May 042024
 


John Collier Lady Godiva c1897

 

Trump Pays Fine For Gag Order Violations (RT)
Trump Urges Dismissal of Mar-a-Lago Case (ET)
Stormy Daniels Lawyer Says Payment Wasn’t ‘Hush Money’ (ZH)
Trump Develops Plan On Peaceful Resolution In Ukraine — Telegraph (TASS)
Kiev Has Lost Over 111,000 Troops This Year – Moscow (RT)
Ukraine Can’t Beat Russia On The Battlefield – Senior General (RT)
Freedom Of The Press Dying In West, Any Dissent Snuffed Out – MFA (TASS)
Aggression Against Crimea To Be Met With Crushing Retaliation – Russia (TASS)
This Is Not The EU That Hungary Joined – Orban (RT)
EU Leaders Talking ‘War in Europe’ Shows Their Real Intentions – Orban (Sp.)
Saudi Arabia and Indonesia Lobby EU to Halt Russian Asset Confiscation (Sp.)
The Russia–Iran–China Search For A New Global Security Order (Pepe Escobar)

 

 

MMT?

 

 

Tesla China

 

 

Elon

 

 

“There is no crime. I have a crooked judge..”

Trump Pays Fine For Gag Order Violations (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has paid a $9,000 fine for violating a gag order imposed during his hush money trial in New York, news outlets reported on Thursday, citing a court official. Judge Juan Merchant fined Trump on Tuesday for violating the gag order nine times and instructed him to take down seven “offending posts” from Truth Social and two more posts from his campaign website. Trump is being accused of falsifying business records in an effort to conceal his sexual relationship with former adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and insisted he never had an affair with Daniels. He further slammed the gag order as “unconstitutional,” and argued that the trial is a plot to derail his re-election campaign. During the 11th day of hearings on Friday, the jurors heard the testimony of Hope Hicks, Trump’s former campaign press secretary and White House communications director.

Describing her former boss’s reaction to a Wall Street Journal story about Trump’s alleged affairs with Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, she told the court that Trump was “concerned how it would be viewed by his wife and he wanted me to make sure that the newspapers weren’t delivered to their residence that morning.” Trump and President Joe Biden are neck-and-neck in most polls, with just six months left until election day. Trump continued to insist on his innocence during a rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Wednesday. “There is no crime. I have a crooked judge,” the former president told supporters. According to an NPR/PBS NewHours/Marist poll released on Wednesday, 55% of Americans say that they are not closely watching the hush money trial or not watching it at all. At the same time, 54% of Americans said they believe the investigations into Trump are fair, while 45% view them as unfair.

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“..selective and vindictive prosecution”

Trump Urges Dismissal of Mar-a-Lago Case (ET)

Former President Donald Trump docketed a brief to support his motion to dismiss the classified documents indictment against him in Florida, citing “selective and vindictive prosecution” on Thursday. The 43-page filing contends that special counsel Jack Smith’s case against the former president “has been motivated by improper political animus.” It cites “targeted leaks and public statements” by President Joe Biden, “urging others to prosecute President Trump.” This refers to a New York Times report from April 2, 2022, reporting that President Biden told his “inner circle that he believed former President Donald J. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted.” President Trump’s lawyers contend that the article amounted to presidential pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland to “act … more like a prosecutor who is willing to take decisive action.”

The motion details a series of events to support the former president’s arguments of a concerted effort by the Biden administration and federal agencies to target him. It points to statements from officials at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which is responsible for the preservation of presidential records, that the Biden administration’s “current business” was investigating the 45th president. Among other events, it cites a text message from a NARA official dated Feb. 9, 2022, stating that the classified documents have “consumed all of our discussions” with the Biden White House. “There is evidence of vindictive political animosity focused on election interference in these proceedings, which is part of the reason why the Special Counsel’s Office is wrong in the claim that President Trump ‘does not contend that the Special Counsel himself was motivated by improper considerations,’” President Trump’s lawyers argue.

In a March 7 filing, Mr. Smith argues against President Trump’s claims that the prosecution team, influenced by political bias, is selectively targeting him for prosecution. Prosecutors from the special counsel’s office argue that the former president hadn’t identified anyone in his motion who was engaging in similar conduct without being prosecuted and failed to provide evidence that his indictment was solely retaliatory. “Trump contends … that he has been subject to selective and vindictive prosecution,” the prosecution wrote. “But he has not identified anyone who has engaged in a remotely similar battery of criminal conduct and not been prosecuted as a result.

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“..he said it was a “Consideration”,..

Stormy Daniels Lawyer Says Payment Wasn’t ‘Hush Money’ (ZH)

A lawyer who was involved in negotiations between former President Donald Trump and two women denied that payments made to them constituted “hush-money,” and instead used the word “consideration.” Keith Davidson, who negotiated deals with both Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) and model Karen McDougal, disputed Manhattan prosecutor Joshua Steinglass’s language during a May 2 court appearance. “It wasn’t a ‘payout’ and it wasn’t ‘hush money.’ It was consideration in a civil settlement,” said Davidson. “Would you use the phrase hush money to describe the money that was paid to your client by Donald Trump?” Steinglass shot back. “I would never use that word,” Davidson replied. When asked what he would call it, he said it was a “Consideration,” comparing it to a contract in which one pays to have one’s lawn mowed.

Trump attorney Emil Bove pressed Mr. Davidson on his understanding of extortion law, grilling him about previous instances in which he solicited money to suppress embarrassing stories, including one involving wrestler Hulk Hogan. Mr. Bove suggested to the witness that by the time he negotiated the payments for Ms. McDougal and Ms. Clifford, he would have been “pretty well versed in coming right up to the line without committing extortion.” “I had familiarized myself with the law,” Mr. Davison replied. -Epoch Times. Davidson also told Steinglass that he worked out the “consideration” deal with former Trump attorney Michael Cohen just days before the 2016 election, but that Trump never signed it.

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“Trump will focus on a simple message that he would end the war in an attempt to win over US voters..”

Trump Develops Plan On Peaceful Resolution In Ukraine — Telegraph (TASS)

Former US President Donald Trump has developed a detailed plan on resolving the Ukrainian conflict peacefully, but will not reveal it until the election, the Daily Telegraph reported, citing an anonymous source close to the politician. “There is a plan, but he’s not going to debate it with cable news networks because then you lose all leverage,” the source said. Instead, according to the source, Trump will focus on a simple message that he would end the war in an attempt to win over US voters. At the end of April, Trump said in an interview with Time that he would not provide aid to Ukraine if elected unless Europe chips in. Russia has repeatedly voiced its position regarding the situation around Ukraine at various levels. Previously, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that Moscow has always been and remains open to a diplomatic settlement of the crisis, and it is ready to respond to truly serious proposals, while the Kiev regime interrupted and prohibited further negotiations with Russia.

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Not much fighting going on?!

Kiev Has Lost Over 111,000 Troops This Year – Moscow (RT)

Ukrainian military losses since the beginning of the year have surpassed 111,000 troops, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Friday, as he shared Moscow’s latest estimates from the conflict. Russian forces “continue to break up” Ukrainian defensive positions along the entire front line, preventing their attempts to stall advances by Moscow’s troops, the senior official reported during a ministerial meeting. Russia’s territorial gains this year have amounted to 547 sq km, he added. Shoigu accused the US and its allies of pressuring Kiev into disregarding the cost of continued fighting. As a result, Ukraine suffered 1,000 casualties daily throughout April, the minister claimed.

Kiev has ramped up its mobilization efforts due to high attrition, Shoigu added, claiming that Ukrainians unwilling to fight “are being forced to the front line” and certain death. The Russian defense chief accused the leadership in Kiev of sacrificing citizens for the sake of continued Western financial and military assistance. In addition to inflicting significant casualties, Russian forces have also destroyed some 21,000 heavy weapons operated by Ukrainian forces, Shoigu stated. In April, Shoigu estimated Ukrainian casualties as approaching 500,000 since the hostilities with Russia started in February 2022.

Earlier this year, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed into law a radical reform of military service, which includes harsher punishments for draft dodgers and facilitates the work of conscription officers. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has since suspended consular services for military-age men residing in foreign countries, stating that anyone avoiding mobilization does not deserve them. Kiev is also seeking assistance from Western nations in its attempts to force potential conscripts to return. The country’s border service said last month that since February 2022, some 30 Ukrainian citizens have died while trying to illegally flee to other nations.

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“Our problem is very simple: we have no weapons..”

Ukraine Can’t Beat Russia On The Battlefield – Senior General (RT)

A Ukrainian military victory over Russia is unfeasible, a senior military intelligence official in Kiev has predicted. Peace talks with Moscow are nonetheless unlikely before 2025, he claimed. Vadim Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence agency, shared his grim perception of the frontline situation in an interview with The Economist published on Thursday. He expects Russia to launch a major offensive by the end of May or the beginning of June, with Kiev’s forces badly positioned to prevent it. “Our problem is very simple: we have no weapons,” Skibitsky explained. Kiev’s armament woes will not be addressed anytime soon, even after the US approved an additional $60 billion in Ukraine-related spending, the British magazine reported, saying it will be weeks before new aid filters through to the front line.

