasingly odious to the people who did it. These are well-trained people; they are in the highest level of secret intelligence agencies. They turned on the project. They thought this was an insane thing to do. And within a week, or three or four days after the bombing, after they did what they were ordered to, there was a lot of anger and hostility. This is obviously reflected in the fact that I’m learning so much about it.And I’ll tell you something else. The people in America and Europe who build pipelines know what happened. I’m telling you something important. The people who own companies that build pipelines know the story. I didn’t get the story from them but I learned quickly they know.
.
[..] The secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, said a few days after the pipeline was blown up, at a news conference, that a major economic and almost military force was taken away from Vladimir Putin. He said this was a tremendous opportunity, as Russia could no longer weaponize the pipelines — meaning that it was not able to force Western Europe not to support the United States in the war. The fear was that Western Europe would not go along any longer in the war. I think that the reason they decided to do it then was that the war wasn’t going well for the West, and they were afraid with winter coming. The Nord Stream 2 has been sanctioned by Germany, and the United States was afraid that Germany would lift the sanctions because of a bad winter.
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FABIAN SCHEIDLER: According to you, what were the motives when you look behind the scenes? The US government was opposed to the pipeline for many reasons. Some say they were opposed to it because they wanted to weaken Russia, to weaken the ties between Russia and Western Europe, Germany especially. But maybe also to weaken the German economy, which, after all, is a competitor to the US economy. With the high gas prices, enterprises have started to move to the United States. So what’s your sense of the motives of the US government, if they blew up the pipeline?
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SEYMOUR HERSH: I don’t think they thought it through. I know this sounds strange. I don’t think that Blinken and some others in the administration are deep thinkers. There certainly are people in the American economy who like the idea of us being more competitive. We’re selling LNG, liquefied gas, at extremely big profits; we’re making a lot of money on it. I’m sure there were some people thinking, boy, this is going to be a long-time boost for the American economy. But in that White House, I think the obsession was always reelection, and they wanted to win the war, they wanted to get a victory, they want Ukraine to somehow magically win. There could be some people who think maybe it’ll be better for our economy if the German economy is weak, but that’s crazy thinking. I think, basically, that we’ve bitten deep into something that’s not going to work. The war is not going to turn out well for this government.

[..] What I know is there’s no way this war is going to turn out the way we want, and I don’t know what we’re going to do as we go further down the line. It scares me if the president was willing to do this.And the people who did this mission believed that the president did realize what he was doing to the people of Germany, that he was punishing them for a war that wasn’t going well. And in the long run, this is going to be very detrimental not only to his reputation as the president but politically too. It’s going to be a stigma for America.So what you have is a White House that thought it may have a losing card: Germany and Western Europe may stop giving the arms we want and the German chancellor could turn the pipeline on — that was always a fear. I would be asking a lot of questions to Chancellor Scholz. I would ask him what he learned in February when he was with the president. The operation was a big secret, and the president wasn’t supposed to tell anybody about this capability. But he does talk. He says things that he doesn’t want to.

[..] The point is that Biden chose to keep Germany cold this winter. The president of the United States would rather see Germany cold [because of energy shortages] than Germany possibly not supportive in the Ukraine war, and that, to me, is going to be a devastating thing for this White House. For me, and I think also for the people on the mission, it was appalling. [..] I can tell you that the people involved in the operation saw the president as choosing to keep Germany cold for his short-range political goals, and that horrified them. I’m talking about American people that are intensely loyal to the United States. In the CIA, it’s understood that, as I put it in my article, they work for the Crown, they don’t work for the Constitution.

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“..what possible explanation could be offered when the Biden co-conspirators, millions of Americans and Putin’s Security Council all know the truth..”

US Presidents Renege on Agreements with Russia (Parsons)

A week after Sy Hersh’s expose on the Nord Stream pipeline explosions, there is still no word that pretend President Biden who denies any knowledge or involvement in causing an Act of War in the Baltic Sea has yet to offer an explanation to the American public or reach out to Russian President Vladimir Putin – but what possible explanation could be offered when the Biden co-conspirators, millions of Americans and Putin’s Security Council all know the truth. Even though the balloon distraction consumes the American mainstream media with the anonymous buoyant inflatable nonsense of a psyop as if to avoid the inescapable moment of truth – which will come inevitably. In any case, a good guess is that the Russians are not amused by whatever game the Biden Administration has conjured up to deflect attention from the reality of a world level Act of War crisis.


