Mar 022024
 
 March 2, 2024  Posted by at 9:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »


Camille Corot Study for “The Destruction of Sodom” 1843

 

Germany Launches Investigation Into Leaked Crimean Bridge Attack Talk (RT)
France Considering Placing Special Forces In Ukraine – Le Monde (RT)
Macron’s Idea to Send NATO Troops to Ukraine ‘Made Him Look Very Foolish’ (Sp.)
NATO Troops Already Deployed to Ukraine, and Getting Killed (SCF)
Austin: If Ukraine Is Defeated, NATO Will Be At War With Russia (ZH)
Austin Talking About NATO-Russia War Means US Has A Plan For It – Lavrov (TASS)
Putin Learned From His Mistakes and Today Gives Us Precious Lessons (Vasco)
The Blob Quivers (Kunstler)
The West Is Willing To Destroy Its Financial System To Punish Russia (RT)
Biden Wants To Give Russian Central Bank Funds To Ukraine, France Resists (ZH)
The Global South Converges to Multipolar Moscow (Pepe Escobar)
Haley: Nominating Trump Means ‘Suicide for Our Country’ (RCP)
Musk Sues ChatGPT Maker Over AI Threat (RT)
The Truth is a Complete Defense (PO)

 

 

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This makes Germany a direct participant. We see both Germany and France getting more involved, and denying that at the same time.

The forces for forever war appear to be winning. But wait till their people understand this. They certainly don’t want it. Time for a major false flag?!

Germany Launches Investigation Into Leaked Crimean Bridge Attack Talk (RT)

Berlin’s first reaction to Friday’s revelations that several German generals discussed helping Ukraine attack Russia was to launch an investigation into how the recording got out. RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan first published a transcript of the conversation between senior Luftwaffe officers discussing the matter, followed by a 38-minute audio recording. “We are checking whether communications within the Air Force were intercepted,” a spokesperson for the German Ministry of Defense told the outlet Bild. “We cannot say anything about the content of the communications that were apparently intercepted.” The Federal Office for Military Counterintelligence (BAMAD) has “initiated all necessary measures,” the ministry said in response to an inquiry from the state news agency DPA.

Meanwhile, the Bundeswehr has also resorted to censorship. Multiple accounts on X (formerly Twitter) that distributed the recording were blocked in Germany as of Friday evening. Bild claimed that “it seems obvious” Russian spies “or one of their partners” were behind the recording. The 38-minute audio was dated February 19 and features four officers of the German air force (Luftwaffe), including its head General Ingo Gerhartz and deputy chief of staff for operations, Brigadier-General Frank Graefe. The officers assumed that Germany would send up to 50 Taurus long-range missiles to Ukraine and the ways in which the Luftwaffe could provide the Ukrainians with targeting information without appearing to be directly involved in the conflict with Russia.

They also noted the Ukrainians’ obsession with targeting the Kerch Strait bridge, noting its significance was primarily political rather than military. At one point, Gerhartz admitted that the missiles “won’t change the course of the war,” while another officer expressed doubt that even 20 Taurus hits could actually destroy the bridge. The Russian Foreign Ministry and parliament have both announced they would demand an explanation from Berlin. The government of Chancellor Olaf Sholz has not officially commented on the intercepted call.

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“They have, however, always “stopped at the Ukrainian border..”

France Considering Placing Special Forces In Ukraine – Le Monde (RT)

The French government is mulling sending a small military force directly into Ukraine to serve as instructors for Kiev’s Armed Forces and as a “deterrent” to Moscow, newspaper Le Monde reported on Friday, citing its sources. The paper did not disclose the number of French military ‘instructors’ that could potentially be authorized to cross into Ukrainian territory but reported that their ranks could include some “conventional units.” According to Le Monde, France’s Special Forces were also involved in training Ukrainian soldiers in neighboring Poland and in escorting the nation’s arms deliveries to Kiev. They have, however, always “stopped at the Ukrainian border,” the outlet added. The training France would like to provide to Ukrainians “on the ground” includes handling air defense systems, Friday’s report said.

Kiev’s surface-to-air weapons installations are frequently targeted by Russian forces, it explained, adding that the “presence of French soldiers or [those] of other nations would potentially protect certain areas of the Ukrainian territory.” The French government allegedly views such a troop deployment as a way of posing a “strategic dilemma” for Moscow, the paper said, adding that it could “constrain” Russia’s targeting and strike capabilities. In particular, it may prove to be “essential” ahead of the arrival of US-made F-16 fighter jets, scheduled to take place later this year, the French daily added. So far, France has denied that any of its troops have been present in Ukraine during the conflict, the media outlet said. French President Emmanuel Macron sparked controversy on Monday when he told journalists that a potential NATO troop deployment to Ukraine could not be ruled out in the future.

“There’s no consensus today to send, in an official manner, troops on the ground,” he said. “In terms of dynamics, we cannot exclude anything. We will do everything necessary to prevent Russia from winning this war.” Macron’s comments prompted other members of the US-led bloc, including the US, UK, Germany and Italy, to clarify that they had no such plans. The French president’s remarks were seemingly supported by two Baltic nations – Estonia and Lithuania – who also said that such a move could not be ruled out. Moscow warned in response that deploying NATO forces to Ukraine would make a direct conflict between Russia and the military bloc inevitable. On Friday, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne denied that Paris was planning to send any combat units to Ukraine, adding that it would do “everything” to avoid a war with Russia. The French president himself doubled down on his comments on Thursday by saying his words had been “thought through and measured.”

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“..the Germans were incensed at the cheekiness of Macron to publish a new initiative which can easily lead to [an] escalation of the war and to Germany being targeted by Russian missiles.”

Macron’s Idea to Send NATO Troops to Ukraine ‘Made Him Look Very Foolish’ (Sp.)

The past few days have seen Western media discuss “open display of discord” between French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. After Macron recently proclaimed that he refuses to rule out sending EU troops to Ukraine, Scholz rejected the idea by emphasizing that “there will be no soldiers on Ukrainian soil sent there” by European states or NATO members. “There has long been a certain antagonism” between Macron and Scholz, “and the issue of aid to Ukraine has only exacerbated the existing contradictions,” Dr. Gregor Spitzen, German political analyst and independent journalist, said in an interview with Sputnik “France’s ill-considered initiative to send NATO ground troops to Ukraine made Macron look very foolish. The initiative was not even supported by NATO’s main anti-Russian hawks – the UK and Poland. The idea was also viewed negatively in the US,” Spitzen clarified.

He also noted that while “passionate volunteers from the French Foreign Legion are already fighting and dying in Ukraine […], most soldiers in European armies are not eager to take part in modern warfare, where the risk of dying in a rocket attack without even seeing the enemy is high.” Dwelling on the repercussions from Macron’s remarks, Spitzen suggested that “We are likely to see European and American arms deliveries to Ukraine for some time to come.” At the end of the day, however, “the West, seeing that the war is lost, will increasingly tempt Ukraine to make a separate peace,” the analyst predicted. Spitzen was echoed by Gilbert Doctorow, an international relations and Russian affairs analyst, who said that he thinks “the Germans were incensed at the cheekiness of Macron to publish a new initiative which can easily lead to [an] escalation of the war and to Germany being targeted by Russian missiles.”

When asked whether European countries will avoid further confrontation with Russia after Macron’s statement, Doctorow argued they “will likely continue it but in less risky places”, and that if Donald Trump comes to power in the US, they “will have to come to terms with Moscow over a new security architecture for the Continent.” The comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned in his state of the nation address that NATO risks a nuclear conflict if it sends troops to support the Kiev regime. “There’s been talk of sending NATO military forces to Ukraine. We remember the fate of those who sent their contingents to our country before and this time the consequences for the potential interventionists will be far more tragic,” Putin said. He urged the US and Europe to acknowledge the fact that Russia possesses weapons capable of targeting their territories and that all this plainly poses the risk of a conflict involving nuclear weapons, and therefore “the destruction of civilization”.

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“..It is estimated that up to 20,000 foreign personnel have joined the so-called “international legionnaires” fighting on the side of the Kiev regime..”:

NATO Troops Already Deployed to Ukraine, and Getting Killed (SCF)

NATO has been vigorously arming and training the NeoNazi regime that was installed in Kiev since 2014. Even Jens Stoltenberg and other NATO officials have openly admitted that background involvement. In admitting the NATO presence in Ukraine over the past decade that also corroborates Russia’s reasoning of why it was compelled to launch its military intervention two years ago. Of course, the Western powers and their servile media never go as far as conceding that. They prefer to adopt a position of double-think and hypocrisy, claiming that Russia’s military action was “unprovoked aggression”. Macron may have been shot down for now and made to look like a dangling clown. But as so often in the past, controversial NATO ideas are put forward and seemingly rejected out of hand, only to be adopted later.

As Macron pointed out, Germany and other NATO nations were only two years ago reluctant to send military equipment beyond helmets and sleeping bags. Now these same entities have sent battlefield tanks and anti-aircraft missiles and are debating sending long-range weapons to strike deep into Russian territory. US President Joe Biden once remarked on the unfeasibility of supplying fighter jets to Ukraine “because that would mean starting World War Three”. Well, Biden has ended up consenting to the supply of F-16s and his NATO side-kick Stoltenberg asserts that these warplanes could be used to hit deep Russian targets. In other words, Macron’s notions about NATO ground troops going to Ukraine may be rebuffed for now in public. But the inexorable dynamic over the past decade indicates that the idea could well become a reality shortly.

NATO’s involvement in Ukraine is a strategic wedge to attack, weaken, and eventually vanquish Russia. What starts as a thin quantity inevitably grows into a bigger contingency. NATO military personnel are already in Ukraine and have been since at least 2014 when they started training the NeoNazi brigades to terrorize the ethnic Russian populations in Crimea, Donbass, and Novorossiya. Many of these soldiers are deployed unofficially as mercenaries or ostensibly as security details for NATO diplomats. Numerous reports have attested to the presence of NATO troops in Ukraine in one form or another. A Russian air strike near Kharkov in January killed at least 60 French military officers who were reportedly serving as private contractors. Other reports have cited as many as 50 American military killed in action serving in Ukraine.

It is estimated that up to 20,000 foreign personnel have joined the so-called “international legionnaires” fighting on the side of the Kiev regime against Russian forces. A fair assumption is that most of these soldiers of fortune are temporarily “decommissioned” NATO troops. Germany’s Scholz let the cat out of the bag this week when he said he was opposed to sending long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine because that would mean the deployment of German troops to assist with operating the weapons. Scholz misspoke by inadvertently disclosing that the British and French had already dispatched special forces to assist with their missile systems, the Storm Shadow and Scalp, respectively.

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“..the already slim chances of jump-starting serious peace negotiations to end the war are slipping away fast.”

Austin: If Ukraine Is Defeated, NATO Will Be At War With Russia (ZH)

This is the single most important, dangerous and highly revealing statement from a top defense official in the West in a long time… It also demonstrates the precarious urgency of the moment and the huge stakes going into the November US election. The world truly stands on the precipice of a nuclear nightmare with the following fresh assertion of Biden’s Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who said before Congress on Thursday: “If Ukraine falls, I really believe that NATO will be in a fight with Russia,” Austin stated. What’s more is that this came the very day that Russian President Vladimir Putin warned things could easily spiral toward nuclear war in the scenario that NATO sends troops to Ukraine. [..] According to the fuller context of the Pentagon chief’s statements, he emphasized that more Washington funding is crucial for Ukraine in order to prevent a situation where “one country can redraw its neighbors’ boundaries and illegitimately take over its sovereign territory.”