A lack of willing draftees is also undermining Kiev’s war effort, including those recruited under draconian new rules, the report stated. Skibitsky reiterated Kiev’s claims that Moscow intends to capture the Donbass city of Chasov Yar by May 9, when Russia celebrates victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. The Ukrainian military leadership announced the purported deadline in mid-April, and has recently boasted about depriving Moscow of its supposed wish. Russia will eventually take Chasov Yar anyway, Skibitsky told The Economist. The general added that he does not see a way for Ukraine to win on the battlefield alone, describing the continuing hostilities as an attempt by both sides to gain a stronger position in future peace talks. Skibitsky believes that no meaningful negotiations will happen before 2025.

Moscow has repeatedly said that, unlike Kiev, it is willing to negotiate peace as long as “realities on the ground” are acknowledged. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky intends to promote his “peace formula” – a list of demands to Russia – to neutral nations during an international event in Switzerland in mid-June. Russia has said it will not participate in the process, which it sees as irrelevant, even if invited. The event organizers “do not intend to seek a road to peace let alone analyze the roots of the Ukraine conflict,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday. The West is seeking to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia, rather than an end to the bloodshed, she claimed.

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“In Ukraine, the criminal regime of [President Vladimir] Zelensky has annihilated freedom of speech once and for all..”

Freedom Of The Press Dying In West, Any Dissent Snuffed Out – MFA (TASS)

Freedom of the press is under attack in the West, where the authorities stamp out any dissent and repress journalists, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement dedicated to World Press Freedom Day on May 3. “Unfortunately, World [Press Freedom] Day, which was conceived as a global celebration, is gradually degenerating into a meaningless date. This situation can change only if there is an honest assessment of the situation surrounding freedom of the press and journalist safety that is not distorted by Western propaganda,” the ministry pointed out. “We once again draw attention to the deplorable situation regarding freedom of expression and equal access to information in the countries of the collective West,” the ministry noted, adding that “the so-called democratic countries continue destroying every pocket of dissent in violation of all international obligations.”

“Investigative journalist Julian Assange and other prisoners of conscience continue to languish in London’s dungeons,” the report said. “So far there has been no reaction from international human rights organizations on the death of journalist Gonzalo Lira in a Ukrainian prison this January. He was rejected by both of his countries of citizenship, the United States and Chile,” it added. The Russian Foreign Ministry also pointed to the “incessant arbitrariness committed by the Western authorities against the Russian media and journalists, who have fully felt the repressive machine of the neoliberal West.” “Special attention should be paid to the appalling situation regarding freedom of the media in the Baltic republics and Moldova. Their authorities, under the pretext of combating ‘Russian propaganda,’ with the silent consent of their Western curators, have organized persecutions against representatives of Russian-language media,” the ministry explained.

“In Ukraine, the criminal regime of [President Vladimir] Zelensky has annihilated freedom of speech once and for all by banning all opposition media outlets and closing access to thousands of Internet resources,” the Russian Foreign Ministry continued. “The indulgence of Kiev by its overseas masters has also led to the continuation of brutal massacres against Russian journalists. The list of national media representatives who were killed by Ukrainian militants was recently expanded to include Semyon Yeremin, a military correspondent for Izvestia, who was murdered by neo-Nazis using a UAV while performing his professional duties,” the ministry noted. “UNESCO Director General Audrey Azule has not yet condemned the cold-blooded murder of Semyon Yeremin, as well as other Russian journalists (Daria Dugina (Platonova), Vladlen Tatarsky (Maxim Fomin), Oleg Klokov, Rostislav Zhuravlev, Boris Maksudov),” the ministry added.

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“In recent days, Maria Zakharova continued, Ukrainian forces “have been seen using several US-made ATACMS long-range missiles, which were secretly received a month ago, against Crimea”

Aggression Against Crimea To Be Met With Crushing Retaliation – Russia (TASS)

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned Washington, London and Brussels that any aggressive actions against Crimea and the Crimean Bridge are doomed to fail and will be met with crushing retaliation. “I would like again to warn Washington, London, Brussels that any aggressive actions against Crimea are not only doomed to fail, but will also be met with a blow of retaliation that will be crushing,” the diplomat said at a news conference. In recent days, Zakharova continued, Ukrainian forces “have been seen using several US-made ATACMS long-range missiles, which were secretly received a month ago, against Crimea.”

“According to the Russian Defense Ministry, all the missiles that were fired were destroyed,” she said. “After Easter, Kiev expects to receive the first F-16 aircraft, which, according to the UK plan, can also be used in the operation to destroy the Crimean bridge.” The diplomat warned that “Russian law enforcement agencies thoroughly record the crimes of Ukrainian neo-Nazis.” “Not a single atrocity of the Kiev regime remains unnoticed. Those involved are being identified and brought to justice,” she said.

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“He still believes that being part of the union is in the national interest..”

This Is Not The EU That Hungary Joined – Orban (RT)

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban has decried the state of the European Union, claiming it is almost unrecognisable from the bloc the Budapest joined 20 years ago. Orban was a strong proponent of the move in 2003, when Hungarians overwhelmingly voted for their country to become an EU member. The country’s accession was finalized on May 1 of the following year. However, the policies of the bloc have significantly changed since then, the Hungarian leader noted during his regular Friday appearance on Kossuth Radio. He still believes that being part of the union is in the national interest, but listed several points on which he disagrees with Brussels. When Budapest joined the bloc, it did not expect to be forced to take in immigrants from other parts of the world or pressured over its constitutional protection of the family, defined as being based on a marriage between a man and a woman, Orban said.

Accession “wasn’t about the European leaders maneuvering the continent into a war instead of peace,” he added, referring to the arming of Ukraine against Russia. The prime minister urged EU citizens to vote in the upcoming European Parliament elections for parties that support a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine conflict, including the Orban-led Fidesz Party in Hungary. If a significant number of pro-peace candidates become MEPs, “we can have a European Parliament that does not push European leaders towards war, but pulls Europe back from the edge of the abyss,” he argued. Earlier this week, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Budapest would oppose a plan proposed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to establish a €100-billion ($107 billion) five-year aid scheme for Kiev. Hungary has been a member of the US-led military bloc since 1999. In March, American Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman accused Orban’s government of undermining NATO’s commitment to Kiev and of “standing with Russia.”

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“..Europe is playing with fire at this moment, we are balancing on the edge of war and peace..”

EU Leaders Talking ‘War in Europe’ Shows Their Real Intentions – Orban (Sp.)

EU leaders talking about “a war in Europe” shows their real intentions, but they are playing with fire, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday. In an interview with the Kossuth radio broadcaster, the official recalled the recent statement by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell that the spread of war to Europe is no longer a fantasy and the words of Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski that the conflict has no diplomatic solution, and it can only be resolved by military force. “These are not communication bubbles, but the implementation of real political intentions and reflections. Europe is playing with fire at this moment, we are balancing on the edge of war and peace,” Orban said.

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Odd couple..

Saudi Arabia and Indonesia Lobby EU to Halt Russian Asset Confiscation (Sp.)

Saudi Arabia and Indonesia are trying to persuade EU countries to abandon the confiscation of Russian assets. The countries have been lobbying EU capitals not to seize the assets, fearing for the future of their own reserves held in the West, the Financial Times reports, citing officials. While the US and Canada continue to push for the confiscation of Russian assets, the EU “remains highly cautious, resulting in a stalemate,” the outlet said. Confiscating Russian assets could trigger a wave of reparations claims stemming from long-standing disputes, such as those against Germany after the two world wars, as well as former colonies making claims against former imperialist powers, the FT noted, citing EU officials.

“Moving from freezing the assets, to confiscating them, to disposing of them [could carry the risk of] breaking the international order that you want to protect,” European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said. While Ukraine insists on the complete seizure of Russia’s assets, G7 officials privately declare that such a step is “no longer on the table.” The Russian Foreign Ministry has called the freezing of Russian assets theft, noting that such an attempt violates international law.

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SCO.

The Russia–Iran–China Search For A New Global Security Order (Pepe Escobar)

The Hegemon has no idea what awaits the Exceptionalist mindset: China has started to decisively stir the civilizational cauldron without bothering about an inevitable array of sanctions coming by early 2025 and/or a possible collapse of the international financial system. Last week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his list of delusional US demands was welcomed in Beijing by Foreign Minister Wang Yi and President Xi Jinping as little more than an annoying gnat. Wang, on the record, stressed that Tehran was justified in defending itself against Israel’s shredding of the Vienna Convention when it attacked the Iranian consulate in Damascus. At the UN Security Council, China now openly questions not only the state terror attack on the Nord Streams but also the US–Israel combo’s blocking of Palestinian statehood.