While the media remains aflutter with the guessing-game possibilities, TPTB appear confident that because Russia has been restrained and prudent in its reactions during its special military operation; including the unrelenting NATO lies but especially to the inhumanity of the Ukraine Nazi’s. There is a general refusal on the part of the Americans to believe that The Bear would ever retaliate, that they could never be pushed so far until there was nowhere else to go. Perhaps as the European mainland flounders in an energy and economic crisis of its own making, they are experiencing a resurgence of lost sovereignty and awareness of their loss of independence at the hands of the US. As the US and rest of the world await Russia’s response to the Biden Administration’s denial, legendary professor, historian, philosopher and political analyst emeritus Noam Chomsky has reminded us of the reckless and provocative impact of the US withdrawal of arms control agreements on Russia’s well-defined borders and legitimate security interests.

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Translation: we are losing.

Ukraine Conflict Will Likely Have No Military Winner – Milley (RT)

The Ukraine conflict can only end through a negotiated peace deal because neither side is likely to achieve its goals on the battlefield, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said in an interview with the Financial Times published on Thursday. “It will be almost impossible for the Russians to achieve their political objectives by military means,” Milley claimed without providing specific reasons for his stance. “It is unlikely that Russia is going to overrun Ukraine. It’s just not going to happen.” He added that it also would be “very, very difficult for Ukraine this year to kick the Russians out of every inch” of the territory that Moscow’s forces have already captured.

America’s top-ranking military officer made his comments after traveling to Brussels earlier this week to coordinate efforts with NATO allies on shoring up Ukraine’s firepower for a planned spring counter-offensive. Kiev is burning through weaponry at a rate “many times higher” than its Western allies can produce it, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Monday. Milley said the ammunition strain has forced the Pentagon to review its weapons inventories and contemplate increases in spending. US officials are re-examining their assumptions about supply needs after decades of focusing on counterterrorism missions and unconventional warfare.

“One of the lessons of this war is the very high consumption rates of conventional munitions, and we are re-examining our own stockages and our own plans to make sure that we got it right,” Milley told FT. “We’re trying to do the analysis so that we can then estimate what we think the true requirement would be, and then we have to put that in the budget. Ammunition is very expensive.” The Pentagon’s current annual budget stands at $817 billion, exceeding the combined total for the rest of the world’s ten largest military spenders combined. Washington has already allocated more than $110 billion in aid for Ukraine since Russia’s military operation began last February.

Republican lawmakers, such as Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida and Andy Biggs of Arizona, have criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for severely depleting US weapons stockpiles to arm Ukraine. Earlier this week, Milley told reporters in Brussels that Russia has already lost. “They’ve lost strategically, operationally and tactically, and they are paying an enormous price on the battlefield.” Retired US Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor, a former Pentagon adviser, said such claims have eroded the Biden administration’s credibility. “General Milley has made it very clear that he’s aligned with the left, he is part of this administration, he’s going to say whatever they want him to say.”

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Translation: there will be no winner, but Russia lost.

Russia Has Lost ‘Strategically, Operationally And Tactically’ – Milley (G.)

General Mark Milley, chairman of America’s joint chiefs of staff, has said Russia has lost “strategically, operationally and tactically” and that they are “paying an enormous price on the battlefield” in Ukraine. Milley, speaking at a joint news conference with US defence secretary Lloyd Austin, said President Vladimir Putin believed he could defeat Ukraine quickly when he ordered his troops to invade almost a year ago. [Putin] was wrong. Ukraine remains free. They remain independent. Nato and its coalition has never been stronger. Now, Russia is a global pariah and the world remains inspired by Ukrainian bravery and resilience. In short, Russia has lost – they’ve lost strategically, operationally and tactically and they are paying an enormous price on the battlefield.

