Apr 012024
 
 April 1, 2024  Posted by at 8:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  31 Responses »


Caravaggio The Denial of Saint Peter 1610

 

Easter Becomes the Latest Flash Point in American Politics (Turley)
Jack Smith Handed a ‘Blank Check’ to Target Trump, Lawyers Argue (ET)
Jack Smith Seeks to Shield Names of Potential Witnesses in Trump Case (ET)
How America’s Top Spymaster Sees The World Is Rather Disappointing (Amar)
US Congressman Calls For ‘Hiroshima and Nagasaki’ in Gaza and Ukraine (RT)
A Genocide Foretold (Chris Hedges)
UK Govt Lawyers Conclude Israel In Breach Of Humanitarian Law (RT)
Biden Claims Arab States Are Ready to Recognize Israel (Sp.)
Moscow Demands That Kiev Surrender Terrorism Suspects (RT)
US House To Consider Ukraine Aid Bill In April (TASS)
Ukraine Turned Into Afghan Drug Lords Paradise Under Western Watch (Sp.)
Why Russia Didn’t Join NATO (Sp.)
The Assange Hearing Permission Appeal Judgment (Craig Murray)
61 Unexpected PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Food Packaging (SciAm)

 

 


Mr. Fish – Genocide

 

 

Sachs Russia
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774186219703869896

 

 

CCP bridge

 

 

 

 

Habba

 

 

Snowden: “Warren Buffett, the billionaire head of Berkshire Hathaway, will probably go down as the greatest investor in history… Berkshire shares have seen an average annual return of 20.0%…”

Meanwhile:


just some members of congress outperforming the greatest investor in history. we are surely fortunate to be represented by such extraordinary talents

 

 

 

 

Pot and kettle:

“Sadly, it’s unsurprising politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful, and dishonest rhetoric..”

Easter Becomes the Latest Flash Point in American Politics (Turley)

It often seems like there is nothing left today that is not a battleground over our political and social differences. We can now add Easter. The Biden White House triggered a firestorm by picking Good Friday to announce that Easter Sunday will now be the “Transgender Day of Visibility.” At the same time, families objected to regulations on Easter egg designs, barring children from including any religious imagery or references on this religious holiday. There are even objections to the use of eggs at the annual White House egg roll. Despite the criticism from various politicians, including Speaker Mike Johnson, Jean-Pierre went on X Saturday to reaffirm that Sunday is to be designated as the “Transgender Day of Visibility.” Transgender Visibility Day actually began 15 years ago and many have noted that the overlap with Easter Sunday this year is a coincidence.

President Joe Biden has made no comment on the controversy and issued his Easter proclamation[..] White House spokesperson Andrew Bates did respond on Saturday: “As a Christian who celebrates Easter with Family, President Biden stands for bringing people together and upholding the dignity and freedoms of every American. Sadly, it’s unsurprising politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful, and dishonest rhetoric. President Biden will never abuse his faith for political purposes or for profit.” In the meantime, the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll is being called a celebration of “National Guard Families.” The 2024 “Call for Youth Art” flyer states that “Children should depict on an egg template (see Art Submission form) a snapshot of their life – a favorite activity, scenery in your state, your military family, a day-in-your life, etc.” However, under its restrictions list, the flyer noted, “The Submission must not include any questionable content, religious symbols, overtly religious themes, or partisan political statements.”

One can understand the desire to bar “Let’s Go Brandon” eggs. Moreover, the Easter egg event has long been treated as open to people of all faiths and background. It has been treated more as a celebration of spring. However, some families have objected that the holiday does have a religious origin and that the bar on any religious references like a cross or other symbols is an affront. As a legal matter, there is no bar on religious displays in such White House events, which have included such symbols in celebrations of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim holidays. On the positive side, the egg roll will involve eggs. PETA has asked the First Lady to substitute potatoes for the eggs. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk objected that:

“Children love animals and would be sad to learn that the eggs used for fun and games at the White House come from tormented hens whose lives are spent in cages that afford them less space than a standard sheet of typing paper. Easter should be a time of renewal and joy for all sentient beings—and that means hens, too.” By having children decorate and roll spuds, Newkirk suggested, the First Lady could remove these little “cholesterol bombs” from the diet of children. Besides, she added, “potatoes are cheaper and healthier than eggs and leave birds in peace.” The head of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) added his own warning to people not to eat whole eggs and to cut back on the sweets to protect their health. However, the Easter Bunny appears to have been vindicated this week in a scientific study that found that eating 12 eggs a week did not increase one’s cholesterol. Indeed, it found possible heart benefits to egg consumption. That proposal was clearly rejected for now.

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“Mr. Smith’s actions as a notionally independent United States attorney are beyond the scope of what the Supreme Court has permitted, and therefore, his actions are unlawful..”

Jack Smith Handed a ‘Blank Check’ to Target Trump, Lawyers Argue (ET)

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump argued in his classified documents case that special prosecutor Jack Smith has been given too many resources while other parts of the Department of Justice haven’t. The former president faces dozens of charges that he allegedly illegally retained classified materials after he left office in 2021. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has sought to delay the trial, while U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has not set a firm date for when it will start. His attorneys earlier this week argued that Mr. Smith’s team was handed “a blank check” that has imperiled the former president’s rights. “To be clear, offering the Special Counsel a blank check has harmed President Trump’s substantial rights, and DOJ [Department of Justice] simply could not have funded the entirety of Jack Smith’s expansive politically motivated witch hunt from an alternative source,” Trump attorney Christopher Kise wrote in court to Judge Cannon earlier this week, adding:

“Since the founding, resource constraints on prosecutors have been regarded as an indispensable guarantee of substantive fairness.” Because there are no constraints, the lawyer wrote that the special counsel’s office can “engage in an unabashed political crusade with zero accountability” against President Trump. Mr. Smith was appointed by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in 2022 to pursue the classified documents case and the federal election case in Washington. “The Special Counsel’s Office is pursuing two different cases in two jurisdictions in order to maximize interference in the ongoing presidential election,” Mr. Kise wrote. “This tactic is the luxury of a prosecutor facing no resource constraints. And it is far from a forgone conclusion.” The special prosecutor’s team has yet to file a response to the court motion.

Later in the motion, Mr. Kise wrote that other parts of the DOJ have been denied funding, including targeting Big Tech antitrust cases. “In 2019, for example, DOJ was forced to prioritize its antitrust review of Google over Apple because it could not afford to pursue both,” he wrote. Earlier, his attorneys and third parties have argued that Mr. Smith’s appointment by the U.S. attorney general violated the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause, noting that Congress has to approve his team’s expenditures. Last week, a law professor submitted a “friend of the court,” or amicus, brief in the case, arguing that Mr. Smith is not an “officer of the United States” due to how he was appointed.

“Simply being appointed by a department head does not elevate that position to the status of an inferior ‘Officer of the United States.’ Indeed, the mere fact that a person is appointed by the Head of a Department does not make that position an office at all,” Professor Josh Blackman of the South Texas College of Law in Houston wrote, referring to a brief that Mr. Smith had filed in which he described himself as an “inferior officer.” “Instead, precedents … provide that an office must be continuous.” “Mr. Smith’s actions as a notionally independent United States attorney are beyond the scope of what the Supreme Court has permitted, and therefore, his actions are unlawful,” he also wrote.

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“Mr. Smith also wants redacted, in addition to the names of potential government witnesses, “any pronouns revealing their gender..”

Jack Smith Seeks to Shield Names of Potential Witnesses in Trump Case (ET)

Special counsel Jack Smith on March 29 asked a federal judge to approve redactions to filings made by a co-defendant of former President Donald Trump. The briefs submitted by Walt Nauta, the co-defendant, contain information that should not be made public, Mr. Smith told U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. That includes the names of people that government officials may call as witnesses in a trial, the special counsel, appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, said. “Witness safety and privacy are paramount pretrial. The limited redactions of the names satisfy the good cause standard established in Chicago Tribune Co. v. Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., as well as the higher standard requiring a compelling interest for the redactions and the redactions being narrowly tailored,” Mr. Smith said in his request.

The Chicago Tribune case, decided in 2001 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, hinged on a federal rule that enables keeping information secret if there is “good cause” to do so. “Federal courts have superimposed a balancing of interests approach for Rule 26’s good cause requirement,” that ruling stated. “This standard requires the district court to balance the party’s interest in obtaining access against the other party’s interest in keeping the information confidential.” Mr. Smith also wants redacted, in addition to the names of potential government witnesses, “any pronouns revealing their gender,” according to the new filing.

And the special counsel is asking that information about sealed grand jury proceedings be kept secret, including one proceeding that happened before he was appointed. The proposed redactions come after Judge Cannon, who was appointed by President Trump, outlined a schedule for the parties in the case with respect to redactions. The proposals are for two filings from Mr. Nauta—a reply to the government on his assertion that the prosecution of him has been selective and vindictive, and a motion to suppress evidence. Other recent documents from Mr. Nauta and President Trump that have not been placed on the public docket do not require redactions, Mr. Smith said. Those documents include President Trump’s briefs in support of a motion to dismiss the charges based on prosecutorial misconduct and selective and vindictive prosecution.

The actual motions to dismiss based on selective and vindictive prosecution have still not been made available to the public, although Mr. Smith’s team described some of its contents in another recent filing. Prosecutors said that Mr. Nauta in his motion focused on a conversation that his attorney had over coffee with one of the prosecutors. During that discussion, the prosecutor was quoted as saying the government would not “accept anything less than Mr. Nauta’s full cooperation” in exchange for not being charged. Prosecutors say the decision to charge Mr. Nauta after he declined to cooperate does not “amount to vindictiveness as a matter of law.” In a related filing, Mr. Nauta said the government was focused only on himself and another former aide of President Trump while ignoring a “universe of other comparators who, unlike Mr. Nauta, were likewise never prosecuted.”

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Burns is a puppet.

How America’s Top Spymaster Sees The World Is Rather Disappointing (Amar)

There is no doubt that this CIA director is a smart and experienced man principally capable of realism, unlike all too many others in the current American elite. Famously, he warned in 2008, when serving as ambassador to Moscow, that “Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for the Russian elite (not just Putin).” That makes the glaring flaws in this big-picture survey all the more remarkable. Burns is, obviously, correct when he observes that the US – and the world as a whole – is facing a historically rare moment of “profound” change in the global order. And – with one exception which we will return to – it would be unproductive, perhaps even a little churlish, to quibble over his ideologically biased terminology. His mislabeling of Russia as “revanchist,” for instance, has a petty ring to it. “Resurgent” would be a more civil as well as more truthful term, capturing the fact that the country is simply returning to its normal international minimum status (for at least the last three hundred years), namely that of a second-to-none great power.

Yet Burns’ agenda is more important than his terminology. While it may be complex, parts of it are as clear as can be: He is eager (perhaps desperate) to prevent Washington from ending its massive aid for Ukraine – a battle he is likely to lose. In the Middle East, he wants to focus Western aggression on Iran. He may get his will there, but that won’t be a winning strategy because, in part thanks to multipolar trend setters, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS, Iran’s escape from the isolation that the US has long imposed on it is already inevitable. Regarding China, Burns’ real target is a competing faction of American hawks, namely those who argue that, bluntly put, Washington should write off its losses in Ukraine and concentrate all its firepower on China. Burns wants to persuade his readers that the US can have both its big fight against China and its proxy war against Russia.

He is also engaged in a massive act of CIA boosterism, clearly aiming to increase the clout of the already inordinately powerful state-within-a-state he happens to run himself. And last but not least, the spy-in-chief has unearthed one of the oldest tricks in the subversion and destabilization playbook: Announcing loudly that his CIA is on a recruiting spree in Russia, he seeks to promote a little paranoia in Moscow. Good luck attempting to pull that one on the country that gave us the term “agentura.” Moreover, after the horrific terror attack on Crocus City Hall in Moscow, it is fair to assume that Burns regrets having boasted about the CIA expanding its “work” in Russia. Not a good look, not at all. What matters more, though, than his verbal sallies and his intriguingly straightforward, even blunt aims, are three astonishingly crude errors:

First, Burns insists on reading the emerging outcome of the war in Ukraine as a “failure on many levels,” for Russia, revealing its, as he believes, economic, political, and military weakness. Yet, as the acknowledged American economist James K. Galbraith has recently reiterated, the West’s economic war on Russia has backfired. The Russian economy is now stronger, more resilient, and independent of the West than never before. As to the military, Burns for instance, gleefully counts the tanks that Russia has lost and fails to note the ones it is building at a rapid rate not matched anywhere inside NATO. In general, he fails to mention just how worried scores of Western experts have come to be, realizing that Moscow is overseeing a massive and effective expansion of military production. A curious oversight for an intelligence professional. He also seems to miss just how desperate Ukraine’s situation has become on the ground.

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“We shouldn’t be spending a dime on humanitarian aid..”

US Congressman Calls For ‘Hiroshima and Nagasaki’ in Gaza and Ukraine (RT)

Michigan congressman Tim Walberg believes Washington should not waste money on humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza or Ukraine, and instead focus on supporting Israel and Kiev’s war efforts, to achieve “quick” victories. Walberg made his remarks during a meeting with members of the public in Dundee, Michigan last week. In a video posted on social media on March 25, the Republican congressman criticized President Joe Biden’s policies, telling a small audience that the US should better spend Gaza aid money on supporting Israel, which he labeled Washington’s “greatest ally, arguably, anywhere in the world.” “We shouldn’t be spending a dime on humanitarian aid. It should be like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Get it over quick,” Walberg could be heard saying.

“The same should be in Ukraine. Defeat Putin quick. Instead of 80% in Ukraine being used for humanitarian purposes, it should be 80-100% to wipe out Russian forces,” he added. After his statements went viral, Walberg claimed that his words were misreported and misinterpreted, arguing that he was merely speaking metaphorically and did not advocate for the actual use of nuclear weapons. “In a shortened clip, I used a metaphor to convey the need for both Israel and Ukraine to win their wars as swiftly as possible, without putting American troops in harm’s way,” Walberg said in a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday. “The use of this metaphor, along with the removal of context, distorted my message, but I fully stand by these beliefs and stand by our allies,” he added, arguing that the quicker these conflicts end, the “fewer innocent lives will be caught in the crossfire.”

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“Every horrifying act of Israel’s genocide has been telegraphed in advance. It has been for decades..”

A Genocide Foretold (Chris Hedges)

There are no surprises in Gaza. Every horrifying act of Israel’s genocide has been telegraphed in advance. It has been for decades. The dispossession of Palestinians of their land is the beating heart of Israel’s settler colonial project. This dispossession has had dramatic historical moments — 1948 and 1967 — when huge parts of historic Palestine were seized and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed. Dispossession has also occurred in increments — the slow-motion theft of land and steady ethnic cleansing in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The incursion on Oct. 7 into Israel by Hamas and other resistance groups, which left 1,154 Israelis, tourists and migrant workers dead and saw about 240 people taken hostage, gave Israel the pretext for what it has long craved — the total erasure of Palestinians.

Israel has razed 77 percent of healthcare facilities in Gaza, 68 percent of telecommunication infrastructure, nearly all municipal and governmental buildings, commercial, industrial and agricultural centers, almost half of all roads, over 60 percent of Gaza’s 439,000 homes, 68 percent of residential buildings — the bombing of the Al-Taj tower in Gaza City on Oct. 25, killed 101 people, including 44 children and 37 women, and injured hundreds — and obliterated refugee camps. The attack on the Jabalia refugee camp on Oct. 25 killed at least 126 civilians, including 69 children, and injured 280. Israel has damaged or destroyed Gaza’s universities, all of which are now closed, and 60 percent of other educational facilities, including 13 libraries. It has also destroyed at least 195 heritage sites, including 208 mosques, churches, and Gaza’s Central Archives that held 150 years of historical records and documents.

Israel’s warplanes, missiles, drones, tanks, artillery shells and naval guns daily pulverize Gaza — which is only 20 miles long and five miles wide — in a scorched earth campaign unlike anything seen since the war in Vietnam. It has dropped 25,000 tons of explosives — equivalent to two nuclear bombs — on Gaza, many targets selected by Artificial Intelligence. It drops unguided munitions (“dumb bombs”) and 2000-pound “bunker buster” bombs on refugee camps and densely packed urban centers as well as the so-called “safe zones” — 42 percent of Palestinians killed have been in these “safe zones” where they were instructed by Israel to flee. Over 1.7 million Palestinians have been displaced from their homes, forced to find refuge in overcrowded UNRWA shelters, hospital corridors and courtyards, schools, tents or the open air in south Gaza, often living next to fetid pools of raw sewage.

Israel has killed at least 32,705 Palestinians in Gaza, including 13,000 children and 9,000 women. This means Israel is slaughtering as many as 187 people a day including 75 children. It has killed 136 journalists, many, if not most of them deliberately targeted. It has killed 340 doctors, nurses and other health workers — four percent of Gaza’s healthcare personnel. These numbers do not begin to reflect the actual death toll since only those dead registered in morgues and hospitals, most of which no longer function, are counted. The death toll, when those who are missing are counted, is well over 40,000. Doctors are forced to amputate limbs without anesthetic. Those with severe medical conditions — cancer, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease — have died from lack of treatment or will die soon. Over a hundred women give birth every day, with little to no medical care. Miscarriages are up by 300 percent.

Over 90 percent of the Palestinians in Gaza suffer from severe food insecurity with people eating animal feed and grass. Children are dying of starvation. Palestinian writers, academics, scientists and their family members have been tracked and assassinated. Over 75,000 Palestinians have been wounded, many of whom will be crippled for life. “Seventy percent of recorded deaths have consistently been women and children,” writes Francesca Albanese, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, in her report issued on March 25. “Israel failed to prove that the remaining 30 percent, i.e. adult males, were active Hamas combatants — a necessary condition for them to be lawfully targeted. By early-December, Israel’s security advisors claimed the killing of ‘7,000 terrorists’ in a stage of the campaign when less than 5,000 adult males in total had been identified among the casualties, thus implying that all adult males killed were ‘terrorists.’

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“British authorities, however, have apparently opted to keep the findings out of the public domain..”

UK Govt Lawyers Conclude Israel In Breach Of Humanitarian Law (RT)

Lawyers for the UK government have established Israel has been breaking humanitarian law amid its ongoing conflict in Gaza with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, a senior Tory is claiming, according to leaked audio revealed by the Observer newspaper on Saturday. Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Alicia Kearns, made the remarks earlier this month during a Conservative Party fundraising event. “The Foreign Office has received official legal advice that Israel has broken international humanitarian law but the government has not announced it,” Kearns, a former official with the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence, who has been pressing the government on the matter, said during the event. The legal experts’ assessment effectively makes the UK complicit in the Israeli military’s violations, and defense cooperation should have been severed by London immediately after they produced their evaluation of the situation in Gaza.

“They have not said it, they haven’t stopped arms exports. They have done a few very small sanctions on Israeli settlers and everyone internationally agrees that settlers are illegal, that they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, and the ways in which they have continued and the money that’s been put in,” Kearns stated. During the event, Kearns insisted that she, like the UK Foreign Secretary James Cameron, strongly believes in Israel’s right to “self defense,” noting however that there were legal boundaries for exercising it. “The right to self defense has a limit in law. It is not limitless,” she explained, warning that Israel’s approach to handling the escalation may end up putting its own – and Britain’s – long-term security at risk. The authenticity of the recordings obtained by the Observer appears beyond question, given that Kearns has been rather vocal about her position on the matter.

On Saturday, she produced similar remarks as well, once again urging the government to make public its legal assessment of the Israeli actions. “I remain convinced the government has completed its updated assessment on whether Israel is demonstrating a commitment to international humanitarian law, and that it has concluded that Israel is not demonstrating this commitment, which is the legal determination it has to make,” she stated, arguing that “transparency” was absolutely needed to “uphold the international rules-based order.” Israel launched the operation in Gaza following an incursion by Hamas militants into the southern part of the country last October. During the attack, over 1,200 people were killed and scores of hostages were taken into Gaza. The Israeli campaign inflicted heavy damage on the Palestinian enclave, causing widespread destruction and leaving at least 32,000 people dead, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

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“..Riyadh has repeatedly made it clear that it would not agree to establish relations with Israel without the creation of a Palestinian state.”

Biden Claims Arab States Are Ready to Recognize Israel (Sp.)

Speaking at a recent campaign event in New York, US President Joe Biden announced the willingness of Arab nations to recognize the Jewish state, but remained mum on the status of a Palestinian state. “I’ve been working with the Saudis and with all the other Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan and Qatar. They’re prepared to fully recognize Israel. There has to be a post-Gaza plan, and there has to be a trade to a two-state solution. It doesn’t have to occur today. It has to be a progression and I think we can do that,” Biden said. As for Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom has repeatedly made it clear that it would not agree to establish relations with Israel without the creation of a Palestinian state. The US president’s statement came as the Biden administration “quietly” approved the transfer of billions of dollars in bombs and fighter jets to Israel, amid Tel Aviv’s plans to launch a military offensive in southern Gaza that could threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians.

Biden’s announcement reflects “a longstanding position rather than a novel development,” Dr. Imad Salamey, an associate professor of political science and international affairs at the Lebanese American University, said in an interview with Sputnik. He pointed to the 2002 Arab Summit in Beirut, which “highlighted the collective willingness of Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, to recognize Israel, contingent upon Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.” “The crux of the issue remains Israel’s reluctance to acknowledge a Palestinian state as per these terms. This impasse underscores the complexity of achieving peace and mutual recognition in the region,” the political scientist stressed. Salamey also underscored that while publicly calling for peace, the US “continues to affirm its strategic alliance with Israel, as demonstrated by the new supply of bombs and fighter jets.”

In 2002, regional states clinched the Arab Peace Initiative, which stipulates recognizing Israel in return for the creation of a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel rejected the proposal. 18 years later, in 2020, Israel signed the Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, normalizing ties. Morocco and Sudan later signed on to the accords. While Washington voiced hope that Saudi Arabia would be the next signatory to the document, Riyadh has repeatedly made it clear that it would not agree to establish relations with Israel without the creation of a Palestinian state.

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“..including Kiev’s domestic spy agency boss Vasily Malyuk..”

Moscow Demands That Kiev Surrender Terrorism Suspects (RT)

Moscow has demanded that Ukraine surrender everyone in the country it suspects of terrorism, including Kiev’s domestic spy agency boss Vasily Malyuk, and to immediately stop supporting any related activities such individuals and groups undertake, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday. The ministry said it had officially contacted Kiev with the demands under the UN-adopted International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. The demands include the “immediate arrest and extradition” of all the suspects which Moscow has identified and linked to the recent terrorist attacks against Russia. The deadly attack on the Crocus City Hall, which “shocked the whole world is, by far, not the first terrorist attack endured by our country recently,” the ministry noted.

”The investigations carried out by the competent Russian bodies indicate that the traces of all these crimes lead to Ukraine,” it stressed. Apart from the concert hall attack, which left at least 144 people dead and more than 500 injured, the ministry cited such incidents as the assassination of the military blogger Maksim Fomin (best known by his pen name Vladlen Tatarsky), the deadly bombing of the Crimean Bridge, as well as recent cross-border raids into Belgorod Region and elsewhere which have been attributed by Kiev to the so-called Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK). The paramilitary unit, advertised as composed of Russians collaborating with Ukraine, has been designated as a terrorist entity by Moscow.

The ministry did not reveal any of the names of those it has demanded due to their suspected involvement, aside from the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Vasily Malyuk. The spy boss “cynically admitted on March 25 that Ukraine organized the bombing of the Crimean Bridge in October 2022 and revealed details on the organization of other terrorist attacks in Russia,” it noted. Failing to meet Russia’s demands will constitute a breach of Ukraine’s international obligations with respect to fighting terrorism and “entail its international legal responsibility,” the ministry warned. “Fighting against international terrorism is the responsibility of every state. The Russian side demands that the Kiev regime immediately stop any support for terrorist activities, hand over the perpetrators and compensate for the damage done to the victims,” it stressed.

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Mike Johnson’s seat is at stake.

US House To Consider Ukraine Aid Bill In April (TASS)

Republican Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Turner, said on CBS television that House Speaker Mike Johnson plans to put the bill on aid to Ukraine to a vote in April. “The speaker has made it clear that he supports Ukraine both directly to [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky – publicly, he’s made these statements – and to the secretary general of NATO. The speaker has made very clear statements that when we get back [from a recess], it’s the next top agenda, after having just passed all the bills that fund the federal government. I believe this is going to have overwhelming support in Congress, and we’ll put a bill on the president’s desk,” he said in an interview.

Turner was asked whether the current legislation will need to be tweaked to either include loans that Ukraine would have to pay back or incorporate clauses about border security to gain approval. He said, “There already is a significant and very strong support among Republicans.” “As this package moves, certainly there are going to be some discussions, you know, in both the Senate and the House,” he went on to say. “I’ve had discussions about the border itself. And certainly there have been discussions about the manner in which the non-military, humanitarian aid is structured.”. Turner also said that Washington is close to greenlighting supplies of ATACMS ballistic missiles to Ukraine.

“We need to give them longer range weapon systems. The White House has been hesitant to do so. Congress has called for that. President [of Ukraine Vladimir] Zelensky has called for that,” he said. “It’s the ATACMS and I think it’s long range <…> ATACMS. Those I think the administration is on the verge of being willing to provide.” Earlier this week Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Charles Q. Brown held a meeting with the Washington-based Defense Writers Group, of which TASS is a member, where he commented on the prospect of supplying Kiev with ATACMS missiles. When asked whether a transfer of ATACMS missiles from the US to Ukraine would carry an unacceptable risk of escalating the conflict, he said the risk is now not as high as it used to be.

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Smells like CIA. A lot.

Ukraine Turned Into Afghan Drug Lords Paradise Under Western Watch (Sp.)

Under the West’s watch, Ukraine has morphed into a gangsters’ paradise with all sorts of illicit drugs passing through its territory and the domestic production and consumption of synthetic narcotics booming. Back in June 2002, the US Justice Department emphasized Ukraine’s growing importance as a transit point for heroin trafficking largely originating from Afghanistan which went through the Balkan and Northern routes. The US-backed 2014 coup in Ukraine exacerbated the problem and was followed by a spike in corruption, gang crime, and weapons smuggling. The role of Ukraine as a transit point for extremists and illicit drugs to Europe has also increased. In July 2015, Italian MEP Matteo Salvini drew attention to ISIS* sympathizers fighting on the side of the Kiev regime in Donbass in an official letter to the EU leadership.

In 2019 and 2020, British, Polish and Ukrainian investigative journalists revealed that ISIS jihadists originating, in particular, from post-Soviet space used Ukraine as a transit point to and out of the Middle East in the course of the civil war in Syria which started in 2011. Having sustained defeat from the Russian Air Forces in Syria, ISIS started to use Ukraine as a safe haven. Ukraine’s role as a hub for ISIS terrorists could be closely connected with drug trafficking. Establishing a foothold in Afghanistan in 2015, ISIS militants used the Afghan opiate trade as a source of income since at least 2014, according to the Russian Federal Service for Drug Control. “The large-scale transit of Afghan heroin acts as a renewable financial base for the functioning of the Islamic State, which extracts fabulous profits by providing half of the total volume of heroin supplied to Europe through destabilized Iraq and some African countries,” the Russian agency stated on November 26, 2014.

“In 2015, the Afghan branch of ISIS officially declared its establishment,” Andrey Serenko, director of the Analytical Center of Afghanistan policy, told Sputnik. “[ISIS-Khorasan*] emerged from the ruins of some groups of dissatisfied Taliban** fighters whose leaders for some reason did not agree on interests with the Taliban leadership. From the first months of its existence, the Afghan branch of ISIS began to fight for jihad resources. The large Afghan ‘jihad industry’, then, and even now, relies heavily on the drug business. If in Syria and Iraq such sources of economic power of jihad were the illegal trade in petroleum products, then in Afghanistan it was drugs.” “In [Afghanistan’s] provinces of Kunar and Nangarhar [infamous for heroin production – Sputnik], ISIS reached an agreement with the local tribes who joined ISIS and still sympathize with the terror group. Accordingly, in several counties, for example, Achin County, ISIS was able to seize control of laboratories producing heroin,” the expert continued.

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“But in the evening, when we had dinner, he said, ‘you know, I’ve talked to my team, no-no, it’s not possible now.”

Why Russia Didn’t Join NATO (Sp.)

On March 31, 1954, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov shocked his US, French and British counterparts with a diplomatic note expressing Moscow’s readiness to join NATO. If the USSR joined, the note said, “the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would cease to be a closed military grouping of states” and, opening its doors to other European powers, facilitate the creation of “an effective system of collective security in Europe, which would be of utmost importance for strengthening universal peace.” Chewing over the shock Soviet proposal for over a month, Washington eventually responded, sending Moscow a note on May 7, 1954 citing the “unrealistic nature of such a proposal” and stressing that “it contradicts the very principles on which the defense system and security of Western states depend.”

Founded in April 1949, NATO’s official goals centered around “deterring Soviet expansionism” through collective defense for its members, which originally numbered 12 countries. Behind the scenes, the post-war security architecture created by the United States had other goals, including control over European countries’ domestic affairs. As Lord Hastings Ismay, the alliance’s first secretary-general, once famously put it, the purpose of NATO was to “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Before sending the March 1954 note, Soviet diplomats made several other attempts to convey to Washington the USSR’s interest in joining NATO as a mechanism for European collective security. As veteran Soviet diplomat Andrei Gromyko put it in 1951, “if this pact was aimed against the restoration of German aggression, the USSR would join NATO.”

In 1952, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin reportedly told French Ambassador Louis Joxe that if NATO was the peaceful, UN Charter-abiding organization President Charles De Gaulle described it as, the USSR might consider membership. The same year, Stalin sent Western powers a series of diplomatic cables proposing the reunification of Germany as a neutral power in the center of Europe separating the Eastern and Western blocs. Austria became such a country in 1955, with the USSR withdrawing troops in exchange for a commitment from Vienna for neutrality (which, incidentally, it continues to hold this day). In the post-Cold War period, both in the early 1990s and early 2000s, the Russia that emerged from the ashes of the USSR would again express its interest in membership in, or at least partnership with, the Western alliance, in the overarching interests of peace and security in Europe.

President Boris Yeltsin and his first Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who famously quipped that Russia “has not national interests” apart from abstract “universal human values,” held intense negotiations with the Clinton administration through the early to mid-1990s on the prospects of Russian membership in the Western alliance. Clinton successfully pulled the wool over Yeltsin’s eyes, with the Russian leader swallowing as “brilliant” US assurances that Russia would be treated as an “equal partner,” and begrudgingly accepting the first round of eastward expansion by the alliance to Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. After becoming president, Vladimir Putin too decided to probe US intentions vis-à-vis Russia at the dawn of the 21st century, recalling in his recent interview with Tucker Carlson that he had asked Clinton point blank what he thought about the idea of Russia in NATO.

“I became president in 2000. I thought: okay, the Yugoslav issue is over, but we should try to restore relations. Let’s reopen the door that Russia tried to go through…At a meeting here in the Kremlin with the outgoing President Bill Clinton, right here in the next room, I asked him, ‘Bill, do you think if Russia asked to join NATO, do you think it would happen?’ Suddenly, he said ‘you know, it’s interesting, I think so’,” Putin recalled. “But in the evening, when we had dinner, he said, ‘you know, I’ve talked to my team, no-no, it’s not possible now.” “If he had said yes, the process of rapprochement would have commenced, and eventually it might have happened if we had seen some sincere wish on the side of our partners. But it didn’t happen. Well, no means no, okay, fine,” Putin said.

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“..Those grounds would explicitly gag the defence from ever mentioning again in court inconvenient facts..”

The Assange Hearing Permission Appeal Judgment (Craig Murray)

The latest judgment by the High Court in the Assange case achieved completely the objectives of the UK and US states. Above all, Julian remains in the hell which is Belmarsh maximum security prison. He is now safely there alone and incommunicado, from the authorities’ point of view, for at least several more months. Importantly, the United States has managed to keep him detained without securing his actual appearance in Washington. It is crucial to grasp that the CIA, who are very much controlling the process, do not actually want him to appear there until after their attempt to secure the re-election of Genocide Joe. No matter what your opinion of Donald Trump, there is no doubt the CIA conspired against him during his entire Presidency, beginning with the fake Russiagate scandal and ending with their cover-up of the Hunter Biden laptop story. They do not want Trump back.

Biden is politically in deep trouble. Biden’s lifelong political support for Israel has been unwavering to the point of fanaticism. In the process he has collected millions of dollars from the Zionist lobby. That always seemed a source of political strength in the United States, not of weakness. The current genocide in Gaza has changed all those calculations. The sheer evil and viciousness of the Israeli state, the open and undisguised enthusiasm for racist massacre, has achieved the seemingly impossible task of turning much American public opinion against Israel. That is particularly true among key elements of the Democratic base. Young people and ethnic minorities have been shocked that the party they have supported is backing and supplying genocide. The mainstream media have lost control of the narrative, when the truth is so widely available on mobile phones, to the point that the MSM have actually been forced to change course and occasionally tell truths about Israel. That also was unthinkable a few months ago.

Precisely the same groups who are outraged by Biden’s support for genocide are going to be alienated by the attack on a journalist and publisher for revealing true facts about war crimes. Assange is not currently a major public issue in the United States, because he is not currently in the United States. Were he to arrive there in chains, the media coverage would be massive and the issue unavoidable in the presidential election campaign. The extradition proceeding has therefore had to be managed in such a way as to keep Assange locked in a living hell the whole time, without actually achieving the extradition until after the presidential election in November. As the years of hearings have rolled by this has become increasingly difficult for the British state to finesse on behalf of their American masters. In this respect, and only in this respect, Dame Victoria Sharp and Lord Justice Johnson have done brilliantly in their judgment.

Senior British judges do not have to be told what to do. They are closely integrated into a small political establishment that is socially interlinked, defined by membership of institutions, and highly subject to groupthink. Dame Victoria Sharp’s brother Richard arranged an £800,000 personal loan for then Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and subsequently became chairman of the BBC despite a complete lack of relevant experience. Lord Justice Johnson as a lawyer represented the intelligence services and the Ministry of Defence. They did not have to be told what to do in this case explicitly, although it was very plain that they entered the two-day hearing process knowing nothing except a briefing they had been given that the crux of the case was the revelation of names of US informants in the Wikileaks material.

The potential danger of an appeal, the granting of which would achieve the United States’ objective of putting the actual extradition back beyond the election date, was that it would allow the airing in public of a great catalogue of war crimes and other illegal activity which had been exposed by Wikileaks. Sharp and Johnson have obviated this danger by adjourning the decision with the possibility of granting an appeal, but only on extremely limited grounds. Those grounds would explicitly gag the defence from ever mentioning again in court inconvenient facts, such as United States war crimes including murder, torture and extraordinary rendition, as well as the plans by the United States to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange. All of those things are precluded by this judgment from ever being raised again in the extradition hearings. The politically damaging aspect of the case in terms of the Manning revelations and CIA behaviour has been cauterised in the UK.

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Yikes.

61 Unexpected PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Food Packaging (SciAm)

Food packaging from around the world contains at least 68 “forever chemicals” that can seep into what we eat, a new study finds. And 61 of them are not even supposed to be used in such products. This kind of packaging may include coated paper wrappers, plastic containers and aluminum foil. Scientists behind the paper say it’s not clear why the latter chemicals, which are not on lists of those authorized for use in food containers, are in such packaging. “It’s very hard to explain where they come from,” says the study’s senior author Birgit Geueke, senior scientific officer at the nonprofit Food Packaging Forum Foundation in Zurich. That’s especially concerning because her team was only able to find data on potential hazards for 57 percent of the chemicals the researchers found in food packaging.

The study, published on Tuesday in Environmental Science & Technology, focused on a class of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). For decades, these substances have been used in a wide range of consumer products, from cookware to pesticides to cosmetics, because of their ability to repel water and grease. PFASs are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down readily in the environment or in the body. That’s because their characteristic carbon-fluorine bond—part of what makes them so useful in the first place—is one of the strongest in nature. PFASs have been found in human blood and breast milk, drinking water, soil and other startling places around the world. In March 2023 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a drinking water standard for six PFAS compounds.

Exposure to some of the most studied PFASs has been associated with cancer, reproductive problems and lessened responses to vaccines. “There’s an incredible body of scientific evidence linking these chemicals to health harms,” says David Andrews, a chemist and toxicologist at the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization, who was not involved with the new study. The paper adds to recently growing concerns about the prevalence of PFASs—and about an overall dearth of knowledge as to what chemicals are found in many everyday products. “Food packaging may not be the only way we are exposed to PFAS, but food packaging could contribute” to these exposures, Geueke says.

She and her team found a mismatch between what they detected in actual products and a database of chemicals assembled by compiling information on PFAS that regulatory agencies (including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) have authorized for use in food packaging, and PFAS that industrial manufacturers have listed for use in food packaging. About 140 PFASs are known to be used in food packaging, but only seven of the 68 chemicals in the study were on this list. Geueke says it’s unclear how or why the other 61 chemicals turned up. Andrews suggests that it’s possible that unknown impurities emerged during the manufacturing of the authorized chemicals or that the authorized PFASs degrade over time. This class of chemicals includes many long-chain molecules, and they can break into shorter chains that are simply different types of PFASs.

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Skunk

 

 

Babies
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774336548865024294

 

 

Mom dog
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774156744651854012

 

 

Lion dachs

 

 

5 days

 

 

Snow angels

 

 

Polar bear walrus

 

 

 

 

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Mar 282024
 
 March 28, 2024  Posted by at 9:55 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  44 Responses »


Giotto Lamentation 1306

 

The Most Astounding Feature of the Assange Case (Paul Craig Roberts)
Rule by Criminals: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State (Whitehead)
The Gag and the Goad: Trump Should Appeal Latest Gag Order (Turley)
George Soros Overtaken by Trump in List of World’s Wealthiest (Sp.)
Most Americans Think Biden ‘Weak’ Commander-in-Chief (Sp.)
Majority of Americans Would Not Serve in Event of Another World War (Bridge)
Biden Calls Putin ‘A Butcher’ (RT)
Talk of Russia Attacking NATO is ‘Nonsense’ – Putin (RT)
United States ‘Mocking’ International Law, Creating ‘World of the Jungle’ (Miles)
US-Israel Rift Widens Amid Tense Back-and-Forth Over Gaza War (Sp.)
Why The US Decided To Give Peace In Gaza A Chance (Blankenship)
Inmates Run NBC Asylum: Ex-RNC Chief McDaniel Fired After ‘Talent’ Mutiny (ZH)
Jon Stewart Found To Have Overvalued His NYC Home By 829% (NYP)
Macron Struggling To Justify Cash For Ukraine – Le Monde (RT)
US Supply Chains Disrupted By Baltimore Bridge Collapse (RT)

 

 

 

 

Trump ad
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772860260694261927

 

 

Dana Rogan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772744228281688228

Rogan

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1773013817187815900

 

 

KJP

 

 

 

 

Dotcom

 

 

Laura Farage

 

 

 

 

“The media organizations published the information, just as did Wikileaks, but they are not charged. Neither is Wikileaks charged. Only Julian Assange is charged..”

“Tyranny is what Julian Assange is experiencing, not a legitimate prosecution..”

“That so many dumbshit “patriots” support “getting Assange” indicates complete stupidity. “Getting Assange” means getting themselves, and they are too stupid to see it. This is how freedom is murdered.”

The Most Astounding Feature of the Assange Case (Paul Craig Roberts)

The most extraordinary thing about Julian Assange is that he is being treated as if he were an American citizen. “Treason” was the original cry, now converted to “espionage.” There was no espionage. Wikileaks published, and made available to the New York Times, The Guardian, and other media organizations leaked information. The media organizations published the information, just as did Wikileaks, but they are not charged. Neither is Wikileaks charged. Only Julian Assange is charged. Nothing is any different from Ellsberg releasing the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. The US government wanted to prosecute both, but was prevented by the First Amendment and long-accepted duty of media organizations to hold government accountable. The stark deterioration in the protective power of the First Amendment and journalistic freedom since 1971 demonstrates the rise in tyranny. Tyranny is what Julian Assange is experiencing, not a legitimate prosecution.

Let’s carefully examine the issue of “espionage.” Espionage is a function of every embassy everywhere in the world. The purpose of embassies is not simply to represent a country’s commercial and political interests. It is also to collect information, the more sensitive the better. When embassy personnel are caught engaging in espionage, the personnel are required to leave the country. They are not prosecuted. It is well known that US embassies contain CIA agents posing as diplomats. Under the protocol governing the Assange case, Russia, China, any number of countries could arrest members of US embassies and put them on trial. Indeed, many countries could do this to one another. What prevents it is not merely good judgment, but the fact that foreign citizens are not subject to the laws of other countries. Only the US, which imagines itself as some kind of international unipower, asserts the worldwide primacy of its laws. This is an absurd claim and has no legal basis.

The orchestrated, in fact legally incorrect, case against Assange is based on nothing but Washington’s demand for revenge. Here is what Assange is guilty of: He released leaked information that showed conclusively that the United States government is a liar, a deceiver of its allies, and a war criminal. The purpose of the case against Assange is to pay him back and to intimidate all journalists from ever again publishing information unfavorable to the US government. In other words, the purpose of the Assange case is to end forever the ability of media to hold government accountable. The Assange case is the fundamental foundation for tyranny. Once it is in place, tyranny is unleashed. That so many dumbshit “patriots” support “getting Assange” indicates complete stupidity. “Getting Assange” means getting themselves, and they are too stupid to see it. This is how freedom is murdered.

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“..he spent his adult life speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo of his day, and pushing back against the abuses of the Roman Empire..”

Rule by Criminals: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State (Whitehead)

When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, you are being ruled by criminals. In the current governmental climate, obeying one’s conscience and speaking truth to the power of the police state can easily render you an “enemy of the state.” The government’s list of so-called “enemies of the state” is growing by the day. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is merely one of the most visible victims of the police state’s war on dissidents and whistleblowers. Five years ago, on April 11, 2019, police arrested Assange for daring to access and disclose military documents that portray the U.S. government and its endless wars abroad as reckless, irresponsible, immoral and responsible for thousands of civilian deaths. Included among the leaked materials was gunsight video footage from two U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopters engaged in a series of air-to-ground attacks while American air crew laughed at some of the casualties.

Among the casualties were two Reuters correspondents who were gunned down after their cameras were mistaken for weapons and a driver who stopped to help one of the journalists. The driver’s two children, who happened to be in the van at the time it was fired upon by U.S. forces, suffered serious injuries. There is nothing defensible about crimes such as these perpetrated by the government. When any government becomes almost indistinguishable from the evil it claims to be fighting—whether that evil takes the form of war, terrorism, torture, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity—that government has lost its claim to legitimacy.

These are hard words, but hard times require straight-talking. It is easy to remain silent in the face of evil. What is harder—what we lack today and so desperately need—are those with moral courage who will risk their freedoms and lives in order to speak out against evil in its many forms. Throughout history, individuals or groups of individuals have risen up to challenge the injustices of their age. Nazi Germany had its Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The gulags of the Soviet Union were challenged by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. America had its color-coded system of racial segregation and warmongering called out for what it was, blatant discrimination and profiteering, by Martin Luther King Jr.

And then there was Jesus Christ, an itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist, who not only died challenging the police state of his day—namely, the Roman Empire—but provided a blueprint for civil disobedience that would be followed by those, religious and otherwise, who came after him. Indeed, it is fitting that we remember that Jesus Christ—the religious figure worshipped by Christians for his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection—paid the ultimate price for speaking out against the police state of his day. A radical nonconformist who challenged authority at every turn, Jesus was a far cry from the watered-down, corporatized, simplified, gentrified, sissified vision of a meek creature holding a lamb that most modern churches peddle. In fact, he spent his adult life speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo of his day, and pushing back against the abuses of the Roman Empire.

Greenwald Assange

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“Cohen’s appearance on the stand will only add to the lawfare claims given the recent view of a judge that he is a serial perjurer..”

The Gag and the Goad: Trump Should Appeal Latest Gag Order (Turley)

New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan this week became the latest court to impose a gag order on former president Donald Trump with a stinging order that found a history of Trump attacks that threatened the administration of justice. The order will bar public criticism of figures who are at the center of the public debate over this trial and the allegation of the weaponization of the legal system for political purposes, including former Trump counsel Michael Cohen, former stripper Stormy Daniels, and lead prosecutor Matthew Colangelo. Trump is still able to criticize Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Merchan himself. What is most striking is the protection of Cohen who continues to goad Trump in public attacks. While many of us have criticized past attacks by the former president of judges and staff associated with cases, theses gag orders raise very serious free speech questions in my view.

Prosecutors like Special Counsel Jack Smith and Bragg have pushed for a trial before the election. (Recently, Smith even stated that he may force Trump into a trial running up to or even through the election). After these charges were delayed until just before an election, they have maintained that it is essential to try Trump before November. The timing of charges and proposed trial dates were the choice of these prosecutors. If judges are inclined to facilitate the effort for a pre-election trial, they should show some recognition of the unique context for such prosecution. Yet, judges like federal District Judge Tanya Chutkan have stated that she will not make any accommodation for the fact that Trump is the leading candidate for the presidency. I was previously highly critical of the efforts of Smith to gag Trump before the election. In my view, the order issued by Judge Chutkan was unconstitutional. I have opposed gag orders in many cases for decades as inimical to constitutional free speech rights.

The barring of Trump from criticizing jurors or court staff (or family members) is largely uncontroversial. However, Cohen and Daniels have long been part of the political campaigns going back to 2016. Indeed, I was highly critical of Cohen when he was still the thuggish lawyer for Trump. He is now one of the loudest critics of his former client and has made continual media appearances, including on his expected appearance in this case. Cohen’s appearance on the stand will only add to the lawfare claims given the recent view of a judge that he is a serial perjurer who appears to be continuing to game the legal system. Cohen ironically went public to criticize Trump and celebrate the gagging of him: “I want to thank Judge Merchan for imposing the gag order as I have been under relentless assault from Donald’s MAGA supporters. Nevertheless, knowing Donald as well as I do, he will seek to defy the gag order by employing others within his circle to do his bidding, regardless of consequence.”

Many Americans view the Bragg case as a raw political effort and many experts (including myself) view the case as legally flawed. Some polls show that a majority now believe the Trump prosecutions generally are “politically motivated.” This election could well turn on the allegation of lawfare. However, Merchan has now largely bagged the leading candidate (and alleged target of this weaponization) from being able to criticize key figures behind the effort. The inclusion of Colangelo in the order is equally problematic. Trump has campaigned on his involvement in a variety of cases targeting him in his federal and state systems. His movement between cases is viewed by many as evidence of a “get Trump” campaign of prosecutors. He is currently the most talked about figure that many, including Trump, view as showing coordination between these cases and investigations. My opposition to past gag orders was based on the constitutional right of defendants to criticize their prosecutions. Courts have gradually expanded both the scope and use of such orders.

It has gone from being relatively rare to commonplace. However, the use to gag the leading candidate for the presidency in the final months of the campaign only magnifies those concerns. There is a division on courts in dealing with such challenges involving politicians. For example, a court struggled with those issues in the corruption trial of Rep. Harold E. Ford Sr. (D–Tenn.). The district court barred Ford from making any “extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication,” including criticism of the motives of the government or basis, merits, or evidence of the prosecution. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected the gag order as overbroad and stressed that any such limits on free speech should be treated as “presumptively void and may be upheld only on the basis of a clear showing that an exercise of First Amendment rights will interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair trial.”

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“The reconstruction was later found by a Ukrainian court to be a complete fabrication, a piece of “deliberate fraud and disinformation” that allowed Soros to interfere in Ukraine..”

George Soros Overtaken by Trump in List of World’s Wealthiest (Sp.)

Billionaire financier George Soros has been overtaken by former US President Donald Trump on Bloomberg’s index of the world’s richest people, it was revealed Tuesday. The US news outlet’s updated rankings showed the prominent liberal donor at number 378 on the list with an estimated $7.16 billion net worth. Trump was ranked just above Soros at the 377th slot in the ranking. The former US president’s net worth more than doubled this year after his Trump Media & Technology Group merged with Digital World Acquisition Corp. Trump Media & Technology Group owns and operates the real estate mogul’s Truth Social online platform, where Trump took refuge after being banned from Twitter (now X). His increased wealth also places him above figures like Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus and Netflix cofounder Reed Hastings. Soros’ net worth has changed little in recent years as the 93-year-old former hedge fund manager devotes his attention to social causes.

