Mar 052024
 


Pablo Picasso The Rooster 1918

 

Supreme Court Rules 9-0 That Trump Cannot Be Kicked Off Any State Ballot (PM)
House Dems Implode Over Supreme Court Decision (ZH)
‘Uncommitted’ Voters Unite Against Biden Ahead of Super Tuesday (RT)
The Five FUBARs (Jim Kunstler)
‘Ukraine is Russia’ – Medvedev (RT)
Draft-Eligible Ukraine Men Flee ‘Certain Death’ (Sp.)
The Good Germans Are Blowing Smoke (Helmer)
The Brainwashing of Germany in Preparation for War (Bittner)
German Defense Ministry Uses ‘1234’ As Password (RT)
Zelensky and the West Have A New Scam – And Taxpayers Will Foot The Bill (RT)
Losing to Russia Shatters Western Leaders’ Belief in Their Exceptionalism (Sp.)
Is Tehran Winning the Middle East? (Juan Cole)
The EU’s American Queen (Lily Lynch)
Musk’s X Could Face New EU Restrictions (RT)
Ballot Drop Boxes Installed Along Border Wall (BBee)

 

 

 

 

2024 ad

 

 

New Yorker profile of Biden: “The former Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, a co-chair of Biden’s campaign, urged him to embrace his age with swagger, like his fellow-octogenarians Mick Jagger and Harrison Ford.”

 

 

Free falling

 

 

 

 

Tucker Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1764850563940794481

 

 

Social media arrests
https://twitter.com/i/status/1764691399331754399

 

 

 

 

San Diego

 

 

2007

 

 

There’s a separate 5-4 decision hidden in this unanimous decision. Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh affirmatively rule that Congress has the sole power to enforce the “Insurrection” provision. Barrett objects for unelaborated reasons, Sotomayor, Kagan, Jackson dissent

 

 

“We conclude that States may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold state office. But States have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the Presidency,” the Court ruled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BBC: “Donald Trump says today’s Supreme Court decision that he cannot be banned from Colorado’s presidential ballot, is “both unifying and inspirational”. Speaking to Fox News, Trump said: “A great win for America. Very, very important!” He went on to highlight another legal case that is set to fall to the Supreme Court: that of presidential immunity. “Equally important for our country will be the decision that they will soon make on immunity for a president – without which, the presidency would be relegated to nothing more than a ceremonial position, which is far from what the founders intended.

“No president would be able to properly and effectively function without complete and total immunity.” The Supreme Court will hear arguments in April on whether Trump is immune from being prosecuted on charges of trying to overturn the 2020 election. Trump had claimed that he was immune from all criminal charges for acts that he said fell within his duties as president. A US Court of Appeals panel has already rejected Trump’s argument..”

Supreme Court Rules 9-0 That Trump Cannot Be Kicked Off Any State Ballot (PM)

In a stunning reversal on Monday morning, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously decided against the Supreme Court of Colorado in their decision to remove Donald Trump from the state’s ballot. They further said that this ruling applies to any state who wishes to make this move. Trump cannot be removed from the ballot in any state. Colorado had made the determination that Trump could not stand for office and justified their tactic through invoking the “insurrection” clause of the 14th Amendment, section 3. After their ruling, other states jumped on board, saying that Trump would not be permitted to stand for office in their states, either. The Court states that “if States were free to enforce Section 3 by barring candidates from running in the first place, Congress would be forced to exercise its disability removal power before voting begins if it wished for its decision to have any effect on the current election cycle. Perhaps a State may burden congressional authority in such a way when it exercises its ‘exclusive’ sovereign power over its own state offices.”

“But,” they continued, “it is implausible to suppose that the Constitution affirmatively delegated to the States the authority to impose such a burden on congressional power with respect to candidates for federal office.” The Court further stated that the petitioners on behalf of Colorado were unable to identify any “tradition of state enforcement of section 3 against federal officeholders or candidates in the years following ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment.” The key aspect, however, is what they had to say about the implications of letting a ruling like that in Colorado stand. “Conflicting state outcomes concerning the same candidate could result not just from differing views of the merits, but from variations in state law governing the proceedings that are necessary to make Section 3 disqualification determinations. Some States might allow a Section 3 challenge to succeed based on a preponderance of the evidence, while others might require a heightened showing.”

“Certain evidence (like the congressional Report on which the lower courts relied here) might be admissible in some States but inadmissible hearsay in others. Disqualification might be possible only through criminal prosecution, as opposed to expedited civil proceedings, in particular States. “Indeed, in some States—unlike Colorado (or Maine, where the secretary of state recently issued an order excluding former President Trump from the primary ballot)—procedures for excluding an ineligible candidate from the ballot may not exist at all.” “The result could well be that a single candidate would be declared ineligible in some States, but not others, based on the same conduct (and perhaps even the same factual record).” “The ‘patchwork’ that would likely result from state enforcement would ‘sever the direct link that the Framers found so critical between the National Government and the people of the United States’ as a whole. U. S. Term Limits, 514 U. S., at 822.”