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“It doesn’t really make sense to send tanks to Ukraine unless you send combat aircraft to give them cover.”

The Horrifying Endgame in Ukraine (Rickards)

I’ve written extensively about two facets of the war in Ukraine that you don’t hear from legacy media in the United States or U.K. The first is that Russia is actually winning the war. U.S. outlets such as The New York Times (a channel for the State Department) and The Washington Post (a channel for the CIA) report endlessly about how Russian plans have failed, about how incompetent they are about how the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) have pushed back Russians in the Donbass, and how NATO weapons such as U.S. Abrams tanks, U.K. Challenger tanks and German Leopard tanks will turn the tide against Russia soon. This is all nonsense. None of it is true.

First off, the Ukrainian advances that took place in late summer were against lightly defended positions that the Russians quickly conceded to conserve forces. The Russians were willing to give up the land so that they wouldn’t lose valuable men and materiel. The Russians withdrew to more defensible positions and have been badly mauling Ukrainian attacking forces ever since. Ukraine has wasted incredibly large amounts of men and equipment in these futile and ill-advised attacks. In all, credible reports indicate that AFU casualties are nearing 500,000 and are increasing at an unsustainable rate. On the other hand, reports of 100,000 Russian dead are almost certainly wild exaggerations put out by Ukraine. The BBC attempted to verify these numbers and could only find about 20,000 confirmed Russian dead based on extensive searches on funeral notices, public records, etc.

What about the tanks NATO is supposedly sending? Well, the tanks have not been delivered yet and most won’t be for months or longer. Our own M1 Abrams tanks might not even arrive for a year or more. We actually have to custom build these tanks so that they don’t have the special armor and other advanced systems that our own M1s have. The Pentagon doesn’t want them falling into Russian hands if they’re destroyed or captured. Besides, we’re only sending 31 tanks anyway. When the NATO tanks do arrive, they’ll likely quickly be destroyed by Russian artillery, anti-tank weapons and precision missiles. They’re good tanks, but far from invincible. For decades, the Russians have been developing powerful weapons specifically designed to destroy these NATO tank models. The Russians aren’t particularly worried about them.

Aside from that, tanks rely on effective air cover for protection, which Ukraine lacks. They’ll be sitting ducks on the battlefield. It doesn’t really make sense to send tanks to Ukraine unless you send combat aircraft to give them cover. Meanwhile, Russian forces have nearly encircled the city of Bakhmut, which is a major transportation and logistics hub, with several key roads and rail lines passing through it. It’ll probably fall to the Russians within weeks. Losing Bakhmut will be a major blow to Ukraine, despite claims in the western media that it really isn’t very important. Ukraine’s entire 800-mile defensive line would probably begin to crumble, and they don’t have heavily fortified positions to fall back on. Ukrainian troops, while brave and competent soldiers, are exhausted and running out of supplies as it is.

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“..She also expressed a preference for Russians overthrowing their government for a “better future” offered by the West..”

Nuland Outlines US Goals In Ukraine (RT)

Unless the Crimean peninsula is at the very least “demilitarized” Ukraine won’t feel safe, while the ideal end to the current conflict is with a revolution in Moscow, the US Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said on Thursday. Ukrainians “have to get to a map that is more sustainable for them,” Nuland said in a video interview with the Washington think tank Carnegie Endowment. They have “significant chunks of territory they need to be a viable state, before you even get to the question of Crimea, and that’s what they’re focused on now.” The US position is that Ukraine is “owed and due all of their territory within their international borders,” which means Crimea as well, Nuland added.

Assigned to Ukraine by the Soviet Union in 1954, Crimea voted to rejoin Russia in March 2014, after the violent coup in Kiev that Nuland helped “midwife,” according to the infamous phone call intercept. “Ukraine is not going to be safe unless Crimea is – at a minimum, at a minimum – demilitarized,” Nuland insisted on Thursday, claiming that Moscow had turned the peninsula into a military base, with command posts, logistics depots and airfields for “Iranian drones.” “Those are legitimate targets, Ukraine is hitting them, and we are supporting that,” she said. Earlier this week, Politico quoted two anonymous officials to imply that Nuland’s boss, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, had admitted the US was not “actively encouraging” Ukraine to seize Crimea and that any moves on the peninsula would be “Kiev’s decision alone.”

