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 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

 

 

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

 

 

Boops

 

 

Cat Fox

 

 

Bamboo

 

 

Sponge cake

 

 

Texas long horn

 

 

Wind

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 282023
 
 December 28, 2023  Posted by at 9:11 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  56 Responses »


Claude Monet Boulevard des Capucines 1873

 

Jack Smith Files Motion to Stop Trump from Raising New J6 Evidence (PB)
Trump Can Remain On Michigan Primary Ballot, State Supreme Court Rules (Pol.)
US Police Bolster Patrols for Colorado Judges Amid Violent Threats (Sp.)
Ramaswamy’s Campaign Stops Spending Money On TV Ads (JTN)
The US Is Preparing For War With China (CP)
Scott Ritter: US Sustainability in Jeopardy as World Turns Against Hegemon (Sp.)
Righting A Wrong: Burying Decades of US-Led Wars (Sweidan)
Zelensky’s News Conference Exposed West’s Fatigue – Zakharova (TASS)
Kiev Cooking Up False Flag Involving Toxic Substances – Zakharova (TASS)
US-Israel Genocide In Gaza Is Bad For French Shipping And Ports (Helmer)
Erdogan Says Netanyahu Literally ‘Hitler’ (RT)
Some Western Countries Say Netanyahu’s ‘End’ Is Near – Erdogan Adviser (Sp.)
Milei Mulls Plan To Force Through Radical Reforms (RT)
The DOJ Took More than Two Years to Answer a FOIA (Martens)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petchesky

 

 

Torah

 

 

 

 

Ritter

 

 


The global population growth rate peaked 60 years ago and has been largely in sharp decline ever since.

 

 

Ritter

 

 

 

 

” Jack Smith does not want Trump to point out to the jury that a political and selective prosecution is political and selective.”

Jack Smith Files Motion to Stop Trump from Raising New J6 Evidence (PB)

Special Counsel Jack Smith filed a motion Wednesday morning seeking to prevent former President Donald Trump from claiming in his federal case that he was targeted for political prosecution by President Joe Biden as a form of “election interference.” Donald Trump, unironically, stands accused of “election interference” in connection to his legal and constitutionally protected election challenges over the 2020 election. Smith said in his motion that Trump should be barred from “introducing evidence, making arguments, or framing questions to advance a theory of selective or vindictive prosecution.” Judge Chutkan, an anti-Trump jurist who has consistently sided with the state’s prosecution efforts, is expected to fulfill all of Smith’s demands, no matter how contrary to due process or deleterious to the cause of justice.

The excessively constrictive measures would further rein in the speech of the 2024 presidential candidate in the midst of a campaign that has thus far established him as the clear favorite. The absurdity of Smith’s court demands were further illuminated by legal analyst Julie Kelly. “Jack Smith, in likely vain attempt to keep March 4 trial date, filed another pretrial related to what the jury should be allowed to consider. (All pretrial deadlines now on hold),” Kelly wrote on X. “Smith wants to preclude the jury from hearing evidence about Jan 6 in his Jan 6 case; Smith wants to prevent jury from learning about presence of undercover agents; After warnings by govt officials in 2016 and 2020 that malign foreign influences were attempting to interfere in national elections, Smith wants any evidence related to 2020 warnings kept from the jury; Jack Smith does not want Trump to point out to the jury that a political and selective prosecution is political and selective.” Political commentator Alexander Muse reacted to the news.

According to court documents, at least twenty FBI and ATF agents were embedded around the capitol building on January 6. There are multiple videos, among the limited number that have been made public, of undercover police officers on January 6 — some of them even urging the protesters to ‘go to the Capitol.’ A Congressman recently stated there were “at least 200” undercover federal agents in the crowd on January 6; including official FBI agents and human assets. FBI Director Christopher Wray has refused to give the number of federal agents that were in the crowd on January 6 after repeatedly being questioned on the matter. The Biden administration’s Department of Justice will not only turn America’s election process upside-down in the name of ‘stopping Trump,’ but it will corrupt its justice system to the core in order to do so. Even if that means stripping the accused of due process rights. Needless to say, this has nothing to do with “democracy,” and has everything to do with a corrupt ends-justify-the-means mentality that has state actors like Jack Smith stopping at nothing in order to get the desired result: In this case, re-election of a Democratic president.

