May 292024
 


Henri Matisse The pink studio 1911

 

Biden Seeks War With Russia To Boost Approval Rating – Seymour Hersh (TASS)
NATO Training for Nuclear Strike on Russian Territory – Top Official (Sp.)
US Endgame in Ukraine — War Without End, Amen (Patrick Lawrence)
A Pervasive Fear Settled In: Dems Are Absolutely Freaking Out Over Biden (ZH)
Russia’s Unmatched EW Success Against Western Weapons in Ukraine (Sp.)
US Military Experts: NATO Can’t Take on Russia or Prevent Ukraine’s Defeat (Sp.)
Zelensky No Longer Legitimate Leader of Ukraine – Putin (RT)
Judge Aileen Cannon Denies Jack Smith’s Request for Gag Order vs Trump (ET)
Trump’s Final Argument Must Be Clarity to Chaos in Merchan’s Courtroom (Turley)
You Can’t Convict or Imprison Based on the Words of a Convicted Liar (Taft)
Trump, Biden Escalate Attacks on RFK Jr (ET)
Israeli Spy Chief ‘Threatened And Stalked’ ICC Prosecutor – Guardian (RT)
Germany Drops Controversial Military Draft Plans (RT)
Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World (Prashad)

 

 

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Trump Assange

 

 

 

 

Aileen Cannon

 

 

Social contract

 

 

Prince

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..a president of war always gets better ratings than a president not at war..”

Biden Seeks War With Russia To Boost Approval Rating – Seymour Hersh (TASS)

US President Joe Biden may want to go to war with Russia to raise his approval rating ahead of the presidential election in the country, US Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh said in an interview with Davidekyo YouTube Channel. “I don’t know why. But one thing I can tell you about presidents – they (members of Joe Biden’s administration – TASS) have noted that the presidents like Lincoln and Roosevelt who win wars, become famous presidents, great presidents. So they always have that itch, and particularly a president of war always gets better ratings than a president not at war,” the journalist opined.

In late April, Joe Biden signed a bill passed by Congress to resume arms deliveries to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. The package was worth $95 billion. It includes $61 billion for Ukraine. The statement released by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it was the fifth security assistance package that Biden had authorized “since signing the national security supplemental.” According to Blinken, the weapons from previous packages have already been handed over to Kiev. Washington “will move this new assistance as quickly as possible,” the press release said. Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated that sending more weapons to Ukraine will not bring a change in the situation on the front, but will merely drag out the conflict.

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Go. Away. You are nuts.

NATO Training for Nuclear Strike on Russian Territory – Top Official (Sp.)

NATO is training to strike Russian territory with nuclear weapons near its borders, the head of the border service of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Vladimir Kulishov, told Sputnik. “Near the Russian border, NATO’s reconnaissance activities are increasing, the intensity of operational combat training of the alliance’s troops is growing, during which scenarios for conducting combat operations against the Russian Federation, including the launch of nuclear strikes on our territory, are being worked out,” he said. The top official added that the situation requires “taking appropriate steps to protect and secure our borders.” Russian border guards together with the Sever Battlegroup have thwarted 29 attempts of Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance groups to infiltrate Russian territory in the Bryansk, Kursk, and Belgorod Regions as well as the Crimean Republic since February 2022, Vladimir Kulishov told Sputnik.

Meanwhile, the number of missile and artillery strikes on Russian territory is increasing and drone attacks on Russia’s military, transport, energy and social infrastructure are becoming more intense, Kulishov said, adding that the victims of such terrorist attacks are mainly civilians, including the elderly and children. He also noted that in 2023, more than 5,500 attempts to enter Russia by individuals associated with international terrorist and extremist organizations, as well as special services and armed formations of Ukraine, were prevented. Russian border guards downed over 1,300 Ukrainian drones that violated the Russian border in 2023, striking more than half of them by means of electronic warfare, the head of the Border Service of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Vladimir Kulishov, told Sputnik.

“Means of combating unmanned aircraft systems have long been used by the border services … In 2023, border guards shot down over 1,300 drones that violated the state border from Ukrainian territory, with more than half by electronic warfare equipment,” Kulishov said. The development of unmanned aviation and marine systems and anti-drone technologies will remain promising areas of technical equipment for border authorities, he also said. Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has destroyed Ukraine’s 23,600 drones, 500 surface-to-air missile systems, 590 military aircraft, 270 helicopters, 15,890 tanks and other armored vehicles, 1,200 rocket launchers, 9,200 field artillery weapons and mortars, as well as 21,400 tactical vehicles, the Russian Defense Ministry said in early May.

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“What happens when a powerful nation cannot afford to lose a war it has already lost?”

US Endgame in Ukraine — War Without End, Amen (Patrick Lawrence)

[..] the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU)’s rapid retreat bears a strong whiff of final defeat wafting in from not so far off in the distance. “Several Ukrainian combat brigades have not defected, or considered doing so,” Seymour Hersh, quoting his customary “I have been told” sources, reported in his newsletter last week, “but have made it known to their superiors that they will no longer participate in what would be a suicidal offensive against a better trained and better equipped Russian force.” Brigades average 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers each and can run to 8,000 or even more. Hersh’s report suggests that a considerable number of Ukrainian troops, and maybe a very considerable number, are now effectively in mutiny against the AFU’s high command. In evident response to Russia’s swift new incursion and the direction of the war altogether, the well-coordinated if not very artful American propaganda machine has begun preparing the public for a wider war that is to extend, as a matter of policy and military strategy, into Russian territory. This effort began with a New York Times interview with Volodymyr Zelensky, which was videoed and published in last Wednesday’s editions.

This document is plainly intended to appeal to kale-consuming, Biden-supporting liberals who must be assured of the Ukrainian president’s just-like-us humanity and good judgment. He talked about his children and his dogs — there must be dogs in this sort of imagery — and how he reads fiction every night but is too tired to get very far. But the core point, beyond the window dressing, was to insist that it is time to begin bombing Russian territory and that the Biden regime must reverse its prohibition of such operations. A key passage: “So my question is, what’s the problem? Why can’t we shoot them down? Is it defense? Yes. Is it an attack on Russia? No. Are you shooting down Russian planes and killing Russian pilots? No. So what’s the issue with involving NATO countries in the war? There is no such issue. Shoot down what’s in the sky over Ukraine. And give us the weapons to use against Russian forces on the borders.”

Zelensky, a television actor we must not forget, has played this role on numerous occasions: Badger us for tanks, planes, long-range artillery, and missiles, the script written in Washington reads, and we will hesitate briefly before granting you your pressing needs as you defend democracy, the free world, and all those other “values” in the Cold War inventory. Two days later, two, the Times reported exclusively that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, returning from “a sobering visit to Kyiv,” has of a sudden decided it is indeed time to broaden the war in the direction of a direct confrontation with Russia. The byline on this piece is worth noting: It belongs to David Sanger, who typically writes this kind of deep-inside piece because he is by all appearances so unwholesomely deep inside. “There is now a vigorous debate inside the administration over relaxing the ban,” our David reports, “to allow the Ukrainians to hit missile and artillery launch sites just over the border in Russia—targets that Mr. Zelensky says have enabled Moscow’s recent territorial gains.”

See what I mean by artless? The one-two of this perception-management op has all the finesse of the old MAD magazine. I am beginning to take offense, honestly. If I am going to be subjected to incessant propaganda, I demand, I absolutely demand that it is sufficiently sophisticated to be at least entertaining. In between the Zelensky interview and the Sanger report, the Russophobes in Congress wasted no time tucking into this operation. Michael McCaul, the Texas Republican who ranks with Tom Cotton among the prominent dummköpfe populating Capitol Hill, pounced partisanly last Wednesday. McCaul, who chairs (I can hardly believe this) the House Foreign Affairs Committee, stood before a map that showed — my best count — 50 or so targets in Russian territory. And there he went for a twofer, arguing in favor of removing restrictions on the deployment of U.S. weapons while turning the question into a boringly pointless attack on the Biden regime. Have a listen:

“We have a really bad situation going on, as you know. This is a sanctuary zone they [Russians] have created…. However, your administration and Jake Sullivan [sic] have restricted the arms use so that Ukraine cannot defend itself and fire back at Russia. That’s why I mandated the attacks in the supplemental [the aid package Biden signed into law last month], the long-range, the short range, and the HIMARS that your administration is tying their hands arms behind their back.” Never mind the incoherence. A sanctuary? The Russians have created a sanctuary on their own soil? What kind of language is this? What is running through McCaul’s odd mind, the Cambodian border in the spring of 1969, Operation Menu? Let us all declare we feel unsafe as we realize what these people are talking about and what they are risking. Any allowance for expanded use of U.S.–made weapons against Russian targets, which will require American personnel on the ground in Ukraine, will unambiguously escalate the proxy war into a direct conflict between the U.S. and the Russian Federation. Quagmire, anyone?

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“..If the frame of this race is, ‘What was better, the 3.5 years under Biden or four years under Trump,’ we lose that every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”

A Pervasive Fear Settled In: Dems Are Absolutely Freaking Out Over Biden (ZH)

While keeping in mind the old adage “It’s not the votes that count, but who counts the votes,” Democrats are absolutely freaking out about what a dumpster fire Joe Biden is heading into the 2024 election. According to Politico, “A pervasive sense of fear has settled in at the highest levels of the Democratic Party over President Joe Biden’s reelection prospects, even among officeholders and strategists who had previously expressed confidence about the coming battle with Donald Trump.” And while Democrats have spent 2024 on a “joyless and exhausting grind,” now, nearly five months away from the election, “anxiety has morphed into palpable trepidation,” according to more than a dozen party leaders and operatives who spoke with the outlet. “You don’t want to be that guy who is on the record saying we’re doomed, or the campaign’s bad or Biden’s making mistakes. Nobody wants to be that guy,” said one Democratic operative close to the White House, adding that Biden’s terrible polling “are creating the freakout.”

“This isn’t, ‘Oh my God, Mitt Romney might become president.’ It’s ‘Oh my God, the democracy might end.’” the source added, dramatically. The freakout comes as Trump leads in 5 key states, while young and nonwhite voters are shifting allegiances. And while the White House isn’t yet facing reality, Democratic strategists are telling it like it is… But Democratic critics of the campaign’s approach — while agreeing that abortion should be a winning issue — said they’re challenged when pressed by friends to make the case for why Biden will win. “There’s still a path to win this, but they don’t look like a campaign that’s embarking on that path right now,” said Pete Giangreco, a longtime Democratic strategist who’s worked on multiple presidential campaigns. “If the frame of this race is, ‘What was better, the 3.5 years under Biden or four years under Trump,’ we lose that every day of the week and twice on Sunday.” -Politico. And then we have this suspected offworlder, former Clinton strategist James Carville, who says Democrat messaging is full of shit:

Politico then notes that Trump has been eating away at Biden’s lead in ‘safe’ blue states, conducting what they called “psychological warfare” in New York, California and New Jersey (dramatic!). Trump, meanwhile, has already started his incursion into safe blue states. His campaign’s psychological warfare in New York, California and New Jersey — where House districts will determine control of Congress’ lower chamber — is spiking Democrats’ already-elevated blood pressure. “New York Democrats need to wake up,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “The number of people in New York, including people of color that I come across who are saying positive things about Trump, is alarming.” Meanwhile, Trump is crushing Biden when it comes to fundraising – having raised $25 million last month, not including a record-setting $50.5 million haul from an event in Palm Beach, Florida.

“The list of why we ‘could’ win is so small I don’t even need to keep the list on my phone,” one Democratic adviser told the outlet. And of course, the Biden campaign is playing dumb (or they’re just dumb. We’ll go with that.): “Trump’s photo-ops and PR stunts may get under the skin of some very serious D.C. people as compelling campaigning, but they will do nothing to win over the voters that will decide this election,” said campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz. “The work we do every day on the ground and on the airwaves in our battleground states — to talk about how President Biden is fighting for the middle class against the corporate greed that’s keeping prices high, and highlight Donald Trump’s anti-American campaign for revenge and retribution and abortion bans — is the work that will again secure us the White House.” Keep telling yourself that, Kevin.

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Jamming works.

Russia’s Unmatched EW Success Against Western Weapons in Ukraine (Sp.)

“Russia has the most capable electronic warfare systems in the world with the longest range and most powerful GPS and radio frequency jammers of any nation,” David T. Pyne, an EMP task force scholar and former US Department of Defense officer, told Sputnik. Pyne said he had been impressed by “the speed at which Russian long-range jammers have been able to adapt to jamming new US and NATO weapon systems that have been introduced into the [Ukraine] conflict.” Russian EW systems “have proven effective at causing 90% of guided missile and drone systems supplied by the US to Ukraine to miss their target, most importantly HIMARS [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System],” according to the ex-Pentagon officer. He suggested that Russian GPS jammers “will likely prove increasingly effective against the recently supplied extended range US ATACMS [Army Tactical Missile System] missiles as well.”

Additionally, Russian jamming systems “are likely proving increasingly effective against US supplied Ukrainian air defense systems including Patriot and Hawk [interceptor] missiles enabling Russia to increase its air superiority over Ukraine,” – something that is contributing significantly to the ongoing offensive by Russian troops in several areas of the front line, Pyne stressed. Earlier this month, the Washington Post, citing Ukrainian commanders and a Ukrainian military research project, reported that the Russian army’s jamming systems had disrupted the accuracy of some of Ukraine’s US-supplied precision-guided weapons, prompting Ukrainian forces to stop using them on the battlefield.

The US and its NATO allies stepped up arms deliveries to the Kiev regime shortly after the Russian special military operation began. Moscow has repeatedly warned that such deliveries would only exacerbate the conflict in Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, for his part, said that any cargo containing weapons for Ukraine would become a legitimate target for Russian forces.

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“All the [NATO] countries would have to switch their economies over from a service economy to a full production wartime economy. And they’re not capable of it..”

US Military Experts: NATO Can’t Take on Russia or Prevent Ukraine’s Defeat (Sp.)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told The Economist on May 24 that Western countries should lift their respective bans on Ukraine using their weapons inside Russia. The newspaper alleged that Stoltenberg’s target was US President Joe Biden’s policy of limiting Ukraine’s use of ATACMS long-range missiles and other weapons inside Russia except for Crimea and the nation’s new territories admitted in September 2022. On May 27, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) – the consultative interparliamentary entity – passed Declaration 489 which urges the bloc’s members to “lift some restrictions” on the use of their weapons by the Kiev regime against Russia’s “legitimate targets.” NATO PA representatives from nine countries have reportedly not supported the initiative. Earlier, Italy and Germany spoke against the proposal that could lead to the outbreak of a major war between Russia and NATO.

The Biden administration has not granted Ukraine a free hand in using its arms against Russia, either. “The United States has made it clear that it too does not support the lifting of restrictions using American weapons,” Scott Ritter, a military analyst and former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, told Sputnik. “There is some debate, discussion and dialog inside the United States to reverse this policy. But, at the present moment, the United States continues to impose restrictions.” However, it’s up to NATO member states to decide whether to authorize the use of their weapons by Ukraine against Russia, despite Stoltenberg’s calls or NATO PA’s non-binding declarations.

Ritter pointed out that “NATO as an institution is not preparing for a larger war with Russia.” He referred to the fact that so far NATO has conducted a policy to avoid escalation of the Ukraine conflict and prevent a full-fledged confrontation with Russia. The crux of the matter is that NATO member states are unprepared for a war with Russia, according to Michael Maloof, former senior security policy analyst in the US Office of the Secretary of Defense. “All the [NATO] countries would have to switch their economies over from a service economy to a full production wartime economy. And they’re not capable of it. They can’t sustain it. It would take years for them to do that,” Maloof told Sputnik.

“I think you’re going to see European countries [leaders] like [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orban and others that are probably going to begin to chime in here to say, you know, we’ve had enough of this. I think Italy is already beginning to make noises in the same direction as well as Germany, in addition to Orban,” the former Pentagon analyst continued. The pundits believe that support for the use of NATO-grade weapons by Ukraine stems from the transatlantic alliance’s desperation over the Kiev regime’s continuous military failures. In early May, French President Emmanuel Macron told The Economist that Paris could put boots on the ground in Ukraine if frontlines are broken and Kiev officially requests such assistance. Almost at the same time, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron told Reuters that Britain had given the Kiev regime permission to strike targets on Russian territory with weapons it provided.

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“..the only legitimate authority in the country now belongs to the Verkhovna Rada, its legislature..”

Zelensky No Longer Legitimate Leader of Ukraine – Putin (RT)

The only legitimate authority in Ukraine is now the parliament, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday after Vladimir Zelensky’s official term as the country’s head of state expired last week. Speaking at a press conference following a two-day official visit to Uzbekistan, Putin stressed that there is no article in Ukraine’s constitution that says anything about extending the powers of the president, and suggested that a deep legal analysis of Zelensky’s status should be carried out. Zelensky has argued that his powers as Ukraine’s leader are extended due to the fact that the country is currently under martial law and that no presidential elections can be held during wartime.

However, Putin has noted that the Ukrainian constitution does not make any mention of presidential elections being suspended and only explicitly prohibits holding parliamentary elections, meaning that the term of the Ukrainian Rada can be extended in such circumstances. Putin admitted that Ukraine’s mobilization law does specifically state that no presidential elections may be held during wartime, but stressed that nothing is said in this law about extending the president’s term in office. Putin argued, citing Article 111 of the Ukrainian Constitution, that in light of this, the supreme presidential power should be transferred to the parliament’s speaker, and that the only legitimate authority in the country now belongs to the Verkhovna Rada, its legislature.

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All gag orders must be scrapped. The Supreme Court must ban them.

Judge Aileen Cannon Denies Jack Smith’s Request for Gag Order vs Trump (ET)

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon on Tuesday denied a gag order request submitted by special counsel Jack Smith in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case. Over the past weekend, Mr. Smith’s team asked Judge Cannon to impose a gag order after President Trump had claimed that recently released discovery documents showed that the FBI agents were armed and were prepared to shoot him during the August 2022 search of his Mar-a-Lago property. The FBI last week, however, disputed those claims and said the documents merely suggested the agents were following bureau rules around search warrants. In a paperless order, Judge Cannon denied Mr. Smith’s request without prejudice because, according to her, it is “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy.” She added that the special counsel’s motion also “did not adhere to … basic requirements” and that “any future, non-emergency motion brought in this case—whether on the topic of release conditions or anything else—shall not be filed absent meaningful, timely, and professional conferral.”

“Sufficient time needs to be afforded to permit reasonable evaluation of the requested relief by opposing counsel and to allow for adequate follow-up discussion as necessary about the specific factual and legal basis underlying the motion,” Judge Cannon added. Mr. Smith’s team argued that the judge should move to restrict President Trump’s speech after he made the aforementioned claims about the FBI search. “The Government moves to modify defendant Donald J. Trump’s conditions of release, to make clear that he may not make statements that pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution of this case,” the filing from Mr. Smith said. After Mr. Smith’s motion to place the order on President Trump, his attorneys responded by saying that the special counsel should be sanctioned because he allegedly violated a rule that says both parties must confer before such filings are made.

“For the reasons set forth below, in light of the Office’s blatant violation of Local Rule 88.9 and related warnings from the Court, the Court should strike the Motion, make civil contempt findings as to all government attorneys who participated in the decision to file the Motion without meaningful conferral, and impose sanctions after holding an evidentiary hearing regarding the purpose and intent behind the Office’s decision to willfully disregard required procedures,” President Trump’s lawyers wrote on Monday. Trump attorney Todd Blanche asked prosecutors in the case to wait until Monday to meet, which Mr. Smith declined because of President Trump’s public comments. “As we also tried to explain earlier, our judgment was that the situation your client has created necessitated a prompt request for relief that could not wait the weekend to file. We understand your position and represented to the court that you do not believe the government has engaged in adequate conferral here,” special counsel prosecutor David Harbach said in a letter to President Trump’s attorneys.

Mr. Smith’s team said that President Trump’s comments should be limited by the court due to an attack on an FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio, in August 2022. They claimed that the attack occurred after President Trump allegedly made inflammatory comments after the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search, which occurred that same month. Last year, President Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials after he left the White House in January 2021, as prosecutors have alleged that he also refused to turn them over to federal officials. They also argued that the documents contained classified information regarding nuclear secrets, defense capabilities, and other details. Earlier this month, Judge Cannon suspended the trial date indefinitely and noted that there are a number of outstanding issues that need to be resolved, including how to handle classified evidence under the Classified Information Procedures Act.

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Merchan is part of the prosecution..

Trump’s Final Argument Must Be Clarity to Chaos in Merchan’s Courtroom (Turley)

With the closing arguments set for Tuesday in the trial of former president Donald Trump, defense counsel are in a rather curious position. There is still debate among legal experts as to the specific crime that District Attorney Alvin Bragg is alleging. Trump’s lawyers are defending a former president who is charged under a state misdemeanor which died years ago under the statute of limitations. It was then zapped back into life in the form of roughly three dozen felonies by claiming that bookkeeping violations — allegedly hiding payments to Stormy Daniels to ensure her silence about a supposed affair with Trump — were committed to hide another crime. But what is that second crime? Even liberal legal analysts admitted that they could not figure out what was being alleged in Bragg’s indictment. Now, after weeks of trial, the situation has changed little.

Originally, Bragg referenced four possible crimes, though he is now claiming three: a tax violation or either a state or federal campaign financing violation. The last crime is particularly controversial because Bragg has no authority to enforce federal law and the Justice Department declined any criminal charge. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) did not even find grounds for a civil fine. Judge Merchan has ruled that the jury does not have to agree on what that crime is. The jury could split into three groups of four on which of the three crimes were being concealed and Merchan will still treat it as a unanimous verdict. The jury has been given little substantive information on these crimes, and Merchan has denied a legal expert who could have shown that there was no federal election violation. This case should have been dismissed for lack of evidence or a cognizable crime. The jury will be reminded that the burden is on the government, not the defense.

However, the presumption of innocence is often hard to discern in criminal cases. Most jurors believe that clients are sitting behind the defense table for a reason. That is why many prosecution offices have conviction rates in the 80%-90% range. That presumption is even more difficult to discern when the defendant is named Trump and the jury sits in Manhattan. Three-legged Stool A classic closing pitch by lawyers is to use a physical object like a three-legged stool. If any leg is missing, the stool collapses. In this case, the government needs to show that there was a falsification of business records, that the records were falsified to conceal another crime and that Donald Trump had the specific intent to use such “unlawful means” to influence the election. Even a cursory review of the evidence shows this case does not have a leg to stand on.

The First Leg: Falsification of Records The dead misdemeanor that is the foundation for this entire prosecution requires the falsification of business records. It is not clear that there was such falsification or that Trump has any knowledge or role in any falsification. Witnesses testified that Trump would sign checks prepared by others and that the specific checks in this case were signed while Trump was serving as president. Some of these checks, labeled “legal expenses,” were allegedly for attorney Michael Cohen to pay off Stormy Daniels. Most importantly, Jeffrey McConney, the Trump Organization’s retired controller and senior vice-president, testified that it was not Trump who designated these payments as “legal expenses.” Rather, the corporation used an “antiquated” drop-down menu where any payments to lawyers were designated “legal expenses.” There is a plausible reason why payments to an attorney were listed as legal expenses.

The government also cites the designation of payments to Cohen as part of his “retainer,” which included reimbursement for the payment of the Daniels non-disclosure agreement. However, that designation was the result of discussions between Cohen and former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who is sitting in a jail cell in New York City. The government could have called Weisselberg, but did not. The government has made a big deal over the fact that retainer agreements are supposed to have written contracts. However, that was the failure of Cohen, who was later disbarred as an attorney. For a businessman like Weisselberg, monthly payments to an attorney could have seemed perfectly logical. Once again, there was no evidence that Trump knew of how the payments were denoted.

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“..it was Blanche’s allusion to prison that got the defense attorney in trouble because jurors don’t sentence the guilty defendant..”

You Can’t Convict or Imprison Based on the Words of a Convicted Liar (Taft)

The Trump NYC bookkeeping trial is almost in the books. In closing arguments, which began on Tuesday morning, Trump attorney Todd Blanche stirred controversy when he told jurors that they couldn’t convict or imprison his client based on the testimony of the prosecutors’ star witness Michael Cohen because “He’s literally like an MVP of liars.” Blanche told jurors, “Then he came in here, he raised his right hand and he lied to each of you repeatedly. You cannot send someone to prison; you cannot convict somebody based upon the words of Michael Cohen.” It wasn’t the line about MVPs that convinced the malleable judge to do the prosecution’s bidding; it was Blanche’s allusion to prison that got the defense attorney in trouble because jurors don’t sentence the guilty defendant. The judge will gladly do that when Trump is convicted of this farce. “You know that making a comment like that is highly inappropriate,” scandalized Judge Juan Merchan tsk-tsked to Blanche.

“It is simply not allowed. Period. It’s hard for me to imagine that was accidental in any way,” he lectured. He admonished the jury to pretend they didn’t hear and will give jurors a special instruction to hate Trump even more when he gives jury instructions. I’m only half joking. Certainly, you’ll recall a similar outburst by the judge when prosecutors put on mattress actress Stormy Daniels to describe her alleged sexual tryst with Trump. Her detailed testimony was spun as one might imagine a porn movie scriptwriting session might go. There was no outburst by Merchan, of course, only a timid burp about how it might have been too much for the jurors to hear. More tellingly, Daniels had no juicy details to say when she was asked about how her nondisclosure payments were marked in the Trump Organization books, which are at the center of the case. She was there solely for scandalous color commentary to titillate the jury.

Indeed, when Blanche talked about Daniels in his closing, he told them she extorted Trump and then said, “At the end of the day, what really happened is that somebody offered more money to Ms. Daniels.” And then, “Somebody offered to pay her legal fees if she got out of the NDA she signed with Mr. Cohen,” he told jurors. Daniels reprised her alleged 2006 story before the 2016 election after the “Access Hollywood” recording by Billy Bush (yes, that Bush family). In 2018, Cohen offered to tear up his agreement with Daniels. As Tiffany, Eric, Don Jr., and Lara Trump looked on, Blanche told jurors that there were 10 specific areas where there was reasonable doubt to find his client not guilty. Number 10 was that Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, was “the human embodiment of reasonable doubt.”

• Michael Cohen created the invoices.
• There’s no evidence Trump knew the invoices were sent.
• There was “absolutely” no evidence of any intent to defraud.
• There was no attempt to commit or conceal another crime.
• There was “absolutely” no agreement to influence the 2016 election.
• AMI would have run the doorman’s story no matter what if it was true.
• Karen McDougal did not want her story published.
• Stormy Daniels’ story was already public in 2011.
• There was manipulation of evidence.
• Michael Cohen. “He’s the human embodiment of reasonable doubt.”

Plus, Blanche argued, Cohen repeatedly lied “under oath” to courts, his wife, and his banker. Prosecutor Josh Steinglass went into the evening with his closing argument going through the prosecutor’s entire case timeline to convince jurors that something is there to convict Trump on. At one point Steinglass pinpointed what he thought was a key moment in the trial when he claimed that David Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher and the trial’s first witness, conspired with Trump in a meeting to kill stories to help him. Catching and killing stories is not illegal, by the way, unless they can tie it to another felony, which they claim is breaking campaign law. Indeed, Steinglass insisted, that meeting “may have been the very reason why Trump won in 2016.”

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“I’m a threat to his presidency,” he said. “This is a three-man race, and I intend to win.”

Trump, Biden Escalate Attacks on RFK Jr (ET)

Conspiracy theorist. Anti-vaxxer. Dangerous. Spoiler. Since Robert F. Kennedy Jr. entered the 2024 presidential race in April 2023, critics have described him in many ways. In the early stages of Mr. Kennedy’s campaign, he was mostly ignored by President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee. Former President Donald Trump praised him and called him a “a very smart guy, and a good guy.” Rhetoric from Democrats and Republicans shifted when Mr. Kennedy opted to leave the Democratic primary last October and run as an independent candidate. Now, less than six months before Election Day, Mr. Kennedy’s campaign is gaining momentum and causing concern for the camps of both Presidents Biden and Trump. He is a distant third in national polls, but he is drawing support from conservatives, independents, moderate Democrats, and libertarians.

And with that, officials from the two major parties and the two opposing campaigns are escalating their attacks. In an early April video on Truth Social, President Trump called Mr. Kennedy “the most radical left candidate in the race” before adding, “he’s got some nice things about him, I happen to like him.” The former president remarked that Mr. Kennedy will take votes away from President Biden “because he’s much better than Biden.” “If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden, because he’s frankly more in line with Democrats,” President Trump said, adding that RFK’s candidacy is “great for MAGA” and “he’s a better man than Joe Biden.” Later the same month, President Trump posted another video on Truth Social delivering harsher remarks, calling Mr. Kennedy “a Democrat plant” and “a radical left liberal” who is in the race to help President Biden get re-elected.

“A Vote for Junior would essentially be a WASTED PROTEST VOTE, that could swing either way, but would only swing against the Democrats if Republicans knew the true story about him. Junior’ is totally Anti-Gun, an Extreme Environmentalist who makes the Green New Scammers look Conservative, a Big Time Taxer and Open Border Advocate, and Anti-Military/Vet,” President Trump wrote. The video aired a few days after a Quinnipiac University poll showed that 44 percent of Republican voters found Mr. Kennedy favorable compared to 11 percent of Democrats After a voter rally in New York last month, The Epoch Times asked Mr. Kennedy why he thought President Trump’s attacks had increased. “I’m a threat to his presidency,” he said. “This is a three-man race, and I intend to win.”

Democrats claim Mr. Kennedy is a “stalking horse” for President Trump and is financed by MAGA donors to prevent President Biden from winning a second term. Republicans paint him as a “radical, far-left liberal” who is only in the race to keep President Trump from returning to the White House.

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ICC is fair game now?

Israeli Spy Chief ‘Threatened And Stalked’ ICC Prosecutor – Guardian (RT)

The former chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, allegedly “threatened” the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to drop a war crimes probe launched in 2021, an investigation by The Guardian claimed on Tuesday. Sources told the outlet that, several years ago, then-Mossad director Cohen attempted to threaten the former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in a series of secret meetings. Cohen’s covert contact and pressuring of Bensouda took place in the years leading up to her decision to open a formal probe into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories, the report said, citing multiple anonymous sources. Mossad’s objective was to “compromise the prosecutor or enlist her as someone who would cooperate with Israel’s demands,” as well as pressuring Bensouda to abandon her investigation, the article stated.

Bensouda reportedly briefed a small group of senior ICC officials about Cohen’s attempts, expressing concern about his “persistent and threatening nature.” Sources familiar with Bensouda’s disclosures to the ICC confirmed that Cohen had threatened her multiple times, with one of the officials saying the Mossad chief had used “despicable tactics” against Bensouda as part of an ultimately unsuccessful effort to influence her. The behavior was likened to “stalking.” According to accounts shared with ICC officials, Cohen allegedly told the ICC prosecutor: “You should help us and let us take care of you. You don’t want to be getting into things that could compromise your security or that of your family.” aIsraeli intelligence agencies conducted a covert “war” against the ICC for nearly a decade, aiming to derail investigations into alleged Israeli war crimes, the outlet said.

The revelations come as Bensouda’s successor, Karim Khan, last week applied for an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant based on the probe launched in 2021. Khan said there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that top officials were guilty of “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in the Gaza conflict. Khan also said he was seeking warrants for three senior members of Hamas. Israel is not a member of the ICC and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the court. Both Israel and its main ally, the US, have condemned the ICC announcement, with some US lawmakers calling for sanctions on The Hague court. Earlier this year, Israel also faced accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest United Nations court.

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“..Germany should become “war-capable” and “get used to the thought” of a potential conflict in Western Europe..”

Germany Drops Controversial Military Draft Plans (RT)

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has dropped controversial plans to reintroduce conscription in the country and indicated a move towards a voluntary service scheme, Der Spiegel reported on Monday.The key points of the military service reform on Monday were outlined by Pistorius during a behind-closed-doors presentation to the leadership of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the weekly said, citing sources. The revised scheme does not mention the word “conscription,” and is focused on incentivizing young people to join the nation’s Armed Forces – the Bundeswehr, it added. Over the past month Pistorius has repeatedly stated that Germany should become “war-capable” and “get used to the thought” of a potential conflict in Western Europe, citing the threat supposedly posed by Russia, among others. In April, he announced that his ministry “considered that compulsory military service will be reintroduced” as part of an ambitious Armed Forces overhaul.

Under the plans presented by the minister on Monday, all 18-year-olds will be required to answer a questionnaire from the Defense Ministry about their physical condition. The military would then seek to entice those considered worthy to join the army through incentives that would potentially range from free driving licenses to student loan discounts. Military service itself would last 12 months, according to Der Spiegel. The scheme was backed by Pistorius’ SPD party, which had reportedly grown tired of the minister’s belligerent rhetoric. “We agree on the vast majority of points,” SPD General Secretary Kevin Kuhnert said after the Monday meeting. The plan essentially follows what was described by German media as the “most cautious” of the three options reportedly presented to Pistorius by his ministry last month. The other two involved some form of mandatory conscription, either for men or for everyone reaching the age of maturity, regardless of their sex.

The defense ministry had initially warned that the “most cautious” option could also be the least useful one for the military. Now, the variant is reportedly described as “the least promising in terms of meeting the needs” of the army in the ministry’s internal documents. The officials are worried that it would not attract “a sufficient number of applicants,” according to Der Spiegel. The German Armed Forces suffer constantly from a lack of personnel. In March, the parliamentary commissioner for the Bundeswehr, Eva Hoegl, said in her annual report that some 20,000 positions within the Armed Forces remain unfilled and numbers continue to fall due to a “very high” dropout rate. According to Der Spiegel, some 181,500 soldiers are currently in service. While the government’s plans envisage a rise to 203,000 by 2031, the weekly warned that the total may drop below 180,000.

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I had a brother at Khe Sanh
Fightin’ off them Viet Cong
They’re still there, he’s all gone

Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World (Prashad)

On the evening of 14 May, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken climbed onstage at Barman Dictat in Kyiv, Ukraine, to pick up an electric guitar and join the Ukrainian punk band 19.99. Ukrainians, he said, are ‘fighting not just for a free Ukraine, but for a free world’. Blinken and 19.99 then played the chorus of Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’, entirely ignoring the implications of its lyrics – much like Donald Trump, who, to Young’s irritation, used the chorus in his 2015–2016 presidential campaign. In February 1989, the day after Young received the news that his band’s tour in the USSR fell through, he penned the song’s lyrics, resting on his criticisms of the Reagan years and the first month of George H. W. Bush’s presidency. While it sounds patriotic on the surface, that song – like Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’ (1984) – is deeply critical of the hierarchies and humiliations of capitalist society.

The three verses of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ paint a picture of despair (‘people shufflin’ their feet/ people sleepin’ in their shoes’) defined by the drug epidemic plaguing the poor (a woman ‘puts the kid away/ and she’s gone to get a hit’), the collapse of educational opportunities (‘there’s one more kid/ that will never go to school’), and a growing population that lives on the street (‘we got a thousand points of light/ for the homeless man’). Springsteen’s song, written in the shadow of the US war on Vietnam (‘so they put a rifle in my hand/ sent me off to a foreign land/ to go and kill the yellow man’), also captured the strangulation of the working class in the US, many of whom were unable to get a job after returning from a war they did not want (‘down in the shadow of the penitentiary/ out by the gas fires of the refinery/ I’m ten years burning down the road/ nowhere to run ain’t got nowhere to go’).

These are songs of anguish, not anthems of war. To chant ‘born in the USA’ or ‘keep on rockin’ in the free world’ does not evoke a sense of pride in the Global North but a fierce criticism of its ruthless wars. ‘Keep on rockin’ in the free world’ is pickled in irony. Blinken did not get it, nor did Trump. They want the allure of rock and roll, but not the acidity of its lyrics. They do not understand that Neil Young’s 1989 song is the soundtrack of the resistance to the US wars that followed against Panama (1989–1999), Iraq (1990–1991), Yugoslavia (1999), Afghanistan (2001–2021), Iraq (2003–2011), and many more.

Blinken went to Kiev to celebrate the passing of three bills in the US House of Representatives that appropriate $95.3 billion for the militaries of Israel, Taiwan, Ukraine, and the United States. This is in addition to the more than $1.5 trillion that the US spends on its military every year. It is obscene that the US continues to supply Israel with deadly munitions for its genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, including the $26.4 billion it promised to Israel in the new bills while feigning concern for the starvation and slaughter of Palestinians. It is ghastly that the US continues to prevent peace talks between Ukraine and Russia while funding the former’s demoralised military (including $60.8 billion for weapons in the new bills alone) as the US seeks to use the conflict to ‘see Russia weakened’.