“But in a Presidential election ‘the impact of the votes cast in each State is affected by the votes cast’— or, in this case, the votes not allowed to be cast—’for the various candidates in other States.’ Anderson, 460 U. S., at 795. An evolving electoral map could dramatically change the behavior of voters, parties, and States across the country, in different ways and at different times. “The disruption would be all the more acute—and could nullify the votes of millions and change the election result—if Section 3 enforcement were attempted after the Nation has voted. Nothing in the Constitution requires that we endure such chaos—arriving at any time or different times, up to and perhaps beyond the Inauguration.” “For the reasons given, responsibility for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates rests with Congress and not the States,” the Court determined.

“The judgment of the Colorado13 Cite as: 601 U. S. ____ (2024) Per Curiam Supreme Court therefore cannot stand.” “All nine Members of the Court agree with that result,” they wrote. “The judgment of the Colorado Supreme Court is reversed.” The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case earlier in February, taking on the case on an emergency basis. In their hearing of the case, they appeared to lean toward the conclusion that state’s do not have the right to unilaterally remove candidates, thereby denying their citizens the right to cote for the candidate of their choice. Illinois, Maine and other states that have attempted this tactic will now find that they are powerless to carry it out.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1764686616805908867

Read more …

“President Biden… Fight your fight yourself. Don’t use prosecutors and judges to go after your opponent… our country is much bigger than that..”

House Dems Implode Over Supreme Court Decision (ZH)

Update (1400ET): Not satisfied to let the Supreme Court-enforced Democratic process play out, House Democrats are now preparing legislation to try and keep Trump off the ballot. “Congress will have to try and act,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, in a comment to creepy deep state mouthpiece Axios (which swears the border is extra-secure!). Raskin, a former member of the Jan. 6 select committee, said he is already crafting the bill, telling Axios, “I’m working on it – today.” Raskin pointed to legislation he introduced with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) in 2022 creating a pathway for the Justice Department to sue to keep candidates off the ballot under the 14th Amendment. “We are going to revise it in light of the Supreme Court’s decision,” Raskin said. -Axios

“I don’t have a lot of hope that Speaker [Mike] Johnson will allow us to bring enforcement legislation to the floor, but we have to try and do it,” said Raskin, who said he’ll ‘beseech’ Republicans to join the bill. Very Democratic, Jamie. Update (1320ET): Former President Trump has responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling keeping him on the ballot in Colorado (and therefore, everywhere else). According to Trump, the decision was “very well crafted,” and “will go a long way toward bringing our country together.” Trump also slammed Biden for ‘weaponizing’ prosecutors against him. “President Biden… Fight your fight yourself. Don’t use prosecutors and judges to go after your opponent… our country is much bigger than that,” Trump said, speaking from Mar-a-Lago.

Read more …

“..Nikki Haley suffered an embarrassment when she became the first candidate to lose to ‘no-one’ in the Nevada GOP primary since the option was introduced in 1975..”

‘Uncommitted’ Voters Unite Against Biden Ahead of Super Tuesday (RT)

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist organization in the US, has urged primary voters to cast their ballots for ‘uncommitted’ rather than President Joe Biden to show their opposition to his stance on the Israel-Hamas war. The announcement comes just two days before the primary elections on March 5 – known as Super Tuesday – when millions of Americans are expected to vote. In a series of X (formerly Twitter) posts on Sunday, the DSA, which has more than 92,000 members and chapters in all US states, demanded that the White House end the bloodshed in Gaza by revoking military assistance to Israel, saying Biden will be to blame if former President Donald Trump is reelected this year.

“Today, DSA endorses ‘Uncommitted’ in the remaining Democratic presidential primaries. Until this administration ends its support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza and delivers a permanent, lasting ceasefire, Joe Biden will bear the responsibility for another Trump presidency,” the organization said, adding that “defeat is certain” if Biden continues on the current course. “This week’s brutal ‘Flour Massacre’ has proven once again that Israel is a brutal, inhumane apartheid state which carries a legacy of 75 years of genocide and occupation. Over 30,000 Palestinians have already died; how many will be ENOUGH for Joe Biden to stop this war?” the DSA said in a follow-up post, referring to the tragedy on February 29 when at least 112 Palestinians were killed and more than 750 were injured while waiting for much-needed food aid in Gaza City.

The campaign calling on Democrats to vote ‘uncommitted’ was organized by local chapters of the DSA and the Colorado Palestine Coalitions last week and is gaining popularity amid protests against the Gaza war. The DSA noted that over 100,000 people voted ‘uncommitted’ in the Michigan primary last week. The movement was also endorsed by a major labor union, UFCW 3000, which represents more than 50,000 grocery workers in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Biden is not the only one feeling the heat from voters who are choosing ‘none of the above’. Last week, Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley suffered an embarrassment when she became the first candidate to lose to ‘no-one’ in the Nevada GOP primary since the option was introduced in 1975.

Read more …

“..DA’s and AG’s who make election promises to “go after” individuals without such niceties as probable cause..”

The Five FUBARs (Jim Kunstler)

You saw last year how the blob elite greeted the transfer of illegal immigrants to their happy little island of Martha’s Vineyard. (They were not amused by Governor DeSantis’s prank, and off-loaded the mutts post-haste.) But that same smug demographic doesn’t care if hundreds of thousands are distributed to the big cities, which are now fiscally destabilized by them to an extreme, probably to bankruptcy. Of course, that is not the main thing to worry about with what altogether amounts to millions of border-jumpers flooding our land. The main reason to worry is what the blob that invited them here intends for them to do, which, you may suspect, is to unleash mayhem in the streets, malls, stadiums, and upon our infrastructure just in time to derail the election — perhaps even to make war on us right in our homeland.