Moreover, Beijing, just like Moscow recently, hosts Palestine’s political factions together in a conference aiming to unify their positions. Next Tuesday, only two days before Moscow celebrates Victory Day, the end of the Great Patriotic War, Xi will land in Belgrade to remind the whole world about the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Chinese embassy by the US, UK, and NATO. Russia, meanwhile, provided a platform for the UNRWA – the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees, which Israel has sought to defund – to explain to high representatives of BRICS-10 the cataclysmic humanitarian situation in Gaza, as described by UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. In short, serious political business is already being conducted outside of the corrupted UN system, as the United Nations disintegrates into a corporate shell with the US dictating all terms as the largest shareholder.

Yet another key example of BRICS as the new UN: Russian Security Council chairman Nikolai Patrushev met in St. Petersburg with his Chinese counterpart Chen Wenqing on the sidelines of the 12th International Security Summit, congregating over 100 nations, including the security heads of BRICS-10 members Iran, India, Brazil, and South Africa, as well as Iraq. But the key crossroads these past few days was the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) defense summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. For the first time, the new Chinese Defense Minister, Dong Jun, met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, to emphasize their comprehensive strategic partnership. Dong, significantly, stressed the “dynamic” nature of China–Russia military interaction, while Shoigu doubled down, saying it “sets a model for interstate relations” based on mutual respect and shared strategic interests.

Addressing the full SCO assembly, Shoigu emphatically refuted the massive western propaganda drive about a Russian “threat” to NATO. Everybody was at the SCO defense ministers’ meeting – including, at the same table, India, Iran, Pakistan, and Belarus as an observer. Minsk is eager to join the SCO. The interlocking Russia–Iran–China strategic partnerships were totally in sync. Apart from Dong meeting Shoigu, he also met Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, who lavishly praised Beijing’s condemnation of the Israeli terror air strike in Damascus. What is happening now between Beijing and Tehran is a replay of what started last year between Moscow and Tehran, when a member of the Iranian delegation on a visit to Russia remarked that both parties had agreed on a mutual, high-level “anything you need” relationship.

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Rogan UFO

 

 

Seed oil

 

 

Raccoon

 

 

Winston

 

 

 

 

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Apr 272024
 


Herri met de Bles c1510-after 1555 Saint Jerome medidating

 

Trump Responds to Main ‘Hush Money’ Trial Witness’s Claims (ET)
Immunity for Me but Not for Thee (Woodruff)
Justices Signal a Desire to Avoid Both Cliffs on Presidential Immunity (Turley)
Emergency-O-Rama (Kunstler)
Trump Plans To Sanction Countries For Refusing To Use Dollar – Bloomberg (RT)
The Impotence of Antony Blinken (Patrick Lawrence)
Blinken Threatens China Over Russia Ties (RT)
Here’s What Makes Blinken’s Job In China So Difficult (Blankenship)
Facade of Diplomacy Masks US Efforts to ‘Smear, Isolate, Suppress’ China (Sp.)
Russia Must Fear NATO – Poland (RT)
Congress Panics Over Ukraine as Russian Drones Kill Abrams Battle Tanks (Sp.)
Ukraine’s Deep Manpower Shortage Overshadows Arms Deliveries (Sp.)
Pelosi Insulting Americans – Zakharova (RT)
US Congress Probing 13 Banks For January 6 ‘Collusion’ (RT)
Biden: White Americans Are the Threat (Paul Craig Roberts)

 

 

 

 

Tucker fraud poll

 

 

Trump ad
https://twitter.com/i/status/1783877767827775661

 

 

Rogan Tucker Dumb

 

 

Watters Five Eyes

 

 

 

 

“..the former president “had no idea what [he] was talking about” when he asked about reimbursing Mr. Cohen.”

Trump Responds to Main ‘Hush Money’ Trial Witness’s Claims (ET)

Former President Donald Trump praised the first witness in his New York City “hush money” trial, former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, as he is scheduled to deliver more testimony in the case on Friday. “He’s been very nice. David’s been very nice. He’s a nice guy,” President Trump said on Thursday, responding to a question about Mr. Pecker’s testimony over the past week or so. During cross-examinations Thursday, Mr. Pecker detailed how he obtained potentially damaging stories about the candidate and paid out tens of thousands of dollars to keep them from the public eye. But when it came to the seamy claims by adult performer Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, the former National Enquirer publisher said he put his foot down.

“I am not paying for this story,” he told jurors Thursday at President Trump’s trial, recounting his version of a conversation with President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen about attempts to suppress allegations that prosecutors claim amounted to election interference in the 2016 campaign. Mr. Pecker said that he remembers saying he “didn’t want to be involved in this.” President Trump has maintained he is not guilty of any of the charges, and says the stories that were bought and squelched were false. “There is no case here. This is just a political witch hunt,” he said before court in brief comments to reporters on Thursday. Ms. Daniels was eventually paid by Mr. Cohen to not speak about her claim of a 2006 sexual encounter with President Trump. The ex-president denies it happened, while his lawyers have said that she is using the claims to make money and bolster her fame.

Although he did not buy her story, Mr. Pecker told Mr. Cohen that someone should make a move to suppress the claims from going public. “I said to Michael, ‘My suggestion to you is that you should buy the story, and you should take it off the market because if you don’t and it gets out, I believe the boss will be very angry with you,’” he said. Later, Trump defense attorney Emil Bove opened his cross-examination by asking Mr. Pecker about his recollection of specific dates and meanings. He appeared to be laying further groundwork for the defense’s argument that any dealings President Trump had with the National Enquirer publisher were intended to protect himself, his reputation, and his family, not his campaign.

At one point on Thursday, Mr. Pecker said that when he spoke to President Trump about the former president reimbursing Mr. Cohen for paying Ms. Clifford, the former president told him that he had no idea what Mr. Pecker was referring to. He specifically testified that the former president “had no idea what [he] was talking about” when he asked about reimbursing Mr. Cohen. He also said that he purchased the rights to former model Karen McDougal’s story as well but he stipulated that President Trump never told him to purchase that story—only that he and Mr. Cohen were concerned about the McDougal story from emerging.

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Hot potato.

Immunity for Me but Not for Thee (Woodruff)

“Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office?” That is the question the Supreme Court will answer when it hears oral argument in Trump v. U.S. on April 25, 2024. Legacy media and the ladies of “The View” nearly lost their collective minds when the Court agreed to hear Trump’s appeal of the D.C. Circuit’s decision denying him immunity for his actions surrounding the events of Jan. 6, 2021. However, even Jack Smith, the Special Counsel prosecuting the case, argued that it was of “imperative public importance” that the Court resolve the immunity question before trial. But forget about Trump for the moment. The issue is bigger than Trump and his legal woes. As the partisan divide between the left and the right grows larger, there is a real risk that the criminalization of policy differences could raise our current state of “lawfare” to a new level.

Several retired four-star generals and admirals, as well as former cabinet officials, have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing that granting immunity to former presidents for actions within the outer perimeter of their official duties would raise questions about the ability of the United States to peacefully transfer power from one administration to another, and thereby pose a grave risk to national security. The retired officials’ brief also argues that granting immunity would undermine civilian control of the military and undermine trust and confidence in the military as an institution. The “parade of horribles” in the retired officials’ brief assumes that a future president would instruct subordinate military officers to carry out illegal orders for which they, but not the president, would be criminally liable. The brief also suggests that an unrestrained incumbent would use the military to retain power and, thus, destabilize America’s diplomatic and military standing among nations. Of course, none of the hypotheticals feared by the brief writers occurred in the case pending before the Court. Apparently, they are afraid not of Donald Trump but of some unidentified future president. To analyze the pros and cons of immunity, however, there is no need to speculate about what some future president might do. We need only look at actual events from our recent history.

Situation #1. President Obama ordered a drone strike in Yemen to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and Islamic Imam critical of American foreign policy in the Middle East. Before releasing the drones that killed al-Awlaki and two others, the White House sought and received a Memorandum from the Department of Justice providing legal justification for the attack. Several questions come to mind. Should the memo from DoJ authorizing the killing of an American citizen abroad without judicial due process immunize President Obama for violating the federal criminal statute that imposes criminal penalties for the extra territorial killing of an American citizen? Could a subsequent President, a member of the opposing political party, direct a new Attorney General to investigate whether the killing of the U.S. citizen by drone attack in Yemen violated federal criminal law? If an indictment is returned against the now former President for that killing, should President Obama be allowed to claim immunity or be forced to stand trial?

Situation #2. President Biden revoked many of President Trump’s Executive Orders addressing border security when he took office. He also halted construction of physical barriers intended to secure the southern border and stem the flow of illegal border crossings and the smuggling of dangerous drugs. The number of illegal border crossings skyrocketed. Instead of remaining in Mexico until asylum claims were adjudicated, migrants were “paroled” into the interior of the United States and given a court date for their asylum claim years into the future. The quantity of illegal drugs, and the deaths of American citizens from accidental drug overdoses smuggled across the southern border, escalated astronomically. Federal law imposes criminal penalties on those who enter the United States illegally. It also punishes conspiracies to violate federal law. So, if the White House switches parties when President Biden leaves, should the new president’s Attorney General seek an indictment against Biden for conspiring with the Secretary of Homeland Security to violate U.S. immigration laws by facilitating the illegal entry of millions of migrants into the United States? Or should those policy choices be protected by a cloak of immunity?