“We know that if Putin is successful here, he will not stop. He will continue to take more aggressive actions in the region. And other leaders around the world, other autocrats around the world will look at this and will be encouraged by the fact that this happened and we failed to support a democracy,” he added. “If you are a Baltic state, you are really worried about whether you are next. They know Putin. They know what he is capable of. And, frankly, if Ukraine falls, I really believe that NATO will be in a fight with Russia,” Austin said. What is even more alarming about this statement is that everyone now knows that Ukraine forces are in retreat at this very moment, especially after the Russian capture of the city of Avdiivka, and surrounding villages.

Bloomberg on Thursday issued a report predicting total collapse of the Ukrainian front lines by summer, as the headline suggests (Ukraine Sees Risk of Russia Breaking Through Defenses by Summer): “Ukrainian officials are concerned that Russian advances could gain significant momentum by the summer unless their allies can increase the supply of ammunition, according to a person familiar with their analysis,” the report says. According to more from Bloomberg: “Internal assessments of the situation on the battlefield from Kyiv are growing increasingly bleak as Ukrainian forces struggle to hold off Russian attacks while rationing the number of shells they can fire. Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said Thursday that mistakes by frontline commanders had compounded the problems facing Ukraine’s defenses around Avdiivka, which was captured by Russian forces this month. Syrskyi said he’d sent in more troops and ammunition to bolster Ukrainian positions.”

So the consensus narrative and belated mainstream media admission is that Ukraine’s military is a mere months away from clear defeat, and the top US defense chief just said NATO will go to war with Russia “if Ukraine falls”. The conflict has reached a dire and perilously unpredictable moment indeed, and clearly the already slim chances of jump-starting serious peace negotiations to end the war are slipping away fast.

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“..according to Mr. Austin’s open, unambiguous statement, it’s the other way round. We do not have such plans and cannot have them, but the Americans do..”

Austin Talking About NATO-Russia War Means US Has A Plan For It – Lavrov (TASS)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, by saying that NATO and Russia could end up fighting each other if Ukraine is defeated, proved that the US has a plan for it, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a diplomatic conference in Antalya. “The meaning of this statement is that if Ukraine loses, NATO will have to go against Russia. In a Freudian slip he blurted out what they had in mind. Before that, everyone was saying: We can’t let Ukraine lose, because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will not stop at this and will take over the Baltics, Poland, Finland. But it turns out, according to Mr. Austin’s open, unambiguous statement, it’s the other way round. We do not have such plans and cannot have them, but the Americans do,” the minister said. According to Lavrov, Europe is currently the main victim of the US policy of “dragging Ukraine into NATO.”

“All major expenses have been shifted to Europe. People are living increasingly worse, energy resouces have rocketed in price manyfold, compared with what it could have been if the Americans had not blown up the Nord Stream gas pipelines,” the minister said. He said the situation around Ukraine was devised by Washington to make sure that the European Union doesn’t become too strong of a rival to the US economy. “And this goal has been achieved. Europe is now no longer a competitor to the US at all. All the main businesses and manufacturing industry are moving to the US, where conditions are completely different and energy is much cheaper,” Lavrov said. Austin earlier said that he believed “NATO will be in a fight with Russia” if Ukraine was defeated. The US Defense Secretary made the statement at a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

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“..By 1998, eight out of ten farms had gone bankrupt and 70,000 state-owned factories had closed. In 1994, a third of Russians lived below the poverty line..”

Putin Learned From His Mistakes and Today Gives Us Precious Lessons (Vasco)

In his interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson, President Vladimir Putin mentioned a fact that, for those – like me – who didn’t follow international politics 20 years ago, seems surreal. The Russian leader referred to a meeting he had with then-American President Bill Clinton in the Moscow Kremlin. “I asked him, ‘Bill, if Russia raised the issue of NATO membership, do you think it would be possible?’” Putin told Carlson. “Clinton replied: ‘It would be interesting, I think so!’” he continued. On the evening of that same day, when the two met again for dinner, Clinton’s opinion had changed radically. “‘I talked to my team. It’s not possible now,’” Clinton told Putin, according to the latter. “If he had said ‘yes’, the process of getting closer would have started, and, in the end, this could have happened if we saw a sincere desire from the partners,” he explained to Carlson.

A few days after this famous interview that went around the world, the BBC aired an interview with a former head of NATO confirming Putin’s intentions to join the military alliance in the early 2000s. “We had a good relationship”, revealed George Robertson. The Putin he met “wanted to cooperate with NATO” and “was very, very different from this almost megalomaniac of today”, recalled the historic member of the British Labor Party, staunch defender of Scotland’s slavery under the English yoke – even though he is Scottish – and who doesn’t realize that he lacks absolute morality to criticize the Russian intervention in Ukraine. With all the arrogance of a British man who still thinks he owns the world, Robertson indicated that the imperialist powers that, under his mandate at the head of NATO, finished attacking Yugoslavia and began the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq did not want to deal with Russia as an equal, but rather as a vassal within the organization.

Putin may not have fully understood the message at the time. He did not yet realize NATO’s expansionist aspirations. He fought against Chechen Muslim separatists, who carried out terrorist attacks on Russian territory. Therefore, he felt the need to support George W. Bush’s infamous “war on terror”. In fact, until then relations between Russia and the West had been relatively good since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Yeltsin was a darling of the “international community”, as had Gorbachev. But the economic devastation caused by the neoliberal shock did not please an important part of the Russian elite, particularly the military. The political, economic and social crisis was not resolved. By 1998, eight out of ten farms had gone bankrupt and 70,000 state-owned factories had closed. In 1994, a third of Russians lived below the poverty line and, even ten years later, 20% were still in this situation. Russia had lost 10% of its population due to capitalist savagery.

The rates of suicide, murder, alcoholism, drug use, sexually transmitted diseases and prostitution had increased exponentially. Huge street demonstrations expressed the population’s discontent, which almost led to the communist party’s return to power. The country’s president was a drunkard and the Chechen War threatened to spread to other regions and balkanize Russia – the division of Yugoslavia occurred in parallel with the Russian crisis. Putin rose to power as a natural successor to Yeltsin. But the real conditions in Russia (internal and external) forced him to take an opposite path. Internal social pressures were added to the second-class treatment received from Western powers and NATO’s moves towards its border. He began by stabilizing the internal situation. He renationalized key companies in the gas, oil and aviation sectors, such as Rosneft, Yukos (merged into Rosneft), Gazprom and Aeroflot and created RZD to control the transport system.

It also benefited national capitalists (or “oligarchs”, according to the propaganda of international bankers) to the detriment of foreigners. At the same time, he fought the separatists with an iron fist, regained control of the Caucasus, pacified the region and fully unified the country. Despite officially supporting Putin’s war against the Chechens, the U.S. actually had a dual policy. At the same time, it was in the interest of the imperialist powers to divide Russia to weaken it even more than they did with the fall of the USSR. After all, even if the government of a given country is an ally, it is always preferable to imperialism to reduce its territory to facilitate its domination. While they did not accept Russia’s integration, the imperialist powers bought Moscow’s former allies and integrated them into NATO. In 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined the alliance. In 2004, it was the turn of Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania. In 2009, Albania and Croatia.

Macgregor

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“The majority of the voters don’t seem receptive to a replay of this scam but the US government is at war with those voters..”

The Blob Quivers (Kunstler)

Did the Blob get vaxxed and boosted? Does that explain the severe neurological damage it displays now as its hologram of lies about Ukraine and Russia Russia Russia flickers out in the blinding daylight of reality. First, there was the gigantic New York Times article published last Sunday blowing open the decade-long secret shadow war by the CIA in a sprawling network of underground bunkers on and around the Russian border. The story was a direct feed from Blob Central in Langley, VA, to Times errand boys Adam Entous and Michael Schwirtz, longtime RussiaGate hoaxers, and obviously intended to get ahead of the real news that the neo-con project to turn Ukraine into a NATO forward base against Russia has collapsed. Read closely, the Times story appears to be an effort by current CIA chief William Burns to hang-out-to-dry his predecessors John Brennan, Mike Pompeo, and Gina Haspel for the failed eight-year-long operation. Why? Because it looks like Russia is fixing to shut down the war ASAP, before its March 15 presidential election.

As it happened, Russian diplomats and Ukraine President Zelensky took turns visiting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in Saudi Arabia this week, sparking rumors that these were peace talks with MBS playing mediator. The situation is delicate for all concerned. Ukraine itself verges on collapse with its army decimated, its ammo used up, and its coffers empty, awaiting the $60-plus-billion aid package that is stalled in Congress, meaning no salaries for Ukraine govt employees and no pensions. It’s delicate for the US because “Joe Biden” has declared our country won’t negotiate over Ukraine, despite the fact that there is nothing else to do now, or the end of the war will be negotiated without us. And remember, not many days ago Mr. Putin told Tucker Carlson that he was ready to talk to anybody. What this will demonstrate is that America has neither the ability to continue its proxy war nor the will or sense to engage in peace talks — all due to “Joe Biden’s” abject intransigence, and not a good look for someone pretending to run for re-election.

It’s delicate for Russia because such a humiliating loss for America could provoke “JB” and his NATO allies to some reckless and foolish act, say, sending NATO members’ ground troops directly into battle or a missile strike on Russian territory, setting off nuclear war. At the very least, the situation has already prompted the US government propaganda machine to kick-start Russia Russia Russia 3.0, the threadbare narrative that has been the accelerant of Democratic Party hallucinations about Russia interfering in US elections since 2016 — when it has actually been US spooks collaborating with a motley assortment of Ukrainian stooges, plus Marc Elias’s lawfare corps, plus the Intel Blob coercing social media to work its will. The majority of the voters don’t seem receptive to a replay of this scam but the US government is at war with those voters, so anything goes in the struggle to retain power.

While we await news out of those peace talks, a political firestorm rages around illegal immigrants from all over the world swarming across the US border. Nothing about that seems even remotely comprehensible, let alone defensible, anymore, as women fall prey to rape and murder by mutts released on-purpose into the US population, and cities groan under the financial burden of housing and supporting them. And so, it looks like the person directly responsible, Alejandro Mayorkas, might be riding his House impeachment bill into a senate trial — another bad look for the Democratic Party (of Chaos) going into the heart of election season.

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“..a particular type of paradoxical impulse that arises during times of momentous change..”

The West Is Willing To Destroy Its Financial System To Punish Russia (RT)

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has become the latest to add her voice to the growing chorus of Western officials calling for the seizure of Russia’s $300 billion in frozen foreign-exchange reserves for the benefit of Ukraine. This comes after UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak penned an op-ed over the weekend in which he called for the West to be “bolder” in moving toward confiscating the assets. Notwithstanding the reticence being displayed in some quarters of Europe and various admonitions that such an action would be both blatantly illegal and also detrimental to the integrity of the financial system, the idea seems to be taking on a momentum of its own, particularly in Washington and London. What we are seeing is a vivid example of the type of thinking that places perceived short-term gains ahead of a commitment to preserve the integrity of an institution that derives its potency precisely from widespread confidence in that integrity.

It is also, as we will see, a manifestation of a particular type of paradoxical impulse that arises during times of momentous change. In this case, the institution in question is the Western-led global financial system, at the very heart of which is the US dollar. Outright confiscation of the Russian central bank reserves that have been immobilized since shortly after the Ukraine conflict began in February 2022 would deliver another jolting blow to the credibility of this system. Even as most of the assets are actually held in Europe, there would be no confusion about who was calling the shots and whose credibility is on the line. Of course, views differ about how much integrity the dollar-centric system ever had, and certainly the entire Bretton Woods framework established in the waning days of World War II very much served the interests of the victorious Americans.

But it cannot be disputed that for decades the dollar was widely viewed across the geopolitical spectrum as not just a market-determined reference point and currency for trade but as a safe store of value. As trade became increasingly liberalized, assumptions about a safe and dependable dollar system were built into all manner of economic and trade policies. Such assumptions became part of the very fabric of the global financial system. Where risks related to the dollar were understood to exist, they were largely seen as lying in the realm of interest-rate policy – in other words, these were market risks rather than risks inherent to the system itself. A series of emerging-market crises in the 1980s and ‘90s left many countries chastened about the perils of excessive dollar debt and the dangers that US interest-rate hikes can unleash.

