Pablo Picasso The artist and his model 1933
We regret to inform you that Elmo has passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.
“Europe suffers from anti Russian sanctions more than the United States, perhaps Washington wants to weaken the EU.” – Lavrov.
So, the G-7 leaders are in agreement, more war with Russia. Without actually saying exactly that, that was the main takeaway from he meeting of the most feckless leaders in the world. They also pledged $600 billion they don’t have to fund global infrastructure projects to ‘combat China’s Belt and Road Initiative.’ One wonders where all this money and, in the case of Europe, energy is going to come from to fund all of this. But the question I’ve had from the beginning of this obvious war of attrition the West wants to impose on Russia is the following: Do we have the stamina, in terms of real production capacity, to cash these checks our leaders are writing?
A major report from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), one of the oldest military think tanks in the UK emphatically said not in anyone’s wildest dreams. I told you at the outset of this war that Russia was absolutely engaged in a war of attrition against the West, hoping NATO would take the bait of a ground war in Ukraine. I didn’t have numbers to back this up, only the inference because of what I understood about Putin and his previous maneuvers against the West. What’s obvious to me is the neocons and neoliberals controlling the West think they can turn Ukraine into a quagmire for Putin, but what if Putin thinks he can turn Ukraine into a quagmire for them? Russia is not capable of conquering Europe. But he doesn’t need to to defeat them. He just needs to create a version of this map:
I knew that Putin wouldn’t commit Russia to this conflict if it couldn’t sustain fighting it. I also knew that the West would LIE OUTRAGEOUSLY about the level of corruption within the Russian society to play on the biases of marginally-informed American armchair generals. Is the Russian system perfect? No. Is there corruption? Yes. But it’s complete nonsense to think it wouldn’t be uncovered and stripped out of all branches of the Russian military/industrial complex during the initial military gambit. The shifts made by Russia strategically and in terms of personnel have set it up for the long haul, fighting a type of war they are very good at and which the US and NATO left the UAF mostly defenseless against.
Now, with sanctions further hollowing out the US’s and Europe’s economies and the “leadership” of the buffoons that just met in Germany, Russia is in the driver’s seat to grind out a victory in Ukraine and leave the West depleted of weapons if the current situation goes on without a course correction. The point made by RUSI is that it may not be possible to course correct in time (or ever) in the time frame needed to affect the outcome in Ukraine, absent an unthinkable escalation. The exhaustion we thought we would put to Russia, is the ultimate form of ‘sanctions boomerang’ on the West. To listen to RUSI tell the tale, we’re the ones without the capacity to fight if the conflict widens. And yet, to listen to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken or National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, you would think Russia is still on the verge of collapse.
“Turkiye under the Sultan of Swing – Global South in spirit, tightrope walker in practice..”
Fast but not furious, the Global South is revving up. The key takeaway of the BRICS+ summit in Beijing, held in sharp contrast with the G7 in the Bavarian Alps, is that both West Asia’s Iran and South America’s Argentina officially applied for BRICS membership. The Iranian Foreign Ministry has highlighted how BRICS has “a very creative mechanism with broad aspects”. Tehran – a close partner of both Beijing and Moscow – already had “a series of consultations” about the application: the Iranians are sure that will “add value” to the expanded BRICS. Talk about China, Russia and Iran being sooooo isolated. Well, after all we’re deep into the metaverse spectrum, where things are the opposite of what they seem.
Moscow’s obstinacy in not following Washington’s Plan A to start a pan-European war is rattling Atlanticist nerves to the core. So right after the G7 summit significantly held at a former Nazi sanatorium, enter NATO’s, in full warmongering regalia. So welcome to an atrocity exhibition featuring total demonization of Russia, defined as the ultimate “direct threat”; the upgrading of Eastern Europe into “a fort”; a torrent of tears shed about the Russia-China strategic partnership; and as an extra bonus, the branding of China as a “systemic challenge”. There you go: for the NATO/G7 combo, the leaders of the emerging multipolar world as well as the vast swathes of the Global South that want to join in, are a “systemic challenge”.
Turkiye under the Sultan of Swing – Global South in spirit, tightrope walker in practice – got literally everything it wanted to magnanimously allow Sweden and Finland to clear their paths on the way of being absorbed by NATO. Bets can be made on what kind of shenanigans NATO navies will come up with in the Baltics against the Russian Baltic Fleet, to be followed by assorted business cards distributed by Mr. Khinzal, Mr. Zircon, Mr. Onyx and Mr. Kalibr, capable of course of annihilating any NATO permutation, including “decision centers”.
