Jun 132024
 
 June 13, 2024  Posted by at 9:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  56 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Courtesan (after Eisen) 1887

 

Biden’s Problems Are the Real Threats (Newt Gingrich)
“Pelosi SHOULD Take Responsibility!”: J6 Capitol Police Chief (ZH)
Maddow Says She’s Worried Trump Will Put Her In A Concentration Camp (MN)
Alito Exposed as ‘Crusader for Christian Nationalism’ (CD)
Hunter Biden’s Conviction on Gun Charges Is a Red Herring (Paul Craig Roberts)
Hunter Comes Up A Donut Short of a Defense in Delaware (Turley)
Did the Defense Make Prison More Likely for Hunter? (Turley)
Ukraine Must ‘Prevail’ To Join NATO – Stoltenberg (RT)
House Moves To Defund Ukrainian NGO That Issued ‘Enemies List’ (ZH)
The Summer of Living Dangerously (Pepe Escobar)
A New (and Fairer) Nuremberg (SCF)
Cuomo Blames COVID-19 Nursing Home Order on Unknown Staffer (ET)
Musk Drops Case Against OpenAI (RT)
The Absence — and Presence — of Daniel Ellsberg (Solomon)
The Destruction of Julian Assange (Jacob G. Hornberger)

 

 

 

 

Irreparable harm

 

 

Trump Biden

 

 

Comer

 

 

Benz

 

 

Bidenpromo

 

 

NapRitter

 

 

 

 

“The 2024 election isn’t about what the establishment media thinks. It’s about America’s survival.”

Biden’s Problems Are the Real Threats (Newt Gingrich)

Democratic analysts don’t seem to understand why the all-out legal assault on President Donald Trump isn’t working. It’s because they keep talking among themselves and not with the American people. The American people don’t live and work in the New York-Washington political-media-government bubble. If reporters and analysts listened to Americans, as we do at America’s New Majority Project, they would learn how decisive the choice between President Joe Biden or President Trump is. They would also see how difficult, if not impossible, it will be for President Biden to get easily re-elected. The propaganda media is trying to focus the election on what it sees as President Trump’s flaws. The Democrats, including the Biden campaign, are trying to focus the election on what they see as the threat President Trump represents.

But the 2024 election is ultimately going to come down to a simple question: Can the American people afford four more years of Biden’s policies and principles? President Trump’s problems all involve his own alleged behavior and activities. Even the totally phony legal attacks remain locked into a Trump-centered issue. No American is hurt by the things President Trump has supposedly done. Indeed, few Americans pay any attention to the outlandish, manipulated legal attacks on President Trump. Most Americans see the case against Trump as political lawfare. If anything, they are offended by the left’s assault on the rule of law and the Constitution. This is why the conviction in the so-called hush money trial led to an enormous surge of contributions to Trump’s campaign. Far from running away from President Trump, the American people found themselves running to defend him. They saw him as a champion being persecuted unfairly and took the conviction as a direct warning of what could happen to them.

By contrast, President Biden’s problems all impact everyday Americans. Bidenflation continues to drive already high prices higher. Child care costs increased 4.1 percent in the last year. Young parents are having to take on third and fourth jobs just to break even on costs. Grocery prices are forcing Americans to make tough decisions about how to feed their families. Young people can’t afford to buy houses – which is more than offsetting any good will Biden might have generated by (illegally) waiving student loan repayments. President Biden’s policies are causing millions of Americans real pain. Biden’s open border policy allows Venezuelan criminals to go to New York City and murder policemen. Biden’s open border policy allows fentanyl and other drugs to flood our country and poison our communities. When more than 100,000 Americans a year are dying from drug overdoses, it is hard to worry about how Trump valued his apartment or paid his attorney.

The average American can’t afford groceries, gasoline, or the electricity bill thanks to Bidenflation. Democrats want Americans to focus on these legal attacks. But Americans are focused on their own survival in the terrible economy President Biden and Democrats created. For the elite establishment Democrats, this is all still about politics. For the American people, it’s about survival. Economically, Biden’s destructive policies make life more expensive. Culturally, people are sick of radical dictates which denigrate religious liberty and seek to indoctrinate children against the will of their parents. Finally, as a matter of safety, Americans realize that Biden does not have the knowledge, ability, or wits to defend our nation against our adversaries. The 2024 election isn’t about what the establishment media thinks. It’s about America’s survival.

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“..the National Guard didn’t show up until 6 p.m., hours after the fatal shooting of Babbitt.. He also claimed that the Pentagon deployed resources to the homes of generals, but not the Capitol.”

“Pelosi SHOULD Take Responsibility!”: J6 Capitol Police Chief (ZH)

Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund responded to a viral video of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) admitting that she was responsible for the lack of preparedness on Jan. 6, 2021. “Pelosi should take responsibility!” Sund posted on X, adding “She put herself in the security decision process and her Sergeant at Arms denied my requests for support before and during the Jan. 6 chaos. She undermined my law enforcement capabilities.” Sund, who was in charge of the Capitol Police during Jan. 6, then asked “Why did they change the law (2US1970) that tied my hands?” On Monday, the House Oversight Committee posted footage of Pelosi admitting “I take responsibility” for the lack of security on Jan. 6. The video shows Pelosi in an exchange with Chief of Staff Terri McCullough on the evacuation. Pelosi states:

“We have responsibility, Terri. We did not have any accountability for what was going on there. And we should have. This is ridiculous.You’re going to ask me in the middle of the thing when they’ve already breached…that, should we call the Capitol Police? I mean the National Guard? Why weren’t the National Guard there to begin with? …They clearly didn’t know, and I take responsibility for not having them just prepared for more.” In February of last year, Sund told journalist Tucker Carlson that Jan. 6 was a “setup” – noting that Pelosi’s staff refused to authorize the deployment of the National Guard at the Capitol despite his pleas, and that federal agencies withheld information and warning signs of potential dangers prior to the riot. “It doesn’t seem like people really want to get to the bottom of it,” said Sund, adding “It really doesn’t. And it just gets worse. It gets worse from there.”

“Sund got approval to bring in the National Guard at 2:09 p.m. Before his approval, he alleged that he begged several generals, including General Michael Flynn, to bring the National Guard. The officials told Sund they did “not like the optics of the National Guard” as he allegedly begged for their assistance to intervene in the violence.” -Daily Caller. “This sounds like a set up to me,” Carlson said, adding “I’m sorry, it does.” To which Sund replied: “It gets better. So I beg and beg and he goes ‘well, I’m gonna walk down the hall and we’ll talk to the Secretary of Defense or whoever he’s gonna talk to. Right then I get a notification, oh, I’m still on the call, we have the shooting of Ashli Babbitt. And I said we have shots firing, I still remember yelling over the phone. We have shots firing on the U.S. Capitol, is that urgent enough for you now?” According to Sund, the National Guard didn’t show up until 6 p.m., hours after the fatal shooting of Babbitt. He also claimed that the Pentagon deployed resources to the homes of generals, but not the Capitol.

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“These people are completely ideologically captured and sound totally unhinged. They’re also psychologically projecting exactly what Democrats are trying to do to Trump on to him..”

Maddow Says She’s Worried Trump Will Put Her In A Concentration Camp (MN)

MSNBC performative hack Rachel Maddow has declared that she is worried that if Donald Trump becomes the president again he’s going to round her up and throw her in a concentration camp with all her leftist friends. Yes, really. Maddow teamed up with CNN’s resident mole man and former Brain Stelter acolyte Oliver Darcy for a super best friends ‘we hate Trump’ interview in which she made the comments. Darcy told Maddow, “Trump and his allies are openly talking about weaponizing the government to seek revenge against critics in media and politics, with some of his extremist allies even talking about jailing their fellow Americans,” further asking “You’re one of his most notable critics on television. Are you worried that you could be a target?” Maddow replied “I’m worried about the country broadly if we put someone in power who is openly avowing that he plans to build camps to hold millions of people, and to ‘root out’ what he’s described in subhuman terms as his ‘enemy from within.’”

“Again, history is helpful here. He’s not joking when he says this stuff, and we’ve seen what happens when people take power proclaiming that kind of agenda,” Maddow further declared.She continued, “I think there’s a little bit of head-in-the-sand complacency that Trump only intends to go after individual people he has already singled out. Do you really think he plans to stop at well-known liberals?” “When Trump invokes the Insurrection Act to deploy the U.S. military against civilians on his first day in office, do you think he then rescinds the order on day two?” the paranoid host added. “For that matter, what convinces you that these massive camps he’s planning are only for migrants? So, yes, I’m worried about me — but only as much as I’m worried about all of us,” Maddow concluded. This is the person who for four years got on TV every day and claimed Trump is secretly a Russian agent.

She has previously stated that if Trump wins he will try to remain president for life and cancel all future elections. These people are completely ideologically captured and sound totally unhinged. They’re also psychologically projecting exactly what Democrats are trying to do to Trump on to him.

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And if going after Trump doesn’t do the trick, they’ll target the Supreme Court.

Alito Exposed as ‘Crusader for Christian Nationalism’ (CD)

Judicial reform advocates on Monday demanded that the U.S. Senate take decisive action to hold Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito accountable for his clear display of bias and conflicts of interest, after a documentary filmmaker released audio clips she had recorded of the justice discussing ideological battles in the U.S. he said “can’t be compromised.” Shared exclusively with Rolling Stone, tapes recorded by filmmaker Lauren Windsor at the Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner on June 3 include comments from Alito about the need to return the country to “a place of godliness” and suggesting that he sympathizes with right-wing activists who believe they can’t “negotiate with the left.” Windsor attended the annual dinner, which is frequented by right-wing activists who are able to interact with the justices at the event, using her real name and as a dues-paying member of the society, which costs $150 per year to join.

The liberal filmmaker asked questions of Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts “as though she were a religious conservative,” Rolling Stone reported. Alito replied, “I agree with you,” when Windsor said people who are conservative Christians need “to return our country to a place of godliness.” He said Windsor was “probably right” when she said, “I don’t know that we can negotiate with the left in the way that needs to happen for the polarization to end. I think that it’s a matter of, like, winning.” “One side or the other is going to win,” agreed the justice. “I mean, there can be a way of working—a way of living together peacefully, but it’s difficult, you know, because there are differences on fundamental things that really can’t be compromised. It’s not like you can split the difference.” In her response, Sarah Lipton-Lubet, president for the Take Back the Court Action Fund, referred to the display of an upside-down American flag at Alito’s house in early 2021—which the justice said was an action taken solely by his wife.

“Justice Alito can hardly blame his wife this time,” said Lipton-Lubet. “In case it wasn’t glaringly obvious to anyone paying attention, Alito is now on tape declaring himself a political crusader for Christian nationalism.” Progressives including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have demanded in recent weeks that the Senate Judiciary Committee open a formal investigation into the display of the upside-down flag and another flag that read, “Appeal to Heaven”—both symbols that have been embraced by the “Stop the Steal” movement that’s baselessly claimed President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump. Advocates have said the Alito family’s embrace of the symbols is grounds for Alito’s recusal from cases involving the 2020 election and Trump, and Judiciary Committee leaders last month called on Roberts to back the demand—but Alito wrote to the Senate and the House on May 29, saying he would not recuse.

Alito has also been rebuked by progressives following reporting by ProPublica last year that showed he and fellow right-wing Justice Clarence Thomas both accepted luxury travel and other gifts from conservative groups and operatives who had business before the court. Now that Alito has been heard aligning himself with right-wing zealots who aim to “return” the U.S. to “godliness,” Lipton-Lubet said, Democratic leaders must take further action against the justice. “If the sheer brazenness of his comments doesn’t spur Democratic senators to do something besides jot off a sternly worded letter, it’s hard to imagine what will,” she said.= As the story broke on Monday, more than 60 civil society groups joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights wrote to the Judiciary Committee, reiterating the need for an urgent investigation into Alito’s various ties to right-wing groups and interests.

“Given Justice Alito’s dismissive and combative response and his refusal to recuse, as well as Justice Thomas’ ongoing ethics failures, further action is needed to protect our democracy, prevent future violations of this nature, and restore public confidence in the judiciary,” the groups wrote. “These abuses of power, left unchecked, have already become more frequent and more severe, further corroding the public’s faith in our judicial system and weakening our democracy.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1800868363121447094

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“Founding Father Thomas Jefferson said that periodically the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants.”

Hunter Biden’s Conviction on Gun Charges Is a Red Herring (Paul Craig Roberts)

We now have matching news from the opposing camp. Just as Trump is the first US President to be convicted by a jury, Hunter Biden is the first son of a sitting president to be convicted of a federal felony. This conviction of Hunter Biden leaves me unsettled, as does his likely pending conviction for federal income tax evasion. The real issue is the information on Hunter Biden’s laptop that the FBI was able for awhile to suppress and brand as “Russian disinformation.” This is under US law obstruction of Justice by the FBI. All responsible should, if US law is still enforceable, be arrested, indicted, and prosecuted. It would be justice to see the FBI in the dock after all the innocent people the corrupt organization has put there.

The laptop information is the real issue. It shows that the Bidens are a crime family and that Hunter was marketing abroad his father’s influence as Vice President and as President. It seems clear that Biden senior, “the Big Guy,” received payments from the influence peddling. Yet, not only did the corrupt FBI and whore media cover this up, the Justice (sic) Department directed attention away from the major crime by focusing the prosecution on minor issues. Hunter is convicted of lying on his handgun purchase statement by hiding the fact that he was a drug user, and Hunter most likely will be convicted of income tax evasion as he and his accountants could not report income from influence peddling without launching a federal case that would cast a net over father Biden.

MAGA Republicans are delighted with the verdict as it spreads the criminal accusation into the Democrat camp. MAGA Republicans do not realize that they are being manipulated and diverted from the main issue into a subsidiary issue. Decades ago the Nobel prize-winning economist George Stigler pointed out that government is a private, not public, organization. Political campaign contributions purchase Congressional votes for special interest enrichment, and federal regulatory agencies are captured by the private industries that they are suppose to regulate, thereby serving private and not public interests. Fauci at NIH, for example, served the profits of Big Pharma’s Covid “vaccine” at the expense of the lives and health of millions of people.

Today all sorts of American politicians are serving Israel’s interest at the expense of Palestinian lives and the honor and integrity of the US government. The same politicians are serving the profits of the military/security complex by widening the conflict in Ukraine and fomenting war with Russia, Iran, and China that could easily end in the extinction of life on earth. There is no doubt that Stigler was right. I watched and experiences it during my quarter century in Washington. The public’s interest never enters into Washington’s concern. There is no such thing as the “public interest.” In the Western world government is merely a tool of the greed of private interests. Voting cannot overturn this high level of corruption. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson said that periodically the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants. It remains to be seen if Americans are up to the task of preserving liberty.

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“..a deal that would have avoided any jail time and would have given Hunter an immunity bath that would have drowned the entire criminal code..”

Hunter Comes Up A Donut Short of a Defense in Delaware (Turley)

The conviction of Hunter Biden on all of the federal gun counts created a surprising new precedent in Delaware … for Hunter Biden. In terms of the law, this was the easiest judgment since the Jussie Smollett verdict. (Actually the Biden jury took a third of the time with a verdict in just three hours.) For Hunter Biden, though, this was the first time he’s ever been held accountable for any criminal conduct, be it drug use, or prostitution, or tax evasion, or violations of various federal laws. To have that moment come in the hometown of the Bidens likely only magnified the shock. Last year, I described the growing legal problems of Hunter Biden as the cost of “legal gluttony.” The Bidens have always been adept at avoiding accountability, particularly for the extensive influence-peddling operation that raked in millions in foreign payments.

That appetite for special treatment proved the undoing of Hunter, much like his appetite in other areas of his life. Hunter and his team expected the same level of immunity when he worked with special counsel David Weiss to cut an astonishing deal to avoid any real punishment for these or other crimes. Even before the deal was cut, Weiss allowed major crimes to expire under the statute of limitations (despite having an agreement to extend that period).= He also agreed to a deal that would have avoided any jail time and would have given Hunter an immunity bath that would have drowned the entire criminal code. Hunter and his legal team succeeded in securing this sweetheart deal, which shocked many of us.

More importantly, it shocked US District Judge Maryellen Noreika, who only had to question the immunity provision to have the entire agreement fall apart in open court. The prosecutor admitted that he had never seen a plea bargain like this in his long career. That’s when the legal gluttony became even more pronounced. Rather than fight to preserve key elements of the plea agreement, defense counsel said, “Just rip it up.” Later, the special counsel said the Hunter defense team would not agree to a compromise agreement and instead forced the matter to trial. I wrote before the trial that the defense was insane to try the case rather than plead guilty. A plea would have virtually guaranteed that there would be no jail time in the case.

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“Given the calculation for the three felonies, the defense had to know that they were increasing the chances of prison time by pursuing a nullification defense..”

Did the Defense Make Prison More Likely for Hunter? (Turley)

For months, I have been expressing disbelief that Hunter Biden and his defense team were going to take the gun case to trial. Even on the eve of the trial, I thought that the defense might snap into sanity and plead out the case. The reason was simple. A guilty plea would have materially improved the chances that Hunter could get probation and avoid jail by accepting responsibility. Conversely, a trial in a case with overwhelming evidence of guilt would make it less likely that a judge would depart from the guidelines at sentencing. Nevertheless, Hunter went forward with a nullification strategy and, in so doing, it may have nullified his best chance to reduce the risk of jail time. After the verdict, I have been stating that jail time is a real possibility in this case despite the fact that this is a first offender. Frankly, I do not see any real need for incarceration in this type of case and many judges would be likely tempted to grant “downward departures” in sentencing or disregard any recommended prison sentence.

It is also important to note that, after the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Booker, sentencing guidelines are discretionary. Judge Maryellen Noreika could sentence him to probation in light of his struggle with his addiction and his status as a first offender (as well as the absence of other aggravating factors). Yet, while many view this as a relatively minor offense, the sentencing guidelines do not. Judges regularly sentence people to prison for these offenses. The sentencing guidelines put the recommendation at 15 to 21 months in prison. Moreover, over 90 percent of those convicted are sentenced to prison time. The chances of probation are increased with guilty pleas, which generally allow for a downward departure of two levels for taking responsibility. That may not seem like a lot but it could prove determinative for a judge on a marginal call over the need for incarceration. By pursuing the nullification strategy, Hunter lost that benefit and now would have to belatedly accept responsibility just before sentencing after putting the court and public through a trial.

If the defense reviewed Judge Noreika’s past cases, they would have seen that she takes a tough approach on gun cases. In May, she sentenced defendant Zhi Dong to a year in jail for lying about his address on a gun form. Notably, that was twice the recommended sentence of the prosecutors. One point of distinction is that Dong purchased 19 pistols and 10 “lower receivers” rather than the single gun purchased by Biden. It is also notable that the prosecutors were only seeking six months of incarceration in that arguably more serious case.The defense strategy also makes it more difficult for Special Counsel David Weiss, who has shown remarkable lenience at critical stages of his investigation. It was Weiss who allowed the most serious tax offenses to lapse under a statute of limitations (despite reportedly having an agreement to extend the period). It was Weiss who sought to give Hunter an obscene sweetheart deal that would have avoided any jail time and given him immunity for all crimes.

Many remain skeptical of Weiss and his actions in this case. For that reason, the failure to plead guilty puts Weiss in a box. Given the sentencing guidelines of prison time, any recommendations for probation would be read as more favoritism for the president’s son. Weiss may feel compelled to follow the recommendations to show that Hunter is being treated the same as other defendants. Given the calculation for the three felonies, the defense had to know that they were increasing the chances of prison time by pursuing a nullification defense. The hope was that Wilmington is Bidentown and no local jury would convict the son of the favorite son of Delaware. It didn’t work out that way. The team seemed to overplay its hand with defenses that were so implausible as to be insulting for the jury. They suggested that Hunter might not have checked the box or signed the form during a brief window where he was not using drugs. The prosecutors demolished those defenses within two days of the trial.

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Never never land.

Ukraine Must ‘Prevail’ To Join NATO – Stoltenberg (RT)

Ukraine must prevail in its conflict with Russia if it wants to join NATO, the bloc’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Wednesday. The comments come as NATO countries prepare to meet for an annual summit in Washington on July 9-11. “I expect that allies will actually make important announcements between now and the summit and also at the summit for more military equipment … which is urgently needed to ensure that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign independent nation,” Stoltenberg told reporters during a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels. “And without that, of course, there is no membership issue to be discussed. We need to ensure that Ukraine prevails – that’s an absolute minimum for Ukraine to become a member of the alliance.”

Ukraine formally applied to join the US-led bloc in September 2022, citing the armed conflict with Russia. Despite Kiev’s requests for an expedited path to membership, the bloc has so far refused to provide a timetable or roadmap for accession. The allies have further ruled out admitting Ukraine until the conflict with Russia is resolved. Ukrainian officials, nevertheless, have continued their push for concrete steps towards accession. “We also expect specific decisions regarding Ukraine’s membership in NATO, in a package with other guarantees of continuity of military aid and increased interoperability,” Olga Stefanishina, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister responsible for Euro-Atlantic integration, told Politico this month. The White House, however, has said Ukraine will not become a member of the bloc during the upcoming summit in Washington.

“We do not anticipate that there’ll be an invitation for Ukraine to join NATO, but we think there will be a substantial show of support for Ukraine as it works to win its war,” US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien said in May. Since 2023, Ukraine has signed bilateral security pacts with several NATO members, including the UK, France, and Germany. These agreements do not have the same power as Article 5 of the NATO Charter, however, which stipulates that an attack against one member must be treated as an attack against the bloc as a whole. Russia has cited Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO and the bloc’s continued expansion eastward as one of the root causes of the current conflict. Moscow views NATO as a threat to its security and has insisted that Ukraine must be a neutral country with limited armed forces.

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Elon Musk called for this.

House Moves To Defund Ukrainian NGO That Issued ‘Enemies List’ (ZH)

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) has taken swift and decisive action against the Data Journalism Agency (texty.org.ua), a Ukrainian NGO with US State Department links that recently published an ‘enemies list’ of individuals and organizations opposed to the war in Ukraine. Following a letter sent by Banks to his Republican colleagues, the House Appropriations Committee has passed a provision that would prohibit US funding and sever ties with the NGO, which deemed 76 organizations and 388 individuals as enemies of Ukraine – including ZeroHedge and prominent American politicians opposed to the war in Ukraine. “Federal bureaucrats should not support or partner with foreign groups that attempt to intimidate and silence U.S. citizens and lawmakers,” Banks wrote in his letter.

“I am urging the Appropriations Committee majority to support efforts in the Fiscal Year 2025 SFOPS bill to force the State Department and USAID to end all relations with foreign NGOs like TEXTY that seek to silence the speech of Americans they dislike and to sway U.S. policymakers to serve their own interests.” Texty.org.ua was founded by Anatoly Bondarenko, a participant in the State Department’s TechCamp program, which aims to train foreign journalists and activists in digital skills. The relationship between Bondarenko and the State Department has been publicly acknowledged, adding layers to the debate over the NGO’s activities and its impact on U.S. interests. This legislative action occurs amidst broader discussions about foreign influence in American politics, with increasing scrutiny on how foreign entities may use U.S.-linked platforms or resources to sway public and political opinion in the United States.

As this bill moves forward, it sets the stage for further debates on the balance between global cooperation and safeguarding national sovereignty in the realm of information and policy. On Tuesday, Banks sent a letter to journalist Jack Posobiec informing him that his name appears on the TEXTY list, and notifying him of his intent to put a stop to US taxpayers funding the organization. “I’m not bothered by what foreign nations think of me,” Banks said after the Appropriations Committee moved forward with his suggested provision. “But it’s shameful for our agencies to be using Hoosiers’ tax dollars to collaborate with foreign groups that attempt to intimidate U.S. citizens and lawmakers. I’d like to thank the Republicans on the Appropriations Committee for defunding any such work with the Data Journalism Agency.”

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“..what he really craves is to become a “War President” – together with the Cadaver in the White House, Starmer in the UK, Rutte in the Netherlands, the Toxic Medusa von der Lugen in Brussels, Tusk in Poland, without having to answer to the French people.”:

The Summer of Living Dangerously (Pepe Escobar)

So Le Petit Roi in Paris was predictably crushed in the European polls. He has called parliamentary snap elections, dissolving the Assemblée Nationale in an act of blind, puerile revenge on French citizens, de facto attacking French institutional democracy. That doesn’t mean much anyway, because the lineaments of “liberty, equality, fraternity” have long been usurped by a crass oligarchy. The second round of these fresh French elections will be on July 7 – nearly coinciding with the British snap elections on July 11, and only a few days before the slow-burning urban catastrophe which will be the Olympics in Paris. Paris salons are ablaze with intrigue on why the little Rothschild stooge with a Napoleon complex is throwing all his toys out of the pram now because he’s not getting what he wants. After all what he really craves is to become a “War President” – together with the Cadaver in the White House, Starmer in the UK, Rutte in the Netherlands, the Toxic Medusa von der Lugen in Brussels, Tusk in Poland, without having to answer to the French people.

It’s nearly certain that Le Petit Roi will be facing the real prospect of becoming a lame duck President who needs to obey a right-wing parliament; Elysée Palace chatter already joined the circus, conveying the impression he might resign (that was later denied). Still, if Le Petit Roi runs off to war on Russia no French citizen will follow him, least of all the – pitiful – French army. Bigger things though are in play. Following the – auspicious – game-changing messages to the Global Majority coming out of the St. Petersburg forum last week, anchored on openness and inclusiveness, the BRICS 10 meeting of Foreign Ministers in Nizhny Novgorod carried the baton early this week. Foreign Minister Lavrov stressed three key points:

“The countries of the Global South no longer want to be dependent on the double standards of the West and its whims.”
“Everyone knows that the BRICS countries already serve as the locomotive of the world economy.”
“We [at the BRICS FMs meeting] stressed the need for consistent efforts to create a new world order, where the equality of independent states will be the key.”

Now compare it with the shrinking G7 meeting later this week in Puglia in southern Italy: the same old song, from a “tough new warning” to Chinese banks (“Don’t do business with Russia or else!”) to vociferous threats against the China-Russia strategic partnership. And last but not least, extra plotting to skim interest from the massive, frozen/stolen Russian assets with the intent of sending them to country 404; the Toxic Medusa itself announced that country 404 will receive €1.5 billion of the income from stolen Russian assets from the EU in July, 90% of it to buy weapons. As for U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell – the man who invented the defunct “pivot to Asia” during Harpy Hillary Clinton’s tenure in the early 2010s – he had already advanced that Washington will sanction Chinese companies and banks over Beijing’s relations with Russia’s military-industrial complex.

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“The mistakes of the Nuremberg of the past generated the Nazism of today. And it is up to the Russians, again, to defeat and punish the Nazis. Now the task seems even clearer. Westerners are no longer disguised as “allies”.

A New (and Fairer) Nuremberg (SCF)

The Russian Federation continues to play its civilizing role in Ukraine, capturing, trying and punishing Nazis who participated in massacres against the civilian population of Donbass. Recently, a militant from the infamous Azov Regiment was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering three civilians in Mariupol in the spring of 2022. In total, more than 250 sentences have already been passed by Russian courts against Ukrainian and foreign criminals, neo-Nazis and mercenaries – 32 of which are life imprisonment sentences. The act of capturing and imprisoning enemies during or after a conflict situation is commonplace in the international scenario. However, we cannot confuse the Russian attitude with a merely punitive gesture against the enemy. Moscow has at no time violated international standards of humanitarian law, with no Ukrainian soldier being tried or punished simply for fighting for Ukraine. Russia recognizes the role of the common soldier and respects it, having several rights and guarantees for all surrendered and captured Ukrainian fighters.

However, as has been made clear since 2022, special courts are being established in the New Regions to specifically judge those Ukrainians and foreign mercenaries involved in neo-Nazi activities and war crimes. The militants of the Ukrainian nationalist battalions are excluded from the norms of humanitarian law, since, like the foreign mercenaries, they are not ordinary citizens mobilized by the State for a war effort, but people who voluntarily chose to fight against Russia. Members of the so-called “Foreign Legion” and Nazi groups such as Azov, Aidar, Right Sector, S14 and several other Ukrainian militias are tried as criminals, without any special protection. It is important to remember that these fascists and mercenaries have since 2014 been the main actors behind the massacre of Russian civilians in Donbass. The genocide has been carried out mainly by paramilitary groups, as among the ordinary soldiers of the regular Ukrainian armed forces there are also many ethnic Russians, Russian speakers and Orthodox Christians.

The Kiev regime relied heavily on the work of neo-Nazi groups, ideologically driven by anti-Russian racism, to promote Ukraine’s “de-Russification” policies. After the start of the special military operation, Kiev began to internationalize its neo-Nazi apparatus, welcoming fascist militants from all over the world into the ranks of its “Foreign Legion”. Obviously, Russia could not remain silent in the face of this scenario. Eliminating foreign mercenaries and neo-Nazis has been Russia’s top priority since 2022. The goal of denazifying Ukraine remains vital. The process of eradicating fascism as a state ideology and military instrument in Ukraine needs to be completed, not only by military means, but also through law. For this reason, a special Investigative Committee has been operating in the New Regions, researching evidence of war crimes on the part of every enemy soldier. Those identified as neo-Nazis and mercenaries are often tried and punished.

Recently, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated that a new Nuremberg needs to be established to punish today’s Nazis. More than that, he made it clear how necessary it is to go beyond the limitations that occurred in the Nuremberg Court of the past. According to Medvedev, all those responsible for Ukrainian Nazism must be captured and punished, which includes decision-makers, politicians, commanders and sponsors of the genocide in Donbass. In practice, the entire political structure of the Kiev regime and its international supporters must be investigated and tried by the Russians, thus avoiding the mistakes made in the previous Nuremberg. [..] The mistakes of the Nuremberg of the past generated the Nazism of today. And it is up to the Russians, again, to defeat and punish the Nazis. Now the task seems even clearer. Westerners are no longer disguised as “allies”. The US and Europe openly position themselves as supporters and promoters of fascism. Moscow must act decisively to dismantle the entire international network of support for Nazism, with Ukraine being just the first step towards a new and fairer Nuremberg.

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Coward.

Cuomo Blames COVID-19 Nursing Home Order on Unknown Staffer (ET)

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told members of Congress on June 11 that he was not responsible for an order requiring nursing homes to accept residents discharged from hospitals even if they still had COVID-19, according to lawmakers in the room. Mr. Cuomo did “tell us that he did not know that this directive existed, that he did not authorize it, that his department of health commissioner did not authorize it, that somehow it just popped up from an unknown staff member,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) told reporters in a briefing after the closed-door hearing. Ms. Malliotakis said it was “outrageous” that the governor didn’t know the mandate came out of his administration. “The governor finds out about this directive that kills thousands of seniors a month later,” she said. “And he did not do an internal investigation to find out who this lowly staff member, who’s still unknown, who that person was? That to me is unconscionable.”

The March 25, 2020, directive from the New York Department of Health stated that nursing home operators couldn’t refuse to accept residents even if they tested positive for COVID-19. “No resident shall be denied readmission or admission to a nursing home solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,” the order stated. Nursing homes were also barred from requiring COVID-19 testing if hospital staff determined the residents were medically stable before discharging them. Mr. Cuomo said that nursing home operators could lose their licenses or be fined if they did not follow state policies. More than 15,000 nursing home residents in New York state died from COVID-19, according to state data. The numbers were adjusted upward after Mr. Cuomo left office and several state agencies found the Cuomo administration had undercounted nursing home deaths.

Mr. Cuomo partially reversed the order in May 2021 but kept other elements in place for additional months. Mr. Cuomo previously said that health care workers and family members of residents brought COVID-19 into the nursing homes. He has blamed the Trump administration for the directive, pointing to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that said nursing homes can accept patients with COVID-19. However, the guidance, which cited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that the facilities should only do so if they could follow specific rules, including isolating the patients in their own wing for two weeks. In remarks to reporters before the hearing on Tuesday, Mr. Cuomo said that “the investigations say New York followed the federal guidance.” He also said New York did well during the pandemic, but that “the federal government failed this nation.”

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No explanation?

Musk Drops Case Against OpenAI (RT)

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has unexpectedly dropped a legal case against OpenAI, shortly after he criticized the ChatGPT owner’s recently announced partnership with Apple. Attorneys for Musk asked the California state court to dismiss the lawsuit against the artificial intelligence (AI) research firm without giving a reason for the move, Reuters has reported, citing a filing in San Francisco Superior Court. The Tesla and X (formerly Twitter) boss filed the case against OpenAI in February, arguing that the company, which he had helped establish in 2015, had abandoned its founding mission of developing AI for the benefit of humanity and not for profit. OpenAI’s ChatGPT has since become the face of generative AI thanks to investment from Microsoft. Musk dropped the case just a day before the court was expected to hear OpenAI’s bid to have it dismissed.

The firm described Musk’s lawsuit as a contrived attempt by the tech billionaire to advance his own AI interests, Reuters said, citing court filings. Musk founded his own artificial intelligence startup last year. Called xAI, it announced in May that it had raised $6 billion in funding that would help bring its “first products to market”. xAI has so far launched a generative artificial intelligence chatbot dubbed Grok as a rival to ChatGPT. Grok is available via X. Earlier this week, OpenAI and iPhone maker Apple unveiled a partnership to boost Siri voice assistant with ChatGPT. The announcement triggered criticism from Musk, who warned that the tie-up would result in an “unacceptable security violation.” In a post on X, the mogul threatened to ban staff at his companies from using Apple devices if the iPhone maker integrates OpenAI’s artificial intelligence software into its operating systems.

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” If freedom of speech is violated to this extent, our republic is in danger. Unauthorized disclosures are the lifeblood of the republic.”

The Absence — and Presence — of Daniel Ellsberg (Solomon)

On a warm evening almost a decade ago, I sat under the stars with Daniel Ellsberg while he talked about nuclear war with alarming intensity. He was most of the way through writing his last and most important book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Somehow, he had set aside the denial so many people rely on to cope with a world that could suddenly end in unimaginable horror. Listening, I felt more and more frightened. Dan knew what he was talking about. After working inside this country’s doomsday machinery, even drafting nuclear war plans for the Pentagon during President John F. Kennedy’s administration, Dan Ellsberg had gained intricate perspectives on what greased the bureaucratic wheels, personal ambitions, and political messaging of the warfare state.

Deceptions about arranging for the ultimate violence of thermonuclear omnicide were of a piece with routine falsehoods about American war-making. It was easy enough to get away with lying, he told me: “How difficult is it to deceive the public? I would say, as a former insider, one becomes aware: it’s not difficult to deceive them. First of all, you’re often telling them what they would like to believe — that we’re better than other people, we’re superior in our morality and our perceptions of the world.” Dan had made history in 1971 by revealing the top-secret Pentagon Papers, exposing the constant litany of official lies that accompanied the U.S. escalation of the Vietnam War. In response, the government used the blunderbuss of the World War I-era Espionage Act to prosecute him. At age 41, he faced a possible prison sentence of more than 100 years.

But his trial ended abruptly with all charges dismissed when the Nixon administration’s illegal interference in the case came to light in mid-1972. Five decades later, he reflected: “Looking back, the chance that I would get out of 12 felony counts from Richard Nixon was close to zero. It was a miracle.” That miracle enabled Dan to keep on speaking, writing, researching, and protesting for the rest of his life. (In those five decades, he averaged nearly two arrests per year for civil disobedience.) He worked tirelessly to prevent and oppose a succession of new American wars. And he consistently gave eloquent public support as well as warm personal solidarity to heroic whistleblowers — Thomas Drake, Katharine Gun, Daniel Hale, Matthew Hoh, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Jeffrey Sterling, Mordechai Vanunu, Ann Wright, and others — who sacrificed much to challenge deadly patterns of official deceit.