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“..a list of candidates “generally advocated by the national news media to be potential presidential candidates.”

Trump Can Remain On Michigan Primary Ballot, State Supreme Court Rules (Pol.)

Michigan’s highest court said Wednesday that Donald Trump can appear on the state’s Republican primary ballot, but the court declined to weigh in for now on whether Trump is eligible to run in the general election and serve again as president. The court turned away an appeal from Michigan voters who argue that Trump should be barred from the ballot because of his efforts to subvert the 2020 election and stoke violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The voters cite a provision of the 14th Amendment that, in some circumstances, bars people from holding public office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.” Last week, the Colorado Supreme Court became the first court in the country to declare Trump ineligible to run. The Colorado ruling is almost certain to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court soon.

Meanwhile, similar challenges have proceeded in dozens of other states. On Wednesday, the Michigan Supreme Court essentially punted on the question in the critical swing state, saying in a terse order that it would not take up the issue of Trump’s eligibility now. Earlier this month, a lower court ruled that Michigan’s secretary of state does not have the authority to remove Trump from the primary ballot. The voters challenging Trump’s eligibility — who were backed by the liberal advocacy group Free Speech for People, which has brought similar challenges across the country — tried to appeal that ruling to the Michigan Supreme Court. But the state Supreme Court, which consists of four Democrats and three Republicans, declined to hear the appeal, writing without elaboration that the court was “not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court.”

The Michigan Supreme Court’s order does not prevent the voters from contesting Trump’s eligibility to appear on the general election ballot if he wins the Republican nomination. By then, the U.S. Supreme Court may have definitively resolved the issue. One member of the state supreme court dissented from the decision not to hear the appeal now. Justice Elizabeth Welch, a Democrat, said the court should have heard the appeal and formally affirmed the lower court’s conclusion that the Michigan secretary of state could not strip Trump from the primary ballot. Trump celebrated the Michigan Supreme Court’s order on Wednesday. In a post on his social media site, Trump said the case was a “Desperate Democrat attempt to take the leading Candidate” off the ballot.

Michigan has an unusual process to select candidates for the presidential primary ballot. The secretary of state creates a list of candidates “generally advocated by the national news media to be potential presidential candidates.” Political parties may also submit additional candidates, and others can petition to get added.

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“..Other messages called for the justices to be dragged from their homes, hanged and shot..”

US Police Bolster Patrols for Colorado Judges Amid Violent Threats (Sp.)

Colorado’s Denver Police Department announced on Tuesday it was investigating reports of threats of harassment against justices on the Colorado Supreme Court, adding that as a result security detail had been bolstered for the judges. “The Denver Police Department is currently investigating incidents directed at Colorado Supreme Court justices and will continue working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to thoroughly investigate any reports of threats or harassment,” Denver police said in a statement Tuesday. “Due to the open investigations and safety and privacy considerations, we will not be providing details of these investigations. The Department is providing extra patrols around justice’s residences in Denver and will provide additional safety support if/as requested.”

On Friday, the FBI also said it was investigating threats against the justices, and was working alongside local law enforcement in order to address potential threats of violence. “The FBI is aware of the situation and working with local law enforcement,” said Vikki Migoya, a spokesperson for the FBI Denver Field Office. “We will vigorously pursue investigations of any threat or use of violence committed by someone who uses extremist views to justify their actions regardless of motivation.” The threats of violence follow a 4-3 ruling made last week by the Colorado Supreme Court in which they made the unprecedented ruling to disqualify Trump from the state’s Republican presidential primary ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

“We conclude that because President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three, it would be a wrongful act under the Election Code for the Secretary to list President Trump as a candidate on the presidential primary ballot,” the court’s majority wrote in an unsigned opinion. Following their decision, a flood of violent rhetoric descended upon the justices across social media platforms, with many of the messages coming from Trump supporters. The messages included posts which pledged to either maim or even kill the justices. Other messages called for the justices to be dragged from their homes, hanged and shot, said the SITE Intelligence Group. Trump’s campaign has vowed to appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court, which is dominantly conservative. The Trump camp has blasted the effort as yet another politically-motivated effort to block his chances at serving a second presidential term.