“..it is NATO that is a “systemic challenge to world peace and stability” and its “hands are stained with the blood of the world’s people.”
Beijing criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Thursday after the U.S.-led military alliance asserted that China poses “serious challenges” to global stability. NATO listed China as one of its priorities in the so-called 2022 Strategic Concept that leaders approved Wednesday at a summit in Madrid. This marked a first, as the alliance’s previous blueprint, published in 2010, made no mention of the East Asian country. According to NATO, Beijing’s “coercive policies” threaten the Western bloc’s “interests, security, and values.” Addressing the “systemic challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China to Euro-Atlantic security” and the “deepening strategic partnership” between China and Russia is now a NATO priority, the bloc declared.
Beijing responded with indignation. “Who’s challenging global security and undermining world peace?” China’s mission to the European Union asked Thursday in a statement. “Are there any wars or conflicts over the years where NATO is not involved? “NATO’s so-called Strategic Concept, filled with Cold War thinking and ideological bias, is maliciously attacking and smearing China. We firmly oppose it,” the statement said. “When it comes to acts that undermine China’s interests, we will make firm and strong responses.” As The Guardian reported: “Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China has been pointing its finger at the U.S. and NATO on multiple occasions.
But NATO’s attention to the China-Russia partnership began even before Moscow’s military operations in its neighbor. It has also been openly talking about China for some time. “In its annual summit in Brussels last June, the traditionally Russia-focused military alliance asserted, for the first time, that it needed to respond to Beijing’s growing power. The language the bloc used at the time also echoed the E.U.’s phrase of “systemic rival,” and the U.K.’s “systemic competitor” when describing China.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Wednesday that “China is substantially building up its military forces, including nuclear weapons, bullying its neighbors, threatening Taiwan… monitoring and controlling its own citizens through advanced technology, and spreading Russian lies and disinformation.” “China is not our adversary,” said Stoltenberg, “but we must be clear-eyed about the serious challenges it represents.” In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Thursday that NATO’s latest policy document “disregards facts, confuses black and white… [and] smears China’s foreign policy.” China, Zhao added, does not pose “the systemic challenge imagined.” Instead, he argued, it is NATO that is a “systemic challenge to world peace and stability” and its “hands are stained with the blood of the world’s people.”
You want to go into the midterms with gas at $5?
President Joe Biden said Americans better get ready to take it up the ass at the gas pump for “as long as it takes” to defeat the Russians in Ukraine. A reporter from The New York Times asked the president in Spain about the pain at the pump in the U.S. He asked, “How long is it fair to expect American drivers and drivers around the world to pay that premium for this war?” “As long as it takes,” Biden responded. “Russia cannot, in fact, defeat Ukraine and move beyond Ukraine. This is a critical, critical position for the world.” Biden has made it clear that Americans should know that the economic hardships that they face can be blamed on Russian President Vladimir Putin and not the useless COVID-19 lockdowns, trillions in stimulus funding, and massive sanctions leveled against Moscow… all which have spiked inflation and driven down the economy.
Biden said last week that Americans have been willing to sacrifice after the Russian invasion and “chose to stand with the people of Ukraine.” “So for all those Republicans in Congress criticizing me today for high gas prices in America, are you now saying we were wrong to support Ukraine? Are you saying we were wrong to stand up to Putin? Are you saying that we would rather have lower gas prices in America and Putin’s iron fist in Europe? I don’t believe that,” he said. Biden has long blamed the Russian president for causing the economic hardships in the country and said “Putin’s price hike” is taking its toll on Americans. Biden used a recent speech in Los Angeles to call energy price increases “Putin’s tax.”
Again, what I see is SCOTUS questioning the decision making process, not the decisisons themselves.
The Environmental Protection Agency lacks the power under current laws to impose stark greenhouse gas emissions caps on the nation’s electricity supply, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, erecting a major roadblock in President Biden’s path to impose climate change policies. The case before the justices dated to 2015, when President Obama, frustrated by his inability to win climate change legislation from Congress, had the EPA step in with newly discovered authority to force states to cut emissions from power plants. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing the majority opinion in the 6-3 decision, said Congress tasked the EPA with forcing plants to operate more cleanly but never envisioned the kind of cap-and-trade system the Obama team imposed to pressure emissions-heavy coal plants to close.