The US government is paying for this whole operation, you understand, funneling our tax money to international cut-out orgs who set up the transfer camps in Panama, and buy the plane tickets for the mutts to cross the ocean, and coordinate with the Mexican cartels to shuttle this horde of mystery people among us to work their juju for the Democratic Party. The pissed-off-ness of the public has passed the red line on this. A third FUBAR is the lawfare campaign of the Democratic Party and its regime in power against the citizens of this land. This folder includes overt and obvious political prosecutions by DA’s and AG’s who make election promises to “go after” individuals without such niceties as probable cause. It includes the gigantic new scaffold of inter-agency censorship and propaganda. It includes the psychopathic struggle sessions mandated by “diversity and inclusion” policy. It includes election-rigging directed by the likes of Marc Elias and Norm Eisen, getting states to fiddle laws on voter ID and mail-in ballots.

It includes the political protection of rogue groups ranging from looter flash-mobs to Antifa anarchists who bust up things and people and burn buildings down. It includes state officials who peremptorily kick candidates off the ballot. It includes a nakedly biased judiciary, and especially the use of the DC federal district court to punish people extralegally, unjustly, extravagantly, and cruelly. In short, lawfare is the complete perversion of law, and we-the -people are entreated by reprobate officials such as Merrick Garland and Letitia James to accept it. A fourth item on this list is the US economy which has been overwhelmed by maladministration of an overgrown monster bureaucracy, and the gross (perhaps fatal) mismanagement of the government’s money. The people of this land are not being allowed to do business, to find a livelihood, to transact fairly. “Joe Biden’s” shadow string-pullers are messing as badly with the oil and gas producers as they have messed with Ukraine. And they are doing it in pursuit of a laughable mirage: their “green new deal.”

Read more …

”The best fate they can expect [from the West] is to become slaves to the ailing European freak show..”

‘Ukraine is Russia’ – Medvedev (RT)

Ukraine lies within the sphere of Russian strategic interests and has no future in any other capacity, Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, has stated. Russian people consider Ukraine to be part of the larger Russian civilization, the senior official said in a speech at a youth conference in Sochi on Monday. Moscow considers it to be the country’s “soft underbelly,” from which no threat to Russia should be allowed to be projected. ”The territories on both banks of the Dnieper River are an inalienable part of Russian strategic historic borders,” he said, using his preferred term for what is usually known as ‘sphere of influence’ in geopolitics. “All attempts to change them by force, to cut its living body, are doomed.”

He noted the title of a book by Leonid Kuchma, the second president of Ukraine following its independence from the USSR, which declared: ‘Ukraine is not Russia’. “This concept must vanish forever. Ukraine is without a doubt Russia,” Medvedev said. He blasted the current government in Kiev as the “main threat” to its own people, considering its anti-Russian policies. Ukrainians have “fallen into a stupid trap” set for it by the US and its allies, who have successfully turned the nation into a weapon against Russia, he said. ”The best fate they can expect [from the West] is to become slaves to the ailing European freak show,” Medvedev said, referring to the leaders of the EU and UK, who he described as incompetent and subservient to Washington.

”[The Ukrainians] will play the role of a deaf-mute servant who is raped every day in a European kitchen by a lord from overseas,” the former president added. Russia is not interested in territorial conquest, Medvedev said. Whatever natural riches Ukraine has, Russia also has in abundance, he claimed. ”The great treasure that we will not surrender to anyone for anything is the people,” he said. The Ukrainians have become “confused” by Western propaganda, but at their core they have the same values and way of life as the Russians, and need to be rescued, Medvedev said.

Read more …

“These individuals may be restricted from traveling abroad, have their driver’s license suspended, or their bank accounts seized if they fail to do so..”

“..two categories of citizens are currently not involved in the mobilization, namely “those who are behind bars and those who are not.”

Draft-Eligible Ukraine Men Flee ‘Certain Death’ (Sp.)

Ukraine’s lack of any clear mobilization strategy aimed at plugging the gaping holes in the ranks of its armed forces is fueling “deep divisions in Ukraine’s parliament and more broadly in Ukrainian society,” The Washington Post reported. Despite mounting losses, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been downplaying to wheedle more money from the West, there is still “no political consensus” on how to remedy the severe shortage of troops on the battlefront. There is a yawning split between Zelensky and his top military commanders on a plan to conscript the thousands of soldiers they need as Russia continues to advance after liberating the stronghold of Avdeyevka. As a result, Ukraine’s military has been “relying on a hodgepodge of recruiting efforts and sown panic among fighting-age men,” the publication stated. It referenced the package of aid to Kiev still stalled in the US Congress, adding that many of Ukraine’s men “have gone into hiding, worried that they will be drafted into an ill-equipped army and sent to certain death.”

Infighting over how many more troops Ukraine needs “factored” into Zelensky’s sacking of his top general in February, the outlet noted. The previous Ukrainian commander-in-chief, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, was dismissed, with Colonel General Oleksandr Syrsky taking over, amid an overall reshuffle of the military command by Zelensky. Zaluzhny’s ouster came after months of intrigue between himself and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who slammed the commander for revealing that Kiev’s summer 2023 counteroffensive had ended in failure. But, apparently, new Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrsky has so far failed to bring new clarity regarding Ukraine’s mobilization efforts. Syrsky has been tasked with auditing the armed forces to scrape up more combat-eligible troops, added the publication. This comes after President Zelensky’s office recently announced that only some 300,000 have fought at the frontline of the one million people who have been mobilized.

