Apr 172024
 


Daniel Garber Lambertville holiday 1941

 

Iran’s Strike On Israel Was Much More Successful Than It Seems (Juma)
Iran’s Retaliatory Attack Revealed Israel’s Military Weaknesses (Manley)
Loose Lips Don’t Sink Ships, Or Israel (Helmer)
The Gaza Genocide As Explicit Policy – Michael Hudson (Pepe Escobar)
Zelensky Green With Envy as West Comes to Aid of Israel (Miles)
Ukrainians ‘Beginning To Dislike’ US – Odessa University Boss (RT)
Ukraine Suddenly Walked Away From Black Sea Deal – Reuters (RT)
Xi Jinping Proposes Four Principles For Resolving Ukrainian Crisis (TASS)
Biden Refuses to Testify in GOP Impeachment Inquiry (ET)
RFK Jr Won’t Seek Libertarian Nomination, Says Team Trump Asked Him As VP (ZH)
Coalition of AG’s File Amicus Brief Defending Ken Paxton and His Top Deputy (ET)
Supreme Court Takes Up Obstruction Case Affecting J6 Defendants (Turley)
Dutch Gov’t Data Hack Reveals Startling Amount Of Covid Adverse Reactions (X)
A Generation Lost to Climate Anxiety (Zaruk)

 

 

 

 

Watch this: Chasing Trump

 

 

Kim Gaza

 

 

 

 

Florida 1982

 

 

 

 

Those hundreds of drones and missiles have fully exposed Israel’s defenses, including those provided by third countries.. At a low cost, and without starting a war. Pretty smart. Plus, Biden has refused US involvement in potential counter attacks.

Iran’s Strike On Israel Was Much More Successful Than It Seems (Juma)

On the night of April 14, Iran and its proxy forces launched a series of cruise missile and kamikaze drone strikes on Israeli territory. The attacks did not come as a surprise. Tehran had warned that it would respond to the Israeli airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus, Syria, on April 1, which killed several high-ranking officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including two generals. The retaliatory strike was called Operation True Promise. There is still much debate on whether Iran’s retaliatory strike was successful. Most military experts agree that there was nothing unusual about Tehran’s actions, except that this was Iran’s first direct attack on Israel. From a technical point of view, the strategy was simple and correct: Iran first suppressed the enemy’s air defense systems with drones and then launched hypersonic missiles which the Israelis and Americans were not able to intercept. Incidentally, in light of this, Ukraine’s statements about shooting down Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missiles sound ridiculous.

Many experts were skeptical about Iran’s strike and hastened to say that the retaliation did not live up to expectations. Given the clip thinking of most commentators, this reaction is hardly surprising. Their reasoning resembles a Hollywood blockbuster stuffed with special effects, where the end of the world and its miraculous salvation fit into 90-120 minutes, with a love scene in the middle. In real life, things are different. As Sun Tzu wrote in ancient times, to fight 100 battles and win 100 battles is not the height of skill. The best way to win is not to fight at all. This is Iran’s strategy. Its strike against Israel was not so much a military response as a grandmaster’s move in a big chess game. And the game is not over yet. After the attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria’s capital, Tehran found itself in a tough situation. It had to respond in a way that would look convincing and would achieve specific military goals, but would not start World War III.

To achieve the first point, Iran had to carry out a direct strike without resorting exclusively to proxy forces – and that is indeed how it acted. Regarding the second point, even though most of the missiles and drones were indeed shot down, some managed to penetrate Israeli air space and hit military targets. The Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Mohammad Bagheri, said that the information center on the Israeli-Syrian border and Israel’s Nevatim air base were hit. And finally, as to the third point – war didn’t happen. This resembled the situation in 2020, when the Iranians hit US bases in Iraq in response to the assassination of General Soleimani. However, it is still too early to speculate as to whether Iran’s attack was a success or not. The big question now is how Israel will respond. It’s important to emphasize that Iran’s operation carried more political than military weight. In this sense, it was carried out subtly and was a success. Obviously, the Iranians did not want to start a war which would involve the US, even though that is what Netanyahu wanted. In other words, Israel didn’t manage to provoke Iran.

It is also obvious that the Islamic Republic possesses more powerful drones and missiles than those used in the attack on April 14. However, even the less advanced drones and missiles were able to penetrate Israeli air space and inflict economic damage, since Israel spent much more money on shooting down the missiles and drones than Iran spent on launching them. Tehran has once again demonstrated that Israel is not invulnerable, and it is possible to attack it. As for the degree of inflicted damage, which some commentators were unsatisfied with, it largely depends on the type of missiles and drones used in the attack – and Iran has a lot of military equipment.

Ritter Galloway: Stand Down

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“This was not a failure on Iran’s part. This was an action that has changed the game entirely..”

Iran’s Retaliatory Attack Revealed Israel’s Military Weaknesses (Manley)

An article published in Mondoweiss on Sunday suggested that Iran’s retaliatory attack against Israel was not a failure, after Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that 99% of the launched missiles and drones were intercepted by Israeli air defense systems. The article notes that Iran declared its intentions to attack a week in advance and promised the US that its attack would be “under control” and conducted in a way that “avoids escalation”. On Tuesday, Sputnik’s The Critical Hour was joined by Dr. Jim Kavanagh, an independent journalist, to discuss Iran’s recent response to Israel’s attack over the weekend. “This was not a failure on Iran’s part. This was an action that has changed the game entirely,” said Kavanagh. “This is a new game now because what Iran demonstrated was that the Israelis were defended by the US. The US, Great Britain, France and Jordan – all of them acted in their defense and shot down [Iran’s] missiles.

They had a 72-hour notice. The Iranians did constrain themselves in the sense that they were targeting specific military installations. They didn’t pick a broad target against any civilian targets or urban targets,” he continued. “What Iran demonstrated was that it would act against Israel, it could do so effectively and intelligently,” he continued. “That was the best defended territory in the world, the best radar, the best air defense systems. Iran used seven missiles to target that and hit with five. So five or seven missiles struck the best defended and the best air defense territory in the world.” “What Iran demonstrated was that Israel is not safe,” said Kavanagh. Sputnik’s Garland Nixon suggested that Iran’s recent attack showed how Israel’s military is extremely dependent on its Western allies.

“Isn’t it strange that the US, Great Britain and France joined in a military attack? A military action with Israel. Where’s the justification for that?” Kavanagh responded. “But they’re not going to get 72 hours notice [again]. They’re not going to get time for the Americans and British and France if there’s a real attack. If it’s all-out warfare, Israel is not going to have time. They’re going to be hurt very badly. And, this is something they cannot stand.” “Israel knows all this. They know how weak they are,” he added. “Israel has an ace in the hole that they will use if there’s a general war with Iran, and that is nuclear weapons. And that’s what they have them for, and that’s what they will use to restore the intimidation over the world, over their regional adversaries at least.”

Israel 1948

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“..the best surveillance radar in the world, working in concert with the most sophisticated anti-missile defences in the world, were impotent in the face of the Iranian attack..”

Loose Lips Don’t Sink Ships, Or Israel (Helmer)

No Russian military source will publicly express the line that Iran’s attack on Israel of April 14 was a strategic success, despite the tactical shortcomings. This is first of all because Iran is a strategic ally of Russia in its war against the US and NATO in the Ukraine, in Syria, and in Yemen. It is also because of what may happen next. If Israel escalates by attacking Iran and striking at the country’s infrastructure, then Iran’s counter will be to take a page out of Russia’s book and commence the one line of attack which Israel, the US and their allies cannot withstand any better than Ukraine – that’s Electric War.

For the seven months which have elapsed since Hamas began its operation against Israel on October 7, and Israel commenced its genocide against the Palestinians, there has been no targeting by Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, or the Syrian and Iraqi groups of Israel’s highly vulnerable maritime gas platforms, gas pipelines, coal and oil-fired electricity generating plants, the coal and oil storages nearby, solar and wind power units, or the electricity grids keeping the country alight. The Arab inhibitions and calculations are understandable. Iran’s will disappear if Israel triggers a new round of attacks. If and when that happens, the Palestinian failure in the US and in Europe to counterattack and stop Israel financing its war through the $60 billion genocide bond issue won’t matter. Bond holders don’t invest in blackouts. On the published Israeli counts to date, Iran launched between 180 and 185 drones, 30 to 36 cruise missiles, and 110 to 120 ballistic missiles[..]

The outcome counted by Israel’s enemies is that Israel, the US, British, French and Jordanian forces intercepted almost all of the drones and other decoys fired from Iran. Nine missiles beat the Iron Dome, Arrow, and other ground–to-air defences, five of them hit Nevatim air base and four of them hit the Ramon base. Iranian officials confirm those target strikes. In a briefing on April 16, the Iranian ground force commander, Brigadier General Kioumars Haydari, added that “the attack targeted the most strategic base and surveillance site of the Israeli military at the Jabal al-Sheikh Heights on the border between the occupied Palestinian territories and Syria.” Haydari did not mention Ramon or a Mossad facility as targeted or hit.

The case is being made by a group of retired colonels, majors, and lieutenants publishing in the US alt-media that the 6% rate of penetration – that’s 9 divided by 140 or by 156 – make a tactical victory over the US radar and missile combinations protecting Nevatim and Ramon, and therefore a strategic success for Iran. The US protection is Site 512 in the Negev region of southern Israel. According to one American interpretation, “the best surveillance radar in the world, working in concert with the most sophisticated anti-missile defences in the world, were impotent in the face of the Iranian attack…Who has deterrence supremacy? It ain’t Israel.”

Another American assessment goes further strategically without going as far tactically. The point of the penetrations at Nevatim and Ramon, this argument runs, was not to destroy the bases but to prove that, having beaten the US-Israeli defences this time round, the next time will be much more destructive; also, that the Israeli-American combination cannot afford the cost attrition of $1 billion spent per night to defend against larger and cheaper Iranian swarms. A third American interpretation is that even as slight as the 6% penetration rate appears to be, the Iranians have demonstrated the military and technological expertise to defeat the US technology on which Israeli defences are based.