Situation #3. Eager to deliver on a campaign promise, President Biden announced a policy to “forgive” billions of dollars in student loan debt. The Supreme Court struck down the President’s plan and held that Congress had not authorized the Executive to unilaterally forgive student loan debt. Instead of seeking legislative authority, President Biden reworked his plan to rely upon a different statute for authority. Assume the courts dismissed lawsuits challenging Biden’s “Plan B” because the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. “Plan B” went forward and billions of dollars in federal student loans became “grants” instead of loans that had to be repaid. The federal Anti-deficiency Act imposes criminal penalties on anyone who authorizes the expenditure of federal funds without a valid congressional appropriation. When President Biden leaves office, can he be indicted and tried because his “Plan B” loan scheme violated federal law?

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“..Alvin Bragg is the very personification of the danger immunity is meant to avoid..”

Justices Signal a Desire to Avoid Both Cliffs on Presidential Immunity (Turley)

Writer Ray Bradbury once said, “Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.” In Thursday’s case before the Supreme Court on the immunity of former President Donald Trump, nine justices appear to be feverishly working with feathers and glue on a plunge into a constitutional abyss. It has been almost 50 years since the high court ruled presidents have absolute immunity from civil lawsuits in Nixon v. Fitzgerald. The court held ex-President Richard Nixon had such immunity for acts taken “within the ‘outer perimeter’ of his official responsibility.” Yet in 1974’s United States v. Nixon, the court ruled a president is not immune from a criminal subpoena. Nixon was forced to comply with a subpoena for his White House tapes in the Watergate scandal from special counsel Leon Jaworski. Since then, the court has avoided any significant ruling on the extension of immunity to a criminal case — until now.

There are cliffs on both sides of this case. If the court were to embrace special counsel Jack Smith’s arguments, a president would have no immunity from criminal charges, even for official acts taken in his presidency. It would leave a president without protection from endless charges from politically motivated prosecutors. If the court were to embrace Trump counsel’s arguments, a president would have complete immunity. It would leave a president largely unaccountable under the criminal code for any criminal acts. The first cliff is made obvious by the lower-court opinion. While the media have largely focused on extreme examples of president-ordered assassinations and coups, the justices are clearly as concerned with the sweeping implications of the DC Circuit opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts noted the DC Circuit failed to make any “focused” analysis of the underlying acts, instead offering little more than a judicial shrug.

Roberts read its statement that “a former president can be prosecuted for his official acts because the fact of the prosecution means that the former president has acted in defiance of the laws” and noted it sounds like “a former president can be prosecuted because he is being prosecuted.” The other cliff is more than obvious from the other proceedings occuring as these arguments were made. Trump’s best attorney proved to be Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. If the justices want insight into the implications of denying any immunity, they just need to look north to New York City. The ongoing prosecution of Trump is legally absurd but has resulted in the leading presidential candidate not only being gagged but prevented from campaigning.

Alvin Bragg is the very personification of the danger immunity is meant to avoid. With cliffs to the left and the right, the justices are looking at a free-fall dive into the scope of constitutional and criminal law as they apply to presidential conduct. They may be looking not for a foothold as much as a shorter drop. Some of the justices are likely to be seeking a third option where a president has some immunity under a more limited and less tautological standard than the one the DC Circuit offered. The problem for the court is presidential privilege and immunity decisions are meant to give presidents breathing room by laying out bright lines within which they can operate. Ambiguity defeats the purpose of such immunity. So does a test that turns on the motivation of an official act.

Turley

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“Whichever way the verdict goes in the Alvin Bragg case, epic looting and rioting will commence..”

Emergency-O-Rama (Kunstler)

So far, the spring rioting has mostly been fun for the rioters. Unlike the J-6-21 “paraders,” locked up in the putrid DC jail for years pending trial, the Hamas frolickers are at near-zilch risk of any serious consequences. Few will even be suspended from school. They are doing exactly what the schools trained them up for: destroying Western Civ, one acanthus leaf at a time. According to the shadowy stage-managers behind “Joe Biden,” this will save our democracy.

That and stuffing Donald Trump in jail for the rest of his natural life. Alas, the lawfare cases cooked up toward that end appear defective to a spectacular degree. It really says something about the true authors of these beauties brought by Alvin Bragg, Letitia James, Fani Willis, and Jack Smith. I speak of the behind-the-scene blob lawfare ninjas Norm Eisen, Andrew Weissmann, Matt Colangelo, and Mary McCord, who wrote the scripts for all four of this year’s big elephant trap cases against the former president. You have to wonder how that bunch made it through their law boards. The current extravaganza in Manhattan that centers on alleged book-keeping errors in furtherance of an unstated federal offense is due to go on a few more weeks. The howling errors of both the prosecution and Judge Juan Merchan are so extravagant that the proceeding looks like it was cribbed from the pages of Lewis Carroll.

Yet, there is near unanimous sentiment that the Trump-deranged New Yawk jury will convict, no matter how much more idiotic the case turns out to be. By then, we will be verging on summer. The college campuses will be shuttered and the youth-in-revolt action will necessarily move to the regular streets. Whichever way the verdict goes in the Alvin Bragg case, epic looting and rioting will commence. Sometime this summer, I predict, the Mar-a-Lago documents case will get tossed on something like malicious prosecution. Jack Smith’s DC case, kneecapped by SCOTUS, won’t start before the November election (or maybe ever) and ditto the Fani Willis fiasco in Atlanta. George and Alex Soros will pour millions into box lunches for the kids burning down what’s left of the cities and the demure gals of the Ivy League Left will find plenty of love in the ruins.

The two major party conventions in July (Republican) and August (Democrat) are sure to out-do the 1968 lollapalooza in Chicago (I was there) in mayhem and property damage. “Joe Biden” — really the blob behind him — will ache to declare a national emergency, perhaps even a second emergency after the recently unveiled “climate emergency” supposedly pending any day. The USA will be in an historic horror movie you could call Emergency-O-Rama. If you think the financial system, and the US economy that has become the tail on the finance dog, can survive all this, you will be disappointed. The army may have to step in and put an end to these shenanigans. Don’t think it can’t happen.

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“I would not allow countries to go off the dollar because when we lose that standard, that will be like losing a revolutionary war..”
]
Sorry, but that train has sailed.

Trump Plans To Sanction Countries For Refusing To Use Dollar – Bloomberg (RT)

Economic aides to former US President Donald Trump are looking for options to stop countries from shifting away from the US dollar as it faces a growing challenge from emerging markets, including BRICS nations, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The presumptive Republican nominee for the November presidential election and his team are discussing penalties against both allies and adversaries who seek to divert their trade from the greenback to other currencies. The options could include export controls, currency manipulation charges, and tariffs, the outlet said, citing people familiar with the matter. The global trend toward using national currencies in trade instead of the dollar gained significant momentum after Russia was cut off from the Western financial system and had its foreign reserves frozen in 2022, as part of Ukraine-related sanctions.

A bill with provisions authorizing the US to confiscate frozen Russian assets, which Biden signed on Wednesday, could further spur de-dollarization, financial experts have warned. The so-called REPO Act, which was incorporated in the $61 billion military aid package for Kiev, authorized the US president to seize Russian state assets held in American banks. As quoted by Bloomberg, Trump warned on Thursday that with US President Joe Biden, “you’re going to lose the dollar as the standard. That’ll be like losing the biggest war we’ve ever lost.” According to the news agency, Trump’s economic advisers and his campaign team have specifically considered curbing de-dollarization efforts by BRICS countries.

The group – which recently expanded and now comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Ethiopia, Iran, Egypt – is boosting the use of national currencies in mutual trade. It has even signaled the possibility of introducing a new single currency in the coming years. Trump has repeatedly said that he wants the dollar to remain the world’s reserve currency. “I hate when countries go off the dollar,” Trump told CNBC in March. “I would not allow countries to go off the dollar because when we lose that standard, that will be like losing a revolutionary war,” he said, adding that it would be a “hit” for the US.

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“..there’s no mileage in predicting success when Blinken boards a plane for the great “out there.”

The Impotence of Antony Blinken (Patrick Lawrence)

Antony Blinken is now in China for his second such journey as secretary of state and his third encounter with senior Chinese officials: This is our news as April marches toward May. I have to say, it is a stranger state of affairs than I can figure when the State Department and the media that clerk for it tell us in advance that America’s top diplomat is going to fail to get anything done as he sets out for the People’s Republic. “I want to make clear that we are realistic and clear-eyed about the prospects of breakthroughs on any of these issues,” an unnamed State Department official said when briefing reporters last week on Blinken’s agenda. This is how State warns in advance that the secretary will be wasting his time and our money during his encounters in Shanghai and Beijing. What is this if not an admission of our secretary of state’s diplomatic impotence? Or do I mean incompetence? Or both?