With Ukraine’s rapidly dwindling troop strength described as a “strategic crisis,” Oleksiy Bezhevets, an adviser to the Defense Ministry on recruitment, was cited as saying that civilians of fighting age must recognize the fact that “there’s no time for you left to sit home.” Volodymyr Zelensky said in December 2023 that the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces had stressed the need to recruit an additional 450,000-500,000 men for the army. Accordingly, the government submitted a draft law on mobilization to parliament on January 30. However, the result has been a drawn-out and heated debate. The bill, which would broaden the scope of the draft, lowering the eligibility age from 27 to 25 years, caused outrage in the country and was sent back for revision.

It also obligates people liable for military service to report to military commissariats to clarify their information within 60 days, Ukrainian media reported. These individuals may be restricted from traveling abroad, have their driver’s license suspended, or their bank accounts seized if they fail to do so. Amid the debate over such draconian measures in January, panicky account holders withdrew over $700 million in a single month, the WaPo added. In February, Ukrainian Justice Minister Denys Maliuska proposed giving prisoners weapons and shovels when they are mobilized for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. He underscored that in Ukraine, two categories of citizens are currently not involved in the mobilization, namely “those who are behind bars and those who are not.” Maliuska previously said that at least 50,000 men of military age with criminal records are hiding from Ukrainian draft boards and are not registered with the military.

The Russian Defense Ministry earlier said that amid the disruption of mobilization plans and in order to conceal massive losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Kiev regime has intensified the recruitment of mercenaries. Fighters from the United States, Canada, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East have joined the ranks of the Ukrainian military. Furthermore, NATO soldiers under the guise of mercenaries are involved in combat operations in Ukraine, Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy, head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operational Directorate, told Russian media.

Read more …

“What remains is for the Kremlin and General Staff to decide to teach the Germans the only lesson by the only method they understand..”

The Good Germans Are Blowing Smoke (Helmer)

The political comprehension of the Germans — to adapt Mao Zedong’s axiom that political power comes out of the barrel of a gun — only comes out of the barrel of a Russian gun. The good Germans define themselves publicly by wishing this weren’t true because they realise there’s nothing they can do to stop the rest of their countrymen from throwing themselves at Russian guns until there are no more of them, the good Germans among them. One of these wishfully good Germans is called Florian Roetzer, who founded the widely read internet publication Telepolis in 1996, and retired to write elsewhere in 2021. Roetzer has just published his analysis of the transcript of last month’s teleconference at which the chief of the German Air Force, Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, discussed with three subordinates a plan of attack on Russian civil and military targets with the German Taurus KEPD 350E cruise missile; conceal this German operation behind British, French, and Ukrainian forces and German commercial companies; accelerate the missile deliveries; and present the plan for approval by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Gerhartz is not only waging personal war against Russia, as he explained on the telephone two weeks ago, on February 19. Last November he declared personal war in alliance with the Israel Air Force in implementing the genocide of Gaza. In Roetzer’s new analysis, published on March 2 in Overton magazine, the problem is not (in Roetzer’s mind) that Gerhartz and the Bundeswehr are losing their war on the Ukrainian battlefield, or that they are aiming to provoke Russian counterattack against German targets outside that battlefield. “The fact that Russia was able to eavesdrop on the conversations of the German officers…is a major problem for the Bundeswehr, also in relation to its partners, who may no longer trust it.” “The bigger [sic] problem, however, has been Putin’s for quite some time, after one red line after another has been crossed by the NATO countries, without Russia really reacting to it, apart from warnings…But so far, Putin has accepted any military support for Ukraine.

“But if it is now becoming more and more public knowledge that NATO countries are directly supporting Ukraine with target data and in general in attacks with Western missiles and cruise missiles through the participation of soldiers in civilian and intelligence officers, and thus become parties to war, then Putin, who propagates that Russia is defending itself in Ukraine, has the problem of showing weakness and only bluffing, if no action is taken against it.” “It is obvious” – according to Roetzer – “that Russia cannot compete against a NATO weakened by the Ukraine war and therefore avoids a direct conflict. But if the attacks on Russia continue to increase and Western weapons are openly used, Putin will lose support in Russia if there is no military response…With the publication of the wiretapped conversation of the German officers, the Russian leadership may have harmed itself – if only because the Bundeswehr must now try to close the security gap. It is possible that [state media director Margarita] Simonyan has gone too far here. The question is whether the publication was coordinated with the Kremlin.”

That Germany is at war with Russia has been understood in Moscow for a long time. That there are good Germans like Roetzer who would like it to be otherwise for moral, legal, German national, or personal reasons is also well-known. Some of these good Germans have even served as German generals. What the Navalny Novichok episode of the autumn of 2020 revealed, followed by the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines in September 2022; and now last month’s teleconference conducted by Gerhartz – what all three episodes reveal is not how the Germans are understood in Moscow, but rather how the good Germans react when confronted with the war they are powerless to deter or stop their countrymen from waging. The impotence of the German opposition to this war is also well understood in Moscow. What remains is for the Kremlin and General Staff to decide to teach the Germans the only lesson by the only method they understand. That is the lesson the Germans have been failing to learn for seventy-nine years next month — since April 30, 1945, when Adolf Hitler shot himself before he could be captured by the Red Army waiting outside his bunker in Berlin.