Dan often spoke out for freeing WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, whose work had revealed devastating secret U.S. documents on America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the end of a visit in June 2015, when they said goodbye inside Ecuador’s embassy in London, I saw that both men were on the verge of tears. At that point, Assange was three years into his asylum at that embassy, with no end in sight. Secretly indicted in the United States, Assange remained in the Ecuadorian embassy for nearly four more years until London police dragged him off to prison. Hours later, in a radio interview, Dan said: “Julian Assange is the first journalist to be indicted. If he is extradited to the U.S. and convicted, he will not be the last. The First Amendment is a pillar of our democracy and this is an assault on it. If freedom of speech is violated to this extent, our republic is in danger. Unauthorized disclosures are the lifeblood of the republic.”

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“Don’t ever even think of doing what Assange did. If you do, we will do to you what we have done to him.”

The Destruction of Julian Assange (Jacob G. Hornberger)

Last month, a British court gave Julian Assange permission to continue opposing the U.S. government’s attempts to extradite him to the United States to stand trial for violating the World War I Espionage Act. In truth, what U.S. officials are really targeting him for is that Assange, as head of WikiLeaks, had the audacity to reveal war crimes and other dark-side activities of the U.S. national-security state. U.S. officials know that Assange’s recent judicial victory is a pyrrhic one. That’s because Assange continues to be jailed under brutal conditions in a maximum-security jail in England — and will continue to be — until his appeal is finally decided. What difference does it make to U.S. officials if Assange is jailed under brutal conditions in England or under brutal conditions here in the United States? The fact is that either way he is being jailed under brutal conditions.

In fact, there is an increasing possibility that Assange will die in an English jail before the extradition proceedings are finally resolved. That would undoubtedly fill U.S. officials with glee, given that they will have been relieved of the task of putting a person on trial for revealing war crimes and other dark-side activities of the U.S. national-security state. Keep in mind that the Assange prosecution has much more to it than just inflicting harm on Assange. U.S. officials know that they have to send everyone else a message: “The secrecy surrounding our war crimes and dark-side actives is sacrosanct. Don’t ever even think of doing what Assange did. If you do, we will do to you what we have done to him. We will finish you. Even if you are ultimately acquitted, you will be an utterly destroyed individual at the end of the process.”

Thus, U.S. officials couldn’t care less about Assange’s latest judicial “victory.” They know that British officials will keep him rotting in their jail system until his appeals are finally resolved, if ever. Ideally, from the perspective of U.S. officials, Assange will die during the pendency of his forever appeals, in which case the destruction of his life and his subsequent death in prison will have served its purpose with its message to everyone else: “Don’t ever mess with us or we will do to you what we did to Assange.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Maté

 

 

Donkey

 

 

Barkour

 

 

Maruay

 

 

Shoes

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 062024
 


Paul Gauguin We hail thee Mary 1891

 

RNC Backup Plans for Presidential Nomination If Trump Is In Prison (ET)
X Urges Supreme Court for Review After Jack Smith Obtained Trump Files (ET)
J6 Committee Delayed Secret Service Driver From Refuting Limo Story (Turley)
Poll: Plurality of Americans Believe Trump Trial was Politically Motivated (AmG)
“Biden Allies Freak After WSJ Blasts “Slipping” Brain (ZH)
Is Hunter Biden Pursuing a Jury Nullification Strategy? (Turley)
Scott Ritter on Reason Behind Move to Stop Him From Traveling to Russia (Sp.)
NATO Would Stand No Chance’ Against Russia-China Military Alliance (Sp.)
The West Is Already At War With Russia But Its Leaders Can’t Wake Up (Jay)
Ukraine To Recruit Deserters – Media (RT)
Ukraine No Longer Allowing Dual Citizens To Leave (RT)
Nobody in US Has Ukraine’s Interests At Heart – Putin (RT)
Austria’s Ex-FM Kneissl Says Europe ‘Lost Its Soul,’ Entered War Path (Sp.)
Americans Are an Abused People (Paul Craig Roberts)

 

 

 

 

Huckabee
https://twitter.com/i/status/1798530465214693854

 

 

Trump ad


https://twitter.com/i/status/1798402097773428890

 

 

Ron Paul

 

 

John Roberts
https://twitter.com/i/status/1798137403019768042

 

 

The greatest temptation is to settle for too little. – Thomas Merton

 

 

Trump Black Panthers

 

 

Putin on Trump case

 

 

Laptop

 

 

Laptop
https://twitter.com/i/status/1798383585683968496

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last paragraph is golden.

RNC Backup Plans for Presidential Nomination If Trump Is In Prison (ET)

With former President Donald Trump facing the possibility of being sentenced to prison just days before the Republican National Convention, GOP officials are formulating backup plans in case the former president isn’t able to receive the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in person. “We’ll be thinking about it, and we’re working on that right now,” Republican National Committee Chair Michael Whatley told Newsmax in an interview on June 4, when asked whether the Republican Party is preparing for the possibility that the former president can’t attend the convention because he’s behind bars. The convention, which will take place in Milwaukee from July 15 to July 18, is expected to draw thousands, but President Trump might not be one of them, given his recent felony conviction and the possibility that, on July 11, Justice Juan Merchan will sentence him to prison.

President Trump was recently found guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records to hide nondisclosure payments, supposedly to prevent bad press and sway the 2016 election in his favor. He maintains his innocence and says he’s the victim of a vindictive political prosecution meant to derail his 2024 comeback bid. Justice Merchan could sentence President Trump to up to four years on each business records falsification count, with a maximum of 20 years. The former president said in a June 2 interview on Fox News that he could handle being jailed or imprisoned, while calling the people involved in his conviction “sick” and “evil.” The former president and his attorneys have vowed to appeal the conviction, with President Trump even calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to step in before the sentencing date and overturn the guilty verdict.

Although a former Manhattan district attorney predicted that President Trump would receive no prison time regardless of any appeals process, GOP officials say they’ll be ready to handle whatever scenario presents itself at the convention. “We expect that Donald Trump is going to be in Milwaukee and he’s going to be able to accept that nomination,” Mr. Whatley said. “And if not, we will make whatever contingency planning we need to make for it.” Although Mr. Whatley didn’t provide specifics about the contingency plans, he said the RNC will “certainly” have a plan in place to make sure President Trump receives the nomination no matter what. “We want to have a show that is going to roll out Donald Trump and his vision for America, which is going to set up this election cycle,” Mr. Whatley said while expressing confidence that President Trump will become the 47th president when the Election Day dust settles in November.

In response to Mr. Whatley’s preparing for the possibility of President Trump virtually addressing the Republican National Convention, Democratic National Committee Rapid Response Director Alex Floyd released the following statement: “Even before Donald Trump became a convicted felon, his inner circle was already staffed by a roster of convicts and fraudsters brought on board for their loyalty to Trump and his MAGA agenda over the rule of law. Now Trump’s hand-picked RNC chair is openly floating Trump calling into the convention from a jail cell because the Republican Party has become completely beholden to a criminal who is willing to undermine our justice system and our democracy to pursue his agenda of revenge and retribution.”

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“..disclosing the warrant would result in “destruction of or tampering with evidence, intimidation of potential witnesses, and serious jeopardy to the investigation,” and let President Trump “flee from prosecution.”

X Urges Supreme Court for Review After Jack Smith Obtained Trump Files (ET)

Elon Musk’s X Corp. has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider stepping in against a process that lets officials obtain information from social media companies and bars the companies from informing people whose information is handed over. The process wrongly enables officials to “access and review potentially privileged materials without any opportunity for the user to assert privileges—including constitutional privileges,” lawyers for X said in a filing to the nation’s top court. Unsealed documents in 2023 showed that X provided data and records from former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account to special counsel Jack Smith after Mr. Smith obtained a search warrant. X was blocked from informing President Trump by a nondisclosure order that Mr. Smith also obtained. The order said disclosing the warrant would result in “destruction of or tampering with evidence, intimidation of potential witnesses, and serious jeopardy to the investigation,” and let President Trump “flee from prosecution.”

X challenged the order, arguing it violated its First Amendment rights and noting that President Trump might have reason to claim executive privilege, or presidential privilege. The company wanted to alert the former president so he could assert the privilege, but U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled against it, claiming during a hearing that the only reason X was issuing the challenge was “because the CEO wants to cozy up with the former president.” A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the ruling from Judge Howell, an appointee of former President Barack Obama. “The government proffered two compelling interests that supported nondisclosure of the search warrant: preserving the integrity and maintaining the secrecy of its ongoing criminal investigation of the events surrounding January 6, 2021,” U.S. Circuit Judge Florence Pan wrote. She was joined by Circuit Judges Cornelia Pillard and Michelle Childs. Judge Pillard was appointed by President Obama; Judges Pan and Childs were appointed by President Joe Biden.

The full court denied a rehearing en banc, although four judges said “we should not have endorsed this gambit,” referring to the combination of a warrant and nondisclosure order. “Rather than follow established precedent, for the first time in American history, a court allowed access to presidential communications before any scrutiny of executive privilege,” Circuit Judge Neomi Rao wrote in a dissent. The appointee of President Trump was joined by Circuit Judges Gregory Katsas and Justin Walker, other President Trump appointees; and Judge Karen Henderson, an appointee of former President George H.W. Bush. The Supreme Court should take up the case because the majority’s opinion conflicts with Supreme Court precedent and rulings from other circuits, lawyers for X said in the new petition. “This court has long held that holders of executive privilege must have notice and an opportunity to assert privilege before confidentiality of the potentially privileged documents is breached. The decision below departs from that precedent.

Because former President Trump was not informed of the warrant before his records were produced, he could not timely assert executive privilege,” they wrote. Several circuit courts have issued contrasting decisions, which creates a split that needs resolved, X lawyers said. That included a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that cleared a protocol for a warrant that involved giving people with attorney-client privilege “the first opportunity to identify potentially privileged materials” and did not let investigators access the materials until the parties or the court approved. Another circuit split exists in regard to the nondisclosure order, the lawyers said. In Freedman v. Maryland, the Supreme Court ruled that “any restraint prior to judicial review can be imposed only briefly in order to preserve the status quo.” While two circuit courts have found the ruling does not apply to nondisclosure orders, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has found that some nondisclosure orders must adhere to the ruling. The conflict “warrants this court’s review,” X lawyers said.

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What a disgrace that committee is/was.

J6 Committee Delayed Secret Service Driver From Refuting Limo Story (Turley)

Just the News is reporting that the January 6th Committee rebuffed repeated efforts from a Secret Service agent to refute the false story related by Cassidy Hutchinson alleging a violent episode with Trump in the presidential limousine during the Capitol riots. The J6 Committee staff repeatedly delayed the testimony of the agent to disprove the widely reported allegation. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, the chairman of the House subcommittee that is investigating the Jan. 6 riot, has obtained a transcript of the driver’s interview that was conducted months after he first offered to testify. However, it turns out that committee staff were asked repeatedly by counsel for the agent to let him present evidence debunking the claim. Despite being reported by virtually every news outlet, the Committee slow walked his appearance as the story went viral.

The transcript of the driver’s testimony contains express objections by the lawyer that his client had offered to testify in July, August and September of 2022, but was “rebuffed” by the committee. The account reaffirms a major criticism of the committee. After Democrats refused to allow the GOP to pick its members (as a long-accepted practice in the House), the Democrats selected two anti-Trump Republicans who did little to push for a full and fair display of witnesses and facts. The Committee was chaired by Rep. Benny Thompson, a Democrat, with Rep. Liz Cheney, as Vice Chairwoman. Cheney and the committee members clearly knew that Hutchinson’s account was debunked by the very driver who allegedly struggled with Trump. Yet, they allowed the media to report the incident for months while rebuffing the requests of the driver. Loudermilk is quoted as saying “We’re talking about the driver of the limousine, and the head of the entire protective detail. They were brought in by the select committee to testify, but they weren’t brought in until November.

The false account was given by Hutchinson in June of that year. The Secret Service driver testified Trump never tried to reach for or grab the wheel of the SUV. Notably, the transcript shows Cheney trying to explain the delay as due to the need for the Secret Service to produce all documents in the January 6 investigation. Yet, she had no problem with making the false story public through Hutchinson before such supporting material was supplied. She also did not suggest any countervailing testimony or witnesses on the issue as the media ran with the account. Instead, Cheney publicly teased the claim that they had much more evidence of crimes against Trump, which never materialized. Cheney ended one hearing by calling for more officials to come forward and noting that Trump family members and former officials have now come forward with their own public “confessions.” Many of us support the effort to bring greater transparency to what occurred on Jan. 6th and these hearings have offered a great deal of important new information.

Indeed, it has proven gut-wrenching in the accounts of lawyers and staff trying to combat baseless theories and to protect the constitutional process. Yet, the heavy-handed approach to framing the evidence by the Committee was both unnecessary and at times counterproductive. The strength of some of this evidence would not have been diminished by a more balanced committee or investigation. We previously discussed the highly scripted and entirely one-sided presentation of evidence in the Committee. Indeed, witnesses were primarily used to present what Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to as “the narrative” where their prior videotaped testimony was shown and they were given narrow follow-up questions. They at times seemed more like props than witnesses — called effectively to recite prior statements between well-crafted, impactful video clips. It had the feel of a news package, which may be the result of the decision to bring in a former ABC executive to produce the hearings.

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A mixed set of numbers.

Poll: Plurality of Americans Believe Trump Trial was Politically Motivated (AmG)

A new poll shows that a sizable plurality of the American people believe that the New York trial of former President Donald Trump was a politically-motivated show trial. As the Daily Caller reports, the ABC News/Ipsos poll shows that 47% of Americans believe the trial was indeed a political hit job, while 38% say that the trial was legitimate and fair. On the question of the “guilty” verdict, 50% of respondents believe the verdict was correct; by contrast, just 27% believe the verdict was wrong, while the remaining 23% said they “don’t know” what to believe with regards to the verdict. Among those who claimed to have followed the case closely, 55% say the verdict was correct while 35% say it was incorrect; another 8% said they “don’t know.”

After the verdict was announced, 49% of respondents said that Trump should end his campaign for re-election. Among partisan lines, just 16% of Republicans said Trump should drop out while 75% want him to continue his candidacy. Among Democrats, 79% want Trump to drop out now, while 52% of independents say the same thing. The same poll also showed that the trial and its outcome have had virtually no effect on Trump’s approval ratings, and may have even led to a slight increase. While the former president had a 29% favorability in March, his favorability currently sits at 31%. Biden’s favorability is at 32%, a slight decrease from 33% in March. The poll featured a sample size of 781 American adults, and was conducted from May 31st to June 1st. The margin of error is 3.7%.

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“I used to meet with him when he was vice president. I’d go to his house,” McCarthy said in an interview. “He’s not the same person.”

“Biden Allies Freak After WSJ Blasts “Slipping” Brain (ZH)

The Biden administration is scrambling for damage control over the president’s mental condition. Over the past month, the White House claimed executive privilege over an audio tape of Biden’s classified documents interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur, the transcripts of which were altered to make Biden seem more competent Next, TIME Magazine’s Massimo Calabresi couldn’t give a straight answer over Biden’s serious cognitive decline exhibited during an interview. Now, the White House and Biden allies are slamming a Tuesday report from the Wall Street Journal in which 45 people from both sides of the aisle told the outlet that Biden is, to put it mildly, two sandwiches short of a picnic. The Journal cites a January meeting behind closed doors during a critical discussion about Ukraine funding, Biden’s soft-spoken nursing home demeanor led some participants to question his engagement, as he occasionally read from notes and paused.

“You couldn’t be there and not feel uncomfortable,” one attendee noted about the meeting’s dynamics, adding “I’ll just say that.” In another example, Biden completely forgot the details of ‘his’ own policy on big energy projects during a one-on-one meeting with House Speaker Mike Johnson. Others who attended said Biden’s demeanor and level of engagement fluctuated and he seemed lively and engaged at some points. When the topic moved to an immigration overhaul, Johnson, the House speaker, offered Biden a list of dozens of executive actions he could undo to improve border security. Biden, rather than responding to Johnson’s suggestions, chided him, according to people at the meeting, “I’ve forgotten more about immigration than you’ll ever know.” -WSJ

Then, during debt ceiling negotiations with House Republicans, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and others noted that Biden’s demeanor and command of the details varied significantly from day to day. On some days, Biden was described as relying heavily on notes and mumbling, which could suggest inconsistency in cognitive performance. “I used to meet with him when he was vice president. I’d go to his house,” McCarthy said in an interview. “He’s not the same person.” -WSJ. The article also lays out public speaking errors, such as mixing up names of his Hispanic cabinet secretaries, mistakenly speaking about conversations with long-deceased leaders, and other factual errors. These instances contribute to the narrative of cognitive decline. In another section, the Journal reports that “The president moved so slowly around the Cabinet Room to greet the nearly two dozen congressional leaders that it took about 10 minutes for the meeting to begin, some people who attended recalled.”

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What are the odds of him being convicted in Delaware?

Is Hunter Biden Pursuing a Jury Nullification Strategy? (Turley)

There was an interesting development this week in the Hunter Biden gun trial: the fact that there will indeed be a Hunter Biden gun trial. That development is surprising only because there do not appear to be any facts in dispute in this case. And the primary witness against Hunter Biden will be Hunter Biden himself. The sole issue in this case is whether Biden filed a false gun form (ATF Form 4473) in which, as a condition for his purchase of a .38-caliber Colt Cobra revolver from the StarQuest Shooters and Survival Supply in Wilmington, Del., he stated that he was not a user of drugs. Biden’s counsel, Abbe Lowell, previously suggested that his client may have had a window of sobriety when he signed the form, but then returned to his addiction afterward. But then Hunter himself blew that theory away with his public comments and books. Lowell then suggested in court that someone else may have checked the box on the form.

In the interim, Lowell has brought a litany of challenges. At one point, he claimed that the government must fulfill a prior dead plea agreement. At another, he adopted an argument of the National Rifle Association challenging the underlying statute. The defense also failed this week to call a last-minute witness who would testify that Hunter may not have known that he was an addict. The defense was accused of essentially hiding the ball with the expert’s expected testimony so Judge Maryellen Noreika barred the appearance of the Columbia professor. Yet, again, Hunter Biden himself would have destroyed the defense. The form asks if Hunter was a user of drugs, not just an addict: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” Hunter wrote how he was a user of a wide array of drugs for years. It is hard to imagine he thought himself as clean as a clergyman in Wilmington in 2018.

So why wouldn’t Hunter just plead guilty? Even without his earlier plea deal, a guilty plea could significantly reinforce a request to avoid jail time in the case. It would also avoid an embarrassing trial for himself and his father during a presidential election. While Hunter could always throw in the towel before the start of testimony, there is currently no discernible strategy beyond hoping that a pending case in the Supreme Court might undermine the indictment. There may also be another possible strategy in play: jury nullification. Unlike Donald Trump in Manhattan, Delaware is Biden country. The chance that he will get strong supporters of his father on the jury is an almost statistical certainty. In 2020, Joe Biden received roughly 60 percent of the vote over Donald Trump in the state. Having first lady Jill Biden, who is extremely popular, at the trial will only reinforce the connection. In addition to a favorable jury pool, Biden may be hoping that testimony on his travails with drugs will prompt one or more jurors to ignore the law and vote to acquit.

Notably, virtually all of the selected jurors have said that they know of someone who has struggled with drugs. Indeed, Judge Noreika already appears to suspect such a strategy. Noreika rejected the effort of the defense to introduce an altered version of the federal firearms form created by the gun store employees. They argue that the alternation showed a political bias on the part of the prosecutors. The court found the document “irrelevant” and chastised the defense team for pursuing “conspiratorial” theories and an effort to confuse or mislead the jury. She noted that the use of the altered form would be “unduly prejudicial and invites (jury) nullification.” Jury nullification arguments have long been banned or discouraged in many courtrooms. Nevertheless, jury nullification has its advocates. For example, Georgetown Law Professor Paul Butler has called for Black jurors to refuse to convict Black defendants of drug crimes. Butler has said that “my goal is the subversion of the present criminal justice system.”

Hunter Biden is obviously not the primary concern of Professor Butler in the impact of drug prosecutions on the Black community. However, he has also argued that “jury nullification is just part of an arsenal of tools to end the failed “war on drugs.” Biden’s case has all of the characteristics of a nullification defense. Even if he cannot secure acquittal, the combination of political and social elements at play in Delaware could produce a hung jury. Trying a Biden in Delaware is a challenge for any prosecutor, even without the potential sympathies for a reformed drug addict. With the first lady sitting behind him, the family ties will be on full display. There is an understandable parental desire to show emotional support for Hunter, but prosecutors cannot be thrilled by the potential effect on jurors in the pro-Biden state.

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“They provided no explanation of what they were doing. They just did it..”

Scott Ritter on Reason Behind Move to Stop Him From Traveling to Russia (Sp.)

On June 3, the former Marine Corps intelligence officer and Sputnik contributor was removed by US Customs and Border Protection officers from a plane bound for Russia, where he was to attend the 2024 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). The US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) does not have the authority to seize passports without probable cause, former Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter told Sputnik, commenting on Monday’s incident. Ritter recalled that as he prepared to board the plane, he was pulled out of line by three armed CBP officers who took control of his passport. He said that when he asked them “on what authority,” they cited orders from the US Department of State. “They provided no warrant, no documentation, nor did they provide a receipt for my passport. They provided no explanation of what they were doing. They just did it,” the Sputnik contributor pointed out.

Ritter stressed that his constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment were violated because the document requires CBP officers to provide a warrant or some other form of authority upon which to conduct the seizure of his passport. “Under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution and others, I’m free to travel. The US government cannot restrict my travel without specific justification, none of which was articulated to me and none of which I believe exists. So it’s a violation of my Fifth Amendment,” the former Marine Corps intelligence officer added.] He suggested that “the real reason” behind all this “appears to be to prevent” him from participating in the SPIEF 2024 and to prevent the work he planned to do as a journalist with his documentary film crew. According to him, he was planning to make a documentary about “the reality of Russia”. “This is my First Amendment right under freedom of speech and a free press. And this right was likewise violated by the US government, by the Biden administration,” Ritter noted.

The Sputnik contributor recounted that he had traveled to Russia “two times in the last year using this same passport,” and that on each time, the US government was notified in advance of his intent to travel and of his itinerary.
In an apparent reference to his planned trip to Russia to attend SPIEF 2024, Ritter said he was “not off on a secret mission” and that the US government “knew full well” what he was up to. “And this is why I believe they acted in the way they did. This has a chilling effect, not just on me and the work I was doing, but on all Americans who choose to speak out against the policies of the United States that they disagree with and to travel abroad at the same time that they are criticizing the US government. And what the US government is saying is that we can control your movement. We can control your life. We can punish you for what you’ve been saying that we disagree with,” the former Marine Corps intelligence officer emphasized.

Nap Scott Ritter : On My Way to Russia I Met Big Brother.

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“The strategic alliance between Russia and China ain’t going to be about taking over countries, ain’t going to be about missile-producing or whatever. It’s going to be about ensuring justice and fairness on the global stage…”

NATO Would Stand No Chance’ Against Russia-China Military Alliance (Sp.)

The United States has historically worked to prevent an alliance between Russia and China, but the two global powers have joined together in an effort to guard themselves against Western aggression.One year before his death Henry Kissinger, a consequential – and highly controversial – former US Secretary of State, saw the writing on the wall. “The time is approaching to build on the strategic changes which have already been accomplished and to integrate them into a new structure towards achieving peace through negotiation,” said the top diplomat, urging an end to Ukraine’s Western-backed war against Russia. Kissinger made the comments in an article entitled “How to Avoid Another World War” in the British magazine The Spectator, noting that Russia’s “thousands of nuclear weapons” make it “one of the world’s two largest nuclear powers.”

With characteristic braggadocio, the veteran strategist’s remarks were slammed by the Ukrainian government and criticized by a fair number of Western liberals, by then fully convinced of the United States’ duty to once again safeguard freedom and democracy. The West’s apparent indifference towards the prospect of nuclear war and strategic incompetence in allowing Russia and China to join forces was criticized by former security analyst Dr. David Oualaalou, who discussed the latest developments in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict on Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program Tuesday. “Putin will not bluff on this, because this is what’s going to be expected of the Russians, the Russian people, from their leader to defend the country by any means, as we are pushing more and more,” said Oualaalou, noting that Moscow views the conflict as a matter of existential importance.

“The idea to me, the way I look at it, is [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orban does not want to have his country caught in the middle of this, being a member of NATO or not at this point,” he added, characterizing the European leader as a voice of sanity on the issue. “He’s talking to his lawyers, the officers – they are looking for ways on how to opt out of this kind of involvement with NATO. Frankly, if I may use the term here, it’s about time for Hungary to make a decision whether to leave NATO altogether.” Oualaalou noted that the increasing unpopularity of Western involvement in the ongoing proxy war is leading to a surge in popularity for the right-wing across Europe, with French politician Marine Le Pen rising in popularity while suggesting the country should leave NATO.

Kissinger, credited with setting the United States on a path towards global dominance in the 1970s, worked to ensure China and Russia remained divided during his time as US Secretary of State, pursuing an opening of relations with China to pull them closer to the US. But Western bellicosity has now functioned to create a strong partnership between the two countries, Oualaalou argued – forming an alliance that Western powers would not be able to overcome through military means. “The strategic alliance between Russia and China ain’t going to be about taking over countries, ain’t going to be about missile-producing or whatever. It’s going to be about ensuring justice and fairness on the global stage… [With] these two countries – Russia and China – joined by others, NATO would stand no chance. The US would stand no chance,” he claimed.

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“..the West cannot entertain any of these requests and has taken so much control of the media that its leaders are starting to believe their own BS..”

The West Is Already At War With Russia But Its Leaders Can’t Wake Up (Jay)

Is NATO planning something big in Ukraine? Are we on the cusp now of WWIII really breaking out since the U.S. has now backed the idea that Ukraine can fire missiles beyond its borders into Russia? The news that President Joe Biden has given the go-ahead for long-range missiles to be fired into Russia should be worrying for a number of reasons. The dangerous game of escalation that the West is playing will have a breaking point in the not too distant future. The question is whether the West really understands how Putin thinks as it is presently betting on no retaliation from Russia, which is not only erroneous but very, very dangerous. Recent missile strikes into Russian territory destroyed two radar installations which western press refuse to report.

The significance of this strike is important as the more Ukraine loses on the battlefield, the more desperate its tactics, egged on by western leaders who still think that their stake in the war is minimal. Although just recently Germany’s leader Scholz did a U-turn at a conference in Berlin with French President Macron — in backing the missile strikes into Russia plan — the truth is that officially NATO does not support the plan, which is why the UK is doing it independently using Storm Shadows operated by SAS soldiers. This has been going on for months and so in many respects the news that the U.S. has authorised the practice could be taken lightly. What’s new? Or, more to the point, is Ukraine going to use longer-range U.S. missiles to keep up with such strikes like the radar stations? Does it have enough missiles in stock is also an important question.

With this strategy in play, we are looking in all scenarios at the slow demise of NATO as the more that such strikes occur, the more it is evident that NATO is a defunct organisation and only really a talk shop at best. NATO members are divided on an overall strategy with Ukraine and so member states do their own thing. If we see more of these strikes, the pressure on Putin to react will be overwhelming but when that time comes, he will practice and eye-for-an-eye strategy and strike the equivalent military installations within Europe or at least Ukraine’s drones operating in the Black Sea. This will be a shock for the West. It will take some days for such a strike to be seen for what it is: a warning. The message will be the escalation game has its limits and you’ve gone over a line.

But are the recent reports of a new offensive in the planning from NATO genuine? Probably not. Just like the reports of Putin wanting to negotiate a peace deal now. Both fake news are part of a strategy of panic from the Biden administration which really needs some sort of victory in Ukraine to present to the American people. Yet all of the aces are with Putin and he doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of falling into these traps. Putin has been pretty consistent in how he sees any kind of peace deal. Denazification, demilitarisation and no deal on NATO membership. The reasons why peace talks are a mere figment of the imagination of western journalists who sink to new lows is that the West cannot entertain any of these requests and has taken so much control of the media that its leaders are starting to believe their own BS. The fourth requirement also of Putin’s is that he can’t negotiate peace with a leader in the Ukraine who no longer has legitimacy as a president. One wonders how long the West can continue to kick up a fuss about that one.

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Anyone who can fog a mirror…

Ukraine To Recruit Deserters – Media (RT)

Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) has allowed the country’s Armed Forces to recruit deserters as the military continues to experience personnel shortages after suffering heavy casualties, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday. The agency cited a letter sent by SBI Director Alexey Sukhachov to Ukraine’s commander-in-chief Aleksandr Syrsky. According to the document, up until now, how to deal with cases where servicemen who abandoned their units without permission or outright deserted have decided to voluntarily return to service had not been clearly defined to Ukrainian commanders. In his letter, Sukhachov reportedly asked Syrsky to “orient commanders of military units on the need to ensure the acceptance of the above-mentioned military personnel, who voluntarily returned to military units and expressed a desire to undergo further military service, to appoint them to positions and continue military service.”

Furthermore, RIA writes, the SBI chief asked that the service members who decide to return also be provided the right to monetary compensation. Sukhachov’s request comes as Kiev suffers from a shortage of military personnel having incurred heavy casualties on the battlefield. According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, Ukraine’s Armed Forces are estimated to have lost more than 35,000 troops in May alone, amid Moscow’s offensive in Kharkov Region. Despite the Ukrainian military’s efforts to ramp up mobilization, many people don’t want to serve in the army, prompting Kiev to further tighten mobilization rules and even reduce the conscription age limit from 27 to 25. Last month, Ukraine’s General Staff also announced that it intends to “optimize” its operations by releasing as many as 60% of its personnel and using them “to replenish the command and control bodies at the operational and tactical levels, as well as combat units.”

Ukraine’s mobilization campaign, which was announced shortly after the start of the conflict with Russia, has also been marred by widespread draft dodging. Many have tried to escape the country to avoid service, sometimes losing their lives in the process. According to the Ukrainian State Border Service, at least 45 Ukrainian men have already died while trying to illegally cross into the EU. In May alone, ten people were confirmed to have drowned while trying to cross the Tisza River, which flows from Ukraine’s southwestern border through Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Serbia.

Arestovich

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And that includes Americans…

Ukraine No Longer Allowing Dual Citizens To Leave (RT)

Ukrainian nationals with dual citizenship have been barred from leaving the country, a border guard official said on Tuesday. They are also no longer exempt from the military draft under a new mobilization law. The authorities are struggling to replenish the army ranks as a result of heavy casualties suffered on the battlefield. Russia’s Defense Ministry estimates that Ukraine’s armed forces lost more than 35,000 troops in May alone. Ukrainians with dual citizenship were previously allowed to leave the country, border service spokesman Andrey Demchenko told state TV on Tuesday. “We are not letting this category of citizens through now,” he added.He cited a recent government decree that obliged such people to register for the draft within 30 days. Previously, dual citizens and Ukrainians who were living abroad under a residence permit had been exempted from military service.

Earlier, Defense Ministry spokesman Dmitry Lazutkin also demanded the return of Ukrainians who were residing abroad, saying they should visit their territorial draft offices in person even if they have updated their data remotely. The US embassy in Kiev immediately warned Americans who hold Ukrainian citizenship against traveling to Ukraine. “Effective June 1, Ukraine has eliminated a ‘residence abroad’ exception that previously allowed certain Ukrainian males aged 18 to 60 to depart the country,” it said in a statement, adding that “US-Ukrainian dual citizens… may no longer be able to depart the country” in light of the changes. The diplomatic mission then advised those who are already in Ukraine to “shelter in place and obey all local orders,” while cautioning those “not currently in Ukraine” against traveling there. “There is an extremely high risk you will not be allowed to depart, even with a US passport,” the statement said.

Kiev has been ramping up its mobilization efforts in recent months. In April, Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky signed a controversial mobilization law that lowered the conscription age from 27 to 25, greatly expanded the powers of enlistment officers, and introduced additional penalties for draft dodgers. In May, he approved further legislation that provided a way for some prisoners to be paroled if they enlist. Later the same month, the country’s justice minister, Denis Maliuska, announced the first release of convicts to fill the military ranks.

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“..Americans are “not fighting for Ukraine or the Ukrainian people, they are fighting for their own grandeur and global leadership.”

Nobody in US Has Ukraine’s Interests At Heart – Putin (RT)

The US only cares about its own grandeur and is involved in the Ukraine crisis in order to fulfil its global ambitions, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the leaders of global media agencies ahead of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Wednesday. Washington has provided tens of billions of dollars in military aid to Kiev since the beginning of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.When asked about a potential shift in US policy towards Russia, Putin said that it is largely dependent on Washington itself and its perception of reality. America is currently obsessed with globalist ambitions that are “destroying the US from within,” the president said. US involvement in the Ukraine conflict is just one manifestation of that globalist policy, he told journalists.“Nobody in the US cares about Ukraine’s interests,” Putin said. Americans are “not fighting for Ukraine or the Ukrainian people, they are fighting for their own grandeur and global leadership.”

According to Putin, the current administration is not so much interested in helping Kiev prevail in the ongoing standoff but is rather “determined to prevent any Russian success precisely because they believe it would damage US leadership [positions].” Those globalist ambitions are harmful to America itself, Putin maintained, naming “high inflation and a huge debt” among the biggest challenges the US is currently facing. A future administration could reverse this destructive trend by focusing on “strengthening the US from within, strengthening its economy and finances, and building up normal relations with the world,” he said, adding that such policies could then bring some “real change” in relations between Moscow and Washington as well. The president’s words came just a day after the Kremlin called the US an “enemy” for the first time. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov referred to Washington as such while speaking to journalists on Tuesday.

“We are now an enemy country for them – much like they are for us,” Peskov said at that time, describing the two nations’ attitudes toward each other. The Kremlin has previously referred to the US as an “unfriendly state” or “opponent.” Peskov was commenting on Washington’s decision not to allow former US marine, UN weapons inspector and RT contributor Scott Ritter to travel to St. Petersburg to take part in several SPIEF panel discussions. Earlier, the US also let Kiev use American-supplied weapons against targets inside Russia, beyond what the US considers Ukrainian territory. Moscow has repeatedly warned that such actions, alongside continued weapons shipments to Kiev, only lead to further escalation and increase the risk of an all-out war between Russia and NATO, which can easily spiral into World War III.

Putin US

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She fled her home country. A Foreign Minister.

Austria’s Ex-FM Kneissl Says Europe ‘Lost Its Soul,’ Entered War Path (Sp.)

Europe has “lost its soul” by stepping onto the path of war, ex-Austrian Foreign Minister and currently Director of the St. Petersburg State University G.O.R.K.I. (Geopolitical Observatory for Russia’s Key Issues) Center, Karin Kneissl, said on Wednesday. Speaking at a meeting of the Russian Historical Society in the presidential library, Kneissl recalled German philosopher Oswald Spengler’s book “The Decline of the West,” to argue that Europe has been degrading for 20 years.

“Unfortunately, Europe today is a Europe of war. This is the current European agenda… I cannot conceal my sadness… I have always dreamed about a Europe of pluralism, a Europe of freedom, constitution, art,” she told the meeting, adding that Europe has “lost its soul, it is dead.” Kneissl served as the Austrian Foreign Minister from December 2017 to June 2019. Her scapegoating at home was largely associated with the alleged “Russian ties”. The former diplomat moved to Lebanon in June 2022 after leaving Austria in September 2020 and residing in France because of persistent death threats and a de facto ban on working in her home country. In August 2023, it became known that Kneissl had moved to Russia.

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“But if they write to a representative or senator about the misallocation of resources they will get back a letter explaining that “we have to stop them over there before they get over here.”

Americans Are an Abused People (Paul Craig Roberts)

Americans are screwed over people and are too insouciant to notice. And not just on big things, such as being forced to be injected with an untested new kind of “vaccine” with unknown safety and effectiveness. Millions of Americans were faced with the choice of being injected or losing their job and ability to pay rent or mortgage, car payments, utilities, and buy food. The “vaccine” has caused many deaths and millions of injuries from new diseases and profusions of what previously were rare diseases among age groups not previously affected. American babies now die from strokes and heart attacks. And the grieving parents are denied any recourse. No one is being held responsible. And apparently Americans don’t care. How is this any different from the Zionist story of Jews being herded into gas chambers?