He’s perhaps best known in Europe as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England;” his short sale of the British pound sterling netted him $1 billion in profit during the UK’s 1992 Black Wednesday financial crisis. The wealthy financier’s political giving has made him a controversial figure. A 1991 article in the Washington Post dubbed Soros an “overt operative” of US-backed regime change operations in Europe. Alongside US government organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Soros funnels his massive wealth towards pro-Western activists who help bring down Russian and socialist-aligned governments. Author William Blum describes a striking example of such tactics in his 1995 classic Killing Hope. When voters returned popular socialist parties to power in post-communist Albania and Bulgaria, the NED lavished opposition groups with millions of dollars to foment political unrest. Massive protests forced the collapse of both governments, which were replaced by neoliberal parties committed to economic reforms in the interest of Western capital.

After their economies were hollowed out, Eastern European countries were then integrated into Western institutions like the European Union and NATO, further surrendering their sovereignty to leaders in Washington and Brussels. The strategy was repeated again and again over the next several years, with donors like Soros pouring millions into ostensibly “pro-democracy” causes. Soros helped fund two such “color revolutions” on Russia’s border, once during Ukraine’s so-called “Orange Revolution” in 2004 and again during the 2014 Maidan coup. In both cases elected leaders aligned with Russia were overthrown in favor of pro-Western governments that dramatically shifted Ukraine’s political allegiances. Soros’ Open Society Foundations played a key role in Ukraine’s 2014 regime change by funding a 3-D model “reconstruction” pinning the blame for a massacre of protesters at Kiev’s Maidan Square on government forces.

The rendering was touted by The New York Times and other news outlets as “proof” that President Viktor Yanukovych’s government was using deadly force to repress demonstrators, a key narrative leading to his overthrow. The reconstruction was later found by a Ukrainian court to be a complete fabrication, a piece of “deliberate fraud and disinformation” that allowed Soros to interfere in Ukraine with deadly consequences. Soros has since poured his resources into influencing US politics, funding organizations that promote censorship on social media in the name of “combatting disinformation” and lobby for sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela. In 2022 Soros was the single largest donor to Democratic Party-aligned causes, just above disgraced cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried. The influential billionaire’s defenders often claim criticism of Soros is antisemitic, but a cursory analysis of his outsized global influence demonstrates his conduct is ripe for critique.

Mar-a-Lago

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“..the United States military entered 2024 with its smallest active duty size since the Second World War..”

Most Americans Think Biden ‘Weak’ Commander-in-Chief (Sp.)

Last week, a YouGov survey found that 61 percent of Americans think a new world war is either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to break out over the next 5-10 years. The worrying survey results come amid continued efforts by Washington and its allies to set Eastern Europe, the Middle East, as well as East and Southeast Asia on fire. More than half of Americans believe President Joe Biden is a “weaker” commander-in-chief than his recent predecessors. According to new polling of 1,114 likely voters by Rasmussen Reports, 53 percent of likely voters think Biden is “weaker” in his capacity as chief of the military than past presidents. Some 24 percent believe he is a “stronger” C-in-C. Another 20 percent believe he’s “about the same.” The results mark a 10-point jump from polling by Rasmussen from May 2021, in which 43 percent of respondents said they thought Biden was “weaker” than other recent C-in-Cs, with 32 percent saying he was “stronger,” and 18 percent saying he was “about the same.”

More detailed polling by Rasmussen from October 2023 found that support for Biden as a military leader is particularly weak among Republicans and independents (just 15 and 20 percent of whom think he is stronger than his predecessors, respectively), with 51 percent of surveyed Democrats saying he is “stronger.” Despite plans to spend a record $886 billion on defense in the current fiscal year, the United States military entered 2024 with its smallest active duty size since the Second World War, with personnel numbers expected to drop from 1.39 million last year to 1.28 million service members now as recruiters face difficulties enticing skeptical young people to join, and existing servicemen retire amid the military’s increasingly “woke” culture, conflicts surrounding vax mandates, and falling morale following decades of illegal US wars abroad. Rasmussen’s polling comes in the wake of concerns voiced by Americans in a YouGov poll released last week that a new world war might be just around the corner.

In a survey of 1,000 US adult citizens taken between early February and early March, 22 percent of those polled by YouGov said a new global conflagration is “very likely,” with 39 percent saying it is “somewhat likely,” and just 17 and five percent saying it is “not very likely” or “not at all likely,” respectively. Some 77 percent believe that if a new world war broke out, the US would inevitably be involved, with only six percent saying the US would not be involved. Meanwhile, 72 percent said they expect Russia to also be involved, and 69 percent said that China would be involved. Americans believe their country could ally alongside the UK (67 percent), Ukraine (58 percent), and Israel (58 percent) in the hypothetical conflict. The poll also found that 45 percent of Americans believe their coalition would “win” in a conflict against both Russia and China. Only six percent of those polled said they would volunteer to fight, with nine percent saying they would fight if conscripted, 13 percent that they would refuse service, and 60 percent saying they don’t qualify. However, 16 percent said they would volunteer if the US itself was under threat of an imminent invasion.

[..] Former president and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has warned repeatedly in recent months that President Biden’s policies, particularly in Ukraine, have put the world “on the brink of World War III.” “The world is in tremendous danger. We’re in danger of possibly a World War III. And we have a man who’s absolutely the worst president in the history of our country – he can’t put two sentences together, he’s not going to be able to negotiate with Putin or Xi or Kim Jong Un of North Korea. Not going to be able to negotiate with anybody. All he knows how to do is drop bombs all over the place – meaningless bombs, except they kill a lot of people and cost a lot of money,” Trump said in February ahead of a Supreme Court ruling on his ability to appear on the ballot in Colorado for the 2024 presidential election.

Biden 1.7 trillion

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“..55 percent are of the opinion that a coalition made up of Moscow, Beijing and their allies would win..”

Majority of Americans Would Not Serve in Event of Another World War (Bridge)

The majority of Americans say that another world war is at least somewhat likely to break out in the next 10 years, but most say they would not enlist to serve in combat or non-combatant roles if the United States were to be involved. A new YouGov poll revealed that 22% of Americans believe it’s ‘very likely’ that there will be another world war within the next five to 10 years; 39% say it’s ‘somewhat likely.’ Broken down politically, one-third of Republicans believe it’s ‘very likely’ that there will be another world war in the next decade; 20% of Independents and 16% of Democrats agree with that statement. Despite the United States and its NATO allies depleting their military supplies at a breakneck pace in a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, and Moscow displaying fearsome offensive powers, Americans still remain optimistic over any hypothetical war against Russia and China.

If there were to be a world war in which the U.S. and their allies were fighting against Russia, China, or both, Americans are more likely to say that the NATO member states would win than to say they would lose. However, the patriotic optimism quickly fades in the hypothetical scenario that pits both China and Russia — and their allies — against Western nations and their allies in a world war. Just 45% of Americans say the Western nations would emerge victorious, while 55 percent are of the opinion that a coalition made up of Moscow, Beijing and their allies would win. In a similar YouGov survey conducted in the UK, just 21% of British adults believe that Western forces would lose to China, Russia, and their allies in the event of a world war.

Shockingly, if a global conflagration involving the United States were to break out, just 6% of Americans say they would enlist for military service, while 9% say they would not volunteer but would serve if called up, and 13% say they would not volunteer and would refuse to serve if called up. Meanwhile, a whopping 60% say the armed forces would not attempt to draft them due to age or disability. However, in the event that the U.S. finds itself under imminent threat of invasion, the percentage of people who would volunteer for military service increases to 16%. However, 47% say that even in such extreme circumstances, they don’t think the military would want them to serve due to age or disability.

“Americans are more open to the idea of serving in non-combat roles in the event of a world war,” says Jamie Ballard, a data journalist with YouGov. “19% say they would volunteer for this type of role; 12% would not volunteer but would serve if called up. If the U.S. were under imminent threat of invasion, 26% would volunteer for non-combat service. 42% of Americans say the government would not want them for non-combat roles for reasons related to age or disability; 38% say the government would not want them to serve for these reasons even if the U.S. were under imminent threat of invasion.”

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“It’s not like he could say ‘Good job… thank you for the helping hand’. We understand what is going on there, in terms of internal politics..”

Biden Calls Putin ‘A Butcher’ (RT)

US President Joe Biden has disparaged his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the second time in two months, publicly calling him a “butcher” in connection with the Ukraine conflict. Biden made the jab while speaking at a campaign event in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday. He advocated raising the average federal tax for America’s wealthiest from 8.2% to 25%, arguing that this would allow Washington to raise $400 billion over the next ten years. “Imagine what we could do with that. We could fundamentally slash the federal deficit… We could do so many things – consequential – including finally making sure that we take care of Ukraine from that butcher Putin,” he said. Biden also lashed out at the Russian president in late February, calling him a “crazy S.O.B.”

He mentioned Putin while saying that the West must be wary of a nuclear conflict, but should pay even more attention to the danger posed by climate change. At the time, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested that Americans should be ashamed of a leader who indulged in such comments. “If the president of that nation uses that kind of language, that is shameful,” he said, adding that Biden may have been trying to emulate a “Hollywood cowboy” to appeal to domestic audiences. Responding to the “S.O.B.” remarks, Putin stood by his previously expressed opinion that Moscow would be better off with Biden in the White House, adding that the US President’s words only prove his point. “

It’s not like he could say ‘Good job… thank you for the helping hand’. We understand what is going on there, in terms of internal politics,” he explained. This is not the first time that Biden has labeled Putin a “butcher.” The first instance dates back to March 2022, several weeks after the start of the Ukraine conflict. Peskov suggested that such offensive comments “narrow down the window for bilateral relations” at a time when Russia-US ties have sunk to a historic low. In 2021, Biden also called Putin “a killer.” The Russian president retorted, “It takes one to know one,” following that remark.

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“The claims that we are going to attack Europe after Ukraine – it is utter nonsense and intimidation of their own population just to beat the money out of them.”

Talk of Russia Attacking NATO is ‘Nonsense’ – Putin (RT)

Moscow is not seeking a confrontation with America’s vassals in Eastern Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday. Multiple Western officials have tried to drum up support for additional aid to Ukraine by claiming that Moscow will not stop if Kiev is defeated on the battlefield. Putin addressed these claims during a visit to Torzhok air base in Tver Region. “This is just nonsense,” the Russian president said, noting the disparity in Russian defense spending and the budgets of NATO militaries. “The claims that we are going to attack Europe after Ukraine – it is utter nonsense and intimidation of their own population just to beat the money out of them.” US “satellites” in Eastern Europe have no reason to be afraid, Putin added.

Talk of a potential Russian attack on Poland, the Czech Republic, or the Baltic states is just propaganda by governments that seek to scare their citizens “to extract additional expenses from people, to make them bear this burden on their shoulders.” NATO has been expanding towards the borders of Russia, not the other way around, the president noted, adding that Russia is merely ”protecting our people on our historical territories.” “They came right up to our borders… Did we go across the ocean to the borders of the United States? No, they are approaching us, and they have come very close,” he said. Torzhok is home to the 344th Training Center for Russian combat pilots, including personnel being trained to take part in the Ukraine conflict.

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“The Americans came out after the meeting of the Security Council with something so absurd by the US ambassador saying, ‘well, this resolution is non-binding.’”

“When the United Nations Security Council is told by a permanent member, i.e., the US, that this binding resolution is non-binding, then we have a serious problem worldwide..”

United States ‘Mocking’ International Law, Creating ‘World of the Jungle’ (Miles)

The Biden administration made waves on Monday when its delegation to the UN abstained during a Security Council vote calling for a ceasefire in the besieged Gaza Strip. The act was significant as the US has vetoed three previous resolutions with similar language. The passage of the statement raised hopes that violence could finally come to an end in the enclave as Israel’s nearly seven month-long operation has left over 32,000 Palestinians dead, most of them thought to be civilians. But the US immediately backpedaled in the hours since, insisting the Security Council resolution is “non-binding.” The Biden administration’s statements have caused analysts like Elijah Magnier to conclude the country is using the UN erely to manage its relationship with Israel, damaging the authority of international law and threatening world peace in the process. The journalist offered his thoughts during a discussion on Sputnik’s Fault Lines program Tuesday.

“First of all the resolution was [drafted] with the word ‘permanent’ ceasefire, and then the Americans rejected the word ‘permanent’ and changed it with a ‘lasting’ ceasefire,” explained Magnier. “And there’s a big difference between a ‘lasting’ ceasefire and a ‘permanent’ ceasefire. A lasting ceasefire implies a cessation of hostility that is intended to be stable and enduring, but not necessarily to be part of a comprehensive peace agreement that addresses all the issues that the Israelis and the Palestinians have been fighting about since 1948.” “It also requires a mechanism of verification of the ceasefire that has not been put in place,” he noted. “The Americans came out after the meeting of the Security Council with something so absurd by the US ambassador saying, ‘well, this resolution is non-binding.’” The statement was made by White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby during a press conference after the vote.

The Biden administration has taken pains to insist the United States’ relationship with Israel hasn’t changed in light of the UN resolution. But Magnier said such statements do great damage to the power and legitimacy of international law. “If you look at Article 25 of the UN charter, all members of the United Nations agreed to… accept and carry out the decision,” said the journalist, noting that Security Council resolutions are intended to be binding and enforced by members. “Every single US official came out to say, ‘oh, this is a non-binding resolution,’ undermining international laws.” “If these laws are not implemented we live in the world of the jungle, we don’t live in an institution and we don’t live in international law.” The veteran war correspondent, who has reported from Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia, said the erosion in international cooperation seriously threatens the world’s ability to peacefully resolve global conflicts.

“At this point I think the whole world needs something to happen because the Second World War brought the United Nations,” Magnier said. “Do we need a third World War to change the world constitution and start putting a mechanism in place where all countries should abide by international laws? Because it seems the Americans are cherry picking who can implement international laws and who cannot.” “When the United Nations Security Council is told by a permanent member, i.e., the US, that this binding resolution is non-binding, then we have a serious problem worldwide,” he added.

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“..It should be noted that Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant lingered in Washington for talks with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon..”

US-Israel Rift Widens Amid Tense Back-and-Forth Over Gaza War (Sp.)

In a headline-grabbing shift from its three previous vetoes, the US abstained from a UN Security Council vote on a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza on March 25. The move was seen as feeding into a growing chasm between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Biden administration is continuing to fend off backlash after deviating from its previous course and abstaining from a vote on a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza. Even though many pundits believe the abstention was no more than a posturing PR stunt, blowback has nevertheless come from Israel as well as both parties in Congress.

While a furious Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a high-level delegation’s trip to Washington, incensed pro-Israel House lawmakers have slammed Biden for what they see as a US policy shift away from supporting Israel. A number of both Democrats and Republicans are up in arms over the abstention. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) went on social media to post that it was “appalling” the US allowed the passage of the resolution. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) was similarly “shocked.” Another Democrat, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) claimed the abstention had “emboldened” Hamas. House Republican Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) on Tuesday introduced a resolution declaring that “any resolution of the Israeli-Hamas conflict should take place only with the full cooperation and approval of Israel at each step of the process.”

It also insisted that the US “should continue to support Israel and should not attempt to force Israel to take any course of action that is against its best interest.” The flurry of reactions from lawmakers followed a diplomatic snub as Israel called off the visit of a high-level delegation to Washington. The meeting had been called at Biden’s request and was purportedly set to discuss “alternatives” to a planned Israeli offensive into Gaza’s southern city of Rafah. It should be noted that Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant lingered in Washington for talks with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon. After the meeting, Gallant said Israel’s “goals are simple: We need to destroy Hamas as a military and governing organization in Gaza… It means that the military framework must be destroyed.”

Albanese
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772923297656947036

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“..Should the US allow Israel to destroy the last remaining Palestinian holdout in Gaza, Biden will almost certainly lose the 2024 presidential election to Donald Trump.”

Why The US Decided To Give Peace In Gaza A Chance (Blankenship)

In a historic move on Monday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) achieved a breakthrough by passing a binding resolution aimed at securing a “lasting, sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza and advocating the release of all hostages held by Hamas since the October attacks on Israel last year. This momentous step forward in international diplomacy signals a potential turning point in the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict, offering a glimmer of hope for peace in a region long plagued by violence and discord. The decision by the UNSC comes after several failed attempts to broker a ceasefire. It underscores the growing global consensus on the urgent need to address the root causes of the conflict and pave the way for a peaceful settlement. The resolution, which was passed with overwhelming support from the international community, reflects a shared commitment to upholding international law and promoting stability in the region.

The US, traditionally a staunch ally of Israel, notably abstained from vetoing the resolution this time, signaling a shift in its approach and a willingness to engage constructively in multilateral efforts to end the violence – though it has said that it does not represent a change in policy. This decision reflects a recognition of the need for a balanced approach that takes into account the legitimate concerns and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. With the UNSC resolution now enshrined as international law, all UN member states are bound by its provisions, setting a clear mandate for concerted action to implement its objectives. This presents a unique opportunity for diplomatic initiatives and coordinated efforts to de-escalate tensions, rebuild trust, and create the conditions necessary for lasting peace and stability in the region. However, despite the optimism surrounding the UNSC resolution, significant challenges remain on the path to peace.

The Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has vowed to carry out operations in Rafah, a densely populated area where millions of displaced Palestinians now reside. This escalation threatens to further exacerbate tensions and undermine efforts to achieve a ceasefire and pave the way for meaningful negotiations. Moreover, Israel’s position as a key strategic ally of the United States poses a dilemma for Washington, which has long maintained unwavering support for Israel’s security and sovereignty. While the US remains committed to its alliance with Israel, the changing geopolitical landscape and evolving strategic priorities have complicated its stance on the conflict. The Biden administration faces pressure from both domestic and international stakeholders to balance its support for Israel with a commitment to upholding international law and promoting peace in the Middle East. Should the US allow Israel to destroy the last remaining Palestinian holdout in Gaza, Biden will almost certainly lose the 2024 presidential election to Donald Trump.

Additionally, relations with Muslim countries would be shattered beyond repair, as well as endangering US military personnel in the region. The prospect of a full-scale war looms large, with Israel’s military capabilities and the broader implications of its actions raising concerns about the potential for a regional conflict. The possibility of an invasion by neighboring Arab states adds another layer of complexity to an already volatile situation, highlighting the need for concerted diplomatic efforts to prevent further escalation and find a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Further, Israel’s nuclear ambiguity and so-called “Samson Option,” its rumored unofficial retaliatory policy, raise serious questions about whether spillover in the conflict, prompted by the state’s potential ground operation in Rafah, could trigger a international thermonuclear war.

The situation in the Middle East thus represents a major threat to international security, underscoring why major countries like Russia, China, and Brazil have been adamant about a ceasefire. Despite these challenges, there are reasons for cautious optimism. The UNSC resolution represents a significant step forward in international efforts to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and provides a framework for meaningful dialogue and engagement. By building on this momentum and redoubling efforts to promote reconciliation and mutual understanding, there is hope for a brighter future for the people of Gaza and the wider Middle East. While the road to peace remains long and arduous, the UNSC resolution offers a ray of hope in an otherwise bleak landscape. By seizing this opportunity and working together in good faith, the international community can help pave the way for a just and lasting peace in the region. Now is the time for bold leadership, unwavering commitment, and a shared vision of a future defined by cooperation, coexistence, and prosperity for all.

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“It is misguided given that no wing of the conservative movement claims Ronna any longer!”

Inmates Run NBC Asylum: Ex-RNC Chief McDaniel Fired After ‘Talent’ Mutiny (ZH)

Just four days after she was hired — and before she even started — former Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel was fired by NBC News on Tuesday as the network bent to the wishes of its on-air “talent” who protested her hiring during their programs. McDaniel was poised to become a talking head providing insights on politics heading into November’s general election. News of McDaniel’s hiring broke on Friday, immediately igniting a firestorm among leftists inside and outside of NBC’s walls. In the few days that followed, a parade of hosts — including Chuck Todd, Joe Scarborough and Joy Reid, dedicated portions of their shows to raking their bosses over the coals for hiring McDaniel. Rachel Maddow was among the most melodramatically warped, saying that having McDaniel on the payroll was “inexplicable” because she “hasn’t just attacked us as journalists, but…is part of an ongoing project to get rid of our system of government.”

On Tuesday, NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde waved the surrender flag in a memo to staff: “No organization, particularly a newsroom, can succeed unless it is cohesive and aligned. Over the last few days, it has become clear that this appointment undermines that goal. After listening to the legitimate concerns of many of you, I have decided that Ronna McDaniel will not be an NBC News contributor. I want to personally apologize to our team members who felt we let them down.” McDaniel, who oversaw seven years of Republican electoral underperformance before resigning in February, was hired by NBC News editorial chief Rebecca Blumenstein. “They thought this would bring in more conservative viewers and give a conservative point of view,” a source at NBC tells the New York Post. “It is misguided given that no wing of the conservative movement claims Ronna any longer! Don’t understand how no one realized that.”

NBC’s fiasco was indeed multi-faceted. Aside from choosing a non-conservative to appeal to conservatives, the move precipitated a spectacle of hypocrisy, as Maddow and others who relentlessly promoted the Russiagate hoax and cheer on efforts to remove Trump from 2024 ballots assailed McDaniel for being dishonest and supposedly undermining democracy. On his nightly show System Update, Glenn Greenwald found the whole thing darkly amusing: As much as NBC would like to think this whole clusterf*** is behind them, McDaniel, who is Mitt Romney’s niece, is reportedly looking for an attorney, presumably to help her shake some money out of the peacock’s feathers.

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“This is right in [Letitia James’] jurisdiction! I look forward to the grand jury indictment..”

Jon Stewart Found To Have Overvalued His NYC Home By 829% (NYP)

Jon Stewart is facing online backlash after the comedian opined on air this week that Donald Trump’s civil real estate case for overvaluing his properties was “not victimless” — when it turns out the price of a previous home sale finds Stewart doing the exact same thing, The Post has learned. On Monday night, Stewart, 61, unpacked Trump’s $454 million appeal bond, calling out experts framing the former president’s New York civil case as not causing direct harm to any individual. “The Daily Show” host rolled a clip of CNN’s Laura Coates interviewing “Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary, who commented that the ruling didn’t “go over well” with the real estate industry that was now fretting over the possibility of becoming the next target. Jon Stewart slammed Kevin O’Leary for calling Trump’s Civil Case as “victimless.”

Coates responds to O’Leary by highlighting that Trump was found liable for falsifying business records in the second degree, issuing false financial statements, insurance fraud and conspiracy, all due to asset inflation. “Everything that you just listed off is done by every real estate developer everywhere on Earth in every city. This has never been prosecuted,” O’Leary replied. In response, Stewart asked: “How is he not this mad about overvaluations in the real world?” “Because they are not victimless crimes,” he said. To further his point, Stewart argued that “money isn’t infinite. A loan that goes to the liar doesn’t go to someone who’s giving a more honest evaluation. So the system becomes incentivized for corruption.”

Stewart also contended that failing to declare a higher market value on a property, while paying taxes based on a lower assessed value, constitutes fraudulent behavior. “The attorney general of New York knew that Trump’s property values were inflated because when it came time to pay taxes, Trump undervalued the very same properties,” Stewart added. “It was all part of a very specific real estate practice known as lying.” But it didn’t take long for internet sleuths to look into Stewart’s own property history, which shows an overvaluation of his New York City penthouse by a staggering 829%, records confirmed by The Post show. In 2014, Stewart sold his 6,280-square-foot Tribeca duplex to financier Parag Pande for $17.5 million. The property’s asking price at that time is not available in listing records.

But according to 2013-2014 assessor records obtained by The Post, the property had the estimated market-value at only $1.882 million. The actual assessor valuation was even lower, at $847,174. Records also show that Stewart paid significantly lower property taxes, which were calculated based on that assessor valuation price — precisely what he called Trump out for doing in his Monday monologue. Pande, who purchased the penthouse from Stewart, then resold the property at a nearly 26% loss, according to the Real Deal — at just over $13 million — in 2021. Timothy Pool, a political commentator known for more right-leaning views, alleged on X that Stewart was being a hypocrite. “Did @jonstewart commit fraud when he sold his penthouse for $17.5M? NY listed its market value at $1.8M an AV at around 800k… Who did he defraud?? I am SHOCKED,” he wrote. “This is right in [Letitia James’] jurisdiction! I look forward to the grand jury indictment,” a user quipped in response to the tweet.

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“..voters who cannot understand how the government can provide billions to Ukraine while planning spending cuts at home..”

Macron Struggling To Justify Cash For Ukraine – Le Monde (RT)

It is “extremely unclear” how France can fulfill promises by President Emmanuel Macron to supply more military aid to Ukraine, as the government in Paris struggles with plans for spending cuts, Le Monde has reported. French authorities are looking to save €10 billion ($10.8 billion) this year amid a budget deficit of €144.5 billion ($156 billion) and a reduced growth forecast, according to which the economy will increase by just 1% in 2024. The French government said last month that the €10 billion cut could, among other things, be achieved by reducing the expenses of all its ministries and slicing public policies, including development aid and subsidies for building renovation.

In such circumstances, the pledge by Macron to provide €3 billion in support for Kiev this year to aid in the conflict with Russia – made when France and Ukraine signed a 10-year bilateral security pact in mid-February – has turned into a “budgetary and political headache” for his government, Le Monde reported on Tuesday. Lawmakers from Macron’s ruling Renaissance party say they regularly face questions from voters who cannot understand how the government can provide billions to Ukraine while planning spending cuts at home, the paper said. “People ask us why we’re giving €3 billion to Ukraine, it’s a lot of money,” Renaissance MP Mathieu Lefevre was quoted as saying. Le Monde suggested that in order to fulfill their promise to Kiev, the authorities in Paris would have to “play with the paperwork,” such as including France’s €900 million contribution to the European Peace Facility, an EU fund to aid Ukraine, in the €3 billion sum.

Another option might be to increase the value of the equipment donated to the Ukrainian government. The outlet added, however, that Macron’s cabinet would likely still be forced to make amendments to the finance bill (PLFR) in the summer, despite such a move being “politically inflammable.” It would require approval from the National Assembly, where opposition parties object to further funding for Kiev. Despite the issues outlined by Le Monde, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu stated on Tuesday that Paris will soon be able to deliver 78 more Caesar howitzers to Kiev, while boosting the supply of shells to the country.

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“The Port of Baltimore is the country’s busiest maritime terminal for exports of vehicles..”

US Supply Chains Disrupted By Baltimore Bridge Collapse (RT)

The collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, which has cut off ocean routes to the city’s major port, is expected to cause severe disruptions to local transport and logistics, producing ripple effects on global supply chains. The four-lane bridge collapsed on Tuesday after being hit by the Singapore-registered container ship Dali, operated by Danish shipping giant Maersk. As a result of the accident, a large section of the 1.6-mile (2.6km) bridge collapsed into the Patapsco River, with multiple vehicles falling nearly 55 meters into the water. Built in the 1970s, the Francis Scott Key Bridge spans the Patapsco River, and is the only passage connecting the US’ ninth-biggest foreign trading port to the ocean. The Port of Baltimore is the country’s busiest maritime terminal for exports of vehicles.

Very sharp turn
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772750115465269664

According to Maryland Governor Wes Moore, no other port in the country brings in more vehicles than Baltimore, with up to 850,000 cars and light trucks going in and out of its terminals annually. Parts used in vehicle assembly also pass through the port or across the bridge. The major hub for East Coast shipping also handles significant volumes of coal. During the second quarter of 2023, the port’s facilities had the second-highest coal export capacities, data tracked by S&P Global shows. Ten ships are reportedly stuck inside the port, unable to leave as the collapsed bridge spanned the only way in and out of the harbor. Another 30 small cargo vessels, tug boats, and other craft are also trapped in the port. Nearly 40 ships heading for Baltimore were forced to divert.

Commenting on the tragedy, US President Joe Biden said the bridge is vital to the economy, citing concerns about traffic and jobs connected to the port. He noted that the port supports around 15,000 jobs and that over 30,000 vehicles used the bridge each day. Officials closed the port to ship traffic following the incident. Rescue efforts are underway as the authorities search for six people who are still missing.

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Peterson
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772718650652500293

 

 

Glutathione
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772964579091341340

 

 

D3
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772990643842723868

 

 

Turbo

 

 

Lions

 

 

Baby rhino

 

 

Tuffy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772754349669716021

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 232024
 
 March 23, 2024  Posted by at 9:46 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  37 Responses »


Edvard Munch Spring in Johan Karl Street 1891

 

Trump: “I Almost Have Five Hundred Million Dollars In Cash” (ZH)
Trump’s Third Act Has Begun. It’s a Beauty. (Scott Adams)
Wake-up Call (James Howard Kunstler)
No Ukraine Talks Because US Threatens Zelensky – Seymour Hersh (Sp.)
Let NATO Troops Enter Ukraine. The War Will End Much Faster Then – Orban (VV)
Russia is at War – Kremlin (RT)
Macron Believes Ukraine Could Fall Soon – Politico (RT)
La Macronnerie of a Failed French President: Ukraine (Jay)
France’s Megalomaniac Macron is Gambling With World Peace (SCF)
EU Eyes ‘Groundbreaking’ Change On Ukraine Arms Funding (RT)
Ukraine Makes Fresh Move To Draft More Soldiers (RT)
Washington In Denial Over Putin’s Victory While Gaming Its Own Elections (Cox)
World Sees Gaza as ‘US Genocide’ Not Just Israel’s (Sp.)
CIA Told DOJ to Stay Away from Kevin Morris in Hunter Biden Probe (Turley)
CIA Protecting Biden by Blocking IRS Interviews – Whistleblower (DeMartino)
Global Population Set To Fall For First Time In 700 Years (MN)

 

 


BREAKING: Shareholders have just voted to let Trump’s company, Trump Media & Technology Group, which owns Truth Social, become a public company, which could earn Trump $4 billion. NOTE: However, if Trump wants to use this money to help with his legal issues in a fraud case by Letitia James, he has to get special permission to sell his shares early. NOTE: Trump’s company will start being traded on the stock market under the symbol “DJT” as soon as next week.

 

 

Letitia

 

 

Vivek

 

 

Lawfare
https://twitter.com/i/status/1770861500103557197

 

 

Cannon

 

 

There’s plenty of money for enhanced border security in the $1.2 Trillion funding package. Just not the US border.

 

 

Stephen Miller

 

 

Watters

 

 

Watters Fani

 

 

Immigration

 

 

Will The Supreme Court Recognize Voter Fraud And Ensure It Doesn’t Happen in 2024?

 

 

 

 

“Letitia James is about to hand Trump a huge victory…… when she seizes Trump Tower, the case is now federal bc Trumps Atty’s are ready to go into Federal Court, claiming his 8th Amendment rights have been violated. Thus putting an immediate freeze on her. Many are wondering why a federal judge hasn’t stepped in…. well the reason is…. she hasn’t acted on her threats yet…. so Trump’s Constitutional rights have yet to be violated.”

Trump: “I Almost Have Five Hundred Million Dollars In Cash” (ZH)

Former President Trump on Friday said on Truth Social that “through hard work, talent, and luck, I currently have almost five hundred million dollars in cash.” The announcement comes as a Monday deadline fast approaches for him to come up with roughly $454 million to stay judgement in his civil fraud case while he appeals. According to Trump, he had intended to use a “substantial amount” of his money in his presidential campaign. “THE OFTEN OVERTURNED POLITICAL HACK JUDGE ON THE RIGGED AND CORRUPT A.G. CASE, WHERE I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG, KNEW THIS, WANTED TO TAKE IT AWAY FROM ME,” President Trump wrote. “THAT’S WHERE AND WHY HE CAME UP WITH THE SHOCKING NUMBER WHICH, COUPLED WITH HIS CRAZY INTEREST DEMAND, IS APPROXIMATELY $454,000,000,” he continued.

As the Epoch Times notes further: “The judgment total was $363 million, but breaks down with about $355 million of that specifically applying to President Trump, $4 million to be recovered from Eric Trump, $4 million to be recovered from Donald Trump Jr., and $1 million to be recovered from former Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg. With the applied 9 percent interest, court filings say the bond comes out to more than $464 million, with a little more than $10 million of that attributed to judgment on Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Mr. Weisselberg. Judgment was entered on Feb. 23, kicking off a 30-day clock to post the massive sum, set to expire on March 25. President Trump, in the post, decried the ruling as an example of “communism in America.” Meanwhile, even the AP found that in 70 years of similar cases involving civil fraud, Trump’s stood out as unique.

President Trump is billions of dollars richer after shareholders in Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) on Friday approved a merger with Trump’s media startup, Truth Social. The long-delayed merger adds roughly $3.5 billion to Trump’s net worth – however the former president won’t be able to sell any shares for at least six months unless the board waives it (or they can back a loan), raising questions over whether he’ll be able to leverage it to secure a $464 million bond in his New York civil fraud case – which his lawyers say is “impossible” to secure due to a lack of cash on hand. If Trump can’t secure the giant sum by Monday, he risks the seizure of assets – which New York has already begun positioning itself to do. Earlier this week, DWAC sued to force its former CEO, Patrick Orlando, to vote his 14.77% shareholding in favor of the merger, despite an ongoing dispute over compensation, Axios and FT report. Orlando was on the shareholder vote call.

“The professional relationship between Mr Orlando and Digital World became strained and has continued to deteriorate such that there is no assurance that Mr Orlando as a current member of our board or as a controlling affiliate of the sponsor will be co-operative,” DWAC warned in a filing last month. Following the merger, DWAC will effectively cease to exist, and will be replaced by TMTG – which will be listed on the Nasdaq. Its board of directors will include Donald Trump Jr. as well as several former members of the Trump White House, the report continues. Former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) will serve as TMTG’s CEO. Meanwhile, and perhaps in anticipation of Trump selling to satisfy the bond, DWAC shares have plummeted on the news to the tune of 8% in early trading.

Beyond Trump’s massive payout from the deal, three hedge funds also stand to make huge profits – Anson Funds, Mangrove Capital Partners and All Blue Capital, which participated in a $50mm convertible debt offering earlier this year after other funds had walked away. They’re sitting on over $400 million in gains as of Thursday’s closing price. “The return will be amazing,” said one person involved in the financing, per FT. “Trump’s advisers have been keeping him on the sidelines . . . they want to get this vote clear with no issues with the government. Then, on Tuesday when it starts trading, it is game on for Trump.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1770991128948420912

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X thread. “Trump turned Leticia James into his best fundraiser..”

Trump’s Third Act Has Begun. It’s a Beauty. (Scott Adams)

Next week, Trump could make over $4 billion when his media company goes public, removing all doubt about his billionaire status. And you can stop asking if he would have been better off putting his inheritance in a savings account in the 70s. I expect Trump to leave a 15% tip for Leticia James and the Democrats because they made his windfall possible by hunting him and censoring him for years. You can call it a bond, not a tip, if you prefer. When the Supreme Court tosses out the unconstitutional fine, Trump gets most of his “tip” back. The Democrats planned to cripple Trump financially so he couldn’t spend as much on the campaign. Trump turned Leticia James into his best fundraiser. Lots of interesting developments lately on the topic of the 2020 election. The Simulation wants at least one of those fresh allegations to be a Kraken.

Trump’s legal maneuvering is likely to keep him eligible for the election. You can fantasize about a heroic Democrat such as Newsom swooping in and replacing Biden, but it’s looking less likely every day. If it had always been the plan, it would have happened by now. Looks like Biden has to stay on the job to keep the Biden Crime Family out of jail. The predictable Democrat Summer Hoax will add some excitement, but it will be forgotten and debunked by November. Trump’s upcoming victory is looking like it will be, as Trump says, “too big to rig.” And by that I mean Democrats will try to rig it anyway and get caught. That will be fun.

The gears of the machine have become visible. We can all see the FBI is rotten and the DOJ is weaponized. We know the border is open intentionally. We know the cartels are working with our government. We know our elections are DESIGNED to not be auditable and there’s only one reason for it. We can see Biden is not in charge. We know the Ukraine war was always about its energy resources and who gets to own them. We know our rising debt is ruinous. We know our experts are liars. We know our pharma and food industries are poisoning us. We know our government is racist. We know the corporate media is essentially owned by Democrats who are controlled by intelligence entities and they are actively brainwashing the population. We know the 1st and 2nd amendments, and X, are under sustained government attack because they are the public’s last defense against the government. But we are not quitters. And the odds do not apply to us.

Trump Ad

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“But fiends got to fiend, and if you try to deprive them of being fiends then you are guilty of “hate.“

Wake-up Call (James Howard Kunstler)

Can you feel it? The tension rising to the red-line? It runs clear through all of Western Civ. We are ruled by governments of fiends. But now, the sun rides higher in the sky. The sap is rising in the northern forests. The earth heaves. The buds swell and blush. Something is in the air. The animals are waking from their long winter sleep. The natives are restless. The two traditional political divisions, liberal and conservative died with Covid. Now there are simply the sane versus the insane. The sane have had enough of being pushed around by the insane. The insane don’t register much of what reality tries to tell them. They have a body of insane ideas to comfort and protect them from the reality’s rigors. To call that body of ideas an “ideology” is way too polite. That the insane call themselves “progressive,” is a signature of their insanity. Progress toward what better state of things? Toward a supremacy of fiends, sadists, degenerates, and morons seizing riches and power by every dishonest means possible outside the rule of law and common decency?

It’s not even suitable to call them “communists.” They lack the necessary idealism for that. They don’t expect to put their shoulders to the wheel with their fellow man. They just want to grab your stuff and then kill you so they don’t have to hear any complaints. The insane do not believe any of the theoretical bullshit they want to force you to swallow. They don’t care about climate change. It’s just a cudgel they use to beat everyone over the head so they can steal your stuff. They don’t care about “democracy.” It’s just a line of bullshit to cover up their election-stealing. Do you suppose that sane people would keep using electronic vote-tabulating machines that were demonstrably connected to the Internet, and thus hackable, if they cared about election integrity? Of course not. They would arrange p.d.q. to junk them and use paper ballots, and only in person at polling places, with “absentee” exceptions only for people out of the country.

The insane do not care about public health. Everything that is known about the Covid-19 vaccinations tells you that they are unsafe and don’t prevent infection or transmission of a flu-like illness that might not even be what it was officially labeled as. Our public health officials in the FDA, the CDC, and in other corners of the Department of health and Human Services, lie about everything they’re responsible for. This week, the CDC (under Director Mandy Cohen) released a 148-page study on myocarditis reactions to mRNA shots. Every word on every page of the document was redacted. The CDC printed countless copies of the report with 148 utterly blank pages, and then proffered them to the news media. How is that not insane? The insane do not care about the rule of law. The conduct of “Lawfare” is the subversion of the law by dishonest means. It is a species of racketeering. And that is why Lawfare rogues such Marc Elias, Norm Eisen, Andrew Weissmann, Mary McCord, Lisa Monaco, Matthew Graves, and Merrick Garland, should be charged under the federal RICO statutes for conspiring to deprive sane citizens of their rights and property in the many cases related to the 1/6/21 riot at the US Capitol.

It is, so far, an abiding mystery of contemporary history as to how New York Attorney General Letitia James managed to get away with prosecuting a real estate case against Donald Trump that was no more than victimless business-as-usual between a borrower and his lenders. Ms. James ran for that elected office promising to “get” Mr. Trump on something, anything. That is not how the rule of law works. Under the rule of law, first you determine that there is a crime and then look for who did the crime. Letitia James must be insane and/or pretty stupid. The short-term gain of stealing Mr. Trump’s property under a false color-of-law and creating impediments to his election campaign, will, sooner or later, blow back at her as a matter of malicious prosecution and, plausibly, racketeering as well. (With whom did she conspire to bring this case? We shall find out.) She will eventually be disgraced publicly as her teammate Fani Willis has already been disgraced in Fulton County, Georgia.

I’ll tell you something that all sane people now know but won’t talk about for fear of being crushed by the levers of Lawfare: this looks like a concerted effort by people-of-color to railroad people of non-color. If you think that is a good thing for race relations in our country, then you are insane. Here are a bunch of other things that are insane: Re-litigating the first amendment is insane. It means what it says, and states it plainly. The open border is insane. No credible sovereign polity would allow it. It would be opposed with force, if necessary. Turning children into transsexuals on a wholesale basis is insane, and fiendishly so. Everybody knows that it is not good for the children or for our society as a whole. But fiends got to fiend, and if you try to deprive them of being fiends then you are guilty of “hate.”

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‘No negotiations or settlement or we won’t support your government with the $45 billion in non-military funds [that Ukraine is now receiving annually..'”

No Ukraine Talks Because US Threatens Zelensky – Seymour Hersh (Sp.)

Negotiations on resolving the conflict in Ukraine could have started months ago, but US authorities threatened Vladimir Zelensky with withdrawal of non-military funding, US journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh said in an article on Substack. “We were on the verge of a reasonable negotiation several months ago before Putin’s re-election and Zelensky’s military degradation. The US leaders got wind of the possibility and gave Zelensky the ultimatum-‘No negotiations or settlement or we won’t support your government with the $45 billion in non-military funds [that Ukraine is now receiving annually,'” the source told the journalist. According to Hersh’s information, US intelligence community recognises that “Ukraine has little chance of winning…”

Hersh’s interlocutor also added that US President Joe Biden has staked on confronting the “Russian threat to NATO” and will not change his course under any circumstances, while the end is inevitable. “There is no road to victory for Ukraine, and it will end with Putin as an historical icon in Russia…,” the source concluded. In autumn 2022, Zelensky signed a decree according to which his country will not negotiate with Russia as long as it is led by Vladimir Putin. Russia, for its part, has repeatedly noted its readiness to discuss the settlement of the conflict through diplomatic means. As Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphasised, the Russia does not see any prerequisites for a peaceful transition of the situation, and sovereignty over the new Russian regions and Crimea is not up for discussion.

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X thread. “And the West will get a lesson for memory that it is bad to fight with Russia..”

Let NATO Troops Enter Ukraine. The War Will End Much Faster Then – Orban (VV)

Viktor Orban: “It’s a strange feeling when you come from Hungary to Brussels. Hungary looks like a completely normal country. We have a calm and rational mindset, and if you come to Brussels and talk to politicians, you will be surprised. There is a military mood, military language, military logic. The leaders talk as if they are waging their own war against Russia. And now they are saying that soldiers should be stationed in Ukraine. It is not clear exactly what they mean, where they should be stationed, with what weapons and for what purposes. But they have already begun to prepare for the fact that in this situation it will be quite natural if Western European countries deploy military posts on the territory of Ukraine, which shocks Hungarians.

Therefore, I felt as if I had entered another galaxy, and we must be careful not to fall into the psychosis of these twenty or so state leaders. [How far are Western leaders willing to go in terms of supporting Ukraine? The most disturbing thing about this whole story is that two or three months ago it was unthinkable, now, two or three months later, it becomes an ordinary event.” That’s what I said – the worse, the better. Ukraine attacked the Belgorod region. Where is Ukraine’s energy sector now? Russia has always needed a good kick in the ass for it to act. So, let NATO troops enter Ukraine. The war will end much faster then. And the West will get a lesson for memory that it is bad to fight with Russia.

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“..Peskov explained that despite the conflict “de facto turning into a war,” legally it remains classified in Russia as a special military operation..”

Russia is at War – Kremlin (RT)

Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has turned into full-fledged war after the West became a participant in the conflict, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with national media published on Friday. Moscow will continue to pursue its goal of ensuring that the Ukrainian military cannot pose a threat to Russian citizens or territory, the spokesman told the Argumenti i Fakty newspaper, noting that the country now has four new federal subjects which must be protected and fully liberated from Kiev’s forces. Peskov stressed that Russia cannot allow the existence on its borders of a state that publicly claims it will seize the Crimean Peninsula as well as Russia’s new territories, referring to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.

“We are at war,” Peskov stated, explaining that while the conflict began as a special military operation, as soon as “the collective West became a participant in this on the side of Ukraine, for us it became a war.” In a phone conversation with journalists later in the day, Peskov explained that despite the conflict “de facto turning into a war,” legally it remains classified in Russia as a special military operation and that nothing has changed in that regard. The Russian Defense Ministry recently reported that since the start of the military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, over 13,000 foreign nationals have taken part in the fighting on the side of Kiev’s forces.

Of these fighters, which Moscow describes as mercenaries, some 5,962 have been “eliminated,” according to the ministry. Most of them came from Poland, Georgia, the US, Canada, the UK, Romania, Germany, and France, it reported. The head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, claimed earlier this week that France is preparing its forces for deployment to Ukraine and is allegedly looking to send as many as 2,000 troops to fight for Kiev. French President Emmanuel Macron has hinted in recent weeks at the possible deployment of NATO forces to Ukraine, stating he could not “exclude” this possibility while branding Russia an “adversary.” Moscow has warned that such a step would likely lead to a direct clash between Russian and NATO forces, which, according to President Vladimir Putin, would be “one step shy of a full-scale World War III.”

Katyusha

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“..Marine Le Pen [..] accused the president last week of “hijacking” the Ukraine issue for the sake of domestic electoral politics..”

Macron Believes Ukraine Could Fall Soon – Politico (RT)

French President Emmanuel Macron believes Ukraine might be defeated on the battlefield in short order, the French edition of Politico reported on Wednesday. The outlet’s Playbook section spoke with several members of the president’s party who had attended a working dinner at the Elysee Palace the evening before. While most of the discussion centered on the upcoming European Parliament elections, the Ukraine conflict also came up. “Ukraine could fall very quickly,” one of the outlet’s sources quoted Macron as saying. Macron ramped up his rhetoric about Ukraine a few weeks after a number of French nationals fighting on behalf of Kiev were killed in a Russian missile strike. At a meeting of EU leaders in Paris in late February, he refused to rule out the possibility of a NATO intervention in Ukraine.

Though the idea was quickly rejected by almost all members of the US-led bloc and its secretary-general, Macron doubled down, declaring there would be “no limits” to French support for Kiev and calling Russia an “adversary.” Meanwhile, the French Army’s Chief of Staff Pierre Schill announced that the country’s military was “ready,” presumably for a war. Moscow has strongly condemned Macron’s remarks and cautioned NATO against taking further hostile moves. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the deployment of Western soldiers to Ukraine would make direct conflict with Russia “inevitable.” Marine Le Pen, a prominent member of the opposition National Rally party and Macron’s rival in the 2022 election, accused the president last week of “hijacking” the Ukraine issue for the sake of domestic electoral politics. Polls have shown that the French support helping Kiev with weapons and money, but draw the line at getting involved directly with boots on the ground.

Concerns that Kiev might be losing the war appear to be based on several French military assessments leaked earlier this month to the outlet Marianne. One report, following Kiev’s summer offensive, concluded that Ukraine could not win the conflict by military means. Another described the Battle of Avdeevka as a Ukrainian rout and had the French military “in cold sweat,” according to Marianne. A few days later, the daily Le Monde claimed that Macron’s talk of possibly sending troops dated all the way back to June 2023, when the Ukrainian counteroffensive was just starting. General Schill also told the outlet that Macron’s public statements have been “foremost a political and strategic message” to Russia about France’s “will and commitment,” rather than an actual escalation.

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“Western elites have the technology and well-trained soldiers. What they lack is the stamina and political courage to face the baptism of outrage once body bags start arriving back on home soil..”

La Macronnerie of a Failed French President: Ukraine (Jay)

Just what is Emmanuel Macron thinking with his recent media trysts which have gained the attention of the world? Initially, we thought his statements about sending French troops to Ukraine to fight Russian forces was merely chaf to throw up in the air to distract journalists and a gullible French public. It’s true, it has rattled Germany which promptly replied to Macron, reminding him that EU countries are not “at war with Russia” – a curious statement given that just a week earlier, a leaked audio conversation with German air force chiefs revealed that they wanted to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine so as to hit the Crimean bridge. Of course, now that we all know what the intentions of the Germans were, Scholz has been forced to backpedal and downplay the scandal, sticking to its position of neutrality. But if you think that’s funny, wait until you see what Macron has in store for Old Europe.

