Apr 252024
 


Amedeo Modigliani Nu allongé 1917

 

US Sided With Evil And Fascism – Russian Envoy (RT)
Alvin Bragg Has His Trump Trial, All He Needs Now Is A Crime (Turley)
Romney and the Wrong Question (Turley)
Musk Concurs That Civil War Looming In West (TASS)
Musk Warns Australia Against ‘Controlling Entire Internet’ (Sp.)
Mitch McConnell Blames Tucker Carlson For Delaying Ukraine Cash (RT)
Future Of The World Will Be Decided In Ukraine – Lukashenko (RT)
All Ukrainian Presidents Are Thieves – Lukashenko (RT)
Poland Ready To Help Ukraine Hunt Down Military-Aged Men (RT)
Ukraine Conflict ‘A Bonanza’ For US Military – NYT (RT)
G7 Could Take 10 Years to Catch Up With Russian Nuclear Fuel Output (Sp.)
European Bureaucrats Serve America’s Economic Interests (Dionísio)
Iran’s Nuclear Plans Are Clear. Just Read Its Own Islamic Law (Juma)
Why Iran Decided Not To Attack Israel Again (Gurevich)
Netanyahu Should Resign – Nancy Pelosi (RT)
Unconventional Russian Warfare Threatening British Grannies – Wallace (RT)

 

 

 

 

Trump immunity
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782847341952729139

 

 

Watters trial

 

 

Alina
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782784975521120376

 

 

Tucker Weak men

 

 

 

 

Julie Kelly


https://twitter.com/i/status/1783175943831367849

 

 

Arizona

 

 

mask
https://twitter.com/i/status/1783164740459762075

 

 

 

 

“..the US government has effectively been funneling billions of dollars into its own defense industry through the aid scheme..”

US Sided With Evil And Fascism – Russian Envoy (RT)

The US government has made its choice in favor of war, siding with evil and supporting fascism, the Russian ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov has said, in comments on the latest massive American military aid package for Ukraine. On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden signed a long-stalled $95-billion foreign-aid package, including $61 billion for Ukraine. Biden said the US would start sending weapons and military equipment to Ukraine “in the next few hours.” Washington is balancing on the brink of a direct clash between nuclear powers, Ambassador Antonov told reporters following the news. The development strikes a severe blow to prospects for a hypothetical revival of Russian-American relations in the future, Antonov believes.

“For the sake of its greedy and insatiable defense industry, the [Biden] administration sacrifices the lives of ordinary people. With their decision, local politicians actually put an end to the fate of the entire state [of Ukraine], which is used as a ‘battering ram’ against Russia,” he stated. The high-ranking Russian diplomat accused the US administration of violating the UN Charter’s obligation to maintain ‘primary responsibility for international peace and security.’

“American aid will not save [Ukrainian President] Zelensky” he stressed, adding that any new weapons being sent by Washington to Kiev would be destroyed, and that the tasks and goals of Moscow’s military operation will be realized. The Kremlin has repeatedly warned that Washington’s lethal aid will not change the situation on the battlefield in Ukraine’s favor. According to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, the US government has effectively been funneling billions of dollars into its own defense industry through the aid scheme.

Cheers

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“We’ve never seen a case like this one where a dead misdemeanor from 2016 could be revived as a felony just before the 2024 election..”

“Cohen will soon go on the stand and tell the jury it should send his former client to jail for following his legal advice.”

Alvin Bragg Has His Trump Trial, All He Needs Now Is A Crime (Turley)

For many of us in the legal community, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against former President Donald Trump borders on the legally obscene: an openly political prosecution based on a theory even legal pundits dismiss. Yet Monday the prosecution seemed to actually make a case for obscenity. It wasn’t the gratuitous introduction of an uncharged alleged tryst with a former Playboy Bunny or expected details on the relationship with an ex-porn star. It was the criminal theory itself that seemed crafted around the obscenity stan- dard Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously described in 1984’s Jacobellis v. Ohio: “I shall not today attempt further to define [it]. . . . But I know it when I see it. The prosecution must show Trump falsified business records in “furtherance of another crime.” After months of confusion on just what crime underpinned the indictment, the prosecution offered a new theory so ambiguous and undefined, it would have made Justice Stewart blush.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told the jury that in listing Stormy Daniels payments as a “legal expense,” Trump violated this New York law: “Any two or more persons who conspire to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means and which conspiracy is acted upon by one or more of the parties thereto, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” So Trump committed a crime by conspiring to unlawfully promote his own candidacy, by paying to quash a potentially embarrassing story and then reimbursing his lawyer Michael Cohen with other legal expenses. Confused? You are not alone. It’s not a crime to pay for the nondisclosure of an alleged affair. It’s also not a federal election offense (the other underlying crime Bragg alleges) to pay such money as a personal or legal expense. Federal law doesn’t treat it as a political contribution to yourself. Yet somehow the characterization of this payment as a legal expense is an illegal conspiracy to promote one’s own candidacy in New York.

In New York, prosecutors are expected to have extreme legal myopia: They can see no farther than Trump to the exclusion of any implication for the legal system or legal ethics. Of course, neither Bragg nor his office has ever seen this type of criminal case in any other defendant. Ever. We’ve never seen a case like this one where a dead misdemeanor from 2016 could be revived as a felony just before the 2024 election, The statute of limitations for this case’s misdemeanors, including falsifying payments, has expired. But Bragg (with the help of counsel and former top Biden Justice Department official Matthew Colangelo) zapped it back into life by alleging a federal election crime the Justice Department itself rejected as a basis for any criminal charge. It’s not clear Trump even knew how this money was characterized in records. He paid it to his lawyer, who had put together the settlement over the nondisclosure agreement.

Cohen will soon go on the stand and tell the jury it should send his former client to jail for following his legal advice. Besides running for president, Trump was married and had hosted a hit television show. There were ample reasons to secure an NDA to bury the story. Even if it was done with the election in mind, it is not unusual or illegal. There is generally no need to list such payments as a campaign contribution because the federal government doesn’t see them as a campaign contribution. It’s not even clear how this matter was supposed to be noted in records. What if the Trump employee put “legal settlement in personal matter” or “nuisance payment”? The crime itself may not be clear or even comprehensible. But the defendant’s identity could not be clearer, and the prosecutors are hoping the jury, like themselves, will look no further

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A case about nothing.

Romney and the Wrong Question (Turley)

Yesterday, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) had a much covered interaction with CNN’s Manu Raju who asked him about Trump’s criminal trial and whether he was guilty of the underlying criminal conduct. Romney responded “I think everybody has made their own assessment of President Trump’s character, and so far as I know you don’t pay someone $130,000 not to have sex with you.” I have previously defended Romney in his votes on impeachment despite our disagreement on the constitutional standard. I also understand that he was making a more general comment on character. However, his response is precisely what Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is seeking from the jury: a verdict on Trump as a person rather than the underlying criminal allegations. Trump is currently facing 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree regarding payments made to Daniels during the 2016 presidential election.

As I discuss today in the New York Post, many of us (including liberal legal experts) still question whether there is any crime alleged by Bragg. Raju reasonably asked Romney for his own view. Romney is an interesting person to ask. He is not only a critic of the President from within his own party but he is a former businessman who has had to deal with complex reporting and business obligations. Romney’s response must be encouraging for Bragg. Rather than address the ambiguous criminal allegation, Romney suggested that Trump was guilty as charged in having a tryst with a former porn star. The defense is not contesting the payment and the fact of the affair is not central to the allegations. The question is whether the payments were unlawfully denoted as legal expenses with the intent to somehow steal the 2016 election.

It is not a crime to use a NDA or other means to quash an embarrassing story. Bill Clinton had a host of lawyers quashing allegations of affairs and sexual assaults throughout his presidency. He ran into trouble when he committed perjury in the effort to hide what Hillary Clinton called one of his “bimbo eruptions.” Moreover, denoting this as a legal expense, on the advice of counsel, is not necessarily wrong. It is not clear how it should have been to be denoted as, according to Bragg. A “nuisance payment”? The campaign of Hillary Clinton and its general counsel Marc Elias hid the funding of the Steele dossier as a legal expense and was fined by the government for doing so. They litigated the question and insisted that that is precisely what it was. Romney is precisely what Bragg is looking for in these jurors. Smart and savvy, he still viewed the question of the trial as whether Trump had an affair with Stormy Daniels.

If so, it was not a legal expense. Yet, quashing the story and avoiding any litigation was a legal matter with the eventual crafting of the NDA. There are a lot of motivations for NDAs of this kind. Trump was married. He was the host of a hit television show (with a clause on termination for scandalous conduct). And, yes, he was also seeking to be president. He wanted these stories killed and friends like David Pecker were helping in that effort. What those facts say about the former president’s “character” will remain a matter of public debate and, as Romney said, most long ago reached their own conclusions. Yet, it is the crime not the character of Trump that is at issue in Manhattan.

Alvin Bragg would like the trial to remain a verdict on character, which is why he started the trial discussing not the Daniels matter but an uncharged affair and settlement with a former Playboy bunny. It is why he fought hard (and succeeded) in being able to question Trump about past cases involving an alleged assault and fraudulent conduct. As legal experts continue this week to debate if there is even a crime alleged in the indictment, Bragg is making a case that Trump’s lack of character is beyond a reasonable doubt. To be fair, Romney was not giving a full interview on the case in his statement to CNN and may well have some reservations about the Bragg indictment. However, Bragg is likely hoping that “everybody has made their own assessment of President Trump,” including twelve jurors currently sitting in the Manhattan courtroom.

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“Musk said that migration issues in the US are threatening the very existence of the American state..”

Musk Concurs That Civil War Looming In West (TASS)

US entrepreneur and one of the world’s wealthiest people Elon Musk has asserted that a civil war will break out in the West over the situation around migrants. “War will come whether we want it or not,” he wrote on the X social network commenting on remarks by Gad Saad, a Canadian professor of Lebanese origin, who insisted that “the path that the West is taking will result in civil war.” Saad said that Western countries are committing “civilizational suicide.” “Many Western men who are currently asleep at the wheel will wake up, and realize that they don’t like being pushed around in their homelands; they don’t like their women attacked; they don’t like their freedoms curtailed; they don’t like their faiths disrespected,” he noted. Earlier, Musk said that migration issues in the US are threatening the very existence of the American state. He also branded the US migration policy as insane because over the past three years it allowed more than 7 mln illegal migrants enter the country.

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Australia is just a little country. With little brains.

Musk Warns Australia Against ‘Controlling Entire Internet’ (Sp.)

The X chief executive earlier denounced that a video of a stabbing attack on an orthodox bishop had been censored in Australia, with Canberra threatening X with a daily fine of $510,000 over the company’s reluctance to completely remove the footage. Elon Musk has made it clear he will not comply with Australia’s order to remove a video of a terror attack against a Sydney cleric from X (formerly Twitter). “Our concern is that if any country is allowed to censor content for all countries, which is what the Australian ‘eSafety Commissar’ is demanding, then what is to stop any country from controlling the entire Internet?” the tech billionaire tweeted. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO added that X has “already censored the content in question for Australia, pending legal appeal, and it is stored only on servers” in the US.

Per X, Canberra threatened it with a daily fine of $510,000 over the company’s unwillingness to remove the video across the globe. Musk’s remarks came after Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese slammed the X owner as an “arrogant billionaire who thinks he’s above the law, but also above common decency.” Speaking to broadcaster ABC, Albanese added that “the idea that someone would go to court for the right to put up violent content on a platform shows how out-of-touch Mr. Musk is.” This followed Australia’s eSafety Commission calling for X to completely remove the video from its platform for all users rather than just block the footage in the world’s sixth-largest country.

According to Australia’s eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, “Every minute counts, and the more this content is up there, the more it is reshared, the more the velocity and the virality continues and we need to stem that.”
In the video, Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel of the Assyrian Orthodox Church is seen being stabbed during a church service in the suburbs of Sydney that was being livestreamed on April 15. The non-fatal attack, which the authorities said was a terrorist act motivated by suspected religious extremism, quickly garnered multiple views online and reportedly led to protests near the crime scene.

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“I think the demonization of Ukraine began by Tucker Carlson..”

Mitch McConnell Blames Tucker Carlson For Delaying Ukraine Cash (RT)

The top-ranking Republican in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, has claimed Tucker Carlson’s interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin convinced too many “rank-and-file Republicans” that spending billions of taxpayer dollars on arming Kiev against Moscow was harming Americans and wrecking the economy. As a new multibillion-dollar US aid package to Ukraine was clearing the last procedural hurdles on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader McConnell attempted to pin the blame for months of delays on former Fox News anchor Carlson and former President Donald Trump. “I think the demonization of Ukraine began by Tucker Carlson, who in my opinion ended up where he should have been all along, which was interviewing Vladimir Putin,” McConnell told a press briefing.

“He convinced a lot of rank-and-file Republicans that maybe this was a mistake,” he added, arguing that Trump’s “mixed views” on Ukraine aid further fueled confusion over the official narrative in Washington. “And then our nominee for president didn’t seem to want us to do anything at all,” McConnell claimed. “That took months to work our way through it.” Carlson recorded a lengthy interview with Putin in February, a first by a Western reporter since the conflict with Ukraine began. The pair discussed the ongoing hostilities and Moscow’s standoff with NATO. The exchange went viral globally, garnering over 200 million views on X (formerly Twitter) alone, yet critics accused Carlson of not being confrontational enough with the Russian leader. The American journalist argued that most Western media outlets lie to their audiences, mainly by omission, and that the point of his interview was “to have more information brought to the West so people could make their own decisions.”

“I reject the whole premise of the war in Ukraine from the American perspective,” Carlson said in February, looking back at his conversation with Putin. “There’s a war going on that is wrecking the US economy in a way and at a scale that people do not understand.” US President Joe Biden requested additional cash for Ukraine last October after burning through $113 billion in previously approved spending bills. However, the request had been stalled until this week due to opposition from Republican lawmakers, who argued that Biden was merely prolonging Kiev’s conflict with Russia while offering no clear strategy for victory or a peace agreement. Most Republicans voted against the aid bill on Saturday, but House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) overrode his own party by enabling a vote and pushing it through with unanimous Democrat support.

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“Everyone understands that today’s Ukraine is a military range, where the future of the world order is partially decided..”

Future Of The World Will Be Decided In Ukraine – Lukashenko (RT)

The Ukraine conflict is among the major events that will determine the future of the world, and the West is emerging weaker from it, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko claimed on Wednesday. The leader of Belarus, a close Russian ally, addressed the situation in Ukraine during a keynote speech to the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly, a gathering of officials and public figures. He contrasted Kiev’s policies with those of Minsk, arguing that unlike its southern neighbor, his nation has preserved its independence under Western pressure. “Everyone understands that today’s Ukraine is a military range, where the future of the world order is partially decided. The largest nuclear powers indirectly, and now even directly, are waging a war on its territory,” Lukashenko stated.

“Meanwhile its authorities have sunk to the level of striking a bargain with the West to exchange weapons for the lives of Ukrainians. Watching this is painful,” he added. Kiev has miscalculated, Lukashenko argued, because “whoever is willing to serve a master for scraps will sooner or later lose.” Ukraine is risking its statehood after betraying its past and traditions, he also warned. The Belarusian leader described the entire conflict as the latest clash “between the West and the East,” and suggested that neither side has become stronger. The outcome of the confrontation “will not save the existing order,” Lukashenko further predicted. He urged the US and its allies to accept that their future role will be restricted as one of several centers of power that determine world affairs.

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“And they grew rich, but only very few, in the very ‘best’ traditions of Western European democracies..”

All Ukrainian Presidents Are Thieves – Lukashenko (RT)

Ukraine has devolved into a Western-style oligarchy where all of its leaders are only interested in “plundering” the country and getting rich, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has claimed. The president made the remarks on Wednesday during an address to the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly, a gathering of high-profile officials and public figures. Lukashenko fired a broadside at the neighboring country, accusing its presidents and “oligarchs” of stealing Ukraine’s riches. The process began immediately after Ukraine became an independent state following the collapse of the Soviet Union and has worsened over time, Lukashenko argued. “Just think – a prosperous country. The land is fertile, half of the periodic table in its soil, two seas, mines, industrial giants. The people are creative, hard-working. Live, be happy and grow rich. And they grew rich, but only very few, in the very ‘best’ traditions of Western European democracies,” the Belarusian leader said.

Every Ukrainian president, from “the first to the last one,” has been “plundering and stealing,” Lukashenko asserted, claiming that this inevitably led to political infighting and enduring unrest. “The oligarchs and those in power have gathered all the resources under their control. The oligarchs, having received the wealth created by the people, wanted power. They went into politics and began to drag bandits and people into their squabbles. The Maidans have begun,” Lukashenko stated. Ukrainian leaders, however, have consistently blamed the internal turmoil they created on foreign powers, primarily Russia and to a lesser extent Belarus, Lukashenko alleged. “They created the necessary image of the enemy, ‘the culprit behind the hardships and poverty of the people’ – Russia, as well as us, Belarusians. We, you see, are now somehow to blame,” the leader said.

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Hunt Them Down

Poland Ready To Help Ukraine Hunt Down Military-Aged Men (RT)

Polish Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz has said Warsaw is willing to “help” Kiev repatriate men of fighting age, an unspecified portion of some 950,000 Ukrainians granted temporary sanctuary in Poland. Earlier this week, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry banned all men between the ages of 18 and 60 from receiving or renewing their documents, including passports, at consular offices outside the country. The Polish defense chief told the Polsat broadcaster on Wednesday that he was “not surprised” and supports Kiev’s move. “The Ukrainian authorities are doing everything to provide new soldiers to the front, because the needs are huge,” Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said. The Polish official said that Warsaw had previously offered to help Kiev track down those who dodge their “civic duty,” but noted that “the form of assistance depends on the Ukrainian side.”

“I think that many of our compatriots were and are outraged when they see young Ukrainian men in cafes and hear about how much effort it takes us to help Ukraine,” he added. Kosiniak-Kamysz also echoed Kiev’s official narrative that Ukrainians who could not avoid the draft have “justified grievances against their peers who have scattered around the world.” Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba claimed on Tuesday that the decision to strip Ukrainian men of their rights was “fair” and in line with controversial military mobilization reforms, which President Vladimir Zelensky signed into law this month. Zelensky’s reforms, set to take effect next month, will lower the draft age from 27 to 25, tighten exemptions, and oblige all men, regardless of eligibility, to report to a conscription office to “update” their personal data. According to EU officials, an estimated 650,000 Ukrainian men of fighting age are living in the bloc. Kiev has identified that pool as a significant untapped source of manpower for the armed forces. However, asked in early April how many troops Kiev intended to mobilize, Zelensky dodged the question.

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“When new technology meets the brutality of old-fashioned trench warfare, the results are rarely what Pentagon planners expected..”

Ukraine Conflict ‘A Bonanza’ For US Military – NYT (RT)

The US military is reportedly using the Ukraine conflict to test a new artificial intelligence technology that helps detect targets on the battlefield using drone footage, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. Dubbed Project Maven, research into the technology was initially picked up as a government contract by Google six years ago, according to the outlet. However, after pushback from engineers and employees, who did not want to take part in building an AI tool for military use, the tech giant stepped away from the project, which was picked up by other contractors. Now, the technology is being tested on the front line in Ukraine, the NYT claims, as Western and Ukrainian officers, along with some of Silicon Valley’s top military contractors, are “exploring new ways of finding and exploiting Russian vulnerabilities.”

So far, the results of the testing have reportedly been “mixed.” While Project Maven allows commanders to identify the movements of Russian forces and use AI algorithms to predict their next steps, it has apparently been “difficult” to bring “21st-century data into 19th-century trenches.” One of the main barriers, the Times said, is that due to restrictions imposed by US President Joe Biden, the US military can only provide Ukrainians with a “picture of the battlefield” without giving precise targeting details. It is also unclear if the new technology would even be able to change the course of the conflict, given Russia’s ability to quickly adapt to technologies being used by the Ukrainian side.

“When new technology meets the brutality of old-fashioned trench warfare, the results are rarely what Pentagon planners expected,” the outlet said. Nevertheless, the Ukraine conflict remains “a bonanza for the US military” in the minds of American officials, and a testing ground for rapidly evolving technologies. “At the end of the day this became our laboratory,” Lt. Gen. Christopher T. Donahue, who commands the US Army’s 18th Airborne Division, told the NYT. Russia, meanwhile, has repeatedly decried increasing US involvement in the conflict. Moscow describes it as a proxy war being waged by Washington and its partners, using Ukrainians as “cannon fodder” to further Western interests.

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“..it’s almost impossible to immediately make them as economically efficient as those in Russia. It had taken decades for Russia to set up its [nuclear fuel] production.”

G7 Could Take 10 Years to Catch Up With Russian Nuclear Fuel Output (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden and his G7 have vowed to end imports of Russian nuclear fuel, but leading Western economies still lag behind Moscow in innovative atomic technologies, nuclear expert Valery Menshikov told Sputnik. The US Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) asserted in a recent press release that the Biden-Harris administration is doing whatever it takes to ensure the nation’s independence in terms of secure nuclear fuel supplies as well as to “re-establish US leadership in nuclear energy more broadly.” The agency stressed that President Joe Biden’s government is leading the “Sapporo 5” group, consisting of the US, the UK, France, Japan and Canada to support the growth of nuclear energy deployment around the world “free of Russian influence.” But the NE was forced to admit that Russia presently supplies around 44 percent of global uranium enrichment services and 20 to 30 percent of enriched uranium products used in the US and Europe.

To complicate matters further for the Sapporo 5, Russia is the only country selling high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), which is indispensable for advanced nuclear reactors, on a commercial scale. President Joe Biden stated on April 19 that a US plant had managed to produce the first 200 lbs (90 kg) of HALEU and would make nearly a ton of the “powerful” nuclear fuel by the end of 2024. Given that in 2020 the US Department of Energy (DoE) projected that more than 40 metric tons of HALEU will be needed before the end of the decade to meet Washington’s pressing climate goals, those amounts are a drop in the ocean. “Undoubtedly, the speeches that Biden is now delivering are just another contribution to his collection of campaign promises. And since, the United States still depends on the supply of fresh enriched fuel for nuclear power plants, this task is one of the most important, including in political terms,” Valery Menshikov, member of the Public Council of Rosatom Corporation and member of the Council of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy, told Sputnik.

Russia maintains leadership in global uranium enrichment services, Sputnik’s commentator stressed, adding that neither US nor European scientists have been able to achieve enrichment capacities matching those of their Russian peers. Russian nuclear fuel is also comparatively cheaper, Menshikov pointed out. The expert recalled that the Russo-US nuclear fuel trade started immediately after the collapse of the USSR: the 1992 Megatons to Megawatts Program envisaged the recycling of weapons-grade uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear warheads into low-enriched uranium used to produce fuel for American nuclear power plants. Over the decades, Russia routinely delivered large volumes of enriched uranium to the US.

The expert expressed doubts that the US will be able to completely stop purchases of Russian nuclear fuel by 2028, as Biden has pledged. “The problem is that the process [of making nuclear fuel] is very complex,” Menshikov said. “The most important thing is that while it is possible to launch such productions, it’s almost impossible to immediately make them as economically efficient as those in Russia. It had taken decades for Russia to set up its [nuclear fuel] production.” When it comes to the European Union (EU), the situation is complicated by the fact that there are 19 Russia-designed reactors within the bloc. The list of countries which have Russian-made nuclear equipment includes Slovakia, Hungary, Finland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Although some European countries, such as Finland, have recently halted cooperation with Russia, others — like Hungary — are proceeding with new projects.

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“What appears on the horizon, without any in-depth national discussion, after being approved by the Council and the European Parliament, is a global austerity package, on a European scale..”

European Bureaucrats Serve America’s Economic Interests (Dionísio)

Once again, the European bureaucracy is living up to the saying that “what has born crooked, late or never is straightened out”. This is the case with the European Union, which was built as a political response to a reality that is no longer there — the socialist bloc — and which, when faced with the absence of its vital force, embarked on an erratic process of enlargement, aimed above all at provoking Russia, creating the conditions for NATO expansion and responding to the monopolies’ growing need for new markets and new sources of skilled and cheap labor, as is the case in Eastern Europe.

Within this framework and in response to the same needs, the EU is once again reissuing a recipe already widely known to the peoples of the South. While there is widespread recognition that the budgetary criteria contained in the Stability and Growth Pact constitute a stranglehold on public investment and is responsible for the short-term vision that has left the member states hostage to the financial authoritarianism of Brussels, at a time when the European bloc is losing more and more ground to the economies with which it has to compete, the unelected supranational power of the EU is once again proposing, this time to all Europeans, something that none of these peoples would ever vote for: austerity for the next four years (at least).

What appears on the horizon, without any in-depth national discussion, after being approved by the Council and the European Parliament, is a global austerity package, on a European scale, applicable to almost all the countries of the Union, which has been given the pompous name of “New Economic Governance Framework” and which is based on instruments such as the “Debt Sustainability Analysis” and “Specific Fiscal Plans” per member state, which will be developed within the framework of a 4-year adjustment period, which can be extended to 7. If the Stability Pact was not enough to bring most of the countries to austerity, this time EU autocracy is working to leave no one behind. Every country must bring to an end every evidence or memory that a social state has once worked with huge success.

That’s why we have to say that “it’s coming in handy”! At a time when countries should be investing absolutely decisively in industrialization, innovation and conquering a place at the top of the future technological chain, as China and Russia are doing and the US is going into brutal debt to do, what do the accountants in Brussels decide to do? Postpone the race, calling into question the targets they themselves have set for 2030 and 2050. Once again, the story of the well-behaved and thrifty countries versus those that don’t know how to govern themselves is being repeated. But this time, with the exception of five countries (Cyprus, Sweden, Estonia, Denmark and Ireland), all the others will have to tighten their belts and cut 100 billion from their public budgets right in the first year of adjustment. Incidentally, 100 billion is more or less what the EU has offered the Kiev regime to date (in January 2024 it was 85 billion euros according to the Kiel Institute). And any of those lucky countries is important for the financing of the pluriannual European budget.

Assuming that this mass economic destruction is the continuation of a process that began with subprime, from which European economies had to pay for the losses of American banks, and continued with the NATO/Russia conflict in Ukraine, which has not only deprived European countries of important production factors, at a low price and with guaranteed quality and quantity… How should the European Union act, especially knowing that in Biden’s USA, the implementation of Inflation Reduction Act is well underway, with a vast investment program in key technological areas such as electric vehicles, lithium batteries, photovoltaic panels and semiconductors?

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“..Iran’s nuclear doctrine is based on a fatwa (a ruling based on Islamic law) issued by the country’s Supreme Leader..”

Iran’s Nuclear Plans Are Clear. Just Read Its Own Islamic Law (Juma)

In light of the direct conflict that broke out between Israel and Iran, rumors that the Islamic Republic could produce nuclear weapons began circulating again. In addition, just a few days ago Reuters and other media outlets quoted a senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) saying that Iran may review its nuclear doctrine following Israeli threats. The US, EU, and Israel have long feared that Iran may produce nuclear weapons, and have used this threat to justify their actions against the Islamic Republic. However, it is important to understand that Iran’s nuclear doctrine is based on a fatwa (a ruling based on Islamic law) issued by the country’s Supreme Leader. According to this fatwa, the production of nuclear weapons is a sin. However, Iran’s opponents do not believe in the sincerity of this ruling and, they suggest, it can be renounced at any time.

On April 17 and 18, the first Tehran International Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation took place. The motto of this conference was “Nuclear energy for everyone, nuclear weapons for no one.” There, Ali Akbar Velayati, adviser to the Supreme Leader of Iran, read Ayatollah Khamenei’s message in front of officials and members of various international delegations and organizations. “All of you know that, in the absence of the Imam Mahdi, whose coming is expected by the Shiites, the Shiite legal system is based on the opinion of authoritative and highly competent experts in the field of Islamic law (which Iran’s decisions are based on). These religious scholars issue fatwas which clearly indicate whether any action is permissible or not. One [important] issue is the permissibility of the production and use of weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons) …”.

Ayatollah Khamenei had carefully analyzed the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons by the Americans in Japan as well as the use of chemical weapons against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, and stated his position on this issue: “We believe that, besides nuclear weapons, other types of weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological weapons, also pose a serious threat to humanity. The Iranian nation, which is itself a victim of chemical weapons, feels more than any other nation the danger that is caused by the production and stockpiling of such weapons, and is prepared to make use of all its facilities to counter such threats. We consider the use of such weapons as haraam [forbidden] and believe that it is everyone’s duty to make efforts to secure humanity against this great disaster.” In the period from 2010 to 2015, other religious authorities, such as ayatollahs Makarem Shirazi, Jafar Subhani, Noori-Hamedani, and Javadi Amoli, also issued fatwas that prohibited the production and use of weapons of mass destruction.

But can the issued fatwas be changed or canceled? Can Iran’s position in this regard change? From a theological point of view, certainly not. Islamic law states clear reasons for this. Nuclear weapons and the radiation which results from their use threaten the environment, causing the destruction of crops and the death of offspring. Verse 205 of Surah al-Baqarah says: “And when he goes away, he strives throughout the land to cause corruption therein and destroy crops and animals. And Allah does not like corruption.” The protection of the environment, the preservation of the life of living beings and plants is every Muslim’s obligation under Sharia, Islamic law. The production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, even if they are never used, may endanger the lives of people on the planet as a result of human error. According to Islamic law, this is unacceptable. Islam believes that a victory must be achieved by reasonable, lawful, and humane means. As for the rules of warfare, Islam strictly prohibits the killing of civilians, women, children and the elderly, as well as attacks on civilian infrastructure.

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“..they prefer to pretend that they are fighting for peace. The very peace for which no stone should be left unturned on this planet. But that will come later..”

Why Iran Decided Not To Attack Israel Again (Gurevich)

Iran has again threatened Israel with a harsh response to aggression. The army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will make those who cross red lines regret it, said the Deputy Chief of the Army for Coordination, Habibollah Sayyari.Meanwhile, Israel has refrained from speaking out against Tehran. Politicians have focused their rhetoric on Hamas. In particular, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to increase military and political pressure on the Palestinian group in the near future in order to motivate it to release hostages, writes the Times of Israel. The good news is that there will be no Iran-Israel war. At least not at this stage. Tehran has chosen not to react vociferously to the Israeli air force’s retaliatory strike, dismissing all reports of the destruction of the radar protecting the Natanz nuclear centre as Zionist intrigues.

Well, the bottom line is that we have two air raids attributed to Israel and one very large Iranian strike. In the latter case, everything was official and the Islamic Republic can therefore claim an entry in the Guinness Book of Records with an article on the largest number of UAVs and ballistic missiles involved in a single offensive operation. Incidentally, we do not know what the real effect of the large-scale attack was. Iran, like Israel, is carefully hiding data on the damage. However, the political consequences of such events are far more important. And, as usual in the Middle East, a dozen seemingly unrelated problems have become intertwined. After the Iranian strike, for example, Western countries began to advise Israel not to react, and rumour has it that the Jewish State was negotiating for the right to launch a military operation in Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold in Gaza.

Then in the end, it could no longer remain patient and responded. The Iranians had options. The Ayatollahs could have said that Israel had again crossed all the red lines. This would have led to further escalation, but might have protected Hamas. But Iran, for its own reasons, ignored the Palestinians and reported through the press that nothing serious had happened. The reason for this peacefulness is probably that they saw a working alliance between Israel, Jordan and the Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf. This is precisely the nightmare that the Iranians have done their utmost to prevent. They even restored diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia in 2023. But apparently confrontation with the Shiites is more important to moderate Sunnis than dislike of the Jews.

According to military analysts, if the Israeli Air Force did attack Iranian air defences, it means that the Israelis probably flew over Jordan or the Arabian Peninsula to carry out the task, and it is unlikely that this was done without the consent of the Hashemite Kingdom or the Saudis. As a result, the military alliance is not only defensive, which means that virtually all of Iran’s proxies in the region, including Hezbollah, the Houthis and the Shia militias in Iraq and Syria, are at risk. For now, however, this is all a hypothetical picture. Its implementation requires the normalisation of Israel’s relations with Riyadh and, as part of the deal, the signing of a defence agreement with the US, as well as American-Israeli goodwill for the establishment of a nuclear capability in Saudi Arabia. And all this has to happen before the end of June. Otherwise, Washington will not be able to get the relevant decisions through Congress because of the upcoming election. Obviously, the Iranians believe that further escalation will only accelerate the process described above. That is why they prefer to pretend that they are fighting for peace. The very peace for which no stone should be left unturned on this planet. But that will come later.

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“..she doesn’t know whether the Israeli leader is “afraid of peace, incapable of peace, or just doesn’t want peace.”

Netanyahu Should Resign – Nancy Pelosi (RT)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an obstacle to peace in Gaza and “should resign” from his position, former US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said. She made the remarks on Monday in an interview with Irish public broadcaster Raidio Teilifis Eireann (RTE) during her visit to the country. Pelosi criticized the Israeli leader’s response to the October 7 Hamas attack which saw Palestinian militants kill over 1,100 people on Israeli territory and take around 250 hostages. The former House speaker cited the recent resignation of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intelligence chief Major General Aharon Haliva over the failure to prevent the attack, before pointing the finger at Netanyahu.

“We recognize Israel’s right to protect itself. We reject the policy and the practice of Netanyahu – terrible. What could be worse than what he has done in response?” Pelosi told the outlet. “He should resign. He’s ultimately responsible,” she added. When asked if Netanyahu is a “block” to peace, Pelosi replied that “he has been for years,” adding that she doesn’t know whether the Israeli leader is “afraid of peace, incapable of peace, or just doesn’t want peace.” She went on to argue that Netanyahu been an “obstacle to the two-state solution, I emphasize the word, ‘solution.’”

Health authorities in Gaza have estimated that more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed amid Israel’s siege of the enclave, which has included extensive bombardment as well as a ground incursion. Earlier this month, Pelosi joined more than 30 US Congress members who signed a letter urging President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to halt weapons transfers to Israel. The change of tune in Washington, Israel’s key ally, followed the killing of six aid workers from the World Central Kitchen humanitarian organization. The IDF targeted the group’s convoy in what it claimed to be a tragic mistake, despite the food supply mission being closely coordinated with the military.

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Cyber crime is part of Russian warfare, apparently. Impoverishing grannies…

Unconventional Russian Warfare Threatening British Grannies – Wallace (RT)

The UK is facing certain forms of “unconventional warfare” waged by its enemies, potentially including Moscow-backed online scams that target the elderly, former British Secretary of Defence Ben Wallace has claimed. The Conservative MP, who resigned from the cabinet last August, told Sky News on Wednesday that the world today reminded him of the interwar periods during the last century. The situation, Wallace explained, is similar to “the 1930s, but with an added challenge of terrorism and a challenge of unconventional warfare.” As examples of the latter, he cited “disinformation campaigns, the enemies in this country using cyber to divide us, to rob from us, to spy on us, and to create frictions in our society.”

When asked by host Kay Burley which nation posed the biggest threat to the UK, Wallace said it was Russia. ”Many of the big cyber-crime syndicates are based in Russia, curiously protected by the Russian state,” he claimed. “They are the ones robbing your granny and my parents with phishing emails. So, Russia is directly challenging us at all levels.” Earlier this month, British police reported busting a UK-founded international ring of scammers, which since 2021 alone has stolen from some 70,000 victims in the country. Thirty-seven people were arrested around the world in the LabHost case, the force reported. The statement didn’t mention Russia.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Climate Emergency

 

 

Wealth
https://twitter.com/i/status/1783136306400497981

 

 

Your value
https://twitter.com/i/status/1783165842433474992

 

 

 

 

Cub


https://twitter.com/i/status/1782896073578582350

 

 

Baby Hippo
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782886328171905240

 

 

Scratch

 

 

Healed

 

 

Adrenochrome

 

 

Robotina
https://twitter.com/i/status/1783391212558262482

 

 

Cabal full movie

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 242024
 
 April 24, 2024  Posted by at 8:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  59 Responses »


René Magritte La trahison des images 1929

 

Unsealed Court Filings Show Emails Between NARA, DOJ, Biden White House (ET)
Biden’s America: 40% Of Renters Think They’ll Never Own A Home (ZH)
Biden Terrifyingly Grows Ranks Of Government Spies (Gosztola)
The Real Debt Problem (Paul Craig Roberts)
Ukraine Has Lost Almost a Half Million Soldiers – Shoigu (Sp.)
No Hiding From Draft Abroad – Kiev (RT)
West Is Doing To Ukrainians What It Did To Indigenous Americans – Zakharova (RT)
Germany Holds Massive Military Drills Near Russian Border (RT)
A Nasty Little Book About The Allied Invasion Of Russia In 1918 (Helmer)
Gaza Settlement Crucial For Islamic World – Erdogan (TASS)
Iran Threatens To Wipe Out Israel (RT)
Western Regime-Change Operations Enable Criminal Activities (SCF)
US Would Beat China In A War – Intel Official (RT)
Britain To Put Industry On ‘War Footing’ – PM (RT)
German Leader Tells Putin He Can’t Quote Philosopher Kant (RT)

 

 

 

 

25 bullseyes
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782233148668985826

 

 

Watters Kise

 

 

 

 

Tucker Yon

 

 

 

 

Ron Paul
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782792998016761927

 

 


if we had never named covid 19 and swerved around it like it was a dinosaur in the road instead of a squirrel, we’d probably have barely noticed it. “huh, baddish flu this year” would have been about the end it of. no lockdown. no mask up. no EUA jab. just life.