Americans can’t do anything about the hundreds of billions of dollars Washington sends to Ukraine to conduct Washington’s proxy war against Russia, or about the billions sent to Israel for the slaughter of Palestinians and physical destruction of Gaza, or the billions sent to Taiwan for Washington’s proxy war against China. Meanwhile homeless American veterans sleep on the streets while the Biden regime gives immigrant-invaders pre-paid debit cards and houses them in hotels. A few Americans might wonder if the billions of dollars could be better used getting the homeless out of their public parks and tent encampments off their sidewalks. But if they write to a representative or senator about the misallocation of resources they will get back a letter explaining that “we have to stop them over there before they get over here.”

The message is: “we are here to serve the military/security complex and Israel Lobby, the funders of our election campaigns, and to replace white Americans with the third world in the interest of diversity. It is not the big things that Americans notice. They are not personally at risk of being sent to war, and there is no specific tax taken from them to finance Israel’s and Ukraine’s wars. But you would think that Americans living on credit card debt would at least notice that which dramatically affects them. Do Americans living on credit card debt comprehend that under the guise of interest charged the credit card companies are taxing their balances at rates ranging from 19.49% to 29.99% based on the credit card company’s estimate of the debtor’s credit worthiness.

In addition to the federal and state income taxes on their income and the Social Security tax and the Medicare tax on income, the credit card companies are imposing a 20-30% tax on debt that is paying for housing, transportation, food, and utilities, as incomes alone in the age of jobs offshoring are insufficient to support living standards for about 40% of the population. I learned about modern day usury in May when my credit card bill did not show up. Perhaps it went into the spam or junk folders or fell victim to a glitch, all possibilities being joys of the digital revolution. Consequently the amount due on May 18 did not get paid until 4 days later on May 22 when an unpaid bill notice appeared in the email. The notice told me that I am charged a late payment fee of $29 plus an interest charge of $61.54. So a 4 day late payment cost me $90.54.

The late payment notice told me that my interest rate of 19.49% is charged from the “first day of the billing period until we receive your payment in full.” In other words, the interest was not charged for the 4 late days, but for the 4 days plus the month’s billing period. The notice also told me that if I missed a second payment, even for one day, during a 12 month period, my interest rate on my unpaid balance would jump from 19.49 to 29.99. There you have it. This is a system for the enserfment of the American consumer. If you are able to focus your attention, try to imagine the rapid rise of impossible indebtedness of Americans who can only make the minimum payment. The minimum payment is a tiny percentage of the balance due. For example, a balance of $4,173.66 has a minimum payment of $131.37. The minimum payment leaves a balance of $4,042.29 accumulating interest at double-digit rates.

Assuming he does not miss two payments in 12 months, his interest rate based on creditworthiness (he only makes minimal payments) is 27.49%. So, the interest on the unpaid balance adds $1,100 to his debt. And the growth in debt increases with the interest charged on the rising unpaid balance. I remember when credit card companies made their money by the 2.5% charge to the businesses that accepted payment via credit card. Those days have vanished. Now credit card companies live extravagantly on interest on consumer credit card debt, while businesses accepting credit card payment charge their customers a fee for paying with a credit card. As an economist I am really amazed that Keynesian economists, whose policy is based on the American consumer’s ability to spend, stood aside while such extraordinary restrictions on aggregate demand were allowed to be put in place. After paying debt service, people have nothing left to spend.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Covid patents

 

 

Jack

 

 

Square?

 

 

Bird feeding
https://twitter.com/i/status/1798356457039319235

 

 

Beers for breeders

 

 

Tucker Bukele

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 042024
 
 March 4, 2024  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  43 Responses »


Camille Corot The Burning of Sodom (formerly “The Destruction of Sodom”) 1843 and 1857

 

Trump ‘Dangerous’ For Women – Jill Biden (RT)
Supreme Court Ruling on Trump Ballot Case Could Come on March 4 (ET)
D.C. Circuit Ruling for J6 Rioter Could Impact Hundreds of Cases (Turley)
The Braindead American Foreign Policy Establishment (Paul Craig Roberts)
Musk Questions Why NATO Still Exists (RT)
Ukrainian Opposition Complains To EU About ‘Repression’ (RT)
NATO Arms Designed to ‘Keep Kiev on Life Support’, Not Help Them ‘Win’ (Sp.)
The Truth About Russian ‘Meat Assaults’ Against Ukrainian Forces (Bridge)
The Later The Negotiations, The Worse The Result For Ukraine – Hungary (RT)
Germany Preparing For War With Russia – Medvedev (RT)
Why Emmanuel Macron Suggested Openly Sending NATO Troops Into Ukraine (RT)
Polish Farmers’ Blockade Is ‘Beyond Morality’ – Zelensky (RT)
More Proof That COVID Killed Medical Ethics (Stansbury)
Scientists Expose Major Problems With Climate Change Data (ET)

 

 


The US can’t send aid by road to Gaza because Israel is dropping the 21,000 precision bombs there that the US also sent.

 

 

Mess with Joe

 

 

Surge

 

 

 

 

Tucker Haley

 

 

Biden Lies

 

 

 

 

Too big to rig

 

 

 

 

Time for Melania to step up?!

Trump ‘Dangerous’ For Women – Jill Biden (RT)

Donald Trump poses a threat for women due to his views on abortion, and should be prevented from returning to the White House, US First Lady Jill Biden has said. Her husband, US President Joe Biden, “spent his entire career lifting up women” in stark contrast to his main rival in this year’s election, she insisted at the launch of her ‘Women for Biden’ campaign effort in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday. Trump “spent a lifetime tearing us down and devaluing our existence. He mocks women’s bodies, disrespects our accomplishments, and brags about assault,” the first lady claimed. The latter point appears to be a reference to a recording that made headlines ahead of the presidential election in 2016. It featured a private conversation in which Trump bragged about the benefits of being a “star” when it comes to relations with females. “They let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the p*ssy,” he is heard saying on the tape.

”Now, he’s bragging about killing Roe v. Wade,” Biden said. Roe v. Wade was a 1973 decision by the US Supreme Court, which generally protected the right to abortion in America. After Trump appointed three conservative justices to the court during his term, it overturned its previous ruling in 2022, and several states immediately banned the procedure. ”Just last night, he took credit again for enabling states like Georgia to pass cruel abortion bans that are taking away the right of women to make their own health care decisions. How far will he go? When will he stop. You know the answer. He won’t,” she stated. ”Donald Trump is dangerous to women and to our families. We simply can’t let him win,” the first lady urged the crowd.

During an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Trump said that he had not yet made up his mind on the number of weeks after which abortion should be banned. “More and more I’m hearing about 15 weeks, and I haven’t decided yet,” he said, adding that “we got it back to the states where it belongs. A lot of states are taking very strong stances.” Jill Biden is slated to address female voters in key swing states – Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin – as part of her ‘Women for Biden’ initiative. The Biden campaign will also be releasing ads targeting women up until the election on November 5. Trump appears to be on course to become the Republican Party’s candidate for president after winning all five of the GOP’s primary contests to date. However, his last remaining rival, Nikki Haley, refuses to drop out of the race, despite suffering a crushing defeat in her home state of South Carolina last month.

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They can’t let individual states keep someone off the -national- ballot. It would mean anarchy.

Supreme Court Ruling on Trump Ballot Case Could Come on March 4 (ET)

The U.S. Supreme Court could issue a ruling as early as March 4 regarding a case that seeks to bar former President Donald Trump from appearing on primary and general election ballots for the 2024 presidential election. The Supreme Court, in an unusual Sunday update to its schedule, didn’t specify what ruling it would issue. However, the justices on Feb. 8 heard arguments in the former president’s appeal of a ruling in Colorado and are due to issue their own decision. The March 3 announcement said the opinion would be posted online at 10 a.m. Washington time. “The court will not take the bench,” it only said on its website. Late last year, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that President Trump is disqualified from appearing on ballots in Colorado, citing an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment provision that stipulates that candidates who engaged in an “insurrection or rebellion” against the United States should be prevented from holding office.

Maine’s Democratic secretary of state made a similar decision days later, and a judge in Illinois recently issued a similar ruling to prevent his appearance on ballots. The amendment was drafted more than 150 years ago, after the Civil War, and the court was the first to invoke it. However, that ruling and the two others are on hold pending the Supreme Court decision. The former president appealed the Colorado court ruling to the Supreme Court, which took up the matter quickly. Oral arguments in the case were heard last month. Notably, the Supreme Court has until now never ruled on the provision, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The court indicated this weekend that at least one case would be decided on March 4, although it didn’t indicate which one. Except for when the end of the term nears in late June, the court almost always issues decisions on days when the justices are scheduled to take the bench. But the next scheduled court day is March 15.

And apart from during the coronavirus pandemic, when the court was closed, the justices almost always read summaries of their opinions in the courtroom. If the resolution of the case comes on March 4, a day before Super Tuesday primary contests in 16 states, it would remove uncertainty about whether votes for President Trump, the leading Republican candidate for president, will ultimately count. Colorado and Maine are two of the states that will hold its GOP primary during the March 5 Super Tuesday contest. Lawyers for the former president asked the nine justices to reverse the Colorado court decision because only Congress can make a determination as who can become president. The court’s decision is also “the first time in the history of the United States that the judiciary has prevented voters from casting ballots for the leading major-party presidential candidate,” his lawyers said, concluding that it “is not and cannot be correct.”

After the ruling, President Trump wrote on social media that he is “not an insurrectionist,” adding that President Joe Biden is one. He also noted that he told supporters to protest “peacefully and patriotically” during a rally on Jan. 6, 2021, before protesters and rioters entered the U.S. Capitol during the certification of electoral votes for the 2020 election, which forms the basis of the “insurrection” accusations against him. Justices for the Colorado Supreme Court had argued that they believed President Trump engaged in an insurrection because of his activity before and on Jan. 6, 2021, during the breach of the U.S. Capitol building. The former president, however, was never charged or convicted of insurrection. He was charged by a federal special counsel in connection with the 2020 election, but not for insurrection, rebellion, or related charges.

“President Trump asks us to hold that Section Three disqualifies every oath-breaking insurrectionist except the most powerful one and that it bars oath-breakers from virtually every office, both state and federal, except the highest one in the land,” the majority for the Colorado Supreme Court wrote in its 4–3 ruling. “Both results are inconsistent with the plain language and history of Section Three.” During oral arguments in front of the justices in early February, at least six of the justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, appeared to be at least skeptical of some of the claims made by the lawyer representing several Colorado voters who brought the lawsuit against the Republican front-runner.

“It’ll come down to just a handful of states that are going to decide the presidential election,” Chief Justice Roberts said, referring to the potential effect of the Colorado court’s ruling. “That’s a pretty daunting consequence.” Justice Clarence Thomas asked the lawyer, Jason Murray, why there weren’t many examples of individual states’ disqualifying candidates under the 14th Amendment after the Civil War. “There were a plethora of confederates still around, there were any number of people who would continue to either run for state offices or national offices, so it would seem—that would suggest there would at least be a few examples of national candidates being disqualified,” Justice Thomas, a Bush appointee, said.

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“..Justice official Michael Sherwin proudly declared that “our office wanted to ensure that there was shock and awe..”

D.C. Circuit Ruling for J6 Rioter Could Impact Hundreds of Cases (Turley)

In its affidavit supporting criminal charges, the Justice Department showed Air Force lieutenant colonel Larry Rendall Brock on the Senate floor on January 6, 2021 in a helmet and combat gear. That outfit only magnified the anger of many of us over the riot and the interruption of our constitutional process of certification. However, while there was little question of the validity of the charges against him, U.S. District Judge John Bates in March 2023 imposed a two year sentence based on a common enhancing factor cited by the government in many of these cases for the “substantial interference with the administration of justice.” A panel on the D.C. Circuit has now ruled against the use of that enhancer in a decision that could compel the resentencing of dozens of defendants from the January 6th riot.

The Justice Department has long been accused of excessive charging and abusive detention conditions for January 6th defendants. The heavy-handed treatment was apparently by design. In a controversial television interview, Justice official Michael Sherwin proudly declared that “our office wanted to ensure that there was shock and awe … it worked because we saw through media posts that people were afraid to come back to D.C. because they’re, like, ‘If we go there, we’re gonna get charged.’ … We wanted to take out those individuals that essentially were thumbing their noses at the public for what they did.” District court judges just went along with the use of the enhancement, even though it was based on a highly attenuated claim. As the D.C. Circuit found, “Congress’s certification of electoral college votes does not fit the ‘administration of justice’ mold.” It then noted:

“Considered in context, Congress’s counting and certification of electoral votes is but the last step in a lengthy electoral certification process involving state legislatures and officials as well as Congress. Taken as a whole, the multi-step process of certifying electoral college votes—as important to our democratic system of government as it is—bears little resemblance to the traditional understanding of the administration of justice as the judicial or quasi-judicial investigation or determination of individual rights.” The argument of the Biden Administration always seemed curious to me given the claims of former President Donald Trump that Vice President Michael Pence had the authority to reject state certifications. I disagreed with that view. However, arguing that this is a type of judicial proceeding would seem to enhance the Trump argument.

Yet, that is what the Justice Department did in many of these cases to enhance sentencing. Ultimately, Judge Bates’ sentencing was not as high as what the Justice Department wanted. Judge Bates detailed the considerable evidence against Brock in his preparation for violence. He wrote before the riot “Do not kill LEO [law enforcement officers] unless necessary… Gas would assist in this if we can get it.” It was also short of the maximum under the guidelines of 30 months. The sentence may have been reduced by as much as nine months without the enhancer. There could also be substantial reductions for a couple of hundred of other defendants who were sentenced with the enhancer. It is not clear if the government will appeal the ruling. We are also waiting for the oral argument in Fischer v. United States, which will consider the use of the felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding against defendants tied to the January 6th riot. Trump is also being prosecuted in part for that crime.

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“It is time to openly raise the banner of the defense of normal human values from the post-and even anti-human ones coming from the West.”

The Braindead American Foreign Policy Establishment (Paul Craig Roberts)

A source recently sent to me an article by a well-placed Russian foreign affairs expert with a note attached: “He thinks like you do.” Not entirely, but we share some of the same concerns. n“What Is To Be Done?,” by Sergei A. Karaganov, honorary chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, Moscow reflects my own views expressed on many occasions, such as that in the face of the Western world’s hostility, Russia should avoid continuing conflict by turning to the East to China and India and to the expansion of BRICS. Like myself Karaganov hopes to avoid the death of mankind in nuclear war. He writes off the pro-Western Atlanticist Integrationist Russian liberals who clinged too long to their fantasy of being an accepted part of the West. Likely, it was this delusional collection of Russian liberals who are responsible for the failures in judgment that Karaganov brings home to the Kremlin, the very same failures that I have pointed out. The last thing Russia needs is interdependence with the West.

Karaganov points out that Russia has Asian roots dating from the days of Mongol overlords that are as strong as Western roots and that it is China that is rising, not Europe and the US which he regards as essentially washed up politically, economically, morally, and spiritually. Karaganov writes: “Europe -once a beacon of modernization for us and many other nations- is rapidly moving towards geopolitical nothingness and, hopefully I am wrong, towards moral and political decay. Its still-wealthy market is worth exploiting, but our main effort in relation to the old subcontinent should be morally and politically fencing ourselves off from it. Having first lost its soul -Christianity- it is now losing the fruit of the Enlightenment -rationalism. Besides, on orders from outside [Washington], the Eurobureaucracy is itself isolating Russia from Europe. We are grateful.

A break with Europe is an ordeal for many Russians. But we must go through it as quickly as possible. Naturally, fencing-off should not become a principle or be total. But any talk of recreating a European security system is a dangerous chimera. Systems of cooperation and security should be built within the framework of the continent of the future -Greater Eurasia-a by inviting European countries that are interested and are of interest to us. The West, he writes, is the modern equivalent to Sodom and Gomorrah. “It would have been better to finish our Western, European odyssey a century earlier. There now remains little of use to be borrowed from the West, though plenty of rubbish seeps in from it. But, as we belatedly complete the journey, we will retain the great European culture that is now rejected by post-European fashion.” As the West has rejected itself, it is an evil and Russia should fence itself off from it. He answered my recent question by saying that the culture the West created and is now alienated from will be saved by Russia.

There are other points where we have the same judgment, such as the defeatist way Putin conducted the conflict with Ukraine and his acceptance of provocations that escalated Western participation in the conflict. The way Putin tries to make the West feel non-threatened even as the West threatens Russia feeds conflict. To continually express your willingness to negotiate with Washington which intends to destroy Russia and Putin personally is an extraordinary failure of judgment. The lack of realism smacks you in the face. Karaganov writes that Russia should revise its approach to foreign policy from being defensive to offensive, and should cease its attempts to please and negotiate with the West. The Kremlin’s attempts “are not only immoral but also counterproductive” as they are unrealistic and produce more provocations. Karaganov sees the West as I do, that it is sinking into moral debauchery and anti-humanism. He writes, “It is time to openly raise the banner of the defense of normal human values from the post-and even anti-human ones coming from the West.”

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Join the chorus.

Musk Questions Why NATO Still Exists (RT)

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk appears to agree with American investor David Sacks, who has argued that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO lost its reason to exist, but decided to embark on an expansion spree to fill the void. Writing on X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday, Sacks said that the US-led bloc “faced an existential crisis” in the 1990s because it no longer had rivals comparable to the Soviet Union. However, “rather than disband, it came up with a new mission: to expand,” the entrepreneur remarked. “And in a self-referential loop, NATO expansion would create the hostility needed to justify itself,” he added.

Meanwhile, Musk appeared to agree with Sacks, writing on X: “True. I always wondered why NATO continued to exist even though its nemesis and reason to exist, The Warsaw Pact, had dissolved.” Since the 1990s, the bloc has been joined by a number of Eastern European countries that used to be part of the Soviet-aligned Warsaw pact, as well as the Baltic states and several Balkan countries. After the start of the Ukraine conflict, Finland also became part of the alliance, with Sweden poised to follow suit. Russia has repeatedly protested against NATO expansion, seeing it as a national security threat. Moscow has voiced particular concern about the possibility of Ukraine entering the bloc, with Russian President Vladimir Putin naming Kiev’s desire to do so as one of the key reasons of the current conflict.

Ukraine formally applied for NATO membership in the autumn of 2022 after four of its former regions overwhelmingly voted to become part of Russia. However, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Kiev cannot join until the current hostilities are resolved. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has also described the alliance as a “tool of confrontation” and deterrence aimed at Russia. While numerous Western officials have claimed that Moscow could attack NATO within a few years, President Putin has said that he has no interest whatsoever in doing so.

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What does the EU have to do with this? Ukraine is not a member.

Ukrainian Opposition Complains To EU About ‘Repression’ (RT)

Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko’s party has appealed to the EU leadership, calling for the “restoration of freedom of speech” and political plurality in the country, while condemning Kiev’s “authoritarianism.” The Ukrainian authorities recently prevented the former president, who heads the European Solidarity party (which has 27 MPs in the 450-seat parliament), from leaving Ukraine to attend the Munich Security Conference due to alleged threats to his life – which he called an “offense against democracy.” Earlier this week, Oliver Varhelyi, the EU commissioner for enlargement and neighborhood policy, shared Poroshenko’s letter, in which the former president pleaded with Brussels to pressure Kiev to stop its “discriminatory” practices.

“According to the government’s logic, it is not the actions of officials who violate the rights and freedoms of Ukrainians that harm European integration, but those who, for example, apply for protection of rights, for example to the ECHR or other international institutions,” the party said in a statement published on the official website on Friday, while decrying Kiev’s “emotional and inadequate” reaction to the letter. The opposition party lamented the government’s “absolutism,” claiming the authorities act with “impunity” and are “used to a monologue and applause” rather than dialogue, while reacting nervously to criticism. According to the statement, the Ukrainian government remains “deaf” to society, which results in “multiple mistakes,” making it impossible for the opposition to stay silent as “authoritarianism” spreads inside Ukraine.

“Why does a democratic country need an opposition that is silent?” the party said, demanding “open dialogue of the authorities with society and the opposition,” lifting the restrictions on international travel for Poroshenko, as well as “the restoration of freedom of speech, the restoration of Ukrainian TV channels,” and “the return of journalists to the parliament’s meeting hall and the broadcasting of meetings on the Rada channel.” The party also insisted that the security forces should refrain from putting pressure “on the mass media, businesses, public activists, and the opposition,” and called for the restoration of parliamentary control over the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Poroshenko lost the 2019 election in a landslide to the current president of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, who campaigned on a promise of making peace in Donbass, only to reverse course and seek NATO support in its confrontation with Russia.

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‘..feeding the dog so that it does not die of hunger..’

NATO Arms Designed to ‘Keep Kiev on Life Support’, Not Help Them ‘Win’ (Sp.)

Ukraine’s president has complained to his Western sponsors about the holdup in arms deliveries. Veteran Soviet and Russian officer and military journalist Viktor Litovkin tells Sputnik how Kiev allowed itself to become trapped in a highly unenviable strategic position. President Zelensky slammed his NATO patrons on Saturday, accusing them of playing “internal political games” instead of ramping up much-needed military support for Kiev. “This is impossible to understand. It is impossible to agree to this. And it will be impossible to forget; the world will remember this,” Zelensky said, emphasizing that Kiev’s ‘partners’ have “enough air defense systems” and that “Kiev hasn’t asked for anything more than needed” for its defense.

Zelensky made the comments against the background of the ongoing deadlock in Washington regarding $61 billion in fresh US military support for Ukraine, which the MAGA Republican-dominated House of Representatives has vowed to hold up until more is done to address the crisis at the US’s southern border, and unless the aid is provided in the form of a loan. The spending deadlock aside, Western officials have reason to be wary of further military assistance to Ukraine, having already spent so much taxpayer money, and damaged their reputations, preparing Kiev for a much-vaunted counteroffensive last summer only to see it fail spectacularly. Kiev has received over $265 billion in foreign military and economic Ukraine to date, with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy tracking some €115 billion+ ($125 billion US)-worth in arms assistance alone – which is over one and a half times Russia’s entire defense budget in 2023.

“Nothing will help Ukraine…But keeping it on life support is possible, including through the supply of Western weapons, ammunition and so on,” retired Soviet and Russian Army colonel Viktor Litovkin told Sputnik, commenting on Zelensky’s remarks. Comparing Ukrainian authorities to a terminally ill patient, Litovkin emphasized that the Western alliance and its clients don’t have the capabilities to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. “Last year’s counteroffensive failed for one simple reason: because, first and foremost, it was based on NATO tactics, NATO operational doctrine, and according to NATO regulations. NATO has never fought with an army of equal strength and power, and is not in a condition to overcome powerful, deeply layered defenses and large-scale minefields,” Litovkin explained, referring to the Russian multilayered defensive positions set up in Zaporozhye, Kherson and the Donbass in late 2022 and early 2023.

“No matter how much and whom Zelensky criticizes, it was clear from the outset that it was pointless for Ukraine to fight Russia, because Russia has a powerful defense industry, a powerful military, while Ukraine plundered its defense industry and destroyed itself,” Litovkin added, pointing out that the vast defense industrial base that Kiev was left with after the collapse of the USSR has been whittled away to the bone over the past three decades. Regarding Zelensky’s complaint that NATO is not providing the “required amount of weapons,” Litovkin said that’s the case “for a simple reason: because it is not Ukraine that’s at war with Russia, but NATO and the United States. Their task is not to ‘defeat’ Russia, but to ruin Russia, to weaken Russia. Therefore, Ukraine is given weapons on the principle of ‘feeding the dog so that it does not die of hunger’ but can bark loudly and bite painfully. Nothing more is required from Kiev. The fact that Ukrainian soldiers and officers are dying – the West doesn’t care about them, they’re not theirs.”

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“..Such a spectacle simply does not exist except in the imagination of the mainstream media..”

The Truth About Russian ‘Meat Assaults’ Against Ukrainian Forces (Bridge)

On January 24, The New York Post (“Moscow’s ‘meat wave’ tactic litters Ukraine battlefield with frozen corpses of Russian troops”) reported that “Russia is using a ‘meat wave’ strategy that sends scores of poorly trained soldiers to die on the front lines against Ukraine to clear a path for the Kremlin’s more valuable elite units — then abandons their frozen corpses on the battlefield.” The image that the Post article wishes to convey is that the Russian military is some sort of technologically inferior fighting force that must relay on brute force if it hopes to make any battlefield gains. The ultimate goal here is to portray the Russians as cold-blooded barbarians; an effort to dehumanize the Russians as, to quote one twitter user, “zombies, like meat without fear and self-preservation instincts” that leaves its dead and wounded on the battlefield unattended.

Earlier, Business Insider (“Russia is bringing back its bloody ‘human wave’ tactics, throwing poorly trained troops into a massive new assault in eastern Ukraine, White House says”) quoted John Kirby, the spokesperson for the National Security Council, as saying that “the Russian military appears to be using human wave tactics, where they throw masses of poorly trained soldiers right into the battlefield without proper equipment, and… without proper training and preparation.” Is Kirby projecting here? After all, it has been the Ukrainians who have been sweeping military age males off the street in broad daylight, sending them off to fight on the front lines with very little combat training. Not to be outdone, on January 24, CNN (“Russia’s relentless ‘meat assaults’ are wearing down outmanned and outgunned Ukrainian forces”) quoted a Ukrainian sniper with the callsign ‘Bess’ who said “Nobody evacuates [the Russian corpses], nobody takes them away,” he said. “It feels like people don’t have a specific task, they just go and die.”

Is there any truth to these allegations? Are the Russians really carrying out zombie-style frontal assaults that are “unprotected, exposed and concentrated” in a desperate effort to overrun Ukrainian positions? How do the facts stand up to this latest batch of mainstream media hype? Aside from the lack of any video evidence, consider basic military tactics. Only in the case of superior numerical troop strength – for example, as during the Battle of Normandy (June 6 – August 30, 1944) in World War II when the Allied forces launched a successful attack on German positions in northern France with over 2 million troops – would one side commit itself to carrying out massive frontal assaults on enemy positions. In a recent interview with Germany’s ARD broadcaster, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said the Ukrainian army currently has a force level numbering about 880,000 troops.

“We have 880,000 troops; that’s an army of almost a million,” he said, when asked about the army’s force strength. Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia had deployed more than 600,000 military personnel in Ukraine. “The front line is over 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) long. There are 617,000 people in the conflict zone,” the Russian leader said during his first end-of-year press conference since sending his army into Ukraine in February 2022. Meanwhile, even the Western mainstream media admits that Russia enjoys a 10-to-1 advantage in the number of artillery supplies, aircraft, drones and armored assault vehicles. With such an overwhelming advantage, why would the Russians need to resort to the desperate tactic of exposing its infantry to “human wave” attacks? If anything, it would be the numerically superior Ukrainian forces – now being systematically crushed by the Russians across the entire field of contact – who would be expected to throw themselves against their enemy in open fields.

The fact is, however, there has never been any video evidence of huge waves of Russian forces – nor Ukrainian, for that matter – running across open fields in some kind of mad dash to storm enemy defenses. Such a spectacle simply does not exist except in the imagination of the mainstream media, which would also have its readers believe that Russian troops in Artyomovsk (known in Ukraine as Bakhmut) were forced to fight with shovels against their opponent, while also being forced to cannibalize components from foreign appliances to facilitate its defense production. In the words of an old sage: “hogwash.”

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“..time is on the side of the Russians, and the longer the war goes on, the more people will die, and the balance of power will not change in Ukraine’s favor.”

The Later The Negotiations, The Worse The Result For Ukraine – Hungary (RT)

Ukraine will not be able to strengthen its negotiating position on the battlefield as some Western leaders think it will, and the longer peace talks are postponed, the worse the outcome will be for Kiev, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has said. Speaking to Radio Kossuth on Sunday, Szijjarto said that he has been “hearing for months” about how the Ukrainian military is gaining ground at the front “from which they can start negotiations from a better position.” “In recent weeks, it has become clear that this scenario has failed, that time is on Russia’s side,” he continued, warning that “the later a ceasefire is called and negotiations begin, the worse it will be for Ukraine.” From the outset of the conflict, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington would continue to arm Kiev in order to “strengthen its hand to achieve a diplomatic solution on just terms at a negotiating table.” EU diplomats have made similar promises, generally followed by assurances that Ukraine alone would decide when to enter into talks with Russia.

Hungary has taken a different path, with Szijjarto and Prime Minister Viktor Orban calling since 2022 for a ceasefire and negotiations. “Almost nobody” believes that Ukraine will win, Orban told members of his Fidesz party last month. Several weeks before Ukraine lost the key Donbass stronghold of Avdeevka, the Hungarian leader stated that “time is on the side of the Russians, and the longer the war goes on, the more people will die, and the balance of power will not change in Ukraine’s favor.” According to the latest figures from the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukraine has lost more than 400,000 service members – killed, wounded or missing – since the conflict began in February 2022. The Ukrainian military is also dealing with a dwindling pool of potential conscripts and shortages of Western weapons and ammunition.

Western media outlets and politicians have warned that these twin problems may soon lead to a collapse all along the front. “We have also made it clear that the longer this war lasts, the closer we get to the terrifying danger called the Third World War,” Szijjarto told Radio Kossuth. The Hungarian diplomat condemned a recent remark by French President Emmanuel Macron, who said last Monday that he “cannot exclude” the deployment of NATO troops to Ukraine. While multiple NATO leaders and the alliance’s secretary general swiftly announced that no such deployment would take place, the idea found favor among some of the Baltic states, who have consistently called for more Western intervention.

“We in NATO made a decision about two years ago… [stating] that NATO is not a belligerent, and everything must be done to avoid a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia,” the bloc’s head Jens Stoltenberg explained. “The Western politicians who talk about the need to send ground troops are certainly violating this joint NATO decision,” he continued. “Our position is clear and unambiguous: we will not send weapons or soldiers.” Moscow has pointed out that it remains open to peace talks, but has received no “serious” proposals from Kiev or the West. Any potential deal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last month, will have to take the “new reality” that Ukraine no longer owns Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye into account.

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“..a hypothetical provocation scenario, in which the German military might convince Scholz that Russian forces had launched a missile “at Berlin,” which had been intercepted..”

Germany Preparing For War With Russia – Medvedev (RT)

A recently leaked recording of senior German officers discussing a potential attack on the Crimean Bridge leaves no doubt that Berlin is preparing for a military conflict with Moscow, the former Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, warned on his Telegram channel on Sunday. Medvedev, who is currently deputy head of the Russian Security Council, was commenting on audio that surfaced earlier this week. The story was broken on Friday by RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan, who said she had received the recording from Russian security officials. The 38-minute-long recording, reportedly from February 19, contained a conversation between four officers of the German Air Force, including its commander, Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz. They were discussing operational and targeting details of Taurus long-range missiles which Berlin was considering supplying to Kiev.

The officers particularly explored the option of the missiles being used against the Crimean Bridge and spoke about maintaining plausible deniability in the event of such an attack. The leak sparked a major scandal in Germany, with many senior MPs calling for the nation’s counterintelligence efforts to be enhanced. The German Defense Ministry confirmed the authenticity of the recording but neither the military nor Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government have commented on the plans discussed by the senior officers. On Sunday, Medvedev assumed that Berlin would now try to claim it had known nothing of the military discussions taking place. He also stated that the German authorities could call the leaked conversation a purely hypothetical one and say that the military was “obsessed with playing mock battles.”

“Any attempts to present the Bundeswehr officers’ conversation as just a ‘game’ with missiles and tanks would be a malicious lie,” the former president warned. “Germany is preparing for a war with Russia.” Medvedev also said that the position of Scholz’s cabinet might eventually be irrelevant when it comes to the standoff between Moscow and Berlin. “History knows many examples when the military were capable of taking decisions for their civilian superiors about starting a war or just instigating [conflict],” he added. He particularly pointed to a hypothetical provocation scenario, in which the German military might convince Scholz that Russian forces had launched a missile “at Berlin,” which had been intercepted.

Various German officials have recently raised the issue of a potential war with Russia. Earlier on Sunday, the nation’s health minister, Karl Lauterbach, said that Germany should improve its healthcare system for it to be able to swiftly respond to “major disasters” like a military conflict. Last month, German general Carsten Breuer called for a “change in mentality” in society, insisting the nation needed to prepare for a potential war with Russia in five years. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said last November that the country must become “war-capable,” and stated again in January that Berlin and all its NATO allies should arm themselves more actively to be able to “wage a war that is forced upon us.”

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“..it is precisely this that increases risks, as it fits into the popular meme of “dementia and courage,” especially when a mild panic is added..”

Why Emmanuel Macron Suggested Openly Sending NATO Troops Into Ukraine (RT)

Talk of strategic autonomy in the Old World remained empty for decades because it was treated as an accessory, necessary only for the sake of solidarity. Otherwise, Western Europe was content with a situation in which it did not have to worry about such matters. Partly because of American guarantees but mainly because of the absence of any threat. The year 2022 brought troubles of a threefold nature. First, the terrifying specter of what they see as Russian revanchism. Second, the fact it was Western Europe that bore the economic cost of combating Moscow. Third, no matter what is proclaimed at summits, the reality that domestic priorities are pulling the US away from Europe. The Old World has been bickering with America over defense spending for years, and responding with cosmetic measures.

Again, because it did not believe in the threat. When that began to change, the question of spending and capabilities did not arise for the US, but rather for the European part of the trans-Atlantic alliance. The Americans do not really care how the Ukrainian battle ends, and they can afford to deal with other matters –domestic ones– in parallel. The latter are obviously more important, and the financing of Ukraine is becoming their hostage. In Western Europe, the fear of war with Russia has already been so promoted by the top brass that it is beginning to determine everything else. When the Western community is mobilized to confront “autocracies” (Russia is joined by China in this narrative), it is foolish to raise the question of European strategic autonomy. But such a capacity is becoming a necessary condition for Western Europe’s relevance. Hence the attempt to redirect consciousness from the priority of social comfort to the imperative of security.

The conditions for success are not very favorable. The population is used to tranquility. The collective lack of quality in their elites also reduces confidence in their ability to manage the strategic approach. But firstly, it is precisely this that increases risks, as it fits into the popular meme of “dementia and courage,” especially when a mild panic is added. Secondly, one should not draw conclusions from clumsy approaches, such as Macron’s statements or the musings of EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell. Behind the cartoonish façade are discreet changes in the approaches of countries (or individual segments of societies) that retain the ability to think in terms of effective confrontation. And which recognize that the US agenda is changing, probably irreversibly. Here, the British build-up is a clear example. Gunpowder is sometimes preserved in powder chambers that have long since been turned into souvenirs. If it is not there, so much the better, but it is more useful to overestimate the enemy than vice versa.

Macgregor

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“We are constantly looking for a solution that will protect the Polish market from being flooded with clearly cheaper [Ukrainian] agricultural products..”

Polish Farmers’ Blockade Is ‘Beyond Morality’ – Zelensky (RT)

The protests at the border by Polish farmers against Ukrainian agricultural imports have crossed all boundaries, President Vladimir Zelensky has said, accusing Warsaw of using the situation for domestic political games while Kiev remains under immense pressure from Russia. Polish farmers started blockading the Ukrainian border back in autumn in protest of EU regulations that allowed their Ukrainian competitors to sell agricultural products in the bloc without paying tariffs, which they say amounts to an unfair advantage. The protests left thousands of Ukrainian trucks stuck in border queues. In a video address on Telegram on Sunday, the Ukrainian leader urged his Polish counterparts to “finally find a solution” to the crisis, which he said “has gone beyond both economics and morality long ago.”

“It is simply impossible to explain how the hardships of a bleeding country can be used in domestic political struggles,” he added, promising, however, that Kiev would eventually manage to pull through. The protests intensified in late February when farmers blocked all six border crossings with Ukraine. Officials in Kiev have also claimed that “unidentified persons” were destroying Ukrainian grain on the railroad, suggesting that it could be “sabotage” and urging the Polish authorities to intervene. Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski apologized for instances of grain being dumped but attempted to justify the protesters’ actions by saying they were “in a very difficult economic situation.” Meanwhile, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said last week that Warsaw was in talks with Kiev about temporarily shutting the border. Kiev, however, denied this claim.