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May 102024
 


Carl Spitzweg The raven 1845

 

Jack Smith Has Few Options in Trump Case, Say Former Prosecutors (ET)
Trump Announces ‘Major Motion’ Filed in New York Appeals Court (ET)
Democrats Attack Judge for Delaying Trump Florida Trial (Turley)
Putin Doesn’t Bluff (Jim Rickards)
US Defenseless Against Russian Hypersonic Missiles, Iranian Drones – DoD (Sp.)
Boeing’s Setbacks Show Why US Industries Lose Competitive Edge (Sp.)
Aging US Fleet and Drained Stockpiles No Match for China and Russia (Sp.)
Biden Denies Economic Reality In Car Crash CNN Interview (MN)
Tucker Carlson Interviews Biden Accuser Tara Reade (RT)
Whole West Is Working To Supply Ukraine – Putin (RT)
West ‘Trying To Distort’ History Of WWII – Putin (RT)

 

 

 

 

Fani more

 

 

Larry Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evidence tampering. Throw out the whole case. Not salvageable.

Jack Smith Has Few Options in Trump Case, Say Former Prosecutors (ET)

A federal judge’s ruling this week that postponed former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case represents a significant legal win for the former president, legal analysts say. A former federal prosecutor, Renato Mariotti, wrote that there is virtually “nothing” special counsel Jack Smith can do to speed the process up. “Realistically there is nothing Jack Smith can do to move the Mar-a-Lago case forward to trial before the election. Judges have extremely broad discretion over their trial calendar, which is what gives Judge Cannon the ability to avoid setting a trial date at this time,” Mr. Mariotti wrote on social media. Another former federal prosecutor, Brandon Van Grack, wrote that Mr. Smith’s team will have “a bumpy ride” ahead of them because of Judge Cannon’s “numerous other scheduled hearings on pretrial motions” from President Trump and two co-defendants, which he indicates that Judge Cannon believes “have merit.”

Harry P. Litman, a law professor and a former U.S. attorney, echoed those claims, saying that the case is now in a “deep freeze” after the latest order. Meanwhile, multiple television legal analysts claimed that with her latest order, Judge Cannon is intentionally trying to delay the case. The Epoch Times contacted the court for comment. “This is news but it’s hardly unexpected. Judge Cannon seems desperate to avoid trying this case. This isn’t justice. defendants aren’t the only ones with speedy trial act rights, we the people have them too,” wrote former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, who currently works for MSNBC, on Tuesday afternoon. But Tim Fitton, the head of the Judicial Watch legal group, wrote that complaints about Judge Cannon’s decisions are unwarranted, arguing that such a timeline “is normal and not surprising.”

“But the Left’s election riggers and civil rights abusers believe that Trump has no rights and will attack Judge Cannon for proceeding normally in this case and for not violating Trump’s constitutional rights,” he wrote on X, formerly known Twitter. In that post, he pointed out that Mr. Smith’s team last week submitted court papers to Judge Cannon essentially saying that his team misled the court because the contents of a box of documents were re-arranged. Prosecutors did not disclose the exact reason why the materials may have been shifted. “There are some boxes where the order of items within that box is not the same as in the associated scans,” Mr. Smith’s team wrote, adding that the update contrasts with what they told the judge several weeks ago during a hearing.

The boxes in question have “items smaller than standard paper such as index cards, books, and stationary, which shift easily when the boxes are carried, especially because many of the boxes are not full,” they added. After the disclosure, President Trump wrote his Truth Social platform that he believes Mr. Smith should be arrested before calling for the case to be immediately dropped.

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“‘I’ve been doing this for 60 years, and I don’t understand what crime he’s been charged with. Nobody understands this. I just don’t get the crime. There’s no evidence of any crime whatsoever..”

Trump Announces ‘Major Motion’ Filed in New York Appeals Court (ET)

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday confirmed that his lawyers asked a New York state appellate court to issue a ruling on a judge’s gag order that prohibits him from speaking about certain individuals connected to his ongoing trial. His team filed a motion on Wednesday, which has been sealed and is inaccessible, according to the court docket. The Manhattan district attorney’s office filed a response to the motion, but it was also sealed. While speaking with reporters outside the courthouse on Thursday morning, President Trump confirmed the move. Anonymously sourced reports published Wednesday said that it was a motion to expedite the ruling. “I just want to let you know that we’ve just filed a major motion in the appellate division concerning the absolutely unconstitutional gag order, where I’m essentially not allowed to talk to you about anything meaningful that’s going on in the case. And many good things are going on with the case. It shouldn’t have been filed,” he said. During his comments to reporters, he did not go into specifics about the motion.

The former president is under a gag order that prohibits him from making public statements about potential witnesses, court staff, prosecutors’ staff, or family members. Judge Juan Merchan, who issued the order and later expanded it, ruled that President Trump violated his directive 10 times before threatening to jail the former president if he makes future comments that he believes violate that order. Previously, the New York Court of Appeals rejected the former president’s bid to pause the trial while he battles the gag order. They also rejected an attempt to pause the enforcement of the order, which was issued in March after prosecutors requested it. His lawyers have argued that the gag order violates the former president’s First Amendment right to free speech, noting that he is currently the leading Republican presidential candidate. But earlier this week, Judge Merchan fined the former president for a 10th time for an April remark that he made to a media outlet about the Manhattan jury pool, which he said was “95 percent” Democratic.

The judge then said that a $1,000 fine isn’t enough and that he might have to jail the former president, although he did not go into specifics about how that would look like. “Your continued willful violations of this court’s orders threaten to interfere with the … administration of justice,” Judge Merchan said before issuing a warning about possible jail time. The former president, in response, criticized the judge and wrote on Truth Social that he is now not allowed to respond publicly to “lies and false statements” made about him during the New York trial. It came after witness Stormy Daniels made salacious allegations about President Trump during her first trial appearance, which President Trump has denied. According to emails reviewed by The Epoch Times, the Trump campaign also used the judge’s threat as a means to fundraise for his presidential campaign. “The liberal judge in New York just threatened to THROW ME IN JAIL,” read one of the emails, adding that they want him “in HANDCUFFS.”

During his remarks to reporters on Thursday, the former president also quoted multiple legal analysts’ commentary on the case to say that it should never have been brought against him. Those analysts, which President Trump read aloud from a piece of paper, stated prosecutors revived the case after more than seven years in a politicized attempt to harm his 2024 reelection campaign. “‘I’ve been doing this for 60 years, and I don’t understand what crime he’s been charged with. Nobody understands this. I just don’t get the crime. There’s no evidence of any crime whatsoever. This is a sham,’” President Trump said, quoting retired Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz. The trial is expected to last another two weeks. On Thursday, Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, again took the witness stand and was grilled by defense attorneys about whether she was using her allegations against President Trump to make money for herself and bolster her name recognition.

President Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Ms. Daniels for her silence ahead of the 2016 election about the alleged encounter. President Trump has pleaded not guilty and denies Ms. Daniels’ claims. The case is seen by some as the least consequential of the four criminal prosecutions President Trump faces. But the chances of the other three, going to trial before the election are growing more distant. He has pleaded not guilty in all the cases. The former president’s cases in Georgia and Washington were paused by the respective judges overseeing them. Meanwhile, in a major legal win, a Florida federal judge suspended his classified documents case indefinitely after prosecutors revealed that the contents of an evidence box were inexplicably rearranged.

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” this is a case where justice delayed is justice.”

Democrats Attack Judge for Delaying Trump Florida Trial (Turley)

While pundits, politicians and the press have long expressed outrage over attacks on judges by former President Donald Trump, many are now attacking any judge who delays any trial of Trump before the election. Democrats have accused Judge Aileen Cannon of being politically compromised, if not conspiratorial, in her delay of the Florida trial over the mishandling of classified documents. Yet, there is ample reason for the delay that many of us anticipated in this type of case when it was filed. For months, many of us have said that we doubt that this type of trial could be held on the rapid schedule demanded by Special Counsel Jake Smith. Smith has repeatedly sought to curtail trial review and even appellate rights of Trump to advance his schedule. His office has made convicting Trump before the election the overriding objective of its motion — a sharp departure from past Justice Department efforts to avoid trials to influence elections.

As a criminal defense counsel, I have handled classified material cases and they are notoriously slow. Smith could have prosecuted this case in the shorter time frame if he simply charge obstruction. That would have also eliminated the glaring contrast with the handling of the Biden investigation into the current president’s retention and mishandling of classified material. Smith decided to charge an array of document charges related to classified material. The defense must have access, review, and can appeal issue related to the classified procedures. Yet, Smith wanted both the array of document charges and a fast track to trial. The Supreme Court has agreed with Cannon that Smith desire to secure a conviction before the election is not the overriding consideration. Judge Cannon is faced with recent admissions that the government mixed up files in the boxes and staged the famous photos of document strewn over a floor with classified jackets. Most importantly, disputes over the relevant documents continue as expected in the case. Nevertheless, leading democrats are denouncing Cannon as a partisan hack.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on federal courts and oversight subcommittee, said accused Cannon of “deliberately slow-walking the case.” Ignoring the fact that similar cases have taken much longer to go to trial, Whitehouse simply declared “it is hard for me not to reach the conclusion that this [judge] is deliberately slow-walking the case to put it into a position where should [Trump] be elected, he can order that the investigation and prosecution be terminated.” His colleague Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) insisted that Cannon was “managing this case in a way that is making it highly unlikely that it will be resolved in a timely fashion.” Coons added “Justice deferred is often justice denied.” It is a bizarre statement. Classified documents cases routinely take longer to go to trial. The alternative is to cut off the ability of the defense to fully review the documents and review objections for resolution before trial. Yet, because the defendant is Trump and these Democrats want the trial to influence the election, such defense protections are now evidence of judicial bias.

They, of course, ignore that Cannon has ruled repeatedly against major Trump motions in the case. Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said Cannon’s “at it again, doing everything she can to delay.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), offered the most telling line. He said “I question whether this judge understands the magnitude or the legal import of this trial.”Indeed, it is the timing as much as the charges that makes this so important to the Justice Department and the Democrats. Smith has crafted this case to impact the election and the failure of the court to support that effort is apparently grounds for recusal. Blumenthal called for such a motion before the window is lost before the election: “It’s a classic dilemma for justice that a particular judicial officer may be conducting a trial that could be better done by somebody else.” Despite the statement of his colleague Coons, this is a case where justice delayed is justice.

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“You may assume that Houthi rebels in Yemen want to avoid attacks by the U.S., but they don’t care — they live in caves anyway, so you can’t bomb them into the Stone Age because they’re already there//”

Putin Doesn’t Bluff (Jim Rickards)

One of the persistent problems in intelligence analysis is what experts call “mirror imaging.” This is jargon for an analytic flaw in which the analyst assumes that his beliefs and preferences are shared by an adversary. Instead of looking at the adversary as he actually is, the analyst is looking in a mirror while assuming he is looking at the adversary. This is an extremely dangerous flaw. You may be rational, but the mullahs who rule Iran are not. You may believe that leaders want economic growth, but Communist Chinese leaders elevate the party over all other considerations including the well-being of their people. You may assume that Houthi rebels in Yemen want to avoid attacks by the U.S., but they don’t care — they live in caves anyway, so you can’t bomb them into the Stone Age because they’re already there. Nowhere is this flaw more apparent today than in the U.S. intelligence analysis of Vladimir Putin.

In 2008, President Bush said that Ukraine and Georgia should join NATO. A few months later, Putin invaded Georgia, annexed part of its territory and destroyed Georgia’s chances of joining NATO. In 2014, the U.S. backed a coup d’état in Ukraine that deposed a duly elected leader. Three months later, Putin annexed Crimea from Ukraine and made it part of the Russian Federation. In 2021, NATO began formal processes to admit Ukraine as a member. In February 2022, Russia began a special military operation that’s resulted in 500,000 dead Ukrainian soldiers. Some estimates are even higher. Ukraine’s chances of joining NATO are now zero. In every case, U.S. analysts did not believe Putin would take the steps he did because they thought it might somehow weaken Putin or Russia. That’s mirror imaging at its worst. The truth is Putin doesn’t bluff. When he says he will do something, he does. When he says he will react to some Western act, the reaction takes place.

Putin said if the West steals Russian assets, Russia will retaliate by seizing billions of dollars of direct foreign investment in Russia owned by major European companies such as Siemens, Total, BP and others. And sure enough, just days after Biden signed legislation to authorize the theft of Russian assets, a Russian court ordered $440 million be seized from JPMorgan. The escalation in the asset seizure war has begun. Putin will win in the end. Unfortunately, escalation is also increasing on the geopolitical front. The U.S. and some of its European allies are becoming increasingly desperate about Ukraine’s ability to hold off Russia on the battlefield. The recent $61 billion aid package for Ukraine (about two-thirds of which will go to U.S. defense companies) won’t be nearly enough to reverse the tide. The U.S. and its NATO allies have already given just about all they can afford to give Ukraine without jeopardizing their own security. The problem isn’t a lack of money but a lack of weapons and ammunition. Before the aid package was approved, critics complained that Ukraine was losing because the U.S. was withholding desperately needed materiel. But that’s not really true.

The Europeans could have simply bought the weapons from the U.S. and delivered them to Ukraine. They didn’t. Why? Because the weapons simply weren’t there. Yes, there will always be a supply of weapons flowing to Ukraine — they’re not going to run out completely. But Ukraine won’t have nearly enough weapons and ammunition to undertake meaningful offensive operations against the Russians. They’ll just have enough to keep them in the fight, which is the goal of NATO. Unfortunately for Ukraine, the problems run much deeper than a lack of equipment. They’re also running out of trained manpower. Former commander Valeriy Zaluzhny has suggested Ukraine needs an extra 500,000 troops. But they’re having trouble finding new volunteers. An estimated 650,000 fighting age men have fled Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Russian army is even larger than it was before the invasion, and Russian industry is churning out weapons and ammunition at astonishing rates.

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“..could we knock down 99 percent of those missiles coming in?”

US Defenseless Against Russian Hypersonic Missiles, Iranian Drones – DoD (Sp.)

The crisis in Ukraine and escalating tensions in the Middle East have demonstrated that the US’ $886 billion defense budget has not translated into real-world capabilities on the ground. Now, an explosive verbal exchange on Capitol Hill has revealed that North America’s skies are defenseless against not only Russian, but even Iranian missiles. An otherwise boring and formulaic briefing by senior Pentagon officials to lawmakers from the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces went off the rails on Wednesday after subcommittee Chairman Angus King took the floor and forced Department of Defense officials to reveal that North America is helpless against adversaries it has spent years agitating around the world. “The truth is we have no defense for hypersonic missiles – yes or no? Mr. Hill, any defense on the hypersonic missile?

You’re the commander of an aircraft carrier in the Greenland Gap. If we have a hypersonic missile launched from Murmansk [traveling at] 6,000 miles an hour, what do you do?” King asked, querying Deputy Secretary of Defense for Space and Missile Defense John Hill. “We have some systems to defend in the terminal stage but we need more, you’re correct, Senator King… that our hypersonic defenses are inadequate and we do need [more]. SM-6 is in the Navy’s terminal range [capability], the Patriot – I’ll let General Gainey speak to the specifics on that. Those are examples but no argument, we need to focus on hypersonic defenses,” Hill responded. “So why are we talking about 2029 and even stretching that out? This is next year kind of stuff. I don’t get your budget,” King countered, referencing the lack of focus on anti-hypersonic capabilities in current US defense spending plans.

“What we faced in the budget this year – it was a difficult year, particularly with the Fiscal Responsibility Act caps that we had to work with. There were must-pay bills that we had to work with for the personnel, the salaries, the health care, inflation costs. When you get down to the point of where you get down to the discretionary types of things where you can really control your choices,” Hill said. “But that’s your mission – your mission is missile defense,” King retorted. “The budget decisions are made at a higher level and so you’re trading off between readiness or your future investments,” Hill said. “Well let me put the question another way: let’s say what happened on April 14 [Iran’s retaliatory missile and drone attack on Israel, ed.] happened over the Arctic Ocean – 300 missiles, drones, UAVs came across the Arctic Ocean toward Canada and North America. Could we do what Israel and we and other countries did – could we knock down 99 percent of those missiles coming in?” King asked. “No chairman,” Air Force General Gregory Guillot, commander of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), responded.

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One major accident away from bankruptcy.

Boeing’s Setbacks Show Why US Industries Lose Competitive Edge (Sp.)

Boeing’s problems keep piling up. The company faces a new inquiry over B787 Dreamliner safety inspections and is feeling the blowback from sanctions on Russia. Passengers and crew members have been evacuated from a Corendon Airlines Boeing 737-800 after one of the plane’s tyres burst during landing in Turkey. The accident occurred on Thursday at Gazipasa, an airport near the Turkish town of Alanya. It was the third serious incident involving one of the aviation giant’s aircraft in just two days, the Daily Mail noted. Bad news has dogged Boeing for the past few years, undermining its profits and driving down its share price. Earlier this week, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) opened a new probe into whether the Seattle-based corporation broke rules during inspections of its long-haul B787 Dreamliner passenger jet, and whether its employees falsified aircraft records.

The FAA announced last month that Boeing had “voluntarily” revealed that some of its employees had not performed required tests to confirm adequate bonding and grounding of the fasteners connecting the wings to the fuselage, and had then falsely reported the checks had been completed. Quoting a source familiar with the issue, CBS News said as many as 450 aircraft could be affected, including around 60 airframes still on the production line. According to the FAA, the aircraft still in Boeing’s possession are undergoing re-inspection, while the company maintains that the reported “misconduct” would not pose an “immediate safety-of-flight issue.” The FAA’s latest inquiry comes on the heels of a US Congressional investigation into the safety culture and manufacturing standards at Boeing. Sam Salehpour, a Boeing quality engineer, told Congress last month that the industrial giant was cutting corners to speed up production — which is fraught with acute safety risks.

The whistle-blower also complained that Boeing employees raising red flags over quality issues were “ignored, marginalized, threatened, sidelined and worse.” He told Congress that he was afraid of being subjected to “physical violence” after exposing the aerospace corporation’s flaws Two other Boeing whistleblowers, Joshua Dean, former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, and John “Mitch” Barnett, a former Boeing employee, passed away in May and March, respectively. Dean died after a short illness, while Barnett was found dead in an apparent suicide. Barnett and Dean both raised the alarm over manufacturing defects in Boeing’s 737 Max and other planes, after a series of crashes involving the aircraft. In January, all 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes were temporarily grounded by the FAA after a door panel blew out on an Alaska Airlines flight. The same month, an oxygen leak was discovered on board a Boeing 737. Remarkably, the aircraft was scheduled to carry US Secretary of State Antony Blinken from the Davos World Economic Forum.

At least ten more whistle-blowers, including former and current employees, are ready to testify against the aerospace company, the Independent reported, quoting lawyers for both Dean and Barnett. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Boeing is facing a new problem stemming from anti-Russia sanctions, imposed by the US over Moscow’s special operation in Ukraine. As a result, the industrial giant cannot deliver enough B787 Dreamliners. According to the WSJ, the trouble was caused by a lack of heat exchangers – temperature-regulating parts for the B787 – which were previously produced in Russia. Even though the production was shifted to the US and the UK, new factories have proven incapable of keeping up with demand.

Boeing’s inability to obtain enough heat exchangers disrupted the pace of Dreamliner manufacturing. The company was forced to warn investors that it will not deliver as many planes as anticipated this year. American Airlines blamed Dreamliner delays for its decision to suspend some international and long-haul flights this year and next. Boeing also severed ties with a major Russian titanium supplier and halted selling spare parts and maintenance services to Russian airlines that operate its passenger planes. The WSJ admitted that US anti-Russia sanctions significantly backfired on Boeing and jet manufacturing in general, naming Russia “a big player in the global aerospace supply chain.”

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China possesses approximately 370 warships, compared to the US fleet of 291 vessels. In 2023, China added 30 ships to its fleet [..] the US built only two warships last year..”

Aging US Fleet and Drained Stockpiles No Match for China and Russia (Sp.)

The US Navy faces delays in vessel repairs and a sluggish pace in construction of new warships. The crisis was reported by the US Naval Institute (USNI) and the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), according to Asia Times. Diana Maurer, Director of Defense Capabilities and Management at the Government Accountability Office, testified to the Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee on May 1. She revealed that fewer than 40 percent of US Navy ships had completed repairs on time, despite available space in shipyards. According to the GAO, “the Navy has not developed a full cost and schedule estimate for its Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) – an effort to improve its dry docks, facilities, and equipment – and reports that it will not be able to do so until Fiscal Year 2025.” Maurer signaled that shipyard conditions are second only to F-35 Lightning II sustainment costs, raising the alarm over the Navy’s readiness.

In his own congressional testimony, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral James Kilby acknowledged that issues related to “ship production and repair” rank among the top challenges confronting the US Navy today. The US Navy’s ship design practices are largely outdated, which contributes to the slower pace, less predictable costs and performance outcomes of warship construction when compared to commercial shipbuilding. According to GAO, the Navy has been slow to embrace new design tools such as 3-D modeling and digital twinning, and still provides its contractors with 2D design data for legacy ship classes. Shipbuilders also complain that the Navy is usually slow to provide vendor-furnished information (VFI) – the documents that shipyards need as input to engineering and design products – to feed digital models. The Navy’s contractors want clearer technical tasks as well as funding for acquiring and implementing new digital tools.

The issue has been raised amid the US growing competition with China and the Biden administration’s saber-rattling over the island of Taiwan and the South China Sea. At the Senate panel’s hearing, Republican Senator Dan Sullivan from Alaska lamented that the building of new submarines and surface warships in the US is well below the pace set by China. Last July, a leaked US Navy intelligence briefing slide published by The War Zone revealed that China’s shipbuilding capacity is 232 times greater than that of the US. While the People’s Republic’s shipyards have a capacity of over 23.2 million tons, the US capacity is less than 100,000 tons according to the leaked presentation, which was confirmed as authentic in September 2023 by a US Navy spokesperson.

The US Naval Institute admitted in 2021 that China already boasted the world’s largest navy, while in February 2024, US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) commander Admiral Samuel Paparo warned that Beijing was winning the shipbuilding numbers game. According to Congress, China possesses approximately 370 warships, compared to the US fleet of 291 vessels. In 2023, China added 30 ships to its fleet, 15 of which were large surface combatants including cruisers, destroyers. and an additional aircraft carrier. By contrast, the US built only two warships last year.

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“..claiming that inflation was 9 percent when he came into office, when in reality it was 1.4 percent..”

Biden Denies Economic Reality In Car Crash CNN Interview (MN)

During a brutal CNN interview aired Wednesday, Joe Biden looked shocked when host Erin Burnett reeled off a list of stats detailing how bad the economy is. Instead of suggesting how he is going to improve the situation, Biden denied any of it was real and claimed every poll showing Americans favouring Trump on the economy is wrong. “Voters, by a wide margin, trust Trump more on the economy,” Burnett noted, before listing possible reasons for that including the cost of buying a home having doubled, real income accounting for inflation being down, economic growth being way short of expectations and consumer confidence being near a two year low. “Are you worried that you’re running out of time to turn [the economy] around?” Burnett asked Biden. “We’ve already turned it around,” Biden bizarrely claimed, before adding that “the polling data has been wrong all along.”

When Burnett pointed out that Grocery prices are up almost a third, Biden shrugged it off and claimed Americans “have the money to spend.”

He repeated the tired lie about creating millions of jobs that everyone knows is complete rubbish because he’s including jobs that were reinstated from the pandemic:

Biden also told an absolute whopper, claiming that inflation was 9 percent when he came into office, when in reality it was 1.4 percent. After Biden took office, inflation surged to rates unseen since the early 1980s, peaking at an annual rate of 9.1 percent in June 2022, a full 17 months after he took office. Yet, he is claiming it was ALREADY at 9 percent. Since Biden took office, the average prices of goods and services have increased 19 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. By comparison, during Trump’s four years in office, prices increased by 8 percent, or roughly 2 percent per year, which is the normal annual rate of inflation.

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Good thing he went to see her.

Tucker Carlson Interviews Biden Accuser Tara Reade (RT)

American journalist Tucker Carlson has released a 22-minute interview with RT contributor and former US Senate aide Tara Reade, who rose to prominence after accusing Joe Biden of having sexually assaulted her back in 1993. The interview was recorded in Moscow, where Reade moved last year due to concerns for her safety in the US. In 2020, at the height of the US presidential election campaign, Reade publicly accused Biden of having subjected her to a “violent sexual assault” on the Capitol grounds in 1993. She was working on the Democratic senator’s team at the time. In a 2021 interview, President Biden said the incident “never happened.” In her interview with Carlson, Reade recounted how the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI had “harassed” her, claiming that she had even received “death threats. According to the former aide, US authorities built a case against her after accessing her email and social media accounts.

She added that, while the FBI and the DOJ had come close to indicting her, they wouldn’t disclose what her supposed crime was as the whole case was “sealed.” Reade suggested that the real reason behind the legal proceedings was her failure to ‘shut up’ about the sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by Biden. She claimed that the mainstream US media had lapped up “innuendos” about her, with most outlets working as “proxies of the US government.” Reade added that, in addition to her sexual harassment allegations against Biden, her recent criticism regarding the state of the US economy as well as the “proxy war against Russia via Ukraine” had made US authorities view her as a “traitor.” She said this was all the more “heartbreaking” because she had spent years working for the Democratic Party, and “believed in it wholeheartedly.” “I’ve never committed a crime. I’m not a traitor. I’m not a spy,” she told Carlson.

Tara Reade

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Who is the weak link?

Whole West Is Working To Supply Ukraine – Putin (RT)

The collective West has been working tirelessly to arm Ukraine against Russia, seeking to destroy it in its present form throughout the conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. He made the remarks while hosting a group of military commanders in the Kremlin who have distinguished themselves in the special operation against Ukraine. The meeting took place on Tuesday after Putin’s inauguration for his fifth term in office, but was released only on Thursday amid Victory Day celebrations. “We know, and you know this better than anyone else, the enemy has enough modern tools, since the entire Western community is working for our enemy, dreaming about Russia ceasing to exist in its current form,” Putin stated.

The collective West itself has created a “system of confrontation,” believing Russia to be a “weak link” in it, the president explained. The conflict with Ukraine, however, has already proven that is not the case and the West was mistaken, Putin stated. “I am sure they are now convinced that this was far from the reality, and rather the opposite is true,” he said. Putin underscored the need to further develop military technologies and be “one step ahead” of the country’s adversaries in order to be “successful.” Among other things, Putin commended on the efforts of Russian civil society to actively support the country’s troops and supply the military with assorted additional tools, ranging from mask nettings to sophisticated drones.

“In our country, as we often say, the so-called people’s military industrial complex is growing now. To be honest, when I meet with those who are in one way or another involved in such activities, the combat work in the civilian sphere, I, frankly, am surprised myself,” Putin stated. In order to be truly effective, however, civilian crowdfunded projects still require the state’s involvement and support, the president said. “Of course, all this must be concentrated in a certain way, everything must be sorted into the right places in a certain way, and supported at the state level. That’s what we are doing,” Putin concluded.

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“..based on the desire to justify current followers of the Nazis..

West ‘Trying To Distort’ History Of WWII – Putin (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has used his address at the military parade in Moscow celebrating the 79th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany to accuse the West of “distorting the history” of the conflict. He also accused the US-led bloc of wielding “colonial policies” aimed at elevating a few nations by restraining the development of other sovereign states. According to Putin, Western nations “would like to forget the lessons of World War II.” “We see how they are trying to distort the truth about World War II – it interferes with those who are accustomed to building their essentially colonial policy on hypocrisy and lies. They demolish memorials to true fighters against Nazism and place traitors and Nazi collaborators on pedestals,” the president said. He called this revanchism policy a “mockery of history” based on the desire to justify current followers of the Nazis.

“These [actions] are part of the general policy of Western elites of inciting more and more regional conflicts, interethnic and interreligious hostility, and restraining the development of sovereign independent states,” Putin stated, noting that no country or military bloc has a right to do so, which World War II proved. We reject any state or alliance’s claims to exceptionalism. We know what the exorbitance of such ambitions leads to. This year’s Victory Day celebration is taking place amid a tense geopolitical situation due to the Ukraine conflict, in which most Western states have firmly taken Kiev’s side. Over the past two years, many Western leaders have been spreading what Moscow calls Russophobia, claiming that Russia may attack Europe if it secures victory in Ukraine. Putin emphasized that while Russia would do everything possible to prevent a global conflict, it will not allow anyone to threaten its own safety and sovereignty.

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Eva

 

 

17 million

 

 

1000s

 

 

Feather star
https://twitter.com/i/status/1788199677097091323

 

 

Bees

 

 

Break
https://twitter.com/i/status/1788300348085407848

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 082024
 
 May 8, 2024  Posted by at 8:53 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  51 Responses »


Pieter Bruegel the Younger St. George’s Kermis with the Dance Around the Maypole 1634

 

Trump Classified Documents Trial Postponed Indefinitely (ZH)
RFK Jr. Challenges Trump To Debate (RT)
Putin’s Inauguration – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
Putin Sent Message to West That Russia is ‘There to Stay’ as Major Power (Sp.)
Dialing Down Expectations On A US–Saudi Security Pact (Bhadrakumar)
The Real Reason Macron Is Pushing The French Troops Narrative For Ukraine (Jay)
There’s A Careful Plan Behind Xi’s European Tour (RT)
White Genocide is in the Cards that Are Being Played (Paul Craig Roberts)
Boeing Investigated Over Falsified Plane Records (RT)
Breathe Deep….. (Denninger)

 

 

 

 

RFK by Woody

 

 

Title 18

 

 

Every day looks crazier than the one before. Does Jack Smith still have a job?

Trump Classified Documents Trial Postponed Indefinitely (ZH)

One day after postponing a filing deadline in Donald Trump’s classified documents case, Judge Aileen M. Cannon has postponed the whole thing indefinitely. In a Tuesday decision, Cannon vacated (canceled) Trump’s May 20 trial date, and wrote that setting a new date given the enormous stack of pre-trial matters would be “imprudent.” On Monday, Cannon postponed a filing deadline for Trump’s team to provide a list of classified documents they want to present at trial – which was supposed to be filed by this Thursday. Cannon did not announce a new deadline, perhaps the first clue into today’s decision. The move also comes after special counsel Jack Smith’s team admitted that the classified files at the heart of the case had been tampered with, and they needed more time to assess that revelation.

Smith also misled the court, after originally telling U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon that the boxes remained “in their original, intact form as seized,” when in a footnote they conceded that they removed classified documents and left placeholder sheets, which prosecutors acknowledged has created an “inconsistent” record – in which some of the documents are no longer in the same order as they appear in digital scans made in the fall of 2022. “The Government acknowledges that this is inconsistent with what Government counsel previously understood and represented to the Court,” the footnote reads, according to Just the News. The finding comes after Cannon ordered a review into whether the FBI may have seized legally privileged records in response to a request from Trump co-defendant Walt Nauta.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1787981231478505641

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What would Trump have to win from this?

RFK Jr. Challenges Trump To Debate (RT)

US independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has challenged former President Donald Trump to a debate at this month’s Libertarian National Convention. Trump insists that Kennedy is “not a serious candidate.” “I’d like to make you an offer. We’re both going to be speaking at the upcoming Libertarian convention on May 24 and 25,” Kennedy wrote in an X (formerly Twitter) post on Tuesday addressed to Trump. “It’s perfect neutral territory for you and me to have a debate where you can defend your record for your wavering supporters.” Asked last week whether he would debate Kennedy, Trump said that the former Democrat is “not a serious candidate” and would have to “get his numbers a lot higher before he’s credible.”

In his post on Tuesday, Kennedy claimed that a poll commissioned by his campaign showed that he would “crush” President Joe Biden in a two-way contest, and would defeat Trump “in a nail-biter” in a similar matchup. Polls published last month by CNN and Quinnipiac both showed Kennedy at 16% in a contest involving him, Trump, Biden, and other independents, a result that he argued puts him “above the 15% debate threshold.” “I’m also drawing a lot of voters from your former supporters. They are upset that you blew up the deficit, shut down their businesses during Covid, and filled your administration with swamp creatures,” Kennedy wrote. Known for his anti-vaccine activism, free-speech advocacy, and foreign policy pacifism, Kennedy entered the race for the White House as a Democrat last April, before announcing in October that he would run as an independent instead. His effect on this November’s election has proven difficult for pundits to predict, with polls showing him pulling support from both Biden and Trump.

“The Democrats are frightened that I’m gonna spoil the election for President Biden, and the Republicans are frightened that I’m gonna spoil it for President Trump,” Kennedy said last year. “The truth is, they’re both right. My intention is to spoil it for both of them.” Trump and Kennedy will both deliver headline speeches at the Libertarian Party’s convention in Washington DC later this month, despite the fact that the party also intends to field its own candidate for the presidency. In a statement last week, Trump encouraged Libertarian Party members to back his campaign. “If Libertarians join me and the Republican Party, where we have many Libertarian views, the election won’t even be close,” he said. “We cannot have another four years of death, destruction, and incompetence. WE WILL WORK TOGETHER AND WIN!”

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Began Final Stage of Russia’s Purge of Malign Western Influence..

Putin’s Inauguration – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

In his speech at his inauguration ceremony, President Putin paid special emphasis to his responsibility as head of state “to protect Russia and serve our people,” and expressed Russia’s readiness for dialogue with the West, so long as the latter drops its efforts to restrain Russia’s development and apply pressure on the country. “Dialogue is possible, including on issues of security and strategic stability. But not from a position of strength, without arrogance, conceit or personal exclusivity, but only on equal terms, respecting each other’s interests,” Putin said. In the meantime, the president said, Russia will continue to work with its partners toward Eurasian integration “other sovereign development centers” to speed the formation of “a multipolar world order and an equal and indivisible security system.”

At home, Putin stressed, the foundations of Russian statehood include “interethnic harmony, the preservations of the traditions of all peoples living in Russia – a civilization unified by the Russian language and our multicultural culture.” The task of the state going forward will be to “ensure reliable continuity in the development of the country for decades to come, to raise and educate young generations who will strengthen and develop the country,” he said. Putin’s inauguration speech was very different from the televised address he gave when he first became acting president in 1999, but is nevertheless linked by one very important common theme, Scott Ritter told Sputnik. “In his inauguration speech, Vladimir Putin made it clear that the security of Russia and the Russian people are his top priority. Why would he have to say this? Because as we speak, Russia finds itself under attack from many nations around the world – nations that seek the existential extermination of Russia, if not through violence, then through economic strangulation,” Ritter said.

By contrast, in 1999, Russia faced a threat of a different sort, according to the commentator. “In 1999, Russia wasn’t facing attacks from without from foreign influence, but rather attacks from within,” Ritter said, pointing to the deep infiltration of Western economic and political interests, and Western values, both into Russia’s government, and among ordinary citizens. “This was a Russia that had lost touch with itself,” the observer said. Over Putin’s tenure, Russia has gradually “purged” itself of these attitudes, Ritter said, with the conflict in Ukraine serving as a catalyst accelerating Russia’s transformation, forcing elites and ordinary citizens alike to reconsider who they are and what defines them.

Going forward, Ritter expects Putin’s new term in office to “redefine Russia in the final stages of this transformation that it has been making continuously since 1999, a Russia that will for once and all purge the poison of Western malign influence out of its system, and create a pure Russian notion of what Russia is.” As for communication and potential cooperation with foreign power centers, it will be defined by Western readiness to respect Russian independence, the commentator said. “Vladimir Putin made it clear in his speech that he is seeking good relations with the West. Russia’s not seeking to dominate anybody. But Russia wants to live in peaceful coexistence with its Western neighbors as an equal, as a nation defined not by Western values, but by Russian values,” Ritter summed up.

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“.. to bring about a fundamentally new quality of life for our people and a real, tangible increase in their prosperity.’”

Putin Sent Message to West That Russia is ‘There to Stay’ as Major Power (Sp.)

Newly inaugurated President Vladimir Putin has sent a clear message to the West that “Russia is there to stay as one of the world’s major powers,” strategic analyst Paolo Raffone told Sputnik. The director of the CIPI Foundation in Brussels cited Putin’s remarks signaling Russia’s intent to “use political and diplomatic means to defend its lawful interests,” while remaining “open to negotiations and dialogue.” In his inauguration speech, Putin “rightly claims that after 2000, he, with the support of the Russian people, ‘stood firm against the attacks of international terrorism and saved the country from the very real threat of collapse,’” Raffone noted. The analyst singled out two cornerstone statements by the Russian president. First, that, “The main objective of the coming six years is now ‘to transform the potential we have built up into a new development energy and to use it to bring about a fundamentally new quality of life for our people and a real, tangible increase in their prosperity.’”

Second, that “Russia’s success and prosperity ‘cannot and should not depend on one single person or one political party, or political force alone. We need a broad base for developing democracy in our country and for continuing the transformations we have begun.’” “Putin underlines that he ‘serves’ the interests of Russia that has chosen him again as president. Putin acknowledges that the post-2000 recovery of Russia is still underway, and he summons the peoples of Russia to strengthen social cohesion to continue the path of ‘transformations’ and ‘develop democracy.’ Two statements and two goals that are a cornerstone of his new term in office,” Raffone said. As for the US-driven calls in the Western capitals and mainstream press to delegitimize the Russian presidential election process, “It is the continuation of the historic confrontation of Anglo-Saxon powers against Russia,” Raffone explained.