Read more …

“And then she added : “But Putin…”.

The Brainwashing of Germany in Preparation for War (Bittner)

Recently my friend G., with whom I still correspond occasionally, wrote to me saying that he had read my book “State of Emergency” and got the impression that I had fallen into a “filter bubble”. He comes from a wealthy family, his father was a senior teacher, his mother a doctor, and at a young age he was a professor of mathematics at a southern German university and also a guest lecturer in Japan, South Korea and the USA. He cannot understand the fact that I am of the opinion that it is not Russia but the USA and its allies that are to blame for most of the conflicts in the world, especially the war in Ukraine and the economic decline in Germany and Western Europe. G. would like to give me friendly advice to reconsider my political views and to please obtain information from the public media and “reputable” newspapers such as Frankfurter Allgemeine, Welt or Süddeutsche and not from so-called alternative media. If I see “evil” in the USA rather than in Putin, all he can say about himself is that he would rather live “under the evil of the Americans” than that of the Russians.

And if the NATO protective umbrella, under which the Europeans have set themselves up so well, were to become leaky, things would not look rosy for Western Europe compared to a country like Russia full of nuclear weapons. It is sad that so much money has to be spent on “defensive armament”, but it is good that Putin is getting older and older and that the end of his tyranny is imminent at some point in the near future for the good of humanity. Like other acquaintances and friends, G. is firmly convinced that he knows everything and is right. All we agree on is that wars are terrible and must be avoided. But at this point the dissent begins again, because G. considers “humanitarian interventions”, such as those carried out by the USA again and again, to be legitimate and even necessary to defend freedom and democracy. I can describe the views represented by G. as exemplary. German society is thoroughly rabble-roused, and it is divided between those who have retained an eye for the facts and the others, the far greater majority, who have succumbed to years of influence.

My hairdresser, with whom I discussed, is of the opinion that Germany needs the atomic bomb to protect itself from “the Russian” who will soon attack Poland and the Baltic countries. When I countered that Vladimir Putin had called for cooperation and a common economic zone from Vladivostok to Lisbon in a memorable speech to the German Bundestag in 2001, he replied: “This Putin is lying as soon as he opens his mouth.” The resulting dispute ended He asked me the completely serious question: “Why do you think you can judge the political situation better than me?” He told me that he reads the newspaper in the morning and watches the Tagesschau in the evening. He also speaks to customers every day who all have different opinions than me. Every now and then I gave lectures and discussed things publicly. Most of the time, listeners and discussants came who shared my views or at least kept an open mind. After one such event, a middle-aged woman who identified herself as a judge said to me: “Everything you said was logical and well-documented, although from an unusual perspective, but you largely convinced me.” And then she added : “But Putin…”.

Indoctrination has not stopped at the doors of universities either. There are still some contacts with colleagues there from the time when I was a visiting professor in Poland, but they have become fragile. My friend Tomasz, who unfortunately also succumbed to US-controlled propaganda against Russia and for Ukraine, wrote to me: “I cannot understand the people who prefer to look the other way after the Russian attack on Ukraine. Stop this policy that is killing thousands of innocent people. “Putin with his megalomania has destroyed a long and stable peace in Europe.” He really believes that and he continued: “For me, Putin resembles Hitler to a T.” It is not Ukraine, which wants to go its own sovereign way, that is to blame for the war, but Putin, for whom Ukraine is just an appetizer. He built gas pipelines behind the EU’s back and against Poland’s interests. This shows his true colors, leading and oppressing other countries like dogs on a leash.

At least I was able to have a somewhat civilized conversation with my German friend and with Tomasz, if only by holding back. The space for debate has become increasingly narrow, and the authorities are no longer relying on the previous psychological warfare. Rather, the pressure on those who think differently, their patronization and harassment, is increasing dramatically. Anyone who doesn’t step up and stand out must expect the destruction of their existence and worse.

Read more …

“..the Russians could have simply logged on to the unsecured WebEx call without the officers noticing..”

German Defense Ministry Uses ‘1234’ As Password (RT)

The German Defense Ministry has protected a press statement on leaked military communications behind the password “1234.” German media has mocked the ministry for the “extremely embarrassing” security detail. The statement, made by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on Sunday, was posted in audio format on the ministry’s website on Monday. Under a link to a cloud storage service hosting the file, the ministry informed visitors that they could access the recording by entering the password “1234.” While the file is not classified and the password was likely chosen as a placeholder, its use was roundly mocked by German tabloid Bild. “After the wiretapping attack on the Bundeswehr [German military] by Russian spies, this is extremely embarrassing,” the paper wrote on Monday.

On Friday, RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan published a transcript and audio recording of a conversation between four officers of the German Air Force, including its top general, Ingo Gerhartz, saying that she had obtained the file from Russian security officials. Over a WebEx video call, the officers discussed the potential use of German-made Taurus missiles against the Crimean Bridge, wondering how they could maintain plausible deniability of involvement in such an attack. The conversation also revealed that – according to the officers – Britain has already sent its own military specialists to Ukraine to operate Storm Shadow cruise missiles given to the Ukrainian armed forces.