Tusk pointed out that while Poland, which has been one of Kiev’s most steadfast backers, wants to help Ukraine, it “can’t allow this help to bring very negative effects to our citizens.” “We are constantly looking for a solution that will protect the Polish market from being flooded with clearly cheaper [Ukrainian] agricultural products,” he said. The Ukrainian-Polish dispute comes as a wave of protests by farmers has swept through numerous EU states. Farmers in such countries as Germany, Greece, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands have rallied against agricultural reforms and new environmental policies which they say increase their costs and decrease profit margins.

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Make that moral ethics.

More Proof That COVID Killed Medical Ethics (Stansbury)

A February 12, 2024 Slay News.com article reported that thousands of elderly COVID patients in the United Kingdom (U.K.) were secretly euthanized in April 2020 by injection with the drug Midazolam. This disturbing claim came from an investigation directed by Wilson Sy, director, Investment Analytics Research Australia, and made public by Craig Kelly, the national director of the (conservative) United Australia Party. The alleged euthanasia claim seems unlikely because in the U.K., it is regarded as either manslaughter or murder by the National Health Service (NHS) and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. And unlike in Trudeau’s Canada, even voluntary assisted suicide is illegal and punishable by up to 14 years’ imprisonment. In addition, the drug Midazolam is not for euthanasia. It’s a widely used anti-anxiety medication. However, Drugs.com cautions that it is risky for patients with a cough, wheezing, or trouble breathing.

Having had a career in analytics, I was skeptical. I reviewed the ResearchGate investigation documentation fully expecting to find fake news. Instead, I found that the report was exceptionally well researched and documented, and the claim appears valid. “Shortages of hospital beds were already felt before the pandemic. Therefore, there was apprehension that UK hospitals could not cope with the anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases. It is clear that the highest priority of UK public health policy, early in the pandemic, was to avoid hospitals being overwhelmed, like those sensationally reported in northern Italy around that time. The NHS created new guidelines in March 2020 to facilitate discharges from hospitals, stating “Unless required to be in hospital, patients must not remain in an NHS bed.” “In a move which was later judged irrational, many elderly were discharged from hospital and died in care homes across England. As a result about 28,000 care home residents died in April 2020 across England, which represented about one third or 33.5 percent of all deaths in England. Many of the UK elderly with comorbidities or terminal illnesses have died with euthanasia in care homes, and not from COVID-19 due to few cases of infections early in 2020.” … “New guidelines were rapidly developed in early 2020 by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for managing COVID-19 symptoms, including those at the end-of-life. The rapidly developed new guidelines effectively opened the door to implement a policy of euthanasia in UK during the pandemic.”

[..] This simple forensic analysis helped confirm an even greater medical mass murder: United Kingdom, population 67 million: The COVID death trend data for JAN 2020 and FEB 2021 confirms it was disproportionally high. The real blame goes to its government provided “free” healthcare because hospitals were overwhelmed even before the pandemic. Their treatment protocols, like those of most wealthy countries also placed all bets on the vax, lockdowns, etc. and this decision likely contributed to other variations as well. And anyone criticizing the government treatment protocols was censored. Final: 3,472 deaths per million people thru 2/18/2024.

Sweden, population 10 million: Sweden was included because it alone rejected severe lockdown measures and as a result it had achieved herd immunity by around FEB 2021. That lasted until Sweden inexplicably mandated the vax and boosters. It is now known that repeated jabs confuse the immune system so when a new variant attacks, it fails to recognize it as the real threat and instead attacks the ghosts of older variants. Sweden alone continued to experience spikes in deaths well beyond MAR 2022. Was it a coincidence that each major surge in boosters administered was followed by a similar surge in deaths a couple of months later? Final: 2,576 deaths per million people thru 2/18/2024.

United States, population 333 million: The US is known to have exaggerated its death rate by including deaths with COVID. Nevertheless, America’s initial two death spikes rose and fell like both Sweden and the UK and all three increased somewhat when the Delta variant arrived around the middle of 2021. By then the first round of vax had been widely distributed and mandated. The U.S. death trend remained slightly elevated until the end of March 2022. Coincidentally, its downturn in deaths resumed as people became more aware of the vaccine’s deadly side effects and several red states had cancelled their vax mandates. Like in the UK, any dissent was silenced. Final: 3,472 deaths per million people thru 2/18/2024.

India, population 1.4 billion: This huge country posted a consistently low COVID death rate and set an ideal benchmark. India alone encouraged the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) starting immediately when COVID arrived. India’s death rate spiked only once when the Delta variant showed up and HCQ proved less effective. However, their medical establishment reacted quickly to replace it with Ivermectin, and daily deaths once again returned to near zero for the duration. India had access to the vaccines, but it was not a priority. The data confirms that India’s inexpensive treatment protocol saved millions of lives. Final: 376 deaths per million people thru 2/18/2024.

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“..climate activism has become the new religion of the 21st century—heretics are not welcome and not allowed to ask questions..”

Very much like Covid.

Scientists Expose Major Problems With Climate Change Data (ET)

Temperature records used by climate scientists and governments to build models that then forecast dangerous manmade global warming repercussions have serious problems and even corruption in the data, multiple scientists who have published recent studies on the issue told The Epoch Times. The Biden administration leans on its latest National Climate Assessment report as evidence that global warming is accelerating because of human activities. The document states that human emissions of “greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide are dangerously warming the Earth. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) holds the same view, and its leaders are pushing major global policy changes in response. But scientific experts from around the world in a variety of fields are pushing back. In peer-reviewed studies, they cite a wide range of flaws with the global temperature data used to reach the dire conclusions; they say it’s time to reexamine the whole narrative.

Problems with temperature data include a lack of geographically and historically representative data, contamination of the records by heat from urban areas, and corruption of the data introduced by a process known as “homogenization.” The flaws are so significant that they make the temperature data—and the models based on it—essentially useless or worse, three independent scientists with the Center for Environmental Research and Earth Sciences (CERES) explained. The experts said that when data corruption is considered, the alleged “climate crisis” supposedly caused by human activities disappears. Instead, natural climate variability offers a much better explanation for what is being observed, they said. Some experts told The Epoch Times that deliberate fraud appeared to be at work, while others suggested more innocent explanations. But regardless of why the problems exist, the implications of the findings are hard to overstate.

With no climate crisis, the justification for trillions of dollars in government spending and costly changes in public policy to restrict carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions collapses, the scientists explained in a series of interviews about their research. “For the last 35 years, the words of the IPCC have been taken to be gospel,” according to astrophysicist and CERES founder Willie Soon. Until recently, he was a researcher working with the Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian. “And indeed, climate activism has become the new religion of the 21st century—heretics are not welcome and not allowed to ask questions,” Mr. Soon told The Epoch Times. “But good science demands that scientists are encouraged to question the IPCC’s dogma. The supposed purity of the global temperature record is one of the most sacred dogmas of the IPCC.” The latest U.S. government National Climate Assessment report states: “Human activities are changing the climate. “The evidence for warming across multiple aspects of the Earth system is incontrovertible, and the science is unequivocal that increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases are driving many observed trends and changes.”

In particular, according to the report, this is because of human activities such as burning fossil fuels for transportation, energy, and agriculture. Looking at timescales highlights major problems with this narrative, Mr. Soon said. “When people ask about global warming or climate change, it is essential to ask, ‘Since when?’ The data shows that it has warmed since the 1970s, but that this followed a period of cooling from the 1940s,” he said. While it is “definitely warmer” now than in the 19th century, Mr. Soon said that temperature proxy data show the 19th century “was exceptionally cold.” “It was the end of a period that’s known as the Little Ice Age,” he said.

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Garland

 

 

 

 

VDH

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coil

 

 

Lara Logan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1762536419275293121

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 242024
 
 January 24, 2024  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  43 Responses »


Nicolas de Staël Paris la nuit 1954

 

Trump ‘Honored’ By New Hampshire Win, Says Republican Party ‘Very United’ (Fox)
Israel Risks Dragging Egypt Into War (Blade)
Russia Will Do Everything to Integrate Egypt Into BRICS – Putin (Sp.)
UN Agency Says 570,000 People in Gaza Strip Face Dire Hunger (Sp.)
No Direct Threat From Russia – NATO (RT)
Germans Told To Prepare For Another War With Russia (RT)
Germany Can’t Afford Rearmament, Let Alone a ‘War’ With Russia (Sp.)
Davos Admits Possibility Of Ukraine Defeat (ZH)
Ukraine Spy Chief: Win “Not Even Conceivable” Without Mass Mobilization (ZH)
The German Establishment Wants To Ban AfD (Amar)
Pelosi’s J6 Committee Deleted Over 100 Encrypted Files (PB)
No One Is Safe in an Era of Kafkaesque Absurdity (Brooks)
Mayorkas Says Border Is Secure But Biden Says It Isn’t (MN)
Supreme Court Rules Texas Must Replace Barbed Wire With Giant Red Carpet (BBee)
Supreme Court Rules It’s Illegal For National Guard To Guard Nation (BBee)

 

 


New Hampshire Governor Sununu’s home town.

 

 

Vivek

 

 

Tucker Canada
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749645597827887333

 

 

Tucker Rand Paul

 

 

Fani
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749817785122013580

 

 

Kash Patel
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749514005725475192

 

 

Trump Jan 22

 

 

Kari Lake

 

 

Trump hotel jobs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749671123778748611

 

 

 

 

Time for dirty tricks?!

Trump ‘Honored’ By New Hampshire Win, Says Republican Party ‘Very United’ (Fox)

Former President Trump said he is “very honored” by his New Hampshire primary win Tuesday night, telling Fox News Digital that the Republican Party is “very united” behind his candidacy. Trump won the first-in-the-nation primary Tuesday night, defeating former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Trump also won the Iowa caucuses last week. During an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital shortly after the race was called, Trump said he was honored. “I’m very honored by the result,” Trump said. Trump also said he is “looking forward to going against the worst president in the history of our country.” New Hampshire – where independent voters who make up roughly 40% of the electorate can vote in either major party’s contest and have long played an influential role in the state’s storied presidential primary – was considered fertile ground for Haley.

And Haley spent plenty of time and resources in the state, securing the influential endorsement of popular Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. But Trump dominated for a second week in a row, cruising to victory in both critical early voting states. When asked if he felt Haley would suspend her campaign, he said, “I don’t know. She should.” “She should because, otherwise, we have to keep wasting money instead of spending on Biden,” Trump said. “If she doesn’t drop out, we have to waste money instead of spending it on Biden, which is our focus.” Trump, who was joined at a rally Monday night in New Hampshire by his former opponents who then endorsed him, including Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, said the party is united.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended his campaign on Sunday and endorsed Trump. “The party is very united except for her,” Trump said. “The party is very united, and we’re looking forward to going against the worst president in the history of our country,” he said. But Haley, during a speech after the race was called, noted that she got close to half of the vote in New Hampshire. She said she is “the last one standing next to Donald Trump” and added that the race is “far from over.” “New Hampshire is the first in the nation, not the last,” Haley said. She is now looking ahead to South Carolina’s primary on Feb. 24.

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“..Netanyahu understands the importance of these strategic relations with Cairo and he will not damage those ties..”

Israel Risks Dragging Egypt Into War (Blade)

It’s been more than a hundred days since Israel kicked off its Iron Swords operation in Gaza following the bloody attack of October 7, when more than 1,200 Israelis were brutally murdered at the hands of Hamas militants. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to punish those responsible for the massacre, which also left more than 5,000 people wounded. He further promised to eliminate the Islamic group that controls Gaza, and to de-militarize the enclave that has posed a threat to Israel’s security. But more than three months down the line, officials in West Jerusalem still seem to be scratching their heads over how to achieve those goals. The main challenge is the continuous flow of arms, technology, and money to Gaza, from which the militants of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad continue to fire rockets. And Israel believes it is coming from the Sinai Peninsula, smuggled through the border via the so-called Philadelphi Route.

The term emerged in 1982 following the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt and the subsequent demarcation of the border. According to that agreement, both sides deployed troops on their respective sides along the 14km line, a move that promised stability and security. But several years later, in 1987, during the First Intifada, Palestinians started digging tunnels under the axis, through which they smuggled goods and weapons, as well as militants and money. By 2005, when Israel evacuated its 17 settlements from Gaza and handed over control of the axis to the Palestinian Authority, the Islamic group already had hundreds of such tunnels, and their numbers continued to grow – especially after Hamas seized power in the enclave in 2007. “Initially, Egypt didn’t exert any significant efforts into stopping that smuggling, simply because it brought a lot of economic benefits to both sides,” said Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior research scholar at The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism.

“It was during this time that Hamas boosted its arms arsenal, smuggling in weapons, money and technologies. It was also then, when Iranian and Hezbollah experts and technicians arrived in Gaza and taught Hamas engineers on how to develop their own industry,” he added. Then, in 2011, came the Arab Spring. The long-term ruler of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, was deposed, and the radical elements in Sinai started rearing their heads. Terror attacks have become a regular phenomenon, especially after 2014, when Daesh (Islamic State/IS) took control over most jihadist groups on the peninsula, establishing the so-called Wilayat Sinai. “These groups were against the newly established government of President Abdel Fattah A-Sisi. They were targeting the army and killing civilians across the country, so Cairo came to realize that there was cooperation between Hamas and those terrorists and it decided to break that link,” said Karmon.

Over the years, Cairo exerted multiple efforts into fighting the threat emanating from Sinai. It boosted its military presence on the peninsula, launched counterterrorism operations, and flooded hundreds of tunnels that linked Gaza to Egypt. But experts in Israel believe not all the loopholes were eliminated. Even more so, they are still being used to smuggle militants, weapons, and potentially Israeli hostages. This is why in recent weeks, a number of Israeli politicians, including Netanyahu, have stated that the Philadelphi Route should be recaptured, with Israel establishing full control over the territory. Karmon maintains Israel has no intention of occupying the area. Instead, the idea is that his country would just beef up its military presence in the region to maintain security. “Recapturing the area would be very difficult to execute, simply because we have a peace agreement with Egypt. Of course, there are right-wing voices who are calling for the occupation of Gaza or the building of settlements there, but Netanyahu understands the importance of these strategic relations with Cairo and he will not damage those ties,” the expert asserted.

However, in Egypt some are still worried. Hany Soliman, executive director of the Arab Center for Research and Studies (ACRS) in Cairo, says Netanyahu’s words are backed by actions. These include negotiations with the Americans on the construction of an underground wall on the Egyptian side. The project, which promises to be 1km deep and 13km long, will be equipped with sensors and other technology, enabling digging to be detected, and as such deterring radicals from trying their luck. The project is set to be funded by the US. But the possibility of such an endeavor taking place depends largely on the will of the Egyptians, says Soliman, and they might not want to rush it. “Firstly, on the political and security levels, Egypt will not sign such a protocol, especially at a time when there is a lack of clarity on Israeli intentions and when there are concerns about Israeli attempts to pass and impose their displacement plan,” he said. “And, secondly, let’s not forget the Palestinian Authority. It has full rights to object to this project. They can claim that the occupation of the Philadelphi axis is inconsistent with the Oslo Accords and that it infringes on their sovereignty”.

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“During the Russian presidency of the BRICS this year, we will try to do everything possible for Egypt to effectively integrate into the work of the group..”

Russia Will Do Everything to Integrate Egypt Into BRICS – Putin (Sp.)

Russia expects that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi will attend the BRICS summit in Russia’s Kazan scheduled for later in the year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday. “We are waiting for you, dear Mr. Sisi, at the unification summit [of BRICS] in Kazan in October this year,” Putin said during the ceremony of the start of the construction of the fourth power unit of Dabaa nuclear power plant (NPP). Russia has planned more than 200 BRICS events, and Moscow expects that representatives of Egypt will take an active part in them, the president said. “New promising opportunities for building up our fruitful cooperation are opening up in connection with Egypt’s accession to the BRICS. I would like to emphasize that from the very beginning, Russia sincerely supported the desire of the Egyptian side to become a full member of this association. During the Russian presidency of the BRICS this year, we will try to do everything possible for Egypt to effectively integrate into the work of the group,” Putin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi launched on Tuesday the construction of the fourth power unit of the Dabaa nuclear power plant (NPP) in Egypt via videoconference. Pouring the first concrete into the foundation of the building where the nuclear reactor will be located means the start of the construction of the entire new power unit. After this, the project will be implemented to full capacity — all four blocks of the nuclear power plant will be built simultaneously. Speaking about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during the launching ceremony, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he is in constant contact with his Egyptian counterpart on the issue.

“And in general, Sisi and I are in constant contact … we regularly discuss all the most significant issues on the international and regional agenda for our countries. In particular, we exchange opinions and coordinate positions in connection with the tragic development of the situation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and resolve issues of a humanitarian nature,” Putin said during the ceremony to launch the construction of the fourth power unit of the Dabaa nuclear power plant.

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“..catastrophic hunger. Intense fighting, access denials & restrictions + communications blackouts..”

UN Agency Says 570,000 People in Gaza Strip Face Dire Hunger (Sp.)

About 570,000 people in the Gaza Strip face dire hunger, and the work of humanitarian organizations is difficult due to access and communication problems, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said on Tuesday. “570,000 people in Gaza face catastrophic hunger. Intense fighting, access denials & restrictions + communications blackouts are hampering UNRWA’s ability to safely & effectively deliver aid. As risk of famine grows, UN calls for a critical increase in humanitarian access,” the UNRWA said on X . On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip, while its fighters breached the border and opened fire on the military and civilians.

As a result, more than 1,200 people were killed in Israel and some 240 others were kidnapped. Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and launched a ground invasion of the Palestinian enclave with the stated goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages. More than 25,000 people have been killed in Gaza so far as a result of the Israeli attacks, according to local officials. On November 24, Qatar brokered an agreement between Israel and Hamas for a temporary ceasefire and the exchange of some prisoners and hostages, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. The truce was extended several times and expired on December 1.

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“At the same time, he stressed that the bloc nevertheless “closely monitors what Russia does”..”

No Direct Threat From Russia – NATO (RT)

NATO sees no threat from Russia toward any of its members, the US-led bloc’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday during a press conference in Brussels. His comments come as several countries, including Germany and the Baltic states, have raised concerns of a potential future Russian attack. Answering questions from journalists following the signing of major new investments in artillery ammunition productions, Stoltenberg stated that, “We don’t see any direct or imminent threat against any NATO ally.” At the same time, he stressed that the bloc nevertheless “closely monitors what Russia does” and has increased its “vigilance and presence in the eastern part of the alliance,” in order to prevent any attacks on allied nations.

Meanwhile, German news outlets have reported in recent weeks that Berlin was preparing for a scenario in which Russia launches an “open attack” on NATO as early as the summer of 2025 after securing a major victory in Ukraine. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius also warned on Monday that his country should be ready to respond to a possible Russian attack even though there is no real threat as of now. “Deterrence is the only effective means of positioning oneself against an aggressor from the outset,” Pistorius told ZDF, calling on Germany and its NATO allies to commit to strengthening their military capabilities. Similar concerns have been voiced by other NATO members, such as Estonia, whose Prime Minister Kaja Kallas suggested last week that the bloc has three to five years to prepare for a possible direct confrontation with Russia.

Moscow has dismissed any claims that it intends to attack any NATO members as “complete nonsense,” with President Vladimir Putin arguing that Russia has “no geopolitical, economic … or military interest” in doing so. At the same time, the Kremlin has for decades voiced concerns that it was the US and its NATO allies’ continuous expansion to the east that posed an existential threat to Russia. Moscow has cited this expansion, which it believes threatens its national security, as well as the refusal to rule out Ukrainian NATO membership in the future, as some of the key reasons for launching its offensive against Kiev in February 2022.

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There are more EU countries that tell these absurd stories.

Germans Told To Prepare For Another War With Russia (RT)

Germany should be ready to respond to a possible Russian attack, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has warned. He said that to prepare for such a scenario, Germany and its NATO allies must commit to strengthening their military capabilities. In an interview with German public broadcaster ZDF on Monday, the defense chief pointed out that while Germany is not currently under a direct threat of attack, the country should do its best to be prepared for it. If Germany wants to be ready for an attack “that you don’t know if and when it will occur, then that means you have to arm yourself – and that’s what we’re currently doing together with allies in NATO,” he explained.

Pistorius went on to say that “deterrence is the only effective means of positioning oneself against an aggressor from the outset” as it signals to a potential adversary that the target is capable of striking back. To achieve such a posture, however, Germany must have “a credible deterrent” and be able to “wage a war that is forced upon us,” he noted. Commenting on a potential scenario in which Russia attacked the Baltics, Pistorius remarked that Berlin was setting up its “Lithuania Brigade” specifically to address those concerns. The unit, composed of about 4,800 soldiers is expected to be ready by 2027 and will be the first German force to be permanently stationed abroad since World War II. Pistorius suggested that amid the Ukraine conflict it would take Russia at least several years to be ready for a full-scale offensive, and that Western countries should use the time to intensively arm themselves.

The German tabloid Bild reported earlier this month, citing a classified document, that Germany is preparing for a scenario in which Russia launches an “open attack” on NATO in mid-2025, following major victories in Ukraine. Moscow mocked the prediction as a “zodiac forecast.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed claims that Russia could attack NATO as “complete nonsense,” arguing that Moscow has “no geopolitical, economic… or military interest” in doing so. Still, the Kremlin has for decades voiced concerns about the US-led military bloc’s expansion towards Russian borders, viewing it as an existential threat.

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“Not only is Germany’s justification for rearmament in question but also the nation’s ability to afford it..”

Germany Can’t Afford Rearmament, Let Alone a ‘War’ With Russia (Sp.)

Germany must take into account the possibility of a military conflict with Russia and prepare for it over the next three-five years, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told ZDF on January 22. He insisted that the German Bundeswehr armed forces should become “a credible deterrent,” and that a German combat brigade would be deployed in the Baltics to become “fully combat-ready” by 2027. In December, Pistorius signed an agreement for the permanent deployment of a Bundeswehr brigade to Lithuania. and announced that the reintroduction of compulsory military service in Germany is now on the table. Does Russia really present an imminent threat to German national security? “If you ask me, and if you ask most people in my party, the answer is unequivocally no,” Gunnar Beck, Member of the European Parliament for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party who is currently Vice-President of the Identity & Democracy Group in the Parliament, told Sputnik.

“Ever since 1990, at the end of the Soviet Union, the Russian government has gone out of its way to intensify economic relations between Russia and Germany. We had extremely favorable energy contracts with Russia. And Russia was a growing export market for our agricultural and industrial goods. It’s due to our government’s policy, vis-a-vis Ukraine conflict that relations with Russia are now almost at an all time low. So, on the one hand, I think, German policy and EU policy has been a provocation. Nonetheless, I think that the Russian reaction to the sanctions in particular has been tough, but at the same time measured. So in my view, Russia is no immediate security threat to Germany. Categorically not.” Not only is Germany’s justification for rearmament in question but also the nation’s ability to afford it, according to Beck. German industry is in a dire state as a result of the government’s policies, he stressed.

“Germany currently finds itself in what is probably the most serious economic crisis since the Second World War,” Beck said. “The government’s policies (…) are affecting all leading branches of German industry, which is suffering from high inflation, lack of qualified labor, bureaucracy and high tax levels. As a result, our exports have declined significantly. So we are in crisis, and German industry, which has always been the backbone of German prosperity, in particular, is in crisis.” He listed three major reasons for the new talk of militarization: First, the German government’s energy and climate change policy; Second, unprecedented migration into Germany from outside Europe of unskilled workers and the astronomical cost to German public finances; Third, Germany’s policies on Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the Russian economy.

Berlin’s decision to follow Washington’s lead and slap sweeping sanctions on Russia has backfired on Germans on a much greater scale than on any of their Russian counterparts, according to the politician. “In my view, Germany is in no fit state economically and financially to embark upon a massive rearmament program,” Beck said. “If the German government seriously did so, the consequence would be a further significant worsening of the economic crisis. The only way to finance such rearmament would be through a complete reversal of all the other policies and massive remigration of migrants from Germany. The government has given no indication that it is prepared to do so. In other words, I think these declarations are probably largely symbolic. Germany simply cannot afford it.”

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“The situation is becoming undeniable and the fact that the elites are allowing discussion about a Ukraine loss suggests that defeat might be closer than we know..”

Davos Admits Possibility Of Ukraine Defeat (ZH)

In a move that would have been unthinkable a year ago, the WEF has formed a discussion panel at their annual Davos conference titled “What If Ukraine Loses?” The panel represents, at the very least, an admission by the globalists that Ukraine could be defeated by Russia despite the deluge of money, armaments and intel assets that Ukraine has been given access to by western governments.Since 2022, the narrative has shifted from talk of complete victory over Russia including the retaking of the Donbas and even Crimea, to merely holding the current front and keeping a steady supply of ammo and recruits. The realities on the ground cannot be denied. The long vaunted “counter-offensive” that was supposed to crush Russian forces was a complete failure. No significant ground was gained and no significant victories have been won. It was a considerable propaganda error to hype up the counter-offensive the way Ukraine did, because when it turned out to be a dud all their other claims quickly came under suspicion.

At the end of 2023, the average age of Ukrainian soldiers was older than 40 (compare this to the US where the average age is 27). Rumors out of Ukraine abound that most younger soldiers are dead and that collection teams (government enforcers) now prowl the streets of cities like Kiev. They search for and kidnap any fighting age men they find, only to send them to the front with little or no training. These are the kinds of stories that go mostly ignored by the wider western media. When they are mentioned, it is usually in support of the Ukrainian government, chastising people who don’t want to fight and die in a globalist proxy war as “draft dodgers.” The level to which journalists have acted as a propaganda arm of NATO and Ukraine has been grotesque, but it does help to explain why so many Americans and Europeans were deluded about the war for so long. All they have heard about for the past two years is that Ukraine is on the verge of imminent victory.

It’s simply not true. This is likely why the WEF is now forced to address the issue at Davos – The situation is becoming undeniable and the fact that the elites are allowing discussion about a Ukraine loss suggests that defeat might be closer than we know. The panel itself is largely made up of Ukrainian representatives who are there to spin the facts, not have a frank discussion about the realities in the trenches. Journalist Niall Ferguson seems to be the only member with a modicum of honesty on the panel, as he admits the situation in Ukraine has degraded dramatically. He does, however, join with the Ukrainians in admonishing the American public’s growing opposition to monetary and military support. The underlying message? If Ukraine loses, it will be your fault.

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Make peace you fools.

Ukraine Spy Chief: Win “Not Even Conceivable” Without Mass Mobilization (ZH)

“The shortage [of manpower] is palpable,” Ukraine’s military top spy chief, Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, told Financial Times in a new interview, describing the most pressing situation facing the country after nearly two years of war.He warned that “it is not even conceivable to think that we can do without mobilization” — which reflects the consensus of the military’s leadership, and strongly points to staggering losses by the Ukrainian side, though an official running casualty count has never been revealed. Russia has also likely suffered immense losses, but can tap into much greater manpower and artillery, which is also allegedly being supplied from such nefarious actors as North Korea. As part of its report, FT has reviewed that Zelensky recently revealed that his army chiefs requested him “to mobilize about 400,000 to 500,000 new soldiers to replace those killed or wounded, and to rest those involved in the most intense fighting.”

Still, Budanov tried to paint an optimistic picture at a moment that even mainstream US press has lamented the current state of the war as a total failure and disaster for Ukraine: Ukrainian troops never managed to decisively breach Russia’s heavily fortified defences: the frontline remains almost the same as it looked a year ago. But Budanov maintains he was not wrong. “Although the original plans suggested something different, we kept our promise. This summer, our units repeatedly entered Crimea,” he said, referring to his commandos sneaking on to the peninsula to carry out raids on Russian bases. Not only have Ukrainian operatives done brief but ineffective raids into Crimea, but the last several weeks have seen stepped-up cross border drone and rocket attacks against Russian border regions, particularly targeting Belgorod city, resulting in dozens of casualties over months of sporadic waves of strikes.

Many war analysts have looked upon these attacks on Russian territory as a sign of increasing desperation. The Ukrainian strikes have been focused on civilian areas of Belgorod, and have little or no strategic value, but is more an act of ‘revenge’ and perhaps part of seeking to impose a “cost” on the Russian population in hopes of pressuring the Putin government. Kiev has been mulling a new mass mobilization since at least December, when media reports first cited Zelensky as saying, “This is a serious number,” while explaining further he has to look at more arguments to support this direction.” He added at the time, “I need concrete information on what will (then) happen with the one-million military of Ukraine,” according to The Kyiv Independent.

Any new mass mobilization is likely to be met with fierce pushback among the population and some government officials. Already there have been signs of fracture within the government over what to do as it’s increasingly clear Ukrainian forces are ‘losing’ – especially in manpower, arms, and ammo. Zelensky’s security services and military recruiters have also been accused of abusing their power under martial law, also amid allegations of corruption, with The New York Times having previously reported Ukrainian army recruiters have become “increasingly aggressive in their efforts to replenish the ranks, in some cases pulling men off the streets and whisking them to recruiting centers using intimidation and even physical force.” There have even been reports of men with diagnosed mental disabilities being subjected to attempted drafts. Currently, men ages 18-60 may be mobilized and still have no right to leave Ukraine, per the stipulations under martial law.

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On its way to first place.

The German Establishment Wants To Ban AfD (Amar)

With really bad ideas, you can often ask two pertinent questions. First, why will it not work? Second, why would it be harmful if it did? That rule holds in Germany, where the really bad idea of banning the party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is currently getting much debate. The background of this debate is simple. Founded a decade ago, the AfD has established itself as a lasting feature of the political landscape. A populist right-wing party (roughly comparable to, for instance, the Austrian FPÖ), it brings together politicians and voters across a spectrum of positions. In the AfD, this spectrum ranges from very solidly conservative to far right. Still comparatively small, the AfD is significant. With currently just over 40,000 members, it holds 78 of 736 seats in the Bundestag, the central parliament in Berlin.

Importantly, it is also well-represented in 14 of 16 regional parliaments, where it occupies 242 seats of 1898 (for all regional legislatures taken together). In terms of its impact on national debates, it clearly punches far above this quantitative weight. Most importantly, however, the AfD is on a roll, on both the central and regional levels. If Germans were to vote for the Bundestag now – and thus in effect the chancellor’s office – the AfD would net 23%. That can be compared with the traditional center-left SPD, leading the hapless coalition government, at 14%. All parties from the ruling coalition (SPD, Greens, and the market-liberal FDP) together muster just 31% approval. On the regional level, the picture is largely the same, with particularly pronounced AfD advances in the area of the former East Germany.

For the Land of Brandenburg, for instance, a poll has the AfD in the lead with 28%, easily beating both the CDU mainstream conservatives (18%) and the SPD (17%). Adding insult to injury, AfD co-leader Tino Chrupalla is also surpassing the SPD’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the personal-popularity scale, which is admittedly a low bar, as Scholz has managed to become one of the most disliked German politicians ever. No wonder that Germany’s under-qualified and somewhat hysterical minister of the economy, Robert Habeck, in whose head all of Russia seems to live rent-free, is publicly hallucinating that the AfD wants to make Germany like Russia. (The irony is, of course, is that with Habeck’s own mismanaged ministerial portfolio, quite a few Germans would welcome having Russia’s growth rates.)

Such rhetoric, as well as the timing of when the idea of an AfD ban is being floated, betrays the fact that the attempt to popularize the idea of outlawing the AfD is an opportunistic response to its increasing electoral clout, which of course cannot be openly admitted. So, those in favor of a ban argue that the AfD is an extremist party. But crucially here, extremism has a specific, legally (and narrowly) defined meaning. According to the German Constitution (Article 21.2), the Constitutional Court (and only that court) can prohibit a party when it substantially endangers the constitutional order of the Federal Republic or its existence itself. An important and often overlooked caveat, is it is not enough for a party to display hostility to the constitutional order. A prohibition is only an option if the party does so in an “active-combative, aggressive manner,” as Germany’s Ministry of the Interior puts it.

Only two parties have ever been banned, a far-right one in 1952 and a far-left one in 1956. Other attempts to proscribe parties (or to be precise, the same party) have also failed twice: In 2003 and again in 2017, the Constitutional Court refused to outlaw the very far-right NPD (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands).

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Half the “evidence” is gone. How convenient.

Pelosi’s J6 Committee Deleted Over 100 Encrypted Files (PB)

It has been confirmed that the House Select Committee on Jan. 6 deleted more than 100 encrypted files from their investigation just days before Republicans gained control of the House. The House Administration Committee’s Oversight Subcommittee, chaired by Republican Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, is conducting an inquiry into January 6, 2021. The panel is looking at the security shortcomings that day, as well as the “actions” of the previous select committee investigating the Capitol riot. Loudermilk told Fox News Digital last week that his inquiry has entered a “new phase” with increased backing from House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) who has pledged extra resources to the panel’s investigation. According to sources familiar with Loudermilk’s investigation, the former J6 select committee, chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) was required by House rules to turn over all documents from its investigation to the new, GOP-led panel after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives following the 2022 midterm elections.

According to Fox News Digital, Thompson promised Loudermilk that the J6 select committee would give over four terabytes of archival material, but the new committee got just around two terabytes. Loudermilk’s committee hired a digital forensics outfit to search hard drives for material they were not provided. According to people familiar with the investigation, the forensics team discovered 117 files that had been erased and encrypted. The sources revealed that the files were erased on January 1, 2023, just days before Thompson’s staff was scheduled to transmit the material to the new committee. The forensics team has successfully retrieved all 117 deleted and encrypted files. Loudermilk is now requesting answers and passwords to get access to the material. Loudermilk issued to Thompson asking access to his forensic team’s retrieved digital data.

“As you acknowledged in your July 7, 2023 letter, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (Select Committee) did not archive all Committee records as required by House Rules,” Loudermilk wrote. “You wrote that you sent specific transcribed interviews and depositions to the White House and Department of Homeland Security but did not archive them with the Clerk of the House.” Loudermilk added that Thompson “claimed that you turned over 4-terabytes of digital files, but the hard drives archived by the Select Committee with the Clerk of the House contain less than 3- terabytes of data.” The Republican Congressman said that after doing a forensic study of the data and archived hard drives, he was able to retrieve “numerous digital records from hard drives archived by the Select Committee.”

“One recovered file disclosed the identity of an individual whose testimony was not archived by the Select Committee,” Loudermilk wrote. “Further, we found that most of the recovered files are password-protected, preventing us from determining what they contain.” Loudermilk requested that Thompson provide him “a list of passwords for all password-protected files created by the Select Committee” so that his committee could “access these files and ensure they are properly archived.” Meanwhile, the congressman sent letters to the White House general counsel and the General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security, asking for “unedited and unredacted transcripts” of White House and DHS testimony before the old select committee. Loudermilk’s committee is aware that transcripts of these interviews exist, but claims they were not given over by the Thompson-led investigation.

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“..the man Americans elected as the 45th president—and his team members—has been subjected to more bizarre allegations, secret investigations, partisan impeachments, preposterous indictments, and prejudiced legal proceedings than even Kafka could have imagined..”

No One Is Safe in an Era of Kafkaesque Absurdity (Brooks)

“Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he had done nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested.”—Franz Kafka, “The Trial.”

In Kafka’s early-20th-century novel, a reputable bank clerk is caught up in a prosecutorial nightmare. The story of Josef K. begins when court authorities suddenly arrive at his residence to tell him he’s to be indicted, but they can’t or won’t explain the exact nature of the charges against him. Josef K.’s accusers leave him with feelings of apprehension and anxiety. Throughout the novel, he struggles to defend himself within a hostile and complex legal process. At the end of the story, he’s led away to a summary execution. During the entire ordeal, the accused never really understands the reasons behind his mysterious prosecution. This dark story about the destruction of an innocent man led to the term “Kafkaesque” entering the English language as a way to describe situations in which honorable people are threatened by unfounded allegations. Kafka had a special talent for identifying the convergence between reality and absurdity.