He weighed in on the fact that representatives of Western countries stayed away from the ceremony. While the UK, Canada, and most European Union nations opted to boycott the swearing-in, France, Hungary, and Slovakia sent their ambassadors, Raffone pointed out, noting that the “tune is set by the US that is faced with tremendous domestic and external challenges in the months ahead of the November elections.” “Despite the US/UK-imposed boycott, there is no united Western front against Russia… The reaction of Anglo-Saxon powers against Russia is a weak representation of the relativization of their global standing, a process with which their political elites have difficulty to come to terms. Despite their bellicose rhetoric, there is mounting sentiment that the relations with Russia cannot be eased without fresh diplomatic initiatives,” Raffone concluded.

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Power has already shifted.

Dialing Down Expectations On A US–Saudi Security Pact (Bhadrakumar)

A historic security pact may be in the making between the United States and Saudi Arabia that could open a pathway to the kingdom’s normalization with Israel. Both sides are eager to close a deal that will replace their famous ‘oil-for-security’ bargain struck in 1945. A caveat must be added, though. That 80-year-old agreement between president Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz Al-Saud has been tested in recent years as the global balance of power shifted and eroded some of their mutual trust. With last decade’s Arab Uprisings, the once-reliable lines of communication between Riyadh and Washington became strained, and back channels diminished. Issues of reliability, due to trust deficit and waning US influence, began weighing down the once solid alliance. Three particular developments underscored that the pillars of the US–Saudi relationship had become shaky:

First, the creation of OPEC+, the brainwave of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), which launched an era of more independent production policy; second, Riyadh’s decision to join the multipolar BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); and third, the Saudi decision to normalize relations with Iran, a commitment formalized in a Chinese-brokered peace deal in March 2023. The raison d’être of a renewed US–Saudi partnership is not in doubt. The dramatic events of 7 October 2023 in the Gaza envelope shattered the Biden administration’s notion that the Palestinian problem was “resolving itself” and that all that was needed was a neat Saudi–Israeli normalization. Instead, the issue of Palestine roared back to the center stage of West Asian security, and there is no leeway left to hoodwink the region, dissimulate empathy for the Palestinian cause, or strut around as a Good Samaritan on the Arab street.

Equally, Iran played its cards efficiently to bring the Axis of Resistance to the forecourt, something that rattled the Gulf Arab regimes, which, in turn, also provided a window of opportunity for the Biden Administration to re-engage their old allies. The linkage between regional ceasefire demands, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and calls for the release of Israeli captives held by Hamas has enabled Washington to regain its footing as the key interlocutor on the diplomatic track. Nonetheless, it remains a slippery slope for the US to reinsert itself as the main influencer in the region. Too much has changed in West Asia and the world in the interim. The broad strategy pursued by the Biden team is to nurture the new ecosystem around the Abraham Accords that Donald Trump patented by envisaging an Israeli–Saudi deal as the linchpin of a broader political agreement.

The White House imagines this would pave the way for Gaza’s reconstruction and the establishment of a Palestinian state that would go a long way to integrate Israel into its Arab neighborhood while allowing Washington to turn its attention to the Asia–Pacific and Eurasia to impede China’s rise and erode Moscow’s capacity to provide strategic space for China on the global stage. Rather than a robust strategy, the above is a breathtakingly ambitious pipe dream given Washington’s growing list of existential challenges: an economy under the weight of the unprecedented debt burden; counterstrategies by the Russia–Iran–China axis; the threat of “de-dollarization” gaining traction in the world economy as more and more countries in the Global South are experimenting with alternative currencies in their international settlement.

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“..over 20 years ago French soldiers tried to fight Sudan rebels and were reported to have fled the battlefield when they were actually fired upon with live rounds..”

The Real Reason Macron Is Pushing The French Troops Narrative For Ukraine (Jay)

Emmanuel Macron is in the news again with his repeated suggestion that French troops could be sent to Ukraine to fight in the war there against Russian forces. This time it is in the supposedly prestigious British highbrow Economist, which is happy to repeat this empty mantra over and over again, largely, one supposes, as it supports a broader narrative of the EU which it is a servant of in Brussels. There is no relationship more unhealthy and repugnant than that of The Economist and the European Union with the former happy to play the role of free propagandist and PR enactor for the latter. How Macron can keep repeating this entirely empty threat, which even he himself has admitted to a French magazine won’t happen, is astounding. Did someone ask him to do this once again and arrange it in The Economist? Perhaps at a high level in Brussels? How else to explain this latest ejaculation of utter nonsense?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto condemned the latest remarks and has warned such a move could ultimately spark an all-out nuclear war. Speaking to French broadcaster LCI, Szijjarto strongly condemned the idea, saying that the French leader’s comments themselves have contributed to escalating the situation. “If a NATO member commits ground troops, it will be a direct NATO-Russia confrontation and it will then be World War Three,” Szijjarto told the broadcaster. Macron himself has moved on though since his original comments to the Parisienne magazine which kicked it all off a few weeks ago. The more recent interview with The Economist clearly shows that he has even reflected on his own rambling and looked deeper at how he could refine the narrative, presumably to get more attention on the issue. However, it’s an act of a desperate politician, which analysts interpret one of two ways; it is either a cry of help directed towards the Biden administration to do the very act themselves and send American troops there; or it is simply a PR stunt to keep him in the international press, a zone which is like a crack addiction.

Like Trump, Macron seems to want to do and say anything – no matter how absurd – to keep him on the front pages, so to speak. Of course, the reaction of Macron, desperate as it seems, is entirely logical when we consider the events on the ground. Russia is gaining territory so western elites have to prepare their media campaigns which deflect blame away from themselves which is partly what the cry from Macron and other EU leaders for expanding their militaries is all about. When Russia takes Kiev, they will all cry “we told you so” and keep on arguing for bigger military spending. The narrative really is one of a loser. It is what you would expect from the losing side preparing to retreat and to save their political careers. Macron and most western leaders do not wish western media to point the finger at a series of catastrophic errors since day one, which have collectively contributed towards the retreat.

And so now, in The Economist, we see Macron define what he laughably believes could be the criteria for sending French troops to Ukraine: Russian breaking through the lines. But even western media like The Economist knows that this is folly and the whole Macron game is really a pack of lies. And yet they keep the lies alive. Perhaps, arguably, Hungary’s recalcitrant foreign minister also helps Macron and his ramblings muster credibility simply by rising to the bait and adding media oxygen. Szijjarto talks about the possibility of an all-out war if the French leader would go ahead with such a preposterous idea and mentions the use of nuclear weapons. But is there something here that we’re all missing? A bluff which both Macron and Szijjarto are playing? You don’t have to look too far to see what it might be.

NATO is planning to put together a proposal for a 100bn dollar war chest of cash for Ukraine and the fearmongering from Macron might be aimed at scaring Hungary into not going ahead with its veto to such a package – or rather aimed at other countries who would directly lobby Hungary to sign it off. No one in NATO’s headquarters in Brussels believes for one moment that France is capable of sending troops to Ukraine who would actually fight Russian soldiers and The Economist knows this only too well which is why it is call centre journalism on their part to print such garbage, which may well have been paid for from NATO’s pocket or Macron’s. Some NATO buffs, counting down the days to retirement will remember how over 20 years ago French soldiers tried to fight Sudan rebels and were reported to have fled the battlefield when they were actually fired upon with live rounds. We are all still having a great laugh about that on the dinner party circuit in Brussels even to this day.

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Aiming for the weak spots.

There’s A Careful Plan Behind Xi’s European Tour (RT)

Chinese President Xi Jinping is on a state visit to Europe. On what is his first trip to the EU since 2019, he has visited France and Hungary and concluded the tour in Serbia. The trip comes at a pivotal moment, when European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is attempting to flip the EU institution against China, having initiated dozens of probes on Chinese products in recent weeks. Likewise, the US has aggressively ramped up rhetoric accusing Beijing, accusing it of complicity in the Ukraine conflict, designed of course to undermine Xi’s credibility on his trip.

Despite von der Leyden’s blatant pro-US bias, it is quite obvious that the loyalty of EU nations has become the subject of a battle between Washington and Beijing for influence in the emerging geopolitical struggle. Although of course the EU is in theory aligned with the US, through its dominance of institutions such as NATO, China’s foreign policy for many years now has focused on attempting to exert all influence to prevent the EU from fully aligning itself with Washington’s goal of containing Beijing, instead seeking to preserve open economic ties with the continent. To this end China has devoted an extensive diplomatic effort to Europe, an effort it doesn’t feel worth making towards the US, or even the UK.

Continental Europe is a mixed bag, and depending on the political status quo there are some states who are favourable to China, and some who are not (such as the Baltic states), and thus China sees it important to uphold the bastion of support where it can. As a result, Xi has dedicated his visit to three countries who are currently favourable towards Beijing: France and Hungary within the EU and Serbia outside the bloc. First, France is a Western-aligned state which has always been famous for its “maverick” foreign policy derived from its position as a former empire in its own right. Emmanuel Macron in particular has always been keen to go against the grain and has continued to engage with Beijing, even visiting China himself last year.

Traditionally, the most enthusiastic large EU country towards China is in fact Germany, and that is still visible, for example in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Beijing several weeks ago. However, German politics has become a domestic tug of war over China, as the foreign ministry is controlled by the neoconservative Green Annalena Baerbock, who has attempted to try and undermine ties with Beijing. This of course has been met with resistance from the German Industry lobby, while US-funded think tanks also try to undermine German ties with China to the best of their ability. As a result, it is not politically convenient for Xi to visit Germany, and thus he chose France, where opinions seem more comfortable with its “maverick” role.

His second destination, Hungary, under Viktor Orban has carved out a niche as being the most pro-Beijing state in the whole EU. Orban has an even more maverick foreign policy which also seeks healthy ties with Russia. However, its small size means it cannot steer the entire bloc’s agenda. Despite this, Budapest is a very important partner for Beijing because it serves as a gateway for Chinese investment and other projects to amplify themselves on the continent when doors are being shut elsewhere. Such as, building an overseas campus for Fudan University, or a Chinese electric car factory, which is critically important if the commission is wielding the threat of tariffs. But not only that, Hungary occupies a strategic position in central Europe above the Balkans which is the terminus of a Chinese economic corridor that starts with the port it owns in Piraeus, Greece. And between Greece and Hungary lies Serbia. Although Serbia is not part of the EU, it is a critically important nation in the Balkans which has stormy relations with the West owing to the massive bombing campaign NATO waged against it in the 1990s.

It is a nation which dislikes the West, but has no power to directly resist as it faces pressure to integrate into the EU, and a sovereignty issue over Kosovo. As a result, Serbia’s well being depends on its ability to court relationships with third-party powers such as Russia and China to secure geopolitical clout. For China, Serbia thus becomes another focus point, or safe-haven, to project influence into Europe. Since the Ukraine conflict began, China has taken the subtle position of opposing the expansion of US-led western institutions, recognising them as a tool of hegemony that will be used against it. As a result, strengthening ties with Belgrade has become part of Beijing’s effort to keep its foothold in the continent, both politically and economically – it has created as a commercial passage utilising its role as part of the Balkan corridor.

Hence, Xi is reportedly going to try and upgrade relations with Serbia. After all, it is a place where China can invest and thus, sell to Europe, without EU and NATO interference. It is also hoped Serbia will join BRICS eventually. Thus, while Xi’s visit to France, one of the EU’s leading states, is to ensure the bloc does not unite against Beijing, his visit to Serbia and Hungary is strategic by design in using them as projection points in ensuring China’s commercial ties with Europe can be upheld amidst resistance by powerful individuals such as Ursula von der Leyen.

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“They are doomed. Perhaps a few will be kept in zoos as examples of racist evil.”

White Genocide is in the Cards that Are Being Played (Paul Craig Roberts)

Three decades ago in my book, The New Color Line, I pointed out that Alfred W. Blumrosen, compliance chief of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, turned the statutory language of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on its head and used the EEOC to create race-based legal privileges for blacks, thereby reducing white Americans to second-class citizenship. In place of equal employment opportunity Blumrosen and the liberals of the time used “affirmative action” to create and enforce privileges for blacks in university admissions, hiring and promotion. These privileges created in defiance of Congress by a regulatory authority were the opening wedge against our then merit-based system and created the acceptability of racial discrimination against white Americans.

At the time the liberals admitted that it amounted to privileged treatment of a race, but said it was to be temporary in order to give blacks a leg up. It has now been 60 years, a time period that is not temporary. As I pointed out, once privilege is set in law, it becomes a property right of the privileged supported by the passage of time and precedent after precedent. Even though the racial privilege is unconstitutional, those privileged by it have squatters’ rights in the privilege. My book was favorably reviewed by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, by Irving Kristol, editor of The Public Interest, by Judge Robert H. Bork, by the New York Times Book Review, by The Wall Street Journal, by the Washington Post, by California Governor Pete Wilson, and many others. Henry Regnery said that my book was the most important work his firm had ever published. Yet my book had zero effect.

Three decades after its publication American corporations, universities, and the US military have institutionalized racial discrimination against white Americans. 60 years too late Tucker Carlson has raised this issue with Jeremy Carl who has just published The Unprotected Class: How Anti-White Racism is Tearing America Apart. As a large percentage of the white population has been indoctrinated into seeing themselves as guilty and undeserving, the white majority is incapable of rectifying its second-class legal status. As the white American majority is rapidly disappearing under the Democrats’ policy of open borders and recruitment of immigrant-invaders into the United States, within a few years time not even the theoretical possibility of restoring American whites to equality under the law will be possible.

If you want to see your future, read Jean Raspail’s The Camp of the Saints. The Camp of the Saints is an accurate description of the fate of the Western World. We are experiencing that fate now. If you dare to know your future and that of your children and grandchildren, you can read this novel that correctly predicted our future in 1973. The book was a best seller, but the rot had already set in. Today the book is suppressed. You can read it here: https://www.jrbooksonline.com/PDFs/Camp_of_the_Saints.pdf As racial denigration of white ethnicities is institutionalized in every Western government, all white ethnicities can expect the same fate. The fate of white ethnicities is sealed. They have lost their countries and are reviled by their own white governments, universities, and media. They are doomed. Perhaps a few will be kept in zoos as examples of racist evil.

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It used to have an excellent reputation. Gone in just a few years.

Boeing Investigated Over Falsified Plane Records (RT)

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced it has launched a probe against Boeing to ascertain whether one of its factories may have omitted mandatory inspections and whether employees may have falsified records. The inquiry was begun after the company itself informed the FAA about what it called “misconduct” at its factory in South Carolina. The issue revolved around the beleaguered 787 program, according to media reports. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a two-aisle plane used mostly for long-haul flights. “The company voluntarily informed us in April that it may not have completed required inspections to confirm adequate bonding and grounding where the wings join the fuselage on certain 787 Dreamliner airplanes,” the FAA said in a statement. According to the agency, “Boeing is reinspecting all 787 airplanes still within the production system and must also create a plan to address the in-service fleet.”

No planes were taken out of service following the discovery, according to AP. The company only ordered additional checks at its final assembly plant in North Charleston, delaying the aircraft delivery, the news agency said. The company’s shares dropped by 1.5% late on Monday following the news. Following inquiries by the media, the aircraft manufacturer released an internal email written by the head of the 787 program, Scott Stocker, who said that a worker at the South Carolina factory noticed an “irregularity” in the required wing-to-body joint tests and reported the issue to his manager. “After receiving the report, we quickly reviewed the matter and learned that several people had been violating Company policies by not performing a required test, but recording the work as having been completed,” Stocker admitted, adding that the company was taking “swift and serious corrective action” as a result.

The development is the latest in a series of issues confronting the company. Last week, it reported that the lack of a key component was delaying production of the Dreamliner. It blamed the issue on sanctions against Russia, adding that the required parts were produced by a joint US-Russian venture. The company also recently told investors that it would not be able to deliver as many Dreamliner jets as had been planned this year due to shortages of heat exchangers and cabin seating. Monthly production of the Boeing 737 MAX has also fallen to single digits as the company is still dealing with manufacturing issues in the wake of an incident that saw a door plug blow out mid-flight on an Alaska Airlines plane in January. The 737 MAX has been plagued by mishaps, including two crashes in 2018 and 2019 that resulted in more than 340 deaths.

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“Mature fast casual dining and chip companies selling for 70x earnings are fantasy-land nonsense and yet both are the case right here, right now.”

Breathe Deep….. (Denninger)

=I travel quite a bit. Like most people I have my habits — places I like, things I go to do and if I enjoy them I’ll go back and do them again. This means I see patterns and, unlike many, I tend to notice them immediately. Perhaps its a blessing — or perhaps a curse. I just got back after one such trip; one I’ve made before and Sarah and her boyfriend both came as well (her boyfriend has not been on this trip before, but she certainly has.) They traveled separately but we met up and had a good time. If you’re in the market you ought to be making up a big fat list of things to be short — or at least be out of the things you’ve had and are long of, particularly when you can get a 5%+ risk free return in the short end (the 13 week bill, for example) of the Treasury market. I was stunned at the deterioration I saw in consumer behavior from just a month or so ago on my prior trip, and gob-smacked at the change over three months or so back when Sarah and I were out at Wolf Creek, also a place I like to go on a repetitive basis (for skiing, of course.)

There was evidence of it then on our travels which were over a large part of the same path we took back in September for our trip out to the Grand Canyon. That which was jammed full was not, and yet there wasn’t a serious price delta between those two trips; that is, while there had been lots of inflation over the previous couple of years (and it was obvious) there wasn’t anything that was a sort-of “trigger moment” associated with the change, and being winter .vs. late summer, ok, maybe it was seasonal and frankly, the delta was small. This time it wasn’t small and in addition there were serious price hikes that were attempted — and appear to have had an instant impact. I’m talking about sit-down fast-casual places I like when traveling and lots of others do too in that they’re always slammed to the point that if you want to eat there during the dinner hours I hope you like their “get a sort of reservation on their app” thing or sit at the bar if its just one of you — because if not you might be waiting an hour.

Well, that was gone. And not a little gone either. The place had plenty of tables with no wait and the parking lot had lots of spaces too. But it wasn’t one place — on the way home I stopped at another I’ve been in a dozen times over the last five or so years, again, at dinner time, and a third of the tables were empty. But what else was shocking? A roughly 40% total price increase over a couple of years ago and of that 10+% that just got tacked on with all the menus having just been reprinted in the last couple of weeks. It appears that last grab for cash finally hit people’s pain points and they stopped showing up. I also saw “fast food” style places co-located with fueling stations on the highway shuttered and boarded up — and that’s entirely new, and of other chains I pay some attention to during the same times in the afternoon and evening their parking lots are half-full or less.

Yes, this is “shoulder season” — or is it? Not really. Its graduation season and a lot of people are in fact traveling for precisely that reason; in another few weeks it will be the start of “traditional summer” with Memorial Day. Folks, there are no rate cuts coming because there can’t be into this government spending level without an explosion in inflation. Without taking on the place in the federal spending game where all the money is going (that’s health care) there is no fix. Attempting to work around it with more offshoring, more robots, more data centers (and “ai” in them) and similar won’t work either because you can’t print money — you can only print credit and to obtain money someone has to do something of value for someone else in excess of its costs.

When costs ramp that excess closes and eventually goes negative — and at the point it does that activity becomes uneconomic. If you continue to do it through various machinations such as the government playing handout games you run the risk of an exponential runaway and collapse. But what you should keep in mind is that never in reasonably-modern history do markets let you get to that endpoint. They didn’t in 2000 or in 2008 either. All the hollering about “subprime being contained” proved to be nonsense; the underlying bubble that “supported” the charade was seen through before the endpoint and the market imposed its own view of things whether policy makers liked it or not. Mature fast casual dining and chip companies selling for 70x earnings are fantasy-land nonsense and yet both are the case right here, right now.

I get it that nobody likes the implications of prices having to collapse by a third to come roughly into line with incomes, but its fact. Further its at least double that in the capital markets because common stock always has an element of leverage in it (otherwise why would it sell at a “multiple” of earnings at all — and yet it always does, does it not?) The believe that The Fed “must” or “will” step in and prevent such a reversion to the mean is absurdly common — after all, they have stepped in through the last two decades (or even more) but in doing so each time they’ve made the imbalance worse and now the exponential nature of such deficit spending and debt load are here rather than a future problem. For those who believe that it will “never fail” or worse, that you’ll get plenty of warning before something serious breaks I have three words for you: SOLD TO YOU.

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Bird dog
https://twitter.com/i/status/1787924335732113456

 

 

Elk

 

 

Explain

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 052024
 
 May 5, 2024  Posted by at 9:07 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  46 Responses »


René Magritte The secret player 1927

 

Ruling Tories Suffer Crushing Electoral Defeat In England (RT)
France Seemingly Set to Part Ways With Macron, Come June Elections (Manley)
Macron is Afraid to Go Down in History as the Leader Who ‘Lost Africa’ (Sp.)
Nostalgia for the Mud (Kunstler)
Trump’s VP Short List Has a Residency Dilemma (Turley)
Prosecutors Admit Key Evidence In Trump Docs Case Has Been Tampered With (JTN)
‘Peace Formula’ On Ukraine To Succeed If West Halts Arms Supplies – Zakharova (TASS)
Trump Will Force NATO Members To Hike Military Spending By 50% – Telegraph (RT)
Biden Parole Program Has Flown Illegals To More Than 45 US Cities (ZH)
‘True Promise’: An Insider Account Of Iran’s Strikes On Israel (Cradle)
Russia Belatedly Adds Zelensky to Criminal ‘Wanted’ List (ZH)

 

 

Google bans ad

 

 

Dick van Dyke


https://twitter.com/i/status/1786568352686547015

 

 

O’Keefe

 

 

Woody RFK

 

 

 

 

Politics are shaking all over Europe.

Ruling Tories Suffer Crushing Electoral Defeat In England (RT)

The UK Conservative Party has suffered its worst defeat in decades, having lost nearly 500 council seats during this week’s local elections in England. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has admitted his party’s defeat, calling the results “disappointing.” Overall, the Tories lost 473 of the 985 seats they were defending and lost control of 12 councils in the vote held on Thursday. The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats emerged as the main victors, with Labour gaining eight councils and 185 seats, according to a Sky News tally. This is the worst showing for Tories since the late 1990s. “It appears to be the worst local elections for the Conservatives since the final years of the era of Margaret Thatcher and John Major,” said Robert Hayward, a polling expert and a member of the House of Lords, as quoted by the New York Times.

Labour politician Chris Webb has won the Blackpool South by-election, beating Conservative David Jones. “This seismic win in Blackpool South is the most important result today,” Labour leader Keir Starmer told reporters, adding that the win “shows that we are firmly back in the service of working people.” Another good news for Labour came from London, where Mayor Sadiq Khan was re-elected for a third term. “Londoners voted to give their city a fairer, safer, greener future,” Khan wrote on X (formerly Twitter).The campaigning was centered around inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, as well local issues, such as the state of housing and the work of the NHS in different areas. Sunak said on Friday that it is “disappointing to lose good hardworking Conservative councilors.” He added that he remains “focused completely on the job at hand – that’s delivering for people across the country.” Despite the upset, prime minister said he is hopeful that the voters “are going to stick with us” in the general election expected to take place in the second half of 2024.

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“Just 4% of those aged 18 to 24-years-old expressed their intention of voting for Macron’s party next month..”

France Seemingly Set to Part Ways With Macron, Come June Elections (Manley)

Two recent opinion articles have highlighted the lack of faith the French public has in their leader, Macron. The French president has been described as “trailing the hard right” as he tries to steer the EU into a direction that would mark it as a military power. According to new opinion polls, France’s Renaissance (RE) party is trailing the far-right National Rally (RN) by a far second place. A recent article published on Wednesday by The Guardian, says the blame for the RE’s poor polling rests with President Emmanuel Macron. The parties were tied in the last European election which took place five years ago. Elections for the European Parliament will take place between June 6 and June 9. The elections will be a clear sign for how the presidential election in France, in 2027, will unfold. Macron, 46, “has himself to blame for his political predicament”, the article suggests.

The French president is “barely two years into his second term in the Élysée Palace, yet lacking a parliamentary majority at home and with his government under the permanent threat of a no-confidence motion.” “[Macron] has so personalized his style of governance that voters blame him for everything from the cost of living to the rise of youth violence and the risk of terrorism during this summer’s Paris Olympic Games,” according to the news outlet. The RN is being led by Jordan Bardella, who became the president of the party in 2022. Bardella is just 28-years-old and does not carry the same legacy as his party’s former president, Marine Le Pen, though he reportedly said that he first joined the party due to Le Pen’s influence. But while Le Pen’s influence on the RN is still palpable, young voters are more drawn to Bardella. Macron was elected in 2017, becoming France’s youngest head of state apart from Napoleon Bonaparte. But now, Macron is seemingly flailing to keep up with the desires of the French public.

“I think it is less about ‘Frenchness’ in this election than as portraying the people don’t feel that they belong, the people who feel they have been humiliated, either economically – not making ends meet, not being recognized, not seeing themselves represented in parliament nor politics,” said Cécile Alduy, a Professor of French at Stanford University, explained to a German broadcaster. A separate survey published in March, shows that Macron’s party has fallen out of favorability among young French voters. Just 4% of those aged 18 to 24-years-old expressed their intention of voting for Macron’s party next month, compared to 29% among those over the age of 70. Alduy explains that the reason for this is because those who are younger have little to no historical memory regarding Nazism during World War II, as the RN has been criticized for failing to rid itself of its antisemitic heritage.

Another article by Financial Times explains Macron’s drop in popularity with an opinion poll from February which showed the main preoccupation of French voters is the cost of living. According to that poll, a drop in consumer confidence amongst the French shows a pessimism about their future. Another issue regarding France’s economy includes their high budget deficit which skyrocketed last year to 5.5% of the GDP, according to the newspaper. “Macron’s government has already had to announce emergency spending cuts, and more may be on their way in areas such as social benefits and local government budgets”, the newspaper suggests, adding that this could affect the results of the 2027 election. But the news outlet adds that while many French people use the EU elections as a way to cast protest votes against their presidents and governments, many may vote differently in a national election.

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“Macron has still a couple of years in office as president of France, and he cannot be reelected after this term..”

Macron is Afraid to Go Down in History as the Leader Who ‘Lost Africa’ (Sp.)

While French President Emmanuel Macron tries to maintain his façade as a tough guy in politics, his approval rating in France continues to sag. According to a recent Ipsos poll, Macron’s Renaissance party’s rating dropped to a measly 17%, compared to, for example, Marin Le Pen’s right-wing Rassemblement National (RN) party’s 32% rating. Currently, Macron witnesses his position weakening, both “personally” as the incumbent president and “politically with his centrist-globalist party low performance,” argues Paolo Raffone, a strategic analyst and director of the CIPI Foundation in Brussels. “Macron does not care about public opinion, following the “power” tradition of France. He knows that he has no appeal for the public opinion in France and he acts as an absolute sovereign to save the state,” Raffone tells Sputnik. At the same time, the analyst notes, Macron is essentially a “narcissist” who “does not want to be remembered as the worst president of France”: namely, as the president who witnessed France losing its hold on Africa.

“Macron has still a couple of years in office as president of France, and he cannot be reelected after this term. In this context, Macron is trying to play all his remaining cards to reinvent a political role for France in Europe,” he said. In French and EU politics, Macron is attempting to sow division among the other right-wing parties, while abroad he seeks to recover his reputational losses over the African fiasco by “trying to play a role in the Caucasus – pro Armenia and anti-Turkiye and Azerbaijan” – and in the Ukrainian conflict. “It is again a gamble with two objectives: the first, is to replace Germany’s leadership in EU foreign policy, the second, pre-position France in the eyes of the US current and future administration attempting to balance the troubled UK’s Tory leadership that could be replaced by Labor at the end of 2024 (or earlier),” Raffone explains.

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“..oppression envy..”

Nostalgia for the Mud (Kunstler)

Wasn’t it cute how the youngsters who “occupied” Columbia U’s Hamilton Hall — and were busy smashing things up inside — demanded restaurant-grade meals sent in to avert “starvation and dehydration” amongst their dauntless ranks? You could imagine a colossal mommy breast with three hundred nipples descending from the sky over upper Manhattan to nourish them back to action. “Feed me. . . !”

It turns out, actually, that at least half the troops inside were not students at all, but rather semi-pro activists paid up to $7,000 each by George Soros’s Open Society Institute and other overtly insurrection-themed orgs, so you’d think that the troops could afford to load-up their ever-ready backpacks with Clif bars and bottles of Smart Water. The order-in food and beverage gambit suggests we should understand that this is not so much politics as the acting out of a game — which is exactly what you might expect of people who spend more time on video screens than in the real world — in which something like a half-time intermission for refreshments is de rigueur.

Alas, they were not obliged with DoorDash servings of Alitcha (“Ensemble of potatoes, carrots, collard greens, and cabbage baked in turmeric,” $22.30) from the nearby Massawa Ethiopian bistro, or Firecracker Chicken from Junzi Kitchen over on Broadway and 113th Street. And then, when the cops came to roust them out into the big buses now used as paddy-wagons for such events, the occupiers were heard to whine, “I have finals and I need to go home!” You’ve got to wonder how they’ll make out when “Joe Biden” drafts their ass to go fight the Russians out on the Ukrainian buzzard flats, about which the White House is just now sending out early signals.

It has been observed that a clear majority of the pro-Hamas activists are young women — which makes sense considering that they are the largest demographic evincing mental illness on America’s social landscape these days. Thus, they are marching in support of a sect that specializes in the rape, mutilation, and murder of young women like themselves, or at least treats them as chattels, hidden under black bag-like garments. The group psychology on display has more occult angles than any movie by the Wachowski sisters.

Among the marching Columbia students who are not paid outside activists, a few are apparently Jewish, such as spokesperson Johannah King-Slutzky (actual name, hat-tip Alex Berenson, who ID’d her), the winsome creature who complained about the lack of order-in meals at Hamilton Hall. Another observer on “X” who styles himself @J9_ATX identified the syndrome in play as “oppression envy,” among women seeking compensatory validation for occupying such a privileged niche on Planet Earth as a cushy Ivy League college — featuring international cuisine stations in the dining halls — while their third world sisters trudge through the burning sands of Al-Kufra carrying water-jugs on their heads as they dodge the odious “wind scorpions” of the region.

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Don’t forget Tulsi.

Trump’s VP Short List Has a Residency Dilemma (Turley)

The Trump short list for vice presidential candidates is reportedly down to Ohio Senator, J.D. Vance, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. Rubio is a favorite for many due to his record in the Senate and his appeal to hispanic voters (where the GOP is hoping to make gains in the coming election). The problem is not Rubio or his record, but his residence. The Twelfth Amendment contains a habitation or “favorite sons” provision: “The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.” The risk is that Florida’s electoral votes could be challenged in any election since both Trump and Rubio reside in the state. That is a chunk of 30 votes in a close election. In addition other states which sought to block Trump from the ballot like Colorado could try this new tack to derail his campaign.

The most obvious option is for either Trump or Rubio to move. The easiest would be for Trump to move since Rubio represents Florida. That could include either New York or New Jersey ( where his Bedminster property is located). That option would be costly for Trump in terms of taxes. Moreover, Trump is desperately trying to get out of New York where he is effectively shackled to the defense table as his opponent, President Joe Biden, campaigns around the country. The funny thing is that Trump has been campaigning in New York and drawing some large crowds. It would be the height of irony if Trump ends up making New York competitive with a mix of the time forced to be in the state and a change of residency. Alt er natively, Rubio could resign from the Senate and focus on running with a residence in a different state. He could also attempt a more creative approach and just change residency for the election.

Under Article I, Section 3, Clause 3: No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen. Rubio can argue that he was “an Inhabitant” of Florida “when elected.” Given the recent controversy over the appointment of Democratic Senator Laphonza Butler, it could be hard for some Democrats to object. Yet, there will be some who will no doubt try. In 2000, Dick Cheney was challenged by three Texas residents when he moved back to Wyoming. They failed. Ultimately, it could also be challenged in Congress under the Electoral Count Reform Act.

Despite declaring the challenge to the Biden election was an attack on democracy, Democratic members previously challenged Republican presidents in Congress, including Jan. 6th committee head Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) In other words, it could be done but it would likely draw challenges. Then again, why should this part of the election be any different from every other part?

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Hard to believe.

Prosecutors Admit Key Evidence In Trump Docs Case Has Been Tampered With (JTN)

In a stunning admission, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team is admitting that key evidence in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents criminal case was altered or manipulated since it was seized by the FBI, and that prosecutors misled the court about it for a period of time. Legal experts told Just the News the revelation could prove to be a serious problem for prosecutors and a violation of court rules to preserve evidence in the state it was seized. In a new filing Friday, Smith’s team said that the order of documents in some of the boxes of memos that were seized by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was altered or jumbled, leaving two different chronologies: one that was digitally scanned and another the physical order in the boxes. “Since the boxes were seized and stored, appropriate personnel have had access to the boxes for several reasons, including to comply with orders issued by this Court in the civil proceedings noted above, for investigative purposes, and to facilitate the defendants’ review of the boxes,” Smith’s team wrote in a new court filing to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

“There are some boxes where the order of items within that box is not the same as in the associated scans,” the prosecutors wrote. Smith’s team in a footnote also conceded it had misled the court about the problem by previously declaring that the evidence had remained in the exact state it had been seized. “The Government acknowledges that this is inconsistent with what Government counsel previously understood and represented to the Court,” the footnote said. [..] The organization of the documents in storage boxes at Mar-a-Lago is likely to be an important part of Trump‘s defense. His team is expected to argue the documents were stored in the White House in chronological order on the days that Trump received them, and that staff simply boxed them up and sent them to his home without him accessing them or knowing they contained classified information.

Smith’s team tried to downplay the problem and argued it’s not a reason for a delay in Trump’s case. But several legal experts told Just the News the court filing essentially is an admission of evidence tampering, and could be problematic. “Prosecutors and investigators should never tamper with or alter evidence in their possession, including the order of documents in a box because one never knows what may become relevant or crucial to a court or jury later in a case,” Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz said. Prominent defense attorney Tim Parlatore, who worked on Trump’s team earlier in the classified documents case but no longer is involved, said ”this admission is stunning on multiple levels.”

He said the revelation “reinforces the incompetence” of prosecutors “in conducting basic criminal investigations and prosecutions that I observed when I was on the team. “But at a deeper level, the loss of specific document locations is a destruction of exculpatory evidence,” he added. “I went through all of the boxes at NARA and the document order was important because it was clear to us that the boxes had been untouched since leaving the White House. “For prosecutors who are trying to prove that the defendants knowingly possessed these documents to then destroy the evidence that would undermine that claim is a very serious violation,” he added. Smith’s team tried to downplay the problem, offering several explanations for how the documents and their order could’ve been scrambled since the government took possession of the boxes.

“There are several possible explanations, including the above-described instances in which the boxes were accessed, as well as the size and shape of certain items in the boxes possibly leading to movement of items,” the prosecutors wrote. “For example, the boxes contain items smaller than standard paper such as index cards, books, and stationary, which shift easily when the boxes are carried, especially because many of the boxes are not full.” The alteration of evidence has been an issue in earlier political scandals and prosecutions in Washington. Erasure of an 18 1/2 minute segment of Richard Nixon’s White House tapes became a very important aspect of the Watergate scandal. The Iran-Con tra scandal exploded during the Reagan years with the revelation that documents were shredded before they could be obtained by investigators. The Hillary Clinton classified email scandal became more complicated in 2015 with the revelation that her team used a “Bleach Bit” program to erase emails on her secret computer server, and had email devices destroyed.

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“If I cut the supply of arms to Ukraine, Ukraine cannot resist – they will have to surrender and the war will finish,” Borrell said..”

‘Peace Formula’ On Ukraine To Succeed If West Halts Arms Supplies – Zakharova (TASS)

A “peace formula” on Ukraine boils down to cutting off Western weapons supplies to the Kiev regime, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. The diplomat noted remarks by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell who asserted that without Western arms supplies Ukraine would capitulate in two weeks. “An amazing confession! Here’s the entire ‘peace formula’ for you – the end of Western arms supplies to the Kiev regime,” she wrote on her Telegram channel. Earlier, Borrell said that the conflict in Ukraine could end as quickly as in “a couple of weeks” without Western military aid to Kiev.

“I know how to finish the war in Ukraine. I can finish the war in Ukraine in a couple of weeks just by cutting the supply. If I cut the supply of arms to Ukraine, Ukraine cannot resist – they will have to surrender and the war will finish,” Borrell said. Earlier, Swiss President Viola Amherd said her country would host a conference on the so-called Ukrainian “peace formula” at the Burgenstock resort near Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland this June. The Russian embassy confirmed that “the Swiss authorities have not sent Russia an invitation to the conference in Burgenstock.” Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that any talks on Ukraine without Russia are pointless, and are, in fact, “a negotiation process with no purpose.”.

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To keep the industry happy?