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Seems weird that they’re only finding this out now. We’ve all seen how many people watch Tucker Carlson on X vs on Fox.

Ramaswamy’s Campaign Stops Spending Money On TV Ads (JTN)

GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign is no longer spending money on TV ads and doesn’t have any currently booked, according to an ad tracking firm and the campaign. For the first week of December, Ramaswamy’s campaign spent about $200,000 on TV ads and later on in the month, it dropped to only $6,000 on TV ads, according to NBC News. The campaign stated that money will still be spent on advertising, just not on television. “We are focused on bringing out the voters we’ve identified — best way to reach them is using addressable advertising, mail, text, live calls and doors to communicate with our voters on Vivek’s vision for America, making their plan to caucus and turning them out,” the campaign’s press secretary Tricia McLaughlin told the outlet in an interview.

This change comes less than a month before the Jan. 23 New Hampshire primary and the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses. “As you know, this isn’t what most campaigns look like. We have intentionally structured this way so that we have the ability to be nimble and hyper targeted in our ad spending,” McLaughlin also said. Other GOP primary presidential candidates, including former President Donald Trump, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, are still running advertisements on television.

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“It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other.”

The US Is Preparing For War With China (CP)

The Chinese view, based on what they call “Xi Jinping Thought,” is that the US-China association is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. As Chinese President Xi Jinping has explained: “How China and the US get along will determine the future of humanity.” This view is predicated on the acceptance of a high degree of integration between the two countries’ economies. They see this “entwining” as something to be promoted because both countries stand to benefit from each other’s development. Overarching the bilateral relationship from the Chinese perspective is a stance of friendly cooperative relations. A “common prosperity,” they believe, can be built on three principles. First is mutual respect. A critical aspect of that pillar of mutual relations is not crossing the red lines of either of the two global powers. Second is peaceful coexistence. This entails a commitment to manage disagreements through communications and dialogue. And third is win-win cooperation.

For example, increased trade with China boosted the annual purchasing power for US households. That the US and China occupy such dominant positions in the world entails concomitant responsibilities. According to the Chinese, major countries have major responsibilities to humanity. They point out that global problems, such as climate change, cannot be solved without US-China cooperation. Indeed, the US and China together contribute to 40% of the planet’s current greenhouse gas emissions. Beijing contrasts their posture with what they explicitly criticize as the Biden administration’s “zero-sum mentality.” In a zero-sum game, one player’s gain is equivalent to the other’s loss. This differs from the Chinese vision of “win-win” relations based on cooperation for mutual benefit. The Chinese take exception to the US definition of bilateral relations as one of antagonistic “strategic” competition.

The opposing paradigms were displayed at the APEC summit in San Francisco on November 15, where the two world leaders met face-to-face for the first time in two years. We do not know what was discussed in the closed-door meeting. But in a press conference afterward, US President Joe Biden said of the person he had just spent four hours: “Well, look, he’s a dictator in the sense that he is a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that’s based on a form of government totally different than ours.” Even neo-con US Secretary of State Antony Blinken winced at the press conference. His grimace was captured in a video that went viral.

Later that day, Chinese President Xi calmly instructed, as if responding to Biden’s indiscretion, “It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other.” Peaceful coexistence for the Chinese necessitates a tolerance and acceptance of different social systems and modes of being. Xi further commented, “the planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed.” Fortune acknowledged that Xi offered a vision different from what it characterized as Biden’s “winner-take-all” mentality. The business magazine noted that Biden has continued Trump’s tariffs on some Chinese products while tightening export controls and investments in high-tech areas such as advanced chips.

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“The drone technology of today has changed the modern battlefield in every way that the machine gun changed warfare during World War I or the tank changed warfare during World War II.”

Scott Ritter: US Sustainability in Jeopardy as World Turns Against Hegemon (Sp.)