Could it be really true that he believes French troops could end up in Ukraine? A quick glance at the actual quote from Le Parisienne interview would suggest the opposite and that he’s hedging his bets, or, as some suspect trying to bait the Americans into wanting to get there first. Is this what the British expression “jumping the gun” really means? “Maybe at some point – I don’t want it, I won’t take the initiative – we will have to have operations on the ground, whatever they may be, to counter the Russian forces,” he is quoted as saying. In reality, it seems as though he has been misquoted as there is no story here. Even he is saying on the record that he won’t authorise it. So is he hinting at other western countries taking the lead, perhaps the Poles, Lithuanians and Latvians? Possibly. But in reality, the most likely scenario would be the U.S. biting the bullet and financing a private army made up of various nationalities.

Yet even this initiative would need to be prepared for media and even Russia itself so that the underlying point is clear: this is not a NATO war. Of course, this thinking is fatally flawed as it is based on a premise that Putin wouldn’t dare retaliate against those units of troops who he knows are located in a particular spot, as this could invoke Article V of the NATO treaty itself. Yet any two-bit geopolitical hack who knows Putin, knows this would not stop him as killing western troops – or even better capturing a small number – would mean the end of the West’s intervention. Western elites have the technology and well-trained soldiers. What they lack is the stamina and political courage to face the baptism of outrage once body bags start arriving back on home soil. It may well mean, for Macron, if he were ever to entertain the idea of French troops, that it would or could be African troops from former French colonies enrolled under private contracts as mercenaries.

But as I saw in Somalia in 1993, Western leaders like Clinton had no stomach whatsoever for even a small number of their own being killed or captured. Osama bin Laden watched how Clinton soiled his own pants when just 18 soldiers died in the spectacular U.S. Rangers failure in Mogadishu with an operation which was supposed to take an hour. Black Hawk Down and its implications inspired Bin Laden to bomb both the Dar Es Salam and Nairobi U.S. embassies after seeing how vulnerable the West is fighting terrorism, or merely sticking its nose into other countries problems. All it actually took was Newsweek to run a cover of a U.S. soldier’s body being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu to make Clinton not only pull out of Somalia altogether, but convince the UN itself to leave later in 1995. It also meant that the West would not help hundreds of thousands of victims of the civil war in Rwanda which led to the genocide in 1994. One U.S. soldier. One Newsweek cover.

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“..the French military contingency does not make sense from a military point of view, unless that is, the ulterior objective is to incite escalation..”

France’s Megalomaniac Macron is Gambling With World Peace (SCF)

It is unequivocally clear that if France or any other NATO member deploys combat troops to Ukraine, those troops will be targeted and killed by Russian firepower. In that case, the proxy war in Ukraine becomes an all-out war between the U.S.-led NATO alliance and Russia. That is, World War Three will have started, which in all probability leads inexorably to a nuclear conflagration. Anyone pushing that trajectory is contemptible and criminal. Step up, Monsieur Macron. This narcissistic wannabe Napoleon figure has been pushing the envelope for several weeks now since he hosted a conference on Ukraine in Paris on February 26 when he began publicly toying with the notion of sending NATO troops to Ukraine to combat Russia. This week, Russian foreign intelligence chief Sergei Naryshkin claimed that a contingent of 2,000 French military personnel were preparing to enter the Ukraine conflict. France’s military commanders vehemently dismissed the Russian intelligence claim, decrying it as an “irresponsible provocation”.

Just who is being provocative here? The alleged French deployment is consistent with the unhinged and belligerent rhetoric of French President Emmanuel Macron over the past three weeks during which he has been hinting at sending troops and of having “no red lines” to make sure that Russia does not win the war in Ukraine. Macron – like a puerile character – has also taken to goading other European leaders, notably his German counterpart, about not being “cowards” when it comes to supporting Ukraine. Let’s be clear. NATO soldiers and weapons have been in Ukraine since the CIA-backed coup in Kiev in 2014 that installed a Russian-hating NeoNazi regime. The NATO proxy war has been targeting Russia for over a decade and killed more than 10,000 ethnic Russian civilians during a low-intensity war of aggression in formerly Eastern Ukraine. That aggression was finally countered when Russian forces intervened in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. However, the deployment of NATO combat battalions on the ground takes the conflict to the threshold of all-out war.

And Monsieur Macron appears to be willing to go there (while directing from his plush leather armchair in Elysée Palace and swirling a tumbler of vintage whiskey, bien sûr.) Russian President Vladimir Putin has said on several occasions – and most recently as of last week – that if Russia is threatened existentially, even with conventional weapons, then it reserves the right to use nuclear weapons for its defense. Putin warned that nuclear weapons exist to be used. The Russian doctrine for possible nuclear war is well-defined and long-established. Putin is not saber-rattling as the Western media stupidly make out. He is merely reminding potential enemies of the ultimate reality. Given the appalling stakes involved, it may seem bewildering that France’s Macron keeps talking about the possibility of deploying French and other NATO troops to fight in Ukraine. What is driving the French head of state to make such crass allusions?

First of all, it should be noted that such military contingents are crass from an objective military point of view. The deployment of 2,000 French troops would change nothing on the battlefield. They would be destroyed in two days, as American military analyst Scott Ritter points out. The risk is that the casualties inflicted on France would trigger other NATO members to intervene with greater numbers and firepower. That would lead to a spiraling escalation towards all-out nuclear war. As well as France, the Poles and Baltic states appear to be gung-ho about sending combat units. So, the French military contingency does not make sense from a military point of view, unless that is, the ulterior objective is to incite escalation. In other words, the French battle group is deliberately put forward as a sacrificial lamb to act as a tripwire for full NATO mobilization to war.

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“..by circumventing a clause in the bloc’s founding treaty..”

EU Eyes ‘Groundbreaking’ Change On Ukraine Arms Funding (RT)

EU officials are seeking legal advice on how to unlock more military spending for Ukraine by circumventing a clause in the bloc’s founding treaty, the Financial Times reported on Thursday. The move would involve bypassing a section of the Treaty on European Union which forbids charging expenditure that has “military or defense implications” to the bloc’s joint budget. Such funding can be directly provided by member states, but individual governments can opt out of paying, even if they don’t vote against the spending itself. The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, has proposed a legal task force to evaluate whether the section in question, Article 41(2), can be circumvented so that it doesn’t prevent Brussels from buying weapons for Ukraine to support it in the conflict with Russia, four people familiar with the matter told the British newspaper. Kiev’s military effort against Russia is currently being funded through the European Peace Facility (EPF), which exists outside of the bloc’s joint budget.

The legal theory is that Article 41(2) should apply only to the EU’s own military programs and not foreign states, the FT reported. If the interpretation is applied, “it would be absolutely groundbreaking,” one source said. Talks, however, are at an early stage and may not end in Kiev’s favor, the newspaper reported. Even if changes are made, member states may challenge them in court. While many EU countries support military assistance for Ukraine, Hungary and Slovakia are in opposition. They argue that continued weapons deliveries merely result in more bloodshed, as opposed to a Russian defeat, and stand in the way of possible peace talks. There are also neutral members, such as Austria, which favor non-lethal assistance only. Last year the EU vowed to supply 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine by March 2024, but has failed to deliver on the pledge. Ukrainian officials have complained that assistance from Western donors has been lackluster in both amount and capability.

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“..medical commissions would no longer classify Ukrainian recruits as ‘fit for limited military service’. She argued that “this will make life easier for tens of thousands of people.”

Ukraine Makes Fresh Move To Draft More Soldiers (RT)

Ukrainian recruits deemed ‘fit for limited military service’ could soon be thrown into the thick of the fighting after the nation’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, moved to abolish the term altogether. A bill to that effect was supported by the Rada on Thursday. According to the text, those who have been classified as fit for military service with restrictions would have to undergo a medical examination within the next nine months to determine their new health status, and whether they could be deployed to the front line. Those deemed fit for limited service could only be called up during time of war, and are not supposed to fill frontline positions, being allowed to serve only in support and rear units. The push to change conscription legislation comes amid calls from numerous officials in Kiev that every Ukrainian citizen should serve his country during the conflict with Russia. Commenting on the bill on national TV, Deputy Defense Minister Natalya Kalmykova said that medical commissions would no longer classify Ukrainian recruits as ‘fit for limited military service’. She argued that “this will make life easier for tens of thousands of people.”

“Both the service members and their relatives asked the Defense Ministry and other authorities to resolve this issue. We are very glad that the Verkhovna Rada has supported these changes,” she added. Meanwhile, since late December, Ukrainian lawmakers have been mulling a controversial bill that would lower the minimum conscription age from 27 to 25 to compensate for battlefield losses, with reported plans to call up around 500,000 troops. In early February, the legislation was passed in its first reading after numerous amendments. Later in the month, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated Ukraine’s losses at more than 444,000 troops since the start of the conflict in February 2022. On Wednesday, the minister claimed that Kiev’s casualties had reached 71,000 troops this year alone, a figure he said was three times the losses during the same period last year. However, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed in February that Kiev had sustained only 31,000 soldiers killed since the start of the conflict. He did not disclose how many were injured or missing in action.

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“Unlike most Western leaders, Putin is on the side of his own citizens..”

Washington In Denial Over Putin’s Victory While Gaming Its Own Elections (Cox)

America’s legacy media and political ruling class have thrown a predictably massive hissy fit over last weekend’s Russian election, insisting that President Vladimir Putin’s landslide victory was “preordained” and “stage-managed.” Every protest and anti-Putin statement before, during, and after the election was amplified. Every allegation of misconduct was reported with zero scrutiny or skepticism. Washington and its allies decried the results, arguing that the vote wasn’t free or fair. UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron went so far as to call it “illegal.” The pearl-clutching over Russia’s vote was the most intense I’ve ever seen over a foreign election. It was so inordinate, in fact, that it reminded me of the nonstop media coverage last month after Russian political activist Alexey Navalny died in a Siberian penal colony.

The same media that showed no concern over the death of US journalist Gonzalo Lira in a Ukrainian jail – after he had been tortured, at American taxpayer expense, for daring to criticize the Kiev regime – huffed and puffed for weeks about the death of a Russian citizen in a Russian prison. Lost in all the hysteria over Putin’s victory is the fact that most of the Russian people like their president. The incumbent won over 87% of the votes, and as even CNN begrudgingly acknowledged before the election, a poll last month showed that Putin had an 86% approval rating. That compares with a 9% approval rating for Navalny, the great Western hope for destabilizing Russia, in a January 2023 poll. And by the way, it also compares with US President Joe Biden’s approval rating of around 38%. As US policy analyst Jeffrey Sachs explained in an interview this week with Russia-hating podcaster Piers Morgan, Putin’s popularity and reelection reflect the will of the Russian people. “It’s part of Russian culture,” said Sachs, who advised the Moscow and Kiev governments after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

“He’s a strong leader. The Russian people expect a strong leader, and we have to deal with a strong leader in Russia.” Therein lies the problem. Team America is unwilling to accept strong leadership of Russia with broad public support. Having failed to cripple Russia or its leadership through the proxy war in Ukraine, the US and its allies are in no mood to accept the political reality in Moscow. The political pouting was so bad in Berlin that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government refused to refer to Putin as Russia’s president. This is the same government that is mulling plans to ban one of Germany’s most popular opposition parties. However, for all the Western criticism of Putin and his policies, it’s not easy to argue that he doesn’t try to represent the interests of the Russian people. Unlike most Western leaders, Putin is on the side of his own citizens. He hit the nail on the head when he said Western attacks were directed not at him, but at “the forces that stand behind me, which seek to strengthen Russia – to improve its sovereignty, defense, and economic independence.”

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“..he does not think China will ever invest in Israel again. “They see on their own social media networks what you and I are seeing..”

World Sees Gaza as ‘US Genocide’ Not Just Israel’s (Sp.)

On Tuesday, four critical care doctors who recently returned from Gaza spoke to the UN. “I saw the most appalling atrocities, and I saw things I never would have expected to have seen in any healthcare setting,” Dr. Nick Maynard said, adding that he saw “mass indiscriminate bombing” and targeting of healthcare workers. Americans do not understand how badly the United States’ reputation has been damaged across the world, which sees Gaza as “a US genocide” and “not just an Israeli genocide,” Mohammad Marandi, a professor of English literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Thursday. “It’s revealing the reality of [the US] empire in a way that not even [author of ‘A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn] could do because it’s being done in front of our eyes, it’s being done in front of a global audience. We’ve never seen such a thing before,” Marandi said, adding that he suspects that is why the US is attempting to ban TikTok.

“The United States has lost credibility across the world. I don’t think many Americans understand how bad this has become for the United States. People across the world see this as a US genocide, it’s not just an Israeli genocide.” Co-host Wilmer Leon asked about a recent freeze on Canadian arms shipments to Israel, which Marandi said showed that “public opinion is shifting” but that ultimately “stopping Canadian exports of weapons is nothing.” Marandi said Canada needs to take a much tougher approach. “They sanctioned Syria… they’ve imposed sanctions on Cuba, on Venezuela, on Iran, on Yemen. Why don’t they impose sanctions on Israel? They’re carrying out a holocaust. Why don’t they hit the economy?” Marandi asked, noting that Israel will, unlike Russia, be allowed to participate in the Olympics. “No one takes this seriously. And, of course, the bulk of the weapons come from the United States anyway.”

“In any case, there is no reason to believe that the Canadian government cares about Palestinians, that they oppose the genocide because they’ve done absolutely nothing to stop it,” Marandi added. Ultimately, Marandi believes that Israel has laid the path for its destruction through its actions in Gaza. “I believe that the Israelis have made a fatal mistake and that what they’ve done in Gaza will be the beginning of the end of the Zionist project,” he asserted. “The real catastrophe for the Israeli regime is the fact that it’s been carrying out the genocide for almost six months in front of the world and it has demolished the facade that the regime had created for itself… about it being a democracy… All that is gone now and across the board the regime is despised and the image of the United States has been destroyed.” Marandi noted that he has been to China twice and public opinion there has shifted as well. He noted that he does not think China will ever invest in Israel again. “They see on their own social media networks what you and I are seeing,” he noted.

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“He’s Hunter’s confidant, art patron, business partner, and his lawyer. Now there is a suggestion that we might have to add CIA asset or protected person..”

CIA Told DOJ to Stay Away from Kevin Morris in Hunter Biden Probe (Turley)

The New York Post has created a stir in Washington with its report that a whistleblower claims that the CIA reportedly blocked federal investigators from interviewing Kevin Morris, the entertainment lawyer who has subsidized the expenses and bought the art of Hunter Biden. (For full disclosure, Morris previously threatened me with a defamation lawsuit over my writing about his representation of Hunter. Fortunately, I have not received any summons from either the courts or the CIA). We will have to wait for more details on the allegations, but the response of the CIA struck me as rather curious. As discussed earlier, the Hollywood lawyer, producer and Democratic donor has emerged as a major figure in the corruption scandal surrounding Hunter Biden. For years, some of us have complained that we are not sure what Morris was at any given moment.

What became clear in the deposition is that Morris does not appear certain himself. He’s Hunter’s confidant, art patron, business partner, and his lawyer. Now there is a suggestion that we might have to add CIA asset or protected person. The unnamed whistleblower told the House Oversight and Judiciary that the “intelligence agency stopped IRS and Justice Department investigators from interviewing Morris in August 2021.” That has led Oversight chairman James Comer (R-KY) and Judiciary chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) to demand answers from the CIA on whether two DOJ officials were summoned to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. to discourage their interviewing Morris.

Given the allegations of special treatment by the Justice Department (including blocking efforts to interview Hunter or search Biden properties), the allegation is obviously quite serious. One would expect that the CIA would simply say that no such meeting related to the Hunter Biden investigation occurred. Instead, the agency responded that it “does not obstruct investigations.” The spokesman added “CIA does not comment on specific investigations. We can say that CIA cooperates with law enforcement partners and does not obstruct investigations. CIA also fully and routinely cooperates with our oversight committees and will continue to do so.”

Hunter met Morris when he attended a political fundraiser as a major donor. Soon thereafter, he warned Biden associates that Hunter’s unpaid taxes raised political problems during Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential run. He later proceeded to pay off Hunter’s taxes and to subsidize his lavish lifestyle. He also took an apparent lead in planning public campaigns against the critics of the Bidens, reportedly pushing a scorched-earth approach to attack potential witnesses and accusers. Then Morris seemed to take on the role of Hunter’s bank and art patron. He reportedly gave millions to Hunter while insisting that they are loans, not gifts. Most recently, it was revealed that, despite accounts of buyers flocking to buy Hunter’s overpriced art, it was Morris all along who bought most of the pieces. How the CIA would fit into any of this is anyone’s guess.

Read more …

“..why would you have 12 people armed with shotguns and machine guns, raid a doctor’s home in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and four years later never indict him?”

CIA Protecting Biden by Blocking IRS Interviews – Whistleblower (DeMartino)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jordan and Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman Comer revealed that a whistleblower told them the CIA intervened to prevent the IRS from interviewing Kevin Morris, an associate of Hunter Biden who loaned him millions of dollars, as part of the IRS investigation into the first son’s alleged tax crimes. The CIA said it would not comment on specific cases but added that while it cooperates with other law agencies, it does not interfere with investigations and claims to be fully cooperative with its oversight committees. Jordan and Comer have sent a letter to the CIA requesting more information, but have not yet received a response. They set a deadline for April 4, 2024. If the whistleblower’s testimony is true, it would represent an unprecedented move by the CIA that is tasked with countering foreign threats.

Brad Birkenfeld, a whistleblower who exposed tax fraud and money laundering schemes in the Swiss banking system, told Sputnik’s Political Misfits that the problem is that “so many people are trying to help the Bidens get out of the illegal conduct that they’re doing,” noting that he has himself attempted to provide investigators with information on the Hunter Biden case, but was met hostile response. “I was introduced to Dr. Keith Ablow, [who] was Hunter Biden’s psychiatrist,” Birkenfeld began. “He wanted me to help him with his whistleblowing case.” Birkenfeld says that Ablow told him things about Hunter Biden but that Ablow didn’t show for meetings that Birkenfeld set up for him in Washington. “Then I went to Senator [Charles] Grassley’s (R-IA) office and Senator [Ron] Johnson’s (R-WI) office, and I felt obligated as an American citizen to tell them about the information that [Ablow] had relayed to us,” including Hunter Biden’s involvement with Monkey Island, a Liquified Natural Gas company in Louisiana.

“Two days later, lo and behold, the Drug Enforcement Agency in Boston raided Dr. Keith Ablow’s home,” Birkenfeld continued. “[The DEA] took everything. Now, why would you have 12 people armed with shotguns and machine guns, raid a doctor’s home in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and four years later never indict him?” “Whatever the CIA does,” Birkenfeld added while discussing the CIA’s past, including their support of dictators Augusto Pinochet, Saddam Hussein and Ferdinand Marcos, as well as their alleged efforts to undermine Donald Trump while he served as President. “Whatever the CIA does, this is like Cartoon Network over there in Langley. Yes, they do a job and some people work well. But there’s a lot of idiots over there that should be fired and prosecuted. And that’s the facts.”

Birkenfeld added earlier that Joe Biden -while serving as Vice President- was briefed in defense meetings “about his son interfering in US policies.” That, as of yet, has not been alleged by the committees investigating Hunter Biden but Birkenfeld insisted that it is “not conjecture.” “A lot of people don’t know this yet, but this is exactly what’s going to be coming out,” he asserted. While Democrats have consistently declared that the committees have yet to find any concrete evidence that President Biden committed any crimes, Birkenfeld argues that is because the power centers in Washington continue to obfuscate the case by blocking investigative efforts. “Give us the bank records, give us the credit cards offshore, and we can piece it together. But, once again, the Biden White House is obstructing, the DOJ is obstructing, the FBI is obstructing, the CIA [is] obstructing. So nobody can get the facts.”

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“..the potential causes of fertility decline, such as plastics and chemical shrinking penises and sperm counts, are relatively ignored..”

“In countries like South Korea and Japan, there are twice as many people dying as there are being born..”

Global Population Set To Fall For First Time In 700 Years (MN)

A major study published in scientific journal The Lancet has found that the global population will start to fall within decades due to vastly reduced fertility rates and may never recover. The study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, found that by the year 2050, 155 of 204 countries are on course to have birth rates lower than required to sustain the population level. It notes that as of 2021, the “total fertility rate” worldwide was 2.23, hovering only just above the 2.1 children per woman needed to maintain population growth. That figure has fallen from 4.84 in 1950, with researchers predicting it will decrease to 1.83 in 2050 and go as low as 1.59 by 2100. The study notes that by that time only 26 countries will have birth rates that outpace the number of people dying, with “most of the world transitioning into natural population decline”. A fall in population would mark the first time in seven centuries such an occurrence has taken place. The last time it happened was after the Black Death bubonic plague pandemic killed as many as 50 million people in the mid-1300s, reducing the global population from 400 million to 350 million.


Dramatic declines in global fertility rates set to transform global population patterns by 2100

Commenting on the study, it’s co-author Dr Natalia Bhattacharjee said declining fertility rates “will completely reconfigure the global economy and the international balance of power and will necessitate reorganising societies”. Bhattacharjee, lead research scientist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, also noted that a major consequence will be increased immigration from countries where there is still a “baby boom,” such as sub-Saharan Africa, in order to make up workforce shortages in nations with aging populations. Professor Stein Emil Vollset, senior author from IHME, also noted that the world is “facing staggering social change through the 21st century” due to population decline. The findings are exactly what the likes of Elon Musk have been warning of for years, describing population decline as a ‘civilisational threat’ and urging that humanity is literally going to disappear if something is not done to reverse the trend.

While Eco loons rage about ‘moral issues’ with having children, the potential causes of fertility decline, such as plastics and chemical shrinking penises and sperm counts, are relatively ignored. The stark reality is that birth rates globally are collapsing and almost every country is on course to have shrinking populations by the end of the century. In countries like South Korea and Japan, there are twice as many people dying as there are being born. You don’t have to be a mathematic genius to do the calculations on what’s going to happen very soon. These countries are already considering embracing mass migration, with South Korea’s Justice Minister recently declaring the country faces a “demographic catastrophe” and potential extinction otherwise. Despite this horrifying reality, it is now commonplace in modern culture for young people to genuinely believe they need to abandon their human instincts to reproduce, all for the greater good.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

McCullough: Spike proteins from Saliva
https://twitter.com/i/status/1770987637257413092

 

 

FDA loses its war on ivermectin and agrees to remove all social media posts and consumer directives regarding ivermectin and COVID, including its most popular tweet in FDA history.

 

 

Shark
https://twitter.com/i/status/1770998255851036861

 

 

Fish

 

 

Elephant
https://twitter.com/i/status/1771065184980742232
https://twitter.com/i/status/1771160969823027645

 

 

How?

 

 


Find “A”

 

 

Queen of the night

 

 

 

 

Deep-Sea Ghost Shark

 

 

Lion up close

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 202024
 
 March 20, 2024  Posted by at 9:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  51 Responses »


Edgar Degas Leaving the paddock1866
Stolen from Gardner Museum March 18 1990, the single largest art theft in the world. Never recovered

 

‘Losing a War is No Fun’ (Manley)
French Army ‘Ready For War’ – Top General (RT)
France Preparing to Deploy Military Contingent in Ukraine: Russian Intel (Sp.)
Ukraine’s Losses ‘In The Millions’ – Polish General (RT)
Lindsey Graham Tells Ukraine To Draft Younger Soldiers (RT)
US Military-Industrial Complex Jacks Up Prices Amid Ukraine Proxy War (Sp.)
iPhones Won’t Work In Case Of World War III – Russian MP (RT)
German Living Standards In ‘Unprecedented post-WW2 Slump’ (RT)
Medvedev Reacts To Germany’s Putin Snub (RT)
‘Catastrophic’ Hunger Has Gripped Gaza (RT)
Supreme Court Allows Texas To Start Arresting And Deporting Illegal Aliens (ZH)
Guilty!—But Not Really Guilty? (Victor Davis Hanson)
It’s Time for GOP To Unite Behind Trump (Marcus)
How the Democrats Plan To Steal the Election (Lew Rockwell)
Viagra May Prevent Alzheimer’s (RT)

 

 

B.S.

 

 

Lensman

 

 

O’Leary

 

 

Sachs

 

 

Navarro

 

 

AIPAC


https://twitter.com/i/status/1770019795762659476

 

 

Greenwald SCOTUS

 

 

 

 

“..the US will not suffer the consequences anywhere near to the degree the Europeans will.”

‘Losing a War is No Fun’ (Manley)

Russia’s economy has survived Western sanctions “far better” than predicted, recent reports show. Meanwhile, the European Union’s (EU) economy has been suffering drastically, causing working class voters to turn against aid for Ukraine. The Greanville Post published an article on Tuesday which claims the European Union has become the site of the 21st century’s “biggest political disaster”. The article writes that Paris, France—which once saw leftist planning agendas filled with “protests, gatherings and strikes”—now seems to be a city where there is little talk of the “economic, political and confidence collapse” of the biggest economic bloc in the world. Daniel Lazare, an independent investigative journalist and author, sat down with Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Tuesday and discussed the recent piece. “Well, I think Europe is losing the war,” said Lazare. “And losing a war is no fun. The situation in Ukraine is going very poorly. Russia clearly is winning, its economy is doing very well. The European economy, by contrast, is stalling.

And if Russia does make progress in the war, if the Ukraine government breaks in some way, then the results for Europe will be devastating.” “I mean, this is not a faraway war for [the EU]. It’s a faraway war for America. But it’s a war on the doorstep of the EU. And the prospect of a Ukrainian collapse would cause panic in Poland, but also in Berlin and Paris, and Macron has been making crazy noises about sending troops to Ukraine, which is completely nuts. But then again, the guy is desperate and doesn’t know quite how to respond. And, the same kind of desperation is evident in other capitals as well,” he added. Sputnik’s Garland Nixon noted that European governments have not done a “good job” of trying to convince their public that they have to suffer and sacrifice for the “democracy of the neo-Nazis”.

“The US is also quite confident that, as you said, the ruble will be turned to rubble, the Russian economy would be smashed, that they’d be, you know, they’d be closed out of the energy market and would be crying for mercy very soon,” said Lazare of the West’s attacks on Russia’s economy. “But that didn’t happen. Quite the reverse. Russia was able to find outlets for its oil and gas. It developed markets with China and other nations. The US has wound up shooting itself in the foot. And the amazing thing is that this keeps happening again and again.” Sputnik’s Wilmer Leon added that the reason French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz don’t want to address the collapse of their biggest economic bloc in the world is because it was done at the “behest of the United States”. “The US really engineered this war,” said Lazare. “I don’t want to let France and Britain off the hook because they were solidly behind US efforts, but this is an American-led effort which really installed a nationalist government in Kiev, which was itching for a fight with Russia, which got one and then, followed by a full scale military invasion in February 2022.”

“The US thought it would win that war easily,” he continued. “But now the war is going very poorly. And it turns out that the US really had a very poor idea of what it was getting into. Now, the problem is that the US will not suffer the consequences anywhere near to the degree the Europeans will.” “So, it’s a case that they followed the US, they tag along happily behind it, and now they’ve got to pay the price for their own behavior. It’s crazy, and I do agree that there’s going to be a reckoning.” The EU’s working class is growing increasingly opposed to conflict with Russia as their economy suffers from Western imposed sanctions which saw them lose access to cheap and reliable Russian energy. The economic growth forecast for Germany, for instance, was cut down to 0.2% in 2024 from a previous projection of 1.3%, according to a recent report. Robert Habeck, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor, has said the country is performing “dramatically bad.”

Read more …

Far toos much war talk coming out of France.

French Army ‘Ready For War’ – Top General (RT)

France is ready to face whatever developments unfold internationally and is prepared for the “toughest engagements” to protect itself, the chief of staff of the French Army, Gen. Pierre Schill, said in an interview published on Tuesday. In recent weeks, French President Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly refused to rule out Western troops being sent to Ukraine at some point to help Kiev in its fight against Moscow, which he described as an “adversary” of Paris. France’s forces are “ready,” Schill told Le Monde, stressing that “whatever the developments in the international situation, the French can be convinced: their soldiers will respond.” Schill said France has “international responsibilities” and is linked by defense agreements to “states exposed to major threats,” and must therefore have its forces trained and interoperable with allied armies.

He added that nuclear deterrence “is not a universal guarantee” because it does not guard against conflicts that would remain “below the threshold of vital interests.” Schill said that the Army must show itself a credible force through responsiveness in terms of force projection and the ability to carry out operations of increased scope. The general said that France currently has the capacity to commit a division of around 20,000 men within 30 days and has the means to command an army corps of up to 60,000 which includes allied divisions. In an interview with the TF1 and France 2 channels last week, President Macron said that France is “not waging war on Russia” by supporting Kiev, but labeled Russia an “adversary” and has stood by his remarks that a potential deployment of NATO troops to the country could not be “excluded.”

His statements drew a wave of denials from most of France’s fellow NATO members and officials – including Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg – about having any intention to deploy their forces to Ukraine. At the same time, Spain’s El Pais reported on Monday that the US-led bloc has already been involved “in virtually every possible aspect” of the conflict and that active and former military personnel from NATO states have been operating in the country overseeing Kiev’s use of Western-supplied weapons. Moscow has repeatedly described the conflict as a US-led proxy war against Russia, while Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned against escalation and said that a direct clash between NATO and Russia would be “one step shy of a full-scale World War III.”

French troops
https://twitter.com/i/status/1770143287040459213

Read more …

Macron’s bet: war with France means war with NATO.

France Preparing to Deploy Military Contingent in Ukraine: Russian Intel (Sp.)

France is preparing to deploy a contingent of troops in Ukraine, with the first echelon to include about 2,000 soldiers, Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) chief Sergei Naryshkin has announced. “The country’s current leadership does not care about the death of ordinary Frenchmen and the concerns of the country’s generals. According to information received by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, a contingent of troops is already being prepared to be sent to Ukraine. At the initial stage, it will number about 2,000 people,” Naryshkin said in a statement Tuesday. According to the SVR head’s information, France’s generals are concerned about the difficulty of transferring such a large force to Ukraine and stationing it there unnoticed. Naryshkin warned that any French forces arriving in Ukraine “will become a legitimate priority target” for Russia’s military, with the same fate to await them as has already befallen those who fell during previous instances of French aggression against Moscow.

The SVR head also confirmed that those French nationals already in Ukraine (presumably fighting as mercenaries), have suffered losses not experienced by Paris since Algeria’s war of liberation against French control in the 1960s, hence concerns among the military leadership about the threat of discontent among mid-level officers in the French Army about the prospects of being deployed in Ukraine. President Macron has been the loudest voice among any NATO leaders in warning that he wouldn’t rule out sending troops to Ukraine “at some point.” “Maybe at some point – I don’t want it, I won’t take the initiative – we will have to have operations on the ground, whatever they may be, to counter the Russian forces,” Macron told Le Parisien last Friday. “France’s strength is that we can do it,” he added.

Macron riled up his NATO allies, particularly Germany, in early March by urging Europe not to be “cowards” in supporting the Kiev regime using all available means.If late February, he warned that he wouldn’t “rule out” sending French forces east. The president was roundly condemned by French opposition leaders for his remarks, with politicians both on the left and the right accusing him of playing with the lives of the French people and risking a new world war for the sake of his personal geopolitical ambitions. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova went further, accusing Macron of trying to recreate “French SS Division Charlemagne II to defend President Volodymyr Zelensky’s bunker.” The extent of the French mercenary presence in Ukraine was revealed in January, when a Russian missile strike killed and injured dozens of fighters in Kharkov.

NATO will not gain control over the Black Sea

Read more …

“..There are no resources in this country, there is no one to fight.”

Ukraine’s Losses ‘In The Millions’ – Polish General (RT)

Ukraine’s losses in the conflict with Russia should be counted “in the millions,” the former chief of the Polish General Staff, Rajmund Andrzejczak, has claimed. Kiev “is losing the war” and does not have the resources to sustain the fight against Moscow, he added. In an interview with the Polsat broadcaster on Monday, the retired general described Ukraine’s battlefield situation as “very dramatic” and insisted that “there are no miracles in war.”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s decision to replace his top general, Valery Zaluzhny, with Aleksandr Syrsky has failed to make a significant difference as the same issues remain for Kiev’s new commander-in-chief, Andrzejczak added. According to the retired general, Ukraine is suffering deficits in equipment and manpower, with losses taking their toll on its capabilities. “They are missing over 10 million people. I estimate that the losses should be counted in the millions, not hundreds of thousands. There are no resources in this country, there is no one to fight.”

“The Ukrainians are losing this war,” Andrzejczak stated, pointing to media reports suggesting that Kiev is running out of anti-aircraft missiles to protect itself from Russian strikes. Echoing warnings from several Western leaders in recent weeks, Andrzejczak called for arms production to be boosted and argued that the West should prepare for a full-scale conflict with Russia within two or three years. Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted that Moscow has no plans or interest in attacking NATO. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated last month that Ukraine had lost more than 444,000 troops since the start of the conflict in February 2022. The hostilities have also triggered an exodus of Ukrainian refugees, with almost 6.5 million recorded worldwide, according to UN data.

Officials in Kiev have repeatedly complained that Western arms shipments have been inadequate. Those calls have grown louder as US President Joe Biden’s request to provide an additional $60 billion in aid remains stalled in Congress, due to Republican demands to strengthen American border security. Kiev is also mulling a new mobilization bill that would lower the minimum draft age for men from 27 to 25, with reported plans to send 500,000 new troops to the frontline. Against this backdrop, the Russian military last month pushed Kiev out of the strategic Donbass city of Avdeevka, also liberating several nearby settlements. The former stronghold has been on the front line since 2014 and was frequently used by Kiev to shell residential blocks in the nearby city of Donetsk.

Read more …

“You’re in a fight for your life, so you should be serving — not at 25 or 27.” “We need more people in the line..”

Lindsey Graham Tells Ukraine To Draft Younger Soldiers (RT)

US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has urged the Ukrainian parliament to pass a highly controversial mobilization bill that would lower the minimum conscription age from 27 to 25 to compensate for battlefield losses. At the same time, he advocated a scheme in which the US would provide Ukraine with loans instead of non-repayable aid. Kiev announced general mobilization in February 2022 shortly after the start of the conflict, with men between 27 and 60 eligible to be called up, although those over the age of 18 could also volunteer. In December, Ukrainian officials proposed a bill expanding the draft bracket, with reported plans to send as many as 500,000 fresh soldiers to the front line. On Monday, Graham traveled to Kiev to discuss continued US support for Ukraine with President Vladimir Zelensky. Speaking to reporters, he said that he hoped that those eligible to serve in the Ukrainian military would join the fight.

“I can’t believe [the conscription threshold] is at 27,” he added, as quoted by the Washington Post. “You’re in a fight for your life, so you should be serving — not at 25 or 27.” “We need more people in the line,” he said. Graham also stressed that Ukrainians need to serve regardless of whether the US sends arms to Kiev or not. “No matter what we do, you’re fighting for you.” The US has struggled to approve President Joe Biden’s aid request earmarking $60 billion for Ukraine due to Republican opposition demanding that the White House do more to enhance security on the southern border. Moreover, Graham appeared to endorse the approach of GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump who has advocated providing aid to Kiev in form of loans on “extraordinarily good terms.”

“I was very direct with President Zelensky. You can expect me to always be in your corner, but it’s not unfair for me to ask you and other allies: Pay us back down the road, if you can,” the senator said. Graham’s call for Kiev to extend the draft bracket comes as Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu last month estimated Ukrainian losses since the start of the conflict at more than 444,000 troops. Meanwhile, Zelensky has claimed that Kiev has suffered only 31,000 dead. Last year, President Vladimir Putin said that Western countries seemed determined “to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian.” He also noted at the time that while the West could provide Kiev with new arms, Ukraine’s manpower is not limitless.

Read more …

“..who the main beneficiaries of the spending bonanza really are (hint: it’s not the Ukrainians)..”

US Military-Industrial Complex Jacks Up Prices Amid Ukraine Proxy War (Sp.)

Dedicated Ukraine proxy war supporter and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has laced into America’s biggest defense contractors, accusing them of price gouging. “Like a majority of Americans, I believe it is in the vital interest of the United States and the international community to fight off Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. But many defense contractors see the war primarily as a way to line their own pockets. The RTX Corporation, formally Raytheon, has increased prices for its Stinger missiles sevenfold since 1991. Today, it costs the United States $400,000 to replace each Stinger sent to Ukraine – an outrageous price increase that cannot even remotely be explained by inflation, increased costs, or advances in quality,” Sanders complained in an essay published in Foreign Affairs magazine on Monday.

“When contractors pad their profits, fewer weapons reach Ukrainians on the frontlines. Congress must rein in this kind of war profiteering by more closely examining contracts, taking back payments that turn out to be excessive, and creating a tax on windfall profits,” Sanders urged. The senator’s shock and outrage over the US military-industrial complex’s war profiteering is in itself a surprise. Serving as a congressman between 1991 and 2007 and as a senator from 2007 onward, Sanders has been part of Washington political establishment for over 30 years now. One might think that to be more than enough time to realize that obscene profitmaking is the name of the arms industry’s game.

The senator’s farfetched epiphany aside, his point stands. Since the 1990s, US weapons giants from Raytheon and Lockheed to BAE Systems to General Dynamics have jacked prices on everything from man-portable anti-tank and air defense missiles to artillery, tanks, drones and more. In other words, the Stinger certainly isn’t the only example of out of control costs at the Pentagon. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy estimates total Western military assistance to Ukraine to have hit $113+ billion in 2024. On first glance, that figure sounds impressive, representing nearly double Russia’s entire pre-conflict defense budget of $66 billion in 2021. Taking account of the seemingly out-of-control price increases of US weapons, however, a different picture emerges on the capabilities given to Kiev, and about who the main beneficiaries of the spending bonanza really are (hint: it’s not the Ukrainians).

Read more …

“..Apple will disable all iPhones in the Russian Federation, and Google will disable non-jailbroken Android phones..”

iPhones Won’t Work In Case Of World War III – Russian MP (RT)

Western smartphones could stop working in Russia if the Ukraine conflict turns into a global war, Anton Gorelkin, deputy head of the Russian State Duma’s Information Policy Committee, warned in an interview posted to the YouTube channel Telega Reality. According to the MP, if the conflict “moves to another stage,” everyone will “up the stakes,” including the tech companies. “I’m talking about something that some experts call World War III. In this scenario, I fully expect that Apple will disable all iPhones in the Russian Federation, and Google will disable non-jailbroken Android phones,” he stated. He warned that in such a case the Russian authorities and tech experts could retaliate with similar actions regarding Western tech companies, although he did not specify what these actions could be. Gorelkin also admitted that Russia currently has no alternatives to replace Western smartphones or the software they use. He predicted, however, that things may change in 5-10 years, as Russia’s IT sphere is rapidly developing, especially since the exit of a number of foreign companies from the country’s market.

Gorelkin is not the first person to suggest the possibility that Western gadgets will stop working in Russia. Various experts warned that such a scenario was technically possible for all devices that require software updates from companies abroad, or have options that allow owners to remotely find and block a phone that has gone missing. However, so far Western tech companies have stopped short at removing undesirable applications from their app stores and disabling the use of the payment services Apple Pay and Google Pay on phones belonging to Russian users. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently weighed in on the possibility of the Ukraine conflict turning into a global war. During a question-and-answer session at his campaign headquarters in Moscow on Sunday night, he commented on recent statements from members of the US-led military bloc on the possibility of NATO troops being deployed in Ukraine. Putin said that such a move would be seen as a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, which “would be one step shy of a full-scale World War III.”

Read more …

“.. real wages measured against pre-crisis forecasts dropped by 4% from April 2022 to March 2023, while output declined by 4.1%..”

German Living Standards In ‘Unprecedented post-WW2 Slump’ (RT)

Germany’s 2022 living standards took the biggest downturn since World War II, a report released by the Forum for a New Economy on Monday has suggested. The decline is attributed to the energy shocks that sent prices for consumers soaring. Economists from the Berlin-based think-tank highlighted that the decline in Germany’s economic output recorded in 2022 is comparable to the financial crisis of 2008 and the short-lived decline during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The failure to protect the country’s industrial sector from energy price spikes is expected to turn the 2020s into “a lost decade for Germany,” the analysts have warned, calling the crisis “the worst economic downturn in the country since World War II.” For years, Germany’s prized industrial sector had been fueled by relatively inexpensive Russian gas. However, since the Ukraine conflict erupted in 2022, Berlin has opted to forgo energy from Russia in favor of costlier alternatives, including American liquefied natural gas.

According to the report, real wages measured against pre-crisis forecasts dropped by 4% from April 2022 to March 2023, while output declined by 4.1%. Germany’s economy shrank by 0.3% in 2023, according to the federal statistics agency Destatis. However, the country managed to avoid a technical recession after the second-quarter figures were revised to 0.1% growth. Two consecutive quarters of negative growth are widely considered to mark a technical recession. The Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, recently forecast growth of 0.4% in 2024. However, some financial institutions, such as the country’s two largest lenders, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, expect German GDP to decline again this year. Meanwhile, EU Commission’s most recent forecast for the Eurozone shows an expected increase in GDP of only 0.8% in 2024, down from the previous forecast of 1.2% growth made last November.

Read more …

“We cannot affect the outcome of the election… but just to spite them we need to make some stupid statement.”

Medvedev Reacts To Germany’s Putin Snub (RT)

Berlin’s decision not to refer to Russian President Vladimir Putin by his proper title in government documents is ridiculous and possibly a sign of a mental disorder, officials in Moscow have said. The diplomatic snub was announced on Monday in an effort to discredit last week’s presidential election in Russia. Germany and other Western nations claim the electoral process was neither free nor fair. A government spokesperson said the move was symbolic, noting that communications between Berlin and Russia were severely limited anyway. Reacting to the news, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said the stunt “comes from shameful weakness.”

He claimed that Germany was essentially saying “We cannot affect the outcome of the election… but just to spite them we need to make some stupid statement.”If Germany does not recognize Putin as the legitimate head of Russia, how does it intend to negotiate with Moscow and what value would any outcome of such talks have, asked Medvedev, who is the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the decision not to use Putin’s official title looked like the result of a self-induced “wild phobia,” an inability to name the source of one’s fear. ”This is something that differentiates a healthy person from someone who is not. They appear to be in a state of paranoia,” she remarked during an interview.

Western rhetoric following Putin’s re-election had contrasted with the reaction of most nations of the world, which had congratulated the president, Zakharova noted. The US and its allies should “take care of themselves and their problems” instead of picking on other sovereign states, she suggested. The Russian president has dismissed Western criticism of his election win, claiming that it was made in bad faith by governments seeking to contain Russia. ”What did you expect? For them to stand up in applause or something? They are fighting against us, including with arms,” Putin said following his victory.

Read more …

“In Gaza we are no longer on the brink of famine. We are in a state of famine..”

‘Catastrophic’ Hunger Has Gripped Gaza (RT)

Famine conditions now exist in the northern part of Gaza, a UN monitor group warned on Monday. Around 300,000 people remain trapped in the area, following months of Israeli bombardment that has left over 31,000 people dead. The UN-backed report also warns that more than 70% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million faces “catastrophic hunger.” The Integrated Food-Security Phase Classification (IPC) said that mass death is now imminent without an immediate ceasefire and deliveries of food aid to the areas affected by the fighting. More than a dozen children in Gaza, including newborn babies, have starved to death and many more are at risk from soaring malnutrition. UN aid agencies warned earlier in March that urgently-needed humanitarian aid is being blocked from entering the Palestinian enclave.

The IPC estimated that two out of every 10,000 people will die daily from starvation, malnutrition, and disease if not helped immediately. “The actions needed to prevent famine require an immediate political decision for a ceasefire together with a significant and immediate increase in humanitarian and commercial access to the entire population of Gaza,” the report said. Israel has been criticized by its Western partners since it began launching retaliatory strikes against Hamas militants following their attack on Israel on October 7. “In Gaza we are no longer on the brink of famine. We are in a state of famine,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said at the opening of a conference on humanitarian aid for Gaza in Brussels on Monday.

He also accused Israel of “using starvation as a weapon of war.” Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded by saying, “Israel allows extensive humanitarian aid into Gaza,” and told Borrell “to stop attacking Israel and recognize our right to self-defense against Hamas’ crimes.” Efforts to reach a truce between Hamas and Israel are ongoing, with no breakthrough so far as the hostilities continue. Heavy fighting erupted on Monday in and around Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital complex. The Israeli Army said it was combatting Hamas militants there and advised civilians to evacuate.

Sachs Israel

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“..the federal government’s inability or unwillingness to protect the border..”

Supreme Court Allows Texas To Start Arresting And Deporting Illegal Aliens (ZH)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dealt a blow to the Biden administration’s attempts to keep the US border open – allowing Texas to enforce a new law giving local police the power to arrest migrants. With three liberal justices dissenting, the conservative-majority court rejected an emergency request by the Biden administration which claimed that states have no authority to legislate on immigration. The ruling means that Texas’ law can go into effect while litigation continues in lower courts. The law, SB4, allows police to arrest migrants who illegally cross into the United States from Mexico, and imposes criminal penalties. It also empowers judges to deport people to Mexico. “Texas is the nation’s first-line defense against transnational violence and has been forced to deal with the deadly consequences of the federal government’s inability or unwillingness to protect the border,” Texas argued in court papers.

The dispute is the latest clash between the Biden administration and Texas over immigration enforcement on the U.S.-Mexico border. A federal judge blocked the law after the Biden administration sued, but the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a brief order that it could go into effect March 10 if the Supreme Court declined to intervene. On March 4, Justice Samuel Alito issued a temporary freeze on the law to give the Supreme Court time to consider the federal government’s request. -NBC News. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said in court filings that Texas’ law is “flatly inconsistent” with Supreme Court precedent dating back 100 years. “Those decisions recognize that the authority to admit and remove noncitizens is a core responsibility of the national government, and that where Congress has enacted a law addressing those issues, state law is preempted,” she said, adding that the appeals court did not explain its reasoning for allowing the law to go into effect.

And what about the GDP? The new ruling may put a crimp in the Biden administration’s seeming plan to flood the country with low-wage labor in an effort to boost GDP, which Democrats now insist would benefit to the tune of $7 trillion thanks to illegal immigrants – who are allowed to work indefinitely whilst waiting for the US immigration system to process their asylum claims. Recall that 10 million illegals have entered the US under Biden, while virtually all of the job gains under Biden have gone to foreign-born workers, looks like their ‘great replacement’ theory scheme has just suffered a swift kick to the huevos. “This unprecedented surge in illegal immigration isn’t an accident. It is the result of deliberate policy choices by the Biden administration,” said Eric Ruark, Director of Research for Numbers USA, a nonprofit that advocates for immigration restrictions.

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“..Is there a pattern here of likely guilt that is contextualized into a not guilty assessment?..”

Guilty!—But Not Really Guilty? (Victor Davis Hanson)

In 2011, then Homeland Security Advisor to President Obama, John Brennan, swore before Congress that drone-targeted assassination missions near the Pakistani border had not led to “a single collateral death.” That was an obvious lie with grave consequences, given that Brennan was sworn under oath and was one of the top officials in the US national security community. Yet there were no subsequent repercussions. In fact, the opposite occurred. Brennan was subsequently rewarded with a 2013 appointment as CIA. But the next year, once again, Brennan lied to Congress, assuring the Senate Intelligence Committee that his CIA had not secretly accessed senate staffers’ computers. Again, there were no consequences for his repeated lies. Instead, Brennan, upon retirement, went on to be an MSNBC/NBC analyst who helped to promulgate the Russian collusion/laptop disinformation hoaxes.

In 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also lied under oath to Congress when he laughably stated that the National Security Agency did not spy on American citizens. Later, when called out by senators, Clapper fudged in a televised interview. “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying no.” Try that contortion with the IRS. Some members of Congress referred a criminal complaint of perjury against Brennan to then Attorney General Eric Holder. Nothing happened. Again, one of the chiefs of the American national security community was exempted after lying to members of Congress. Clapper went on to a lucrative position as a CNN national security analyst, and at one point he claimed that Trump was a Putin “asset.”

As far as Eric Holder, he had earlier defied a congressional subpoena and was held in contempt by the House. The Department of Justice, however, chose not to pursue the complaint. Later in the Trump administration, Trump adviser Peter Navarro would be sentenced to four months in jail for similarly resisting a congressional subpoena. Was it a crime or not to resist a congressional subpoena? The Justice Department’s Inspector General concluded that Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director and interim director, had lied repeatedly to a variety of officials, including FBI Director James Comey, various FBI agents, and officials of the Office of the Inspector General. On some of these occasions, McCabe was sworn under oath. Yet in 2020, the Department of Justice chose not to pursue the IG’s criminal referrals. McCabe went on to become an outspoken CNN News contributor. Note that Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor, was indicted—and convicted—for similarly lying to the FBI in 2017.