A hundred years after “The Trial” was first published, the West has descended into an era in which absurd allegations are the new normal. In the Rainbow Reichs of the woke, witch hunting has become the order of the day.
One of the most notorious Kafkaesque events in modern history developed around the unforeseen political success of President Donald J. Trump.Over recent years, the man Americans elected as the 45th president—and his team members—has been subjected to more bizarre allegations, secret investigations, partisan impeachments, preposterous indictments, and prejudiced legal proceedings than even Kafka could have imagined. President Trump has endured some of the most savage and desperate partisan assaults in U.S. history. Despite it all, he has retained the loyalty of legions of ordinary citizens and is the leading candidate for reelection in 2024. Individuals throughout North America are praying that President Trump’s landslide victory in Iowa will lead to a decisive victory for the “Make America Great Again” movement.

[..] Few drag queen story hours feature the novels of Kafka, but the author’s insights remain valuable. Kafka understood that corrupt authorities have the capacity to ruin almost anyone they disapprove of. “The Trial” shows how Orwellian legal institutions can isolate individuals, make them appear guilty, and render them helpless. So far, President Trump has overcome the moral failures of the American judicial system, and he has an excellent chance of winning back the White House in 2024. Donald T. isn’t likely to suffer the same fate as Kafka’s Josef K. Francine C.’s future is considerably less certain. Without political support, financial resources, and professional help, challenges to the left by intrepid citizens are unlikely to continue. That’s why the suffocating nature of our Kafkaesque culture must be forthrightly resisted by honorable men and women.

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“The president’s been clear, he’s been clear that we need to move on the border, he needs resources to deal with the situation at the border.”s

Mayorkas Says Border Is Secure But Biden Says It Isn’t (MN)

During the White House press briefing Monday, a reporter asked Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to explain why Joe Biden and DHS head Alejandro Mayorkas give conflicting answers when asked if the border is secure or not. As we highlighted, last Friday Biden admitted that the border is not secure and stated that has has not believed it has been secure for a decade, despite the fact that Mayorkas has stated and testified multiple times that he believes the border is secure. “On Friday, President Biden said that he does not believe the border is secure, which is different from what Secretary Mayorkas has testified multiple times on the hill, why do they have two different views of the security of the border?” the reporter asked during Monday’s briefing.

Jean-Pierre used the tired excuse that Biden is waiting on Congress to provide more funding for border security. “The president’s been clear, he’s been clear that we need to move on the border, he needs resources to deal with the situation at the border. That’s why they’re having this conversation at the Senate, on the senate level and that’s why he’s asking for more resources,” Jean-Pierre said, adding “There’s an issue at the border, we need to deal with it and we have to act now. There’s an urgent need to act now.” The claim that Biden is waiting for funding for more security is laughable considering that he is ordering Border Patrol to actively take down barriers erected by Texas state authorities and the National Guard:

Elsewhere during the briefing Monday, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy pointed out that “authorities in Fairfax County, Virginia, ignored an ICE detainer. They released an illegal immigrant from Honduras, who was charged with sexually assaulting a Virginia minor and production of sexual abuse material.” He then asked Jean-Pierre “Doesn’t that go to show that, as record numbers of people appear at the border, you guys have no idea what kind of people are coming into this country?” Jean-Pierre, of course, denied the charge and again blamed Congress. She also claimed that Biden has recently visited the border, when in reality he hasn’t been there for over a year, and even that only visit was little more than a pit stop.

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“..It says that in the Constitution somewhere. Like, in Section 3 Article B or whatever.”

Supreme Court Rules Texas Must Replace Barbed Wire With Giant Red Carpet (BBee)

In yet another 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that Texas must remove all barbed wire along the border and replace it with a massive, plush red carpet. “How will migrants be able to get in the country if there’s barbed wire in the way?” said a visibly confused Justice Sotomayor. “They might get hurt! An elegant red carpet makes much more sense. It’s soft and red and can helpfully point the way to gaps along our border and make our new migrants feel welcome. It says that in the Constitution somewhere. Like, in Section 3 Article B or whatever.”

The border patrol responded to the ruling immediately and is now hard at work cutting gaps in the barbed wire fence and rolling out a red carpet across the border. “Hooo boy! This is just like in the Hollywood picture shows!” said one officer while rolling out a carpet for a small band of Al Qaeda operatives and Somali pirates. “Welcome to America, friends! You’re all stars to us!” The ruling also specified that migrants be supplied with limousines, bodyguards, and expensive gift bags filled with face creams and jewelry. “It’s the least we could do,” said Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. “It says that in the fourth paragraph of the 38th Amendment, I’m pretty sure.” At publishing time, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had desperately attempted to deter migrants by lining the red carpet with bear traps.

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“Texas is being ordered to open its border completely and let millions of people flood the state and the rest of the country until everything Americans hold dear is left a smoldering ruin..”

Supreme Court Rules It’s Illegal For National Guard To Guard Nation (BBee)

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that it’s now illegal for the Texas National Guard to guard Texas or the nation. “Using the National Guard to guard the nation is an egregious misuse of the National Guard,” wrote Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who sided with the majority. “When the federal government has decreed that the nation not be guarded so that millions of illegal immigrants will swarm the border and settle in cities across the nation to swing the 2024 presidential election for Biden, states have no right to disobey that decree by guarding their states.” As a result of the ruling, Texas is being ordered to open its border completely and let millions of people flood the state and the rest of the country until everything Americans hold dear is left a smoldering ruin. “It’s the compassionate thing to do,” said Jackson. At publishing time, the government had asked the National Guard to return to its normal task of fighting endless foreign wars.

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Excess deaths


https://twitter.com/i/status/1749923876920762767

 

 


One of the two remaining northern white rhinos in the world, guarded 24 hours a day.

 

 

Acorn

 

 

Chicken hypnosis

 

 

Owl

 

 


Pecteilis radiata is a species of orchid found in China, Japan, Korea and Russia. It is commonly known as the white egret flower. It is easily grown from tubers, and rewards you with blooms shaped like white birds with wings spread in flight.

 

 

Pi

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 082024
 


Salvator Rosa Lucrezia as poetry 1640-41

 

The Defeat of the West (Sp.)
US Lawmakers Sideline Ukraine To Reach Budget Deal (RT)
Without Congress Funds Biden Must ‘Freeze’ Ukraine Conflict – Think Tank (Sp.)
Zelensky Wants West ‘To Teach’ Russia (RT)
Israel Would Not Win War With Hezbollah – US Officials (RT)
Iran Faces ‘All-Out Battle With the Enemy’ Says Military Chief (Sp.)
Joe Biden Is No George Washington, And Valley Forge Proved It (Turley)
Mayorkas Impeachment Center Stage In House Homeland Security Committee (JTN)
California To Provide Free Sex Changes For Illegal Immigrants (RT)
New York Prosecutor’s Office Seeks $370m From Trump After Fraud Trial (RT)
Secret Service Records Undercut Another Key J6 Committee Narrative (JTN)
Bill Barr: DOJ Went ‘Too Far’ In Prosecuting Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Cases (JTN)
Family of Ashli Babbitt Files $30 Million Wrongful Death Action (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Trump Biden

 

 

Dementia Hitler
https://twitter.com/i/status/1744026045722865999

 

 

 

 

Horse paste

 

 

 

 

“Americans have preferred to destroy Europe rather than save the West.”

The Defeat of the West (Sp.)

A renowned French historian and sociologist better known for predicting the Soviet Union’s dissolution well in advance now foretells the West’s overthrow in his newest book. French historian Emmanuel Todd believes that NATO is already losing the Ukrainian conflict. He likewise concluded that the defeat would eventually culminate in Russia’s reconciliation with Europe and its rapprochement with Germany, contrary to the wishes of the United States. This view was expressed to Le Point Magazine during an interview ahead the release of his new book La Defaite de L’Occident (The Defeat of the West). In the book, he denounces the Western attitude toward Russia, stating that “Avoiding the rapprochement between Germany and Russia was one of the US goals. This rapprochement would have signed the ejection of the United States from the European system of power. Americans have preferred to destroy Europe rather than save the West.”

Todd’s La Defaite de L’Occident excerpt highlights America’s waning status as a global superpower and its weak military-industrial complex. The French historian also underlined the diminished influence of Europe, once represented by a strong partnership between France and Germany, highlighting that Germany has taken a dominant role since the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Furthermore, he pointed out that in the wake of the Ukrainian conflict, the European Union has distanced itself from Russia, therefore hurting its own trade and energy interests. “We also saw Emmanuel Macron’s France vaporize on the international stage, while Poland became Washington’s main agent in the European Union, succeeding in the role of the United Kingdom that became outside the Union by the grace of Brexit…

On the mainland, overall, the Paris-Berlin axis replaced a London-Warsaw-Kiev axis piloted from Washington,” Todd opined. Todd decried the dominant narrative in the West about the conflict in Ukraine: “We are in a completely Putinophobic and Russophobic world.” He went on to argue for a pluralistic view that recognizes different perspectives. “I am fighting to keep the West pluralistic. If we look for my values, they are values of truth and pluralism,” he remarked. Addressing the question of how this year’s US election might alter the trajectory of the Ukrainian conflict, the expert highlighted Russia’s steadfast commitment to its existing course. “For the Russians, it makes no difference. For Russia is at war with America, and they ignore changes in rulers,” according to Todd.

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$1.6 trillion.

US Lawmakers Sideline Ukraine To Reach Budget Deal (RT)

Republican and Democrat leaders have reached an agreement on US government spending for 2024, sidelining negotiations to secure additional resources for Israel and Ukraine, as well as money for border control. The deal comes as lawmakers are set to return from a break this week, ahead of a two-tiered federal funding deadline. The agreement follows defense and domestic spending caps set by Congress as part of a bill to suspend the US debt ceiling until 2025. It “clears the way for Congress to act over the next few weeks in order to maintain important funding priorities for the American people and avoid a government shutdown,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement with top House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries on Sunday.

The first set of allocated federal finances are set to expire January 19, the second on February 2, without which the US government would be forced to shut down. Overall, the deal provides for $886 billion in defense funding, and $772 billion in domestic, non-defense spending. In a letter to Republican colleagues, House Speaker Mike Johnson said the deal would secure $16 billion in additional spending cuts compared to the previous agreement negotiated by then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden, and is around $30 billion less than what the Senate was weighing. “This represents the most favorable budget agreement Republicans have achieved in over a decade,” Johnson claimed.

Biden thanked the lawmakers for cooperating in reaching a consensus in a statement published on Sunday, but added that he expects them to work harder to unlock billions in military aid to Israel and Ukraine. “Now, congressional Republicans must do their job, stop threatening to shut down the government, and fulfill their basic responsibility to fund critical domestic and national security priorities, including my supplemental request,” he said. In October 2023, the White House released a sweeping set of proposals to support Israel and Ukraine in their respective military conflicts, among other things. The total cost of the supplemental funding request was over $100 billion, of which just over $60 billion was slated for Kiev. House Republicans have blocked iterations of this supplemental budget numerous times, on the grounds that US border security should take precedence over aid to Ukraine.

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He can’t freeze it. Only Russia can.

Without Congress Funds Biden Must ‘Freeze’ Ukraine Conflict – Think Tank (Sp.)

There is no way to help Ukraine aside from Congress approving a new package, Team Biden signaled on Friday. The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft does not rule out the possibility that US congressmen will refuse provide Joe Biden with requested aid in the near term. US aid funds for Ukraine officially ran out this week, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told the press on January 3. “We have given now Ukraine the last security assistance package that we have funds to support right before New Year’s, right after Christmas. And we’ve got to get support from Congress so we can continue to do that,” Kirby said. Shalanda Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, warned on Friday that Ukraine is running out of time and needs legislators to react urgently. Although the US Department of Defense still has some limited ability to help the Kiev regime, “that is not going to get big tranches of equipment into Ukraine,” Young stressed.

The Ukrainian leadership admitted on Wednesday that they have no “plan B” if US funding runs out despite previous speculations by economist Oleg Ustenko, an advisor to Volodymyr Zelensky. Meanwhile, House Speaker Mike Johnson has demanded illegal immigration issues be solved before approving new aid packages for Ukraine. On January 3, Johnson together with 60 fellow Republican lawmakers visited the Mexican border to push for stronger measures. “If President Biden wants a supplemental spending bill focused on national security, it better begin with defending America’s national security. We want to get the border closed and secured first,” Johnson underlined.According to the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, “it is no great exaggeration to say that what happens on Capitol Hill over the next few weeks could decisively shape the next phase” of the Ukrainian conflict.

The DC think tank suggests that the Senate “has never been the real obstacle” to passing the Ukrainian package, while the House remains the major battleground in this internal game of funds. Johnson wants H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act, which was passed by the lower chamber last May, to be signed into law. One shouldn’t underestimate the House speaker’s determination as he has made it clear that he’s going to risk a government shutdown to pass the bill. H.R. 2 would obligate all employers to verify, under penalty of prison, that all their workers were documented. It would make it far harder for immigrants to claim asylum, and also require the federal government to build at least a 900 mile-wall along the US’s roughly 2000-mile border with Mexico. The bill would also require the Department of Homeland Security to re-establish migrant family detention and fast-track deportations of unaccompanied minors. But with much of the Democrat voter base in favor of liberal immigration laws, the government faction in Congress may block the legislation. “The main takeaway is clear: Congress may well fail to pass new funding for Ukraine aid this year,” believes the DC-based think tank.

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“To fight successfully, to reclaim what is yours… ”

Zelensky Wants West ‘To Teach’ Russia (RT)

Ukraine can continue to resist Russia only if Western countries show solidarity on numerous fronts while intensifying joint arms production programs, President Vladimir Zelensky has said. Speaking via video link at the annual Society and Defense conference held in Sweden on Sunday, Zelensky claimed that Russia, which he described as “a much larger enemy… in terms of military strength,” was using “the potential that has… amassed over the lifetimes of several generations” against both Ukraine and Europe. The president said Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine, and what he described as its “hybrid” activities against the West, could be foiled only via cooperation on numerous fronts. “To fight successfully, to reclaim what is yours… and to teach the aggressor that aggression brings no benefits, is only possible if defense gets strength from solidarity,” Zelensky stated.

In this vein, he urged his European partners to “create an arsenal for the defense of freedom” by intensifying joint weapons production. “Regardless of which political moods will dominate on both sides of the Atlantic, our strength can and should be sufficient to protect our way of life,” he added. Zelensky’s comments come after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba admitted last month that Kiev was aware of acute concerns in the West regarding Ukraine’s prospects in the conflict, as well as growing “war fatigue” following the country’s botched counteroffensive. In early November, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni acknowledged in a phone call with a pair of Russian pranksters that EU nations were getting tired of the conflict and that it would eventually have to be resolved through some kind of a compromise.

Meanwhile, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell warned in December that the parliamentary election in the bloc scheduled for later this year could result in right-wing politicians – many of whom have been skeptical about sending arms to Ukraine – gaining more clout. On the other side of the Atlantic, US President Joe Biden has vowed to support Ukraine “as long as it takes,” but his efforts have been hampered by congressional gridlock. Republicans continue to block the White House’s supplemental funding request, which includes more than $60 billion for Ukraine, demanding that the administration do more to enhance border security. Russia has repeatedly warned the West against sending weapons to Ukraine, arguing it will only prolong the conflict and make it a direct participant in the hostilities.

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“..American officials have privately warned him against opening a second front, the Washington Post reported.”

Israel Would Not Win War With Hezbollah – US Officials (RT)

A secret assessment from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in Washington has found that Israeli forces would find it “difficult to succeed” in a two-front war against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have engaged in tit-for-tat exchanges of fire with Hezbollah militants since the start of the war with Hamas in October. Initially limited in scale, Hezbollah’s pounding of an Israeli intelligence base with missiles on Saturday in response to Israel assassinating a senior Hamas leader in Beirut several days earlier, has marked a significant escalation. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to make a “fundamental change” to the security situation along the Lebanese border, American officials have privately warned him against opening a second front, the Washington Post reported.

“If it were to do so, a new secret assessment from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) found that it will be difficult for Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to succeed because its military assets and resources would be spread too thin given the conflict in Gaza,” citing two anonymous officials and a classified report by the DIA. Israel’s military is relatively small in peacetime, relying on reservists to swell its ranks in times of conflict. The IDF called up around 360,000 reservists when the war with Hamas began, although a senior Israeli official told Reuters last week that an undisclosed number would soon be released from duty.

Amid this drawdown, Hezbollah has been open about its role in the conflict. The group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, claimed in November that his forces had tied up around a third of Israel’s troops along the Israel-Lebanon border, preventing them from being deployed to Gaza. He added that Hezbollah’s continued skirmishes with the IDF were causing “a state of anxiety, anticipation, panic, and fear among the enemy’s political and military leadership.” Multiple US officials told the Washington Post that they fear Netanyahu may attack Hezbollah in order to save his political career. The Israeli leader faced widespread protests before the start of the war, and was criticized afterwards for failing to pre-empt Hamas’ October 7 assault, which left around 1,200 Israelis dead.

“A full-scale conflict between Israel and Lebanon would surpass the bloodshed of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war on account of Hezbollah’s substantially larger arsenal of long-range and precision weaponry,” the paper stated, citing officials who also warned that the militant group could launch missile attacks on Israeli petrochemical plants and nuclear reactors. Washington also fears that such a conflict could draw in Iran – Hezbollah’s principal backer – and eventually the US, the paper’s sources said. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Jordan on Sunday, ahead of visits to Israel, the West Bank, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. “We have an intense focus on preventing this conflict from spreading,” he said, before meeting Jordanian King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

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“..We need to defend our national interests to wherever they extend..”

Iran Faces ‘All-Out Battle With the Enemy’ Says Military Chief (Sp.)

The commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) sounded a note of defiance in a speech Saturday, warning enemy countries to “stay away from this area.” “Today we are facing an all-out battle with the enemy,” said Major General Hossein Salami in a ceremony marking the debut of a new ship and missile launchers. The remark comes as war threatens to break out in the Red Sea, where Houthi militants in Yemen have been attacking ships associated with Israel in retribution for the country’s incursion in Gaza. The death toll recently reached 22,438 in the besieged enclave according to local authorities. “We need to defend our national interests to wherever they extend,” said the general in the speech carried on Iranian television.

“It will be harmful for the enemy to be found near and at a half distant.” He added that Iran’s navy had made a “brilliant leap in its offensive and defensive powers.” The United States recently announced a coalition of countries would work together to counter the Houthis’ attacks, but the Biden administration has had difficulty securing substantial commitments. Spain was originally believed to be part of the coalition, but its defense minister clarified it would only act along with NATO or the EU. France insisted its ships would only operate under its own command. Meanwhile several shipping countries have begun taking longer routes around Africa in order to avoid the area.

Iran sent a warship to the Red Sea earlier this month to protect its own commercial interests there. Some analysts have suggested Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu desires a broader war between the United States and Israel’s arch-enemy Iran. Netanyahu frequently employs threatening rhetoric against the country. The Israeli president recently announced military operations would continue in Gaza for several more months, but international condemnation of the country’s conduct there is mounting. Recently South Africa filed charges against Israel in the International Court of Justice, accusing the country of authoring genocide. Israel is expected to answer the charges next week in The Hague.

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“In this election, voters can choose anyone they want, as long as it is Biden.”

Joe Biden Is No George Washington, And Valley Forge Proved It (Turley)

“This is like something out of a fairy tale, a bad fairy tale.” That line, from the speech of President Joe Biden at Valley Forge this week, may have been the most accurate observation in the entire address kicking off Biden’s 2024 campaign. The speech was a masterpiece of contradiction. Biden started by denouncing how Donald Trump’s campaign is only “about him” and “obsessed with the past.” He then spent virtually all of the speech obsessing about Trump and Jan. 6, 2021. It was an early indication of the Orwellian character of the speech. Facing the lowest polling numbers of any modern president, Biden attempted a constructive substitution. “Democracy is on the ballot,” he said. So voters do not have to vote for him. When they see Biden, they should just read “democracy.”

That will require more than an act of substitution in the voting booth. It would require an act of willful blindness. Biden spoke of how Democrats are fighting to protect the “right to vote.” Democratic activists and officials across the country are seeking to remove Trump from the ballot even though he is the most popular choice for the presidency right now. In fact, dozens of Democratic officials have sought to remove 126 Republicans from Congress on the same basis. Even as Biden was telling citizens to vote Democrat to preserve democracy, a Democratic activist was seeking to remove a GOP congressman from the ballot in a nearby Pennsylvania district. Biden’s speech would be more credible if he had joined principled Democratic politicians who have denounced this nationwide effort. As usual, he has remained silent as he did on court packing in the last election.

It would also have been a tad more convincing if his party were not preventing citizens from voting for anyone other than Biden in the primary. Florida called its Democratic primary for Biden and blocked opposing candidates, despite two-thirds of Democrats wanting an alternative to Biden. Faced with such polling numbers, the party establishment is so committed to democracy that it has decided voters cannot be trusted with a choice. North Carolina’s Democrats became the latest to bar anyone but Biden from the ballot. Democratic officials are approaching democracy the way Henry Ford responded to calls for different color choices for the Model T. He pledged to provide “any color the customer wants, as long as it’s black.” In this election, voters can choose anyone they want, as long as it is Biden.

For millions of voters, democracy may be on the ballot but it is aspirational. If you vote for Biden, you might just get democracy back, but only after the election. Even more galling was Biden’s claim to be the defender of free speech. As I have previously written, Biden has been the most anti-free speech president since John Adams. His administration has been unrelenting in pushing for censorship and blacklisting of those with opposing views.The Biden censorship efforts have been described by one federal court as unprecedented in our history and a virtual “Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’” The Biden Administration has called for the censorship of even true statements that it deems misleading. For Biden to run on free speech is about as convincing as Bill Clinton running on abstinence.

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“The majority are single, military age men.”

Mayorkas Impeachment Center Stage In House Homeland Security Committee (JTN)

The House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing this week as part of its chairman’s stated plan to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Chairman Mark E. Green, R-Tenn., said the Wednesday hearing will be held to evaluate the impacts on the country of” Mayorkas’ “failed leadership and refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress.” The hearing is the first of three the committee has scheduled this month, Green said last month as the committee released its fifth report evaluating Mayorkas’ policies. The committee majority released five reports as part of its nearly year-long investigation into “the causes, costs, and consequences of the crisis at the Southwest border and how the reckless decision-making and legally dubious policies of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and President Joe Biden have precipitated the worst border crisis in American history.”

The first report details the laws and court orders the committee says Mayorkas “ignored, abused or failed to follow.” The second report details how Mexican cartels “have seized unprecedented control at the Southwest border to smuggle illegal aliens, criminals, suspected terrorists, and deadly fentanyl and other drugs into the United States.” The third report detailed how transnational gangs are working with cartel operatives to oversee a massive human smuggling operation; the fourth estimated border crisis costs to U.S. taxpayers of over $451 billion. The fifth report details “consistent misuse and abuse of taxpayer resources enabled by Mayorkas, specifically through his failure to detain illegal aliens and use Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention resources in accordance with their intended purpose.” It also addresses the costs of halting construction of the border wall already paid for by taxpayers.

The committee also released 65 pages of transcripts of interviews with multiple Border Patrol chiefs. The chiefs told committee members “illegal aliens spread the word the border is open” and that the policy of pulling Border Patrol agents from the field has had “detrimental consequences and the homeland isn’t safe.” Agents in California and Arizona also described the consequences of these policies on CBP sectors in their states, including closing checkpoints at ports of entry and in the field with no boots on the ground to interdict criminals, and expressing concerns about the record number of gotaways entering the country posing national security risks. “Gotaways” is the official CBP term to describe foreign nationals who illegally enter the U.S. between ports of entry, avoid capture and don’t return to Mexico or Canada.

Gotaways don’t file asylum or other immigration-related claims; intentionally illegally entering to avoid being caught. Many have criminal records and often run when they are pursued by Border Patrol agents or others in law enforcement, authorities have explained to The Center Square. The majority are single, military age men.

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New American priorities.

California To Provide Free Sex Changes For Illegal Immigrants (RT)

As of last week, California’s taxpayer-funded healthcare system now covers sex changes for illegal immigrants, thanks to legislation recently signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. The cost of the program is expected to top $3 billion. California became the first state in the US to provide health insurance to all adults regardless of immigration status on January 1, when legislation signed by Newsom last summer came into effect. Approximately 700,000 illegal immigrants will now have their healthcare covered by the state’s taxpayer-funded Medi-Cal insurance system, according to a press release from State Senator Maria Elena Durazo in May. Among the procedures covered by Medi-Cal are hormone therapy and gender transition surgery, according to a report this week by the Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet.

“Gender affirming care is a covered Medi-Cal benefit when medically necessary,” a 2022 state memo cited by the outlet states. “Requests for gender affirming care should be from specialists experienced in providing culturally competent care to transgender and gender diverse individuals and should use nationally recognized guidelines.”According to the Transgender Law Center, Medi-Cal should cover “hormone treatment, gender reassignment surgery, and other necessary procedures.”Newsom’s expansion of the Medi-Cal program will cost California taxpayers an estimated $3.1 billion, according to an Associated Press report from last year. Republican lawmakers criticized the expansion even before it emerged that it would cover transgender surgery, but their criticism turned to ridicule in recent days. “California is now paying for illegal aliens to get sex changes,” Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday. “There’s no punchline to this tweet. California is the punchline.”

Newsom has defended the decision to add 700,000 more patients to the program. “In California, we believe everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care coverage – regardless of income or immigration status,” his office told ABC News. “Through this expansion, we’re making sure families and communities across California are healthier, stronger, and able to get the care they need when they need it.”Some 300,000 illegal immigrants were caught entering the US from Mexico in December 2023, the highest number on record for a single month. Under President Joe Biden’s controversial ‘Catch and Release’ policy, almost all of these migrants are released into the US with orders to show up at court hearings at a later date. Amid a backlog of more than two million cases, the average wait time for such a hearing stood at 762 days as of last January.

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“..the attorney general has woefully failed to prove her case and is not entitled to any of the relief,” including any financial penalty.”

New York Prosecutor’s Office Seeks $370m From Trump After Fraud Trial (RT)

The New York attorney general on Friday asked the judge who had overseen the civil fraud trial of Donald J. Trump to penalize the former president about $370 million, saying the trial had demonstrated that he had gained that amount through unlawful conduct, Report informs, citing The New York Times. The sum was well over the $250 million that the attorney general, Letitia James, had estimated in the fall of 2022, when she sued Mr. Trump, accusing him of inflating his net worth to obtain favorable treatment from banks and insurers. The trial began in October and proceedings ended last month, but Mr. Trump’s fate is not yet settled. The attorney general’s penalty request came in a post-trial brief filed on Friday. Mr. Trump’s lawyers, in one of their own filings, wrote that “the attorney general has woefully failed to prove her case and is not entitled to any of the relief,” including any financial penalty. In a statement, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, Christopher M. Kise, called the amount “unconscionable, unsupported by the evidence, untethered from reality and unconstitutionally excessive.”

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“All presidential trips are highly scripted because of the need for security. The Secret Service places assets at all locations where a president may go.”

Secret Service Records Undercut Another Key J6 Committee Narrative (JTN)

It has become one of the enduring messages of the House Democrats’ final report on the Jan. 6 riot: Donald Trump had a plan and an intention to go directly to the U.S. Capitol to join those disrupting the certification of the 2020 election results. “The Committee’s principal concern was that the President actually intended to participate personally in the January 6th efforts at the Capitol, leading the attempt to overturn the election either from inside the House Chamber, from a stage outside the Capitol, or otherwise,” the committee wrote in its final report on December 2022. “The Committee regarded those facts as important because they are relevant to President Trump’s intent on January 6th. There is no question from all the evidence assembled that President Trump did have that intent,” it added.

Lawmakers, pundits and journalists have all echoed that line in the months before and after the report’s release. “I imagine that he thought that he would enter like Mussolini being carried on the shoulders of his supporters and enter the Capitol,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said, comparing Trump to Italy’s fascist leader during World War II. In his speech at Valley Forge on Friday reviving his argument that Trump and MAGA supporters pose a threat to democracy, President Joe Biden pointedly avoided making the claim. In fact, he took the opposite tact and suggested a cowardly Trump declined to join his supporters storming the Capitol. “He promised he would right them — right them. Everything they did, he would be side by side with them. Then, as usual, he left the dirty work to others. He retreated to the White House,” Biden said.

Such conflicting portrayals may be confusing to voters. That confusion is also rooted in an undisputed fact: Trump never actually went to the Capitol after his speech on the Ellipse. The House Democrats claims are based on two pieces of testimony. Some Trump aides recalled to the committee the 45th president mentioning in a meeting on Jan, 4, 2021, that he might want to go to the Capitol. And then former aide Cassidy Hutchinson claimed in a disputed account based on hearsay that on the way back from his speech Trump lunged at the driver of the presidential limo to commandeer it and take it to the Capitol. The Secret Service and Trump deny that happened, and no evidence has emerged to validate Hutchinson’s claim.

That did not stop the account from making its way into mainstream media. The Democratic Party’s narrative is further undercut by internal Secret Service documents reviewed by Just the News, which show there was no plan heading into the Jan. 6 event to take Trump to the Capitol. All presidential trips are highly scripted because of the need for security. The Secret Service places assets at all locations where a president may go. That did not happen at the Capitol, according to the Secret Service records reviewed by Just the News, suggesting Trump’s alleged statements to the presidential aides two days earlier did not result in a change of plan.

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“..have been hounding people that really, you know, just walked into open doors in the Capitol and hung around..”

Bill Barr: DOJ Went ‘Too Far’ In Prosecuting Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Cases (JTN)

Former Attorney General Bill Barr said that the Justice Department went “too far” in charging more than 1,200 people in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, including those he said simply walked around the building but did not assault anyone. “Like everything else the left does, they did, I think, go too far,” Barr said Saturday, the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot, in an interview on Fox News. Some people, such as those who assaulted police officers and literally broke into the Capitol, should be prosecuted for Jan. 6, Barr said. “But I think they cast their net far too broadly and have been hounding people that really, you know, just walked into open doors in the Capitol and hung around,” he also said. “I think they just took it too far.”

Barr said that he does not want to “minimize” the events of Jan. 6, but he thinks it was a “shameful episode” rather than an insurrection. The Justice Department said last week that more than 1,265 defendants have been charged in connection to the riot in nearly all 50 states. More than 90% of the defendants, or about 1,186 of them, were charged with entering or remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds.

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“Under these standards, police officers should not shoot unarmed suspects or rioters without a clear threat to themselves or fellow officers.”

Family of Ashli Babbitt Files $30 Million Wrongful Death Action (Turley)

The long-awaited tort action from the family of Ashli Babbitt has now been filed in Southern California. Babbitt was shot and killed on Jan. 6th and her family is seeking $30 million in a wrongful death. Equally important, the lawsuit could force additional answers to why Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd shot and killed the unarmed protester as she attempted to climb through a window near the House Chamber. I have previously raised concerns over the shooting as conflicting with governing standards on the use of lethal force despite the Capitol police. I also noted contradictions Byrd’s own statements and the government’s conclusion that this was a justified killing. The complaint below adds some troubling facts to these prior concerns. Babbitt, 35, was an Air Force veteran and Trump supporter who participated in the riot three years ago. She was clearly committing criminal acts of trespass, property damage, and other offenses. However, the question is whether an officer is justified in shooting a protester when he admits that he did not see any weapon before discharging his weapon.

Just to recap what we previously discussed in the earlier column: When protesters rushed to the House chamber, police barricaded the chamber’s doors; Capitol Police were on both sides, with officers standing directly behind Babbitt. Babbitt and others began to force their way through, and Babbitt started to climb through a broken window. That is when Byrd killed her. At the time, some of us familiar with the rules governing police use of force raised concerns over the shooting. Those concerns were heightened by the DOJ’s bizarre review and report, which stated the governing standards but then seemed to brush them aside to clear Byrd. The DOJ report did not read like any post-shooting review I have read as a criminal defense attorney or law professor. The DOJ statement notably does not say that the shooting was clearly justified. Instead, it stressed that “prosecutors would have to prove not only that the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable, but that the officer did so ‘willfully.’”

It seemed simply to shrug and say that the DOJ did not believe it could prove “a bad purpose to disregard the law” and that “evidence that an officer acted out of fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence, or even poor judgment cannot establish the high level of intent.” While the Supreme Court, in cases such as Graham v. Connor, has said that courts must consider “the facts and circumstances of each particular case,” it has emphasized that lethal force must be used only against someone who is “an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and … is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.” Particularly with armed assailants, the standard governing “imminent harm” recognizes that these decisions must often be made in the most chaotic and brief encounters. Under these standards, police officers should not shoot unarmed suspects or rioters without a clear threat to themselves or fellow officers. That even applies to armed suspects who fail to obey orders.

Indeed, Huntsville police officer William “Ben” Darby was convicted for killing a suicidal man holding a gun to his own head. Despite being cleared by a police review board, Darby was prosecuted, found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison, even though Darby said he feared for the safety of himself and fellow officers. Yet law professors and experts who have praised such prosecutions in the past have been conspicuously silent over the shooting of an unarmed woman who had officers in front of and behind her on Jan. 6. Byrd went public soon after the Capitol Police declared “no further action will be taken” in the case. He proceeded to demolish the two official reviews that cleared him. Byrd described how he was “trapped” with other officers as “the chants got louder” with what “sounded like hundreds of people outside of that door.”

He said he yelled for all of the protesters to stop: “I tried to wait as long as I could. I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.” Byrd could just as well have hit the officers behind Babbitt, who was shot while struggling to squeeze through the window. Of all of the lines from Byrd, this one stands out: “I could not fully see her hands or what was in the backpack or what the intentions are.” So, Byrd admitted he did not see a weapon or an immediate threat from Babbitt beyond her trying to enter through the window. Nevertheless, Byrd boasted, “I know that day I saved countless lives.” He ignored that Babbitt was the one person killed during the riot.

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Smile
https://twitter.com/i/status/1744006222087422145

 

 

Being a bird
https://twitter.com/i/status/1744007471033733227

 

 

Capybara
https://twitter.com/i/status/1744034442551652694

 

 

Honey badger

 

 

Elephants

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 132023
 
 August 13, 2023  Posted by at 9:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  48 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather 1882

 

Comer Ready To Subpoena Bidens’ Phone, Bank Records, Grant Immunity (JTN)
Prosecutors Want To Interview Joe Biden In Classified Memos Case (JTN)
Comer, Jordan Slam Hunter Biden Special Counsel ‘Coverup’ (ZH)
Now THAT Is Ridiculous (Denninger)
Appeals Court Judges Compare Biden Social Media Pressure To Mafia (JTN)
Congress Probing FBI Collection Of J6 Phone Location Data (JTN)
F-16 Training For Ukrainian Pilots Barely Getting Off the Runway (Sp.)
Russia Committed To Principle Of Inadmissibility Of Nuclear War (TASS)
Ray McGovern Has Never Been More Scared of Nuclear Catastrophe (SP)
US-Led NATO Drowns Ukraine in a Bloodbath (SCF)
US and NATO Arms Industries Hit Record $400 Billion in Sales (SCF)
Italy Launches $550 Million Airbnb Case (RT)

 

 

 

 

Greenwald

 

 

Devine

 

 

 

 

Schweizer

 

 

How much longer can the wagons protect them?

 

 

Event 201

 

 

 

 

“We’re getting closer every day to showing that Joe Biden was the ringleader in this, not Hunter Biden..”