As 2023 comes to a close, the Israel-Palestinian crisis and the Ukrainian conflict are dominating world news, prompting questions as to what next year holds in store for the international community. Sputnik’s Dimitri Simes, Jr. sat down with former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter to sum up the results of the year and discuss how things may pan out in 2024. The Ukrainian military will continue to sustain a strategic defeat in 2024 as it is exhausted in terms of manpower, ammo and arms, according to Sputnik’s interlocutor. It’s up to Moscow and the Russian Armed Forces’ operational tempo whether the conflict will drag on until 2025, as per Ritter. Russia’s special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine has never meant to be a blitzkrieg, the expert stressed, adding that the conflict will end when political and military objectives set by the Russian leadership are accomplished.

Presently, Russia is continuing to “grind” the Ukrainian military and steadily liberate its new territories, thus accomplishing the demilitarization task. When it comes to Moscow’s political goals, it’s important to stamp out the forces behind the 2014 coup d’etat that brought ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazis, including the Azov Battalion, the Svoboda Party and other ideological heirs of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, to power. In the course of the special military operation, Russia has mastered modern warfare, per Sputnik’s interlocutor. “The Ukrainian-Russian conflict has opened up a new chapter in modern warfare,” Ritter stressed. “The drone technology of today has changed the modern battlefield in every way that the machine gun changed warfare during World War I or the tank changed warfare during World War II.

The drones have changed the face of modern warfare, and I think that armies all around the world are going to be studying or should be studying what’s taking place on the battlefield between Ukraine and Russia today.” Ritter rubbished the claims made by US President Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that having won the Ukrainian conflict, Russia would proceed to take on NATO member states. Per Ritter, Washington’s rhetoric is “fear-mongering” aimed at justifying further military spending. After accomplishing its goals in Ukraine, Russia will focus on strengthening its military and stepping up the protection of its borders in the West, Arctic and the East, where they are threatened by the US and their NATO allies, according to the military expert.

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“..hegemonic stability theory” vs “balance of power theory..”

Righting A Wrong: Burying Decades of US-Led Wars (Sweidan)

As previously mentioned by The Cradle, “Israel’s ongoing war on the Gaza Strip is best understood to be a US-backed one,” one that is being fought to safeguard US influence and interests in West Asia. However, the maneuvering room for Washington’s allies is shrinking dramatically. Unlike the diverse strategic options West Asian countries explored during the Ukraine war, Gaza offers no such latitude. It is fundamentally Washington’s war, demanding collective mobilization to defend the US position. It is also telling that the US-led multination task force, Operation Guardian of Prosperity in the Red Sea, is already facing major set-backs since its recent inception, with some members pulling out and others choosing to remain unnamed.

White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby had to awkwardly caveat the secrecy like this: “There are some countries that have agreed to participate and be part of the operation in the Red Sea, but they have to decide how much they want that to be public. And I’m going to leave it to them so that they can describe it somehow, because not everyone wants to be public.” For example, the role of NATO member Turkiye has transformed into that of an energy transmission station for Israel, while the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan serve as a transit bridge for goods bound for the occupation state that Yemen prevents from passing through the Red Sea. Notably, shipments from Turkiye to Israel surged to 355 after 7 October, with many linked to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and individuals close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, including his son Buraq.

Even Egypt, restricted to allowing aid trucks through the Rafah crossing, could not facilitate aid to Palestinians without US approval. In international relations, there are two main theories that address the relationship between power and the spread of peace. The first is the hegemonic stability theory which posits that the international order is likely to remain stable when one country is the dominant global power. The proponents of this theory believe that the existence of a single hegemon deters all powers in the world and prevents them from spreading tension. However, given the reality that the United States has dominated a conflict-ridden global order for four decades, it can be argued that the presence of the hegemon did not lead to global stability. Rather, the dominant was the major source and catalyst for spreading tension around the world. It is sufficient to look at the distribution of US bases in the world and the proliferation of military agreements signed by Washington to understand how the US consistently provokes rivals and challengers, and creates strife.