A Russian military source acknowledges that “yes, several people have made this point that at least some projectiles got through at the airstrips; that the Iranians have learned from the defences and might have spotted weaknesses to exploit.” He dismisses this strategic victory as wishful thinking. “In a class room, these calculations of the pundits make sense. But up to the 10th Grade.” A NATO veteran and expert in applying electrical engineering to war comments: “Honestly, I don’t believe the Iranian strikes were all that effective in terms of damage done. This being said, again, they weren’t meant to be. They mostly used drones and older missiles with a few of the newer models thrown in to test, and send a message.”

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“..the ideal is to kill the population passively, to minimize visible bombing. And the line of least resistance is to starve the population. That has been Israeli policy since 2008.”

The Gaza Genocide As Explicit Policy – Michael Hudson (Pepe Escobar)

In what can be considered the most crucial podcast of 2024 so far, Professor Michael Hudson – the author of seminal works such as Super-Imperialism and the recent The Collapse of Antiquity , among others – clinically lays down the essential background to understand the unthinkable: a 21st century genocide broadcast live 24/7 to the whole planet. [..] In an email exchange, Prof. Hudson detailed he’s now essentially “spilling the beans” about how, “50 years ago when I worked at the Hudson Institute with Herman Kahn [the model for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove], Israeli Mossad members were being trained, including Uzi Arad. In our email exchange, Prof. Hudson remarked “this is basically what I said” in reference to the podcast with Ania K, drawing on his notes. Fasten your seat belts: unvarnished truth is more lethal than a hypersonic missile hit.

[..] On the Zionist military strategy in Gaza: “My background in the 1970s at Hudson Institute with Uzi Arad and other Mossad trainees. My field was BoP, but I sat in on many meetings discussing military strategy, and I flew to Asia twice with Uzi and got to know him. The U.S./Israeli strategy in Gaza is based in many ways on Herman Kahn’s plan that was carried out in Vietnam in the 1960s. Herman’s focus was systems analysis. Start by defining the overall aim and then, how do we achieve it? First, isolate them in Strategic Hamlets. Gaza has been carved up into districts, requiring electronic passes for entry from one sector to another, or into Jewish Israel to work. First thing: kill them. Ideally by bombing, because that minimizes domestic casualties for your army. The genocide that we are seeing today is the explicit policy of Israel’s founders: the idea of “a land without a people” means a land without non-Jewish people.

They were to be driven out – starting even before the official founding of Israel, in the first Nakba, the Arab holocaust. Two Israeli Prime Ministers were members of the Stern Gang of terrorists. They escaped from their British jail and joined to found Israel. What we are seeing today is the Final Solution to this plan. It also dovetails into U.S. desires to control the Middle East and its oil reserves. For U.S. diplomacy, the Middle East IS (in caps) oil. And ISIS is part of America’s foreign legion since it was first organized in Afghanistan to fight the Russians. That is why Israeli policy has been coordinated with the U.S.. Israel is the main U.S. client oligarchy in the Middle East. Mossad does most handling of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and wherever else the U.S. may send ISIS terrorists.

Terrorism and even the present genocide is central to U.S. geopolitics. But as the U.S. learned in the Vietnam War, populations protest and vote against the President who supervises this war. Lyndon Johnson couldn’t make a public appearance without crowds chanting. He had to sneak out the side entrance of hotels where he was speaking. To prevent an embarrassment such as Seymour Hersh describing the My Lai massacre, you block journalists from the battlefield. If they are there, you kill them. The Biden-Netanyahu team has targeted journalists in particular. So the ideal is to kill the population passively, to minimize visible bombing. And the line of least resistance is to starve the population. That has been Israeli policy since 2008.”

Prof. Hudson makes a direct reference to a Sara Roy piece in The New York Review of Books, citing a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to the Secretary of State on November 3rd, 2008. The cable reads, “As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to [embassy officials] on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.” That has led, according to Prof. Hudson, to Israel “destroying fishing boats and greenhouses of Gaza to deprive it from feeding itself. Next, it has joined with the United States to block United Nations food aid and that of other countries. The U.S. quickly withdrew from the UN relief agency as soon as hostilities began, doing so immediately after the ICJ finding of plausible genocide. It was the major funder of this agency. The hope was that this would set back its activities.

Israel simply stopped letting food aid in. It set up long, long lines of inspections, that is, an excuse to slow the trucks to just 20% of their pre-Oct. 7 rate – from a normal rate of 500 a day to just 112. In addition to blocking trucks, Israel has targeted aid workers – about one a day.

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“..the Kiev regime started out this conflict with a very formidable integrated Soviet legacy air defense network that took Russia about a year and a half to take apart..”

Zelensky Green With Envy as West Comes to Aid of Israel (Miles)

The United States rushed to the defense of Israel this weekend to help shoot down a volley of drones and missiles launched by Iran in a retaliatory strike for an attack on Tehran’s Syrian consulate earlier this month. The US was joined in their effort by the UK, flying out of their airbase in nearby Cyprus, and the Western-aligned regime in Jordan. Israeli media alleged that Saudi Arabia came to the aid of the country as well, although observers have questioned the veracity of those reports. The Gulf monarchy has walked a fine line in recent months, attempting to keep hopes of rapprochement with Tel Aviv alive while also acknowledging the pro-Palestinian sentiment of the country’s population. The dramatic (and reportedly highly expensive) show of force apparently led to some envy from another US ally, according to security analyst Mark Sleboda.

The international relations expert joined Sputnik’s Fault Lines program Tuesday to break down the Israel-Gaza conflict’s ramifications for the US’ relationship with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “I think that Zelensky has finally come to the realization as the new mistress that the United States is never going to leave its wife, despite all the promises that Joe Biden has given, all of the late-night dinners and the hotel rooms,” Sleboda mused. “It’s all gone wrong… there’s a bit of envy.” “There was even an… interview with a Ukrainian academic, quote-unquote, saying how Ukraine is being two-timed by the United States with Israel and the rock on Israel’s finger is much bigger or something like that, that they are souring on the United States. I mean if you didn’t realize you were a proxy for US geopolitical motives, that’s entirely your problem,” the analyst stressed.

Sleboda broke down some of the reasons he believes the United States was able to come to the aid of its Middle Eastern ally in a way it hasn’t for Ukraine, noting that Israel is a much smaller country with an extensive air defense system in the Iron Dome. The analyst called the network “probably the second best air defense system in the world after Russia’s, and very tailored to task.” “Ukraine is an enormous country with very far-flung assets and Russia is a nuclear power with very large conventional and air forces, and it makes a world of difference,” Sleboda added. “It has to be said that the Kiev regime started out this conflict with a very formidable integrated Soviet legacy air defense network that took Russia about a year and a half to take apart, which is why only now are you starting to see the fruits of real Russian air superiority.”

“Russian forces are apparently able to use SU-25 aircraft in an essentially close air support role because the Kiev regime has no air defense, certainly not on the front line, left,” he concluded. “Ultimately the envy is at the moment primarily over air defense… [Zelensky] realizes he’s going to get no more air defense, which is simply going to make the end of this conflict come faster than it would have otherwise.”

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“..the US “is not going to be involved in [the Ukraine conflict] in a combat role.”

Ukrainians ‘Beginning To Dislike’ US – Odessa University Boss (RT)

There is growing disenchantment with the US among Ukrainians over its perceived lack of commitment to their defense, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing the director of the Center for International Studies at the Odessa National University. Vladimir Dubovyk told the newspaper in an article on Monday that the swift action from the US and its NATO allies to fend off a massive Iranian missile and drone strike on Israel at the weekend stands in stark contrast to their apparent reluctance to beef up Ukraine’s air defenses amid its conflict with Russia. Ukrainians are “beginning to sour on the US,” Dubovyk was quoted as saying. The scholar noted that Washington played a key role “in the first two years of the war [with Russia], but now of course there’s a huge slowdown,” apparently referring to President Joe Biden’s latest aid package, which has been deadlocked by Republicans in Congress for several months.

“Rather than helping Ukraine create the kind of air-defense network Israel has, the West has provided [Kiev] with a patchwork of equipment,” the WSJ noted, adding that these stockpiles have become significantly depleted as Moscow escalates its campaign of air bombardments. The situation in Ukraine was contrasted with that of Israel, after Iran launched several hundred missiles and kamikaze drones at the Jewish state late on Saturday. US, British, French and Jordanian fighter jets scrambled to intercept the projectiles, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) later reported that the vast majority of Iranian rockets and UAVs had been shot down before they reached Israeli airspace. Tehran said the attack came in response to an Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Syria on April 1, and claimed that it had struck several Israeli military installations.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky noted that Israel is not a NATO member, meaning Western powers were not legally obliged to come to its defense. The Ukrainian leader added that the involvement of the US, the UK, and France did not result in a war breaking out in the region. “European skies could have received the same level of protection long ago if Ukraine had received similar full support from its partners,” Zelensky concluded. During a press conference on Monday, US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby made it clear that the situations in Israel and Ukraine cannot be compared, describing them as “different conflicts, different airspace, [and] different threat picture.” He also emphasized that the US “is not going to be involved in [the Ukraine conflict] in a combat role.”

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Ukraine cannot be trusted.

Ukraine Suddenly Walked Away From Black Sea Deal – Reuters (RT)

Russia and Ukraine had almost reached a new Black Sea shipping deal in March after two months of negotiations, only for Kiev to abruptly walk away, Reuters reported on Monday, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. The official agreement governing the freight route lapsed in July 2023, when Moscow declined to renew the original Türkiye- and UN-mediated Black Sea Grain Initiative. Russia said that the US and EU had not kept their part of the deal, blocking exports of Russian food and fertilizer. The most recent talks were brokered by Türkiye at the prompting of the United Nations, and a tentative agreement “to ensure the safety of merchant shipping in the Black Sea” was reached last month, according to Reuters’ sources.