Trump Will Force NATO Members To Hike Military Spending By 50% – Telegraph (RT)

Donald Trump is eyeing plans to push the NATO members to ramp up defense spending from 2% to 3% of GDP if he is re-elected in November, The Telegraph reported on Friday, citing sources close to the former US President. Trump has reportedly been considering an increase for some time but was further persuaded by the arguments of Polish President Andrzej Duda, a source close to the ex-president told the media. The two met for talks in New York last month. Duda has repeatedly called for a boost in defense spending across the alliance, arguing that 3% is needed to defend against “growing threats,” including from Russia. Trump’s is “evolving towards 3%, especially after speaking to Duda” and that’s “not including money for Ukraine,” the anonymous source said.

Trump’s encounter with Duda also reportedly played a role in convincing him to lift his opposition to a long-delayed aid package which included $60 billion for Kiev. In February, Trump came under fire from the White House and top Western officials for suggesting he would not defend NATO allies who had failed to spend enough on defense and would even encourage Russia to attack them. In March, US intelligence agencies warned that America was facing a “fragile world order” amid Russian and Chinese threats. NATO’s 32 members have agreed on a target of spending at least 2% of GDP on defense. Last year’s NATO estimates have shown that only 11 are spending that much, including its largest contributor, the US, as well as the UK, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Greece, Hungary, Finland, Latvia, Slovakia and Denmark.

Belgium and Spain spent 1.2%, while Luxembourg, which has the smallest budget for defense compared to its GDP, spent just 1%. Only Poland, the US and Greece spent more than 3%. On Tuesday, Timo Pesonen, the EU’s top defense official, said “while the NATO allies are increasing their budget to at least 1% of GDP,” some member states “speak about 3% already.” His remarks came days after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said allies “must go further” than 2%. A source close to Trump, quoted by The Telegraph, said he also has a detailed plan for how to end the war peacefully which won’t be made public before the election. Republican presidential nominee previously said he will be able to negotiate peace because he knows the leaders of both countries, but hasn’t elaborated. “There is a plan, but he’s not going to debate it with cable news networks because then you lose all leverage,” the source said.

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“..at least 1.6 million applications were still pending as of October 2023..”

Biden Parole Program Has Flown Illegals To More Than 45 US Cities (ZH)

In a recent development, a House Committee subpoena has forced the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reveal details of its parole program designed to allow entry for thousands of individuals from several nations. The program, established in October 2022, was initially tailored to facilitate entry for Venezuelans who had American sponsors and passed a vetting process. However, the scope of the program rapidly expanded, encompassing individuals from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua as well – eventually flying illegal aliens to more than 45 cities across the United States. According to the DHS documents, between January and August 2023, the parole program allowed over 200,000 individuals to enter the United States. While the program did not cover the cost of flights for these individuals, it permitted them to enter the country and make travel arrangements independently.

Among the program’s participants, Florida emerged as a leading destination, with around 80% of the 200,000 choosing to settle in cities such as Miami, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale. Other prominent destinations included New York, California, Texas, Nevada, and Georgia. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the program, stating that it provided “a safe and orderly way to reach the United States” and asserting, though without presenting specific evidence, that the program “resulted in a reduction in numbers of those nationalities.” Mayorkas also highlighted its global relevance, noting its role in addressing “the unprecedented level of migration throughout our hemisphere” and suggesting that other countries might see it as a model to manage irregular migration.

That said, the documents revealed that at least 1.6 million applications were still pending as of October 2023. The program currently admits approximately 30,000 individuals per month, granting them work permits and authorizing them to live in the country for two years. Congressman Mark Green (R-Tenn.), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, expressed strong criticism of the program, stating, “These documents expose the egregious lengths Secretary Mayorkas will go to ensure inadmissible aliens reach every corner of the country, from Orlando and Atlanta to Las Vegas and San Francisco.” Green labeled the parole program “an unlawful sleight of hand” aimed at concealing the worsening border crisis from the American public.

In response to perceived poor handling of the border crisis, Mayorkas faced impeachment by the House of Representatives in February. This marked the second impeachment of a Cabinet secretary in U.S. history, and the first in nearly 150 years. However, the Senate’s Democratic majority ultimately voted to end the trial without proceeding to a vote on conviction or acquittal, following repeated delays. The disclosure of the DHS parole program documents has reignited debate over U.S. immigration policy and the handling of migration at the southern border, reflecting persistent tensions on these issues at both the national and international levels.

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‘If this is a war between Iran and Israel, why did Hezbollah involve itself in it?’

‘True Promise’: An Insider Account Of Iran’s Strikes On Israel (Cradle)

Two hours after the attack on the consulate in Damascus, the Iranian National Security Council convened and affirmed the inevitability of a response and gave a 10-day deadline to take the necessary diplomatic measures and for the armed forces to prepare their plan to respond. Diplomatically, the first step was to go to the Security Council, even though we knew that this would be futile. But it was necessary to file a complaint about the attack on our land, assert our natural right to self-defense, and request a Security Council session. Because we are not members of the Council, we had to talk to member states to request that the session be held. China, Russia, and Algeria agreed. Russia submitted the request, and the session was held, but the US, Germany, Britain, and France did not allow a statement to be issued condemning Israel. The heads of our missions abroad were also active in informing the concerned countries that we would respond to the Zionist entity.

Due to these pressures, Israel denied it had attacked a diplomatic building and that those who were targeted were not diplomats. The consulate building, four of its five floors, were purchased 45 years ago and were designated for diplomatic work. It was indeed a diplomatic building. After we assured the international community of our right to respond, some countries, such as the US, Germany, England, France, Canada, and Egypt, tried to convince us not to do so, and they confirmed their readiness to meet Iran’s requests. For example, some of these countries that were not previously willing to grant entry visas to our diplomats or officials suddenly decided to do so immediately.

When the US realized that we were serious, it sent a threat that if the response was launched from Iranian territory, it might attack Iran. Our response was that the US is not among our targets, but if it decides to involve itself in defense of Israel, we will respond by targeting it as well, and as you know, there are many American bases around us. Despite this, the US, Britain, France, and Germany insisted on the same message, yet our answer was that Israel crossed a red line. Then, they said, if we must respond, let it be from outside Iranian territory. Why did they insist that the strike not be from inside Iran? Because for a long time, they have been assassinating our nuclear scientists and carrying out sabotage operations at the Natanz nuclear reactor.

In the last six months alone, they have assassinated 18 members of our armed forces, and we have always responded through our allies [in the Axis of Resistance], but if we did that this time, we would lose face. If Lebanese Hezbollah had responded to Israel, it could have bombed Beirut, and western powers would have seized upon this to say, ‘If this is a war between Iran and Israel, why did Hezbollah involve itself in it?’ They would also hold it responsible for the subsequent unrest in Lebanon. Therefore, the insistence that the Iranian response should be through Iran’s allies was meant to distort Hezbollah’s reputation and unleash Israel to target it and other resistance forces in the region and to portray them as mercenaries of Iran. We read these western intentions well, and accordingly, the decision was taken to respond from within Iranian territory.

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“There are reports that Ukraine has had to pull back it US-supplied M1 Abrams tanks precisely because they make for such an attractive target..”

Russia Belatedly Adds Zelensky to Criminal ‘Wanted’ List (ZH)

Days ago, for the first time Russian forces mounted a major air attack on the Ukrainian command’s southern headquarters in the port city of Odessa. This suggests Moscow is increasingly targeting Ukraine’s top command and control centers. There’s been another key development late in the week suggesting Russia is escalating in response to more and more weapons and billions pouring into Kiev from the West: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has just been added to a Russian government most-wanted list of criminals. It was revealed Saturday that Zelensky’s name is now on the Russian Interior Ministry’s “wanted” list, which is an important online database. The database lists Zelensky as wanted “under an article of the criminal code” but provides no other specifics or details. This designation comes after well over two years of war, so the question is: why now?

It seems the Kremlin is signaling a new escalation which could focus on ‘decapitation strikes’ targeting Ukraine’s top leadership. Or else, is Russia establishing a legal ground for arresting him in some future scenario? While command and intelligence HQ’s have been hit by Russian airpower in the past, strikes have yet to directly target top-ranking civilian and military leadership. But it seems this is about to change. President Putin has for years demonstrated that he is very law-oriented and ‘by the book’ – that is, he must have a legal basis or rationale for acting. So Zelensky now personally being designated as ‘wanted’ perhaps provides the ‘rationale’ in a sense, from the Kremlin’s perspective. The anti-Kremlin independent news outlet Moscow Times suggests this sets the stage for new plots to try and assassinate Zelensky: The Ukrainian President said last year he was aware that at least “five or six” assassination attempts against him had been foiled.

The day after sending troops into Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an address to the nation in which he called on the Ukrainian army to overthrow Zelensky. Russia has placed several foreign politicians and public figures on its wanted list, which has tens of thousands of entries. As for Russia’s unrelenting and recently stepped-up aerial campaign, it has continued to pummel and degrade Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. This appears a tit-for-tat retaliation for Ukraine’s own devastating cross-border attacks on Russian oil depots and refineries. A fresh Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) statement has outlined that “In the past 7 days, the Russian Armed Forces carried out 25 group strikes via precision weapons and drones, hitting Ukrainian energy and transportation infrastructure facilities and Ukrainian military-industrial complex enterprises.”

“Between April 28 and May 4, in response to the Kiev regime’s attempts to inflict damage to Russian energy and industrial facilities, the Russian Armed Forces carried out 25 group strikes via precision weapons and drones, hitting Ukrainian energy and transportation infrastructure facilities, military-industrial complex enterprises, missile and ammunition storage areas, as well as unmanned speedboats and drone manufacturing workshops,” the ministry said. The MoD has also warned that any “mercenary” positions and also foreign military equipment will be specifically targeted. There are reports that Ukraine has had to pull back it US-supplied M1 Abrams tanks precisely because they make for such an attractive target.

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Trump Nancy

 

 

Bond
https://twitter.com/i/status/1786614227584901508

 

 

CO2

 

 

Coyote

 

 

Beluga

 

 

Share

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 292024
 
 April 29, 2024  Posted by at 9:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , ,  65 Responses »


Théodore Géricault Prancing Grey Horse 1812

 

Justice Thomas Raises Scrutiny on Jack Smith Appointment in Trump Case (ET)
Was Trump Set Up In Classified Docs Saga? (Margolis)
US Voters Warming Up To Trump – CNN Poll (RT)
Spielberg Helping To Direct Biden’s Campaign – NBC (RT)
The US and the UK Are Pushing For Total War On All Fronts (RT)
Zelensky Wants 10 More Years Of US Funding (RT)
‘Motherland Is Not For Sale’ – Zakharova (RT)
Many People to Question Zelensky’s Legitimacy Soon – Kremlin (Sp.)
Ukraine Rejected 2022 Peace Deal Over Russian Language, ‘Banning Nazism’ (Sp.)
Zelensky Demands EU ‘Fulfill Obligations’ On Ukrainian Membership (RT)
Israel Concerned Biden May Throw Netanyahu ‘Under the Bus’ at ICC (Sp.)
Insane vs Sane – Demonic vs Divine – Catherine Austin Fitts (USAW)

 

 

 

 

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784739796197269970

 

 

Putin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784696945174360069

 

 

Truth

 

 

66 years apart.

 

 

 

 

Tax
tax
tax
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784302250577305950

 

 

RFK JFK

 

 

 

 

“..Mr. Smith “does not have authority to conduct the underlying prosecution.”

Justice Thomas Raises Scrutiny on Jack Smith Appointment in Trump Case (ET)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has asked former President Donald Trump’s lawyers about whether they challenged special counsel Jack Smith’s authority to bring charges against the president. On April 25, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case about President Trump’s being immune from prosecution for official acts carried out during his presidency. During the hearing, Justice Thomas asked John Sauer, the attorney who represented President Trump in court, “Did you, in this litigation, challenge the appointment of special counsel?” Mr. Smith was appointed to the case by Attorney General Merrick Garland. Mr. Sauer said that Trump attorneys have not raised such concerns “directly” in the current case at the Supreme Court. However, “it points to a very important issue here, because one of [the prosecution’s] arguments is, of course, that we should have this presumption of regularity,” Mr. Sauer stated.

“That runs into the reality that we have here an extraordinary prosecutorial power being exercised by someone who was never nominated by the president or confirmed by the Senate at any time,” he said. “We hadn’t raised it yet in this case when this case went up on appeal.” Mr. Sauer said he agrees with the “analysis provided by Attorney General [Edwin] Meese and Attorney General [Michael B.] Mukasey,” referring to the amicus brief the two former attorneys general submitted to the Supreme Court on March 19. In it, the two attorneys general noted that irrespective of what one thinks about the immunity issue, Mr. Smith “does not have authority to conduct the underlying prosecution.” “Those actions can be taken only by persons properly appointed as federal officers to properly created federal offices. Smith wields tremendous power, and effectively answers to no one,” they wrote. “However, neither Smith nor the position of special counsel under which he purportedly acts meets those criteria. And that is a serious problem for the rule of law, whatever one may think of the conduct at issue in Smith’s prosecution.”

Attorney General Garland appointed Mr. Smith as special counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, citing several statutes. However, none of these statutes even “remotely authorized the appointment by the Attorney General of a private citizen or government employee to receive extraordinary criminal law enforcement power under the title of Special Counsel.” The two attorneys general added there are times when the appointment of a special counsel would be appropriate and that the U.S. Constitution allows for such appointments. However, “the Attorney General cannot appoint someone never confirmed by the Senate, as a substitute United States Attorney under the title ‘special counsel,’” they added. “Smith’s appointment was thus unlawful, as are all actions flowing from it, including his prosecution of former President Trump,” they wrote.

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing President Trump’s immunity case as part of Mr. Smith’s indictment of the former president alleging an attempt to subvert the transfer of presidential power following the 2020 election. President Trump is charged with four criminal counts in the case. President Trump had requested that the lower courts back his claims of presidential immunity, as the actions were undertaken while he was serving as president. After the lower courts refused to grant the request, the 45th president appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, contending that his actions as president are covered by presidential immunity. The Supreme Court agreed to consider the following question—“whether and, if so, to what extent does a former president enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office?”

In court, Mr. Sauer warned the justices against giving a judgment that undermines presidential immunity, noting that U.S. presidents would no longer be able to carry out their job properly if they were unsure whether their actions would trigger prosecution years after their time in office. “The implications of the court’s decision here extend far beyond the facts of this case,” he said. “For 234 years of American history, no president was ever prosecuted for his official acts. The framers of our Constitution viewed an energetic executive as essential to securing liberty.” “If a president can be charged, put on trial, and imprisoned for his most controversial decisions as soon as he leaves office, that looming threat will distort the president’s decision-making precisely when bold and fearless action is most needed.” Moreover, a lack of presidential immunity will denote that every president becomes a potential candidate for extortion by political rivals while still in office, Mr. Sauer added.

“Prosecuting the president for his official acts is an innovation with no foothold in history or tradition and is incompatible with our constitutional structure,” he said. The Supreme Court justices appeared skeptical about President Trump’s claims that he has the right to absolute immunity for his actions as president. However, the justices also appeared to be open to accepting that presidents have some level of immunity. The court could decide to remand the case to the Washington district court, with instructions for differentiating between official and private acts of a president so that additional fact-finding proceedings can be done. Such a move would delay the former president’s trial in Washington and potentially proceedings related to three other cases. This would give President Trump a strategic win as he attempts to hold off trials until after the presidential election.

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Looks like he was set up in every single case.

Was Trump Set Up In Classified Docs Saga? (Margolis)

This week in Florida, Judge Aileen Cannon unsealed a trove of new documents that Jack Smith fought to keep hidden. And you’ll soon find out why. Among the documents unsealed were extensive exhibits, motions, and other filings shedding light on the intricate web of communication between the Biden White House and the National Archives and Records Administration in the lead-up to Trump’s indictment. Investigative journalist Julie Kelly found something interesting in the documents that could change everything. The first things is testimony from an FBI agent who testified that the General Services Association (GSA) had been in possession of Trump’s boxes in Virginia before ordering Trump’s team to come get them. “So an entire pallet full of boxes that had been held by GSA somewhere outside of DC is dumped at Mar-a-Lago,” Kelly notes. “Apparently these are the boxes that ended up containing papers with ‘classified markings.'” “I will double check indictment but I don’t recall this event in the timeline,” she added.

So, it appears that the Biden administration may have been responsible for shipping classified information to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. This development is significant because Trump has previously blamed the GSA for packing the boxes that contained the classified documents, only to later accuse Trump of essentially stealing them and using that as pretext for sending the FBI to raid his Mar-a-Lago home in August 2022. “It was a set-up from the get-go,” remarked Tom Fitton, the founder of Judicial Watch. Meanwhile, Joe Biden had classified information that he was never entitled to have stored in boxes in his garage for years, but was not charged. Biden blamed staffers for packing the classified information.

While this may not prove the Biden administration set up Trump in the classified documents case, considering the way the Biden administration has abused the legal system against Trump, no one can confidently say they wouldn’t. Even so, it still raises other legitimate questions. For example, if the GSA had been in possession of the boxes, why wasn’t a review of the materials conducted before they instructed Trump’s team to get them? When it comes to classified information, they wouldn’t have expected Trump and his staff to be responsible for ensuring that classified documents weren’t among the records. Perhaps they did review the contents of the boxes and knew classified documents were contained in them before they told Trump’s people to come get them.

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“..A CNN poll released on Thursday showed that just 13% of Americans believe Trump is being treated the same as other criminal defendants.”

US Voters Warming Up To Trump – CNN Poll (RT)

Americans appear to be looking more positively at former US President Donald Trump as this year’s election draws closer, increasingly favoring him over incumbent Joe Biden and viewing his term in office as a success, a new CNN poll has shown. The poll released on Sunday found that US voters favor Trump by a 49%-43% margin in a hypothetical one-on-one matchup with Biden. That compares with the Republican’s 49%-45% over the incumbent Democrat in January. Trump has a wider lead when the full field of contenders is included, as will be the case when voters go to the polls in November, the survey showed. He has a 42%-33% margin over Biden, followed by 15% for independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The remaining 10% support third-party candidates or are undecided. Two-thirds of US voters do not understand how anyone could support Biden, while 52% say there is no chance they would vote for the incumbent under any circumstance.

By comparison, 63% of respondents cannot see how anyone could support Trump, and 47% say there is no chance they would vote for him. Only 47% of voters are satisfied with the candidates they have to choose from, including 44% of Democrats and 63% of Republicans, CNN said. Biden is viewed negatively by 58% of voters, while 53% have a negative opinion of Trump. Only 65% of respondents believe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election, unchanged from when the same question was asked after the January 2021 US Capitol riot. Opinions of Trump’s term as president have improved since he left office. Looking back on his performance, 55% of Americans believe Trump’s presidency was a “success,” up from 45% when voters were polled after the riot. By comparison, 39% of respondents believe Biden’s term has been a success, the survey showed.

Similarly, six in ten Americans disapprove of Biden’s performance as president. He gets low marks for his handling of several issues of top concern for voters, including 66% disapproval on the economy, 71% disapproval on inflation and 71% disapproval on the Israel-Hamas war. Only about four in ten Americans believe the US “has a responsibility” to be involved in Middle East conflicts. Trump has accused Biden and the incumbent’s allies of trying to derail his candidacy through the court system. The ex-president faces 91 criminal charges in four separate indictments. A CNN poll released on Thursday showed that just 13% of Americans believe Trump is being treated the same as other criminal defendants. Only 44% are confident that the jury chosen in the first Trump case that has gone to trial – now underway in New York City – will deliver a fair verdict.

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“Trump’s support stands steadily at 49%, while Biden holds 43%..”

Spielberg Helping To Direct Biden’s Campaign – NBC (RT)

Steven Spielberg, one of Hollywood’s best-known film directors, has been enlisted to assist US President Joe Biden with his re-election campaign providing strategy for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) that is scheduled to take place between August 19 and 22 in Chicago, NBC reported on Friday. According to the publication, Spielberg, who is a long-time supporter of Biden, has been actively participating in meetings with the organizers of the event, where more than 5,000 delegates from 50 US states will officially select the Democratic party’s presidential and vice presidential nominees. The filmmaker is reportedly offering his insights on how best to “convey the president’s successes and his vision for the country” to delegates and viewers as Biden prepares to face former President Donald Trump in a November rematch.

“Steven wants to be as helpful as possible to the president,” a well-placed source told the Deadline media outlet. “He believes this is one of the most important elections in the nation’s history.” Spielberg has proven to be a dedicated donor to the Biden-Harris ticket, having appeared at a mega-fundraiser in December last year, which was hosted by his friend and former DreamWorks business partner Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is also a co-chair of Biden’s campaign. The famed director, however, has no plans to produce a movie of the August event as he did for John Kerry’s and Barack Obama’s nominations, the NBC source has said.

The publication also mentions that Biden’s campaign is in a separate negotiation with former President Obama about appearing at a Los Angeles fundraiser in mid-June, which would reportedly feature George Clooney and Katzenberg as hosts. A previous star-studded event in New York City last month, which was attended by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, raised more than $25 million in one night. Biden currently trails behind his Republican rival, according to a new national poll released by CNN on Sunday. Trump’s support stands steadily at 49%, while Biden holds 43%, which is a two-point drop since January when 45% of Americans said they were ready to cast a vote for the current president.

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“..It is reactionary to the extent it does not have a vision for improving the world, but wants to take back the world to the way it was..”

The US and the UK Are Pushing For Total War On All Fronts (RT)

The events of recent weeks have produced a sudden jolt in Western politics. From a lethargy that was starting to creep into US and western discourse over the Ukraine war, Iran’s attack on Israel suddenly seemed to have had the effect of awakening Ronald Reagan from his grave and leading to a surge of neo-conservativism on steroids, on both sides of the Atlantic. US House Speaker Mike Johnson did a complete 180-degree U-turn and proclaimed himself a “Reagan Republican” passing a series of aid bills for astronomical overseas spending that he had otherwise blocked for months, as he denounced an “axis of evil.” Along with that, a proposed TikTok ban bill came out of nowhere too and was quickly signed into law.

Then the UK decided to devote its largest ever aid package to Ukraine, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warning of an “axis of authoritarian states” and amplifying ideologically combative rhetoric. At the same time, it was then revealed Biden had sent 300km long range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine despite having pledged not to do so for years, fearing escalation. Finally, EU President Ursula von der Leyen has suddenly dramatically increased economic warfare on China, pushing the European Commission to open probes on scores of Chinese exports. Where exactly did all this come from?

It’s almost as if the US and its allies seized upon the tensions between Iran and Israel in order to “whitewash” their slate and double down on a series of objectives they are otherwise losing public support for, including the war in Ukraine, but also Israel’s invasion of Gaza. One has to wonder if the Israeli attack on the Iranian compound in Damascus, which provoked Tehran’s response, was deliberately staged, coordinated and planned for this purpose. It served the mutually convenient goal of letting both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Western governments off the hook for whatever opposition they had otherwise faced.

It should be abundantly clear now that the current powers that be, in London and Washington, have absolutely no intent of letting up on the wars they have provoked, while also pushing for a potential third one with China, and seem indifferent to the consequences, even if for example, the Israel-Gaza war is shattering the West’s claims of moral superiority. In each case, the stakes are very high, Western foreign policy at large has taken on a very zero-sum and ideological character which bemoans the loss of hegemony, and seeks to uphold it at all costs. It is reactionary to the extent it does not have a vision for improving the world, but wants to take back the world to the way it was. It is a sense of entitlement and privilege that wants to suppress an emerging multipolarity.

Because of this, it has become impossible for Western leaders to ever consider the concept of compromise in these respective theaters, and they refuse under any circumstances to make concessions which could be deemed strategic. This has produced a position where the only outcome they are willing to accept in Ukraine is what they deem “the defeat of Putin,” and have been subtly escalating ever since, edging ever closer to the point where a “proxy war” becomes a direct one for all intents and purposes. NATO military advisors are already on the ground, and Ukrainian attacks are being guided by NATO intelligence or even coordinated by British admirals.

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“The agreement should be truly exemplary and reflect the strength of American leadership..”

Zelensky Wants 10 More Years Of US Funding (RT)

The latest US aid package for Kiev, which was only approved by Congress after more than six months of partisan feuding, might be small potatoes compared to what Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has in mind for his biggest benefactor. The Kiev government is negotiating with President Joe Biden’s administration on a long-term agreement that would put Washington on the hook to provide Ukraine with military, economic and political support for the next decade, Zelensky said on Sunday in his daily video address. Such commitments are needed to ensure Ukraine with the “efficiency in assistance” it needs to stem the recent battlefield advances by Russian forces and gain the upper hand, he insisted. “We are working to commit to paper concrete levels of support for this year and for the next ten years,” Zelensky said. “It will include military, financial, and political support, as well as what concerns joint production of weapons.”

Kiev has already signed bilateral security agreements with several NATO members, including the UK, Germany and France. Zelensky said he wants the long-term deal under negotiation with Washington to be the strongest such pact for Ukraine. However, Ukraine’s bilateral agreements with Western backers so far have stopped short of mutual-defense commitments. The deals merely pledge long-term aid, including support in the event of a future attack, and they are not legally binding. The agreement with Berlin, for instance, can be terminated with six months’ notice. Zelensky said he wants Ukraine’s bilateral pact with Washington to include specific levels of aid. “The agreement should be truly exemplary and reflect the strength of American leadership,” he said.

US lawmakers approved $61 billion in additional aid for Ukraine earlier this month, after House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) overrode opposition in his own party to pass the bill with unanimous Democrat support. The Biden administration ran out of funding for Ukraine aid earlier this year, after using up $113 billion in previously approved assistance packages. Republican lawmakers have argued that Biden is merely prolonging the bloodshed in Ukraine without offering a clear strategy for victory or a peace deal with Russia. A poll released in February showed that nearly 70% of Americans want Biden to push for a negotiated settlement with Moscow, involving compromises on both sides, rather than continuing to fund the conflict.

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“Germany is mostly concerned about the move potentially opening a Pandora’s box of historical restitution and reparations claims, including those linked to the nation’s own Nazi past..”

‘Motherland Is Not For Sale’ – Zakharova (RT)

Russia will not cede any territory in exchange for the prospect of recovering its assets frozen abroad, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram on Sunday. Zakharova was commenting on a Wall Street Journal article claiming that Germany is considering trying to use the funds as leverage during potential peace talks between Moscow and Kiev. Berlin has been opposing the US push to seize the frozen Russian assets and use them to fund Ukraine’s military and economic needs, according to the article, which was published on Sunday. One of the arguments reportedly brought up by German officials revolved around using the money as “leverage in any talks to end the war.” That strategy would supposedly force Moscow to “cede” some of the territory that Kiev lays claim to, the WSJ said. The outlet did not provide any exact quotes or identify any specific German officials supporting this line of thought. “I do not know who says what but assets are not to be exchanged for territories,” Zakharova wrote in a Telegram post. “The motherland is not for sale.”

Zakharova also maintained that the Russian assets should “stay untouched” and warned that “any Western theft would be met with a harsh response.” “Many people in the West have already understood this. It’s a pity that not everyone [has],” she added. The EU and other G7 nations have blocked an estimated $300 billion in reserves belonging to the Russian central bank since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022. Most of the funds are being held by the Belgium-based clearinghouse Euroclear. Earlier in April, the US passed a bill allowing Washington to liquidate frozen Russian assets and transfer the funds obtained to Ukraine. However, the US holds only around $6 billion out of the total amount. Washington has long been pushing its allies to seize the money outright but has encountered resistance from some allies, particularly Germany, according to the WSJ. The potential use of the funds as a bargaining chip in future talks is just one of Berlin’s reasons, though, according to the WSJ. Germany is mostly concerned about the move potentially opening a Pandora’s box of historical restitution and reparations claims, including those linked to the nation’s own Nazi past, it said.

Berlin is currently facing such demands from Poland, which has been seeking $1.3 trillion in compensation since 2022. Greece asked for over $300 billion in 2019, while in Italy courts even reportedly attempted to seize German state property to fund paying compensation to the descendants of victims of the Nazi occupation. The German government has so far brushed off those demands, arguing that “international law prohibits individuals from making claims against states in foreign courts and that state assets are immune from seizure,” the WSJ said. Seizing Russia’s money would violate this principle and greatly undermine Berlin’s legal position, it added. Similar concerns are also reportedly driving Japan’s opposition to seizing the assets, since it also faces reparation claims from South Korea and other neighbors, the outlet reported. Tokyo and Berlin should also not be the only ones to worry since the move could open a way for other nations to claim reparations for slavery and colonialism, according to the WSJ.

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“Ukraine does not spare its own citizens. And this is a tragedy for the people, a tragedy for the country.”

Many People to Question Zelensky’s Legitimacy Soon – Kremlin (Sp.)

Many people, including in Ukraine, will question the legitimacy of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy soon, and he will “have to justify himself,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday. “Very soon, the moment will come when many people, including in Ukraine, will question his [Zelensky’s] legitimacy. In any case, even from the legal point of view, it will have to be done. And he will have to justify himself somehow,” Peskov told Rossiya 1 reporter Pavel Zarubin. When asked to comment on the remarks of the Ukrainian president, who assessed the new weapons supply to Kiev as a good deal enabling Ukrainians to fight for themselves, the Kremlin spokesman called Zelensky the “specific president of the specific regime.” “Ukraine does not spare its own citizens. And this is a tragedy for the people, a tragedy for the country. First, they infected their country with all sorts of nationalist manifestations, and now they no longer shun anything: they do not hesitate to throw new thousands and thousands of people into the furnace of this war,” Peskov added.

He also expressed the belief that Russia would achieve victory in the special military operation, as the dynamics of the situation on the front were showing that the “outcome is predetermined.” Ukraine was due to hold a presidential election on March 31, but it was called off due to martial law and general mobilization. Zelensky, who was sworn into office in May 2019, said it was “not the right time” for elections. Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, in response to calls by the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics. Moscow said the operation, which targets Ukrainian military infrastructure, aims to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine and completely liberate Donbass. Western nations have imposed numerous sanctions on Russia and have been supplying weapons to Ukraine.

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“.. a number of Western states, including the US, UK, and France, promised support to Kiev, but refused to guarantee it.”

Ukraine Rejected 2022 Peace Deal Over Russian Language, ‘Banning Nazism’ (Sp.)

Russia and Ukraine were closer than ever to concluding a peace treaty in April 2022, but the Kiev regime rejected several of Moscow’s demands outright, German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag revealed. Specifically, terms regarding the status of the Russian language, and Kiev’s official rejection of Nazism were seen as unpalatable by the regime led by Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the 17-page draft peace treaty between the sides obtained by Welt. It follows from the draft, agreed during negotiations in Turkiye on April 15, 2022, that Moscow and Kiev reached an agreement on the basic conditions for ending the conflict, but there were some unresolved issues that were to be discussed personally by President Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky in the same month. That summit was never to take place. “Countless lives” could have been spared if this “advantageous” deal had been concluded, the outlet stated.

Since the beginning of Russia’s special military operation, Ukraine’s military has lost almost 500,000 people, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated on April 23. Welt cited a member of the former Ukrainian negotiating team as calling it, in hindsight, “the best deal we could have had.” First of all, in line with Article 1 of the draft treaty, Ukraine committed itself to “permanent neutrality.” Thus, Kiev was to abandon ambitions of membership in a military alliance, including NATO. The ensuing 13 sub-points of the first article outline the extensive definition of neutrality. Ukraine agreed never to “receive, produce, or acquire nuclear weapons,” not to allow foreign weapons or troops on its soil, and not to provide its military infrastructure, including airports and seaports, to any other country. Furthermore, in line with the draft, Kiev renounced holding military exercises with foreign participation and partaking in any military conflicts. However, EU membership for Kiev was explicitly not hindered, according to Article 3 of the document.

Article 5 of the draft treaty had outlined comprehensive security guarantees that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, UK, France, China, and Russia – could provide for Ukraine. In the event of a conflict, the guarantor states would commit to supporting Kiev’s self-defense within a maximum of three days, as enshrined in the UN Charter. This assistance could take the form of “joint action” by all or individual guarantor powers. According to Article 15, this treaty was supposed to be ratified in each signatory state to ensure legal validity. The article notes that one of the difficulties regarding this issue was the requirement for the consent of all guarantor states, which meant Russia could resort to a veto. At the same time, a number of Western states, including the US, UK, and France, promised support to Kiev, but refused to guarantee it.

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Time to replace Ursula.

Zelensky Demands EU ‘Fulfill Obligations’ On Ukrainian Membership (RT)

Kiev has fulfilled every requirement the EU has set out for it, and is ready to begin accession talks, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky stated in a video address on Sunday, demanding that the bloc now follow through. Kiev made a formal request to join the bloc in February 2022, shortly after the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. It was granted candidate status in June of the same year. In December 2023, EU officials agreed to open up accession negotiations, setting out a number of steps for Kiev to take first in preparation. All these steps have been completed, Zelensky claimed in a video address on Sunday, promising that this is the year to bring “results with the European Union.”
“Ukraine has fulfilled all the necessary conditions for the real start of the accession negotiations, and now the EU side must fulfill its obligations,” he said.

The EU’s accession criteria include stable democratic institutions, the rule of law, protection of human rights and minorities, along with a robust market economy and the institutional capacity to cope with the responsibilities of being an EU member state. One of the key issues to tackle was widespread corruption. Amid a string of high-level corruption scandals, lawmakers from Ukraine’s biggest sponsor – the US – expressed concerns about their aid being misused. Last month, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry announced plans to introduce a new logistics planning department, after several high-ranking military officials were arrested for embezzlement in the months before. Kiev is currently preparing for a peace conference set to take place in Switzerland this June, Zelensky added. “The world majority must force Russia into peace – and it can do this,” he said.

Moscow has not been invited to participate, and has dismissed the conference as “nonsense.” President Vladimir Putin reiterated earlier this month that Russia has not rejected a peaceful solution to the conflict, but would not accept a deal that ignore the country’s interests. Kiev is also gearing up for the NATO summit this summer, according to the Ukrainian president. The US-led military bloc “should not be afraid of its own strength or shy away from its own foundations,” he said, calling for a “strong political signal.” Ukraine’s ambition to join NATO – a goal enshrined in its constitution – was one of the key reasons for Russia’s military operation against Kiev, Moscow has stated. One of Russia’s major goals in the conflict is Ukrainian neutrality, Putin has said.

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“.. the Hague could not consider arrest warrants against Israeli leaders without Washington’s informal consent…”

Israel Concerned Biden May Throw Netanyahu ‘Under the Bus’ at ICC (Sp.)

Most of America’s overseas allies are signatories to the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute. The US itself quit the Court in 2002 before launching its war of aggression in Iraq. Israel is not a party to the ICC, but is concerned about the “dangerous precedent” that could be set by threats to drag its leaders before the Court. Israeli officials are concerned the Biden administration may abandon the Netanyahu government if the ICC issued arrest warrants against the Israeli prime minister and senior members of his cabinet. “Where is Biden? Why is he quiet while Israel will potentially be thrown under the bus?” an Israeli diplomatic source told the Jerusalem Post on Sunday. The source’s comments follow reports in Israeli media this week citing senior ICC sources that the Hague could not consider arrest warrants against Israeli leaders without Washington’s informal consent.

“The sources at The Hague said that it is impossible that the chief prosecutor would have decided on such a dramatic step, in a war that is still ongoing…if he had not at least had a ‘green light’ from the Americans. If this is true, this is another unprecedented low in relations between Israel and the US, at a very sensitive time, on the eve of the ground entry to Rafah,” Israeli journalist Amit Segal wrote. The Jewish News Syndicate pointed to ICC chief prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan’s alleged tendency to take marching orders from the US, pointing to Washington’s support for his election in 2021, and to his controversial decision to close out two ICC cases which “greatly troubled the Americans” related to suspected US war crimes in Afghanistan.

Separately on Sunday, Israel’s Walla news site reported that Netanyahu had spearheaded a “nonstop push over the telephone” focused on calls to the White House, to prevent ICC arrest warrants from being issued. Netanyahu warned Friday that Israel would “never stop defending ourselves,” and that while “decisions of the court in the Hague will not affect Israel’s actions, they would be a dangerous precedent threatening the soldiers and officials of any democracy fighting criminal terrorism and aggression.” “Under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine its inherent right of self-defense. The threat to seize the soldiers and officers of the Middle East’s only democracy and the world’s only Jewish state is outrageous. We will not bow to it,” Netanyahu added.

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“Washington is a criminal enterprise, and there is no electing someone big enough to change this.”

Insane vs Sane – Demonic vs Divine – Catherine Austin Fitts (USAW)

Catherine Austin Fitts (CAF), Publisher of The Solari Report, financial expert and former Assistant Secretary of Housing (Bush 41 Admin.), has long said, “The federal government is being run as a criminal enterprise. . . .not just a little criminal, but a lot criminal.” Now, CAF contends what is going on in America is much more than greedy criminals. CAF says, “This has turned into warfare against “We the People” on a spiritual level.” CAF goes on to point out, “There is so much effort in persuading people to think there is nothing you can do, and it’s hopeless. Let me tell you something . . . the central bankers are telling you what they are going to do, and this is not far away in the future. You have all these merchant codes where you cannot use your credit card to buy a gun or the bank throws you out. That’s the control grid getting built.”