The second is the balance of power theory, in which states seek to protect themselves by preventing any country from acquiring enough military power to control all other nations. If one power dominates – such as the United States – the theory predicts that weaker countries will unite in a defense alliance. According to this theory, a balance of power between competing states or alliances raises the cost of tension for everyone and ensures stability in the world. Thus, achieving peace today requires a rise in the level of power among Washington’s rivals, power which will provide the deterrence required to limit the spread of tensions around the world. Increasing the capabilities of Washington’s rivals is now a key requirement for all peaceful peoples and nations. And according to the balance of power theory, uniting against Israel is the most successful way to stabilize West Asia and its environs today.

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“The begging of their Ukrainian underlings is causing ever more irritation in Washington, London and Brussels.”

Zelensky’s News Conference Exposed West’s Fatigue – Zakharova (TASS)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s recent year-end news conference signaled that Kiev lacks confidence about its future and the West has grown tired of Ukraine’s political setbacks, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. “Everyone has seen the Kiev regime’s lack of confidence about its own future amid growing Western fatigue with their failures,” she said at a news conference. “The begging of their Ukrainian underlings is causing ever more irritation in Washington, London and Brussels.” “There is a growing reluctance among ordinary people in Western society to nurture the corrupt regime from their own pockets,” the diplomat went on to say. “The sooner the collective West realizes that the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict, which it provoked, is possible only through achieving the goals of the special military operation, the sooner peace will come.”

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“Zelensky and his entire gang do not care about the consequences that their own people will face..”

Kiev Cooking Up False Flag Involving Toxic Substances – Zakharova (TASS)

Kiev is plotting to carry out a false flag operation involving the use of Western-made toxic substances in order to accuse Russia of alleged use of chemical weapons, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing. “There is nothing [in terms of concrete information] about Bucha: no names, no dates of birth, no passport data, they simply don’t exist. There was nothing, because the entire thing was a false flag operation,” she emphasized. “The Kiev regime is plotting something similar this time. They may organize another anti-Russian provocation with the use of Western-made toxic substances in order to launch a new campaign within UN structures and the world media to accuse our country of the alleged deliberate use of chemical weapons,” the diplomat said.

Zakharova pointed out that, according to available information, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is actively involved in the preparation of such a false flag event, and has enlisted the cooperation of the Kiev-based Ukrainian company Realab. “It specializes in the import of chemical reagents and precursors. In October-November 2023, Ukraine purchased in Germany a so-called small batch of triethanolamine and nitrogen-containing sodium compound produced by the US company Honeywell. The company is American, [but is] located in the city of Seltz (Germany),” she added.

At the same time, the spokeswoman noted that triethanolamine is included in the Chemical Annex of the Chemical Weapons Convention and is subject to annual declaration. “This compound is a precursor for the synthesis of a toxic substance with a dermal explosive effect, such as nitrogen mustard gas. Nitrogenous sodium compounds are highly toxic and their striking effect is similar to that of cyanide,” Zakharova stressed. “According to Russian experts, these chemicals may be used by the SBU to produce a chemical agent to carry out a limited act of provocation on the territory controlled by the Kiev regime within the range of our troops,” she said.

According to the diplomat, amid growing world fatigue with the Kiev regime and reductions in financial and military aid from the West, Kiev is sufficiently desperate to take any steps that might put the Ukrainian conflict back in the headlines and at the top of the international agenda. “The regime of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky continues to eagerly carry out the instructions of its overseas masters to wage war to the last Ukrainian. They do not care at all about the consequences of this false flag operation, just as they did not care at all about the consequences of using the depleted uranium shells that were delivered to the Kiev regime by the UK. Zelensky and his entire gang do not care about the consequences that their own people will face if this very false flag operation [involving highly toxic chemicals] is actually carried out,” Zakharova concluded.

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“Macron shot the messenger..”

US-Israel Genocide In Gaza Is Bad For French Shipping And Ports (Helmer)

The message delivered last week to French President Emanuel Macron was a dramatic one: Never mind Israel throttling the Palestinians, Macron was told, the Houthis and their Arab and Iranian allies are capable of throttling France. Macron shot the messenger. Bernard Émié was fired last Wednesday, December 20, and Nicolas Lerner put in his place. The announcement — the first time there’s been such a switch between the traditionally competing foreign and domestic intelligence chiefs — was made in a tweet by the French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu. Émié has been the head of France’s foreign intelligence agency, the DGSE (Directorate-General for External Security), since 2017. His replacement is Nicolas Lerner, head of France’s internal security agency, the DGSI (Directorate-General for Internal Security), since 2018. By coincidence on the very same day of Émié’s sacking, Lecornu took a telephone call from Washington.

US Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin told Lecornu “the Red Sea is vital for global commerce, noting that the scale and increasing frequency of these attacks constitute a significant international problem that must be addressed. The United States and France are both making significant contributions to stability in the region and seek further collaboration on bilateral and multilateral solutions. Secretary Austin thanked France for its support to the 44-nation joint statement condemning the Houthis’ illegal attacks on international shipping.” This is the Pentagon “readout”. The meaning is the opposite. France is pulling its naval forces in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden out of Austin’s military operation and of targeting by the US and Israel of Houthi units on the Yemen shore, as well as of the Iranian intelligence vessels, MV Behshad at anchor in the Red Sea, and the MV Saviz in the eastern Indian Ocean (Arabian Sea).

In fact, the elimination of Émié, according to French intelligence sources, signals that US backing for Israel’s genocidal operation against the Gaza Palestinians, and the expansion of the war by the Houthis of Yemen and Hezbollah of Lebanon, are driving French national interest calculations in the opposite direction from the Americans and Israelis. Émié is a former French ambassador to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Algeria, and the French Foreign Ministry’s chief policymaker for the Arab world for several years before he was appointed to run the DGSE in 2017. Lerner, by contrast, has no direct Arab experience. A university classmate of President Macron’s, his career has been limited to police operations in the south of France, Corsica, and Paris, and then in the private office of the Interior Minister as Macron chopped the ministry’s head three times in eighteen months.

The French press are struggling to explain what has happened to the heads of their intelligence services. According to the state press agency AFP and Le Monde, “Emié launched reforms within the DGSE and saw the agency’s budget increase. He is said to have improved relations with the domestic security agency. But many have criticised the DGSE under him for failing to foresee the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and a string of military coups in former French colonies Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.” A rightwing, bank-owned regional newspaper, L’Est Républicain, claims: “Bernard Emié and his successor Nicolas Lerner contributed to improving the often tense relations between the DGSE and the DGSI, the replacement of the former by the latter confirming links described in the intelligence community as very regular and professional.”

Defense Minister Lecornu has been struggling with Macron’s pro-US, pro-Israel, anti-Russian line as the war in Gaza has been escalating. Towards Israel, Lecornu said the week after the Hamas operation began in October, “the bulk of the support we’re providing today is intelligence. The intelligence provided is provided as part of the regular partnership between our two countries. Unfortunately, we have a long history in the fight against terrorism, and our intelligence services have particularly powerful resources and sensors…Iran poses undeniable security challenges, both in its support for Russia in the war in Ukraine and on the issue of nuclear proliferation. Today, the priority is to avoid escalation. Israel has the right to defend itself and its people from these atrocities. However, this response must be proportionate and consistent with the laws of war. We emphasize that no other actor hostile to Israel should seek to take advantage of the situation…There is a very difficult situation in the Gaza Strip. France has nothing to be ashamed of, it has always been one of the most reliable countries in terms of aid and support.”

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“The Israeli military is the “most moral army in the world,” and it is currently battling “the most disgusting and cruel terrorist group in the world..”

Erdogan Says Netanyahu Literally ‘Hitler’ (RT)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is no different from Adolf Hitler, Türkiye’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said, condemning Israel’s campaign in Gaza. Erdogan fired the new diplomatic broadside at Netanyahu on Wednesday when he delivered an opening speech at an award ceremony in Ankara. West Jerusalem now has “Nazi camps” of its own to hold Palestinians in, the president stated, implying the campaign in Gaza was as bad – or even worse – than the Holocaust committed by Nazi Germany. “We’ve seen the Nazi camps of Israel. How does this happen? They used to speak ill about Hitler, but how are you any different than Hitler?” Erdogan stated. They are going to make us miss Hitler. Is what this Netanyahu is doing any less than what Hitler did? It is not.