They added that while Kiev did not formally sign, it agreed that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could announce the deal a day before Turkiye’s March 31 local elections, with the pact to take effect immediately upon being made public. “At the very last minute, Ukraine suddenly pulled out and the deal was scuttled.” According to the draft seen by Reuters, Ankara had mediated agreements between Moscow and Kiev “on ensuring free and safe navigation of merchant vessels in the Black Sea,” in compliance with maritime conventions. The guarantees would not apply to “warships, civilian vessels carrying military goods,” except when agreed upon by all parties, the copy of the document stated. Both Russia and Ukraine were to offer security guarantees to commercial vessels in the Black Sea, undertaking not to strike, seize or search them, provided they were unladen or had declared a non-military cargo, according to the draft agreement.

The reasons for Kiev pulling out are unclear, but President Vladimir Zelensky accused Russia of targeting grain export infrastructure during the original deal, thereby putting vulnerable countries at risk. Speaking to reporters earlier this year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denied that Moscow ever attacked Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea during the grain deal. One of the reasons Moscow did not return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative was Kiev’s misuse of the shipping passage during the agreement, he said. “The Ukrainians used these free secure passages to launch their weapons in the form of naval drones,” damaging Russian ships and ports, Lavrov stated. He added under the old agreement, only 3% of the shipped Ukrainian grain went to countries on the UN World Food Programme’s list of states in greatest need. Since then, Moscow has donated 200,000 tons of grain to six African nations, with the last shipments arriving in January of this year.

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At least Xi didn’t refuse to talk to him.

Xi Jinping Proposes Four Principles For Resolving Ukrainian Crisis (TASS)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has proposed four principles to restore peace in Ukraine as soon as possible and prevent the crisis from spiraling out of control. According to the Xinhua news agency, the Chinese leader had an in-depth exchange of views on the Ukrainian crisis with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is on an official visit to Beijing. “First, we should give priority to maintaining peace and stability and refrain from seeking selfish gains. Second, we should cool down the situation instead of adding fuel to the fire. Third, we should create conditions for restoring peace and refrain from further escalating tensions. Fourth, we should reduce the negative impact on the global economy and refrain from undermining the stability of global industrial and supply chains,” the agency quoted the Chinese leader as saying.

Scholz is on an official visit to Beijing since April 12. This is his second trip to China as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. Scholz is accompanied by three ministers of environment, agriculture and transport. The delegation includes representatives of leading German companies, in particular Siemens, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The visit focuses on bilateral trade and economic relations.

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Why not subpoena him?

Biden Refuses to Testify in GOP Impeachment Inquiry (ET)

President Joe Biden will not be testifying to U.S. House of Representatives members who are engaged in an impeachment inquiry against him, the White House said on April 15. Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, told House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) that the president would not testify in the “partisan charade.” “Your committee’s purported ‘impeachment inquiry’ has succeeded only in turning up abundant evidence that, in fact, the president has done nothing wrong,” Mr. Sauber said in a letter to Mr. Comer. “Your insistence on peddling these false and unsupported allegations despite ample evidence to the contrary makes one thing about your investigation abundantly clear: The facts do not matter to you,” he added. Republicans in their investigation have found that millions of dollars flowed from businesses and individuals, including foreigners, to members of the Biden family while President Biden was vice president.

They’ve also identified payments from Hunter Biden’s business to the president, and from the president’s brother to him, as well as emails between President Biden and an associate of Hunter Biden. Several witnesses, meanwhile, testified that President Biden would get on the phone with Hunter Biden’s associates and that he attended multiple meals with them. President Biden and the White House have maintained that he was not involved with the business undertaken by his son and brother. Mr. Comer wrote to the president in March, saying the evidence “wholly contradicts your position.” “In light of the yawning gap between your public statements and the evidence assembled by the committee, as well as the White House’s obstruction, it is in the best interest of the American people for you to answer questions from members of Congress directly, and I hereby invite you to do so,” Mr. Comer wrote at the time.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Biden family. Like his son, Hunter Biden, President Biden is refusing to testify in public about the Bidens’ corrupt influence peddling,” Mr. Comer said Monday. “This comes as no surprise since President Biden continues to lie about his relationships with his son’s business partners, even denying they exist when his son said under oath during a deposition that they did,” he said. “It is unfortunate President Biden is unwilling to answer questions before the American people and refuses to answer the very simple, straightforward questions we included in the invitation. Why is it so difficult for the White House to answer those questions? The American people deserve transparency from President Biden, not more lies.” It’s not clear whether lawmakers are considering subpoenaing the president, and the White House did not respond when asked whether the president would comply with a subpoena.

Mr. Comer and other members have said they want answers to questions, including those about the source of the money for the payment from his brother. They’re also wondering whether President Biden ever interacted with Hunter Biden’s associates, such as Chinese businessmen Jonathan Li, Ye Jianming, and Henry Zhao. Lawmakers also want more details about the work done by Eric Schwerin, one of the associates, for President Biden. Mr. Schwerin told lawmakers that he often met with President Biden and provided him with free services, including tax preparation. Lawmakers have yet to outline the next steps in the inquiry. The November election is looming and, if President Biden loses his re-election bid, he would exit the presidency regardless in January 2025. Mr. Sauber, the special adviser to the president, is leaving the White House early next month. He was brought on in 2022 to oversee the White House’s response to congressional investigations as Democrats braced to lose their majorities on Capitol Hill that year.

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“..Trump’s co-campaign manager Chris LaCivita quickly fired back, denying Kennedy’s claim and calling him a “leftie loonie” to boot…”

RFK Jr Won’t Seek Libertarian Nomination, Says Team Trump Asked Him As VP (ZH)

After seriously considering the possibility, 2024 presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy, Jr has declared he will not seek the Libertarian Party nomination, saying he’s confident he’ll achieve ballot access across the country on his own. Meanwhile, in a social media skirmish with Team Trump, Kennedy said Trump associates asked him to consider becoming the former president’s running mate. In a political system with formidable ballot-access barriers that protect the Democrat-Republican duopoly, outsider presidential candidates are frequently attracted to the idea of running as a Libertarian — if only to access the party’s hard-earned, 50-state ballot qualification. “We’re not gonna have any problems getting on the ballot ourselves so we won’t be running Libertarian,” Kennedy tells ABC News. That declaration came as his team was celebrating their exploitation of a quirk in Iowa ballot-access law:

Rather than gathering 3,500 signatures, the Kennedy team held a convention in West Des Moines. Consistent with state requirements, it included at least 500 voters who represented at least 25 of the Hawkeye State’s 99 counties. Kennedy assured ABC that he’s “100% confident” he’ll manage the arduous process — which includes fending off Democrats’ lawfare — in all 50 states, saying “we’re going to add probably two to three states a week.” While Kennedy framed his decision solely in ballot-access terms, it was far from certain that he could have actually won the Libertarian nod. The nominee isn’t selected by party leadership, but by delegates at the group’s convention — all of whom show up fully free to vote for the candidate of their choice. [..] Kennedy has plenty of overlaps with libertarians, some of his stances could be seen as disqualifying:

His staunchly pro-Israel statements before and during the Gaza war devastated his standing with non-interventionist libertarians (and progressive leftists to boot). The damage hasn’t caused him to temper his remarks: On Saturday, he oddly referred to Israel as “our oldest ally” and said “the U.S. ought to be bending over backwards to protect Israel.” While he’s expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of gun control, he said he would sign an “assault weapon ban” if Congress sent him one. He’s also called for a $15 national minimum wage, more free childcare, and abolishing interest on all federal student loans. Meanwhile, responding to a series of Truth Social posts by Trump, in which the former president called Kennedy “the most radical liberal” in the race, Kennedy said Trump’s “emissaries” asked him to become his running mate. Trump’s co-campaign manager Chris LaCivita quickly fired back, denying Kennedy’s claim and calling him a “leftie loonie” to boot…

Politico reports that Trump had casually floated the idea in conversations, adding that “Trump is known to workshop ideas to a variety of aides and allies, even if they never come to fruition. As he does with many political rivals, Trump has directed a mixture of flattery and abuse at Kennedy — as he did last week: “He’s got some nice things about him. I happen to like him. Unfortunately he is about the ‘Green New Scam’ because he believes in that and a lot of people don’t. I guess that would mean that RFK Jr.’s going to be taking away votes from Crooked Joe Biden, and he should because he’s actually better than Biden. He’s much better than Biden. If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden.”

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“..a number of attorneys general, including me, are facing similar attacks from their political adversaries. just for doing their jobs.”

Coalition of AG’s File Amicus Brief Defending Ken Paxton and His Top Deputy (ET)

A national coalition of 18 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief to defend Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster in a lawsuit initiated by the State Bar of Texas. “The State Bar of Texas’s Commission for Lawyer Discipline attempted to censure Attorney General Paxton and First Assistant Attorney General Webster for taking action over genuine concerns of unconstitutional conduct by states during the 2020 election,” Mr. Paxton’s office wrote in a press release on Monday. The brief was filed on Friday in response to complaints against the state’s top attorney and his top deputy for their decision to file the “landmark” case known as Texas v. Pennsylvania. Mr. Webster authored the petition contesting the 2020 presidential election results to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Neither the State Bar nor this Court is an appropriate forum for what is ultimately a political fight,” the group of attorneys general wrote in the brief.

“And while it is, of course, true that the Attorney General is subject to general rules of professional conduct, those rules cannot be used to limit discretionary authority conferred by a State Constitution. Nor can they be weaponized to undermine the will of the voters who elected the Attorney General in the first place.” Montana AG Austin Knudsen, who led the coalition, said the commission’s complaint threatens the constitutional authority of elected officials. “The weaponization of the bar complaint process undermines the constitutional authority of elected officials and the will of the voters,” Mr. Knudsen told the Daily Caller. “I’m glad I could support Attorney General Ken Paxton in this instance as a number of attorneys general, including me, are facing similar attacks from their political adversaries. just for doing their jobs.” The coalition argues that the issue is not about the alleged misconduct but whether the court will allow state bars to take action against those with whom they disagree politically.