“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote in a ruling joined by the court’s other Republican-appointed members. The decision doesn’t mean Congress can’t grant that power, but only that it has not done so. Mr. Biden called the ruling “devastating” but vowed to find ways to move forward with his climate plans. “The science confirms what we all see with our own eyes — the wildfires, droughts, extreme heat, and intense storms are endangering our lives and livelihoods,” he said in a statement. “I will take action.” The ruling marks a significant limit to executive powers a decade after presidents started to test those boundaries.
Mr. Obama, frustrated with Congress, famously vowed to use his pen and phone to work around Congress. President Trump and now Mr. Biden have flexed executive authority to try to accomplish goals that were stymied by lack of legislation. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, writing a concurring opinion, shot down that approach. “When Congress seems slow to solve problems, it may be only natural that those in the executive branch might seek to take matters into their own hands. But the Constitution does not authorize agencies to use pen-and-phone regulations as substitutes for laws passed by the people’s representatives,” he said. Chief Justice Roberts said that when agencies confront “major questions,” courts should take extra care to ensure the administration stays within its legal lanes.
“This is the peril of an investigation that occurs in an echo chamber. Such “gotcha” moments are powerful in the moment but can also be equally damaging if later challenged…”
There is an old expression in the media that some facts are just too good to check. It is a recognition that journalists can sometimes be reluctant to endanger a good story by confirming an essential fact. The Select Committee on the Jan. 6th riot is facing a similar accusation this week after critical witnesses not contradicted some of the most explosive assertions of last week’s witness, Cassidy Hutchinson. Specifically, critical witnesses said that no one on the Committee reached out to confirm her account of former President Donald Trump lunging for the wheel in “the Beast” in a physical altercation with his security team on that day. The controversy highlights the failure of the Committee to offer a balanced investigation.
Many of us support the effort to bring greater transparency to what occurred on Jan. 6th and these hearings have offered a great deal of important new information. Indeed, it has proven gut-wrenching in the accounts of lawyers and staff trying to combat baseless theories and to protect the constitutional process. Yet, the heavy-handed approach to framing the evidence has been both unnecessary and at times counterproductive. The strength of some of this evidence would not have been diminished by a more balanced committee or investigation. We have been discussing the highly scripted and entirely one-sided presentation of evidence in the Committee.
Indeed, witnesses are primarily used to present what Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to as “the narrative” where their prior videotaped testimony is shown and they are given narrow follow up questions. They at times seem more like props than witnesses — called effectively to recite prior statements between well-crafted, impactful video clips. It has the feel of a news package, which may be the result of the decision to bring in a former ABC executive to produce the hearings. That framing has led to glaring omissions. The Committee has routinely edited videotapes and crafted presentations to eliminate alternative explanations or opposing viewpoints like repeatedly editing out Trump telling his supporters to go to the Capitol peacefully.
Lying under oath.
Former President Donald Trump on Thursday questioned why Jan. 6 committee witness Cassidy Hutchinson is not being prosecuted for lying under oath about her experiences in the White House while serving as an aide to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows. The former president and his White House officials have disputed much of Hutchinson’s testimony to the House Jan. 6 Capitol riot committee. Trump continued defending himself on Thursday through posts on his platform, Truth Social. “Social Climber Hutchinson lied about my attack on our great Secret Service, lied about her writing the White House note, lied about my throwing food at a wall in the Oval Office, & lied about my wanting to be surrounded by ‘people with guns’ during my “Go Peacefully and Patriotically” speech (how crazy is that?), yet no guns were found in the Capitol. These lies, among others, were made UNDER OATH. What is the Justice Department going to do about this? Do we have a two tiered system of Justice?” Trump wrote.
Other sources have substantiated Trump’s accusations about Hutchinson’s testimony. For example, a spokesperson for former White House attorney Eric Herschmann told ABC News that his client wrote the note that Hutchinson claimed she authored on Jan. 6. In another case, Hutchinson said Trump lunged at the steering wheel of his presidential vehicle to turn back to the Capitol on Jan. 6, but admitted she was not in the vehicle at the time of the incident. The Secret Service said the Democrat-led House committee did not contact the agency before Hutchinson testified about the alleged incident. A Secret Service agent and the vehicle’s driver are reportedly ready to testify under oath that Trump did not try to steer the vehicle, nor did he touch the men, sources told CBS News.