What can you do to fight for freedom? CAF says, “Bring transparency, and the second thing is to use cash. If we can all use cash, build cash back up and keep checks going, if you have cash and checks, they cannot go to an all-digital financial system. Find out who is leading the way in your state, and see what you can do to support them. Above anything, you can pray because this is a spiritual war. The devil wants you to believe it’s hopeless and there is nothing you can do. . . . It’s not true. The sane cannot go along with the insane. The divine cannot go along with the demonic. You have to say NO! I am seeing this all over the country. I am seeing Treasurers and State Attorney Generals, and they are all pushing back because they realize this is insane. You cannot go along with this.”

CAF says not only do the Deep State globalists want control of the financial system, but they also want control of your food. CAF says, “You see at this level when you are trying to protect freedom, they cannot get financial control unless they can control the food supply. People can always start their own currencies as long as they can grow food. If you look at the push for financial control and central bank digital currency, it is the same push. They are pushing to control the food supply.” CAF thinks Washington is so broken, corrupt and criminal that whoever wins the Presidential Election it will not make much of a difference. CAF points out, “Look at how quickly Speaker Mike Johnson caved. Speaker Johnson caved for Ukraine and war all over the world, but he won’t protect our borders. Mike Johnson, Christian, conservative and not a dime to protect our borders. . . Washington is a criminal enterprise, and there is no electing someone big enough to change this. This is not Trump vs Biden. This is the pro-centralization team in Washington. We have to pull power back from Washington.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Water fuel cell

 

 

Comfiest
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784425052705792202

 

 

Zookeeper

 

 

Fluff
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784455315921994040

 

 

Duck fight
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784344522064809985

 

 

Bambi
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784575390943465716

 

 

Cat+

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 012024
 
 April 1, 2024  Posted by at 8:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  31 Responses »


Caravaggio The Denial of Saint Peter 1610

 

Easter Becomes the Latest Flash Point in American Politics (Turley)
Jack Smith Handed a ‘Blank Check’ to Target Trump, Lawyers Argue (ET)
Jack Smith Seeks to Shield Names of Potential Witnesses in Trump Case (ET)
How America’s Top Spymaster Sees The World Is Rather Disappointing (Amar)
US Congressman Calls For ‘Hiroshima and Nagasaki’ in Gaza and Ukraine (RT)
A Genocide Foretold (Chris Hedges)
UK Govt Lawyers Conclude Israel In Breach Of Humanitarian Law (RT)
Biden Claims Arab States Are Ready to Recognize Israel (Sp.)
Moscow Demands That Kiev Surrender Terrorism Suspects (RT)
US House To Consider Ukraine Aid Bill In April (TASS)
Ukraine Turned Into Afghan Drug Lords Paradise Under Western Watch (Sp.)
Why Russia Didn’t Join NATO (Sp.)
The Assange Hearing Permission Appeal Judgment (Craig Murray)
61 Unexpected PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Food Packaging (SciAm)

 

 


Mr. Fish – Genocide

 

 

Sachs Russia
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774186219703869896

 

 

CCP bridge

 

 

 

 

Habba

 

 

Snowden: “Warren Buffett, the billionaire head of Berkshire Hathaway, will probably go down as the greatest investor in history… Berkshire shares have seen an average annual return of 20.0%…”

Meanwhile:


just some members of congress outperforming the greatest investor in history. we are surely fortunate to be represented by such extraordinary talents

 

 

 

 

Pot and kettle:

“Sadly, it’s unsurprising politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful, and dishonest rhetoric..”

Easter Becomes the Latest Flash Point in American Politics (Turley)

It often seems like there is nothing left today that is not a battleground over our political and social differences. We can now add Easter. The Biden White House triggered a firestorm by picking Good Friday to announce that Easter Sunday will now be the “Transgender Day of Visibility.” At the same time, families objected to regulations on Easter egg designs, barring children from including any religious imagery or references on this religious holiday. There are even objections to the use of eggs at the annual White House egg roll. Despite the criticism from various politicians, including Speaker Mike Johnson, Jean-Pierre went on X Saturday to reaffirm that Sunday is to be designated as the “Transgender Day of Visibility.” Transgender Visibility Day actually began 15 years ago and many have noted that the overlap with Easter Sunday this year is a coincidence.

President Joe Biden has made no comment on the controversy and issued his Easter proclamation[..] White House spokesperson Andrew Bates did respond on Saturday: “As a Christian who celebrates Easter with Family, President Biden stands for bringing people together and upholding the dignity and freedoms of every American. Sadly, it’s unsurprising politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful, and dishonest rhetoric. President Biden will never abuse his faith for political purposes or for profit.” In the meantime, the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll is being called a celebration of “National Guard Families.” The 2024 “Call for Youth Art” flyer states that “Children should depict on an egg template (see Art Submission form) a snapshot of their life – a favorite activity, scenery in your state, your military family, a day-in-your life, etc.” However, under its restrictions list, the flyer noted, “The Submission must not include any questionable content, religious symbols, overtly religious themes, or partisan political statements.”

One can understand the desire to bar “Let’s Go Brandon” eggs. Moreover, the Easter egg event has long been treated as open to people of all faiths and background. It has been treated more as a celebration of spring. However, some families have objected that the holiday does have a religious origin and that the bar on any religious references like a cross or other symbols is an affront. As a legal matter, there is no bar on religious displays in such White House events, which have included such symbols in celebrations of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim holidays. On the positive side, the egg roll will involve eggs. PETA has asked the First Lady to substitute potatoes for the eggs. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk objected that:

“Children love animals and would be sad to learn that the eggs used for fun and games at the White House come from tormented hens whose lives are spent in cages that afford them less space than a standard sheet of typing paper. Easter should be a time of renewal and joy for all sentient beings—and that means hens, too.” By having children decorate and roll spuds, Newkirk suggested, the First Lady could remove these little “cholesterol bombs” from the diet of children. Besides, she added, “potatoes are cheaper and healthier than eggs and leave birds in peace.” The head of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) added his own warning to people not to eat whole eggs and to cut back on the sweets to protect their health. However, the Easter Bunny appears to have been vindicated this week in a scientific study that found that eating 12 eggs a week did not increase one’s cholesterol. Indeed, it found possible heart benefits to egg consumption. That proposal was clearly rejected for now.

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“Mr. Smith’s actions as a notionally independent United States attorney are beyond the scope of what the Supreme Court has permitted, and therefore, his actions are unlawful..”

Jack Smith Handed a ‘Blank Check’ to Target Trump, Lawyers Argue (ET)

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump argued in his classified documents case that special prosecutor Jack Smith has been given too many resources while other parts of the Department of Justice haven’t. The former president faces dozens of charges that he allegedly illegally retained classified materials after he left office in 2021. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has sought to delay the trial, while U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has not set a firm date for when it will start. His attorneys earlier this week argued that Mr. Smith’s team was handed “a blank check” that has imperiled the former president’s rights. “To be clear, offering the Special Counsel a blank check has harmed President Trump’s substantial rights, and DOJ [Department of Justice] simply could not have funded the entirety of Jack Smith’s expansive politically motivated witch hunt from an alternative source,” Trump attorney Christopher Kise wrote in court to Judge Cannon earlier this week, adding:

“Since the founding, resource constraints on prosecutors have been regarded as an indispensable guarantee of substantive fairness.” Because there are no constraints, the lawyer wrote that the special counsel’s office can “engage in an unabashed political crusade with zero accountability” against President Trump. Mr. Smith was appointed by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in 2022 to pursue the classified documents case and the federal election case in Washington. “The Special Counsel’s Office is pursuing two different cases in two jurisdictions in order to maximize interference in the ongoing presidential election,” Mr. Kise wrote. “This tactic is the luxury of a prosecutor facing no resource constraints. And it is far from a forgone conclusion.” The special prosecutor’s team has yet to file a response to the court motion.

Later in the motion, Mr. Kise wrote that other parts of the DOJ have been denied funding, including targeting Big Tech antitrust cases. “In 2019, for example, DOJ was forced to prioritize its antitrust review of Google over Apple because it could not afford to pursue both,” he wrote. Earlier, his attorneys and third parties have argued that Mr. Smith’s appointment by the U.S. attorney general violated the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause, noting that Congress has to approve his team’s expenditures. Last week, a law professor submitted a “friend of the court,” or amicus, brief in the case, arguing that Mr. Smith is not an “officer of the United States” due to how he was appointed.

“Simply being appointed by a department head does not elevate that position to the status of an inferior ‘Officer of the United States.’ Indeed, the mere fact that a person is appointed by the Head of a Department does not make that position an office at all,” Professor Josh Blackman of the South Texas College of Law in Houston wrote, referring to a brief that Mr. Smith had filed in which he described himself as an “inferior officer.” “Instead, precedents … provide that an office must be continuous.” “Mr. Smith’s actions as a notionally independent United States attorney are beyond the scope of what the Supreme Court has permitted, and therefore, his actions are unlawful,” he also wrote.

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“Mr. Smith also wants redacted, in addition to the names of potential government witnesses, “any pronouns revealing their gender..”

Jack Smith Seeks to Shield Names of Potential Witnesses in Trump Case (ET)

Special counsel Jack Smith on March 29 asked a federal judge to approve redactions to filings made by a co-defendant of former President Donald Trump. The briefs submitted by Walt Nauta, the co-defendant, contain information that should not be made public, Mr. Smith told U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. That includes the names of people that government officials may call as witnesses in a trial, the special counsel, appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, said. “Witness safety and privacy are paramount pretrial. The limited redactions of the names satisfy the good cause standard established in Chicago Tribune Co. v. Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., as well as the higher standard requiring a compelling interest for the redactions and the redactions being narrowly tailored,” Mr. Smith said in his request.

The Chicago Tribune case, decided in 2001 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, hinged on a federal rule that enables keeping information secret if there is “good cause” to do so. “Federal courts have superimposed a balancing of interests approach for Rule 26’s good cause requirement,” that ruling stated. “This standard requires the district court to balance the party’s interest in obtaining access against the other party’s interest in keeping the information confidential.” Mr. Smith also wants redacted, in addition to the names of potential government witnesses, “any pronouns revealing their gender,” according to the new filing.

And the special counsel is asking that information about sealed grand jury proceedings be kept secret, including one proceeding that happened before he was appointed. The proposed redactions come after Judge Cannon, who was appointed by President Trump, outlined a schedule for the parties in the case with respect to redactions. The proposals are for two filings from Mr. Nauta—a reply to the government on his assertion that the prosecution of him has been selective and vindictive, and a motion to suppress evidence. Other recent documents from Mr. Nauta and President Trump that have not been placed on the public docket do not require redactions, Mr. Smith said. Those documents include President Trump’s briefs in support of a motion to dismiss the charges based on prosecutorial misconduct and selective and vindictive prosecution.

The actual motions to dismiss based on selective and vindictive prosecution have still not been made available to the public, although Mr. Smith’s team described some of its contents in another recent filing. Prosecutors said that Mr. Nauta in his motion focused on a conversation that his attorney had over coffee with one of the prosecutors. During that discussion, the prosecutor was quoted as saying the government would not “accept anything less than Mr. Nauta’s full cooperation” in exchange for not being charged. Prosecutors say the decision to charge Mr. Nauta after he declined to cooperate does not “amount to vindictiveness as a matter of law.” In a related filing, Mr. Nauta said the government was focused only on himself and another former aide of President Trump while ignoring a “universe of other comparators who, unlike Mr. Nauta, were likewise never prosecuted.”

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Burns is a puppet.

How America’s Top Spymaster Sees The World Is Rather Disappointing (Amar)

There is no doubt that this CIA director is a smart and experienced man principally capable of realism, unlike all too many others in the current American elite. Famously, he warned in 2008, when serving as ambassador to Moscow, that “Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for the Russian elite (not just Putin).” That makes the glaring flaws in this big-picture survey all the more remarkable. Burns is, obviously, correct when he observes that the US – and the world as a whole – is facing a historically rare moment of “profound” change in the global order. And – with one exception which we will return to – it would be unproductive, perhaps even a little churlish, to quibble over his ideologically biased terminology. His mislabeling of Russia as “revanchist,” for instance, has a petty ring to it. “Resurgent” would be a more civil as well as more truthful term, capturing the fact that the country is simply returning to its normal international minimum status (for at least the last three hundred years), namely that of a second-to-none great power.

Yet Burns’ agenda is more important than his terminology. While it may be complex, parts of it are as clear as can be: He is eager (perhaps desperate) to prevent Washington from ending its massive aid for Ukraine – a battle he is likely to lose. In the Middle East, he wants to focus Western aggression on Iran. He may get his will there, but that won’t be a winning strategy because, in part thanks to multipolar trend setters, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS, Iran’s escape from the isolation that the US has long imposed on it is already inevitable. Regarding China, Burns’ real target is a competing faction of American hawks, namely those who argue that, bluntly put, Washington should write off its losses in Ukraine and concentrate all its firepower on China. Burns wants to persuade his readers that the US can have both its big fight against China and its proxy war against Russia.

He is also engaged in a massive act of CIA boosterism, clearly aiming to increase the clout of the already inordinately powerful state-within-a-state he happens to run himself. And last but not least, the spy-in-chief has unearthed one of the oldest tricks in the subversion and destabilization playbook: Announcing loudly that his CIA is on a recruiting spree in Russia, he seeks to promote a little paranoia in Moscow. Good luck attempting to pull that one on the country that gave us the term “agentura.” Moreover, after the horrific terror attack on Crocus City Hall in Moscow, it is fair to assume that Burns regrets having boasted about the CIA expanding its “work” in Russia. Not a good look, not at all. What matters more, though, than his verbal sallies and his intriguingly straightforward, even blunt aims, are three astonishingly crude errors:

First, Burns insists on reading the emerging outcome of the war in Ukraine as a “failure on many levels,” for Russia, revealing its, as he believes, economic, political, and military weakness. Yet, as the acknowledged American economist James K. Galbraith has recently reiterated, the West’s economic war on Russia has backfired. The Russian economy is now stronger, more resilient, and independent of the West than never before. As to the military, Burns for instance, gleefully counts the tanks that Russia has lost and fails to note the ones it is building at a rapid rate not matched anywhere inside NATO. In general, he fails to mention just how worried scores of Western experts have come to be, realizing that Moscow is overseeing a massive and effective expansion of military production. A curious oversight for an intelligence professional. He also seems to miss just how desperate Ukraine’s situation has become on the ground.

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“We shouldn’t be spending a dime on humanitarian aid..”

US Congressman Calls For ‘Hiroshima and Nagasaki’ in Gaza and Ukraine (RT)

Michigan congressman Tim Walberg believes Washington should not waste money on humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza or Ukraine, and instead focus on supporting Israel and Kiev’s war efforts, to achieve “quick” victories. Walberg made his remarks during a meeting with members of the public in Dundee, Michigan last week. In a video posted on social media on March 25, the Republican congressman criticized President Joe Biden’s policies, telling a small audience that the US should better spend Gaza aid money on supporting Israel, which he labeled Washington’s “greatest ally, arguably, anywhere in the world.” “We shouldn’t be spending a dime on humanitarian aid. It should be like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Get it over quick,” Walberg could be heard saying.

“The same should be in Ukraine. Defeat Putin quick. Instead of 80% in Ukraine being used for humanitarian purposes, it should be 80-100% to wipe out Russian forces,” he added. After his statements went viral, Walberg claimed that his words were misreported and misinterpreted, arguing that he was merely speaking metaphorically and did not advocate for the actual use of nuclear weapons. “In a shortened clip, I used a metaphor to convey the need for both Israel and Ukraine to win their wars as swiftly as possible, without putting American troops in harm’s way,” Walberg said in a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday. “The use of this metaphor, along with the removal of context, distorted my message, but I fully stand by these beliefs and stand by our allies,” he added, arguing that the quicker these conflicts end, the “fewer innocent lives will be caught in the crossfire.”

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“Every horrifying act of Israel’s genocide has been telegraphed in advance. It has been for decades..”

A Genocide Foretold (Chris Hedges)

There are no surprises in Gaza. Every horrifying act of Israel’s genocide has been telegraphed in advance. It has been for decades. The dispossession of Palestinians of their land is the beating heart of Israel’s settler colonial project. This dispossession has had dramatic historical moments — 1948 and 1967 — when huge parts of historic Palestine were seized and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed. Dispossession has also occurred in increments — the slow-motion theft of land and steady ethnic cleansing in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The incursion on Oct. 7 into Israel by Hamas and other resistance groups, which left 1,154 Israelis, tourists and migrant workers dead and saw about 240 people taken hostage, gave Israel the pretext for what it has long craved — the total erasure of Palestinians.

Israel has razed 77 percent of healthcare facilities in Gaza, 68 percent of telecommunication infrastructure, nearly all municipal and governmental buildings, commercial, industrial and agricultural centers, almost half of all roads, over 60 percent of Gaza’s 439,000 homes, 68 percent of residential buildings — the bombing of the Al-Taj tower in Gaza City on Oct. 25, killed 101 people, including 44 children and 37 women, and injured hundreds — and obliterated refugee camps. The attack on the Jabalia refugee camp on Oct. 25 killed at least 126 civilians, including 69 children, and injured 280. Israel has damaged or destroyed Gaza’s universities, all of which are now closed, and 60 percent of other educational facilities, including 13 libraries. It has also destroyed at least 195 heritage sites, including 208 mosques, churches, and Gaza’s Central Archives that held 150 years of historical records and documents.

Israel’s warplanes, missiles, drones, tanks, artillery shells and naval guns daily pulverize Gaza — which is only 20 miles long and five miles wide — in a scorched earth campaign unlike anything seen since the war in Vietnam. It has dropped 25,000 tons of explosives — equivalent to two nuclear bombs — on Gaza, many targets selected by Artificial Intelligence. It drops unguided munitions (“dumb bombs”) and 2000-pound “bunker buster” bombs on refugee camps and densely packed urban centers as well as the so-called “safe zones” — 42 percent of Palestinians killed have been in these “safe zones” where they were instructed by Israel to flee. Over 1.7 million Palestinians have been displaced from their homes, forced to find refuge in overcrowded UNRWA shelters, hospital corridors and courtyards, schools, tents or the open air in south Gaza, often living next to fetid pools of raw sewage.

Israel has killed at least 32,705 Palestinians in Gaza, including 13,000 children and 9,000 women. This means Israel is slaughtering as many as 187 people a day including 75 children. It has killed 136 journalists, many, if not most of them deliberately targeted. It has killed 340 doctors, nurses and other health workers — four percent of Gaza’s healthcare personnel. These numbers do not begin to reflect the actual death toll since only those dead registered in morgues and hospitals, most of which no longer function, are counted. The death toll, when those who are missing are counted, is well over 40,000. Doctors are forced to amputate limbs without anesthetic. Those with severe medical conditions — cancer, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease — have died from lack of treatment or will die soon. Over a hundred women give birth every day, with little to no medical care. Miscarriages are up by 300 percent.

Over 90 percent of the Palestinians in Gaza suffer from severe food insecurity with people eating animal feed and grass. Children are dying of starvation. Palestinian writers, academics, scientists and their family members have been tracked and assassinated. Over 75,000 Palestinians have been wounded, many of whom will be crippled for life. “Seventy percent of recorded deaths have consistently been women and children,” writes Francesca Albanese, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, in her report issued on March 25. “Israel failed to prove that the remaining 30 percent, i.e. adult males, were active Hamas combatants — a necessary condition for them to be lawfully targeted. By early-December, Israel’s security advisors claimed the killing of ‘7,000 terrorists’ in a stage of the campaign when less than 5,000 adult males in total had been identified among the casualties, thus implying that all adult males killed were ‘terrorists.’

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“British authorities, however, have apparently opted to keep the findings out of the public domain..”

UK Govt Lawyers Conclude Israel In Breach Of Humanitarian Law (RT)

Lawyers for the UK government have established Israel has been breaking humanitarian law amid its ongoing conflict in Gaza with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, a senior Tory is claiming, according to leaked audio revealed by the Observer newspaper on Saturday. Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Alicia Kearns, made the remarks earlier this month during a Conservative Party fundraising event. “The Foreign Office has received official legal advice that Israel has broken international humanitarian law but the government has not announced it,” Kearns, a former official with the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence, who has been pressing the government on the matter, said during the event. The legal experts’ assessment effectively makes the UK complicit in the Israeli military’s violations, and defense cooperation should have been severed by London immediately after they produced their evaluation of the situation in Gaza.

“They have not said it, they haven’t stopped arms exports. They have done a few very small sanctions on Israeli settlers and everyone internationally agrees that settlers are illegal, that they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, and the ways in which they have continued and the money that’s been put in,” Kearns stated. During the event, Kearns insisted that she, like the UK Foreign Secretary James Cameron, strongly believes in Israel’s right to “self defense,” noting however that there were legal boundaries for exercising it. “The right to self defense has a limit in law. It is not limitless,” she explained, warning that Israel’s approach to handling the escalation may end up putting its own – and Britain’s – long-term security at risk. The authenticity of the recordings obtained by the Observer appears beyond question, given that Kearns has been rather vocal about her position on the matter.

On Saturday, she produced similar remarks as well, once again urging the government to make public its legal assessment of the Israeli actions. “I remain convinced the government has completed its updated assessment on whether Israel is demonstrating a commitment to international humanitarian law, and that it has concluded that Israel is not demonstrating this commitment, which is the legal determination it has to make,” she stated, arguing that “transparency” was absolutely needed to “uphold the international rules-based order.” Israel launched the operation in Gaza following an incursion by Hamas militants into the southern part of the country last October. During the attack, over 1,200 people were killed and scores of hostages were taken into Gaza. The Israeli campaign inflicted heavy damage on the Palestinian enclave, causing widespread destruction and leaving at least 32,000 people dead, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

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“..Riyadh has repeatedly made it clear that it would not agree to establish relations with Israel without the creation of a Palestinian state.”

Biden Claims Arab States Are Ready to Recognize Israel (Sp.)

Speaking at a recent campaign event in New York, US President Joe Biden announced the willingness of Arab nations to recognize the Jewish state, but remained mum on the status of a Palestinian state. “I’ve been working with the Saudis and with all the other Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan and Qatar. They’re prepared to fully recognize Israel. There has to be a post-Gaza plan, and there has to be a trade to a two-state solution. It doesn’t have to occur today. It has to be a progression and I think we can do that,” Biden said. As for Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom has repeatedly made it clear that it would not agree to establish relations with Israel without the creation of a Palestinian state. The US president’s statement came as the Biden administration “quietly” approved the transfer of billions of dollars in bombs and fighter jets to Israel, amid Tel Aviv’s plans to launch a military offensive in southern Gaza that could threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians.

Biden’s announcement reflects “a longstanding position rather than a novel development,” Dr. Imad Salamey, an associate professor of political science and international affairs at the Lebanese American University, said in an interview with Sputnik. He pointed to the 2002 Arab Summit in Beirut, which “highlighted the collective willingness of Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, to recognize Israel, contingent upon Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.” “The crux of the issue remains Israel’s reluctance to acknowledge a Palestinian state as per these terms. This impasse underscores the complexity of achieving peace and mutual recognition in the region,” the political scientist stressed. Salamey also underscored that while publicly calling for peace, the US “continues to affirm its strategic alliance with Israel, as demonstrated by the new supply of bombs and fighter jets.”

In 2002, regional states clinched the Arab Peace Initiative, which stipulates recognizing Israel in return for the creation of a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel rejected the proposal. 18 years later, in 2020, Israel signed the Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, normalizing ties. Morocco and Sudan later signed on to the accords. While Washington voiced hope that Saudi Arabia would be the next signatory to the document, Riyadh has repeatedly made it clear that it would not agree to establish relations with Israel without the creation of a Palestinian state.

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“..including Kiev’s domestic spy agency boss Vasily Malyuk..”

Moscow Demands That Kiev Surrender Terrorism Suspects (RT)

Moscow has demanded that Ukraine surrender everyone in the country it suspects of terrorism, including Kiev’s domestic spy agency boss Vasily Malyuk, and to immediately stop supporting any related activities such individuals and groups undertake, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday. The ministry said it had officially contacted Kiev with the demands under the UN-adopted International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. The demands include the “immediate arrest and extradition” of all the suspects which Moscow has identified and linked to the recent terrorist attacks against Russia. The deadly attack on the Crocus City Hall, which “shocked the whole world is, by far, not the first terrorist attack endured by our country recently,” the ministry noted.

”The investigations carried out by the competent Russian bodies indicate that the traces of all these crimes lead to Ukraine,” it stressed. Apart from the concert hall attack, which left at least 144 people dead and more than 500 injured, the ministry cited such incidents as the assassination of the military blogger Maksim Fomin (best known by his pen name Vladlen Tatarsky), the deadly bombing of the Crimean Bridge, as well as recent cross-border raids into Belgorod Region and elsewhere which have been attributed by Kiev to the so-called Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK). The paramilitary unit, advertised as composed of Russians collaborating with Ukraine, has been designated as a terrorist entity by Moscow.

The ministry did not reveal any of the names of those it has demanded due to their suspected involvement, aside from the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Vasily Malyuk. The spy boss “cynically admitted on March 25 that Ukraine organized the bombing of the Crimean Bridge in October 2022 and revealed details on the organization of other terrorist attacks in Russia,” it noted. Failing to meet Russia’s demands will constitute a breach of Ukraine’s international obligations with respect to fighting terrorism and “entail its international legal responsibility,” the ministry warned. “Fighting against international terrorism is the responsibility of every state. The Russian side demands that the Kiev regime immediately stop any support for terrorist activities, hand over the perpetrators and compensate for the damage done to the victims,” it stressed.

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Mike Johnson’s seat is at stake.

US House To Consider Ukraine Aid Bill In April (TASS)

Republican Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Turner, said on CBS television that House Speaker Mike Johnson plans to put the bill on aid to Ukraine to a vote in April. “The speaker has made it clear that he supports Ukraine both directly to [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky – publicly, he’s made these statements – and to the secretary general of NATO. The speaker has made very clear statements that when we get back [from a recess], it’s the next top agenda, after having just passed all the bills that fund the federal government. I believe this is going to have overwhelming support in Congress, and we’ll put a bill on the president’s desk,” he said in an interview.

Turner was asked whether the current legislation will need to be tweaked to either include loans that Ukraine would have to pay back or incorporate clauses about border security to gain approval. He said, “There already is a significant and very strong support among Republicans.” “As this package moves, certainly there are going to be some discussions, you know, in both the Senate and the House,” he went on to say. “I’ve had discussions about the border itself. And certainly there have been discussions about the manner in which the non-military, humanitarian aid is structured.”. Turner also said that Washington is close to greenlighting supplies of ATACMS ballistic missiles to Ukraine.

“We need to give them longer range weapon systems. The White House has been hesitant to do so. Congress has called for that. President [of Ukraine Vladimir] Zelensky has called for that,” he said. “It’s the ATACMS and I think it’s long range <…> ATACMS. Those I think the administration is on the verge of being willing to provide.” Earlier this week Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Charles Q. Brown held a meeting with the Washington-based Defense Writers Group, of which TASS is a member, where he commented on the prospect of supplying Kiev with ATACMS missiles. When asked whether a transfer of ATACMS missiles from the US to Ukraine would carry an unacceptable risk of escalating the conflict, he said the risk is now not as high as it used to be.

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Smells like CIA. A lot.

Ukraine Turned Into Afghan Drug Lords Paradise Under Western Watch (Sp.)

Under the West’s watch, Ukraine has morphed into a gangsters’ paradise with all sorts of illicit drugs passing through its territory and the domestic production and consumption of synthetic narcotics booming. Back in June 2002, the US Justice Department emphasized Ukraine’s growing importance as a transit point for heroin trafficking largely originating from Afghanistan which went through the Balkan and Northern routes. The US-backed 2014 coup in Ukraine exacerbated the problem and was followed by a spike in corruption, gang crime, and weapons smuggling. The role of Ukraine as a transit point for extremists and illicit drugs to Europe has also increased. In July 2015, Italian MEP Matteo Salvini drew attention to ISIS* sympathizers fighting on the side of the Kiev regime in Donbass in an official letter to the EU leadership.

In 2019 and 2020, British, Polish and Ukrainian investigative journalists revealed that ISIS jihadists originating, in particular, from post-Soviet space used Ukraine as a transit point to and out of the Middle East in the course of the civil war in Syria which started in 2011. Having sustained defeat from the Russian Air Forces in Syria, ISIS started to use Ukraine as a safe haven. Ukraine’s role as a hub for ISIS terrorists could be closely connected with drug trafficking. Establishing a foothold in Afghanistan in 2015, ISIS militants used the Afghan opiate trade as a source of income since at least 2014, according to the Russian Federal Service for Drug Control. “The large-scale transit of Afghan heroin acts as a renewable financial base for the functioning of the Islamic State, which extracts fabulous profits by providing half of the total volume of heroin supplied to Europe through destabilized Iraq and some African countries,” the Russian agency stated on November 26, 2014.

“In 2015, the Afghan branch of ISIS officially declared its establishment,” Andrey Serenko, director of the Analytical Center of Afghanistan policy, told Sputnik. “[ISIS-Khorasan*] emerged from the ruins of some groups of dissatisfied Taliban** fighters whose leaders for some reason did not agree on interests with the Taliban leadership. From the first months of its existence, the Afghan branch of ISIS began to fight for jihad resources. The large Afghan ‘jihad industry’, then, and even now, relies heavily on the drug business. If in Syria and Iraq such sources of economic power of jihad were the illegal trade in petroleum products, then in Afghanistan it was drugs.” “In [Afghanistan’s] provinces of Kunar and Nangarhar [infamous for heroin production – Sputnik], ISIS reached an agreement with the local tribes who joined ISIS and still sympathize with the terror group. Accordingly, in several counties, for example, Achin County, ISIS was able to seize control of laboratories producing heroin,” the expert continued.

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“But in the evening, when we had dinner, he said, ‘you know, I’ve talked to my team, no-no, it’s not possible now.”

Why Russia Didn’t Join NATO (Sp.)

On March 31, 1954, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov shocked his US, French and British counterparts with a diplomatic note expressing Moscow’s readiness to join NATO. If the USSR joined, the note said, “the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would cease to be a closed military grouping of states” and, opening its doors to other European powers, facilitate the creation of “an effective system of collective security in Europe, which would be of utmost importance for strengthening universal peace.” Chewing over the shock Soviet proposal for over a month, Washington eventually responded, sending Moscow a note on May 7, 1954 citing the “unrealistic nature of such a proposal” and stressing that “it contradicts the very principles on which the defense system and security of Western states depend.”

Founded in April 1949, NATO’s official goals centered around “deterring Soviet expansionism” through collective defense for its members, which originally numbered 12 countries. Behind the scenes, the post-war security architecture created by the United States had other goals, including control over European countries’ domestic affairs. As Lord Hastings Ismay, the alliance’s first secretary-general, once famously put it, the purpose of NATO was to “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Before sending the March 1954 note, Soviet diplomats made several other attempts to convey to Washington the USSR’s interest in joining NATO as a mechanism for European collective security. As veteran Soviet diplomat Andrei Gromyko put it in 1951, “if this pact was aimed against the restoration of German aggression, the USSR would join NATO.”

In 1952, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin reportedly told French Ambassador Louis Joxe that if NATO was the peaceful, UN Charter-abiding organization President Charles De Gaulle described it as, the USSR might consider membership. The same year, Stalin sent Western powers a series of diplomatic cables proposing the reunification of Germany as a neutral power in the center of Europe separating the Eastern and Western blocs. Austria became such a country in 1955, with the USSR withdrawing troops in exchange for a commitment from Vienna for neutrality (which, incidentally, it continues to hold this day). In the post-Cold War period, both in the early 1990s and early 2000s, the Russia that emerged from the ashes of the USSR would again express its interest in membership in, or at least partnership with, the Western alliance, in the overarching interests of peace and security in Europe.

President Boris Yeltsin and his first Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who famously quipped that Russia “has not national interests” apart from abstract “universal human values,” held intense negotiations with the Clinton administration through the early to mid-1990s on the prospects of Russian membership in the Western alliance. Clinton successfully pulled the wool over Yeltsin’s eyes, with the Russian leader swallowing as “brilliant” US assurances that Russia would be treated as an “equal partner,” and begrudgingly accepting the first round of eastward expansion by the alliance to Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. After becoming president, Vladimir Putin too decided to probe US intentions vis-à-vis Russia at the dawn of the 21st century, recalling in his recent interview with Tucker Carlson that he had asked Clinton point blank what he thought about the idea of Russia in NATO.

“I became president in 2000. I thought: okay, the Yugoslav issue is over, but we should try to restore relations. Let’s reopen the door that Russia tried to go through…At a meeting here in the Kremlin with the outgoing President Bill Clinton, right here in the next room, I asked him, ‘Bill, do you think if Russia asked to join NATO, do you think it would happen?’ Suddenly, he said ‘you know, it’s interesting, I think so’,” Putin recalled. “But in the evening, when we had dinner, he said, ‘you know, I’ve talked to my team, no-no, it’s not possible now.” “If he had said yes, the process of rapprochement would have commenced, and eventually it might have happened if we had seen some sincere wish on the side of our partners. But it didn’t happen. Well, no means no, okay, fine,” Putin said.

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“..Those grounds would explicitly gag the defence from ever mentioning again in court inconvenient facts..”

The Assange Hearing Permission Appeal Judgment (Craig Murray)

The latest judgment by the High Court in the Assange case achieved completely the objectives of the UK and US states. Above all, Julian remains in the hell which is Belmarsh maximum security prison. He is now safely there alone and incommunicado, from the authorities’ point of view, for at least several more months. Importantly, the United States has managed to keep him detained without securing his actual appearance in Washington. It is crucial to grasp that the CIA, who are very much controlling the process, do not actually want him to appear there until after their attempt to secure the re-election of Genocide Joe. No matter what your opinion of Donald Trump, there is no doubt the CIA conspired against him during his entire Presidency, beginning with the fake Russiagate scandal and ending with their cover-up of the Hunter Biden laptop story. They do not want Trump back.

Biden is politically in deep trouble. Biden’s lifelong political support for Israel has been unwavering to the point of fanaticism. In the process he has collected millions of dollars from the Zionist lobby. That always seemed a source of political strength in the United States, not of weakness. The current genocide in Gaza has changed all those calculations. The sheer evil and viciousness of the Israeli state, the open and undisguised enthusiasm for racist massacre, has achieved the seemingly impossible task of turning much American public opinion against Israel. That is particularly true among key elements of the Democratic base. Young people and ethnic minorities have been shocked that the party they have supported is backing and supplying genocide. The mainstream media have lost control of the narrative, when the truth is so widely available on mobile phones, to the point that the MSM have actually been forced to change course and occasionally tell truths about Israel. That also was unthinkable a few months ago.

Precisely the same groups who are outraged by Biden’s support for genocide are going to be alienated by the attack on a journalist and publisher for revealing true facts about war crimes. Assange is not currently a major public issue in the United States, because he is not currently in the United States. Were he to arrive there in chains, the media coverage would be massive and the issue unavoidable in the presidential election campaign. The extradition proceeding has therefore had to be managed in such a way as to keep Assange locked in a living hell the whole time, without actually achieving the extradition until after the presidential election in November. As the years of hearings have rolled by this has become increasingly difficult for the British state to finesse on behalf of their American masters. In this respect, and only in this respect, Dame Victoria Sharp and Lord Justice Johnson have done brilliantly in their judgment.

Senior British judges do not have to be told what to do. They are closely integrated into a small political establishment that is socially interlinked, defined by membership of institutions, and highly subject to groupthink. Dame Victoria Sharp’s brother Richard arranged an £800,000 personal loan for then Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and subsequently became chairman of the BBC despite a complete lack of relevant experience. Lord Justice Johnson as a lawyer represented the intelligence services and the Ministry of Defence. They did not have to be told what to do in this case explicitly, although it was very plain that they entered the two-day hearing process knowing nothing except a briefing they had been given that the crux of the case was the revelation of names of US informants in the Wikileaks material.

The potential danger of an appeal, the granting of which would achieve the United States’ objective of putting the actual extradition back beyond the election date, was that it would allow the airing in public of a great catalogue of war crimes and other illegal activity which had been exposed by Wikileaks. Sharp and Johnson have obviated this danger by adjourning the decision with the possibility of granting an appeal, but only on extremely limited grounds. Those grounds would explicitly gag the defence from ever mentioning again in court inconvenient facts, such as United States war crimes including murder, torture and extraordinary rendition, as well as the plans by the United States to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange. All of those things are precluded by this judgment from ever being raised again in the extradition hearings. The politically damaging aspect of the case in terms of the Manning revelations and CIA behaviour has been cauterised in the UK.

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Yikes.

61 Unexpected PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Food Packaging (SciAm)

Food packaging from around the world contains at least 68 “forever chemicals” that can seep into what we eat, a new study finds. And 61 of them are not even supposed to be used in such products. This kind of packaging may include coated paper wrappers, plastic containers and aluminum foil. Scientists behind the paper say it’s not clear why the latter chemicals, which are not on lists of those authorized for use in food containers, are in such packaging. “It’s very hard to explain where they come from,” says the study’s senior author Birgit Geueke, senior scientific officer at the nonprofit Food Packaging Forum Foundation in Zurich. That’s especially concerning because her team was only able to find data on potential hazards for 57 percent of the chemicals the researchers found in food packaging.