The only real difference between the late Nazi fuhrer and the Israeli PM is the broad support from the West for Netanyahu and his campaign against Hamas, the Turkish leader claimed. “He is richer than Hitler; he gets the support from the West. All sorts of support comes from the United States. And what did they do with all this support? They killed more than 20,000 Gazans,” he stressed. Türkiye’s president has long sought to portray himself as a protector of Palestinians, repeatedly criticizing Israeli policies. Erdogan drastically ramped up his rhetoric amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza, which broke out in the aftermath of the attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on southern Israel on October 7.

The new remarks, arguably the most hostile ones produced by Erdogan to date, have prompted a response from Netanyahu. Israeli PM dismissed the criticism, pointing fingers at Erdogan’s questionable account and allegations of committing genocide in Türkiye and beyond. “Erdogan, who commits genocide against the Kurds, who holds a world record for imprisoning journalists who oppose his rule, is the last person who can preach morality to us,” Netanyahu stated, falling short of accusing Erdogan of being the true Hitler himself. The Israeli military is the “most moral army in the world,” and it is currently battling “the most disgusting and cruel terrorist group in the world,” Netanyahu added, referring to Hamas.

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“How can you explain bombs being dropped on children being treated for cancer?”

Some Western Countries Say Netanyahu’s ‘End’ Is Near – Erdogan Adviser (Sp.)

Several Western countries say “the end” for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is near since “the world has already seen” the Jewish state’s “brutality” in actions in the Gaza Strip, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Chief Adviser Akif Cagatay Kilic said Wednesday. Earlier on Wednesday, Erdogan criticized Netanyahu and once again compared him with Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler. The Israeli prime minister, for his part, stated that Erdogan, who “is committing genocide against the Kurds and who holds the world record for imprisoning journalists who oppose his regime, is the last person who can preach morality to us.”

“Netanyahu made a statement today about our president. You are ruthlessly and indiscriminately dropping bombs on people. Some circles do not want to understand the scale of the catastrophe when we talk about genocide. Our president spoke loudly about this in Germany and Greece. While many European capitals remained silent, our president demonstrated his position. Netanyahu is trying to wash the blood off his hands. But the world has already seen it. A permanent ceasefire and peace will only come when peace comes to Gaza. Israel is brutal, its policies are brutality. How can you explain bombs being dropped on children being treated for cancer? Many Western countries say this is the end of the road for Netanyahu,” Kilic stressed in an interview with Turkish broadcaster TRT Haber.

Additionally, the head of the communications department in the Turkish presidential administration, Fahrettin Altun, emphasized that the Israeli prime minister is “the last person to talk about anything related to genocide.” “The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is the last person to talk about anything related to genocide. He has mastered skills to sell the world, his war crimes against civilians as self-defense. Even though the world fails to stop him, the history will judge him as the war criminal he is… Netanyahu is the last person to talk about our struggle against terrorism,” Altun said on X. Altun also highlighted that Netanyahu is “the last person to talk about morality,” adding that he “cannot lecture anyone about how to conduct counter-terrorism operations because he has no experience in this arena!” The Turkish communications chief further said that the Israeli prime minister “has been on a mission to drive Palestinians out of their lands for the last four decades” and that he has now taken it “to a new level by using the Israeli army to kill civilians in their homes, hospitals and refugee camps.”

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Wonder where this will go.

Milei Mulls Plan To Force Through Radical Reforms (RT)

Newly inaugurated Argentine President Javier Milei is “on the warpath” against the National Congress and could put pressure on the legislature by holding public votes on policy proposals, La Nacion reported on Wednesday. Referring to a major economic reform that his cabinet presented earlier this month, Milei told La Nacion: “If they [the Congress] reject it, I would call for a plebiscite and have them explain to me why they are against the people.” The proposed legislation would impose a two-year state of emergency, deregulate the economy, privatize state property, and alter the national healthcare system, among other changes.