“The real question in this case is not whether the alleged misrepresentations amount to violation of the rules of professional conduct,” the court document reads. “Instead, it is whether courts will permit the politicization of the State Bars and weaponization of disciplinary rules against elected executive officers discharging their constitutional duties. “The Supreme Court of Texas will likely be the first to consider that question. It should be a resounding ‘No.’” The attorneys general argue that allowing the case to move forward will encourage further bar complaints made for the purpose of “obstructing the ability of attorneys general and their staff to carry out their constitutional responsibilities.” They are asking the Texas Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the appeals court. “The Court should grant the petition, reverse the court of appeals’ decision, and render judgment on behalf of the First Assistant,” the document states.

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1512(c)(2)

Supreme Court Takes Up Obstruction Case Affecting J6 Defendants (Turley)

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up Fischer v. United States, a case that could fundamentally change many cases of January 6th defendants, including the prosecution of former president Donald Trump. The case involves the interpretation of a federal statute prohibiting obstruction of congressional inquiries and investigations. The case concerns 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), which provides: “Whoever corruptly—(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or (2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.” Joseph Fischer was charged with various offenses, but U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols of the District of Columbia dismissed the 1512(c)2 charges. Judge Nichols found that the statute is exclusively directed to crimes related to documents, records, or other objects.

The D.C. Circuit reversed and held that Section 1512(c)(2) is a “catch all” provision that encompasses all forms of obstructive conduct. Circuit Judge Florence Pan ruled that the “natural, broad reading of the statute is consistent with prior interpretations of the words it uses and the structure it employs.” However, Judge Gregory Katsas dissented and rejected “the government’s all-encompassing reading.” The Court will now consider the question of whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit erred in construing 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c), which prohibits obstruction of congressional inquiries and investigations, to include acts unrelated to investigations and evidence. The law itself was not designed for this purpose. It was part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and has been described as “prompted by the exposure of Enron’s massive accounting fraud and revelations that the company’s outside auditor, Arthur Andersen LLP, had systematically destroyed potentially incriminating documents.”

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“..Members of parliament are being forced into court but would rather pay the fines imposed by the courts than release the information..”

Dutch Gov’t Data Hack Reveals Startling Amount Of Covid Adverse Reactions (X)

Exclusive Breaking: Dutch Government Data hacked and startling amount of Covid adverse reactions obtained. Astounding amount of data obtained. Millions of records now seen. There is a massive attempted coverup not only by the Government in Holland but in every nation that has been infiltrated by Globalists. Excess Deaths are exploding but there is a wall of silence from our respective Governments. I’m joined from Holland by Dutch Freedom Fighters and Truth Seekers, former Dutch Parliamentarian and business entrepreneur Wybren van Haga, Businessman and Data expert Wouter Aukema and Anne Merel Kloosterman who is representing many vaccine injured. The Dutch Minister of health has lied and needs to be brought to task. Members of parliament are being forced into court but would rather pay the fines imposed by the courts than release the information!!! Just what are they hiding?

A Great Awakening is taking place all around the world as people wake up and realise what has been done to them. Justice must be done and if any Government refuses to obey their own laws and constitution then they become illegitimate and those who form it and those who support them essentially become the enemy of the people they are supposed to be governing. The first order of any Government is to protect its own people. Not only have they failed to do this but they are attempting to hide their failings and perhaps more disturbingly hide a dark de-population agenda that they are involved in. They have essentially broken their contract with the people. Its time to get on board and join the quest for freedom and justice. Join us http://freedomtraininternational.org.

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“..people with “woke” beliefs have higher rates of depression..”

A Generation Lost to Climate Anxiety (Zaruk)

In a far-reaching new essay in The New Atlantis, the environmental researcher Ted Nordhaus makes a damning and authoritative case that while the basic science of CO2 and climate is solid, it has been abused by the activist class in service of a wildly irresponsible and unscientific climate catastrophism. This reckless alarmism, saturated across the mainstream media and endlessly amplified by it, has had profound societal consequences. It has both distorted public understanding of the massive benefits the carbon economy makes possible and grossly exaggerated the risks of extreme events it allegedly makes more likely. As a result it has rendered reasonable debate on climate policy impossible, even as it has given cynical politicians an easy scapegoat for every social ill, drawing attention away from regulatory and institutional failures and laying blame instead at the feet of fossil fuel companies and other evil “emitters.”

Perhaps most perniciously, as Nordhaus details, the doomsday prophesying of climate extremists has created hardened skeptics on one side who are increasingly suspicious of all public “expertise”, while at the same time infecting true believers on the other side with a crippling, pathological fatalism that has come to be referred to as “climate anxiety.” If there’s any flaw in Nordhaus’ damning and comprehensive analysis it’s that he undersells just how much damage the advent of “climate anxiety” has done already—and how much more it’s likely to do in years to come. Yes, there’s the obvious cases of obnoxious and lawbreaking behavior, from climate iconoclasts defacing priceless works of art, to interrupting Broadway shows and sporting events, to gluing themselves to buses and holding up traffic on major thoroughfares. But it runs much deeper than that.

Consider recent headlines: From Vox: “What to do when you’re completely overwhelmed by climate anxiety.” From The Guardian: “Climate anxiety adds to teenagers’ fears.” And the New York Times: “How Climate Change is Changing Therapy.” And perhaps most depressing of all, from the BBC: “Climate anxiety: ‘I don’t want to burden the world with my child.” The trend is so wide now that they have given it a name: birth strike. And the data backs up the headlines—like the recent Finnish study of 6,000 subjects that showed people with “woke” beliefs have higher rates of depression. Developed countries are already facing real increases in mental health issues, many of them human-made and bound up in everything from the opioid crisis to the COVID pandemic. The manufacture of climate anxiety as an issue allegedly on par with those others is a dangerous distraction that draws resources away from solving these other mental health challenges.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Dore Kory

 

 

Pfizer batch

 

 

Elephants

 

 

Gibbon

 

 

Family

 

 

Slaps

 

 

Clipnosis

 

 

Sunscreen

 

 

Toll road

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 302024
 


Ciseri Ecce homo (Behold the man) 1670

 

New Yorkers Silently Worrying Over Ramifications of Trump Ruling (ET)
Jack Smith’s Case Against Trump Appears to Be Falling Apart (Margolis)
House Formally Invites Biden to Testify in Impeachment Inquiry (Turley)
Elon Musk Accuses Democrats Of ‘Importing Voters’ (RT)
NYC No Longer Differentiates Between Illegal Aliens and US Citizens (PCR)
NYC Begs Supreme Court to Allow Over 800,000 Illegal Immigrants Vote (TH)
The British Government Trips On A New Lie About The Skripals (Helmer)
The West Has Created A Frankenstein Monster On Its Own Doorstep (Bhadrakumar)
Imperium: Decline on the Way to Fall (Patrick Lawrence)
Europe Is In ‘Pre-War Era’ – Polish PM Tusk (RT)
Ukraine Being Destroyed from Within by Zelensky Government Corruption (Miles)
Zelensky Changes Stance On Talks With Russia (RT)
US Political Support for ‘Terrorist’ Ukraine Regime Evaporating (Miles)
Oh Say Can You See? (Kunstler)
It Could Take HOW LONG to Rebuild Francis Scott Key Bridge??? (Green)
Why I Don’t Spend A Lot Of Time On The Republicans (Matt Taibbi)

 

 


Illustration by The Epoch Times, Getty Images

 

 

Trump NYPD

 

 

Benz

 

 

 

 

Diddy

 

 

RFK

 

 

 

 

These people have no idea of the damage they’re doing. Completely blind hatred. Should not be allowed anywhere near a justice system.

“I have never heard of a victimless civil case that even won $500..”

New Yorkers Silently Worrying Over Ramifications of Trump Ruling (ET)

Monday’s dramatic bond reduction for former President Donald Trump did nothing to dissipate the dark cloud that his civil-fraud case has cast over New York business deals. Although investors won’t publicly admit it, the case is having a chilling effect, said Charles Trzcinka, professor of finance at Indiana University-Bloomington. “If you talk to people in this market, they are very, very upset … and these are people who are neutral or even opposed to Trump,” Mr. Trzcinka told The Epoch Times. “They’re just angry about it.” In his role at the university, Mr. Trzcinka said he places students in the corporate lending market in New York, making him aware of trends in that sphere. An appeals court’s decision to slash the bond by about 60 percent, reducing it to $175 million, still left a massive penalty intact while President Trump continues a legal challenge of Justice Arthur Engoron’s ruling.

Judge Engoron ruled that President Trump and his associates fraudulently overvalued their assets. But Mr. Trzcinka said anyone who thinks President Trump’s activities in that case were irregular or fraudulent may lack an understanding of typical New York business transactions. A source familiar with the case explained to The Epoch Times that, normally, business-related cases are handled in the New York courts’ commercial division. There, cases are decided by judges who have specific, “sophisticated” knowledge of commercial law and business practices. But the case didn’t go that route because New York Attorney General Letitia James found a novel way to use New York’s anti-fraud law. Researchers examined other alleged fraud cases in New York over a 70-year period and found the Trump case stands alone. The Trump Organization was the only company that confronted the possibility of being forced out of business despite no victim suffering major financial harm.

Because of Ms. James’ unusual application of the law, the case was channeled to a court that would rarely, if ever, handle business-related matters. Thus, the source said, “This case proceeded in just a highly irregular fashion from the start.” Legal scholar Jonathan Turley agreed the case is atypical and its repercussions far-reaching. “This has really done great damage to the New York legal system … Businesses are looking at this with a degree of horror—that a judge could come up with a figure so large you have to sell parts of your business just to get an appeal,” Mr. Turley told Fox News. However, people who dislike President Trump are cheering on Ms. James. She ran for election on a promise to prosecute the former president if she won the post of attorney general. Before the court-ordered bond reduction, the original $464 million bond amount included a $363 million judgment that Judge Engoron levied against President Trump and his associates, plus 9 percent interest.