But one of the conclusions that many countries drew from these episodes was the necessity of holding greater dollar reserves as a bulwark against shocks. Between 2000 and 2005, right on the heels of two decades of crises often triggered by rising dollar interest rates, emerging markets actually accumulated dollar reserves at a record pace of about $250 billion per annum, or 3.5% of GDP – a level five times higher than in the early 1990s. In other words, countries responded to shocks emanating from the dollar realm by increasing holdings of dollars. This only underscores the nature of how dollar-related risk was perceived at the time. It simply didn’t occur to anybody that greater exposure to the dollar was itself a risk. The idea that hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of reserves could simply be confiscated if a country found itself at odds with the overseers of the system didn’t factor into any of the equations.

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“This legal basis must be accepted not only by the European countries, not only by the G7 countries, but by all the member states of the world community..”

Biden Wants To Give Russian Central Bank Funds To Ukraine, France Resists (ZH)

President Biden wants the G7 countries to develop a plan to eventually have Russia’s frozen sovereign assets handed over Ukraine in order to support the war effort, Bloomberg has reported. Bloomberg’s source have also said the US president has privately warned allies that Ukraine’s collapse, and a Russian victory, would signify the international order is effectively destroyed for at least the next half-century. “G-7 officials have been discussing options to use the $280 billion of immobilized Russian Central Bank assets, including using the money as collateral to raise debt or issuing guarantees against the frozen funds, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity,” according to the report. Biden reportedly wants a firm plan proposed by the time of the Italy G7 summit in June. The US has been working behind the scenes to build consensus. The UK and Canada are reportedly on board, but not Germany and France.

Earlier this week France firmly voiced its rejection of seizing the frozen Russian bank funds. “We don’t think this legal basis is sufficient,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said after the G7 finance ministers meeting in Brazil on Wednesday. “This legal basis must be accepted not only by the European countries, not only by the G7 countries, but by all the member states of the world community, and I mean by all the member states of the G20. We should not add any kind of division among the G20 countries.” Opponents, including of course Russian officials themselves, have highlighted that such a act would be outright and brazen theft. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has warned in response, “We have ways to respond. We have also frozen sufficient volumes of financial assets and investments of foreign investors in our securities, all of which transfers we carry out for the owners of our securities.”

Europe has to agree to any US push to freeze banks funds, since the bulk of Russia’s money – about $200 billion – is being held by European banks. In such a scenario Moscow may consider the ‘theft’ to be tantamount to an act of war. Still, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was undeterred when she was in Brazil this week. “It is necessary and urgent for our coalition to find a way to unlock the value of these immobilized assets to support Ukraine’s continued resistance and long-term reconstruction,” she had said from Sao Paulo, speaking to 20 finance ministers and central bank governors. “I believe there is a strong international law, economic, and moral case for moving forward. This would be a decisive response to Russia’s unprecedented threat to global stability,” she added.

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“..the Collective West has been isolated by the Global Rest. “Global Rest”, incidentally, is a misnomer: Global Majority is the name of the game.”

The Global South Converges to Multipolar Moscow (Pepe Escobar)

These have been frantic multipolar days at the capital of the multipolar world. I had the honor to personally tell Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that virtually the whole Global South seemed to be represented in an auditorium of the Lomonosov innovation cluster on a Monday afternoon – a sort of informal UN and in several aspects way more effective when it comes to respecting the UN charter. His eyes gleamed. Lavrov, more than most, understands the true power of the Global Majority. Moscow hosted a back-to-back multipolar conference plus the second meeting of the International Russophiles Movement (MIR, in its French acronym, which means “world” in Russian). Taken together, the discussions and networking have offered auspicious hints on the building of a truly representative international order – away from the agenda-imposed doom and gloom of single unipolar culture and Forever Wars.

The opening plenary session in the first day fell under the star power of Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova – whose main message was crystal clear: “There can’t be freedom without free will”, which could easily become the new collective Global South motto. “Civilization-states” set the tone of the overall discussion – as they are meticulously designing the blueprints of economic, technological and cultural development in the post-Western hegemonic world. Professor of International Relations Zhang Weiwei at Fudan University’s China Institute in Shanghai summarized the four crucial points when it comes to Beijing propelling its role as a “new independent pole.” That reads like a concise marker of where we are now: 1/ Under the unipolar order, everything from dollars to computer chips can be weaponized. Wars and color revolutions are the norm. 2/ China has become the largest economy in the world by PPP; the largest trade and industrial economy; and it is currently at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 3/ China proposes a model of “Unite and Prosper” instead of a Western model of “Divide and Rule”. 4/ The West tried to isolate Russia, but the Global Majority sympathizes with Russia. Thus, the Collective West has been isolated by the Global Rest.

“Global Rest”, incidentally, is a misnomer: Global Majority is the name of the game. The same applies to “golden billion”; those that profit from the unipolar moment, mostly across the collective West and as comprador elites in the satraps, are at best 200 million or so. Monday afternoon in Moscow featured three parallel sessions: on China and the multipolar world, where the star was Professor Weiwei; on the post-hegemony West, under the title “Is it possible to save the European civilization?” – attended by several dissident Europeans, academics, think tankers, activists; and the main treat – featuring the frontline actors of multipolarity.I had the honor to moderate the awesome Global South session, which ran for over three hours – it could have been the whole day, actually – and featured several stunning presentations by a stellar cast of Africans, Latin Americans and Asians, from Palestine to Venezuela, including Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla. That was the multipolar Global South in full flight – as my imperative was to open the floor to as many people as possible. Were the organizers to release a Greatest Hits of the presentations, that could easily become a global hit.

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“She’s not building a big movement. What she’s doing is lying in wait and hoping for disaster.”

Haley: Nominating Trump Means ‘Suicide for Our Country’ (RCP)

As Nikki Haley stubbornly clings to life ahead of Super Tuesday, warning that nominating Donald Trump for president a third time would mean “suicide for our country,” some of her closest supporters take solace in the fact that the future is unknowable. Perhaps there is a “fatal landmine” that the former president “could step on at any minute” or a lurking controversy that could “land him deep in the bottom of a well,” speculated Michigan State Rep. Mark Tisdal, who served on Haley’s leadership team for that state. “She is an alternative,” added Utah state Sen. Todd Weiler, who campaigned with Haley earlier this week, “and nobody knows what the future holds with the lawsuits and the age of both of our leading candidates.” Such are the unrealized hopes of the anti-Trump coalition. He will turn 78 in June, just three years younger than President Biden. He faces 91 felony counts in total among his four criminal indictments.

He has swept the first six nominating contests regardless. And Trump has yet to trip into a proverbial well or stumble onto any of the aforementioned landmines. During the primary, that is. Haley has urged the GOP to look to November from the beginning, offering up a well-worn rebuttal to the chorus of party members calling on her to exit. Now she has some data to make that case: “He lost 40% of the primary vote in all of the early states.” An accountant before politics, Haley points to the percentages in her favor as evidence of Trump’s weakness. In Minnesota Monday, she told a crowd, “You can’t win the general election if you can’t win that 40%.” Of course, unless the arithmetic changes in a hurry, Haley can’t win a primary with those numbers, either. As one prominent GOP operative put it to RealClearPolitics, requesting anonymity to speak frankly, “She’s not building a big movement. What she’s doing is lying in wait and hoping for disaster.”

Her campaign rejects outright any suggestion that Haley is waiting for catastrophe, legal or otherwise, to fall on Trump. They point to her dogged cross-country schedule and her seven-figure national ad campaign as evidence she hasn’t adopted a rear-guard strategy. They say Haley plans to win. “There’s a lot at stake this election. Nikki is fighting for the future of the Republican Party and long-standing conservative principles like fiscal discipline and a strong national security,” said spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas. “If we don’t right the ship, Republicans are going to keep losing and that means Democrats and the far left will keep winning.” The substance of Haley’s fight has earned her comparisons to once-beloved Republican presidents. “She certainly represents the values and principal policy positions of a Reagan-Bush coalition,” said GOP strategist Whit Ayers.

But unless things change in a hurry, her campaign could be compared to also-rans such as Pat Buchanan in 1992 and Steve Forbes in 1996, said Ayers, who noted that “there are a lot of people who’ve run for reasons other than simply winning the nomination.” Writing in Politico, conservative columnist Henry Olsen speculated about one of those potential reasons to stay in the race. The more delegates Haley wins, the more influence she will have at the Republican National Convention “to get concessions from Trump on things she cares about, such as U.S. support for NATO.” Speculation is in season, and more than one pundit has already written the Haley obituary. For her part, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations sticks to her argument that if Republicans nominate her old boss, “we will lose. It is that simple.” She brought this message with her to Utah, where the Republican governor, Spencer Cox, argued that if his party nominates Haley, “or literally anyone else, we would win by 10 to 14 points.”

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“..the company ignored its own ban on the use of its technology for “military and warfare” purposes and partnered up with the Pentagon..”

Musk Sues ChatGPT Maker Over AI Threat (RT)

US billionaire Elon Musk has taken OpenAI, the artificial intelligence research company he once helped to found, to court over an alleged breach of its original mission to develop AI technology not for profit but for the benefit of humanity. OpenAI, founded in 2015 as a non-profit research lab to develop an open-source Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), has now become a “closed-source de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company in the world,” Musk’s legal team wrote in the suit filed on Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court. The lawsuit claimed that Musk “has long recognized that AGI poses a grave threat to humanity – perhaps the greatest existential threat we face today.” “But where some like Mr. Musk see an existential threat in AGI, others see AGI as a source of profit and power,” it added.

“Under its new board, it is not just developing but is actually refining an AGI to maximize profits for Microsoft, rather than for the benefit of humanity.” Musk left the OpenAI board of directors in 2018 and has since grown critical of the firm, especially after Microsoft invested at least $13 billion to obtain a 49% stake in a for-profit branch of OpenAI. “Contrary to the founding agreement, defendants have chosen to use GPT-4 not for the benefit of humanity, but as proprietary technology to maximize profits for literally the largest company in the world,” the suit read. The lawsuit listed OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman and president Gregory Brockman as co-defendants in the case, and called for an injunction to block Microsoft from commercializing the tech.

AI technology has improved at a rapid pace over the last two years, with OpenAI’s GPT language model going from powering a chatbot program in late 2022 to performing in the 90th percentile on SAT exams just four months later. More than 1,100 researchers, tech luminaries and futurists argued last year that the AI race poses “profound risks to society and humanity.” Even Altman himself has previously acknowledged that he is “a little bit scared” of the technology’s potential, and barred customers from using OpenAI to “develop or use weapons.” However, the company ignored its own ban on the use of its technology for “military and warfare” purposes and partnered up with the Pentagon, announcing in January that it was working on several artificial intelligence projects with the US military.

https://twitter.com/MarioNawfal/status/1763471083838033941

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Sounds interesting, but I don’t quite know what to make of it.

“MASSIVE WIN FOR TRUMP IN PA! Greg Stenstrom and Leah Hoopes won their legal case in Pennsylvania with co-Defendant @realDonaldTrump and can now say there WAS ELECTION FRAUD in 2020. This is big and may reverse not just #J6 and show the intelligence agencies at fault but actually also show Pfizer and all those who failed to sign oaths of office at fault for Pfizer damage and lack of clinical efficacy docuements. STAY TUNED. THINGS ARE DEVELOPING FAST”

The Truth is a Complete Defense (PO)

WE WON. “NO MAS!” The Truth is a Complete Defense. Our defamation suit in which we were codefendants with President Trump is over, with the exception of a motion for sanctions that we expect will still be heard tomorrow morning in Philadelphia. Plaintiff Savage and attorney J. Conor Corcoran have withdrawn their complaints less than 24 hours before they were scheduled to appear in Court with Leah Hoopes and myself to consider Motion for Summary Judgement in our Favor for our “truth is a complete defense” and our Motion for Sanctions against Savage and Corcoran. As those of you who have been following along know, we have submitted a large volume of filings with the Court in preparation for tomorrows hearing, and a discovery hearing that was scheduled for 25MAR2024, and were beating them to a pulp.