It is unclear how Simonyan’s contacts obtained the audio. However, the deputy chairman of the German parliament’s oversight committee, Roderich Kiesewetter, said on Sunday that the Russians could have simply logged on to the unsecured WebEx call without the officers noticing. Berlin confirmed the recording’s authenticity on Saturday. In his statement on Sunday, Pistorius did not address the apparent security lapses that led to the leak. Instead, he accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating the incident as part of an “information war” against the West.

For months, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been under pressure from Kiev and members of his own cabinet to approve shipments of Taurus missiles to Ukraine. However, he has thus far refused, and the Wall Street Journal noted on Saturday that the leaked conversation could make their eventual delivery less likely. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that the leak proves that “plans to launch strikes on Russian territory are being substantively and specifically discussed within the Bundeswehr.” A day earlier, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned that “Germany is preparing for a war with Russia.”

Read more …

“..turning Ukraine into a giant factory showroom for Western weapons..”

Zelensky and the West Have A New Scam – And Taxpayers Will Foot The Bill (RT)

What do you do to boost GDP when your country is neck-deep in military conflict and your allies’ main interest is using you to wash taxpayer cash into their own military industrial complexes? Make that your whole national identity! And demand that the West help you transition. “Our country will become one of the world’s key producers of weapons and defense systems. And this is no longer just an ambition or a prospect, it is a potential that is already being realized,” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said in September 2023. That plea has echoed all over the Western press. You’d think that it may have thought to “realize” that “potential” before it went live with the big “Ukrainian counteroffensive” show. But hey, making lemonade from lemons, there’s definitely a business opportunity in losing on the battlefield that wouldn’t exist if Ukraine had proven to be adequately stocked up and victorious. Any ambulance-chasing weapons salesman would be attracted by that.

And on top of that, Russia’s whole stated objective from the very outset has been “de-militarization.” Right now, Ukraine is to Western weapons producers what the Cheesecake Factory is to a fat kid. Those slightly less cynical might be tempted to view all this as the path to victory for Ukraine, but a recent incident strongly suggests otherwise. In a leaked audio recording obtained by Russian intelligence and authenticated by the German government, senior Luftwaffe officers, including the Air Force’s chief, are overheard talking about how even the delivery of the German Taurus missiles to Kiev wouldn’t change the course of the conflict in Ukraine’s favor. If even the gold standard German cruise missile that doubles the strike distance of its Western rivals isn’t considered a game changer in the overall conflict with Russia at this point, then odds don’t sound too good for much else.

And who’s going to pay for Ukraine’s identity change, anyway? Western Europe and the US will pay for the transition, of course. Just as they’re also paying to keep all of Ukrainian society afloat, funding salaries and pensions. It’s not like investors are flocking to Ukraine right now. Much of the weapons-making infrastructure from the Cold War has been decimated, and in a country that ranks near the top of the global corruption index, it probably won’t come as a surprise that the industry itself is rife with “mismanagement.” While it’s clear who’s going to pay, what’s less obvious is who will actually benefit from turning Ukraine into a giant factory showroom for Western weapons. Some Western arms manufacturers have rushed into Ukraine to set up shop, such as Germany’s Rheinmetall, which started operating an armored vehicle plant in the country last year. Guess it’s just good business to be cranking out tanks right on the battlefield where they can be blown up coming off the assembly line. May as well just set fire to that Western taxpayer cash funding this charade the moment that it pops out of the ATM.

Read more …

“..from [the perspective of] the people who run the United States, the blob, the deep state… this war was absolutely essential.”

Losing to Russia Shatters Western Leaders’ Belief in Their Exceptionalism (Sp.)

There is “sincere panic” among Western leaders who are forced to “face the inevitable fact” that they are losing to Russia, Mark Sleboda, a foreign relations and security analyst told Sputnik’s Fault Lines on Monday. “It is shattering both their preconceptions of this conflict and also shattering their belief in their own exceptionalism and seniority,” he told co-hosts Melik Abdul and Jamarl Thomas. The comments came after discussing the leaked German plans to coordinate a strike on the Crimean bridge or an ammo depot in Krasnodar, which Sleboda said was “planning an act of war on the Russian Federation” noting that Russia would have “every right” to respond. “They were plotting an act of war and [the] Ukrainians in all of this, they weren’t doing the planning, they wouldn’t be doing the implementation, the programing of the missiles on the ground. They were talking about having it be done by German officials and the number [of] people with American accents and civilian clothes,” he said, adding “Their biggest concern, other than which was the more feasible target… was their plausible deniability.”

Sleboda noted that it is an open question if German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has been publicly against sending Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine, was lying or if “he [was] unaware of what his own military was doing.” Recently, Scholz -seemingly on accident- revealed that British and American personnel are on the ground in Ukraine to help coordinate the long-range missiles provided by those countries to the Kiev regime. “That’s exposing that America and the UK have military people on the ground in the guise of volunteers or mercenaries or humanitarian workers… which means they are at war with Russia. It’s simply undeclared,” Sleboda argued. Noting that the plans violated the “rules” of the conflict by planning a strike inside of Russia’s mainland. “Russia had two options,” Sleboda explained. “They could escalate back or [which they tried] instead expose this, hoping that it will at least dampen down.”