 

 

 

 

Conspiracy, no theory. And scary. How do you get rid of something like this? It’s a huge cancer growth.

Unsealed Court Filings Show Emails Between NARA, DOJ, Biden White House (ET)

Court filings newly unsealed on Monday in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case include emails between National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) officials, the Biden White House, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding former President Donald Trump’s presidential records. The trove of unsealed filings also revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) code name for its investigation into President Trump’s presidential records was “[Redacted] Plasmic Echo.” A key exhibit included with a motion to compel filed in January was an FBI case file labeled “[Redacted] PLASMIC ECHO; Mishandling of Classified or National Defense Information.” This file, now made public, summarizes an initial review of documents forwarded by NARA to the FBI on Feb. 24, 2022. The review uncovered 106 classified documents across 12 out of 15 boxes, totaling 767 pages.

Last year, President Trump pleaded not guilty to 40 counts related to allegedly mishandling classified documents. In January, the defense filed a motion to compel discovery along with several exhibits under seal, which included emails containing names and identifying information about government officials. The defense has argued that the emails unsealed on Monday indicate communication between NARA officials, the Biden administration, and the DOJ regarding President Trump’s records, alleging coordination in targeting the former president since 2021. One email from NARA’s general counsel to the national archivist discussed drafting a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland concerning “missing Trump records.” Subsequent emails revealed coordination between NARA and the Biden White House counsel’s office regarding the handling of these records.

The Sept. 1, 2021, email revealed that NARA’s general counsel, Gary Stern, had been in touch with both the DOJ and the Biden White House “about this issue.” A subsequent email on Sept. 30, 2021, reveals that the White House counsel’s office “is now ready to set up a call to discuss the Trump boxes.” This email came after Mr. Stern emailed Deputy White House Counsel Jonathan Su two days earlier to “check back in to see when and how you want to proceed re [sic] meeting with [redacted], [redacted], [redacted], and NARA to discuss the Trump boxes?” Furthermore, the defense highlighted instances where NARA officials didn’t disclose certain actions to Trump representatives, suggesting bias in the investigation process. The defense alleged that Mr. Su didn’t disclose to a Trump representative that NARA had already drafted a DOJ referral letter when contacting them to discuss access to notes “from the Trump administration relating to records handling.”

The unsealed emails show that NARA took into consideration the Democrat-led January 6 Committee’s investigation when considering the timing of reporting to Congress on their issues of getting access to President Trump’s posts on Twitter (now X). On Oct. 5, 2023, Mr. Stern wrote in an internal NARA email that the release of a letter to Congress “can be timed with our public release of the Trump social media records … as well as our release to the 1/6 Committee of responsive tweets on the day of January 6.” Mr. Stern noted that NARA had “issues” getting President Trump’s “social media records” because the Trump White House didn’t “capture them through the use of third-party archiving tools.” “I do not think that these problems are something that the AG/DOJ can deal with, but it could be appropriate to report them to Congress, especially since the January 6 Committee has specifically requested Trump’s Tweets from the day of January 6,” Mr. Stern wrote in the email.

Mr. Stern adds that the Biden White House counsel “is now also aware of this issue, and has asked that I keep them in the loop to the extent that we make any reference to the White House Office of Records Management.” Another email shows Mr. Ferriero saying that he had run “out of patience” amid back-and-forth communications with Trump representatives regarding “missing boxes” that, according to a draft email to the attorney general, were reported as having been “possibly destroyed.” The defense, along with a coalition of news media, asked the court to unseal these exhibits, arguing that the court filings are “matters of public record.” The defense has accused the prosecution of withholding potentially exculpatory evidence and alleged bias in the investigation. The filings made public on Monday revealed previously sealed information while limiting the redactions to keeping secret the names of government witnesses.

They were included as exhibits in a motion to compel the prosecution to produce discovery material. In the Jan. 16 motion, they argued that the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith has engaged in discovery violations and has disregarded fundamental fairness in its pursuit of prosecuting President Trump. The disclosures come amid a protracted battle over court documents, with Judge Aileen Cannon having reminded both parties in various court filings of the “strong presumption of public access” in the criminal proceedings, showing a preference for making public as much as possible. In January, she ordered that no unclassified material be sealed unless there were clear risks to personal safety or national security. The back-and-forth over documents has extended the pre-trial motions stage and delayed the original May 20 trial date.

Rising
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781030864681374166

Watters CIA

Mollie

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“Gen Z renters are by far the most likely to believe they will become homeowners (maybe it’s because they are also the dumbest)..”

Biden’s America: 40% Of Renters Think They’ll Never Own A Home (ZH)

Bidenomics 101: the American dream of owning a home has become the American nightmare for almost half the US population. As housing specialist Redfin reports, rising home prices and mortgage rates “are making it harder to believe in the American dream of homeownership. Lack of affordability is the most commonly cited reason renters don’t believe they’ll ever own a home.” The details are dire: Nearly two in five (38%) U.S. renters don’t believe they’ll ever own a home, up from roughly one-quarter (27%) less than a year ago. This is according to a Redfin-commissioned survey of roughly 3,000 U.S. residents conducted by Qualtrics in February 2024. This report focuses on the 1,000 respondents who indicated they are renters. The relevant questions were: “Do you believe that you will ever own your own home in the future?” and “Which of the following are reasons you aren’t likely to purchase a home in the near future?” The 27% comparison is from a Redfin survey conducted in May and June 2023.

Lack of affordability is the prevailing reason renters believe they’re unlikely to become homeowners. Nearly half (44%) of renters who don’t believe they’ll buy a home in the near future said it’s because available homes are too expensive. The next most common obstacles: Ability to save for a down payment (35%), ability to afford mortgage payments (33%) and high mortgage rates (32%). Roughly one in eight (14%) simply aren’t interested in owning a home. Buying a home has become increasingly out of reach for many Americans due to the one-two punch of high home prices and high mortgage rates. First-time homebuyers must earn roughly $76,000 to afford the typical U.S. starter home, up 8% from a year ago and up nearly 100% from before the pandemic, according to a recent Redfin analysis. Home prices have skyrocketed more than 40% since 2019, due to the pandemic homebuying frenzy and a shortage of homes for sale. And the current average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 6.82%. While that’s below the 23-year-high of nearly 8% hit in October, it’s still more than double the record low rates dropped to in 2020.

Home prices have risen 7% in the last year alone, and monthly mortgage payments have risen more than 10%, which helps explain why renters today are more likely than they were last year to say they don’t see themselves owning a home anytime soon. Many renters can’t fathom homeownership because they’re already struggling to afford their monthly housing costs. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of renters say they regularly struggle to afford their housing payments, and an additional 45% say they sometimes struggle to do so. Rents have soared over the last few years because so many people moved during the pandemic, upping demand for rentals. The median U.S. asking rent is roughly $2,000, near the record high hit in 2022–but the good news for renters is that prices aren’t growing nearly as fast as they were during the pandemic, partly because an influx of apartment supply is taking some of the heat off prices.

“Housing costs are high across the board, but renting is a more affordable and realistic option for many Americans right now–especially those who have never owned a home and aren’t able to tap into equity from a previous sale,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “While owning a home is usually a sound longterm investment, the barriers to entry and upfront costs of buying are higher than renting. Buying typically requires a sizable down payment and approval for a mortgage–things that are difficult for many people today, when the typical down payment is near $60,000 and mortgage payments are sky-high. The sheer expense of purchasing a home is causing the American Dream of homeownership to lose some of its shine.” Broken down by generation, Gen Z renters are by far the most likely to believe they will become homeowners (maybe it’s because they are also the dumbest). Just 8% of Gen Z renters believe they’ll never own a home, compared to 22% of millennials, 40% of Gen Xers and 81% of baby boomers.

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“Section 702 may be used to force business landlords, cleaning contractors, delivery personnel, utility providers, etc, to help U.S. security agencies spy without probable cause..”

Biden Terrifyingly Grows Ranks Of Government Spies (Gosztola)

On April 20, Edward Snowden declared, “America lost something important today, and hardly anyone heard. The headlines of state-aligned media screech and crow about the nefarious designs of your fellow citizens and the necessity of foreign wars without end, but find few words for a crime against the Constitution.” The NSA whistleblower was referring to the United States Senate reauthorizing and expanding surveillance under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. President Joe Biden circulated a memo that cast the Fourth Amendment right to privacy as a “threat to national security.” Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Attorney General Merrick Garland called members of Congress to ensure that they voted to give spy agencies renewed power. Specifically, “Patriot Act 2.0,” as Representative Zoe Lofgren called it, broadened the definition of service providers and exponentially increased the power that the government has to force numerous business and industries to aid warrantless surveillance.

Senator Ron Wyden strongly opposed the legislation and even introduced an amendment that would have prevented this assault on civil liberties. But the Senate rejected his effort to protect privacy. “The Senate waited until the 11th hour to ram through renewal of warrantless surveillance in the dead of night,” Wyden stated. He also added, “It is clear from the votes on very popular amendments that senators were unwilling to send this bill back to the House, no matter how common-sense the amendment before them.” Although the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) renewed Section 702 until April 2025, allowing lawmakers plenty of time to appropriately draft and amend legislation, panic was stirred by Biden and the national security state.

Wyden, who has a track record of challenging surveillance, did not mince words. He described the provision that he fought, which was dubbed the “Make Everyone A Spy” provision, as “one of the most dramatic and terrifying expansions of government surveillance authority in history.” “It allows the government to force any American who installs, maintains, or repairs anything that transmits or stores communications to spy on the government’s behalf. That means anyone with access to a server, a wire, a cable box, a wifi router, or a phone. It would be secret: the Americans receiving the government directives would be bound to silence, and there would be no court oversight.”

The Biden administration applauded the passage of legislation that expanded warrantless surveillance. “The President will swiftly sign the bill into law, ensuring that our security professionals can continue to rely on Section 702 to detect grave national security threats and use that understanding to protect the United States,” Sullivan stated. Section 702 used to primarily apply to telecommunications or technology companies. Now, as detailed by Demand Progress, Section 702 may be used to force business landlords, cleaning contractors, delivery personnel, utility providers, etc, to help U.S. security agencies spy without probable cause. Entities and individuals required to help with surveillance cannot speak about it. Their First Amendment speech rights are curtailed as they violate their customers’ Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

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“The minute the dollar goes, American power goes with it. Most of the world can hardly wait for it to happen.“

The Real Debt Problem (Paul Craig Roberts)

The US dollar is in trouble, but it is trouble of Washington’s making. Republicans and the financial press, to the extent that one still exists, blame the dollar’s trouble on rising public and private debt. The US runs massive trade and budget deficits. These deficits for decades have been alleged to mean the death of the dollar. The narrative was that the dollar would be weakened by having to finance rising trade and domestic debt. When I was in the Congressional staff and later as Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy, I had to deal with this ignorance, and it was frustrating. No one in Congress, on Wall Street, in the banks, or in the economics departments of universities understood the meaning of the US dollar as reserve currency.

When a country’s currency is the reserve currency, a role the US seized from Great Britain as its World War II victory prize, it means that there is unlimited demand for your debt. The reason is that your debt is the reserves of the world’s central banks. An increase in US debt is an increase in the reserves of the world banking system. As central banks desire more reserves, there was always a demand for US Treasury debt. There was zero financing problem. All of the nonsense we heard for decades about the impossibility of paying off the US debt was unbridled ignorance. The debt did not need to be payed off. If it had been, the reserves of the world banking system would have collapsed, and the Great Depression that the Americans experienced in the 1930s, due entirely to the Fed’s failure to expand bank reserves, would be worldwide.

Being the world currency, a role Roosevelt stole from England, means the US can pay its international bills by printing money or issuing debt. What has put this American privilege in danger is Washington’s stupid, indeed mindless, imposition of economic sanctions that then are evaded by ceasing to use the US dollar as world money. When countries cease settling their international balance of payments accounts in dollars, as Russia, China, Iran and other countries are doing, demand for Treasury debt drops. This means as the sanctioned central banks move to gold and non-Western currencies as reserves, that the demand for US Treasury debt drops, and for the first time in recent history, financing America’s tremendous public debt becomes a problem.

To be completely clear, the ONLY reason the US dollar is in danger of a large reduction in its value, is that Biden’s sanctions are driving countries away from the dollar. US debt can become a problem only from the abandonment of the dollar as world money. As US debt is denominated in US dollars, the Federal Reserve can always pay off the US debt no matter how large it is by printing money and buying the bonds. The problem is not that the debt can’t be paid. The problem is whereas the Fed can print dollars to meet any debt payments, it cannot print foreign currencies with which to buy dollars in foreign exchange markets. When US Treasury debt is redeemed, the debt holders (largely foreign central banks) receive dollars. If they have lost confidence in the dollar, they sell the dollars in the currency markets, and the enormous supply of dollars drive down its value.

When the dollar’s value is driven down, the offshored production of American firms, who produce in Asia and Mexico the products they sell to Americans and which comes in as imports, rise in price, thus causing domestic inflation, reducing the dollar’s purchasing power and causing more exit from the dollar. In other words, it is a death scenario–one produced by the Federal Reserve, the incompetent or bought-and-paid-for American economists, a mindless American government, and the mindless financial press. The minute the dollar goes, American power goes with it. Most of the world can hardly wait for it to happen.

JFK

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To achieve what?

Ukraine Has Lost Almost a Half Million Soldiers – Shoigu (Sp.)

The Russian armed forces have the initiative along the entire contact line and are pushing the enemy away from the occupied borders, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting of the Defense Ministry’s board. Ukraine has lost almost half a million soldiers since the beginning of the special military operation in 2022, Russian Defense Ministry Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday. “In total, the losses of the Ukrainian armed forces amounted to almost half a million military personnel since the beginning of the special military operation,” Shoigu told a Defense Ministry meeting. According to him, the Kiev regime failed to achieve its goals in the counteroffensive prepared by NATO instructors. “Our servicemen have dispelled the myth about the superiority of Western weapons,” the minister noted. The Russian military will more intensively target Ukrainian logistic centers and storage facilities storing Western weapons, the minister said.

“We will increase the intensity of strikes against logistics centers and storage bases for Western weapons,” Shoigu said. Most of the $61 billion assistance package that the United States allocated to Ukraine will finance the US military industry, Sergei Shoigu said. “Washington intends to allocate almost $61 billion to the Kiev regime to prevent the collapse of the Ukrainian armed forces. Most of the allocations will finance the military industry of the United States. The US authorities cynically declare that Ukrainians will die for their interests in the fight against Russia,” Shoigu said. The Russian military industry will continue to increase the production of weapons and military equipment in proportion to the threats posed by the United States and its allies, the minister added. The Russian Army will receive the first units of new-generation anti-aircraft systems, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. “This year the troops will receive: the first units of the new-generation S-500 anti-aircraft missile system in two modifications – long-range anti-aircraft missile systems and missile defense systems; S-400, S-300V4, Buk-M3, Tor-M2U anti-aircraft missile systems; and new-generation radar stations,” Shoigu said.

NATO has deployed up to 33,000 servicepeople, about 300 tanks and more than 800 other types of armored vehicles near borders of Russia, the Russian defense minister said. “Today, the grouping of NATO reinforcement troops near our borders numbers up to 33,000 people, about 300 tanks and more than 800 other armored combat vehicles,” Shoigu said. Shoigu also said that NATO drills involving up to 90,000 servicepeople are taking place right now, and the exercises are mimicking supposed impending Russian aggression. The Russian minister also said that the alliance is trying to strengthen its activity in the Arctic, while Sweden’s accession to NATO has increased tensions. “Sweden’s entry into the North Atlantic Alliance in early March has increased military and political tensions in the Western and Northwestern strategic directions,” Shoigu said.

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“According to EU officials, an estimated 650,000 Ukrainian men of fighting age are living in the bloc..”

No Hiding From Draft Abroad – Kiev (RT)

Ukrainian consular offices will not serve fighting-age men living abroad who are unwilling to risk their lives for their country’s survival, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said on Tuesday. Kiev’s diplomatic missions in several Western nations stopped processing such service requests on Tuesday, according to multiple Ukrainian media reports. Documents that have been finalized for fighting-age Ukrainian men are being withheld, reports claim. Kuleba confirmed in a social media post on Tuesday that he had ordered the policy change and that it is meant to encourage men to come back to Ukraine for possible call up for military service. ”How it looks like now: a man of conscription age went abroad, showed his state that he does not care about its survival, and then comes and wants to receive services from this state. It does not work this way. Our country is at war,” he wrote.

The order to deny consular services to all men aged 18 to 60 was first revealed by Ukrainian media on Monday. Kuleba has since described his decision as “fair” and in line with the controversial military mobilization reforms, which President Vladimir Zelensky signed into law this month. The changes include various punishments for avoiding the draft. According to EU officials, an estimated 650,000 Ukrainian men of fighting age are living in the bloc. Kiev has identified that pool as a significant untapped source of manpower for the armed forces. When they come into force next month Zelensky’s reforms will lower the draft age from 27 to 25, tighten exemptions and oblige potential conscripts to update their personal data with the Defense Ministry.

All men aged 18 to 60, regardless of eligibility, will be required to carry papers confirming their registration with a conscription office. Asked in early April how many troops Kiev intended to mobilize, Zelensky dodged the question and claimed that Moscow had plans to enroll 300,000 additional servicemen. Russian officials denied his claim, pointing out that its military attracts enough volunteers to meet personnel goals.

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“They bought Manhattan Island for beads, and Ukrainians don’t even get those, only an American noose around the neck,..

West Is Doing To Ukrainians What It Did To Indigenous Americans – Zakharova (RT)

Kiev’s policies will result in the extermination of Ukrainians on behalf of its Western puppet masters, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry intends to deny all consular services abroad to male citizens aged 18 to 60, except for preparing documents to return to Ukraine, local media reported on Monday, citing the ministry’s internal correspondence. The policy is presumably meant to force men of fighting age to leave foreign nations and be conscripted into military service under a new mobilization law signed by President Vladimir Zelensky this month. The people are being “erased by Western elites and their executors in Ukraine – Zelensky and his pseudo-Ukrainian gang,” Zakharova said on Tuesday, reacting to the news.

She claimed that while Ukrainian governments that have been in power since the 2014 US-backed armed coup in Kiev posed as nationalist, their policies came “from people who historically had nothing to do with the country.” “After most of Ukraine was pillaged and looted, its history rewritten, and monuments destroyed, they moved on to the physical elimination of its indigenous population,” she said. ”Everything just like with the aboriginal population of North America, who were killed in the tens of thousands by the ‘civilized’ folk. They bought Manhattan Island for beads, and Ukrainians don’t even get those, only an American noose around the neck,” Zakharova added. Moscow perceives its conflict with Kiev as a proxy war which Washington initiated and is willing to conduct “to the last Ukrainian.”

Senior Western officials, including US Senator Lindsey Graham and former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have praised the Ukrainians’ willingness to fight and die for Western interests. ”There could be no more effective way of investing in Western security than investing in Ukraine, because those guys without a single pair of American boots on the ground are fighting for the West,” Johnson said earlier this month, as he bragged to students at Georgetown University in the US about his record of arming Kiev.

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Drills are all German troops are capable of.

Germany Holds Massive Military Drills Near Russian Border (RT)

More than 3,000 German military personnel are taking part in the Grand Quadriga 2024 drills that kicked off in Lithuania on Tuesday. The maneuvers are part of the larger, months-long Steadfast Defender 24 series of NATO exercises that began in late January. Lithuania shares a border with Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, as well as Moscow’s closest ally, Belarus. In a separate development earlier this month, Berlin deployed an advanced military team to the Baltic country as part of plans for a full-strength armor brigade permanently stationed there. Moscow has described the plans as a threat requiring “special measures” in response. The Grand Quadriga 2024 exercise is scheduled to wrap up in late May, and will involve 200 pieces of German military hardware, including Leopard tanks as well as Puma and Boxer infantry fighting vehicles.

In a statement last Thursday, the Lithuanian military wrote that the “exercise is centered around moving two divisions from the Central European region to the Eastern.” “Lithuanian units training side by side with the German participants will plan and execute operations,” the document read. The Bundeswehr revealed that its armored division would be transported by boat, rail and road to Lithuania, where it would “practice defense and counter-offensive [exercises] on the allied territory.” Several more military drills will also be taking place in Lithuania concurrently, including Saber Strike, Brave Griffin 2024/II and Thunder Strike – all of which are part of NATO’s Steadfast Defender 24. Hailed as the largest exercises that NATO has held in decades, the maneuvers will feature some 90,000 troops from all 32 member states, according to Supreme Allied Commander for Europe Christopher Cavoli.

Some 1,100 combat vehicles, including 133 tanks and 533 infantry fighting vehicles, will be involved, as well as more than 50 naval vessels and 80 helicopters, drones and fighter jets. In January, General Cavoli said the drills would simulate an “emerging conflict scenario against a near-peer adversary,” covering thousands of kilometers all across Europe. Commenting on NATO’s war games in early March, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, said they were “undoubtedly increasing tensions and destabilizing the situation in the world.” He claimed that a “scenario of an armed confrontation with Russia is being rehearsed.”

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“..the “independent charity that champions Ukrainian culture” which, the institute financial reports reveal, is paid for by George Soros.”

A Nasty Little Book About The Allied Invasion Of Russia In 1918 (Helmer)

In the last war which the Americans, British, and French fought against the Russians, they were all defeated and forced to run away. Now it’s happening again. But if Anna Reid, author of a new history of the Allied powers’ invasion of Russia and war against the Bolsheviks, titles her book “A Nasty Little War” (lead image, left), what title does Reid give to the present war which the Doughboy alliance is losing for the second time? A Nasty Big War doesn’t quite do their plan for destroying Russia enough justice, does it? A Nasty Little Defeat followed by a Nasty Big Defeat comes closer to the truth, but Reid has written her book in the conviction that it will not and must not come to that again. One hundred and six years since the Russia Intervention of 1918-20 is long enough for Reid to conclude with one of her contemporary British officer sources: “‘Of course it could not possibly be otherwise. But it is unfortunate that events worked out as they did.’ It could have been the epitaph for the whole Intervention,” Reid adds from the British point of view, then but not now.

“So ends a not very creditable enterprise”, she quotes from a report on the desk of British Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon in April 1920. Curzon then crossed out “not very” and wrote in “highly dis”. Reid is so certain this is not the lesson of today’s allied war against Russia she declares her conclusion at the very beginning of her book. “There is no simple read-across from the Intervention. Today’s war is not a civil one, and the impressive and staunchly democratic Ukrainians are not the inept, revanchist Whites. The lazy lesson from 1918-20 – that Western meddling in the region failed then, and will again now – is completely mistaken. If the Intervention does have something to teach, it is that Putin will fail for the same reason the Whites did: because he underestimates the desire for freedom of the non-Russian nations…” This declaration is at page 10. Reid’s history runs on for another 350 pages of the same.

Reid cannot bring herself to introduce or mention the Russian president by his full name. He first appears, first name-less, on page 9 “as Putin’s Russia attempts to reconquer its thirty-years independent Ukraine.” Felix Dzerzhinsky, Bolshevik head of intelligence, is more fortunate with Reid. He gets his full name, but Reid adds: “the weasel-faced psychopath in charge of the Cheka”. Dangerous adjectives, weasel-faced psychopaths in glass houses with hands full of them. Reid has similar tongue trouble with how to identify the Russians in the war by name. She repeatedly refers to them as “the enemy”, because the war diaries and operation reports of the British commanders she was reporting described them so at the time. Their soldiers called them “Bolos” or “Russkis” if they were men; if they were women, they used fonder terms. These men did not want to fight – there were mutinies by the Quebec infantry in the Canadian force, as well as in US, French, and British units. More committed to killing Russians were the Japanese and Greek forces. At every turn of events, Reid continues to wage her war against the Russian history of what happened:

“The Americans arrived [in Vladivostok] just in time for a coup. Soviet historians accused the Interventionists of waging a colonial war. This was anachronistic – the hey-day of imperialism was over and untrue insofar as the Allies had no ambition permanently to annex Russian territory.” “Vilified by Cold War-era historians on the left as absurd and hysterical, most of the material [in the British Foreign Office’s Blue Book of Bolshevik war crimes] is in fact perfectly credible”. “Foreshadowing, ironically, a late-Soviet propaganda trope, he [Winston Churchill, then British war minister] blamed what pogroms there were on Ukrainian ‘hordes’.”“There is some truth…in that the Intervention played into a long-standing Russian narrative of encirclement by hostile powers. But it is hard to see, had the Allies stood back, that relations would have been much better. A one-party state explicitly dedicated to worldwide revolution, the Soviet Union was never going to be a normal diplomatic partner”.

This is history topsy-turvied to fit a political message. “Excellent background to today’s events” – this is the endorsement of Reid’s book by Anne Applebaum, wife of the Polish foreign minister, Radoslav Sikorski, whose Siklebaum profiteering from Russia war-making can be followed here. In London, Reid shares direction of the Ukrainian Institute with Applebaum — Applebaum is a patron, Reid a trustee of the “independent charity that champions Ukrainian culture” which, the institute financial reports reveal, is paid for by George Soros.

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“..The Islamic world needs to come together..”

Gaza Settlement Crucial For Islamic World – Erdogan (TASS)

The Islamic world needs to come together and find a solution to the Gaza crisis, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his pool reporters on his return from Iraq, where he was on a visit on April 22; the Anadolu news agency quoted his remarks. “Gaza is where the Islamic world needs to focus, engage in reasoning for a solution, and formulate realistic and effective policies,” the president said. Erdogan added that Turkey will continue to discuss these issues with both representatives of the radical Palestinian Hamas movement and the leaders of countries. This is Turkey’s top priority and it will do everything it can toward this end, Erdogan went on to say.

In his opinion, it would be a mistake to view the Gaza issue solely from the perspective of October 7, 2023, when the Palestinian-Israeli conflict sharply escalated. “The massacres and Israeli mobilization for the destruction of Gaza should change the approach to the issue. Israel’s occupation of Gaza opens the door for other occupations. We will try to involve the UN secretariat and take joint action. If the Islamic world does not come to its senses from the massacres reaching genocidal proportions, it may lose its reflexes completely. Therefore, we cannot remain silent, we must mobilize,” the Turkish president stressed.

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“..if it attempts to attack Iran again..”

Iran Threatens To Wipe Out Israel (RT)

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has threatened Israel with annihilation if it attempts to attack Iran again. Raisi arrived in Pakistan on Monday for a three-day visit. He addressed the recent tensions between Tehran and West Jerusalem at an event in Punjab on Tuesday. “If the Zionist regime once again makes a mistake and attacks the sacred land of Iran, the situation will be different, and it is not clear whether anything will remain of this regime,” the state news agency IRNA quoted Raisi as saying. Israel never officially acknowledged an April 1 airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria that killed seven senior officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force. Tehran nevertheless retaliated on April 13, firing scores of drones and missiles at several targets in Israel.

Iran has shrugged off a series of reported explosions near the city of Isfahan last Friday, which were rumored to be a response from Israel. West Jerusalem did not acknowledge the reported attack, while criticizing a cabinet minister who spoke about it out of turn. Tehran chose to ignore it rather than deliver the promised swift and severe reprisal. The Islamic Republic has vowed on multiple occasions to wipe out, destroy or annihilate the “Zionist regime,” as it calls Israel. Speaking in Lahore on Tuesday, Raisi vowed to continue “honorably supporting the Palestinian resistance.” He also denounced the US and the collective West as “the greatest violators of human rights,” pointing to their support for the Israeli “genocide” in Gaza.

So far, more than 34,000 Palestinians in the enclave have been killed in Israeli military operations. Israel declared war on Hamas after the October 7 raids by the Gaza-based Palestinian group that claimed the lives of an estimated 1,200 Israelis. Raisi has promised to boost Iranian trade with Pakistan to $10 billion annually. Relations between the two neighbors have been rocky since January, when Iran and Pakistan traded air and drone strikes aimed at “terrorist camps” in their respective territory.

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“The slave trade in Ukraine has become one of the most serious problems of our time..”

Western Regime-Change Operations Enable Criminal Activities (SCF)

The slave trade in Ukraine has become one of the most serious problems of our time. Since the 2014 coup d’état, Kiev has been a key player in modern slavery, particularly for human trafficking and sexual exploitation networks. The political and social instability that has affected the country since the Western-led regime change operation is one of the main factors for the growth of such human rights violations. A recent investigative report published by the Foundation to Battle Injustice showed in details the seriousness of the slave trade in Ukraine. According to the organization, Kiev has become one of the main global hubs in the human trafficking market, with free exploitation and circulation of irregular workers – in addition to the well-known trafficking of women and children in the predatory sex market.

The study points out that more than 300,000 Ukrainians were victims of the slave market between 1991 and 2021. This situation, however, has deteriorated even further since Vladimir Zelensky came to power. It is estimated that since the beginning of Zelensky’s government, more than 550,000 Ukrainians have been enslaved. These numbers are alarming and place Ukraine as one of the main agents of human trafficking in the entire world. In its report, citing sources familiar with the topic and several insiders, the Foundation exposed how the slave trade in Ukraine is not limited to the exploitation of Ukrainian citizens. Since 2021, two reception centers for refugees from Africa have been operating in Ternopil. These facilities were used not only for receiving migrants but also for selling them on the European black market.

An alleged member of the Ukrainian Presidential Cabinet, on condition of anonymity, reported to investigators that the organizer of the Ukrainian human trafficking network is Ruslan Stefanchuk, current chairman of the Verkhovna Rada. It is said that Stefanchuk is the main beneficiary and coordinator of human trafficking networks in Ukraine, working both in the sale of Ukrainian citizens on the international black market and in the exploitation of foreigners who arrive through migratory flows and are handed over to criminal networks in Europe. Relatives of the Ukrainian parliamentarian also appear to be involved in such activities, as a large network of private companies is legally registered in the name of people close to him, such as his brother, Mykola Stefanchuck, and his wife, Marina Stefanchuk.

Stefanchuk and his relatives’ companies have the function of disguising the slave trade, making it appear to be a legal business. Advertisements are made to “help” people in various ways, such as offering employment or financial assistance. Thus, migrants, refugees and vulnerable Ukrainians are lured into meetings and interviews by supposedly legal and responsible companies, but soon after the meetings their documents are confiscated, and these people are captured and handed over to criminal networks. “Everything is built to look as legal as possible. Ukrainian women, children and men are invited for interviews at respectable companies in Kiev, Ternopil, Lviv or Ivano-Frankivsk. They are made tempting financial offers and paradisiacal working conditions. Then, under a plausible pretext, their identity cards are confiscated. After that, they can do absolutely anything they want with them,” source told investigators.

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Oh sure. “..we’re not going to know they’re not good until they’re shooting at us, and I don’t want to be in a position where I find out, ‘Oh, they actually are that good’. That’s a problem.”

US Would Beat China In A War – Intel Official (RT)

If a conflict between Washington and Beijing broke out today, the more experienced American force would prevail but with significant casualties, a US military intelligence official has told reporters. The unnamed official gave a background briefing on Monday about threats facing the US military. He downplayed the Chinese H-20 stealth bomber, currently in development, as “probably nowhere near as good” as the American B-2 or the upcoming B-21 – while praising the Chinese J-20 fighter as “highly capable.” “The biggest… challenge for the Chinese side is actually not so much capability of actual systems, it’s more capability of personnel to effectively employ those systems at speed and at scale,” the official was quoted as saying by Defense One and Breaking Defense.

While the US military has “a lot of experience fighting wars,” the Chinese “don’t really have anybody right now at all, in the [People’s Liberation Army] PLA, who’s actually been in a war.” This relative inexperience would translate into the US winning a hypothetical war with China – although with large-scale losses – should one break out today, said the Defense One source. The Pentagon is proceeding with plans to modernize the US military because Chinese President Xi Jinping “almost certainly” believes a war with Washington is inevitable, noted the official. “I don’t want to rely on the Chinese not being good. Because we’re not going to know they’re not good until they’re shooting at us, and I don’t want to be in a position where I find out, ‘Oh, they actually are that good’. That’s a problem.” the official concluded.

Discussions about Chinese capabilities in Washington have been taking place against the backdrop of a debate about the B-21 bomber program. In February, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall urged the government to commit to the program, arguing that for at least 20 years, China has been building a military “purpose-built to deter and defeat” the US. Earlier this month, however, Air Force chief of staff General David Allvin told the Senate that new developing technologies might complement the B-21, so the service might not end up getting 100 of the bombers as originally planned. The plane, intended to become operational by 2030, is still under development at Northrop Grumman.

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“We must not overstate the danger. We’re not on the brink of war, and nor do we seek it..”

Britain To Put Industry On ‘War Footing’ – PM (RT)

The UK is set to embark on the “biggest strengthening” of its national defense “in a generation” and plans to gradually increase defense spending to £87 billion (around $108 billion) annually by 2030, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced. Sunak made the remarks on Tuesday at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg while on a visit to Poland. Sunak pledged to gradually increase Britain’s defense spending, promising to even surpass the NATO-targeted 2% of GDP by the end of the decade. Annual spending is expected to reach the £87 billion ($108 billion) mark in 2023, he said, constituting some 2.5% of Britain’s GDP.

London is set to allocate additional long-term funding for ammunition production, Sunak stated, arguing that the Ukraine conflict has clearly shown the country needs deeper stockpiles should it find itself in a large-scale high-intensity war or even a global conflict. “We will put the UK’s own defense industry on a war footing. One of the central lessons of the war in Ukraine is that we need deeper stockpiles of munitions and for industry to be able to replenish them more quickly,” Sunak said. “Today is a turning point for European security and a landmark moment in the defense of the United Kingdom. It is a generational investment in British security and British prosperity, which makes us safer at home and stronger abroad,” he stated, hailing the spending plan as the “biggest strengthening of our national defense in a generation.”

The defense spending announcement comes as the UK, one of the top backers of Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, unveiled its biggest-ever military aid package for Kiev, valued at £500 million ($617 million). The “vital munitions” package will include more than 400 combat vehicles, 60 boats, and an undisclosed number of long-range Storm Shadow missiles. “Defending Ukraine against Russia’s brutal ambitions is vital for our security and for all of Europe,” Sunak alleged. “If [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is allowed to succeed in this war of aggression, he will not stop at the Polish border.” Speaking earlier in the day in Warsaw, however, the prime minister admitted that a large-scale conflict was not actually imminent and its danger should not be blown out of proportion. “We must not overstate the danger. We’re not on the brink of war, and nor do we seek it,” he acknowledged.

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“..the philosopher’s call “to live by one’s own wits” is as relevant today as ever..”

German Leader Tells Putin He Can’t Quote Philosopher Kant (RT)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has lashed out at Russian President Vladimir Putin for quoting iconic German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Speaking on Tuesday at an event marking the 300th anniversary of Kant’s birth, Scholz accused Putin of trying to “poach” the great thinker as well as misrepresenting his ideas. Kant was born in 1724 in Koenigsberg (present-day Kaliningrad), which belonged to the Kingdom of Prussia before later becoming part of the Russian Empire. The philosopher is famous for his work on ethics, aesthetics and philosophical ontology, and is considered one of the pillars of German classical philosophy. “Putin doesn’t have the slightest right to quote Kant, yet Putin’s regime remains committed to poaching Kant and his work at almost any cost,” Scholz said at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, as quoted by Die Zeit.

Scholz said Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict contradicts Kant’s fundamental teachings. He referred to Kant’s words on the interference of states in the affairs of other nations, and defended Kiev’s decision not to engage in peace talks with Moscow. He said Kant believed that forced treaties were not the way to reach ‘perpetual peace’ – a reference to one of Kant’s major works. Putin has been known to praise and quote Kant, even suggesting in 2013 that the philosopher should be made an official symbol of Kaliningrad Region. During a meeting with university students in Kaliningrad in January, Putin called Kant “one of the greatest thinkers of both his time and ours,” and said the philosopher’s call “to live by one’s own wits” is as relevant today as ever.