We have also filed similar Motions to Dismiss and for Sanctions against Delaware County and attorneys from Duane Morris LLP and are beating their brains in there too. Duane Morris officially withdrew as attorneys this week for Newsmax in other litigation that we called out in our motions as conflicts and criminal collusion. To our knowledge, this is the only case against President Trump and Rudy Giuliani in the country (in which we were codefendants with them) that they have won, and credit where credit is due, Leah and I did all the heavy lifting. Expect more “wins” in the near future in our march to show that the November 2020 election was stolen and to restore election integrity and transparency in PA. We’re going after Shapiro hard and not going to quit until they all say “No Mas.” Semper Fi.

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Seal safe

 

 

Martis

 

 

Great white

 

 

Lions
https://twitter.com/i/status/1763621701726720013

 

 

 

 

Billy Crystal

 

 

Keef

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 272023
 


Gustave Dore Dante and the Angel of the Church before the Door of Purgatory 1868

 

‘US In Conflict With Itself’ – Medvedev (RT)
Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Has Failed – It’s Time to Reevaluate (Greenwald)
Biden Staffers Met With Special Counsel Aides Before Trump Indictment (NYP)
The House Has No Alternative to an Impeachment Inquiry into Joe Biden (Turley)
Fired Ukraine Prosecutor Corroborates Biden Corruption (ZH)
World Laughing At EU Over Russia Sanctions – Hungary (RT)
Tucker Carlson Blasts ‘Creep’ US Ambassador To Hungary (RT)
No, Biden Can’t Wage Forever War in Ukraine (Sp.)
Biden Administration Sought Control Over TikTok (RT)
Prigozhin, Putin, and What Next? (VandenHeuvel)
I Just Want To Sell Titty Pictures (ZH)

 

 

 

 

VDH

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

“Such domestic conflicts often end with a civil war.”

“Biden’s resolve to aid Kiev against Russia has made him “a hostage of Ukraine, which is very sad for both Ukraine and the US..”

‘US In Conflict With Itself’ – Medvedev (RT)

The highly toxic political climate in the US feels like the confrontation between Democrats and Republicans can spiral into a full-blown civil war, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has said. Speaking to RT and news agency TASS on Saturday, Medvedev said that there was “a colossal rift between the elites” in the US. “It’s a clash between the conservative Republican establishment and the liberal segment, represented by the Democratic Party, which has actually torn America apart.” “America is currently in a state of internal strife. America is conflicting with itself,” Medvedev, who is currently the deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council, argued. “Moreover, in my view, this strife is irreconcilable in some aspects. Such domestic conflicts often end with a civil war.”

“I don’t know what will happen in the US, but the level of the conflict right now is [high],” the Russian politician noted. To illustrate his point, Medvedev brought up the ongoing criminal prosecution of ex-president Donald Trump, who is seeking the Republican Party nomination to run against incumbent Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election. Medvedev claimed that the charges against Trump were brought “not for the sake of justice, but to prevent Trump from participating in the new election.” Asked whether there were similarities between the administration of Barack Obama and the Biden White House in terms of dealing with conflicts, Medvedev said that there was more “pragmatism” during the Obama years.

He went on to argue that Biden has been more “involved mentally, politically and economically” in Ukraine, which had “tied up his hands.” Biden’s resolve to aid Kiev against Russia has made him “a hostage of Ukraine, which is very sad for both Ukraine and the US,”Medvedev said. Trump is facing a litany of criminal charges, including for allegedly mishandling classified documents and attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. On Saturday, he was booked at a Georgia jail and released on bail, becoming the first US leader to have a mugshot taken.

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“..the war in Ukraine is following exactly the same pattern as every other U.S. war fought over the last 50 years.”

Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Has Failed – It’s Time to Reevaluate (Greenwald)

There is no question that the war in Ukraine has radically changed. Even Western media outlets that have been steadfastly cheerleading for this war – and, indeed, even Ukrainians themselves – are now admitting what battlefield realities dispositively prove. The much-vaunted Ukrainian counter-offensive – the imminent dramatic event we were assured for months would be transformative in finally giving Ukraine the upper hand and dislodging entrenched Russian positions inside Ukraine: a claim that doubled as a propaganda tool to assuage a growingly restless Western population about their endless support for this war – is now, no matter how you slice it, a failure.

After months of multi-pronged attacks, Ukraine’s gains are so minimal and trivial as to be barely worth noting. Russia continues to occupy a very significant chunk of both Eastern and southern Ukraine, along with Crimea which they have held since 2014. Even Western intelligence reports acknowledge that the Russians’ defensive positions are more fortified and entrenched than any seen in decades. The U.S. has already depleted its own stockpiles of artillery and other vital weapons and simply does not have to give Ukraine what they need to have any hope of changing this situation in anything resembling the near- or the short-term future.

What makes all of this vastly worse is that the cost to Ukrainians in their lives is staggeringly high. Consider just this one harrowing data point: more Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the first 18 months of this war than the number of American soldiers killed during the decade-plus war in Vietnam. The Ukrainian men who were eager to fight and who volunteered to do so have long ago been used up – killed, maimed, or exhausted. Zelensky’s only option for continuing combat is to increase domestic repression, impose greater and greater punishment for desertion, and use harsher and harsher means to force those unwilling to fight to do so against their will. In so many ways, this conflict resembles some of the worst horrors of World War I, including the need to put unwilling men who do not want to fight the deeply grim choice of either offering themselves up as cannon fodder or facing unimaginably harsh punishments by a government completely unconstrained by basic considerations of human rights or legal process, operating under full-scale martial law.

At this point, debates over who is to blame for this war barely matter. All that does matter is the question of how this will end, and who will end it. It is simply becoming unsustainable – politically, economically, and morally – to justify having Western nations pour their resources into fueling and continuing this war that Ukraine has less and less chance of winning. At the start of the war, many who claim that the real goal of the US was not to save Ukraine and Ukrainians but rather to destroy them – at the altar of their geostrategic goal of weakening Russia – were accused of being callous and conspiratorial. Now, there is little reasonable space to contest that they were right all along.

Joe Biden just asked for another $25 billion to keep this war going – as he offered $700 checks per household to the victims of the Maui fire and as profits for the European arms industry reach such record heights that they do not even bother to conceal their glee. Even if you were someone who supported the US role in Ukraine back in February of 2022 with the best of intentions – namely, you wanted to help a country seeing to avoid Russian domination – the failed nature of this mission has to compel a re-evaluation of perspective and policy. The last thing this war is doing is protecting Ukraine and Ukrainians. It is destroying both of those while imposing suffering among everyone in the U.S. and Western countries other than a tiny sliver of arms dealers and intelligence agencies. In other words, the war in Ukraine is following exactly the same pattern as every other U.S. war fought over the last 50 years.

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“..they have trashed every ethical rule that exists and they have created a state police. It is a Biden state prosecutor and a Biden state police..”

Biden Staffers Met With Special Counsel Aides Before Trump Indictment (NYP)

The White House counsel’s office met with a top aide to Special Counsel Jack Smith just weeks before he brought charges against former President Trump for allegedly mishandling classified documents — raising serious concerns about coordinated legal efforts aimed at President Biden’s likely opponent in 2024. Jay Bratt, who joined the special counsel team in November 2022, shortly after it was formed, took a meeting in the White House on March 31, 2023, with Caroline Saba, deputy chief of staff for the White House counsel’s office, White House visitor logs show. They were joined in the 10 a.m. meeting by Danielle Ray, an FBI agent in the Washington field office. Nine weeks later, Trump was indicted by Smith’s office on June 8, 2023.

Bratt, 63, also met with Saba at the White House in November 2021, when Trump was mired in negotiations with the National Archives, who were demanding the return of presidential records from his Mar-a-Lago estate before a formal investigation had not yet been opened. Saba, who is not an attorney, left the White House in May to attend law school. Bratt had a third meeting in the White House in September 2021, this time with Katherine Reily, an advisor to the White House chief of staff’s office. The logs offer no information about what was discussed at the meetings. Critics and legal experts questioned why Bratt was taking meetings at all with the White House counsel’s office while part of an active investigation into President Biden’s likely 2024 Republican opponent.

“There is no legitimate purpose for a line [DOJ] guy to be meeting with the White House except if it’s coordinated by the highest levels,” said former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a one-time top federal prosecutor in the Southern District. Caroline Saba, a deputy chief of staff for the White House counsel’s office, met with Jay Bratt at the White House, records show. When asked if he believed the White House and special counsel were coordinating the prosecution of Trump, Giuliani said: “You’re damn right I do.” “What’s happening is they have trashed every ethical rule that exists and they have created a state police. It is a Biden state prosecutor and a Biden state police,” he continued.

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“While Garland seems incapable of imagining any crime involving the president, he has made a conclusive — if unintended — case for an impeachment inquiry.“

The House Has No Alternative to an Impeachment Inquiry into Joe Biden (Turley)

House Republicans had previously demanded that Weiss and his team answer questions about the investigation and the plea bargain. And an appearance before a House committee was planned when Garland suddenly preempted that by doing what many of us have demanded for years: He appointed a special counsel. To the amazement of many, though, he appointed the one prosecutor who should have been categorically excluded — David Weiss. Section 600.3 of the DOJ’s code on special counsels requires an appointment from outside the Justice Department, for obvious reasons. While another prior special counsel, John Durham, also came from within the Justice Department, Durham was retiring from the department at the time of his appointment.

Not only did Garland have to ignore his own regulations to appoint Weiss but he also had to ignore the main qualification: The appointed outside counsel should be someone with “a reputation for integrity and impartial decision-making.” Weiss could well have a legitimate defense to Republican complaints that he ran a fixed investigation into Hunter or accusations that he made false statements to his own team. However, he clearly remains under suspicion by many people. That is reflected in an ABC News/Ipsos poll in which almost half of Americans lack trust that the DOJ will conduct the Hunter Biden investigation in a “fair and nonpartisan manner.” In addition to this controversial appointment, Garland again refused to expressly extend the special counsel’s mandate to include influence-peddling allegations involving President Biden.

Even some liberal pundits are mystified by these moves and why Garland would not simply appoint someone in compliance with the regulations who could guarantee a new and full investigation. So Weiss is now investigating crimes that continue to dwindle in number due to the long delays in prosecution. It is like waiting for winter to go goose hunting in Canada, long after the geese have flown South. Everyone just gets dressed up and fires aimlessly into an empty sky. While Hunter still can be charged on the same meager grounds (and possibly the addition of a Foreign Agents Registration Act charge), the alleged fix remains in the Biden investigation. Now, however, Congress will have a more difficult time getting answers out of Weiss because he can claim he is engaged in an ongoing special counsel investigation, and he can use the eventual special counsel report as much to defend his own actions as to detail any potential crimes.

At the same time, the Biden administration still is resisting the sharing of information with the House, including records held by the National Archives. For months, I have discussed a potential impeachment of the president with Republican House members and have encouraged them not to repeat the abuses of House Democrats in the use of “snap impeachments” and the discarding of fact hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. Garland, however, has effectively forced their hands. While Garland seems incapable of imagining any crime involving the president, he has made a conclusive — if unintended — case for an impeachment inquiry.