Speaking to reporters after the March 25 appellate court’s decision, President Trump called Judge Engoron’s original decision a “disservice” to New York. “Businesses are fleeing,” he said. The case promises to continue discouraging investors from doing business in the Empire State, Mr. Trzcinka and two other knowledgeable sources told The Epoch Times. That’s not only because of the crippling dollar amounts involved, the sources said, but also because President Trump and his associates were behaving within the bounds of normal business practice and victimized no one. “All the parties under this civil case were satisfied,” Mr. Trzcinka said. Yet Ms. James “brought a case without a victim” and secured a judgment approaching $500 million. “I have never heard of a victimless civil case that even won $500,” he said.

Businesspeople are afraid to express concerns about the ramifications aloud. Doing so would paint targets on their backs—an underlying reason why President Trump was unable to persuade bonding companies or banks to cover the original $464 million bond, Mr. Trzcinka and the sources said. “I don’t think a bonding company [or a bank] is willing to be associated with Donald Trump … because the attorney general could turn around and sue them, go after them,” Mr. Trzcinka said. Judge Engoron ruled that President Trump and his associates committed fraud by overvaluing his properties. Parties involved in real estate transactions tend to exaggerate values in one way or the other, and they “hit each other over the head” with dueling appraisals, Mr. Trzcinka said. And, in a case such as this one, “everyone had the same information and just came to different conclusions” as to the valuations, he said. Then the parties negotiated figures and agreed to them. Even before interest was added, Judge Engoron slapped President Trump with “the largest penalty in history” for a case of its kind, said Mr. Trzcinka.

He had never heard of such a high penalty imposed for a “syndicated loan,” which involves civil contracts between a corporate borrower and corporate lenders. About $355 million of the total order specifically applied to President Trump. In addition, the judge ordered $4 million to be recovered from each of his sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., and $1 million from former Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg. Even the ultra-wealthy would rarely, if ever, have rapid access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in liquid assets, Mr. Trzcinka and other financial experts say. Marshaling that much cash to post the bond in just 30 days proved to be a daunting task for President Trump; the appellate court’s ruling granted him 10 more days to post a reduced $175 million bond. That decision moved the amount from “the realm of the impossible” into a different category; “it’s expensive but it’s feasible,” a source said.

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“Special Counsel Jack Smith could be blocked from using evidence against Donald Trump contained in grand jury investigation files, which were transferred to the former president’s Florida classified documents case,,”

Jack Smith’s Case Against Trump Appears to Be Falling Apart (Margolis)

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s efforts to imprison Donald Trump for mishandling classified documents have hit a few snags recently, and the latest snag is, indeed, a big one. “Special Counsel Jack Smith could be blocked from using evidence against Donald Trump contained in grand jury investigation files, which were transferred to the former president’s Florida classified documents case this week, a former prosecutor has suggested,” reports Newsweek. “In 2023, a grand jury in Washington, D.C., heard evidence from witnesses—including Trump’s attorney, Evan Corcoran—while considering whether charges should be brought against the former president and others for hoarding classified documents. However, Trump and his co-accused were later indicted in Florida and, under federal rules, the grand jury files were transferred on Monday to Trump-appointed judge, Aileen Cannon’s court.” According to former prosecutor Bill Shipley, the transfer of the case from D.C. to Florida gives Judge Cannon control over what evidence can be included—especially testimony that may have violated attorney-client privilege. More from Newsweek:

“On March 24, 2023, Corcoran was forced to testify before the classified documents grand jury in Washington D.C. It was his second time giving evidence. Corcoran was called to give evidence because he wrote a letter that was sent to the Department of Justice in June 2022 that stated that there had been a “diligent search” for classified documents. Along with the letter, he sent the Department more than 30 documents with classified markings that were found on Trump property. […] Department of Justice Special Counsel Smith announced on Monday that the Washington, D.C., court had transferred the grand jury files to Cannon. Trump is facing 40 federal charges over his handling of sensitive materials retrieved from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, after leaving the White House in January 2021. He is accused of obstructing efforts by federal authorities to return them. The former president has pleaded not guilty to all charges.”

Leftists have been routinely triggered by Judge Cannon’s rulings—probably because she’s not a rabid leftist like Judge Engoron, who literally ruled that Trump should pay a civil fine of nearly half a billion dollars for a non-crime with no victim. Jack Smith’s prosecution of Trump has been widely criticized as selective prosecution, especially in light of the release of the Hur report last month, which found that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” and that his actions “present[ed] serious risks to national security.” Despite Biden’s actions, former special counsel Robert Hur declined to prosecute Biden because he would present himself as an “elderly man with a poor memory” and it would be difficult to convince a jury he was guilty of a serious felony because to commit such a crime “requires a mental state of willfulness.” The report elaborated by pointing out that Biden couldn’t even remember when he was vice president and or when his son Beau died.

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“Yet, the White House responded, again, with mockery — a sense of impunity that only exists due to an enabling media.”

House Formally Invites Biden to Testify in Impeachment Inquiry (Turley)

House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer has sent a seven-page letter to invite President Joe Biden to testify in the Republican impeachment inquiry. The letter is the latest, and best, reduction of the glaring contradictions in the President’s past statements on his family’s well-documented influence peddling operation. President Biden is not expected to testify. However, the media should be interested in his answering the questions presented by the Committee. It is now clear that the President lied during his campaign and during his presidency on his lack of knowledge of his son’s business activities as well as his denial of any money gained from China. Yet, the White House responded, again, with mockery — a sense of impunity that only exists due to an enabling media.

Chairman Comer reduces the past testimony and evidence acquired by the Committee in the corruption scandal. In the last hearing, Democratic members simply refused to acknowledge that evidence. There was a bizarre disconnect as members mocked the witnesses for not supplying evidence of the President’s knowledge or involvement. They then did so and the members declared that there was no evidence.

Various members also misrepresented my earlier testimony during the hearing on the basis for the impeachment inquiry. Members like Rep. Jamie Raskin (D., Md.) stated that I joined other witnesses in stating there was nothing that could remotely be impeachable in these allegations. That is demonstrably untrue. My testimony stated the opposite. I refused to pre-judge the evidence, but stated that there was ample basis for the inquiry and laid out various impeachable offenses that could be brought if ultimately supported by evidence. I also discussed those potential offenses in columns. The purpose of the hearing was not to declare an impeachment on the first day of the inquiry. Unlike the two prior impeachments by many of these same Democratic members, this impeachment inquiry sought to create a record of evidence and testimony to support any action that the House might take.

Now, the Committee has laid out the considerable evidence showing that the President had lied, knowingly and repeatedly. Interspersed with specific evidentiary findings, the Committee presents ten questions that the President should be able to answer directly and unequivocally:

1) Have you met, spoken to, or otherwise interacted with Jonathan Li of Bohai Industrial Fund and/or Bohai Harvest Rosemont?
2) Have you met, spoken to, or otherwise interacted with Ye Jianming of CEFC?
3) Have you met, spoken to, or otherwise interacted with Henry Zhao of the Harvest Fund?
4) Have you met, spoken to, or otherwise interacted with Vadym Pozharskyi of Burisma Holdings?
5) Have you met, spoken to, or otherwise interacted with Mykola Zlochevsky of Burisma Holdings?
6) Have you met, spoken to, or otherwise interacted with Kenes Rakishev of Novatus Holding?
7) Have you met, spoken to, or otherwise interacted with Yelena Baturina?
8) Have you met, spoken to, or otherwise interacted with Yuriy Luzhkov?
9) Did you ever ask your brother James Biden about the source of the funds he used to pay or repay you?
10) Did Eric Schwerin have insight into all your bank accounts until December 2017?

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“1. Get as many illegals in the country as possible. 2. Legalize them to create a permanent majority – a one-party state..”

Elon Musk Accuses Democrats Of ‘Importing Voters’ (RT)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has accused the US Democratic Party of opening up the country’s borders in order to “import voters.” Earlier this week, Politico reported that President Joe Biden was considering offering permanent residency to millions of illegal immigrants. Commenting on the report, Musk declared on his X platform that “The Dem Party goal is to import voters.” According to Politico’s sources, Biden is considering expanding access to the US’ so-called ‘Cancelation of Removal Program’ for illegal immigrants who have lived in the US for more than ten years and whose removal would negatively impact their citizen or resident friends and relatives. The program is currently available to lawful residents who have been ordered to leave the US for various reasons, and for some illegal immigrants. A successful cancellation can take years to make its way through the legal system, and around 4,000 cancellations of removal are issued every year, according to the US Justice Department.

There are thought to be around 10.5 million illegal immigrants living in the US, according to data compiled by Pew Research in 2021. However, at least 6.3 million more have entered the US in the years since, according to figures from the Department of Homeland Security, potentially bringing the total to almost 18 million. An earlier Pew study found that approximately two thirds of illegal immigrants in the US had been there more than a decade. Counting only those immigrants present in the country in 2021, the removal program reportedly mulled by Biden could result in around six million of them being made permanent residents. Only US citizens can vote in federal elections. However, permanent residents can apply for citizenship after five years, or three years if married to a US citizen. Biden’s first actions as US president included signing a raft of executive orders repealing almost all of former President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions.

He has since unsuccessfully lobbied Congress to pass a bill offering a path to citizenship for more than 10 million illegal immigrants, and sued the state of Texas for attempting to enforce federal immigration law. “Biden’s strategy is very simple,” Musk tweeted in February. “1. Get as many illegals in the country as possible. 2. Legalize them to create a permanent majority – a one-party state. That is why they are encouraging so much illegal immigration. Simple, yet effective.” In the US, racial minorities typically vote Democrat. Aside from potentially creating future voters, illegal immigration can give certain states greater representation in Congress, as the number of seats assigned to a state in the House of Representatives is determined by its overall population, which includes those present illegally.