Nuland, however, told Carnegie that the battlefield objectives of Washington and Kiev overlap “in terms of what the Ukrainians want to do on the battlefield, and what we’re enabling them to plan to do.” Asked how she saw the conflict ending, Nuland said the West “must never trust, as long as Vladimir Putin is in power, or somebody like him, that this is truly over.” Even if the fighting ends on Ukraine’s terms, there “has to be a long-term plan” to build up Ukraine’s military as a deterrent. She also expressed a preference for Russians overthrowing their government for a “better future” offered by the West.

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“What exactly do they know? Is there anything they are trying to hide? I suppose any truly objective, impartial and professional media will want to seek out the truth..”

Beijing Challenges Western Press On Nord Stream Blasts (RT)

Beijing has mocked mainstream Western media for its apparent reluctance to look into recent allegations by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, that the US was responsible for blowing up the Nord Stream undersea pipelines last year. The sabotage of the natural gas routes last September had a major economic and environmental impact and caused global concern over the safety of cross-border infrastructure, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said during a press briefing on Thursday. “Immediately after the explosions, we saw extensive coverage in US and other Western media with one-sided speculations on who was ‘responsible’ for the sabotage,” he said. “What we see now, however, is that these media, hailed as free, professional and impartial, have fallen silent over Seymour Hersh’s detailed report.”

The veteran investigative journalist reported last week that US President Joe Biden had ordered a secret operation to sabotage the crucial energy link. According to his source, which Hersh did not reveal, the US colluded with Norway to plant explosives under the guise of a NATO naval exercise and detonate it remotely months later. Both nations have denied the allegations. Wang wondered if Western outlets really wanted to know the truth about what happened, suggesting that some may be covering up for the Biden administration. “What exactly do they know? Is there anything they are trying to hide? I suppose any truly objective, impartial and professional media will want to seek out the truth,” the Chinese diplomat said.

Russia, which argued from the outset that the US had most to gain from knocking out the Nord Stream pipelines, expressed similar sentiments. “We consider this incident an act of international terrorism that warrants a comprehensive and independent investigation,” Igor Girenko, the spokesman for the Russian embassy in Washington said. He urged Washington to “at least try to prove that they were not involved in the destruction of the gas pipelines.”

Clare Daly

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Olga Sukharevskaya is a former Ukrainian diplomat.

The West Has Long Planned A Proxy War With Russia In Ukraine (Sukharevskaya)

Western ‘aid’ is killing Ukrainians by the thousands. In November 2022, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, estimated that Kiev had lost at least 100,000 servicemen, before deleting her comments after uproar from supporters of Ukraine. Three more months have passed since then. Big expansions to cemeteries have sprouted up all over Ukraine. Trying to make up for losses, the authorities have ordered more mobilization. This process has turned into a hunt, with men being dragged to war by force, as dozens of videos freely available online show. Given equipment losses, it’s likely that attacks on the civilian population of Donbass, Zaporozhye, and Kherson, as well as Russia’s border regions, are carried out almost exclusively using Western weapons.

Evidence of this is seen from video footage of destroyed civilian infrastructure in Donbass. American “gifts” in the form of HIMARS strike residential areas in Donetsk and in the deep rear of the Lugansk city of Schastye. The Kalinin hospital in Donetsk and a hospital in Novoaidar, Lugansk, were both destroyed by NATO weapons. And this is only a small portion of the slaughter being committed by Kiev, using Western supplies. According to UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu, at least 7,100 civilians have been killed in the course of combat operations since February 2022. “The real numbers are probably much bigger,” Nakamitsu said. Norwegian Chief of Defense Eirik Kristoffersen estimates civilian casualties at 30,000 people.