Comer Ready To Subpoena Bidens’ Phone, Bank Records, Grant Immunity (JTN)

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer on Friday night pointedly dismissed the appointment of a special counsel in the Hunter Biden criminal probe as “another maneuver… to obstruct” Congress and vowed to escalate his investigation by subpoenaing Hunter and Joe Biden’s phone and bank records and offering witnesses immunity. “We’re getting closer every day to showing that Joe Biden was the ringleader in this, not Hunter Biden,” Comer said in an exclusive interview with the “Just the News, No Noise” television show just hours after Attorney General Merrick Garland shocked Washington by announcing that he was upgrading Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss to a special counsel after four years of investigating the Biden family finances.

Comer dismissed Garland’s decision as ineffective, noting Weiss had years to bring serious charges and instead managed to construct a plea deal that spared Hunter Biden prison for tax evasion and gun charges that even the trial judge could not accept. “It’s another maneuver by the Justice Department to obstruct our investigation. I find it odd that, the day after I announced that we had put together a case that would win in court to subpoena Joe Biden’s personal bank records, then lo and behold, Merrick Garland strikes again,” Comer said.

“I assumed he would try to indict Trump or something. But no, he appoints a special counsel and he appoint the same person who had supposedly been investigating Hunter Biden for years, who let the statute of limitations expire on all of his obvious tax crimes, who tried to negotiate a sweetheart plea deal that led him off scot free. And less than two weeks later, after a judge rejects that sweetheart plea deal, Merrick Garland appointed special counsel for the sole purpose to obstruct our credible, effective oversight House investigation of Biden corruption.” Comer said he is now prepared to subpoena the credit card and bank records of the president and his son as well as their phone records to check witness allegations that Joe Biden got financial benefit from Hunter Biden’s clients and talked and met with them at various times.

“We’re at the point to where we put together a case where we have emails, we have text messages, we have pictures, we have bank records. Now we have sworn testimony from associates like Devon Archer. We are ready now to be able to subpoena the personal bank records of the Bidens,” he said. “What we’ve got now are their shady shell company. Now, we need the personal records,” he said. “Because when we show… that chart that shows China and Romania and Russia and the arrows go into shell companies and into the Biden’s family, we think there may be another arrow beyond the Biden family. And that would go to Joe Biden himself. And that’s what people have told us. That’s what the emails suggest. And that’s what we’re trying to determine now. And that’s where our investigation is headed.”

[..] “We’re going to continue to exercise our subpoena power. Hopefully, when we move to impeachment inquiry, that’ll be able to give us tools like granting immunity,” he explained. “If we could grant immunity. I think people like Devon Archer would have would have said a whole lot more. I think people like Eric Sherwood would tell a lot of things that that the Bidens have done that we know they’ve done, that everyone in America knows they’ve done.”

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Robert Hur? Almost forgot about him.

Prosecutors Want To Interview Joe Biden In Classified Memos Case (JTN)

Special Counsel Robert Hur wants to interview Joe Biden in his classified memos investigation, and the president’s attorneys have been in negotiations for about a month. Hur was appointed last January, two months after special counsel Jack Smith was appointed to investigate former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents, according to NBC News. The issues being negotiated include the time and place of the interview, as well as the scope of the questions. The reporting on this suggests that the investigation has a way to go before wrapping up, but “an interview with the person at the center of an investigation typically takes place near the end of the process,” according to NBC.


While most of the classified documents found starting in November of last year were related to Biden’s time as vice president, some went as far back as when he was a U.S. senator from Delaware. They were found in his office in Washington at the Penn Biden Center, at a second office of the Penn Biden Center in the Chinatown area of Washington, D.C. and at his home in Wilmington, Del. Trump was indicted on 37 counts based on seven charges in June in his classified documents investigation. One such charge was for a violation of the Espionage Act. Based on current polling, both Trump and Biden are well ahead in their races to be the nominees of their respective parties, setting up a 2024 rematch of the 2020 election for president.

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When the Weiss-negotiated Hunter plea deal was thrown out, Garland made Weiss a special counsel. What links the two moves is that both are designed to keep all information under wraps.

Garland and Weiss must know this will not be accepted -it’s against the law-, but they entered it on Friday, so they have a whole weekend in which Weiss is able to manipulate even more files than in his previous position.

Paul SPERRY: “By suddenly acquiring special counsel status, Hill investigators say embattled prosecutor David Weiss can now avoid testifying next month before the House Judiciary Committee and face grilling over reports he helped obstruct a broader investigation into Hunter Biden..”

Jack Posobiec: “The appointment of Weiss as a ‘Special Counsel’ allows the Biden DOJ to keep the investigation open indefinitely and stall all House requests for information to coverup the Biden family corruption ring..”

Comer, Jordan Slam Hunter Biden Special Counsel ‘Coverup’ (ZH)

The Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, James Comer (R-KY) said in a Friday statement that the announcement of a special counsel in the Hunter Biden investigation is a DOJ “coverup.” “This move by Attorney General Garland is part of the Justice Department’s efforts to attempt a Biden family coverup in light of the House Oversight Committee’s mounting evidence of President Joe Biden’s role in his family’s schemes selling ‘the brand’ for millions of dollars to foreign nationals,” Comer said in a lengthy statement shortly after Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the appointment of US Attorney David Weiss as special counsel, the Daily Caller reports.

“The Justice Department’s misconduct and politicization in the Biden criminal investigation already allowed the statute of limitations to run with respect to egregious felonies committed by Hunter Biden. Justice Department officials refused to follow evidence that could have led to Joe Biden, tipped off the Biden transition team and Hunter Biden’s lawyers about planned interviews and searches, and attempted to sneakily place Hunter Biden on the path to a sweetheart plea deal,” the statement continues.

“Let’s be clear what today’s move is really about. The Biden Justice Department is trying to stonewall congressional oversight as we have presented evidence to the American people about the Biden family’s corruption. The House Oversight Committee will continue to follow the Biden family’s money trail and interview witnesses to determine whether foreign actors targeted the Bidens, President Biden is compromised and corrupt, and our national security is threatened. We will also continue to work with the House Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means to root out misconduct at the Justice Department and hold bad actors accountable for weaponizing law enforcement powers,” Comer continued.

House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan (R-OH) conveyed similar sentiments, telling the Caller: “David Weiss can’t be trusted and this is just a new way to whitewash the Biden family’s corruption. Weiss has already signed off on a sweetheart plea deal that was so awful and unfair that a federal judge rejected it. We will continue to pursue facts brought to light by brave whistleblowers as well as Weiss’s inconsistent statements to Congress.” According to Garland, “The appointment of Mr. Weiss reinforces for the American people the department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters,” adding “I am confident that Mr. Weiss will carry out his responsibility in an even-handed and urgent manner, and in accordance with the highest traditions of this department.” We’re sure he’s quite confident.

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Denninger’s not the only one who noticed this bit: “Durham’s appointment was invalid for the same reason — remember that? Where was the screaming then?”

NOTE: Durham’s probe also took 5 years or so. And what was the result?

Now THAT Is Ridiculous (Denninger)

There is a point that the in-your-face fraud reaches where one must that there is no longer a functional law enforcement capacity within a part of the government. In this case that’s the entire Federal government, as this is the DOJ itself and the AG of the nation, Garland: “Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed U.S. Attorney David Weiss a special counsel in the Hunter Biden probe, as well as any other matters that arose or may arise from that investigation.” Weiss is the US Attorney who presented a negotiated plea agreement to the judge over Hunter’s conduct that the judge rejected as it appeared to have included terms intended to mislead both the court and the justice system generally. She sent that back, correctly flagging two provisions including an apparent undisclosed immunity deal that was out-of-scope of the charges that were negotiated.

This is flat-out improper and what’s worse is that it appeared both Weiss and Biden’s defense counsel colluded to place said terms in an addendum that was not disclosed in advance of the hearing to the judge which was clearly intended to keep her from knowing about it until, they hoped, she’s signed off on it. Further there are allegations that Biden’s counsel attempted to tamper with the evidentiary chain by trying to represent themselves as being related to counsel for parties that filed other briefs and have them either sealed or stricken from the record entirely. There was quite a tap-dance around that (as its a crazy-level breach of ethics, a violation of the duties of an officer of the court, as all counsel are, and also arguably criminal fraudulent misrepresentation) but as far as I know there hasn’t (yet anyway) been any serious consequences — although the judge was clearly inclined to hammer the responsible parties for very good cause.

That alone is enough to drag Garland out of office by his hair. But there’s more: The appointment appears to be facially-illegal and Garland knows damn well that it is. “(a) An individual named as Special Counsel shall be a lawyer with a reputation for integrity and impartial decision making, and with appropriate experience to ensure both that the investigation will be conducted ably, expeditiously and thoroughly, and that investigative and prosecutorial decisions will be supported by an informed understanding of the criminal law and Department of Justice policies. The Special Counsel shall be selected from outside the United States Government.”

Weiss cannot be appointed to this position as he is a sitting US Attorney! It is explicitly unlawful under the CFRs for Garland to appoint him — or any other sitting US Attorney. By definition a “Special Counsel” must not be a person inside the US Government; that’s the entire point of a Special Counsel! This act by Garland is not only impeachable it is void as Weiss is not qualified and thus the appointment is an open, public, in-your-face fraud. Where does this leave us as Americans? Nowhere good — and at some point we, as Americans, are going to have to deal with this problem whether we like it or not. PS: BTW Durham’s appointment was invalid for the same reason — remember that? Where was the screaming then?

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“..this is a really nice social media platform you’ve got there, would be a shame if something happened to it..”

Appeals Court Judges Compare Biden Social Media Pressure To Mafia (JTN)

Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod declared in court that the Biden administration’s efforts to persuade social media companies to remove, throttle and suppress purported misinformation on COVID-19, Hunter Biden’s laptop and elections reminded her of a mafia movie. That was just one of the most memorable examples of the frosty reception Justice Department Civil Division lawyer Daniel Tenny received Thursday from the three-judge panel considering whether to lift or modify last month’s ban on several forms of contact between the feds and companies — currently stayed by the 5th Circuit — as the First Amendment lawsuit led by Missouri and Louisiana proceeds. The back-and-forth at Thursday’s hearing resembled that between 6th Circuit judges and DOJ’s lawyer at a June hearing in a related social media censorship lawsuit against federal officials by users of X, formerly known as Twitter.

Both panels were appointed by Republican presidents. Echoing the injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, the 5th Circuit judges repeatedly cited specific conversations from the factual record that suggest social media companies feared legal consequences for not complying with White House and agency requests to censor or diminish the reach of websites or social media postings of which the Biden administration disapproved. When Tenny claimed the injunction’s wording was so broad and vague it could ban the government from alerting the public about “untrue statements” about a natural disaster, Judge Don Willett countered that documented private conversations were the issue. Federal officials appeared to practice “fairly unsubtle strong-arming” and make “not-so-veiled threats” in the vein of “this is a really nice social media platform you’ve got there, would be a shame if something happened to it,” Willett said.

Tenny, upon hearing what the judges appeared to be interpreting as coercive pressure, tried to soft pedal the severity of that pressure. “The government is generically going to be angry” when companies resist taking action, but the communications show officials and companies alternating between “friendly” and “testy” conversations, not specific orders to comply “or else.” Judge Elrod didn’t seem particularly convinced, telling Tenny that “Or else” isn’t required when the government and companies have a “very close working relationship” that resembles a supervisor addressing a subordinate. The “irate messages” actually show high-ranking officials badgering counterparts about why they hadn’t taken action against specific accounts as requested, Judge Elrod said: “It’s like ‘jump and how high.'”

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“..you can’t just have the government sweep up everything about you trying to find out if you did something wrong.”

Congress Probing FBI Collection Of J6 Phone Location Data (JTN)

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday launched a broad inquiry into the FBI’s use of “geofence warrants” to sweep up large buckets of Americans cell phone location data, a relatively new tool that is raising questions about search and seizure powers that date all the way back to the country’s founding, The tactic came to prominence during the Jan. 6 riot investigation when it was revealed more than 5,000 American phone devices had location data gathered by the FBI in a digital dragnet designed to identify anyone who was in or near the U.S. Capitol that fateful day. That geofence warrant plus revelations that the FBI accepted bank records volunteered by a major bank without seeking a warrant or subpoena have trigged concerns of both liberals and conservatives of a modern-day end run around the 4th Amendment.

“The use of geofence warrants raises serious Constitutional concerns,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Jordan wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland in a letter Thursday announcing the congressional inquiry. “First, location history data is not an exact science as the geo-location data represents only a probable estimation of a device’s location within a given radius and margin of error. Second, a geofence warrant is inherently tied to a specific location—not a known suspect, user, account, or crime. “For that reason, among others, courts have wavered on whether searches pursuant to geofence warrants comply with the Fourth Amendment’s requirements of probable cause and particularity,” Jordan added.

In an interview with Just the News, Jordan said the geofence warrant inquiry was part of a larger effort to help Congress modernize civil liberty protections in an era of unprecedented digital surveillance and technological data gathering that also includes bank records and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that was abused during the Russia collusion scandal. “We know that regarding Jan. 6, a couple years ago that the FBI was looking to get your your phone data location, where you were in relation to the Capitol, were you around the Capitol,” Jordan told the John Solomon Reports podcast. “And it was just sort of this blanket approach No predicate to say you know Sally Smith, or John Jones was here. We have reasonable belief they did this. We’d like to know we want to double check that. Nothing like that. Just a blanket.

“And then you couple this with what we learned from a testimony from a whistleblower at the FBI, a few months back, where Bank of America just turned over their customers debit card and credit card purchases in the DC area around Jan. 6 2021. I mean, this is scary stuff,” he added. “It’s so contrary to the principles that our country was founded on. Like, you can’t just have the government sweep up everything about you trying to find out if you did something wrong. That’s not how our system works. “But it sure looks like that’s what’s happening in modern day America, particularly with this Biden administration.”

Jordan’s letter raised a second concern that geo-fence warrants may have been “weaponized for political ends” by the Justice Department, approved against conservatives and Trump protesters but not against liberal activists from the 2020 George Floyd riots. “Federal law enforcement’s interest in geofenced data appears selective,” he wrote. “For example, in 2020, Minnesota police sought a geofence warrant to investigate violent rioting in Minneapolis and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) used geofence warrants to investigate arson throughout Kenosha, Wisconsin. However, it seems that the FBI did not pursue geofenced data to investigate the violent crime occurring at federal facilities during a similar time frame. “In contrast, the FBI readily used geofencing at an unprecedented scope and scale as a part of its investigation and prosecution of the events of January 6, 2021,” he added.

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They need to learn English first.

F-16 Training For Ukrainian Pilots Barely Getting Off the Runway (Sp.)

Kiev might be clamoring for American-made F-16s amid its faltering counteroffensive, but the first Ukrainian pilots to undergo training on the fighter jets most likely will not be ready to fly them until next summer, according to a US report. A mere handful of six pilots will undergo the first round of instruction, with two other pilots picked as reserve candidates, according to cited senior Ukrainian government and military officials. However, this first group of pilots is not expected to wrap up training anytime soon, sources acknowledged to the outlet. The officials reportedly bemoaned delays by their Western patrons in implementing the instruction program. None of the previously touted “game-changing weapons” funneled from the West have made much impact on the catastrophically slow pace of Ukraine’s ground forces fighting in the ongoing NATO-Russia proxy war.

So begging for the multi-role US fighters to be added to the mix has become Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s mantra of late. While Kiev may have banked on its pilots being ready to fly the single-engine craft, which debuted in the 1970s and has been updated repeatedly, by as early as September, that appears to have been wishful thinking. While sending Patriot missile system, NASAMS, HIMARS, Bradley fighting vehicles, Leopard II tanks, depleted uranium shells, and, more recently, cluster bombs, to Ukraine, President Joe Biden spent close to a year denying Ukrainian appeals for F-16s. He backtracked as the special military operation continued, saying in May that he would green light training Ukrainian pilots on US-made jets, and supported the transfer of the combat planes by other countries. Eleven NATO countries pledged to support the training, expected to primarily take place in Denmark, Romania, and the Netherlands.

After the start of training was pushed back several times, officials were now cited as saying the effort was only gradually getting off the ground. There had previously been reports that the training had hit a major snag due to the language barrier. Now, the outlet said that even though the selected Ukrainian pilots were already fluent in English, at least four months of special English lessons in Britain were required for them to grasp the terminology associated with the F-16s. To complicate matters further, the language instruction for pilots is to take place simultaneously with lessons for Ukraine’s ground staff – suggested as being less proficient in English. The reason for this was because Denmark had allegedly demanded that entire crews be sent together to train.

The language hurdle is believed to have pushed back the beginning of actual combat training, anticipated to take six months, as far as to January, sources said. As for the second batch of pilots, ostensibly of the same size, they might be nowhere near ready to fly F-16s until the end of next year. It was added that 20 more Ukrainian pilots were currently ready for English-language training. “This is called dragging it out,” a Ukrainian official was quoted as fuming. However, the sources revealed that they feared railing openly against their US and European “benefactors” lest they “appear ungrateful.”

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“Our opponents know these provisions perfectly well..”

Russia Committed To Principle Of Inadmissibility Of Nuclear War (TASS)

Russia is taking all necessary measures to guarantee national security but is firmly committed to the principle of the inadmissibility of a nuclear war, the Russian foreign ministry said on Friday, commenting on the decisions made by Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States to not target strategic nuclear missiles. “The leadership of our country is firmly committed to the principle of the inadmissibility of a nuclear war. We proceed from the fact that there can be no winner in such a war and that it must not be unleashed,” the ministry said. “Russia is taking all necessary measures to ensure its national security, territorial integrity and sovereignty. And it will continue to do so.” According to the ministry, preventing a potential act of aggression against Russia and its allies “is among its highest state priorities.”

The ministry noted that the situation in the sphere of international security and strategic stability is degrading and “discussions about the expediency of measures on not targeting strategic nuclear forces, which have been in place between Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States since the early 1990s, have visibly invigorated.” “Calls are being heard to denounce the relevant agreements in which Russia takes part, “trigger a mechanism of nuclear deterrence,” and aim Russian missiles at the United States and the United Kingdom,” the ministry said. It recalled that on January 14, 1994, Russia and the United States signed the Moscow declaration, where the sides agreed not to aim strategic nuclear missiles at each other. A similar agreement with London was signed on February 15, 1994.

“These are political agreements and impose no legal obligations on the sides. Since they are not international treaties as defined in the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties of 1969, the procedure of their termination of denunciation is not regulated by international law,” the ministry said. “As for triggering the nuclear deterrence mechanism, in line with the provisions of the fundamentals of Russia’s state policy in the sphere of nuclear deterrence that were endorsed by the Russian presidential decree of June 2, 2020 No355, nuclear deterrence is carried out permanently with respect to certain states and military coalitions (blocs, unions) which view Russia as a potential enemy and possess nuclear weapons and/or other types of weapons of mass destruction or a considerable combat potential of conventional forces. One of the principles of nuclear deterrence is maintaining a certain part of forces and nuclear deterrence means on permanent combat alert. Our opponents know these provisions perfectly well,” the ministry stressed.

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“Sullivan, Blinken, Nuland… They have the reins of power and they’re telling Biden what to do. They have a sense of unreality that they can prevail. ”

Ray McGovern Has Never Been More Scared of Nuclear Catastrophe (SP)

A retired CIA expert on Russia and rare voice of reason coming from the bowels of the American deep state, Ray McGovern joins host Robert Scheer on another edition of the Scheer Intelligence podcast. With world peace, nuclear weapon prudence and film critique on the agenda, McGovern and Scheer delve into a host of relevant issues stemming from the war in Ukraine and the history behind it. From Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” to CNN’s strange truthful broadcast on Ukraine’s counteroffensive, the old boys from the Bronx prod each other’s encyclopedic minds to try and make sense of the state of the world.

While mixed opinions over the atomic bomb film fill the first segment of the episode, the conversation seems to always make its way back to the importance of potential nuclear war on the horizon. As McGovern said, “I spent six decades, count them, six decades following Soviet and now Russian policy. Most of that time professionally and now… really just as intently and I have never, never had so much fear that we are on the cusp of a nuclear catastrophe.” McGovern, an adviser to seven presidents, also dives into the motivations and ramifications of such reckless foreign policy decisions, made by people who supposedly check all the qualification boxes:

“Sullivan, Blinken, Nuland… They have the reins of power and they’re telling Biden what to do. They have a sense of unreality that they can prevail. That was very clear at their first major foreign policy adventure, where the Chinese were kind enough to come to Anchorage, Alaska and they were treated like the British imperialists treated the Chinese on the Yangtze River two centuries ago!” In the end, it is the citizens back home as well as the soldiers on the front lines who get dealt a bad hand from these decisions. McGovern points out the bleak realities of what these aid packages to countries like Ukraine really mean to all parties involved. The most sinister part being how it happens in front of people without them even knowing and that is by design, courtesy of McGovern’s famously coined military, industrial, congressional, intelligence, media, academia, think tank (MICIMATT) complex.

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SCF op-ed last week.

US-Led NATO Drowns Ukraine in a Bloodbath (SCF)

New figures indicate the Ukrainian military death toll is at least 400,000 after 500 days of conflict. The real figure may actually surpass 500,000. This is much greater than previously estimated, which was already dreadful. Yet, Washington incoherently keeps pushing the failed counteroffensive to the “last Ukrainian”. This bloodbath is an obscenity, a vast imperial crime, with no effort at all by the U.S. and European leaders to sue for peace. Crudely put, war is a racket and the warmongers make a packet. Not surprisingly, the actual casualty figures suffered by the Kiev regime’s military are a closely guarded secret. The NATO sponsors are also keeping a tight lip on the ghoulish losses because to do so would be an admission of the abysmal failure of their proxy war against Russia, and that would entail incurring an almighty political backlash from the Western public. Therein lies a diabolical Catch-22.

Nevertheless, despite the best efforts to conceal the carnage, up to recently several independent observers had estimated the death toll for the Ukrainian forces to be around 250,000 to 300,000 since the conflict erupted on February 24, 2022. Russian military casualties have been put at about 10 percent of those inflicted on the Ukrainian side. New data this week, however, indicate the scale of losses for the NATO-backed Kiev regime to be much higher. Satellite imagery cited by Intel Republic’s Telegram channel of newly dug cemeteries in Ukrainian territory suggests that at least 400,000 military personnel have died in battles with Russian forces. The graves presume individual bodies buried. In addition, not recorded are the countless dead who have been obliterated on battlefields or left to rot by Kiev regime commanders.

Another measure is gleaned from grim reports this week in the U.S. media that there have been 50,000 amputees among Ukrainian soldiers, according to the supply of prosthetic limbs from German manufacturers. Extrapolation from that figure of casualties corroborates the far higher estimate of war dead. Consequently, in light of the amputee numbers, comparisons have been made even by the U.S. media with the level of attrition seen during World War One. The latter is notorious for its horrendous and senseless slaughter of men. The comparisons are correct but strangely glided over by the U.S. media without dwelling on what should be compelling abhorrence towards the violence. If the battles in Ukraine have been previously called a “meat grinder”, then it would be accurate to refer to the country more as a bloodbath.

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SCF op-ed this week.

US and NATO Arms Industries Hit Record $400 Billion in Sales (SCF)

Western weapons manufacturers are popping champagne corks over record sales with total revenues hitting $400 billion for last year. According to media reports, this coming year-end will see that record figure exceeded by another salivating $50 billion. Ukraine may be resembling a bloodbath, as we noted in last week’s editorial. But apparently, Western military corporations are swimming in a bonanza of profits and stock market investments. Most of this lucrative new business stems from NATO’s proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, which is heading toward its second year. There is no sign of a diplomatic effort from the West or the Kiev regime it sponsors to end the bloodshed.

The main corporate beneficiaries making a financial killing from Ukraine are by far the American firms. They include such behemoths as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and RTX (formerly Raytheon). But also enjoying soaring profits are arms makers in other NATO countries: BAE in the United Kingdom, Airbus in France, Netherlands and Spain, Leonardo in Italy, and Germany’s Rheinmetall. This week the Joe Biden administration requested another $24 billion in U.S. taxpayer-funded aid to Ukraine. It’s hard to keep track of the money flowing from NATO countries to prop up the Nazi regime in Kiev. Even the NATO authorities don’t seem to know the precise figures, such is the rampant corruption that is inevitably associated with the vast doling of funds. But estimates of total U.S. and NATO aid to Ukraine range from $150 billion to $200 billion over the past year alone.

What we are seeing is an audacious racket whereby the American and European public are subsidizing the funneling of their own taxpayers’ money into the coffers of weapons firms. And there is no democratic choice in the matter. It’s a fait accompli. Or, put another way, extortion. Of course, too, part of this huge scam is the hefty financial cuts for the inner circle of the Kiev regime, including its puppet president, Vladimir Zelensky, and the brazenly sleazy defense chief Aleksy Reznikov. It is reckoned that at least $400 million has been grafted by the top members of the regime from the arms bazaar flowing into Ukraine. Reznikov has even boasted that his country serves as a testing ground for NATO weaponry.

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“.. the company will have the right to sue hosts who have not paid the tax, and thus raise the funds to pay the government bill..”

Italy Launches $550 Million Airbnb Case (RT)

Italian authorities have accused US-based online accommodation booking firm Airbnb of not paying roughly €500 million ($547 million) in taxes, national news outlet Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Friday. A probe has been launched by Italy’s Revenue Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate), a government body that enforces financial laws and collects taxes, according to the outlet. Italian legislation governing short-term rental platforms states that professional landlords that lease accommodation must pay a 21% flat-rate tax on income they receive from rentals. In cases with non-professional hosts, or property owners for whom rentals are not the main source of income, platforms such as Airbnb have to act as agents and withhold the tax from transactions, before turning it over to the authorities.

Non-professional hosts make up the majority of Airbnb offers. The platform has repeatedly tried to contest the Italian legislation, but has so far failed. The EU Court of Justice ruled in December last year that the Italian law does not contradict broader EU legislation, effectively giving Italy the green light to demand the tax from the platform. According to the report, Airbnb has been negotiating with the Italian Revenue Agency for months to identify the exact group of hosts for whom the company should act as a tax agent. The final bill will depend on the number of non-professional hosts that Airbnb represents, the news outlet noted. Analysts have warned that after Airbnb and Italy’s tax authorities come to an understanding, the company will have the right to sue hosts who have not paid the tax, and thus raise the funds to pay the government bill.

If the estimations are correct, the €500 million settlement will be the second-highest figure ever requested by Italy from an internet company, following the €870 million it demanded from Meta platforms. The multinational owner of Facebook and Instagram was accused of failing to pay VAT in the country earlier this year. In the last ten years, Italy’s authorities have stepped up efforts to battle tax evasion and have collected nearly €3 billion from multinationals that initially failed to pay tax, according to Il Sole 24 Ore. Over €800 million was collectively paid by internet giants Apple, Google, Meta, PayPal, and Netflix.

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3D

 

 

Draco

 

 

Mandarin duck
https://twitter.com/i/status/1690472670700175361

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 092023
 
 August 9, 2023  Posted by at 9:14 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  29 Responses »


Edward Hopper Excursion into Philosophy 1959

 

Ukrainian Counteroffensive ‘Highly Unlikely’ To Succeed – US Officials (RT)
Authorities Cannot Be Unaware Of Organ Trafficking – Hague Lawyer On Kiev (RT)
Ukraine Claims It Foiled Major Assassination Plot Against Zelensky (ZH)
Trump Derangement at The Post (RCW)
Rep. Justin Amash Defends President Trump Over 2020 Election Indictment (ZH)
Proving a Lie Will Not Necessarily Secure a Conviction for Jack Smith (Turley)
J6 Committee Failed To Preserve Records, Has No Data On Security Failures (Fox)
Is A Second Anti-Colonial Liberation On The Horizon? (Denis Rogatyuk)
Crisis in Niger: How France’s Interests in West Africa Are at Stake (Sp.)
Poll: Over 60% Of Nigeriens Consider Russia Most Reliable Partner (TASS)
Goal of Imran Khan’s Arrest to Keep Ex-Pakistani PM ‘Out of Elections’ (Sp.)
Imran Khan’s Supporters Are Silenced But Determined (BBC)
Musk’s Cage Match With Zuckerberg in Jeopardy as Neck & Back Woes Emerge (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Nap Macgregor

 

 

 

 

Fat pig

 

 

Born
https://twitter.com/i/status/1688864958497325056

 

 

 

 

On CNN of all places…

Ukrainian Counteroffensive ‘Highly Unlikely’ To Succeed – US Officials (RT)

Kiev’s Western backers are losing faith in the ability of the Ukrainian military to penetrate Russian defenses and turn the tide of the conflict, US and other Western officials told CNN on Tuesday. “[The Ukrainians are] still going to see, for the next couple of weeks, if there is a chance of making some progress. But for them to really make progress that would change the balance of this conflict, I think, it’s extremely, highly unlikely,” an unnamed “senior Western diplomat” told the American broadcaster. Illinois Representative Mike Quigley, a Democrat who recently met with US commanders in Europe, described their briefings as “sobering.” “We’re reminded of the challenges [the Ukrainians] face,” he said, adding that “This is the most difficult time of the war.”

Ukraine launched its long-awaited counteroffensive against Russian forces in early June, assaulting multiple points along the frontline from Zaporozhye to Donetsk regions. However, the Russian military had spent several months preparing a dense and multi-layered network of minefields, trenches, and fortifications, which the Ukrainian side has thus far failed to overcome. Advancing through minefields without air support, Ukraine’s Western-trained and NATO-equipped units have suffered horrendous casualties, losing 43,000 troops and 4,900 pieces of heavy weaponry in just over two months, according to the most recent figures from the Russian Defense Ministry. “[The] Russians have a number of defensive lines and [Ukrainian forces] haven’t really gone through the first line,” another anonymous Western diplomat told CNN.

“Even if they would keep on fighting for the next several weeks, if they haven’t been able to make more breakthroughs throughout these last seven, eight weeks, what is the likelihood that they will suddenly, with more depleted forces, make them?” Despite the best efforts of Ukraine’s armed forces chief, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, to convince the US that “the initiative is on our side,” officials told CNN that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky could soon be pushed to sue for peace if progress remains stalled. A senior US military official predicted that Kiev would rely more and more on piecemeal strikes within Russia – like the recent drone attacks on Moscow – to compensate for its shortcomings on the battlefield. The Kremlin has drawn similar conclusions from these attacks, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov declaring last week that Kiev was launching “terrorist strikes” as “acts of desperation” to distract from its failing counteroffensive.

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Always be aware of who and what you fund. Before you know it, it belongs to you.

Authorities Cannot Be Unaware Of Organ Trafficking – Hague Lawyer On Kiev (RT)

Illegal organ-trafficking is not possible without a cover-up from the authorities, Zoran Zivanovic, a lawyer who defended a number of Serbs in the Hague Tribunal in 2005, told RT Balkan on Monday. Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed that officials in Kiev could be engaged in an organ trafficking business that also involves former Kosovo militants who had run similar operations. No accusations of organ theft and trafficking in Kosovo and Albania in 1999 led to any major prison sentences for those accused, Zivanovic said, adding that “some [of those involved] had been charged and … spent some time in jail,” he told RT Balkan. None of them received sentences “warranted by such serious crimes,” he added.

The network of those involved in the 1999 crimes likely included officials not only in Kosovo but also Albania, Zivanovic claimed. “It is hardly conceivable that the Albanian authorities were unaware of it. This [illegal business] entails organized participation of a large number of people. Captives who were harvested for organs were brought from another country, from Serbia, Kosovo, and Metohija. It cannot be that the authorities noticed nothing,” he said. On Monday, Zakharova said in an article published by the Russian Foreign Ministry that “there is data” showing that a black-market store selling organs of dead Ukrainian soldiers could be cooperating with “those linked to the Kosovo Liberation Army.” The former militants could also operate in Ukraine as mercenaries, she added.

The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also accused members of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s administration of being personally involved in the organ trafficking scheme and of covering it up. Zakharova called Ukraine a world leader in the black-market organ trade. Rumors about organ trafficking in Kosovo and Albania have been circulating since the 1999 war between Serbia and its breakaway province, which ended in a NATO intervention that forced Serbian troops to withdraw from Kosovo. Various sources estimated the number of victims of organ traffickers that supposedly had strong links to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to be between 50 and 300. Media reports claimed that people – mostly Serbs, Roma, and Albanians opposing the KLA – were specifically kidnapped and killed for that purpose.

The allegations were detailed by the then-chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Carla Del Ponte, in her book, ‘The Hunt: Me and the War Criminals in 2008’. They were also the subject of several journalistic investigations in the 2000s. In 2010, Swiss prosecutor Dick Marty presented a report on the issue to the Council of Europe, in which he described the “indications” of an illegal trade in human organs going back over a decade at the time. The Council of Europe supported the report and called for an investigation. The case was dismissed by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo and a number of EU MPs.

Morgue

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Q: why would Russia want to kill Zelensky?

Ukraine Claims It Foiled Major Assassination Plot Against Zelensky (ZH)

Ukraine’s security services say they have thwarted a major assassination plot which targeted President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the country’s Secret Service (SSU) on Monday. A woman who lives in Ochakov in southern Ukraine has been arrested, allegedly for planning to inform Russian intelligence of Zelensky’s precise whereabouts as be visited the Mykolaiv region where the southeastern front with Russian forces is located. Security officials say she was “caught red-handed”. The SSU described that the detained woman, who hasn’t been identified, worked on a military base as a clerk in one of their military stores. She’s accused of “gathering intelligence” in order to pass the info along to her Russian handler so that a large-scale airstrike could be executed, specifically during Zelensky’s trip to the region in late July.

He had at that time visited a medical facility in Ochakiv along with other places in the southern region. She was caught in the act, Ukrainian officials allege, with Ukraine media sources saying “The suspected Russian agent tried to find out the schedule of the presidential route in the region. “The SBU managed to stay ahead of her actions and caught her in the act,” one Ukrainian media report reads. “She also traveled to photograph electronic warfare systems and ammunition warehouses in the area near Ochakiv on the Black Sea coast, as well,” it alleges further. Ukrainian intelligence officials say they received a tip about the woman’s alleged activities, which included mapping out the locations of key military locations and filming sensitive facilities.

Kiev officials have in the past during the conflict indicated there have been multiple assassination plots against the president uncovered and thwarted. But this case appeared to be the most serious, as the woman was caught “trying to pass intelligence to the invaders” in preparation for airstrikes which would coincide with Zelensky’s visit. In March, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak went so far as to suggest Zelensky has survived over a dozen assassination attempts. “Foreign sources talk of two or three attempts. I believe that there have been more than a dozen such attempts. We are constantly receiving intelligence that there are certain reconnaissance groups trying to enter government quarters and the like,” Podolyak has previously been quoted in Ukrainska Pravda as saying.

But these dramatic stories of thwarted plots also tend to be coupled with desperate appeals for more weapons and funding from the West. However, it is likely that there really are threats and plots against the Ukrainian leader given there’s an active war unfolding, even if perhaps accounts are exaggerated in some instances—also for the purpose of Western media consumption.

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No, this topic is much broader.

Trump Derangement at The Post (RCW)

The Washington Post has a Donald Trump obsession. Some might call it a vendetta. Although the flamboyant former president has been out of the White House for more than two and a half years, he gets far more front-page coverage in the Post than the current president, Joe Biden. And nearly all of the Post’s reporting on Trump is negative. To be sure, Trump’s endless legal troubles are big news and should be thoroughly covered. But in the pages of the capital city’s venerable daily paper the nation’s economic, social, educational, health, and foreign affairs problems facing the incumbent president take a back seat to Trump’s ongoing indictments of one kind or another. For June and July – a period of 61 days – Trump’s name appeared 33 times in Washington Post Page-One headlines. Biden, who is the current president, skated away with just 14 Page-One mentions.

Moreover, 31 of the 33 headlines with Trump’s name in them were negative. For example: “Justice Dept. reveals damning details in Trump case” “U.S.: Trump flouted law all along way” In contrast, eight of the 14 Biden mentions were positive, such as these: “Biden announces new loan forgiveness” “Biden’s border authority affirmed” Something is wrong here. Trump is not the president; Biden is. That is not to say that Trump is not newsworthy. He is. After all, polls show he is the leading Republican contender for the 2024 presidential nomination. But more than twice as much front-page coverage of Trump as of Biden seems a little over the top. Is news about Trump more important than news about the man who is currently charged with leading the nation through these perilous times and who is making decisions that affect our lives every day? And isn’t the front page where we expect to find coverage of the day’s most important events?