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“..before long the illegal population in America will exceed in size the actual citizens of the country..”

NYC No Longer Differentiates Between Illegal Aliens and US Citizens (PCR)

The New York City Council is begging the New York state Supreme Court to permit the council to ignore the New York state constitution that only permits citizens to vote. The city council says that allowing illegal immigrants to vote can only strengthen democracy “by increasing civic engagement.” Think about this for a moment. For the NY City Council, the only difference between an American citizen and an illegal alien is that the alien is discriminated against by not being allowed to vote. It was obvious from the beginning that this is what happens when a country allows immigrant-invaders to settle among the legal population. The illegals become part of the population and, thus, denying them the vote is discrimination. It was totally obvious from the beginning that accepting illegal entry would create an untenable situation: a population partly illegal and party legal.

As it has proved impossible to prevent entry of multi-millions of immigrant-invaders and impossible to remove them, before long the illegal population in America will exceed in size the actual citizens of the country. It is curious that the US, whose government is so anxious to go to war over the borders of foreign countries has no concern for its own borders. So what is the purpose of US national defense? Is it only to protect Ukraine’s border and Israel’s border, but never America’s border? That seems to be the case. It is extraordinary that if you ask this sensible question you are branded a racist. In the United States it is now racist to defend the US border. And of course, the Democrats do not defend the border which is so porous that it doesn’t exist.

The federal government, the government of America, is using the judicial system to prevent Texas from defending its and America’s border. The obvious question is: why does the federal government represent immigrant invaders instead of American citizens, and why do federal courts come down on the side of eliminating any difference between an American citizen and an illegal invader? Why are long-established websites such as vDare.com being suppressed by government authorities simply for pointing out what is at stake? Something is seriously wrong with the mentality of the American people who clearly are incapable of recognizing that their country is being stolen from them to the point that many offer to sponsor immigrant-invaders.

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“There is nothing more important than preserving the integrity of our election system, and in today’s age, the government should be working to create more trust in our elections, not less..”

NYC Begs Supreme Court to Allow Over 800,000 Illegal Immigrants Vote (TH)

The New York City council is asking the state’s Supreme Court to allow illegal immigrants to vote in the city’s municipal elections. In 2021, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law that would have allowed 800,000 non-citizens with green cards, visas, and work permits to vote as long as they have resided in the city for at least 30 consecutive days. However, the controversial law was struck down last month by an appellate court. New York City Council spokesperson Rendy Desamour arrived in court on Tuesday to beg the Supreme Court of the State of New York to override the rulings and allow the council to start authorizing illegal immigrants to vote.

“Today’s filing to appeal the Second Department’s recent decision seeks a determination from the state’s highest court that the law is consistent with the State Constitution, Election Law, and the Municipal Home Rule Law,” Desamour said. “Empowering New Yorkers to participate in our local democratic process can only strengthen New York City by increasing civic engagement.” The council argued that illegal immigrants living in the city should be able to vote because they pay taxes and make contributions to the community. Breitbart News noted that: The ordinance was set to massively influence local elections while diluting the votes of American citizens living in the city.

In 2021, for instance, Mayor Eric Adams (D) won the Democrat mayoral primary by less than 7,200 votes. Former councilman Rev. Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) said that the ordinance would dilute the votes of citizens while shifting electoral power to foreign nationals with ties to the United Nations, Wall Street, and the global financial system which has long been based in New York City. Staten Island President Vito Fossella is challenging the case, stating that, according to the New York State Constitution, only U.S. citizens have the right to vote in elections. “There is nothing more important than preserving the integrity of our election system, and in today’s age, the government should be working to create more trust in our elections, not less,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) said.

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The Skripals are back! Or are they?

The British Government Trips On A New Lie About The Skripals (Helmer)

For the first time in six years, the British Government has officially told Moscow that Russian citizen Yulia Skripal, one of the victims of a nerve spray attack in Salisbury on March 4, 2018, has “rejected the offer of consular assistance” from the Russian Embassy in London. A British diplomatic note, delivered to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow this week and made public by the Ministry spokesman, also claimed “the Russian woman has the contact details of the consular department of the Russian Embassy in London in case of need.” Omitted from the document is that the British have not allowed Yulia Skripal to sign a document, send an email, or make a telephone call since 2020. The new Foreign Office paper failed to identify the whereabouts or wishes of Yulia’s father, Sergei Skripal, a dual Russian and British citizen who was also the target of the 2018 attack.

The calculated omissions, and the record of subterfuge and faking which British officials, coroners, and judges have been making since 2018, indicate that, in fact, Yulia Skripal is imprisoned and incommunicado, and that Sergei Skripal is dead. “The British authorities,” said Maria Zakharova at her ministry briefing on March 27, “do not say a word about the fate of Sergei Skripal. It is completely unclear why. I would like to ask the British if he is alive? Can you at least tell me that?” After years of stonewalling in London, the new lie appears to indicate that Sergei Skripal has died in British captivity. Since the Skripals slumped unconscious on a Salisbury town bench and were kept in hospital under police guard, three British prime ministers — Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak — have continued the story that three Russian military officers attacked the Skripals with a Novichok nerve agent they had brought by plane into England, and sprayed on to the door handle of Sergei Skripal’s home; that was several hours before he and his daughter showed sudden symptoms and collapsed.

The British have presented no evidence of Novichok on the Skripal door handle; in the blood, skin, and urine testing of the Skripals in hospital; or in subsequent court proceedings. The alleged Russian attack weapon – a perfume bottle atomiser – did not materialize for months until July 2018, when police claim to have found it on a kitchen bench in the home of another alleged victim, Dawn Sturgess, ten days after exhaustive police searches of the premises had failed to find it. Sergei Skripal has not been seen in public since the day of the alleged Novichok attack, March 4, 2018. He has not been heard on the telephone by family members since June 26, 2019. Yulia Skripal was last seen in a government-directed interview at a US bomber base in England in May 2018; her last telephone call was heard on November 20, 2020.

The full story of what happened and didn’t happen, and of the High Court and coroners’ court hearings which have followed since 2018, has been documented in the book published in 2020; then in reports of the ongoing cover-up by a retired Appeal Court judge, Lord Anthony Hughes. In March 2022 Hughes announced he had appointed a London lawyer, Adam Chapman, to represent the Skripals; but the judge, his spokesman, and the lawyer have repeatedly refused to confirm how the Skripals communicated to them, if at all. The lawyer refuses to answer press questions; in court he has said nothing on the Skripals’ behalf. Timed earlier this month on the sixth anniversary of the disappearance of the Skripals, the Russian Embassy in London sent the Foreign Office a new request for what the Embassy had described last June as a “demand that the British authorities allow us to ascertain they are safe and sound. London carries full responsibility for their well-being.”

Zakharova revealed the reply on Wednesday. “It’s hard to believe,” she said, “but the Russian Foreign Ministry has received a response from Britain to the request on the Skripals. The Russian side continues to make efforts to clarify the circumstances of the incident that occurred in Salisbury in March 2018, with the participation of citizens of our country: S.V. Skripal and his daughter Y.S. Skripal. It’s been almost six years. All this time, the Russian Foreign Ministry has been sending dozens of diplomatic notes. In response, we received nothing but ‘non-subscriber notices.’ For the first time since mid-2018, a response note was finally received from the British Foreign Ministry in response to another note from the Russian Embassy in London. With some reservations, it can be considered a kind of belated official reaction. They say they have been waiting for the promised three years. It took twice as long here.”

“In this note, it is reported that Y.S. Skripal allegedly took note of the offer of consular assistance, but rejected it…According to the assurances of the British Foreign Ministry, the Russian woman has the contact details of the consular department of the Russian Embassy in London in case of need. In addition, responding to the demand to provide information on the official results of the investigation into the incident in Salisbury, British diplomats said they would not comment on this topic, since ‘the relevant legal procedures are still ongoing.’”

“The British authorities do not say a word about the fate of Sergei Skripal. It is completely unclear why. I would like to ask the British if he is alive? Can you at least tell me that? We consider the forced reaction of the British side as an unsuccessful attempt to justify itself for the inexplicable and unlawful long-term concealment of information about Russian citizens. This is another information manipulation. We will continue to methodically seek comprehensive information about the fate of Russian citizens who disappeared without a trace in Britain six years ago, clarify all the components of the Salisbury incident and, in general, insist on justice in this case.”

Read more …

“Simply put, the storyline that this was an ISIS attack won’t fly..”

The West Has Created A Frankenstein Monster On Its Own Doorstep (Bhadrakumar)

With hindsight, it was not a coincidence that the retirement of US Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was announced on March 5 so soon after her return to Washington from Kiev, where after consultations with top Ukrainian security officials she announced dramatically: “I leave Kyiv… more confident that, as Ukraine strengthens its defenses, Mr. [Vladimir] Putin is going to get some nice surprises on the battlefield and that Ukraine will make some very strong success.” Nuland did not divulge what those “nice surprises” might be, but her superiors in DC were certain to have been curious to know since they know her ingenuity is limitless. At any rate, we now know that within hours of the superhawk’s premature retirement on March 5, instructions went out from Washington to the American embassy in Moscow to issue an advisory that “extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts” and warning US citizens to “avoid large gatherings.”

The wording of the March 7 advisory suggests that Washington was in possession of some information credible enough in terms of its source. Meanwhile, the UK embassy in Moscow also issued a similar advisory cautioning British citizens against visiting shopping centers. However, the State Department scrambled to issue a statement within two hours of the horrific attack on the mall in Moscow’s Crocus City Hall on March 22, declaring that Ukraine was not responsible. Yet, the very next day, President Putin stated in his address to the nation that what happened was “a premeditated and organized mass murder of peaceful, defenseless people,” harking back to the Nazis – “to stage a demonstrative execution, a bloody act of intimidation.” Importantly, Putin disclosed that the perpetrators “attempted to escape and were heading towards Ukraine, where, according to preliminary information, a window was prepared for them on the Ukrainian side to cross the state border.”