“A country must live by its own wits… This does not mean that we do not care about the interests of others… but we will never allow Russia’s interests to be neglected. In some countries, among our neighbors, this thesis has been forgotten. Many live by someone else’s wits. This will not bring them any good,” Putin stated. The administration of Kaliningrad Region responded to Scholz’s statement on Tuesday, saying no one has done more than Russia to “perpetuate the memory of the great philosopher and his teachings.” “Immanuel Kant died as a subject of the Russian crown. It seems to me that this, more than any words of all possible German politicians, shows the position of the great philosopher regarding Russia,” the governor’s press secretary, Dmitry Lyskov, said in a statement.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Morgan Musk

 

 

Musk Oz

 

 

Great white
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782690700087169273

 

 

Catnip

 

 

Carrot
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782584172659519490

 

 

Battle cats
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782829098131173629

 

 

Fox cat

 

 

Moose

 

 

Babies
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782742456582160451

 

 

Poetry
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782482151096590529

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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
https://twitter.com/i/status/1780229477265485883

 

 

 

 

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
https://twitter.com/i/status/1780203527265976596

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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.

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Dore Kory

 

 

Pfizer batch

 

 

Elephants

 

 

Gibbon

 

 

Family
https://twitter.com/i/status/1780266693895266366

 

 

Slaps

 

 

Clipnosis

 

 

Sunscreen
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779962954617688422

 

 

Toll road

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 162024
 


Charles Sprague Pearce The Arab jeweler c1882

 

“I Can’t Go To My Son’s Graduation”: NY Judge Threatens Trump With Arrest (ZH)
Trump Trial in Manhattan is an Indictment of the New York Legal System (Turley)
Jury Selection Begins In Trump Hush-money Trial (RT)
Johnson, Trump Announce Election Integrity Bill (ET)
US House Speaker To Put Ukraine Aid Bill To A Vote (RT)
How Iran’s ‘Strategic Patience’ Switched To Serious Deterrence (Pepe Escobar)
Iranian Strikes On Israel Represent ‘Spillover’ Of Gaza Conflict – China (RT)
Biden Tells Netanyahu US Won’t Support Attack on Iran (Antiwar)
US Mulling New Sanctions Against Iran Over Attack on Israel – Scalise (Sp.)
Netanyahu a Threat for Israel, Opposition Leader Says (TASS)
Ukraine ‘Owned’ by US, US ‘Owned’ by Israel – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
De-electrification And Unconditional Surrender Of The Kiev Regime (Helmer)
Germans Can Now Change Gender Every Year (RT)
The Palestine Congress (CJ Hopkins)
Two Senior Tesla Executives Leave Amid 14,000 Global Layoffs (ZH)
Airbus Beats Boeing For Deliveries In 2024 (ZH)
Trump Biopic To Compete At Cannes Film Festival (RT)

 

 

 

 

Habba
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779925234868470134

 

 

 

 

Look up Mary McCord
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779853383525933207

 

 

Jury
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779876987697295817

 

 

Pastor

Dalton

 

 

 

 

“..that I can’t go to my son’s graduation, or that I can’t go to the United States Supreme Court, that I’m not in Georgia or Florida or North Carolina campaigning like I should be..”

Engoron tried to take away his money. So Merchan takes his freedom instead. Count on this judge to lock him up at some point. He’ll find a reason.

“I Can’t Go To My Son’s Graduation”: NY Judge Threatens Trump With Arrest (ZH)

Update (1750ET): The first day of Donald Trump’s ‘hush money’ trial was fairly uneventful – aside from the judge, a complete dick, barring the former President from attending his son’s graduation and threatening arrest if he does. Speaking after a long day of jury selection and ground rules (with more than 50 jurors dismissed), Trump walked out of the courtroom and expressed his obvious displeasure. “As you know my son is graduating from High School, and looks like the judge will not let me go to the graduation for a son who’s worked very, very hard,” Trump said, adding that he was “looking forward for years to having graduation with his mother and father there,” adding that the trial is a “scam” and a “political witch hunt.”

Judge Juan Merchan also won’t allow Trump to attend a Supreme Court hearing in DC regarding immunity. “We got a real problem with this Judge,” Trump continued, adding “that I can’t go to my son’s graduation, or that I can’t go to the United States Supreme Court, that I’m not in Georgia or Florida or North Carolina campaigning like I should be… it’s perfect for the radical left Democrats – that’s exactly what they want,” he continued, adding that it’s “election interference.”

Vivek

[..] The case stems from a $130,000 payment made by Trump’s former lawyer, convicted felon and admitted liar Michael Cohen, to adult film actress Stormy Daniels at the end of the 2016 election in an alleged scheme to buy her silence. Trump is required to be present for the trial, which will take place four days a week and could last up to two months. Judge Juan Merchan kicked off the day by refusing a request by Trump’s legal team to recuse himself from the case over an interview he gave to the press in which he mentioned the case, which Merchan said was within the law – while Merchan’s wife and daughter have worked for prominent Democrats and/or made anti-Trump statements.

Prosecutors sought to include evidence from the Access Hollywood ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ tape, as well as various sexual assault allegations from Trump accusers. Merchan allowed a transcript of the tape, and denied a request to present the other allegations in court. Next, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked Trump’s attorneys to explain how the former president shouldn’t be held in contempt for allegedly violating Merchan’s gag order – arguing that Trump’s efforts have continued to this day, and that witnesses in the case “have incurred the wrath of Trump supporters.” And now, jury selection begins… with Merchan telling the court that 500 prospective jurors are waiting.

Merchan

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Good write-up from Turley. But it’s an indictment of the entire US legal system, not just New York.. Bragg and Merchan keep Trump from campaigning in 49 other states as well.

Trump Trial in Manhattan is an Indictment of the New York Legal System (Turley)

After an absurd $450 million decision courtesy of Attorney General Letitia James, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will bring his equally controversial criminal prosecution over hush money paid to former porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. Lawyers have been scouring the civil and criminal codes for any basis to sue or prosecute Trump before the upcoming 2024 election. This week will highlight the damage done to New York’s legal system because of this unhinged crusade. They’ve charged him with everything short of ripping a label off a mattress. Just a few weeks ago, another judge imposed a roughly half billion dollar penalty in a case without a single victim who lost a single cent on loans with Trump. (Indeed, bank officials testified they wanted more business with the Trump organization). Now Bragg is bringing a case that has taken years to develop and millions of dollars in litigation costs for all parties. That is all over a crime from before the 2016 election that is a misdemeanor under state law that had already expired under the statute of limitations.

Like his predecessor, Bragg previously scoffed at the case. However, two prosecutors, Carey R. Dunne and Mark F. Pomerantz, then resigned and started a public pressure campaign to get New Yorkers to demand prosecution. Pomerantz shocked many of us by publishing a book on the case against Trump — who was still under investigation and not charged, let alone convicted, of any crime. He did so despite objections from his former colleague that such a book was grossly improper. Nevertheless, it worked. Bragg brought a Rube Goldberg case that is so convoluted and counterintuitive that even liberal legal analysts criticized it. Trump paid Daniels to avoid any publicity over their brief alleged affair. As a celebrity, there was ample reason to want to keep the affair quiet, and that does not even include the fact that he is a married man. It also occurred before the 2016 election and there was clearly a benefit to quash the scandal as a candidate. That political motivation is at the heart of this long-delayed case.

It is a repeat of the case involving former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. In 2012, the Justice Department used the same theory to charge the former Democratic presidential candidate after a disclosure that he not only had an affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter but also hid the fact that he had a child by her. Edwards denied the affair, and money from donors was passed to Hunter to keep the matter quiet. The Justice Department spent a huge amount on the case to show that the third-party payments were a circumvention of campaign finance laws. However, Edwards was ultimately found not guilty on one count while the jury deadlocked on the other five. With Trump, the Justice Department declined a repeat of the Edwards debacle and did not bring any federal charge.

But Bragg then used the alleged federal crime to bootstrap a defunct misdemeanor charge into a felony in the current case. He is arguing that Trump intentionally lied when his former lawyer Michael Cohen listed the payments as retainer costs rather than a payment — to avoid reporting it as a campaign contribution to himself. Thus, if he had simply had Cohen report the payment as “hush money,” there would be no crime. Once again, the contrast to other controversies is telling. Before the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton’s campaign denied that it had funded the infamous Steele dossier behind the debunked Russian collusion claims. The funding was hidden as legal expenses by then-Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias. (The FEC later sanctioned the campaign over its hiding of the funding.). When a reporter tried to report the story, he said Elias “pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’” Times reporter Maggie Haberman declared, “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.”

Likewise, John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, was called before congressional investigators and denied categorically any contractual agreement with Fusion GPS. Sitting beside him was Elias, who reportedly said nothing to correct the misleading information given to Congress. Yet, there were no charges stemming from the hiding of the funding, though it was all part of the campaign budget. Making this assorted business even more repellent will be the appearance of Cohen himself on the stand. Cohen recently was denounced by a judge as a serial perjurer who is continuing to game the system. Cohen has a long record as a legal thug who has repeatedly lied when it served his interests. He has a knack for selling his curious skill set to powerful figures like Trump and now Bragg.

For those of us who have been critics of Cohen from when he was still working for Trump, it is mystifying that anyone would call him to the stand to attest to anything short of the time of day . . . and even then most of us would check our watches. Fortunately witnesses are no longer required to put their hand on the bible in swearing to testify truthfully in court. Otherwise, the court would need the New York Fire Department standing by in case the book burst into flames. So this is the case: A serial perjurer used to convert a dead state misdemeanor into a felony based on an alleged federal election crime that was rejected by the Justice Department. They could well succeed in a city where nine out of ten potential jurors despise Trump. Trying Trump in Manhattan is about as difficult as the New York Yankees going to bat using beach balls rather than baseballs. It is hard to miss.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1779874197918863646

Turley

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“The trial will keep Trump at the Manhattan courtroom every day of the proceedings for the next six weeks or more, effectively taking him off the campaign..”

Jury Selection Begins In Trump Hush-money Trial (RT)

Jury selection has begun for a trial at which former US President Donald Trump stands accused of falsifying records related to hush-money payments to a porn star during the 2016 election. Trump becomes the first former president to stand trial on criminal charges. Twelve jurors, along with six alternates, will be chosen from among hundreds of New Yorkers. The judge in the case has released the extensive questionnaire that potential jurors will have to fill out. “Nothing like this has ever happened before,” Trump told reporters outside the courtroom, calling the trial “political persecution” and “an assault on America.” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, charged Trump last year with 34 counts of “falsifying business records,” alleging that the Republican politician sought “to conceal damaging information and unlawful activity from American voters before and after the 2016 election.”

The case is based on claims by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, that he paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, so she would keep quiet about an alleged affair with him. Trump has denied any relationship with Daniels. In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to charges of campaign-finance violations, tax and bank fraud, and spent two and a half years in a federal prison. He also lost his New York bar license. Judge Juan Merchan has granted Bragg’s request for a gag order, meaning that Trump can’t criticize the prosecutor or his staff. The trial will keep Trump at the Manhattan courtroom every day of the proceedings for the next six weeks or more, effectively taking him off the campaign. Trump was the 45th president of the US (2017-2021) and is currently the presumptive Republican nominee to challenge President Joe Biden in November.

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Trump gives Johnson some loving.

Johnson, Trump Announce Election Integrity Bill (ET)

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and former President Donald Trump are urging support for a bill aimed at preventing non-citizens from voting in federal elections. At a Friday, April 12, press conference at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence, the Republican leaders announced the bill as part of larger efforts to bolster election integrity. “What we’re going to do is introduce legislation to require that every single person who registers to vote in a federal election must prove that they are an American citizen first,” Mr. Johnson said. Though some jurisdictions allow noncitizens to participate in local elections, it is illegal for them to vote in all state and federal elections. However, the United States’ federal voter registration form does not require documentary proof of citizenship, and states’ efforts to impose such a requirement have been challenged by the Biden administration.

The new legislation, the speaker said, would establish new safeguards to ensure only citizens can vote. The provisions would require states to remove noncitizens from their voter rolls and would provide them with access to Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration databases to help them do so. “Congress has this responsibility. We cannot wait for widespread fraud to occur … especially when the threat of fraud is growing with every single illegal immigrant that crosses that border,” the speaker said. He added that he expected the bill to receive widespread Republican support while also forcing Democrats to go on record with where they stand. The push to secure elections from illegal votes comes amid the flood of illegal immigrants pouring across the southern border.

Illegal immigration, though a persistent problem for decades, has exploded to unprecedented levels under the Biden administration. The deluge has included individuals on the United States’ terror watch list and others with prior convictions for violent crimes. Republicans have repeatedly said that President Joe Biden has the power to end the crisis but simply chooses not to. President Trump repeated that claim Friday, asserting that the president could and should “close the border immediately.”

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Will the loving remain?

US House Speaker To Put Ukraine Aid Bill To A Vote (RT)

US House Speaker Mike Johnson has promised to finally advance the long-stalled Ukraine aid bill sought by President Joe Biden, multiple news outlets reported on Monday. The proposed legislation has been stuck in Congress for months due to the bitter in-fighting between Democrats and Republicans. According to reports, Johnson told Republican colleagues at a closed-door meeting that he intends to allow the House to vote on a standalone bill this week that would ensure additional military aid to Kiev. The House will also be expected to vote on separate bills providing more aid to Israel and Taiwan. “We know that the world is watching us to see how we react,” Johnson told reporters after a meeting with GOP legislators, as quoted by the New York Times. He added that the leaders of Russia, China and Iran are “watching to see if America will stand up for its allies and our interests around the globe – and we will.”

House Republicans have previously refused to back the omnibus foreign aid bill unveiled by Biden in October, which includes $61 billion worth of assistance to Ukraine. The legislation stalled for months because the GOP was trying to force the White House to crack down on the influx of illegal migrants across the border with Mexico. The Republicans were encouraged by Biden’s reelection rival, former president Donald Trump, who argued against unchecked aid to Ukraine. The delay in approving more weapons for Ukraine rattled President Vladimir Zelensky and other officials in Kiev, who are blaming mounting battlefield losses on the increasing shortages of foreign-supplied ammunition and air defenses. “If Congress does not help Ukraine, Ukraine will lose the war,” Zelensky warned last week. Russia, meanwhile, has repeatedly stated that no amount of foreign help will change the course of the conflict, and accused the West of escalation.

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“This was a highly choreographed show. Multiple early warning signs gifted Tel Aviv with plenty of time to profit from US intel and evacuate fighter jets and personnel..”

How Iran’s ‘Strategic Patience’ Switched To Serious Deterrence (Pepe Escobar)

A little over 48 hours before Iran’s aerial message to Israel across the skies of West Asia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov confirmed, on the record, what so far had been, at best, hush-hush diplomatic talk: The Russian side keeps in contact with Iranian partners on the situation in the Middle East after the Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Syria. Ryabkov added, “We stay in constant touch [with Iran]. New in-depth discussions on the whole range of issues related to the Middle East are also expected in the near future in BRICS.” He then sketched The Big Picture: “Connivance with Israeli actions in the Middle East, which are at the core of Washington’s policy, is in many ways becoming the root cause of new tragedies.” Here, concisely, we had Russia’s top diplomatic coordinator with BRICS – in the year of the multipolar organization’s Russian presidency – indirectly messaging that Russia has Iran’s back.

Iran, it should be noted, just became a full-fledged BRICS+ member in January. Iran’s aerial message this weekend confirmed this in practice: their missile guidance systems used the Chinese Beidou satellite navigation system as well as the Russian GLONASS system. This is Russia–China intel leading from behind and a graphic example of BRICS+ on the move. Ryabkov’s “we stay in constant touch” plus the satellite navigation intel confirms the deeply interlocked cooperation between the Russia–China strategic partnership and their mutual strategic partner Iran. Based on vast experience in Ukraine, Moscow knew that the biblical psychopathic genocidal entity would keep escalating if Iran only continued to exercise “strategic patience.”

The morphing of “strategic patience” into a new strategic balance had to take some time – including high-level exchanges with the Russian side. After all, the risk remained that the Israeli attack against the Iranian consulate/ambassador’s residence in Damascus could well prove to be the 2024 remix of the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Tehran did manage to upend the massive Western psychological operations aimed at pushing it into a strategic misstep. Iran started with a misdirecting masterstroke. As US–Israeli fear porn went off the charts, fueled by dodgy western “intel,” the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) made a quick sideways move, seizing an Israeli-owned container ship near the Strait of Hormuz.

That was an eminently elegant manoeuvre – reminding the collective west of Tehran’s hold on the Strait of Hormuz, a fact immeasurably more dangerous to the whole western economic house of cards than any limited strike on their “aircraft carrier” in West Asia. That did happen anyway. And once again, with a degree of elegance. Unlike that ‘moral’ army specialized in killing women, children, and the elderly and bombing hospitals, mosques, schools, universities, and humanitarian convoys, the Iranian attack targeted key Israeli military sites such as the Nevatim and Ramon airbases in the Negev and an intel center in the occupied Golan Heights – the three centers used by Tel Aviv in its strike on Iran’s Damascus consulate. This was a highly choreographed show. Multiple early warning signs gifted Tel Aviv with plenty of time to profit from US intel and evacuate fighter jets and personnel, which was duly followed by a plethora of US military radars coordinating the defense strategy.

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“Ultimately, there is no alternative to the full implementation of the two-state solution, the only way to end the vicious circle of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict once and for all..”

Iranian Strikes On Israel Represent ‘Spillover’ Of Gaza Conflict – China (RT)

Iran’s retaliatory strikes on Israel constitute an “adverse spillover” of the Gaza conflict, China’s ambassador to the United Nations has said, warning that it could spread further and make the entire Middle East even more unstable. Dai Bing made the remarks after Tehran launched a series of airstrikes on Israel over the weekend in retaliation for the bombing of an Iranian consular compound in Syria, which killed seven military personnel, including two generals. Israel has not commented on the incident since Iran accused it of conducting an extraterritorial assassination. Speaking at a UN Security Council emergency meeting on Sunday, Dai condemned Israel’s “vicious attack,” which he described as a “grave violation of the UN Charter and international law, and a breach of the sovereignty of both Syria and Iran.”

The war in Gaza “bears on the peace, stability and long-term security in the [Middle East] region,” he added, and called for an immediate end to the hostilities. Dai warned that if “the flames of the Gaza conflict are allowed to continue raging, the adverse spillover is set to spread still further” across the entire region. The Chinese envoy also called for “maximum calm and restraint” from Israel and Iran to prevent further escalations. “Ultimately, there is no alternative to the full implementation of the two-state solution, the only way to end the vicious circle of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict once and for all,” Dai said.

China has called on the international community, particularly countries with influence, to play a “constructive role for the peace and stability of the region,” the ambassador added. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also warned at Sunday’s emergency meeting that the entire Middle East is on the brink of a full-scale war in the wake of Iran’s strike on Israel. Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador to the global body, Vassily Nebenzia, told members of the UN Security Council that the retaliatory strike “did not happen in a vacuum.” He claimed that the West had helped give rise to Iran’s attack by failing to take action over the illegal bombing of Tehran’s consulate in Damascus that provoked the latest violence in the region.

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On Saturday, I said: “And you bet they gave advance notice”. Here is more: “..announcing it fired the drones hours before they reached Israeli territory, and Tehran said it gave other regional countries a 72-hour notice..”

Biden Tells Netanyahu US Won’t Support Attack on Iran (Antiwar)

President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US wouldn’t join Israel in any offensive action against Iran, multiple media outlets have reported. US officials are touting Israel’s defense of Iran’s attack as a victory, and that’s the message Biden conveyed to Netanyahu, a sign the US doesn’t want the situation to escalate. Iran fired over 300 missiles and drones at Israel, which was a response to Israel’s bombing of Iran’s consulate in Damascus on April 1. “Israel really came out far ahead in this exchange. It took out the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp] leadership in the Levant, Iran tried to respond, and Israel clearly demonstrated its military superiority, defeating this attack, particularly in coordination with its partners,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters, according to The Times of Israel.

In a statement on the attack released by the White House, Biden said he would convene with other G7 leaders to “coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack.” Israeli officials claimed 99% of the Iranian missiles and drones were intercepted by Israeli air defense systems and with assistance from the US, Britain, and Jordan. Some missiles got through and damaged the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel. Only one person was injured in the attack, a seven-year-old Bedouin girl in the Negev, and nobody was killed. Iran gave Israel plenty of time to respond to the attack by announcing it fired the drones hours before they reached Israeli territory, and Tehran said it gave other regional countries a 72-hour notice. Iranian officials said the attack was “limited” and made clear they do not seek an escalation with Israel.

But Tehran is also warning it will launch an even bigger attack if Israel responds. “If the Zionist regime or its supporters demonstrate reckless behavior, they will receive a decisive and much stronger response,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said in a statement on Sunday. While the US is signaling it seeks de-escalation and won’t support a potential Israeli attack on Iran, it’s unclear what Israel will do next. The Israeli war cabinet convened to discuss the situation on Sunday, and Israeli media reports said they agreed a response would come but didn’t decide on where or when. Israeli War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz vowed Israel would respond but signaled it wouldn’t be imminent. Gantz said the “event is not over” and that Israel should “build a regional coalition and exact a price from Iran, in a way and at a time that suits us.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Biden also told Netanyahu “that the United States is going to continue to help Israel defend itself,” signaling the US would intervene again to help Israel if it does choose to escalate the situation and comes under another attack. Israel’s bombing of the Iranian consulate in Syria killed 13 people, including seven members of the IRGC. Israel has a history of conducting covert attacks inside Iran and killing Iranians in Syria, but the bombing of the diplomatic facility marked a huge escalation.

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Toothless.

US Mulling New Sanctions Against Iran Over Attack on Israel – Scalise (Sp.)

Members of the US Congress plan to consider a number of draft laws on new sanctions against Iran after the latter’s attack on Israel, US House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said, adding that the first bill could be submitted to the House of Representatives as early as Monday night. “It’s a growing sentiment in the Congress that we need to increase sanctions. So we’re going to be bringing a number of bills to ratchet those up and raise the stakes against Iran for their actions,” Scalise told The Jerusalem Post newspaper on Sunday. The US Congress will also consider a number of bills that are related to the country’s alleged use of oil sales income to fund Palestinian movement Hamas, the lawmaker was cited as saying by the newspaper. The first bill could be submitted to the House on Monday evening, Scalise said.

On Saturday night, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps launched over 300 drones and missiles at Israel in its first-ever direct attack on Israeli territory, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said. The attack came in response to Israel’s airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1. Iranian state media reported that Iran had fired at least seven hypersonic missiles at Israel, with none of them intercepted. Meanwhile, CNN reported, citing US officials, that the US military had intercepted more than 79 drones and at least three hypersonic missiles during the attack. IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said Israel had intercepted 99% of the aerial targets fired by Iran, including all drones.

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“I was in Washington last week in a meeting with top administration officials. They are appalled by this government: The irresponsibility, the lack of professionalism, the failed management, the ingratitude..”

Netanyahu a Threat for Israel, Opposition Leader Says (TASS)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet pose a threat to their own country, Yair Lapid, leader of the Israeli opposition, said, calling to hold new elections. Speaking before reporters after his trip to Washington, the politician said that the US Administration is “appalled” by the behavior of the Israeli government, led by Netanyahu, according to The Jerusalem Post. “This government, this prime minister, has become an existential threat against Israel,” Lapid said. “They destroyed Israeli deterrence. Our enemies look at this government, smell weakness, and raise their heads.” According to Lapid, Israeli allies “smell this weakness,” too.

“I was in Washington last week in a meeting with top administration officials. They are appalled by this government: The irresponsibility, the lack of professionalism, the failed management, the ingratitude,” he claimed. He pointed out that Netanyahu previously called himself “Mr. Security,” promising to guarantee order in Israel. Instead, the current authorities have brought the country to the opposite: a “wasteland from Kiryat Shmona [a city on the Lebanese border – TASS] to Beeri [a settlement on the Gaza Strip border], violence by Jewish settlers [in the West Bank – TASS] that is out of hand, and a complete loss of Israeli deterrence.” “Our problem is Iran, but our problem is also here. […] It is time for an election now,” Lapid believes.

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“You don’t matter to us. You’re not Israel. You don’t own us. We’re not going to fight and die for you. I hope I made that clear..”

Ukraine ‘Owned’ by US, US ‘Owned’ by Israel – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

President Zelensky took to X on Sunday to plead with US lawmakers not to forget about Ukraine, saying “it is critical that the United States Congress make the necessary decisions to strengthen America’s allies in this critical time” by delivering on the aid package promised by President Biden six months ago. Zelensky’s comments were echoed by Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who told reporters on Monday that Ukraine also needs help from its Western partners, even if it’s not in the form of direct military help – like Israel got. “All we ask our partners is, even if you cannot act the way you act in Israel, give us what is needed, and we will do the rest ourselves,” Kuleba urged. “Let me make this very clear to the Ukrainian crowd. You see, the difference between Israel and Ukraine is that, whether you like it or not, Israel has bought and paid for the United States’ support,” while Ukraine hasn’t, Scott Ritter told Sputnik.

“Israel, through its political action committee, AIPAC, in the United States, has pretty much bought the United States Congress. They’ve bought the United States presidency. They control American media. And as a result, America comes to the defense of Israel because we’ve been paid to do so,” Ritter said. With Ukraine, it’s the other way around, the observer said. “America, on the other hand, has bought and paid for Ukraine.You’re not a friend. You’re not an ally. You’re a tool being used by the United States for its larger foreign policy and national security objectives vis-à-vis Russia. We provide you weapons only so far as it facilitates our objective of creating a problem for Russia. We don’t want you to win. We don’t care about you. We give you just enough to keep you going. And then we stand by and watch you bury your dead. Because we don’t care,” Ritter said, channeling the sentiments of the American establishment.

“You’ve done your ‘duty’. You created a problem for the Russians. But now you’ve become inconvenient. And we’re going to stand by and let the Russians finish the job without spending any more money or providing you with much more assistance. You don’t matter to us. You’re not Israel. You don’t own us. We’re not going to fight and die for you. I hope I made that clear,” Ritter summed up.

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“This is an ultimatum without alternatives for either Moscow or Kiev. In electric war, are there any alternatives?”

De-electrification And Unconditional Surrender Of The Kiev Regime (Helmer)

It was a relatively bright day, November 21, 1920, when Vladimir Lenin, having won the civil war and driven off the American, British, French, Canadian, and Australian invasion forces, announced: “Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country, since industry cannot be developed without electrification.” Come November 2024 it will be a century and four years to count what Lenin meant, and how Russia is proving itself against everything which the military industries, special forces, weapons, intelligence so-called, operations, and plans of the old invasion coalition, plus Germany, can throw at it. So on November 21, 2024, it will be time to revise Lenin’s maxim to read: Russia is military power plus the de-electrification of the countries which attack it. This is electric war.

To make the war aim unambiguously clear, President Vladimir Putin ordered his ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Vasily Nebenzya, to read out a paper at his desk in the UN Security Council chamber on April 11: “very soon, the only topic for international meetings in Ukraine will be the unconditional surrender of the Kiev regime.” Note what the terms “unconditional surrender of the Kiev regime” mean: total military defeat of the Ukrainian, American, British, French, Polish, and other forces on the Ukrainian territory and in the air surrounding; surrender of the municipal administrations of the east-bank cities, including Kharkov, Dniepropetrovsk, and Odessa; disarmament and demilitarization of the territory between Kiev and the Polish border; exit of every member of the regime, starting with Vladimir Zelensky. This is an ultimatum without alternatives for either Moscow or Kiev. In electric war, are there any alternatives?

Nebenzya was making his announcement on the evening of Thursday, April 11, Kiev time. In the time it took for his text to be drafted, edited by the Foreign Ministry, authorized at the Kremlin, and Nebenzya given the go-ahead, it had been only a few hours after the lights of Kiev went out when the Tripolskaya power station was destroyed by a new Russian missile, the X-69.

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“..parents will be allowed to make a request to change the gender of a child as young as five, with the consent of the child present..”

Germans Can Now Change Gender Every Year (RT)

German citizens will be able to change their sex on legal documents without undergoing surgery or hormone therapy, under a new bill passed by the Bundestag last Friday. It stipulates that an oral request is sufficient, eliminating the need for expert assessment, which was previously mandatory. The law comes into effect in November. The legislation on ‘self-determination’ in gender was backed by 374 MPs, mostly from the ruling ‘traffic-light’ coalition, with another 251 lawmakers against and the remaining 11 abstaining. The current regulations date back to 1981, and state that individuals wishing to change their gender must first undergo two psychological evaluations. The final decision under that law rests with a district court. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ruling coalition argued that the existing procedures were degrading toward transgender individuals, as they had to share intimate details with officials.

Under the new law, parents will be allowed to make a request to change the gender of a child as young as five, with the consent of the child present. Minors over 14 will be able to change their first name and gender alone, as long as they have the consent of their parents or legal representatives. Individuals will be allowed to make a change once per year. Germans will also have the right to replace the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’ in the family register with the neutral term ‘parent.’ Non-binary individuals can register as ‘diverse’ instead of having to choose between ‘male’ and ‘female.’ Under the recently passed legislation, anyone who attempts to expose an individual’s past gender identity can be fined up to €10,000 ($10,630). The law leaves it up to saunas, swimming pools, gyms, and other sports facilities to decide whether to allow biological males into women’s changing rooms and toilets.

When it comes to competitive sports, individual associations may decide if biological males identifying as women can compete against females. The bill faced heated debate in the Bundestag on Friday, with the government’s commissioner for LGBTQ+ issues, Sven Lehmann, hailing it as historic and ending “human rights abuse.” However, opposition parties were largely unconvinced, with a lawmaker from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Mareike Wulf, describing the legislation as “irresponsible” and “socially explosive.” Wulf also argued that criminals could use the new regulations to obscure their identity. Sahra Wagenknecht, a former leader of the Left Party who now leads her own party, warned that with males now allowed to proclaim themselves female, “women’s protection rights and women’s protection shelters [are] a thing of the past.” A representative of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party said the bill poses a threat to young people, denouncing it as “trans-hype.”

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“..and call for solidarity with the Palestinians, and so on, right here in the middle of Berlin, the epicenter of European democracy, as if they thought they had a right to do that..”

The Palestine Congress (CJ Hopkins)

Thank God for the German Hate Police! Or heil … or whatever the appropriate salutation is for these unsung heroes. They just saved us all from “hate” again! Yes, that’s right, once again, democracy-loving people here in New Normal Berlin and all across the New Normal world were right on the brink of being exposed to “hate,” and would have been exposed to “hate,” had the Hate Police not sprang into action. You probably have no idea what I’m talking about. OK, what happened was, some pro-Palestinian activists organized a “Palestine Congress,” and attempted to discuss the situation in Gaza, and call for solidarity with the Palestinians, and so on, right here in the middle of Berlin, the epicenter of European democracy, as if they thought they had a right to do that. The German authorities were clearly intent on disabusing them of that notion.

Early Friday morning, hundreds of black-clad Hate Police descended on the congress location. Reinforcements were called in from throughout the nation. Metal barricades were erected on the sidewalks. Hate Police stood guard at the entrance. The German media warned the public that a potential “Hate-Speech” attack was now imminent. Berliners were advised to shelter in place, switch off their phones and any other audio-receptive communication devices, and wad up little pieces of toilet paper and ram them deep into their ear canals to prevent any possible exposure to the “hate.” Sure enough, minutes into the congress, the anticipated “Hate-Speech” attack was launched! A Palestinian activist — Salman Abu Sitta — who had written an article that allegedly “expressed understanding of Hamas,” and thus had already been placed on the official German “No-Speak” list, started speaking to the congress on Zoom or whatever.

Or … it isn’t quite clear whether he actually started speaking. According to a Hate Police spokesperson, they raided the congress because “there [was] a risk of a speaker being put on the screen who in the past made anti-Semitic and violence-glorifying remarks.” Anyway, the Hate Police stormed the venue, pulled the plug, dispersed the crowd, and banned the rest of the “Palestine Congress,” which was scheduled to continue on Saturday and Sunday. Then they arrested a Jewish guy who was wearing a Palestinian-flag-kippah, presumably out of an abundance of caution. But the “Hate-Speech” attack wasn’t over yet. It was one of those multi-pronged “Hate-Speech” attacks, or at least it involved one other prong. Earlier that morning, or perhaps while the Hate Police were still neutralizing the threat at the venue, Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, a prominent British surgeon, who had volunteered in Gaza and was due to speak at the congress, was intercepted by the Berlin Airport Hate Police, refused entry into Germany, and forced to return to the UK.

The Airport Hate Police informed the doctor that he was being denied entry in order to ensure “the safety of the people at the conference and public order,” Abu Sitta told the Associated Press. Kai Wegner, Berlin’s mayor, presumably feeling a bit nostalgic for the fanatical days of 2020 to 2023 when one could persecute “the Unvaccinated” with total impunity, took to X to celebrate the Hate Police’s thwarting of this “Hate event.” The pro-Palestinian activist community also took to X and expressed their displeasure. Yanis “Vaccinate Humanity” Varoufakis, who was one of the organizers and was scheduled to speak, was particularly incensed over the new German “fascism,” which apparently he has just now noticed, despite the fact that it has been goose-stepping around in a medical-looking mask for the last four years.

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Not as bad as it looks.

• They grew (too?) fast: “Tesla has around 140,000 employees, nearly double the 2020 level.”

• China’s BYD Co. delivered just 300,114 battery-electric vehicles in the first quarter, down 43% from the final three months of last year.

• Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. have delayed, dialed back or altogether scrapped EV projects.

Two Senior Tesla Executives Leave Amid 14,000 Global Layoffs (ZH)

The Wall Street Journal reports Tesla plans to reduce 10% of its global workforce, approximately 14,000 employees, confirming an earlier report by the EV blog Electrek. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk sent a letter to employees detailing how the company needed to reduce costs and increase productivity. WSJ obtained a copy of the email. “As part of the effort, we have done a thorough review of the organization and made the difficult decision to reduce our headcount by more than 10% globally,” Musk wrote in the letter, adding, “There is nothing I hate more, but it must be done. This will enable us to be lean, innovative, and hungry for the next growth phase cycle.” Separately, Bloomberg journalists on X reported that Tesla Senior Vice President Drew Baglino and Tesla Vice President of Public Policy and Business Development Rohan Patel are leaving the company. And… Bloomberg noted, “The departure of Baglino is likely to reinforce concerns among some investors about succession planning at Tesla, where Musk has been CEO since 2008.” We suspect Musk will be commenting on these reports sometime today.

* * *

Shares of Tesla Motors are muted in the early premarket trading hours in New York after a report from the EV blog Electrek cited an “internal company-wide email” detailing layoffs at the EV company amounting to more than 10% of its global workforce. Electrek alleges that Elon Musk sent an email to staff explaining a “duplication of roles and job functions in certain areas” as the main reason for the layoffs, which could affect as many as 14,000 employees. Here’s the full text of the email (courtesy of Electrek):

“Over the years, we have grown rapidly with multiple factories scaling around the globe. With this rapid growth there has been duplication of roles and job functions in certain areas. As we prepare the company for our next phase of growth, it is extremely important to look at every aspect of the company for cost reductions and increasing productivity. As part of this effort, we have done a thorough review of the organization and made the difficult decision to reduce our headcount by more than 10% globally. There is nothing I hate more, but it must be done. This will enable us to be lean, innovative and hungry for the next growth phase cycle. I would like to thank everyone who is departing Tesla for their hard work over the years. I’m deeply grateful for your many contributions to our mission and we wish you well in your future opportunities. It is very difficult to say goodbye. For those remaining, I would like to thank you in advance for the difficult job that remains ahead. We are developing some of the most revolutionary technologies in auto, energy and artificial intelligence. As we prepare the company for the next phase of growth, your resolve will make a huge difference in getting us there. Thanks, Elon”

The latest data from Bloomberg shows that Tesla has around 140,000 employees, nearly double the 2020 level. Electrek noted, “We don’t know which specific teams will be most or least affected by Tesla’s layoffs.” The alleged layoffs come after the company recorded its first quarterly decline in four years and delivered 386,810 vehicles in the first quarter, far below the Bloomberg consensus of 449,000. Slowing EV demand has weighed on Tesla shares this year, down 31%, and one of the worst performers in the S&P 500 Index. As Bloomberg notes, the EV slowdown has hit other automakers: The EV slowdown Tesla has felt of late has been widespread. China’s BYD Co. delivered just 300,114 battery-electric vehicles in the first quarter, down 43% from the final three months of last year, when it briefly pulled ahead as the world’s top EV seller. Manufacturers including Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. have delayed, dialed back or altogether scrapped EV projects as consumers balk at still-high prices and a dearth of charging stations.