There is also evidence that some long-range missiles currently publicly only under discussion have already been provided to Kiev. The head of the administration of the Russian part of Zaporozhye Region, Vladimir Rogov, has reported that Ukrainian missiles hit the hotel complex ‘Hunter’s Camp’ in Melitopol, resulting in civilian deaths. However, the city is located more than 100 km from the frontline. The lives of the Ukrainian people have been sacrificed in the interests of a geopolitical confrontation planned by the West. At a meeting of the Council of Europe on January 24, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said, “We (the EU) are waging a war against Russia, not against each other.” She was subsequently forced to take her words back, but other Western officials have said the same thing, even if in less straightforward ways.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stressed, “If Putin prevails, it will mean a defeat not only for Ukraine but for all of us.” As for Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, he went so far as to call the defeat of Russia “the Polish and European meaning of life.” Politicians generally tell the truth only after resigning. Statements from former German chancellor Angela Merkel and former French president Francois Hollande have revealed that the 2014 and 2015 Minsk (peace) Agreements were signed only in order to arm Ukraine and buy it time before a full on military confrontation with Russia. In other words, waging war with Russia by proxy through Ukraine has been a meticulously planned strategy, long in the making.

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“The deal outlined moves to declare a ceasefire, withdraw weapons, declare amnesty, restore economic ties and conduct constitutional reform in Ukraine..”

Russia Acted Out Of Necessity To Implement Minsk Accords – Kremlin (TASS)

Russia took into account the need to implement the Minsk Accords and exerted numerous efforts to make sure that the commitments under the deal were implemented by Ukraine, France, and Germany, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday. The Russian presidential spokesman responded with a negative reply to a question as to whether Moscow assumed that the deal would not be carried out once the accords were signed. “You know how much effort the Russian side invested into the negotiating track in order to force both the Ukrainian side and Berlin and Paris to go down the path of fulfilling the commitments that the parties had undertaken under the Minsk agreements,” he continued.

According to Peskov, Moscow “exerted a great deal of effort” into the Minsk Accords. He recalled that the talks on the issue involved the personal participation of President Vladimir Putin, ex-Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov and Head of the Russian Presidential Administration Dmitry Kozak. “Undoubtedly, the main objective was to force Kiev to fulfill its obligations,” Peskov told the news briefing. The Minsk Accords were the cornerstone of the Donbass peace process. The deal outlined moves to declare a ceasefire, withdraw weapons, declare amnesty, restore economic ties and conduct constitutional reform in Ukraine through dialogue with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR, LPR), aimed at decentralizing power and providing a special status to certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

However, the negotiation process had actually stalled because of Kiev’s refusal to fulfill the political provisions of the Minsk accords. In particular, Kiev rejected holding any direct dialogue with the DPR and the LPR, opposed the consolidation of the regions’ special status in the constitution, and also demanded that a section of the border with Russia in Donbass be placed under Ukrainian control until the political part of the deal was implemented.

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“These states of the Global South are also developing plans for new international reserve currency designed to undercut the ability of Washington to dictate international policy..”

Implications of US Destruction of Nordstream 2 Pipeline (Fuller)

The stunning recent and detailed reportage of direct American sabotage of the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline represents a major geostrategic watershed in two senses: First, the implications of Washington’s act of war with disastrous economic impact upon Europe will not subside easily. But more importantly this event has demonstrated America’s successful cowing of any public commentary on the event — across U.S. media but more so across all European media itself, including in the most economically victimized state —Germany. We observe stunning, nearly inexplicable silence over this major international event. And Russia has gotten the message — American policies and statements have deeply reinforced Russia’s long-standing belief that the West is implacably hostile to any Russian role in the West — going back to the bitter and irrevocable split of Christendom between Rome and the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1054. That was later followed up by two devastating European invasions of Russia (Napoleon and Hitler).

Growing European trade ties — especially Germany — with Russia since the end of the Cold War have been thrown on the trash heap by NATO expansion east. The hostility of East-West relations has been reinforced and deepened. Washington has no desire to work out a new common-European security policy that includes Russian interests as well. And these U.S. policies have helped ensure that Russia’s future now firmly lies in the East–Vladivostok and with China in a shared rejection of U.S. global hegemony. The rise of a new Great Wall that blocks off Russia from Western Europe is one of the most striking outcomes of this war: European officialdom seems to have cast in its lot, perhaps reluctantly but irrevocably, with the American strategic goals in the world.