This is the man, after all, who arrived in Israel five days after the events of last Oct. 7 to announce, “I come before you as a Jew.” Does this guy understand diplomacy or what? The media followed the State Department’ lead, naturally, in advising us of the pointlessness of Blinken’s sojourn in China—this at both ends of the Pacific. CNBC: “Washington is realistic about its expectations on Blinken’s visit in resolving key issues.” Japan Times: “While crucial for keeping lines of communication open, the visit is unlikely to yield major breakthroughs.” Matt Lee, the very able diplomatic correspondent at The Associated Press, got it righter than anyone in his April 22 report: The point of Blinken’s three days of talks with top Chinese officials, he reported, is to have three days of talks with top Chinese officials. “The mere fact that Blinken is making the trip might be seen by some as encouraging,” Lee wrote, “but ties between Washington and Beijing are tense and the rifts are growing wider.”

This is our Tony. As the record makes pitifully clear, there’s no mileage in predicting success when Blinken boards a plane for the great “out there.” This is unequivocally so in his dealings with the western end of the Pacific. There is a long list of the topics Blinken was set to raise with Chinese officials, notable among these Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Taiwan and the South China Sea, military-to-military contacts, artificial intelligence applications, illicit drug traffic, human rights, trade: These are standards on the American menu when a U.S. official addresses Chinese counterparts. The last is especially contentious just now, given the Biden regime’s disgraceful determination to subvert those Chinese industries with which the U.S. cannot compete. With plans to block imports of Chinese-made electric vehicles already afoot, last week President Biden announced new tariffs on imports of Chinese steel. And it is now “investigating” China’s shipping and shipbuilding industries, which sounds to me like prelude to yet more measures to undermine China’s admirable economic advances.

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Imagine you’re mini-me and the CEO of China is persuaded to receive you. What do you do then? Well, you insult him, of course…

Blinken Threatens China Over Russia Ties (RT)

Washington is ready to introduce more sanctions against China over its alleged transfer of dual-use goods and components, which it claims can be used by the Russia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday. Speaking at a press conference in Beijing following a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the US official recalled that Washington has already imposed sanctions against more than 100 Chinese entities and is “fully prepared to act” and “take additional measures.” Blinken claimed that China’s alleged support for the Russian defense industry raises concerns not only about the situation in Ukraine, but also about a “medium to long-term threat that many Europeans feel viscerally that Russia poses to them.” Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal also reported that the US was drafting sanctions that could cut off some Chinese banks from the global financial system unless Beijing severs its economic ties with Russia.

The outlet claimed that US officials believe trade with China has allowed Russia to rebuild its military industrial capacity and could help it defeat Ukraine in a war of attrition. Beijing, in turn, has accused the US of hypocrisy for providing billions of dollars in assistance to Ukraine while “unreasonably criticizing the normal trade and economic relations between Russia and China.” “This is a very hypocritical and irresponsible approach,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Friday in response to Blinken’s concerns about Beijing’s support of Moscow. China has also vehemently rejected accusations leveled by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg of “fueling” the Ukraine conflict. Beijing has instead blamed NATO for instigating the crisis by continuing its expansion in Europe and refusing to respect Russian national security concerns. Following his meeting with Blinken, Xi suggested that the US and China “should be partners, not rivals” and should strive towards achieving “mutual success and not harm each other.”

“I proposed three major principles: mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation. They are not only a summary of past experience, but also a guide to the future,” the Chinese leader was quoted as saying. Beijing has maintained a policy of neutrality on the Ukraine conflict, with Chinese officials repeatedly stating that the country is not selling weapons to either Russia or Ukraine. Earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Ning insisted that China “regulates the export of dual-use articles in accordance with laws and regulations,” urging “relevant countries” not to “smear or attack the normal relations between China and Russia.” In December last year, US President Joe Biden issued a decree which enabled sanctions on foreign financial institutions that continue to deal with Russia. It targeted lenders outside US and EU jurisdictions that help Russia source sensitive items, which reportedly include semiconductors, machine tools, chemical precursors, ball bearings, and optical systems.

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TikTok.

Here’s What Makes Blinken’s Job In China So Difficult (Blankenship)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in China on Wednesday to kick off a three-day trip. It is reported that he will speak with his Chinese counterpart and potentially with President Xi Jinping. As the New York Times reported, quoting officials privy to the visit, one of the main topics will be China’s alleged support of Russia, which includes the supposed sale of weapon components and dual-use products. It also comes at a time of increased tensions. Relations have shown a flicker of warmth since US President Joe Biden and Xi’s encounter at the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco last year. However, this visit comes sandwiched between significant moves by the Biden administration. On the one hand, Biden recently signed off on a hefty military aid package for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel, coupled with a divest-or-ban provision for the Chinese social media juggernaut, TikTok.

On the other, a historic trilateral summit involving the US, Japan, and the Philippines hints at potential formal military collaborations down the road, with the US deploying medium-range missiles in the Philippines, a move with unmistakable implications for China. Blinken’s trip also follows closely on the heels of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s recent visit to China, which coincided with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s presence in the country. Lavrov’s visit underscored the enduring bond between Russia and China, while Yellen’s seemed to foreshadow potential trade tensions over what Beijing perceives as baseless accusations of “overcapacity.” Behind the diplomatic niceties lies a deeper agenda: the concerted effort by the US and some of its allies to curb China’s economic and technological ascent. This was laid bare when EU officials on Tuesday executed unannounced raids on the offices of a Chinese company in Poland and Denmark.

The European Commission said that its “unannounced inspections” are based on “indications that the inspected company may have received foreign subsidies that could distort the internal market pursuant to the Foreign Subsidies Regulation.” Despite this explanation, it appears the EU is mirroring Washington’s growing scrutiny of and hostility against Chinese firms. The EU’s alignment with the US on trade policy, particularly regarding China, signals a loose front aimed at constraining China’s global economic reach. The issue of Russia is also another excuse to limit China. The bilateral partnership has been extraordinarily beneficial for both sides: their trade reached a record $240.1 billion in 2023, and Russia’s economy grew by 3.6% the same year despite Western sanctions. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts Russia’s economy will grow faster than all advanced economies in 2024.

This is due in no small part to trade with China, the world’s second-largest economy, but it’s also due to the fact that many other large countries, such as Brazil and India, have not joined Western sanctions on Russia – they just aren’t trading in strategic sectors of the economy like China is. But even in those sectors, the US and its allies have never revealed evidence that Beijing is directly helping Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1783971853981155437

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“Imagine them [China] looking at Elon Musk and saying that you need to sell Tesla or else,” suggested Thomas. “It’s just astonishing stuff.”

Facade of Diplomacy Masks US Efforts to ‘Smear, Isolate, Suppress’ China (Sp.)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s second visit to China in less than a year this week signifies the importance the Biden administration places on Sino-US relations in addressing various global challenges, according to Chinese commentator Anna Ge. “The United States aims to sustain dialogue with China and collaborate on addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues and also domestic issues,” said the CGTN Radio host, who frequently discusses China-related issues in mainstream media in South Africa, India, and Central Asia. But the US maintains its own motives in such discussions, according to Ge, frequently using China as a scapegoat for its own geopolitical and economic difficulties. The political commentator joined Sputnik’s Fault Lines program Friday to discuss the issue. “It is interesting to see how China-US relations develop today,” said Ge as host Jamarl Thomas noted the often chaotic nature of diplomacy between the two countries in recent years.

US President Joe Biden referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator” the last time the two met in the United States, a gaffe judged to have damaged relations between the two countries. “We are left with a contradiction [between] messages and reality,” she said. “On the one hand, we hear relations are more stable with the personal diplomacy of [Janet] Yellen and Blinken in attending cultural events, etcetera. in line with the increase of flights and other types of people-to-people exchanges. These were impossible last year when the weather balloon lies and provocation in Taiwan and the South China Sea were edging towards a military confrontation.” “On the other hand we have become accustomed to anticipating negative developments shortly after high level US officials depart, often leading to any positive outreach being subsequently retracted or modified by the American side… Washington has been testing China’s limits unilaterally,” the commentator highlighted.

Biden signed a bill likely banning the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok shortly after Blinken arrived in Shanghai this week, an unprecedented measure. TikTok CEO Shou Chew, a Singaporean businessman, has vowed to oppose pressure to sell the social media platform to an American owner, which would result in the application being banned unless the company succeeds in launching a judicial challenge. US politicians have cast TikTok as a threat to US security and Americans’ privacy, but a raft of concessions won by former US President Donald Trump resulted in all data associated with the platform being hosted in the United States, with periodic auditing from US-based companies. Critics have claimed the strongarm tactic is merely a strategy to undermine competition from a successful Chinese competitor, as when the United States pressured European allies to ban 5G technology from the Shenzhen-based Huawei. “Imagine them [China] looking at Elon Musk and saying that you need to sell Tesla or else,” suggested Thomas. “It’s just astonishing stuff.”

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They do not.