On Tesla’s most recent earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Vaibhav Taneja said, “We just have to chase down every penny possible.” Tesla will report next Tuesday, April 23. Wall Street analysts expect the company to turn a profit of about 50 cents a share, down from around 85 cents a share in the first quarter of 2023. If Electrek’s report is correct, Elon appears to be tightening Tesla’s belt, suggesting broader troubles are ahead for the US economy.

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“Airbus and Boeing continue to have a long backlog of orders (8,598 at the end of 2023 for Airbus; 5,591 at the end of March for Boeing)..”

Airbus Beats Boeing For Deliveries In 2024 (ZH)

Boeing’s deliveries of commercial aircraft have faltered in the first three months of the year, according to the company’s reports, published this week. The U.S. aircraft manufacturer delivered just 83 planes in Q3, down from 130 in the same three-month period of last year. In the meantime, its sole major competitor, Europe’s Airbus, saw an uptick in Q1, having delivered 142 of their planes, marking an increase from their Q1 2023 figure of 127. Boeing has been mired in a series of safety issues since the start of the year, following a mid-air panel blowout on an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 jet in January. This has led to a slowdown in production for the U.S. company, which is now limited to producing 38 of the 737 planes per month until it is clear that quality and safety procedures are being properly adhered to, as per the advisory of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Boeing has slowed production even below this limit, with the company’s Chief Financial Officer Brian West stating that once the company has it “right” it will ramp up production, expecting to see figures improve in the latter half of the year. Prior to 2019, Boeing had been in the lead for deliveries out of the two companies, but this changed following the two deadly 737 MAX 8 crashes of 2018 and 2019, and the ensuing temporary production halt of the model. While the same family, these were different planes than those involved in the more recent incidents and they were caused by different issues. As Statista’s Anna Fleck shows in the following chart, both companies saw dips in deliveries in 2020 with the Covid pandemic.

Boeing and Airbus are the world’s two major competitors when it comes to commercial plane manufacturing. While other manufacturers exist, they produce far lower numbers of aircraft than either of these two giants. In a report by CNN, writer Allison Morrow explains that since pilots are trained in either Boeing or Airbus operating systems, it is difficult for airlines to switch planes. With few companies having the capacity to produce large jets, both Airbus and Boeing continue to have a long backlog of orders (8,598 at the end of 2023 for Airbus; 5,591 at the end of March for Boeing).

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Wonder what Trump thinks of this.

Trump Biopic To Compete At Cannes Film Festival (RT)

A biopic about the formative years of former US President Donald Trump will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next month. Directed by acclaimed Iranian-Danish filmmaker Ali Abbasi, ‘The Apprentice’ tells the story of how young Trump got started in the real estate business in New York in the 1970s and 1980s and met his mentor Roy Cohn. The film is among the 18 entries competing for Palme d’Or, the festival’s main award. “The Apprentice is a dive into the underbelly of the American empire. It charts a young Donald Trump’s ascent to power through a Faustian deal with the influential right-wing lawyer and political fixer Roy Cohn,” according to the film’s official description.

Sebastian Stan – the star of Marvel superhero movies and the 2022 mini-series ‘Pam & Tommy’ – plays Trump, while Emmy-winning ‘Succession’ actor Jeremy Strong portrays Roy Cohn, a high-profile lawyer. “His playbook has a tentacular reach that is staggering – the most fascinating person I’ve ever tried to inhabit,” Strong told the New York Times. “So while I personally might have a lot of judgment about Roy Cohn, that is not the part of me that engages in creative work.” Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova plays Ivana Zelnickova, Trump’s first wife and the mother of his daughter Ivanka and sons Donald Jr. and Eric.

The film is set to depict Trump’s early business ventures and rise after he joined and subsequently took over his father’s real-estate empire. Under his leadership, the company branched out from residential housing to casinos and hotels, including the famous Trump Tower in Manhattan and other Trump-branded properties. Trump shocked the world by beating Hillary Clinton in 2016 and becoming the 45th president of the United States. He left office after losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden. He is currently the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for the 2024 election.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Kid judge

 

 


From Elon

 

 

Russell

 

 

UFO

 

 

Shop dog

 

 

Koala
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779619528743211352

 

 

Sun fish

 

 

Wooden post

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 142024
 


Edgar Degas At the Milliner’s 1905-10

 

Biden Tells Bibi: US Will Not Support A Counterattack Against Iran (ZH)
Washington Worried About Potential Israeli Attack – NBC (RT)
Iran Seizes Israeli-Linked Container Ship (RT)
Persian Gulf Powers Reportedly Refuse to Give US Access to Bases (Sp.)
Biden Prolongs Ukraine Crisis To Avoid Admitting Failure – Ron Johnson (RT)
Mobilization Law Is ‘Point Of No Return’ For Zelensky – Ukrainian MP (RT)
New Order Reveals Scale of Sabotage and Desertion in Ukrainian Army (Sp.)
Mobilizing for Defeat (Amar)
Ukrainian Troops Accuse Command of Treating Them ‘Like Livestock’ (Sp.)
Ukraine Asks France to Help Hold Positions in 2024 (Sp.)
Trump Thought Ukraine ‘Must Be Part Of Russia’ – Fiona Hill (RT)
‘Do The Right Thing’: Assange Supporters Urge As Biden Mulls Dropping Case (CD)
The Speech That Got Me Banned From Germany (Varoufakis)
DC National Guard Say They WERE Ready To Be Deployed On Jan 6 (DM)
Another Federal Judge Rejects All Hunter Biden Claims for Dismissal (Turley)

 

 

 

 

 

 

RFK Elon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778986189678055429

 

 

FISA

 

 

 

 

DOJ Biden

 

 

Assange

 

 

Maher Canada

 

 

 

 

Carano
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778941618491437198

 

 

Crenshaw

 

 

 

 

Things are not what they seem. Iran launched 100s of drones and missiles, almost no damage, and said: that’s one and done. Saved face. Everyone knows they had to respond to the Israeli attack in Damascus. And they wouldn’t even have done this if the UN had condemned that attack. And you bet they gave advance notice. An Israeli response now would threaten regionwide escalation. With surging oil prices in a US election year. No, the US does’t want a wider war. Neither does Iran.

Biden Tells Bibi: US Will Not Support A Counterattack Against Iran (ZH)

It is just after 7am Israel local time and Israel’s military is reporting the Iranian attack has stopped, several hours after Iran said its ‘limited’ operation has “concluded” – which involved an unprecedented hundreds of suicide drones as as well as ballistic missiles sent against Israel in retaliation for the April 1st Israeli attack on Iran’s embassy in Damascus. Below is the top story from English-language Times of Israel: Hebrew media reports claim that not a single drone or cruise missile managed to infiltrate Israeli airspace. According to the unsourced reports, most ballistic missiles were also knocked down outside of Israeli airspace. A report in Ynet says some 20 cruise missiles were downed short of Israel’s borders. The US, UK and Jordan helped take down many of the drones. Israel is reporting very little damage inside the country (though previously admitting “minor damage” against at least one key airbase in the south).

After the enormous Iranian drone and missile swarm a senior Israeli official has been quoted by Israel’s Channel 12 as saying “Iran’s attack was a strategic failure.” The official added in a threatening manner, “Now they can get ready and not sleep in peace.” Israel’s war cabinet appears to be readying a military response… Crucially, the Biden White House appears to be strongly signaling to the Netanyahu government that the attack is ‘done’ and that the United States will not back any follow-up counterattack operations against Iran: US President Joe Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US will not aid any Israeli counterattack on Iran, US media report, citing senior administration officials. Axios and CNN report that message was passed during a phone call between the pair. Axios reports that Biden told Netyanyahu the US will oppose any Israeli counterattack. CNN reports that Biden said the US will not take part in any such counteraction.

Israel has called on a United Nations Security Council meeting to condemn the Iranian aggression, which is expected to take place late Sunday. The US administration appears to be lobbying for a status quo and for Israel to not mount a strong response. Below is a portion of the Axios report on the Bibi-Biden late night phone call: Behind the scenes: Biden told Netanyahu the joint defensive efforts by Israel, the U.S. and other countries in the region led to the failure of the Iranian attack, according to the White House official. “You got a win. Take the win,” Biden told Netanyahu, according to the official. The official said that when Biden told Netanyahu that the U.S. will not participate in any offensive operations against Iran and will not support such operations, Netanyahu said he understood. U.S. Secretary of State Lloyd Austin spoke on Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant and asked that Israel notify the U.S. ahead of any response against Iran, a senior Israeli official said.

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“I don’t think they had a strategy… the Israelis don’t always make the best strategic decisions..”

Washington Worried About Potential Israeli Attack – NBC (RT)

Some officials in Washington are worried that West Jerusalem’s response to Iran’s recent airstrikes could be reckless and escalatory, NBC news wrote on Sunday, citing anonymous White House sources. Iran launched several waves of drone and missile attacks against Israel on Saturday and Sunday. This was in response to an airstrike that damaged Iran’s embassy in Damascus, Syria and killed seven military personnel – including two generals – earlier this month. While Israel has refrained from commenting on the bombing, Tehran has accused West Jerusalem of conducting an extraterritorial assassination and attacking their embassy. Some US officials privately indicated exasperation with Israel’s decision to strike the Iranian consular building in Syria, NBC claimed, citing senior Pentagon officials as calling the strike potentially “catastrophically escalatory.”

Others in the White House have expressed concerns about Israel’s future response to the Iranian attack, given both West Jerusalem’s hardline approach in its conflict with Hamas and the airstrike on the embassy in Damascus, NBC News reports. President Joe Biden has privately expressed concern that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to pull the US into a broader conflict in the Middle East, three people familiar with the comments told the news channel. Another senior administration official said that while the White House does not believe Israel is looking for a direct war with Iran, they cannot be certain of West Jerusalem’s motives. “I don’t think they had a strategy… the Israelis don’t always make the best strategic decisions,” an anonymous senior official told NBC.

Some media reports that followed the bombing of Tehran’s diplomatic compound in Damascus claimed that West Jerusalem was preparing to strike Iranian nuclear facilities in the event of a direct Iranian attack on Israel. According to a Western security official, the Israeli Air Force has been training for long range strikes into sensitive areas of Iran which may be linked to the country’s nuclear program, London-based Arabic outlet Elaph wrote on Tuesday. Israel is prepared for any scenario, “both in defense and offense,” Netanyahu stated on Saturday. “Whoever hurts us, we will hurt them,” he said.

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Asymmetric warfare.

Iran Seizes Israeli-Linked Container Ship (RT)

Iranian commandos have stormed an Israeli-operated container ship in the Persian Gulf and taken control of the vessel. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz condemned the “pirate operation” and called on the West to impose sanctions on Tehran. The MSC Aries was boarded by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy troops as it transited the Strait of Hormuz around noon on Saturday. Once under the IRGC’s control, it was taken to Iranian territorial waters, Iranian state media reported. Video footage shared online showed IRGC commandos rappelling onto the deck of the ship from a helicopter.

The Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries is operated by Zodiac Maritime, a shipping firm owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer. At the time of the seizure, it was sailing past the Emirati port of Fujairah with its transponder switched off, the Associated Press reported. With Iran controlling the Strait of Hormuz and Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacking Israeli shipping interests in the Red Sea, it is standard practice for Israeli-linked vessels to disable their tracking data when sailing in the region. Since 2019, Iran has periodically seized Israeli and Western vessels in the Strait of Hormuz during times of increased tension. Tehran typically offers legal justification for these seizures, but gave no such explanation on Saturday. However, Saturday’s seizure came two weeks after an alleged Israeli airstrike on an Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital of Damascus. The strike killed seven officers of the IRGC’s Quds Force, including two generals.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to deal Israel a “slap in the face” in response, and American officials warned on Friday that Tehran could be gearing up for a massive drone and missile strike on Israeli soil over the weekend. It is unclear whether Iran plans further attacks after seizing the MSC Aries. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz condemned the seizure, accusing Khamenei’s “criminal regime” of “conducting a pirate operation in violation of international law.” “I call on the European Union and the free world to immediately declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guards corps as a terrorist organization and to sanction Iran now,” he wrote on X.

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BRICS+.

Persian Gulf Powers Reportedly Refuse to Give US Access to Bases (Sp.)

Persian Gulf countries have reportedly told the United States not to launch any attacks against Iran from their territory or airspace amid seething regional tensions. Sources, including a senior US official told the Middle East Eye that Gulf monarchies have been “working overtime” on the diplomatic track “to shut down avenues that could link them to a US reprisal against Tehran or its proxies from bases inside their kingdoms.” The countries include regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Kuwait, with their leaderships reportedly “raising questions” on the details of US basing agreements, and taking steps to prevent the use of their Iran-adjacent bases against the Islamic Republic. NATO member Turkiye has also reportedly barred the US from using its airspace for strikes against Iran, but Sputnik has not been able to independently verify this information.

“It’s a mess,” a senior US official said, referring to the headache the Biden administration faces as it prepares for a potential Iranian retaliatory strike against its top regional ally Israel following Tel Aviv’s April 1 attack on the Iranian Embassy compound in Damascus, Syria. The Middle East Eye report follows a report by Axios on Friday citing US officials who said that Iran has privately warned the US that it will target American forces in the Middle East if Washington gets involved in a military confrontation between Iran and Israel. The US has an estimated 40,000+ military personnel at bases dotting the Middle East, including the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which hosts at least 10,000 troops, and serves as the forward headquarters of United States Central Command – the combatant command responsible for military operations across the Middle East. Nearby Bahrain hosts up to 7,000 troops and the US Fifth Fleet – which operates in the Persian Gulf, the Red and Arabian Seas, and part of the Indian Ocean.

The US also has a 15,000-troop garrison in Kuwait, at least 5,000 troops in the UAE, and about 2,700 troops and fighter jets at the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. Oman hosts a few hundred US troops, and allows the US Air Force to conduct overflights and landings, and warships to make 80 port calls annually. The Gulf powers’ increasingly independent foreign policy is potentially a major setback for Washington, which for many decades after World War II (and especially after the Cold War) was able to rely on the Persian Gulf monarchies for its military operations in the oil-rich region. Regional countries led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE have taken a series of steps recently to wean themselves off of dependence on the US economically, politically and militarily, with Riyadh moving to break the petrodollar monopoly in the oil trade with China, pausing its military campaign against Yemen’s Houthi militia, restoring diplomatic ties with Iran and, together with Abu Dhabi, joining the BRICS Plus bloc.

The Palestinian-Israeli crisis has driven Gulf state leaders and their populations further from the idea of the establishing relations with Israel, and chilled ties with the US thanks to the Biden administration’s full-fledged support for Tel Aviv in the course of the Gaza War.

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“It’s just a fantasy, it’s just denying reality, to think that pumping more money, fueling the fire of that bloody stalemate, is going to break this thing open and show that Ukraine can be victorious..”

Biden Prolongs Ukraine Crisis To Avoid Admitting Failure – Ron Johnson (RT)

US President Joe Biden is dragging out an “obviously” lost cause in Ukraine because his administration will not admit to its policy failures in trying to weaken Russia, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) has claimed. “At some point in time, you have to recognize reality and you have to base your decisions on reality,” Johnson said on Thursday in an interview with podcast host Glenn Greenwald. “But the Biden administration is not willing to do that, the generals aren’t willing to do that, because they’d have to admit they’ve been wrong all along.” Johnson was the only US lawmaker to attend the inauguration of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in May 2019. He said Zelensky wanted to make peace with Russia then, realizing that Kiev had no chance of retaking Crimea, and sought to resolve the conflict shortly after Moscow launched its military offensive in February 2022.

“I would like to have been a fly on the wall in Istanbul, when they apparently were negotiating a peace agreement and the Biden administration air-dropped [then-UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson in there to blow that thing up,” Johnson said. “This was a few weeks after the war started. It’s a tragic, tragic turn of history there.” The third-term lawmaker, who formerly chaired the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the US government has failed to reflect on its foreign policy failures. For example, he argued, fomenting the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government in 2014 helped lead to the country’s destruction. He said Americans have been “grossly misserved” by their government’s long history of foreign entanglements and regime-change operations. “The military-industrial complex drives so much of what we’re experiencing here today, the endless wars,” Johnson said. “I can’t tell you how many governments we have, through covert action, we’ve overturned. What’s been the net result of that?”

It’s nonsensical for the US government to stand by its stated goal of helping Ukraine to defeat Russian forces, Johnson said. He added, “Part of the problem is that one of the war aims now has shifted. It’s not necessarily to liberate Ukraine but to utilize the Ukrainian people to fight a proxy war with Russia and degrade their military capability.” Johnson said the proxy-war strategy had failed: “With oil prices higher, with the sanctions not working to cripple the Russian economy, I think they’re just probably building up their military-industrial base, and if anything, they’re getting stronger and smarter militarily.”

Republican lawmakers have held up approval of Biden’s request for over $60 billion in additional Ukraine funding since last fall, but party leaders are reportedly preparing to pass an aid bill in the coming days. Biden is seeking reelection later this year. “It’s just a fantasy, it’s just denying reality, to think that pumping more money, fueling the fire of that bloody stalemate, is going to break this thing open and show that Ukraine can be victorious,” Johnson said
“That’s just not going to happen, so it’s better to recognize reality and realize the only way the bloodshed ends is if we sit down and negotiate with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”

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“..help Zelensky hold on to power by “forcing everyone into the army.” “That is a very bad basis for a social consensus..”

Mobilization Law Is ‘Point Of No Return’ For Zelensky – Ukrainian MP (RT)

A new conscription law will drive a wedge between officials in Kiev and ordinary Ukrainians, lawmaker Aleksandr Dubinsky has said. He described the legislation as a point of no return for President Vladimir Zelensky and his government. On Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament passed a long-debated law which simplifies procedures for the draft and forces all men aged 18 to 60 – including those residing abroad – to register with the military authorities. Earlier this month, after several weeks of deliberation, Zelensky signed a law lowering the age of conscription for men from 27 to 25. The new draft rules were approved without a demobilization clause that would have allowed troops to return home after three years on the front lines. As things currently stand, everyone who is drafted will have to serve until the end of the conflict with Russia.

Ukrainian troops feel betrayed by the new rules, Western media outlets reported earlier this week, citing soldiers who say they feel “fooled and used” and are being used as “slaves.” The mobilization law “will be the watershed, after which there will be no turning back,” Dubinsky wrote on Telegram on Thursday. He compared Kiev’s policies to ‘Oprichnina’ – a massive repression campaign launched by Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century and implemented by special troops called ‘Oprichniki’ who enjoyed the monarch’s trust and were spared his wrath. “The presidential administration and its Oprichniki, including MPs, state officials, the police and [security services] are on one side,” while “everyone else is on the other,” Dubinsky said.

According to the MP, the goal of this policy is to help Zelensky hold on to power by “forcing everyone into the army.” “That is a very bad basis for a social consensus,” the lawmaker added. In another post, he noted that MPs, police officers, some state officials, and local authorities are exempted from mobilization under the new draft rules, and “are by no means preparing to go to war.” Dubinsky is currently in custody in Ukraine. He was expelled from Zelensky’s ‘Servant of the People’ party in 2021. He faced treason charges in November 2023 after the Ukrainian domestic security service (SBU) accused him of working for Russia. Dubinsky dismissed the accusations as politically motivated and claimed that he was persecuted for criticizing Zelensky.

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“..footage appearing to show Ukrainian troops being shot at and having grenades thrown at them by their own comrades..”

New Order Reveals Scale of Sabotage and Desertion in Ukrainian Army (Sp.)

The Kiev regime’s soldiers sabotage army orders, threaten their commanders, refuse to fire their weapons, leave the battlefield, and desert. This was revealed in a new order on strengthening discipline signed by Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Oleksandr Syrsky and seen by Sputnik.The document notes that army commanders, law enforcement, and other government agencies have faced new challenges that require an immediate response. Among the military criminal offenses, the commander-in-chief listed “insubordination,” “failure to comply with an order,” “threat or violence against a superior,” “unauthorized abandonment of a military unit or place of service,” “desertion,” “evasion of military service by inflicting self-harm or in any other way,” and “unauthorized abandonment of the battlefield or refusal to use weapons.”

Syrsky’s order outlines the urgent need for the Armed Forces and representatives of law enforcement agencies to identify and put a stop to these offenses. The document presupposes that Ukrainian soldiers could be offered a chance to return to combat duty even after the abovementioned offenses. The new order comes as the Ukrainian Armed Forces are struggling to replenish their ranks, with men increasingly unwilling to die for the Kiev regime and actively avoiding mobilization or deserting. Following last year’s botched summer counteroffensive, which resulted in huge manpower losses, cases of desertion have soared. The Kiev regime’s army units are rife with cases of insubordination and desertion. Sputnik earlier obtained footage appearing to show Ukrainian troops being shot at and having grenades thrown at them by their own comrades during a Russian advance.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky recently deplored that such a case of desertion by a whole unit had resulted in Ukrainian forces being surrounded, and many soldiers being killed. He also spoke out against declaring a general amnesty for deserters in a video posted on his office’s YouTube channel. On Wednesday, Verkhovna Rada lawmaker Irina Gerashchenko reported that the Ukrainian parliament had backed in the first reading a bill to tighten liability for military offenses, including desertion. The following day, the country’s parliament adopted a bill on mobilization aimed at replenishing Ukrainian forces depleted by two years of NATO’s proxy war against Russia. Zelensky also signed new mobilization measures into law on April 2, lowering the conscription age and authorizing the creation of an electronic database of military-age men as the issue of draft dodgers continues to persist.

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“All Ukrainian men between age 18 and 60 will have to register, including those abroad. Failure to do so will count as evading military service..”

Mobilizing for Defeat (Amar)

Ukraine’s situation is extremely precarious, if you want to put it optimistically. A more realistic term is “catastrophic.” The country faces steady, accelerating advances of Russian forces that are well-motivated and trained and superior in quantity and equipment. Even Ukraine’s commander-in-chief has admitted that “the situation on the eastern front has significantly worsened in recent days.” A massive understatement but still proof that things are even worse. We also know – from Ukrainian polls – that ever more Ukrainians are open to ending the war by making concessions. Yet the Zelensky regime is doubling down. Instead of entering serious negotiations – the kind where you adjust your aims to your losses so as to avoid even greater ones – it is seeking to throw more lives into a war that has become a meatgrinder for Ukrainian troops.

That is the main purpose of a new mobilization law that has just passed the Ukrainian parliament. (In addition, President Zelensky has already signed off on additional measures that will be integrated into the new law once he signs that as well. In essence, though, this is one integrated bundle, which many Ukrainians and outside observers refer to as one and the same law, as will be done here.) The new mobilization law is complex, consisting of a long list of measures, including, for instance, new rules on confiscating private cars for defense purposes. Its core, however, is simple: The minimum age for mobilization is lowered from 27 to 25 years of age. All Ukrainian men between age 18 and 60 will have to register, including those abroad. Failure to do so will count as evading military service. To make sure that compliance can be policed easily, all registered men must have their registration papers on them at all times.

The law, which has been under contentious consideration for months, is not being well-received in Ukrainian society. On a TV show run by Ukrainska Pravda, a very anti-Russian outlet, Maria Berlinska, a Ukrainian activist of equally sterling credentials, called it a fiasco. And she is by no means alone. It is true that some Ukrainian commentators have – once again – tried to dismiss all and any popular discontent as nothing but Russian interference. But this time, that tired old trick from the NATO-Zelensky playbook is not working well. Even Western mainstream media acknowledge the law is “unpopular.”

It is not hard to understand why many Ukrainians are angry. Perhaps the single worst disappointment is that the law does not include a hard rule for demobilization, which is what everyone expected. Think of it as a tacit deal: The government gets to hoover up more young men for cannon fodder, but, at least, it also promises to let go those exhausted soldiers who have already served (and survived) for years (36 months was under discussion). Even the New York Times has noticed that Ukraine’s current soldiers are “battered and exhausted.” Yet opening a way out for at least some of them is what did not happen. Instead, the Zelensky regime has dared come out with a law that only takes but gives nothing back.

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“..accused of sabotaging orders, threatening commanders, refusing to fire their weapons, leaving the battlefield and deserting en masse..”

Ukrainian Troops Accuse Command of Treating Them ‘Like Livestock’ (Sp.)

A leaked order regarding plans to strengthen discipline signed by Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Syrsky has detailed the increasingly difficult situation for Kiev at the front, with troops accused of sabotaging orders, threatening commanders, refusing to fire their weapons, leaving the battlefield and deserting en masse. Russia’s Defense Ministry has published footage of nine servicemen from Ukraine’s elite 25th Separate Airborne Brigade collectively surrendering to Russian forces near the village of Vodyanoye in the Donetsk People’s Republic. In interviews taken after their capture, the troopers pointed to the difficult situation at the front, complained about poor operational planning, poorly trained commanders, large losses in manpower and equipment and panic among the units, and accused command of using them as cannon fodder.

“The commanders leave us to die like waste material, while they are somewhere on the sidelines,” serviceman Valery told his Russian interviewers. “When we were being taken into captivity, our own forces started shelling us, showing that we aren’t needed anymore. I’ve been captured and thanks to that I’m alive and won’t be executed. It’s worse in the Ukrainian military than in the Russian captivity,” he said. “The 25th Brigade’s command is treating us like livestock,” another captured serviceman said. “It’s better to surrender than die in such a ***** manner for who knows for what and why,” a third added. “Our commanders don’t care about us. They didn’t want to come to the positions and evaluate the situation…So ‘thank you’ to our commanders. In your words, we should have gone to our deaths,” another soldier said. Footage shot by Russian forces showed the surrendering servicemen approaching Russian positions, stripping off their gear and being led out of the combat zone by Russian forces after being searched.

Ukraine Armed Forces C-in-C Syrsky confirmed the desperate situation at the front in an order that was issued on April 4 and leaked to Russian media on Saturday, listing issues he said require immediate attention from law enforcement including insubordination, failure to comply with orders, threats or violence against superiors, unauthorized abandonment of positions, desertion, evasion of military service by inflicting self-harm, and refusal to use weapons. In a Telegram post Saturday, Syrsky offered an unusually frank public assessment of the battlefield situation, which he said had “significantly worsened in recent days, primarily due to the significant intensification of the enemy’s offensive actions,” which he said was “facilitated by warm, dry weather, which has made most open areas accessible to tanks.” Syrsky assured that his “personal communication” with servicemen has made him well “aware of the real scale and degree of threat from the enemy.”

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“..and we will be able to resume the counteroffensive in 2025..”

Ukraine Asks France to Help Hold Positions in 2024 (Sp.)

Kiev has asked Paris to help the Ukrainian military hold the positions on the battlefield this year so that it can launch a new counteroffensive in 2025, a French official who took part in the talks with the Ukrainian authorities has told Le Figaro newspaper. “The Ukrainians are telling us: help us make it through 2024, and we will be able to resume the counteroffensive in 2025,” the official said. Ukraine is in need of the SAMP/T air defense system, the official added. However, MBDA, which manufactures the Aster 30 missiles for the platform, will not be able to provide Kiev with more missiles in the near future, as the French military also needs them, Le Figaro reported. On June 4, 2023, Ukraine attempted a counteroffensive against Russia. Kiev deployed brigades trained by NATO instructors and armed with Western equipment, including Leopard and Challenger tanks.

Three months later, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Kiev’s push had failed, with Ukraine suffering heavy casualties. Several Western officials also admitted that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had not been successful. Western countries have provided hundreds of billions of dollars worth of aid to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s special military operation in February 2022. Aid shipments began in 2022 with artillery munitions and training and have escalated to include tanks, advanced air-defense systems, missiles and cluster munitions. The Kremlin has consistently warned against the West’s continued arms deliveries to Ukraine, saying that they only prolong the conflict, adding that Western military equipment will be eventually destroyed. Moscow also cautioned that NATO countries “are playing with fire” by providing Kiev with arms.

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NYT and Fiona Hill team up to make Trump look ignorant. And yes, “Hill served on Trump’s National Security Council between 2017 and 2019”. How did that ever happen?

Trump Thought Ukraine ‘Must Be Part Of Russia’ – Fiona Hill (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump could not understand “the idea that Ukraine was an independent state” and assumed that it “must be part of Russia,” his former adviser, Fiona Hill, has claimed. “Trump made it very clear that he thought, you know, that Ukraine, and certainly Crimea, must be part of Russia,” Hill told New York Times writer David Sanger in an upcoming book previewed by The Guardian on Friday. “He really could not get his head around the idea that Ukraine was an independent state.” Crimea voted overwhelmingly to join the Russian Federation in 2014, six decades after the historically Russian peninsula was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in an administrative decision by Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev. In September 2022, four former Ukrainian regions – the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kherson, and Zaporozhye – were also admitted to the Russian Federation after similar referendums.

It is unclear from the excerpt printed by The Guardian whether Trump was referring to Russia’s centuries of sovereignty over Crimea and interests in Ukraine, or whether he simply assumed that post-Soviet Ukraine was a part of Russia. Trump has never publicly suggested that Ukraine is not an independent state. Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee to challenge President Joe Biden in this November’s election. If elected, he has promised to end the conflict in Ukraine “within 24 hours.” “I would get [Russian President Vladimir Putin] into a room. I’d get [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky into a room. Then I’d bring them together. And I’d have a deal worked out,” he told NBC News in September. Trump did not elaborate on how he would achieve this, explaining that “if I tell you exactly, I lose all my bargaining chips.”

Despite accusing Biden of dragging the US toward “World War III” with his policy of open-ended military aid to Ukraine, Trump has said that he could keep money flowing to Kiev under some circumstances, albeit as a loan rather than a gift. An intelligence analyst and specialist on Russian and Eurasian affairs, Hill served on Trump’s National Security Council between 2017 and 2019. She emerged as a key witness during the 2019 impeachment inquiry against her former boss, during which she accused Trump of using American aid to pressure Zelensky into investigating the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine.

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“..this would be the best decision Biden ever made..”

‘Do The Right Thing’: Assange Supporters Urge As Biden Mulls Dropping Case (CD)

President Joe Biden this week for the first time said his administration is weighing the Australian government’s requests to drop charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been deprived of his freedom since 2010 and is currently jailed in London’s notorious Belmarsh Prison while fighting extradition to the United States. Asked by reporters at the White House about requests from Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and members of the country’s Parliament for the U.S. and United Kingdom to drop the extradition effort and charges against Assange – an Australian citizen – Biden said that “we’re considering it.” Stella Assange, Julian’s wife, responded to Biden’s remarks on social media. “Do the right thing,” she wrote. “Drop the charges. #FreeAssangeNOW.”

Srecko Horvat, a Croatian philosopher and co-founder of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 pan-European progressive political party, said that “this would be the best decision Biden ever made.” British journalist Afshin Rattansi asked, “Why has Julian Assange been put through this ordeal in the first place?” Assange – who is 52 years old and suffers from various health problems – faces multiple U.S. charges under the Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for his role in publishing classified government documents, some of them revealing war crimes and other misdeeds. Among the files published by WikiLeaks are the “Collateral Murder” video – which shows a U.S. Army helicopter crew killing a group of Iraqi civilians – the Afghan and Iraq war logs.

Three U.S. administrations have pursued charges against Assange. During the administration of former President Donald Trump – who is the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee – officials including then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo allegedly plotted to assassinate Assange to avenge WikiLeaks’ publication of the “Vault 7” documents exposing CIA electronic warfare and surveillance activities. In 2010, Trump called for Assange’s execution. The U.K. High Court ruled last month that Assange could not be immediately extradited to the U.S., where he faces up to 175 years behind bars if convicted on all counts. The tribunal gave the Biden administration until April 16 to guarantee that Assange won’t face the death penalty. Absent such assurance, Assange will be allowed to continue appealing his extradition. Last month, Assange’s legal team denied reports that a plea deal with the U.S. government may have been in the works. Assange has been imprisoned in Belmarsh since 2019. Before that, he spent nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had been granted political asylum under the government of leftist former President Rafael Correa.

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“..not just a ban from visiting Germany but also from participation in Zoom events hosted in the country..”

The Speech That Got Me Banned From Germany (Varoufakis)

Today, Yanis Varoufakis was banned not just from visiting Germany but from participating in video conferences about politics hosted in Germany. Here’s the plea for humanity and justice in Palestine that got him banned. Today, Germany’s interior ministry issued a “betätigungsverbot” against me, a ban on any political activity — not just a ban from visiting Germany but also from participation in Zoom events hosted in the country. I can’t even have a recorded video of me played at German events.The trouble started in earnest yesterday, when German police burst into a Berlin venue to disband our Palestine congress, which was hosted by the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25). Judge for yourselves what kind of society Germany is becoming if its police ban the sentiments below.

“Congratulations and heartfelt thanks for being here — despite the threats, despite the ironclad police outside this venue, despite the panoply of the German press, despite the German state, despite the German political system that demonizes you for being here. “Why a Palestinian congress, Mr Varoufakis?” a German journalist asked me recently. Because, as Hanan Ashrawi once said, “we cannot rely on the silenced to tell us about their suffering.”Today, Ashrawi’s reason has grown depressingly stronger, because we cannot rely on the silenced who are also massacred and starved to tell us about the massacres and the starvation. But there is another reason, too: because a proud, decent people, the people of Germany, are led down a perilous road to a heartless society by being made to associate themselves with another genocide carried out in their name, with their complicity.

I am neither Jewish nor Palestinian. But I am incredibly proud to be here among Jews and Palestinians — to blend my voice for peace and universal human rights with Jewish voices for peace and universal human rights, with Palestinian voices for peace and universal human rights. Being together here today is proof that coexistence is not only possible — but that it is here already. “Why not a Jewish congress, Mr Varoufakis?” the same German journalist asked me, imagining that he was being smart. I welcomed his question. For if a single Jew is threatened, anywhere, just because she or he is Jewish, I shall wear the Star of David on my lapel and offer my solidarity — whatever the cost, whatever it takes.

So let’s be clear: if Jews were under attack, anywhere in the world, I would be the first to canvass for a Jewish congress in which to register our solidarity. Similarly, when Palestinians are massacred because they are Palestinians — under a dogma that to be dead and Palestinian, they must have been Hamas — I shall wear my keffiyeh and offer my solidarity whatever the cost, whatever it takes. Universal human rights are either universal or they mean nothing.

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Time to hear Pelosi and Liz Cheney under oath?

DC National Guard Say They WERE Ready To Be Deployed On Jan 6 (DM)

Whistleblowers from the Washington D.C. National Guard will tell Congress that Donald Trump did want them deployed during the Capitol riot and the Army delayed telling them to mobilize in a bombshell hearing next week. DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal that at least three officers will appear Wednesday before a House subcommittee to claim their stories were also ignored by the Democrat-led January 6 committee, because it didn’t fit their narrative. The hearing will aim to further prove that Acting Defense Secretary at the time Christopher Miller did give advance approval of D.C. National Guard deployment at the direction of then-President Donald Trump. A person familiar with the review by the House Administration Committee’s Oversight Subcommittee said the whistleblowers will provide testimony that then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy delayed by at least two hours providing official notice to D.C. National Guard Commander William Walker to deploy troops to the Capitol.

Instead of getting to the bottom of the breakdown in communication and focusing on improving Military preparedness for future incidents, the witnesses feel the January 6 panel was solely focused on pinning blame for the events that day on Trump. The officers, who were with Walker the day of the Capitol riot, will detail how they were on buses in full tactical gear for hours waiting for the go-ahead from the Army. McCarthy has stated under oath that he did give a timely order for deployment of the D.C. National Guard – but Walker’s troops said they found out about mobilization during a press conference, which led to a three-hour-and-19-minute delay of forces arriving at the Capitol. Some suggest that McCarthy was vying for a spot in President Joe Biden’s incoming administration and didn’t like the optics of it looking like the Army, under his command, was trying to interfere or inhibit certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

The hearing on Wednesday is titled ‘Three Years Later: D.C. National Guard Whistleblowers Speak Out on January 6 Delay’ and aims to examine whether Trump was at fault for the delay in National Guard deployment. Additionally, the whistleblowers will reveal how the January 6 Committee did not want to hear their testimony because it corroborated Trump and his allies’ claims that the former president did authorize the National Guard days in advance to respond to any violence or unrest on January 6, 2021. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) is chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee, which is tasked with reviewing the January 6 Committee’s investigation into the Capitol riot.

Last month, Loudermilk released a transcript of a never-before-seen interview with Tony Ornato, the man in charge of Trump’s security detail on January 6, 2021. In the interview with the panel, Ornato confirmed that Trump did authorize the National Guard for mobilization and deployment to D.C. that day. The bombshell release of that interview reveals flaws in the January 6 committee’s argument that Trump wanted to stoke chaos that day by not allowing National Guard troops to respond to the scene at the Capitol. Loudermilk’s panel is concerned with making sure that security of the U.S. Capitol complex is nonpartisan and that readiness is not affected by partisan politics.

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“..other defendants did not write “a memoir in which they made countless statements proving their crimes and drawing further attention to their criminal conduct.”