The study, published on Tuesday in Environmental Science & Technology, focused on a class of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). For decades, these substances have been used in a wide range of consumer products, from cookware to pesticides to cosmetics, because of their ability to repel water and grease. PFASs are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down readily in the environment or in the body. That’s because their characteristic carbon-fluorine bond—part of what makes them so useful in the first place—is one of the strongest in nature. PFASs have been found in human blood and breast milk, drinking water, soil and other startling places around the world. In March 2023 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a drinking water standard for six PFAS compounds.

Exposure to some of the most studied PFASs has been associated with cancer, reproductive problems and lessened responses to vaccines. “There’s an incredible body of scientific evidence linking these chemicals to health harms,” says David Andrews, a chemist and toxicologist at the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization, who was not involved with the new study. The paper adds to recently growing concerns about the prevalence of PFASs—and about an overall dearth of knowledge as to what chemicals are found in many everyday products. “Food packaging may not be the only way we are exposed to PFAS, but food packaging could contribute” to these exposures, Geueke says.

She and her team found a mismatch between what they detected in actual products and a database of chemicals assembled by compiling information on PFAS that regulatory agencies (including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) have authorized for use in food packaging, and PFAS that industrial manufacturers have listed for use in food packaging. About 140 PFASs are known to be used in food packaging, but only seven of the 68 chemicals in the study were on this list. Geueke says it’s unclear how or why the other 61 chemicals turned up. Andrews suggests that it’s possible that unknown impurities emerged during the manufacturing of the authorized chemicals or that the authorized PFASs degrade over time. This class of chemicals includes many long-chain molecules, and they can break into shorter chains that are simply different types of PFASs.

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Skunk

 

 

Babies
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774336548865024294

 

 

Mom dog
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774156744651854012

 

 

Lion dachs

 

 

5 days

 

 

Snow angels

 

 

Polar bear walrus
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774406767977316815

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 302024
 


Ciseri Ecce homo (Behold the man) 1670

 

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

 

 


Illustration by The Epoch Times, Getty Images

 

 

Trump NYPD

 

 

Benz

 

 

 

 

Diddy

 

 

RFK
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773456314011689350

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Skripals are back! Or are they?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Graceful loser.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sort of.

Zelensky Changes Stance On Talks With Russia (RT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh Say Can You See? (Kunstler)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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X thread.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Guyana

 

 

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

 

 

Elephant

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Best friend
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773609345449664745

 

 

Smol
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773404943745184144

 

 

 

 

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Mar 112024
 
 March 11, 2024  Posted by at 9:10 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  36 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Femmes d’Alger -Women of Algiers (after Delacroix) 1955

 

A Trump Criminal Trial Could Run Right Through 2024 Election (Turley)
Orban Says Trump Pledged Not to Provide Financial Aid to Ukraine (Sp.)
Old Man Shouting, “The American Empire is Doing Great!” (Patrick Lawrence)
Can Americans Have Hope? (Paul Craig Roberts)
No Borders? No America (Justin Smith)
NATO Can No Longer Hide Its Military Presence in Ukraine – Zakharova (Sp.)
France Just Can’t Calm Down, Itching to Start World War III (Sp.)
West Is Conducting ‘All-Out Militarization’ To Defeat Russia – Vucic (ZH)
‘We Shouldn’t Have Gone Into Ukraine’ – Biden (RT)
Islamic World Has Let Palestinians Down – Erdogan (RT)
Erdogan Among ‘Greatest Anti-Semites In History’ – Israeli FM (RT)
Harvard University, Formerly Great, now Corrupted by Money (Paul Craig Roberts)
Special Counsel Files Blistering Reply to Hunter Motion to Dismiss (Turley)
Open Letter to the People of Switzerland, Federal Council, Parliament (GR)
UK Ranked Second-Most Miserable Country In The World (RT)

 

 

 

 

Pelosi Schumer

 

 

Obama

 

 

 

 

Zhirinovsky

 

 

Tucker Steve Kirsch

 

 

Tucker Jordan Peterson, Conrad Black

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..Smith insisted that the oft-cited Justice Department policy to avoid such proceedings within 60 days of an election would not be applied in Trump’s case..”

A Trump Criminal Trial Could Run Right Through 2024 Election (Turley)

“This trial will not yield to the election cycle.” Those words of U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan last year made clear that she will not consider that Donald Trump will likely be the 2024 Republican presidential nominee in setting the schedule for his federal trial in Washington, D.C. Most recently, in the federal prosecution in Florida, Special Counsel Jack Smith declared that he will not consider himself bound by the Justice Department’s longstanding policy of not bringing charges or holding trials of candidates close to an election. With the Supreme Court reviewing the immunity question (and a decision not expected until June), a nightmare scenario is unfolding in which Trump could be tried not just before the general election, but actually through November’s election. Chutkan has insisted that her refusal to consider Trump’s candidacy is simply denying special treatment to the former president.

But there is nothing typical about how she and others have handled the case. The fact that Chutkan was pushing for a March trial date shows just how extraordinary her handling has been. In the D.C. courts, with thousands of stacked up cases, that would be a rocket docket for a complex case of this kind. There are roughly 770,000 pending cases in roughly 100 district courts around the country. The backlog of pending criminal cases in the federal court system increased by more than a quarter in the last five years. Even when defendants plead guilty, criminal cases average 10 months. If a trial is needed, it runs on average to two years, absent serious complications over classified or privileged material. Smith indicted Trump less than a year ago. At every juncture, Smith has tried to expedite and spur the case along. This has included an attempt to cut off standard appellate options for Trump. It seems as if the entire point is to try Trump before the election. Smith has offered no reason, other than that he wants voters to consider the outcome of the trial.

It is a rare acknowledgement of a desire for a trial to become a factor in an election. Chutkan has shown the same determination. The judge was criticized for comments she made before any charges were brought that strongly suggested she thought Trump should be criminally charged. Chutkan told one defendant that he showed “blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day.” In another case, Chutkan told the defendant that it was unfair that he might go to prison but “the architects of that horrific event will likely never be charged.” When asked to recuse herself, Chutkan denied the clear implication of her own words. She stated that she has not expressly stated that “’President Trump should be prosecuted’ and imprisoned… And the defense does not cite any instance of the court ever uttering those words or anything similar.” Of course, neither the court nor the prosecutors seem willing to apply a similarly deferential view of the meaning of Trump’s words within the context of the case.

There, the implications are sufficient for that “one person” described earlier by the court. Chutkan is now reportedly telling parties in other cases that she will be out of the country in August, and that defendants will have to delay any proceedings in light of her plans…unless she can try Trump. She told lawyers that she will stick with her schedule unless “I’m in trial in another matter that has not yet returned to my calendar.” Given the apparent motivation of the trial court to try Trump before the election, the only other source of restraint would be the Justice Department itself. Smith, however, has insisted that he will show no such restraint, even if he tries Trump through the election. In his filings in Florida, Smith insisted that the oft-cited Justice Department policy to avoid such proceedings within 60 days of an election would not be applied in Trump’s case. He insisted that, since everyone knows about the allegations, there would be no harm or foul in holding him for trial for the weeks before the election as his opponent, President Biden, is free to traverse the country campaigning.

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“Trump said that if he returns, he will not do this, [he will] not [allocate] a penny. And then this war will end..”

Orban Says Trump Pledged Not to Provide Financial Aid to Ukraine (Sp.)

Former US President Donald Trump said that he would not provide financial assistance to Ukraine if elected this fall, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said. On Friday, Trump met with Orban at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida to discuss a wide range of issues of common interest for Hungary and the United States. “If the Americans do not give weapons and money, and the Europeans follow them, then the war will end. If the Americans do not give money, then the Europeans are not able to finance this war themselves, and then it will end.

Trump is not president now, but his party interferes when the Democrats want to send money to the war. Trump said that if he returns, he will not do this, [he will] not [allocate] a penny. And then this war will end,” Orban said in an interview with Hungarian broadcaster M1. Trump and Orban are longtime allies who share conservative political views and have publicly expressed mutual respect and support. Orban has thrown support behind Trump both in the US presidential race and the legal challenges he is facing.

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“These are ideas so old they leave the U.S. in a state of ever more extreme isolation in a world eager to get on with the 21st century..”

Old Man Shouting, “The American Empire is Doing Great!” (Patrick Lawrence)

Democratic elites and the reporters who clerk for them were effusively approving of Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech last Thursday evening—not so much for what he said, which came nothing new, as for the demeanor of our enfeebled president. Never mind that Biden reduced an occasion intended to address all Americans as to the condition of their nation to a cheap stump speech. He avoided falling down for his hour at the podium while stringing coherent sentences (mostly) together in the cause of his political survival. That is what counted. “This was not Old Man Joe,” Peter Baker fairly ejaculated in Friday morning’s New York Times. “This was Forceful Joe. This was Angry Joe. This was Loud Joe. This was Game–On Joe.” Wow. I seemed to have missed that, Joe.

I saw Joe who trades in hollow appearances. This was Joe urging both houses of Congress and 32 million television viewers to join in making believe we still live in the 20th century. This was Joe pretending America’s global primacy is intact. This was Joe refusing to recognize the emergence of new poles of power and the high cost this refusal exacts. “A nation that stands as a beacon to the world. A nation in a new age of possibilities”: You wouldn’t believe an American public figure, to say nothing of a president, would still trade in this kind of exhausted pabulum. Denial of this kind, we must not fail to remind ourselves, does not come cheap. You have to wonder who is driving the bus after listening to a speech as vapid as Biden’s, and I will attempt an answer to this question in due course. Here is the passage in Biden’s speech that most aroused all the Peter Baker liberals eager to see him reelected in November:

“My fellow Americans, the issue facing our nation isn’t how old we are, it’s how old are our ideas…. [Y]ou can’t lead America with ancient ideas that only take us back. To lead America, the land of possibilities, you need a vision for the future and what can and should be done.” These remarks—Biden rehearsed them severally in preceding days—bring us to some very difficult recognitions, even if Biden’s speechwriters intended them otherwise. No recent president I can think of has proven more abjectly bereft of new ideas than Joe Biden. The reckless support of “the Jewish state,” the proxy war in Ukraine, the obsessive Russophobia, the provocations across the Taiwan Strait, the covert operations in Syria and elsewhere, the sanction regimes imposed on too many nations to count, the vassalization of Europe: There is no new thinking in any of this. These are ideas so old they leave the U.S. in a state of ever more extreme isolation in a world eager to get on with the 21st century. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., is the face of the American imperium as it insists on prolonging itself. This is not a role with any originality or vision to it.

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“..the elites could permit Trump to assume the Presidency because they know that they can prevent him from achieving what those who elected him want..”

“.. If all else fails, the bullets that destroyed JFK and RFK are available.”

Can Americans Have Hope? (Paul Craig Roberts)

The issue that faces us is: There is no possibility whatever of Biden being reelected. The fool lined up with Israel in the genocide of the Palestinian people. The fool has lost the war in Ukraine that absorbed untold billions of American money. The fool has violated his oath of office and has not only allowed but has actively participated in bringing in during his 4 years 48 cities the size of Pittsburgh full of immigrant-invaders, actually flying in at the expense of US taxpayers 320,000 immigrant-invaders. The fool is signing over to an international bureaucracy, WHO, the determination of your health care, which as of May of this year will be out of your hands. I could go on, but how can a candidate described by his own Department of Justice to be too incompetent to stand trial for his illegal possession of secret national security documents be sufficiently competent to be President of the United States and to have in his incompetent hands, so ruled by his own Justice Department, the nuclear briefcase?

How can the Democrats run a candidate for president who has been ruled incompetent by his own government? How is it that Democrat state judges, attorneys general, and secretaries of state illegitimately rule that Trump cannot be on the Democrat states ballots because he is an “insurrectionist”? Trump has not been convicted as an insurrectionist. Why do these dumbshit Demorats think that their assertion amounts to a conviction? Moreover the 14th Amendment assigns that decision to the US Congress, not to state judges, attorney generals, and secretaries of state. Are the Democrats so utterly stupid and incompetent that they do not understand basic law and cannot understand that they are asserting a power that they do not have? Yes, I believe that is the case. For decades Democrats have been appointing legal and constitutional illiterates to the judiciary, knowing that the only way Democrats can achieve a one-party tyrannical state is by using stupid people to weaponize law.

With polls showing that 90% of the voting population regard Biden as too old or too incapable to serve as president, why are the Democrats running him? Is it because they have no other candidate? Or is it because the Democrats have a plan to move Trump aside and neutralize him? Biden has nonexistent chances of winning. This makes it impossible for the Democrats to steal the third national election in a row. To steal an election the vote count has to be close. Otherwise, it is not believable. Perhaps the Democrats have a plan for derailing Trump? Earlier I suggested that the Democrats would have Biden resign for medical reasons. Kamala would become president. She would be instructed to choose Hillary as her VP and then resign herself. This would leave Hillary and her machine in power prior to the election. Then the border conflict between Washington and Texas would be heated up. There would be talk of civil war, and the prospect would be used by Hillary to declare martial law to put down rebellion and cancel the election.

As much sense as this makes for the Democrats, there is little evidence that they are moving in this direction. So how will they keep Trump out of office? As Trump has declared war on the American ruling elites,they are determined to keep him away from power. Has Trump been re-educated so that he no longer wants normal relations with Russia? We know he is in Israel’s pocket, which is a great gift to the control that the establishment has over Trump. The question before us is: Does Trump want vindication by reelection more than he wants to overthrow the elite and return government to the people as democracy requires? If he hasn’t struck a deal with the elites, why would they allow him, their enemy, be in the Oval Office? Could it be that the elite know how much more powerful they are compared to a mere US president? When it comes down to the question, what can Trump do?

If he is able to understand the situation and to identify people able and willing to help him take power from the ruling elite and to restore power to the people, he still has the problem of getting a bought-and-paid-for US Senate to approve his appointments. Remember, Trump’s appointment of General Flynn lasted two weeks. My updated opinion is that the elites could permit Trump to assume the Presidency because they know that they can prevent him from achieving what those who elected him want, thereby demoralizing the American citizens who had hope that a leader would restore and revitalize their nation. They know that they can orchestrate an economic catastrophe that would destroy Trump’s presidency and keep Republicans out of office for many years. If all else fails, the bullets that destroyed JFK and RFK are available. There is no doubt that the corrupt US media would attribute Trump’s assassination to “a lone gunman.”

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“Don’t let the enemies-from-within end America in so despicable a manner. Don’t let this be how America ends..”

No Borders? No America (Justin Smith)

Former President Donald Trump has promised to start the largest mass deportation of illegal aliens in U.S. history, if he wins the upcoming election, and he plans to use the military to implement it, rightfully so. As reported in the Washington Post [February 21st 2024], Karoline Leavitt, spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, stated: “Americans can expect that immediately upon President Trump’s return to the Oval Office, he will restore all his prior policies, implement brand new crackdowns that will send shock waves to all the world’s criminal smugglers, and marshal every federal and state power necessary to institute the largest deportation operation in American history” as she also added that illegal aliens “should not get comfortable because very soon they will be going home.”

We have the absolute right and a duty as sovereign citizens, living in sovereign states, to defend ourselves and our families, in the wake of a lawless federal government, this lawless Biden regime. The authority rests within the Constitution which has always allowed for the use of the States’ militias or the military to be mobilized for just such circumstances, and although we can be certain that Biden and some state governors will keep refusing to utilize the mechanisms at their disposal to fast-track the removal of these invaders, we have the right to gather ourselves armed with pistols and rifles — those of us able with the time and backbone to do so — to go to the border and tell the Border Patrol to do join us and do their Constitutional duty to stop the millions more who will try to cross between now and January 2025.

I oft suggested in years past, half-jokingly, not so much anymore, that we should put them on a plane, parachutes optional, and shove them out over Mexico. This comment has become so much more full of meaning, now that we know the Biden regime has actively been seeking out these illegal caravans and flying their members into America. No matter how they arrive, by a fast jet, a slow boat or a reliable bus or train, we must send them back on a super-charged bus or jet just as quickly. Set about to deport every last one of them, and then effectively and totally seal the border and place a ten year moratorium on all immigration, legal and illegal, or until we have our nation and our population straightened out in a fashion that puts us back on a path to the same level of exceptionalism that used to be the rule in America and removes or eradicates, with extreme prejudice, those radicals who seek to fundamentally transform America and end our republic.

Don’t let the enemies-from-within end America in so despicable a manner. Don’t let this be how America ends. Fight back like hell, and when the time is right, make the bastards who have committed this treason against America pay with their own lives.

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“..France and Poland have no right to speak on behalf of NATO, and the alliance’s intervention in the conflict would “erase the path to diplomacy.”

NATO Can No Longer Hide Its Military Presence in Ukraine – Zakharova (Sp.)

Spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova commented on the statement by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski about the presence of soldiers NATO countries in Ukraine, telling Sputnik: “They couldn’t hide it any longer.” Earlier in the day, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said during a panel discussion at an event dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the country’s accession to the alliance that some NATO countries have already sent their military to Ukraine. The event was broadcasted on the Sejm RP YouTube channel. “NATO soldiers are already present in Ukraine,” Sikorski said. Sikorski added that he is not going to disclose which states sent their military there, “unlike some politicians.” Earlier, the diplomat Sikorski said that the presence of NATO forces in Ukraine “was not unthinkable,” adding that he appreciated Macron’s initiative on the possibility of sending Western troops to Ukraine.

Polish President Andrzej Duda, in turn, expressed his opinion that Warsaw needs to build a large airport to transport NATO troops. At the end of February, Macron said that France would do everything to prevent Russia “from winning this war.” According to him, the leaders of Western countries have discussed the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine and, although no consensus had been reached in this regard, nothing could be ruled out. Later, the French president, who was sharply criticized for his statements, noted that all his words were carefully considered. He also emphasized that Paris “has no limits or red lines” on the issue of assistance to Kiev. At the same time, the authorities of many European countries stated that there is no talk of transferring military personnel to Ukraine. In particular, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Defense Minister Boris Pistorius emphasized that Germany would not send its military personnel to the republic.

In addition, the head of the German government clarified that NATO countries as a whole are not going to do this. Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto likewise said that France and Poland have no right to speak on behalf of NATO, and the alliance’s intervention in the conflict would “erase the path to diplomacy.” Commenting on Sikorski’s revelation, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Sputnik that the alliance’s members could no longer hide it. In his annual address to the Russian Federal Assembly in late February, President Vladimir Putin warned that the consequences of a possible NATO intervention in Ukraine would be tragic for the alliance’s deployed troops.

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“It is not for Russia to tell us how we should help Ukraine in the coming months or years..”

France Just Can’t Calm Down, Itching to Start World War III (Sp.)

France is forming a coalition of nations that are willing to consider the possibility of deploying Western forces to Ukraine, Politico reports. On Friday, French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné travelled to Lithuania to hold a meeting with his Baltic and Ukrainian counterparts to promote the idea that foreign forces might assist Ukraine in tasks such as de-mining. Séjourné repeatedly mentioned mine clearance operations as a potential area of assistance, stating it “might mean having some personnel, [but] not to fight.” “It is not for Russia to tell us how we should help Ukraine in the coming months or years,” Séjourné said at a meeting chaired by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis and attended by his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba.

The newspaper recalled French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks about the possibility of sending servicemen from Western countries to Ukraine. Subsequently most EU members, including Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland, clarified they had no such plans. However, as Politico writes, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania appeared “much more open to the idea.” Commenting on Macron’s statements, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed that NATO troops’ potential boots on the ground in Ukraine will lead to an inevitable conflict between Russia and the alliance. Russia has repeatedly warned NATO countries that arms supplies to Ukraine would be considered legitimate targets. Moscow has accused NATO countries of “playing with fire” by arming Ukraine, emphasizing that such actions hinder the possibility of Russia-Ukraine negotiations.

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“The current trend is toward total militarization and a five-fold build-up in all respects..”

West Is Conducting ‘All-Out Militarization’ To Defeat Russia – Vucic (ZH)

Last week we detailed that during Ukrainian President Zelensky’s visit to Albania where he appealed for more weapons from Balkan countries, he pushed the idea that all Western-friendly Balkan states should have a pathway to the EU and NATO. And at the same time French President Emmanuel Macron has been busy floating the possibility of Western troops deploying to Ukraine. Albania is of course a chief regional rival to Moscow’s close ally and friend Serbia. Jahja Muhasilovic, a political analyst on the Balkans, had commented of Zelensky’s rare Balkan trip that “Albania is known to be one of the staunchest supporters of limiting Russia’s influence here in the region.” “In a way, Zelensky’s visit in Albania is having that geopolitical connotation. He is probably counting on the Western Balkan countries not to help them militarily because they are limited, but through their lobbying part that they can play in continuing the armament of the Ukrainian troops,” he explained.

In fresh comments this weekend, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has weighed in and responded to ongoing calls from Western officials to urgently send more weapons to Kiev. Vucic has accused the West of pursuing a policy of “total militarization” toward defeating Russian, which puts the region and the world on the brink of disaster and stumbling to WW3. “What is happening now is madness,” he was cited in regional media as saying. “They all thought that Putin would be easily defeated. Now they see that this is not so.” “The current trend is toward total militarization and a five-fold build-up in all respects,” the Serbian president said further during a visit to the Belgrade Military Technical Institute. Vucic has also warned against European countries sending their troops to Ukraine to confront Russian forces, saying this would immediately and unpredictably escalate the war.

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“He didn’t mix it up. He can no longer retain to himself what everyone understands – the US have disgraced themselves in the bloodiest manner with the whole Ukrainian project..”

‘We Shouldn’t Have Gone Into Ukraine’ – Biden (RT)

In another of his gaffes, Joe Biden has said that Washington made a mistake by going into Ukraine. The US president was actually talking about a different country in another part of the world. In the course of an interview with MSNBC on Saturday, Biden was criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that by ignoring civilian casualties during the IDF’s military operation in Gaza, he was “hurting Israel more than he’s helping Israel.” According to the latest data from the Gaza health ministry, 31,045 people have been killed and 72,654 others wounded since October 7, after which the IDF began its attacks on the Palestinian enclave in response to the Hamas incursion into Israel, in which an estimated 1,200 people lost their lives and over 200 were taken hostage. Biden recalled how, during his visit to Israel early in the conflict, he had warned Netanyahu against making a “mistake” that the US made after 9/11.

“America made a mistake. We went after Osama bin Laden until we got him, but we shouldn’t have gone into Ukraine…” the 81-year-old said. The president quickly corrected himself, saying: “We shouldn’t have gone into the whole thing in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Those military campaigns by the US “caused more problems than they cured,” he added. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova infused the subject with a little sarcasm and said Moscow actually disagreed with the reporting in the media, that Biden had simply confused Ukraine with Iraq and Afghanistan. “He didn’t mix it up. He can no longer retain to himself what everyone understands – the US have disgraced themselves in the bloodiest manner with the whole Ukrainian project,” she wrote on Telegram on Sunday.

After repelling Ukraine’s counteroffensive last year, Russian forces have been steadily improving frontline positions, capturing the strategic stronghold of Adveevka in Russia’s People’s Republic of Donetsk last month, and several other settlements. Washington has been Ukraine’s primary backer since the escalation to armed confrontation in February 2022 of long-simmering conflicts between Moscow and Kiev, and has provided over $111 billion in military and financial assistance. However, in recent months, US aid has subsided drastically as the Biden administration struggles to overcome Republicans’ resistance to its efforts at pushing through another $60-billion in aid for Ukraine. It’s not the first time that Biden has confused countries and places. In June, he said that “Putin is losing the war in Iraq.” In a more recent blunder, he said a week ago that the US and partners were discussing “airdrops of food and supplies into Ukraine,” while actually meaning proposed airdrops into Gaza.

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They left it all to the Houthis.

Islamic World Has Let Palestinians Down – Erdogan (RT)

Muslim-majority countries did not do enough to stop Israeli forces from killing Palestinian civilians in Gaza, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said. He made his comment as the war between Israel and Hamas entered its sixth month. “We have all witnessed together how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights became just a piece of paper when it comes to the right to live for Palestinian children, women and innocent civilians,” the Turkish leader said at an event in Istanbul on Saturday. Erdogan went on to argue that the war in the Middle East “has shown us that the Islamic world still has very significant shortcomings, especially in terms of acting in unity” when attempting to pressure Israel to end its operation in Gaza. Unfortunately, the Islamic world, with its population of nearly 2 billion people, has failed to properly fulfil its brotherly duty to the Palestinians.

The president said that, despite the “hard work and many efforts in the diplomatic field,” the Muslim-majority countries ultimately “could not prevent the deaths of innocent children of Gaza from hunger, bullets and bombs.” Ankara has delivered some 40,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza by air and sea, Erdogan said. The remarks came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the offensive on Rafah, a major city near Gaza’s border with Egypt. The city and its surroundings became crowded with refugees after the Israel Defense Forces instructed Palestinians to flee the northern part of the enclave. Netanyahu has rejected international calls for a ceasefire, arguing that the IDF must clear out “the last Hamas stronghold” in Rafah. Israel declared war on Hamas after the militant group unexpectedly attacked southern Israeli cities on October 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostages. More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the fighting began last year, according to local authorities.

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“Netanyahu and his hateful administration have added their names to the list of ‘today’s Nazis’ alongside Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, Franco and other assassins of the modern era..”

Erdogan Among ‘Greatest Anti-Semites In History’ – Israeli FM (RT)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ranks among the worst anti-Semites in history because of his stance on the Gaza conflict, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has claimed.In a speech on Saturday, Erdogan compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Nazi German dictator Adolf Hitler, referring to the relentless IDF attacks on Gaza, which have killed at least 30,960 people and wounded 72,524 others, according to the health ministry in the Palestinian enclave. He also again refused to label Hamas a terrorist organization, saying Ankara “firmly backs” the leadership of the Palestinian armed group. Katz, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, responded to the Turkish president’s remarks a few hours later on X (formerly Twitter), in both Hebrew and Turkish.

Hamas committed “murders and sexual assaults” during its incursion into Israel on October 7, in which more than 1,100 people were killed and some 240 taken hostage, he said, claiming that Erdogan’s support for the group makes him one “of the greatest oppressors and anti-Semites in history. ”Türkiye has become “the largest supporter of terrorism in the world, along with Iran,” which brings “shame” on the country, the diplomat insisted. In his address in Istanbul, Erdogan, who has been among the harshest critics of Israel in recent months, said the leadership of the Jewish state was responsible for “crimes against humanity” in Gaza. “Netanyahu and his hateful administration have added their names to the list of ‘today’s Nazis’ alongside Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, Franco and other assassins of the modern era,” he argued.

What is happening in Gaza has “already surpassed the limits of tolerance,” the Turkish leader insisted. “Backed by the unlimited military and diplomatic support of Western powers, Israel, which is a state of terror, is carrying out an all-out policy of genocide against our Palestinian brothers and sisters.” Erdogan noted that Türkiye has already provided some 40,000 tons of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza by air and sea. He urged the Muslim world to do more to end the hostilities, saying it has so far “failed to properly fulfill its brotherly duty to the Palestinians.” Netanyahu insisted earlier this week that the mounting international pressure for a truce will not make Israel give up on its goal of achieving “total victory in war” against Hamas.

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“..Harvard is devoid of intelligence and of integrity. The reason is that Harvard is flush with Big Pharma research money..”

“..What do we make of a country where money is the only value, where even universities, allegedly centers of learning, prefer money to truth?”

Harvard University, Formerly Great, now Corrupted by Money (Paul Craig Roberts)

Harvard University has just announced that the university has dropped its Covid “vaccine” mandate that the university has coerced students to accept. It would be interesting to know how many Harvard students the mandate murdered and how many whose health has been ruined by the stupid and irresponsible Harvard administrators’ mandate. It also raises the question of how smart Harvard students really are that they would risk an untested “vaccine.” Harvard says, nevertheless, “We strongly recommend that all members of the Harvard community stay up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters. Additionally, we continue to emphasize the benefits of wearing a high-quality face mask in crowded indoor settings.” The university says it still requires that all students supply evidence that they had the initial jab. The university goes on to say in responding to COVID-19 that “we will continue to monitor public health data and will periodically review requirements.”

Harvard is allegedly an intelligent institution with a medical school and allegedly has a faculty and administrators capable of assessing facts and making intelligent decisions. Yet we see no sign of any intelligence in the university’s much belated dropping of the vax mandate. We have know for a long time that the mRNA “vaccines” do not prevent a Covid vaccinated person from getting infected with Covid and do not prevent transmission of the virus. Big Pharma Covid vaccine makers themselves now admit this, as do medical authorities. Indeed, the evidence is piling up that the vax makes it more likely for a person to catch Covid. We also know and it has now been admitted–that the mRNA “vaccines” have all of the deadly and health damaging effects that the independent medical scientists said they had. These scientists who told the truth were persecuted by the corrupt US medical establishment.

The evidence is in. There is no longer any question that the “vaccine,” which is not really a vaccine, is not only totally ineffective but very dangerous. Evidence mounts that the “vaccine” is a far greater killer than the lab created virus itself. So why is Harvard still “strongly recommending” more jabs that are ineffective and dangerous? Is this a conclusion from evidence that shows any signs of intelligence? With athletes in the prime of life dropping dead on playing fields all over the world, why is an allegedly intelligent university still requiring students to have had the initial “vaccination”?

Why does an allegedly intelligent university, which I am beginning to think Harvard most certainly is not, requiring students to have taken a vaccine known to be ineffective and dangerous? How can such a non-intelligent, non-rational decision be associated with intelligence? My conclusion is that Harvard is devoid of intelligence and of integrity. The reason is that Harvard is flush with Big Pharma research money, and just as Congress and the President have to vote in keeping with the special interests that fund their campaigns, Harvard votes with Big Pharma. What do we make of a country where money is the only value, where even universities, allegedly centers of learning, prefer money to truth?

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The same David Weiss who’s taken 5 years investigating Hunter. Looks like he’s had enough.

Special Counsel Files Blistering Reply to Hunter Motion to Dismiss (Turley)

Special Counsel David Weiss has filed a blistering opposition to the motion to dismiss by Hunter Biden in California that cites his own book and conflicting statements as creating “nothing more than a house of cards.” The filing (below) shows how Hunter’s claims (repeated by many in the media) collapse under even cursory review in court. Weiss’s filing bulldozes through arguments of selective prosecution and political influence in the case. He specifically notes that Biden repeatedly makes statements without any proof or support in his filings. The filing begins by outright accusing Hunter Biden and his counsel of lying to the court about what occurred after the earlier plea agreement fell apart in court after the judge in Delaware asked about a sweeping immunity clause in paragraph 14. Notably, Weiss said that it was Hunter Biden’s legal team that inexplicably shut down negotiations by playing hardball in seeking to preserve the original agreement:

“The government proposed changes to the agreements that addressed only the issues identified during the hearing. Exh. 3. The defendant rejected these counterproposals on August 7, 2023. Id. Instead, the defendant began insisting that the proposed Diversion Agreement had bound both parties, even though it had not been approved by the Chief U.S. Probation Officer, a condition precedent to formation that would have brought it into effect. Moreover, by taking this position, he chose to shut down any further negotiations that could address the issues raised at the hearing.” It then accuses Biden and his counsel as outright lying to the court:

“In his motion, in multiple places, the defendant falsely states that DOJ ‘inexplicably demanded Mr. Biden plead guilty to felonies with jail time.’ He cites nothing in support of his false claims, which is a consistent theme across his motions. The government attaches as Exhibit 3 a redacted letter from the defendant’s counsel which confirms the defendant understood that the government had proposed changes to only those paragraphs that were at issue during the hearing, not paragraphs regarding the charges the defendant must plead to or any “jail time” the defendant must serve. As shown in Exhibit 3, the government proposed changes to Paragraphs 14, 15 and 17 of the Diversion Agreement, and Paragraph 5(b) of the Plea Agreement. The government proposed no changes to Paragraph 1 of the Plea Agreement, which required the defendant to plead guilty to two misdemeanors. Nor did the government propose any changes to Paragraph 6 of the Plea Agreement, in which the United States had agreed to recommend a sentence of probation. The defendant rejected these counterproposals and refused further negotiations…His newly invented claim in his motion that the government “inexplicably demanded Mr. Biden plead guilty to felonies with jail time” is patently false, unsupported by evidence, and belied by his own letter and representations in his filings in the Delaware case.”

The rest of the filing is equally devastating. Weiss notes that Biden repeatedly misrepresents facts or claims authority that does not exist. He notes that Biden does not cite any cases of similarly situated individuals who were not prosecuted. For example, it notes: “The only attempt the defendant makes to link animus directly to prosecutors is his claim that “reports indicate Mr. Weiss himself admitted [the charges] would not have been brought against the average American.” Motion at 13. However, his citation does not include a reference to reports (plural), rather it includes a single New York Times citation, which includes a denial immediately after the quoted excerpt: “A senior law enforcement official forcefully denied the account.” An anonymous account that is “forcefully denied” is not evidence that can satisfy the defendant’s burden of producing “clear evidence” of discriminatory intent and animus by prosecutors.”

In rejecting the two cases that he references, Weiss takes a swipe at Hunter’s book. When he published the book, some of us noted that he was making statements against his own interest in possible prosecutions. Weiss just made that a reality: “The defendant compares himself to only two individuals: Robert Shaughnessy and Roger Stone, both of whom resolved their tax cases civilly for failing to pay taxes. Shaughnessy failed to file and pay his taxes, but he was not alleged to have committed tax evasion. By contrast, the defendant chose to file false returns years later, failed to pay when those returns were filed, and lied to his accountants repeatedly, claiming personal expenses as business expenses. Stone failed to pay his taxes but did timely file his returns, unlike the defendant. Neither Shaughnessy nor Stone illegally purchased a firearm and lied on background check paperwork. And neither of them wrote a memoir in which they made countless statements proving their crimes and drawing further attention to their criminal conduct. These two individuals are not suitable comparators, and since the defendant fails to identify anyone else, his claim fails.”

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“In Switzerland, such drastic changes to national health legislation would require changes in the nation’s Constitution. According to the very Swiss Constitution, such changes would require approval by the Swiss people by referendum..”

Open Letter to the People of Switzerland, Federal Council, Parliament (GR)

We, the Swiss, have the Constitutional Right of Initiatives or Referenda. It is high time that We, the People, make use of this opportunity requesting the Swiss Federal Council and Parliament to renounce its membership in the WHO, the organization at the verge of becoming the world’s dictator on issues of health, more brutal and radical than humanity has ever known before. The Covid-mandates imposed by the WHO were just a precursor to what may come. For the last several years, the WHO was preparing mostly behind closed doors what they call a “Pandemic Treaty”, or “Pandemic Agreement”, which would become part of the 2005 established and now being drastically revised “International Health Regulations” (IHR). If these two new “rules-based orders” are approved by the World Health Assembly (WHA – 27 May to 1 June 2024 in Geneva), the WHO’s health dictate would be above every nation’s sovereignty, and would make health self-determination a thing of the past.

If the WHO declares a disease, artificially made or not, as a pandemic, orders would have to be followed. If the WHO decides on general vaccination, orders must be followed. In Switzerland, such drastic changes to national health legislation would require changes in the nation’s Constitution. According to the very Swiss Constitution, such changes would require approval by the Swiss people by referendum – with good chances of a popular rejection. To forego a people’s vote, the Swiss Government – Federal Council and Parliament – are currently working on advance-amending the national Swiss health legislation, so that it would meet the requirements of a potentially impending WHO Pandemic Agreement and the new IHR. A Constitutional amendment may then not be necessary, as the new Swiss health standards would blend in with the potentially new WHO dictate.

This is happening semi-clandestinely. Not known to most citizens. Switzerland is supposed to be – constitutionally – a democracy and a country of political neutrality; a country with self-determination and sovereignty in decision making, and where people’s voice and active participation counts. Those were the days. * This call also goes to the Swiss Federal Council and Parliament. Are you not ashamed after the criminal covid and vaxx-fraud you imposed on the very people that pay your salaries and pensions – to betray Us, the People again – with the behind-our-backs anticipatory acceptance of the new WHO oppressive rules? How is health defined? Under the WHO definition, health includes the “climate change” scam, which is already blamed for causing excess dengue fever in Brazil and malaria in Africa – prompting the WHO and Bill Gates releasing billions of genetically modified (GMO) “vaccinating” mosquitoes. They have so far brought a 400% increase in dengue fever in Brazil, and in Africa, malaria is rampant despite, or because of the GMO-Mosquitos. Any “climate-related health issues”, defined by the WHO, would also fall under the WHO health tyranny.

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“The Dominican Republic topped the list as the world’s happiest country, followed by Sri Lanka in second place and Tanzania in third. All of the top ten countries were African, Asian, or Latin American nations.”