Russia Must Fear NATO – Poland (RT)

Russia should fear clashing with NATO because such a war would end in “inevitable defeat” for Moscow, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said in parliament on Thursday, claiming that the US-led military bloc has several times more troops and resources. Sikorski’s comments come as a number of European leaders have raised concerns that Russia may attack an EU member state if it is allowed to defeat Ukraine on the battlefield. “It is not we, the West, who should fear a clash with Putin, but the other way around,” he insisted, adding that “it is worth reminding [people] about this” to show that an attack by Russia on any NATO member would end in Moscow’s defeat. “Putin’s only hope is our lack of determination,” he stated. The minister said the US-led military bloc remains a “defensive pact,” but nevertheless boasted that it has three times as many military personnel, three times the aerial resources, and four times as many ships as Russia.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk had previously also warned that Europe is in a “pre-war era,” while President Andrzej Duda has expressed the country’s readiness to host US nuclear weapons under NATO’s nuclear-sharing program. The move would place the bloc’s nuclear arsenal on the border of Belarus – a key Russian ally. Moscow has responded by stating that its military would take “all necessary countermeasures” to ensure its security if US nuclear weapons were deployed to Poland. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has also slammed Warsaw’s statements as a “provocation” and an attempt to “snuggle up” to Washington with its “deeply hostile policy towards Russia.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated that Moscow has no plans to attack any US “satellites” in Eastern Europe, and insists that claims of a potential Russian invasion are merely government propaganda aimed at scaring citizens “to extract additional expenses from people, to make them bear this burden [of funding Ukraine] on their shoulders.”

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So-so tanks.

Congress Panics Over Ukraine as Russian Drones Kill Abrams Battle Tanks (Sp.)

The rush to fast-track $6 billion in military aid to Ukraine on Friday reflects the panic felt by the Biden administration and in Congress that the Zelensky regime’s forces are collapsing, veteran UK diplomat, former ambassador and political commentator Peter Ford told Sputnik. Reports that Russia’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now proving successful at targeting and destroying US-supplied Abrams Main Battle Tanks causes a lot of concerns among the Biden administration and Congress, according to Ford. “The haste to release billions of dollars of funds for Ukraine betrays US alarm at the dire situation facing its client state on the battlefront,” he said on Friday. On Tuesday, the US Senate passed a $95 billion bill containing approximately $61 billion in Ukraine-related funding, including via a loan. US President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on Wednesday.

The US Department of Defense later unveiled a $1 billion military aid package for Kiev, including cluster munitions and air defense supplies. In addition, the Pentagon announced on Friday its largest-ever $6 billion military aid package that will include interceptors for Ukraine’s Patriot and NASAMS systems, more counter-drone systems, significant amounts of artillery ammunition, and air-to-ground munitions. However, the move came amid reports that the Ukrainian armed forces moved Abrams tanks from the frontlines due to threats from Russian drones. Ford observed that the rush to send so many more advanced weapons systems to Ukraine came hard on the heels of these reports. “The announcement coincides with reports that the Ukrainians are withdrawing US Abrams tanks from the front because they have shown themselves to be vulnerable to drone attack,” the analyst highlighted.

However, the main US defense contractors were oblivious to the multiple failures of their weapons systems on the battlefields of Ukraine and were only interested in further expanding their already enormous profit margins, the ex-diplomat emphasized. “Never mind, the main aims are being achieved. Not to help Ukraine – how naive! – but to stuff billions of taxpayer dollars down the gullet of the arms manufacturers,” Ford clarified. The other purpose of the otherwise futile and too late new arms package was to give Biden domestic credibility before his re-election campaign against former President Donald Trump this fall, he explained. The $6 billion arms package was therefore meant “to make Biden look resolute and consistent as he positions himself for the presidential election campaign,” the analyst said. The people of Ukraine once again had become the victims of cynical and ruthless US political manipulations and intrigues, Ford stressed.

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“..the former Ukrainian lawmaker estimates that about 1.5 million men of military age are currently on the run across Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s Deep Manpower Shortage Overshadows Arms Deliveries (Sp.)

New arms deliveries from the US cannot compensate for Ukraine’s deep manpower shortage and exhaustion, Volodymyr Oleynyk, a Ukrainian politician and former member of the Verkhovna Rada, told Sputnik.
Although the lack of ammunition has been alleviated to some extent by foreign aid, Ukraine’s main weakness is an acute shortage of soldiers, the Western press acknowledges. Since the beginning of the special military operation, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) have lost nearly 500,000 servicemen, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. To make matters worse, Ukraine has been “plagued by draft dodging,” with young men evading conscription and failing to register as required, Politico reported in March. “Many [Ukrainian] commanders say that their combat units suffer from a 30-40% deficit in manpower,” Volodymyr Oleynyk told Sputnik.

“Entire brigades break the law, violate orders and arbitrarily leave combat positions. Some of them are elite brigades. One of them was disbanded – the one that included the Right Sector*, which is considered very ‘patriotic’.” In recent months, there has been a significant increase in the number of Ukrainian troops using the special “Volga” 149.200 radio frequency to communicate their desire to disarm, according to Sputnik’s sources. The frequency was set up by Russian forces for Ukrainian troops wishing to surrender. Oleynyk quoted the head of the Ivano-Frankovsk regional military commissar as saying last month that some 30,000 potential conscripts were in hiding in the region. By 2020, Frankovshchyna will have a population of only 1.3 million. Doing the math, the former Ukrainian lawmaker estimates that about 1.5 million men of military age are currently on the run across Ukraine.

In addition, Ukrainian military personnel are increasingly deserting, Oleynyk added. “I’ve analyzed the situation for the first quarter of this year: about 20,000 criminal cases related to desertion have been opened over the past three months,” he said. “In general, it is believed that about 100,000 deserters are on the run. How many cases have been sent to court? Over these three months only 80 criminal cases were sent to court. This shows that even the judicial system does not want to consider these cases, because officials are afraid of later revenge by those convicted.”

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“..trying to blame Moscow for a wave of pro-Palestinian protests across the country..“

Pelosi Insulting Americans – Zakharova (RT)

Former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is insulting American voters by trying to blame Moscow for a wave of pro-Palestinian protests across the country, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday. The senior Democrat has linked pro-Palestinian protests in the US with alleged foreign influence on multiple occasions, most recently in an interview with Irish public broadcaster Raidio Teilifis Eireann (RTE) this week. Pelosi also took issue with the ‘Genocide Joe’ nickname that US President Joe Biden has been branded with over his failure to pressure Israel into showing more restraint in its military campaign in Gaza. Pelosi acknowledged that pro-Palestinian sentiment could impact Biden’s support during the US presidential vote in November, and claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted the presumptive Republican candidate, Donald Trump, to be elected.

“It’s in Putin’s interest for – what’s his name? – to win. And therefore I see some encouragement on the part of the Russians of some of what is going on,” she alleged of the demonstrations. Pro-Palestinian activists are genuine in their feelings, she conceded, but “some of it has a Russian tinge to it.” Responding to Pelosi’s remarks in a social media post, Zakharova said they “can only be taken as an insult to the Americans and a disregard for democracy.”

In January, the former House speaker called on the FBI to investigate the financing of pro-Palestinian groups, claiming that their demands for a ceasefire in Gaza were “Putin’s message.” Pelosi was also caught on camera lashing out at hecklers outside her home, telling them to “go back to China,” supposedly where their “headquarters” were located. Biden’s approval ratings have taken a hit among Democratic voters over his pro-Israeli stance, although Pelosi insisted that the president has been “the biggest advocate for humanitarian assistance to Palestinians” amid the conflict in Gaza. “The groups outside with their protest lay some blame at his doorstep, when he is the only one advocating at that level,” she added.

This week, local authorities across the US used force to disperse pro-Palestinian rallies at university campuses, with mass arrests reported in some cases. Protesters were targeted at Yale, Harvard, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Southern California, and other institutions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has welcomed the US crackdown, branding the activists “anti-Semitic mobs” and comparing them to Nazi sympathizers in the 1930s. Putin has publicly stated that he would be more comfortable with “predictable” and “old-school” Biden than Trump as the next US president.

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Your bank spies on you…

US Congress Probing 13 Banks For January 6 ‘Collusion’ (RT)

Republicans in the House of Representatives have sent letters to 13 financial institutions they suspect of colluding with the FBI and the Treasury Department to spy on Americans without a warrant in relation to the 2021 Capitol riot. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had stormed the legislature just as Republican lawmakers were starting to register objections to certifying the 2020 election in favor of Joe Biden. Democrats labeled the unrest as an “insurrection” and sought to arrest over 1,000 people involved in any way. Some of these people were apparently targeted by financial institutions working with the FBI and Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), according to the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, led by the Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

“The Committee and Select Subcommittee remain concerned about how and to what extent federal law enforcement and financial institutions continue to spy on Americans by weaponizing backdoor information sharing and casting sprawling classes of transactions, purchase behavior, and protected political or religious expression as potentially ‘suspicious’ or indicative of ‘extremism’,” said a letter from Jordan, which the Daily Mail obtained exclusively on Thursday. Jordan has pointed to evidence that the FBI and FinCEN instructed banks to look for purchases of Bibles or search terms such as “Trump” or “MAGA,” the acronym for the 45th president’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Congress was already investigating Bank of America, Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo, Citi Bank and Truist. Thursday’s letter was sent to Charles Schwab, HSBC, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, PayPal, Santander, Standard Chartered and Western Union. That makes 13 banks or financial institutions potentially involved in the dragnet.