With the investigative impediments created by the Weiss appointment and by Garland’s refusal to expressly extend the special counsel’s mandate to the allegations of Biden family influence-peddling, there is little choice but to commence an impeachment inquiry. The authority of the House is at its apex when carrying out its duties under the impeachment clause. Whatever interest — or ability — remains to prosecute Hunter Biden, Congress has a separate duty to confirm any high crimes and misdemeanors committed by President Biden. Indeed, the Democrats themselves established precedent for carrying out retroactive impeachments for prior offices, including any which may have occurred when Biden was vice president. With the current state of the Hunter Biden investigation and the baffling conduct of Attorney General Garland, there is no alternative for the House but to launch the impeachment inquiry.

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“The fact that Joe Biden gave away $1 billion in U.S. money in exchange for my dismissal – my firing – isn’t that alone a case of corruption?”

Fired Ukraine Prosecutor Corroborates Biden Corruption (ZH)

Victor Shokin, the fired Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Biden family corruption (that Donald Trump was impeached for asking about) has spoken out for the first time since 2019 – and says the Bidens did it. To review – Shokin had an active and ongoing investigation into Ukrainian energy company Burisma and its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, according to a 2020 US Senate Committee report. Zlochevsky, who hired Hunter Biden to sit on his board, granted his own company (Burisma) permits to drill for oil and gas in Ukraine while he was Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources. Shokin stated in a 2019 deposition that there were five criminal cases against Zlochevesky, including money laundering, corruption, illegal funds transfers, and profiteering through shell corporations while he was a sitting minister.

Now, Shokin tells Fox News that be believes the Bidens were taking bribes. “I do not want to deal in unproven facts. But my firm personal conviction is that yes, this was the case. They were being bribed,” Shokin told the outlet. “The fact that Joe Biden gave away $1 billion in U.S. money in exchange for my dismissal – my firing – isn’t that alone a case of corruption?” he asks in another clip. The full interview with Shokin will air Saturday evening at 8pm ET with Brian Kilmeade. According to the White House, Fox News is giving a “platform to lies” by airing the interview. Republicans, meanwhile, aren’t letting this one go. Earlier this week we noted that memos obtained by Just the News via FOIA request reveal that the Obama Administration was still actively communicating with Shokin after Biden’s December 2015 threat to withhold $1 billion in US aid unless then-President Petro Poroshenko fired him.

The memos reveal: • Senior State Department officials sent a conflicting message to Shokin before he was fired, inviting his staff to Washington for a January 2016 strategy session and sent him a personal note saying they were “impressed” with his office’s work. • U.S. officials faced pressure from Burisma emissaries in the United States to make the corruption allegations go away and feared the energy firm had made two bribery payments in Ukraine as part of an effort to get cases settled. • A top U.S. official in Kyiv blamed Hunter Biden for undercutting U.S. anticorruption policy in Ukraine through his dealings with Burisma. Meanwhile, nobody else seems interested in what Shokin has to say.

Shokin

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“..we are literally destroying Europe.”

World Laughing At EU Over Russia Sanctions – Hungary (RT)

Europe is “destroying” itself in the name of supporting Ukraine, and the EU’s sanctions policy is a laughing stock on the global stage, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has declared. He repeated his government’s position that the conflict in Ukraine “must end this minute.” It would be a “baroque and poetic exaggeration” to say that sanctions against Russia have succeeded in crippling the Russian economy, Szijjarto told attendees at the Tranzit political festival on Saturday. “The policy of sanctions has failed,” he said, adding that “everywhere in the world, the European sanctions policy is being laughed at.” The EU has imposed 11 successive rounds of sanctions on Russia since Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine last February. While the EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, claimed on Saturday that the sanctions are “producing hard, tangible effects across Russia’s economy,” the IMF has forecast that the Russian economy will continue to grow by 0.7% this year and 1.3% in 2024.

By contrast, the Eurozone entered recession earlier this year after the bloc voluntarily cut itself off from Russia, its largest foreign energy supplier. With the energy crunch crippling German industrial output in particular, Russia overtook Germany as the world’s fifth-largest economy last year, according to the World Bank. European leaders have embraced these self-harming sanctions because they “are in a war psychosis,” Szijjarto said, adding that EU military aid to Kiev is also directly threatening security on the continent. “The USA has pushed Europe into the competition of who will help Ukraine and how much: a military aid competition,” he said, lamenting that European politicians “accepted this provocation” even though “we are literally destroying Europe.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has refused to allow Western weapons to enter Ukraine via Hungarian territory, and Szijjarto has repeatedly voted in Brussels against increasing the EU’s arms fund for Kiev. Although Hungary is a party to all of the EU’s sanctions packages, Orban has managed to carve out exemptions for Hungary to continue oil and nuclear fuel imports from Russia in exchange for supporting these measures. Orban and Szijjarto have both repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, arguing that Kiev cannot hope to defeat Russia on the battlefield, and that the longer the conflict persists, the greater the risk of escalation, and the worse the final terms will be for Ukraine. “The only morally tenable position is [that] the war must end this minute,” he said on Saturday.

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“It’s a Christian country, and they hate that. That is enough to incite our policymakers in the United States. That’s exactly why they hate Russia, by the way.”

Tucker Carlson Blasts ‘Creep’ US Ambassador To Hungary (RT)

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has called for the firing of US Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman, saying the diplomat has undermined the interests of Americans by trying to impose an LGBTQ agenda rather than building stronger relations with Budapest. Speaking at an event earlier this week in Budapest, Carlson said he was compelled to apologize for the treatment of Hungary by President Joe Biden’s administration. “The world is realigning at high speed and turning against the United States, but the Biden administration is spending its time harassing one of our last sincere allies in Europe, Hungary, for the crime of being too Christian,” he said. Carlson claimed that Biden administration officials hate Hungary, just as they hate Russia, for defending Christian values.

Pressman, a California-born lawyer who formerly worked as an aide to then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, has harangued Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government for policies restricting promotion of LGBTQ lifestyles. “For a creep like David Pressman . . . to show up in your country and lecture you about your culture – and threaten you because you do things differently from the way they do things where he lives – hurts the United States and is a grave embarrassment to me as an American and an outrage to me as someone who pays his salary,” Carlson said. “It’s disgusting.” He added, “I’m embarrassed that I share a country of birth with a man, with a villain like this. It’s horrifying.” Carlson argued that Pressman works on behalf of special interests, rather than the American people.

He added, “They hate Hungary, and they hate it not because of what it’s done but because of what it is. It’s a Christian country, and they hate that. That is enough to incite our policymakers in the United States. That’s exactly why they hate Russia, by the way.” He suggested that Hungarians “wait it out” because the US is on an unsustainable political path. “You can’t run a global empire on the imposition of boutique sexual politics on countries that don’t want them.” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto rebuked Pressman in February for allegedly meddling in Budapest’s internal affairs. The US ambassador had accused Hungarian leaders of pushing policies endorsed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Szijjarto declared that the era of foreign envoys telling Hungarians how to live was over.

Carlson likened Pressman’s behavior to the dictates of the Soviet Union, saying the Biden administration was engaged in “exactly the same kind of tyranny.” He added that just as the Soviets imposed their ideology, Washington demands that you “worship transvestites. It’s not so different. It’s a foreign power pushing its weird boutique religion on you, and it’s wrong.” Formerly host of the most highly rated cable news show in US history, Carlson now attracts an even larger audience on his X (formerly known as Twitter) channel. Major US media outlets have lied about the Russia-Ukraine crisis to the extent that most Americans falsely believe that Kiev is winning the conflict, he added. “It’s embarrassing to be from a place that has been lied to at scale and believed the lies so thoroughly.”

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“..the territorial gains of Ukraine’s much vaunted counteroffensive have been so miniscule, they are barely visible on a map.”

No, Biden Can’t Wage Forever War in Ukraine (Sp.)

The US mainstream media has hinted at the possibility of a new Ukraine counteroffensive next year. Reportedly, Biden administration officials are privately bracing for a “war of attrition” that will last well into next year. According to The Wall Street Journal, “military strategists and policymakers across the West are already starting to think about next year’s spring offensive” while preparing for a protracted conflict. Having analyzed the publications, one DC-based think tank, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, has raised the question whether the White House is going to unleash a new “forever war” in Ukraine. “I do not believe the US and NATO have sufficient weapons and ammunitions to help Ukraine fight Russia until next spring and beyond,” David T. Pyne, an EMP Task Force scholar and former US Department of Defense officer, told Sputnik.

“Credible US media reports earlier this year stated that the Biden administration had informed the Ukrainian government that it lacked the ability to support Ukraine militarily at a high rate past summer 2023. There is nothing that has been done to increase US munitions or weapons production since those reports came out that would allow the US to arm the Ukrainian military to enable it to fight Russia at the same intensity level beyond that timeframe. The main problem is munitions, specifically heavy artillery shells. This increasing artillery shell shortage will only serve to increase Russian superiority over Ukraine in terms of missiles, rockets, and artillery systems if the war continues beyond September.” The provision of more NATO-grade conventional weapons won’t become a “magic bullet” for Ukraine, either, according to the military analyst.

Pyne takes the reports about planned deliveries of General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons to Kiev and training of Ukrainian pilots undertaken by the US and its NATO allies with a pinch of salt. He believes that the provision of 50-60 early-model F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine is unlikely to make much of a difference in the course of the conflict. “Russia has over fifteen times more fighter aircraft than Ukraine has right now so these additional fighters will not serve to meaningfully diminish Russian air superiority over Ukraine,” Pyne said. “Furthermore, it will take five to eight months to train Ukrainian pilots to fly these F-16 after they have completed English language training, meaning they will not likely see combat until early 2024 at the earliest.”

The military expert noted that US advocates of further weapons supplies to Kiev have been insisting since April 2022 that “if the West just provides with a limited number of additional major weapon systems, then somehow that will enable Ukraine to force Russian troops back to Russia’s pre-2014 borders.” However, all those predictions have proven wrong. “The reality is that there is no conventional weapon system that NATO could provide to Ukraine that would serve as a ‘game changer’ to enable it to defeat Russia which has over five times as many tanks, combat aircraft and artillery systems than Ukraine has. Russia also has 300,000 reserve troops bordering on Kharkov oblast which could be used for a major offensive to surround tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops in southeast Ukraine to force Ukraine to admit defeat and accept a ceasefire and armistice agreement on Russian terms,” Pyne stressed.

What’s more, the Biden administration is going to have a difficult time getting additional aid approved by Congress, according to the former Pentagon officer. “America First conservative Republicans wield substantial influence in the US House of Representatives, and they are very much averse to providing Ukraine with additional assistance of any kind, let alone another $13 billion in direct military assistance. Furthermore, even pro-war congressional Republicans are reportedly questioning the wisdom of providing additional military assistance to Ukraine since the territorial gains of Ukraine’s much vaunted counteroffensive have been so miniscule, they are barely visible on a map.”

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”TikTok has over 150 million American users spending 90 minutes or more on the platform..”

Biden Administration Sought Control Over TikTok (RT)

The Biden administration sought to gain control over nearly every aspect of the inner workings of social media behemoth TikTok as part of negotiations allowing its continued operation in the US, according to a draft agreement obtained by Forbes last week. The agreement, which runs to nearly 100 pages, would reportedly give the White House a level of control over the Chinese-owned platform even greater than that which it was found last year to be exercising over US-based competitors like Facebook and Twitter, allowing government officials to not only monitor and influence the conversation on the platform but also to interfere in the day-to-day operations of TikTok in the US.

Government agencies like the Department of Justice and Department of Defense would have full authority to examine TikTok’s servers, equipment, records, facilities, and other properties, according to the draft. They could also block changes to the app’s US terms of service, privacy policy, and moderation policies and veto the hiring of any individual involved in data security for the US. The agreement would also force TikTok and its parent company ByteDance to submit to outside audits, assessments, code inspections, and cybersecurity checks by supposedly independent entities chosen by the US government. The company would be required to foot the bill for these intrusions.