In 2016, an FBI investigation found that Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, had violated the law by transmitting and receiving classified information over an unsecured private server. Subsequently, she destroyed thousands of emails and some devices, some of which were under subpoena. FBI Director James Comey found that “any reasonable person” should have known it was illegal to transmit classified information in such a sloppy fashion. Comey, however, found that “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” Translated, that meant Hillary Clinton had likely broken the law, but it was unlikely that any prosecutor like Comey would indict the then-current Democratic nominee for president and former Secretary of State—at least in the fashion that state and federal prosecutors would later file over 90 indictments against Donald Trump.

In 2018, the now-former FBI Director James Comey on some 245 occasions claimed under oath to Congress that he did not know or could not remember essential facts in the FBI Crossfire Hurricane investigation of Donald Trump, which he had authorized. In addition, the Office of the Inspector General of the Justice Department found that Comey had broken the law by violating both DOJ and FBI policies, as well as the FBI’s employment agreement—especially by retaining in his personal safe copies of four bureau memos concerning a confidential conversation with President Trump. Elements in the memos from that meeting likely contained classified information. Yet Comey leaked it to a friend without a security clearance in order to make it public. Despite the damning IG report, the Department of Justice chose not to prosecute Comey. Is there a pattern here of likely guilt that is contextualized into a not guilty assessment—and not guilty due to the prosecutorial psychoanalysis of the jury—that a guilty verdict would be difficult to obtain?

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“For the first time in my 94 years on earth, I fear for the future of our democracy..”

“Joe Biden has fulfilled Barack Obama’s promise to “transform” America..”

It’s Time for GOP To Unite Behind Trump (Marcus)

For the first time in my 94 years on earth, I fear for the future of our democracy. I see the federal government using its enormous powers with contempt for the governed instead of with the consent of the governed as our founders envisioned. Fundamental change in America is occurring by executive order or the force of the government’s police powers instead of through the legislative process required by the Constitution. From this, I fear that free market capitalism may be replaced by big government socialism. I also fear the erosion of our rights and freedoms, including parental rights, freedom of speech and religion, and due process. In the past, I always had the confidence that a president who was a threat to democracy could be voted out of office in the next election. I am no longer that confident today. My lack of confidence is because the media today is not the watchdog over government that our Founders intended it to be. It is instead the lapdog of government, shielding the public from the entire truth about the policies and actions of the current administration.

One vivid example of this became a meme: the television reporters declaring while doing their standups that the riots in 2020 were “mainly peaceful” as fires raged in the background. I was not surprised earlier this month by the reprise of “Russia collusion.” Nor will I be surprised if the media soon characterizes a Trump rally as an “insurrection.” The media may be the biggest threat to our democracy since only well-informed voters guarantee the future of it. There is more on the line in this year’s presidential election than ever before. It is a mistake to assume that this election will be a rerun of 2020. The presumptive nominees and the world have changed since then. President Biden can no longer portray himself as “kindly Uncle Joe” or a moderate Democrat. His recent State of the Union Address, which was the most divisive of any I recall, reveals he is a very angry man and not someone Americans would want as their uncle. His policies and the undemocratic means by which he implemented them confirm he has been pulled to the far left by far-left extremists in the Democrat Party.

The Biden administration’s policies invited an invasion along our southern border by millions of unvetted people, compromised national security, allowed crime to spin out of control in our streets, forced middle-class Americans to raid their retirement funds to put food on their tables, and divided America more than at any time in our history since the Civil War. Joe Biden has fulfilled Barack Obama’s promise to “transform” America. This is not a welcome transformation, as confirmed by Biden’s dismal job approval ratings. When Donald Trump was in office, his Democrats and their media allies portrayed him as a pugnacious New Yorker who “did not act presidential” and somehow craved dictatorial powers. They’re still doing this, although they’ve upped the rhetoric. Over the weekend, Nancy Pelosi invoked Adolf Hitler while attacking the former president. His detractors are unwilling to look past Trump’s rough edges and see the results he achieved during his first of what I hope will be two terms.

His policies achieved the highest wage rate in 50 years while keeping inflation in check, the lowest unemployment rate for minorities, and energy independence for America, among other stunning results. Moreover, his policies and the projection of his and America’s strength kept the country out of any new foreign conflicts. It is essential to our national security that America’s enemies fear our president. This does not mean that President Trump did not have to do better. He did, and he has done so since leaving office. Having become close to him in the last seven years, I have seen a side of him that is not seen by the public. He is truly one of the most misunderstood men in America, and I and other friends of his have urged him to let the public see the real Donald Trump. His recent praise of Nikki Haley was unifying and shows the magnanimous side of him that his friends often see. Expect more of the real Donald Trump to emerge.

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“..You live in a country where the Attorney General is abetting, in fact calling for voter fraud, and that’s the only chance they have to get their guy re-elected.”

How the Democrats Plan To Steal the Election (Lew Rockwell)

This isn’t the first time the Left has stolen an election. It happened in the 2020 presidential election too. Ron Unz offers his usual cogent analysis: “There does seem to be considerable circumstantial evidence of widespread ballot fraud by Democratic Party forces, hardly surprising given the apocalyptic manner in which so many of their leaders had characterized the threat of a Trump reelection. After all, if they sincerely believed that a Trump victory would be catastrophic for America why would they not use every possible means, fair and foul alike, to save our country from that dire fate? In particular, several of the major swing-states contain large cities—Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Atlanta—that are both totally controlled by the Democratic Party and also notoriously corrupt, and various eye-witnesses have suggested that the huge anti-Trump margins they provided may have been heavily ‘padded’ to ensure the candidate’s defeat.”

In a program aired right after Biden’s pitiful State of the Union speech, the great Tucker Carlson pointed out that Biden’s “Justice” Department has already confessed that it plans to rig the election. It will do this by banning voter ID laws as “racist.” This permits an unlimited number of fake votes: “If Joe Biden is so good at politics, why is he losing to Donald Trump, who the rest of us were assured was a retarded racist who no normal person would vote for? But now Joe Biden is getting stomped by Donald Trump, but he’s also at the same time good at politics? Right. Again, they can’t win, but they’re not giving up. So what does that tell you? Well, they’re going to steal the election. We know they’re going to steal the election because they’re now saying so out loud. Here is the Attorney General of the United States, the chief law enforcement officer of this country in Selma, Alabama, just the other day. [Now Carlson quotes the Attorney General, Merrick Garland:] “The right to vote is still under attack, and that is why the Justice Department is fighting back. That is why one of the first things I did when I came into office was to double the size of the voting section of the Civil Rights Division.

That is why we are challenging efforts by states and jurisdictions to implement discriminatory, burdensome, and unnecessary restrictions on access to the ballot, including those related to mail-in voting, the use of drop boxes and voter ID requirements. That is why we are working to block the adoption of discriminatory redistricting plans that dilute the vote of Black voters and other voters of color. [Carlson then comments on Garland:] “Did you catch that? Of course, you’re a racist. That’s always the takeaway. But consider the details of what the Attorney General of the United States just said. Mail-in balloting, drop boxes, voter ID requirements. The chief law enforcement officer of the United States Government is telling you that it’s immoral, in fact racist, in fact illegal to ask people for their IDs when they vote to verify they are who they say they are. What is that? Well, no one ever talks about this, but the justification for it is that somehow people of color, Black people, don’t have state-issued IDs.

Somehow they’re living in a country where you can do virtually nothing without proving your identity with a government-issued ID without government-issued IDs. They can’t fly on planes, they can’t have checking accounts, they can’t have any interaction with the government, state, local, or federal. They can’t stay in hotels. They can’t have credit cards. Because someone without a state-issued ID can’t do any of those things. But what’s so interesting is these same people, very much including the Attorney General and the administration he serves, is working to eliminate cash, to make this a cashless society. Have you been to a stadium event recently? No cash accepted. You have to have a credit card. In order to get a credit card you need a state-issued ID, and somehow that’s not racist. But it is racist to ask people to prove their identity when they choose the next President of the United States. That doesn’t make any sense at all. That’s a lie. It’s an easily provable lie, and anyone telling that lie is advocating for mass voter fraud, which the Attorney General is. There’s no other way to read it. So you should know that. You live in a country where the Attorney General is abetting, in fact calling for voter fraud, and that’s the only chance they have to get their guy re-elected.”

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“..the drug activates genes in neurons that affect cell growth, improves brain function and reduces the risks of inflammation..”

Viagra May Prevent Alzheimer’s (RT)

Sildenafil, the generic name for Viagra, may not only treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension, but also ward off cognitive decline, according to research published by the Cleveland Clinic Genome Center earlier this month. The authors of the study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease on March 1, found that those who took sildenafil were 30% to 54% less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers used real-world patient data from the MarketScan Medicare Supplemental database (2012-2017) and the Clinformatics database (2007-2020) to arrive at the conclusion.

The research was focused on those taking sildenafil or four comparator drugs, including bumetanide, furosemide, spironolactone, and nifedipine. Comparators are existing marketed drug products, or new drugs in development, including placebo versions. Gender, age, race, and concurrent diseases of the patients were factored in. The study concluded that the use of sildenafil was associated with reduced likelihood of Alzheimer’s relative to the control drugs. The results also showed that the drug activates genes in neurons that affect cell growth, improves brain function and reduces the risks of inflammation.

“We used artificial intelligence to integrate data across multiple domains which all indicated sildenafil’s potential against this devastating neurological disease,” said Feixiong Cheng, director of the Cleveland Clinic Genome Center, who led the study. Similar conclusions about sildenafil were made by researchers from University College London earlier this year. The study, published in the journal Neurology last month, included nearly 270,000 men who were diagnosed with erectile dysfunction and had no cognitive problems at the beginning of the research work. Those taking the drugs were 18% less likely to develop the dementia-causing condition.

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CO2

 

 

Rik Mayall
https://twitter.com/i/status/1770026300385743303

 

 

 

 

Dogshower

 

 

Frens

 

 

Owl
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769916272089952458

 

 

Luna

 

 

SF 1950s

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 172024
 


Vincent van Gogh Sprig of Flowering Almond in a Glass 1888

 

Out of Africa… Macron’s Belligerence Towards Russia (SCF)
Europe Panics as Trump Rises from the Political Grave (Luongo)
The Ever Widening War (Paul Craig Roberts)
Will BRICS Launch A New World In 2024? (Pepe Escobar)
Zelensky’s Draft Leaving Ukrainian Villages Without Men – WaPo (RT)
Ukraine Outcome Will Weaken US – Envoy (RT)
Russia Created ‘New Global Majority’ – Presidential Hopeful (RT)
Issue of Crimea’s Affiliation Resolved Forever – Lavrov (TASS)
Israel Is Starving Gaza (Sahiounie)
EU ‘Media Freedom’ Law Not What You Think It Is (Marsden)
Boeing Tells Pilots To Check Seats After Latam Plane Incident (BBC)
Peter Navarro Asks Supreme Court to Avoid Reporting to Prison (ET)
Don Lemon Made Crazy Demands Before Elon Musk Canned Him (NYP)
Musk Building Huge Spy Satellite Network – Reuters (RT)
Where Donald Trump’s Four Criminal Trials Stand After More Delays (BBC)

 

 

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
—and sings the tunes without the words
—and never stops at all.

– Emily Dickinson

 

 

Voting machines

Ware County
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768795715034329444

 

 

 

 

Tucker Pence

 

 

Putin ID

 

 

 

 

Sciutto

 

 

 

 

“Paris has had to recall unwanted ambassadors, shut down military bases, and withdraw thousands of troops. Where to put these French troops? In Ukraine, pitted against Russia?”

“..He has an inordinate ego that has been bruised, his delusions have been shattered, he is an impotent vassal of American imperialism, and he is desperate for his sordid political survival.”

“Kicked out of Africa… and now trying to start World War Three in Europe. How pathetic and criminal.”

Out of Africa… Macron’s Belligerence Towards Russia (SCF)

Russian President Vladimir Putin was spot-on this week in his observation about why France’s Emmanuel Macron is strutting around and mouthing off about war in Ukraine. Putin remarked in an interview that Macron’s wanton warmongering over Ukraine was borne out of resentment due to the spectacular loss of France’s standing in Africa. One after another, France’s former colonial countries have told Paris in no uncertain terms to get out of their internal affairs. Since 2020 and the coup in Mali, there has been immense political upheaval on the continent, particularly in West and Central Africa, stretching from the vast Sahel region down to the equator. At least seven nations have undergone coups or government changes against Francophone rulers. They include Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Gabon, and Guinea. The continent-wide changes have come as a political earthquake to France. The new African governments have adamantly rejected old-style French patronage and have asserted a newfound national independence.

Paris has had to recall unwanted ambassadors, shut down military bases, and withdraw thousands of troops. Where to put these French troops? In Ukraine, pitted against Russia? Popular sentiment across Africa is exasperated with and repudiating “Francafrique” corruption. Meanwhile, with an unmistakable end-of-era sense, French media have lamented “France’s shrinking footprint in Africa.” A former diplomat summed up the momentous geopolitical shift thus: “The deep trend confirms itself. Our military presence is no longer accepted. We need to totally rethink our relationship with Africa. We have been kicked out of Africa. We need to depart from other countries before we are told to.” Africa analysts are now watching two key countries closely. They are Senegal and Ivory Coast. Both are currently governed by pro-France presidents but the rising anti-French political tide is putting those incumbents at risk of either a coup or electoral ouster.

The blow to the French political elite cannot be overstated. The loss of status in its former colonies is conflating multiple crises tantamount to the traumatic loss of Algeria back in the early 1960s. Financially, for decades after handing over nominal independence to African nations, Paris continued to exploit these countries through control of currencies and their prodigious natural resources. Most of France’s electricity, for example, is generated from uranium ore mined in Africa – and obtained like most other African resources for a pittance. The system of neocolonial suzerainty was typically sustained by France bribing local corrupt regimes to do its bidding and offering security guarantees from the continuance of French military bases. Not for nothing did Paris think of itself as the African Gendarme.

One of the extraordinary curiosities of this neocolonial arrangement was that African nations were compelled to deposit their gold treasuries in France’s central bank. Any African nation trying to resist the neocolonial vassalage was liable to be attacked militarily through counter-coups, or its nationalist leaders were assassinated like Thomas Sankara in 1987, who was known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”. Nevertheless, the halcyon days of France’s dominance over its former colonies are over. African nations are discovering a new sense of independence and purpose, as well as solidarity to help each other fend off pressure from France to reinstate the status quo ante. The collapse of France’s status in Africa is perceived by the French establishment as a grievous loss in presumed global power.

No French politician can feel more aggrieved than President Emmanuel Macron. Macron imagines himself to be on a mission to restore “France’s greatness”. He seems to harbor fantasies of also leading the rest of Europe under the tutelage of Paris. It was Macron who proclaimed one of his grand objectives as achieving a reset in Franco-African relations, one which would renew continental respect for Paris and promote French strategic interests. How embarrassing for Macron that a whole spate of African nations are asserting that they no longer want to have anything to do with the old colonial power. Chagrin indeed.

[..] The French president declared with hysteria that: “If Russia wins this war [in Ukraine], Europe’s credibility will be reduced to zero.” Macron’s recklessness is criminal. He is talking up war with Russia based on sheer lies and vanity. When he says Europe’s credibility will be reduced to zero what he really means is that his credibility and that of NATO will be reduced to zero when Russia defeats the NATO-backed NeoNazi regime in Kiev. Macron is a most dangerous kind of politician. He has an inordinate ego that has been bruised, his delusions have been shattered, he is an impotent vassal of American imperialism, and he is desperate for his sordid political survival. The French people are all too well aware of the charlatan that poses like a Louis XIV Sun King in Elysée Palace basking in his presumed vainglory. How ironic. Kicked out of Africa… and now trying to start World War Three in Europe. How pathetic and criminal.

Brigitte
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768916052061405573

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“..the way for Russia to beat the west in Ukraine was to continue letting them think they had a chance to win..”

Europe Panics as Trump Rises from the Political Grave (Luongo)

Remember, that in 2022-23 when it looked like the US was hellbent on going forward in Ukraine, European leaders like Macron and others were more circumspect. They wanted to virtue signal about the dangers of Ukraine escalating. They got to look like the moderates in the war room, while still sending billions in aid and weapons, arm-twisting everyone into compliance. The real mask-off event for Europe’s real position on this war was their threatening Hungary’s Viktor Orban with complete economic devastation if he didn’t allow their $50 billion aid package to go through the European Council. Now that all of Nuland’s military plans have failed, Ukraine’s army has been destroyed for the third time, and all of their attempts to undermine the US legally and economically (Powell must Pivot!) have fizzled, Europe finds itself in the blind panic.

Because as poll after poll suggests, Trump will return to the White House in January and has plans to end the killing and the other shenanigans in Ukraine quickly. Orban is acting as Trump’s voice of reason to both Eastern Europe as well as Russia itself.: Orban, who spoke with Trump at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Friday, did not explain how exactly the American would do that, but said that cutting the flow of US aid was a crucial part of the plan. ”If the US will not provide the money, Europeans on their own will not be able to finance this war, and then the war will end,” Orban said in an interview with M1 broadcaster on Sunday. During his presidency, Trump had shown himself to be “a man of peace,” the Hungarian leader claimed.

That stance puts him in alignment with Hungary, unlike the administration of US President Joe Biden and many members of the EU, he added. ”The American Democratic government and the leadership of the EU, as well as the leadership of the largest EU member states are pro-war governments. Donald Trump is pro-peace, Hungary is pro-peace. At the bottom of everything lies this difference,” Orban declared. Trump’s many things, but he is no dummy when it comes to money. Cut the flow of funds and you end the war. The wildcard is the seizure of Russia’s foreign exchange assets which would be the dumbest thing all these people could do. This is why they won’t shut up about it.

For his part, Putin is as done with the current regime in the EU as he is with the Biden junta in the US. He’s tried to reason with them, and all we hear is the most over-the-top vitriol from the usual suspects, like Macron. Putin understands now that the only diplomacy will occur is at the point of his gun or not at all. And if Ukraine is going to escalate on behalf of Europe to attack critical infrastructure inside Russia he will take the gloves completely off, rather than just carpet bomb the line of contact. I told you last year that no matter what the West thinks there will be “No Truce With the Heartland.” And the way for Russia to beat the west in Ukraine was to continue letting them think they had a chance to win by leaving just enough hope to have the West keep funneling billions into a slaughterhouse.

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“In any case, in the next year I will have to send some of my people to Odessa..”

The Ever Widening War (Paul Craig Roberts)

I have no idea why French President Macron is talking so aggressively about war with Russia, saying he will send French soldiers to Odessa and telling Russia’s President Putin “We are a nuclear power and We are ready,” or who might have put him up to taking such an aggressive position. I have been writing for two years that Putin needs to end the conflict as the war continues to widen and will spin out of control. The way Putin has fought this conflict is a strategic blunder of the worst kind. Russia should have seized, Kharkiv, Odessa, and Kiev immediately and left the Ukrainian army trapped in the east cut off from supplies. If President Macron does put French soldiers in Odessa, Putin cannot complete the obvious military task in Ukraine without going to war with NATO. Russia has gained absolutely nothing by the pointless, endless prolongation of the conflict.

The war has widened, and now European leaders are talking about preparing for war with Russia. Two more countries, Sweden and Finland, have joined NATO, so Ukraine was kept out at the cost of two other additions. “The French authorities are considering sending their troops to Ukraine from 2023, Le Monde newspaper reported, citing sources. “According to them, the issue of sending the French military to Ukraine was discussed in “the strictest secrecy” at the Security Council at the Elysee Palace on June 12, 2023. Shortly before that, the French president spoke in favor of Ukraine’s early entry into NATO.

“Le Monde writes that on the eve of the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion, on February 21, 2024, Macron, after the ceremony of transferring the ashes of the French Resistance movement member Misak Manushyan to the Pantheon, raised the topic of Ukraine in a conversation with those who congratulated him on his “beautiful speech”. “In any case, in the next year I will have to send some of my people to Odessa,” Macron said, according to the publication. “French Army Chief of Staff General Pierre Schill told the publication that Macron’s words are “primarily a political and strategic message” to Russia about its readiness for such steps. The task of the military in this situation is “to prepare as many options as possible to help the president make political and military decisions.”

“Emmanuel Macron said on February 26, speaking after a conference of leaders of 20 European countries, that he does not rule out sending NATO troops to Ukraine. Many Western countries, including Germany and the United States, opposed it. The Kremlin responded that the appearance of NATO troops in Ukraine would lead to a direct conflict with Russia. “The French president clarified on March 4 that the authorities are not considering sending French troops to Ukraine, but are “starting discussions and thinking about everything that can be done to support Ukraine” on its territory. Macron later added that ” not ruling something out does not mean doing it.” “At a meeting with leaders of French political parties on March 7, Macron said that there should be no restrictions on supporting Ukraine. Deputy Head of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said in response that ” then Russia no longer has any red lines in relation to France.”

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“..creating a consensus-based list out of the dozens of nations that are literally itching to join the club..”

Will BRICS Launch A New World In 2024? (Pepe Escobar)

Across the Global South, countries are lining up to join the multipolar BRICS and the Hegemon-free future it promises. The onslaught of interest has become an unavoidable theme of discussion during this crucial year of the Russian presidency of what, for the moment, is BRICS-10. Indonesia and Nigeria are among the top tiers of candidates likely to join. The same applies to Pakistan and Vietnam. Mexico is in a very complex bind: how to join without summoning the ire of the Hegemon. And then there’s the new candidacy on a roll: Yemen, which enjoys plenty of support from Russia, China, and Iran. It’s been up to Russia’s top BRICS sherpa, the immensely capable Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, to clarify what’s ahead. He tells TASS: “We must provide a platform for the countries interested in rapprochement with the BRICS, where they will be able to work practically without feeling left behind and joining this cooperation rhythm. And as to how the further expansion will be decided upon – this should be postponed at least until the leaders convene in Kazan to decide.”

The key decision on BRICS+ expansion will only come out of the Kazan summit next October. Ryabkov stresses that the order of the day is first “to integrate those who have just joined.” This means that “as a ‘ten,’ we work at least as efficiently, or, rather, more efficiently than we did within the initial ‘five.'” Only then will the BRICS-10 “develop the category of partner states,” which, in fact, means creating a consensus-based list out of the dozens of nations that are literally itching to join the club. Ryabkov always makes a point to note, in public and in private, that the twofold increase of BRICS members starting on 1 January 2024 is “an unprecedented event for any international structure.” It isn’t an easy task, Ryabkov says: “Last year, it took an entire year to develop the admission, expansion criteria at the level of top officials. Many reasonable things were developed. And many of the things that were formulated back then got reflected in the list of countries that joined. But it would probably be improper to formalize the requirements. At the end of the day, an admission to the association is a subject of political decision.”

In a private meeting with a few select individuals on the sidelines of the recent multipolar conference in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke effusively of BRICS, with particular emphasis on his counterparts Wang Yi of China and S. Jaishankar of India. Lavrov holds great expectations for BRICS-10 this year – at the same time, reminding everyone that this is still a club; it must eventually go deeper in institutional terms, for instance, by appointing a secretariat-general, just like its cousin-style organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The Russian presidency will have its hands full for the next few months, not only navigating the geopolitical spectrum of current crises but, most of all, geoeconomics. A crucial ministerial meeting in June – only three months away – will have to define a detailed road map all the way to the Kazan summit four months later.

What happens after this week’s Russian presidential elections will also condition BRICS policy. A new Russian government will be sworn in only by early May. It is widely expected that there will be no substantial changes within the Russian Finance Ministry, Central Bank, Foreign Ministry, and among top Kremlin advisers. Continuity will be the norm. And that brings us to the key geoeconomics dossier: the BRICS at the forefront of bypassing the US dollar in international finance. Last week, top Kremlin adviser Yury Ushakov announced that BRICS will work towards setting up an independent payment system based on digital currencies and blockchain. Ushakov specifically emphasized “state-of-the-art tools such as digital technologies and blockchain. The main thing is to make sure it is convenient for governments, common people, and businesses, as well as cost-effective and free of politics.” Ushakov did not mention it explicitly, but a new alternative system already exists. For the moment, it is a closely, carefully guarded project in the form of a detailed white paper that has already been validated academically and also incorporates answers to possible frequently asked questions.

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“..virtually every man of fighting age had been killed, wounded, or gone missing with the remaining few being hunted down by the draft officers..”

Zelensky’s Draft Leaving Ukrainian Villages Without Men – WaPo (RT)

Some Ukrainian villages and small towns are left with hardly any adult men amid aggressive and indiscriminate mobilization tactics by the army recruiters, who are desperate to refill the ranks of the depleted forces, according to a report by the Washington Post. In an article published on Saturday, the outlet detailed the plight of the village of Makov, in the Khmelnitsky region in Western Ukraine, where virtually every man of fighting age had been killed, wounded, or gone missing with the remaining few being hunted down by the draft officers. “It’s just a fact, most of them are gone,” Larisa Bodna, deputy director of the local school, which keeps a database of students whose parents are deployed, told the outlet.

“People are being caught like dogs on the street,” noted another resident, whose husband was forcefully drafted last year, despite a medical condition that was meant to exempt him from the military service. “The whole village was taken this way,” her mother-in-law added. The newspaper noted that the sense of resentment is steadily growing among the civilian population, with the majority feeling that their men have been targeted disproportionately, compared to larger cities, where it is easier to go into hiding. The residents say that even those already serving in the army and youths below the draft age are being stopped and questioned on the streets. Multiple videos of troops forcing men into vehicles that have surfaced online in recent months, sparking rumors of kidnappings and contributing to panic among the locals.

Ukraine announced a general mobilization shortly after the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022, but thousands managed to flee to the bordering Romania and Moldova. Following the failed counteroffensive in the summer of last year, Kiev was desperate to replenish the ranks, seeking to mobilize up to 500,000 new recruits. In late January, the Ukrainian lawmakers passed the first reading of a revised mobilization bill aimed at increasing the military ranks by lowering the conscription age from 27 to 25 and tightening draft conditions. The Russian military estimated Kiev’s casualties at over 444,000 killed or badly injured, as of the end of February. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed last month that only 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in two years of hostilities with Russia, a figure that even journalists sympathetic to the Ukrainian cause have called implausibly low.

de Graaff
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769051139528364045

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“..Washington is “destroying the vestiges of [its own] former prestige.” “The further we advance on the frontline, the more America will weaken and the rules-based world order will crumble..”

Ukraine Outcome Will Weaken US – Envoy (RT)

Success for Russia in the Ukraine conflict would progressively weaken the US, Moscow’s ambassador in Washington DC has argued. Anatoly Antonov also accused the US and UK of preventing a peaceful resolution of the conflict during its early stages. In an interview with RIA Novosti news agency published on Saturday, Antonov accused the US of playing an “extremely negative” role in Ukraine, calling Washington a “sponsor of terrorism” and a “country that encourages murder and war.” According to the envoy, Washington is “destroying the vestiges of [its own] former prestige.” “The further we advance on the frontline, the more America will weaken and the rules-based world order will crumble,” the Russian diplomat added.

The term ‘rules-based world order ‘ has been widely used by the administration of US President Joe Biden to describe the arrangement in which leading Western powers have for decades had significant leverage over the rest of the world. Critics, including Russia, say the system contravenes international law and is being abused by the West. Antonov also dismissed Western claims that Moscow is unwilling to engage in dialogue on Ukraine. He argued that “everything could have been settled peacefully. However, this did not sit well with the leadership of NATO countries, first of all the US and the UK.” Moscow and Kiev held talks in the Turkish city of Istanbul in late March 2022, with the negotiations eventually collapsing. Several media outlets claimed that then- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson persuaded the Ukrainian leadership to withdraw and keep fighting.

One of Ukraine’s negotiators, David Arakhamia, confirmed the reports last November, but Johnson himself has staunchly denied derailing the peace process. Earlier this week, Antonov warned that further Western participation in the Ukraine conflict could lead to the “most unpredictable consequences.” The official also claimed that CIA Director William Burns had de facto acknowledged the “direct involvement of the United States” in the hostilities. Addressing the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Monday, Burns argued that additional funding for Ukraine would enable the country to conduct “deep penetration strikes in Crimea,” further target the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and eventually “regain the offensive initiative.”

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“The global politics of the new century can only be multipolar..”

Russia Created ‘New Global Majority’ – Presidential Hopeful (RT)

Russia is playing a crucial role in the emergence of the new multipolar world and has already become one of its centers of power, presidential hopeful Leonid Slutsky believes. Slutsky spoke to RT on Saturday, with the country going through the second day of its three-day presidential polls. The politician, who leads Russia’s right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), is seeking the top office alongside three other candidates – incumbent President Vladimir Putin, Nikolay Haritonov, and Vladislav Davankov. With an election reportage blackout period in place, the conversation revolved around more global issues the country is facing now and will face in the future than around the candidate himself.

Russia is playing a crucial role in making the world multiploar, having already become one of the important centers in it, Slutsky has said. “[Russia], today, has in fact already created a new global majority on the planet. This is not the Anglo-Saxon majority, the new global majority is the global South, Africa, Latin America. These are many, many nations of larger Eurasia that are against the unipolar world order, where all the decisions, on how life goes in one or another country are being made in Washington,” the candidate explained. The emerging multipolar world is bound to become a more fair and equal place, where any country regardless of its size, cultural background or anything else, will be able to decide its destiny, Slutsky believes. “The global politics of the new century can only be multipolar,” he stressed.

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“The issue of the affiliation of Crimea and Sevastopol is closed. The peninsula is an integral part of Russia..”

Issue of Crimea’s Affiliation Resolved Forever – Lavrov (TASS)

Crimea and Sevastopol are integral parts of Russia and the issue of their affiliation is closed forever, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a video address on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the peninsula’s reunification with Russia on Saturday. “The issue of the affiliation of Crimea and Sevastopol is closed. The peninsula is an integral part of Russia,” the top diplomat stressed. Crimea has clear-cut prospects of its further development and Russia has resolved many problems inherited from Ukraine, Lavrov pointed out. “Over the past years, many problems inherited from Ukraine have been resolved. With clear-cut prospects of their further development, Crimean residents can look into the future with confidence and optimism,” he added. “Ten years ago, on March 16, 2014, Crimean residents determined their future independently and consciously, having reunited with Russia. I congratulate the peninsula’s residents on the decade of the historic reunification with Russia. I wish them health, well-being, prosperity and all the best,” Russia’s top diplomat said.

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“..The UN has opened an investigation, while UNRWA defends itself against Israel’s accusations, and accuses Israel of torturing its employees to force false testimonies..”

Israel Is Starving Gaza (Sahiounie)

On March 12, a Spanish ship, ‘Open Arms’, left Cyprus for Gaza. It is expected to arrive on Friday, March 15 carrying 200 tons of aid. This desperate attempt to stave off famine in Gaza is the brain-child of Spanish-American celebrity chef, José Andrés, founder of the non-profit World Central Kitchen (WCK). WCK has Palestinians building a jetty in Gaza, utilizing rubble and materials from bombed buildings, which will play a role in offloading the food and supplies. This jetty is a temporary structure and in not related to the pier the U.S. is planning. “I had no doubt that we could open the maritime route. The most difficult thing was the diplomatic side of it, and the easiest thing was getting to Gaza,” said Andrés. Andrés is an advisor to the White House, and held countless meetings in Israel, Egypt and Jordan to obtain the necessary permits, while also obtaining support from Cyprus, King Abdullah II of Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, which has co-financed the mission together with WCK.

After arrival, the 130 pallets of aid will go into trucks to be delivered to the 60 kitchens that the WCK has set up in the Gaza Strip, and to other aid distribution points. Israel controls all land crossings into Gaza, which has seven border crossings, six with Israel and one with Egypt. However, only the crossing at Rafah, with Egypt, is partially open. The quickest and most efficient way to delivery aid to Gaza is by land and the gates that exist. But, Israel restricts aid and supplies from entering in Gaza. All of the aid agencies report that their donations sit in parked trucks, filled to overflowing, but unable to enter Gaza because the IDF has locked the gates and refuses to open them. Israel maintains that they will not allow any aid into Gaza which could be used by Hamas. The aid agencies have repeatedly asked for a list of restricted items so that they can make sure their cargoes meet the criteria. However, Israel refuses to publish or distribute a list of restricted items.

Instead, the IDF uses the aid as a weapon of war, intent on starving the civilians. The IDF claim that if they find one item in a cargo load which meets their undisclosed definition of prohibited items, they will not allow the entire cargo to enter. In one very famous case, the item was a single pair of small scissors to be used to cut the tape in conjunction with bandages. Doctors Without Borders, MSF, reported they have been repeatedly prohibited from importing electricity generators, water purifiers, solar panels and other medical equipment. On March 12, for the first time in three weeks, the UN’s World Food Program sent in six aid trucks to feed 25,000 people through a gate in the security fence. This is but a drop in an ocean of need, and is not sustainable. Some Arab nations, such as Morocco have sent supplies destined for Gaza to Israel’s Ben Gurion airport. All the experts agree, that land routes which already are established are the most efficient delivery method of aid to Gaza. But, it is Israel alone standing in the way, and this is their political objective.

Cargo trucks typically carry 20 tons, and the flow of trucks prior to the current conflict was about 500 a day. But, even that amount of daily arrivals would not meet the needs of the 2.3 million people in Gaza. Israel began a political campaign to discredit and destroy UNRWA, by accusing the agency of complicity with Hamas in the October 7 attack on Israel. With an accusation only, Israel was able to convince 16 donor countries to pull their funding, and have asked the UN General Assembly to disband the refugee agency, which would affect not only the people in Gaza, but also those in the Occupied West Bank. The agency is 75 years old, serves almost six million refugees, and now has had more than $437 million funds frozen. Spain announced a donation of $22 million on Thursday, and Canada and Sweden reported on Saturday that they would resume funding to the agency in light of unfounded claims, and the risk of famine.

The UN has opened an investigation, while UNRWA defends itself against Israel’s accusations, and accuses Israel of torturing its employees to force false testimonies that the IDF used as the basis of their accusations. Initially, the UN fired 12 UNRWA workers after the IDF claim. Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, says that he has received no evidence of agency workers in conspiracy with Hamas. However, 150 UNRWA employees have died while working in Gaza, and 3,000 have been left homeless.

Finkelstein

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Trojan horse.

EU ‘Media Freedom’ Law Not What You Think It Is (Marsden)

The EU’s new Media Freedom Act has now been voted into law, with 464 votes for, 92 against, and 65 abstentions. There are some news outlets whose coverage of the vote I’d like to see. Like RT’s, where you’re reading this right now. But anyone who’s viewing this from inside the European Union’s bastion of democracy and freedom is likely doing so via a VPN connection routed through somewhere outside the bloc, to circumvent its press censorship.Nothing in this new law suggests that this will change, or that there will be increased access to information and analysis for the average person. Such improved freedoms might lead to people making up their own minds rather than having various flavors of a similar narrative served up for mass consumption. As has become par for the course in so-called Western democracies, inconvenient facts and analysis will still be dismissed as “disinformation” and criticism of the establishment still qualified as an effort to sow division – as though dissent itself wasn’t supposed to be proof of a healthy and vibrant democracy.

So, now that we’ve gotten out of the way any hope of lifting the EU’s top-down censorship in the absence of due process, exactly what kind of lip service does this new law pay to the lofty notion of media freedom?No spying on journalists or pressing them to disclose their sources. Well, unless you’re one of the countries that lobbied to be able to keep doing this – like France, Italy, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Sweden, and Finland – so basically, a quarter of EU countries. Oh, but they have to invoke national-security concerns in order to do so. Which, as we know, they’re very discerning about. Like, they didn’t at all implement a virtual police state and extend its powers under the guise of fighting a virus with which French President Emmanuel Macron kept saying they were “at war.” Nor did Amnesty International point out the sweeping “Orwellian” trend across Europe, at least as far back as 2017, of exploiting domestic terrorist attacks to permanently embed what were supposed to be extraordinary powers into criminal law, via measures like “overly broad definitions of terrorism.”

So, no doubt they’ll be equally reasonable when slapping the “national security threat” label on a journalist whose work they want to peek at. At least now, under this new law, they do have to fully inform any targeted journalist of the steps being taken against them. Another thing that changes is that there’s to be a centralized database into which “all news and current affairs outlets regardless of their size will have to publish information about their owners,” according to an EU press release. May we propose a first candidate for that? The NGO Reporters Without Borders has praised this new law as a “major step forward for the right to information within the European Union.” The same NGO also just launched a “Svoboda” (Russian for “freedom”) satellite package eventually consisting “of up to 25 independent Russian language radio and television channels” aimed at Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltics.

The launch took place at the EU parliament, in the presence of EU “values and transparency” commissioner (yes, that’s a real title), Vera Jourova, who has said in support of the new media law that “it is a threat to those who want to use the power of the state, also the financial one, to make the media dependent on them.” But she has also said about this new Russia-targeting initiative that the EU state needs to “use all possible means to ensure that their work, that facts and information can reach Russian-speaking people.” This is the same person who advocated in favor of banning Russia-linked media outlets in the EU.

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A new one every day.

”..a flight attendant accidentally hit a switch on the pilot’s seat, which pushed the pilot into the controls..”

Boeing Tells Pilots To Check Seats After Latam Plane Incident (BBC)

Boeing has told airlines operating 787 Dreamliners that pilots need to check their seats as an investigation into an incident on a Latam flight continues. It comes after 50 people were hurt this week when a 787 dropped suddenly during a Latam Airlines flight. The Wall Street Journal reported that a flight attendant accidentally hit a switch on the pilot’s seat, which pushed the pilot into the controls, forcing down the plane’s nose. Latam is supporting investigations. During the incident people were thrown against the roof of the plane, which was travelling from Australia to New Zealand. Passenger Brian Jokat said at the time that a number of people suffered head injuries. Speaking to the BBC, Mr Jokat revealed that people had hit the ceiling with such force “some of the roof panels were broken”.

The person next to him, he added, appeared to be “glued to the ceiling”. “I did think for a split second: ‘This is it’,” he said. Emergency services later said one person was in a serious condition. Boeing said: “The investigation of Flight LA800 is ongoing and we defer to the investigation authorities on any potential findings.” “We have taken the precautionary measure of reminding 787 operators of a service bulletin issued in 2017 which included instructions for inspecting and maintaining switches on flight deck seats.” It recommended that operators perform an inspection of the switches “at the next maintenance opportunity”.

Chilean-Brazilian carrier Latam Airlines said it “continues to work in coordination with the authorities in order to support the ongoing investigation”. The aircraft was scheduled to fly on from Auckland to Santiago, the capital of Chile. The departure was cancelled and a new flight scheduled for Tuesday. The incident comes after a door panel came off a Boeing plane in January this year, with a report in February finding bolts meant to secure the panel were missing. And this week, a former Boeing employee known for raising concerns about the firm’s production standards was found dead in the US.

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“That’s worth fighting for on behalf of all Americans.”

Peter Navarro Asks Supreme Court to Avoid Reporting to Prison (ET)

Former Trump White House aide Peter Navarro on March 15 asked the Supreme Court to allow him to avoid reporting to prison for a contempt of Congress conviction as the matter is being appealed. His request came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit denied his request for release from prison pending appeal. Mr. Navarro revealed on March 10 that he was ordered to report to a Miami prison on March 19 for a four-month sentence. Mr. Navarro filed an emergency petition to Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday afternoon, arguing that his appeal “will raise a number of issues on appeal that he contends are likely to result in the reversal of his conviction, or a new trial.” “For the first time in our nation’s history, a senior presidential advisor has been convicted of contempt of Congress after asserting executive privilege over a congressional subpoena,” Mr. Navarro’s lawyers wrote.

“Navarro is indisputably neither a flight risk nor a danger to public safety should he be released pending appeal,” they added. Mr. Navarro was convicted in 2023 of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 select committee. His bid to stay out of prison while he appeals his conviction was turned down initially in February by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who found that the trade adviser to former President Donald Trump failed to pose any substantial questions of law in his motion. Mr. Navarro then asked an appeals court to overturn Judge Mehta’s ruling. In the decision on March 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected another bid.

“Appellant has not shown that his appeal presents substantial questions of law or fact likely to result in reversal, new trial, a sentence that does not include a term of imprisonment, or a reduced sentence of imprisonment that is less than the amount of time already served plus the expected duration of the appeal process,” the court said. The Justice Department’s appellate filing echoed Judge Mehta’s claim that Mr. Navarro hadn’t provided sufficient evidence to the court that President Trump invoked executive privilege. In denying Mr. Navarro’s request for release, Judge Mehta stated that Mr. Navarro failed at an evidentiary hearing to carry his burden of establishing a formal claim of privilege.

“United States v. Peter Navarro is a landmark constitutional case that will eventually determine whether the constitutional separation of powers is preserved, whether executive privilege will continue to exist as a bulwark against partisan attacks by the legislative branch, and whether executive privilege will remain, as President George Washington pioneered, a critical instrument of effective presidential decision-making,” Mr. Navarro said in a statement to The Epoch Times. “That’s worth fighting for on behalf of all Americans.”

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Lemon is not a very smart man.

Don Lemon Made Crazy Demands Before Elon Musk Canned Him (NYP)

Don Lemon demanded the sun, the moon and the stars from the SpaceX boss – before being unceremoniously dumped this week, The Post has learned. The ex-CNN anchor sent over an astronomical wish list to Elon Musk during contract talks to host a show on the billionaire’s social media platform X – including a free Tesla Cybertruck, a $5 million upfront payment on top of an $8 million salary, an equity stake in the multibillion-dollar company, and the right to approve any changes in X policy as it relates to news content, according to a document reviewed by The Post. Lemon — who was expected to air an interview with Musk for next week’s debut episode on X — had also demanded a private jet flight to Las Vegas, a suite for him and his fiance, and that the company pay for their day drinking and massages, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

Musk agreed to do the interview with Lemon despite the fact that he was aware of some of Lemon’s outlandish demands, sources told The Post. The proposal reviewed by The Post was sent from Lemon’s agents at United Talent Agency to X’s leadership in December. The partnership was announced in January, but an X spokesperson told The Post that the company “did not have a final or signed agreement with Don Lemon or ‘The Don Lemon Show’” before Musk sat down for the explosive interview last week. Jay Sures, vice chairman at UTA, told The Post: “This is absolute, complete utter nonsense without an iota of truth to it.” Lemon was fired hours after the one-on-one sit-down, with Musk calling the anchor “dull” and “underwhelming.” The one-and-half hour grilling included testy exchanges about Musk’s political leanings, his past drug use and the site’s content moderation policy. It is scheduled to run on YouTube next week.

Lemon claimed on Wednesday that he was jettisoned by X because Musk reneged on his “free speech” pledge. Lemon’s discussions with the company began shortly after he was fired by CNN last April after a series of high-profile incidents, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. In an interview with veteran tech journalist Kara Swisher on Friday, Lemon claimed they held discussions over the summer in which the company threatened to fire him if he did not attend the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. CES, which was held earlier this year between Jan. 7 and 10, is one of the most highly anticipated events on the tech calendar as companies including X flock to the show in order to schmooze advertisers. A spokesperson for X called Lemon’s claim “a disingenuous lie.”

Lemon wanted to be flown to the convention with his longtime fiance on a private jet and be put up in a private suite, as well as for X to foot the bill for alcoholic beverages and massages that he and his fiance ordered during their stay at the Vdara, the MGM-run resort on the Las Vegas Strip, according to people familiar with the matter. The negotiations progressed after Musk brought former NBCUniversal advertising executive Linda Yaccarino on board as chief executive officer of X, sources said. But the talks stalled over Lemon’s extensive demands, which included executive assistants as well as a marketing budget that ranged from $10 million to $15 million, people with knowledge of the situation told The Post. A spokesperson for Lemon told The Post: “There is nothing in your list of demands that you claim Don made of X that is true. Literally nothing.”

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“The vast constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites will be able to track targets on the ground in real time nearly anywhere across the world..”

Musk Building Huge Spy Satellite Network – Reuters (RT)

Elon Musk’s secretive Starshield project will allow the US military and spies to track their targets and support American and allied ground forces in real time almost anywhere across the globe, Reuters has reported, sharing new details about the billionaire’s dealings with the Pentagon. SpaceX has been launching prototype military satellites alongside “civilian” payloads on Falcon 9 rockets since at least 2020, before eventually securing a lucrative $1.8 billion contract with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in 2021, Reuters wrote on Saturday, citing five unnamed sources familiar with the project. The vast constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites will be able to track targets on the ground in real time nearly anywhere across the world, the sources claimed. One of them boasted that Starshield would ensure “no one can hide” from the US government. Starshield also reportedly aims to be “more resilient to attacks” by rival space powers.

It remains unclear how many Starshield satellites are currently operational and when the sytem is expected to fully come online, with SpaceX and the Pentagon ignoring Reuters’ requests for comment. The NRO admitted that it is developing “the most capable, diverse, and resilient space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system the world has ever seen,” but refused to comment on SpaceX’s role in the project. The SpaceX CEO previously acknowledged the development of the military alternative to the “civilian” Starlink system, saying in September that it would be “owned by the US government” and controlled by the Department of Defense. “Starlink needs to be a civilian network, not a participant to combat,” Musk said, referring to the use of the satellites in Ukraine throughout the conflict with Russia. Musk donated around 20,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine shortly after Russia launched its military operation in February 2022. Since then, Kiev’s troops heavily relied on the system to maintain communications and operate combat drones along the front line.

While pledging support for Ukraine, Musk has repeatedly said he favors a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The billionaire has come under fire from US officials after refusing Kiev’s demands to use the Starlink network to aid strikes on Russia’s Black Sea fleet. In turn, Musk argued that activating Starlink in Crimea would be in breach of US sanctions. In the absence of any direct orders from the US leadership, SpaceX opted not to contravene regulations despite Kiev’s request to do so, the entrepreneur explained. Earlier this month, US lawmakers reportedly launched another probe into SpaceX, after Ukrainian claims that Russian troops allegedly used Starlink satellite service on the conflict frontline. Musk has denied the allegations, insisting that “no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia.” The Kremlin has also insisted that the Russian military has never ordered Starlink terminals.

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An overview can be handy, even if it’s BBC.

Where Donald Trump’s Four Criminal Trials Stand After More Delays (BBC)

New York document dump Mr Trump’s New York City trial on charges that his hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels constituted business fraud and violated federal campaign finance laws was scheduled a week from Monday, on 25 March. That’s no longer the case. The US justice department just turned over more than 73,000 pages of documents related to its own hush-money investigations that the Trump legal team had subpoenaed back in January. Another 15,000 pages are still expected. “Prosecutors have been stumbling a bit,” says John Coffee, a professor at Columbia University. He adds that the confusion and delays in producing documents make it seem as though the justice department and the New York district attorney’s office are feuding.

The former president’s lawyers requested a 30-day trial delay, which the New York prosecutors agreed not to block. That’s just the start, though. Mr Trump’s lawyers want hearings into why the documents, which include witness interviews, took so long to produce. They also want an additional delay for time to review the new evidence and prevent the trial from starting on Passover and, for good measure, a dismissal of the case entirely. Trial date: Originally scheduled for 25 March, on Friday it was delayed until April, at the earliest.

Fani’s choice After days of tense legal hearings, the judge presiding over the sprawling 2020 election-interference case against Mr Trump and 18 of his co-defendants issued his decision on whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis can remain in charge of the prosecution. The answer is yes – but with a catch. Either she or Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor she hired – and had a romantic relationship with – will have to step aside. Mr Wade resigned on Friday. Judge Scott McAfee said that there were “reasonable questions” about whether the two attorneys had testified untruthfully and an “appearance of impropriety” that had to be remedied.

While he ultimately concluded that evidence did not support removing the district attorney entirely, such language will provide plenty of ammunition for Mr Trump and his team to use in the court of public opinion, where they might be able to shape the views of prospective jurors. “Everybody here is likely to be influenced by the news coverage of the judge’s decision,” says Adrienne Jones, an assistant political science professor at Atlanta’s Morehouse College. “It’s not likely people are ignorant of what’s happening.” The judge’s announcement comes just a few days after he dismissed three of the 13 charges against the former president for being too vague. Prosecutors will have an opportunity to clarify and re-indict Mr Trump, however. Trial date: The prosecution has proposed an 5 August start.