“Cassidy Hutchinson also forgot to tell the Unselects that she was desperate to go to Florida with certain others of the Trump staff, long after January 6th had come and gone,” the former president continued his defense. “If I was so evil, why did she fight so hard to stay a part of the MAGA TEAM? This is all documented in writing! Why did it take her so long to tell (make up!) these ridiculous and obviously Fake Stories, even after previously sitting for four long depositions? Was it, just maybe, her brand new lawyer? Lying under oath???” he asked. Former Trump White House ethics lawyer Stefan Passantino served as Hutchinson’s attorney until earlier this month, when she replaced him with Jody Hunt, a close ally of Jeff Sessions, Politico reported.
I think Obama started that.
On June 23, federal agents stormed the Virginia home of former Department of Justice official and legal scholar Jeffrey Clark in the early morning hours, searching his house and seizing multiple electronic devices in the process. And on June 27, news broke of the FBI executing a search warrant on June 22 against legal scholar and professor John Eastman for his role in advising the Trump administration on legally contesting the 2020 presidential elections. (Eastman has filed a motion for return of property, claiming that the federal agent refused to show him their search warrant before seizing his cell phone, as required by the law.) Clark and Eastman, like tens of millions of other Americans, wanted to determine if voter irregularities may have played a role in the 2020 presidential election.
Clark, as a member of the Justice Department, and Eastman as a Trump advisor, explored legal remedies that involved fielding alternate electors in states with contested elections. That they should or should not have done this is open to opinion, but it was not at all illegal. The harassment of Clark and Eastman is part of a much wider DOJ investigation into what the media has now dubbed a “fake electors scandal.” But these were not “fake electors” at all, these were alternate electors that would be ready in the event that legal challenges in certain states opened up the possibility of a GOP win. Nevertheless, the Justice Department has been serving subpoenas and search warrants to Republican Party officials all across the country in a wild witch hunt designed to intimidate local leaders and criminalize legal maneuvering.
None of this is illegal, and it is not without precedent. In fact, the procedure Mr. Clark and Mr. Eastman were pursuing has precedent going back to 1960 and the presidential contest between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. An initial vote tally indicated that Richard Nixon won the three electoral votes from the state of Hawaii. While a recount was ordered, the official Republican electors and a competing Democrat slate of electors were sent to the Administrator of General Services. The recount, which ultimately showed Kennedy narrowly winning the state, did not finish until 10 days after the procedural deadline. Nevertheless, the unofficial Democrat electors were appointed for Hawaii and a new certification process was rushed through to be included in the final tally.
“The holiest of men, it appears, cannot be admitted to posthumous honors, until all that the devil could say against him is known and weighed.”
Governments, corporations, and elites have always been fearful of the power of a free press, because it is capable of exposing their lies, destroying their carefully crafted images, and undermining their authority. In recent years, alternative journalism has been growing and more people are relying on social media platforms as sources of news and information. In response, the corporate state, digital conglomerates, and the mainstream media have been increasingly supportive of the silencing and censoring of alternative media outlets and voices that challenge the official narrative on most issues.
At the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, “Australian eSafety commissioner” Julie Inman Grant stated that “freedom of speech is not the same thing as a free for all,” and that “we are going to need a recalibration of a whole range of human rights that are playing out online—from freedom of speech … to be free from online violence.” Meanwhile, the Canadian government is seeking to restrict independent media and the freedom of expression via the implementation of Bill C-11, which would allow it to regulate all online audiovisual platforms on the internet, including content on Spotify, Tik Tok, YouTube, and podcast clients. Similarly, the UK is seeking to introduce an Online Safety Bill, the US “paused” the establishment of a Disinformation Governance Board following backlash, and the European Union approved its own Digital Services Act, all of which aim to limit the freedom of speech.
Attempts by elites and politicians to silence dissenters and critical thinkers is not something new. In fact, history is full of examples of “the persecution of men of science, the burning of scientific books, and the systematic eradication of the intelligentsia of the subjected people.” However, these current efforts to curtail freedom of speech and press by supposedly liberal governments are still somewhat ironic, given that even “the most intolerant of churches, the Roman Catholic Church, even at the canonization of a saint, admits, and listens patiently to, a ‘devil’s advocate.’ The holiest of men, it appears, cannot be admitted to posthumous honors, until all that the devil could say against him is known and weighed.”
Most of them, yes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shot back at Western leaders who mocked his athletic exploits, saying they would look “disgusting” if they tried to emulate his bare-torso appearances. Putin made the comment during a visit to Turkmenistan early Thursday when asked about Western leaders joking about him at the G7 summit. As they sat down for talks, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson jested that G7 leaders could take their clothes off to “show that we’re tougher than Putin” amid Russia-West tensions over Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.