The platform’s US staff could even have been required to exclude ByteDance’s executives from security-related decisions, instead deferring to an executive security committee whose actions would also be concealed from ByteDance. This committee’s primary responsibility would be maintaining US national security first and TikTok’s profitability second. The draft seen by Forbes, dated last summer, is the product of months of exchanges between ByteDance and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which oversees foreign involvement in business deals that could potentially impact national security and has been investigating ByteDance for four years. TikTok has repeatedly been threatened with a blanket ban or forced sale of its US assets to an American competitor as both President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump claimed the platform is used by Beijing for information warfare.

CFIUS renewed the call for a ban or sale in March after the DOJ launched an investigation into ByteDance employees using TikTok to spy on American journalists. A spokesperson for ByteDance confirmed the surveillance but attributed it to rogue employees who have since been fired. TikTok has over 150 million American users spending 90 minutes or more on the platform. While the company pledged in 2021 to isolate US user data on servers owned by tech giant Oracle to assuage spying concerns, Biden prohibited its use by federal employees in December and dozens of state and city governments have followed suit.

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“He went so far as to declare that it was in fact Russia who militarized Ukraine by launching the invasion..”

Prigozhin, Putin, and What Next? (VandenHeuvel)

A Russian friend texted me soon after learning that the head of Wagner private military company (PMC), Yevgeny Prigozhin, had been killed in a private plane crash, midway between Moscow and his native city of St. Petersburg. My friend had just seen the New York Post headline, “Russian dissident Prigozhin reported dead after a plane crash outside Moscow.” My friend, a longtime independent editor whose paper has published—and protected—dissidents, was apoplectic. “Dissident!?” Between May 2022 and May 2023, the Russian government paid $1 billion to Wagner for military and other services (including inflated catering prices for poorly paid soldiers). Indeed, Putin has said, “We fully funded this group.” (At the time this went to press, Prigozhin’s death had still not been officially confirmed.) If Prigozhin was not already a household name in Russia following the attempted rebellion that The New York Times says exposed him as Putin’s “biggest threat,” he certainly was after his Embraer private jet crashed.

Prigozhin’s Wagner Group operated in several African countries, including the Central African Republic and Sudan, as well as in Syria as of 2015 and in Ukraine since 2014. It captivated governments and media across the globe and made international headlines after having declared a “March on Moscow” to remove what they decried as the incompetent and corrupt Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. Following Wagner’s seizure of a regional military command, the downing of seven Russian aircraft on their way to Moscow, and Putin’s determined speech accusing the mutineers of treason and vowing punishment, the rebellion was halted in dramatic fashion. The charges leveled against Prigozhin and his supporters were dropped following a still unclear agreement ostensibly mediated by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Nevertheless, Prigozhin’s ultimately aborted armed rebellion mesmerized Western audiences who had long believed that Putin’s downfall was just around the corner. The June events followed Wagner’s brutal, yet ultimately successful, tactics in Ukraine–most infamously in the battle of Bakhmut. Although Wagner had initially been seen as subordinate to the Ministry of Defense, Prigozhin increasingly became one of the loudest critics of the Russian invasion from the nationalist right. He demanded more ammunition for his fighters and the intensification of the war effort, and he directly criticized the military leadership–eventually questioning Putin’s justifications for the “special military operation” itself.

During the months-long battle for Bakhmut, commentators had rationalized Prigozhin’s freedom to directly criticize the war’s conduct as due to his being in Russia’s so-called “party of war” camp, which fervently supports the extension of the conflict into a full-scale war. Nevertheless, Prigozhin’s confidence (or desperation) had been visibly increasing in the months prior to the attempted rebellion. He had directly questioned, via his 1,000,000 followers on Telegram, the objectives of the “special military operation,” one of which was to demilitarize Ukraine. Prigozhin remarked how before the full-scale invasion of 2022, Ukraine had “maybe 500 tanks” and “twenty thousand skillful fighters,” but now it had thousands of tanks and hundreds of thousands of skilled fighters. He went so far as to declare that it was in fact Russia who militarized Ukraine by launching the invasion that caused unprecedented military aid to be delivered by the coalition supporting Kyiv. As Anatol Lieven, of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, points out, Putin initially encouraged Wagner as a “rival force” to the professional army, but this ultimately had “damaging results” for his regime.

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Demonetized.

I Just Want To Sell Titty Pictures (ZH)

Sex workers – who frequently face financial discrimination, losing access to payment apps and banking apps such as PayPal, Venmo and CashApp due to their profession – began using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as an alternative for payments, which bypass traditional banking systems and avoid service fees from platforms such as OnlyFans. According to data by the Free Speech Coalition, 2/3 of sex workers have lost access to a bank account or financial service, with 40% having an account closed within the last year, Wired reports. “I just want to sell titty pictures,” said Allie Eve Knox, a professional dominatrix and fetish performer. “I never wanted to be an expert in financial discrimination.” After starting out in sex work in 2014, Knox, like others in the field, has become something of a financial pariah.

The first to ban her were the payment apps—PayPal, Venmo, and CashApp—which prohibit the sale of adult content as policy. But then Knox lost her bank account too. It took a week to recover her money. Nine years on and 30-plus bans later, Knox is jaded: “I don’t want to have to know how to run money to different places. I don’t want to deal with any of this bullshit.” -Wired. Another sex worker, Allie Rae, an ICU worker by training, began posting on OnlyFans when her husband was placed on work furlough. After a short period of time, she was making nearly $500,000 per month more than her day job – but she says she quickly ran into trouble. After her OnlyFans account was discovered by her employer, she was fired. She also found that realtors shunned her, lenders refused to extend a mortgage and accountants ghosted her.

Rae eventually established a corporation to run her business through, however no major bank would open a business account. “Left and right, it’s been a struggle,” she told the outlet. “I was very naive—I didn’t understand the magnitude of the discrimination.” In short, in a world that embraces the gig economy, where YouTubers and Instagram influencers can become millionaires, sex workers have found themselves in a peculiar form of exile. Given the systemic discrimination throughout the banking sector, many sex workers have turned to cryptocurrencies as a means of both storing wealth and accepting payment. For a while, things were great. Digital currencies allowed customers to pay discreetly without supplying personal information, while sex workers now had a way to bypass the banking system entirely.

Knox, for example, began accepting crypto in 2014 – holding up a QR code through which viewers could tip her in crypto. Another sex worker, former escort-turned-porn star Lira Roux, told the outlet that she began to accept crypto in 2015 at the request of clients. Initially, she would exchange the crypto for dollars, however when new laws came into effect – after which many adult-friendly advertising sites were barred from accepting regular money – she began to pay for ads with crypto too. “By and large, crypto is useful for people that aren’t being taken care of properly by the government,” Roux said. “For sex workers, who aren’t well-served by banks, it becomes a useful option.”

Now, thanks to regulatory scrutiny which has gone into overdrive since the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, sex workers are ‘bumping up’ against limitations – and are finding that ‘decentralized’ crypto is no more detached from the banking system than traditional currency – as sex workers are finding it increasingly difficult to convert crypto into dollars. Typically, this is done via an exchange, which then allows one to withdraw to a traditional bank account. Sex workers are now being banned from crypto exchanges. “You get on an exchange for as long as you can, until they shut your ass down,” said Knox. “You quickly [run out of exchanges], so you sit on a lot of useless money. The whole ‘crypto is permissionless and censorship-resistant’ thing is a bunch of bullshit.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Handpan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1695363907282444337

 

 

Polly
https://twitter.com/i/status/1695439851510706578

 

 

 

 

Frederik

 

 

Roar

 

 

Puppies- so cute….
https://twitter.com/i/status/1695328439937429802

 

 


The saiga antelope is a critically endangered antelope that originally inhabited a vast area of the Eurasian steppe zone

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 192023
 


Jusepe de Ribera A philosopher holding a mirror 1630

 

Ukrainian Forces May Be Temporarily Pausing Counteroffensive: ISW (RT)
Ukraine Sustains Massive Single-Day Losses – Russian MOD (RT)
NATO Chief Doesn’t Want ‘Frozen Conflict’ In Ukraine (RT)
Kiev Deploys Significant Military Forces Along Border With Belarus – CIS (TASS)
Russia’s Military Operation Virtually Turns Into Russia-West War – Kremlin (TASS)
Putin Does Not Rule Out That Zaluzhny Could Be Outside Ukraine (TASS)
Kremlin Promises Punishment For Threats To Kill Russians (RT)
‘No Chance’ Of Extending Black Sea Grain Deal – Kremlin (RT)
Obscure Results of Blinken’s Talks in Beijing Suggest Lack of Progress (Sp.)
Will Upcoming NATO Summit Launch Forever War In Europe? (Sacks)
Swedish Parliament Can’t Rule Out Russian Attack (RT)
United Nations Planning Digital ID Linked to Bank Accounts (SLAY)
Obama Calls For ‘Digital Fingerprints’ To Fight “Non-Mainstream News” (TPV)
Gang of Criminals Trying Trump – Paul Craig Roberts (USAW)
America on the Brink by David Ray Griffin (Paul Craig Roberts)
For Father’s Day, Hunter Negotiates 12% For The Big Guy (BBee)

 

 

 

 

McGovern

 

 

The last 10 years of the Donbass War. Watch!
https://twitter.com/i/status/1670402271929069570

 

 

 

 

Barry Joe Don

 

 

RFK Gates
https://twitter.com/i/status/1670407776307224578

 

 

The Peter Hotez vs. RFK Jr Charity Debate Pot Is Now Over $2.62 MILLION!!

But Hotez is just a drug pusher. He won’t debate.

Hotez

 

 

 

 

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has emerged as the no. 1 NATO “think tank”. They claim it’s totally normal to take a break in a mass offensive after 2 weeks, in which no gains have been made.

The WSJ is a tad more realistic but not much: “The Armed Forces of Ukraine have suspended the offensive, summing up the results of the past two weeks and analyzing ways to break through Russian lines without huge losses, writes the WSJ. The Armed Forces of Ukraine faced a serious superiority of the Russian Aerospace Forces in the air. Russian aviation was able to strike at the armored columns of NATO equipment and stopped a number of attacks.

Kyiv “maintains an optimistic tone” and says that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have moved forward on a number of fronts. But these advances “do not pose a direct threat to the main lines of defense of Russia, built in a few months in the Zaporozhye and Donetsk regions,” writes the WSJ.

Ukrainian Forces May Be Temporarily Pausing Counteroffensive: ISW (RT)

Ukrainian forces may be temporarily pausing counteroffensive operations to reevaluate their tactics for future operations, Report informs, citing the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW). “Ukraine has not yet committed the majority of its available forces to counteroffensive operations and has not yet launched its main effort. Operational pauses are a common feature of major offensive undertakings, and this pause does not signify the end of Ukraine’s counteroffensive,” said ISW.

Read more …

Here’s the reality of the offensive:

Ukraine Sustains Massive Single-Day Losses – Russian MOD (RT)

Ukrainian military forces have sustained heavy casualties across frontlines during the past 24-hour period, the Russian Defense Ministry has said. Russia’s Zaporozhye and Donetsk regions have seen the most intense fighting, with Kiev losing more than 800 soldiers there alone. “Over the past day, enemy losses in the Southern Donetsk and Zaporozhye directions amounted to more than 800 Ukrainian servicemen, 20 tanks, four infantry fighting vehicles, [and] 15 armored fighting vehicles,” the military said on Sunday during a daily media briefing, without elaborating on whether its figures for casualties includes those killed and injured or related just to deaths. As well as these setbacks in personnel and equipment, Ukrainian troops also lost two US-made M777 howitzers and several Soviet-made artillery systems, the military added.


The immediate vicinity of Donetsk city has seen intense fighting as well, with Ukrainian forces losing over 200 soldiers on this axis, according to the ministry. The Russian military has destroyed multiple soft and armored vehicles on the outskirts of Donetsk, it also said, as well as two major ammunition stockpiles to the northwest of the city. The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has intensified after Kiev launched its long-heralded counteroffensive in early June. Thus far, the Ukrainian military has failed to make any major gains, sustaining heavy losses in the process and losing large amounts of Western-supplied hardware. According to the estimates of Moscow’s military, some 7,500 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or wounded amid the counteroffensive effort.