Classified files slow-walk Down in Fort Pierce, Florida, Judge Aileen Cannon has been reviewing a series of attempts by Trump’s legal team to get the federal case against the president for obstruction of justice and mishandling classified documents dismissed. On Thursday, she rejected one of the motions – but she must decide on six others and seems in no big hurry to do so. She is also expected to issue a decision at some point on a schedule for when the trial will begin. At the moment, the start date is 20 May, but both the prosecution and Mr Trump’s teams have suggested pushing that back. Ms Cannon, who was appointed to the federal bench by the former president, is considering how to handle disclosure of the troves of classified documents that are part of the case, and any decision – or appeal of that decision – could lead to even more extensive delays. Trial date: Special Counsel Jack Smith has offered 8 July as a rescheduled start. Mr Trump’s lawyers have said that if the case isn’t pushed after the election entirely, the earliest they would be ready to begin is August.

Supreme Court limbo The biggest case against the former president, the federal prosecution for his role in the 6 January, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, is also the one that is in the most doubt. The US Supreme Court has agreed to review whether Mr Trump is immune from criminal prosecution for actions he took as president. The high court stepped in after two lower-level courts ruled that the trial could proceed. Last week, the court set oral arguments for the case on 25 April, and at this rate the justices may not issue a decision until the end of June, near the end of their formal session. Once the Supreme Court hands down its ruling, assuming it does not say that Mr Trump is immune, the judge presiding over the trial has estimated that it will take an additional 88 days to get ready for a trial. This all plays into Mr Trump’s primary legal strategy, which has been to push back all the legal cases against him for as long as possible and, if preferable, until after the November election. If he wins there, and returns to the presidency in January 2025, there are multiple ways he could make the federal cases against him disappear. “They are the masters of delay,” says Prof Jones. Trial date: Not scheduled and not expected anytime soon.

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Jim Carrey meets Jerry Lewis

 

 

Ibogaine
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769021393209856148

 

 

Elephant
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768809775360577950

 

 

Dromedary

 

 

 

 

Shave

 

 

Percentages
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768867288512643563

 

 

Salt water

 

 

Sunset

 

 

Innocents
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768728247796216212

 

 

Baduanjin

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 012024
 
 March 1, 2024  Posted by at 9:38 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  39 Responses »


Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) German artist, philosopher, composer, mystic Cosmic Tree

 

West Flirting With Nuclear War – Putin (RT)
What Comes Next As The Ukrainian Army Collapses (Helmer)
How Realistic Is Putin? (Paul Craig Roberts)
West Destroying Its Own Financial System – Putin (RT)
The CIA in Ukraine – The NY Times Gets a Guided Tour (Patrick Lawrence)
CIA in Ukraine (John Kiriakou)
The Internationalization of the Neo-Liberal Shock (Dionísio)
Maddow and Others Denounce SCOTUS for Review of Presidential Immunity (Turley)
Yellen Voices Support For Permanent Inflation (Denninger)
‘State-minus’: Biden’s Palestine Solution (Cradle)
Federal Judge Blocks New Texas Law to Arrest Illegal Immigrants (ET)
Obama’s CIA Asked Foreign Intel Agencies To Spy on Trump Campaign (Chernin)
Hunter Finally Admits Joe Biden Is “The Big Guy” (ZH)
Julian Assange and Gaza Civilians (Amar)
Biden Arrives At Border To Address His Voters (BBee)

 

 

 

 

Not sure what Biden does, but I don’t think it’s called ‘walking’. Closest thing is Elon Musk’s new humanoid robot.

 

 

 

 

WH doc

 

 

 

 


“The judge who just threw Trump off the ballot in Illinois typically “presides over minor traffic violations”

 

 

Loan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1763341500627480884

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..now the consequences for potential invaders would be far more tragic.”

West Flirting With Nuclear War – Putin (RT)

Western officials indulging in escalatory rhetoric should realize that they are effectively invoking the specter of an all-out nuclear war, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned in a speech to legislators in Moscow on Thursday. He also once again accused the West of instigating the Ukraine conflict. Putin addressed the topic in the opening minutes of his annual state-of-the-nation speech, a key event in which the president declares his plans and priorities in a televised address to both houses of the Federal Assembly of Russia, the national legislature. President Putin insisted that recent claims by Western officials that Moscow is planning to attack NATO are “nonsense.” At the same time, those same nations are “selecting targets to conduct strikes on our territory,” the Russian head of state claimed, adding that there is now talk of “deploying NATO military contingents to Ukraine.”

Putin reminded would-be aggressors that all previous attempts to conquer Russia have ended in failure, warning that “now the consequences for potential invaders would be far more tragic.” He pointed out that Russia has a massive nuclear arsenal, which is in a state of “complete readiness for guaranteed deployment.” “Everything that they are thinking up now, that they are scaring the world with, it all really poses the threat of a conflict involving nuclear weapons, and therefore, the destruction of civilization. Don’t they understand this?” The Russian president suggested that Western politicians making those escalatory remarks “have already forgotten what war is.” Unlike Russians, who have faced “difficult trials” in recent decades, Westerners apparently “think that these are just some cartoons,” President Putin opined.

The Russian president’s remarks came after his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, toyed with the idea of a potential ground deployment of Western militaries to Ukraine while talking to reporters on Monday, saying “in terms of dynamics, we cannot exclude anything.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg hastened to emphasize that “there are no plans for NATO combat troops on the ground in Ukraine.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in turn, declared that there will be “no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil, who are sent there by European or NATO countries” in the future. The leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland also chimed in with similar assurances. Commenting on Macron’s remark, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that such a development would mean that “we have to talk not about the probability, but rather the inevitability” of an all-out military confrontation between NATO and Russia.

Read more …

“I would like to remind you that just a month ago, the French Foreign Minister denied Paris’s involvement in recruiting mercenaries for the Kiev regime, and called direct evidence ‘crude Russian propaganda.’”

What Comes Next As The Ukrainian Army Collapses (Helmer)

The collapse of the Ukrainian army following the battle of Avdeyevka, and its disorganized retreat, have accelerated Russian military thinking of how far westward the NATO allies will decide that the Ukrainian statelet can be defended against the expected Russian advance – and how fast new NATO defences can be created without the protection of ground-to-air missile batteries like Patriot, long-range artillery like the M777, and mobile armour like the Abrams, Bradley, and Caesar: all of them have already been defeated in the east. In short, there is no longer a NATO-command line of fortification east of the Polish border which deters the Russian General Staff. Also, no bunker for the Zelensky government and its NATO advisors to feel secure. Cutting and pasting from the Russian military bloggers and the Moscow analytical media, as a handful of US podcasters and substackers are doing as often as their subscribers require, is the Comfy-Armchair method for getting at the truth.

Reading the Russian sources directly, with the understanding that they are reporting what their military and intelligence sources are saying off the record, is still armchair generalship, but less comfy, more credible. Offence is now the order of the day up and down the contact line. The daily bulletin from the Ministry of Defense in Moscow calls this “improving the tactical situation” and “taking more advantageous positions”. In the past three days, Monday through Wednesday, the Defense Ministry also reported the daily casualty rate of the Ukrainian forces at 1,175, 1,065, and 695, respectively; three M777 howitzer hits; and the first Abrams tank to be destroyed. Because this source is blocked in several of the NATO states, the Russian military bloggers, which reproduce the bulletins along with videoclips and maps, may be more accessible; also more swiftly than the US-based podcasters and substackers can keep up.

Moscow sources confirm the obvious: the operational objective is to apply more and more pressure at more and more points along the line, in as many sectors or salients (“directions” is the Russian term) as possible simultaneously. At the same time, air attack, plus missiles and drones, are striking all rear Ukrainian and NATO airfield, road, and rail nodes, ammunition storages, vehicle parks, drone manufactories, fuel dumps, and other supply infrastructure, so as make reinforcement and redeployment more difficult and perilous. What cannot be seen are the Russian concentrations of forces aimed in the north, centre and south of the battlefield. Instead, there is what one source calls “an educated guess is that when the main blow comes, it will be North, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov, Poltava, or Centre, Dniepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, or both simultaneously.” For timing, the source adds, “after the Russian election.”

That is now less than three weeks away, on March 17. President Vladimir Putin will then reform his new government within four to six weeks for announcement by early May. Ministerial appointments sensitive to the General Staff’s planning are the Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is expected to remain in place; and the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who may retire. Following the call of French President Emmanuel Macron for the “possibility” of French ground force deployment to the Ukraine battlefield, and the subsequent clarification by French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu, the Russian assessment has been derisory. “As for Emmanuel Macron’s statements about the possibility of sending NATO troops to Ukraine,” replied Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova, “I would like to remind you that just a month ago, the French Foreign Minister denied Paris’s involvement in recruiting mercenaries for the Kiev regime, and called direct evidence ‘crude Russian propaganda.’

Read more …

“The West is unreasonable. Putin still thinks he can reason with the West. This is a mistake that is fatal for mankind.”

How Realistic Is Putin? (Paul Craig Roberts)

As readers know, I am concerned that Putin’s tolerance of a too-long-continuing-Ukraine-conflict is encouraging the conflict to spin-out-of-control. I have written about this risk neglected by the Kremlin many times. On February 27 I was interviewed by Finian Cunningham about this risk. If the interview is posted online, I will link to it hopefully before it is taken down by the narrative controllers. There is no doubt that I have been proven correct that the provocations, accepted by the Kremlin with only words in opposition, have increased in severity over the past two years. First the West would send to the Ukrainians helmets and sleeping bags. Then small arms ammunition. Then artillery. Tanks were mentioned, but Washington and NATO said, “never tanks.” Then tanks were sent. Then, after first being denied, drones and intermediate-range missiles. Then targeting information. Then mercenaries.

Then after being denied, now long-range missiles and US F-16s capable of penetrating deep into Russia herself far from the battlefront are under consideration. And now the latest, the French President’s proposal to send NATO troops. “We will never send troops,” declares NATO’s Stoltenberg. But all the denials previously were breached and meant nothing. So the question before us is: Has Putin reduced the threat of the conflict spinning out of control by fighting it on a low key basis limited to Donbass and the Russian areas, or has his low-key behavior convinced Washington’s neoconservatives that Putin is a paper tiger who will accept any provocation and any insult. If the latter, the provocations will increase in severity until the conflict spins out of control. Clearly from helmets to NATO troops is an immense escalation. Putin understands that the West intends Russia’s destruction, so why does he prolong conflicts that provide opportunities for the West to expand conflict?

The Kremlin and the Western media whores see the fundamental issue as Ukraine becoming a member of NATO. The neoconservatives who control US foreign policy seem to think that Putin will stand aside from this just as he did from being called by the President of the United States “the new Hitler” and “a son-of-a-bitch.” No American official of any rank ever spoke in public of Soviet leaders in such terms. On his way to Reykjavik, Iceland, for his meeting with Gorbachev, Reagan told his entourage that one word of rudeness to the Soviet officials and you were fired on the spot. Reagan’s goal was to end the Cold War, and he did. It was the neoconservatives and the US military/security complex that restarted it. As the deceased Steven Cohen and I emphasized, the threat of nuclear war today is much higher than during the Cold War.

In those years, leaders on both sides worked to reduce tensions and to achieve mutual security that would reduce the danger of nuclear confrontation. I was part of the effort and perhaps I am one of a small handful of people still alive who know and lived the experience. Once the Soviet Union collapsed when the Politburo placed Russian President Gorbachev under house arrest, the neoconservatives saw their chance at world hegemony and began their assault on Russia. All of the security-enhancing agreements worked out over the years of the Cold War were cancelled by Washington. NATO’ Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is Washington’s puppet. But he is not sufficiently stupid to knowingly start a war with Russia. Who can possibly imagine Europe, which is incapable of protecting its own borders from being over-run by unarmed immigrant-invaders, possibly fighting Russia. The war, if Putin could bring himself to fight it, would be over in a few minutes.

[..] It is Putin’s refusal to impose restraint on a weak and collapsing West that is leading to nuclear Armageddon. I am not writing because I want a Russian victory. I am writing because I do not want nuclear Armageddon. The West is unreasonable. Putin still thinks he can reason with the West. This is a mistake that is fatal for mankind.

Read more …

“They’re sawing off a branch they’ve been sitting on for decades..”

West Destroying Its Own Financial System – Putin (RT)

The West is discrediting its own currencies and banking system, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his annual address to the Federal Assembly on Thursday, adding that the established monopolies and stereotypes in the global economy are crumbling. “The West itself is discrediting its own currencies and banking system. They’re sawing off a branch they’ve been sitting on for decades,” Putin said. Meanwhile, Russia together with so-called ‘friendly’ nations will focus on creating new financial infrastructure that will be free from politics as it seeks to unite efforts in the face of global challenges, he said. The president was referring to the global trend of moving toward using national currencies in trade rather than the US dollar that has gained significant momentum after Russia was cut off from the Western financial system and had its foreign reserves frozen in 2022.

A number of both Russian and foreign officials have repeatedly warned that the US currency has long been used as a weapon, noting that such actions have prompted countries around the world to reduce their dependence on the greenback. Putin emphasized that Moscow is working with its allies on the basis of equality and respect of mutual interests. Because of this, he said, more and more countries are seeking to join groups such as BRICS, the Eurasian Economic Union, and Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Together with its partners Russia will continue building “safe” transport corridors based on new technology and create a new global financial network “free from political interference” at a time when the world economy, trade and finance are undergoing rapid changes, the president noted.

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“..They cannot afford to lose a war they cannot win..”

The CIA in Ukraine – The NY Times Gets a Guided Tour (Patrick Lawrence)

If you have paid attention to what various polls and officials in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West have been doing and saying about Ukraine lately, you know the look and sound of desperation. You would be desperate, too, if you were making a case for a war Ukrainians are on the brink of losing and will never, brink or back-from-the-brink, have any chance of winning. Atop this, you want people who know better, including 70 percent of Americans according to a recent poll, to keep investing extravagant sums in this ruinous folly. And here is what seems to me the true source of angst among these desperados: Having painted this war as a cosmic confrontation between the world’s democrats and the world’s authoritarians, the people who started it and want to prolong it have painted themselves into a corner. They cannot lose it. They cannot afford to lose a war they cannot win: This is what you see and hear from all those good-money-after-bad people still trying to persuade you that a bad war is a good war and that it is right that more lives and money should be pointlessly lost to it.

Everyone must act for the cause in these dire times. You have Chuck Schumer in Kyiv last week trying to show House Republicans that they should truly, really authorize the Biden regime to spend an additional $61 billion on its proxy war with Russia. “Everyone we saw, from Zelensky on down made this very point clear,” the Democratic senator from New York asserted in an interview with The New York Times. “If Ukraine gets the aid, they will win the war and beat Russia.” Even at this late hour people still have the nerve to say such things. You have European leaders gathering in Paris Monday to reassure one another of their unity behind the Kyiv regime—and where Emmanuel Macron refused to rule out sending NATO ground troops to the Ukrainian front. “Russia cannot and must not win this war,” the French president declared to his guests at the Elysée Palace. Except that it can and, barring an act of God, it will.

Then you have Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s war-mongering sec-gen, telling Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty last week that it will be fine if Kyiv uses F–16s to attack Russian cities once they are operational this summer. The U.S.–made fighter jets, the munitions, the money—all of it is essential “to ensure Russia doesn’t make further gains.” Stephen Bryen, formerly a deputy undersecretary at the Defense Department, offered an excellent response to this over the weekend in his Weapons and Strategy newsletter: “Fire Jens Stoltenberg before it is too late.” Good thought, but Stoltenberg, Washington’s longtime water-carrier in Brussels, is merely doing his job as assigned: Keep up the illusions as to Kyiv’s potency and along with it the Russophobia, the more primitive the better. You do not get fired for irresponsible rhetoric that risks something that might look a lot like World War III.

What would a propaganda blitz of this breadth and stupidity be without an entry from The New York Times? Given the extent to which The Times has abandoned all professional principle in the service of the power it is supposed to report upon, you just knew it would have to get in on this one. The Times has published very numerous pieces in recent weeks on the necessity of keeping the war going and the urgency of a House vote authorizing that $61 billion Biden’s national security people want to send Ukraine. But never mind all those daily stories. Last Sunday it came out with its big banana. “The Spy War: How the C.I.A. Secretly Helps Ukraine Fight Putin” sprawls—lengthy text, numerous photographs. The latter show the usual wreckage—cars, apartment buildings, farmhouses, a snowy dirt road lined with landmines.

But the story that goes with it is other than usual. Somewhere in Washington, someone appears to have decided it was time to let the Central Intelligence Agency’s presence and programs in Ukraine be known. And someone in Langley, the CIA’s headquarters, seems to have decided this will be O.K., a useful thing to do. When I say the agency’s presence and programs, I mean some: We get a very partial picture of the CIA’s doings in Ukraine, as the lies of omission—not to mention the lies of commission—are numerous in this piece. But what The Times published last weekend, all 5,500 words of it, tells us more than had been previously made public.

Read more …

“If Republicans in Congress end military funding to Kiev, the CIA may have to scale back.”

CIA in Ukraine (John Kiriakou)

The New York Times on February 25 published an explosive story of what purports to be the history of the CIA in Ukraine from the Maidan coup of 2014 to the present. The story, “The Spy War: How the CIA Secretly Helps Ukraine Fight Putin,” is one of initial bilateral distrust, but a mutual fear and hatred of Russia, that progresses to a relationship so intimate that Ukraine is now one of the CIA’s closest intelligence partners in the world. At the same time, the Times’ publication of the piece, which reporters claimed relied on more than 200 interviews in Ukraine, the US, and “several European countries,” raises multiple questions: Why did the CIA not object to the article’s publication, especially with it being in one of the Agency’s preferred outlets? When the CIA approaches a newspaper to complain about the classified information it contains, the piece is almost always killed or severely edited. Newspaper publishers are patriots, after all. Right?

Was the article published because the CIA wanted the news out there? Perhaps more important was the point of the article to influence the Congressional budget deliberations on aid to Ukraine? After all, was the article really just meant to brag about how great the CIA is? Or was it to warn Congressional appropriators, “Look how much we’ve accomplished to confront the Russian bear. You wouldn’t really let it all go to waste, would you?” The Times’ article has all the hallmarks of a deep, inside look at a sensitive—possibly classified—subject. It goes into depth on one of the intelligence community’s Holy of Holies, an intelligence liaison relationship, something that no intelligence officer is ever supposed to discuss. But in the end, it really isn’t so sensitive. It doesn’t tell us anything that every American hasn’t already assumed. Maybe we hadn’t had it spelled out in print before, but we all believed that the CIA was helping Ukraine fight the Russians. We had already seen reporting that the CIA had “boots on the ground” in Ukraine and that the U.S. government was training Ukrainian special forces and Ukrainian pilots, so there’s nothing new there.

The article goes a little further in detail, although, again, without providing anything that might endanger sources and methods. For example, it tells us that: • There is a CIA listening post in the forest along the Russian border, one of 12 “secret” bases the US maintains there. One or more of these posts helped to prove Russia’s involvement in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. That’s great. But the revelation exposes no secrets and tells us nothing new. • Ukrainian intelligence officials helped the Americans “go after” the Russian operatives “who meddled in the 2016 US presidential election.” I have a news flash for the New York Times: The Mueller report found that there was no meaningful Russian meddling in the 2016 election. And what does “go after” mean? • Beginning in 2016, the CIA trained an “elite Ukrainian commando force known as Unit 2245, which captured Russian drones and communications gear so that CIA technicians could reverse-engineer them and crack Moscow’s encryption systems.” This is exactly what the CIA is supposed to do. Honestly, if the CIA hadn’t been doing this, I would have suggested a class action lawsuit for the American people to get their tax money back. Besides, the CIA has been doing things like this for decades. The CIA was able to obtain important components of Soviet tactical weapons from ostensibly pro-Soviet Romania in the 1970s.

• Ukraine has turned into an intelligence-gathering hub that has intercepted more Russian communications than the CIA station in Kiev could initially handle. Again, I would expect nothing less. After all, that’s where the war is. So of course, communications will be intercepted there. As to the CIA station being overwhelmed, the Times never tells us if that is because the station was a one-man operation at the time or whether it had thousands of employees and was still overwhelmed. It’s all about scale. • And lest you think that the CIA and the U.S. government were on the offensive in Ukraine, the article makes clear that, “Mr. Putin and his advisers misread a critical dynamic. The CIA didn’t push its way into Ukraine. U.S. officials were often reluctant to fully engage, fearing that Ukrainian officials could not be trusted, and worrying about provoking the Kremlin.” It’s at this point in the article that the Times reveals what I believe to be the buried lead: “Now these intelligence networks are more important than ever, as Russia is on the offensive and Ukraine is more dependent on sabotage and long-range missile strikes that require spies far behind enemy lines. And they are increasingly at risk: “If Republicans in Congress end military funding to Kiev, the CIA may have to scale back.”

Read more …

Dionísio starts off talking about Astrid Klein, not Naomi. Normally such mistakes would make me switch off. But I like the topic of The Shock Doctrine on a wider scale.

The Internationalization of the Neo-Liberal Shock (Dionísio)

Looking at the present day, under the light of the formulation revealed by Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” is an enlightening challenge and absolutely reveals the historical importance of the analysis that is carried out, even if, in my opinion, it suffers from a certain “historical punctuality” considering the moments of application of a process that has come to be known as “neo-liberal economic shock theory”. Klein’s analysis, based on known historical facts, recounts secret CIA experiments in psychology and psychiatry, the application of the techniques in Pinochet’s Chile and many other countries (including post-Soviet Russia), and the neo-liberal doctrine of Milton Friedman’s “Chicago Boys”, tells us of a process whereby the population is put into a permanent state of shock in order to leave it unresponsive (as in lobotomy treatments), so that, under the cover of the generated amorphism, extremely unpopular measures are applied which, above all, are diametrically opposed to the interests of the majority.

The very process of discrediting politics and politicians also serves as a pretext for the same type of action. Take Trump, Bolsonaro, Milei, Meloni, Duda or Zelensky. The kind of demagogic shock (using corruption, mass migration, etc.) gives birth to a pretext that works under the same assumptions. However, and bearing in mind the unquestionable topicality of the approach, analyzing the world today according to this theory reveals a truth that, in my opinion, negates the idea of a certain “historical punctuality” of the neo-liberal economic shock. In my opinion, Naomi Klein’s approach, at that time, showed us a world in which the US was unleashing — and is unleashing — processes of transformation aimed at subverting the national and popular sovereignty, democracy and freedom of the peoples, in order to place their nations at the service of the process of neo-liberal and imperialist accumulation.

The successive clashes are taking place in circumscribed national spaces and in a chronology whose origins go back to Pinochet’s Chile, but which lacks a certain continuity, as if we were dealing with a gang that was jumping from country to country, without ever reaching the whole. Now, while Klein’s approach proposes a certain national circumscription, the historical events of the last 23 years point us towards a globalization or internationalization of the shock doctrine, towards its historical continuity and towards a totalizing dimension, encompassing all dimensions of our lives from the outset and not just on arrival. Given what we know today, I can’t help but think that the chronologically linked examples of the application of the shock doctrine are nothing more than experiments, constantly being perfected, aimed at an epilogue, an epilogue that we are experiencing today. The globalization and internationalization of the neo-liberal shock, along with its phenomenological diversification.

It no longer only affects the economic or social component, but also health, the state, security, defense, information and propaganda. This is the clear materialization of another doctrine, the doctrine of “full spectrum dominance”. With the turn of the 21st century, everything changed! On September 11, 2001, the world was shocked by a terrorist attack of spectacular proportions, which culminated in the collapse of three towers in New York. As if Hollywood had been asked to prepare a terrorist attack. The American — and Western — population was in a state of shock, stunned, and we soon began to see direct attacks on the way of life that so many considered to be eternal — remember Fukuyama — and historically perfected. In the US, we saw the publication of the Patriot Act and the start of the War on Terror. State surveillance became part of American life and, a little later, European life, particularly after renewed waves of terrorist shocks in Spain, England and France.

The proven link between the perpetrators of terrorist acts — Al-Qaeda — and their creators, very few took, or wanted to take, notice of. Today, we go into a supermarket, visit a museum, make a phone call or take a photograph and we have the guarantee that, somewhere in space, that information will be processed, aggregated, integrated, analyzed and stored. Terrorism has become part of our lives and, under that pretext, mass surveillance. Bin Laden became the devil himself, the demon who terrorized the dreams of our little children, who would be protected by the omnipresent Pentagon and other “deep state” agencies. It was this “deep state” that took the opportunity to generalize and normalize torture, concentration camps like Guantánamo and the secret, or not so secret, prisons where all those who oppose the imperial designs are still held today. It was time to internationalize the terror that the Middle East had felt almost since the founding of the Anglo-Saxon spearhead in the region, the Zionist state of Israel and its infamous Mossad.

Read more …

The Supreme Court will have to issue an opinion, whether it likes to or not.

Maddow and Others Denounce SCOTUS for Review of Presidential Immunity (Turley)

Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted review of the presidential immunity question, but set an expedited schedule for the review of the question with oral argument scheduled for April. Former president Donald Trump wrote on Truth Social that “Legal Scholars are extremely thankful for the Supreme Court’s Decision today to take up Presidential Immunity.” As I mentioned last night in the coverage, legal scholars are hardly doing a conga line in celebration. Indeed, this morning had the usual voices attacking the Court as “craven” and partisan for granting review in the case. Despite the Court (including three Trump appointees) repeatedly ruling against Trump and conservative causes in past cases, the same voices declared that the Court was a cabal of politically compromised lickspittles.

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow was outraged on the air and denounced “the cravenness of the court.” She noted that the Court took a whole two weeks to consider the question, ignoring the usual schedule of months of such deliberation. She added: “Obviously, pushing all of the cases that they can push to a point where Trump will be standing for election before any of us have heard the verdicts in any of those cases. Got it. It is the timing…This is BS, and you are doing this as a tactic to help for political friend, partisan patron. For you to say that this is something the court needs to decide because it is unclear in the law is fragrant bullpucky and they know it and don’t care that we know it. That is disturbing about the future legitimacy of the court.” Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner dismissed the review as a political effort to do Trump “an enormous favor.” Kirschner also said that it was “clear” the court “sold American democracy down the river” to help Trump.

Mary Trump, the niece of the former president, declared that “the Supreme Court of the United States just reminded us with this corrupt decision that the insurrection did not fail–it never ended.” In other words, the Supreme Court itself is now part of the “insurrection.” It is that easy. Once you start to remove people from the ballot by declaring a riot an insurrection, even courts become insurrectionists by allowing for a review of lower court rulings. For years, liberal law professors and pundits have filled the media with dire predictions that the Supreme Court was about to carry out a long-planned “coup” and “power grab” — one even wrote that the court could be on the brink of establishing “one-party rule” in the United States. These commentators often ignore the countervailing cases where conservative justices voted against conservative causes and immediately return to these sensational claims whenever the Court is seen as a hinderance of their agenda, even in the simple act of granting review of a long-debated constitutional question.

[..] There are a variety of reasons why the Court could have put this on the calendar for further argument. While I still believe that Trump will not be able to secure a majority on his sweeping immunity theory, some justices may be concerned over D.C. Circuit opinion and the lack of clarity on when a president is protected for actions taken in office. It is possible to uphold the lower court in its outcome but change the rationale or analysis. The Court has not been particularly eager to reenter this area of constitutional law, but it may now be prepared to lay down new precedent and bring greater clarity for future presidents.

Read more …

“..The inflation of the last few years is directly traceable to the end of this practice, and it was our sanctions that caused it…”

Yellen Voices Support For Permanent Inflation (Denninger)

No, seriously, that’s exactly what she’s now promoting (although I doubt she realizes it): WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday offered her strongest public support yet for the idea of liquidating roughly $300 billion in frozen Russian Central Bank assets and using them for Ukraine’s long-term reconstruction. “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,” Yellen said in remarks in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors are meeting this week.” In other words, steal the funds. Yellen goes on to say she believes there is a strong international law case for stealing the funds. Well perhaps there is and perhaps not; I will not pass judgment on whether one can find justification in international law for such an action.

I can and will, however, pass judgment on the immediate and permanent outcome of such an action, because that is both obvious and inevitable. It will force trade settlement into all bilateral currency forms immediately and permanently. Now this might not sound so bad and were our government not running a ~7% fiscal deficit right now it might not be. But we are running a 7% fiscal deficit, and kneecapping having trade settlement performed in dollars — or Euros — or Pounds — or whatever else by taking this action will permanently and immediately force all fiscal deficits (not just in the US) to reflect back into that nation’s economy in the form of inflation. We have, in the United States, benefited to an enormous degree from this temporary sequestration over the last 20 years. That was unwound to a large degree when the first round of sanctions was laid and now effectively all trade with either side of the Russian / Ukraine conflict is no longer using dollars as a funding currency.

Why does this matter? Because if that trade goes from $1 trillion a year to $2 trillion a year during the period of time when it increases there is $1 trillion in deficit spending that is effectively “impounded” while the goods are in transit. It is the increase in such trade that drives this, not the volume (since once the transaction settles those funds wind up back into the flow of commerce in the US.) But as international commerce has expanded and the dollar and, to a lesser extent the Euro, were used as the currencies while in-transit our nations have enjoyed a sizeable “sink” for deficit spending without having it immediately rebound back into consumer and producer prices. The inflation of the last few years is directly traceable to the end of this practice, and it was our sanctions that caused it. The Covid deficit spending was certainly a factor but much of that was absorbed and would have stayed absorbed as trade rebounded post pandemic but for our sanctions activity when the war in Ukraine broke out.

Now Yellen claims that the “frozen” assets were not just sequestered — she wants to take them. Most of these funds are in the EU, not the US — but the problem with the action is that producers and customers have no way to influence or prevent such an action by their government in the future and thus this is an external risk that can only be controlled by not exposing yourself to it; thus you demand payment in your local currency. Removing this leg of the stool leaves only one way to get inflation under control: Deficit spending must be cut to no more than the increase in productivity in the economy. When the “PIGS” problems showed up in Europe the EU’s response to this was to mandate no more than a 3% fiscal deficit — which reasonably aligns with productivity.

Meeting this today in the United States would require a cut in federal spending of more than $1 trillion dollars this fiscal year alone, and an escalating amount as existing treasury debt is rolled over at higher rates. Within the next two to three years the total cut required would be more than two trillion or approximately the entire Medicare and Medicaid spend this fiscal year. If that’s not done? We will get runaway — exponentially so — inflationary pressure and be forced to do it anyway at even greater levels of economic pain. If you are betting on lower rates at any time in the next decade, given this position of our government, you’re going to be sorely disappointed both in the outcome and in asset prices.

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“..the Biden administration refuses to clarify what it means by a ‘Palestinian state.’”

‘State-minus’: Biden’s Palestine Solution (Cradle)

Is it sadly ironic that the issue of Palestinian statehood – unresolved for over 75 years – has resurfaced only after Israel’s wholesale carpet-bombing of the Gaza Strip, killing over 30,000 civilians, injuring tens of thousands more, and destroying significant swathes of the territory’s infrastructure. University of California (UCLA) historian James Gelvin states the case plainly: “There would have been no serious discussion of a two-state solution without [the events of] 7 October. As a matter of fact, putting the Palestine issue back on the front burner of international and West Asian politics was one of the reasons Hamas launched its operation.” As Gelvin explains it to The Cradle, Hamas has already scored several victories since its Al-Aqsa Flood operation: “The Palestine issue is back on the international agenda, it is negotiating the release of its captives as an equal partner to Israel,” and has demonstrated that it is “more effective in realizing Palestinian goals than its rival, Fatah.”

While the unprecedented, brutal Israeli military response has indeed illustrated the urgency for establishing a Palestinian safe haven, it is impossible to ignore that western state backers of the 1993 Oslo Accords – which laid out the essential framework for the establishment of a Palestinian state – have then so assiduously ignored and neglected that responsibility. Even greater hypocrisy emerges from the fact that these western powers, led by Washington, have now decided to force the discussion of Palestinian statehood in the midst of Gaza’s carnage, with an Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is infamously opposed to it. So, why is this debate possible now? Why was it ignored before 7 October – or even prior to Netanyahu’s return to the prime ministership?

After enormous public and international pressure, US President Joe Biden has, at least rhetorically, reopened the issue of Palestinian statehood. According to the New York Times, the Biden White House’s new doctrine would “involve some form of US recognition of a demilitarized Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in return for strong Palestinian guarantees that their institutions could never threaten Israel.” In addition, the US president’s plan also envisages Saudi–Israeli normalization and a tough military stance against Iran and its regional allies. However, many analysts have already raised questions about the viability of a plan that does not reflect current ground realities.

While Netanyahu rejects the very notion of a Palestinian state, the ‘Biden doctrine’ and its offering of some limited-sovereignty version of a demilitarized Palestinian state is nothing less than humiliating for Palestinians. Dr Muhannad Ayyash, Professor of Sociology at Mount Royal University, observes that there is no fundamental change of approach by the US on this issue. In short, the Biden administration refuses to clarify what it means by a ‘Palestinian state.’ Its initiative appears mainly to advance a form of a two-state solution that would be palatable to Israel. Ayyash points out that the key issues related to Palestinian statehood are left unanswered, including the issue of sovereignty, Jewish settlements, the status of East Jerusalem, a necessary West Bank/East Jerusalem with the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian right to return, and so forth.

Aid

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“I haven’t seen, and the state of Texas can’t point me to any type of military invasion in Texas,” Judge Ezra said.”

Federal Judge Blocks New Texas Law to Arrest Illegal Immigrants (ET)

A federal judge on Feb. 29 temporarily blocked a Texas law that would allow state police to arrest people who are suspected of illegally crossing the U.S.–Mexico border. Senate Bill 4, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in December 2023, was slated to go into effect on March 5. However, U.S. District Judge David Ezra ruled that it violated the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause that grants the federal government sole authority over immigration matters. The judge also rejected Texas’s arguments that it was being invaded under the Constitution’s Article IV. In his order, Judge Ezra, a Reagan appointee, said the law would run afoul of federal immigration laws and claimed Texas would then be able to “permanently supersede federal directives,” which would “amount to nullification of federal law and authority.”

According to the judge, that’s a “notion that is antithetical to the Constitution and has been unequivocally rejected by federal courts since the Civil War.” As a result, he argued, the federal government would “suffer grave irreparable harm” because other states would be inspired to pass similar measures. “SB 4 threatens the fundamental notion that the United States must regulate immigration with one voice,” he wrote. At a Feb. 15 hearing, Judge Ezra expressed skepticism as the state pleaded its case for what is known as Senate Bill 4. He also said he was somewhat sympathetic to the concerns expressed by Mr. Abbott and other state officials about the unprecedented influx of illegal aliens. Judge Ezra then expressed his concern that the United States could become a confederation of states enforcing their own immigration laws. “That is the same thing the Civil War said you can’t do,” he told the attorneys.

A lawyer for the state of Texas argued in court that because of the deluge of illegal immigrants, enabled by drug cartels and smugglers, it’s tantamount to an invasion and that the state has the right to defend itself under the Constitution. However, the judge said that while he was “sympathetic” to the state’s concerns, he was skeptical of the lawyer’s argument. “I haven’t seen, and the state of Texas can’t point me to any type of military invasion in Texas,” Judge Ezra said. “I don’t see evidence that Texas is at war.” Hours later, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton confirmed that he filed an appeal against the judge’s ruling, describing it as an “incorrect decision.” “Texas has a clear right to defend itself from the drug smugglers, human traffickers, cartels, and legions of illegal aliens crossing into our State as a consequence of the Biden Administration’s deliberate policy choices,” he said.

“I will do everything possible to defend Texas’s right to defend herself against the catastrophic illegal invasion encouraged by the federal government.” Mr. Abbott, a Republican, has backed the law, saying that it would complement his efforts to provide better border security, noting that his state has dealt with a surge of illegal crossings in recent years. Other measures that Mr. Abbott has implemented are a barrier in the Rio Grande, razor wire barriers at certain border crossings, and prohibiting federal agents who have been tasked by the Biden administration with undoing the measures from accessing border areas in Texas. Other state Republicans who back the law have said it wouldn’t target immigrants already living in the United States because of a two-year statute of limitations on the illegal entry charge and would be enforced only along the state’s border with Mexico.

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“We must not allow the politicization of intelligence to go unchecked, nor can we tolerate the involvement of foreign powers in our democratic processes.”

Obama’s CIA Asked Foreign Intel Agencies To Spy on Trump Campaign (Chernin)

The revelation that the U.S. intelligence community, under the Obama administration, sought the assistance of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance to surveil Donald Trump’s associates before the 2016 election is a chilling reminder of the lengths to which the Deep State will go to protect its interests and challenge its adversaries. (The Five Eyes countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.) This bombshell, reported by a team of independent journalists, exposes a dark chapter in American political history, where foreign intelligence services were reportedly mobilized against a presidential candidate. The alleged operation against Trump and his associates, which predates the official start of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, is a stark example of political weaponization of intelligence.

The involvement of foreign allies in surveilling American citizens under the pretext of national security raises serious questions about the integrity of our democratic processes and the autonomy of our nation’s intelligence operations. The narrative that has been pushed for years, that the investigation into Trump’s campaign began with an Australian tip about a boastful Trump aide, now appears to be a cover for a more extensive and coordinated effort to undermine Trump. If reports are accurate, British intelligence began targeting Trump on behalf of American intelligence agencies as early as 2015, long before the official narrative claims.

The implications of this are profound. It suggests an unprecedented level of collusion between U.S. intelligence agencies and their foreign counterparts to influence the outcome of an American presidential election. The use of foreign intelligence to circumvent American laws and surveillance limitations represents a grave threat to our nation’s sovereignty and the principles of democracy. The fact that this operation was reportedly initiated at the behest of high-ranking officials within the Obama administration, including CIA Director John Brennan, only adds to the severity of the situation. Brennan’s alleged identification of Trump associates for surveillance by the Five Eyes alliance, and the directive to “bump” or make contact with them, illustrates a deliberate strategy to entangle the Trump campaign in a web of suspicion and intrigue.

Moreover, the reported involvement of foreign intelligence in crafting the Russia collusion narrative not only delegitimizes the subsequent investigation but also highlights the willingness of certain elements within the U.S. government to exploit international partnerships for domestic political gain. This revelation demands a thorough and transparent examination to ensure that such abuses of power are brought to light and severely punished to discourage them from being repeated. As more details emerge, it is imperative that the American public demand accountability from those who orchestrated and executed this operation. The sanctity of our electoral process and the trust in our intelligence agencies are at stake. We must not allow the politicization of intelligence to go unchecked, nor can we tolerate the involvement of foreign powers in our democratic processes.

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“Hunter’s stated purpose for joining Burisma’s board is a new claim that indicates bizarre reasoning never before revealed..”

Hunter Finally Admits Joe Biden Is “The Big Guy” (ZH)

Hunter Biden on Wednesday testified to Congress that his father, Joe, was indeed “the big guy” referenced in an email pertaining to a business deal with a Chinese state-linked energy company that made the Biden family and friends millions of dollars. He denied, however, that Joe Biden ever received a 10% stake as was indicated in the text message. “At one point, we asked Hunter about the 10% for the ‘big guy,’” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) told Breitbart News following the first son’s six-hour, closed-door deposition. “We showed him the email … And he said, ‘Oh, that was after my father left office.’” she told the outlet. Hunter then tried to downplay the 10% idea: “What’s wrong with having a pie-in-the-sky idea? When he [Joe Biden] left office in 2017, it thought he was done. I had no idea was gonna run for president. What’s wrong with just some pie?’ … thinking that he [Joe Biden] could be in the business.” -Breitbart

Greene said that Hunter insisted that “there was no percentage for my father in the business,” and that the 20 speakerphone calls Joe Biden joined was considered normal. “He was saying it’s totally normal for your parents to call you,” said Greene. “He just totally kept on saying, ‘Oh, this is normal. This is normal.'” “Greene also confirmed Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-KY) statement that Hunter testified he joined the board of Burisma Holdings to counter Russian aggression. “He said he was picked to serve on Burisma ‘s board to defend democracy and Burisma was stopping Russian aggression,” Greene said. Hunter’s stated purpose for joining Burisma’s board is a new claim that indicates bizarre reasoning never before revealed. In 2015, Burisma was under suspicion of money laundering and public corruption. Prosecutor Victor Shokin investigated the case before his termination due to pressure from then-Vice President Joe Biden, who threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid from Ukraine if the Ukrainian government did not fire the prosecutor investigating Burisma. Joe Biden later bragged about the firing during a 2018 appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations.” -Breitbart

According to Greene, Republicans need to “get ready” for Democrats to fabricate another Russian disinformation hoax related to Hunter and the 2024 election – and that it would likely fit the media’s existing narrative against both Trump and protecting the Biden family. “I have a prediction that they’re gonna move it on to members of Congress like me and others, Jim Jordan, Jamie Comer, any of us that got hot and heavy on this Ukraine Burisma stuff, that they’re somehow going to say that Republicans are Russian sympathizers. They’re gonna call me that anyway, because I won’t fund the Ukraine war. They’re probably going to accuse us of being Russian sympathizers and falling for Russian disinformation and its election meddling. And then Democratic members of Congress here already saying they will not certify Trump’s election if he wins.” -MTG “It was there’s a really weird theme in there with the whole Russian thing,” said Greene.

In November, the House Oversight Committee revealed that President Biden received $40,000 in Chinese funds which were “laundered” through his brother, James Biden, in a “complicated financial transaction” marked as a ‘loan,’ which took place just weeks after Hunter Biden threatened the Chinese with his father’s wrath in a July 30, 2017 text message to a CEFC China Energy employee. “The alleged 2017 transfer from first brother James Biden to the future president involves the same business deal in which Joe Biden was called the “big guy” and penciled in for a 10% cut — and would be the first proven instance of the commander-in-chief getting a piece of his family’s foreign income…. The money ended up in Joe Biden’s bank account on Sept. 3, 2017, via a check labeled “loan repayment” from his younger brother, who partnered with Hunter in the venture”. -NY Post

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“..a plethora of political pathologies, including merciless cruelty, politicized “justice,” mass media disinformation, and, last but not least, that old specialty of the “garden” West, peak hypocrisy.”

Julian Assange and Gaza Civilians (Amar)

Recently, two of the defining injustices of the contemporary West have been the object of legal proceedings. And while one involves mass murder and the other the torture but not murder of a single victim (at least not yet), there are good reasons to juxtapose the two systematically. The suffering involved is different, but the forces that cause it are intricately linked and, as we will see, reveal much about the nature of the West as a political order. In The Hague, the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) – also known as the World Court – has held extensive hearings (involving 52 states and three international organizations) on Israel’s post-1967 occupation – or de facto annexation – of Palestinian territories. These hearings are connected to, but are not the same as, the genocide case against Israel also currently proceeding at the ICJ.

All of this is happening against the backdrop of Israel’s relentless genocide of the Palestinians by bombing, shooting (reportedly including small children, in the head), blockade, and starvation. As of now, the constantly growing – and conservative – victim count stands at about 30,000 killed, 70,000 injured, 7,000 missing, and at least 2 million displaced, often more than once, always under horrific conditions. In London, the Royal Courts of Justice have been the stage for Julian Assange’s fight for an appeal against Washington’s demand to extradite him to the US. Assange, an activist and publisher of investigative journalism, has already been in confinement – of one kind or the other – for more than a decade. Since 2019, he has been held in the Belmarsh high security prison. In fact, what has already happened to him is the modern equivalent of being locked away in the Bastille by royal “lettre de cachet” in absolutist, pre-revolutionary, Ancien régime France.

Multiple observers, including a UN special rapporteur, have argued compellingly that Assange’s treatment has amounted to torture. The essence of his political persecution – in reality, there is no good-faith legal case – is simple: Through his WikiLeaks platform, Assange published leaked materials that exposed the brutality, criminality, and lies of the US’ and UK’s (and, more generally, the West’s) post-9/11 wars. While leaking state secrets is not legal – although it can be morally obligatory and even heroic, as in the case of Chelsea Manning, who was a major WikiLeaks source – publishing the results of such leaks is legal. Indeed, that principle is an acknowledged pillar of media freedom and independence. Without it, media cannot fulfil any kind of watchdog function. Yet Washington is obstinately and absurdly trying to treat Assange as a spy. If it succeeds, “global media freedom” (for what it’s worth…) is toast. This is what makes Assange objectively the single most important political prisoner in the world.

If extradited to the US, whose highest officials have at times plotted his assassination, the WikiLeaks founder will definitely not get a fair trial and will die in prison. In that case, his fate will irreversibly turn into what Washington and London have been working on for over a decade, namely making an example of him by delivering the most devastating blow imaginable against free speech and a truly open society. That Gaza and Assange have something in common has occurred to more than one observer. Both stand for a plethora of political pathologies, including merciless cruelty, politicized “justice,” mass media disinformation, and, last but not least, that old specialty of the “garden” West, peak hypocrisy. There also is the grotesquely arrogant American sense of global entitlement: The Palestinians’ rights or, indeed, humanity count for nothing if Israel, Washington’s closest and most lawless ally, wants their land and their lives. Assange, of course, is an Australian citizen.

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“He is going to destroy this country unless he’s stopped by people buying my new Trump sneakers. Look at these beautiful gold sneakers..”

Biden Arrives At Border To Address His Voters (BBee)

Amid record-breaking illegal immigration at the southern border, President Biden arrived in Brownsville Texas to address his voters, who had crossed into the United States the previous night. “Welcome, voters, make yourselves at home!” said Biden to a group of military-aged male Chinese nationals and a crowd of convicted felons from a maximum security Venezuelan prison. “My nurse Jill always says you people are unique breakfast tacos and I couldn’t have said it better. We’re excited for you to live here. You have plenty of great states to choose from, like Ohio, Pennsylvania, or any other crucial battleground states. I was… I… I…” “… well, anyway.” The confused migrant crowd was then directed to a welcome station to receive their smartphones, visa gift cards, and mail-in ballots.

Trump, who also visited the border today, was quick to condemn Biden’s speech and his handling of the border. “Biden is possibly the worst president of any country in the history of the world, or maybe even the entire universe, and maybe all the other universes as well, possibly,” said Trump to reporters. “He is going to destroy this country unless he’s stopped by people buying my new Trump sneakers. Look at these beautiful gold sneakers. They’re the greatest sneakers ever made. So, so beautiful.” Following the Biden border visit, the White House confirmed that there is no crisis at the border. “Everything is fine and there are no illegal immigrants,” said gay black Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre. “There is no crisis and Biden is doing a great job and he’s very smart and sharp and mentally with it and you are a racist.” At publishing time, illegal immigrant support for Biden increased another 33 points.

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Cat reaction

 

 

 

 

Porcupine
https://twitter.com/i/status/1763289492897628313

 

 

Salmon

 

 

Illusions

 

 

Coke ad

 

 

Set the table

 

 

Nemo

 

 

Elephant

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 252024
 
 February 25, 2024  Posted by at 9:33 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  26 Responses »


Paul Cézanne Sugar Bowl, Pears and Blue Cup c.1866

 

House Democrats Could Vote Against Certifying Trump If He’s Elected (Fox)
Trump Seeks Dismissal of Mar-a-Lago Case, Says Jack Smith Lacks Authority (ET)
McCaskill: Media Must Stop Fact Checking Joe Biden (Turley)
China Lashes Out At ‘Agent Of Trouble’ NATO (RT)
2 Years After the Start of the SMO, West is Totally Paralyzed (Pepe Escobar)
Collapse of Operation Citadel 2.0 (Sivkov)
Mood In Zelensky’s Office ‘Grim’ As US Aid Delayed – Politico (RT)
Ukraine Ready For War With China If US Asks – MP (RT)
Growing Rift Over Further Arming Ukraine ‘Jeopardizes EU Unity’ (Sp.)
US Spent ‘Decades’ Worth of Weapons Supplies on War in Ukraine – Senator (Sp.)
US Sees No Chance Of Ukraine Peace Before Election – WSJ (RT)
Netanyahu’s Post-War Plans for Gaza Call for Indefinite Occupation (Antiwar)
UK’s Failed Trident Missile Test Emblematic of Its ‘Decline and Demise’ (Sp.)
Former Panama Border Chief: UN Is Behind the Chaos at US–Mexico Border (ET)
New York Prosecutes Couple For Fraud (BBee)

 

 

 

 

Tucker Obama

 

 

Miller

 

 

 

 

Tucker Steve Kirsch
https://twitter.com/i/status/1761369027685793810
https://twitter.com/i/status/1761435501943312491

 

 

 

 

Bukele

 

 

 

 

“.. liberal and conservative justices alike seemed inclined to dodge the question of his eligibility altogether and throw the decision to Congress.”