“The West has two options in response, they can either back down or they can escalate in response,” he added. However, the West has a lot at stake in Russia because they bet Western hegemony on the conflict. “We’ve heard from every Western leader… a Russian victory in Ukraine would be a defeat of NATO. They did this to themselves, they invested this much political and geopolitical capital. They’ve said… that US global leadership… is at stake in the outcome of this conflict.” “The world might not have originally reached the same conclusion, but now they forced them to because they… said it so authoritatively.” Host Jamarl Thomas lamented how the West didn’t need to provoke Russia into the conflict, but Sleboda disagreed, saying that it was inevitable from the perspective of the “deep state.”

“They are fighting for US hegemony over the world – that’s why. From their point of view, this was also an inevitability, from [the perspective of] the people who run the United States, the blob, the deep state… this war was absolutely essential.” Sleboda noted that the US did manage to gain one advantage in the war, it made Europe more subservient to them. “They tied Europe more directly to them. Europe is now spending their money on two to four times more expensive [Liquefied Natural Gas] LNG than they were on Russian energy, which means that Europe’s economy, yes, is facing de-industrialization. But, on the plus side, a lot of those European businesses are going to the US. So they achieved very real geopolitical results out of this conflict.”

Read more …

“..their leaderships do agree that the days of marginalizing the Palestinians are over..”

Is Tehran Winning the Middle East? (Juan Cole)

Despite their fiery rhetoric, their undeniable backing of fundamentalist militias in the region, and their depiction by inside-the-Beltway war hawks as the root of all evil in the Middle East, Iran’s leaders have long acted more like a status quo power than a force for genuine change. They have shored up the rule of the autocratic al-Assad family in Syria, while helping the Iraqi government that emerged after President George W. Bush’s invasion of that country fight off the terrorist threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In truth, not Iran but the U.S. and Israel are the countries that have most strikingly tried to use their power to reshape the region in a Napoleonic manner. The disastrous U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, and Israel’s wars on Egypt (1956, 1967), Lebanon (1982-2000, 2006), and Gaza (2008, 2012, 2014, 2024), along with its steady encouragement of large-scale squatting on the Palestinian West Bank, were clearly intended to alter the geopolitics of the region permanently through the use of military force on a massive scale.

Only recently, Ayatollah Khamenei bitterly asked, “Why don’t the leaders of Islamic countries publicly cut off their relationship with the murderous Zionist regime and stop helping this regime?” Pointing to the staggering death toll in Israel’s present campaign against Gaza, he was focusing on the Arab countries — Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates — that, as part of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s “Abraham Accords,” had officially recognized Israel and established relations with it. (Egypt and Jordan had, of course, recognized Israel long before that.) Given the anti-Israel sentiment in the region, had it, in fact, been rife with democracies, Iran’s position might have been widely implemented. Still, it was a distinct sign of terminal tone deafness on the part of Biden administration officials that they hoped to use the Gaza crisis to extend the Abraham Accords to Saudi Arabia, while sidelining the Palestinians and creating a joint Israeli-Arab front against Iran.

The region had already been moving in a somewhat different direction. Last March, after all, Iran and Saudi Arabia had begun forging a new relationship by restoring the diplomatic relations that had been suspended in 2016 and working to expand trade between their countries. And that relationship has only continued to improve as the nightmare in Israel and Gaza developed. In fact, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi first visited the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in November and, since the Gaza conflict began, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has met twice with his Saudi counterpart. Frustrated by a markedly polarizing American policy in the region, de facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei resorted to the good offices of Beijing to sidestep Washington and strengthen their relations further.

Although Iran is far more hostile to Israel than Saudi Arabia, their leaderships do agree that the days of marginalizing the Palestinians are over. In a remarkably unambiguous statement issued in early February, the Saudis offered the following: “The Kingdom has communicated its firm position to the U.S. administration that there will be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognized on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and that the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip stops and all the Israeli occupation forces withdraw from the Gaza Strip.” Significantly, the Saudis even refused to join a U.S.-led naval task force created to halt attacks on Red Sea shipping by the Houthis of Yemen (no friends of theirs) in support of the Palestinians. Its leaders are clearly all too aware that the carnage still being wreaked on Gaza has infuriated most Saudis.

Read more …

“..a “sweeping” European defence industry strategy, which will shift the EU’s defence industry to a war-footing..”

The EU’s American Queen (Lily Lynch)

Von der Leyen’s tenure has been marked by an acceleration of what Perry Anderson has termed “European coups” — the gradual agglomeration of power in Brussels. Even the manner in which she became Commissioner in 2019 represented a break with a procedure designed to lend the EU executive greater democratic legitimacy. In 2003, a Franco-German agreement established the foundations of what would become the Spitzenkandidaten (“lead candidate”) process, whereby the political family with the most votes in the European Parliamentary elections would secure the office of Commissioner for its pre-chosen candidate. But in 2019, Von der Leyen was not the Spitzenkandidat of her European People’s Party (EPP) — instead, she was handpicked by EU leaders Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. The EPP’s Spitzenkandidat, Manfred Weber was thwarted by Macron, who viewed him as unqualified. Von der Leyen, on the other hand, was a long-time Merkel loyalist and, as Macron noted, spoke French exceptionally well.