Bank of America alone sent data on 211 individuals to the FBI and FinCen by January 17, 2021. However, its Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) was sent after the federal agencies asked banks to look for “extremist” purchases. Four of the 211 were tagged for a follow-up and visited by FBI agents. None of them ended up being charged with anything. “This kind of warrantless financial surveillance raises serious concerns about the federal government’s respect for Americans’ privacy and fundamental civil liberties,” Jordan wrote in a separate letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, also obtained by the Daily Mail. Since 2021, the FBI has targeted “radical-traditionalist Catholics” as well as parents who spoke up at school board meetings – on issues such as mask mandates or critical race theory – as potential domestic terrorists. Both programs were officially denounced after being revealed by whistleblowers.

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” What future can such a collection of morons have?”

Biden: White Americans Are the Threat (Paul Craig Roberts)

The Main Goal of the Biden Regime Is to Sell-out the Majority White American Population and to declare them as a menace. Tucker Carlson points out that president Biden, illegitimately in office due to the theft of the 2020 election, has as president of the United States defined America’s majority white population as the major cause of racism and a threat to national unity. Note: it is the majority that is the threat. Yet, tens of millions of dumbshit white Americans designated as America’s worst threat by Biden vote for him. What future can such a collection of morons have?

A white heterosexual who votes for Biden is expressing a death wish. It is the US whose Democrat Government is alienated from its own white majority population that intends to fight wars against Russia, Iran, and China. This is insanity. Who is going to fight these wars for Biden? The answer is Europeans and the immigrant-invaders into America thanks to Biden’s open border policy. Like Rome in its own self-inflicted decay, the US will be dependent on troops from the immigrant-invaders overrunning its own borders to fight its wars abroad in defense of the borders of foreign countries.

There is no discussion of this whatsoever.

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Swan

 

 

Tokyo

 

 

Fukuoka Imaya Hamburger
https://twitter.com/i/status/1783862345821016170

 

 

70 meters

 

 

Tusk

 

 

Rope

 

 

Drink of water

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 182019
 


Mathew Brady Abe Lincoln 1864

 

Showdown With Trump Looms As House Votes To Block Arms Sale To Saudi Arabia (AP)
House Votes Down Democrat’s Bid To Impeach Trump Over Recent Tweets (AP)
Feds End Investigation Into Trump Org And Hush Money Payments (CNN)
Foreign Purchases Of US Homes Plunge 36%, Chinese Flee The Market (CNBC)
New Zealand’s Armour-Plated Housing Bubble (Hickey)
Extraordinary Collapse In Home Ownership In Sydney And Melbourne (SMH)
Paradigm Shifts (Ray Dalio)
Ray Dalio Says Gold Top Investment During Upcoming ‘Paradigm Shift’ (CNBC)
US Removes Turkey From F-35 Program After S-400 Purchase From Russia (R.)
Chelsea Manning’s Daily Fines for Grand Jury Resistance Increase to $1000 (SP)

 

 

It’s showdowns all the way down. It would be good if they can do this one with a bit more smart. But they’re losing everything so far, so no high hopes. Of course it’s beyond gross to be chanting “send her home” at a rally. But he’s winning it all and they are not. The Democrats need a plan, they need brains, they need to organize.

Showdown With Trump Looms As House Votes To Block Arms Sale To Saudi Arabia (AP)

Congress is heading for a showdown with President Donald Trump after the House voted to block his administration from selling weapons and aircraft maintenance support to Saudi Arabia. The Democratic-led House on Wednesday passed the first of three resolutions of disapproval, 238-190, with votes on the others to immediately follow. Trump has actively courted an alliance with Riyadh and has pledged to veto the resolutions. The Senate cleared the measures last month, although by margins well short of making them veto proof. Overturning a president’s veto requires a two-thirds majority. The arms package is worth an estimated $8.1 billion and includes precision guided munitions, other bombs, ammunition, and aircraft maintenance support.

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Very predictable and therefore very stupid. It’s no time to start fights you can’t possibly win.

House Votes Down Democrat’s Bid To Impeach Trump Over Recent Tweets (AP)

The House easily killed a maverick Democrat’s effort Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for his recent racial insults against lawmakers of color, in a vote that provided an early snapshot of just how divided Democrats are over trying to oust him in the shadow of the 2020 elections. Democrats leaned against the resolution by Texas Rep. Al Green by about a 3-2 margin as the chamber killed the measure 332-95. The vote showed that so far, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been successful in her effort to prevent a Democratic stampede toward impeachment before additional evidence is developed that could win over a public that has so far been skeptical about ousting Trump.

Even so, the numbers also showed that the number of Democrats open to impeachment remains substantial. About two dozen more conversions would split the party’s caucus in half over an issue that could potentially dominate next year’s presidential and congressional campaigns. “There’s a lot of grief, from a lot of different quarters,” Green, speaking to reporters after the vote, said of the reaction he’s received from colleagues. “But sometimes you just have to take a stand.” Every voting Republican favored derailing Green’s measure.

Pelosi and other party leaders considered his resolution a premature exercise that needlessly forced vulnerable swing-district lawmakers to cast a perilous and divisive vote. It also risked deepening Democrats’ already raw rift over impeachment, dozens of the party’s most liberal lawmakers itching to oust Trump. Recent polling has shown solid majorities oppose impeachment. Even if the Democratic-run House would vote to impeach Trump, the equivalent of filing formal charges, a trial by the Republican-led Senate would all but certainly acquit him, keeping him in office.

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And here’s another loss. It doesn’t stop.

Feds End Investigation Into Trump Org And Hush Money Payments (CNN)

Federal prosecutors in New York have ended their investigation into the Trump Organization’s role in hush money payments made to women who alleged affairs with President Donald Trump and have been ordered by a judge to release additional information connected to their related probe of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, according to court documents filed Wednesday. CNN reported Friday that the Manhattan US Attorney’s office had approached the end of its investigation of the Trump Organization and wasn’t poised to charge any executives involved in the company’s effort to reimburse Cohen for money he paid to silence one of the women. That payment constituted an illegal campaign contribution, according to prosecutors. Trump has denied the affair allegations.

“The campaign finance violations discussed in the Materials are a matter of national importance,” US District Court Judge William Pauley wrote in his decision. “Now that the Government’s investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials.” Pauley ordered a copy of the government’s July status report and copies of search warrant materials from the Cohen case to be filed publicly with very limited redactions by Thursday at 11 a.m. ET. The conclusion of federal prosecutors’ investigation of the Trump company’s role in the Cohen matter marks a significant victory for the President’s family business, although it likely doesn’t come as a complete surprise.

There had been no contact between the Manhattan US Attorney’s office and officials at the Trump Organization in more than five months, CNN reported Friday. A lawyer for Trump, Jay Sekulow, said: “We are pleased that the investigation surrounding these ridiculous campaign finance allegations is now closed. We have maintained from the outset that the President never engaged in any campaign finance violation.”

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I see many Chinese tourists here in Athens. And often think Beijing can’t let that trend continue, because these people can’t pay for their trips in yuan. But yes, it’s easier to start with halting the outflow of larger amounts.

Foreign Purchases Of US Homes Plunge 36%, Chinese Flee The Market (CNBC)

Challenging conditions in the U.S. housing market, along with tighter currency controls by the Chinese government, caused a stunning drop in foreign demand for American homes. The dollar volume of homes purchased by foreign buyers from April 2018 through March 2019 dropped 36% from the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors. The decline was due to a drop in the number and average price of purchases. Foreigners bought 183,100 properties with a total value of about $77.9 billion, down from 266,800 valued at $121 billion in the previous period. They paid a median price of $280,600, which is higher than the median for all existing homebuyers ($259,600), but it was down from $290,400 the previous year.


“A confluence of many factors — slower economic growth abroad, tighter capital controls in China, a stronger U.S. dollar and a low inventory of homes for sale — contributed to the pullback of foreign buyers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “However, the magnitude of the decline is quite striking, implying less confidence in owning a property in the U.S.” The Chinese were the leading buyers for the seventh consecutive year, purchasing an estimated $13.4 billion worth of residential property. Yet that was a 56% decline from the previous 12 months and comparatively the biggest percentage drop of all foreign buyers. Chinese economic growth slowed to 6.3% in 2019 compared with 6.9% in 2017, when the previous buyer survey began. The Chinese government also tightened its grip on the outflow of cash to purchase foreign property.

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New Zealand housing, like Australia and Vancouver, depends on the Chinese too.