Editors running the Post apparently think their readers care more about Trump’s legal troubles than Biden’s leadership through these perilous times. Maybe they do. We live in highly partisan, and highly polarized, times. To be sure, every newspaper is free to place stories anywhere their editors decide to put them. There are no formal rules for what must be played on the front page. Each newsroom is free to make its own choices. Most newspapers have what is called a daily Page-One meeting. There, the paper’s top editors gather and discuss the stories they think should be placed on Page One. Each editor makes a pitch for their favorites. Clearly, Post editors agree with robot-like regularity that Trump, not Biden, is the top story of the day.

This past week Trump was in the media spotlight for being indicted again by a federal grand jury and appearing in court in Washington to plead “not guilty” to charges stemming from the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Tons of Page-One coverage of that in the Post, as it should be. But where was Biden when all this was coming down? He was on vacation at his Delaware beach house, riding his bike, and sunning himself on the sand: lots of nice pictures for TV. Do you think it was by accident that Biden just happened to be on vacation while Trump was in the dock? Or do you think Biden knew the indictments were coming down – after all, it was his own Justice Department that brought them – and decided to get out of town and leave the big news spotlight all to Trump? My guess is the latter.

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Amash detests Trump.

Rep. Justin Amash Defends President Trump Over 2020 Election Indictment (ZH)

Former U.S. representative for Michigan’s 3rd congressional district and founder of the Liberty Caucus, Justin Amash, who was the first Republican congressman to call for the impeachment of President Trump, has now taken to Twitter to defend him. On Sunday, Amash – who is well known for his distaste of President Trump – made a post on Twitter outlining why he believes Trump’s indictment is in error because of Trump’s actions being “political contention”. “I may not like Trump, but I love our Constitution, so I feel compelled to speak out. The latest indictment, which I encourage everyone to read, attempts to criminalize Trump’s routine misstatements of fact and law in connection with the 2020 election,” Amash wrote. “But this is precisely the sort of wrong that must be addressed politically under our Constitution, not criminally.”

“Our system can’t survive if political disputes are removed to the criminal realm. There’s no limiting principle to such an approach,” he continued. He wrote: “Remind me again which former presidents have been indicted for going to war without congressional approval, spying on Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment, abusing emergency declarations to bypass checks and balances, or ignoring legal advisers to pursue a clearly unlawful policy.” “We don’t criminalize these actions, egregious as they are, because they are matters of political contention. We’re allowed to disagree about the workings of our constitutional system without fear of criminal reprisal,” he continued. Amash added: “Politicians are constantly misguided and just plain mistaken about a lot of things—often remarkably so.

It endangers all Americans to begin treating politicians’ false beliefs regarding political or constitutional matters, even when they’re obviously wrong, as criminal offenses.” “We impeach people for violating the public trust—for political misconduct or serious incompetence. We reject them. We vote them out. We never again elect them. We don’t imprison them,” he wrote. Finally, he concluded: “As an aside: Even on Jack Smith’s own terms—even assuming the applicability of the cited statutes to a political dispute—the indictment falls woefully short. Showing that others repeatedly told Trump he was wrong is not sufficient to prove he sought to defraud the United States or to corruptly obstruct an election. Proving Trump’s state of mind beyond a reasonable doubt—proving fraudulent or corrupt intent—requires much more than Smith alleges.”

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Protected speech.

Proving a Lie Will Not Necessarily Secure a Conviction for Jack Smith (Turley)

The latest federal indictment of former President Donald Trump was handed down this week with all of the authority of papal infallibility. Pundits lined up to proclaim that case as the greatest prosecution in history. Former Obama administration acting Solicitor General Neil Katyal even declared that the indictment touched off “the biggest legal case in our lifetimes, perhaps almost ever. It’s up there with cases like Dred Scott, it is up there with Brown v. Board of Education.” What was missing was any serious consideration of the implications of allowing the government to criminalize false statements in a campaign. Trump was not charged with conspiracy to incite violence or insurrection. Rather, he was charged because he “spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won.”

In order to secure convictions for this, Special Counsel Jack Smith would need to bulldoze through not just the First Amendment but also existing case law holding that even false statements are protected. The government acknowledges that the Constitution protects false statements made in campaigns, but it insists that Trump must have known that his statements were false and therefore was engaged in fraudulent statements to obstruct or challenge electoral results. As a threshold matter, one problem is immediately evident. If Trump actually did (or does) believe that he did not lose the election, the indictment collapses. And so in an effort to demonstrate his knowledge, the indictment details how many people told Trump that he was wrong about the election and wrong about the law. I was one of those voices. Trump did not listen to me, most legal analysts or even his White House counsel.

Instead, he listened to a small group of lawyers who assured him that a challenge might succeed and that there was evidence of massive election fraud. But Trump is allowed to seek out enablers who tell him what he wants to hear. All presidents do this. (Joe Biden, for example, ignored virtually unanimous legal opinion and relied upon a single law professor’s say-so to justify an obviously unconstitutional executive action that later had to be reversed). This case, which criminally targets the sitting president’s leading opponent, is much more dangerous because it sets up the federal government as the arbiter of truth. This indictment essentially charges Trump with not accepting the “truth.” There is no limiting principle to this indictment. The government would choose between which politicians are lying and which are lying without cause.

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“The Democrat-controlled January 6th Committee destroyed evidence that might have exonerated the protesters and the president as well as evidence that implicated Speaker Pelosi and the FBI/DOJ in criminal activity.”

J6 Committee Failed To Preserve Records, Has No Data On Security Failures (Fox)

The House select committee that investigated the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 failed to adequately preserve documents, data and video depositions – including communications it had with the Biden White House that are still missing – according to the Republican lawmaker overseeing the GOP investigation into the committee’s work. The now-disbanded “J6” committee, which was run by Democrats and included only two GOP members, has also failed to provide any evidence that it looked into Capitol Hill security failures on the day of the riot, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight for the Committee on House Administration, told Fox News Digital. Loudermilk said his staff has had difficulty gathering all the information it needs to investigate Rep. Bennie Thompson’s handling of the J6 investigation.

“Part of our task as this oversight subcommittee is to actually address the security failures, look into how did it happen… how were these folks able to get into the Capitol,” Loudermilk said. He said the documents they obtained came over in boxes and was completely unorganized. “Nothing was indexed. There was no table of contents index. Usually when you conduct this level of investigation, you use a database system and everything is digitized, indexed. We got nothing like that. We just got raw data,” he said. “So it took us a long time going through it and one thing I started realizing is we don’t have anything much at all from the Blue Team.” The “Blue Team,” as described by Loudermilk, represents the group within the J6 committee that was directed to investigate security failures at the Capitol.

Loudermilk explained that sources have told him the Blue Team was essentially “shut down” by the committee in order to focus on placing the blame on former President Trump. “We’ve got lots of depositions, we’ve got lots of subpoenas, we’ve got video and other documents provided through subpoenas by individuals. But we’re not seeing anything from the Blue Team as far as reports on the investigation they did looking into the actual breach itself,” he said. “What we also realized we didn’t have was the videos of all the depositions,” Loudermilk added. Loudermilk said he has been contacted by a defense attorney that needed access to key information in one of the video depositions, and the committee realized it did not have the videos he was seeking.

Fox News Digital obtained correspondence letters between Loudermilk and Thompson’s offices in which the two disagreed on whether the J6 committee preserved what it was required to under House rules. Loudermilk says Thompson’s committee was required by law and House rules to preserve and turn over all data related to their investigation at the end of the congressional term in December, and Loudermilk said as much to Thompson in a letter on June 26. In response, Thompson wrote a letter saying that Loudermilk’s letter had many “factual errors” and claimed his committee had followed the rules and turned over “4 terabytes” of data. Loudermilk told Fox News Digital that his committee has only received 2.5 terabytes of data and said the first footnote in Thompson’s letter to him on July 7 acknowledged they did not keep what they were supposed to.

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Excellent overview of Niger et al.

Is A Second Anti-Colonial Liberation On The Horizon? (Denis Rogatyuk)

Africa is the cradle of human civilization and the planet’s richest continent in terms of natural resources. But according to Captain Ibrahim Traore, the president of Burkina Faso, younger generations cannot understand why, despite its riches, Africa continues to be the poorest. Across the continent we have seen uprisings and armed rebellions by anti-colonialist military leaders who have sought to reclaim their sovereignty from European imperialist powers, particularly France. Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger are just some of the countries that make up the collective of former French colonies in West Africa. They have long served as the key source of natural resources for France and other European powers. Niger supplies 15% of the uranium needed for French nuclear reactors. Burkina Faso is a key exporter of gold, while Guinea is a crucial entry and exit point for trade between France and its former colonies. Mali is another major exporter of gold, and has been a battleground between the government and various armed Islamist groups.

The map of West Africa began to change radically in 2021. Like dominos, pro-French regimes began to fall to military uprisings, starting with Mali in May 2021 and the coup led by Assimi Goita, who immediately demanded that the French military leave the country. The Central African Republic also expelled French troops in June 2021. This was followed by the military takeover in Guinea by Mamady Doumbouya, a former French legionnaire, in September 2021. One year later, Traore became the world’s youngest president after seizing power in Burkina Faso, and he proceeded to expel the French military in January 2023. Finally, the military rebellion in Niger on July 26 led by Abdourahamane Tchiani, now assuming the presidency, also expelled French forces and banned the export of uranium to France.

The case of Burkina Faso and Traore is particularly interesting. During his recent trip to St. Petersburg for the Russia-Africa summit, Traore gave a speech in which he called Russia part of the African family. He condemned the looting of the continent by European powers, and ended with the slogan “Homeland or death! We shall win!” – echoing the words of Ernesto Che Guevara and the national motto of Cuba. Many have compared Traore to Thomas Sankara, the revolutionary leader of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987, who was also called the “African Che Guevara.” Sankara likewise expelled French forces, nationalized the country’s resources, and implemented socialist policies of redistribution, before being assassinated in a pro-French coup.

So, what are France and its partners likely to do now? The United States and Britain have already cut all aid to Niger and its allies in response to their ban on exports of uranium to France. On July 30, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a confederation that includes many of France’s former colonies, issued an ultimatum to Niger – Tchiani has one week to step down or a military intervention would begin with the backing of France. Nigeria, a key French ally in the region and the leader of ECOWAS, was chosen as the launchpad for a possible military intervention into Niger. However, the senate of Nigeria rejected the demand of the highly unpopular president, Bola Tinabu, to authorize military action against its neighbour. The ultimatum has since expired, and Niger proceeded to close its airspace to any commercial aircraft.

The presidents of Burkina Faso and Mali have responded that any military intervention in Niger will amount to a declaration of war against them. But the African states also have an ace up their sleeve – their long-time friendship with Russia. At the recent Africa-Russia summit in St. Petersburg, delegations from 49 African countries were in attendance. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared support for Africa’s battle against neo-colonialism, stating that Moscow had written off $23 billion in African debt and that more than 50,000 tons of grain will be delivered free of charge to the continent.

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“France has a strong foothold in West Africa through its control of the CFA franc..”

Crisis in Niger: How France’s Interests in West Africa Are at Stake (Sp.)

To understand how the coup could affect France’s interests in West Africa, Sputnik Africa spoke to Dr. Ismael Buchanan, a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science and International Relations of the Univeristy of Rwanda’s School of Governance. According to Buchanan, France has a strong foothold in West Africa through its control of the CFA franc, a currency used by 14 West African states that is pegged to the euro and backed by France. He said that some of those countries’ reserves are in the hands of France, and that it is Paris that has control over the printing of the currency. “It is the French government that has over control in printing the CFA currency for the 14 African states in West Africa, which sometimes people in those countries have complained about on how the CFA is pulling down African economies,” Buchanan said.

The political scientist also said that Paris’ presence in West Africa has given it access and opportunities to dominate many positions and lucrative contracts in the Francophone African economies in sectors such as power generation, transportation and logistics, infrastructure development, telecommunications, mining concessions, oil and gas, agro-processing and light manufacturing. “When it comes to the mining and energy sectors, you know very well that major French companies are the main players in these two sectors,” he noted. “So whatever sovereign rights these African countries have, they still need these French companies that have the technology and the capital to make good use of some of their resources, and this is very important and beneficial for France.”

Buchanan cited the example of French company Orano’s (formerly Areva) operations in Niger, which has the seventh-largest uranium reserves in the world and the second-largest uranium production in Africa after Namibia, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA). Orano operates three uranium mines in Niger: Arlit, Akokan and Imouraren. Uranium from Niger accounts for approximately 20% of France’s nuclear power production, according to the French news outlets. Orano has said it will not leave Niger, despite the tensions in the wake of the July 26 military coup.

Ovigwe Eguegu, a Nigerian policy adviser at the Development Reimagined consultancy, echoed Buchanan’s sentiment, noting that both France and the EU heavily benefit from Niger’s uranium exports. He pointed out that, following the eviction of French troop contingents from Mali and Burkina Faso, some of these troops have since been relocated to Niger, a country that served as a “cornerstone of US, French and European Union regional strategies” and that played an important role in France’s “energy security.” “That is why we are seeing this reluctance to exit Niger the way they exited Mali and exited Burkina Faso,” Eguegu said referring to Paris. He added that, due to its control of Niger and because of the fact that “the European Union has considered nuclear energy as green,” France “has always prioritized nuclear energy materials.”

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France’s fear.

Poll: Over 60% Of Nigeriens Consider Russia Most Reliable Partner (TASS)

More than 60% of Nigeriens deem Russia to be the country’s most reliable foreign policy partner, the Economist reported, citing data from a survey conducted by Premise Data. According to the poll, less than 10% of Nigeriens named Saudi Arabia as being the country’s most loyal partner, and about 5% of respondents named the US. Even fewer respondents listed China, France and the UN. According to the results of the survey, none of the respondents mentioned the United Kingdom. At the same time, while 54% of respondents opposed foreign intervention in Niger, half of those who favored such a scenario said they would support Russian intervention, so long as the country sides with the rebels.

US intervention was supported by 16% of respondents, the African Union by 14% and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by only 4%. The poll was conducted among highly educated male citizens, 62% of whom live in the capital, Niamey. Nearly 80% of respondents supported the coup. On July 26, military rebels in Niger announced the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum, closure of national borders, introduction of a curfew and suspension of the constitution, as well as a ban on political parties. On July 28, they declared that General Abdourahmane Tchiani had become head of state. During the coup, Tchiani headed the presidential guard, units of which physically seized President Bazoum and continue to hold him and his family at his residence.

At an emergency summit on July 30, ECOWAS leaders demanded that the rebels reinstate the president and restore constitutional order to the country. The ECOWAS states gave Niger rebels one week to meet these demands. On August 4, the militaries of the ECOWAS member states announced that their emergency meeting had developed a contingency plan for intervention in Niger. The ECOWAS ultimatum expired on August 7. However, the Al Arabiya TV channel reports, citing a statement by the regional organization’s defense ministers, that the ECOWAS military leadership recognized the inadvisability of using force against Niger. At the same time, it decided to increase sanctions pressure to force the rebels to release Bazoum.

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Exact same as Trump.

Goal of Imran Khan’s Arrest to Keep Ex-Pakistani PM ‘Out of Elections’ (Sp.)

Pakistani authorities arrested former Prime Minister Imran Khan on August 5 after a court sentenced him to three years in prison on corruption charges. Khan’s lawyer condemned the court’s decision as a “murder of justice,” with supporters of the ex-PM perceiving the conviction as political interference ahead of the elections. Imran Khan’s arrest on Saturday shows that Pakistani government officials are prepared to go to great lengths to keep the former prime minister “out of elections,” Waqas Ahmed told Sputnik. The cricket legend-turned-political leader was arrested after an Islamabad court sentenced him to three years in prison on charges of corrupt practices in the Toshakhana case, with the move clearly being another attempt at political suppression of the ex-PM, the Pakistani journalist argued.

The conviction, unless overturned by an appeals court, would disqualify the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), also called the Pakistan Movement of Justice, the political party founded in 1996 by Imran Khan, from running in a national election for five years. Last October, Pakistan’s Election Commission stripped Khan of his parliamentary mandate after finding him guilty of “illegally” selling 52 valuables stored in the Toshakhana – Pakistan’s national treasury – and keeping hidden information about gifts he had received personally. According to current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Imran Khan sold state treasures in Dubai worth a total of 140 million Pakistani rupees ($500,000). Waqas Ahmed took issue with claims that the aforementioned gifts were disposed of “illegally.”

According to the rules, gifts received by a government functionary from a leader of another country are deposited in the nation’s treasury. However, if one seeks to retain the abovementioned gifts, this can be done by paying a specific amount of their value, which was 20% at the time of Khan’s prime ministership. These rules were revised in December 2018 to require a payment of 50%. “What you do after that gift is not written in the law,” underscored the journalist, and the judge in the case against Imran Khan was “obviously biased against him,” and “backed by the military establishment.” The sentencing by an Islamabad court came days before incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s coalition government was expected to dissolve parliament, allowing a caretaker assemblage to organize new elections in Pakistan.

Shortly after the court’s verdict, Khan’s supporters and his legal team questioned the ruling, slamming it as politically motivated and targeting a man who remains the most popular politician in Pakistan. “We weren’t even given a chance. We weren’t even allowed to cross [question], to say anything in defense or conduct our arguments. I haven’t seen this kind of injustice before,” Barrister Gohar Khan was quoted by the Pakistani press as saying, decrying what had taken place as a “murder of justice.” Despite attempts by the Pakistani military and the Pakistani government parties to undermine Imran Khan and his PTI, they have been unable to do so, Waqas Ahmed said. [..] “So it’s such a myth. That’s why […] despite this massive crackdown […] despite putting 10,000 people in jail […] putting him in jail, PTI keeps winning,” said the journalist.

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They think voting will do the trick.

Imran Khan’s Supporters Are Silenced But Determined (BBC)

When former prime minister Imran Khan was arrested over the weekend over corruption allegations, there was barely a whimper of protest. Not a single major demonstration was reported anywhere in the country. Compare this to a few months ago, when the 70-year-old was arrested and taken from a court complex in Islamabad on 9 May. It sparked protests around the country, which also led to violence in some places as Mr Khan’s supporters clashed with security forces. Some protesters raided military buildings and even ransacked the home of the most senior military commander in Lahore. But this time around, when Mr Khan was sentenced and then taken to a prison in Attock city, authorities were ready. His destination was kept secret and reports say there were a number of decoy convoys to deceive the media.

Police and the military were on high alert across all major cities, and dozens of people were pre-emptively taken into custody. Pakistan’s governing party and the army have pointed to the lack of protest over Mr Khan’s arrest as a sign that the former PM no longer enjoys the support of the people. But his Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI) party and supporters say they have been forced into silence by a swift crackdown. The BBC also understands that media outlets were told not to cover PTI’s activities or even mention Mr Khan’s name on air following the mass protests in May. Thousands of Mr Khan’s supporters have been arrested since May. The army has said they intend to try them in military courts, which human rights groups have said is against international law. The PTI has also been systematically gutted, with numerous party workers and leaders being arrested, or facing court cases.

Mr Khan himself still faces some 200 cases. Several PTI members have since defected or quit politics altogether. Ali Akbar, a senior political analyst, said this is why Mr Khan’s calls for a protest went unheeded this time – not only did workers and supporters fear arrest, but they were also unable to mobilise support because of the lack of leadership left in PTI. Fatima, a PTI supporter whose name has been changed on request, said police action against party leaders had frightened her into silence – even online. “I used to still support the party on Twitter, but one day I received a phone call from an anonymous number warning me against posting such tweets. I got scared and my parents also advised me to delete my Twitter account as they said no-one would be able to help me if I were arrested,” she said.

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Ha ha ha!

Musk’s Cage Match With Zuckerberg in Jeopardy as Neck & Back Woes Emerge (Sp.)

Tech magnate Elon Musk’s much-anticipated cage match against rival Mark Zuckerberg is facing a potential setback, as the billionaire revealed concerns about his neck and upper back health. Musk, who recently flaunted his weightlifting prowess in a livestream, now faces the possibility of surgery before stepping into the ring with Zuckerberg. Despite the excitement surrounding the showdown, the exact date of the clash remains uncertain. “Exact date is still in flux. I’m getting an MRI of my neck & upper back tomorrow. May require surgery before the fight can happen. Will know this week,” Musk wrote on the platform formerly as Twitter. Musk’s injuries came to light after his announcement that the fight would be livestreamed on his platform, X, with the proceeds directed towards charity for veterans.


Musk had been diligently training for the bout, even engaging in a training session with renowned UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre. His recent livestream, in which he demonstrated his weightlifting prowess, was seen as a test of X’s live video feature. This is not the first time Musk’s medical issues have surfaced. In a past encounter, Musk participated in a sumo match that prompted injuries to his neck and back. “Managed to throw him, but it cost me smashing my c5-c6 disc & 8 years of mega back pain! Finally fixed with c5-c6 disc fusion,” Musk said at the time. While Zuckerberg had suggested a date for the face-off, the delay comes as no surprise to him. Zuckerberg remarked: “I suggested Aug 26 when he first challenged, but he hasn’t confirmed. Not holding my breath.”

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Splain

 

 

 

 

Abandoned
https://twitter.com/i/status/1689002375564931072

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 182023
 
 February 18, 2023  Posted by at 10:01 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  47 Responses »


Pablo Picasso The dream 1951

 

Seymour Hersh’s Trinity of Truth (Scott Ritter)
Seymour Hersh Believes Betting On Ukraine’s Victory ‘Suicidal’ (TASS)
‘Ukraine Would Have Wiped Out Donbass Last Year If Not For Russia’ (TASS)
Food For Thought (Gonzalo Lira)
NATO Involvement In Ukrainian Conflict Is Maximal – Zakharova (TASS)
Ukraine ‘Peace Petition’ Backed By Nearly Half A Million Germans (RT)
No Sense In Signing Any Agreements With Zelensky – Medvedev (TASS)
Moscow Warns EU Over Seized Assets (RT)
Oh Lightning, I Command Thee To Smite My Foe! (Kunstler)
George Soros Is Defending The Unipolar World Order, Not Freedom (Blankenship)
EU Parliament Blocks Scrutiny of Von der Leyen Over Pfizer Contract (Pol.eu)
Nancy Pelosi’s Daughter Caught on Tape Refuting J6 Narrative (GP)
Too Slow And Too Secret? Pace of Staley Investigation Undermines Trust (G.)
Trump Announces Upcoming Visit to East Palestine, FEMA Reverses Course {(CTH)

 

 

 

 

Galloway Ritter

 

 

 

 

Putin 2019

 

 

No more boosters in the UK.

 

 

And Idaho is putting it a bit stronger even.

 

 

Maersheimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..Sy Hersh, through his reporting, has exposed truths which have the potential of bringing down a presidency, destroying NATO, and proving Russia right in the eyes of the world..”

Seymour Hersh’s Trinity of Truth (Scott Ritter)

I’ve read nearly everything Sy Hersh has written, and am able to put his considerable journalistic output in its proper historical perspective. It is therefore that I feel very comfortable in concluding that, in terms of its potential for bringing about tectonic geopolitical change, Sy’s Nord Stream reporting is his most important work ever. The GOAT has produced what I call the Trinity of Truth. Truth One: The President of the United States, Joe Biden, by conspiring with members of his national security team to deliberately bypass constitutionally-mandated reporting requirements to Congress regarding acts of war undertaken by the United States, has committed an impeachable offense unmatched by any other president in the history of the United States.

Truth Two: The blow-back that will occur inside Germany to the revelations put forward by Seymour Hersh that the United States carried out an economic Pearl Harbor by destroying energy infrastructure critical to the well-being of the German nation has the potential of breaking up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU), upending more than eighty years of post-war European security and stability, and resulting in the diminishment of the United States on the world stage as it becomes isolated from long-time European allies that served as the foundation of the global acceptance of the so-called “rules based international order” that has served as the means by which the United States exerted global hegemony.

Truth Three: The decision to attack the Nord Stream pipeline puts a lie to the US contention that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was an unprovoked act of aggression, instead underscoring the harsh truth that the United States had a strategic plan which hinged on provoking a conflict with Russia in Ukraine to provide the geopolitical cover for ending Europe’s reliance upon cheap Russian natural gas by demonstrating that every time Russia sought a negotiated end to the crisis, whether before the invasion through implementation of the Minsk Accords, or after in the Istanbul round of talks scheduled for April 1, the United States sabotaged the effort, keeping the conflict alive long enough to implement its major objective—the destruction of Nord Stream. In short, Sy Hersh, through his reporting, has exposed truths which have the potential of bringing down a presidency, destroying NATO, and proving Russia right in the eyes of the world.

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“..It’s impossible to believe how just dumb this leadership was. <…> And then they stick to the war..”

Seymour Hersh Believes Betting On Ukraine’s Victory ‘Suicidal’ (TASS)

The US administration’s hopes for Ukraine’s victory in the conflict with Russia are ‘suicidal,’ US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said in an interview with the Consortium News portal. “It was suicidal to think you can win that war, that Ukraine can win that war. There’s just too much corruption. That was a very, very bad decision. We should have been pushing for peace, we should have made an agreement,” said Hersh, who earlier published his findings about explosions targeting Russia’s Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. “It’s just silly not to right away assure the Russian government that we were not interested in making Ukraine a member of NATO. NATO didn’t want Ukraine anyway because of the corruption. There were just so many bad mistakes made. It’s impossible to believe how just dumb this leadership was. <…> And then they stick to the war,” he said.


On February 8, Hersh wrote in an article, citing sources, that US Navy divers had planted explosive devices under the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines under the cover of the BALTOPS exercise in June 2022 and Norwegians activated the bombs three months later. According to the journalist, the decision to conduct the operation was made by US President Joe Biden personally, following nine months of discussions with White House security specialists. White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a comment to TASS that Hersh’s account was utterly false and complete fiction.

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“700-800 rounds of ammunition per day flew into the republic.”

‘Ukraine Would Have Wiped Out Donbass Last Year If Not For Russia’ (TASS)

Ukraine would have levelled the Donbass republics a year ago if Russia had not intervened in time by recognizing the Lugansk and the Donetsk People’s Republics and launching its special military operation, Former LPR ambassador to Moscow Rodion Miroshnik said on Friday. “Exactly one year ago, the Ukrainian regime began artillery preparations before attacking Donbass! A 150,000-soldier group, armed and trained by NATO, was preparing to sweep away the Donbass. And if it were not for Russia’s decision to start a special military operation, we would have simply been levelled,” he wrote on his Telegram channel on the anniversary of the beginning of the escalation of the situation in the Donbass, “And neither the UN nor the OSCE would have noticed it.”


Miroshnik recalled that from February 17 to 24, when the Russian Federation began its special military operation, the Ukrainian armed forces fired 551 shells on the LPR territory. At that time, he recalled, “700-800 rounds of ammunition per day flew into the republic.” There were attempts to break through the defense, as well as casualties among civilians. Also on Friday, Miroshnik drew attention to the fact that a year ago, neither the guarantors (of the Minsk agreements) – France and Germany – nor the UN General Assembly had forced Kiev to fulfill its obligations. At that time, the republics understood that the clock was ticking as the Ukrainian military could wipe out the DPR and the LPR cities, so the emergency evacuation began. “But the world prefers not to see this and starts counting from February 24,” he pointed out.

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Twitter thread.

“They see the West as a paper tiger, run by fools and degenerates.”

Food For Thought (Gonzalo Lira)

I’ve been talking to a number of acquaintances in Russia. These are well-educated professionals who speak English fluently, many of whom have lived/worked in the US/Europe. Some are highly critical of Putin, and many were very much opposed to the SMO. Some observations. They are universally shocked at the racist Russophobia, from Europe especially. “I thought they were our friends/partners!” is a common complaint. They don’t understand why Europe destroyed its own economy with the sanctions. (There’s quite a bit of schadenfreude over that. They don’t understand why the Germans are not reacting to the Nord Stream terrorist attack. They see it as self-evident that the Americans did it—an act of war by one of Germany’s closest ally.

They have zero trust in the Europeans—because of the Russophobia and revelations. Hollande and Merkel have publicly bragged about how the Minsk agreements were entered into to buy time to arm Kiev. This has had a huge impact on them. So they won’t accept any negotiations or ceasefire. They all think Russia would be played for fools again by the West. Even the “doves” believe that the conflict can only end in total victory, i.e. complete military occupation of Ukraine. They don’t look forward to this—but they believe it is the only solution to guarantee Russian safety. They all view this conflict as a Russia vs. NATO war. And they all believe this war will last for years. There is a palpable sense of determination and *relief* that they too—like their grandfathers before—are involved in an existential war for the survival of their nation.

They one and all despise the Russians who fled to Europe, Israel and Georgia. They view them as fair-weather friends at best—traitors at worst. They all made it clear that they would not be welcomed back at the end of this conflict. Even the “doves” respect Putin, and they laugh at the idea of “regime change in Russia”. The principal criticism of Putin is that he’s been too gentle, too patient. Many (not all) would prefer a scorched earth, total war campaign, specifically targeting the Kiev leadership. All in all, they are satisfied with their leadership. Lavrov was universally praised, Peskov the one least respected. Shoigu, Gerasimov and Surovikin were all endorsed, though they all took some criticism, mostly because they think the war is going too slowly. Interestingly, I sensed a gnawing anxiety over Russia’s economy, which seems to be going so well—as if it’s too good to be true.

The 2015 sanctions nearly broke their economy—but now, with even worse sanctions, none are experiencing a loss of standard of living. They seem to have lost their respect, admiration—and fear—of the West. Certainly their trust. They all believe that “human rights”, “democracy”, etc. are empty platitudes the West uses to get its way. They see the West as a paper tiger, run by fools and degenerates. This is inevitably a very biased selection of opinions: Highly educated, well traveled, Western-oriented, fairly well-to-do people aged 27–60. So imagine how much more conservative Russian working class people’s opinions would be. Food for thought.

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“Now they directly control the leadership of the Kiev regime, they are all connected.”

NATO Involvement In Ukrainian Conflict Is Maximal – Zakharova (TASS)

The involvement of NATO countries in the conflict in Ukraine is maximal, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Friday. “NATO countries are playing innocent, trying to prove that they are not a party to the conflict [in Ukraine] <…>. The involvement [of NATO countries] is maximal, [they’ve been carrying out] provocative activity for many years. Now they directly control the leadership of the Kiev regime, they are all connected.” According to Zakharova, Moscow also drew attention to media reports that Ukraine might organize joint licensed production of shells and other weapons with the UK and create similar military enterprises with other NATO countries. “It is obvious that big Western capital is behind the pumping of the Ukrainian armed forces, the formation of combat operations,” the diplomat noted.

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“If the fighting goes on like this, Ukraine will soon be a depopulated, destroyed country..”

Ukraine ‘Peace Petition’ Backed By Nearly Half A Million Germans (RT)

Almost 500,000 Germans have supported a petition urging Chancellor Olaf Scholz to spearhead efforts for peace negotiations in Ukraine. The appeal is authored by journalist Alice Schwarzer and Sahra Wagenknecht, a prominent member of Germany’s Left Party (Die Linke), and implores officials in Berlin not to provide Kiev with more weapons. The document, which was published last Friday and has since gathered an increasing number of supporters, claims that the conflict in Ukraine has already cost the lives of more than 200,000 military personnel and 50,000 civilians. “If the fighting goes on like this, Ukraine will soon be a depopulated, destroyed country,” the authors warn. Wagenknecht and Schwarzer also argue that “a lot of people in Europe fear an expansion of the war.”

The petition asserts that Ukrainians need solidarity from Germany, but questions whether Berlin’s current policies truly reflect the support they require. “What is now, one year on, the actual goal of this war?” the authors ask, citing German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s recent comment about Europe being at war with Russia. The petition expresses skepticism over whether Scholz’s government will keep its word and not provide Ukraine with fighter jets. According to Wagenknecht and Schwarzer, the German chancellor has already crossed multiple “red lines” in recent months. The pair also warn that Russian President Vladimir Putin could unleash a “maximum counterstrike,” should Ukraine retake Crimea – which is among the goals set by senior officials in Kiev.

“Are we then inexorably sliding down a chute leading to a world war and nuclear war?” the petition asks, adding that numerous major conflicts have begun this way, and that another could end up being the last for mankind. The petition stresses that “to negotiate doesn’t mean to capitulate,” but rather to “make compromises on both sides.” The authors claim that half of the German population wants immediate peace talks, and suggest that the government should heed their calls. “We demand that the federal chancellor stop the escalation of weapons deliveries,” the document states, urging officials in Berlin to focus on peace efforts and form an international alliance to this end.

The petition had received 496,008 signatures at the time of writing. Moscow has repeatedly signaled it is open to talks with Kiev, provided that Ukrainian leaders accept Russia’s conditions and recognize what the Kremlin calls the “reality on the ground.” In early October 2022, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky ruled out negotiations with his Russian counterpart. Kiev is insisting on a military victory over Russia, and refuses to make any territorial concessions to its neighbor.

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“..He is not supposed to hold any talks. He is supposed to sign what he is told to sign..”

No Sense In Signing Any Agreements With Zelensky – Medvedev (TASS)

Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that he sees no point in signing any agreements with Kiev, since it is highly likely that Ukraine’s next leader will annul them. Medvedev drew attention to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s statements that he was not inclined to hold any talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “It’s not news, but there is a nuance he opted not to mention yesterday although he is quite aware of it. He is not supposed to hold any talks. He is supposed to sign what he is told to sign. Although, frankly speaking, this document will not be worth its weight in paper. You can remember the Minsk agreements that were signed by his predecessor,” Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel.

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The west keeps thinking they will be rebuilding Ukraine.

Moscow Warns EU Over Seized Assets (RT)

Any Western attempts to transfer seized Russian assets to Ukraine would be “barbarism,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed. If necessary, Moscow is ready to impose a tit-for-tat response, she added. Speaking at a press briefing on Friday, Zakharova noted that EU nations had invested heavily in Russia, meaning a significant amount of European-owned assets remains in the country. Their value is larger than that of the Russian assets seized by foreign nations, the spokeswoman argued. Zakharova insisted that Russia wants to operate within the law and would give the US and its allies “every last chance” to reconsider any plans to confiscate Russian property. However, she added that Moscow was fully prepared to defend its interests, including through the use of “equal compensatory measures.”

The remarks referred to a new EU working group, established to explore ways to make Russia fund the future reconstruction of Ukraine. “This must be done in accordance with EU and international law, and there is currently no direct model for this,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said, commenting on the new group. Stockholm currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council. Western nations have frozen hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Russian sovereign reserves, as well the assets of Russians whom they consider close to the government. Moscow has branded the measures an act of robbery. Zakharova stressed that property rights should not be subject to the whims and geopolitical needs of a handful of nations, adding that US foreign policy was often prone to wild swings.

She claimed that a case in point is Venezuela, where Washington previously referred to Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader who has the right to manage the nation’s wealth. “Now Western delegations visit [Nicolas] Maduro, whom we always considered the legitimate president, as if nothing happened,” Zakharova said. “So everything they say now about Russia, their accusations, threats, and blackmail… can flip-flop in a moment. Mark my words.” The spokeswoman warned that the international community should oppose the push for the expropriation of Russian property, if not for its own sake. Countries could otherwise find themselves on the receiving end of the “ostensibly impartial” West-controlled financial system, Zakharova cautioned.

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“..Russia has every intention of pacifying the joint at all costs..”