The then-German Defence Minister was also amenable to closer military cooperation with France and had spoken of the need to create “an army of Europeans” — another point in her favour for Macron. In other words, Von der Leyen’s very rise constituted a quiet coup. Beyond the pretty verbiage about defending democracy, it amounted to what Anderson has described as “the quiet settling of affairs between elites in camera, above the heads of an inert populace below”. Perhaps as a result, Von der Leyen has started to rewrite her origin story, claiming that she “ran in 2019” — referencing a campaign that never happened. For the Queen of Europe, both reality and democracy are malleable. Yet Von der Leyen’s weightiest revisionism concerns the EU’s foreign policy. In 2019, she identified the creation of a “geopolitical commission” as one of her main priorities as Commissioner. The EU, she asserted, needed to become a major “geopolitical” actor “to shape a better world order”.

Chaos and crisis demanded that it “learn to speak the language of power”. Then came the twin threats of Russia and another Trump administration, both of which lent these aims a greater urgency. The result is that Von der Leyen’s EU is gradually being retooled for war. Two years ago, EU officials broke the taboo on financing lethal weapons when they decided to fund the provision of lethal military aid to Ukraine. As article 41.2 of the Treaty of the European Union explicitly prohibits “expenditure arising from operations having military or defence implications”, this move required some creativity to circumvent. Towards this end, the EU mobilised the European Peace Facility (EPF), a misnomer for a tool engineered to finance military engagements abroad. To get around the proscription on the financing of war, the EPF has been designed as a €5 billion “off-budget” instrument. Nor does the drumbeat of war stop there. On Tuesday, the Commission is set to unveil a “sweeping” European defence industry strategy, which will shift the EU’s defence industry to a war-footing, while “upending the way it finances and sells arms”.

Von der Leyen has said it will aim to “turbocharge our defence industrial capacity over the next five years”, with a focus on joint procurement. This approach draws on the Commission’s precedent-setting joint procurement of Covid vaccines, an effort now being touted as a model for success but still mired in major controversy: Von der Leyen’s private text message exchange with Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla — hammering out the details of the April 2021 deal for 1.1 billion doses of the vaccine — has been shrouded in secrecy, with both journalists and the European Court of Auditors stonewalled in their attempts to gain access to the conversation. Suffice it to say such a precedent does not bode well for transparency in the massive new defence procurement process.

Read more …

“Companies that fail to abide by the EU’s rules may face fines of up to 10% of their total worldwide annual turnover, or up to 20% in the event of repeated infringements..”

Musk’s X Could Face New EU Restrictions (RT)

Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) could be forced to follow a set of strict guidelines in the EU after the European Commission (EC) announced that the platform may be classified as a ‘gatekeeper’ under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The EC explained that companies can be subject to additional regulations if they operate what is described as a “core platform service,” including search engines, app stores, and messenger services. They must have over 45 million monthly active end users, more than 10,000 yearly business users, or over €75 billion ($81 billion) in market capitalization.

According to an announcement published on the EC’s website on March 1, X, as well as travel website Booking.com and TikTok owner ByteDance, have submitted notifications that their services potentially meet the DMA thresholds. The commission now has 45 days to decide whether to designate the three companies as gatekeepers. If so, they will have six months to comply with DMA requirements. Companies that have already received the gatekeeper designation include the likes of Apple, Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet. Companies that fall under the rules are required to let third parties inter-operate with their services, to allow business users to access the data they generate on the platform, and to let them conclude contracts with their customers outside the gatekeeper’s ecosystem.

At the same time, the targeted companies must also refrain from favoring their own services over competitors or blocking users from removing pre-installed software or apps. They must also seek explicit consent from users to track their activity outside the gatekeeper’s core platform service for the purpose of targeted advertising. Companies that fail to abide by the EU’s rules may face fines of up to 10% of their total worldwide annual turnover, or up to 20% in the event of repeated infringements. Businesses may also be slapped with periodic penalty payments of up to 5% of their average daily turnover.

Read more …

“Some around town think it has something to do with Presiden Biden’s visit to the border..”

Ballot Drop Boxes Installed Along Border Wall (BBee)

Texas residents woke up Thursday morning to find general election ballot boxes had been placed along the southern border wall that divides parts of the U.S. from Mexico. “I’m not sure where these ballot drop boxes came from,” Brownsville resident Tom Walker told reporters. “Some around town think it has something to do with Presiden Biden’s visit to the border. I saw some of his folks down handing out mail-in ballots to these illegal guys who keep coming into town. Makes a person wonder what’s up.” Biden’s team denied placing the boxes strategically along the border wall right where the main surge of illegal immigrants are crossing into the country.

“This isn’t some crazy ploy to rig the election in favor of President Biden by handing out ballots to the millions of illegal aliens that have been streaming into the country over the past three years,” Biden spokesperson Alexander Sheperd told the press. “On a completely unrelated note, does anyone know how to say ‘President Biden will give you a prepaid $10 thousand Visa cash card if you vote for him’ in Spanish?” As of publishing time, Biden aids were seen rounding up as many filled-out ballots as they could in an effort they said would “restore fair and free elections and prevent that fascist Trump from taking office ever again.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Gaza 1970

 

 

Circle of life

 

 

Hedgehog

 

 

Floki

 

 

Survive

 

 

Coyote

 

 

Kiwi

 

 

Putin

 

 

 

 

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