House Democrats Could Vote Against Certifying Trump If He’s Elected (Fox)

A new piece published in The Atlantic this week floated the idea that there might be room for House Democrats to vote against certifying former President Trump for office if he wins re-election. The article, written by staff writer Russell Berman, argued that if the Supreme Court declined to weigh in on whether Trump is eligible to run for office under the 14th Amendment, then House Democrats could take it upon themselves to vote against certifying him, as it’s up to them to say he’s ineligible. Berman wrote that “legal scholars say that, absent clear guidance from the Supreme Court, a Trump win could lead to a constitutional crisis in Congress. Democrats would have to choose between confirming a winner many of them believe is ineligible and defying the will of voters who elected him.”

The theory stems from the Colorado Supreme Court case to kick Trump off the state’s primary ballot, which the U.S. Supreme Court took up and heard oral arguments for earlier this month. As Berman’s piece suggested, if the high court does not come down one way or another on whether Trump is eligible for office – as Colorado’s court argued he violated the 14th Amendment’s “Insurrection” clause – then Democrats who believe he is ineligible will have a decision to make. Berman continued: “In interviews, senior House Democrats would not commit to certifying a Trump win, saying they would do so only if the Supreme Court affirms his eligibility. But during oral arguments, liberal and conservative justices alike seemed inclined to dodge the question of his eligibility altogether and throw the decision to Congress.”

He also noted that “Democrats have a serious chance of winning a majority in Congress in November,” so they would have the power to do something. Additionally, he reminded readers that “in early 2021, every House Democrat (along with 10 Republicans) voted to impeach Trump for ‘incitement of insurrection,’ and a significant majority of those lawmakers will still be in Congress next year.” Given those factors, Democrats who believe that Trump committed insurrection and have the majority in Congress might feel compelled to decide whether Trump enters office, if the Court declines to declare he’s eligible. Berman asked Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., currently a leading contender for the U.S. Senate in California, what would happen if the Supreme Court declined to weigh in on Trump’s eligibility. “I don’t want to get into the chaos hypothetical,” Schiff replied, though he did note that if the court said Trump was eligible, he would certify him.

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“President Biden’s DOJ is paying for this politically-motivated prosecution of Biden’s chief political rival ‘off the books,’ without accountability or authorization..”

Trump Seeks Dismissal of Mar-a-Lago Case, Says Jack Smith Lacks Authority (ET)

Former President Donald Trump filed several motions to dismiss a classified documents case being pursued against him in Florida on Thursday, arguing that, amongst other things, special counsel Jack Smith “lacks the authority” to prosecute the case. In one of four motions, attorneys for the former president contend that neither the U.S. Constitution nor Congress had officially established the special counsel’s office, rendering Mr. Smith’s appointment invalid. Furthermore, they argue that the special counsel’s office is being funded “off the books” by the Biden administration. The motion, which cites the Appointments Clause, argues that Attorney General Merrick Garland did not have the authority to appoint a “like-minded political ally” as special counsel “without Senate confirmation.” “As such, Jack Smith lacks the authority to prosecute this action,” the motion reads.

President Trump’s lawyers argue that the only remedy is to dismiss the superseding indictment. The Appointments Clause stipulates that all federal offices, except for the president’s, must be established by Congress and appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate. This is with the exception of federal offices created through the Necessary and Proper Clause, which empowers Congress to make laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested in the government. “There is, however, no statute establishing the Office of Special Counsel,” the motion reads. “As a result, because neither the Constitution nor Congress have created the office of the ‘Special Counsel,’ Smith’s appointment is invalid and any prosecutorial power he seeks to wield is ultra vires,” meaning beyond his authority. In addition to arguing that Mr. Smith’s appointment was unlawful, the four motions argued that the case should be dismissed on the basis of presidential immunity, the Presidential Records Act, and unconstitutional vagueness.

Mr. Garland appointed Mr. Smith as special counsel on Nov. 18, 2022, to “prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation” into President Trump’s handling of classified documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. President Trump’s attorneys argue in their Thursday filing that Mr. Smith, at best, is classified as an employee rather than an “officer” under the statutes cited by Mr. Garland in making his appointment, which they say lacks the legal foundation required by the Appointments Clause. Attorneys for the former president argue that Mr. Smith’s office is drawing from an endless “off the books” pot of money from the Department of Justice (DOJ) instead of the ordinary budget process, in violation of the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution. “President Biden’s DOJ is paying for this politically-motivated prosecution of Biden’s chief political rival ‘off the books,’ without accountability or authorization,” the motion reads.

President Trump’s attorneys, Christopher Kise and Todd Blanche, note in their motion that Mr. Smith’s office spent nearly $13 million in Fiscal Year 2023. According to the filing, this money did not come from the DOJ’s budget but from the “permanent indefinite appropriation” only available to independent counsels appointed under the Independent Counsel Act or other law—and not to special counsels. “Smith is not an independent counsel, but the nearly $13 million that Smith spent in Fiscal Year 2023—with no accountability—is more than 10% of the annual budgets of DOJ’s Tax and Environment and Natural Resources Divisions,” the motion reads.

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“..The only blemish on the great country of America worldwide is, in fact, Donald Trump.”

McCaskill: Media Must Stop Fact Checking Joe Biden (Turley)

MSNBC contributor and former Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill has been one of the most vocal voices attacking critics of Joe Biden and opposing any investigations into his family or his policies. She attacked journalists and others who spoke in favor of free speech, calling them “Putin apologists” and Putin lovers. Now she is lashing out at the media for fact checking Joe Biden’s false claims . . . any false claims. McCaskill called The New York Times “ridiculous” for a story correcting Biden’s false claims about the economy. She warned the media that they are only helping Trump by pointing out Biden’s false or misleading claims: “What everyone says when you travel, ‘Well, you wouldn’t elect him again, would you? Hasn’t the country learned? You wouldn’t ever give this guy power again, would you? Tell us that he’s not going to be re-elected. Please, tell us you’ve learned your lesson.’ So The only blemish on the great country of America worldwide is, in fact, Donald Trump.”

She then added, “Can I make a suggestion? I move that every newspaper in America quits doing any fact checks on Joe Biden until they fact check Donald Trump every morning on the front page. It is ridiculous that The New York Times fact check Joe Biden on something. I mean, he vomits lies, Trump vomits lies. And he, every day over and over and over again. And it’s just ridiculous that The New York Times is doing a fact check on Biden while they let Trump- they’re numb to the torrent of lies coming out of Trump’s mouth.” It is that easy. Just stop fact checking. Of course, the media has always fact checked Trump with a certain glee. Such fact checks are a good thing and Trump has been legitimately criticized for many claims.

However, McCaskill and others believe that the media must fall in line with the effort to reelect Biden. The Washington Post previously gave Biden a rare “bottomless Pinocchio” for his false claims. According to McCaskill, that must stop at least until after the election. The public simply does not need to know such facts when democracy is at stake. It appears that ignorance is bliss when it comes to politics. Of course, it was Benjamin Franklin who said “being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”

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“..stop saber-rattling, and do things that are genuinely conducive to world peace.”

China Lashes Out At ‘Agent Of Trouble’ NATO (RT)

NATO should cease its “saber-rattling” and start promoting global peace, Chinese envoy Zhang Jun has said at a UN Security Council meeting dedicated to the second anniversary of the conflict in Ukraine. The struggle between Moscow and Kiev, which started on February 24, 2022, is a “tragedy that could have been avoided,” Zhang stressed in his address on Friday. ”The situation Europe is facing today is closely related to the repeated eastward expansion of NATO since the end of the Cold War,” he said. Russia singled out preventing Ukraine from joining NATO as one of the main goals of its military operation in the neighboring country. Moscow warned on numerous occasions that it viewed Kiev’s possible membership in the US-led military alliance as a major threat to its security.

The Chinese envoy underlined the need to “respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries,” who are members of the UN. “Regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding a military bloc,” he added. ”We encourage NATO to do some soul-searching, come out of the cage of Cold War mentality, and refrain from acting as an agent of trouble instigating bloc confrontation,” Zhang said. He also called on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “to look at the world through an objective lens, stop saber-rattling, and do things that are genuinely conducive to world peace.” According to the envoy, the parties to the Ukraine conflict should work towards creating “favorable conditions for the resumption of negotiations… not man-made obstacles to make peace harder to achieve, much less to supply weapons, stoke the fire and pour oil on it, and to profit from the prolonged crisis.”

In an interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that “the promise was that NATO would not expand eastward” after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. But the West deceived Moscow, with the US-led bloc adding new members from among Eastern European and former Soviet states on several occasions since then, he said. In 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland were the first former Soviet-bloc nations to join NATO. An even bigger wave of expansion occurred in 2004 when Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia became members. At its Bucharest summit in 2008, the alliance said that Georgia and Ukraine would become members in the future, spurring vigorous protests from Russia.

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“..the destruction of the European economy has been a massive tactic, historic victory for the Hegemon..”

2 Years After the Start of the SMO, West is Totally Paralyzed (Pepe Escobar)

Exactly two years ago this Saturday, on February 24, 2022, Vladimir Putin announced the launching – and described the objectives – of a Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine. That was the inevitable follow-up to what happened three days before, on February 21 – exactly 8 years after Maidan 2014 in Kiev – when Putin officially recognized the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. During this – pregnant with meaning – short space of only three days, everyone expected that the Russian Armed Forces would intervene, militarily, to end the massive bombing and shelling that had been going on for three weeks across the frontline – which even forced the Kremlin to evacuate populations at risk to Russia. Russian intel had conclusive proof that the NATO-backed Kiev forces were ready to execute an ethnic cleansing of Russophone Donbass.

February 24, 2022 was the day that changed 21st century geopolitics forever, in several complex ways. Above all, it marked the beginning of a vicious, all-out confrontation, “military-technical” as the Russians call it, between the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder, its easily pliable NATOstan vassals, and Russia – with Ukraine as the battleground. There is hardly any question Putin had calculated, before and during these three fateful days, that his decisions would unleash the unbounded fury of the collective West – complete with a tsunami of sanctions. Ay, there’s the rub; it’s all about Sovereignty. And a true sovereign power simply cannot live under permanent threats. It’s even feasible that Putin had wanted (italics mine) Russia to get sanctioned to death. After all, Russia is so naturally wealthy that without a serious challenge from abroad, the temptation is enormous to live off its rents while importing what it could easily produce.

Exceptionalists always gloated that Russia is “a gas station with nuclear weapons”. That’s ridiculous. Oil and gas, in Russia, account for roughly 15% of GDP, 30% of the government budget, and 45% of exports. Oil and gas add power to the Russian economy – not a drag. Putin shaking Russia’s complacency generated a gas station producing everything it needs, complete with unrivalled nuclear and hypersonic weapons. Beat that. Xavier Moreau is a French politico-strategic analyst based in Russia for 24 years now. Graduated from the prestigious Saint-Cyr military academy and with a Sorbonne diploma, he hosts two shows on RT France. His latest book, Ukraine: Pourquoi La Russie a Gagné (“Ukraine: Why Russia has Won”), just out, is an essential manual for European audiences on the realities of the war, not those childish fantasies concocted across the NATOstan sphere by instant “experts” with less than zero combined arms military experience.

Moreau makes it very clear what every impartial, realist analyst was aware of from the beginning: the devastating Russian military superiority, which would condition the endgame. The problem, still, is how this endgame – “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine, as established by Moscow – will be achieved. What is already clear is that “demilitarization”, of Ukraine and NATO, is a howling success that no new wunderwaffen – like F-16s – will be able to change. Moreau perfectly understands how Ukraine, nearly 10 years after Maidan, is not a nation; “and has never been less than a nation”. It’s a territory where populations that everything separates are jumbled up. Moreover, it has been a – “grotesque” – failed state ever since its independence. Moreau spends several highly entertaining pages going through the corruption grotesquerie in Ukraine, under a regime that “gets its ideological references simultaneously via admirers of Stepan Bandera and Lady Gaga.”

None of the above, of course, is reported by oligarch-controlled European mainstream media. The book offers an extremely helpful analysis of those deranged Polish elites who bear “a heavy responsibility in the strategic catastrophe that awaits Washington and Brussels in Ukraine”. The Poles actually believed that Russia would crumble from the inside, complete with a color revolution against Putin. That barely qualifies as Brzezinski on crack. Moreau shows how 2022 was the year when NATOstan, especially the Anglo-Saxons – historically racist Russophobes – were self-convinced that Russia would fold because it is a “poor power”. Obviously, none of these luminaries understood how Putin strengthened the Russian economy very much like Deng Xiaoping on the Chinese economy. This “self-intoxication”, as Moreau qualifies it, did wonders for the Kremlin. By now it’s clear even for the deaf, dumb, and blind that the destruction of the European economy has been a massive tactic, historic victory for the Hegemon – as much as the blitzkrieg against the Russian economy has been an abysmal failure.

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Konstantin Sivkov is Vice President of the Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences for Information Policy, Doctor of Military Sciences.

Collapse of Operation Citadel 2.0 (Sivkov)

The goals of the Ukrainian army’s offensive in the summer of 2023 and the size of combat groups formed to carry it out are to a certain extent comparable with what the German military fielded for its Operation Citadel in 1943. This gives us the grounds for calling Kiev’s offensive in the summer of 2023 Operation Citadel 2.0. Considering its military-political consequences, the collapse of Citadel 2.0 meant not simply the Ukrainian army’s military-strategic defeat but also the collapse of the consolidated West’s hybrid blitzkrieg. We can state boldly that the so-called counteroffensive attempted by the Ukrainian military in the summer of 2023 was an event against whose background all the other developments could hardly attract so much attention. This is not surprising because this counteroffensive was of key significance in the standoff between the West and Russia as its outcome largely shaped not only the situation in the special military operation area, Russia and Ukraine but also trends of the changing global situation.

Therefore, it is quite natural that all leading media outlets paid much attention to the fronts of the special military operation, giving details of the tactical situation in key frontline areas. However, open sources of information have not yet offered an operational-strategic analysis of this key event of the past year at least in broad outline. This analysis is, perhaps, available in special classified literature, though, but is inaccessible to the public at large. That is why, this requires an operational-strategic review of the events that took place in the summer of 2023 in open media sources as this effort is vital for our people to understand their scope and significance. Aside from the operational-strategic aspect proper, we should pay attention to military-political implications of these developments. It is quite natural that we can hardly make such a detailed analysis within one article and, therefore, we will focus on the most important aspects showing the dimension and significance of these events.

We should primarily say that the actions undertaken by the Ukrainian army in the summer of last year were not a counteroffensive proper. This was a classical strategic offensive operation carried out by the Ukrainian army’s grouping. For this operation, the enemy created a formidable grouping of forces, which numbered almost 160,000 personnel (110 battalions), 2,100 tanks and other armored vehicles, 960 field artillery guns and 114 aircraft. Such an amount of artillery helped create a fire density of up to 10 guns per km of the frontline in the directions of the main attack. The Ukrainian military set up substantial stocks of ammunition: over 500,000 155mm shells, more than 150,000 shells of other calibers, 560,000 mortar rounds and 50 Storm Shadow long-range precision cruise missiles. This density of the Ukrainian army’s artillery and ammunition stocks enabled it to carry out as many as 190 firing missions daily.

The so-called strategic reserve created with the help of Western aid constituted the basis of that grouping of forces and included 20 brigade-level large units numbering 80,700 personnel, of whom more than 60,000 had undergone instruction in Western training centers on the territory of the United States, Britain, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Therefore, over 45% of the grouping’s personnel and more than 75% of the strategic reserve were trained under NATO standards. In other words, precisely the NATO-trained personnel confronted Russian troops .

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“..keeping Ukraine in an artificial shortage of weapons… allows [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to adapt to the intensity of hostilities..”

Mood In Zelensky’s Office ‘Grim’ As US Aid Delayed – Politico (RT)

The “frustration” in Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s office is “palpable,” Politico reported on Friday. According to the news site, the Ukrainian president is growing impatient waiting for more military aid from Washington. The atmosphere in Kiev has been “quite grim, and frustration was palpable” in recent weeks, “a person close to Zelensky’s office” told Politico. “Almost everyone is convinced that the aid will come soon,” the source said, adding that “while the president’s office is waiting for good news from the US, it is also working to improve mobilization and war planning.” The US has already doled out around $45 billion in military aid to Kiev, out of a total of $113 billion allocated for Ukraine. However, the $45 billion war chest has been all but expended, and US President Joe Biden is currently lobbying Congress to pass a foreign aid bill that would include another $60 billion worth of arms, ammo, and other military support.

However, the bill has been stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, with the GOP refusing to bring it to a vote unless it is tied to increased funding for border security and a tightening of US immigration law. At a meeting in Lviv this week, Zelensky told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that Ukraine “will surely lose the war” if Congress fails to pass the bill, Schumer claimed on Friday. Russian forces captured the key Donbass town of Avdeevka last weekend, driving Ukrainian forces from a stronghold that they had occupied and fortified since 2014. Zelensky insisted from the moment Avdeevka fell that the town would have remained in Ukrainian hands had the US provided him with adequate weapons and ammunition. “Unfortunately, keeping Ukraine in an artificial shortage of weapons… allows [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to adapt to the intensity of hostilities,” he said.

The White House and the Pentagon have both warned that without more American funding, the situation in Avdeevka could soon be repeated in other Ukrainian-held cities and towns. Aside from a worsening shortage of ammunition, Zelensky is also facing a “critical” manpower shortage, the Washington Post reported earlier this month, adding that this deficit could result in collapse along the front. Ukraine has lost more than 383,000 men since the conflict began two years ago, according to the latest tally from the Russian Defense Ministry. Despite the scale of Kiev’s losses, Zelensky is currently aiming to conscript another 450,000-500,000 soldiers, using a mobilization law currently making its way through parliament. In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Zelensky said that his military would soon “prepare a new counteroffensive, a new operation.”

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“[The] United States of America told [us that] we will be with you ‘as long as it takes.’ Now it’s time to keep the promises.”

Ukraine Ready For War With China If US Asks – MP (RT)

Kiev is ready to assist the US in a war against any enemy, be it Iran, North Korea, or China, a senior Ukrainian MP has said, claiming that his country would prove to be a valuable military ally. In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday, Aleksey Goncharenko doubled down on calls for the US to send Ukraine more military aid amid gridlock in Congress. “[The] United States of America told [us that] we will be with you ‘as long as it takes.’ Now it’s time to keep the promises.” Goncharenko rebuked US politicians for focusing too much on the looming 2024 presidential election, saying Ukraine should not be a “victim” of this. He also claimed that supporting Ukraine serves Washington’s interests regardless of who wins the race for the White House.

In the event of a future war, the Americans “will need people who will stand shoulder to shoulder with them,” but not many nations would be willing to go all-in to support the US, the lawmaker said. ”Ukrainians are ready… We are ready to stand with the United States shoulder-to-shoulder, either in trenches near Tehran, or in North Korea, or near Beijing. No difference,” he stated. “Because we appreciate your support.” Despite his plea for more Western military aid, Goncharenko argued that Ukraine has “the second strongest army in the free world” after the US, making it “a very valuable ally.”

“But today we need your support to defend our country,” he added, blaming gaps and delays in arms shipments for the loss of the strategic Donbass city of Avdeevka last week. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian retreat from the heavily fortified city, which was often used as a launching pad to target civilians in Donetsk, turned into a disorganized rout with heavy casualties. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the capture of Avdeevka is “certainly a success,” adding that it needs to be advanced further. Last year, Putin claimed that the Ukrainian government was defending the interests of other countries rather than its own, and that the West was using Kiev as “a battering ram” and a “testing ground” against Russia.

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“..governments in Western Europe “don’t understand that many in the east would never trust them again” if the Ukraine project fails..”

Growing Rift Over Further Arming Ukraine ‘Jeopardizes EU Unity’ (Sp.)

There is a growing rift in Europe between the east and the west over continuing to aid the regime in Kiev, Bloomberg reported. Germany, Spain, Italy, and others are being pressured to dip deeper into their own stocks of arms, regardless of the fact that propping up Ukraine has been exhausting their own defense capabilities. Ukraine continues to fail on the battlefield, with the loss of its stronghold of Avdeyevka particularly painful for Kiev’s nationalists. Furthermore, Ukraine’s troops are also running critically low on stocks of artillery shells, feeding into the panicky sentiments gaining a foothold in diplomatic circles in countries that are staunch supporters of NATO’s proxy war against Russia. The latter are described as believing that once Moscow prevails in the Ukraine conflict, the entire “European integration project could be jeopardized,” with the aforementioned rift becoming “an indelible scar.”

Amid deepening fractures within the EU, governments in Western Europe “don’t understand that many in the east would never trust them again” if the Ukraine project fails, a top European official was cited warning. The West “doesn’t seem to get the urgency,” another official ostensibly said. How to scrape together funds to prop up the Kiev regime while not letting the EU exhaust its own defense capabilities was one of the concerns at the Munich Security Conference last weekend. With countries like France eager to kick start Europe’s own defense industry, as arming Ukraine has already resulted in depleted weapons and ammunition stocks, Eastern European countries are reportedly accusing the wealthier Western states of still not doing enough for Kiev. After sending billions’ worth of weapons to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s nationalist forces, the West is now facing a plethora of procurement problems.

Last month, several EU leaders and officials admitted that a joint initiative to give Kiev the promised one million artillery rounds before the end of March 2024 would not make the deadline. Furthermore, Eastern European countries are described as lamenting the procrastination over providing Ukraine with longer-range firepower. Support for Ukraine is “looking fragmented,” the outlet underscored. It recalled that earlier in the week, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell was quoted as writing to ministers, urging to dig “further into your stock, where possible; placing orders by procuring on your own or – preferably – jointly from the European industry; buying ammunition immediately available on the market; or financing Ukrainian industry.” However, countries such as France, Greece, and Cyprus are against dipping into EU funds to place orders with, for example, NATO ally Turkiye, according to cited sources.

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“I hate to say it, but I think it’s all about the money..”

US Spent ‘Decades’ Worth of Weapons Supplies on War in Ukraine – Senator (Sp.)

US Republican Senator J.D. Vance has been a vociferous opponent of aid for the Kiev regime, warning at the Munich Security Conference that America’s defense industry doesn’t produce enough munitions for this. On the stalled Ukraine aid package in the Senate, Vance claimed that it would not “fundamentally change the reality on the battlefield.” The US has spent decades’ worth of weapons on the proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) said in an interview at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). As a result, the US has been thrust into a situation where it might not be able to meet the needs of its own national security, the Republican from Ohio warned. “We have expended decades’ worth of supplies of American weapons” on the Ukraine conflict, Vance said. He deplored the destruction of the American manufacturing base over the years, which has resulted in that, “We don’t make enough of that stuff on our own.”

“Yet at the same time they want us to send all of our critical weapons overseas,” the politician pointed out. According to Vance, “the elites of America have fundamentally failed their own people” in several ways in their reaction to the Ukraine conflict, and he called out the Democrats for being “obsessed with Russia,” the “Russia collusion hoax,” which has clouded their judgment. “It is absurd for the US to devote so many resources, so much attention, and so much time to a border conflict six thousand miles away while out own US southern border is wide open,” insisted the Republican, adding: “We now no longer have the weapons in store to actually prosecute our own national security. Let’s focus on our own problems.” In a broadside targeting President Joe Biden, whose US foreign aid package that includes $60 billion for Ukraine is currently stuck in Congress, he succinctly pointed out: “If the thing you care most about is a conflict six thousand miles away you should not be a leader of this country.”

Elsewhere during the CPAC interview, Vance speculated that the Biden administration’s lack of effort to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Ukraine is rooted in financial interests. “I hate to say it, but I think it’s all about the money,” Vance said on Friday, adding that lots of money and resources being sent to Ukraine are getting “skimmed off the top.” The Ohio senator attempted to get across the same message at the recent Munich Security Conference. Vance argued that the US cannot continue to support Ukraine as its defense industry doesn’t produce enough munitions. “You don’t win wars with GDP or euros or dollars. You win wars with weapons, and the West doesn’t make enough weapons,” he was quoted as saying. Weighing in on the stalled aid package to Ukraine, and whether it could make an impact if it passed the US House, the Republican was cited by Politico as saying: “it doesn’t change the fundamental facts — that we are limited in the munitions that we can send, that Ukraine is limited in terms of its own manpower. The situation has to fundamentally change for them to make significant battlefield gains.”

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They don’t want peace. They want a forever war.

US Sees No Chance Of Ukraine Peace Before Election – WSJ (RT)

Western leaders have reportedly dismissed the possibility of reaching a negotiated peace agreement to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict before US voters go to the polls later this year. “Officials in Washington and European capitals are skeptical about the prospects of any peace talks with Russia and discount any possibility of a deal before the US presidential elections in November,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The Kiev regime has insisted that Russian forces vacate all of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territory, the outlet added, while US support could crumble if Donald Trump defeats incumbent President Joe Biden. The political stakes are even higher than when the Ukraine crisis began two years ago because Western leaders have invested billions of dollars in Kiev’s defense while repeatedly vowing to continue their backing “as long as it takes,” the WSJ said.

A Ukrainian defeat could shatter Washington’s geopolitical credibility, especially if Biden’s government fails to continue providing aid. “The level of US investment in the project of Ukraine’s independence has increased, and therefore the extent to which US credibility is judged based on Russia’s ability to accomplish or not accomplish its objectives in Ukraine,” Samuel Charap, a senior political scientist at Washington think tank RAND Corp., told the newspaper. “If there were to be a dramatic reversal of fortunes in Ukraine, there would be a whole lot more confidence in the emerging pseudo-bloc of Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.” Moscow has always been open to peace negotiations and would welcome any US efforts to end the Ukraine conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin told American journalist Tucker Carlson in an interview earlier this month.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said this week that neither Ukraine nor its Western backers are willing to end the bloodshed, leaving Moscow no choice but to continue fighting until its objectives are achieved. He suggested that the US election has little bearing on the issue because both Republicans and Democrats view Russia as an “adversary and a threat.” US House Republicans have meanwhile declined to approve Biden’s request for $60 billion in additional Ukraine funding. Washington ran out of money for Ukraine aid last month, after exhausting $113 billion in previously approved spending. Biden blamed Trump’s congressional allies for last week’s fall of Avdeevka, a key Donbass stronghold for Kiev, to Russian forces.

“It’s not just that American aid has been cut, but it’s been cut without warning and without giving us any time to adjust,” former Ukrainian Defense Minister Sergey Zagorodnyuk told the WSJ. He added, “If this crisis is not resolved, and Ukraine doesn’t receive the assistance, it will become a huge gift to Putin.” Washington’s European allies are so “spooked” by the potential loss of US protection that some German politicians have discussed seeking protection from nuclear-armed France and the UK, the report said. “It tells you about the level of doubt and fear about the world that we are entering – the one with the US not being there for us and where the hostile superpowers of Russia and China are potentially lining up against us,” said Thorsten Benner, director of the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin.

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“..Tel Aviv has ignored nearly all of Washington’s requests over the past four months with no impact on US aid shipments to Israel.”

Netanyahu’s Post-War Plans for Gaza Call for Indefinite Occupation (Antiwar)

Israel has released its first draft of its plans for post-war Gaza. Throughout the four months of a brutal onslaught, Israeli forces have decimated the Strip and killed 30,000 Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s post-war plans call for “operational freedom of action in the entire Gaza Strip without a time limit” and “demilitarization” of Palestinians. The Israeli government first released the document to some media outlets on Thursday. According to the translation from NBC News, the document says, Israel will “maintain its operational freedom of action in the entire Gaza Strip, without a time limit,” and “The security perimeter being created in the Gaza Strip on the border with Israel will remain as long as there is a security need for it.”

Israel is also requesting control of the border between Egypt and Gaza. Netanyahu’s plan may face resistance in Washington and Cairo. Egypt has demanded that Israel not deploy its forces along the border. The US has asked Israel not to expand buffer zones in Gaza. However, Tel Aviv has ignored nearly all of Washington’s requests over the past four months with no impact on US aid shipments to Israel. Netanyahu says he will not allow the rebuilding of the Strip to begin until the Palestinians have been “deradicalized.” Additionally, Tel Aviv plans to have complete control over the future political system in Gaza. Netanyahu says the Strip will be fully demilitarized. President Joe Biden has requested that Netanyahu allow Arab states to finance the reconstruction of Gaza and allow the Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern Gaza in the process of creating a sovereign Palestine.

Netanyahu’s proposal did not mention the PA. The Israeli government has repeatedly stated that it will not allow the PA to control Gaza or the Palestinians to have a state. In the statement released by the Israeli government, Netanyahu says, “Israel utterly rejects international diktats over a final-status agreement with the Palestinians.” Netanyahu additionally plans to shut down UNRWA, the main aid agency in Gaza, that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians rely on for survival. Tel Aviv recently accused the UN Relief and Works Agency of employing 12 people who took part in the Hamas attack in Israel. However, a US intelligence community assessment only endorsed the claim with “low confidence.”

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“Stop acting aggressive because you’re going to get the fight you’re asking for and you’re in no way prepared for it.”

UK’s Failed Trident Missile Test Emblematic of Its ‘Decline and Demise’ (Sp.)

On Wednesday, US media reported that the UK Royal Navy tested an unarmed Trident II missile in January, but the missile failed, falling just feet from the submarine it launched from. The failure was the latest in a string of embarrassing events for the Royal Navy. The recent missile failure by the UK military “is entirely linked to the kind of decline and demise of the UK as a serious nation,” Phil Kelly, a political contributor and socialist activist told Sputnik’s Political Misfits on Thursday. “It’s a nation that is in a deep economic and political crisis, and the military reflects that,” Kelly underscored. “I compare them to the [Scooby-Doo] character Scrappy-Doo because they run around after the United States as a small henchman talking up a bit beyond their own capabilities,” he added before mentioning a string of failures by the UK Royal Navy, including two warships colliding in the Gulf of Yemen.

“It’s a clown show that really isn’t fit for [its] purpose.” Like the Scrappy-Doo character, the UK Royal Navy acts supremely confident in its abilities, but can not back up its bravado. “This is an army, let’s not forget, that retreated at speed after a failed 20-year occupation of Afghanistan. They were beaten by men in pickup trucks… who’s [now] shaking its saber and threatening Russia, China, and Iran,” Kelly explained. “It’s kind of like that small man syndrome in a bar. Stop acting aggressive because you’re going to get the fight you’re asking for and you’re in no way prepared for it.” Kelly noted that not only is the UK military experiencing significant equipment problems, but it is also failing to meet its recruitment goals, calling it a “huge crisis” and doubling down on the fact that the issues are not limited to the naval branch.

“They used to have this great tagline about their main battle tank, the Challenger Two, that they said… had not been lost on the battlefield since it launched a couple decades ago. The tank itself managed about two to three weeks when it arrived in Ukraine before one of them was left as a burning hulk.” “If [the failed Trident missile launch] happened in North Korea, Western media would have been laughing at it,” Kelly said. “Here, we have the UK completely unable to launch a missile, which has cost an exorbitant amount of money while health and education are falling into rack and ruin.”

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“This isn’t a conspiracy theory,” he said; the “invasion” at the U.S. southern border is “strategic engineered migration.”

Former Panama Border Chief: UN Is Behind the Chaos at US–Mexico Border (ET)

The former director of Panama’s border patrol told The Epoch Times that the United Nations’ migration agenda is behind the chaos at the U.S. southern border and that U.N. partners are making things worse instead of better. Oriel Ortega, now a security and defense consultant to Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo, said during a Feb. 22 interview that he saw a jump in migration in 2016, at the same time that more nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) moved into Panama. That increase corresponded with the U.N.’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration meeting in 2016. Two years later, 152 nations—including Panama—voted in favor of the compact to manage global migration. The United States voted against it. But under the U.N., the migration process has been anything but orderly, Mr. Ortega said. “It’s completely opposite right now,” he said through an interpreter.

Documents show that in 2023, a record 500,000 migrants traveled through the dense jungle known as the Darien Gap from Colombia into Panama. Migrants from around the world are flying into South and Central America to start their journey because countries such as Suriname and Ecuador don’t require a visa to enter. Their final destination is the United States. The book “Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy,” written by Kelly Greenhill, suggests that weaker countries are using migration to destabilize their more powerful adversaries. Joseph Humire is the executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society and an expert on unconventional warfare. He told The Epoch Times that he believes that’s what Americans are seeing at the U.S. southern border now. “This isn’t a conspiracy theory,” he said; the “invasion” at the U.S. southern border is “strategic engineered migration.”

Mr. Ortega agreed that the NGOs have “exacerbated” mass migration problems. “Instead of helping, they’re being part of the problem,” he said. “It’s not the migrants themselves that are creating a national threat; it is the organized crime, and it is these international organizations.” At the Lajas Blancas camp in Panama, migrants have access to a number of large maps provided by NGOs that display detailed migration routes heading to the United States. One map is from HIAS, an NGO founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which recently received $11 million from the United States in two grants awarded for Latin American migrants.

Paxton

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“If they cannot pay by tomorrow, we will begin kidnapping their children to hold as ransom.”

New York Prosecutes Couple For Fraud (BBee)

Local couple Marty and Shelly Cross have been officially charged with fraud after listing their home for $499,000 when it ultimately sold for slightly less. “The Cross family knowingly and willfully tried to get a good deal when they sold their home,” explained Attorney General Letitia James. “The State of New York hereby assesses the Cross family a fine of $50 million for their egregious actions. If they cannot pay by tomorrow, we will begin kidnapping their children to hold as ransom.” According to sources, the bank had performed an appraisal and actually approved a loan for the buyer at $499,000, though ultimately after negotiations the selling price was slightly less. “Yes, the bank agreed to the price set by the Cross family,” admitted James.

“That doesn’t mean Mr. and Mrs. Cross did not commit fraud! Banks, as we all know, are poor and helpless and at the mercy of whatever amount of money people ask for. The feeble, powerless bank is the victim here, having been duped by the Cross family – and they will pay!” The Cross family were reportedly caught completely off guard by the charges, believing they had submitted a reasonable asking price. “All we did was ask for what we wanted! No one had to agree to it. I had no idea asking for the price you wanted for your home was illegal,” said Shelly. “I have to be frank, I just don’t quite see how our negotiating the price with the seller and the bank did fifty million dollars of damage to the State of New York. I’m really struggling to make the connection.” At publishing time, Letitia James had put up billboards across New York with the faces of the Cross family and how much they owed in fines.

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RFK Fauci

 

 

Vaxx

 

 

GVDB
https://twitter.com/i/status/1761118837934600475

 

 

Lion vs tiger

 

 

Couple
https://twitter.com/i/status/1761425708297994481

 

 

Leopard

 

 

bbee
https://twitter.com/i/status/1761453868947267894

 

 

 

 

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Feb 012024
 
 February 1, 2024  Posted by at 9:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  75 Responses »


Wassily Kandinsky Clear connection 1925

 

Let Me Get This Story Straight (Teslaconomics)
A Cult Whose Demise Should Probably Be Regretted (Karganovic)
White House Staffer Reveals What Biden Aides ‘Can’t Say Publicly’ (RT)
Greg Abbott and the Invasion of the Border Snatchers (Jeffries)
Chinese Defense Chief Promises Support To Russia On ‘Ukrainian Issue’ (RT)
NATO’s Big Hitters Oppose Ukrainian Membership – FP (RT)
Breakthrough On All Fronts Ahead Of Schedule (Helmer)
ICJ Rejects Ukraine’s Terrorism-Related Complaints Against Russia (TASS)
Zaluzhny May Become More Dangerous for Zelensky if Fired (Sp.)
US Troops Told To Prepare For War In Gaza – Media (RT)
No US Threat Will Go Unanswered – Iran (RT)
Will the Hegemon Ever Accept a New Westphalian World Order? (Pepe Escobar)
Monitor’s Report: Factual Inaccuracies, Disingenuous – Trump Attorney (ET)
Trump Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize (RT)
Trillions Spent on ‘Climate Change’ Based on Faulty Temperature Data (ET)

 

 

January 23 2018

 

 

 

 

X thread. “..if Elon were to not hit these milestones, he would have been paid essentially nothing..”

Let Me Get This Story Straight (Teslaconomics)

So Elon’s 2018 compensation package was approved by ~80% of Tesla shareholders during a time the company’s valuation was ~$60B ($20 per share). The plan would require him to grow the market cap by $50B increments with the first milestone starting at a $100B valuation with the final milestone being $650B, in addition to aggressive revenue, pretax profit growth targets that many thought would be impossible, especially knowing the company was facing bankruptcy dead in the eyes during this time. If Elon were to hit all the milestones, he would then be granted this full $55B compensation package that gave him stock options to purchase Tesla stock at a heavily discounted price and the stock could not be sold for another 5 yrs after exercising the options to prevent an “exercise & run”.

He hit all the milestones and created real value for the company & its shareholders (today, the valuation of Tesla sits at ~600B, a 10X from the year the comp package was approved, and a world class financial war chest). Also, btw, if Elon were to not hit these milestones, he would have been paid essentially nothing. Then in 2019, a shareholder named Richard Tornetta (who held 9 shares of Tesla) filed a lawsuit claiming that the compensation package was excessive & unfair, claiming the board had not acted in the best interest of its shareholders. Then today, the Delaware judge named Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick voided this compensation package claiming it was excessive and the process for coming up with Elon’s comp plan wasn’t independent bc he controlled the BOD and the directors who approved the plan weren’t truly independent.

Further claiming that the shareholders who approved the comp plan weren’t made aware of this controlled relationship. Wow… you really can’t make this stuff up, this is literally what just happened. Personally, I’m not so concerned about Tesla bc I believe the board & shareholders will approve an even better & more aggressive compensation package for Elon (e.g. include the $55B 2018 comp that he deserves, give him 25% voting share, include milestones for Tesla to become the largest valued company in the world & more, etc.) which will ultimately keep Elon motivated to stay at Tesla and build the future of AI & robotics within the company. However, my main concern here is the fundamental foundation of capitalism that America is built upon.

The CEO of a company was incentivized with a compensation package & it was approved by its shareholders to create value and he did. He hit all the milestones that were laid out, it wasn’t a pump or dump, and he didn’t steal or deceive shareholders. He simply went all in, put his blood, sweat, and tears into building the best products to change the world for the better, which created tremendous value for the ones that believed, invested, and stuck through. And now a judge has retroactively removed the reward for the leader that got the company to where it is today. Why would any CEO/founder in America want to work hard, when the result of his or her hard work can easily be taken away unfairly like this? What happened today, is very wrong and if nothing is done to fix it, it will crush the entrepreneurial spirit & heartbeat that America was originally built upon.

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There appears to be a strong link between this and what’s happening to Elon. A way of thinking, a culture, that’s falling apart.

A Cult Whose Demise Should Probably Be Regretted (Karganovic)

It would be unforgivably simplistic to attribute the implosion of the Soviet Union mainly to unfavourable demographics. That was a complex operation in which a multitude of factors played a role. But the virtue of the diagnostic investigation conducted forty years ago by Emmanuel Todd was that he demonstrated how seemingly minor yet tell-tale signs could point to undercurrents and important processes that unjustifiably may have been overlooked. And indeed, it is in the West now that tell-tale indications of disarray are increasingly emerging, to the consternation of those who have eyes to see and historical perspective to make comparisons. These signs point to a variety of breakdowns, only some of which are purely mechanical. They appear mostly to be cultural in essence, and therein lies the danger. A few recent random examples will serve to make the point.

Exhibit A: Political corruption. Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake, who many suspect was cheated out of victory in the race for governor in 2022, is again the subject of political controversy in her state. A few weeks ago, she published the tape recording of a disgraceful bribe offer made to her by the state chairman of her own party. After requesting a confidential tête à tête conversation, that individual visited Lake in her home to inform her that wealthy and powerful “people back East” (in America that is a universally understood metaphor for deep state power centres) were prepared to satisfy Ms. Lake’s financial requirements if she would withdraw from the Senate race, presumably to make way for a controllable Establishment candidate. She only had to name her figure. To her credit, she flatly refused. Readers from “third world” countries will be nonplussed by these revelations. But the matter should be viewed in context. In America political corruption is not unknown, but the brazenness of this particular proposition made in Arizona is a quantum leap in relation to previously recorded outrages of that nature.

Exhibit B: Academic corruption. Harvard University President Claudine Gay was compelled to resign because of multiple plagiarisms discovered in her thin scholarly opus. Harvard was the flagship of the dozen leading Ivy League academic institutions in America. Its reputation for integrity is unimpeachable and sacrosanct. The appointment of the scarcely qualified Ms. Gay, apparently selected for her politically correct external characteristics rather than serious scholarship, was sufficiently problematic. But now her fall from grace, triggered by the embarrassing charge of plagiarism, gravely compromises not just Harvard but inescapably the American academe as a whole. And if that were not enough, also at Harvard another academic scandal is brewing. Credible allegations have been put forward, and are being investigated, that researchers at the Dana-Farber cancer institute affiliated with Harvard Medical School had manipulated images and research data.

One of the papers under review was authored by Dana-Farber CEO Laurie Glimcher. Molecular biologist Sholto David suggested Adobe Photoshop was used to copy and paste images in some of the papers. If correct, it is quite an adolescent way of cobbling together an academic research study. “We are committed to a culture of accountability and integrity. Therefore, every inquiry is examined fully to ensure the soundness of the scientific literature,” and so on and so forth without missing a single platitude, responded Dana-Farber’s research integrity officer Barrett Rollins in a statement issued after the embarrassing allegations were made public. But big words cannot hide the damage that had been inflicted nor suppress questions about the implications. Merely alleging such academically unbecoming trickery would have been unimaginable a very short time ago.

Exhibit C: Mechanical breakdown. Aviation does not seem to be fairing much better either. Boeing is an iconic American corporation. It is to industrial manufacturing roughly what Harvard is to higher education. That is a very important fact to remember when assessing the implications of several unprecedented Delta and Alaska Airlines incidents which occurred recently, involving Boeing commercial airplanes on which inadequately secured exit doors had been blown off in-flight. To make matters worse and disturbingly indicative of the quality of workmanship in the new normal, when these incidents occurred the airplanes (minus the critical plug bolts) were in mint condition, having come off the Boeing assembly lines just weeks before. Providentially, no one was sucked out into the surrounding stratosphere, but there is no guarantee that next time the passengers and crew will be as lucky.

The implications of these failures, that are only on the surface mechanical, may be colossal. They go to the core of Amiel’s observation about the cult of excellence that once upon a time reigned in the West. The question is: what has happened to it, what explains its disappearance?

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“She’s not popular, but you can’t remove the first black lady to be vice president from the g*****n presidential ticket..”

White House Staffer Reveals What Biden Aides ‘Can’t Say Publicly’ (RT)

A White House aide has admitted that his colleagues are worried about US President Joe Biden’s deteriorating cognitive skills and the unpopularity of his vice president, Kamala Harris, but they can’t publicly voice those concerns as the president seeks reelection later this year. Speaking in a hidden-camera interview posted online by undercover journalist James O’Keefe on Wednesday, White House cybersecurity analyst Charlie Kraiger acknowledged that the 81-year-old Biden is “slowing down.” He also said that there had been discussions about removing Harris from the 2024 ticket, given her struggles as vice president, but the Democratic Party’s nominees are set in stone.

“I think they need to get rid of him or get rid of her, but I don’t think they’re gonna do that,” Kraiger told O’Keefe, who disguised himself for the conversation by dyeing his hair and wearing fake glasses. Asked if White House staffers could speak publicly and truthfully regarding the fitness of Biden and Harris to seek another term, he added, “No, no, they’ve got to toe the line.” Kraiger admitted that staffers are “really concerned” about Biden’s mental state, which O’Keefe called “dementia,” but they have to keep those worries private. “They know it; of course, they do. But it’s the optics and, like, the scandal, I think they feel wouldn’t be worth it. I’m just telling you what I’ve heard. Does it make sense? No, but that’s what I’ve heard.”

Kraiger works in the White House Executive Office as a cybersecurity analyst and foreign affairs desk officer, according to a now-locked LinkedIn account. He told O’Keefe that he manages security of the computer networks at the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The staffer said White House officials probably understand the severity of Biden’s mental decline, “but no one in modern history has ever said, like, we’re not gonna renominate the president for a second term. That just hasn’t happened.” White House aides are similarly fatalistic about the first female US vice president, who was born of a black father and an Indian mother. “She’s not popular, but you can’t remove the first black lady to be vice president from the g*****n presidential ticket,” he said.

“Like, what kind of message are you going to send to, like, African-American voters?” He added that Harris was unable to retain black staffers, who “quit on her en masse,” but administration officials “sadly” decided to keep her as Biden’s running mate after an internal debate. Kraiger described himself as “fairly high up” in the Biden administration and, ironically, he claimed to be “good at keeping secrets.” O’Keefe outed himself at the end of the interview, asking Kraiger how a White House security official wound up meeting with a famous hidden-camera journalist. “We’re running a good cybersecurity operation,” the staffer insisted. O’Keefe replied, “Obviously not, because you’re meeting with me. Did you not do your research? What is this clown show you guys are running over at the White House?”

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“The Founding Fathers (sorry, there were no Founding Mothers, and certainly no Founding Transgenders)..”

Greg Abbott and the Invasion of the Border Snatchers (Jeffries)

We’ve come a long way from the Boston Tea Party. What would happen to “extremists” throwing tea into a harbor today? Independence Hall. Lexington and Concord. The Articles of Confederation. Patrick Henry declaring, “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to my dying day your right to say it.” The Founding Fathers (sorry, there were no Founding Mothers, and certainly no Founding Transgenders) would all be marginalized if they were living and breathing in the Orwellian mess that is America 2.0. They’d be relegated to writing on Substack. Maybe some of them would be subscribers of mine. No mainstream media outlet would give them even a momentary platform. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Keep your “insurrectionist” thoughts to yourself. That little line should be confined to Ben Franklin’s womanizing. Yes, Ben actually used “would you like to join me in the pursuit of happiness?” as an eighteenth century pickup line. When he wasn’t consorting with prostitutes dressed as nuns in his demonic Hellfire Club.

Aside from Franklin, and certainly the bankers’ stooge Alexander Hamilton, the Founders were a legendary lot. The “greatest generation” if such a thing ever existed. As recently as 1963, Thomas Jefferson was thought so highly of that President Kennedy would tell a state dinner comprised of some of the leading cultural figures of the time, “The is the greatest assemblage of talent ever gathered together in the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” That kind of comment would get any Democrat, and probably any American, “cancelled” today. Sally Hemings was the real talent behind Jefferson. She wrote the Declaration of Independence. Designed Monticello. Ask any court historian. He was a racist rapist.

One of the few responsibilities ceded to the central government under the Constitution is defending the border. Article 4, section 4, states clearly that “The United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion…” Our southern border has been under an invasion of illegal aliens, illegal immigrants, undocumented migrants, whatever you want to call them, for over forty years now. More significantly, the federal government has gone beyond enabling this invasion. They have assisted it. Made it possible. Probably financed much of it. Greg Abbott has been governor of Texas since 2015. He epitomizes the Stupid Party’s tradition of issuing lukewarm rhetoric about “border security,” but ultimately doing nothing to stop the invasion. For unclear reasons, he has now stepped up the rhetoric decisively. After the Supreme Court- Trump’s supposed court, with his lovely nominee Amy Coney Barrett voting with the Left as usual- made one of its trademark disastrous decisions, Abbott threw down the gauntlet.

The Court ruled that Texas can not try to stop the Feds from cutting down the barbed wire fencing they’ve put up in places, in a laughable attempt to stop the flow of immigrants. Think about that; the highest court in the land- the Supreme Court- has ruled that a state cannot defend its borders. True, the Feds are constitutionally delegated with that power, but they quite blatantly have neglected to do this for several decades now. Under the Biden administration, the numbers coming across the border with literally no resistance from U.S. authorities, have reached such a critical mass that it has finally caught the attention of even the sleeping Republicucks. When you have one of the three branches in government- the Executive- aiding and abetting a foreign invasion, another- the Legislative- encouraging it as well, and now the Judicial branch giving the invasion a legal imprimatur, then you understand the situation.