UK Ranked Second-Most Miserable Country In The World (RT)

Published last week, Sapien Labs’ fourth annual ‘Mental State of the World’ report assessed the mental wellbeing of 419,175 Internet-enabled participants across 71 countries. The results painted a grim picture of the English-speaking world. Out of 71 countries surveyed, the Anglophone nations of the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand sit in the bottom quartile, with residents of the UK happier only than those of Uzbekistan. The survey ranks the UK eight places behind Yemen and 12 places behind Ukraine in terms of its population’s overall mental health. Some 35% of Britons told Sapine Labs that they were either “distressed or struggling,” a figure down by only 0.7% since last year, when Britain came in last place in the rankings.

To determine each nation’s overall mental health, the foundation asked individuals 47 questions about their “mood and outlook,” “social self,” “drive and motivation,” and “adaptability and resilience,” among other categories. While Sapien Labs noted that answers to these questions are inherently subjective, other reports have come to similar conclusions. Amid a historic decline in living standards, the UK’s Office of National Statistics found in November that Britons experienced a drop in happiness and personal satisfaction in the year ending last March. According to a report published in The Lancet medical journal last month, some 1.8 million people in the UK are currently awaiting mental health treatment.

Sapien Labs noted that levels of mental well-being across the English-speaking world plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic, and that this decline “continues to persist with no sign of recovery.” Furthermore, the report found that mental well-being was lower in countries where processed food was commonly eaten, children were given smartphones at a younger age, and relations between family members were more distant. Wealthy, English-speaking countries scored least favorably across all of these three metrics. The Dominican Republic topped the list as the world’s happiest country, followed by Sri Lanka in second place and Tanzania in third. All of the top ten countries were African, Asian, or Latin American nations.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Spring
https://twitter.com/i/status/1766784410450333832

 

 

Quoll

 

 

I love you
https://twitter.com/i/status/1766876241078964424

 

 

 

 

Dog

 

 

Ginger cat

 

 

Gull

 

 

Neurogenesis
https://twitter.com/i/status/1766453575616487680

 

 

Eyesight

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 182024
 


Jean-Léon Gérôme Slave market 1866

 

World Wants More US Intervention – Blinken (RT)
World on ‘Escalation Spiral’ Towards War (Sp.)
BRICS and Global South Challenge ‘Globalist Elites’ With Multipolar World (Sp.)
Reviving ISIS: A US weapon Against The Resistance Axis (Cradle)
UK Working To Prevent Peace – Zakharova (RT)
Britons Mock Warmongering Lecture by UK Defense Secretary (Sp.)
West Cannot Let Russia Win – Macron (RT)
Germany To Double Defense Aid For Ukraine This Year (RT)
How US Coerces France & Germany to Fund Zelensky’s Failing Conflict (Sp.)
Poland’s Decision To Host German Troops Will Not Go Unanswered – Moscow (RT)
Brussels Starts ‘Screening’ Ukrainian Laws (RT)
Judges Smack Down Jack Smith for Violating Trump’s Executive Privilege (PB)
A Gun Pouch Covered In Cocaine Shows Hunter’s Defense Is Ridiculous (Turley)
Supreme Court to Hear Potentially Historic Chevron Case (Turley)
Trump Vows To “Never Allow” A Central Bank Digital Currency (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Michael Moore must see
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747630445838131401

 

 

Meister
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747336776614564316

 

 

Vivek Trump

 

 

Tucker

 

 

Tucker Haley

 

 

Watters

 

 

ICJ

 

 

 

 

How crazy is that? “I’m hearing from virtually every country: They want the United States..”

World Wants More US Intervention – Blinken (RT)

Geopolitical turmoil and conflict around the globe have made the world’s nations hungrier than ever for diplomatic intervention from Washington to help deal with their crises, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has claimed. “There’s a greater premium than there’s ever been on our engagement, on our leadership, in partnership with others,” Blinken told an audience on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He added that Washington needs to “reimagine” its geopolitical partnerships to resolve global challenges, such as the Israel-Hamas war. The top US diplomat made his comments as Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip triggers escalating tensions in the Middle East and the Russia-Ukraine conflict nears its 24th month. He claimed that many governments see Washington as key to finding solutions.

“I’m hearing from virtually every country: They want the United States,” Blinken said. “They want us present, they want us at the table, they want us leading.” When Washington fails to tackle a major issue, he added, it is either handled by another nation – probably to the detriment of US interests – or no one else takes the lead. When other nations see the domestic investments that US President Joe Biden is making, such as funding of major infrastructure projects and “climate technology,” they realize that “we’re actually serious about ourselves, despite some of the dysfunction that may be seen on the front pages,” Blinken said. Biden also has pressed for re-engagement with US allies and the building of new coalitions to address specific challenges, he added.

“On some of the really big issues of the day – whether it’s how to deal with China, how to deal with Russia – we have more convergence than we’ve had at any time in recent memory between us, key partners throughout Europe, throughout Asia, and even in other parts of the world, about how to manage these problems,” the secretary said. The Israel-Hamas war has reportedly left more than 24,000 people dead in the Palestinian enclave. The conflict began on October 7, when Hamas militants killed more than 1,100 people – mostly civilians – in southern Israeli villages and took hundreds of hostages back to Gaza. Asked about the disparity in casualties, Blinken denied that the US places a higher value on Jewish lives than Palestinian lives. “What we’re seeing every single day in Gaza is gut-wrenching,” the diplomat said. “And the suffering we’re seeing among innocent men, women and children breaks my heart.”

He claimed that US engagement in the crisis had helped to minimize civilian casualties and get more humanitarian aid into the enclave. Blinken said he sees no near-term prospects for a negotiated settlement to end the bloodshed in Ukraine. He argued that peace talks can only go forward when Russian leaders are willing to negotiate “in good faith,” respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Russian officials have accused Western leaders of derailing a potential peace deal in April 2022 and prolonging the conflict by providing massive military aid to Kiev. Moscow also has claimed that US insistence on a negotiated settlement being based on Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s demands, which it calls detached from reality, leaves no chance for a ceasefire in 2024.

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747606360458412185

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“Foreign policy in the Middle East will become hostage to American domestic politics, which is very dangerous..”

World on ‘Escalation Spiral’ Towards War (Sp.)

The likelihood of global military confrontation is increasing according to analyst Yezid Sayigh, a senior fellow at the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center. Sayigh made the assessment during an interview with Chinese media that touched on Israel, the crisis in the Red Sea, and the United States’ so-called “pivot to Asia” policy. Commenting on tensions between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East, Sayigh offered sobering insight on the potential for events to escalate beyond world leaders’ control. “I think the risk of a wider war is obviously increasing,” said Sayigh. “However, at the same time, I think that the key parties will not go beyond a certain point into direct confrontation. At the same time, they have already started what we call an escalation spiral.”

“The US is in a very risky situation, and it increasingly looks as though it is entering the war on the side of Israel as well,” the analyst noted. “[Biden] has already, in a way, signaled military deterrence that encouraged Iran to use military deterrence. Biden, in a way, started this escalation spiral from the beginning with his immediate deployment of military assets to the Mediterranean.” Sayigh employed the metaphor of World War I to explain how events could lead towards war even without world leaders consciously seeking to initiate conflict. World War I was famously set into motion by the murder of Austro-Hungarian heir apparent Archduke Franz Ferdinand. But Sayigh argued the key factor in the war’s outbreak was not the killing itself, but rather the greater zeitgeist of global tension created by previous events.

“By 1914, the world was ready for war,” said the historian. “Global tensions had reached a point where it was the assassination that was the trigger, but it might have been something else. It could have been sinking a boat at sea. It could have been anything.” Part of what makes the current moment so perilous are the set of incentives created by domestic politics, Sayigh argued. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces corruption charges, as well as an Israeli public likely to hold the longtime leader accountable for Hamas’ October 7 attack. Netanyahu has an interest in the continuation of military conflict to prevent either of those things threatening his political career. But domestic politics also alters the calculations of US President Joe Biden, the analyst argued. Previously Biden showed signs of returning to former President Barack Obama’s policy of detente with Iran, resisting many neoconservatives’ call for war on the Middle Eastern country. Now, domestic support for Israel makes it harder for Biden to pursue reconciliation with the country’s fierce enemy.

“It [the Biden administration] no longer calculates foreign policy purely on the basis of strategic and global stability, as it was previously doing by improving relations with Iran or at least defusing tensions with Iran,” Sayigh explained. “That was when it was thinking globally. However, now the administration has to consider domestic politics, and the calculation there is different.” “Foreign policy in the Middle East will become hostage to American domestic politics, which is very dangerous,” he warned.

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“..it is a process made of deconstruction and chaos, of divide and control, an illusion of democracy so they can ultimately control absolutely everything..”

BRICS and Global South Challenge ‘Globalist Elites’ With Multipolar World (Sp.)

BRICS and the Global South are offering “a new world order” to the “Western-centric”, Angelo Giuliano, a Hong Kong-based political and financial analyst, told Sputnik. The vision is “strong opposition” to that of the Western-dominated World Economic Forum, suggested the analyst.”The rest of the world, BRICS and the Global South… is opposing the values of a Western-centric world controlled by the very few, the old powerful families and the likes of Blackjacks and other banksters,” Giuliano noted. “What the rest of the world is offering is an option of a multipolar world where differences of cultures and values are respected, an idea of coexistence, of live and let live, respect of sovereignty. Seeking mutual prosperity, mutual respect and maybe also putting the human being at the center of the preoccupation. A world of purpose as opposed to a world of profit,” he stated.

The West, however, takes its directions from multinational corporations, underscored the pundit. “Globalist elites are the real ones in charge in the West. The same globalist elites select Western leaders and give the directions that they want the world to take, it is a process made of deconstruction and chaos, of divide and control, an illusion of democracy so they can ultimately control absolutely everything, for a central digital currency, to ownership, privacy and ultimately to people’s minds,” said the Hong Kong-based political analyst. Earlier, speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan offered up the Biden administration’s vision for the era ahead.

“Major powers are vastly more interdependent than at any time during the Cold War. But we’re also in stiff competition about the type of world we want to build,” Sullivan said in his remarks. “We are moving into a new era, the post-Cold War era has come to a close. We are at the start of something new, we have the capacity to shape what that looks like, and at the heart of it will be many of the core principles, core institutions of the existing order, adapted for the challenges we face today,” he added later, talking with Børge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum and former minister of foreign affairs of Norway.

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“.. fresh blood, money, and weapons are being pumped into the ISIS organization’s arteries again..”

Reviving ISIS: A US weapon Against The Resistance Axis (Cradle)

According to intelligence reports reviewed by The Cradle, at its height, ISIS consisted of more than 35,000 fighters in Iraq – 25,000 of these were killed, while more than 10,000 simply “disappeared.” As an officer of one Iraqi intelligence agency recounts to The Cradle: “Hundreds of ISIS fighters fled to Turkey and Syria at the end of 2017. After the appointment of Abdullah Qardash as the leader of ISIS in 2019, following the death of Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the new Caliph began to restructure the organization, and ordered his followers to return to Iraq. The organization exploited the long border with Syria, the security disturbances, and the diversity of forces on both sides of the border to infiltrate the Iraqi territory again.” Imprisoned ISIS officials admit that infiltrating that border is not an easy task, because of the strict control imposed by the Iraqi Border Guards and the use of modern technologies, such as thermal cameras.

It therefore became necessary for the terror group to identify intermediaries capable of breaking through or bypassing these fortifications to transport its fighters across borders. An Iraqi security source, insisting on anonymity, tells The Cradle that the US plays a vital role in enabling these border violations: “[There are] several incidents that confirm the American assistance in securing the crossing route for ISIS members – mainly, by shelling Iraqi units on the border, especially the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), to create gaps that allow ISIS fighters to cross the border.”

[..] In a speech on 5 January, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah warned that the US was supporting an ISIS revival in the region. The Cradle obtained security information monitoring the new activity of extremists in Lebanon, communications between these elements and their counterparts in Iraq and Syria, and suspicious money transfer activities among them. Lebanese Army Intelligence also recently arrested a group of Lebanese and Syrians who were preparing to carry out security operations. Importantly, this surge in terror activities comes at a time when the Lebanese resistance is engaged in a security and military battle with Israel, which may expand at any moment into open war. It is also notable that renewed ISIS activity is concentrated in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran; that is, in the countries that support the Palestinian resistance politically, militarily, and logistically.

On 4 January, ISIS officially claimed responsibility for two bombings in the Iranian city of Kerman that targeted memorial processions on the anniversary of the assassination of Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani by US forces. The dual explosions killed around 90 people and injured dozens, in an unprecedented attack targeting the biggest US-Israeli adversary in West Asia – just one day after Tel Aviv killed top Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut. Before that, on 5 October 2023, ISIS drone-attacked an officers graduation ceremony at the Military College in the Syrian city of Homs, killing about 100 people. These attacks, and others in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Africa, indicate that fresh blood, money, and weapons are being pumped into the ISIS organization’s arteries again.

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“Ukraine is literally being stripped of any chance to get out of the conflict through negotiations.”

Sunak gives Zelensky a few billion, on the condition that he’ll never talk peace. US and UK want the war to continue. Germany and France follow their lead.

These are also the countries, not coincidentally, that will not criticize Israel.

In the UK, Germany and France, also not coincidentally, governments are about to be voted out. (US?!)

UK Working To Prevent Peace – Zakharova (RT)

A security agreement signed last week is further proof that London is maintaining a firm grip on the Kiev government and is working to prevent any prospect of peace, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.On Friday, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) military assistance package for Ukraine – Britain’s largest to date. The two sides also signed a ten-year security guarantee, with the UK pledging “swift and sustained” aid for Ukraine in the event of a Russian attack in future. Kiev also promised to come to Britain’s defense in the event of Russian “aggression” against the country. Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, Zakharova suggested that the deal was an indication that “Ukraine is literally being stripped of any chance to get out of the conflict through negotiations.”

As a result, Kiev is being turned into “a bargaining chip in the reckless ventures of the Anglo-Saxons,” she added, claiming that the UK wants to keep the country in conflict with Russia. She also ridiculed Ukraine’s commitment to defend the UK. “No sane person would believe that. The regime of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky is crying in every corner that, if not one more dollar … is transferred to it, Ukraine will cease to exist. And under these conditions, Ukraine undertakes to help Britain in the event of a military threat to the kingdom.” Russia has never closed the door on peace negotiations with Kiev despite Zelensky barring talks with the current leadership in Moscow in the autumn of 2022. This was made law after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to become part of Russia.

Meanwhile, both Russian and Ukrainian officials have confirmed that Moscow and Kiev were close to settling the conflict in the spring of 2022, but the process was derailed by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who convinced Ukraine to keep fighting. One of Russia’s key demands was that Ukraine stay neutral and refrain from joining military alliances. Last week – months after the first reports of his role in the talks emerged – Johnson dismissed the allegations that he had sabotaged a peace deal as “total nonsense and Russian propaganda.” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Kiev could have ended the conflict if it had ignored Johnson. Now, “Ukrainian statehood could be dealt an irreparable and very serious blow… if things carry on this way,” he warned, noting that Russian troops had regained the initiative on the battlefield after Kiev’s failed counteroffensive.

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“Wars happen when the government tells you who your enemy is. Revolution happens when you work it out for yourself.”

Britons Mock Warmongering Lecture by UK Defense Secretary (Sp.)

The United Kingdom’s Defense Secretary Grant Shapps warned of potential war with Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea within the next five years in a widely mocked speech in London this week. Shapps delivered the address to promote greater investment in military spending in the UK and its European allies. “The era of the peace dividend is over,” said Shapps in remarks he also shared on his profile on the X social media platform. The so-called “peace dividend” was a proposed reinvestment of government finances toward domestic concerns after the end of the Cold War. The comment may leave many Britons wondering when exactly they enjoyed a peace dividend, as the British government has imposed a policy of economic austerity for a number of years.

The UK was also perhaps the US’ strongest ally in the so-called “War on Terror,” which led to the deaths of more than 4.5 million people across the Middle East according to some estimates. The comments come as European media is reporting on supposed “leaked documents” that allege Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to launch an attack on Germany and other NATO members in the near future. The claims were dismissed as “fake news” by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Britons greeted Shapps’ remarks with ridicule, with multiple posts by the defense minister being “ratioed” on the X platform, meaning they received more comments than likes as users piled on to jeer the jingoistic speech.

“Obviously, the best way to deter enemies and lead allies is by pouring billions of pounds into the military industrial complex,” responded one user sarcastically. “You do know we were involved in bloody and unsuccessful wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?” added another. “Can you explain how British soldiers killed in Helmand or in Basra were at all beneficiaries of this so-called era of the peace dividend?” “The people need to prepare for a new era of conflict with you bastards,” wrote user John Wight, expressing widespread antipathy towards governing elites in the West. “Wars happen when the government tells you who your enemy is. Revolution happens when you work it out for yourself.”

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“According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, France has provided Kiev with €500 million ($540 million) in military aid – less than Slovakia has..”

West Cannot Let Russia Win – Macron (RT)

French president Emmanuel Macron has announced new deliveries of long-range missiles and bombs to Kiev, while insisting the West “cannot let Russia win” the conflict with Ukraine. He added that he will visit the country next month. Speaking at a press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday, the French leader reiterated that his country will continue to assist Ukraine. Amid criticism that France has not been doing enough to help Kiev, Macron said Paris would send 40 SCALP air-launched cruise missiles, which have a range of more than 250km, as well as “hundreds of bombs.” Local media, citing French officials, reported that the president was referring to munitions equipped with the AASM, or HAMMER module, which transforms ordinary bombs into precision-guided weapons with a range of up to 70km. Russia has repeatedly accused Kiev of using Western-supplied long-range weapons to target civilian infrastructure.

Macron added that he would visit Ukraine in February to finalize a bilateral security agreement with Kiev, similar to the one the country recently signed with the UK. The ten-year deal between the two, which was announced last week, guarantees Britain’s “swift and sustained security assistance” to Ukraine in the event of a future Russian attack, while outlining numerous other support measures. Some of France’s NATO allies, notably Poland, have criticized it for not pulling its weight in assisting Ukraine despite being one of Europe’s most powerful economies. According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, France has provided Kiev with €500 million ($540 million) in military aid – less than Slovakia has. However, lawmakers in Paris have insisted that the true scale of the assistance was actually larger, blaming flawed methodology.

Ukraine has been asking for more Western aid since the start of the conflict in February 2022, recently expressing concerns about gridlock in the US Congress over approval for additional funding. On Monday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba called on the West to do more in this regard, vowing that Ukrainians “would fight with shovels” once they run out of weapons. France first provided Ukraine with 50 SCALP missiles last year, following the lead of the UK, which sent similar weapons – Storm Shadows. Russia has since accused Kiev of using Western-supplied long-range missiles to target residential areas, causing numerous civilian casualties.

Zel

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Well, we’ve seen the farmers protest exactly this.

Germany To Double Defense Aid For Ukraine This Year (RT)

Germany will shell out more than €7 billion ($7.6 billion) on military aid for Ukraine this year, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said. Late last year, Bild reported that Berlin was going to double its initial figure of €4 billion, with Defense Minister Boris Pistorius understood to have demanded a bigger contribution. Speaking at a joint press conference with Luxembourg Prime Minister Luc Frieden in Berlin last Monday, the German chancellor mentioned the €7 billion contribution for Kiev in 2024. He also called on the country’s “allies in the European Union to strengthen their efforts,” lamenting that some member states had been tight-fisted in their backing of Ukraine. In a phone call with US President Joe Biden on Tuesday, Scholz said “Germany will support Ukraine with more than €7 billion worth of military goods in 2024,” as quoted by the chancellery.

Back in November, Bild, citing unnamed sources in the defense ministry, claimed that Germany’s original budget for 2024 had provided €4 billion in defense aid for Ukraine. According to the article, most of that sum covered projects that had already been agreed, with little resources left for any further commitments. Pistorius took issue with this, and insisted that the figure be doubled to €8 billion, the media outlet reported at the time. Berlin provided Kiev with nearly $23 billion in aid between February 2022 and November 2023, according to the Kiel Institute for World Economy (IfW), making Germany the second-largest contributor after the US. Washington confirmed last week that its assistance had “ground to a halt” due to weeks of political bickering between Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Late last year, the Biden administration asked representatives to give the green light to more than $60 billion worth of weapons and military equipment for Kiev. However, the GOP has been blocking the package, demanding that President Biden and the Democrats first agree to their plan to tighten security at the border with Mexico. Since Kiev’s summer counteroffensive fizzled out with no major gains and heavy losses, top Ukrainian officials have increasingly been pressuring their Western backers for yet more weaponry. Russia has consistently criticized Western arms shipments to Ukraine, arguing that these prolong the bloodshed unnecessarily without changing the outcome of the conflict.

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“We will put you in this situation that you will not be able to easily get out of the conflict because we have another fish to fry on the horizon..”

How US Coerces France & Germany to Fund Zelensky’s Failing Conflict (Sp.)

France and Germany announced recently they’d commit to continued support for Ukraine in 2024. As US aid has ground to a halt amidst political infighting, Washington has increasingly leaned on European powers to help make up the difference. But after the failure of Kiev’s 2023 counteroffensive, the writing is on the wall regarding the country’s slim chance of success in European capitals as well, with some savvy leaders riding to power on promises to end weapons shipments. How then is the United States managing to keep some of Western Europe’s largest economies on board for the effort? Sputnik spoke with two international affairs experts for insight. “Germany is a very interesting country,” said London-based analyst Adriel Kasonta. “Americans have a huge influence in Germany after the Second World War. And when the Americans set up their bases in Germany and decided to somehow, in one way or another, occupy Germany to stay there in order to make sure that Germany will not emerge as a superpower on the continent, they exercised a very huge influence over this country.”

“In order to meet their commitments towards the western hegemon, the United States, Germany [has] to do or show an extra effort in whatever European countries are doing,” explained the former chairman of the International Affairs Committee at the Bow Group think tank. “So if, for instance, the United States is objecting [to] the charges against Israel brought by South Africa, Germany has to be the first country to object after the United States.”“If the United States is saying that Russia is an enemy, then Germany has to be the first country in Europe to beat the same drum and beat the drum of war and to sustain the supply,” he said. Kasonta also claimed Germany benefits from the influx of Ukrainian migrants caused by the conflict, calling the country “the migrant economy.” Cheap labor from throughout the continent is crucial to Germany’s economic strength, especially as Western sanctions on Russia backfire by driving up energy costs. However, the policy does not come without consequences in the form of rising domestic opposition from the German public.

Russian affairs analyst Gilbert Doctorow also points out that the loss of Russian gas has had a “very damaging impact on the [competitiveness] of German industry and on investment in new production.”The international relations expert noted that France has a different relationship with the United States than Germany but nevertheless has its own reasons for continued support for Ukraine’s military effort.“Both are heavily invested in the Ukraine cause and in ensuring there is no Russian victory, which would be a major disaster for NATO and for the entire existing concept of European security that these countries share,” he explained. “Their control of their own domestic politics will be greatly compromised if they turn their back on the Ukraine propaganda narrative they have been promoting for the past two years,” Doctorow added. “With Europe wide parliamentary elections coming in June, they could be heavily punished at the ballot box.”

Along with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron has so thoroughly committed himself to the narrative of the conflict in the Donbass as an existential battle for Europe that he would have difficulty in suddenly backing away from his country’s support. Kasonta claimed that the emergence of hostilities with Ukraine has been bad for the continent as a whole because it prevents Russia from uniting with the rest of the continent and forming a truly counter-hegemonic force.“We will use you by putting you in trouble with your closest neighbor, which is Russia,” he said, summarizing the thinking of US policymakers. “We will put you in this situation that you will not be able to easily get out of the conflict because we have another fish to fry on the horizon. And this fish to fry on the horizon is the conflict with China.”

[..] “The international community and especially people in Western Europe formed their own opinion about what is happening,” he added. “They formed the opinion about their own governments. They felt betrayed by their governments for a long time before the conflict in Ukraine started. But I think that the conflict in Ukraine is the final nail in the coffin of the current neoliberal establishment in the West.” “As I’ve said, either way, the governments in the West have failed.”

Putin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747423612309553489

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How much longer does Duda have?

Poland’s Decision To Host German Troops Will Not Go Unanswered – Moscow (RT)

Warsaw’s announcement that it is prepared to invite German military units, in addition to already existing NATO forces in the country, demonstrates the West’s anti-russian agenda and desire to increase tensions in Europe and will not go unanswered, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. Her comments come after Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Szejn stated on Monday that Warsaw was willing to host German troops on its territory for the first time since World War II in order to further strengthen NATO’s eastern flank. It’s unclear if Germany has any actual plans for such deployments. During a press briefing on Wednesday, Zakharova recalled that there are currently about 10,000 US troops already stationed in Poland, as well as a multinational NATO combat tactical group which includes military personnel from the US, the UK, Romania and Croatia.

The spokeswoman pointed out that calls to deploy even more foreign forces to Poland were “not necessary if these countries are peace-oriented,” and can only be interpreted as a desire to further escalate tensions in Europe and prolong the collapse of pan-European security, which she said has been completely undermined by NATO. Zakharova also recalled that late last year, Germany had signed an agreement with Lithuania to increase the size of the Bundeswehr contingent in the Baltic republic to a brigade, and suggested that Polish leaders were trying not to “lag behind their neighbors in demonstrating loyalty to their older brothers from Berlin and Washington.”

“The increased activity and the strengthening of NATO’s military capabilities near the borders of Russia and the Union State of Russia and Belarus is provocative and is leading to the complete degradation of the European security architecture,” Zakharova said, stressing that “such steps will, of course, not be left without an appropriate response from the Russian side.” The spokeswoman also pondered how Poland intended to finance the potential deployment of German troops on its territory and whether it would seek compensation from Berlin, given the fact that Warsaw is already demanding $1.3 trillion in WW2 reparations from Germany. The reparations demands were put forward under the former PiS government which was ousted from power last month. Poland’s new government, led by former European Council President Donald Tusk, has stated that it will continue to seek these compensations from Berlin, but would work with Germany to find “a favorable and fair solution.”

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US coerces EU towards provoking Russia.

Brussels Starts ‘Screening’ Ukrainian Laws (RT)

Brussels has announced launching a “screening process and putting together the negotiating framework” as part of negotiations with Ukraine on its ambition to join the EU. Some member states previously said Kiev was years away from achieving its goal. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned the new phase during a Wednesday speech before the European Parliament. Von der Leyen mentioned the new phase during a speech before MEPs. She mused that when the formal accession process was launched last year, “hearts of millions of Ukrainians were filled with hope and joy” and claimed that Ukrainian lawmakers had made strides in adopting required reforms.

Earlier this week, von der Leyen met Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. His office said the screening of national legislation was discussed there and will move Ukraine towards full membership. The EU leadership resorted to unusual political maneuvering when it pushed the start of accession talks through the Council of Europe in December. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a vocal critic of Brussels’ approach to Kiev, left the meeting when the vote was cast. This allowed the EU requirement for unanimous approval to be technically met without him explicitly supporting the decision. Both Kiev and von der Leyen urged member states to ensure continued funding of the Ukrainian government with European taxpayers’ money. During the same session of the Council, Orban vetoed a Commission proposal to allocate €50 billion ($54 billion) over four years to support Kiev. Budapest wants any funding to be done on an annual basis pending review and be done outside of the joint EU budget.

EU leaders will discuss both issues during an extraordinary summit on February 1. Longterm “stable and substantial financing to Ukraine” is needed to “support the daily functioning of the state, to stabilize the economy, and to bring it closer to our Union,” the Commission head said in her address. Hungary is not alone in its skepticism about Ukraine’s candidacy. French President Emmanuel Macron, for instance, told domestic media that the EU was “very far” from accepting it as a new member, commenting on the outcome of the December summit. Meanwhile, the new government in Slovakia has sided with Hungary in its attitude towards Ukraine. Prime Minister Robert Fico called Budapest’s conditions for funding Kiev “rational and sensible” during a visit to Hungary on Tuesday.

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There seems to be a rat in here somewhere.

Judges Smack Down Jack Smith for Violating Trump’s Executive Privilege (PB)

Special Counsel Jack Smith has been excoriated by a panel of four appellate court judges for his unprecedented search of a former president’s private communications. The judges condemned Smith’s violation of executive privilege by searching former President Donald Trump’s Twitter files. “Holy sh*t: 4 judges on DC appellate court just delivered a scorching smack down of Special Counsel Jack Smith, Judge Beryl Howell, and Judge Florence Pan for search of Trump’s Twitter file,” reported Julie Kelly. “The Special Counsel’s approach obscured and bypassed any assertion of executive privilege and dodged the careful balance Congress struck in the Presidential Records Act,” she added while citing a user named @FamilyManAndrew.

The court document states: “This case turned on the First Amendment rights of a social media company, but looming in the background are consequential and novel questions about executive privilege and the balance of power between the President, Congress, and the courts.” “Seeking access to former President Donald Trump’s Twitter/X account, Special Counsel Jack Smith directed a search warrant at Twitter and obtained a nondisclosure order that prevented Twitter from informing President Trump about the search,” the judges added. “The Special Counsel’s approach obscured and dodged the careful balance Congress struck in the Presidential Records Act. The district court and this court permitted the arrangement without any consideration of the consequential executive privilege issues raised by this unprecedented search.”

“We should not have endorsed this gambit,” the judges added. “‘Any court completely in the dark as to what Presidential files contain is duty bound to respect the singularly unique role under Art. II of a President’s communications and activities’ by affording such communications a presumptive privilege,” the judges added, citing the legal precedent in United States v. Haldeman. Julie Kelly provided additional commentary on the case. “This by Judge Naomi Rao is a withering condemnation of Judge Howell (district court) and Judge Pan (*this court*) about their decisions to brazenly circumvent normal exec privilege litigation process to give Jack Smith what he demanded,” Kelly reported. “Rao continues her thrashing of former chief judge Howell—even noting Howell’s snarky comment to Twitter’s lawyer during sealed hearing as to why Twitter fought nondisclosure order,” she added. “Keep in mind, Howell and Smith also suggested Trump was a “flight risk” as reason to keep search warrant concealed from Trump.”

“And Florence Pan, who upheld Howell’s order, is the idiot who brought up ‘Seal Team Six’ hypothetical last week in appellate hearing on presidential immunity,” Kelly remarked. The Daily Mail, however, reported that the court nonetheless rejected Twitter’s appeal to have the case reheard, but the case is now free to move to the Supreme Court. “A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Special Counsel Jack Smith can have access to former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, as he investigates the former president for 2020 election interference,” the report noted. “The full U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., rejected a petition from Twitter to rehear the case after a three-judge panel ruled against the social media company in July,” it continued. The Daily Mail noted more gripes from the appellate court.

“Without a presumption for executive privilege, new questions will invariably arise, particularly because nothing in the panel’s opinion is limited to a former President,” the judges said. “What if, in the course of a criminal investigation, a special counsel sought a warrant for the incumbent President’s communications from a private email or phone provider? Under this court’s decision, executive privilege isn’t even on the table, so long as the special counsel makes a showing that a warrant and nondisclosure order are necessary to the prosecution,” they continued. “And following the Special Counsel’s roadmap, what would prevent a state prosecutor from using a search warrant and nondisclosure order to obtain presidential communications from a third-party messaging application?” the judges went on. “And how might Congress benefit from this precedent when it seeks to subpoena presidential materials from third parties in an investigation or impeachment inquiry?” Rao and the other judges asked.

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“..It’s not the government portraying Hunter as Tony Montana from “Scarface,” it’s Hunter himself. He’ll have a tough time changing that story now..”

A Gun Pouch Covered In Cocaine Shows Hunter’s Defense Is Ridiculous (Turley)

Hunter Biden’s counsel Abbe Lowell has faced a series of legal blows in his defense of Hunter Biden, but not quite as literal or lethal as what came this week in his client’s gun prosecution. After Lowell sought to dismiss the federal indictment as a trumped-up political prosecution, the Justice Department lowered the boom and revealed that Hunter’s gun was found in a pouch covered in cocaine. The disclosure is devastating for a defense that Lowell just rolled out late last year. In October, Lowell argued that Hunter had not lied on ATF Form 4473 that he was not an unlawful user of, or addicted to, narcotics. “At the time that he purchased this gun, I don’t think there’s evidence that that’s when he was suffering,” he said. It was a curious shift, since Hunter, the President, and the media have repeatedly used his addiction to forgive everything from corruption to influence peddling.

Hunter released a book that had laid the foundation of that defense and “Beautiful Things” was heralded by many in the press. Reviews gushed about “an astonishingly candid and brave book about loss, human frailty, wayward souls, and hard-fought redemption.” The image of a clear, redemptive soul is strikingly out of sync with a gun pouch that the officers who found it said was covered in coke. In the Special Counsel’s filing, the court was informed that “an FBI chemist subsequently analyzed the residue and determined that it was cocaine. To be clear, “investigators literally found drugs on the pouch where the defendant had kept his gun.” Hunter bought and possessed the Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver for 11 days between Oct. 12 and Oct. 23, 2018. That possession ended when his sister-in-law Hallie Biden was tossed into a dumpster in Wilmington, Delaware.

Hallie, the widow of Hunter’s deceased brother, had begun a sexual relationship with him and she apparently became concerned about what he might do with the gun. According to Hunter’s own memoir, that would make the window of sobriety a mere blink in time for a defense. The defense will likely challenge the admissibility of police testing due to the gun being tossed into the dumpster. Of course, Lowell can now argue that Wilmington dumpsters are so saturated with cocaine that any item would come out covered in coke. It is more likely that they will cite the break in the chain of custody as making the test unreliable and prejudicial.

What is clear is that the sobriety defense seems not so much risky as implausible. The government could argue that it should be able to use the testing as circumstantial evidence to rebut the claim or even impeach Hunter if he takes the stand (which seems unlikely). Hunter wrote about being a crack addict and alcoholic throughout this period, writing in his book that at some points he was “drinking a quart of vodka a day by yourself in a room is absolutely, completely debilitating” as was “smoking crack around the clock.” It’s not the government portraying Hunter as Tony Montana from “Scarface,” it’s Hunter himself. He’ll have a tough time changing that story now.

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Chevron Case: The 1984 Supreme Court ruled “that judges should defer to the reasonable interpretation of agencies in administering ambiguous federal laws.”

Dereliction of duty by 1984 SCOTUS. The results were easy to see comimg.

Supreme Court to Hear Potentially Historic Chevron Case (Turley)

Today, the Supreme Court will hear two of the most important cases of the term. At issue is the continued meaning (or even viability) of the Chevron doctrine, the 40-year-old doctrine granting deference to federal agencies in regulations carrying out federal laws. This massive doctrine, blamed for the dominance of the administrative state, could be brought down by the diminutive herring. The cases are Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce. In 1984, the Supreme Court ruled in Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council that judges should defer to the reasonable interpretation of agencies in administering ambiguous federal laws. That deference continued to grow in later years to the point that some of us have warned of the emergence of a type of fourth branch of government.

The court went even further in Arlington v. FCC in giving deference to agencies even in defining their own jurisdiction. In dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts warned: “It would be a bit much to describe the result as ‘the very definition of tyranny,’ but the danger posed by the growing power of the administrative state cannot be dismissed.” When I testified at the confirmation hearing of Neil Gorsuch, I noted that Chervon would likely be part of his legacy given his opposition to its use. Justice Gorsuch wrote in a 2022 dissent from denial of certiorari in Buffington v. McDonough that what he called “the aggressive reading of Chevron has more or less fallen into desuetude.” He added:

“At this late hour, the whole project deserves a tombstone no one can miss. We should acknowledge forthrightly that Chevron did not undo, and could not have undone, the judicial duty to provide an independent judgment of the law’s meaning in the cases that come before the Nation’s courts.” The cases today concern federal requirements that commercial fishermen pay for at-sea monitors. Herring fishermen in New Jersey and Rhode Island are challenging the law in a case with a long list of amicus filings on both sides from groups, politicians, and businesses. The fishermen say that the monitors could put them out of business, costing up to 20 percent of their annual revenues in a business that is already marginal for profits. They argue that the government wants monitors (which they do not necessarily oppose) but lacked the funds.

The decision was made to shift the costs to the fishermen and then citing Chevron to curtail judicial review. One of the lead counsel is my friend and former colleague Columbia professor Philip Hamburger, a brilliant academic who believes that the doctrine has fundamentally distorted our tripartite constitutional system. In both lower court cases, Chevron carried the day for the agency. In addition to the New Jersey case, the court added the second, nearly identical one from Rhode Island to its calendar — presumably because Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was recused in the New Jersey matter after serving on the appeals court panel that initially reviewed it before her elevation to the Supreme Court.

Chevron
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747645275605172307

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A big task: “130 countries – representing over 98% of global gross domestic product – are exploring or developing CBDCs..”

Trump Vows To “Never Allow” A Central Bank Digital Currency (ZH)

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday vowed to never allow the use of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), as it would “give the government absolute control over your money.” “This would be a dangerous threat to freedom – and I will stop it from coming to America. We are also going to put in place strong protections to stop banks and regulators from trying to de-bank you for your political beliefs. That will never happen while I am your president,” Trump told a crowd in Portsmouth, New Hampshire – as first reported by The National Pulse. Trump’s comments come hours after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) revealed that federal agencies have been flagging financial transactions using politically sensitive words such as “MAGA” and “Trump” in yet another egregious example of the establishment targeting political rivals.