Canadian premier Justin Trudeau joked that Western leaders could try to match Putin’s naked torso pictures with a “bare-chested horseback riding display,” one of his widely publicized athletic adventures. Speaking to reporters, Putin retorted that, unlike him, Western leaders abuse alcohol and don’t do sports. “I don’t know how they wanted to get undressed, above or below the waist,” he said. ”“But I think it would be a disgusting sight in any case.” He noted that to look good “it’s necessary to stop abusing alcohol and other bad habits, do physical exercise and take part in sports.”
“However, Twitter also implemented specific community standards to limit COVID-19 misinformation on the platform, and Twitter was bound to follow those terms..”
Three physicians are suing Twitter, alleging the company violated its own terms of service and community standards when it suspended their accounts for posting “truthful statements regarding COVID-19 policy, diagnosis and/or treatment.” Drs. Robert Malone, Peter McCullough and Bryan Tyson on Monday filed the lawsuit in Superior Court in California, San Francisco County. The complaint alleges Twitter breached the terms of its contract when it permanently suspended the plaintiffs’ accounts, silenced their voices and failed to provide them with “verified” badges. Plaintiffs allege Twitter’s actions were a substantial factor in causing them harm, and are asking the judge to order Twitter to reactivate their accounts.
All three doctors are represented by attorneys Bryan M. Garrie and Matthew P. Tyson (no relation to the plaintiff, Bryan Tyson). Matthew Tyson on May 12, sent a letter to the directors and managing agents of Twitter requesting the company reinstate the accounts of five physicians, including the plaintiffs, and provide them with “verified” badges. Twitter failed to respond. In the letter, Matthew Tyson acknowledged Twitter is a “private company” and its terms state it can “suspend user accounts for any or no reason.” “However, Twitter also implemented specific community standards to limit COVID-19 misinformation on the platform, and Twitter was bound to follow those terms,” he added. According to the complaint, Twitter’s content-moderation terms included removal procedures for ineffective treatments and false diagnostic criteria, and measures for “labeling” information as “misleading.”
Twitter has a “five-strike policy” as part of its COVID-19 misinformation guidelines and community standards. Twitter’s website states: “The consequences for violating our COVID-19 misleading information policy depend on the severity and type of the violation and the account’s history of previous violations. In instances where accounts repeatedly violate this policy, we will use a strike system to determine if further enforcement actions should be applied.” Strike 1 is “no account-level action.” Strike 2 results in a 12-hour account lock. Strike 3 results in another 12-hour account lock. Strike 4 results in a seven-day account lock and five or more strikes lead to permanent suspension.
“..without it [cancer] I could not have held to the persecution and ridicule I received for daring to treat patients. I have looked death in the eye and I have been made ready to meet God. I fear nothing on this earth.”
Zev had a family medical practice in Monroe, New York in 2020 during the onset of what would become the Covid-19 pandemic. As a physician who masterfully combined the skills of both critical thinking and the scientific method, and who shaped their application out of his love for both God and patients, Zev was not content to sit back and wait for politicians or public health officials to settle upon a prescribed treatment path. People were dying. He began searching almost immediately for a method of treatment. Aided by initiative, good fortune, and from his account divine intervention, he discovered a treatment in combining Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), zinc, azithromycin, and other various drugs, especially steroids, and creating what has come to be known as the “Zelenko protocol,” based on the concept of very early intervention to treat the virus inside the cellular level before it could break loose and develop into a full-blown respiratory disease.
Up to the time of his death, Zev had overseen the treatment of approximately 7,500 patients using his protocol and experienced only three patient deaths. The use of the Zelenko protocol has spread worldwide. While he was nominated along with other courageous doctors for a Nobel Prize in recognition of his groundbreaking treatment and outspoken advocacy on behalf of patients, for the most part Zev faced censorship and condemnation for his taking a bold stand against prevailing orthodoxy. For whatever their motives, politicians and health officials worldwide attempted to either downplay or outright deny the efficacy of the Zelenko protocol and its simple, low-cost treatment path. Numerous studies were launched to dispute the efficacy of using HCQ (later ivermectin) in conjunction with other drugs.
There were even steps taken by politicians like then New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to forbid the use of HCQ in treating patients. Social media platforms joined in the effort to silence Zev, with Twitter having famously banned him from the platform in late 2020. As Voltaire said, “It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.”
New Canada Day fines
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