Plainly put, the perpetrators’ Ukrainian mentors or handlers gave them instructions to exit Russian territory after their mission through a particular route. What remains in the realm of the ‘known unknown’ pertains to the chain of command. Precisely, does the trail end with Kirill Budanov, the chief of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (GUR) since August 2020, who had previously served as deputy director of the country’s Foreign Intelligence Service and specialized in covert operations inside Russia? Or – the big question is – does it go all the way to President Vladimir Zelensky, considering the far-reaching, explosive nature of the operation? This is the first thing. Secondly, the perpetrators did not behave like vintage ISIS killers on suicide missions nor were they answering the call of ‘jihad’. They were ethnic Tajiks who admitted that they were lured by money.

Expert opinion based on the published videos is also that their movements inside the mall during the operation did not show battle skills characteristic of well-trained fighters, and they had ‘poor muzzle discipline’, which means they had only minimal rifle training. Simply put, the storyline that this was an ISIS attack won’t fly. It is intended as a red herring to confuse dumb-witted folks abroad.

Read more …

“Moscow, perfectly aware of these connections, now concludes that the CIA, along with Britain’s MI6, were behind the Crocus Town Hall attack..”

Imperium: Decline on the Way to Fall (Patrick Lawrence)

However long the Biden regime goes on saying the war in Ukraine is “at a stalemate,” and however faithfully our corporate media repeat this nonsense like ventriloquists’ dummies, if the Kyiv regime is losing ground daily and there is no realistic hope of regaining it, the word we are looking for is “lost.” The question it is time to ask: What will the U.S. and its European vassals do when the make-believe wears out and defeat, while never admitted on paper, is too obvious to deny? Nothing good. As a negotiated peace on any terms acceptable to Moscow is out of the question, and as subverting “Putin’s Russia” remains the objective, the U.S. is likely to intensify the sorts of covert ops and “hybrid warfare” that have been on Washington’s menu for decades. This stands to get very dangerous very fast. Did we have a preview of messes to come with the shocking attack on the concert auditorium and shopping arcade near Moscow on Mar. 22? This is my read.

The U.S. “intelligence community” was quick to make public an “assessment”—a flimsy term that commits no one to anything—that the attack was the work of a group of militant Islamists and there was no evidence Ukraine had anything to do with it. Soon enough an offshoot of the Islamic State, ISIS–Khorasan, claimed responsibility. President Putin, who had been cautious from the start about assigning blame, eventually declared that Islamic terrorists were indeed culpable for the deaths of 137 innocent Russians and for setting the Crocus City Hall ablaze. Identifying ISIS–K as responsible is a complicated business, we must bear in mind. After the collapse of Washington’s client regime in Kabul three years ago, many members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, finding themselves suddenly homeless, joined ISIS–K as shelter from the storm. These were CIA–trained intelligence and counterinsurgency operatives, and they reportedly went over in considerable numbers. There were subsequent reports, never verified, suggesting that the CIA was using unmarked helicopters to supply ISIS–K with weapons and matériel.

A year ago last week, Foreign Policy described it as “arguably the most brutal terrorist group in Afghanistan.” Moscow, perfectly aware of these connections, now concludes that the CIA, along with Britain’s MI6, were behind the Crocus Town Hall attack, with the Kyiv intelligence agency, the SBU, playing a supporting role on the ground. The chief of Russian intelligence unpacked all this last week as he outlined Moscow’s findings. “We think the act was prepared by the radical Islamists, but, of course, the Western special services have aided,” Alexander Bortnikov, the FSB’s chief, asserted. “And the special services of Ukraine have a direct hand in this.” There is too much circumstantial evidence supporting this case to dismiss it. The CIA’s “assessment” assigning responsibility to ISIS can be taken as perfectly true but only half the story. The same day Bortnikov spoke, Russia sent a hypersonic missile—the kind that eludes standard air defense systems—to destroy the SBU’s headquarters building in Kyiv. This is what I mean by things getting very dangerous very fast.

Read more …

Graceful loser.

Europe Is In ‘Pre-War Era’ – Polish PM Tusk (RT)

Europe has entered a “pre-war era” in which any scenario is possible and the threat of war is no longer a thing of the past, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in an interview with European media outlets on Friday. Tusk was asked whether war is inevitable in light of recent remarks from a number of Western politicians about Russia potentially attacking NATO. He replied that “literally any scenario is possible.” “I don’t want to scare anyone, but war is no longer a thing of the past. It is real and in fact it started over two years ago,” Tusk said. “I understand that it will sound devastating, especially to the younger generation, but we have to mentally prepare for the arrival of a new era. We are in a pre-war era. I am not exaggerating.” The Polish prime minister went on to say that the West needs to do everything it can to provide Kiev with equipment and ammunition, because the world is now in the most critical moment since the end of World War II.

“The next two years will decide everything,” Tusk said, adding that if the bloc does not provide enough arms for Ukraine and it is defeated, “no one in Europe will be able to feel safe.” While urging the cultivation of “transatlantic ties” regardless of who the next US president is, Tusk argued that the EU should be more independent from NATO and self-sufficient in terms of defense. “We will be a more attractive partner for the United States if we are more self-sufficient in defense,” he said. Claims by Western officials that Russia may attack NATO are “nonsense,” President Vladimir Putin stated on Wednesday. He noted that Kiev’s backers have tried to drum up support for additional aid by claiming that Russia will not stop if Ukraine is defeated on the battlefield.

US “satellites” in Eastern Europe have no reason to be afraid, Putin said. Talk of a potential Russian attack on Poland, the Czech Republic, or the Baltic states is just propaganda by governments that seek to scare their citizens “to extract additional expenses from people, to make them bear this burden on their shoulders,” he added.

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“..people have no other choices than to flee the country – not from the war, but to save themselves because they have nothing to feed themselves on.”

Ukraine Being Destroyed from Within by Zelensky Government Corruption (Miles)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made comments recently acknowledging Ukraine’s declining birthrate, which is now the lowest in the world. “We need not only financial incentives, because in my opinion, finances help, but they do not stimulate birth itself during war,” said the embattled leader. “Help, yes. But as for births, it seems to me that it’s mainly a matter of security.” Zelensky called for more foreign assistance to rectify the problem, claiming Ukraine needs “the latest technologies when it comes to air defense.” The comments provoked discussion on Sputnik’s Fault Lines program Friday, where host Jamarl Thomas noted Ukraine’s population has been in steady decline since its independence in 1991. Former Ukrainian diplomat Andrii Telizhenko joined Thomas to discuss the issue. “Ukraine’s population, first of all, dropped not only since 2014, it dropped dramatically since 1991 when Ukraine got its independence,” noted Telizhenko. “We had 52 million people living in Ukraine, and then within almost the 25-year range it dropped to… 45 million people. 7 million people died or left Ukraine within 25 years of its independence.”

The same trend emerged in other post-Soviet nations as governments implemented so-called “shock therapy” economic policy under advisement of the West. Populist leaders maintained significant support, but US-backed political interference broadly ensured neoliberal policy was implemented. Populations sharply declined as a result as Western capital bought up assets at fire sale prices. “Now, of course, there’s much, much less people,” Telizhenko continued. “Eight million left to Europe, 1.5 [million] went to Russia… and Belarus. So this is a huge, staggering number of people leaving because, first of all, they don’t see prosperity, they don’t have security – not only because of the war, but, first of all, from the government itself.” “Pensions are not being paid,” the former diplomat explained. “They’re asking that money to be paid from abroad. Zelensky – when he was going into this war agreeing not to support the Minsk agreements, the Istanbul accords, the peace deal – he should have understood that the country doesn’t have the money, the capacity, the economic capacity to sustain itself.”

“Now he’s asking for US taxpayers’ money to [finance] Ukrainian pensioners, Ukrainian government officials, and more than 25%, 30% of pensioners in Ukraine are basically not getting their pensions,” Telizhenko emphasized. US aid to Ukraine has become highly controversial in the United States as Americans are asked to fund the basic government services of a country halfway across the world. But even with American largesse Ukraine’s government has found itself in a state of near-constant collapse. Critics warn that millions of dollars in foreign aid is likely being pocketed by corrupt officials; Ukraine has long been identified as the most corrupt country in Europe in international rankings. “They can’t even feed themselves anymore,” said Telizhenko. “So they have no other choice [but] to leave or to just die in Ukraine. This is what Ukraine has become. It was getting worse and worse throughout the last 30 years and over the last two and a half years it’s being destroyed totally,” the ex-diplomat stressed.

“The salary of a teacher is $100 and they’re cutting it to $50 right now,” he added. “Can you imagine? This is what is happening in Ukraine today. The teachers aren’t getting paid, the pensioners aren’t getting paid. And this is just destroying the country from within and people have no other choices than to flee the country – not from the war, but to save themselves because they have nothing to feed themselves on.”

Read more …

Sort of.

Zelensky Changes Stance On Talks With Russia (RT)

President Vladimir Zelensky has indicated that a return to Ukraine’s 1991 borders is no longer a precondition for holding peace talks with Moscow, even as he continues to push forward with his so-called peace formula, which has been dismissed by the Kremlin as absurd. Zelensky banned all negotiations with the current leadership in Moscow back in 2022, after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Since then, he has been rallying Western support for his 10-point ultimatum, which includes the full withdrawal of Russian troops and a return to Ukraine’s 1991 borders, including Crimea, holding Moscow accountable and forced to pay reparations, among other conditions. However, in an interview with CBS this week, Zelensky suggested there was no need to recapture the territory “exclusively by military means,” claiming that the Ukrainian forces should at least restore the 2022 status quo.