Argentine law allows for both binding and non-binding referendums, termed “public consultations”, although only the National Congress can initiate a binding one. If a non-binding proposal by the executive branch is approved in a plebiscite, the parliament is obliged to consider it. “They cannot accept that they lost, that the population chose something else,” Milei said of the opposition in the National Congress. He claimed some lawmakers were “seeking bribes,” but did not provide details to back up the allegation. One example of a non-binding referendum in Argentina was in 1984, when a vote was called on the government’s plan to resolve a border dispute with Chile. Overwhelming public support subsequently put pressure on the opposition in the Congress.

Milei, a libertarian economist and former MP, was considered a dark horse in Argentina’s presidential election last month. He was voted in on a promise to generate economic growth through radical public spending cuts and liberalization. Argentina is suffering high levels of inflation, which Milei has vowed to address through “shock therapy.” The new president has claimed that opponents of his plans are experiencing “Stockholm syndrome,” and has vowed a harsh crackdown under his government. In the same interview with La Nacion, Milei confirmed that he wants to introduce 20,000 and 50,000 peso bills. The largest note is currently 2,000 pesos, although inflation has wiped much of the value off the national currency over the years. Keeping wads of cash is “torture” for Argentines and “puts a label saying ‘steal here’” on those carrying larger sums, Milei argued.

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Pam Martens and Russ Martens run Wall Street On Parade. This is one crazy story.

The DOJ Took More than Two Years to Answer a FOIA (Martens)

On July 20, 2021 the U.S. Senate voted 56-44 to confirm Kenneth Polite (pronounced Po-leet) to head the most powerful criminal law enforcement office in the United States, the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The vetting of this candidate immediately raised red flags at Wall Street On Parade. Despite Polite owing more than $1.5 million in debts according to his financial disclosure form and public mortgage records; paying over 18 percent interest on an outstanding balance on a credit card; 19.99 percent interest on a personal loan; and then accepting a job where his income was going to be slashed by approximately 77 percent – not one Senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked a single question about Polite’s unusual financial obligations during his confirmation hearing on May 26, 2021.

In addition, Polite was coming from the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bochius, which had plenty of red flags itself. Polite was a partner there earning approximately $877,500 in 2020. His job at the Justice Department was to pay less than $200,000 annually. Morgan, Lewis has, for decades, provided legal representation to the Wall Street mega banks. Polite’s financial disclosure form revealed that JPMorgan Chase was one of his clients over the prior 12 months. JPMorgan Chase is a recidivist lawbreaker on Wall Street with an unprecedented five felony counts brought by the Justice Department and admitted to by the bank. Having a recidivist felon that is the largest bank in the United States as a recent client and then moving into the job as a potential prosecutor of that bank is not good optics, so Polite signed an Ethics Agreement (EA) that read in part:

“he will be required to recuse from particular matters involving specific parties involving his former employer or former clients for a period of two years after he is appointed….” During the time that Polite was ostensibly recusing himself from matters involving JPMorgan Chase, the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands brought a civil case in federal court in Manhattan against JPMorgan Chase for “actively participating” in Jeffrey Epstein’s international sex-trafficking ring where Epstein and his wealthy pals were sexually assaulting underage girls. According to documents released in the lawsuit, the bank was alleged to have laundered more than $5 million in hard cash for Epstein over the span of a decade without filing the legally-required Suspicious Activity Reports with law enforcement. In addition, various employees of the bank were making visits to Epstein’s Manhattan mansion where sexual assaults of minors were alleged to have occurred.

The Criminal Division of the Justice Department has yet to bring a criminal case against JPMorgan Chase for either willfully participating in and/or covering up Epstein’s crimes for more than a decade. [..] The number of red flags swirling about Polite’s vetting to become the top criminal cop in the United States and supervise a department of some 1400 prosecutors and staff, prompted Wall Street On Parade to file a Freedom of Information Act request for documents with the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) on July 26, 2021. We requested “all electronic correspondence from November 6, 2020 through July 20, 2021 that relates to the nomination or confirmation or vetting of Kenneth A. Polite for the position of Assistant Attorney General at the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.”

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Li river

 

 

Condor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1739960815313137904

 

 

Elk

 

 

Tortoise

 

 

Sleeping whales

 

 

 

 

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