Oh Lightning, I Command Thee To Smite My Foe! (Kunstler)

In the meantime, America is rapidly disintegrating on the home front. Is it attempted suicide or murder? It’s a little hard to tell. Things are blowing up from sea to shining sea — food processing facilities, giant chicken barns, regional electric grids, oil refineries. The latest, of course, is a chemical spill from the Norfolk-Southern train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio, set ablaze by a conclave of government officials purportedly to keep the toxic liquids from seeping into the Ohio River watershed and beyond. Of course, in the dithering prior to lighting it up, enough vinyl chloride leached into streams feeding the big river to kill countless fish. And then torching the remaining chemical pools sent up a mushroom cloud of dioxin and other poisons that killed wildlife, pets, and chickens in the vicinity before the evil miasma wafted eastward on the wind to the densely-populated Atlantic coast.

One has to wonder whether an army of saboteurs is on the loose across the land. Considering the border with Mexico is wide open, why wouldn’t America’s adversaries send whole wrecking crews over here to mess with our infrastructure? There’s no question that people from all over the planet have been sneaking across the Rio Grande. Surely some of them are on a mission. America is filled with “soft” targets, things unguarded and indefensible — not least, tens of thousands of miles of railroad track. Of all the reasons to be unnerved by “Joe Biden’s” open border policy, this one is the least discussed, even in the alt-media. But it seems like a no-brainer for nefarious interests who might want to bamboozle and disable us.

The sad truth of this moment in history is that the USA has too much going sideways with our own business at home now to be dabbling in any foreign misadventures — and we couldn’t have picked a worse place than Ukraine to do it. The sheer logistics are implausible. The geography is lethally unfavorable. The place has been inarguably within Russia’s sphere of influence for centuries and Russia has every intention of pacifying the joint at all costs. Peace talks are apparently out of the question for our leaders. Something’s got to give, and that something is probably Western Civ’s financial system. It’s primed to blow anyway, and when it does, we’ll have other things to think about.

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Soros picks DeSantis.

George Soros Is Defending The Unipolar World Order, Not Freedom (Blankenship)

Contrary to the causes Soros claims to champion, his vision is more likely to usher in a third World War – not prevent one. There’s no credible evidence of a Russian regime-change operation in Moldova. China’s global position has little to do with Russia’s success or failure in Ukraine — the two are partners, but not a unified entity, or even allies; their societies and economies are distinct. What Soros was really rambling against wasn’t corruption or anti-democratic behavior — but the emerging multipolar world order, of which India and Türkiye are, to various degrees, becoming a part. I will not waste my time defending the likes of Modi or Erdogan, as their records are, in my opinion, indefensible. But it’s not their autocratic leanings that Soros hates about them — it’s their flickers of independence.


He may, in this respect, ultimately come to be disappointed by Brazil’s turn to democracy, as it will lead to more development in multipolarism and visibility in multilateral institutions. I also believe he seriously underestimates the US Republican Party’s sheer lack of principles and its willingness to tap into even the most wretched sources of untamed hatred for political support. Despite what the aging “philanthropist” desires, the era of unipolar liberal hegemony is over. The world is entering a new era of multilateralism and anti-hegemony. Soros’ speech before the Munich Security Conference may, in this way, be a symbol. A symbol of how the old way of doing things dies with the ramblings of an old man while the emerging multipolar world order is born in the thunderous cry of billions of youth across the Global South.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1626539057684660225

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It’s a closed circuit. The opposite of democratic. They only need the chiefs. The rest have no say.

EU Parliament Blocks Scrutiny of Von der Leyen Over Pfizer Contract (Pol.eu)

The top ranks of the European Parliament have slammed the door shut to a public cross-examination of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen over her personal role in negotiating a multibillion euro vaccine deal with Pfizer. Last month, lawmakers in the Parliament’s special committee on COVID-19 proposed to invite von der Leyen to answer questions on the EU’s largest vaccine contract, signed at the height of the pandemic. It was in the run-up to this contract that she is reported to have exchanged text messages with Pfizer’s Chief Executive Albert Bourla. However, at a closed-door meeting Thursday of the Conference of Presidents (CoP) — which includes the heads of all the political groups and the Parliament’s president — leaders refused the request to hold a public grilling.


Instead they decided to ask von der Leyen to answer questions in private at some point in the future, watering down the invitation to almost nothing. “It was agreed that CoP will be able to raise … [the Parliament’s COVID-19 committee’s] concerns in their next regular meeting with the president of the Commission,” said an EU official with knowledge of the confidential discussions. The European People’s Party MEP in the room, Siegfried Muresan, dismissed the suggestion that the group was protecting von der Leyen — also affiliated with the EPP — as a “conclusion in search of an argument.” “The broad consensus was that we’re in dialogue with her [and] that should continue in the formats that have worked so far and that we have established,” he told POLITICO.

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“Nancy Pelosi has contributed to destroying countless lives with her “insurrection” narrative and sham committee – And here is her daughter on camera saying it’s all a crock.”

Nancy Pelosi’s Daughter Caught on Tape Refuting J6 Narrative (GP)

In the video below, Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, Alexandra Pelosi, is meeting with a January 6 defendant she wanted desperately to be in her sham documentary. It is a meeting with this same J6 defendant and his attorney. Alexandra Pelosi asked the defendant numerous times to participate. He politely declined. The Gateway Pundit reached out to the January 6 defendant in this video to confirm the details in the recording. Alexandra Pelosi agreed to be recorded by the defendant. In this video, Alexandra Pelosi is on camera saying many very shocking things. She mocks the idea that January 6th was an insurrection and admits that DC is too biased to hold fair trials and that many J6ers would be found not guilty if their cases were handled anywhere else in the country, and much more.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1626678002602893335

This video has not yet been made public. This is an exclusive video for The Gateway Pundit audience. From our source: “I did a lot of due diligence making sure that the defendant who shot this video had permission to do so. I spoke with his attorney who provided me documentation that Alexandra agreed to be filmed if they met. I wanted to bring this to you before anybody else if you’re interested in featuring it. Nancy Pelosi has contributed to destroying countless lives with her “insurrection” narrative and sham committee – And here is her daughter on camera saying it’s all a crock.” Here are some of the key moments in the video where Alexandra makes some particularly audacious comments.


Key moments:
2:43: Pelosi: “The Shaman did noth(ing)… What did the Shaman do? He stood there.”
4:24: “After the Democrats lose the house, then they get rid of the committee, people may lose I think interest… no one is going to care after the democrats are out of power. And you take Biden out of office- then who cares!?”
4:50: “DC is a lot of people who work for the government. I don’t think they’re sympathetic. If you got it moved (changed trial jurisdiction from DC) you’d totally get off” (laughs while saying this)
6:50: “If there was an insurrection… you were supposed to have a plan!” “It was the sorriest insurrection in history”
8:11: “You’re going to be able to laugh about this one day”
14:53: Pelosi talks about her friendship with Gavin McInnes and laughs at the notion that Proud Boys are white supremacists.

Daughter Pelosi

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Why does the Guardian cover this all of a sudden?

Too Slow And Too Secret? Pace of Staley Investigation Undermines Trust (G.)

Three years after it began, the findings of a City watchdog investigation into whether the former Barclays chief executive Jes Staley gave a full account of his relationship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to the bank’s board are still pending. There is a risk that justice delayed may prove justice denied for the British public. Our system relies on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and other regulators to uphold the integrity and honesty of those who manage our money. The issue came to the fore again this week after the publication of allegations made in a court case brought by the US Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a home, against Staley’s former employer, JPMorgan Chase bank.

It is alleged by Virgin Islands prosecutors that Staley held discussions with Epstein in which they referred to women by the names of Disney princesses, that Epstein procured women for Staley, and that Epstein emailed his friend photos of young women in seductive poses. Staley is not a party to the lawsuit and denies the allegations. JP Morgan declined to comment on the latest allegations. It previously called for the lawsuit to be dismissed, claiming it did not participate in or benefit from sex trafficking by its former client. As allegations about Staley’s ties to Epstein have mounted, so too has the pressure on the Barclays board to justify why they backed him to stay on as chief executive in 2020. The implications of this case are broad, says Simon Learmount, professor in corporate governance at Cambridge Judge Business School:

“This is a really, really important case, not just because of what it may reveal about the Staley-Epstein relationship, but the questions it raises about the Barclays board and boards in general.” Establishing who knew what, and when, and how they responded, is the task that faces the FCA. Its probe not only looked at Staley’s disclosures to the Barclays board, but those the board subsequently made to the FCA. The preliminary findings – which have still not been made public and are subject to legal challenge – therefore speak not only to Staley’s integrity but also the board’s. That includes Nigel Higgins, who received Staley’s disclosures and who is still chair of Barclays. Yet despite the clear public interest in good governance at the top of a British bank of systemic importance, the public may never know the final conclusions of the FCA inquiry. If its preliminary findings are successfully challenged, they will not be disclosed.

[..]Epstein’s luxurious celebrity lifestyle and royal friendships, his death in prison after a previous conviction for soliciting sex from a minor, have all served to keep his name in the headlines. As Epstein’s one-time banker at Wall Street investment bank JPMorgan Chase, Staley has been the focus of attention too. The pair exchanged thousands of messages, many of which were handed over to the UK authorities by US counterparts. A spokesperson for Staley admitted, following an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, that he had made multiple trips to Epstein’s private island, Little St James, in 2020. It was in February that year that the Barclays board decided, following an internal investigation commissioned from the law firm Clifford Chance, which reviewed the emails, that it would stand full square behind Staley. The banker, who had arrived from the US in 2015 with a £10m pay package, had their “full confidence”.

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They’ll blame Trump for the whole thing.

Trump Announces Upcoming Visit to East Palestine, FEMA Reverses Course {(CTH)

The announcement by President Trump with his intent to visit East Palestine next Wednesday, followed moments later by a reversal announcement from FEMA stating they will now offer support to East Palestine, do not seem coincidental. The Biden administration, including the EPA, FEMA and Transporation Secretary, was likely very worried about the optics of getting blasted by President Trump very visibly next week for their lack of urgency and concern. Moments after Trump announces his visit, FEMA reverses their prior denial of aid. lol

Ohio train tracks
https://twitter.com/i/status/1625998479393783809

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Just hours after saying he “[did] not expect” members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be in East Palestine, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine now confirms the government entity will, in fact, be sending a crew to assist with the aftermath of the train derailment in the village. In a joint statement released Friday night, DeWine and FEMA Regional Administrator Thomas C. Sivak said the agency would deploy a Regional Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to Columbiana County starting Saturday, along with a senior response official. The workers will “support ongoing operations, including incident coordination and ongoing assessments of potential long-term recovery needs.”


[…] DeWine had previously requested federal help, and today the Department of Health and Human Services announced toxicologists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be journeying to East Palestine to assist with public health testing. However, the governor’s request for FEMA assistance was initially denied, with the agency apparently telling his office the current situation “[did] not quality for assistance.”

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Treehopper
https://twitter.com/i/status/1626574980644499465

 

 


“The incredible Gomesa Jiaho Queen orchid. It’s a hybrid originated by Jia Ho Orchids in 2018, being a cross breed of Gom. Mulattas’ Dancing and Gom. varicosa”

 

 

Black sea nettle

 

 

Frogfish

 

 

Lions
https://twitter.com/i/status/1626569203753926656

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 082023
 
 January 8, 2023  Posted by at 9:56 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  116 Responses »


Dorothea Lange On the road to Los Angeles, California 1937

 

What Have We Bargained for in Ukraine? (Dougherty)
Ukraine Running Out Of Time – Former US Officials (RT)
The WORST Political Upheaval EVER (Denninger)
The Right Played Hardball in Congress. The Left Should Take Notes. (Jacobin)
Twitter Fires More Censors (RT)
Zelensky Sanctions Over 100 Russian Public Figures (RT)
Adam Schiff and the Underbelly of American Censorship (Turley)
Trump Suggests Biden Provoked Putin Into Invading Ukraine (PM)
Donald Trump Slams Arrest Of Ashli Babbitt’s Mother (PM)
Kristi Noem Blasts Jan. 6 Committee After Social Security Numbers Leaked (CB)
Greece To Build Fence On Border With Türkiye (RT)
Every Fourth European Has Trouble Heating Their Home (RT)
Faced With A New Wave Of Covid, China Is Opening Its Borders (Zagorenko)
Switzerland Slated To Destroy Millions Of mRNA Vaccine Doses In 2023 (Eugyp)

 

 

 

 

Tucker Jan 6 – Excellent
https://twitter.com/i/status/1611972143482568704

 

 

 

 

Fauci
https://twitter.com/i/status/1611796697847308288

 

 

 

 

“They”

 

 

J6

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The dangers of the conflict are much greater than hawks would have us believe.”

What Have We Bargained for in Ukraine? (Dougherty)

‘Your money is not charity,” Volodymyr Zelensky told a joint session of the U.S. Congress a few weeks ago. “It is an investment in global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.” And many conservative hawks, hoping to hold back the rising tide of skepticism among Republicans, have echoed this line. After the speech, Representative Dan Crenshaw called the idea of ending aid to Ukraine “absurd” and said America had “made a pretty good investment here.” My friend and colleague Matthew Continetti writes that “securing America’s position and freedom’s future without direct intervention and for a rounding error in the federal budget is a strategic bargain. Ukraine needs more, not less, U.S. aid, and it needs it now.” In Commentary in November, Noah Rothman wrote that “Kyiv’s victories are our victories, too, insofar as they advance a core American national interest: preserving the stable European covenant that has blessed Western powers with the longest, most durable peace on the Continent in the modern age.”

This view holds that for pennies on the dollar, the U.S. has been able to preserve a democracy threatened by an authoritarian regime, cripple a rival military, strengthen the NATO alliance, prevent Vladimir Putin from an inevitable invasion of NATO territory, and scare off Xi Jinping from ever messing with Taiwan. For these conservatives, the policy preferred by Joe Biden and the Democrats is one whose costs are greatly outweighed by its benefits. Except, none of this is quite true. Crippling a rival military is only worthwhile when you have a strategic reason for doing so, and we conspicuously lack one. The NATO alliance’s duties have been radically expanded with no radical expansion in the share of the alliance’s burdens shouldered by Europe.

Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist project is at odds with the democratic and liberal-internationalist values that are used to sell the conflict abroad. The conflict’s financial and moral costs to the U.S. have been growing for nearly a decade, and taking on Ukraine as a permanent dependent will grow them even more. The arc of the conflict is just as likely to encourage as to discourage Xi in his pursuit of Taiwan, given the ways in which our enmeshment in Europe will deplete our attention, resources, and will to be the world’s cop. And finally, no conflict in this blood-stained area of the globe is a mom-and-pop bingo game in which you can cash out your modest investments at any time; Vladimir Putin and Russia have a say in how this ends.

The advocates for continued aid to Ukraine must downplay the costs involved, because support for continued aid began to drop precipitously when the Biden administration began briefing the press on our strategy. It didn’t help the hawks’ cause when retired general David Petraeus went on Sunday morning television and claimed that if Russia used a so-called tactical nuke in Ukraine, the U.S. would enter the war as a full belligerent, annihilate Russia’s army, and launch decapitation strikes on the Kremlin. It instead made people ask themselves how Russia would respond to such drastic countermeasures, and to shudder at the possible answers.

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Gates and Rice. A veiled push for more and faster.

Ukraine Running Out Of Time – Former US Officials (RT)

Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates have admitted that Ukraine’s economy and military are almost completely reliant on bailouts from the West, and barring a dramatic turnaround, its chances of victory are slipping away. Ukraine’s “economy is in a shambles,” the ex-diplomat and former Pentagon chief wrote in the Washington Post on Saturday. The country’s “military capability and economy are now dependent almost entirely on lifelines from the West,” they continued, arguing that should Ukraine fail to mount a successful offensive in the near future, President Zelensky will be pressured by the West to negotiate a ceasefire with Russian President Vladimir Putin – something the Ukrainian leader has repeatedly refused to consider.

With the frontline relatively static since autumn, Russian forces have ground down their Ukrainian opponents in fierce fighting near Bakhmut/Artyomovsk, with an American mercenary commander recently acknowledging that Ukraine is suffering “extraordinarily high casualties” in that sector, and Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Vadim Pristaiko, describing his side’s casualties as “huge” and “indigestible.” Kiev has publicly proclaimed that it plans a major offensive in the spring, but Rice and Gates wrote that Ukraine may have “weeks, not months” to stay in the fight. To that end, they advocated sending the country more and heavier weapons. Although the US has already allocated more than $110 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine since February, they said that Washington won’t send heavy tanks. Germany “and other allies” should fill this need instead, they argued.

The Biden administration announced on Friday that it would give Ukraine 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles – the most modern armor sent to Kiev so far – as part of a $3 billion weapons package. France also pledged a number of wheeled ‘light tanks’, and Germany promised 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles. Nevertheless, Kiev says it needs more. In an interview with The Economist last month, Ukrainian general Valery Zaluzhny said he would need 300 more tanks, up to 700 infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 howitzers to conduct offensive operations. This is more than the number of such vehicles in the entire British or German inventory. Russia, meanwhile, has repeatedly insisted that “pumping” Ukraine with weapons will ultimately have no effect on the outcome of the conflict and will only serve to prolong the hostilities and lead to more bloodshed.

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“..what’s going on now is in fact much less than we’ve come through before..”

The WORST Political Upheaval EVER (Denninger)

The polarization caused by the last three years didn’t come from a virus: It came from what so-called “leaders” did when the virus showed up and we, the people in this nation let them do every bit of it. The 2022 midterms were a clean demonstration of this and those actions were nasty in terms of their impact. Several states saw their margins of victory for either GOP or Democrat governors increase, not narrow, and yet the margin didn’t come from people shifting allegiance within the state; it came from migration either to or from said state. DeSantis and Lee both gained margin precisely because people left NY, Michigan, Illinois, California and other “Blue” states and moved to “Red” ones.

This had no value for DeSantis or Lee because once you win by one vote you have the same outcome as if you win by one million votes but that same shift meant that illogical repeat performances, such as Witmer, won as well because the GOP voters who left meant what remained was enough for her not to be fired. (While Pritzker also easily won that race was never really in doubt even if people didn’t leave Illinois, so I’m intentionally excluding it.) It didn’t help that the GOP ran candidates that were ridiculously outside of where mainstream public opinion is — for example, Michigan’s GOP ran a candidate opposed to abortion in all cases, including rape and incest. The GOP had to be out of its mind to do this, but do it they did and they lost.

At its core the problem, however, does not lie there: It lies in the destruction of norms that society has relied on. Don’t kid yourself no matter who screams about it: Without heterosexual reproduction and the resilience afforded by stable, two-parent homes as an “ordinary and normal” thing society eventually collapses because without a productive next generation you have nothing. Have we put any thought into this and how to at least move things back toward a more-stable outcome in that regard, and thus are we inevitably consigned to a hellscape and collapse? It’s easy to argue “No. Not one bit.” But I’ll take the other side of that wager simply because what’s going on now is in fact much less than we’ve come through before, and the pendulum will, with a high degree of probability, swing back the other way.

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The left, WITH the media, and WITH intel, played hardball since 2015. But that was never a problem.

The Right Played Hardball in Congress. The Left Should Take Notes. (Jacobin)

Kevin McCarthy has been at the head of the Republican’s House caucus since 2019. In any other ordinary year, the position of Speaker of the House would have been his almost automatically following the Republicans’ narrow victory in last year’s midterm election. But a small group on the party’s right wing turned a coronation into a multi-round fight. Twenty congressmembers were at the core of the right-wing rebellion; all but one are connected to the House Freedom Caucus, the ideological home of the party’s rightmost flank. These Republicans are notorious for their support of Donald Trump and the January 6 riots. They deserve every decent person’s scorn. But when it comes to tactics, one has to admit that they know how to play.

Desperate for their support, McCarthy had to give on issue after issue. McCarthy folded early on policy questions. He fought against the 2022 lame-duck spending bill, a core right-wing priority. He called for the resignation or impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, a target of the Right’s ire. McCarthy also agreed to create a new subcommittee in the House Judiciary Committee to investigate the “weaponization” of the federal government by the Biden administration and the FBI and CIA. More significant in the long term, he also agreed to rules changes and committee assignments that will dramatically strengthen the Right’s hand.

McCarthy agreed to add three members from the Freedom Caucus to the House Rules Committee. That will allow the far right to help shape the issues to be considered by the House. McCarthy’s own PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, agreed not to intervene in open primaries against far-right candidates. McCarthy agreed to bring back the Holman Rule, which allows legislators to propose defunding specific federal programs, to fire specific federal officials, and to slash officials’ pay. Most significantly, he agreed to bring back the “motion to vacate the chair,” which will allow just one Republican to call for a snap vote to remove the speaker. This is a rule that the right wing previously used to remove John Boehner. Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a leading conspiracy theorist from the Republican fringe, extracted a much sought-after seat on the House Oversight Committee from McCarthy in return for her support.

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It would appear there’s still tons of them left.

Twitter Fires More Censors (RT)

The social network has fired at least a dozen employees responsible for handling the “misinformation policy, global appeals and state media” at its Dublin and Singapore offices, Bloomberg reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the latest in a series of radical reforms conducted by the company’s new CEO Elon Musk. Twitter’s head of Trust and Safety, Ella Irwin, told the publication that in order to “consolidate teams,” the company only eliminated duplicate positions and cut jobs with not enough workload to justify their existence. The Friday’s cuts reportedly affected the head of site integrity for Twitter’s Asia-Pacific region, Nur Azhar Bin Ayob, and senior director of revenue policy, Analuisa Dominguez, while others asked not to be identified.

In a separate statement to Reuters, Irwin admitted some fresh cuts in her department, but said that the company still has “thousands of people” responsible for content moderation and has “not made cuts to the teams that do that work daily.” After finalizing his purchase of Twitter for $44 billion in October, Musk acknowledged that bankruptcy was a possibility for the social media giant if it does not start generating more cash. In an attempt to cut costs, he fired half of the company’s staff, including most of the top executives and ordered the remaining employees to stop working from home. All in all, an estimated two-thirds of the company’s employees and contractors globally were laid off, fired or quit.

As the site’s new owner, Musk also pushed to scale back content restrictions, vowing to make Twitter a refuge for free speech, while ushering in a range of policy changes which triggered backlash from the media establishment and its celebrity allies. He reactivated the accounts of dozens of its more controversial users and began sharing internal company communications hinting at a massive political conspiracy between the US administration, intelligence agencies and the Big Tech platforms to censor politically inconvenient stories, opinions and people. The billionaire appeared to acknowledge that not everyone supported his recent political diversions this week, polling his followers as to whether he should “stay out of politics” or “keep shooting his feet.” He later joked, that “if I dig my grave deep enough, maybe it comes out the other side of Earth.”

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Everybody just sanctions and censors.

Zelensky Sanctions Over 100 Russian Public Figures (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree on Saturday, imposing personal sanctions on some 119 Russian public figures. Kiev’s new blacklist includes prominent artists and journalists. Ukraine sanctioned Oscar-winning film director Nikita Mikhalkov, pop singer Philipp Kirkorov, as well as stand-up comedian Evgeny Petrosyan and opera star Anna Netrebko. Kiev also targeted a number of Russian journalists, including RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan and head of the Rossiya Segodnya media group Dmitry Kiselyov. The restrictions imposed for a 10-year period include freeze of assets, travel and visa bans, stripping of Ukrainian state awards, and some other measures. Kiev has repeatedly sanctioned Russian officials and public figures amid the ongoing conflict, with hundreds of them blacklisted already.


Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.” Shortly before the hostilities broke out, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Last September, Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, were incorporated into Russia following referendums.

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“We don’t do this.”

Adam Schiff and the Underbelly of American Censorship (Turley)

“We don’t do this.” That response from Twitter to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is a singular indictment, coming at the height of Twitter’s censorship operations. Apparently, there were some things that even Twitter’s censors refused to do. One of those things was silencing critics of Schiff and his House committee. In the latest tranche of “Twitter Files,” journalist Matt Taibbi revealed that Twitter balked at Schiff’s demand that Twitter suspend an array of posters or label their content as “misinformation” and “reduce the visibility” of them. Among those who Schiff secretly tried to censor was New York Post columnist Paul Sperry. Sperry drew Schiff’s ire by writing about a conversation allegedly overheard by one of his sources.

Sperry’s article, which appeared in RealClearInvestigations, cited two sources as overhearing two White House staffers discussing how to remove newly-elected President Trump from office. The article raised the possibility of bias on the part of an alleged key player in launching the first Trump impeachment, CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella. The sources reportedly said that Ciaramella was in a conversation with Sean Misko, a holdover from the Obama administration who later joined Schiff’s staff. The conversation — in Sperry’s words — showed that “just days after [Trump] was sworn in they were already trying to get rid of him.” Rather than simply refute the allegation, Schiff wanted Sperry and other critics silenced.

His office reportedly laid out steps to cleanse Twitter of their criticism, including an instruction to “remove any and all content about Mr. Misko and other Committee staff from its service — to include quotes, retweets, and reactions to that content.” The date of Schiff’s non-public letter in November 2020 is notable: Earlier that year, I wrote a column for The Hill criticizing Schiff for pushing for censorship of misinformation in a letter that he sent to social media companies. His office promptly objected to the very suggestion that Schiff supported censorship. We now know Schiff was actively seeking to censor specific critics on social media. These likely were viewed as more than “requests” since Schiff was sending public letters threatening possible legislative action against these same companies. He wanted his critics silenced on social media. After all, criticizing his investigations or staff must, by definition, be misinformation — right?

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US was building up Ukraine under Trump presidency too.

Trump Suggests Biden Provoked Putin Into Invading Ukraine (PM)

Saturday night, speaking from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, former President Donald Trump suggested that Joe Biden influenced Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine in February 2022. Speaking of Biden, Trump said in video posted by Jack Posobiec on Instagram, “We have a man who has no mind left and his mind in prime time wasn’t any good, but he has no mind left. And this is the guy negotiating for us. We have a man that convinced Putin to go into Ukraine.” “Because if you look at the psychology that he used, it’s the exact opposite,” Trump said in reference to Biden’s January 2022 comments referring to Putin’s expansion into Ukraine as a “minor incursion.”

Biden said during a press conference before Putin invaded Ukraine, “I think what you’re gonna see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades. And it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, etc.” “Putin would have never ever gone in,” Trump said and remarked of Biden, “he knew the ramifications.” “Do you remember when Biden said, well they might take some small parts of Ukraine,” Trump said in reference to the “minor incursion” remarks. “That was what Putin wanted to hear. That there would be no problem if you take some parts of Ukraine,” Trump added.

Trump had been speaking of the war in Ukraine and the escalating conflict, including the danger of nuclear war. Trump referred to nuclear as the second “n-word” you should never say. The US has sent over $60 billion to Ukraine to aid in their ongoing war with their Russian invaders since February 2022. Congress is set to greenlight more money for Ukraine as President Volodymyr Zelensky asks the US for continued aid.

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A very dark side of America.

Donald Trump Slams Arrest Of Ashli Babbitt’s Mother (PM)

Speaking at an event at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday evening, Donald Trump slammed the Biden regime over the arrest of Ashli Babbitt’s mother. Ashli Babbitt was killed by a United States Capitol Police officer on Jan. 6. Witthoeft was arrested outside of the Capitol on Friday, the two-year anniversary of her daughter’s death. Trump brought up the arrest during a special CPAC event at Mar-a-Lago, pointing to the weaponization of law enforcement under the Biden regime. “We have a weaponized country right now with law enforcement. It’s a disgrace what’s happening to our country. Ashli Babbitt’s mother was arrested yesterday, because she was protesting the death of her daughter being shot by a lunatic who got a record of— not so good.

“And then they try and protect him and they do things— what they’ve done to that family. That they shot her, there was no reason, and then they arrested— because the mother was in a group— and they arrested yesterday the mother of Ashli Babbitt. So she loses her daughter and then on top of it, she gets arrested. “We’re not gonna let this go on. We’re not gonna let this go. on these people are horrible, horrible. And what they’ve done to protest us. I mean, these were protesters, they were protesting a dishonest election. “And whenever you mentioned that they don’t want to ever talk to you because they don’t want to have that out there. The one thing they don’t want to talk about is a dishonest election. Because they know and they’ve been caught.”

In footage circulated on social media by streamer Woke Societies, Micki Witthoeft was seen being handcuffed and taken into custody by multiple police officers while onlookers protested. “You murdered [Ashli] inside the Capitol, now you’re going to arrest her?” one onlooker said. “I did not murder her daughter,” one officer replied in front of the crowd of people. On Jan. 6, 2021, Babbitt, an unarmed Air Force veteran, was fatally shot by Lt. Michael Byrd. while attempting to make entry into the interior of the Capitol Building. According to The National Pulse’s Raheem Kassam, Witthoeft was arrested for “jaywalking.”

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That leak feels like warfare.

Kristi Noem Blasts Jan. 6 Committee After Social Security Numbers Leaked (CB)

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem blasted members of the now-disbanded House Jan. 6 Committee after her Social Security number, along those of her family members, were allegedly leaked to the public. In a tweet, the GOP governor appeared to suggest she would take legal action against members. “My lawyers have asked the @WhiteHouse, the @USNatArchives, and @BennieGThompson which of them is responsible for leaking the Social Security Numbers of me, my husband, my 3 kids, and my son-in-law,” she tweeted on Friday, in a post that included images of a letter her attorneys have sent to the aforementioned parties. “What specific measures and remedies will be taken to protect our identities?” — Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) January 6, 2023

The Washington Times reported the leak: “The recently sunsetted House Jan. 6 committee released Trump White House visitor logs from December 2020 containing nearly 2,000 unreacted Social Security numbers. At least three of the numbers, inadvertently leaked as part of the hoard of documents the committee posted online in recent weeks, belonged to members of Trump’s cabinet others. Several Republican governors and floods of other Trump allies have been caught up in the privacy breach. “House Jan. 6 Committee leaks thousands of Trump allies’ Social Security numbers: Report — The Washington Times (@WashTimes) January 7, 2023”

The document was taken down on Wednesday, according to the Washington Post, which first reported the leak, but the Government Publishing Office, which was responsible for posting the file online, does not appear to have notified the individuals whose private information was leaked. Attorneys for Noem demanded to know “how the breach of privacy occurred, who was responsible, what steps each of you has taken to remedy the breach, and what specific measures and remedies will be taken to protect Governor Noem and her family in light of the public dissemination of their private information and the heightened risk for identity theft and any other future privacy violations.” Ian Fury, a spokesman for the governor, said, “To my knowledge, we were not notified. The governor was not notified” of the leak, Slay News noted.

Former Trump Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, whose information was also leaked, told the Washington Post: “Whether it was a careless and sloppy handling of records or a deliberate disregard of decorum, either scenario is a perfunctory and callous display of government and a frightening reminder of the current state in Washington. … President Reagan was a savant indeed — the nine most frightening words to hear are ‘I am from the government and here to help.’”

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What good will it do?

Greece To Build Fence On Border With Türkiye (RT)

Greece is planning to build a new 140-km fence to cover its whole European border with neighboring Türkiye in an effort to contain the significant flows of illegal migrants, Minister of Citizen Protection Takis Theodorikakos has announced. Construction of the first 35-km span of the new fence is set to begin “immediately,” the official told the broadcaster SKAI on Saturday. “It is a final decision of the government to create a 140-kilometer fence on the Evros [River],” Theodorikakos stated. Greece and Türkiye share an approximately 200-km common border in Europe that runs primarily along the Evros River, yet there is a stretch of dry land between the two countries. Greece already has concrete and barbed wire barrier installed at over 40km of the border, namely along the span near the Turkish city of Edirne. The fence was originally erected in 2012 and was extended in 2021.


The Evros River on its own has not proven to be a sufficiently challenging obstacle for illegal migrants, Theodorikakos noted, with the eponymous province remaining a hotspot for irregular crossings. “In Evros, the Greek police, with their deployment, have prevented the illegal invasion of the country by 256,000 illegal immigrants,” the minister said without providing a time span for this “invasion.” Over the past year, the EU has seen the highest level of illegal migration since the 2015-2016 migrant crisis. According to the latest figures by Frontex, the bloc’s border agency, some 308,000 “irregular entries” were detected across the external borders of the EU during the first 11 months of 2022, constituting a sharp 68% increase from the same period in 2021. The Western Balkan and Central Mediterranean routes have seen the most illegal migrant traffic over the past year, according to Frontex.

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Just the poor parts.

Every Fourth European Has Trouble Heating Their Home (RT)

More than a quarter of Europeans are experiencing problems heating their homes and paying debts for housing and utilities, the Hungarian media reported on Friday citing a survey by the Szazadveg think tank. According to the survey, dubbed Europe Project, 26% of EU residents, or roughly 100 million people, are unable to properly heat their homes. Greeks appeared to be the worst affected, with 56% of the population facing difficulties with heating. In Portugal and France, 34% of residents described the same problems. Finland, Hungary, Austria and Denmark were the least affected, with less than 15% of residents admitting to difficulties. Every fourth respondent in the survey said they were unable to pay their heating bill at least once during the past year.


That figure was also the highest in Greece, with 51% of the population affected, followed by Cyprus with 37%, Ireland and Bulgaria, with 35% each. The respondents blamed inflation for their problems, as rising prices on everything from energy to food impact their ability to pay bills. According to the survey, heating bills have become far less affordable than in 2021. The authors noted that in 2021, based on data from Europe’s official statistics agency Eurostat, only 6.9% of European households (some 29.9 million people) were unable to adequately heat their homes, and 6.4% struggled with paying bills. The survey was conducted among 38,000 randomly selected European adults between October 13 and December 7, 2022. The research covered the EU, UK, Norway, Switzerland, Moldova, Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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No other choice?!

Faced With A New Wave Of Covid, China Is Opening Its Borders (Zagorenko)

The situation is now much less dire. The authorities can focus on protecting the elderly and improving the nation’s immunity. A new push to get more people vaccinated has already been announced, although the corresponding official document does not go into specifics about how the authorities will go about it. Besides, people are much more aware of the virus and of the methods of protection. Pedestrians still go about their days in masks, still take care with hygiene and still avoid unnecessary close contacts. And more freedom does not mean that people will go out of their way to get infected. As one local Twitter user pointed out: “So in Beijing, now that everyone is free to go anywhere, ppl are exercising that right by staying at home.”

The hardest test of the new lighter rules begins on January 8, when China reopens its borders. People will be able to enter and leave the country freely and, soon after that, the Spring Festival trips will begin in earnest. Travel to and from will not be the same as before, at least at first. A number of countries, including the US, UK, France, and Spain, now have mandatory testing of everyone arriving from China to prevent the virus from spreading further. However, even if the number of daily cases rises for a short time, the world is much less vulnerable to Covid now.

China will still need to carefully weigh each step on its path towards the pre-pandemic normal. The rules might change once again and there might be setbacks or new local lockdowns. However, the process of making life easier and more predictable for a large part of the world has begun. The protests might have brought these changes about sooner than expected, or they might have simply happened at the right time. Whatever the case, China was bound to change its policy sooner or later. After all, no emergency can last forever.

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“..nervously awaiting the delivery of a further 2 million in the coming weeks, and surely lamenting that 11.6 million more are scheduled to arrive by the end of 2023..”

Switzerland Slated To Destroy Millions Of mRNA Vaccine Doses In 2023 (Eugyp)

Switzerland, home to less than 9 million people, is one of the biggest mRNA vaccine customers in the world relative to population. The’ve already received a staggering 33 million Covid vaccine doses, only a little over half of which were ever administered. The small country is now sitting on 13.5 million doses, nervously awaiting the delivery of a further 2 million in the coming weeks, and surely lamenting that 11.6 million more are scheduled to arrive by the end of 2023. The vast majority of these will sit for some months in freezers before the Swiss Confederation destroys them. The country already binned more than eleven million doses last year, the greater part of them after a deal to supply surplus snake oil to the third world via the failed Covax initiative fell through because nobody in Africa wants this stuff either.


Vaccine credulity may still be the mainstream, politically acceptable position, but revealed preferences show that enormous majorities everywhere are done with mass vaccination. Pharmaceutical executives can sing their doubtful hymns to the miraculous safety and efficacy of their jabs, but the quiet worldwide rejection of their garbage products is a stinging rebuke, suggesting that billions across the world harbour unexpressed scepticism towards the mRNA Covid vaccines. From here, it is only downhill for the vaccinators.

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