New Zealand’s Armour-Plated Housing Bubble (Hickey)

New Zealanders usually welcome the praise when overseas authorities describe us as the best in the world. This time, not so much. In the past fortnight, global economic news authorities The Economist and Bloomberg Economics have both declared New Zealand houses to be vastly over-valued relative to both rents and incomes. They describe New Zealand as in bubble territory similar to those seen in other countries before the Global Financial Crisis and vulnerable to the sort of 30-40 percent price crash seen in the likes of Ireland and parts of the US through 2007 to 2010. The Economist’s long-running Global House Price Index was refreshed on June 27 with March quarter data for most countries and showed New Zealand top of the pops when it came to over-valuation relative to incomes and second most over-valued relative to rents behind Canada.

It found New Zealand prices in the December quarter of 2018 to be 57 percent over-valued relative to rents, just above Australia’s 42 percent overvalued in the March quarter. New Zealand was 113 percent over-valued relative to rents, just behind Canada’s 120 percent, The Economist found. New Zealand prices have more than trebled since 1990, while British and American prices are still less than double what they were 30 years ago. “On this basis, house prices appear to be on an unsustainable path in Australia, Canada and New Zealand,” The Economist wrote. “Ten years ago they reached similarly dizzying heights against rents and incomes in Spain, Ireland and some American cities, only to endure a brutal collapse,” it concluded.

[..] New Zealand’s housing market is now worth NZ$1.13 trillion, which is up by more than $1 trillion from NZ$123 billion in 1990. The increase is more than triple because there are more houses with more extras (decks/garages/rooms) added on. That’s $1 trillion in untaxed capital gains, which at the top marginal rate would have generated extra tax revenues of $330 billion, or enough to build nearly 700,000 new state houses or fund the next 14 years of New Zealand Superannuation payments. Our housing market is worth 3.9 times our GDP and more than 7.2 times the value of our stock market. For comparison sake, Australia’s housing market is worth A$6.6 trillion or 3.5 times Australia’s GDP and 3.3 times the value of its stock market. America’s housing market is worth US$33.3 trillion or 1.6 times US GDP and 1.5 times the value of the US stock market.

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Governments like bubbles.

Extraordinary Collapse In Home Ownership In Sydney And Melbourne (SMH)

The number of people owning their home outright has collapsed by a third as house prices have soared four-fold over the past two decades, leaving a growing number of older Australians shackled to mortgages as they head into retirement. In the mid-1990s, almost 44 per cent of people in NSW owned their home outright, but according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics this has now fallen to just 29.7 per cent. At the same time, the proportion of people in NSW with a mortgage has jumped by more than 30 per cent, with many of those heading towards their retirement years. The swing from ownership to mortgage has occurred over the past 20 years as the median house price in Sydney lifted by 460 per cent, even taking into account the recent market softening.

It’s a similar story in Victoria, where in the mid-1990s more than 45 per cent of people were mortgage-free, but now that figure has fallen to just 31 per cent. Victorians are among the most exposed to changing interest rates, with more than 37 per cent of people holding a mortgage. Two decades ago less than 30 per cent held a housing debt with their bank. Over the same period, the median house price in Melbourne has soared from $126,131 to $806,000. The Northern Territory has the smallest proportion of people who own their home outright, at just 17 per cent. Among the states, just 27 per cent of residents in Queensland and Western Australia enjoy life without a mortgage or rental payments.

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Dalio channels Minsky: stability leads to instability. He must be aware of that.

Paradigm Shifts (Ray Dalio)

There are always big unsustainable forces that drive the paradigm. They go on long enough for people to believe that they will never end even though they obviously must end. A classic one of those is an unsustainable rate of debt growth that supports the buying of investment assets; it drives asset prices up, which leads people to believe that borrowing and buying those investment assets is a good thing to do. But it can’t go on forever because the entities borrowing and buying those assets will run out of borrowing capacity while the debt service costs rise relative to their incomes by amounts that squeeze their cash flows. When these things happen, there is a paradigm shift.

Debtors get squeezed and credit problems emerge, so there is a retrenchment of lending and spending on goods, services, and investment assets so they go down in a self-reinforcing dynamic that looks more opposite than similar to the prior paradigm. This continues until it’s also overdone, which reverses in a certain way that I won’t digress into but is explained in my book Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises [..] Another classic example that comes to mind is that extended periods of low volatility tend to lead to high volatility because people adapt to that low volatility, which leads them to do things (like borrow more money than they would borrow if volatility was greater) that expose them to more volatility, which prompts a self-reinforcing pickup in volatility.

There are many classic examples like this that repeat over time that I won’t get into now. Still, I want to emphasize that understanding which types of paradigms exist and how they might shift is required to consistently invest well. That is because any single approach to investing—e.g., investing in any asset class, investing via any investment style (such as value, growth, distressed), investing in anything—will experience a time when it performs so terribly that it can ruin you.

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Think he means that for pension funds as well?

Ray Dalio Says Gold Top Investment During Upcoming ‘Paradigm Shift’ (CNBC)

Hedge fund kingpin Ray Dalio is seeing a case for gold as central banks get more aggressive with policies that devalue currencies and are about to cause a “paradigm shift” in investing. Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, wrote in a LinkedIn post that investors have been pushed into stocks and other assets that have equity-like returns. As a result, too many people are holding these types of securities and likely to face diminishing returns. “I think these are unlikely to be good real returning investments and that those that will most likely do best will be those that do well when the value of money is being depreciated and domestic and international conflicts are significant, such as gold,” the Bridgewater Associates leader said.

“Additionally, for reasons I will explain in the near future, most investors are underweighted in such assets, meaning that if they just wanted to have a better balanced portfolio to reduce risk, they would have more of this sort of asset. For this reason, I believe that it would be both risk-reducing and return-enhancing to consider adding gold to one’s portfolio. I will soon send out an explanation of why I believe that gold is an effective portfolio diversifier.” [..] Dalio’s call comes two weeks before the Federal Reserve is expected to cut its benchmark interest rate by at least a quarter point. That move comes after a three-year cycle of raising rates from the historically accommodative near-zero levels implemented during the financial crisis.

The fresh trends are part of what he labeled a new “paradigm shift” that comes after the last one during the crisis. Investors, Dalio said, are going to need to change their mindset about what will work after the longest bull market run in Wall Street history. “In paradigm shifts, most people get caught overextended doing something overly popular and get really hurt,” he wrote. “On the other hand, if you’re astute enough to understand these shifts, you can navigate them well or at least protect yourself against them.”

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“Turkey makes more than 900 parts of the F-35..”

US Removes Turkey From F-35 Program After S-400 Purchase From Russia (R.)

The United States said on Wednesday that it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, a move long threatened and expected after Ankara began accepting delivery of an advanced Russian missile defense system last week. The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were flown to the Murted military air base northwest of Ankara on Friday, sealing NATO ally Turkey’s deal with Russia, which Washington had struggled for months to prevent. “The U.S. and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the program,” Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told a briefing.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said the move was unfair and could affect relations between the two countries. Lord said moving the supply chain for the advanced fighter jet would cost the United States between $500 million and $600 million in non-recurring engineering costs. Turkey makes more than 900 parts of the F-35, she said, adding the supply chain would transition from Turkish to mainly U.S. factories as Turkish suppliers are removed. “Turkey will certainly and regrettably lose jobs and future economic opportunities from this decision,” Lord said. “It will no longer receive more than $9 billion in projected work share related to the F-35 over the life of the program.”

The F-35 stealth fighter jet, the most advanced aircraft in the U.S. arsenal, is used by NATO and other U.S. allies. Washington is concerned that deploying the S-400 with the F-35 would allow Russia to gain too much inside information about the aircraft’s stealth system. “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” the White House said in a statement earlier on Wednesday.

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One of my greatest heroes. She does what Muhammad Ali did.

Chelsea Manning’s Daily Fines for Grand Jury Resistance Increase to $1000 (SP)

Daily fines against Chelsea Manning for resisting a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks increased to $1000 on July 16. On May 16, Judge Anthony Trenga held Manning in civil contempt and ordered her to be sent back to the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria. The court also imposed a fine of $500 per day after 30 days, and then a fine of $1000 per day after 60 days. From June 16 to July 15, the court fined her $500/day. Those fines total $15,000. If Manning “persists in her refusal” for the next 15 months or until the grand jury’s term ends, her legal team says she will face a total amount of fines that is over $440,000. This excessive amount may violate her Eighth Amendment rights under the Constitution.


In May, Manning’s attorneys filed a motion challenging the harshness of the fines. The federal court has yet to rule on the motion or hold a hearing. The motion asserted there is no “appropriate coercive sanction” because Manning will never testify. She should be released from jail and relieved of all fines. “Ms. Manning has publicly articulated the moral basis for her refusal to comply with the grand jury subpoena, in statements to the press, in open court, and most recently, in a letter addressed to this court,” her attorneys stated. “She is suffering physically and psychologically, and is at the time of this writing in the process of losing her home as a result of her present confinement.”

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