Those goals now even speak of creating a new “NATO Pacific” designed to challenge Chinese power economically and strategically in China’s own backyard — at great potential economic cost to Europe. But for all this demonstration of Washington’s hold over Europe, it is also striking to note how the great majority of the world has indeed not gone along with U.S. strategic ambitions to weaken and humble Russia or to impose Washington’s own geopolitical architecture on most of the rest of the world. Broadly speaking Latin America, the Middle East and Africa do not perceive their strategic interests as aligning with Washington’s. Apart from some lip service criticism of Russia, few states including large segments of Asia and India itself have imposed any meaningful sanctions against Russia.

More vividly, we see the emergence of new non-Western alliances such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) with many other major states lining up to include Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia. These states of the Global South are also developing plans for new international reserve currency designed to undercut the ability of Washington to dictate international policy through U.S. dollar-based sanctions.

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“If you are dealing with a nuclear power and if you are citing the goal of inflicting defeat to this nuclear power, you should have all the options in mind of our possible response.”

Russian Diplomats Issue Dire Warnings that War with US Is Close (LI)

Starting in 2008, NATO has repeatedly declared its intention to someday allow Ukraine to become a member, again reiterating that pledge at a recent alliance summit. The move would cross the “brightest of all red lines” for Moscow, as was previously noted by then-State Department official and current CIA Director William Burns, who penned a 2008 memo warning of the geopolitical perils of extending membership to Kiev. Still, President Joe Biden has refused to change course, insisting it is up to Ukraine whether it would like to join the US-led military bloc while effectively making Kiev a de facto member in the meantime. In an interview with Newsweek on Tuesday, Russia’s UN envoy Dmitry Polyanskiy argued that the West has not respected Moscow’s core security concerns, and has become directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine.

“All the red lines have already been crossed by Western countries. There is already semi-direct involvement of NATO in the conflict because it’s not only weaponry but it’s intelligence,” he said. “It’s the situation when the targets of certain artillery systems, in particular HIMARS, these targets can be hit only with the coordination with Washington.” Last week, the Washington Post reported that Ukraine relies on American intelligence for selecting targets. Since the start of the year, the White House has authorized the shipment of main battle tanks and long-range rockets to Kiev. Additionally, NATO appears to be preparing to send Western-made warplanes to Ukraine. ”It means that NATO is not only providing weapons but also are choosing the targets for Ukrainian strikes,” Polyanskiy continued.

He went on to allege that citizens from NATO countries are already fighting – as well as getting captured and killed – in Ukraine. ”We know this from the people that we capture and from the bodies that we see on the battlefield.” The ambassador said Western weapons would only escalate the conflict, even warning that foreign intervention could eventually trigger a nuclear war. “It’s absolutely clear that any deliveries of weapons to the zone of conflict, of course, is like pouring oil into the fire,” he said, adding “If you are dealing with a nuclear power and if you are citing the goal of inflicting defeat to this nuclear power, you should have all the options in mind of our possible response.”

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Staley’s done. Now for the rest.

Bombshell New Emails Unsealed Between Epstein and JP Morgan Executive (TP)

Newly unsealed documents relating to the ongoing Jeffrey Epstein lawsuit against JPMorgan begin to paint a larger picture of how the Epstein sex trafficking operation was conducted. Newly unsealed passages of a federal lawsuit have revealed that as far back as 2006, former top executives at JPMorgan privately discussed abuse allegations surrounding the late predator Jeffrey Epstein, and more than 20 of his sex trafficking victims were paid through accounts at the mega bank. “These women were trafficked and abused during different intervals between at least 2003 and July 2019, when Epstein was arrested and jailed, and these women received payments, typically multiple payments, between 2003 and 2013 in excess of $1 million collectively,” a passage states.