Another Federal Judge Rejects All Hunter Biden Claims for Dismissal (Turley)

While some legal analysts continue to boost Hunter Biden’s legal claims, the reviews in actual courts are far less glowing. Recently, we discussed a federal judge rejecting all eight motions of Hunter Biden to dismiss his tax charges in a stinging opinion citing a conspicuous lack of actual evidence to support their claims. Now, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika has also rejected those claims in the gun case in Delaware, calling Hunter’s arguments “nonsensical.” Legal experts like MSNBC’s Andew Weissmann have slammed the gun charges as “an abuse.” Hunter Biden’s counsel has argued selective prosecution and a bar on charges (based on the defunct notorious plea deal) in both cases. While these arguments were given great credence on some networks, they were stomped on by actual judges applying the law to the case. Abby Lowell and Hunter’s defense team have insisted that he is the victim of selective prosecution, but Special Counsel David Weiss has eviscerated those claims.

In a recent filing, Weiss dismissed many of Hunter’s claims as “patently false” and noted that he virtually flaunted his violations and engaged in obvious efforts to evade taxes and hide his crimes. Weiss further noted that other defendants did not write “a memoir in which they made countless statements proving their crimes and drawing further attention to their criminal conduct.” It was a devastating take-down of Hunter’s claims, but it did not address the conspicuous omission of charges brought against Menendez, including FARA charges. It also does not address the fact that the Justice Department not only allowed the statute of limitations to run on major crimes, but sought to finalize an obscene plea agreement with no jail time for Hunter. It only fell apart when a judge decided to ask a couple of cursory questions of the prosecutor, who admitted that he had never seen an agreement this generous for a defendant. Weiss noted in his filing that they filed new charges only after Hunter’s legal counsel refused to change the agreement and insisted that it remained fully enforceable.

Judge Noreika is equally unimpressed by the arguments of the Biden team. She almost mockingly noted that “Defendant’s articulated protected class is apparently family members of politically-important persons.” She later added: “Defendant’s claim is effectively that his own father targeted him for being his son, a claim that is nonsensical under the facts here. Regardless of whether Congressional Republicans attempted to influence the Executive Branch, there is no evidence that they were successful in doing so and, in any event, the Executive Branch prosecuting Defendant was at all relevant times (and still is) headed by Defendant’s father.” The court also rejected Hunter Biden’s effort to subpoena Trump, former attorney general Bill Barr, and two other senior officials who served in the Trump Justice Department. Again, she noted that it was the Biden administration that decided to prosecute Hunter Biden on the firearms offenses.

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Aristotle time

 

 

Moom!

 

 

Wolf size

 

 

Lynx

 

 


Just 10 streams carry 95% of all river-borne plastic into the ocean

 

 

Reindeer

 

 

Octopus

 

 

Skink
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779155873861927286

 

 

Baby swans
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779221790038098045

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 122024
 


Edgar Degas The laundress 1873

 

The Deep State Prepares for a Trump Victory (Jeffrey Tucker)
Russia, China Sketch the Future as the World Awaits Iran’s Move (Pepe Escobar)
Israel Expects Iran’s Direct Attack Within Next 24 to 48 Hours (Sp.)
Had UN Condemned Israel, There’d Be No Need For Retaliation – Iran (RT)
Brits Should Not Be Part Of The Genocide In Gaza (Jay)
Russia Delivers Major Blow to Ukraine, Destroys Kiev’s Biggest Power Plant (NC)
We Really Want To Destroy Europe’s Longest Bridge – Zelensky (RT)
Biden’s Remark On Ukraine Apocalyptic – Medvedev (RT)
Biden ‘Very Proud’ Of Expanding NATO To Russia’s Borders (RT)
Pentagon Warns US Could Miss Ukraine ‘Pay Off’ (RT)
Moscow Shines Spotlight On Who Comes After Zelensky (Helmer)
US Citizens Backing Russia – Zelensky (RT)
Trump Has No Intention Of Going To Ukraine – Reuters (RT)
Ukraine Peace Impossible Without Russia – Swiss FM (RT)
Irish Taxpayers Paid For The Accommodation Of Ukrainian Dogs And Cats (RT)
Sen. Kennedy Suggests Ulterior Motive Behind Border Crisis (ET)

 

 

 

 

Tucker democracy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778183879255265519

 

 

Nebenzya
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778474208743321696

 

 

Stefanik
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778433384865321226

 

 

 

 

RFK malinformation
https://twitter.com/i/status/1778532862402408632

 

 

Rogan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Absolute must read from Jeffrey Tucker. Another way to make it impossible for Trump to effect any meaningful changes. Just like the NATO “Ukraine fund”.

“There are more than 2 million permanent bureaucrats..” And they want to make them independent of who’s president. Democracy be damned.

The Deep State Prepares for a Trump Victory (Jeffrey Tucker)

“In the first week of the Biden-Harris Administration, President Biden revoked an Executive Order issued by the previous Administration that risked altering our country’s long-standing merit-based civil service system, by creating a new excepted service schedule, known as ‘Schedule F,’ and directing agencies to move potentially large swathes of career employees into this new excepted service status. This attempt would have stripped career civil servants of their civil service protections that ensure that decisions to hire and fire are based on merit, not political considerations.” The “previous administration” means of course the Trump White House, which issued the greatest executive order in a hundred years. After four years of being subverted and thwarted by the civil service bureaucracy, the White House finally figured out the core problem. There are more than 2 million permanent bureaucrats, ensconced in 430 agencies, who imagine themselves to live outside the democratic system and the U.S. Constitution itself. They believe they are the state and the elected leaders are mere decoration.

Trump’s executive order insisted that every agency do an internal audit and ferret out any employee who has something to do with making or interpreting policy; that is, anyone whose work impacts on whether the president actually has control of the executive department. All those employees would be reclassified as Schedule F, meaning that they could be replaced if need be. That’s it. That’s the whole order. Maybe it doesn’t seem like much but it was actually brilliant. The Trump administration is the first to discover the great secret of American public life, which is that the administrative state has taken on a life of its own. After years of trying, the Trump White House finally happened upon a key lever to gain back control for the people. It’s as simple as that. The Washington, D.C. political press freaked out. It was as if a president had found the engine room and the one switch that controls the whole thing. That was never supposed to happen. This produced mayhem inside the bureaucracy, and a doubling and tripling down on the conviction that he could never win a second term, lest this order be carried out.

That’s why one of the very first actions of the Biden administration was to repeal this executive order. That action made it very clear that Biden’s loyalties were with the deep state first and foremost. He would protect their jobs and power above all else. In fact, the OPM (Office of Personnel Management) press release brags about this. At issue here is a phrase from the initial Trump order. Any employee would be reclassified who deals with “confidential, policy determining, policymaking, or policy-advocating.” Notice this word confidential. This would apply to the whole of the intelligence community, perhaps. So wait, are we saying that the president should be in charge of the CIA, FBI, NSA, NSC, and the entire security apparatus, even to the point that he could fire anyone? Maybe so! Such a situation would be intolerable to the bad guys. From their point of view, this would fundamentally upend the functioning of government in America. Let’s face it. If the OPM and the whole of the bureaucracy believed there was no threat from Donald Trump or RFK, Jr., such a rule change would not be necessary.

They believe it is necessary, which implies that the civil service thinks that the rising populist movement is a genuine threat that could succeed in taking back the country. Otherwise, they wouldn’t bother. What is the OPM? It was founded out of the Pendleton Act of 1883, which started the permanent bureaucracy in the United States. With it came the Civil Service Commission, the first name of what later was called the OPM. Until that time, and under the Constitution, the U.S. president had full control of the bureaucracy. The new president would typically replace a vast number of bureaucrats with loyalists. This was denounced as the “spoils system” but it could also be called simple democracy in which the people rule themselves through their elected representatives. The permanent class of rules grew through wars and crises over a hundred years to become the government that cares not a whit for who is technically elected or otherwise appointed as agency heads. As a matter of habit, they have come to ignore all the comings and goings of the people elected by the population. Elections are just a distraction to them.

The essential point: Donald Trump and RFK, Jr. represent a genuine threat to the gang that has subverted and nearly wrecked this country. Now we know that this threat is real, else we would not see these efforts to entrench the bad guys and protect them against all conceivable threats. As this proves again, the main struggle alive in this country and all over the world is the one between the people and the deep state consisting of a vast network of elites in government, media, the corporate world, banking and finance, private foundations, and global bureaucracies, all working for their own interests at the expense of everyone else. It’s a battle for control, and it is the underlying dynamic that shapes our lives right now. The bad guys are scared. Now we know this for sure, or they would not be trying to pre-rig the system against fundamental change. The elites believe based on long experience that they can always outwit the rest of the population. We shall see.

It’s going to be brutal before and after the election. There will be one or several October surprises. If Donald Trump wins, the onset of Winter will kick off propaganda like you have never seen. As the inauguration approaches, absolute hysteria will dawn. The COVID racket will seem like child’s play. Every day and every hour after will consist of wild attempts to stop the administration from functioning. What a time to be alive.

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“..the dogs of Forever Wars bark while the Eurasian integration caravan marches on..”

Russia, China Sketch the Future as the World Awaits Iran’s Move (Pepe Escobar)

The whole planet awaits with bated breath the avowedly inevitable Iranian response to the attack against its consulate/ambassador residence in Damascus by the biblical psychopaths responsible for the Gaza genocide. Enveloped in an aura of secrecy, each passing day betrays the immensity of the challenge: the possibly asymmetrical response must be, simultaneously, symbolic, substantive, cogent, convincing, reasonable and rational. That is driving Tel Aviv totally hysterical and the deciding instances of the Hegemon extremely itchy. Everyone with a functioning brain knows this wet dream of a stunt from the point of view of hardcore Zionists and US Christian zio-cons was a serious provocation, designed to draw the US to the long-cherished Israeli plan of striking a decisive blow against both Hezbollah and Tehran.

The IDF’s Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi all but gave away the game, when he said this past Sunday that “we are operating in cooperation with the USA and strategic partners in the region.” Translation: never trust the Hegemon even as the notion is floated – via Swiss mediators – that Washington won’t interfere with Tehran’s response to Tel Aviv. One just needs to remember Washington’s “assurances” to Saddam Hussein before the first Gulf War. It’s impossible to take Hegemon back-channel assurances at face value. The White House and the Pentagon occasionally dispense these “assurances” to Moscow every time Kiev strikes deep inside the Russian Federation using US-UK satellite intel, logistics, weaponry and with NATO in de-facto operational control. The state terror attack on Damascus, which shredded the Vienna convention on diplomatic immunity, crucially was also an attack on both the expanded BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Iran is a member of both multilateral bodies, and on top of it is engaged in strategic partnerships with both Russia and China. So it’s no wonder the leadership in both Beijing in Moscow is carefully considering all possible repercussions of the next Iranian move. Tel Aviv’s purposeful escalation – when it comes to expanding war in West Asia – happens to mirror another escalation: NATO’s no way out in Ukraine except by doubling down, with no end in sight. That started with the invariably out of his depth Secretary of State Little Tony Blinken affirming, on the record, that Ukraine will join NATO. Which any functioning brain knows is translatable as the road map towards a Russia-NATO hot war with unbelievably dire consequences. Little Blinkie’s criminal irresponsibility was duly picked up and reverberated by the Franco-British duo, as expressed by British FM David “of Arabia” Cameron and French FM Stephane Sejourne: “If Ukraine loses, we all lose”. At least they got that right – although that took ages, when it comes to framing NATO’s approaching cosmic humiliation.

Now let’s switch from clownish bit players to the adults in the room. As in Russian FM Sergei Lavrov and Chinese FM Wang Yi discussing literally every incandescent dossier together earlier this week in Beijing. Lavrov and Wang could not be clearer on what’s ahead for the Russia-China strategic partnership. They will engage together on all matters regarding Eurasian security. They will go, in Lavrov’s words, for “dual opposition” to counterpunch the West’s “dual deterrence”. They will be countering every attempt by the usual suspects to “slow down the natural course of history”. Add to it the confirmation that President Putin and President Xi will hold at least two bilaterals in 2024: at the SCO summit in June and at the BRICS summit in October. In a nutshell: the dogs of Forever Wars bark while the Eurasian integration caravan marches on.

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Iran will go asymmetrical.

Israel Expects Iran’s Direct Attack Within Next 24 to 48 Hours (Sp.)

Israel is expecting a direct attack from Iran on southern or northern Israel within the next 24 to 48 hours, The Wall Street Journal has reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. The report said on Thursday, citing a person briefed by the Iranian leadership, that no final decision has been made yet, although plans for an attack are being discussed. The report also cited a US official familiar with the situation as saying on Thursday that intelligence reports of the United States indicate an Iranian strike within days, “possibly on Israeli soil.” The Iranian Foreign Ministry said it “reserves the right” to respond to the Israeli attack and “punish the aggressor.” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also vowed that Israel would pay a “heavy price” for the strike.

US media reported earlier, citing Iranian and US intelligence sources, that Iran plans to strike dozens of sensitive targets in Israel, including energy infrastructure and various other facilities, using ballistic missiles and drones carrying explosives. A potential direct attack from Iran on the territory of Israel would require an appropriate response, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, according to a statement by the Israeli Defense Ministry. “The defense minister [of Israel] expressed his commitment to the security of Israeli citizens, as a direct Iranian attack on Israeli territory would require an appropriate Israeli response against Iran,” the ministry said on Thursday.

In a conversation, Gallant and Austin discussed preparedness for a possible Iranian attack, and Gallant told his American counterpart that Israel “will not tolerate an Iranian attack on its territory.” On April 1, Israel carried out an airstrike on the consular annex of the Iranian embassy in Damascus, destroying the building. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said seven of its members had been killed in the attack, including two commanders. The Syrian Health Ministry said the next day that the attack had also killed four Syrians and injured 13 more.

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Tehran offers a gift. An olive branch. It will be ignored.

Had UN Condemned Israel, There’d Be No Need For Retaliation – Iran (RT)

Iran feels obligated to punish Israel for attacking its diplomatic mission in Syria because the UN Security Council has failed in its duty, Tehran’s mission to the global organization said on Thursday.The April 1 airstrike killed seven Iranian officers, including two generals of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force. Israel has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack.“Had the UN Security Council condemned the Zionist regime’s reprehensible act of aggression on our diplomatic premises in Damascus and subsequently brought to justice its perpetrators, the imperative for Iran to punish this rogue regime might have been obviated,” the mission posted on X (formerly Twitter). Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that Israel “must and shall be punished” for what it did. Israeli and US intelligence have fueled speculation that possible reprisals could entail anything from drone attacks to ballistic missile strikes.

Israel has been bracing for some kind of response for over a week, with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) canceling all leave and starting to spoof GPS signals. Reports on Wednesday, sources linked to anonymous US intelligence officials spoke of an imminent Iranian strike within 24-48 hours, following the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the feast of Eid-al-Fitr. Brent oil futures have risen above $90 per barrel in anticipation. British-based media have reported that Israel has been preparing to attack Iranian nuclear program facilities in the event of a missile strike. The US government has declared it would back West Jerusalem against Tehran, but anonymous claims that American jets would join Israeli strikes have not been officially confirmed.

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“Israel has gone over a line on “defending itself” and Britain has been dragged into that quagmire which has made us look like the amateurs we are on the international diplomatic circuit..”

Brits Should Not Be Part Of The Genocide In Gaza (Jay)

How likely is it that the Israeli air force jet which killed three British aid workers in Gaza took off from our base in Cyprus? How much longer can our own government deny that there is a genocide happening each day in Gaza with not only the tacit blessing of the government but in some cases it actually goes the distance and provides the full package of support to murder women and children? The murky dividing line between the British so-called neutral position on Gaza and the reality of what even our own MPs recently admitted was a genocide which broke a tome of internal laws – seems to be getting more opaque by the day. The Conservative party is very confused about where it is on the Gaza war and while David Cameron recently admitted that he was “worried” about international law being broken, it is the prime minister who is now in the firing line demanding enquiries about the death of the three nationals killed.

Three of the seven who were killed were British nationals named James Henderson, John Chapman and James Kirby. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak demanded a concrete investigation into the deaths from the Netanyahu government. But he won’t get concrete investigations from the Netanyahu government as this body has shown the world in recent months that there is no level of depravity which it is not prepared to stoop to as it still continues to shock us each day with video clips on social media breaking new boundaries of poor taste.= Yet IDF soldiers playing with women’s underwear is one thing; it is quite another thing for us to imagine that Britain could be pulled into a massive international law black hole which could go on for years via the ICJ in the Hague.

Surely the deaths of these three should be the right moment to have a re-think on a government level if we can’t have one as a society. Israel has gone over a line on “defending itself” and Britain has been dragged into that quagmire which has made us look like the amateurs we are on the international diplomatic circuit. But where to draw that line?

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“If Russia had tried prostrating Ukraine via widespread power outages much earlier (even assuming it wasn’t unduly costly against a Ukraine with intact air defenses) it would have been the dog that caught the car..”

Russia Delivers Major Blow to Ukraine, Destroys Kiev’s Biggest Power Plant (NC)

Ukraine’s government is facing a juncture described in Marguerite Yourcenar’s The Memoirs of Hadrian: “I begin to discern the profile of my death.” Russia is demonstrating that it can turn the lights out all over Ukraine. That time has now passed. Russia has destroyed the largest generating plant in the Kiev oblast, Tripilska Power Plant. As we’ll explain below, this further reduction of Ukraine’s generating capacity has knock-on effects, most importantly forcing further big cuts via soon necessitating the shutdown of nuclear reactors. The Ukraine power system is approaching a tipping point if it has not already reached it.

Commentators early in the war, particularly the hyper-nationalist sorts in Russia, were perplexed that Russia didn’t engage in the typical practice of a belligerent, of knocking out power and communications networks at the outset. The most common one provided was that Putin in particular really did regard the Special Military Operation as not exactly a war and hoped to bring Ukraine to the negotiating table, which indeed happened. So not stoking further Ukraine hostilities by harming civilians, or even unduly discomfiting them, was part of the initial “Let’s bring Kiev to its senses” plan. In addition, many Russians have relatives in Ukraine, so avoiding civilian casualties and even costs were important for domestic reasons.

Again, the more martial-minded weren’t happy with the Ministry of Defense, in fall-winter 2022, toying with Ukraine’s grid by selectively targeting transmission, inflicting damage that that Ukraine could repair in at worst a few days. John Helmer, who has given far and away the best analysis of the electrical war, depicted Russia as figuring out how the system worked so as to more efficiently drop the hammer when the time came. Others soon added that a major point of this campaign was to speed up the process of draining Ukraine of air defense missiles. Note that Russia intensified its grid strikes and began targeting generation capacity very close to when the Pentagon had said Ukraine would run out of air defense missiles, at the end of March. And on top of that, Russia has been taking out the weapons platforms too. One YouTuber (was it Brian Berletic?) recently said Ukraine might now has as few as three Patriot launch systems.

But there’s another reason for waiting until Ukraine’s military was on the rope and its air defenses were badly depleted. If Russia had tried prostrating Ukraine via widespread power outages much earlier (even assuming it wasn’t unduly costly against a Ukraine with intact air defenses) it would have been the dog that caught the car. Russia had dithered about developing a Plan B until the embarrassing Kharkiv and Kherson pull-backs forced Russia to act. Amazingly. Russia was able to start and implement its partial mobilization, with 6 to 7 months of training for new enlistees, with the West doing nothing to force Russia’s timetable. They were so high on the Russian retreats and their own PR that Russia any day now, yessiree, was going to run out of missiles that they gave Russia extremely valuable time to build up its capabilities and its weapons supplies. Weirdly, they even saw Russia demonstrate its capabilities by constructing the Surovikin Line, yet still refused to get the memo.

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“Kiev has repeatedly asked Germany for long-range Taurus missiles, specifically to strike the bridge. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has firmly rejected Kiev’s request..”

We Really Want To Destroy Europe’s Longest Bridge – Zelensky (RT)

Ukraine’s goal of bringing down Russia’s Crimean Bridge is part of plans for a new counteroffensive, President Vladimir Zelensky said in an interview with international media this week. Since the outbreak of the Ukrainian conflict in 2022, several officials and commanders in Ukraine, including Zelensky, have been threatening to destroy the 19-kilometer bridge connecting the Russian peninsula of Crimea to the Krasnodar Region – claiming the structure was vital for the Russian military. “We really want to destroy Russian infrastructure. This is not just about the bridge in Kerch, which everyone is talking about. We are talking about some infrastructure facilities that constitute a military target. We are talking about bridges and airfields,” Zelensky said on Tuesday, speaking to outlets owned by the German media giant Axel Springer. Ukraine’s leader made the same claim last year during Kiev’s failed attempt to wrest back land lost to Moscow in 2022.

The Crimean Bridge is a legitimate target for Ukraine and must be “neutralized,” he said in a video address to the Aspen Security Forum in July. Earlier, some Western media outlets wrote that new attacks on the bridge are inevitable. In February the commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Vice Admiral Aleksey Neizhpapa, claimed it will be destroyed in 2024. Kiev has repeatedly asked Germany for long-range Taurus missiles, specifically to strike the bridge. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has firmly rejected Kiev’s request, arguing that Russia could view this as Berlin’s involvement in the war. However, Scholz looks increasingly isolated in this view – in March, a leaked audio revealed that top German officials were discussing plans to send Ukraine long-range missiles that could take out the bridge. The Crimean Bridge was built between 2016 and 2018 and was the only road and rail link between the peninsula and mainland Russia.

However, Moscow opened a vast land bridge to Crimea after Kherson and Zaporozhye regions and the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk voted to officially join Russia in the fall of 2022. The structure had been targeted with missiles and naval drones on numerous occasions, but most of those attacks have been successfully blocked. In October 2022, an explosives-laden truck blew up as it was traveling along the bridge, killing three people and causing extensive damage. In July last year, a drone boat exploded under the structure, killing two people. Back then, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin labeled the attack “brutal” and pointless from a military perspective. He claimed the bridge is no longer being used to transport ammunition.

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“..Biden’s words amount to saying: “Keep killing each other. The more people die, the better. I want more deaths.”

Biden’s Remark On Ukraine Apocalyptic – Medvedev (RT)

US President Joe Biden is endorsing continued human suffering by demanding more military assistance for Ukraine, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has argued. Biden reiterated his call to the US Congress on Wednesday to release an additional $60 billion in aid for Ukraine. After doing so, he was asked by the press how he thought the conflict would come to an end. “The war in Ukraine comes to an end by the House Leader allowing a vote,” Biden responded, referring to Speaker Mike Johnson, who for weeks has been standing in the way of the foreign security assistance bill that includes more money for Kiev. According to Medvedev, Biden’s words amount to saying: “Keep killing each other. The more people die, the better. I want more deaths.”

The policy makes the US leader not unlike Death, one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse described in the Book of Revelations, the Russian official, who currently serves as deputy head of the national security council, claimed on social media on Thursday. Biden has pledged to support Kiev with arms and money for “as long as it takes” to defeat Russia. Moscow says the US is fueling the hostilities because it wants to cause more damage to Russia and would continue the fight “to the last Ukrainian.” Biden did not explain why he expects the pending aid package to be more impactful than the previous ones. On the same day, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Celeste Wallander told the House that Ukraine funding must continue, because otherwise the billions of dollars spent by Washington on the conflict in the previous years would have been wasted.

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“Trump runs that party. He maintains a sort of a death grip on it. Everybody’s afraid to take him on..”

Biden ‘Very Proud’ Of Expanding NATO To Russia’s Borders (RT)

US President Joe Biden has hailed NATO’s further expansion toward Russia’s borders, while accusing Republican rival Donald Trump of undermining the unity of the American-led military bloc. Russia has for years voiced concern about NATO’s creeping encroachment, viewing its policies as an existential threat. However, in an interview with Spanish-language broadcaster Univision that aired on Tuesday, Biden touted the recent addition of Finland and Sweden to the bloc’s ranks amid the Ukraine conflict as a great achievement. “We’ve done something that I was very proud of. I’ve engaged with NATO for my whole career. We were able to expand NATO, and we have 2,000 miles of border because you have two Nordic nations having joined NATO. You have a whole range of NATO countries along the Russian border,” the US president said.

Biden went on to argue that a stalemate in Congress over his $61 billion military aid package for Kiev is “very dangerous” for the bloc’s unity, accusing his former US leader Trump of virtually holding the measure – and the entire Republican party – hostage. “Trump runs that party. He maintains a sort of a death grip on it. Everybody’s afraid to take him on whether they agree with him or not, and it’s incredibly dangerous. The last thing we need is to see NATO start to break apart. It would be a disaster for the United States, a disaster for Europe, a disaster for the world,” Biden said.

The US has provided Ukraine with over $113 billion in various forms of assistance since the start of hostilities with Russia. Moscow has repeatedly condemned foreign arms shipments to Kiev, arguing they will only prolong the conflict, while making the West a direct participant in the hostilities. Finland shares a 1,300km border with Russia, and Moscow has argued that NATO membership has threatened, not guaranteed, Finnish security. After Helsinki joined the alliance last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the creation of a new military district bordering the Nordic nation. Sweden joined the bloc last month.

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“..Washington must double down on funding Kiev’s war effort against Moscow, to ensure that billions of dollars in previous “investments” do not go to waste..”

Pentagon Warns US Could Miss Ukraine ‘Pay Off’ (RT)

Washington must double down on funding Kiev’s war effort against Moscow, to ensure that billions of dollars in previous “investments” do not go to waste, the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, Celeste Wallander, has claimed. The US has provided Ukraine with over $113 billion in various forms of assistance since the start of hostilities in February 2022, including more than $62 billion in military aid funneled through the Pentagon. However, more funds are urgently needed to protect this investment, Wallander told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. “What we need right now to prevent Russian success and Ukrainian defeat is passage of the supplemental,” she said, urging Congress to approve President Joe Biden’s aid package which would earmark another $60 billion for Kiev.

None of that work that we’ve done for two years in investing in Ukraine’s future will pay off, unless we get them through the next few months. President Biden has been urging lawmakers for months to approve his new aid package, but many Republicans have opposed the measure, demanding more efforts to strengthen US border security, while seeking more accountability for the aid already transferred to Kiev – demanding concrete answers on what the United States’ end goal in Ukraine is. Ukraine has also received at least $190 billion in military and financial aid from EU institutions and individual members, as well as other donor states, according to Kiel Institute data.

Washington is working with the EU and other NATO partners to get to a longer-term solution “that is well underway,” Wallander claimed. However, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) General Christopher Cavoli argued at the hearing that new US aid is “critical at this moment,” until Ukraine’s other sponsors boost their production of crucial items including artillery shells. Without a new cash injection from Washington, Kiev will “lose the war,” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky admitted this week. Meanwhile US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pitched the aid as a way to provide jobs for American workers in the military industry, arguing that more than $50 billion in the “national security supplemental” funding would end up spread across at least 30 American states.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned last month that the Ukrainian military was running out of guns and ammunition, rather than cash, calling on bloc members to mobilize their reserves and provide Ukraine with everything that it needs to continue the fight. The Kremlin has repeatedly warned that the ever-growing involvement of Western countries in the Ukraine conflict could result in an all-out confrontation between NATO and Russia. Moscow also insists that weapons deliveries will not change the outcome of the conflict but merely prolong them. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed claims that Russia won’t stop after reaching its goals in Ukraine and could attack NATO next as “utter nonsense” designed to “beat the money out” of the populations of Western countries.

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“..reducing the presidency to a shadow; centralizing all military and civil command in Yermak’s office, but letting Zelensky stay alive..”

Moscow Shines Spotlight On Who Comes After Zelensky (Helmer)

Advertisements for replacements of Vladimir Zelensky aren’t unusual, even if he has disposed of almost all of them already. That leaves just one, Andrei Yermak, head of the Presidential Office — prompter, grey eminence, comfort blanket of Zelensky in almost every significant move he has made since 2019– and now candidate to become prime minister in a revolutionary transfer of power in the Kiev regime, reducing the presidency to a shadow; centralizing all military and civil command in Yermak’s office, but letting Zelensky stay alive. Advertising Andrei Yermak to be prime minister is unusual in Vzglyad, the semi-official platform in Moscow for political and security analysis. This is especially so at this point in time when President Vladimir Putin has identified the Kiev regime as responsible for the Crocus City Hall attack, and the General Staff are escalating the Russian offensive on the ground along the line of contact east of the Dnieper River, and in the air deep into the west as far as Lvov.

What war aim would be served by Vzglyad’s signal that Yermak may be an acceptable counterparty to the Kremlin for negotiations to end the war short of regime capitulation – unless the signal is a false flag, intended to encourage Zelensky to save himself by eliminating Yermak, as he did General Valery Zaluzhny, and thereby leave nothing and no one in Kiev to put a brake on the Russian resolve to create a demilitarized zone all the way to the Polish border. What follows is a verbatim translation of the publication on April 9 of a piece in Vzglyad by Vasily Stoyakin, entitled “The all-powerful ‘Green Cardinal’ is operating behind Zelensky’s back”. There is no precedent in the mainstream Russian media, nor in military blogs and the internet media, for promotion of any end for the Zelensky regime, except its end. A profile of Yermak which is neutral to positive towards the role he has played so far and may play in the future is so exceptional that the fact it appears now is more significant than what the story, compiled from earlier publications, actually says.

Oleg Tsarev, a leading Ukrainian opposition figure in exile in Russia and potential candidate for the Ukrainian president after the Russian victory, has ignored Yermak in his regular Telegram commentaries; Zelensky and Yermak targeted Tsarev for assassination in Crimea last October, but failed. Dmitry Rogozin, a possible presidential candidate for the Russian presidency, has mentioned Yermak once in his Telegram channel, declaring: “the Bandera leadership of Ukraine has embarked on the path of ‘the final solution of the Russian question.’ Well, [they are] creative people. [They are] comedians [Zelensky], [television] producers [Yermak]. Hitler was also an artist. Mediocre. But in other respects he surpassed everyone. This, apparently, is enviable. They want to repeat it. We’ll have to do it again.” Rogozin is currently senator for the Zaporozhye region. He was targeted for Ukrainian assassination in Donetsk in December 2022; he survived.

There are two reasons why Yermak might be considered by the Kremlin to be the substitute for Zelensky with whom a negotiated settlement can be reached. One is that it has reportedly happened before. In September 2020, when Yermak and Zelensky were meeting in Muscat, Oman, with the Omani foreign minister and other officials, the Russian Security Council Secretary, Nikolai Patrushev, flew to Muscat and reportedly met them for several hours. What happened between them remains secret. Less secret is that the aircraft on which the two Ukrainians returned to Kiev was identified to be the same aircraft which had brought Patrushev to Oman. The secrecy was exposed by the US government’s propaganda organ, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and then amplified by the Ukrainian press. Yermak claimed the report “does not correspond to reality” attacking the US-financed Ukrainian source for “a blatant manipulation of public opinion [as] part of the aggressor’s information operations against Ukraine.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed the reported meeting was “a classic example of fake news”.

The second reason for possible Russian favour for Yermak is a long history of his family’s connections to Russia. His mother is a Leningrader; his father, a Jewish Kievan, served in a Soviet government agency in Afghanistan; since then he and Yermak himself have had personal and business connections with Russians engaged with the intelligence services.

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Turning against the people who paid him $110 billion. Time to cancel him.

US Citizens Backing Russia – Zelensky (RT)

Russian influence has penetrated the US political system and warped the information field around the world, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed in an interview with Politico on Tuesday. Zelensky was asked to comment on recent statements made by two Republican lawmakers: Mike Turner of Ohio and Mike McCaul of Texas. They claimed that “pro-Russian” propaganda has filtered into the minds of some of the members of Congress, which has failed to greenlight the $60 billion aid package for Kiev. The Ukrainian leader stated that Russia has succeeded in distorting “the information field of the world.” “They have their lobbies everywhere: in the United States, in the EU countries, in Britain, in Latin America, in Africa,” he said. “When we talk about the Congress — do you notice how they work with society in the United States?” he noted, adding that the scale of Russian influence in the US has been underestimated.

He claimed that US citizens were helping Russia by spreading its ideas in the American media. “They pump their narratives through the media,” Zelensky said. “These are not Russian citizens or natives of Russia, no. They are representatives of certain media groups, citizens of the United States.” According to Zelensky, these people work in the US media and deliver the appropriate messages, which are sometimes “very pro-Russian.” He hasn’t mentioned any names though. Following the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in 2022, Western governments launched a large censorship campaign against Russian media they deem to be ‘state-controlled’. Multiple Russian TV stations and media outlets, including RT, have been either blocked or prevented from operating in the US and some other Western countries.

RT, having been the first international news channel to reach one billion views on YouTube, was banned from the platform and those owned by the US-based tech giant Meta, including Facebook and Instagram, in the spring of 2022. According to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russian journalists working in the US have been facing difficulties, including over visa renewals; they’ve had their bank accounts blocked and in some cases been hounded by US intelligence agencies. Last year, James Rubin, the special envoy and coordinator of the US State Department’s Center for Global Engagement admitted that Washington wanted to shut down Russian media around the world. Commenting on his remarks, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that by taking such steps, Washington, which positions itself as a stronghold of human rights, demonstrated a deep disregard for media freedom.

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Of course not. To do what?

Trump Has No Intention Of Going To Ukraine – Reuters (RT)

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump does not think it would be a good idea for him to travel to Ukraine while he does not hold public office, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing his campaign. On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told outlets of the German-based Axel Springer media group that he had privately invited Trump through intermediaries to visit his country. The former US leader, who is likely headed for a rematch with incumbent Joe Biden in November’s election, has previously claimed that he would resolve the Ukraine conflict within “24 hours” if he were president. While Trump offered few clues as to how he might accomplish this task, the Washington Post reported that it would involve Kiev recognizing Russian sovereignty over some of the territories currently claimed by Ukraine. The ex-president’s aides, however, have dismissed the report as “speculation” by uninformed sources.

Zelensky has been skeptical about Trump’s ideas for making peace with Moscow, saying that “if the deal is that we just give up our territories… then it’s a very primitive idea.” In a statement to Reuters, Trump’s team insisted that there had been no formal outreach from Zelensky to the 45th president. “President Trump has said publicly it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to go to Ukraine right now since he’s not commander in chief,” the statement added. Trump has repeatedly criticized the Biden administration’s approach to the Ukraine conflict, saying Washington is sending too many weapons to Kiev. He has also floated a proposal to provide Ukraine with loans instead of non-repayable aid. While Ukrainian officials said they were ready to explore the idea, Politico reported that Kiev was “offended” by this plan. Meanwhile, commenting on Trump’s remarks about peace in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow has had no contacts with Trump on the issue, adding that the ex-president’s plan had too few details publicly available.

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“..the first conference may focus on “exactly how to invite Russia and what role to give it..”

Ukraine Peace Impossible Without Russia – Swiss FM (RT)

Any diplomatic efforts to resolve the Ukraine conflict will be fruitless unless Russia is involved in the process, Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis has said. Switzerland is planning to host a high-level Ukraine peace conference June 2024 at the Burgenstock resort near Lake Lucerne, seeking “to create a common understanding of a framework favorable” for ending the conflict and establishing a “concrete roadmap” for peace. Earlier media reports suggested that up to 100 nations could be present at the event. Russia, however, has signaled that it will not attend, even if officially invited. It has argued that the gathering will be promoting the ‘peace formula’ of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, which demands that Moscow withdraw from all territories that Kiev claims as its own, and the creation of a tribunal to prosecute Russia for alleged war crimes.

Moscow has dismissed the initiative as “detached from reality.” Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Cassis noted that the conference would be organized at Zelensky’s request, adding that there are sufficient conditions to launch a high-profile push for peace. “The first country we talked to after Ukraine was, of course, Russia. Because no peace process can take place without Russia, even if it won’t be present at the first meeting,” he said. The diplomat acknowledged that Moscow would have to be involved “sooner or later, but not necessarily from day one,” suggesting that the first conference may focus on “exactly how to invite Russia and what role to give it”.

Echoing those remarks, Swiss President Viola Amherd warned that the success of the summit was by no means guaranteed. “The alternative would be to do nothing… We will not sign a peace plan at this conference. We think there will be a second conference, but we want to start the process with this one.” While Moscow intends to boycott the Swiss-hosted peace conference, it maintains that it is open to talks over Ukraine, both directly and with Kiev’s Western backers. However, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last month that before any negotiations could begin Kiev must lift its ban on engagement with the current Russian leadership. A decree to that effect was signed by Zelensky in the autumn of 2022 after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia.

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“..1,806 pets were staying in hotels and other properties at the state’s expense..” “..accommodation for the animals was costing taxpayers just over €1 million ($1.07) per month..”