As we’ve reported for years, CBDCs – touted by globalists such as French Central Bank deputy governor Denis Beau as “the catalyst for improving cross-border payments by enabling the build-up of a new international monetary system” – are in fact the ultimate tools of oppression. Even Fed Governors know ‘this way lies danger’: “In thinking about the implications of CBDC and privacy, we must also consider the central role that money plays in our daily lives, and the risk that a CBDC would provide not only a window into, but potentially an impediment to, the freedom Americans enjoy in choosing how money and resources are used and invested,” Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman told a Harvard Law School Program on International Financial Systems last year.

Central bank digital currencies are part of a broader “war on cash.” A cashless society is sold on the promise of providing a safe, convenient, and more secure alternative to physical cash. We’re also told it will help stop dangerous criminals who like the intractability of cash. But there is a darker side – the promise of control.The elimination of cash creates the potential for the government to track and control consumer spending. Digital economies would also make it even easier for central banks to engage in manipulative monetary policies such as negative interest rates. But they seem to be an inevitability, as according to data from the Atlantic Council CBDC Tracker, 130 countries – representing over 98% of global gross domestic product – are exploring or developing CBDCs, marking an outsized increase from just a few years ago.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

GVB Vaccines will be banned from medicine
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747421038860808465

 

 

Milei
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747635083521998960

 

 

Balloon

 

 

 

 

Best friends
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747733727076347993

 

 

Bald eagle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1747562077831512236

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 052024
 


Georgia O’Keeffe New York night 1929

 

Democrats Are Moving To Bar Republicans From Ballots Nationwide (Turley)
Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Ballot Disqualification Case ‘With Prejudice’ (ET)
Trump Attorneys Ask Judge To Hold Special Counsel In Contempt (JTN)
Dems: Trump Firms Earned Millions in Foreign Payments During Presidency (Sp.)
Pressure In Congress To Determine If Bidens Got Defensive Intel Briefing (JTN)
Israel Partially Withdraws From Gaza After ‘Listening’ To US – Politico (RT)
Israel’s Gaza Withdrawal, a Prelude To Full-Out War (Cradle)
US Reportedly Preparing for Gaza War to Broaden Into Regional Conflict (Sp.)
Only 15% of Israelis Want Netanyahu to Remain in Power After Gaza War (Antiwar)
A Letter to My Son on His First Birthday in Gaza (Hajjaj)
Another Biden Official Resigns Over Israel Policy (RT)
Pentagon ‘Out Of Money’ For Ukraine (RT)
The Day the Dollar Dies? (Collins)
Epstein Document Dump Is ‘Coverup’ – Cernovich (RT)
Julian Assange’s Trojan Wars With Mike Pompeo & Hillary Clinton (Hayes)

 

 

 

 

RFK Ukraine

 

 

 

 

Epstein Mar-a-Lago

 

 

Dershowitz

 

 

 

 

“..Former congressional candidate Gene Stilp, who’s made headlines by burning MAGA flags with swastikas outside courthouses, filed the challenge.”

Democrats Are Moving To Bar Republicans From Ballots Nationwide (Turley)

As the decisions disqualifying former President Donald Trump from the 2024 election work their way through the courts, a new filing in Pennsylvania seeks the same “ballot cleansing” by barring Republican Rep. Scott Perry. It’s only the latest effort targeting congressional candidates as Democrats seek to bar opponents as “insurrectionists” for questioning the election of President Biden. We have become a nation of Madame Defarges — eagerly knitting names of those to be subject to arbitrary justice. Former congressional candidate Gene Stilp, who’s made headlines by burning MAGA flags with swastikas outside courthouses, filed the challenge. Using the 14th Amendment to disqualify candidates like Perry is consistent with Stilp’s signature flag-burning stunts.

But what’s chilling is how many support such efforts, including Democratic officeholders from Maine’s secretary of state to dozens of members of Congress. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) sought to bar 126 members of Congress under the same theory for challenging the election before Jan. 6, 2021. Similar legislation from Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) to disqualify members got 63 co-sponsors, all Democrats, including New York Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman and Ritchie Torres and “Squad” members Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. When Maine’s secretary of state disqualified Trump, three in the state’s congressional delegation — Sens. Angus King (I) and Susan Collins (R) and Rep. Jared Golden (D) — condemned the decision. But others supported the antidemocratic action.

The grounds were virtually identical to those of Stilp. He accuses Perry of supporting challenges to Biden’s election and opposing its certification. Of course, he ignores Democratic members who sought to block certification of Republican presidents under the very same law with no factual or legal basis. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) praised the effort then-Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) organized to challenge the certification of President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election. Jan. 6 committee head Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) voted to challenge it in the House. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) sought to block certification of the 2016 election result — particularly ironic since he’s a leading voice calling for Trump to be disqualified.

He insisted last week on CNN that the effort to prevent citizens from voting for Trump is the very embodiment of democracy: “If you think about it, of all of the forms of disqualification that we have, the one that disqualifies people for engaging in insurrection is the most democratic because it’s the one where people choose themselves to be disqualified.”

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“..a Soros-funded, left-wing group’s scheme to interfere in an election on behalf of Crooked Joe Biden by removing President Trump’s name from the ballot and eliminating the rights of Colorado voters to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Ballot Disqualification Case ‘With Prejudice’ (ET)

A federal judge in California dismissed a lawsuit that sought to keep former President Donald Trump off the Republican primary ballot. On Wednesday, District Judge David Carter granted a motion to dismiss the lawsuit “with prejudice,” which means that it can’t be submitted to the same court again, according to court papers. A plaintiff attempted to argue that they suffered “emotional injury” due to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and watched the events unfold on television, on the radio, and in various publications. They then argued that the incident caused them “severe emotional distress” and then filed a lawsuit to keep the former president from California’s ballots. But the judge wrote that because the events occurred “more than two years before the plaintiff” filed suit, it was outside of the two-year statute of limitations.

The decision by Judge Carter, a Clinton-appointed jurist who has ruled against President Trump in a separate case, was posted online by former Republican National Committee for California chairwoman Harmeet Dhillon. “The remnants of the last California case to keep President Trump off the ballot here were dismissed today by Judge David O. Carter!!” she wrote on X on Wednesday. In recent days and weeks, there have been a number of lawsuits filed in different states to try and bar President Trump from appearing on the ballot ahead of the 2024 election. Those suits have claimed that the former president engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the United States under an interpretation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment’s Section 3, which was written in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War.

At least two of those challenges have seen some success in Maine and Colorado, although there has been widespread speculation that higher courts or even the U.S. Supreme Court would strike those rulings down. Days before Christmas, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled to keep the former president off the primary ballot in the state, which was promptly appealed to the Supreme Court. Last week, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, unilaterally decided to keep President Trump off the ballot, which was similarly appealed. Ahead of the Supreme Court appeal, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said that “unsurprisingly, the all-Democrat appointed Colorado Supreme Court has ruled against President Trump, supporting a Soros-funded, left-wing group’s scheme to interfere in an election on behalf of Crooked Joe Biden by removing President Trump’s name from the ballot and eliminating the rights of Colorado voters to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

Legal analysts have suggested that the U.S. Supreme Court would take up those two cases and likely would rule against the plaintiffs at least on procedural grounds. However, it’s not clear whether the court will take up the more thorny questions presented under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. “It seems a certainty that SCOTUS will have to address the merits sooner or later,” Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, wrote on his website last month, referring to the Supreme Court.

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“The prosecutors repeatedly engaged in that exact conduct, disobeying the Stay Order at least three times in just two weeks …”

Trump Attorneys Ask Judge To Hold Special Counsel In Contempt (JTN)

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team want U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to hold special counsel Jack Smith in contempt of court for pursuing activities related to his election case despite Chutkan pausing proceedings pending Trump’s legal appeals. Chutkan, in mid-December paused the case after Trump petitioned the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to decide on his claims to enjoy presidential immunity, which Chutkan herself rejected. Smith, for his part, asked the Supreme Court to step in, but it declined to do so. Despite the pause, Smith has remained active and requested that Chutkan not permit Trump to admit evidence related to security failures at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, or selective prosecution.

Chutkan’s order “stays any further proceedings that would move this case towards trial or impose additional burdens of litigation on Defendant,” the Hill reported. Trump’s attorneys, for their part, contend that Smith’s team has clearly violated that directive. “The prosecutors repeatedly engaged in that exact conduct, disobeying the Stay Order at least three times in just two weeks … The prosecutors have no justification for their misconduct,” they asserted. Trump faces four counts in the case, including conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of, and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. He pleaded not guilty last year.

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“Former President Trump has legitimate businesses, but the Bidens do not,” Comer argued..”

They simply don’t know how to deal with business succcess. In DC, success means a $300,000 salary that magically turns into a $10 million fortune.

Dems: Trump Firms Earned Millions in Foreign Payments During Presidency (Sp.)

Former US President Donald Trump’s companies received millions of dollars from foreign governments and companies while serving in the White House, new documents released by House Democrats have revealed. The transactions were detailed in a report titled “White House For Sale” released on Thursday. It details millions in transactions received by Trump-owned companies, including from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates among other nations. The biggest spender was China, which spent $5.5 million in total on business connected to Trump, including from China’s Embassy in the US, a state-owned bank and Hainan Airlines Holding Company. Saudi Arabia placed second, spending more than $615,000 at Trump-owned hotels.

There were no payments in the report from Russian entities, despite the long running Democrat conspiracy known as “Russiagate” that Trump conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. As the report notes, while Trump handed over the day-to-day operations of his companies to his sons, he declined to divest his assets, as is typical for presidents before entering office. The report claims Trump maintained personal ownership and control of the companies, including the ability to draw on funds without outside oversight. The report seemingly reflects accusations that Republicans have made against President Joe Biden and his family. Last month, House Republicans opened an informal impeachment inquiry into Biden, focusing on foreign business deals made by the president’s family members.

Responding to the report, US Rep. James Comer (R-KY) argued the situations are not comparable. “Former President Trump has legitimate businesses, but the Bidens do not,” Comer argued, adding that in contrast to Trump, who owns several properties and businesses, the Bidens were simply “cashing in on the Biden name.” “No goods or services were provided other than access to Joe Biden and the Biden network,” he said. The son of the former president, Eric Trump, argued that his father’s hawkish stance on China while in office proves he was not compromised. “That narrative is insane, there is no president in United States history who was tougher on China than Donald Trump,” he said, noting that the Chinese embassy had signed a 20-year lease in Trump Tower in 2008, long before the elder Trump entered office.

The report, however, argues that while some payments were coming in, those same countries were lobbying the Trump administration for certain policies. “These payments were made while these governments were promoting specific foreign policy goals with the Trump administration and even, at times, with President Trump himself, and as they were requesting specific actions from the United States to advance their own national policy objectives,” the report reads. It also points to comments Trump made during a campaign rally in 2015, bragging about his relationship with Saudi Arabia. “Saudi Arabia, I get along great with all of them,” he said, according to the report. “They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much!”

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“..If the Bidens didn’t get defensive briefings, it could raise fresh questions about the U.S. intelligence community’s capabilities and the selective nature of its use of defense briefings..”

Pressure In Congress To Determine If Bidens Got Defensive Intel Briefing (JTN)

The FBI conducted FISA surveillance on one of Hunter Biden’s Chinese business partners while other federal prosecutors secured evidence that a second Chinese associate of the first family was present when foreign bribery payments were made. And a major bank reported to the U.S. Treasury Department that in 2017 a $5 million loan the Bidens got from a Chinese energy company smacked of a Beijing influence operation targeting Joe Biden before he was president. bA fast-growing body of evidence from bank transactions to court transcripts is putting pressure on Congress to resolve an important question: Did Joe Biden or any of his family members get a defensive briefing from U.S. intelligence that some of their foreign business partners had unsavory ties or were engaged in criminal behavior?

The answer could have a profound effect on the direction of the nascent House impeachment inquiry. If lawmakers confirm that the president got one or more defensive briefings, it could add an element of intentionality and motive since his family would have proceeded with deals and partners despite warning signs delivered from the U.S. government. If the Bidens didn’t get defensive briefings, it could raise fresh questions about the U.S. intelligence community’s capabilities and the selective nature of its use of defense briefings. Just the News confirmed Hillary Clinton got at least one such defensive briefing about one of her family or political associations while Donald Trump did not when allegations of Russia collusion – long since debunked – first surfaced in 2016. Instead, Trump and his associates were targeted for criminal investigation.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the fiery Republican from Georgia, was the latest Wednesday to add her name to those pushing Congress to determine once and for all whether Joe Biden or his family got warnings from the FBI, the CIA, or other intelligence agencies. Those warnings, if they happened, would have come as the first family did business with a Ukrainian oligarch deemed corrupt by the State Department, a Romanian oligarch dealing with corruption allegations in his own country and the energy firm CEFC China Energy that was implicated in a foreign bribery scheme that resulted in a federal conviction of Patrick Ho, one of Hunter Biden’s associates and law clients.

[..] “Joe Biden’s intersections with his son’s overseas business occurred within three different realities, first as Vice President, second as a private citizen, and third as President. Each reality will determine the advisability of the type or necessity of a defensive briefing,” Brock said. “Hunter Biden didn’t consult with Canada or New Zealand. He picked money gushers in China and Russia and Ukraine,” Brock added. “Countries with hostile intelligence services that would jump at the chance to engage with an offspring of a U.S. VP. What do you think we would do if a son of Putin or Xi came here to consult with Exxon or Apple? Joe Biden was briefed, alright. But his track record suggests his own interests came first no matter the briefing.”

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“What we’re seeing is the beginning of a transition,” one official said, while another added that Washington was “pleased to see the shift” but wished it had happened much sooner..”

Israel Partially Withdraws From Gaza After ‘Listening’ To US – Politico (RT)

Israel’s withdrawal of troops from Gaza indicates that it is “listening” to Washington, which has long urged West Jerusalem to shift to low-intensity military operations, Politico reported Wednesday. It comes after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced last weekend that it would withdraw five brigades from combat in Gaza, comprising thousands of soldiers. The IDF’s decision to reduce its troop presence in the Palestinian enclave is seen as “a signal that Israel is beginning to finally shift away from large-scale bombing and more toward targeted, surgical strikes on senior Hamas leaders,” as Washington has repeatedly urged, amid a rising civilian death toll among Gazans, Politico reported, citing unnamed US officials.

“What we’re seeing is the beginning of a transition,” one official said, while another added that Washington was “pleased to see the shift” but wished it had happened much sooner, according to the outlet. The killing of Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri by a drone attack in a suburb of Beirut on Tuesday could be “another sign Israel is ready to shift to more surgical operations,” Politico’s source said. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati called the killing of Arouri “a new Israeli crime aimed at inevitably dragging Lebanon into a new phase of confrontation.” In response, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mark Regev, said that “whoever did this strike was very surgical and went for a Hamas target because Israel is at war,” without confirming or denying the IDF’s involvement.

In mid-December, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan recalled that Washington has repeatedly urged Israel to shift its high-tempo military operation in Gaza to a “lower-intensity, surgical, focused, targeted campaign.” He added that once this phase is activated, there will be no sanctuary for Hamas leaders, as Israel has the right to go after those who planned and executed the October 7 attacks. The Palestinian military group attacked Israel from Gaza on that date in 2023, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 hostages, according to Israeli estimates. In response, West Jerusalem declared war and launched an air and ground offensive in Gaza to root out Hamas, resulting in more than 22,000 casualties among the enclave’s residents, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

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“..reducing the pace of the war in the Gaza Strip increases the possibilities of an Israeli war on Lebanon..”

Israel’s Gaza Withdrawal, a Prelude To Full-Out War (Cradle)

At the start of the new year, Israel’s occupation army began implementing the withdrawal of a large portion of its forces from the northern Gaza Strip. This withdrawal did not mean the end of the war on Gaza, and it certainly did not suggest calm on the Lebanese-Israeli front. On the contrary, reducing the pace of the war in the Gaza Strip increases the possibilities of an Israeli war on Lebanon. The battles taking place between the occupation army and Hezbollah along the southern Lebanese border since 8 October, in support of the resistance in Gaza, have been increasing in intensity day after day. Washington and Tel Aviv have sought to maximize pressure on Hezbollah by warning of the possibility of a large-scale war between Israeli forces and the Lebanese resistance.

These tactics were in effect long before the assassination of Hamas’ Deputy Head of the Political Bureau Saleh Al-Arouri on 2 January by an Israeli air strike in Dahiyeh, the southern suburb of Beirut. The killing of Al-Arouri now increases the chance of the war expanding. The first stage of Tel Aviv’s war was the mass destruction and occupation of northern Gaza; the second stage is the occupation of key points in the south of the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian civilians have flocked for safety. The current troop withdrawal from the territory’s north means that the Israelis are cementing their southern plans and preparing to move on to phase three: the long, low-intensity war. As it enters the third stage, the occupation army intends to maintain a geographical buffer surrounding the northern Gaza Strip. It also plans to continue occupying the Gaza Valley area (central Gaza), while completing its operations in Khan Yunis in the south.

The fate of the Philadelphia axis – or Salah ad-Din Axis – a strip of land on the border between Gaza and Egypt which Israel wants to control, will be left to deliberations between Tel Aviv and Cairo. This is to ensure that incidents do not occur that lead to tension between the two parties, as well as to guarantee that refugees do not flow from the south of the Gaza Strip towards Sinai. Israel’s ground withdrawal from northern Gaza is taking place primarily because the occupation army’s target bank has been depleted. All targets prior to the start of the war have been destroyed, and all new operational targets have been bombed. Despite this, the Palestinian resistance continues to carry out operations against Israeli forces. These organizations remain relatively unscathed in the entire area of the northern Gaza Strip, which will increase the ability of the resistance to inflict losses on occupation ranks, now and in the future.

This clear Israeli loss – in terms of Tel Aviv’s stated war objectives – has been made evident by two basic factors: First, that the occupation army cannot ‘cleanse’ the northern Gaza Strip house by house or tunnel by tunnel, because this process will take years, expose more of its soldiers to danger, and cannot be implemented without further displacing the entire population of northern Gaza or massacring them. It should be noted, despite Israeli attempts to portray matters otherwise, that hundreds of thousands of civilians are still present in the north. Second, the Israeli government needs to gradually re-inject reserve soldiers into the country’s economy to jump-start it, and to ensure that the productive sectors are not exposed to damage from which recovery will take a long time. This, despite the fact that the US and much of Europe appear ready to assist Israel’s economy, if necessary.

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“..The insiders warned that the scenario of a wider conflict in the Middle East is “perilous” for Biden’s “reelection chances.”

US Reportedly Preparing for Gaza War to Broaden Into Regional Conflict (Sp.)

Citing sources familiar with the matter, US media reported on Thursday that US officials are concerned that the risk of the Gaza conflict escalating into a regional conflict is growing. The United States through back channels urged Iran for months to persuade its so-called “proxy forces” to scale back attacks on US forces in the Middle East, but so far no shift in the level of violence is evident, the report said. US intelligence officials are reportedly looking into ways to deter attacks by proxy militants against US forces in Iraq and Syria. The United States is also putting together plans to potentially strike Houthi targets in Yemen if the group’s attacks against commercial vessels near the Red Sea continue, according to the report.

The sources also claimed that a possible escalation could lead to President Joe Biden becoming more deeply involved in the Middle East as his 2024 election campaign is seeking to focus on domestic issues. The insiders warned that the scenario of a wider conflict in the Middle East is “perilous” for Biden’s “reelection chances.” Iran has sternly rejected accusations from Western countries over Tehran’s alleged involvement in the Houthi attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea. In addition, Iran emphasized that resistance groups in the Middle East, such as the Houthis, do not receive any instructions from Iran.

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“Despite the little support for Netanyahu, the respondents favor the slaughter he is overseeing in Gaza.”

Only 15% of Israelis Want Netanyahu to Remain in Power After Gaza War (Antiwar)

Only 15% of Israelis think Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu should remain in office once the Israeli campaign in Gaza is over, according to a new poll published Tuesday by the Israel Democracy Institute. Former Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, a member of Netanyahu’s war cabinet, received more support, with 23% of respondents saying he should take the position after the war, while 30% did not name their preferred leader. Despite the little support for Netanyahu, the respondents favor the slaughter he is overseeing in Gaza. The poll found that 56% of respondents believed continuing the military offensive was the best way to recover the hostages, while 24% thought a swap deal that would involve releasing thousands of more Palestinian prisoners would be a better option.

Other polls since October 7 have shown that the majority of Israelis want Netanyahu to step down after the war, giving him the incentive to continue to onslaught for as long as possible and take action to provoke a wider regional war that could draw in the US directly. Netanyahu is facing a political reckoning due to the massive Israeli intelligence failure that allowed the October 7 attack to happen and for his previous strategy of helping prop up Hamas to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. Despite the little support for Netanyahu, the respondents favor the slaughter he is overseeing in Gaza.

The poll found that 56% of respondents believed continuing the military offensive was the best way to recover the hostages, while 24% thought a swap deal that would involve releasing thousands of more Palestinian prisoners would be a better option. Other polls since October 7 have shown that the majority of Israelis want Netanyahu to step down after the war, giving him the incentive to continue to onslaught for as long as possible and take action to provoke a wider regional war that could draw in the US directly. Netanyahu is facing a political reckoning due to the massive Israeli intelligence failure that allowed the October 7 attack to happen and for his previous strategy of helping prop up Hamas to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state.

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“..you’ll never be able to have the memories I wanted for you. Those have been buried beneath the rubble, too.”

A Letter to My Son on His First Birthday in Gaza (Hajjaj)

No matter what, my child, we were going to celebrate your first birthday. Ever since you were born, Qais, I have felt a strong sense of purpose in life to push myself as a father. I have long prepared for this stage in my life, eager to provide you with a good upbringing that I can later look back on with pride. Ever since you were born, your mother would make you little birthdays to mark every new month that you’ve brightened our lives. I would join in on these little parties, but privately, I have been waiting for your first birthday to plan for something big. I was going to invite the entire extended family, especially your aunts and uncles and cousins. We would gather in our spacious home overlooking our planted garden from every direction, except for the street, which boasted a beautiful palm tree heavy with dates, across the street from the same neighbors I’ve known since I was born in al-Shuja’iyya, in the eastern part of Gaza City.

The last time we laid eyes on our home was through a phone screen. We looked at photos of what remained of the house after we evacuated it a month earlier — before the ground invasion. The entire house, and many other houses near it, had been reduced to rubble. We left our beautiful home and stayed at your grandfather’s in the Zeiytoun neighborhood, also in Gaza City. We didn’t take many things with us; we didn’t know our time away would be so long. Even now, we don’t know when we’ll be able to return, or whether we’ll be able to return at all. We know that even if we are allowed, there’s nothing to go back to. When the house was destroyed, so were our hopes of having your first birthday in that little world we had made for you. But don’t worry little one. We will have a new house one day, wide and spacious and surrounded by trees and a vegetable garden.

Right now, all we have to do is wait and join our hopes with yours for all the good things that can happen to us — to see the end of the war, to live a normal life where your access to food isn’t conditional upon your suffering, and to be able to see and hear what a child on their first birthday are supposed to see and hear. In the middle of a narrow alleyway in the Yibna refugee camp in Rafah — the latest stop in our story of displacement — one of our neighbors works the entire day making bread for displaced people. Those of us in the camp don’t have access to ovens, so we bring her flour to make us bread, and she only takes a modest, almost symbolic price for her labor. Right beside her, there is a large crater that stands as a testament to the destruction already wrought on the neighborhood. All around us, the houses that are still left standing have been deserted and the charred remains of abandoned cars line the side of the nearby road. The windows of all the houses around us have been shattered, the doors to the homes ripped from their hinges. People in the street farther down the road try to buy and sell everything and anything.

Qais, you saw all of this. These are things I wish you would never have had to see, especially not in your first year of life. In our house in Gaza City, birds would be in the window beside your crib. There was a wall where we hung all your pictures, and I left a special spot in the center where I wanted to hang a picture of your first birthday party. I wanted to be able to stroll the streets of Gaza City and visit the best toy stores to buy you the best, most expensive, most beneficial toys — maybe something that can teach you a new skill, different from the behaviors you’ve picked up as a displaced refugee, mimicking how the grown-ups around you stoked a fire as you grabbed a piece of plastic and started blowing on it. But you’ll never be able to have the memories I wanted for you. Those have been buried beneath the rubble, too. We are now in Rafah, in a house not our own, unable to find a cake, or sweets, or anything else you would normally find at a birthday party.

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“..short-sighted, destructive, unjust and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse..”

Another Biden Official Resigns Over Israel Policy (RT)

A senior official at the US Department of Education has resigned in protest at President Joe Biden’s support for Israel, saying the administration has turned a blind eye to “atrocities” against Palestinians since the start of the war in Gaza. Policy adviser Tariq Habash, a Palestinian-American, left his position on Wednesday, explaining in a resignation letter that he could not continue to “represent an administration that does not value all human life equally.” “The actions of the Biden-Harris Administration have put millions of innocent lives in danger, most immediately for the 2.3 million Palestinian civilians living in Gaza who remain under continuous assault and ethnic cleansing by the Israeli government. Therefore, I must resign,” Habash wrote.

“I cannot stay silent as this administration turns a blind eye to the atrocities committed against innocent Palestinian lives, in what leading human rights experts have called a genocidal campaign by the Israeli government.” Biden has voiced strong support for Israel’s retaliation to a Hamas terrorist attack in October, which claimed some 1,200 lives and saw more than 240 people taken hostage by Palestinian militants. However, the two-month operation has left much of Gaza in ruins, killing more than 22,000 people and injuring thousands more, according to local health officials. Despite repeated warnings of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza by international rights groups, along with the United Nations, Washington has offered little public criticism of the Israeli campaign, and continued to pledge military support.

Other senior officials have voiced similar concerns, with 11-year State Department veteran Josh Paul – the longtime director of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs – also resigning in October over the US’ “blind support” for Israel. “I cannot work in support of a set of major policy decisions, including rushing more arms to one side of the conflict, that I believe to be short-sighted, destructive, unjust and contradictory to the very values that we publicly espouse,” Paul wrote in a statement explaining his resignation. Biden visited Israel on the day Paul tendered his resignation, pledging to ask Congress to allocate additional aid to meet the ally’s military needs. Though he has made good on that promise, lawmakers remain deadlocked over a new aid package, with Republicans in the House demanding sweeping border reforms before approving additional assistance for both Ukraine and Israel.

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“..while the Pentagon is authorized to spend another $4.2 billion on weapons for Ukraine, the actual funds are not available and must be set aside by Congres..”

Pentagon ‘Out Of Money’ For Ukraine (RT)

The US government has exhausted its funds for military assistance to Ukraine, Pentagon spokesman Major General Patrick Ryder has said, noting that Washington is simply “out of money” unless lawmakers pass a new aid package. Speaking to reporters at a Thursday briefing, Ryder explained that while the Pentagon is authorized to spend another $4.2 billion on weapons for Ukraine, the actual funds are not available and must be set aside by Congress. “We have the authority to spend that [$4.2 billion] from available funds but wouldn’t have the ability to replenish the stocks by taking money out – or taking stuff out of our inventory,” the spokesman said, adding “We’re out of money.”

The admission came after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that his country had no “plan B” without American military aid, reiterating demands for new combat drones, long-range missiles and air defense capabilities, among other gear. Kuleba also noted growing political divisions regarding Ukraine within the United States, as a vocal group of Republican critics have blocked the passage of additional aid funds while demanding sweeping immigration reforms. Though the party backed dozens of separate aid packages following the escalation of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, some GOP members have soured on the American largesse in recent months, creating a widening partisan divide on the issue.

While President Joe Biden has urged lawmakers to pass a massive aid package including some $61 billion for Kiev, Congress has remained deadlocked for weeks amid Republican opposition, though independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema has said lawmakers are “closing in” on a deal. Nonetheless, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Thursday to expect decreases in US aid in the future, voicing hopes to eventually help Ukraine “build its own military industrial base so it can both finance and build and acquire munitions on its own.” The United States has authorized nearly $45 billion in direct military assistance to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia escalated in early 2022, in addition to other indirect military aid and financial and humanitarian assistance. Moscow has repeatedly condemned Western arms shipments to Kiev, arguing they would only prolong the fighting and do little to deter its military aims.

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“..The world has growing concerns about the stability of the United States and our ability to meet our debt obligations.”

The Day the Dollar Dies? (Collins)

In 1974, when Secretary Simon arranged his deal with the Saudis to avoid a “dollar crisis,” our national debt was roughly 32 percent of GDP. We were winding down our decades-long involvement in Vietnam and Southeast Asia and had secured a detente with Cold War adversaries China and the Soviet Union. Today, the United States is over $34 trillion in debt, around 120 percent of our GDP—more than it was even during World War II. A bit over $7 trillion of that—the value of the entire U.S. annual budget—is held by foreigners. We are on our way to $1 trillion a year in debt service, more than our defense budget. And the $10 your grandmother stuck in your birthday card that was lost in the commotion of your birthday party in 1971 would, if found today, be worth $1.20. And in the world, the United States is engaged in escalating conflicts with two powerful, nuclear-armed, adversaries, China and Russia, as well as the war Iran’s terrorist proxy, Hamas, is waging on our ally, Israel.

• Citing three current and former U.S. officials, NBC News reported that China’s leader Xi Jinping boldly told the U.S. president that he intends to acquire Taiwan, a vital interest of the United States. Not only do we (and the rest of the world) get most of our chips from Taiwan, but 50 percent of the world’s maritime container traffic passes through the Taiwan Strait. • The Ukraine-Russia war continues and has escalated in the last few days with no end in sight. In a conflict where U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has pledged American prestige by asserting in October that we will “deliver what it takes, for as long as it takes, so that Ukraine can live in freedom.” But just last month, President Biden seemingly walked back his commitment by saying the United States will back Ukraine “as long as we can.” • U.S. Navy forces deployed to the Red Sea to protect shipping and deter Iranian belligerence against Israel were attacked by Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen. Scores of U.S. armed services members have been injured in Iraq and Syria in similar attacks.

Within our own borders, violent protests that went unchecked after the death of George Floyd, the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, and the Marxist-inspired pro-Hamas protests have rattled the sense of American stability among foreigners more than at any time since the Vietnam War. Given all that, it should not be a surprise that other countries are moving to de-dollarize their holdings. The world has growing concerns about the stability of the United States and our ability to meet our debt obligations. The Saudis, whom we have relied upon for 50 years to help maintain demand for the U.S. dollar as the world’s global reserve currency, had announced that they are joining the BRICS, the international coalition of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa. Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates joined the same day.

Were that not enough, now the Biden administration is contemplating a policy that cannot help but exacerbate de-dollarization. According to the Financial Times, the United States and the G-7 “are actively exploring ways to seize Russian central bank assets” in their countries to fund Ukraine because political opposition to continuing Ukraine support in the United States and Europe threaten the flow of money that has kept Ukraine afloat. The paper reported it had seen a document written by the United States that said, under international law, “G7 members and other specially affected states could seize Russian sovereign assets as a countermeasure to induce Russia to end its aggression.”

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“.. they chose to wait until just days before the “previously sealed records involving Jeff Epstein” were set to become public. These records contained the names of numerous influential figures..”

Epstein Document Dump Is ‘Coverup’ – Cernovich (RT)

A much-hyped trove of nearly 1,000 newly-unsealed pages of court documents from a 2015 defamation case filed by a victim of infamous pedophile Jeffrey Epstein contains “no revelations,” conservative commentator Mike Cernovich claimed on Wednesday in a post on X (formerly Twitter). Cernovich, working with Epstein defense attorney and accused sex trafficking participant Alan Dershowitz, sued to have Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s defamation lawsuit unsealed in 2017 and has previously claimed credit for the predator’s 2019 arrest. In his post, he claimed the Southern District of New York (SDNY) had arrested Epstein in 2019 the weekend before the documents were first set to be unsealed as a result of his lawsuit, so as to prevent any of Epstein’s powerful friends, soon to be exposed in the documents, from being criminally charged.

To bolster his argument, he highlighted that the SDNY had the option to bring charges against Epstein, relating to the alleged payment for sex with minors between 2002 and 2005, at any point from 2002 onward. However, they chose to wait until just days before the “previously sealed records involving Jeff Epstein” were set to become public. These records contained the names of numerous influential figures to whom Epstein had allegedly trafficked underage girls. “The indictment against Epstein does not charge anyone except Epstein, and there’s nothing to indicate that anyone who flew to Epstein’s private island has faced scrutiny,” Cernovich continued, arguing that “SDNY charged the lowest level offenses possible” so that they would be legally unable to raid that island – or even the pedophile’s New Mexico ranch – for weeks, allowing evidence to vanish. At least one safe, said to be in FBI custody, has never been seen again.

Meanwhile, Epstein himself died – allegedly by his own hand – shortly after his arrest while still in pretrial detention, the charges against him never having been aired inside a courtroom. Acknowledging that “we’ll never know for certain” what was in the vanished safe, Cernovich insisted “we do know that the FBI has Jeffrey Epstein’s blackmail files” and that “very powerful forces have made sure we will never see it.” Authorities raiding Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse in 2019 found and photographed boxes of hard drives, videos, binders full of burned CDs, and other media, all individually labeled by Epstein. However, it was never entered into evidence because the FBI did not initially have a warrant to remove it, according to a special agent who testified at Maxwell’s trial. When they returned with a warrant, the evidence was supposedly gone. Epstein’s properties were well-equipped with surveillance equipment, according to several witnesses, and his victims have claimed he would pump them for blackmail material on the powerful men he trafficked them to for sex.

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“..Achilles personifies America, determined to destroy Assange, like Hector before him, in mind, and desecrate him in body as well..”

Julian Assange’s Trojan Wars With Mike Pompeo & Hillary Clinton (Hayes)

Lawyers for British political prisoner Julian Assange are set to make their final appeal against his extradition to the United States in late February. In an ideal world, he would never have been imprisoned but would have instead garnered many more awards in excess to those he has already received, trinkets for his children to play with as he dispensed words of wisdom to younger generations of starry-eyed idealists, who would hope to emulate him. Penelope, his wife, meanwhile, would have gotten on with her humdrum life as a wife, as a mother, and as a hot shot human rights’ lawyer in her own right. I call Stella Moris, Julian’s wife, Penelope as that was the name of the wife of Odysseus, who waited faithfully for a staggering twenty years for him to return from the Siege of Troy.

And even though Odysseus famously had to put up with all kinds of travails as he battled his way back to her, Penelope was not spared the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as she had to contend with all kinds of lesser beings trying to fill Odysseus’ sandals for their own base reasons. And, though there are those echoes of the Odyssey in the Assanges’ plight, the Iliad seems a much better framework to gauge this epic battle between all that is good and that which is evil. If, for example, Assange is Hector, defending the honour of Troy, then Achilles personifies America, determined to destroy Assange, like Hector before him, in mind, and desecrate him in body as well. Either way, Assange’s has been a titanic struggle the gods themselves would have paid good money to watch.

That said, in our dystopian Dorian Gray take, Hillary Clinton must, of course, be the beautiful Helen of Troy, over whom Virgil, Homer and Yeats, to say nothing of the Greek gods themselves, all waxed. And the pig headed and pot bellied Mike Pompeo is, of course, her faithful understudy. Let me explain. Even though Pompeo, who owes his exalted position to the Koch brothers and some other colourful American billionaires, has called for Assange’s assassination, that is one of his less outrageously violent demands. Although Pompeo calls Assange “a fraud—a coward hiding behind a screen”, Assange has no Internet access in Stalag Belmarsh and it is a strange sort of coward, who rankles Empire and pays the price for it in the manner Assange did, just as it is for Pompeo, who never fired a shot in anger in his life, to shoot off his well fed mouth in this manner.

And, as Pompeo believes Edward Snowden “should be brought back from Russia and given due process”, before being put to death, we can see that Pompeo does not have the best interests of dissidents like Assange or Snowden at heart. He will never play Santa in his local shopping mall except, perhaps, in a Halloween horror special. And nor, despite the better angels of her nature, will Hillary Clinton, who is more morally rudderless than Lady Macbeth and whose own impressive rap sheet is much too long to go into detail here. Suffice to say that Hillary Clinton did not make her billions by working for Wikileaks or doing pro bono cases for the likes of Julian Assange but she has invested her time wisely, networking through morally dubious magic money and power trees like the Clinton Foundation.

Assange’s problem resembles not so much a legal one as the one Schindler faced in tricking Amon Göth to exert power by pardoning his surviving victims he had already driven to distraction. Assange has exposed Hillary Clinton, faux feminism’s Helen of Troy, as being Dorian Gray brought back to life and, as Hillary’s goons cannot have their bargain basement goddess maligned, they want their pound of flesh and more from the Assanges’ hides.

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The goliath tigerfish is said to be a bigger and deadlier version of the piranha. It has 32 teeth that are of similar size to those of a great white shark and has been known to attack humans and even crocodiles. It has only ever been caught by a handful of fishermen due to the danger it poses. in Africa’s Congo River. It can grow up to 5 feet long and weigh over 100 pounds.

 

 

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