Abbott’s fiery statements brought to mind visions of Sons of Liberty dancing in our heads. He has sounded remarkably like the Confederates did back in 1860, when he charged that the federal government has broken their “compact” with the states. This was the central premise behind the decision of the southern states to secede. Our fast food culture insists it was all about slavery. The dastardly, tobacco spitting whiter than White secessionists wanted their slaves, and that was that. Abraham Lincoln, the secular saint of our crumbling civilization, responded by declaring, “The Union of these States is perpetual.” That contradicted, of course, the guiding principle of our War for Independence, which was that all people have a right to consent to those who govern them. In 1860, the Confederate states no longer consented.

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“Russia and China are not “creating military blocs,” and their military cooperation is not “directed against third countries.”

Chinese Defense Chief Promises Support To Russia On ‘Ukrainian Issue’ (RT)

Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun has told his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoigu, that strategic cooperation between Moscow and Beijing is a pillar of maintaining peace around the globe, in his first public appearance since his appointment at the end of last year. As two great powers, Russia and China should deepen their cooperation and decisively respond to global challenges, the defense chiefs said during a video call on Wednesday. “We have supported you on the Ukrainian issue despite the fact that the US and the EU continue to put pressure on the Chinese side,” Dong stated, promising that Beijing “will not change or abandon our established policy course over this,” even under the threat of more sanctions.

At the same time, China feels “strong support from the Russian side on the Taiwan issue as well as on other topics of our key interests,” Dong added. “As the two most important and key forces in the world, we should decisively respond to global challenges.” Beijing’s newly-appointed defense chief claimed that “the US is always targeting Russia and China, seeking to retain its hegemony around the globe,” but added that “history and the reality prove that hegemony is doomed to failure.” Shoigu agreed that unlike Western states, Russia and China are not “creating military blocs,” and their military cooperation is not “directed against third countries.” The defense chief noted that “Russian-Chinese relations in the military sphere are developing steadily in all areas,” and said he was looking forward to “close, productive cooperation” with his Chinese counterpart.

China’s position on the Ukraine crisis has put it at odds with the US, with some American officials accusing Beijing of actively supporting Moscow rather than maintaining neutrality. Beijing has blamed NATO’s expansion in Europe for the crisis in Ukraine and has denounced the use of unilateral sanctions by the US and its allies as a tool of geopolitical pressure. Moscow perceives the Ukraine conflict as part of a Western proxy war against Russia, which is being waged in an attempt to preserve US hegemony on the world stage. Chinese officials have said that Washington is stuck in a “Cold War mentality.”

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US and Germany.

NATO’s Big Hitters Oppose Ukrainian Membership – FP (RT)

The US and Germany are resisting calls by NATO allies to invite Ukraine into the bloc at a major summit later this year, fearing that the move could trigger a full-scale clash with Russia, Foreign Policy magazine reported on Tuesday. Citing a dozen current and former officials, the American magazine wrote that both Kiev and some of its most ardent backers, including Poland and the Baltic states, are pushing for Ukraine to be accepted into the US-led bloc at a key summit in Washington, DC in July. Proponents of fast-tracking Ukraine’s NATO bid argue that only full-fledged membership for Kiev could force Russia to end the conflict, while claiming that the move would be cheaper in the long run than arms shipments in perpetuity.

However, according to the article, the US and Germany, the two top supporters of Ukraine in terms of military aid, disagree. Officials in these countries reportedly believe that while Kiev should eventually join NATO, now is not the right time, adding that the West should instead focus on supplying Ukraine with weapons. FP added that admitting Ukraine into the bloc while it is locked in a conflict with Russia could trigger a full-scale clash between NATO and Moscow, stemming from Article 5 of the alliance’s treaty which stipulates that an attack on one member of the bloc is an attack on all members.

According to FP, the stand-off is exacerbated by the stance of several EU members, including Hungary and Slovakia, who have opposed sending arms to Ukraine. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned that Kiev’s membership in the bloc could draw NATO into the conflict. His Slovak counterpart, Robert Fico, has said the move could spark World War III. The US has reportedly urged EU members not to raise the issue at the summit, arguing that it could expose behind-the-scenes divisions. Moscow has repeatedly warned the West against providing military aid to Ukraine, saying it will only prolong the conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also said that Kiev’s push to join NATO, which was enshrined in its constitution as a strategic objective in 2019, was one of the key reasons for the current conflict.

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“I imagine we’ll start seeing Russian tanks with fuel tanks fitted for extended range appearing and Russian airborne troops making air assaults in the Ukrainian rear within weeks.”

Breakthrough On All Fronts Ahead Of Schedule (Helmer)

When the General Staff have been discussing with President Vladimir Putin the timing of the Russian offensive to force the Kiev regime into capitulation, it has been agreed, understood, and repeated that the strategic reserves of the Ukrainian forces should be destroyed first, together with the supply lines for the weapons and ammunition crossing the border from the US and the NATO allies. This process, they also agreed, should take as long as required with least casualties on the Russian side, as determined by military intelligence. Also agreed and pre-conditional, there should be no repeat of the political intelligence failures of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) which precipitated the failed special forces operation known as the Battle of Antonov (Hostomel) Airport from February 24 to April 2, 2022.

Taking account of the mistakes made then by the SVR director, Sergei Naryshkin, and the subsequent mistakes of military officers around Yevgeny Prigozhin, the General Staff has also accepted that their tactical operations must run least risk of Russian casualties through March 17, the final day of the presidential election. Reinforcing these preconditions for the timing of the Russian offensive, General Winter and General Patience, have joined the Stavka meetings. This week military sources believe there has been a turning point – on the Ukrainian battlefield, and on the Russian clock. The daily Defense Ministry briefing and bulletin from Moscow reported last Thursday, before the Friday weekly summary, that the Ukrainian KIA (killed in action) for the previous twenty-four hours totaled 795, with the ratio of offensive tactics to defence, 3 to 3. On Monday, the KIA total was 680, the ratio 4 to 3. On Tuesday, KIA came to 885, the ratio 5 to 1. The casualty rate is unusually high; the shift to offence is recognizably new, if not announced.

The “Stavka Project”, a military briefing which is broadcast by Vladimir Soloviev, confirms the positional breakthroughs this week on several of the fronts or “directions”, as the Defense Ministry calls them, along the Donbass line; click to watch (in Russian). In Boris Rozhin’s summary of the Defense Ministry briefing materials, published before dawn on Wednesday morning, the leading Russian military blogger (Colonel Cassad) identifies “small advances”, “slight movements”, some positional “successes”, other positional “counter-fighting”, and “no significant progress yet”. The adverb is military talk for timing. According to a military source outside Russia, “the Russian breakthrough is beginning to happen now. It’s being coordinated with strikes and raids along the northern border. The commitment of the ‘crack’ Ukrainian brigades at the expense of other sectors shows how desperate [General Valery] Zaluzhny is to plug the holes.

He knows that the target is the isolation of Kharkov, the establishment of a demilitarized ‘buffer zone’, as well as the development of a situation whereby all Ukrainian forces east of the Dnieper are threatened with being cut off… and he’s quickly running out of ammunition, not to mention cannon fodder.” “By the end of the winter,” the source has added overnight, “the Ukrainians will barely be able to move along the roads they use to feed the front due to the Russian drone, missile, conventional air, and artillery strikes. Once they can no longer plug the gaps with mechanized units acting as fire-fighting brigades, it’s just a matter of time before the big breakthroughs and encirclements begin. At the current burn rate of Ukrainian forces, I imagine we’ll start seeing Russian tanks with fuel tanks fitted for extended range appearing and Russian airborne troops making air assaults in the Ukrainian rear within weeks.”

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“Ukraine sought to prove that the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic are terrorist organizations..”

ICJ Rejects Ukraine’s Terrorism-Related Complaints Against Russia (TASS)

The UN International Court of Justice has found most of Ukraine’s complaints against Russia in a lawsuit over potential violations of the convention that fights the financing of terrorism to be groundless, court President Joan Donoghue said as she read out the verdict. She said Russia failed to conduct investigations into people who could allegedly finance terrorism in Ukraine. The court rejected Ukraine’s accusations that Russia violated the other clauses of the convention, which were listed in the Ukrainian lawsuit. On 16 January 2017, Ukraine filed a lawsuit with the court accusing Russia of violating the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. As part of the case, where it concerns the convention on stopping the financing of terrorism, Ukraine sought to prove that the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic are terrorist organizations, and Russia gave them funding and weapons.

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“London is more interested in the continuation of the conflict and in waging a “terrorist war.” But Washington is much more keen to freeze the conflict, given the forthcoming presidential elections..”

Zaluzhny May Become More Dangerous for Zelensky if Fired (Sp.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is still seeking to replace Zaluzhny despite dismissing the rumors of the general’s sacking earlier, the Financial Times reported. The newspaper’s sources claimed that Zaluzhny was offered a position as a defense adviser, but that he turned it down. Possible candidates for Zaluzhny’s replacement are said to be Oleksandr Syrsky, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, and Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the country’s military intelligence directorate. But the Economist and the Times report that both have refused to fill Zaluzhny’s shoes. The British press drew attention to former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s opposition to Zelensky’s apparent move: “Firing Zaluzhny, if true, would hit at the heart of national unity,” wrote Poroshenko.

“The fact is that there was an attempt to replace Zaluzhny; it was an impromptu attempt that failed, because Zelensky hoped to remove a political competitor, not so much a military one,” Alexander Dudchak, leading researcher at the Institute of CIS Countries, and expert on the ‘Another Ukraine’ movement, told Sputnik. “And the fact that he offered [Zaluzhny] the position of adviser [speaks volumes]. By assuming that role he would have moved away from military affairs while not becoming a political competitor,” Dudchak said. “But in Ukraine, two different Western groups are trying to solve their problems: one from Washington, the other from London, with slightly different visions of the future of Ukraine, how to use it and what to do with it now, and in general — there are forces through which they accomplish their tasks.”

It is these forces who are playing the Zaluzhny card right now, the researcher argued. According to Dudchak, the so-called pro-US faction includes Zaluzhny, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and some figures in the President’s Office. The other grouping is pro-British and includes the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense (GUR), its chief Budanov and Syrsky.”So far the replacement has been cancelled. This does not mean that Budanov changed his mind or that Syrsky did not want to [assume the position]. Who’s asking them? Syrsky has no opinion of his own. He even changed the language he speaks. Because listening to him speaking Ukrainian is weird. And will he show some kind of opinion? No way,” Dudchak explained.

“So for now, the operation to replace Zaluzhny has simply been postponed. This does not mean that he will not be removed. Therefore, these figures which look suitable for replacing Zaluzhny have remained in a standby mode for now.” The decision to replace Zaluzhny could stem from the West’s changing goals in Ukraine. The researcher outlined two scenarios, apparently sought by Washington and London: London is more interested in the continuation of the conflict and in waging a “terrorist war.” But Washington is much more keen to freeze the conflict, given the forthcoming presidential elections in November 2024.

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“..on standby to forward deploy to support troops in the case of on ground US involvement in the Israel Hamas war..”

US Troops Told To Prepare For War In Gaza – Media (RT)

US Air Force personnel in Iraq have been ordered to remain on standby in case of “on ground US involvement in the Israel Hamas war,” The Intercept reported on Tuesday, citing a Pentagon memo. Circulated earlier this month, the memo instructs an unknown number of troops to be placed “on standby to forward deploy to support troops in the case of on ground US involvement in the Israel Hamas war,” the news site reported. The standby order applies to troops stationed in Iraq since last year, according to a separate Pentagon document seen by The Intercept. The White House has stated on several occasions since October that its support for the Jewish state would not involve American soldiers fighting alongside their Israeli counterparts.

The US responded to Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel by immediately dispatching two aircraft carriers to the region and preparing 2,000 additional troops for deployment to the Middle East, but White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on October 10 that “there is no intention to put US boots on the ground” in Israel or Gaza. However, US special forces have been active in Israel since October, with senior official Christopher Maier telling reporters at the time that American commandos were “actively helping the Israelis to do a number of things.” The Pentagon has also admitted to flying spy drones over Gaza “in support of hostage recovery efforts.” Since the conflict began, US troops in Iraq, Syria, and Jordan have come under fire more than 150 times, with Iran-aligned Shi’ite militias subjecting their bases to regular drone and rocket barrages.

One such attack on an outpost in Jordan on Sunday killed three US soldiers and injured several dozen others. American ships and warplanes have also launched several strikes against Houthi militants in Yemen, in a bid to break the Houthi blockade on “Israel-linked” merchant shipping passing through the Red Sea. The Houthis have responded by targeting US commercial and military vessels in the area. On Wednesday, the militants announced that they had fired multiple missiles at the destroyer USS Gravely. US Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East, said that the Graveley shot down one incoming missile, and suffered no damage or casualties.

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“These groups decide and act based on their own principles and priorities as well as the interests of their country and people..”

No US Threat Will Go Unanswered – Iran (RT)

Iran will not let any threat from the US go “unanswered,” the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Wednesday. The statement came after US President Joe Biden said he had drawn up a response to an attack on American troops in Jordan. Biden told reporters on Tuesday that he had decided how to respond to the drone attack, which left three US soldiers dead and dozens more injured on Sunday. The White House blamed the assault on Iranian-aligned militants operating in Iraq and Syria, while Biden said he holds Iran responsible for the deaths, “in the sense that they’re supplying the weapons to the people who did it.” The US president did not reveal what kind of response he had planned.

“We hear threats coming from American officials, [and] we tell them that they have already tested us and we now know one another, no threat will be left unanswered,” Major General Hossein Salami said at an event in Tehran, according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency. “We are not looking for a war, but are not afraid of war either,” the IRGC commander added. Iran’s envoy to the UN, Amir Saeid Iravani, issued a similar warning on Tuesday night. “The Islamic Republic will decisively respond to any attack on the county, its interests and nationals under any pretexts,” Iravani said, according to Iran’s state news agency, IRNA.

Tehran has denied orchestrating the fatal attack on US troops. While Iran arms and trains numerous Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that these fighters “do not take orders from the Islamic Republic of Iran.” “These groups decide and act based on their own principles and priorities as well as the interests of their country and people,” a ministry spokesman said. Militant groups have launched more than 150 attacks on US bases in the Middle East in recent months, but Sunday’s incident marked the first time American troops in the region were confirmed killed by enemy fire since the Israel-Hamas war began in October.

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“..the permanent NATO obsession in preventing a solid rapprochement between Germany and Russia, by any means necessary..”

Will the Hegemon Ever Accept a New Westphalian World Order? (Pepe Escobar)

A new book by scholar Glenn Diesen, The Ukraine War & The Eurasian World Order, out in mid-February, asks the make-or-break question of the young 21st century: will the Hegemon accept a new geopolitical reality, or will it go Captain Ahab on Moby Dick and drag us all to the depths of a – nuclear – abyss?

[..] Diesen offers a concise, easily accessible mini-history of how we got here. He starts to make the case harking back to the Silk Roads: “The Silk Road was an early model of globalization, although it did not result in a common world order as the civilizations of the world were primarily connected to nomadic intermediaries.” The demise of the Heartland-based Silk Road, actually roads, was caused by the rise of the thalassocratic European powers reconnecting the world in a different way. Yet the hegemony of the collective West could only be fully achieved by applying Divide and Rule across Eurasia. We did not in fact had “five centuries of western dominance”, according to Diesen: it was more like three, or even two (see, for instance, the work of Andre Gunder Frank). In a historical Long View that barely registers.

What is indeed The Big Picture now is that “the unique world order” produced by controlling “the vast Eurasian continent from the maritime periphery is coming to an end”. Diesen hits the nail on the head when it comes to the Russia-China strategic partnership – on which the overwhelmingly majority of European intellectuals is clueless (a crucial exception is French historian, demographer and anthropologist Emmanuel Todd, whose latest book I analyzed here.) With a lovely on the road formulation, Diesen shows how “Russia can be considered the successor of the Mongolian nomads as the last custodian of the Eurasian land corridor”, while China revives the Ancient Silk Roads “with economic connectivity”. In consequence, “a powerful Eurasian gravitational pull is thus reorganizing the supercontinent and the wider world.”

Poviding context, Diesen needs to engage in an obligatory detour to the basics of the Great Game between the Russian and British empires. What stands out is how Moscow already was pivoting to Asia all the way to the late 19th century, when Russian Finance Minister Sergei Witte started to develop a groundbreaking road map for a Eurasia political economy, “borrowing from Alexander Hamilton and Friedrich List.” Witte “wanted to end Russia’s role as an exporter of natural resources to Europe as it resembled ‘the relations of colonial countries with their metropolises’”. And that implies going back to Dostoyevsky, who argued that “Russians are as much Asiatics as European. The mistake of our policy for the past two centuries has been to make the people of Europe believe that we are true Europeans (…) It will be better for us to seek alliances with the Asiatics.” Dostoyevsky meets Putin-Xi. Diesen also needs to go through the obligatory references to Mackinder’s “heartland” obsession – which is the basis of all Anglo-American geopolitics for the past hundred and twenty years.

Mackinder was spooked by railway development – especially the Trans-Siberian by the Russians – as it enabled Moscow to “emulate the nomadic skills of the Scythians, Huns and Mongols” that were essential to control most of Eurasia. Mackinder was particularly focused on railways acting “chiefly as feeders to ocean-going commerce”. Ergo, being a thalassocratic power was not enough: “The heartland is the region to which under modern conditions, sea power can be refused access.” And that’s what leads to the Rosetta Stone of Anglo-American geopolitics: to “prevent the emergence of a hegemon or a group of states capable of dominating Europe and Eurasia that could threaten the dominant maritime power.” That explains everything from WWI and WWII to the permanent NATO obsession in preventing a solid rapprochement between Germany and Russia, by any means necessary.

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“..fees paid by the Trump Organization. Ms. Jones has been paid $2.6 million in her 14-month period as an independent monitor..”

Monitor’s Report: Factual Inaccuracies, Disingenuous – Trump Attorney (ET)

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump on Monday responded to a recent report issued by a court-appointed independent monitor regarding Trump Organization finances, disputing former judge Barbara Jones’s characterization of the financial statements as incomplete and inconsistent. Ms. Jones recommended that third party monitoring of Trump Organization continue, and concluded that “misstatements and errors may continue to occur,” which defense attorneys said was an effort to continue the monitor’s “exorbitant” fees paid by the Trump Organization. Ms. Jones has been paid $2.6 million in her 14-month period as an independent monitor on the case. Ms. Jones’s team has received Trump Organization financial disclosures to third parties, including lenders and insurers; agreements and documents related to transactions; documents related to Trump Organization entities and dissolutions; bank statements; and documents provided to tax authorities.

Attorney Clifford Robert claimed that the Jan. 26 report, submitted at the request of the court, was also meant to “fill the gaping hole in the Attorney General’s case” and was issued “in bad faith.” “The January 26 Report also contains numerous factual inaccuracies (casting serious doubt on the Monitor’s competency), fails to reference governing standards of any kind, and is otherwise misleading and disingenuous,” the letter reads. The report pointed out errors on seven disclosure items, three inconsistencies, and five clerical errors, which the defense argues are immaterial amid the thousands of pages of financial data related to the 400 entities Ms. Jones is monitoring.

“The Monitor was appointed to report any financial reporting misconduct, suspicious activity or any suspected or actual fraudulent activity,“ the letter reads. ”The Monitor was not appointed to identify math errors or otherwise sensationalize minor and inconsequential accounting discrepancies scattered throughout the financial reports of the over 400 companies comprising the Defendants’ global enterprise.” Mr. Robert pointed out that the biggest discrepancy Ms. Jones identified was a difference of $1 million in an “internal trial balance presentation,” and had no actual impact. Mentions of delays in implementing transactions had provided “no evidence of any inappropriate or untoward conduct,” he added, claiming this representation as an effort to “malign such disclosures.”

Mr. Robert noted that the words “misconduct,” “suspicious activity,” “suspected fraud,” or “actual fraud” do not appear in Ms. Jones’s report at all, and argued the errors she cites have been blown out of proportion. “Moreover, as the Reports and the January 26 Report make clear, every item identified has been resolved to the full satisfaction of the Monitor,” he added. “She has not and cannot point to even a single instance of controversy or complaint between any of the Defendants and outside third parties.”

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Abraham Accords.

Trump Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has been put forward for the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the signing of a treaty that helped normalize relations between Israel and several Arab states. The proposal was made by Republican congresswoman Claudia Tenney, who told Fox News on Tuesday that Trump was “instrumental” in facilitating the “historic” Abraham Accords, which she said were “the first peace agreements in the Middle East in almost 30 years.” The lawmaker praised the former president and GOP frontrunner, saying Trump had proven many foreign policy pundits wrong who argued for decades that additional Middle East peace agreements were impossible without a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

”The valiant efforts by President Trump in creating the Abraham Accords were unprecedented and continue to go unrecognized by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, underscoring the need for his nomination today,” Tenney stated, adding that the move comes at a time when President Joe Biden’s “weak leadership” on the global stage has put national security at risk. Over the weekend, three US service members were killed and dozens were injured in a drone attack on a military outpost in Jordan. Biden has pledged to respond, blaming the incident on Iranian-backed militias. Tehran has denied any involvement in the attack. The Abraham Accords were a series of US-mediated bilateral agreements signed in late 2020 between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco. They helped bring the Jewish state and the Arab nations closer, with the UAE and Bahrain also recognizing Israel’s sovereignty.

However, the treaty has been criticized for emboldening Israel to ignore the rights of Palestinians, as it resulted in Arab states dropping the demand to recognize the state of Palestine. Some experts have argued that the move paved the way for the recent surge in violence. Trump had already been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times. In 2020, he was put up for the award by Norwegian MP Christian Tybring-Gjedde, who praised the former president for what he described as his peace-making efforts in the Middle East. That same year, Trump was nominated by Swedish MP Magnus Jacobsson, who cited his role in brokering a deal between Serbia and its breakaway region of Kosovo. Trump’s nomination is considered valid as it was submitted by a member of a national assembly or national government. The 2024 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced in Oslo, Norway in October and awarded in December.

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“..the methods that NOAA employs to try to reduce this don’t work because the bias is so overwhelming..”

Trillions Spent on ‘Climate Change’ Based on Faulty Temperature Data (ET)

To preserve a “livable planet,” the Earth can’t warm more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the United Nations warns.Failure to maintain that level could lead to several catastrophes, including increased droughts and weather-related disasters, more heat-related illnesses and deaths, and less food and more poverty, according to NASA. To avert the looming tribulations and limit global temperature increases, 194 member states and the European Union in 2016 signed the U.N. Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty with a goal to “substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.” After the agreement, global spending on climate-related projects increased exponentially. In 2021 and 2022, the world’s taxpayers spent, on average, $1.3 trillion on such projects each year, according to the nonprofit advisory group Climate Policy Initiative.

That’s more than double the spending rate in 2019 and 2020, which came in at $653 billion per year, and it’s significantly up from the $364 billion per year in 2011 and 2012, the report found. Despite the money pouring in, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that 2023 was the hottest year on record. NOAA’s climate monitoring stations found that the Earth’s average land and ocean surface temperature in 2023 was 1.35 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average. “Not only was 2023 the warmest year in NOAA’s 174-year climate record—it was the warmest by far,” said Sarah Kapnick, NOAA’s chief scientist. “A warming planet means we need to be prepared for the impacts of climate change that are happening here and now, like extreme weather events that become both more frequent and severe.”

But a growing chorus of climate scientists are saying the temperature readings are faulty and that the trillions of dollars pouring in are based on a problem that doesn’t exist. More than 90 percent of NOAA’s temperature monitoring stations have a heat bias, according to Anthony Watts, a meteorologist, senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute, author of climate website Watts Up With That, and director of a study that examined NOAA’s climate stations. “And with that large of a number, over 90 percent, the methods that NOAA employs to try to reduce this don’t work because the bias is so overwhelming,” Mr. Watts told The Epoch Times.“The few stations that are left that are not biased because they are, for example, outside of town in a field and are an agricultural research station that’s been around for 100 years … their data gets completely swamped by the much larger set of biased data. There’s no way you can adjust that out.”

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Marmot
https://twitter.com/i/status/1752682125252297138

 

 

Chase
https://twitter.com/i/status/1752376130449895755

 

 

Boops

 

 

Cat Fox

 

 

Bamboo
https://twitter.com/i/status/1752374246402044238

 

 

Sponge cake

 

 

Texas long horn

 

 

Wind
https://twitter.com/i/status/1752576215293038884

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 262024
 


Jean-Léon Gérôme Truth Coming Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind, 1896

 

What Happens In Texas Will Decide The Fate Of The Nation (Libby Emmons)
25 Republican Governors Back Texas In Standoff With Biden (RT)
China’s Defense Ministry: NATO is a ‘Walking War Machine’ Sowing Chaos (Sp.)
The Western World: RIP (Paul Craig Roberts)
Five Variables Defining Our Future (Pepe Escobar)
How Gaza Is Impacting The Great Power Standoff (Sweidan)
Netanyahu Cannot Survive 10 Minutes Without US Support – Iran FM (Cradle)
Gaza War’s Financial Reason Mainstream Media Won’t Cover – Ray McGovern (Sp.)
Iran ‘A Legitimate Target’ – Israel (RT)
Col. Macgregor Says at Least 400 Americans Died in Ukraine (Sp.)
‘Suicide Mission’: Ukrainian Troops Reveal Dire Situation on Battlefield (Sp.)
Why Did Ukraine Shoot Down An Aircraft Carrying Its Own Soldiers? (Poletaev)
West’s Anti-Russian Policy Now ‘At Its Peak’ – Peskov (TASS)
EU Not Prepared For Potential Armed Conflict With Russia – Politico (TASS)
Trump Advisor Navarro Sentenced To Four Months For Ignoring J6 Subpoena (ZH)
Adam Schiff A “Liar” Who Was “Censured” – Garvey (ZH)
RCMP Offering Police $75,000 Benefit To Change Genders (CS)

 

 

Lone Star rebellion. There are now 25 governors standing with Texas.

 

 

Tucker 22 million
https://twitter.com/i/status/1750427983448256552

 

 

Steve Harvey
https://twitter.com/i/status/1750371213757583484

 

 

Vivek Trump
https://twitter.com/i/status/1750250406242836517

 

 

Watters RFK

 

 

Vivek

 

 

Trump MbS
https://twitter.com/i/status/1750703007052841381

 

 

 

 

“..Texas, and the nation, are just open to the wolves at the door who seek to destroy the border and America..”

What Happens In Texas Will Decide The Fate Of The Nation (Libby Emmons)

Texas has been doing the work the Biden administration refused to do: securing the US-Mexico border against invasion. They erected fencing only for Biden’s border minions to tear it down. They put buoy barriers in the river to stop people from crossing, but these, too, Biden’s border guards took down at his order. They even took the case to the Supreme Court to ask them to tell Texas to back off and let the illegal immigrants flood in. In a completely absurd ruling, the Supreme Court sided with Biden and said that federal officials may cut the wire barrier put up by Texas to protect their state and, in turn, the entire nation from invasion. It was a 5-4 ruling overturning a lower court ruling that Biden could, indeed, cut the razor wire. Conservative justices, including Amy Coney Barrett, ruled against the state in allowing the appeals court ruling to stand.

Texas is appealing, arguments will be heard February 7, there will be more lawfare between Texas and Biden, and for sure, the case is not closed. It’s possible that the Supreme Court is attempting to put power back in the hands of the legislatures, and not the courts or federal agencies, as they did with the Dobbs ruling, EPA v West Virginia, or as oral arguments indicated they may rule in the challenge to Chevron deference. But until then, Texas, and the nation, are just open to the wolves at the door who seek to destroy the border and America. Literally what the hell. After the Supreme Court vacated the injunction, saying only “The application to vacate injunction presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is granted,” Texas said no. By then, Texas National Guard had taken up a strong position at a major border crossing. They were keeping Biden’s border agents out and erecting more razor wire, which the White House said was “getting in the way,” which of course, for Texas, was the point.

Article IV, Section IV of the Constitution points out, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.” “Shall protect against invasion.” Those are the wise words used. Yet for Joe Biden and his handlers, the words mean nothing. The Supreme Court has deferred to a pending decision by a lower court. All entities but Texas abandoned their sacred duty to uphold the laws of the US. The US border is open and available for trespass.

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That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary..”

25 Republican Governors Back Texas In Standoff With Biden (RT)

A large group of Republican governors has issued a joint statement voicing “solidarity” with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his stepped-up border protections, accusing the White House of leaving the country “completely vulnerable” amid an influx of illegal migrants. Published on Thursday, the open letter was signed by 25 GOP governors across the country, with Vermont Governor Phil Scott the sole Republican to leave his signature off the message. The state leaders were highly critical of President Joe Biden, who they said had “attacked and sued Texas for stepping up to protect American citizens from historic levels of illegal immigrants, deadly drugs like fentanyl, and terrorists entering our country.”

“We stand in solidarity with our fellow Governor, Greg Abbott, and the State of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border,” the letter continued. “We do it in part because the Biden Administration is refusing to enforce immigration laws already on the books and is illegally allowing mass parole across America of migrants who entered our country illegally.” Abbott has been embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with Biden’s Justice Department over Texas’ efforts to stem the flow of illegal immigration into the US. The tensions were exacerbated by a Supreme Court ruling earlier this week which authorized federal Border Patrol agents to remove razor wire installed along the US-Mexico border by the Texas authorities. Abbott responded to the ruling by saying that Biden had “refused to enforce [immigration] laws and has even violated them.”

The Texas governor has likened the record-breaking migration numbers in recent years to an “invasion,” and invoked constitutional authorities for a state to defend itself against foreign incursions. “That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary. The Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other Texas personnel are acting on that authority, as well as state law, to secure the Texas border,” Abbott previously argued. The standoff with federal agencies came to a head earlier this month when Texas used state National Guard troops to block federal Border Patrol agents from accessing a 2.5-mile stretch along the border with Mexico. Following that incident, the case was brought before the Supreme Court, which ultimately decided in favor of the federal government.

Last month, Border Patrol reported 300,000 encounters with illegal immigrants, representing an all-time high. While House Republicans have similarly accused Biden of facilitating an “invasion,” the Democratic majority has countered that blocking entry to asylum seekers would be “cruel” and “inhumane.” As part of a border crackdown dubbed ‘Operation Lone Star’, Abbott has sought to build barriers along the border and detained around 500,000 illegal immigrants. Texas has also bused over 97,000 migrants that the federal authorities had allowed into the country to Democrat-run jurisdictions of New York City, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.

Texas
https://twitter.com/i/status/1750562978401792472

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“..wherever it appears, it brings disorder everywhere..”

China’s Defense Ministry: NATO is a ‘Walking War Machine’ Sowing Chaos (Sp.)

NATO is a walking war machine that brings chaos wherever it appears, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said at a briefing on Thursday. “We have drawn attention to inappropriate statements by the NATO Secretary General regarding China. As a regional military organization, NATO has launched and participated in wars since the very days of its inception,” Wu Qian said. He observed that over the past few years, the alliance has been steadily shifting its focus towards the Asia-Pacific region, employing the nonexistent “China threat” as a means to provoke bloc confrontation and endangering regional security “It should be said that NATO is a walking ‘war machine,’ and wherever it appears, it brings disorder everywhere,” he pointed out.

Wu Qian has called on NATO to cease their fabrication of lies and cease engaging in dangerous actions that disrupt the Asia-Pacific region, and to treat China, along with the Chinese armed forces and its development in an unbiased and rational manner. During the World Economic Forum in Davos, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that the US-led military bloc remains “regional” in nature and will continue to be so. Stoltenberg also engaged in classic blame game, stating that the Western bloc allegedly does not regard China as an adversary and does not wish to expand into Asia. “This is not about NATO moving into Asia, but instead about the fact that China is coming close to us,” he claimed.

South China Sea

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“And the fool responsible for this policy is running for reelection as president with the media’s and America’s elites’ support.”

The Western World: RIP (Paul Craig Roberts)

I have come to the depressing conclusion that the white ethnicities that constituted the nations of Western Civilization have degenerated into such insouciance and stupidity that they have no possibility of survival. They sit mindlessly in front of TV absorbing their brainwashing and indoctrination. They can’t pay their rent, mortgage or car payments, but they pay endlessly for care of immigrant-invaders who are overwhelming their communities with material needs. In the US, North Carolina, once a Southern state, now an immigrant staging ground, has given over its high schools to serve as immigrant-invader “resettlement areas.” To Hell with the North Carolina taxpayers. Immigrant-invaders’ rights preempt those of North Carolina taxpayers, whose majority white population, according to the narrative, consists of white supremacist racists exploiters. North Carolina has also, at taxpayers’ expense, built a campus for a “head’s start” program for children of immigrant invaders. The program takes over a former school property for NC American citizens.

Wherever you look, you see the US welcoming at citizens taxpayer expense endless burdens from immigrant-invaders permitted to walk unheeded across the border into the Tower of Babel that the US has become. According to leaks, RINO Republican Senators are preparing an immigration bill that would force America to accept 1.8 million immigrant-invaders each year. Amazing to watch white people destroy their own country. No one in America can do anything about it. Instead of stopping the invasion and over-running of the country, the US government commits endless American resources to defending the aggressively expansive borders of Israel and Ukraine, while Washington dismantles the barrier put in place to defend America’s borders. And the fool responsible for this policy is running for reelection as president with the media’s and America’s elites’ support.

In what remains of European ethnic countries, the director of the EU’s “border protection agency, Frontex,” Hans Leitjens, said that “nothing can stop immigrants.” What he means is that the EU will not stop immigrant-invaders from bringing the Camp of the Saints to all of Europe and perhaps to Russia as well, considering the weakness demonstrated by a government that could be ruling the world. The dumbshit Hans Leitjens, obviously a proponent of Western annihilation, says that opposition to being overrun by immigrant-invaders constitutes “xenophobia and prejudice.” There you have it. If white ethnicities attempt to prevent their overthrow by invaders, they are xenophobic and racist. How did so many white ethnicities get converted to a point of view that doesn’t serve them? This is what white people have learned to expect from “their” governments. Don’t you think it is strange that the world’s white ethnicities are prepared to commit lives and endless resources to protect the borders of Israel and Ukraine, but nothing to protect their own borders? How can people this totally stupid continue to exist?

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“..the garden isn’t growing “because its philosophy is not industrialization. Its philosophy is to make monopoly rents, meaning rents that you make in your sleep without producing value..”

Five Variables Defining Our Future (Pepe Escobar)

Losers Don’t Dictate Terms

1.The stalemate: That’s the new, obsessive US narrative on Ukraine – on steroids. Confronted with the upcoming, cosmic NATO humiliation in the battlefield, the White House and the State Dept. had to – literally – improvise. Moscow though is unfazed. The Kremlin has set the terms a long time ago: total surrender, and no Ukraine as part of NATO. To “negotiate”, from the Russia point of view, is to accept these terms.And if the deciding powers in Washington opt for turbo-charging the weaponization of Kiev, or to unleash “the most heinous provocations in order to change the course of events”, as asserted this week by the head of the SVR, Sergey Naryshkin, fine. The road ahead will be bloody. In case the usual suspects sideline popular Zaluzhny and install Budanov as the head of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the AFU will be under total control of the CIA – and not NATO generals, as it’s still the case.

This might prevent a military coup against the sweaty sweatshirt puppet in Kiev. Yet things will get much uglier. Ukraine will go Total Guerrilla, with only two objectives: to attack Russian civilians and civilian infrastructure. Moscow, of course, is fully aware of the dangers. Meanwhile, chatterbox overdrive in several latitudes suggest that NATO may even be getting ready for a partition of Ukraine. Whatever form that might take, losers do not dictate conditions: Russia does. As for EU politicos, predictably, they are in total panic, believing that after mopping up Ukraine, Russia will become even more of a “threat” to Europe. Nonsense. Not only Moscow couldn’t give a damn to what Europe “thinks”; the last thing Russia wants or needs is to annex Baltic or Eastern European hysteria. Moreover, even Jens Stoltenberg admitted “NATO sees no threat from Russia toward any of its territories.”

2.BRICS: Since the start of 2024, this is The Big Picture: the Russian presidency of BRICS+ – which translates as a particle accelerator towards multipolarity. The Russia-China strategic partnership will be increasing actual production, in several fields, while Europe plunges into depression, unleashed by the Perfect Storm of sanctions blowback against Russia and German de-industrialization. And it’s far from over, as Washington is also ordering Brussels to sanction China across the spectrum. As Prof. Michael Hudson frames it, we are right in the middle of “the whole split of the world and the turning towards China, Russia, Iran, BRICS”, united in “an attempt to reverse, undo, and roll back the whole colonial expansion that’s occurred over the last five centuries.” Or, as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov defined at the UN Security Council this process of BRICS leaving Western bullies behind, the changing world order is like “a playground scuffle – which the West is losing.”

3.The Lone Emperor: The “stalemate” – actually losing a war – is directly linked to its compensation: the Empire squeezing and shrinking a vassalized Europe. But even as you exercise nearly total control over all these relatively wealthy vassals, you lose the Global South, for good: if not all their leaders, certainly the overwhelming majority of public opinion. The icing in the toxic cake is to support a genocide followed by the whole planet in real time. Bye bye, soft power.

4.De-dollarization: All across the Global South, they did the math: if the Empire and its EU vassals can just steal over $300 billion in Russian foreign reserves – from a top nuclear/military power – they can do it to anyone, and they will. The key reason Saudi Arabia, now a BRICS 10 member, is being so meek on the genocide in Gaza is because their hefty US dollar reserves are hostage to the Hegemon. And yet the caravan moving away from the US dollar will only keep growing in 2024: that will depend on crucial crossover deliberations inside the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and BRICS 10.

5.Garden and jungle: What Putin and Xi have essentially been telling the Global South – including the energy-rich Arab world – is quite simple. If you want improved trade and economic growth, who’re you gonna link to? So we’re back to the “garden and jungle” syndrome – first coined by imperial Britain orientalist Rudyard Kipling. Both the British concept of “white man’s burden” and the American concept of “Manifest Destiny” derive from the “garden and jungle” metaphor. NATOstan, and hardly all of it, is supposed to be the garden. The Global South is the jungle. Michael Hudson again: as it stands, the jungle is growing, but the garden isn’t growing “because its philosophy is not industrialization. Its philosophy is to make monopoly rents, meaning rents that you make in your sleep without producing value. You just have a privilege of a right to collect money on a monopoly technology that you have.” The difference now, compared to all those decades ago of an imperial free lunch, is “an immense shift of technological advance”, away from North America and the US, to China, Russia and selected nodes across Asia.

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“..more than eight further countries reportedly joined the coalition, but demanded anonymity, given the potential political fallout from associating with Washington and Tel Aviv.”

How Gaza Is Impacting The Great Power Standoff (Sweidan)

In response to Yemen’s Ansarallah-aligned armed forces’ Red Sea blockade of Israeli-linked vessels, the US Department of Defense announced the formation of “Operation Guardian of Prosperity … to uphold the foundational principle of freedom of navigation” in those waters, initially consisting of a coalition of ten countries, most of them insignificant partners. The coalition proved shaky from the get-go, with only the US and Britain actively involved in military strikes on Yemen. The reluctance of key European countries France, Spain, and Italy to join the naval alliance indicated a growing skepticism among the US’s traditional partners — both western and West Asian — about Washington’s commitment and capability to defend its allies in any impactful way. Interestingly, more than eight further countries reportedly joined the coalition, but demanded anonymity, given the potential political fallout from associating with Washington and Tel Aviv.

Crucially, the Pentagon’s stated purpose of securing navigation in the Red Sea does not align with the actual threat presented, revealing ulterior motives behind US actions. The Yemenis have repeatedly confirmed that they only intend to inhibit the passage of Israeli-owned or destined vessels — and that all other ships are free to pass. In short, the US/UK-led coalition is acting as a naval arm for Israeli military forces, seeking specifically to ensure unimpeded access for ships heading to Israeli ports via the Bab al-Mandab Strait. That’s not a position many other states will get behind if they want to maintain freedom of transport for their own shipping vessels. Ultimately, the American show of force in these waterways seeks to consolidate US naval dominance, which war-torn Yemen, West Asia’s poorest country, has contested. As outlined in the National Security Strategy for 2022:

“The US “will not allow foreign or regional powers to jeopardize freedom of navigation through the Middle East’s (West Asia) waterways, including the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab al Mandab, nor tolerate efforts by any country to dominate another — or the region — through military buildups, incursions, or threats.” According to media reports following massive US airstrikes against Iraqi targets on 23 January, Iraqi resistance factions will now also follow Yemen’s suit by implementing a blockade of Israeli ports in the Mediterranean Sea. Current events are spiraling out of Washington’s control as onlookers increasingly question the utility and competence of US naval leadership in the world’s important waterways. Equally, there is recognition that other formidable forces and states have emerged, challenging US control over key global straits. In the words of British politician and writer Walter Raleigh, “Who rules the seas rules the world.” Under Sanaa’s watch, the US no longer can claim rule over the Red Sea or even its adjacent waterways.

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“So the key to solving the problem is in Washington before it is in Tel Aviv..”

Netanyahu Cannot Survive 10 Minutes Without US Support – Iran FM (Cradle)

During an interview with ABC News on 23 January, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian asserted that the key to ending Israel’s genocide campaign in Gaza and averting a wider regional conflict lies in the hands of US authorities. “If the US today stops its backing — logistical and weapons, political and media support — of the genocidal war launched by Israel, then I can assure you that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu will not survive for 10 minutes,” Iran’s top diplomat told ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz during. “So the key to solving the problem is in Washington before it is in Tel Aviv,” he said from New York on the sidelines of the UN Security Council meeting on West Asia. “The scope of the war has become wider. This means that the danger of having a wider war in the region has gone up,” Amir-Abdollahian added, blaming the US and Israel for escalating tensions across the region.

“Nobody is going to benefit from any war. We believe that the solution is never war,” the Iranian official stressed. When pressed by Raddatz about Iranian support for Yemen’s Ansarallah resistance movement, Amir-Abdollahian rejected the accusations, calling them “a TV show.” He later confirmed Iran’s full support for Hamas, saying the group is “a Palestinian liberation group that is standing against occupation.” “Of course, we never approved the killing of women and children, civilians anywhere in the world. We never support it,” he added when asked about the civilian casualties during Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on 7 October. During his visit to New York, Amir-Abdollahian met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss several topics, including ways to send humanitarian aid to the north and south of Gaza.

He also held talks with his French and Malaysian counterparts. “Today was an opportunity to talk and consult with some foreign ministers. The meeting and discussion with the foreign ministers of France and Malaysia both included positive, forward-looking, and constructive discussions, especially in bilateral areas”, Amir-Abdollahian noted. The Iranian foreign minister held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov as well, as the two reportedly agreed on the need for a swift ceasefire in Gaza and conditions for providing humanitarian assistance to civilians. “General concern was expressed about the tense situation in the Red Sea, which has sharply degraded,” a statement released by the Kremlin said.

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“..Israel has overriding interest in protecting its ‘rights’ to the territorial waters of Gaza, where there are rich gas fields offshore. Israel claims sole ownership of those territorial waters.”

Gaza War’s Financial Reason Mainstream Media Won’t Cover – Ray McGovern (Sp.)

Israel sees “a real economic interest” in Gaza, and that explains why no matter the extent of global outrage, Tel Aviv’s military campaign in the beleaguered enclave rages on, Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, told Sputnik. “The Israelis see a real economic interest in dominating Gaza. And that’s why, of course, [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has made it very clear: no, they have no intention of leaving Gaza. It’s going to be part of Israel unless they are faced down by people who think it important to defend the Palestinians, and will act to end that genocide that’s going on right now, and that our government, the United States, is not only enabling, but providing arms for and other political support,” McGovern said.

In late December, the Biden administration bypassed Congress and approved more weapons and munitions for Israel. The package was pushed through via an emergency determination and covered a sale worth $147.5 million, all the while amid Washington’s rhetorical calls for an end to civilian deaths. “On the economic side, which is all-important, of course, Israel has overriding interest in protecting its ‘rights’ to the territorial waters of Gaza, where there are rich gas fields offshore. Israel claims sole ownership of those territorial waters. And, there’s this design for an East Med pipeline which would permit Israel to export to Italy and elsewhere in the European Union the natural gas it has seized by military force from the Palestinians in Gaza. And that’s something that you really don’t see in the in the mainstream press here, do you?” the pundit queried.

“So genocide is genocide, and unless that stopped, Israel will not only profit from ‘additional security’ for a while, but will also profit from having a better ‘claim’ or a semi- or a quasi-legal claim to the waters off Gaza, which, as people know, are very rich in gas deposits,” McGovern stressed. [..] Looking ahead, McGovern suggested that “a lot will depend on the outcome of the genocide in Gaza, whether that’s allowed to continue or whether we [the United States] will finally say […] ‘No more arms until you stop the murder in Gaza.'”

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Cue US.

Iran ‘A Legitimate Target’ – Israel (RT)

Iran is now a “legitimate target” for Israeli attacks, Economy Minister Nir Barkat has told The Telegraph, raising fears of an armed conflict with Tehran. He also claimed that the war in Gaza is not being fought with enough aggression by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). “Iran is a legitimate target for Israel,” said Barkat. “They will not get away with it. The head of the snake is Tehran. “My recommendation is to adopt the strategy that President Kennedy used in the Cuban Missile Crisis. What he basically said then was, ‘A missile from Cuba will be answered with a missile to Moscow,’” the minister added, referring to the 1962 standoff between the US and the USSR.

Barkat’s rhetoric echoed a recent statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who blamed Iran for standing behind the militant groups in Gaza. He claimed that Israel was already carrying out direct attacks on Iran. “Iran is the head of the octopus and you see its tentacles all around from the Houthis to Hezbollah to Hamas,” said the prime minister. Israel claims that Iran was involved in plotting the October 7 attacks, when around 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 taken hostage in the surprise Hamas raid near Gaza. Israel retaliated by launching an aerial bombardment and ground operation against the Palestinian enclave, which has resulted in the deaths of around 25,000 people, according to local health officials. Iran has denied having any role in the Hamas assault on Israel, with Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani saying such accusations were “based on political reasons.”

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“..the Biden administration “won’t say this and it won’t be published by the media.”

Col. Macgregor Says at Least 400 Americans Died in Ukraine (Sp.)

Former Pentagon Adviser Col. Douglas Macgregor said Wednesday that at least 400 Americans have died in Ukraine and accused authorities of the United States of concealing this information. “Our friend [US Senator] Lindsey Graham said we should be so grateful no Americans have died in Ukraine. This is a Lie. We know that at least 400 Americans have died whether they are contractors or in uniform,” Macgregor said on X without saying where the number came from. Macgregor added that the Biden administration “won’t say this and it won’t be published by the media.” The former Pentagon official also believes that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “will end up in one of his mansions in Cyprus or Italy or possibly end up in Florida” when the Ukraine conflict is over, adding that “this whole thing is a scam and the Ukrainians have been exploited by the United States.”

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“We no longer have ammunition. We are allowed to fire only three shells a day..”

‘Suicide Mission’: Ukrainian Troops Reveal Dire Situation on Battlefield (Sp.)

Futile attempts to attack positions of Russia’s military have been likened to suicide missions by a Ukrainian soldier in an interview with Le Figaro. With Russia’s military continuing its probing offensive in the Kupyansk area in the Kharkov region, Ukraine’s troops have less and less ammunition to withstand the onslaught. It is like suicide, a senior sergeant of Ukraine’s Armed Forces by the name of Mikhail told a journalist from the French outlet. The Ukrainian Armed Forces, which have sustained tremendous casualties and hardware losses since the failed summer counteroffensive, have “nothing to fight back with,” according to the publication, and are forced to hide and run away as “Russian shells hit positions under 500 meters away from them.” “We no longer have ammunition. We are allowed to fire only three shells a day,” the Ukrainian soldier told a French journalist.

He claimed that while “rationed,” the shells might suffice to hold positions, but any attempts at attacking the Russian military are out of the question. The Ukrainian Armed Forces simply do not have the resources, he said.“If we want to go on the offensive in the spring, we will require more people, ammunition, F-16 fighters and SCALP cruise missiles. Going into an attack without air support is suicide,” the serviceman was quoted as saying. Another interviewed Ukrainian soldier, Senior Sergeant Sergey, added:“We’re running low on ammunition, but we’re holding out for now. We have at our disposal only 40% of the number of shells that we need. If the Russians launch a serious offensive here, we won’t last long.”The Ukrainian soldiers showed no enthusiasm about the prospective outcome of the battlefront clashes.“If we are asked to attack, we will attack. But it would be suicide. We don’t have enough people or ammunition,” the French outlet quotes the Ukrainian troops as saying, adding that they are “suffering colossal losses in manpower.”