Irish Taxpayers Paid For The Accommodation Of Ukrainian Dogs And Cats (RT)

Irish taxpayers footed the bill for accommodating nearly 2,000 pets owned by Ukrainian refugees, including some they acquired after arriving in the country, according to local media. The money was allocated by the Department of Integration mostly in 2022, with peak spending recorded in November that year, the Irish Mirror reported on Wednesday, based on its own investigation. At that time, 1,806 pets were staying in hotels and other properties at the state’s expense, including 933 dogs, 819 cats, and 54 other animals.It cost Ireland up to €20 ($21.50) per night for each of the animals owned by Ukrainian Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection (BOTPs), records reviewed by the news outlet revealed. The exact sum spent specifically on non-human guests could not be established because the department “did not categorize between BOTPs and pets,” a spokesperson told the newspaper.

The Irish Mirror estimated that accommodation for the animals was costing taxpayers just over €1 million ($1.07) per month.The expenditure was “incredible” and “ridiculous,” independent lawmaker Michael McNamara told the newspaper, accusing the government of wastefulness. Referring to department officials, he asked: “What planet do these people live on?” “I presume the people arriving here with pets were prepared to pay for them in the same way as everyone else does or as they would have in Ukraine,” the politician added. “But if you find a department stupid enough to pay, then, of course, I wouldn’t blame people for allowing the department to pay for it.” The department said it stopped providing accommodation for Ukrainian pets from November 9, 2022. The latest report is a follow-up on a story that the Irish Mirror published in February, revealing that the Irish Department of Agriculture had spent €808,132 (about $869,000) on transport, kennelling and veterinary services for Ukrainian pets.

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Silent part out loud.

Sen. Kennedy Suggests Ulterior Motive Behind Border Crisis (ET)

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) suggested on April 10 that the Biden administration is facilitating illegal immigration to help Democrats politically. The senator’s remarks came amid his questioning of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on April 10. Mr. Kennedy, noting the “bleeding” southern border, suggested that the secretary’s border policies had an ulterior political motive. “Isn’t in fact, Mr. Secretary, that the number of illegal immigrants that you and the president allow into our country counts for congressional district reapportionment?” he asked. “Senator, I’m not sure I understand your question, but I can surely share with you that I disagree with its phrasing,” Mr. Mayorkas replied. The senator continued: “Isn’t it true, Mr. Secretary, that the number of illegal immigrants that you and President Biden have allowed into our country counts for allocating electoral votes?”

Mayorkas

Mr. Mayorkas repeated that he didn’t understand the question. He then called the senator’s insinuation “nothing short of preposterous” and “disrespectful” to administration and Department of Homeland Security personnel. Mr. Kennedy, however, charged that the secretary was well aware of the political ramifications of the border crisis, unintended or otherwise. “And you’ve done nothing for four years—zero, absolutely zilch. And, in fact, the only people I know in this country who are better off today than they were four years ago are illegal immigrants. And that’s a result of your policy.” Mr. Mayorkas became only the second presidential cabinet member ever to be impeached in U.S. history on Feb. 13. The charges against him included “willfully and systematically” refusing to enforce existing immigration laws and breach of public trust. The 214–213 vote split along party lines, with all but three Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats voting against.

Initially, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) planned to send the impeachment articles to the Senate on the day of the hearing. But on April 9, he announced that he would delay the move until next week as Republicans fight for a full trial. The Democrat-controlled Senate is expected to table the trial, though Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the chamber’s majority leader, has yet to announce his plans. A conviction would require a two-thirds majority vote. Democrats have said the charges against Mr. Mayorkas fail to meet the constitutional threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But Senate Republicans say Democrats fear the political consequences of a trial. “This issue is so toxic to Senate Democrats, to House Democrats, and to Joe Biden that they do not want this to be the issue of the day,” Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) said at an April 9 press conference.

Mr. Kennedy, during the hearing, said that he also expects his Democrat colleagues to dismiss the impeachment “and violate 200 years of Senate precedent in doing it.” He added, however, that the border crisis was likely to remain at the forefront regardless. “I don’t think that they will be able to sweep the issue—maybe your impeachment, but not the issue—under a rug as big as the United States of America,” he told the secretary.

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Greenwald Musk

 

 

Vivek Galileo

 

 

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Apr 112024
 
 April 11, 2024  Posted by at 8:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  42 Responses »


Pieter Bruegel the Elder The Triumph of Death c1562

 

Biden Considering Australian Request To Drop Assange Charges (BBC)
Iran Strike On Israel ‘Imminent’ (RT)
Jews Who Vote Democrat ‘Should Have Their Head Examined’ – Trump (RT)
Star Wars Coming – Top US General (RT)
Zelensky Reveals New Counteroffensive Plans (RT)
Trump Plan For Ukraine ‘Primitive’ – Zelensky (RT)
US Drones Faring Poorly In Ukraine Conflict – WSJ (RT)
Bodies of American Mercs Slain in Ukraine Piling Up at US Cemeteries (Sp.)
Senator Pressures Austin on How Much More Money US Will Spend in Ukraine (Sp.)
Attack on ZNPP Training Center Signals New Attacks On Plant — IAEA chief (TASS)
EU’s Borrell Warns Of ‘Potential Nuclear Disaster’ In Russia (RT)
Pentagon’s Ukraine Contract for Musk’s Starlink Expires – Bloomberg (RT)
DOJ Uncovers ‘Inconsistencies’ in Fani Willis’s Use of Federal Grant Funds (FB)
I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust. (Berliner)
How Trump Could Beat Deep State (Jim Rickards)

 

 

 

 

MTG Bannon Mike Johnson
https://twitter.com/i/status/1777841725169336685

 

 

RFK

 

 

 

 

Donalds

 

 

Adrenochrome Caviezel

 

 

Alex Jones
https://twitter.com/i/status/1777830274480357507

 

 

PedoJoe

 

 

 

 

Biden doesn’t want the hot potato anymore..

Biden Considering Australian Request To Drop Assange Charges (BBC)

US President Joe Biden has said that he is considering a request from Australia to drop the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The country’s parliament recently passed a measure – backed by PM Anthony Albanese – calling for the return of Mr Assange to his native Australia. The US wants to extradite the 52-year-old from the UK on criminal charges over the leaking of military records. Mr Assange denies the charges, saying the leaks were an act of journalism. The president was asked about Australia’s request on Wednesday and said: “We’re considering it.” The measure passed the Australian parliament in February. Mr Albanese told MPs: “People will have a range of views about Mr Assange’s conduct… But regardless of where people stand, this thing cannot just go on and on and on indefinitely.”

Mr Assange, 52, is fighting extradition in the UK courts. The extradition was put on hold in March after London’s High Court said the United States must provide assurances he would not face the death penalty. The High Court is due to evaluate any responses from the US authorities at the end of May. In a post on Twitter/X, directed at Mr Biden, Mr Assange’s wife Stella said: “Do the right thing. Drop the charges.” Kristinn Hrafnsson, the current editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, said that it was “not too late” for the president to stop the extradition attempt, which he said was a “politically motivated act” by Mr Biden’s predecessor. US prosecutors want to try the Wikileaks founder on 18 counts, almost all under the Espionage Act, over the release of confidential US military records and diplomatic messages relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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How Bibi draws the west into the war…

Iran Strike On Israel ‘Imminent’ (RT)

The promised Iranian retaliation for the Israeli attack on Tehran’s consulate in Damascus is likely in the next 24-48 hours, anonymous US officials told Bloomberg on Wednesday. Two generals of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force were killed in the Israeli airstrike on April 1, which for the first time targeted an internationally protected diplomatic mission. There has been a widespread expectation that Iran would refrain from reprisal until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Speaking on Wednesday, as Muslims celebrated the feast of Eid-al-Fitr, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Israel “must and shall be punished” for what it did. “Major missile or drone strikes” are now imminent, Bloomberg reported citing “people familiar with” the Israeli, US and allied intelligence reports.

They will likely be carried out by either Iran directly, or its allies such as the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, the anonymous sources said. The US is helping Israel with planning and sharing intelligence assessments, the sources said. West Jerusalem is reportedly waiting for the Iranian attack before it launches a ground offensive against the city of Rafah, in Gaza. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Wednesday that West Jerusalem would respond in kind if the attack on Israel comes from Iranian territory. Several media outlets reported on Tuesday that Israel has been preparing to target Iran’s nuclear facilities. The US has publicly promised Israel support against an Iranian attack, including helping shoot down the incoming missiles. Washington has reportedly also floated the idea of taking part in any Israeli counter-strikes.

“We do not rule out launching joint retaliatory strikes with Israel if it is attacked by Iran or its agents,” an unnamed US official told Al Jazeera Arabic. Meanwhile, Lufthansa has announced that it was suspending service to and from Tehran “due to the current situation in the Middle East.” Flights might resume after April 11, the German national carrier said on Wednesday. Rumors that the airspace over Iran’s Khuzestan province – on the southwestern border with Iraq – has been closed could not be independently confirmed. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have canceled all leave and began spoofing GPS signals, in preparation for a possible Iranian reprisal. Rumors of the impending Iranian strike also drove up the price of oil on futures markets, with Brent crude trading above $90 a barrel.

Gideon Levy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1777819512680968496

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“Biden has totally lost control of the Israel situation,” Trump told reporters. “He has abandoned Israel.”

Jews Who Vote Democrat ‘Should Have Their Head Examined’ – Trump (RT)

Former US president and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested that Jewish-Americans would be insane to vote for his rival in November. Trump held an impromptu press conference on the tarmac of the international airport in Atlanta, Georgia, after flying into town for a campaign fundraiser. He used the occasion to criticize President Joe Biden’s handling of the Gaza conflict, among other things. “Biden has totally lost control of the Israel situation,” Trump told reporters. “He has abandoned Israel.” “Any Jewish person that votes for a Democrat or votes for Biden should have their head examined,” Trump added.

During his term in the White House, Trump openly supported Israel, recognizing West Jerusalem’s annexation of the Golan Heights and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. In the 2020 election, an estimated 70% of American Jews voted for Biden. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas after the Gaza-based militant group’s October 7 attack that claimed an estimated 1,200 lives. Since then, over 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military operations. Many Palestinian and Muslim Americans have voiced frustration with Biden over his support of West Jerusalem, accusing him of not doing enough to stop the Israeli onslaught.

Finding itself criticized from both sides, the White House has tried to please both. The US has continued supplying ammunition and weapons to Israel and offered Netanyahu “ironclad” support against Iran, but also called for a ceasefire in Gaza and opening of humanitarian aid corridors. Netanyahu has mostly shrugged off US criticism, saying that “no force in the world” will stop Israel from destroying Hamas. Last month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat who is himself Jewish, called for the ouster of Netanyahu as a way to resolve the current conflict.

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“..Operation Olympic Defender, a program intended to “optimize space operation..,”

Star Wars Coming – Top US General (RT)

The possibility of a conflict in space is no longer just theoretical, General Stephen Whiting, head of the US Space Command, said on Tuesday. Speaking at the 39th Space Symposium at the command’s headquarters in Colorado Springs, Whiting painted an alarming picture of Russian and Chinese orbital capabilities. China has built a “kill web over the Pacific Ocean to find, fix, track and, yes, target US and allied military capabilities,” Whiting said, describing Beijing’s efforts as moving at “breathtaking speed.” Since 2018, Russia has doubled and China has tripled the number of their intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) satellites in orbit, while also testing and fielding anti-satellite weapons. Meanwhile, the US has “the world’s best space architectures,” but its military constellations are “optimized for a benign environment,” he said.

Russian and Chinese space weapons “hold at risk our modern way of life and how we defend this nation, and we must be able to deter and counter these threats when called upon to achieve space superiority,” the general said. Whiting described a possible armed conflict in space as “economically and environmentally devastating, perhaps for decades,” and said the US wishes to keep things in the state of “enduring competition” instead. The US is already working with Canada, Australia and the UK on Operation Olympic Defender, a program intended to “optimize space operations,” according to the Space Command. Whiting announced that Germany, France and New Zealand have been invited to join as well.

He also revealed that the command’s new Capability Assessment and Validation Environment (CAVE) has achieved “minimum viable capability.” The modeling and simulation laboratory will enable the US military to “derive better ways of deterring and planning to conduct operations for a war that’s never happened, and a war we don’t want to happen,” he said. Washington recently accused Moscow of having undisclosed anti-satellite capabilities, possibly nuclear in nature. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US claims were “unfounded” and a ploy to manipulate arms control talks. The Russian embassy in Washington has also accused the US of using “Russophobic slogans” to mask its own plans to militarize space.

Read more …

Not exactly. But he does reveal his new mantra:

“..it’s not about the number of people. It’s about the quality of the weapons.”

Zelensky Reveals New Counteroffensive Plans (RT)

Western military technology can enable Kiev to launch a new counteroffensive against Russia, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky believes. While Ukrainian forces are presently being pushed back on the battlefield, Kiev hopes to turn the tide thanks to Western aid, the Ukrainian leader told the German tabloid Bild this week. “Russia has more men, more weapons. But the West has modern weapons systems,” Zelensky mused. “If we get [production] licenses from our partners, then it’s not about the number of people. It’s about the quality of the weapons.” Kiev already has a plan for a new counteroffensive against Russia, Zelensky said, indicating that it depends on the US resuming military assistance to his country and the West in general helping Ukraine ramp up domestic military production.

Last year, Ukraine attempted a counteroffensive; Western-trained and armed troops were expected to break through Russian defensive lines and score a major victory. However, they only managed negligible territorial gains at the cost of tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and depleted their arms stockpiles. Russia estimated Ukrainian military losses between early June and late October, 2023 at roughly 90,000 troops, 600 tanks and 1,900 other armored vehicles. The Zelensky government maintains that it cannot negotiate with Russia as long as President Vladimir Putin remains in power and would not accept any outcome of the conflict that doesn’t entail the full restoration of Ukraine’s pre-2014 borders. A profile of the Ukrainian leader published by Time magazine last November said that his faith in Ukraine prevailing was “immovable, verging on the messianic.” Some of his aides perceived it as delusional, they told the news outlet.

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“He expects Western weapons to be so superior to Russian ones that Ukraine’s inferior troop numbers will be irrelevant..”

Trump Plan For Ukraine ‘Primitive’ – Zelensky (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has rejected a plan for making peace with Russia involving territorial concessions, which has reportedly been devised by Donald Trump. The proposed deal was outlined by the Washington Post this week, and would involve Kiev acknowledging Russian sovereignty over some of the territories currently claimed by Ukraine. The newspaper cited anonymous sources but one of Trump’s advisers has dismissed its report as “fake news.” The former president has repeatedly boasted that he would end the hostilities within 24 hours if he’s returned to the White House in November’s election, but has declined to explain his plan in detail. The hypothetical plan described by the newspaper “is very primitive,” Zelensky told German tabloid Bild.

The Ukrainian leader has previously stated that Trump should make his plan public. He told CNN last September: “If he has this plan, why be afraid and wait?” In his interview with Bild, the Ukrainian leader said Trump should visit Kiev to “see the situation with his eyes and draw certain conclusions.” Ukraine would require “strong arguments” to show that his idea is a “real one” and not “fantastic,” he added. Negotiations with Russia remain impossible as long as Vladimir Putin remains as its president, Zelensky told the German newspaper. He said Kiev had a plan to beat Moscow on the battlefield, after it gets more aid from the US and its allies, including direct weapons supplies and military technology for domestic arms production. He expects Western weapons to be so superior to Russian ones that Ukraine’s inferior troop numbers will be irrelevant.

Read more …

About those superior weapons…

US Drones Faring Poorly In Ukraine Conflict – WSJ (RT)

Small drones sent to Ukraine by US manufacturers have largely proved ineffective on the battlefield due to Russian electronic countermeasures, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Ukraine conflict has seen the widespread use of small expandable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for reconnaissance, as well as for dropping small explosives and serving as loitering munitions. US products have proved unsatisfactory, however, forcing Kiev to rely on Chinese models instead, the WSJ reported on Tuesday. “The general reputation for every class of US drone in Ukraine is that they don’t work as well as other systems,” Adam Bry, CEO of drone maker Skydio, told the newspaper. He admitted his own company’s products are “not a very successful platform on the front lines.”

Even some of the drones that the Pentagon has deemed fit for American soldiers have not fared well in the conflict, according to the report. The list of problematic weapons mentioned by the WSJ included AeroVironment Switchblade 300 loitering munitions, Velos Rotors V3 helicopter drones, and UAVs made by Cyberlux. Ukrainian troops are burning through some 10,000 small drones a month, the report added. Many of them are off-the-shelf models produced by Chinese manufacturer SZ DJI Technology, or are assembled from Chinese components on Ukrainian soil. The Chinese firm, which has been banned from US military use for supposedly posing a national security risk, told the newspaper that it “absolutely deplores and condemns the use of its products to cause harm anywhere in the world.”

Many American commercial drones cost tens of thousands of dollars more per piece than their Chinese competitors, the WSJ noted. US producers aiming to sell their UAVs to the Pentagon must meet its regulations, including restrictions on using Chinese parts and software updates. Russia has significantly increased domestic production of military drones amid the hostilities with Ukraine. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported last November that the country was supplying 16 times more drones compared to January 2023. Forbes suggested in December that Ukrainian assessments that Russia makes as many as 40,000 smaller first-person-view kamikaze quadcopters per month may be too conservative.

Read more …

“Therefore, they have only one choice – to flee Ukraine or to die..”

This should be on US prime time TV. It’d be over soon…

Bodies of American Mercs Slain in Ukraine Piling Up at US Cemeteries (Sp.)

US cemeteries are full of graves of American mercenaries who died in Ukraine – hirelings described by Western press as the so-called “volunteer soldiers.” One of them is retired Marine veteran Grady Kurpasi, who died two months after the start of the Russian special military operation. According to a Sputnik correspondent, the 50-year-old is buried in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, the most famous in the United States, where politicians, astronauts and even presidents, including John F. Kennedy, are buried. A cemetery in California has become the final resting place for another US mercenary, Bryan Young, 51, who was killed by “Russian artillery fire” in the Donetsk region in July 2023, according to American media. In a bizarre sight, the epitaph on Young’s gravestone reads “On to the next adventure”.

Another American mercenary who was buried in California is “Marine Corps veteran” Ian Tortorici. The 32-year-old fought for the Foreign Legion of Ukraine and was eliminated in an attack by Russian forces on a Ukrainian unit stationed in the city of Kramatorsk. US citizen Dane Partridge, 34, who had served in Iraq, fought on the side of the Kiev regime immediately after the start of Russia’s special operation, but was then seriously wounded and died a few months later. Partridge, who is survived by his wife and five children, is buried in Idaho. American mercenary Paul Lee Kim was also 34, when he was killed in Ukraine last year and was buried in a Texas cemetery.

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that almost 6,000 foreign mercenaries, who came to Ukraine to fight on the side of the Kiev regime, have been killed since the beginning of the special operation. According to the MoD, at least 1,113 mercenaries came from the United States, 491 of whom have already been killed. The Defense Ministry earlier stressed in a statement that the Kiev regime uses foreign mercenaries as “cannon fodder” and that “their lives are not spared by anyone in the Ukrainian command.” “Therefore, they have only one choice – to flee Ukraine or to die. The Russian armed forces will continue to destroy foreign mercenaries in the course of the special military operation, regardless of their location on the territory of Ukraine,” the statement read.

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“I’m just trying to understand the totality of the request to the American people for this war..”

Senator Pressures Austin on How Much More Money US Will Spend in Ukraine (Sp.)

US Senator Eric Schmitt on Tuesday pressured Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on the totality of funds the Biden administration is planning to spend supporting Ukraine in a conflict for which it has not articulated any clear goals. “There’s no money [left for Ukraine], so I can only be left to assume one of three things. One is the war is over. Two or B is the United States won’t be allocating any more dollars or C that this is a dishonest [supplemental] request. I guess the question is, are we going … to get another supplemental because members of this committee had been told there could be another request for $100 billion? I’m just trying to understand the totality of the request to the American people for this war,” Schmitt said in his remarks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

In February, the Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid bill that includes some $60 billion for Ukraine, but it was held up in the House of Representatives by Speaker Mike Johnson, who prioritized working on budget legislation and exploring other routes for Ukraine funding. Austin confirmed to Schmitt, though, that the supplemental request, which has not yet been voted on in the House, will provide additional funding for Ukraine-related needs only through the end of this fiscal year or September 30, meaning that there will be a need for another supplemental package past this date.

In addition, Austin said that it was a goal of the Alliance to admit Ukraine to NATO some time in the future. The Pentagon chief also agreed with Schmitt that the conflict is unlikely to end by September 30, which essentially means that the pending aid package for Ukraine obviously will not be the last. Schmitt emphasized that US legislators are skeptical about the $60 billion supplemental package for Ukraine because there are no adequate controls on how the money is being spent by Ukraine. “We are continuing to head down this road and now we are getting a budget request that isn’t reflective of the administration’s ‘how long it takes’ statement,” Schmitt said.

Every second, American taxpayers send $80,000 to Ukraine
https://twitter.com/i/status/1777793753157083541

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“Attacking a nuclear power plant is extremely irresponsible and dangerous, and it must stop..”

Attack on ZNPP Training Center Signals New Attacks On Plant — IAEA chief (TASS)

Tuesday’s drone attack on the training center of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) points to readiness for new attacks on the plant, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi said. “Today’s reported incident – although outside the site perimeter – is an ominous development as it indicates an apparent readiness to continue these attacks, despite the grave dangers they pose to nuclear safety and security and our repeated calls for military restraint. Whoever is behind them, they are playing with fire. Attacking a nuclear power plant is extremely irresponsible and dangerous, and it must stop,” Grossi said in a statement posted on the agency’s website.

The IAEA chief promised to bring up the seriousness of the situation surrounding the attacks on the ZNPP in his address to the UN Security Council “next week.” “I remain determined to do everything in my power to prevent a major nuclear accident <…>. At this moment of great danger, I will underline the seriousness of the situation in my address to the Security Council, whose support is of paramount importance for the IAEA’s persistent efforts to help prevent a major nuclear accident, with potential consequences for people and the environment in Ukraine and beyond,” Grossi said.

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“Russia should withdraw from Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.”

It’s Russian territory now.

EU’s Borrell Warns Of ‘Potential Nuclear Disaster’ In Russia (RT)

Attacks on Russia’s Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) could result in a nuclear disaster, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy has warned. Josep Borrell was commenting on a series of strikes carried out by kamikaze drones on the nuclear power station in the city of Energodar, in Zaporozhye Region. On Sunday, several bomb-laden Ukrainian UAVs struck parts of the complex, including the canteen and the cargo area. One drone was shot down above the dome of Reactor Six, according to the plant’s press service. On Tuesday, another UAV attacked the plant’s training center, where the world’s only full-scale reactor hall simulator is located.

“Reckless drone attack against [Zaporozhye] nuclear power plant increases risk of dangerous nuclear accident. Such attacks must stop,” the EU’s top diplomat wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, adding that “Russia should withdraw from Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.” Europe’s largest nuclear power plant fell under Moscow’s control in 2022, early in the conflict with Ukraine. Russia’s nuclear energy agency Rosatom took over the running of the nuclear power station after Zaporozhye Region was incorporated into Russia following a referendum in the autumn of 2022. Kiev has repeatedly claimed that Moscow keeps heavy weaponry on the premises of the power plant. Russia has accused Ukraine of shelling the facility and risking a major nuclear incident.

Borrell’s remarks echoed comments by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi. Commenting on the strikes earlier this week, he described them as a “major escalation of the nuclear safety and security dangers facing the [Zaporozhye] Nuclear Power Plant,” adding that “such reckless attacks significantly increase the risk of a major nuclear accident.” The international nuclear watchdog, which has personnel at the site, said it was the first time the facility had been directly targeted since November 2022, and warned that such attacks endangered nuclear safety. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov warned on Monday that the Ukrainian drone strike on the Zaporozhye facility was a “dangerous provocation” which could lead to severe negative consequences.

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“miniscule” compared to the “hundreds of millions of dollars” Musk’s SpaceX received from the US..”

Pentagon’s Ukraine Contract for Musk’s Starlink Expires – Bloomberg (RT)

The Pentagon contract to deploy Elon Musk’s Starlink terminals in Ukraine will expire next month, Bloomberg has reported, citing an unnamed US official. The service plays a vital role in Washington’s security assistance to Kiev, the report adds. The source also revealed that the contract, which went into force in June of last year and lasts through May, is worth $23 million, Bloomberg wrote. The US Department of Defense has so far refused to officially disclose the size of the contract. The amount has been described by the publication as “miniscule” compared to the “hundreds of millions of dollars” Musk’s SpaceX received from the US for launching some of its national security satellites. Musk has repeatedly voiced unease about the use of Starlink in Ukraine. The satellite network has been providing communications to the country’s military and the government.

”Starlink needs to be a civilian network, not a participant to combat,” Musk said on X (formerly Twitter) in September, referring to the use of the satellites in Ukraine throughout the conflict with Russia. “This is the right order of things,” he added. Musk’s comment came shortly after the billionaire revealed that he had foiled a Ukrainian drone raid on Crimea by refusing to let Kiev forces use Starlink to guide naval drone strikes on Russian ships. Musk’s admission sparked outrage in Kiev, with Mikhail Podoliak, a top adviser to President Vladimir Zelensky, accusing him of “enabling evil.” Musk responded to the accusation by explaining that he had no obligation to fight for Ukraine, adding that he did not want Space X to be “explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”

His remark echoed a previous statement made in the winter of 2023, where he admitted that although Starlink was “the communication backbone of Ukraine, especially at the front lines”, SpaceX “will not enable escalation of conflict that may lead to WW3.” Last year, SpaceX signed a contract with the US Defense Department to provide satellite services as part of the Pentagon’s new ‘Starshield’ program. CEO Elon Musk described the effort as a military alternative to the “civilian” Starlink. However, according to Bloomberg, the new Space Force contract will see Starshield’ rely on the existing constellation of Starlink satellites.

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“..the group’s administrative director, Toni Barnett, told the Free Beacon that she had no idea why the county was reporting making those payments..” “..You need to go to that government resource and you need to let that validate whatever you want to say or print. Because I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

DOJ Uncovers ‘Inconsistencies’ in Fani Willis’s Use of Federal Grant Funds (FB)

President Joe Biden’s Justice Department has uncovered “inconsistencies” in Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis’s use of federal grant funds, the Washington Free Beacon has learned. The bombshell discovery comes two years after Willis fired a whistleblower who had warned the district attorney that her office was attempting to misuse a $488,000 federal grant to pay for “swag,” computers, and travel. It’s that same grant that the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs now says is plagued with reporting discrepancies from Willis’s office, errors that federal authorities only disclosed to the Free Beacon after providing contradictory statements regarding awards Willis’s office may have made under the grant. “During our review of the award to respond to this inquiry, we have noticed some inconsistencies in what Fulton County has reported to [the Federal Subaward Reporting System] and we are working with them to update their reporting accordingly,” a Justice Department spokeswoman told the Free Beacon on Friday.

The Justice Department did not provide any further details on the nature of Willis’s reporting “inconsistencies” on the $488,000 federal grant, which was earmarked for the creation of a Center for Youth Empowerment and Gang Prevention in Atlanta. The grant ended in September 2023, but the center never opened. The Justice Department is coordinating with Willis’s office to fix the grant reporting “inconsistencies” amid an ongoing House Judiciary Committee investigation into Willis’s use of federal grant funds. Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) subpoenaed Willis in early February for records related to the $488,000 federal grant and the whistleblower allegations made by former Willis staffer Amanda Timpson, who was listed as the grant director until the district attorney abruptly fired her in January 2022.

Jordan threatened to hold Willis in contempt of Congress on March 14 after the district attorney responded to his subpoena with a “narrow set of documents” that had nothing to do with Timpson’s whistleblower allegations. Willis wrote in response that Jordan’s demands were “unreasonable and uncustomary” and suggested his investigation was an effort to derail her election interference case against former president Donald Trump. The Free Beacon questions that prompted the Justice Department’s discovery of Willis’s reporting “inconsistencies” centered on subaward payments the district attorney may have made to the Offender Alumni Association, an Alabama-based charity staffed by former prison inmates. Whether or not the Offender Alumni Association received payments from the federal grant depends on who is asked. Fulton County records show that Willis’s office transferred $88,900 from the federal gang prevention grant to the Offender Alumni Association.

But the group’s administrative director, Toni Barnett, told the Free Beacon that she had no idea why the county was reporting making those payments to her group in 2022 and 2023. “I have no idea where that information is coming from,” Barnett told the Free Beacon on March 15. “I have no idea why you’re calling or where you’re getting that information from. You need to go to that government resource and you need to let that validate whatever you want to say or print. Because I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

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“..one story after another about instances of supposed racism, transphobia, signs of the climate apocalypse, Israel doing something bad, and the dire threat of Republican policies. It’s almost like an assembly line.“

I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust. (Berliner)

“During most of my tenure [at NPR], an open-minded, curious culture prevailed. We were nerdy, but not knee-jerk, activist, or scolding. In recent years, however, that has changed. Today, those who listen to NPR or read its coverage online find something different: the distilled worldview of a very small segment of the U.S. population… Like many unfortunate things, the rise of advocacy took off with Donald Trump. As in many newsrooms, his election in 2016 was greeted at NPR with a mixture of disbelief, anger, and despair… But what began as tough, straightforward coverage of a belligerent, truth-impaired president veered toward efforts to damage or topple Trump’s presidency [italics mine]. Persistent rumors that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia over the election became the catnip that drove reporting. At NPR, we hitched our wagon to Trump’s most visible antagonist, Representative Adam Schiff…

The Schiff talking points became the drumbeat of NPR news reports. But when the Mueller report found no credible evidence of collusion, NPR’s coverage was notably sparse. Russiagate quietly faded from our programming… It’s bad to blow a big story. What’s worse is to pretend it never happened, to move on with no mea culpas, no self-reflection… [Hunter Biden’s] laptop was newsworthy. But the timeless journalistic instinct of following a hot story lead was being squelched. During a meeting with colleagues, I listened as one of NPR’s best and most fair-minded journalists said it was good we weren’t following the laptop story because it could help Trump [italics mine]… Over the course of the pandemic, a number of investigative journalists made compelling, if not conclusive, cases for the lab leak. But at NPR, we weren’t about to swivel or even tiptoe away from the insistence with which we backed the natural origin story…

[Our new director] declared that diversity—on our staff and in our audience—was the overriding mission… Race and identity became paramount in nearly every aspect of the workplace. Journalists were required to ask everyone we interviewed their race, gender, and ethnicity (among other questions), and had to enter it in a centralized tracking system. We were given unconscious bias training sessions. A growing DEI staff offered regular meetings imploring us to ‘start talking about race.’ There’s an unspoken consensus about the stories we should pursue and how they should be framed. It’s frictionless—one story after another about instances of supposed racism, transphobia, signs of the climate apocalypse, Israel doing something bad, and the dire threat of Republican policies. It’s almost like an assembly line.

The mindset prevails in choices about language. In a document called NPR Transgender Coverage Guidance—disseminated by news management—we’re asked to avoid the term biological sex… The mindset animates bizarre stories—on how The Beatles and bird names are racially problematic, and others that are alarmingly divisive; justifying looting, with claims that fears about crime are racist; and suggesting that Asian Americans who oppose affirmative action have been manipulated by white conservatives. More recently, we have approached the Israel-Hamas war and its spillover onto streets and campuses through the intersectional lens that has jumped from the faculty lounge to newsrooms. Oppressor versus oppressed… I looked at voter registration for our newsroom. In D.C., where NPR is headquartered and many of us live, I found 87 registered Democrats working in editorial positions and zero Republicans. None.”

Vivek NPR

Read more …

His first team WAS the deep state.

How Trump Could Beat Deep State (Jim Rickards)

The difference for investors between another Biden administration and the return of Trump to the White House could not be more stark. The Biden administration has been characterized by excessive regulation, pointless mandates as part of the Green New Scam, open borders bringing crime, drugs and cartel influence into the United States, disastrous wars in Ukraine, Gaza and now the closing of the Red Sea-Suez Canal passage, increased segregation of Blacks in colleges, the destruction of 50 years of progress in women’s sports by allowing competition by men and a long list of other ruinous policies.

The first Trump administration was characterized by business and personal tax cuts, reduced regulation, no new wars, outreach to nuclear rivals such as Russia and North Korea, tariffs on unfair trade by China, a concerted effort to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, demands that NATO members pay their fair share for mutual defense and a secure southern border with Mexico. Trump also made an historic three appointments to the Supreme Court, which has emerged as practically the last bastion of constitutional order and the rule of law. There’s no reason to expect any improvement in another Biden administration. In fact, policies will almost certainly grow worse as Biden fails physically and mentally and opens the door to a possible acting president in the form of Kamala Harris, a known dunce.

There’s good reason to believe that a second Trump administration will offer the growth-oriented policies of the first administration with a much more effective decision-making apparatus resulting from attention to the Plum Book, the playbook and the transition process. A better transition process in a second term means the biggest threat to the deep state in decades. And a new team will put us on the road back to sanity. But powerful people won’t go quietly. A more experienced Trump will conduct a second war to destroy them. Unless they destroy him first.

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Elon 2008: money

 

 

Wild cat

 

 

Cats

 

 

Frens

 

 

 

 

Horse+baby
https://twitter.com/i/status/1777687533968650419

 

 

Cinereous vulture

 

 


The only journey is the one within. – Rainer Maria Rilke

 

 

Baby giraffe

 

 

Cartoons
https://twitter.com/i/status/1777787726307217891

 

 

Transport

 

 

 

 

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


Wassily Kandinsky Clear connection 1925

 

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

 

 

January 23 2018

 

 

 

 

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

Let Me Get This Story Straight (Teslaconomics)

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

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

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

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

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

A Cult Whose Demise Should Probably Be Regretted (Karganovic)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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US and Germany.

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

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

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

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

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

Breakthrough On All Fronts Ahead Of Schedule (Helmer)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No US Threat Will Go Unanswered – Iran (RT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Abraham Accords.

Trump Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize (RT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

Boops

 

 

Cat Fox

 

 

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

 

 

Sponge cake

 

 

Texas long horn

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 302024
 
 January 30, 2024  Posted by at 9:20 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  42 Responses »


MC Escher Belvedere 1958

 

‘Army Of God’ Convoy Heads To US Border While EU Farmers Block Cities (ZH)
War On The Middle East – The Time Of Monsters (MoA)
The Tower-22 Strike In Jordan Triggers US, Israel Into All-Front War (Helmer)
Congressional Hawks Urge ‘Hit Iran Hard’ After 3 US Troops Killed (ZH)
Biden May Order Direct Strike on Iran Officials After Jordan Drone Attack (Sp.)
‘Swarming’ The US In West Asia, Until It Folds (Bhadrakumar)
The Tragic Self-Destruction of an Enraged Israel (Alastair Crooke)
Davos a Living Fossil of an Empire at War With Itself and the World (Dionísio)
Official Lies Aren’t What They Used to Be (Rall)
Hungary Responds To Reported EU Threat To Destroy Its Economy (RT)
‘Desperation’ of Ukrainian Leadership Hard To Ignore – WaPo (RT)
Zelensky Claims Huge Increase In Size Of Kiev’s Forces (RT)
Trump Lawyer Says ‘Experts Were Denied’ by New York Judge (ET)
GA Lieutenant Governor Announces New Committee Investigating Fani Willis (DC)
The Foundational Principle: Stop Pretending, Speak Truth (CTH)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fico
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751552779045552521

 

 

 

 

France

 

 

 

 

Vermin

 

 

 

 

If you wanted to starve and displace Palestinians you would go after the UNRWA.
Palestinian refugees registered with the UNRWA have a *right of return* to Gaza if they’re displaced.
Over 6 million Palestinians are registered with the UNRWA.
If this organisation collapses… NO Palestinian will have the right to return to their homeland.
Do you now understand why they are trying to destroy the UNRWA…?


The following countries have cut funding so far: Australia, Austria, Britain, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Romania, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United States.

 

 

 

 

Good to see Zerohedge connecting the two movements. Though very different, they are also the same: basic, based people sick of having political games played over their heads and their backs. Both events will reach their crescendo by the weekend.

‘Army Of God’ Convoy Heads To US Border While EU Farmers Block Cities (ZH)

In the US, a convoy of truckers, calling themselves “God’s Army,” is preparing to embark on a journey from several locations across the Lower 48 to the southern border as tensions soar between Texas and the Biden administration. Meanwhile across the Atlantic, farmers are bearing down on Europe’s capitals – from Bucharest to Warsaw to Brussels – venting frustrations about climate policies. These social instabilities are breaking out ahead of key European and US elections this year. The organizers of the “Take Our Border Back” convoy are “calling all active & retired law enforcement and military, Veterans, Mama Bears, elected officials, business owners, ranchers, truckers, bikers, media and LAW ABIDING, freedom-loving Americans” to “assemble in honor of our US Constitution and Bill of Rights” at the southern border, in protest against the federal government’s inability to secure the border, according to the convoy’s website.