Putin Patriots
https://twitter.com/i/status/1670498776593702912

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Stoltenberg wants the slaughter to continue:

NATO Chief Doesn’t Want ‘Frozen Conflict’ In Ukraine (RT)

The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia should not be paused at the current stage, but rather a just solution must be found, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said. He also expressed confidence that Kiev would one day join the US-led military bloc, adding, however, that this was not an immediate priority. In an interview with Germany’s Welt am Sonntag published on Sunday, Stoltenberg argued that, while “we all want this war to end,” only a “just” peace can endure. “Peace cannot mean freezing the conflict and accepting a deal that is dictated by Russia,” he asserted, adding that “only Ukraine can define the conditions that are acceptable.” Stoltenberg called for “credible” security guarantees for Kiev once the conflict is over, “so that Russia cannot rearm and attack again.”

Asked about the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, Stoltenberg predicted that this would happen at some point in the future. However, he said the current priority is ensuring that “Ukraine prevails as a sovereign and independent state.” He also revealed that current member states are planning to adopt an aid package for Kiev during the alliance’s upcoming summit in Vilnius next month. The goal is to help Ukraine bring its military in line with NATO standards over several years, he explained. Last month, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told TASS news agency that Moscow was “in solidarity” with the West to the extent that the conflict in Ukraine cannot be frozen. He said the only option that Moscow is currently considering is “completing the special military operation,” which means securing Russia’s interests and achieving its goals.

Peskov also expressed skepticism over the possibility of peace talks between the two countries at this point. “It is unlikely that we can talk about real negotiations with any of the representatives of the current Kiev authorities, because there [in Ukraine], any negotiations with the Russian Federation are simply prohibited now,” the Kremlin spokesperson explained. In May, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said any peace talks could not aim to freeze the conflict in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Politico, citing anonymous sources, reported that US President Joe Biden’s administration was considering putting the fighting on hold instead of pushing for Ukraine’s victory. Officials in Washington have reportedly envisaged a situation akin to that in existence between North and South Korea.

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Keep an eye on this. And think: what troops?

Kiev Deploys Significant Military Forces Along Border With Belarus – CIS (TASS)

The Ukrainian army has deployed a significant military contingent along the border with Belarus and periodically tries to test the defense capability of the Union State. Head of the second department of the CIS countries at the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexey Polishchuk said it in an interview with TASS. “The information that we have and that has been repeatedly voiced in the statements of officials indicates that the Ukrainian army has indeed deployed significant forces along the Belarusian-Ukrainian border, periodically trying to probe the defense capability of the Union State in one way or another,” Polishchuk said.


The diplomat recalled that under these conditions, since October 2022, additional units of the joint Regional Group of Forces have been deployed in Belarus. “Their task is to serve as a deterrent from invading the territory of the Union State and to minimize the risks of infiltration by sabotage and reconnaissance groups. We proceed from the fact that the Russian and Belarusian means available in the area are sufficient to repel aggression from the territory of Ukraine or neighboring NATO countries,” Polischuk stressed. “We hope that the Kiev regime and their Western curators will have the common sense not to undertake military adventures, the consequences of which for them may be very serious,” he said.

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“cordon sanitaire”

Russia’s Military Operation Virtually Turns Into Russia-West War – Kremlin (TASS)

Russia’s special military operation started to defend the Donbass region and now it has virtually turned into a war with the collective West, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with RT commenting on the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine. “In fact, the special military operation against Ukraine, against the Kiev regime, was launched to ensure the safety of the people of Donbass. This is correct. Now it is practically a war between Moscow and the collective West,” the Kremlin spokesman said.


Recalling Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement about establishing a “cordon sanitaire” on the territory of Ukraine if the shelling of Russian regions continues, Peskov said that as the range of weapons delivered to Ukraine expands, so will the buffer zone, “that is, the distance that we will have to move Ukrainians away from our territories.”

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Of course Putin knows where he is. There was a report in early May that Zaluhzny was gravely injured in a Russian attack, that he would live, but couldn’t re-take command. Since then he’s been missing, and no signal someone else has taken over. This is the Ukrainian Army Commander-in-Chief. Who’s in charge now?

As for the chief of the Ukrainian military’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Kirill Budanov, reports say he died.

Putin Does Not Rule Out That Zaluzhny Could Be Outside Ukraine (TASS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin does not rule out that Ukrainian Army Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny could be abroad, Putin said during a conversation with Russian journalists covering the special military operation in Ukraine. “I know. I think I know,” the president said in response to a question about Zaluzhny’s whereabouts. “I think he is abroad. But I could be wrong,” Putin said.


The media first reported Zaluzhny’s serious injury in May. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry denied the information, but Zaluzhny has not been seen in public for a long time and did not attend a NATO committee meeting at the level of chiefs of staff. Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Director Sergey Naryshkin told reporters earlier that Russia was receiving updates on Zaluzhny’s condition, but wouldn’t disclose any details. Earlier, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar denied speculation that Zaluzhny had been wounded.

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“The members of parliament in those countries, they should understand to whom they are sending their aid – to de-facto murderers; people who declare their intention to kill..”

Kremlin Promises Punishment For Threats To Kill Russians (RT)

Any persons threatening to kill Russians are enemies who should be and will be punished for doing so, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov has warned. On Sunday, Peskov was asked by channel Rossyia 1 to comment on the words of Mikhail Podoliak, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who said last week that Kiev’s long-awaited counteroffensive would be “the most brutal advance with the maximum killing of Russians on this route.” “That’s what our enemies say, and we have to fight them. You can’t threaten the Russians with murder. Russians should punish [them] for this, and we will do so,” the Kremlin spokesperson pointed out. He noted that Podoliak was “not a pioneer” in this regard, as the chief of the Ukrainian military’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Kirill Budanov and members of the country’s Security Council have also “repeatedly talked about their desire to kill as many Russians as possible.”


According to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, the headquarters of GUR in Kiev had been hit by Russian missiles in late May. The Defense Ministry said the successful strike targeted “decision-making centers” in Ukraine “where terrorist attacks on Russian soil were being planned under the guidance of specialists from Western intelligence agencies.” Peskov also said that he wanted the statements about killing Russian citizens made by Podoliak and other Ukrainian officials to be evaluated by Kiev’s foreign backers. “The members of parliament in those countries, they should understand to whom they are sending their aid – to de-facto murderers; people who declare their intention to kill,” he explained.

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A set-up. Russia will be blamed.

‘No Chance’ Of Extending Black Sea Grain Deal – Kremlin (RT)

The deal allowing Ukrainian grain to be exported via the Black Sea has “no chance” of being extended as things stand at the moment, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov has said. Russia has “shown goodwill several times, made concessions” and extended the agreement, but what was promised to Moscow as part of the deal still hasn’t been fulfilled, he said in an interview with Izvestia newspaper on Saturday. “It’s hardly possible to predict some sort of a final decision here, but we can only state that – judging de facto by the status that we now have – this deal has no chance,” Peskov explained. “The deal implies deeds; deeds on the part of the contracting states or organizations. And one part of this deal was done, and the second part, which related to [promises made to] Russia, was never done,” the spokesman claimed.

The deal brokered by the UN and Türkiye was signed in July 2022, providing for the safe shipment of Ukrainian grain though Black Sea corridors in exchange for the US and EU removing obstacles to exports of Russian food products and fertilizers. The West has claimed that it never restricted those items, but Moscow has argued that it still couldn’t supply them to foreign buyers due to shipping, insurance and brokerage sanctions, which were imposed on Moscow over its conflict with Kiev. The initial agreement lasted for 120 days, but was extended several times since then. It’s now set to expire on July 17.

Speaking to a delegation of African leaders in St. Petersburg on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “the supply of Ukrainian grain to world markets doesn’t solve the problems of African countries in need of food.” Despite the West promising that the deal would help the poorest nations, only 3.1% of the shipments of Ukrainian grain have ended up in Africa, with 38.9% of them going to the EU, he explained. Earlier this week, Putin said Moscow “was thinking about exiting this grain deal” because nothing had been done to facilitate Russia’s food and fertilizer exports. He also said safety corridors in the Black Sea had been used by Ukraine to launch naval drones.

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No red carpet. Bloomberg reports this morning that Xi will see him after all.

Obscure Results of Blinken’s Talks in Beijing Suggest Lack of Progress (Sp.)

The ambiguity surrounding the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Beijing and his talks with Chinese officials there suggests that little progress has been made in terms of Washington’s agenda, the US media reports. Antony Blinken arrived in Beijing on June 18 in what became his first visit to China in his current role and also the first US Secretary of State visit to Beijing since 2018. It took the Biden administration almost six months to put this visit back on the schedule as it was originally set for February. Blinken has already met with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who said on Sunday that China-US relations were at their lowest point.

The US media reported on Sunday that the ambiguity following the talks indicates little substantive progress on Blinken’s agenda items, which include concerns over Taiwan, jailed US citizens in China and Beijing’s stance on Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. Blinken and Qin Gang are said to be “inching toward an off-ramp from months of rancor” but Beijing maintains its “stern” stance on key issues.

According to the Monday schedule published by the US State Department, Blinken holds talks with China’s Central Foreign Affairs Office Director Wang Yi on Monday morning. The US State Secretary will then participate in a roundtable with exchange program alumni in Beijing and a separate roundtable with US business leaders. He also plans to meet with employees and families of the US Mission China in Beijing. It is notable, that Blinken’s Monday schedule does not include meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Read more …

“Polish or Ukrainian tails should not wag American dogs into World War III. ”

Will Upcoming NATO Summit Launch Forever War In Europe? (Sacks)

An article in the New York Times on Wednesday claimed that pressure is building on Biden to announce a timetable for Ukrainian membership in NATO at its Vilnius Summit next month. Supposedly Biden is “isolated” among NATO allies in his reluctance to do so, even though that claim is contradicted by the story’s own last paragraph (the one that Noam Chomsky once quipped should be read first), which acknowledges that “others argue more quietly” that NATO membership “could give Mr. Putin more incentive to continue the war, or to escalate it.” Indeed, since Moscow has already declared NATO membership for Ukraine to be completely unacceptable and an existential threat — the prevention of which is one of its chief war aims — a Vilnius Declaration that Ukraine will join NATO when the war ends will effectively ensure that the war goes on forever.

It will also take off the table the West’s central bargaining chip to achieve peace, which is a neutral Ukraine. It’s clear that the “pressure” on Biden is coming from Zelensky and some of the eastern NATO countries, specifically Poland and the Baltic States. Zelensky said two weeks ago that Ukraine would not even attend the Vilnius Summit unless given a firm signal on its eventual membership. Former NATO secretary general Anders Rasmussen, now a consultant to Zelensky, even threatened that “if NATO cannot agree on a clear path forward for Ukraine, there is a clear possibility that some countries individually might take action.” In particular, “the Poles would seriously consider going in,” triggering direct war between NATO and Russia.

The NYT article implies that the current secretary general Jens Stoltenberg agrees with the hardliners on the need for a concrete timetable for Ukraine’s admission into NATO, but he made no such promises during his joint address with President Biden on Tuesday. By Wednesday, Stoltenberg and NATO were making it clear that no specific timeline for Ukraine’s NATO membership would be on the agenda in Vilnius. He reiterated comments from April that “Ukraine’s future is in NATO,” and said there would be agreement from member states on a “multi-year program” to help Ukraine “become fully interoperable with NATO,” but wouldn’t commit to anything more specific than that. Apparently, it’s Zelensky and his allies along the Russian border who are “isolated,” not President Biden. Whatever Stoltenberg’s personal views may be, he knows NATO is divided on the question of admitting Ukraine in the near future.