“Epstein also withdrew more than $775,000 in cash over that time frame from JP Morgan accounts, especially significant as Epstein was known to pay for “massages,” or sexual encounters, in cash.” Earlier, the allegations, along with some others, were concealed with redactions by the government of the Virgin Islands while submitting its legal action against JP Morgan Chase, citing its involvement in Epstein’s offenses. Late Wednesday, the Virgin Islands unsealed more documents relating to their investigation. The bombshell documents reveal just how involved JP Morgan was with Epstein. Not only did they know what Epstein was up to, but they were complicit. JPMorgan’s then-senior executive Jes Staley had a very close relationship with Epstein, sending him 1,200 emails that suggest he was involved in Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation.

“Between 2008 and 2012, Staley exchanged approximately 1,200 emails with Epstein from his JP Morgan email account,” the lawsuit says. “These communications show a close personal relationship and ‘profound’ friendship between the two men and even suggest that Staley may have been involved in Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation.” One Staley email was even sent from Epstein’s Little St. James in 2009 when Epstein was in jail in Florida. “So when all hell breaks lo[o]se, and the world is crumbling, I will come here, and be at peace,” the email read. “Presently, I’m in the hot tub with a glass of white wine. This is an amazing place. Truly amazing. Next time, we’re here together. I owe you much. And I deeply appreciate our friendship. I have few so profound.”

Read more …

“..a testing and screening program to determine whether players have been adversely affected by the injections and to develop a set of functional medical protocols and treatments in order to address and heal any deleterious effects of the vaccines..”

The players don’t want to be tested, afraid they can’t play.

NFL Players Association Urged to Screen for Vaccine Side Effects (ET)

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is being urged to offer players cardiac screening in light of the growing concern over COVID-19 vaccines causing heart inflammation. The Health Freedom Defense Fund urged the association in a recent letter to implement screening because the vaccines can cause myocarditis, a form of heart inflammation. Young males are the most at risk. Most NFL players received a COVID-19 vaccine under pressure from teams and the league. “Safety signals illustrate that the near and long-term health outcomes of the COVID-19 vaccines remain uncertain,” Leslie Manookian, president and founder of the fund, told DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the players association, in the letter.

RFK jr
https://twitter.com/i/status/1626318214325055490

“A multitude of adverse reactions to these injections, including myocarditis, are wide-ranging and confirmed, and as such, prudence dictates that the NFLPA investigate the extent to which the COVID-19 shots may have resulted in injury, compromised health or death of players,” Manookian said. She pointed out that Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, suffered a cardiac arrest on the field during a Monday Night Football game in January. The reason for the incident remains unknown; Hamlin declined to convey during a recent televised interview what his doctors told him about the incident. Former NFL players also have suffered heart attacks and strokes following vaccination. The NFLPA should introduce “a testing and screening program to determine whether players have been adversely affected by the injections and to develop a set of functional medical protocols and treatments in order to address and heal any deleterious effects of the vaccines,” Manookian said.

[..] Manookian informed the NFLPA that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed a warning regarding myocarditis and a related condition, pericarditis, on the labels for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. She also pointed to research papers on post-vaccination myocarditis. Among them were a study by Florida authorities that found a jump in cardiac-related deaths among the vaccinated; a study that found an increased risk of myocarditis and myopericarditis after a second dose of Pfizer’s vaccine and the first and second doses of Moderna’s vaccine, with the highest risk in young males; a reanalysis of the original clinical trials that found a higher number of serious adverse events of special interest among the vaccinated; and experts in Germany reporting, after analyzing autopsies, that some of the deceased likely died from vaccine-induced myocarditis.

“We have a growing body of scientific evidence showing that there is a risk to young males in particular, and many of them have some critical cardiac problems,” Manookian said. The NFLPA did the right thing when it comes to concussions, supporting stronger protections for players, she said. “I think that we should be doing the same thing with respect to these COVID injections and the potential for subclinical cardiac issues,” Manookian said.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Biden walk

 

 

Salamander
https://twitter.com/i/status/1626276298694828032

 

 


In 1970, students in a fifth-grade class at Hawthorne School in Beverly Hills were assigned to write a letter to someone they admired, asking them “What makes a good citizen?”10yr old Joel Lipton wrote to Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz. Joel got a reply…

 

 

Abandoned ant hill
https://twitter.com/i/status/1626164699191451651

 

 

Cuttlefish
https://twitter.com/i/status/1626293722752188419

 

 

 

 

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