“Fellow citizens and compatriots … I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character to come to our aid with all dispatch,” Pete Chambers, one of the coalition’s leaders, wrote. “If this call is neglected, we are determined to sustain ourselves as long as possible and act like soldiers who never forget what is due to our own honor and that of our country.” The convoy plans to “send a message” to government officials at all levels about the need to secure the board amid the multi-year invasion of millions of illegals. Chambers believes Americans are “besieged on all sides” by evil “dark forces.”

As we’ve noted, journalists have uncovered a “shadowy network” of what appears to be taxpayer-funded non-government agencies, facilitating the most massive border invasion this nation has ever seen. Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared the migrant crisis an “invasion” and invoked Texas’ constitutional authority to defend and protect itself. Abbott stated, “That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary. The Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other Texas personnel are acting on that authority, as well as state law, to secure the Texas border.”

[..] Across the Atlantic, farmers have been venting their anger in several of Europe’s capitals that will likely “slow the implementation of environmental reforms in the European Union and make it harder for Brussels to negotiate free trade agreements,” according to research firm Stratfor. “Farmers across Europe have taken to the streets in recent weeks to voice their discontent over their governments’ economic, environmental and trade policies,” Stratfor continued. And this is all happening ahead of June’s European elections. Uprisings in the West, among the working class, objecting to unpopular “globalist” policies are happening ahead of major elections.

Convoy up to 700,000 people
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751757152492945716

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“The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”
Antonio Gramsci

War On The Middle East – The Time Of Monsters (MoA)

Yesterday 3 U.S. troops were killed and 34 wounded due to an attack that allegedly hit on a place known as Tower 22. This is part of the Al Tanf area where U.S. troops illegally occupy parts of Syria to control the traffic on the main road between Iraq and Syria. The reporting so far does not answer many arising questions. Tower 22 is on the Jordanian side of the boarder but Jordan insists that no attack had happened on its grounds. Another anomaly are the high rate of wounded from the alleged drone strike. Drones are used in mass in the Ukraine war but the casualties they cause are usually less than a handful per drone. The highly automated short and medium range air-defenses (C-RAMs, the equivalent of naval Phalanx guns) at the base should be able to shoot down any drone. Why didn’t they work?

The U.S. has also used Al Tanf base and the Rukban camp to house and train ISIS splinter groups so they are able to attack perceived U.S. enemies. Were any of those folks around? The U.S. claims that an Iraqi resistance group, allegedly supported by Iran, is responsible for the strike. There are several such groups allied with Iran in Syria and Iraq. Which one of them did this? Does the U.S. know this at all? Iran denies any involvement in the attack. The attack is certainly an escalation over previous ones. President Biden has said that he will respond to it. The question in then to where to respond (Syria, Iraq, Iran) and to what grade. Most likely the U.S. will escalate from its previous bombing of this or that Iraq resistance group. Should the U.S. attack any state related institutions or position, the situation will escalate further.

The resistance camp would then try even harder to damage more U.S. assets. Since the U.S. assassination of General Quassam Suleimani its overall aim is to remove the U.S. from the Middle East. The U.S. immediate response to the hit was the activation of long range tanker planes: “At least 6 U.S. Air Force KC-135 Aerial-Refueling Tankers, most from March Air Reserve Base in Southern California, are heading Northeast across the United States and preparing to Transit the Atlantic towards the U.K. and Europe”. I wonder what kind of Aircraft they are Refueling? Aerial-refueling tankers are used to keep fighter jets in the air for several hours. The reasons to keep jets in the air may not necessarily be to attack someone, but to prevent them from being destroyed by an attack on ones own airports. The U.S. has plenty of bases in the Middle East which house a lot of expensive jets.

If the U.S. suspects that those bases will come under attack it will need lots of air-tanker capability to save the jets currently stationed on them. One could conclude from this that the U.S. will attack a target so important that it has to prepare for an all out response attack on its own Middle East bases. There are several other possibilities but this seems to be the most likely conclusion. Now let’s take a step back to take a look at the larger picture. The current escalation in the Middle East is happening because the Zionist attempt to ethnically cleanse Gaza, the West Bank and south Lebanon. The U.S active support for this aim has led to more U.S. wars in Yemen, Iraq and now in Syria. While the U.S. has claimed that it did not want an all out war in the Middle East it has done its best to further one.

The dystopian decision by the U.S. and its European vassals to deny all support for UNRWA as response for the International Court of Justice decision against Israel’s genocide of Palestinians was a further escalation. That a dozen or less of the 30,000 UNRWA worker were probably involved in the October 7 events was known for weeks. To roll this out just after the ICJ dictum happened is a clear act of revenge against the whole UN system. This is the rule based order, where the U.S. makes and discards all rules at will, fighting against long established international and humanitarian law.

Read more …

The two maps, in the article above and this one, leave doubt about where exactly Tower 22 is. It’s right on the border. Is it in Jordan? “..but Jordan insists that no attack had happened on its grounds..”

The Tower-22 Strike In Jordan Triggers US, Israel Into All-Front War (Helmer)

The drone attack on the US troop base known as Tower-22, in the northeastern corner of Jordan, caught the US forces, reportedly reservists, asleep. The base reportedly holds 350 Army and Air Force personnel. At least three have been confirmed killed; eight have been evacuated with life threatening injuries, according to US Central Command (CENTCOM); about three dozen have been counted as wounded. The operational success of the strike for the attackers is strategic. Tower-22 is a logistics, supply, and rear guard post for the Al-Tanf base which US troops are operating thirty kilometres north across the border in Syria. The attack demonstrates that both Tower-22 and Al-Tanf, Jordan and Syria, are newly vulnerable to weapons which the US forces have failed to detect and neutralize. Just as significantly, the massive US airbase called Muwaffaq Salti, 230 kilometres west across Jordan, is also vulnerable now.

For analysis of how these bases, and other anti-Palestinian targets in Jordan, are connected and targeted by the Axis of Resistance, read this from October. Biden’s statement said only “we are still gathering the facts of this attack”. Reporters of the New York Times were told by their official briefers that “the drone strike in Jordan on Sunday demonstrated that the Iran-backed militias — whether in Iran or Syria, or the Houthis in Yemen — remained capable of inflicting serious consequences on American troops despite the U.S. military’s efforts to weaken them and avoid tumbling into a wider conflict, possibly with Iran itself.” The newspaper added a warning against escalation from the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon: “ ‘We don’t want to go down a path of greater escalation that drives to a much broader conflict within the region,’ Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Sunday.

Asked in a pre-recorded session on ABC News’s This Week whether he thought Iran wanted war with the United States, General Brown, echoing assessments from the U.S. intelligence agencies, said, ‘No, I don’t think so.’ ” Brown is also believed to have been one of the prompters for public release of the Pentagon warnings against the Ukrainian “counteroffensive” in the so-called social media releases published by Jack Texeira in April of 2023. The official line in Washington on Sunday evening, according to its New York platform, is that “the Americans killed on Sunday were the first known fatalities from hostile fire in the region since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas…It was unclear on Sunday why air defences at the outpost failed to intercept the drone, which former military commanders said appeared to be the first known assault on the location since attacks on U.S. forces began soon after the Oct. 7 incursion.”

Well-informed military sources are emphatic that the Tower-22 operation has strategic significance in quite another way. They believe Pentagon officials have already told the White House. “This is a significant accomplishment,” one of the sources said. “Was the bypassing of the US air defence system at Tower-22 pulled off with Russian assistance? US bases generally rely on the C-RAM [Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar] system. It was sent to Ukraine last year where the Russians have been learning to defeat it. What now of American EW [electronic warfare]? They’ve been doing a fair job of knocking drones down up to now. It seems a ‘coincidence’ that, not a week after the meetings in Moscow with Arabs and Iranians, we see this success. It’s a success the circumstances of which, we can be sure, Biden and Austin are not keen to advertise.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1751960003882201347

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Iran has denied any involvement.

Congressional Hawks Urge ‘Hit Iran Hard’ After 3 US Troops Killed (ZH)

It took a mere minutes after the headlines spread across the globe for the hawks and neocons to call on the White House to “hit them hard”—in reference to Iran and Iranian-linked groups believed responsible for the attack on a US outpost along the Jordanian border which killed three American troops and injured 25 more. The government of Jordan has since said that none among their own troops were injured, which suggests all of the injured were Americans too. Below is a partial survey of the Congressional hawks who are now essentially calling for full-blown war against Iran and its proxies … “The only answer to these attacks must be a devastating military retaliation against Iran’s terrorist forces, both in Iran and across the Middle East. Anything less will confirm Joe Biden as a coward unworthy of being commander-in-chief.'” —Republican Senator, Tom Cotton of Arkansas

“The Biden Administration can take out all the Iranian proxies they like, but it will not deter Iranian aggression. I am calling on the Biden Administration to strike targets of significance inside Iran, not only as reprisal for the killing of our forces, but as deterrence against future aggression… Hit Iran hard, hit them now.” —South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. “Target Tehran” —Republican Senator from Texas John Cornyn. And as also fully expected, the think tank “armchair warrior” crowd is all in favor of sending more young Americans to fight and to die in the Middle East, based purely on another ‘war of choice’ with unclear end goals…

Of course, the neocons have had their sites set on Tehran and hoped-for regime change there going all the way back to the 1990’s, as is evident from the writings of PNAC crowd (Project for the New American Century, which went on to largely staff GW Bush’s cabinet). Thankfully, Trump’s initial statement did not echo the hawkish neocon line of some among the more outspoken GOP Congressmen…

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What are the odds that Iran will retaliate by striking US officials in return?

Biden May Order Direct Strike on Iran Officials After Jordan Drone Attack (Sp.)

A deadly drone strike on a US base near the Jordanian-Syrian border could lead to a stronger response from Washington than it has so far since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, Bloomberg quoted unnamed sources as saying. There could be two options, the sources said: a possible covert US strike on Iran, or a situation in which the Biden administration would directly target Iranian officials, such as then-US President Donald Trump’s order to kill top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad in 2020. “Regardless of the outcome, the [potential] attack presents [President Joe] Biden with a decision that will be one of the most consequential of his presidency”, something that “could put the US into direct confrontation with the leadership in Tehran,” Bloomberg reported. This comes after Biden pledged that “we [the US] shall respond” to Monday’s drone attack on Tower 22, an American military outpost in northeastern Jordan, which killed three US soldiers and wounded 30 others.

“Have no doubt — we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing,” the US president added as Iranian militia group known as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack.
However, Tehran officially stated that it had “no connection and nothing to do” with the attack, according to Iranian media quoting Tehran’s representative to the UN. Jordanian government officials have since denied that the dead and injured US troops were stationed in their country, insisting that the drone strike occurred on Syrian territory at the Al-Tanf base. The attack comes amid rising tensions in the Middle East, as Tel Aviv continues its war on the Gaza Strip in response to the Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas in southern Israel that killed at least 1,139 people, according to Israeli officials.

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“The US is so deeply mired in an unwinnable battle from the Levant to the Persian Gulf that only its adversaries in China, Russia, and Iran can bail it out.”

‘Swarming’ The US In West Asia, Until It Folds (Bhadrakumar)

Deterrence in defense is a military strategy where one power uses the threat of reprisal to preclude attack from an adversary, while maintaining at the same time the freedom of action and flexibility to respond to the full spectrum of challenges. In this realm, the Lebanese resistance, Hezbollah, is an outstanding example. Hezbollah’s clarity of purpose in establishing and strictly maintaining ground rules that deter Israeli military aggression has set a high regional bar. Today, its West Asian allies have adopted similar strategies, which have multiplied in the context of the war in Gaza. While the Yemeni resistance movement Ansarallah is comparable to Hezbollah in certain respects, it is the audacious brand of defensive deterrence practiced by the Islamic Resistance of Iraq that is going to be highly consequential in the near term.

Last week, citing sources in the State Department and Pentagon, Foreign Policy magazine wrote that the White House is no longer interested in continuing the US military mission in Syria. The White House later denied this information, but the report is gaining ground. The Turkish daily Hurriyet wrote on Friday that while Ankara is taking a cautious approach to media reports, it does see “a general striving” by Washington to exit not only Syria but the entire region of West Asia, as it senses that it has been dragged into a quagmire by Israel and Iran from the Red Sea to Pakistan. Russia’s special presidential representative for the Syrian settlement, Alexander Lavrentiev, also told Tass on Friday that much depends on any “threat of physical impact” on American forces present in Syria. The swift US military exit from Afghanistan took place with virtually no advance notice, in coordination with the Taliban.

“In all likelihood, the same may happen in Iraq and Syria,” Lavrentiev said. Indeed, the Islamic Resistance of Iraq has stepped up its attacks on US military bases and targets. In a ballistic missile attack on Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq a week ago, an unknown number of American troops sustained injuries, and the White House announced its first troop deaths on Sunday when three US servicemen were killed on the Syrian-Jordanian border in strikes earlier that day. This situation is untenable for President Joe Biden politically — in his re-election bid next November — which explains the urgency of the National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday and Saturday in Thailand to discuss the Ansarallah attacks in the Red Sea.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby explained Washington’s rush for Chinese mediation thus: “China has influence over Tehran; they have influence in Iran. And they have the ability to have conversations with Iranian leaders that — that we can’t. What we’ve said repeatedly is: We would welcome a constructive role by China, using the influence and the access that we know they have…” This is a dramatic turn of events. While the US has long been concerned about China’s growing sway in West Asia, it also needs that influence now as Washington’s efforts to reduce violence are getting nowhere. The US narrative on this will be that the “strategic, thoughtful conversation” between Sullivan and Wang will not only be “an important way to manage competition and tensions [between the US and China] responsibly” but also “set the direction of the relationship” on the whole.

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“Not only is Gaza NOT giving Israelis a sense of victory; on the contrary, it is widely proliferating a violent anger at a surprise, ‘shameful’ defeat..”

“The Zionist solution is not a solution. We are arriving at a situation in which the Jewish people who live in Zion live in a condition of total insecurity..”

The Tragic Self-Destruction of an Enraged Israel (Alastair Crooke)

Israel is boxed-in, as is becoming very evident to many Israelis. One Israeli correspondent (formerly a Cabinet Secretary) illustrates its nature: “The meaning of the 7th October default is not only the loss of lives … but mainly the potential transformation of how Israel is perceived … as no longer to be feared by Middle Eastern actors”. “The Israeli leadership must internalize that we can no longer be content with a ‘sense of victory’ among the Israeli public … It is doubtful whether victory in Gaza is enough to restore the fear of Israel to the levels we had vis-a-vis our enemies. A victory that boils down to just the release of the captives and confidence-building measures to establish a Palestinian state would not be enough in shoring up Israel’s image in that regard”.

“If the quagmire of Gaza … brings the [Israeli] leadership to the realization that there is no ability to present a clear victory on this front, one that will lead to a strategic change in the region, they must consider switching fronts and reasserting Israeli deterrence through the removal of the strategic threat in Lebanon … victory against one of the richest and most powerful terrorist organizations in the world – Hezbollah – can restore deterrence in the region in general … Israel must remove the threat from the north and dismantle the power structure Hezbollah has built in Lebanon, regardless of the situation in the south”. “But without victory in the south, a significant achievement in the north becomes that much more important”.


Gaza death tolls

The above quotation goes directly to the heart of the issue. That is: ‘How can Zionism be saved?’. All the rest of the ‘blah-blah’ coming from world leaders is largely bluff. Not only is Gaza NOT giving Israelis a sense of victory; on the contrary, it is widely proliferating a violent anger at a surprise, ‘shameful’ defeat. Some in the war cabinet (i.e., Eisenkot) suggest that Israel look truth in the eye: It should capitulate to Hamas; give a ceasefire a chance; release incarcerated Palestinians, and save the hostages held in Gaza: “I think it is necessary to say boldly that it is impossible to bring the hostages back alive in the near future without a [ceasefire] deal, and anyone who is feeding lies to the public is feeding lies”.

But this is not the predominant sentiment amongst Israelis: The latest Peace Index survey reflects the pervasive gloom: 94% percent of Jews think Israel has used the right amount of firepower in Gaza (or “not enough” (43%)). Three-quarters of all Israelis think the number of Palestinians harmed since October is justified to achieve its aims; a full two-thirds of Jewish respondents say numbers of casualties are definitely justified (only 21% say “somewhat” justified). The true price Israel will be paying, however, is not merely the release of Palestinian prisoners (though that, in itself, would create a popular uproar); but rather, it is fear that acquiescence to Hamas demands would spell the end to the Israel-security paradigm: This paradigm consists of a quasi-religious ‘contract’ that Jews shall enjoy security every, and anywhere, in the land of Israel – brought about by the elaborate matrix of radical insecurity of space and rights imposed on non-Jews (i.e. Palestinians), versus the full force of protection and sovereignty for Jews. This forms the universal paradigm underwriting Jewish security.

Until 7 October, that is. The events of that day demonstrated that Jewish Israelis are no longer secure inside Israel – and that the Zionist framework, in respect to security, must be re-thought – or perforce abandoned. This realisation has given rise to a psychological mass formation of insecurity. As Emeritus Professor of History at the Hebrew University, Moshe Zimmermann, notes: “The Zionist solution is not a solution. We are arriving at a situation in which the Jewish people who live in Zion live in a condition of total insecurity … we need to take into account that Israel is causing a reduction in the security of Diaspora Jewry, instead of the opposite. So this Zionist solution is very deficient, and we need to examine what caused this deficiency.”

CNN
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751745668635594989

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“Talking about “security”, “cooperation”, “energy”, “nature” and “climate” without involving Russia can only be a bad joke.”

Davos a Living Fossil of an Empire at War With Itself and the World (Dionísio)

The World Economic Forum gives us the exceptional privilege of a study that only living fossils can give. Representative of an era that we can assume is in the process of being overcome, if not materially, at least in terms of the trend observed, in Davos we find everything that is paramount of neoliberal and Western supremacist ideology, its potential, its limitations and the very causes of its destruction. Like a living fossil, in every word, every expression, theme or conclusion, we find the fundamental reasons why the species did not and could not win. Davos tells us, above all, about a problem of adapting to the real world. At every moment, the World Economic Forum revealed the full extent of resentment, bitterness and disillusionment towards a world that has revealed, and insists on revealing, ever more stubbornly, that it does not accept the premises that would make neoliberalism a lasting and universal hegemonic system.

In this sense, the Davos Forum is a moral lesson. A moral lesson from the West to the global majority, in a kind of recriminatory cry, for the latter in not accepting the solutions that it had so “wisely and rationally” to convey; but also, a moral lesson from the global majority to the West, which took advantage of every opportunity, in every scarce moment of attention given, to convey the reasons why the proposed contract would never be acceptable. The themes chosen reveal, above all, the great concerns and disappointments of the West, as well as what it considers to be the building blocks of an attempt to return to a lost paradigm. A paradigm that, today, the West feels is slipping through its fingers. The first theme is emblematic and says a lot about the level of disillusionment: “Achieving Security and Cooperation in a Fractured World”. If, on the one hand, it reveals that the West feels insecure, by choosing “security” as one of the starting points of its analysis, on the other hand, it also reveals the difficulties the West is facing in imposing its model of “cooperation”, which is increasingly reluctantly accepted by the countries of the global majority.

The result and the cause were well reflected in the topic itself, when he classified the current geopolitical state as a “fragmented world”. In this “fragmented world” we find the alpha and omega of the hegemonic discourse. The increasingly explicit refusal of the global majority to accept the dictates of the “indispensable nation”, “the leading nation”, results, in their eyes, in fragmentation, a power vacuum. The sign is clear: the U.S. is still struggling to find its place in the world, and this difficulty constitutes an immense danger. A nervous U.S., with an identity crisis and in a state of denial, is a danger to itself, but it is also a danger to others, especially considering all the destructive potential at its disposal. By choosing “security”, we can almost say that, deep down, and without ever admitting it, the U.S. knows where the problem really comes from.

The conditions of “security” defined by the U.S. are also omnipresent at Davos, as an “absent spectator”. A safe world is a world without Russia, the country removed, authoritatively and discretionarily, from the event. It says a lot about a so-called “world” event that removes the largest nuclear power and one of the two largest military powers on the planet. It’s also the largest country in the world in terms of territory, with the greatest diversity/number of natural resources, a strategic partner for important countries that represent more than half of the world’s population, such as China, India and Iran; a technological leader in the space, aerospace, nuclear, naval and military fields; and one of the largest producers of food and cereals in the world. Talking about “security”, “cooperation”, “energy”, “nature” and “climate” without involving Russia can only be a bad joke.

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“For Democrats, protecting their party’s corporatist status quo matters more than Trump’s purported threat to democracy..”

Official Lies Aren’t What They Used to Be (Rall)

The government’s services keep getting worse. Even their lies. The Bushies told us we had to invade Afghanistan to catch Osama bin Laden and then to go into Iraq because Saddam had WMDs. As the Pentagon knew, bin Laden was already in Pakistan; as Hans Blix and Scott Ritter told us, there was no evidence Saddam had proscribed weapons. Sure, they were lies. But they were plausible lies. Theoretically, UBL might have snuck into Afghanistan. Saddam might have acquired WMDs. Those things could have been true. Now they’re giving us implausible lies. Not only are their lies, well, lies—they say things that are untrue and can’t possibly be true and that no one, no matter how stupid or uninformed, could believe. Democrats go on and on about how nothing is more important than defeating Trump. Democracy itself hangs in the balance! After Trump redux, the re-deluge.

But they don’t really believe that. If liberals really actually thought that Trump was going to suspend the constitution and send his enemies—them—to camps, their sense of survival would have prompted them to select the most charismatic, brilliant, popular, vigorous, 2024 Democratic presidential nominee possible. Instead, they gave us Biden. You can’t think Trump is dangerous and go with Biden-Harris. For Democrats, protecting their party’s corporatist status quo matters more than Trump’s purported threat to democracy. That’s the truth. We all know. Republicans won’t shut up about out-of-control deficit spending and the $34 trillion national debt which, according to them, will tank the economy because, like a family that has to live within its means except for credit cards and student loans and car loans and home mortgages, the government can’t keep spending cash it doesn’t have even though it owns the U.S. Mint and has gotten away with it for, like, a century.

We know that the fake deficit hawks don’t actually believe what they are saying in real time, as they’re saying it, because while they’re threatening to shut down the government every few months, they keep throwing even more billions of dollars at the Defense Department than the DOD even asks for, so much that the military sucks up more than everything else the government does combined, and that’s not including the wars they put “off the books” and the proxy wars and the wars they charge to the State Department, not to mention debt service on old wars. Everywhere we look, politicians are deploying lies whose obviousness is evident out of the gate. Elites will never be believed, they know it, and they don’t care.

Israel’s war cabinet tells its traumatized citizens that October 7th came as a surprise at the same time countless specific warnings and the IDF’s eight-hour response time (!) prove that cannot possibly have been the case. As people shout “bring them home,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he’s trying to do just that. But that’s a lie and it has to be a lie because you don’t bomb a place where hostages you care about are being held lest you kill them and anger their captors. Families of the doomed hostages cannot believe him and do not believe him yet they do not demand that the bombs stop falling or that those who drop them be removed from power.

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I think it was 2% of Hungary GDP that depends on the EU (or was it 7%?). Either way, Hungary comes prepared.

Hungary Responds To Reported EU Threat To Destroy Its Economy (RT)

Hungary’s minister for European affairs, Janos Boka, has said that Budapest will not give in to “blackmail” by Brussels, following a report that claimed the EU would seek to sabotage the country’s economy if it does not unblock an aid package for Ukraine. Ahead of a summit of EU leaders on Thursday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban pledged to oppose the use of the bloc’s collective budget to funnel €50 billion ($54 billion) in aid to Ukraine. Should Orban not lift the veto, Brussels could seek to sabotage Hungary’s economy by pulling funding to the EU member state, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing confidential plans drawn up by European leaders seen by the newspaper. The strategy, the FT noted, could impact Hungary’s currency and incite a downturn in investment, which would affect “jobs and growth.”

Boka has insisted however that Hungary will not be dictated to by European bureaucrats. “Hungary does not allow blackmail,” he wrote on social media late on Sunday. “The agreement confirms what the Hungarian government has been saying for a long time: Brussels is using access to EU resources as a means of political pressure.” He added: “Hungary makes no link between supporting Ukraine and access to EU resources and refuses to let others do so. Hungary so far will continue to participate constructively in the negotiations, but it does not allow blackmail.” The document, which the FT said was produced by an official in the Council of the EU, highlights what it says are Hungary’s economic vulnerabilities. These include “very high public deficit,” “very high inflation,” a weak currency, and problems with debt repayment.

It added that Hungarian economic growth heavily depends on overseas investment, which, in turn, is driven by “high levels of EU funding.” A spokesperson for the Council of the EU told the FT that it has a policy of not commenting on leaks. Orban insisted last month that the EU must meet certain conditions before Budapest would lift its veto, including making the package modest in size and scheduling it over one year rather than the proposed four. Hungary must also be exempted from any new joint EU borrowing over the matter, the PM added. Another tactic reportedly being considered within the EU bloc is to invoke Article 7 of the Treaty of the European Union, which would allow Brussels to strip Budapest of its voting rights. However, this would require unanimity among the other 26 member states – a step many European countries appear unwilling to take.

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Awaiting confirmation: “Zelenskyy has removed Zaluzhny and installed Budanov. Ukrainian Warfare shifts from battlefield offensives to terrorist attacks. The CIA plan for Budanov: Attack the most profitable industries in Russia. Oil and Gas production, pipelines, refineries, etc. + false flags.”

‘Desperation’ of Ukrainian Leadership Hard To Ignore – WaPo (RT)

The leadership in Ukraine is losing hope of success in the conflict with Russia amid waning Western support and a lack of battlefield achievements, the Washington Post has said. Kiev continues to demand more weapons and aid from the US and its allies, although officials in Washington “anticipate a lean year ahead, where Ukraine’s increasingly exhausted forces focus more on consolidating their defense than chipping away at Russia’s land-grabs,” the newspaper reported on Monday. “It’s hard to ignore the sense of desperation in Ukraine’s corridors of power” after almost two years of military conflict with Moscow, foreign affairs columnist Ishaan Tharoor stressed. Ukraine’s attempted counteroffensive last year “failed to make strategic headway against Russia’s deep defensive lines,” Tharoor acknowledged. Fresh reports from the front line have warned that stocks of ammunition and artillery shells are running low for Kiev’s troops, he added.

At the same time, Moscow “stood its ground, withstood international sanctions and is preparing for fresh offensives,” while also regularly carrying out large-scale missile barrages against Ukrainian targets, he added. According to the article, the tour of Washington and other Western capitals by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in late 2023 was an attempt to counter “international fatigue with the conflict and paralysis in US Congress over new supplemental funding for Kiev.” The administration of US President Joe Biden is still unable to find common ground with Republican lawmakers, who are demanding tougher measures on the border with Mexico in exchange for agreeing another $60 billion in assistance for Kiev. As a result, Pentagon officials arrived “empty-handed” at the NATO-Ukraine Council meeting in Brussels last week, Tharoor said.

“The West may have already squandered its best chance to enable Ukraine to fully liberate its territory,” he added. The fate of the conflict between Russia in Ukraine could soon be sealed by “the shortfalls on Ukraine’s front lines and divisions in Washington,” the article claimed. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week that Zelensky is “desperately” seeking to return to a situation when Kiev enjoyed “unlimited” funding and weapons supplies from the West. However, this will “never happen again” because the US and its allies are running out of arms and ammunition to send, he stressed. Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated that “the goals of [Moscow’s] military operation [in the Ukraine conflict] are going to be achieved consistently and persistently.”

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“..proposals to amend the country’s mobilization laws to lower the draft age, to recruit more women and to penalize draft-dodgers by cutting off their bank accounts.”

Zelensky Claims Huge Increase In Size Of Kiev’s Forces (RT)

There are currently 880,000 people serving in Ukraine’s armed forces, according to President Vladimir Zelensky, who insisted that Kiev wants to mobilize even more troops, primarily males who left the country after the start of the conflict with Russia. Just last month, Zelensky claimed that Kiev’s ground forces numbered over 600,000 service personnel, while in February 2022, when Russia launched its offensive, the Ukrainian army officially had only about 260,000 servicemen. In an interview with the German news channel ARD news broadcast on Monday, the Ukrainian leader stated that Kiev now has “a million-strong army,” adding that there are also over 30 million people who are working in the country right now, one million of whom are employed in the defense and security sectors. At the same time, Zelensky noted that between 6.5 million and 7.5 million people had left Ukraine since the start of the conflict and stated that Kiev would like to repatriate citizens who are eligible for military service.

His comments come as Kiev continues to experience dire personnel shortages on the battlefield, as has been reported by a number of top Ukrainian military officers and commanders, including the head of the country’s armed forces, General Valery Zaluzhny. While Kiev doesn’t publish its casualty figures, Russia’s Defense Ministry has estimated that Ukraine’s forces have lost as many as 160,000 service personnel since the launch of their failed summer counteroffensive, and that, over the course of the conflict, nearly 400,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed or wounded. Meanwhile, multiple media reports have also suggested that the quality of Kiev’s soldiers has also diminished. Earlier this month, the commander of Kiev’s 5th Assault Brigade, Aleksey Tarasenko, told Espresso TV that the average age of soldiers in the Ukrainian army is now over 40 years and that “young men” were desperately needed.

The US outlet Daily Beast also reported last week, citing interviews with Ukrainian men who have been avoiding mobilization, that Kiev was now sending untrained conscripts to the frontline shortly after drafting them from the streets, with many of them failing to last even a few days on the battlefield. In light of these personnel shortages, late last year Kiev intensified its mobilization efforts, with Zelensky stating at the time that the military was looking to call up an additional 500,000 new recruits. One Ukrainian official even proposed mobilizing the country’s entire population. Ukrainian lawmakers, in turn, have been debating proposals to amend the country’s mobilization laws to lower the draft age, to recruit more women and to penalize draft-dodgers by cutting off their bank accounts.

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“Before the case was heard by a jury, Judge Kaplan had already ruled that he believed President Trump defamed Ms. Carroll..”

Trump Lawyer Says ‘Experts Were Denied’ by New York Judge (ET)

An attorney for Donald Trump has claimed that her experts were denied the chance to testify before a New York jury that ultimately ruled in favor of a writer who accused the former president of defamation. Attorney Alina Habba told reporters on Jan. 26 that presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan allegedly made sure that “every single defense that President Trump had” was not raised in the case. She said her team’s “experts were denied” and couldn’t take the stand. Her comments came just hours after a jury ruled that President Trump should pay $83.8 million to writer E. Jean Carroll, finding that he defamed her in 2019 when he denied accusations that he assaulted her decades earlier. It was the second time Ms. Carroll was awarded damages from the former president after making those accusations, which he denies to this day. Ms. Habba accused Ms. Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, of bringing in a witness who was “paid for by” her firm.

“That is a violation of everything I stand for, and that is why I stand with Trump, and that is why so many Americans are so proud that he is running again and so excited to run to the ballot box but don’t get it twisted, we are seeing a violation of our justice system,” she said. During the trial, the judge threatened to jail Ms. Habba and kick President Trump out of the courtroom for what he described as “disruptive behavior.” The former president has asserted that Judge Kaplan, a Clinton appointee, is a partisan actor and biased against him. Before the case was heard by a jury, Judge Kaplan had already ruled that he believed President Trump defamed Ms. Carroll. The jury was considering the damages that should be paid. After the jury rendered the decision, Ms. Habba said she was “so proud to stand with President Trump.” “But I am not proud to stand with what I saw in that courtroom,” she told reporters.

“I have sat on trial after trial for months in this state, the state of New York, Attorney General Letitia James and now this. Weeks, weeks. Why? Because President Trump is leading in the polls, and now we see what you get in New York.” The jury of seven men and two women, whose members were kept anonymous, awarded Ms. Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages, including $11 million for harm to her reputation. She also was awarded $65 million in punitive damages, which she said was needed to stop President Trump from continuing to defame her. But President Trump has long said that he had never heard of Ms. Carroll and that she made up her story to boost sales of her memoir. His lawyers argued in the trial that she was hungry for fame and enjoyed the attention of supporters for speaking out against her nemesis, which she has denied. Ms. Carroll’s lawyer said during her closing argument that President Trump acted toward her client as though he were not bound by the law and that he should pay “dearly.”

On Jan. 25, the former president testified but spent only four minutes on the witness stand because the judge forbade him from revisiting issues that the first trial had settled. He stood behind his October 2022 deposition testimony, which jurors had seen, in which he called Ms. Carroll’s claims a “hoax” and said she was “mentally sick.” Ms. Habba predicted that the Trump appeal would succeed. “President Trump is leading in the polls, and now we see what you get in New York,” she told reporters. “It will not deter us; we will keep fighting, and I assure you we didn’t win today, but we will win.” On social media, the former president said that he “will be appealing this whole Biden-directed witch hunt focused on me and the Republican Party,” referring to the Jan. 26 decision. “Our legal system is out of control and being used as a political weapon,” he said. The New York Times reported that the former president does not have to pay Ms. Carroll the $83 million penalty until he is finished with all of his appeal options available. It also noted that he could attempt to obtain a bond, which would save him from having to pay the full amount to the writer.

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“The Georgia Senate has the right and responsibility to investigate misuse of taxpayer resources by public officials..”

GA Lieutenant Governor Announces New Committee Investigating Fani Willis (DC)

Republican Georgia Lt. Governor Burt Jones will announce members of a new investigatory committee Monday that will have subpoena power and are looking into Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the Daily Caller has first learned. The committee will be bipartisan, with six Republicans and three Democrats, and will look into Willis’ relationship with her alleged lover Nathan Wade, and the alleged misuse of taxpayer funds. Willis has faced continued scrutiny over whether her indictment against Trump was politically motivated. [..] “The Georgia Senate has the right and responsibility to investigate misuse of taxpayer resources by public officials. I have full faith in the members of this investigative committee, chosen this morning by the Committee on Assignments, and their efforts to pursue the truth wherever it may lead,” Jones told the Caller before announcing the committee.

“With this announcement, we are one step closer to uncovering the truth behind Fani Willis, her relationship with Mr. Wade, and the misuse of taxpayer funds,” Jones added. Jones announced the following state Senators will be serving on the new investigatory committee: Senator Bill Cowsert (District 46), who will serve as chair; Senator Greg Dolezal (District 28), who will serve as vice chair; Senator Jason Esteves (District 6); Senator John Kennedy (District 18); Senator Blake Tillery (District 19); Senator Harold Jones (District 22); Senator Bo Hatchett (District 50); Senator Steve Gooch (District 51); and Senator Gloria Butler (District 55).

“I am honored to be chosen to chair this important committee investigating potential misuse of taxpayer dollars for personal gain and unethical behavior by public officials and paid prosecutors. There has been a dramatic decrease in public confidence in the fairness and the impartiality of our criminal justice system. If true, recent allegations related to Fani Willis and Mr. Wade are deeply disturbing,” Cowsert who is the chairman of the committee, told the Caller. “We will independently investigate those claims in a bi-partisan fashion and in pursuit of the truth. Our charge is not to interfere with ongoing criminal proceeding, to prosecute misconduct or to disqualify any individual prosecutor. Rather, we seek to restore public confidence in our criminal justice system,” he added.

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Carlson and Peterson.

The Foundational Principle: Stop Pretending, Speak Truth (CTH)

They don’t say it the same way as me, because they are far more articulate and eloquent, but boy howdy have Carlson and Peterson come to the same conclusion. Four years ago, you heard me say it loud, “Stop Pretending and Live Your Best Life.” The first time I realized this was the best and truest hope for our restoration was after holding years of empirical, undeniable research in my hands and finding nothing but willfully blind, isolated and siloed deaf ears in DC. What Tucker Carlson describes below is the disconnect between the people and those who hold power. In this joint discussion about the future and possibility within this year 2024, both Jordan Peterson and Tucker Carlson take the first part of that framework, “stop pretending”, and turn the phrase into “speak truth.” Yes, yes, yes, THIS. When I have been asked for the past several years about what needs to be done, what can we do, my answer to every voice, influential and comfortably invisible alike, has been ‘STOP PRETENDING’ – just stop pretending. WATCH:

Stop pretending the gaslighting narrative is real. Just stop pretending. Stop ignoring the lies, and start confronting the liars directly. Look at the other voice, regardless of who they are, stare boldly directly into their eyes and speak the truth of the thing. Just stop pretending. If we all stop pretending, the narrative engineers will find no one to purchase their bulls**t anymore. At the same time, speak the truest thing as loudly as you can to confront those who use pretense as a shield to retain comfort and influence. EXAMPLE: Mary McCord sits at the epicenter of every single Lawfare machination deployed against President Trump. This is a demonstrably true and factual reality. Yet, how many allied voices do we see publicly making her known and as a consequence uncomfortable? No one. Why? Why isn’t every person of influence talking about the true thing? Why hide behind “they” and “them” or some bland, undefined, esoteric blame-casting toward an irrelevant institution. We may not know the name of every person, but we know the name of the one single thread that unites all of the effort, Mary McCord. Why is it so hard for allies to factually identify her and the corrupt behavior she is engaged in?