Last year, in mid-December, the same expression, “suicide mission,” was used by Ukrainian Marines when describing an attempt to cross the Dnepr River, as quoted by The New York Times. Recently, Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said that the Pentagon is aware of the Ukrainian military’s concerns that they “do not have the stocks and the stores of ammunition that they require.” Referencing the stalemate in Congress regarding further aid for Kiev, Wallander added: “Without funding, we would not be able to match the pace that we have provided Ukraine with since the start of this conflict.”

Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder also acknowledged that the US Defense Department had put on “pause” sending additional weapons to Ukraine from its inventories “given the implications for our own military readiness.” “This of course prevents us from meeting the most urgent battlefield needs, to include things like artillery rounds,” Ryder said on January 23. In the wake of the botched Ukrainian counteroffensive, the Russian Armed Forces have been routinely knocking out Kiev’s NATO-grade weaponry, shredding the myth of the superiority of Western equipment to its Russian-made counterparts. Amid waning interest in aiding the corrupt regime of Volodymyr Zelensky, its Western allies have been disposing of outdated and ill-conditioned weapons by sending them to the Ukrainian military. Thus, after dozens of much-lauded Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBT) were decimated by Russia, due to its limitations, the West began dispatching “upgraded” Soviet-era T-72s to Kiev.

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“..Immediately afterwards, statements about the involvement of Kiev’s forces began to disappear from the Ukrainian internet..”

Why Did Ukraine Shoot Down An Aircraft Carrying Its Own Soldiers? (Poletaev)

On Wednesday, an Il-76 transport plane was downed in Russian airspace. It was reportedly carrying 65 Ukrainian POWs scheduled for a prisoner swap, escorted by three Russian military guards, as well as six crew members. All on board were killed. It seems the aircraft was destroyed by missiles launched from a US-supplied Patriot system. The incident prompts a critical question: What were the Ukrainian soldiers doing so far from their homeland that air transportation was necessary? The answer is simple: The POWs were initially held in the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, but then came a Ukrainian HIMARS attack on a prisoner camp in Olenovka near Volnovakha on July 29, 2022, killing 53 people. This seems to have been the reason for the transfer, aiming to distance the POWs from high-tech precision weapons systems provided to Kiev by NATO. Today, we can say with absolute certainty that this did not help. Ukraine has once again shown the world just how dangerous it can be for its own citizens.

What happened? Around noon on Wednesday, Moscow time (9am GMT), footage spread online depicting the crash on snow-covered fields. A distinctive church seen on video meant the location was soon identified as being near the village of Yablonovo, Korochansky District, in Belgorod Region. Almost immediately, Ukrainian Telegram channels, both anonymous and verified (such as Unian and Ukrainskaya Pravda), were inundated with posts citing sources close to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). These posts claimed that a) the plane was purportedly carrying missiles for Russia’s S-300 systems intended for use in attacks on Kharkov, and b) the downing was attributed to the Kiev’s actions. A short time later, the Russian Defense Ministry officially announced that 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers who were being transported to Belgorod for a prisoner exchange were on board the plane, along with six crew members and three guards.

Immediately afterwards, statements about the involvement of Kiev’s forces began to disappear from the Ukrainian internet, as well as any mention of the alleged cargo (missiles for the S-300 system). At 3pm Moscow time, the Russian Defense Ministry made an official announcement, stating that two Ukrainian missiles had been launched from the Liptsy suburb of Kharkov. The point of impact was approximately 100km away, a range well within the coverage of the AFU’s Patriot missiles of all modifications, including PAC-2 GEM-T and PAC-3 MSE. Concurrently, lists featuring the names of Ukrainian servicemen surfaced, which can be verified through the meticulous maintenance of Ukrainian POW databases by dedicated enthusiasts.

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“Countries that are permeated with Russophobic tendencies are dragging more and more military facilities, military equipment belonging to the alliance into their territory. This is, of course, a danger..”

West’s Anti-Russian Policy Now ‘At Its Peak’ – Peskov (TASS)

The West is going all out against Russia, as evidenced by the current holding of the largest-ever NATO exercise, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. “The strategy of deterring our country, of putting pressure on it, has not gone anywhere. Sometimes it escalates, sometimes it subsides. Now it is probably at its peak. Such exercises are the best proof of this,” he said on Channel One. Peskov pointed out that the West holds a very clear anti-Russian position, which is determined by NATO, while the alliance’s rhetoric “is determined across the ocean, in Washington.” The Kremlin spokesman was asked about the West’s policy in the context of today’s visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Kaliningrad Region.

Commenting on the situation in the region, Peskov noted that “Kaliningrad is an integral part of Russia,” and it is important for the authorities to keep the entire region’s life support system in a workable condition. “There are certainly dangers present, merely in strategic terms. You see what militaristic moods prevail now in Europe, in the neighboring Baltics and so on. Countries that are permeated with Russophobic tendencies are dragging more and more military facilities, military equipment belonging to the alliance into their territory. This is, of course, a danger; it requires additional measures to ensure that the security of our country is reliably ensured,” the presidential spokesman emphasized.

Todd

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“..by talking about a possible armed conflict with Russia European politicians are diverting the attention of residents of their countries from economic issues..”

EU Not Prepared For Potential Armed Conflict With Russia – Politico (TASS)

The European Union does not have the necessary defense potential to independently confront Russia without support from the United States in case of a potential armed conflict, the European version of the Politico newspaper wrote. “Europe is not only unprepared for [potential] war, it’s not preparing for war,” Banjamin Tallis from the German think tank DGAP said as quoted by the newspaper. Former US ambassador to Poland Daniel Fried shares this opinion. “The Europeans don’t have the capacity to defend,” Fried told Politico. The newspaper explains that since the end of the Cold War, the number of armed forces in EU countries has decreased by 2.5 times, from 3.4 million troops in 1989 to 1.3 million in 2022. Moreover, a number of countries have switched from the format of compulsory military service to military service under contract.

As a result, for example, the Belgian military is so short of ammunition and funding that soldiers will “have to throw stones” shortly after the start of any conflict, Politico points out, citing retired Belgian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Marc Thys. Without support from the United States, Europe is unable to resist Russia in the event of a potential armed conflict, the publication concludes. Statements by former US President Donald Trump about his intention to reduce the level of support from Washington towards European NATO allies raise alarm among officials of the community countries. Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that by talking about a possible armed conflict with Russia European politicians are diverting the attention of residents of their countries from economic issues. He noted that Europeans have always been inclined to search for an external enemy.

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When Eric Holder defies Congress: no problem.
When Peter Navarro defies Congress: jail.
When Hunter Biden defies Congress: no problem.
When Steve Bannon defies Congress: jail.

Trump Advisor Navarro Sentenced To Four Months For Ignoring J6 Subpoena (ZH)

Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was sentenced to four months in jail on Friday for ignoring a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee. The DOJ had sought six months in jail and a $200,000 fine. As we noted last week, Navarro was arrested at a DC airport in June of 2022 on two misdemeanor contempt of Congress charges for doing exactly what Obama AG Eric Holder did (with zero consequences), and more recently, Hunter Biden – ignore a Congressional subpoena when he told the Jan. 6 committee to pound sand. “The Defendant chose allegiance to former President Donald Trump over the rule of law,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Aloi in a 20-page sentencing memo submitted last Thursday night, Politico reported at the time.

Navarro was held in contempt in April of 2022 after he refused to provide documents and testimony to the Jan. 6 committee. A grand jury agreed with prosecutors that Navarro knew Trump hadn’t asserted executive privilege to bar him from testifying, and that even if Trump had – it wouldn’t have barred Navarro from testifying about certain non-covered subjects demanded by the Committee. “At no time did the Defendant provide the Committee with any evidence supporting his assertion that the former President had invoked executive privilege over the information the Committee’s subpoena sought from the Defendant, or otherwise challenge the Committee’s authority or composition,” wrote Aloi. “The Court was left with only the Defendant’s fan fiction version of what the Defendant wished or hoped the former President might have wanted but left unsaid.”

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After all his lies, how is he still in Congress? I genuinely don’t see how that works.

Adam Schiff A “Liar” Who Was “Censured” – Garvey (ZH)

While the 2024 presidential race dominates headlines, there are plenty of noteworthy happenings going on in Congressional contests. Case in point, former baseball great Steve Garvey (R-CA) just called Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) a liar over allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to rig the 2016 election. “I think you’ve been censured for lying,” the former athlete said to Schiff during a Monday night debate in Los Angeles. “And this is exactly what I’m talking about: career politicians who are trying to determine who we are by race or by color or by gender,” he continued. “They never listen. They have pre-arranged words to say.”

Schiff, who presided over Trump’s first impeachment, snarked back that he “was censured for standing up to a corrupt president” and “would do it all over again.” “That president has been indicted with … 91 felony counts — that president that you won’t refuse to support,” Schiff continued. “Yeah, he’s a danger. And I will stand up to him and [former House Speaker] Kevin McCarthy, and [Ohio GOP Rep.] Jim Jordan, and any of those MAGA enablers in Congress.” “You lied to 300 million people,” Garvey shot back, adding “You can’t take that back.”

As the NY Post notes: The California Democrat, who at the time of his allegations served as chair of the House Intelligence Committee, read portions of the now-debunked Steele dossier into the congressional record and said there was “ample evidence of collusion in plain sight.” “You honor me with your enmity. You flatter me with this falsehood,” Schiff following the floor vote. “Today I wear this partisan vote as a badge of honor, knowing that I have lived my oath.” Three independent federal investigations by special counsel Robert Mueller, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and special counsel John Durham later found no such evidence existed.

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RCMP=Royal Canadian Mounted Police, aka Mounties.

RCMP Offering Police $75,000 Benefit To Change Genders (CS)

Officers received a message from the RCMP’s Health Care Benefits team: “I am pleased to inform you that gender affirming care benefit provisions have been added to regular Member health benefits.” “Gender affirming care” is of course the term that refers to medical sex changes. It’s also used when describing giving puberty blockers to children who (perhaps temporarily) think they are in the wrong body, despite growing evidence that giving them such is harmful to their long-term health. The memo states that the substantial new benefit towards transgender-related medical intervention is part “of our ongoing commitment to creating a more modern, inclusive and representative workforce.”

“The benefit will be applicable for certain gender affirming procedures not covered by provincial/territorial health care plans to help individuals with their gender affirmation journey,” the memo states. The criteria for eligibility are specific: officers must be 18 or older, under doctor’s care for gender affirmation, have exhausted provincial coverage, and have undergone all medically necessary procedures as determined by a physician or nurse practitioner. Pre-approval is required via a gender affirmation request form. Effective retroactively to October 12, 2023, the policy aligns the RCMP with civilian members and Public Service employees who have been receiving similar benefits since July 2023.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

DDR

 

 

Pepsi

 

 

Elon predictions

 

 

 

 

Cheetah

 

 

Night Monkeys
https://twitter.com/i/status/1750537795196612668

 

 


It took Jason Stieva 15 months to make a 8 feet high, 7.5 feet long, and about 2.5 feet wide Ghost ship.

 

 


During the exceptionally cold winter of 1795, a French Hussar regiment captured the Dutch fleet on the frozen Zuiderzee, a bay to the northwest of the Netherlands. That was the only time in history when men on horseback captured a fleet of ships. Painting: Léon Morel-Fatio

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 232024
 
 January 23, 2024  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  45 Responses »


Salvador Dalí Dream, Caused by the Flight of a Bee (Around a Pomegranate, a Second Before Waking Up) 1944

 

Will War Result From The Ever Hesitant Putin? (Paul Craig Roberts)
The Four Horsemen of Gaza’s Apocalypse (Chris Hedges)
Netanyahu’s Shape-Shifting ‘Endgame’ (Alastair Crooke)
Russia’s Push for Palestinian State Can Stop Endless ‘Loop’ of Violence (Sp.)
US Sees Ukraine As A ‘Lucrative Business Project’ – Lavrov (RT)
US Forming ‘Colonial Administration’ In Ukraine – Russian Spy Chief (RT)
Ukraine Must Give Up Territory – Fico (RT)
Zelensky Brands Parts Of Russia ‘Historically’ Ukrainian (RT)
Medvedev Denounces Zelensky’s ‘Territorial Claims’ To Russia (RT)
AfD Leader Calls for German ‘Dexit’ Vote to Break From EU (Sp.)
Russian Attack On Nato In 2044 (Zlatko)
DOJ Seeking Retribution Against Journalist for Recent Jan. 6 Coverage (ET)
The Pipe-Bomb Caper (Kunstler)
Dutch Queen Promotes Digital ID at Davos (Martin Armstrong)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker Hunter

 

 

Biden inflation

 

 

 

 

RFK autism + allergy

 

 

Tucker Catturd

 

 

 

 

Stop counting

The People’s Pundit: But that’s only half the story. The other half, is that they were lying. They actually continued to add to the totals between midnight and 3AM.

 

 

 

 

“The failure to confront Russia’s enemies with defeats means the pressure against Russia, the ongoing provocations, and the humiliations inflicted will continue until Russia is forced into war.”

Will War Result From The Ever Hesitant Putin? (Paul Craig Roberts)

I have often expressed my concern that the lack of proactive action by Putin, Xi, and Iran was maximizing the expansion of Israeli and US aggression in the Middle East and leading to a dangerous confrontation and outbreak of nuclear war. It is the purpose of Israel and Washington to attack Iran. That is what the Israeli-Hamas-Hezbollah-Washington-Houthis conflict is about. It is an entirely simple matter for Russia, China, and Iran to prevent any expansion of Israel’s war against Palestine. All they have to do is to announce a mutual defense treaty: An attack on one is an attack on all. But proactive action does not seem to be in the skill set of Washington’s targeted enemies. With the single exception of Putin’s intervention in Syria to prevent Obama’s invasion, Putin has proved to be ever hesitant about taking control of the situation. It took him eight years to abandon his delusion about the Minsk Agreement. When he finally realized that he had been taken for a ride, the Russian military was not prepared for the level of violence required. Consequently a war that Russia should have won in a few days is two years old and continuing.

From my experience with the liberal Russian intelligentsia, I would say that their program is surrender to Washington. They would rather be invited as visiting professors to Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, and to serve as consultants to American corporations than to be in conflict with the West. As Putin seems to believe toleration of subversion is a sign of democracy, he could have been prevented from required action by pressure to prove that he is not, as the entirety of the West proclaims, a dictator. Putin would have saved many lives by ignoring the propaganda of his enemies and being more forceful in Russia’s defense. But now Putin is showing more awareness of what needs to be done. News reports which I saw in the Indian press, not in the American whore media, a collection of paid liars, say that, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, Russia and Iran are finalizing a pact stressing their commitment to fundamental principles of Russian-Iranian relations, including unconditional respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In a way this is good news. It indicates that Putin has finally realized that left unprotected, Iran is vulnerable, and if Iran goes, Washington has a direct entry to send “jihadists” into the Russian Federation and the former Soviet central Asian republics. But once again, like with the nonsensical “Minsk Agreement,” Putin has made an error. The pact has been announced before it goes into effect. It is unclear when this acknowledgement of mutual association is to be finalized. So the message to Washington and Israel is to attack Iran now before the agreement goes into effect. There is risk that this will happen. By trying to avoid the expansion of conflict in the Middle East, when conflict is Washington’s and Israel’s intention, Putin by his non-intervention, has given a green light for the expansion of conflict.

Moreover, the Russian-Iranian pact does not seem to be, except, by implication, a mutual defense pact. You can bet that Victoria Nuland and Israel’s American neoconservative agents who control US foreign policy will try to strike Iran before the pact is is in effect or they will argue that it is not a mutual defense agreement. It seems that Russia, China, Iran, and Israel’s Muslim enemies think that words count when nothing but action counts. In the West words are meaningless. Only actions count. And Russia’s are missing. Now, let me back off a bit. There are other indications of progress toward an environment less able to be turned into war by Washington. China had the foresight to broker a peace deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This was a fundamental blow to Washington. This rapprochement, if it holds against Washington’s counter offer, has expanded Putin’s organization BRICS to include Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. This gives new meaning to Saudi Arabia’s abandonment of the petro-dollar.

There is even a potential good sign on Russia’s part. Russia has announced air patrols over the Syrian Golan border with Israel. Putin prevented Washington’s invasion of Assad’s Syria but then went soft. Putin has left the Syrian oil fields in Washington’s hands. Putin has permitted both Israel and the US to conduct air and missile attacks on Syrian territory, apparently preventing Syria from using the Russian-supplied S-300 air defense system to protect Syrian territory. It remains to be seen if this means anything. The Russians have been sufficiently weakened by Western influence that they now have, associated with the Defense Ministry a “Center for Reconciliation.” This center says the air patrols are just for monitoring. In other words, there will be no military intervention, so it is largely meaningless. The failure to confront Russia’s enemies with defeats means the pressure against Russia, the ongoing provocations, and the humiliations inflicted will continue until Russia is forced into war.

There is a great deal of talk about American over-extension, outmoded weapon systems, excessive debt, inability to recruit for the military, etc., most of which is true. But the neoconservatives in control are still full of confidence, and this confidence is ever encouraged by Putin’s lack of decisive action. The war that is shaping up appears to be unavoidable. I know that it seems arrogant, egocentric, and self-glorifying to appear to be giving advice to Putin. But that is not what I am doing. I am describing a situation. To preclude a US/Israeli attack on Iran, there needs to be a Russia-China-Iran alliance which probably should include Turkey. Right NOW Iran needs the highly effective Russian air defense systems and, if Iran doesn’t have them, the hypersonic Russian long distance offensive missiles. Putin showed a strategic side when he committed the Russian Air Force to Syria’s defense, thus blocking Syria’s invasion by Obama. But he was very late getting into the game, almost too late. The multipolar world that Putin is always talking about cannot materialize without a Russian-Chinese-Iranian mutual defense treaty. Without more strategic vision and action on the part of Russia and China, war is unavoidable.

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“Joe Biden’s inner circle of strategists for the Middle East — Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan and Brett McGurk..”

The Four Horsemen of Gaza’s Apocalypse (Chris Hedges)

Joe Biden’s inner circle of strategists for the Middle East — Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan and Brett McGurk — have little understanding of the Muslim world and a deep animus towards Islamic resistance movements. They see Europe, the United States and Israel as involved in a clash of civilizations between the enlightened West and a barbaric Middle East. They believe that violence can bend Palestinians and other Arabs to their will. They champion the overwhelming firepower of the U.S. and Israeli military as the key to regional stability — an illusion that fuels the flames of regional war and perpetuates the genocide in Gaza.

In short, these four men are grossly incompetent. They join the club of other clueless leaders, such as those who waltzed into the suicidal slaughter of World War One, waded into the quagmire of Vietnam or who orchestrated the series of recent military debacles in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine. They are endowed with the presumptive power vested in the Executive Branch to bypass Congress, to provide weapons to Israel and carry out military strikes in Yemen and Iraq. This inner circle of true believers dismiss the more nuanced and informed counsels in the State Department and the intelligence communities, who view the refusal of the Biden administration to pressure Israel to halt the ongoing genocide as ill-advised and dangerous.

Biden has always been an ardent militarist — he was calling for war with Iraq five years before the U.S. invaded. He built his political career by catering to the distaste of the white middle class for the popular movements, including the anti-war and civil rights movements, that convulsed the country in the 1960s and 1970s. He is a Republican masquerading as a Democrat. He joined Southern segregationists to oppose bringing Black students into Whites-only schools. He opposed federal funding for abortions and supported a constitutional amendment allowing states to restrict abortions. He attacked President George H. W. Bush in 1989 for being too soft in the “war on drugs.” He was one of the architects of the 1994 crime bill and a raft of other draconian laws that more than doubled the U.S. prison population, militarized the police and pushed through drug laws that saw people incarcerated for life without parole. He supported the North American Free Trade Agreement, the greatest betrayal of the working class since the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act. He has always been a strident defender of Israel, bragging that he did more fundraisers for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) than any other Senator.

“As many of you heard me say before, were there no Israel, America would have to invent one. We’d have to invent one because… you protect our interests like we protect yours,” Biden said in 2015, to an audience that included the Israeli ambassador, at the 67th Annual Israeli Independence Day Celebration in Washington D.C. During the same speech he said, “The truth of the matter is we need you. The world needs you. Imagine what it would say about humanity and the future of the 21st century if Israel were not sustained, vibrant and free.” The year before Biden gave a gushing eulogy for Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli prime minister and general who was implicated in massacres of Palestinians, Lebanese and others in Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon — as well as Egyptian prisoners of war — going back to the 1950s. He described Sharon as “part of one of the most remarkable founding generations in the history not of this nation, but of any nation.”

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“Israel’s only answer (to the issue of how to maintain Zionism) was to keep the State’s borders undefined – whilst holding on to scarce water and land resources..”

Netanyahu’s Shape-Shifting ‘Endgame’ (Alastair Crooke)

The late Ariel Sharon, a long-time Israeli military and political leader, once confided to his close friend Uri Dan that, “the Arabs had never genuinely accepted the presence of Israel … and so, a two-state solution was not possible – nor even desirable”. In the minds of these two – as well as for most Israelis today – is the ‘Gordian Knot’ that sits at the heart of Zionism: How to maintain differential rights over a physical terrain that includes a large Palestinian population. Israeli leaders believed that in Sharon’s unconventional approach of ‘spatial ambiguity’, Israel was close to evolving a solution to the conundrum of managing differential rights within a Zionist majority state, which includes substantial minorities. Palestinians, many Israelis believed (until recently), were being successfully contained in a striated political and physical space – and were even being “disappeared” from significance – only for Hamas, on 7 October, to blow apart that whole elaborate paradigm.

This event has triggered a widespread and existential fear that the Zionist project could possibly implode, were its Zionist exceptionalist foundations to be rejected by a wide resistance ready to take the issue to war. U.S. journalist Steve Inskeep’s recent piece – Israel’s Lack of Strategy is the Strategy – brings into focus the seeming paradox: That whilst Netanyahu is very clear about that which he does not want, he at the same time remains obstinately opaque about what he does want as a future for Palestinians living on a shared terrain. For those who think that Middle East peace might (or should) be Netanyahu’s goal, this opacity appears as a serious ‘flaw’ to resolving the Gaza crisis. However, if Netanyahu (backed by his cabinet, and a majority of Israelis) offers no strategy for peace with the Palestinians, then perhaps its omission is not ‘a bug’, but is its feature.

To understand the underlying oxymoron, you have to grasp why Ariel Sharon and Uri Dan ‘said what they said’, and understand how Sharon’s military experience from the 1973 War effectively has shaped the entire Palestinian paradigm. In 2011, I wrote a piece in Foreign Policy which postulated that Sharon’s notion of Palestinian Permanent Ambiguity was – and has been – the Zionists’ principle answer to how to bypass the paradox inherent within Zionism. Thirty years later, it still lurks in all of Netanyahu’s (and Israeli leaders across the political spectrum’s) recent pronouncements. Even in 2008, Foreign Minister (and lawyer), Tzipi Livni, was spelling out why “Israel’s only answer (to the issue of how to maintain Zionism) was to keep the State’s borders undefined – whilst holding on to scarce water and land resources – leaving Palestinians in a state of permanent uncertainty, dependent on Israeli goodwill”.

And I noted in a separate piece: “Livni was saying that she wanted Israel to be a Zionist state – based on the Law of Return and open to any Jew. However, to secure such a state in a country with very limited territory – means that land and water must be kept under Jewish control, with differential rights for Jews and non-Jews – rights that affect everything, from housing and access to land, to jobs, subsidies, marriages and migration”. A two-state solution inherently therefore, did not solve the problem of how to maintain Zionism; rather, it compounded it. The inevitable demand for full equal rights for Palestinians would bring the end of Jewish ‘special rights’, and of Zionism itself, Livni argued – a threat with which most Zionists concur. Sharon’s answer to this ultimate paradox, however, was different: Sharon had an alternative plan for managing a large non-Jewish ‘out-group’, physically present within a Zionist State of differentiated rights. Sharon’s alternative amounted to frustrating a two-state solution within fixed borders.

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“Without the establishment of a Palestinian state, there can be not reliable security for Israel,” Lavrov said.”

Russia’s Push for Palestinian State Can Stop Endless ‘Loop’ of Violence (Sp.)

A lasting resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli crisis is the keystone to regional stability, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. “The main focus of efforts should be the creation of a Palestinian state in full compliance with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. The state described in these decisions would be competent and would exist in security and good neighborliness side by side with Israel and other countries in the region,” Lavrov said, speaking at a press conference on the results of Russian diplomacy in 2023 on Thursday. “Without the establishment of a Palestinian state, the Palestinian people will continue to feel disadvantaged and disenfranchised. Generation after generation of young Palestinians will fell this injustice and pass it on to their children. This must end through the creation of a Palestinian state. I hope that the Israeli leadership will eventually come to this conclusion…Without the establishment of a Palestinian state, there can be not reliable security for Israel,” Lavrov said.

The foreign minister announced plans to address the United Nations Security Council next Tuesday to discuss how the crisis in the Middle East can be resolved through “collective efforts,” in place of current attempts by the United States to “advance its agenda around the world.” “Perhaps our Western colleagues should learn some life lessons. And the countries of the region must insist that they are the ones who live here, and that for them, the security of all states [in the region] is of decisive importance to them. No one wants to prohibit advice from the outside, but the final decisions should be made by regional countries themselves,” Lavrov stressed. The creation of a Palestinian state is the “dream” of the Arab and Muslim World, and Russia’s position on the Palestinian-Israeli crisis indicates a very good understanding of the Middle East, says Riyadh-based political analyst Dr. Ahmed Al Ibrahim.

Russia’s position on Palestinian statehood is “going to be very well-received,” Al Ibrahim told Sputnik. “It’s going to cause stability. It’s going to give a lot of ground for the foreign policy of Russia to integrate here in the Muslim-Arab World. If Russia succeeded in that, then Russia has solved the most crucial thing in the history of this region by aligning Israel and Palestine to be together next [to each other]. And they’re going to win the hearts and the minds of the Arab and the Muslim World.” Attempts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have been spearheaded by the United States for some seven decades, Al Ibrahim recalled, noting that in all this time “nothing happened except destruction for the Palestinian land, and more expansion, more settlers taking lands.”

“Definitely the whole world would welcome Russia and the BRICS members to be mediating this. But the solution is going to be very hard. Russia and the BRICS members [would] have to coordinate with the United States and with Britain because they are the majority stakeholders of this file, in order to yank it from them and do something on the ground,” the political analyst noted. Otherwise, unless a genuine, multilateral effort is launched to establish Palestinian statehood, the cycle of violence being seen today will continue indefinitely, Al Ibrahim believes. “The real core of the problem is in the deep mind and the deep state of the Israelis,” Al Ibrahim stressed. “Do they want a two-state solution?

We still see at the Knesset, when you enter the building, a big map – a big Israeli state from the [Jordan] River to the Sinai. If this is the creed of the Israelis, then there is no point of anybody mediating and Israel needs to work within themselves in order to come up an evolution to change their mindset and work to have a peaceful neighboring country with the Arab World supporting them. By reaching that, Israel is going to gain a lot by normalizing relationships with many Arab and Muslim countries,” he emphasized. “But if they’re going to play the cat and mouse game, you know, ‘I say something and I do something else on the ground,’ this is not going to work,” Al Ibrahim said, saying Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Arab countries and the Muslim World in general are too smart to be tricked by such deception.

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“..not as a war that has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives … but as a profitable business project.”

US Sees Ukraine As A ‘Lucrative Business Project’ – Lavrov (RT)

Recent statements from the US suggest it regards Ukraine as nothing but a “lucrative business project,” one that it is profiting from, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the UN Security Council on Monday. The minister was referring to earlier statements made by US State Secretary Antony Blinken. Last month, the top US diplomat claimed that 90% of the money allocated for Ukrainian aid ends up getting funneled back to the US “to the benefit of American business, local communities, and strengthening the US defense industrial base.” In November 2023, the Washington Post also reported that the majority of these funds were spent on manufacturing new weapons or replacing the equipment sent to Ukraine out of American stockpiles.

The US is essentially “developing its military industrial” complex while “dumping the old junk in Ukraine,” Lavrov said. Russia’s top diplomat also claimed that most major Ukrainian companies, including lithium producers, are being sold to Americans and US companies have been able to get their hands on Ukraine’s fertile land “on the cheap.” Lavrov denounced the statements made by US officials as “cynical” and said that Washington has been treating the ongoing conflict “not as a war that has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives … but as a profitable business project.” Moscow is waging a military campaign not against Ukraine but against “a criminal regime, presumptuous in its impunity,” he declared.

Kiev has not forgone on the “war against its own citizens in the east and south” despite years-long efforts by Moscow to find a peaceful solution to this crisis, he explained, adding that over 7 million Ukrainians had found refuge in Russia since the 2014 Maidan coup. Kiev’s Western backers have never tried to stop the government from persecuting Russian-speaking Ukrainians, the minister said, accusing the US and its allies of using the past few years to “arm Ukraine and prepare it for war against Russia,” while using the Minsk Agreements as a cover. Russia is ready for talks on Ukraine but it is not willing to discuss ways to keep Kiev’s current government in power, Moscow’s top diplomat concluded.

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“Zelensky realizes that the damaging data that the Americans have is capable of destroying him as president. In this situation, he’ll continue to dance to the tune of his American masters..”

US Forming ‘Colonial Administration’ In Ukraine – Russian Spy Chief (RT)

Washington has begun creating “a colonial administration” in Ukraine consisting of local politicians who have sworn allegiance to the US, the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has said. The US government has demanded that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky “remove” dozens of high-ranking officials, whom Washington no longer trusts, from their posts under various pretexts, Sergey Naryshkin claimed on Monday. Washington wants those jobs to be filled by “Ukrainians trained in the West, who have sworn allegiance to American interests,” he said in comments cited by the SVR press service. “As part of the policy of total vassalization of Ukraine, the US has started forming what is essentially a colonial administration in that country,” the spy chief stated.

According to Naryshkin, the required changes in the Ukrainian government were relayed to Zelensky during his visit to Washington in December. “The Americans are pushing for Ukrainian ambassador to Washington Oksana Markarova, who received her education at Indiana University Bloomington, to take the post of prime minister. The deputy head of the Finance Ministry, Alexander Kava, who studied at Harvard University, is being suggested for the job of finance minister. The current deputy head of the Economy Ministry, Taras Kachka, a graduate of Poland’s National School of Public Administration (KSAP), is recommended for the post of economy minister,” he said. The latest high-profile change in the Ukrainian cabinet follows the pattern described by Naryshkin. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, who replaced Zelensky’s ally Aleksey Reznikov in the job last fall, used to participate in the Future Leaders Exchange program, funded by the US State Department.

The Biden administration, which is in possession of a “killer corruption dossier” on members of Zelenksy’s inner circle, is threatening to make this information public if Ukrainian leader refuses to greenlight the desired personnel decisions, the spy chief claimed. “Zelensky realizes that the damaging data that the Americans have is capable of destroying him as president. In this situation, he’ll continue to dance to the tune of his American masters,” Naryshkin predicted. The US, which has provided Zelensky’s government with $111 billion in military and economic assistance since the start of the conflict with Russia, already has advisers embedded in all key Ukrainian ministries, but Washington believes this is not enough and is “steadily increasing Kiev’s feudal dependence,” Naryshkin said.

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“What are [the Ukrainians] waiting for? That the Russians will leave Donbass and Lugansk, or that they will leave Crimea? It’s unrealistic,” Fico insisted.”

Ukraine Must Give Up Territory – Fico (RT)

Ukraine should concede the loss of some of the territories that were previously under its control in order to end the conflict with Russia, Slovakia’s prime minister Robert Fico has said. Fico made the statement during a weekend interview with broadcaster RTVS dedicated to his upcoming visit to Ukraine. The Slovak PM is scheduled to travel on Wednesday to Uzhgorod, a city near the border between the two countries, for a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Denis Shmygal. The ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev can’t be resolved through military means and should end in compromise that might be “painful for both sides,” he said. “What are [the Ukrainians] waiting for? That the Russians will leave Donbass and Lugansk, or that they will leave Crimea? It’s unrealistic,” Fico insisted.

The People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk were officially incorporated into the Russian state in the fall of 2022, together the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, as a result of referendums held in those areas. Crimea has been a part of Russia since 2014. The continuation of the fighting that has been underway since February 2022 will only make Moscow stronger, Fico added. The Slovak premier also said Ukraine was “not a sovereign, independent country” due to it being “under the absolute influence of the US.” He criticized the EU for making “a huge mistake” of following Washington’s lead when it comes to dealing with Kiev, instead of developing its own “sovereign” view on the issue. As for his talks this week with Shmygal, Fico promised to tell his Ukrainian counterpart that he’s against Kiev’s membership in NATO, as that would be “exactly the basis of World War Three,” and to reiterate that President Vladimir Zelensky’s government won’t be getting any more weapons from Bratislava.

The prime minister’s interview caused angry reaction in Kiev, with the head of the Ukrainian parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Aleksandr Merezhko demanded that Fico’s trip to Ukraine be canceled for his “disgraceful statements” that crossed “the red line.” “Every country should have at least minimal self-respect. It’s absolutely unacceptable to pretend that nothing is happening when the leader of another state makes statements that question the sovereignty of a state” that he’s about to visit, Merezhko wrote on Facebook. Fico made a comeback as Slovakia’s prime minister in October after his party won the snap election in the EU country, campaigning on promises of, among other measures, cutting military aid to Kiev and improving ties with Moscow.

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The MO: crazy claims.

Zelensky Brands Parts Of Russia ‘Historically’ Ukrainian (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky declared six Russian regions to be “historically inhabited by Ukrainians” in a decree published on Monday. The list does not include any of the territory that Kiev claims sovereignty over in the ongoing conflict with Moscow, and focuses on globally recognized parts of Russia. The document includes Bryansk, Kursk, and Belgorod regions, all of which border Ukraine. It also lists Voronezh, Rostov, and Krasnodar regions, all of which bordered Ukraine before 2014, when Crimea decided to join Russia in a referendum and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics declared independence from Kiev. Zelensky claimed the population of these territories had been subjected to “the policy of forced Russification,” and ordered the government in Kiev to develop “an action plan” to “preserve” Ukrainian “national identity” in Russia.

The decree calls on Russia to “provide Ukrainians living in its territories” with access to education in the Ukrainian language, as well as access to Ukrainian-language mass media and special “civil, social, cultural, and religious rights.” Moscow has never imposed any restrictions on the Ukrainian language. Russia’s education minister, Sergey Kravtsov, said in July 2022 that “no one was banning” it, and that it would be taught in schools where necessary. Zelensky’s decree also tasks the Ukrainian government and the National Security and Defense Council with “collecting and studying facts and testimonies about crimes” supposedly committed against Ukrainians in Russia throughout its history, as well as “countering disinformation and propaganda” about Ukrainian history, allegedly spread by Moscow.

The president also instructed the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences to “prepare materials” on the “thousand-year-old history” of Ukraine and distribute them around the world. The country’s educational programs and textbooks should also contain “the true history of ethnic Ukrainians,” Zelensky added. The Russian regions mentioned in the decree have repeatedly been targeted by Ukrainian missile and drone attacks as well as shelling since the start of hostilities with Moscow in February 2022. Zelensky’s decree comes just weeks after Kiev launched a major attack on the city of Belgorod. The strike, which according to the Russian Defense Ministry involved the use of banned cluster munitions, claimed the lives of 25 people, including children, and left more than a hundred injured. In mid-January, a child was injured in a Ukrainian drone attack on the city of Voronezh – the capital of another region Zelensky claimed was “historically inhabited by Ukrainians.”

The developments come amid Kiev’s attempts to ban the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) – the country’s biggest Christian denomination, which is reported to have more than 8,000 parishes. The Ukrainian government has long accused it of having ties with the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated that Ukraine in its pre-2014 borders was largely “created” by the Soviet leadership over the course of the 20th century. Historically, “Ukrainian lands” included a much smaller territory, he has argued. When the Cossacks living on the territory of modern Ukraine broke away from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 17th century following the Bogdan Khmelnitsky uprising and asked the then-Tsardom of Russia to take them in, the territory they controlled effectively amounted to present-day Kiev, Chernigov, and Zhitomir regions – three areas in the north of Ukraine, the Russian president said in 2022.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1749432104612405410

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“Medvedev dismissed the decree as a “crude PR stunt” aimed at drawing public attention away from the Ukrainian forces’ failures on the front lines..”

Medvedev Denounces Zelensky’s ‘Territorial Claims’ To Russia (RT)

The latest decree by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky essentially amounts to “territorial claims” on sovereign Russian regions, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday. Posting on Telegram, he was referring to a document declaring six Russian regions to be “historically inhabited by Ukrainians.” Signed on Monday, Ukraine’s Day of Unity, the presidential decree claims that six territories that are universally recognized as a part of Russia – the Krasnodar, Rostov, Voronezh, Belgorod, Kursk and Bryansk regions – had been “historically” populated by “ethnic Ukrainians” that were then supposedly subjected to “forced Russification.” The document then orders the Kiev government to develop an “action plan” to “preserve” the Ukrainian national identity in Russia and demands the “true history” of Ukraine be made known to the “world.”

It also demands Russia provide people living in these regions with access to Ukrainian-language mass media and to some special “civil, social, cultural and religious rights.” Medvedev dismissed the decree as a “crude PR stunt” aimed at drawing public attention away from the Ukrainian forces’ failures on the front lines. He also said there was even no need to comment on the contents of the order, since the territories mentioned in it have always been part of Russia. The former president (2008-2012) also said it was high time Zelensky “stopped” such policies and abandoned them, or he might end up “annexing Canada in the near future.” Zelensky himself described signing the decree as a way to promote “truth about Ukrainians… and their history.” He also claimed that it was aimed at “restoring the truth about the historical past for the Ukrainian future.”

The Russian regions mentioned in the decree have been regularly subjected to drone and missile attacks as well as shelling by the Ukrainian troops. In December, Belgorod – the capital of one of the regions supposedly “historically inhabited by Ukrainians” – was struck by a major Ukrainian attack. The strike claimed the lives of 25 people, including children. The Russian Defense Ministry also said that Kiev’s forces used banned cluster munitions in an attack targeting the city center just a day before New Year’s Eve celebrations.

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Scholz will try to ban the AfD.

AfD Leader Calls for German ‘Dexit’ Vote to Break From EU (Sp.)

The Alternative for Germany party promotes direct voting on legislation and strict immigration controls. It was the subject of nationwide protests last week after some of its members were spotted at a meeting that advocated for mass deportation of immigrants in Germany, including those with German passports. Britain was “dead right” to leave the European Union and Germany should consider its own “Dexit,” the leader of the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) Alice Weidel said in an article published in US media on Monday. “If reform isn’t possible, if we fail to rebuild sovereignty of the EU member states, we should let the people decide, just as Britain did,” she said, adding that “we could have a referendum on ‘Dexit’ – a German exit from the EU.”

A recent poll found that only 45% of AfD members would currently vote to leave the EU and only 10% of the general population said they would. It is worth noting that opinions can shift rapidly. In late 2014, only 36% of Britons said they would support the UK leaving the EU; less than two years later, more than half voted for “Brexit.” The AfD is leading the polls in five East German states and is polling second nationally at 22%. The party hopes to make gains at both the European Parliamentary elections in June and the regional elections in September. However, AfD’s high polling numbers may not reflect how much power the party will have in the near term. Establishment parties, including conservative-leaning ones, have ruled out forming a coalition with the AfD, limiting its potential power.

Weidel admitted that the issue will limit her party’s power in the short term but believes the “firewall” will not last forever, pointing to the conservative establishment CDU party, which includes former chancellor Angela Merkel, as the first likely to break. “The CDU will not be able to maintain its firewall in the long term,” Weidel said. She added that the last year proved “that we can form a clear right-wing majority. And the CDU can’t refuse to accept that in the long term, especially in the eastern states.” Weidel admitted her party is unlikely to take control until 2029 at the earliest. It is currently polling only behind the CDU but is ahead of every other party, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s three coalition parties.

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X thread. War games.

Russian Attack On Nato In 2044 (Zlatko)

Europe is being frightened by the “scenario of a Russian attack on NATO” in 2044. Former US commander Hodges and defense analyst Sam Cranny-Evans put together “their” scenario: “This is not about Russia trying to take over all of NATO. This is not what their goal will be in 20 years. It would be about destroying NATO as an alliance by invading the eastern flank and conquering critical places – like the Arctic – that would benefit them,” General Hodges said. In their opinion, everything will begin with cyber attacks on transport chains, after which a missile attack will be launched on key infrastructure facilities in Europe.

The ground operation will begin in Finland, where tanks controlled by artificial intelligence will “enter.” At the same time, the Suwalki corridor will be taken under control and the Baltic countries will be attacked. The Russian Navy, as planned by Hodges, will take control of the Arctic regions. “There is even the possibility of some kind of conflict in space, where satellites are used to attack each other or jam satellites, which has already been done at a lower level in Ukraine,” Cranny-Evans added. Ostashko reports.

The best take on this, from a commenter:

Then aliens will come down and mate with all the women in Sweden, Orcs will invade France and steal all the wine, and Zelensky will have run off with Von Der Layen and fathered 20 children……..

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“..events described under oath by two Capitol Police officers in the first Oath Keepers trial in 2022 could not have happened, based on Mr. Baker’s examination of security video..”

DOJ Seeking Retribution Against Journalist for Recent Jan. 6 Coverage (ET)

Attorneys for a journalist threatened with prosecution for being at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are challenging federal prosecutors to try his case outside the District of Columbia, suggesting prosecutors are seeking retribution for his recent reporting on possible Capitol Police perjury and the Jan. 6 pipe bombs. Six attorneys who said they volunteered to represent Stephen Baker of Raleigh, N.C., released a statement on Jan. 22 expressing belief that the DOJ is seeking even more serious Jan. 6 charges as retaliation. Mr. Baker, a former independent journalist, now writes for Blaze Media. “We now have information that Steve’s reporting has so agitated officials in multiple federal agencies that an effort is now underway to find a basis to charge Steve with more serious crimes and to use those more serious crimes as a pretext for early morning raids to execute search and arrest warrants on him and his family,” the statement read.

“If this is true, and search and arrest warrants are used to drag Steve out of his house in the early morning hours someday soon, that will be evidence of retaliation against a journalist exercising his First Amendment rights to report information that is embarrassing to government officials.” The statement is signed by five well-known Jan. 6 defense attorneys: James Lee Bright, Brad Geyer, Phillip Linder, William Shipley, and Edward Tarpley Jr. It was also signed by Mr. Baker’s Raleigh-based attorney, Matthew Ceradini. Mr. Geyer and Mr. Shipley were federal prosecutors for more than two decades. “After not having indicted me for three years, it is clear that any move to do so now will be in retaliation for my reporting,” Mr. Baker wrote in a news release. “I will not be intimidated. I will continue to report the findings of my investigation into the evidence being made available to me to review,” he said.

The attorneys challenged the DOJ to try any case against Mr. Baker in the eastern district of North Carolina where Mr. Baker lives, or the northern district of Texas, where his employer, Blaze Media, is located. “Are citizens of those two districts not suitable jurors in Steve’s case?” the statement asked. “Is the federal judiciary in those two districts not able to provide a fair and impartial trial? “On what basis does the United States Department of Justice believe the ‘United States’ can only get a fair trial in the District of Columbia and not one of those ‘United’ States?” Mr. Baker’s most recent coverage identified the person who found one of the two pipe bombs on Jan. 6 as an undercover U.S. Capitol Police officer and not a “passerby.” Since October 2023, he wrote a series of stories that said events described under oath by two Capitol Police officers in the first Oath Keepers trial in 2022 could not have happened, based on Mr. Baker’s examination of security video.

Mr. Geyer suggested that reporting should result in the Oath Keepers’ convictions being thrown out. Mr. Baker was one of dozens of journalists at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. His video footage appeared in an HBO film and was licensed by the BBC, The New York Times, and The Epoch Times. Mr. Baker was first contacted by the FBI in July 2021 about his presence at the Capitol. He voluntarily sat down with FBI special agents in November 2021. He said he was told the DOJ was considering charging him with interstate racketeering because he received money from licensing his Jan. 6 video. In March 2023, he said he was warned by a high-profile journalist that his reporting was chafing some high-level DOJ officials. In August, he was served a subpoena for his Jan. 6 video. In December, the FBI told his attorney that his arrest was imminent, although that plan was subsequently delayed.

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“..the falsely-elected, tyrannically corrupt, and epically deranged regime fronted by the ghost-in-the-White House, “Joe Biden.”

The Pipe-Bomb Caper (Kunstler)

“The FBI must come forward with the whole truth, immediately. If they will not, then Republicans have a duty to tear the FBI down to its foundation, and ensure that no government organization is allowed to amass this kind of power ever again.” — Charlie Kirk . Kudos to Darren J. Beattie of Revolver News and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) for doing the FBI’s work for the FBI, smoking out the role of law enforcement (including the FBI) in but one module of the J6 operation that turned a peaceful mass assembly of disgruntled voters into a riot in order to color it as an “insurrection” and so destroy opposition to the falsely-elected, tyrannically corrupt, and epically deranged regime fronted by the ghost-in-the-White House, “Joe Biden.”

Mr. Massie arranged to extract previously unseen video from the Capitol Police vaults showing the exceedingly strange behavior of various law-men in the minutes after one of their number reported a pipe-bomb beside a park bench, a few steps away from their parked vehicles, outside the DNC headquarters near the US Capitol building around one o’clock in the afternoon on J6/21, just around the time that a joint session of Congress would commence the entertainment of official complaints and objections to the certification of votes in the 2020 presidential election. Of course, that proceeding was disrupted by events outside and inside the US Capitol, and those many complaints and objections were never registered.

Two cars are shown parked blocking the driveway to the basement garage: a white Washington DC Metro Police SUV and a black Secret Service cruiser — because Veep Kamala Harris happened to be in the building at the time. A man with a backpack, later identified as a plainclothes Capitol Police officer, steps up first to the Metro car, then to the Secret Service cruiser, cueing minutes of slow milling-about by the officers in the two cars. Eventually several cops dawdle over to the bench to inspect what turns out to be a pipe-bomb planted in plain sight on the ground there. The video shows no effort to cordon-off the area or to stop cars or pedestrians (children) from entering the scene near the bomb.

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“The power they tasted during the lockdowns opened Pandora’s Box..”

Dutch Queen Promotes Digital ID at Davos (Martin Armstrong)

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands took to the Davos stage to declare that digital IDs are necessary for nearly every aspect of social engagement. The Dutch queen told the World Economic Forum (WEF) that they can no longer trust the people, and digital IDs will provide governments with a clear way to track our behavior. Vaccine passports are necessary to tell “who actually got a vaccination or not,” highlighting how those at the top do not trust the public. They want complete unilateral control. In fact, she believes that children should not be allowed to enroll in school unless they have a digital ID that includes their vaccination passport. “It [digital ID] is also good for school enrollment; it is also good for health – who actually got a vaccination or not; it’s very good actually to get your subsidies from the government,” she said to a room of nodding heads. Want to open a bank account? You must present a digital ID.

Now the Netherlands implemented a COVID certificate that was required for travel throughout the EU. Citizens were provided yellow vaccination booklets that they were required to carry throughout the pandemic. Mass protests erupted, but the government did not drop restrictions until 72% of the population was already injected. Over 40% of restaurants said they would not ask patrons to show proof of vaccination to enter. Prime Minister Mark Rutte immediately fired Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Mona Keijzer for questioning the vaccine passport. “If we end up in a society where we have to be afraid of each other unless we can show proof, then you really have to scratch your head and ask yourself: Is this the direction we want to go?” Dissent is no longer tolerated. The power they tasted during the lockdowns opened Pandora’s Box. The Dutch government must realize they will be met with resistance as the Dutch people will not allow the government to control them without a fight.

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Foal

 

 

Bouzouki bear
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749553698412335104

 

 


When humans lose weight, fat is eliminated and leaves the body. 80% of the fat is exhaled through the lungs as carbon dioxide

 

 

Lyrebird

 

 

Cathedral
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749361361044517131

 

 

 

 

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