“We will not have to de-occupy all of our territories exclusively by military means… I am sure when he [President Vladimir Putin] loses what he has occupied since 2022, he will fully lose the confidence even of those countries which are still in doubt whether they should support Ukraine or not,” Zelensky said. The Kremlin has repeatedly stressed that it remains open to meaningful discussions and has blamed the lack of a diplomatic breakthrough on the Ukrainian authorities, who refuse to accept “reality on the ground.” Despite the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive last year and recent gains made by Russian forces along the frontline, Zelensky claimed that once Russia suffers battlefield setbacks, Putin will “lose the power within his country” and will be forced to seek dialogue. “And when he will be ready for the dialogue, undoubtedly the international conditions should be the liberation of our territories, the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Zelensky added.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba suggested on Friday that Kiev could engage in diplomacy with Moscow following the Swiss-hosted peace summit, a date for which is still to be announced. However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Kiev is contradicting itself, and that Moscow will not accept a set of rules “developed by someone else.” The last meaningful negotiations between Moscow and Kiev were held in Istanbul in the spring of 2022 but broke down, with each side accusing the other of making unrealistic demands. President Putin said the Ukrainian delegation had initially agreed with some of Moscow’s terms, but then abruptly reneged on the deal – allegedly after then-UK PM Boris Johnson advised Kiev to reject a truce and “continue fighting,” promising full Western support. Ukraine’s Western backers insist that a peace settlement can only be achieved on Kiev’s terms and have vowed to continue weapons deliveries for “as long as it takes.” Russia, meanwhile, has stressed that no amount of foreign aid will change the course of the conflict.

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“..the US will not be in a position to say no to Russia and will have a very hard time continuing its political support of Kiev..”

US Political Support for ‘Terrorist’ Ukraine Regime Evaporating (Miles)

Russian media has revealed new links between the Ukraine regime and last week’s horrific terrorist attack at a concert venue outside Moscow. “Investigators have verified information that large amounts of money and cryptocurrency that the perpetrators of the terrorist attack received trace back to Ukraine,” reported the Tass news agency Thursday. “The funds were used in preparing the crime.” As the increasingly desperate Kiev regime launches attacks on Russian civilians in Belgorod and other regions, speculation has intensified that elements within Ukraine’s military and intelligence service may have played a role in last Friday’s incident. Independent journalist Dan Lazare joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program Friday to weigh in on the claim.

“I look forward to the Russian government laying this evidence out – I hope they do,” said Lazare. “To me, the fact that four of the accused were apprehended while making a dash for the Ukrainian border and were caught just a short distance away – I mean, to me that speaks volumes. It’s not absolute proof, but it certainly strongly suspects that there were collaborators on the Ukrainian side, and that Ukrainian bodies were helping them with this crime.” “We can’t help but harken back to the assassination of Darya Dugina in 2022. That was the daughter of the Russian political philosopher Aleksandr Dugin,” the author added. “She was killed in a car bomb in Russia. At first the Ukrainian government denied any involvement whatsoever, and the US backed it up. And then a few weeks later the US admitted that the act was done by the SBU, the Ukrainian intelligence service.”

The incident prompted little attention in the West, where Dugin is a highly vilified figure. But a terrorist attack killing almost 150 people is significantly harder to ignore. “I strongly suspect we’ll learn the same thing here,” said Lazare, suggesting Ukrainian officials may have played a role in the “act of brutal terrorism.” “And, if that is true, if my suspicions prove correct, this will be a real game changer.” “Russia will feel justified in responding… and the US will not be in a position to say no to Russia and will have a very hard time continuing its political support of Kiev,” he claimed.

Read more …

“The fluttering wings of this black swan already throw a chill on spring’s incoming zephyrs..”

Oh Say Can You See? (Kunstler)

While the awesome spectacle of the bridge collapse traumatized the country, it also brought to mind the fantastic flow of ten-thousand illegal border crossings a day, stage-managed by the “Joe Biden” Homeland Security team. Did you kind of wonder how many in that 10K-a-day flow might be the same species of Central Asian mutts who volunteered to slaughter over 150 (so far) Russian concert-goers? Nobody is checking who they are, you realize. They just step on US soil, get issued smartphones, loaded debit cards, walking-around cash money, airplane and bus tickets and, voila, there they are in your home town tomorrow, looking for something to occupy themselves. Thanks a bunch, Alejandro Mayorkas! Are you wondering what sort of mayhem they might be capable of unleashing any place from Bangor to Burbank in the weeks and months ahead? (And, while you’re at it, think about all the food processing plant fires, train wrecks, and other mysterious tribulations around the country the past couple of years.)

Consider that this very week alone, following the SSK Bridge disaster, absolutely nothing has been done by our government to stem that flow of countless potential saboteurs into the country. The news media isn’t even talking about it (of course). The prospects might look a bit unnerving, wouldn’t you agree? Things catching fire, blowing up, and falling down here, there, and everywhere. . . more of those thousand cuts adding up. Just maybe, the dazed-and-confused (possibly hypnotized) American public, a.k.a., the “voters,” might put together that “Joe Biden” and the Party of Chaos that owns him, are actually responsible for the on-going take-down of our country. After a certain point — now apparently passed — sheer incompetence is no longer a plausible explanation for what you are seeing.

Oh, one other thing, look out for on-the-ground economic reverberations from the FSK Bridge disaster. For instance, Baltimore is the USA’s top port for importing and exporting automobiles. Also, earth-moving and large farm equipment, fertilizer, lumber, coal, and steel. Other arrangements must be made, for years ahead, considering the trucking links. It’s especially an interruption for trucking between the mid-Atlantic / New England states and much of Dixieland. It will affect the transport of fruits and vegetables to the Washington-Boston corridoer. Things are going to cost more and we are already in an inflationary trouble-zone. How will this thunder elsewhere through an economy which, despite the japes of “Joe Biden’s” statisticians, is actively disintegrating? The fluttering wings of this black swan already throw a chill on spring’s incoming zephyrs.

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“Welcome to 21st Century America, where everything is needlessly time-consuming, expensive, stupid, or (most likely) all three..”

It Could Take HOW LONG to Rebuild Francis Scott Key Bridge??? (Green)

Could it really take twice as long and four times as much money to replace the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge than it did to build it in the first place? The Key Bridge was built at a cost (adjusted for inflation) of about $200 million. Replacing it could take a decade and cost $400 million to $800 million dollars, according to experts in what has become a dismal field. “To actually recreate that whole transportation network” could take a decade or more, structural engineer Ben Schafer told USA Today on Wednesday. Huge projects, Schafer said, now take “rarely less than 10 years.” Well, they didn’t use to. By comparison, the Apollo program that put a man on the moon required seven years, eight months, and 23 days. And — this is the really exciting part — everything about Apollo, from the massive Saturn V rocket to the “tiny” flight computer, had to be created from scratch. Those seven-and-a-half years included a monthslong delay following the tragic loss of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee during an Apollo 1 dress rehearsal that ended in a deadly crew capsule fire.

Construction began on the Hoover Dam on July 7, 1930, and five years later, it was complete. It started generating electrical power on Sept. 11, 1936 — exactly six years, two months, and four days after the first shovelful of dirt was moved. The Empire State Building was fully erect (heh) after just one year and 45 days of construction. But those were all 20th Century projects, back when we used to get things done. Welcome to 21st Century America, where everything is needlessly time-consuming, expensive, stupid, or (most likely) all three. The timing “all depends on factors that are still mostly unknown,” the AP explained. “They range from the design of the new bridge to how swiftly government officials can navigate the bureaucracy of approving permits and awarding contracts.”

Let me help you out on this one, fellas. You have the original plans stashed somewhere, I’m sure. Those plans have already been run through the bureaucratic torture test — and the bridge stood without any problems for almost 50 years until a massive container ship struck one of its vitals. So just get started ASAP building the same bridge, but with concrete “dolphins” or fenders around the new supporting piers to avoid future disasters like the one that collapsed the original.

Read more …

X thread.

Why I Don’t Spend A Lot Of Time On The Republicans (Matt Taibbi)

1) There is a enormous army of MSM reporters already going after them from every angle, with most major news organizations little more than proxies for the DNC, to the point where stations hire Biden spokespeople as anchors;

2) The Republicans have very little institutional power nationally. It’s not their point of view prevailing in schools, on campuses, in newsrooms (where over 90% of working reporters vote blue), and especially in the intelligence and military apparatus, which has openly aligned itself with Democrats. Even if Donald Trump were a “threat to Democracy” he lacks the institutional pull to do much damage, which can’t be said of Democrats;

3) The Democrats’ ambitions are significantly more dangerous than those of the Republicans. From digital surveillance to censorship to making Intel and enforcement agencies central players in domestic governance — all plans being executed globally as well as in our one country — they are thinking on a much bigger and more dangerous scale than Republicans. I lived in third world countries and the endless criminal indictments of people like Trump and ongoing lawfare efforts to prevent even third party challenges are classic authoritarian symptoms. The Republicans aren’t near this kind of capability;

4) Last and most important, the Democrats are being organized around a more potent but also much dumber, more cultlike ideology. People like Yuval Harari and his Transhumanist “divinity” concept scare me a lot more than the Rs, and I was once undercover in an apocalyptic church in Texas. Ask your average Russian or Cuban what overempowered pseudo-intellectuals are capable of.

I have a pretty good record of picking dangerous phenomena ahead of time. I feel confident on this one, and that’s before we get to the demographic/class shifts in the parties.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Guyana

 

 

Deer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773819922860388366

 

 

Elephant

 

 

Welcome
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773524476275405285

 

 

Girl dog
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773472621767573579

 

 

Best friend

 

 

Smol

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 272023
 


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

 

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

 

 

 

 

VDH

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fired Ukraine Prosecutor Corroborates Biden Corruption (ZH)

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

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

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

Shokin

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“..we are literally destroying Europe.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biden Administration Sought Control Over TikTok (RT)

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

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

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

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

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

Prigozhin, Putin, and What Next? (VandenHeuvel)

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

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

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

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

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Demonetized.

I Just Want To Sell Titty Pictures (ZH)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Frederik

 

 

Roar

 

 

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

 

 


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

 

 

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