I no longer stare at the absence with a side eye of suspicion, I now glare knowingly and angrily at the face behind the willful omission. “You know, and I know you know,” is what that stare represents. None of those popular and influential allies on our side can ever answer the question about their silence. None of them can. Why? The second aspect, “living your best life”, is a natural outcome of living the truth of the thing without apology. Fearless adherence to the undeniable truth, and a ferocious rejection of the demanded obtuse labeling like, “disinformation, misinformation or malinformation.” Horsepucky on that nonsense, there’s true and not true; that’s it. Full effen’ stop. Living your best life is living in the truest place physically, emotionally and spiritually. A faithful adherence to the purest truth, the gospel of faith. Fellowship strengthens this critical bonding and reminds us we are not alone.

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David Martin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1752151264463397113

 

 

Whale

 

 

Koala
https://twitter.com/i/status/1751994861853835644

 

 

Unit
https://twitter.com/i/status/1752189931575746749

 

 

Cat

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 192024
 


Claude Monet The house at Yerres 1876

 

‘We Are Attacking Iran’ – Netanyahu (RT)
West Aware Zelensky ‘Getting Out Of Control’ – Lavrov (RT)
Zelensky’s Proposal for Russian Surrender Ridiculed (Sp.)
How the West Was Defeated (Pepe Escobar)
Russia Can’t Trust West – Lavrov (RT)
To End The War In Ukraine, Expose Its Core Lie (TLI)
The New British-Ukrainian Defense Agreement Is Great News For Russia (Poletaev)
Strikes On Mercenaries In Ukraine ‘Painful For The West’ (RT)
NATO Personnel In Ukraine Now ‘Fair Game’ For Russia – Scott Ritter (RT)
Johnson Throws Cold Water on Ukraine Funding, Prioritizing Border Security (Sp.)
Anti-Russian Leader A Favorite For Top EU Job – Politico (RT)
Judge In Trump-Georgia Case Orders Fani Willis To Explain Allegations (ZH)
Who Praised Javier Milei’s Anti-Socialism Speech Seen 27 Million Times (CS)
Can the World Afford Its First Trillionaire? (Robert Bridge)

 

 

 

 

98%

 

 

 

 

Yanis Day X

 

 

 

 

Israel can’t even beat Hamas. Fighting Iran would mean US involvement.

‘We Are Attacking Iran’ – Netanyahu (RT)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is making every possible effort to “prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons” and that Israel is already carrying out direct attacks on the Islamic Republic. Answering a reporter’s question in Tel Aviv on Saturday about why Israel is conducting attacks on Iran’s proxies rather than attacking Iran directly, Netanyahu replied: “Who says we are not attacking Iran, we are attacking.” Israel claims Iran was involved in plotting the October 7 attacks, when around 1,200 Israelis were killed and scores taken hostage in the Hamas surprise raid near Gaza. Israel retaliated by shelling the Palestinian enclave with artillery and airstrikes, so far leaving about 24,000 dead, according to local health officials. The operation is aimed at wiping out the militant group, Israel says.Israel has previously openly accused Iran of aiding Hamas “with money, training and weapons and technological know-how” and intelligence.

“Iran is standing behind it. We are in conflict with Iran. Imagine not what Iran can do to us, to destroy us,” Netanyahu said. Israel will only agree to a deal that sees it gain security control over all of Gaza, Netanyahu added. Iran has denied any role in the Hamas assault on Israel, with Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani saying such accusations were “based on political reasons.” Netanyahu added that “Iran is the head of the octopus and you see its tentacles all around from the Houthis to Hezbollah to Hamas.” Iran has widely been seen by Israel and the US and as the major destabilizing power in the Middle East, allegedly supplying weapons, military expertise, and training to Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The US has previously alleged that Iran is “deeply involved” in Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, claiming that it has provided the rebels with drones, missiles, and intelligence. Tehran has denied the allegation, insisting that “resistance groups” are acting independently and “not taking orders from Tehran to confront the war crimes and genocide committed by Israel.” Israel rarely publicly admits to attacking Iran directly, but the Islamic Republic has long been a target of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his several terms in power. In December former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett revealed that Israel had attacked an unmanned aerial vehicle base in Iran and assassinated a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander. Bennett, who was Israeli prime minister from June 2021 to June 2022, made the admission in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1748094652912193949

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“..The contradictory rhetoric “only reflects the wish of that individual and his associates… to keep power as much as they can..”

West Aware Zelensky ‘Getting Out Of Control’ – Lavrov (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is becoming increasingly unhinged as he clings to power, and his Western backers are looking for ways to keep him in check, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed on Thursday. Calls for Ukraine to hold a presidential election this year are part of that effort, he believes. A number of Western politicians have suggested that Ukraine should hold general elections that are due in 2024. Normal democratic procedures in the country were suspended under martial law, but the country could amend its laws to allow the election to go ahead. Zelensky has been sending mixed signals on the matter, alternately saying that he is willing to run for another term under certain circumstances and claiming that the Ukrainian people would not want an election while the country is fighting.

The contradictory rhetoric “only reflects the wish of that individual and his associates… to keep power as much as they can,” Lavrov remarked. Meanwhile, the West “would have liked to have more flexibility,” considering Kiev’s failure to score successes on the battlefield, he added. Having Zelensky run a re-election campaign “would put him more in line with Western interests, because he has been increasingly getting out of control,” the Russian foreign minister suggested. The Russian government does not care about Zelensky’s personal fate, Lavrov said. US Senator Lindsey Graham publicly called on Zelensky to hold a presidential election when he visited Kiev last September. He said this would show that Ukraine embraces “democracy and freedom.” Similar calls have come from other officials on both sides of the Atlantic.

Ukraine is due to vote this year not only for a new president, but also for a new parliament. The current composition of the national legislature gives Zelensky’s Servant of the People party a unilateral majority, but it is far from guaranteed to keep it in the event of an election. A survey released last month by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KMIS) indicated a drop in public faith in the parliament. In the year since December 2022, the number of people distrusting the institution has grown from 34% to 61%. Zelensky’s own trust rating dropped from 84% to 62% in 12 months, according to the same poll.

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“And on there is Zelensky’s demand for a little pink pony with a little pretty ribbon on top..”

Zelensky’s Proposal for Russian Surrender Ridiculed (Sp.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky unveiled a diplomatic proposal to end the long-running conflict in the Donbass region this week, but observers say the controversial leader’s “peace formula” is little more than wishful thinking. “It is the opposite of a peace formula,” said security analyst Mark Sleboda on Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program Thursday. “It is a childish demand for Russian unconditional surrender that Russia should withdraw all of its troops from Ukrainian territory – including Crimea – [and] surrender the people of Crimea and Donbass to the tender mercies of Azov* Neo-Nazis.” Among the elements of Zelensky’s proposition is a call for Russia to put political and military leaders on trial and pay reparations to the Kiev regime.

“And on there is Zelensky’s demand for a little pink pony with a little pretty ribbon on top,” Sleboda added sarcastically. “This is a fantastical, maximalist demand. It is not a peace formula, which is why the Global South is just like, ‘Do we have to sit through another one of these things?’ And spoiler, China didn’t even bother to show up.” Zelensky unveiled the proposal at the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland earlier this week. Sleboda noted the venue was likely chosen to improve attendance as Zelensky has struggled to find an audience for such speeches in recent months. Zelensky has released similar proposals in the past although none have gained traction given Ukraine’s struggles on the battlefield. Sleboda noted that even The New York Times admitted Ukraine was losing, although indirectly.

“Even this article in the New York Times – if you scroll down into it long enough – they go through the list of demands and then they say ‘all of these demands are considered by analysts and even politicians backing the proposal to be unreachable, given the current balance of forces on the battlefield.’” Sleboda pointed out. “Which is a nice way of saying the Kiev regime is losing.” Discussion then shifted towards Russia’s recent targeting of mercenary fighters in Kharkov earlier this week. “Unfortunately for the mercenaries, things aren’t working out real well for them on the battlefield,” said host Garland Nixon. “Well, come to think of it, they’re not getting to the battlefield.”

Sleboda pointed out the alleged French mercenaries were reported to be working with the Russian Volunteers Corps, a neo-Nazi group that has been banned in Europe. “This isn’t like a safari tour in Afghanistan or Iraq or somewhere where they go out and kill some largely helpless villagers with AK-47s,” said Sleboda. “You’re fighting a world power that has ballistic cruise and hypersonic missiles dropping 1,500-pound, guided bombs on you and everything else.” “So yeah, newsflash: you don’t belong here. And if you insist on coming here then you’ll be priority target number one.”

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“..Let’s focus on what would be the 12 Greatest Hits of his remarkable exercise..”

How the West Was Defeated (Pepe Escobar)

Emmanuel Todd, historian, demographer, anthropologist, sociologist and political analyst, is part of a dying breed: one of the very few remaining exponents of old school French intelligentzia – a heir to those like Braudel, Sartre, Deleuze and Foucault who dazzled successive young Cold War generations from the West down to the East. The first nugget concerning his latest book, La Défaite de L’Occident (“The Defeat of the West”) is the minor miracle of actually being published last week in France, right within the NATO sphere: a hand grenade of a book, by an independent thinker, based on facts and verified data, blowing up the whole Russophobia edifice erected around the “aggression” by “Tsar” Putin. At least some sectors of strictly oligarch-controlled corporate media in France simply could not ignore Todd this time around for several reasons.

Most of all because he was the first Western intellectual, already in 1976, to have predicted the fall of the USSR in his book La Chute Finale, with his research based on Soviet infant mortality rates. Another key reason was his 2002 book Apres L’Empire, a sort of preview of the Empire’s Decline and Fall published a few months before Shock & Awe in Iraq. Now Todd, in what he has defined as his last book (“I closed the circle”) allows himself to go for broke and meticulously depict the defeat not only of the US but of the West as a whole – with his research focusing in and around the war in Ukraine. Considering the toxic NATOstan environment where Russophobia and cancel culture reign supreme, and every deviation is punishable, Todd has been very careful not to frame the current process as a Russian victory in Ukraine (although that’s implied in everything he describes, ranging from several indicators of social peace to the overall stability of the “Putin system”, which is “a product of the history of Russia, and not the work of one man”).

Rather, he focuses on the key reasons that have led to the West’s downfall. Among them: the end of the nation-state; de-industrialization (which explains NATO’s deficit in producing weapons for Ukraine); the “degree zero” of the West’s religious matrix, Protestantism; the sharp increase of mortality rates in the US (much higher than in Russia), along with suicides and homicides; and the supremacy of an imperial nihilism expressed by the obsession with Forever Wars. Todd methodically analyses, in sequence, Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Germany, Britain, Scandinavia and finally The Empire. Let’s focus on what would be the 12 Greatest Hits of his remarkable exercise.

1. At the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) in February 2022, the combined GDP of Russia and Belarus was only 3.3% of the combined West (in this case the NATO sphere plus Japan and South Korea). Todd is amazed how these 3.3% capable of producing more weapons than the whole Western colossus not only are winning the war but reducing dominant notions of the “neoliberal political economy” (GDP rates) to shambles.
2. The “ideological solitude” and “ideological narcissism” of the West – incapable of understanding, for instance, how “the whole Muslim world seems to consider Russia as a partner rather than an adversary”.
3. Todd eschews the notion of “Weberian states” – evoking a delicious compatibility of vision between Putin and US realpolitik practitioner John Mearsheimer. Because they are forced to survive in an environment where only power relations matters, states are now acting as “Hobbesian agents.” And that brings us to the Russian notion of a nation-state, focused on “sovereignty”: the capacity of a state to independently define its internal and external policies, with no foreign interference whatsoever.

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“The West cannot be trusted. Even now, it wants only one thing – to live at the expense of others and to be more clever than others.”

Russia Can’t Trust West – Lavrov (RT)

The Ukraine conflict has helped Russia overcome the misconception that it can trust the West, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday on Moscow’s diplomacy in 2023, Lavrov argued that Russia’s military operation against Kiev has had positive consequences domestically, including a reinvigorating effect on society which has helped to bring people together. He added that the conflict, which also ushered in unprecedented Western sanctions, allowed the country’s economy to make great strides in both civilian and military production. The West’s “hybrid aggression,” which encompassed many areas, played a role in “making us understand how to go on living,” Lavrov said. “If there had been any illusions left over from the 1990s, that the West would open its arms to embrace us and that democracy would unite us all, they have been completely dispelled.”

“The West cannot be trusted. Even now, it wants only one thing – to live at the expense of others and to be more clever than others.” Lavrov’s comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted last month that he was “naive” early on in his political career, despite having served in the Soviet KGB. He said he believed that there was no fundamental reason for the West and Moscow to be at odds after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, in reality, the former was seeking to break Russia into several entities with less ability to protect their national interests, the president stated. Putin had previously warned that a breakup of the country could lead to the Russian people ceasing to exist altogether, adding that unity is the key condition for the country’s success.

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“..That falsehood, repeated by President Joe Biden, is that when Vladimir Putin decided to invade, he intended to conquer all of Ukraine and “annihilate” it..”

To End The War In Ukraine, Expose Its Core Lie (TLI)

The essential argument used to avoid negotiation and continue support for the war in Ukraine is based on a falsehood. That falsehood, repeated by President Joe Biden, is that when Vladimir Putin decided to invade, he intended to conquer all of Ukraine and “annihilate” it. Its falsity has been exposed multiple times by military experts, who have pointed out, both before and after the invasion, that Russia could not have intended to conquer all of Ukraine because it did not invade with sufficient forces to do so. Indeed, this was a key reason why senior Ukrainian officials, and even President Volodymyr Zelensky himself, argued just days before the invasion that it would not occur. The mistake that most analysts at the time made (these authors included), was to assume that since the troops mobilized by Russia did not suffice for a full scale occupation of Ukraine, no military operation, not even a limited one, was in the offing.

It was only later that Western political leaders turned this mistake to their propaganda advantage by insisting that Russia had always intended to first take Kiev, then all of Ukraine, and ultimately even attack NATO. But if basic military logic is taken into account, the fact that Putin committed only 120,000–190,000 men to his campaign and did not mobilize more resources until months later, after Kiev rejected the Istanbul peace deal, indicates that his objectives in Ukraine were limited and revolved around guaranteeing the security of the populations of Donbass and Crimea from Ukrainian assaults and Russia from NATO expansion. Given that Ukraine had cut off Crimea’s water and electricity years before, this required a land bridge to the region; hence, the illegal annexations of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.

We also have indirect confirmation that territory was not his objective from an unimpeachable source: NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, who stated that Putin invaded Ukraine to prevent NATO’s expansion. This would explain why, as soon as these goals were within reach when Ukrainian officials initialed the draft of the Istanbul Agreement in March 2022, Putin halted his assault and withdrew Russian forces from Kiev, rather than move further into Ukraine. This background is important, because the argument for increasing Western military support for Ukraine relies so heavily on the claim that Russia always intended to expand further, attack NATO, and reestablish the Russian empire. But, as noted scholar John Mearsheimer has pointed out, “there is no evidence in the public record that Putin was contemplating, much less intending to put an end to Ukraine as an independent state and make it part of greater Russia when he sent his troops into Ukraine on February 24th.”

It was never one of Putin’s stated goals, nor was it ever taken seriously by the Ukrainian leadership. David Arakhamia, the head of Ukraine’s negotiating team in Belarus and Istanbul, recently revealed that the “key point” for Russia was Ukraine not joining NATO, and “everything else was simply rhetoric and political ‘seasoning.’” Putin himself has consistently said that “this conflict is not about territory…[it] is about the principles underlying the new international order.” We should not take him at his word, but it is still worth asking: had Putin’s ambitions been territorial, would he have waited until 2014 to annex Crimea? Would the upper house of Russia’s parliament have rescinded Putin’s temporary authority to use troops in Ukraine in June 2015? Would he have opposed the 2014 independence referendums in Donetsk and Lugansk?

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“..The document practically states that all the activities of the Ukrainian state will revolve around the interests of the UK..”

The New British-Ukrainian Defense Agreement Is Great News For Russia (Poletaev)

So, six months down the line, the current UK prime minister arrived in Kiev and, in between the usual selfies with female train conductors, he signed the first UK-Ukraine agreement. The event didn’t receive widespread attention, but among the experts who have commented on it, opinions have differed markedly. Rishi Sunak’s opponents in the UK insist that it’s merely a PR move – an attempt to raise his faltering ratings, which have plunged to a record low. In Russia, some experts have called it a meaningless piece of paper, without thoroughly reading the document. For their part, Ukrainian analysts have declared the agreement to be an important milestone, an epochal moment, and tried to sell it as even more significant than actual accession to NATO.

The agreement is indeed important and is worth reading carefully. Firstly, the main slogan of the past two years (usually declared on behalf of the entire Western coalition) has been literally incorporated into the text: “The UK will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it needs, so that Ukraine can effectively defend itself.” In other words, it’s just like Boris Johnson said – we will not fight for you, but we’ll do what we can to help you. Secondly, for the next ten years – the entire duration of the agreement – the document notes that no territorial changes will be recognized. “The participants will work together, and with other partners of Ukraine, to ensure Ukrainian Armed Forces and security forces are able to fully restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.” As for the actual obligations on the part of the UK, the text includes only one point:

“In the event of a future Russian armed attack against Ukraine, at the request of either of the participants, the participants will consult within 24 hours to determine measures needed to counter or deter the aggression.” It further states: “The UK undertakes that, in those circumstances, and acting in accordance with its legal and constitutional requirements, it would: provide Ukraine with swift and sustained security assistance, modern military equipment across all domains as necessary, and economic assistance.” The amount of future economic assistance corresponds to the current military aid provided by the UK to Ukraine, which is believed to be between £2.3 billion ($2.9 billion) and £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) in 2023 and 2024.

In the rest of the document, we find non-binding general statements – for example, that the sides will “work together on deepening cooperation and partnership… strengthen [their] long-term relationship… provide advice and support… make significant contributions… create joint working groups…” and blah, blah, blah. All the usual technocratic claptrap of polite, mostly meaningless, words. Despite the general non-binding nature of the agreement, however, it clearly shows that Ukraine is getting tangled up in the web of Western influence and control. The document practically states that all the activities of the Ukrainian state will revolve around the interests of the UK: from the defense industry to civil and military construction, information security, the fight against corruption and organized crime, the distribution of humanitarian aid, and general economic issues. It gives global financial institutions virtually unlimited access to Ukraine.

Moreover, among the numerous Western-style reforms that Ukraine is obliged to carry out, the agreement stipulates “democratic civilian control of the Armed Forces, [as] an important indicator of the non-politicization of the Armed Forces.” This looks a lot like an attempt by Zelensky to enlist the support of the West in his conflict with Zaluzhny. Ukraine has been quick to declare that the Sunak-Zelensky deal will serve as an example for similar agreements with other G7 countries (France will probably sign a similar document next month). Such agreements will provide a legal backbone for the West’s Ukraine policy, which can be explained as follows: Kiev is the West’s tool. It sends the Ukrainians a clear signal: You are our outpost, our weapon, our battering ram, or whatever else, but you are not one of us. We will not put ourselves at risk for your sake, and there’s no place for you under the NATO umbrella.

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“The Russian military said that it targeted a “temporary assembly point of foreign fighters” in Kharkov..”

Strikes On Mercenaries In Ukraine ‘Painful For The West’ (RT)

Russia’s elimination of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine hurts the West because it demonstrates how Moscow can inflict “huge losses” with single precision strikes, Finnish news editor Janus Putkonen has told RT. The Russian military said that it targeted a “temporary assembly point of foreign fighters” in Kharkov on Tuesday, killing 60 foreign fighters and injuring more than 20 others, the majority of whom were “French mercenaries.” The French foreign ministry on Thursday denied the presence of any French mercenaries in Ukraine, although a pro-Russian resistance group in Kharkov told RIA Novosti that French-speaking personnel were present at the targeted building, and that some foreigners there had been “supervising” the RDK, a Ukrainian paramilitary unit associated with the country’s military intelligence agency.

“These kinds of strikes are painful for Western countries for sure, for many reasons,” Putkonen told RT. “[Western countries] are losing the information battle, because these mercenaries are at the forefront in Western propaganda for the war, and losing lots of them at the same time – hundreds of them in just a matter of days – is a major blow.” Tuesday’s strike is a microcosm of “the whole situation that is going on in Ukraine,” Putkonen continued. There are “huge losses” on the Ukrainian side, he explained, adding that while foreign soldiers can fight, they “cannot defend against precision strikes.” “Russia is calling the shots,” Putkonen concluded. Hours before the strike, French President Emmanuel Macron declared that his country could not allow Russia to win the conflict in Ukraine, and pledged further arms shipments to Kiev, including 40 SCALP air-launched cruise missiles. According to French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu, the weapons are to be transferred in the first half of this year.

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“..it will make no distinction between the Ukrainian soldiers, foreign mercenaries, or members of NATO militaries operating on Ukrainian soil..”

NATO Personnel In Ukraine Now ‘Fair Game’ For Russia – Scott Ritter (RT)

Russia’s targeting of French-speaking personnel suggests that advisers from NATO countries operating in Ukraine have been put on notice, former US Marine and UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter has said. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, more than 60 “foreign fighters” were killed and another 20 wounded in Tuesday’s high-precision strike on a building in Kharkov. Speaking with Sputnik on Thursday, Ritter pointed to the possibility that at least some of the French-speaking individuals may have been active-duty French military, “who were in Ukraine at the behest of their government, and now they’re dead.” “I think this shows a new mindset for the Russians,” he said. “In the past, Russia has not shown any hesitancy to eliminate foreign mercenaries fighting on behalf of the Ukrainian military. But there has seemed to be some sort of leniency towards military advisers or personnel who belong to NATO countries who are in Ukraine.”

If the fighters killed weren’t simply mercenaries but serving French military professionals, “this shows that Russia has made a decision that everybody in Ukraine now is fair game,” Ritter added. He suggested that this might mean Russia is moving to the “end of the game” in Ukraine, in which it will make no distinction between the Ukrainian soldiers, foreign mercenaries, or members of NATO militaries operating on Ukrainian soil. The Ukrainian side has given conflicting accounts of Tuesday’s strike, first saying the missiles hit an unused hospital and then that a residential building was struck causing civilian casualties. Donbass Insider Editor-in-chief Christelle Neant told RT on Thursday that “many wounded French-speaking individuals were admitted to hospitals” in Kharkov, according to Ukrainian intelligence sources.

Neant said that Kiev uses foreign mercenaries “primarily for media purposes” and that the Frenchmen in Kharkov may have been instructors teaching the Ukrainians how to handle weapons provided by the West. Earl Rasmussen of the Eurasia Center told RT that the Kharkov strike might be a message to Ukraine that Russia won’t treat Western fighters any differently than Ukrainian ones. He also allowed for the possibility the stricken foreigners may have been instructors. Thousands of fighters from the West flocked to Ukraine after the conflict with Russia escalated in February 2022, but their enthusiasm dropped off after up to 180 of them died in a missile strike on base in Yavorov in mid-March. Since then, almost 6,000 of the 13,500 foreigners who came to fight for Ukraine have been killed, and over 5,600 have returned home, the Russian Defense Ministry said earlier this month.

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“..before we even talk about Ukraine, I’m going to tell the president what I’m telling all of you and we’ve told the American people: border, border, border..”

Johnson Throws Cold Water on Ukraine Funding, Prioritizing Border Security (Sp.)

On Wednesday, US House Speaker Mike Johnson revealed his determination to continue with a stalemate between Democrats and Republicans regarding legislation that would pave the way for continued funding to Ukraine. The deal is currently being worked on in the Senate with the aim to pair border and immigration policy changes (what Republicans want) alongside funding for Ukraine (what Democrats are asking for). “I don’t think now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform because we know how complicated that is,” Johnson said early Wednesday. “You can’t do that quickly. I do think it’s past time to secure the border.” Biden called for the top four congressional leaders and other lawmakers, including Johnson to the White House in an effort to move forward with an agreement on legislation for border security and funding for Ukraine. The Senate has been working for weeks in an effort to craft some common ground legislation, but some senators last week said significant disagreements remain an issue.

“With regard to Ukraine, we have needed, we have requested publicly and privately in every form, answers to critical questions: What is the end game and the strategy in Ukraine? How will we have accountability for the funds?” said Johnson, seeming to suggest that a bipartisan deal may not be enough to encourage their support of continued funding for Ukraine. “We need to know that Ukraine would not be another Afghanistan.” “And you see a lot of the American people scratching their heads, having real questions about why that would continue without these appropriate answers. So I’m going to push for those. But before we even talk about Ukraine, I’m going to tell the president what I’m telling all of you and we’ve told the American people: border, border, border, we have to take care of our own house,” the house speaker said at a conference on Wednesday.

“We have to secure our own borders before we talk about doing anything else. And that’s the message I’ve had since day one. It’s the message we’ll continue to have.” Senator Mitch McConnell—who was reported to be one of the people invited to Wednesday’s meeting—said voting on the supplemental legislation could take place as soon as next week. “I am more optimistic than ever before that we come to an agreement,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, told reporters after Wednesday’s meeting. “There was a large amount of agreement around the table, that we must do Ukraine, and we must do border. There was tremendous focus on Ukraine, and an understanding that if we don’t come to Ukraine’s aid, that the consequences for America around the globe would be nothing short of devastating,” Schumer said.

Johnson said that the meeting was “productive” and that he had emphasized that US border security should be prioritized before Ukraine. “We understand the necessity about Ukraine funding and we want to say that the status quo is unacceptable,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “We need the Commander-in-Chief of this country, the President of the United States, to show strength on the world stage, and not weakness. We cannot continue with the current status quo.”

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“..the “dream team” of women some EU diplomats would like to see leading the bloc..”

Anti-Russian Leader A Favorite For Top EU Job – Politico (RT)

Estonian PM Kaja Kallas, an outspoken critic of Russia, is rumored to be on the “dream team” of women some EU diplomats would like to see leading the bloc after the European Parliament elections in June, Politico EU said on Thursday. The combination would see Kallas take over as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the post currently held by Spain’s Josep Borrell, while Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen would become the new chair of the European Council. Ursula von der Leyen of Germany would remain head of the European Commission and Roberta Metsola of Malta would keep chairing the European Parliament. “It’s my dream team,” a diplomat who asked for anonymity to speak freely told Politico. “It would send such a strong message.”

According to Politico, Kallas is a name “increasingly mentioned in corridor chats and over coffee,” given the Ukraine conflict. She has already put her name in the hat to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as the secretary-general of NATO. The Estonian leader has been an outspoken critic of Russia and a partisan of Kiev. Facing calls to resign last August, after Estonian media revealed that her husband Arvo Hallik held a stake in a shipping company operating in Russia despite the EU sanctions, Kallas refused and vowed to stay in power “for the freedom of Ukraine and for Estonia.” With Brussels former European Council President Donald Tusk now the prime minister of Poland, it is “simply impossible to avoid” giving Eastern Europe the foreign policy portfolio given the Ukraine conflict, one EU diplomat said.

The rumored “dream team” would give one leadership post each to the bloc’s east, west, north and south. The scheme would also “make sense” due to the political alignment within the EU, leaving the European People’s Party (EPP) in charge of the Commission and the Parliament, while the socialists run the Council and the “liberals” control the External Action Service. With Christine Lagarde of France as president of the European Central Bank until 2027 and Nadia Calviño of Spain in charge of the European Investment Bank, the EU’s most powerful positions would all be held by women, who are considered “underrepresented” in the bloc. No woman has ever chaired the European Council. Von der Leyen is the first at the head of the Commission. There have been three female chairs of the European Parliament since 1979 and two foreign policy heads – Catherine Ashton of the UK and Federica Mogherini of Italy – since the post was created in 1999.

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“..fatally defective..”

Judge In Trump-Georgia Case Orders Fani Willis To Explain Allegations (ZH)

The judge in the Trump-Georgia case has ordered Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) to answer to accusations that she hired her romantic partner as a top prosecutor on the case. Judge Scot McAfee on Thursday ordered Willis to respond to the allegations in writing by Feb. 2, and has scheduled a hearing on the matter for Feb. 15. The accusation, first found in a court filing by attorney and Trump co-defendant Mike Roman, accuses Willis of hiring her paramour Nathan Wade – whose involvement, Roman argues, makes the indictment “fatally defective.” Roman has asked McAfee to dismiss the charges, and to block the Fulton County DA’s office from further involvement in the case. Wade (who was hired without proper approval), is a private attorney in the midst of a divorce who “has little to no experience trying felony cases, much less complex RICO actions,” according to a 127-page filing in former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election trial in Georgia.

Wade ended up pocketing nearly $700,000 from Fulton county taxpayers – with which he allegedly took Willis on lavish vacations. He also billed taxpayers $2,000 to talk to the Biden White House about prosecuting Biden’s political opponent. Allegations surfaced last week from one of Trump’s co-defendants, Mike Roman, a political operative who served as Trump’s director of Election Day operations on his 2020 reelection campaign, who accused Willis and Wade of engaging in an “improper” romantic relationship. Citing “sources close” to both Willis and Wade, Roman’s lawyer, Ashleigh Merchant, claimed the pair have been involved in an “ongoing, personal and romantic relationship,” and went on vacations together. The filings argued the alleged relationship, which Merchant claims started before the election interference began, makes the indictment “fatally defective” and requests it be dismissed. -The Hill

During a church service last Sunday, Willis appeared to defend her actions. “I’m a little confused. I appointed three special counselors. It’s my right to do, paid them all the same hourly rate. They only attack one.” “I hired one white woman, a good personal friend and a great lawyer, a superstar, I tell you. I hired one white man — brilliant — my friend and a great lawyer. And I hired one Black man, another superstar, a great friend and a great lawyer,” she continued, without referencing Wade by name. “The Black man I chose has been a judge for more than 10 years, run[s] a private practice more than 20 [years],” said Willis. “Represented businesses in civil litigation … served a prosecutor, a criminal defense lawyer, special assistant attorney general.” Willis then pretended to talk to God, asking: “God, isn’t it them who’s playing the race card when they only question one?”

How many of the other attorneys was Fani (allegedly) banging? More recently we learned that Fani was coordinating with the Jan. 6 committee to shape her case against Trump. In mid-April of 2022, Committee staff quietly met with attorneys working on the case in Fulton County for DA Fani Willis, right around the time she was preparing to convene a special grand jury investigation – during which she employed her alleged paramour, Nathan Wade, who would also coordinate with the Biden White House on their case. So – Fani coordinated with both the J6 committee and the White House, who helped them assemble their case against the former president.

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“..Milei’s speech has more views than all other speeches from 2024 combined, including those from the EU President Ursula von der Leyen, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and French President Emmanuel Macron.”

Who Praised Javier Milei’s Anti-Socialism Speech Seen 27 Million Times (CS)

A number of high profile figures have lauded Argentinian President Javier Milei’s takedown of socialism and “international organizations” while speaking next to Klaus Schwab at his annual WEF Davos meeting. In what has easily become the most viral speech of the year, and most popular in WEF history, Milei lambasted Western governments for shrouding socialism in the guise of social justice, even taking a shot at the West’s “radical feminist agenda.” The WEF has understandably downplayed the significance of Milei’s speech. In their article summarizing Day 3 of the Davos meetings, Milei’s speech was pushed to the bottom and given an equally brief write-up as it was dry. Conversely, a number of high profile figures have offered praise of Milei’s speech. On X, a post of the speech has been seen over 27 million times.

X and Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted the speech and praised Milei for his “Good explanation of what makes countries more or less prosperous.” Musk also posted a meme on Thursday showing a man secretly watching Milei’s speech while having sex with a beautiful woman. Dr Jordan Peterson chimed in on Wednesday with a simple exclamation mark over another user’s post that read “Javier Milei just told a bunch of WEF socialists at Davos that they are THE PROBLEM, not the solution.”Former Republican candidate, and potential Donald Trump VP pick Vivek Ramiswamy, similarly posted three clapping emojis over the same post that Peterson commented on. Ramiswamy later posted: “The World Economic Forum is really just Old World Europe rearing its ugly head again. We fought a revolution in 1776 to say hell no to the Old World vision. It’s time we say so again: self-governance over aristocracy is what makes America great.”

On Thursday, Former US National Security Advisor General Mike Flynn posted: “The more I think about Argentine President Javier Milei’s speech at the WEF, the more I realize he gave the globalists a double barreled middle finger to them in their own board room. Well done!” Canadian Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich said Milei dropped “truth bombs.” On YouTube, The WEF’s account shows that Milei’s speech has more views than all other speeches from 2024 combined, including those from the EU President Ursula von der Leyen, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Milei

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“..the U.S. is the most unequal major economy in the world..”

Can the World Afford Its First Trillionaire? (Robert Bridge)

Since 2020, the wealthiest five individuals in the world have seen their fortunes explode, while during the same period some five billion people around the world have become poorer. The net worth of these billionaires – Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault and his family of luxury company LVMH, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Oracle founder Larry Ellison and investor Warren Buffett – has exploded 114% to $869 billion, after taking inflation into account, according to Oxfam’s annual inequality report. Currently, Elon Musk, who runs several companies, including Tesla and SpaceX, is the richest man on the planet, with a personal fortune of just under $250 billion. “We have the top five billionaires, they have doubled their wealth. On the other hand, almost 5 billion people have become poorer,” Amitabh Behar, Oxfam’s interim executive director, told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, the site of this year’s World Economic Forum.

“Very soon, Oxfam predicts that we will have a trillionaire within a decade,” Behar said. “Whereas to fight poverty, we need more than 200 years.” To put the idea of a trillionaire (a thousand billions) into some perspective, the United States currently spends about that much annually on its entire military machine. In total, billionaires have seen their wealth explode by $3.3 trillion, or 34%, since 2020, with their fortunes expanding three times faster than the rate of inflation, according to Oxfam. American billionaires, many of whom accrue their wealth from the equity in the companies they lead, have become $1.6 trillion richer. The driving force behind this massive surge in personal profits is raw corporate power. Seventy percent of the world’s largest business interests have either a billionaire at the helm or a billionaire as its principal shareholder.

Moreover, the top 1% of income earners possesses 43% of the world’s financial assets, according to Oxfam, which pooled its data from Wealth X. In the United States, this group owns 32%; in Asia, it’s 50%. In the Middle East, the top 1% holds 48% of the financial wealth, while in Europe, it’s 47%. About 150 of the world’s largest corporations made nearly $1.8 trillion in profits in the one year leading up to June 2023, Oxfam reported. That’s 52.5% more than their average was between 2018 to 2021. While economic inequality is as old as Rome, in the United States the disparity has increased dramatically over the last four decades. Inequality can be measured in a variety of ways, frequently using income. The Gini coefficient, developed by Italian Statistician Corrado Gini in 1921, is one of the most accurate measures of how income is distributed across the population with 0 being perfectly equal (where everyone receives an equal share) and 1 being completely unequal (where 100 percent of income goes to only one person).

The United States has a Gini coefficient of 0.485, the highest it has been in half a century, according to the Census Bureau, far exceeding that of other advanced economies. This measurement proves that the U.S. is the most unequal major economy in the world. In 1980, the top 1 percent of earners in the United States earned a little over 10 percent of the country’s income. Currently, they bring home about 20 percent, more than the entire bottom half of earners. Despite its massive amount of inequality, Americans have shown tremendous patience with the status quo. The last time there was any sort of backlash against the 1% came in 2011 with the Occupy Wall Street protests, where thousands of protesters railed against economic inequality, corporate greed, and the influence of money in politics.

Americans showed that they had had enough following the 2008 bank bailouts under the George W. Bush administration that utilized taxpayer funds to purchase toxic assets from ‘too big to fail’ banks and financial institutions. Protesters were also enraged by the undue influence of corporate money in the US political process. Today, Wall Street quietly goes about its business of making obscene amounts of money, while much of the public’s attention is preoccupied with other matters unconnected to class, like race, gender, and identity politics, trifles which the corporate-owned mainstream media is only too happy to promote. Whether it will take the world’s first trillionaire to make the people ‘class conscious’ once again remains to be seen.

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Babies swimming

 

 


Squint your eyes, and the diamonds morph into squares.

 

 

Cary Grant

 

 

Petals

 

 

 

 

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