Even the NYT name-checks three countries – Germany, Hungary, and Turkey – whose leaders would definitely oppose membership at a specific future date. Many more leaders have privately expressed concern, and Biden, to his credit, appears to be one of them. While his overall conduct and rhetoric has been hawkish (and I continue to maintain he could have avoided this war altogether with better diplomacy in the months leading up to it), Biden has been admirably consistent in his desire not to plunge America into direct war with Russia. The threats from Rasmussen underscore how easily a proxy war can turn into a real one in an alliance where all members are pledged to come to the military defense of any one member. The American people may begin to question the wisdom of making new Article 5 guarantees if foreigners like Rassmussen can use existing ones to blackmail the United States into reckless action.

Polish or Ukrainian tails should not wag American dogs into World War III.

Read more …

They smoke good stuff there.

Swedish Parliament Can’t Rule Out Russian Attack (RT)

A Russian attack on Sweden cannot be entirely excluded, Swedish public broadcaster SVT said on Sunday, citing a report prepared by the country’s parliamentary defense committee. “An armed attack against Sweden cannot be ruled out,” the broadcaster cited the document as saying. “Russia has also further lowered its threshold for the use of military force and exhibits a high political and military risk appetite,” the document stated, according to SVT. “Russia’s ability to carry out operations with air forces, naval forces, long-range weapons or nuclear weapons against Sweden remains intact.” The report is due to be presented to the public on Monday. SVT cited an unnamed person who worked on the document as saying that officials intend to send “a clear signal to Russia.”


Last year, Sweden walked away from its long-standing policy of non-alignment and applied to join NATO, citing Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine. The application process has since stalled as Hungary and Türkiye have so far refused to approve the Nordic country’s bid. Sweden announced plans to drastically increase its defense budget earlier this year, and, in April through May, held its largest military exercise in over 25 decades. Stockholm has supplied Kiev with heavy weapons, and pledged to deliver its German-made Leopard 2 tanks and Archer mobile artillery guns. Russia has repeatedly said that military aid to Ukraine makes Western countries de facto direct parties to the conflict. Moscow also stressed that the continuing expansion of NATO would lead to additional escalation, and promised to adopt “countermeasures.”

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We need enough people to say no. Millions. This is just too tempting for the power hungry.

United Nations Planning Digital ID Linked to Bank Accounts (SLAY)

The United Nations (UN) is planning to introduce a global digital ID system that is linked to individuals’ bank accounts. The plan, which is similar to the system developed by the World Economic Forum (WEF), is outlined in three new policy briefs from the UN titled, “A Global Digital Compact, Reforms to the International Financial Architecture, and The Future of Outer Space Governance.” The goal of the briefs is to advance UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s “vision for the future.” Officially titled “Our Common Agenda,” Guterres’ “vision” should be given the green light in September 2024 during an event dubbed, “The Summit for the Future.” From the report:

“Digital IDs linked with bank or mobile money accounts can improve the delivery of social protection coverage and serve to better reach eligible beneficiaries. Digital technologies may help to reduce leakage, errors and costs in the design of social protection programmes.” Not unlike their unofficial counterparts over at the WEF, the UN also speaks about basically regulating the global digital future. The unelected organization uses phrases such as “international cooperation” and “many stakeholders” who will “advance principles, objectives, and actions” to describe this globalist agenda. The UN describes this goal as “an open, free, secure and human-centered digital future.”

The digital future as envisaged by these groups is going to be quite the opposite of open, free, or human-centric, however. As far as the UN’s “vision” for a future global financial system, it is supposed to be harmonized with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It would be governed by something called “the apex body” that is yet to be set up. The key actors here would be the UN chief, as well as the Group of 20, the Economic and Social Council, and “heads of international financial institutions.” Within this, the UN sees “visions” of “a Global Digital Compact.”

Read more …

“Obama infamously won Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” in 2013 by telling Americans, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it..”

Obama Calls For ‘Digital Fingerprints’ To Fight “Non-Mainstream News” (TPV)

Former President Barack Hussein Obama has called for “digital fingerprints” to be mandatory to help law enforcement agencies target and arrest users who read and share “non-mainstream news” online. In a new interview, Obama said the development of new tracking technology could help identify users who spread “fake news” online. Tracking those users and punishing them would help bolster mainstream news outlets on the internet, Obama argues. Slaynews.com reports: Obama sat down with his former White House senior adviser David Axelrod for a conversation on the latter’s podcast, “The Axe Files,” on CNN Audio. During the interview, Axelrod noted he’s seen “misinformation, disinformation, [and] deepfakes” targeting Obama.

[..] Obama then suggested “digital fingerprints” to discern truth from misinformation. “And the need for us, for the general public, I think to be more discriminating consumers of news and information, the need for us to overtime develop technologies to create watermarks or digital fingerprints so we know what is true and what is not true,” he said. “There’s a whole bunch of work that’s going to have to be done there, but in the short term, it’s really going to be up to the American people to kind of say.” Obama and Axelrod went on to say that today many consumers are only viewing information from sources they are predisposed to agree with and will likely believe what they see. “Obviously, we saw that during the vaccination stuff,” added Obama, referring to Covid shots. “So, I am concerned about it.

[..] Last year, Obama announced that his foundation would be launching a new initiative to combat misinformation. Days later, Obama angered conservatives with a speech at Stanford University warning of the dangers of “disinformation.” During the speech, Obama said, “All we see is a constant feed of content where useful factual information and happy diversions, and cat videos flow alongside lies, conspiracy theories, junk science, quackery, white supremacist, racist tracts, misogynist screeds.” Critics were quick to point out that Obama promoted the debunked narrative that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. Obama infamously won Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” in 2013 by telling Americans, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” referring to the Affordable Care Act.

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“The Department of Justice, which is a gang of criminals, is trying Trump, and they are getting away with it.”

Gang of Criminals Trying Trump – Paul Craig Roberts (USAW)

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (PCR), former Assistant Treasury Secretary and international award-winning journalist, is worried about freedom and liberty. PCR says with the latest arrest and prosecution of President Trump, freedom and liberty is dead in America. PCR explains, “What they do makes it clear they have no claim that they are representatives of justice holding lawbreakers responsible. They are the lawbreakers — they themselves. You go to trial and it’s the criminals who are trying you, and that’s what’s happened in the United States. This is happening to President Trump. This is exactly what is happening to him. The Department of Justice, which is a gang of criminals, is trying Trump, and they are getting away with it.

I can’t predict, but we are going to find out by the next presidential election . . . whether we are a country or not. What’s going to happen? Are people going to wake up and stop this? If this coup stays in place, the United States no longer exists.” PCR says, “What is being done is a lesson is being taught to all future political candidates. If you try to represent the people instead of the elite, we are going to destroy you – period. So, if they succeed in destroying Trump, and if the people permit that and don’t rise up and prevent it, then what you have from now on in the United States is tyranny. If democracy cannot put into office someone who stands for the people who elected that person, then there is no democracy and there is no rule of law.

If you have no rule of law, you have the rule of whoever is in power. In other words, it is the total end of any claim there is any freedom, any civil liberty or any accountability. This is extremely serious. This is an all-out assault. The elite are attempting to completely destroy any accountability that would ever get in the way of their agendas. So, this is only to be the agendas of the elite, and never ever any agenda of the people.” PCR also warns, “The United States is the Constitution. If the Constitution is destroyed, the United States is destroyed. So, if they destroy it, they have destroyed us.” PCR, who was an Assistant Treasury Secretary in the Reagan Administration, also talks about the coming collapse of the U.S dollar and extreme inflation that is not a matter of if but when. It could be sooner than you think.

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“The inability of America to accept its scaled-down position is leading to nuclear war.”

America on the Brink by David Ray Griffin (Paul Craig Roberts)

David Ray Griffins’s works represent the epitome of Western Civilization. Scholars of his distinction and commitment are no longer possible. The replacement mechanism has been destroyed by the criminalization of Western Civilization and free inquiry. In place of scholars, universities are now homes for Woke ideologues who hate Western Civilization and white people and carry on campaigns against both. Everywhere we see this. Monuments removed. Plaques taken down. Universities denouncing and removing memorabilia of those who founded the universities. The white ethnicities demonized beyond repair as racists, oppressors, exploiters. When I look at the Western World, I see the passing of truth as it leaves going to where? Where does truth go when it is no longer allowed? Does it simply cease to exist? Does it reappear elsewhere? If only I could have had this discussion with David Ray Griffin.

Professor Griffin gave us, if memory serves, 10 books or more about the 9/11 and anthrax deceptions that were used to commit the US to the utter ruin of its reputation with its falsely based wars in the Middle East. In his posthumous book, America on the Brink (Clarity Press, 2023), Griffin notes that America’s neoconservative foreign policy is bringing us to nuclear confrontation with Russia. Griffin points out that the neoconservatives’ notion of American hegemony over the world has origins in the 1845 idea of America’s “manifest destiny.” This destiny spread from the US where it destroyed the Confederacy and the Plains Indians to Mexico, South America, the West Indies, and Canada. In 1850 an American newspaper editor declared that the American empire extended to the “gates of the Chinese empire which must be thrown down.” Moreover, declared the editor, “the American eagle of the republic shall poise itself over the field of Waterloo” and the successor of George Washington must “ascend the chair of universal empire.”

So, Empire is the answer. But is it? When foreign policy is based on bribing and intimidating other countries, diplomacy becomes the application of force. For the United States to impose its hegemony on other countries and to be always at war raises questions whether the United States is a democracy, or whether the soul that the Founding Fathers attempted to implant in the new country was ejected early in its history. The neoconservatives justify US hegemony on the grounds of their claim that the US is “benevolent” and its imperial power is benign. But as David Ray Griffin points out, after Iran, Cuba, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Panama, Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia, and Ukraine, and, of course Venezuela, Julian Assange, and others, the world sees nothing benevolent or benign in Washington.

Instead, the world sees systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless crimes and has come to regard America as the greatest danger to the world. Indeed, America is seen as the embodiment of evil. This has eroded American leadership and has resulted in other power centers disengaging from the Washington-dominated Western World, leaving Washington with aspirations in excess of its capability. The inability of America to accept its scaled-down position is leading to nuclear war.

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“I literally handed the FBI a film of myself committing felonies, and not a peep. I don’t know how he does it, that doddering old weirdo!”

For Father’s Day, Hunter Negotiates 12% For The Big Guy (BBee)

In a touching Father’s Day gesture, Hunter Biden has negotiated for twelve percent of incoming bribes from foreign governments to go to his Dad. “It means the world to me,” said an emotional President Biden. “Well, more accurately, it means about $2.3 million in my bank account.” According to White House sources, Hunter wanted to do something extra special this year to show President Biden how much he appreciated being shielded from DOJ investigations. “Dad really came through this year,” said Hunter. “I literally handed the FBI a film of myself committing felonies, and not a peep. I don’t know how he does it, that doddering old weirdo! Anyhow, ‘The Big Guy’ has earned himself an extra two percent of my bribery — er, consulting money.”


Hunter Biden will also reportedly take his father out for a nice Father’s Day lunch at the Han Palace. “It will be nice to have a quiet lunch with just me, Dad, and several high-level members of the Chinese Communist Party,” said Hunter. “I did request they bring in some different waitresses for our lunch though. Last time it was super disappointing – nothing but yellows.” At publishing time, President Biden had declined a Father’s Day call from one of his grandkids, as he wasn’t sure if it was from the one he pretends doesn’t exist.

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Firebird
https://twitter.com/i/status/1670356102360211456

 

 


The Oxford Electric Bell has been running for 180+ years thanks to a battery that no one knows what it’s made of. The exact composition is unknown, but it is known that they were protected with molten sulfur to isolate them and are believed to be Zamboni cells.

 

 

 

 

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